The Goal of Life, by Hiram Butler, , at sacred-texts.com
Before proceeding directly to the evidence in the Bible of the existence of this Eternal Order, we make the following statement:
We find evidences from the beginning of Genesis to the time of Christ that there was a Brotherhood of men, who lived in the flesh and were masters in the highest sense of the term. This Brotherhood, like the Christ, were able to command the forces of nature, were righteous in all their ways, and were in direct touch with Yahveh and ElohimYahveh, the Spirit and God of the universe; and Elohim, the Brotherhood who were the Creators of the world. These, as we have intimated, were evidently from the age prior to Adam, from the age of which the Orientalists claim to have abundant records, called the Golden Age; and it is also related in mythology that one after another of the gods left the abode of men, Virgo being the last to leave.
There was at that time a regular gradatory line, or, so to speak, a ladder of attainment, a chain of connected links, from the neophytes that were
under the instruction of the masters in the body, to the masters that had passed beyond the confines of an earthly existence, on up to the Elohim; and, reasoning from analogy, this chain does not end here, but there are membersmen who have lived in the body in other worlds from the beginning of time to the presentwho have reached heights of attainment transcending the possibility of our finite conception.
In order to know something of that Eternal Brotherhood we must follow the injunction of the writer of the letter to the Hebrews: "Therefore leaving the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do, if God permit." (Heb. vi. 1-3).
If the Christian church had faithfully followed the leading of the Spirit of God, or would follow it now, it would leave these first principles of the doctrine of Christ and go on unto perfection, where its members would know God and these things whereof we write. And they would know these things, not from theory, but from an experience more perfect, more vivid, more realistic, than the experiences of everyday life in this material world; for the doctrines of Christ are but the types and shadows of the glorious things that God has in
store for those that fear to do evil and love God and have perfect confidence in his guiding intelligence.
If you carefully read the sixth chapter of Hebrews, not fearing to accept the truth, you will see wonderful things in Paul's argument. After an earnest appeal to all to believe God and to follow him fearlessly, he closes the chapter with the following words: "That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek."
This allusion to our being permitted, through obedience to the leadings of the Spirit, to enter "that within the veil," and become one with Jesus and that eternal order of Melchisedek, or Yahveh Elohim, is a direct reference to what has always existed in the initiations of the faithful neophyte, who, when he had attained worthiness, was permitted to enter the secret place of the Most High, into the knowledge of that Eternal Brotherhood.
Frequent references are made throughout the Bible to "that within the veil," a veil symbolized by the veil of the temple, dividing the holy place from the Holiest of all. Jesus referred to it frequently
and proclaimed himself to be the door, the means by which one may enter in through that veil, "whither," as Paul said, "the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek," implying that that order is within the veil.
We ask our readers carefully to read the seventh chapter of Hebrews, and especially to note the following verses:
"If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest [Jesus the Christ] should rise after the order of Melchisedek, and not be called after the order of Aaron? . . . For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedek there ariseth another priest, who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek . . . . And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest: (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek:) By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament."
There is much prejudice on the part of the people in regard to taking the oath of an order that requires
secrecy, or, in other words, of an order that requires wisdom on the part of its members as to what is to be taught to the public and what is to be kept for those that are worthy; but here the statement is emphatic that "not without an oath he was made a priest.''
If our Lord Jesus, the Christ, came not after the order of Aaron, as Paul says, but came after the order of Melchisedek, then it follows that the mission of Christ is to lead his followers into the membership of that wondrous Brotherhood, to show them the way through the veil into the Holiest of all, into the great mysteries of that Eternal Brotherhooda Brotherhood which, the writer said, had "neither beginning of days, nor end of life." Not that this priest Melchisedek was without beginning of days or end of life, for that would be contrary to all that is known of organized or individualized existence. On the other hand, if worlds have circled in the heavens from all eternity, if evolution has always been the law governing all worlds, and if it has been a law from all eternity that there are lines of demarcation between spheres of existence, so that none can pass from that without to that within, from the lower to the higher, until by attainment they have earned the right to do sountil they have grown into itwhich is one of the most absolute laws of the universe, then it follows that this order of Melchisedek is the order of all
redeemed souls from the beginning of time, and will so continue throughout eternity.
We have long believed that the lifeless shell of the Masonic Order is all that survives of what was originally the living formula of the Eternal Brotherhood; but, through perversion, it has lost so much of its vitality that what now remains is virtually a dead form, and even that form has been so changed that but a small portion of the original is left. There is, however, still enough of the divine order in it to preserve its existence from the disintegrative forces of the ages. But we know this: That grand order of Melchisedek of which Christ came as a representativeas declared in the foregoing quotationshas always existed and will always exist throughout eternity; and we who are willing wholly to follow the Christ and his teachings will certainly be led into full, conscious membership in that glorified Brotherhood.
We will now consider
THE EVIDENCES OF THE EXISTENCE OF THIS BROTHERHOOD IN THE BODY
Paul's reference to Melchisedek and to Abraham will be found in Genesis xiv., and all who are interested in this subject should read the account with the new light we have thrown upon it.
In Genesis xiv. we read the following words.
"And Melchisedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was priest of God Most High (Heb. El Elyon). And he blessed him, and
said, Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth: and blessed be God Most High, who hath delivered thine enemies into thine hand. And he gave him a tenth of all."
There are several thoughts to be considered in connection with this account. One is the misconception that has arisen in the minds of Christian people regarding this Melchisedek. It is thought that, because Paul said that he was king of righteousness or king of peace, he could not have been an earthly monarch, but we must bear in mind that in those days kings were heads of tribes, or what, in many instances, we would to-day call mayors of cities, and, as a rule, they were independent rulers.
We must also bear in mind, when reading this chapter, that the king of Sodom and the king of Salem went out to meet Abraham, and that both are spoken of as kings. This in itself, as you will see by careful reading, is evidence that Melchisedek was the head or ruling spirit of a resident brotherhood, somewhere in the vicinity of Sodom, and that he was known, not as a fighting king, but as a king of peace.
Those who have studied the laws and principles governing true mystics, know that they invariably profess to be men of peace, and that they are supposed to use their mystic powers to perpetuate peace. If there was an organized body of those holy men who lived before the time of Adam, and were gathered from those who are called in
[paragraph continues] Genesis vi. 2 "the sons of God," in contradistinction to the sons of men, then they possessed similar powers to those manifested to the world by the Lord Christ; otherwise the statement in Hebrews that Christ "came after the order of Melchisedek" could not be true.
It is generally supposed that this allusion to the order of Melchisedek had reference in some way to his personality or life; but the word "order" has here a double meaning. It signifies, first, an organization or society of persons having some common rule and obligation, as, for instance, a mystic order; and, second, a system of methods of procedure, usages, arrangements, methods of life, which form the constitution, or fundamental principles, of an organization of men.
As the members of this order of Melchisedek lived from God, Spirit, and were one with him, they possessed powers similar to those possessed by Elijah, Elisha and the Christ, and through those powers they held the respect, the reverence, the awe, of the child-races, and were enabled to be to those races guides and instructors, and to control the destinies of men, as we shall see further on.
Another thought is clear here; namely, this Melchisedek was in the body, not a spiritual form as some suppose, for he brought bread and wine to nourish Abraham after his long struggle with the kings; and Abraham gave Melchisedek a tenth part
of the spoils that he had taken from the kings. So Melchisedek not only offered unto Abraham material nourishment, but he, in turn, received from Abraham material substance for himself and for his people.
We find in Genesis xvii. 1, the following words: "And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, Yahveh appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect." Whatever this appearance may have been, whether it was a man in the body or a God-man from the heavens, we have no absolute knowledge, but that it was one who talked to Abraham as a man talks to another man, face to face, is unquestionable. And this is further evidenced in chapter xviii. 1-8:
"And Yahveh appeared unto him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; and he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood over against him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself to the earth, and said, My lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: let now a little water be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: and I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your heart; after that ye shall pass on: forasmuch as ye are come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. And Abraham hastened into the tent unto
[paragraph continues] Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes. And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it unto the servant; and he hasted to dress it, And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat."
There are several points that we ask you to note in this account: The first is that Yahveh appeared to him, and then it is said that three men stood by Abraham, not three angelsevidently the ones whom he called Yahveh; although if the account had said angels, as the word "angel" merely means messenger of God, it would not imply that they were not messengers in the body. That these were men, there is no doubt, for in verse 3 Abraham said, "My Lord," or "My Master;" the word here is Adonai, which means master, one to whom authority has been delegated from a higher source. That Abraham recognized their superiority as masters is shown in the words, "If now I have found favor in thy sight," and in the fact that he bowed himself before them. Another evidence that they were in the body is the inference that Abraham brought them water with which to wash their feet, they having walked a distance in the dust, and also in the emphatic declaration that "they did eat" the bread which Abraham set before them. If all three had not eaten, probably the account
would have so stated, but the words are "And they did eat;" and after they had eaten they delivered their message. Please read the entire chapter.
In verse 16 we find the following words: "And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way." Mark you, Abraham went with the three men; but in verse 17 the language is changed, for we read, "And Yahveh said, Shall I hide from Abraham that which I do?" What we wish to call attention to here is the fact that one of the three men remained with Abraham and that the other two went on to attend to their work in Sodom, for we read in chapter xix. 1, "And the two angels came to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom." This shows that two of the men went on while one remained with Abraham and gave him God's message.
In chapter xviii. 20, we read that Yahveh said, "Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know." Therefore, whoever or whatever these men may have been, one thing is certainit was necessary that Yahveh go down and see whether it was altogether according to the cry which had come unto him. In other words, he must go in person that he may know
whether the report is true, before justice and destruction can be executed upon Sodom.
Now, if it should be said that this conversation and prayer, or argumentwhichever you wish to call itof Abraham with Yahveh was with a spirit, disembodied, verse 30 would dissipate such a thought, for we read, "And he [Abraham] said unto him, Oh let not Adonai be angry, and I will speak." While heretofore he called this one to whom he had been speaking Yahveh, he now calls him Adonai, Master, and we here make this assertion, that in no case is the word Adonai, or Master, used in connection with a spiritual manifestation, but always in connection with a person, at least supposed to be in the body; neither is it used in connection with the God of the universe.
This being true, it is positive proof that Abraham recognized the one with whom he was conversing as one who was in the body. He continues to use the word Adonai in the last part of his argument to the end of the interview, when the writer giving the account says, in verse 33, "And Yahveh went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place." He did not say that Yahveh had disappeared, or that he went up from Abraham, but simply that he went his way; and where did he go? In verse 21 he said, "I will go down now [to Sodom], and see whether they have done altogether according to
the cry of it, which is come unto me," and we have no further account of him.
The next account of the two angels is given in chapter xix. where they come to Lot in Sodom, enter into his house and eat unleavened bread, et cetera. In proof that these men were in the body, we read:
"The men put forth their hand, and brought Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. . . But he lingered and the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; Yahveh being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city."
Mark you, they laid hold upon the hand of Lot and of his wife and daughters, which no spirit can do, for we well know that spirit cannot touch matter nor matter, spirit. (Spirit may take hold of the mind and thus influence the physical body, as if the body were taken hold of.)
In the foregoing we have evidence, if not absolute proof, of the existence of a Brotherhood in the flesh who were directly in touch with Yahveh, the Spirit of the universe, and one with him, and that they were so recognized by Abraham, who was virtually a neophyte under the guidance and instruction of Melchisedek and of the Brotherhood with whom Melchisedek was connected.
As further evidence of the existence of this Eternal
[paragraph continues] Brotherhood, we read in Genesis xxxii. 24-28:
"And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was strained, as he wrestled with him. And he said: Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for thou hast had power with Elohim and with men, and hast prevailed."
Here we find that Jacob wrestled with a man, whom he recognized as of the Elohim, that is he struggled with him before he obtained his new name, Israel, which means prevailing prince; which is to say that he had dominion in the line of his calling, as he demonstrated when his angry brother, who came out to slay him, gave expressions of love to Jacob instead of anger.
In verses 29 and 30 we read:
"And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel [i. e., the face of God]: for I have seen Elohim face to face, and my life is preserved."
This implies that, while Jacob recognized that he was wrestling with a man, he knew that he was a God-man, one having oneness with Yahveh Elohim. What the nature of that wrestling was, whether mental or physical, we are not told, but the fact that he recognized that he was wrestling with one who had power to confer upon him the thing desired, is evidenced in the words, "I will not let thee go except thou bless me."
We wish again to emphasize the thought that Jacob knew that he was wrestling with a man; and when he received the blessing he wanted to know the man's name. How natural it is for the human mind to want to identify everybody with a class or name, which implies merely the plane, office or sphere that the person occupies in this world, in place of recognizing his or her spiritual calling.
As the angel who wrestled with Jacob and was called Elohim, was of that grand, old order of Melchisedek, he had received a new name, which was of the Spirit, and belonged exclusively to his sphere of use in that mystic body, therefore he refused to give Jacob his name.
We read in Judges xiii. 6:
"Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of Elohim came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of Elohim, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name."
Now, observe that this messenger of Elohim appeared as a man to the woman, and she called him a man of Elohimman of Godwhich was a common expression applied to those who belonged to that holy Order of Melchisedek. Now, when her husband, Manoah, came:
"He said unto the angel of Yahveh, I pray thee let us detain thee, until we have made ready a kid for thee. And the angel of Yahveh said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread: and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto Yahveh. For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of Yahveh." (vv. 15, 16.)
This means he did not know that the angel was in the spirit-form and not in the material body. Again we read:
"And Manoah said unto the angel of Yahveh, What is thy name, that when thy saying comes to pass we may do thee honor? And the angel of Yahveh said unto him, Why askest thou after my name, seeing it is secret?"
The angel did not deny that he had a name, and this teaches us that those who are called angels are the souls of men who have lived in the body, and, of course, had a name among men, but when they left the sphere of evolution and became members of the order of Melchisedek, a new name was given to them, which is the name of their calling in the Divine Order.
The fact that they are men who have lived on earth, and are our brethren, was shown by the angel who gave the wonderful revelation to John (Rev. xxii. 8, 9):
"And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them that keep the sayings of this book: worship God."
This tells us that the angels of God are no more nor less than our brethren who are living or have lived upon the earth or some other world, but who have passed beyond the point where they are governed by the laws of generation, for there are many who have completed their fleshly existence and passed on as members of the Eternal Brotherhood; and the angel that appeared to Manoah and his wife was undoubtedly of that higher order, and had passed on, for in Judges xiii. 20, 21 we read:
"It came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of Yahveh ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground. But the angel of Yahveh did no more appear to Manoah and his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of Yahveh."
That this angel of Yahveh manifested to Manoah that he had dominion over the elements is suggested in the words, "And the angel did wondrously: and Manoah and his wife looked on."
We read in Joshua v. 13-15:
"And it came to pass when Joshua was by Jericho that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay, but as the captain of the host of Yahveh am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith Adonai unto his servant? And the captain of Yahveh'S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so."
The connection between this verse and the following chapter is not given, but it is said in Joshua vi. 2, that "Yahveh said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thy hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valor." And he instructs Joshua how to take the strong city, but we have in this case no evidence showing whether this messenger was in the flesh or not; he simply said that he had come as captain of Yahveh'S host, as the superior of Joshua, in that he gave Joshua orders; thus proving that he was at least one of the Masters.
In I. Samuel ii. 27, we read:
"And there came a man of Elohim unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith Yahveh, did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh's house."
He said that he "plainly appeared," but he did not say definitely whether it was in the person of a man, or whether it was as a spirit messenger, or whether it was in the form of a word of Elohim. But the instances showing that men of Elohim appeared to the children of Israel, the covenant people, as guides, protectors, and controllers of the affairs of men, are too numerous to mention.
These quotations suffice to show, with the aid of the chapters in immediate connection with them, that there did live during the period of the patriarchs, even down to the time of the Judges, an order of mystics called "Masters" by men, but who called themselves an "Order of the Sons of God," who were in the body, yet not of the people; they lived in obscurity, and came forth only to deliver messages from Elohim.
We have, moreover, chosen quotations that in the past have been a mystery. The Christian world has erroneous ideas regarding these passages and regarding the angels of God. Many believe that the angels of God are uncreated beings, or of a separate creation, that they were never men in the body; whereas the quotations given prove
the opposite, namely, that all of them are men who have come up by means of the experiences through which we ourselves have passed, and have gone on and become one with Yahveh Elohim.
There is reference to another phase of the manifestation of this order of Melchisedek in the account of Enoch, who "walked with Elohim and was not, for Elohim took him;" and again, in the story of Elijah, whose nameEl-i-Yah, that is, Yahveh is my God, my powerwas undoubtedly given him by the Brotherhood. The meaning of his name was fully verified in the history of the doings of Elijah, in the great power that he manifested over the forces of naturepower evidently greater than that manifested by those before him, or by those after him, with the exception of the Christ; and when Elijah was taken up in a whirlwind his powers, or his mantle, fell upon Elisha.
You will see by carefully reading accounts in the Scriptures that there were men in the body and out of the body who demonstrated by the wonders they performed that they were members of that Eternal Brotherhood. When we say wonders, we do not mean miracles as miracles have been understood, for nothing is done that is not in accordance with the laws of nature; but when men have become God-men, they may lay hold upon superior laws and accelerate or retard the working of laws already active in nature.