A talk prepared by
 Ill\Bro Ken Goard 32° District of NSW Southern and ACT


The three characters, Enoch, Elijah, and Mohamed are linked by ascension stories from history and myths. These accounts share some similar features.

In each of these, their history or myth, there is a horse on which they ride to heaven at the end of their ordained life of service and revelation. Enoch "walked and talked with God and then was not, for God took him". The Talmud describes his last days and his ascent on the horse. Elijah goes off in majesty riding to his heavenly reward. Mohamed in history simply dies and in the myth we find the mystical ascension theme

Craft Masonry, The Ancient and Accepted Rite and other Masonic Orders draw on Old Testament records and the history of the Crusaders for instance. The core narratives, the historical facts are blended with traditions and then woven into these various Degrees with varied imaginative additions.

Enoch's story is linked with Freemasonry by his participation in the 14th Degree, the Royal Arch of Enoch. There is the vertical sanctuary of seven chambers and passages leading down to the Secret Chamber where the Divine Word is found and the Secrets are revealed. Elijah, although a remarkable Old Testament figure has not been used in Masonic Rituals but forms the connection between Enoch and Mohamed. Neither is he mentioned in Masonic literature, for example Mackey's Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry published in 1917. And, why include Moslems in this essay? Apart from the nature of his mystic ascension" Moslems are joining the Craft here in Australia. As worshippers of the One True God, they have their own Lodges in their homelands

A word about myths. In the historical sense a myth is a story, based upon some factual episode, which is then embroidered to fill out a story. Drawn by the mystical, writers ascribe a super-human quality to the hero, to align them with a greater person or occasion. Thus there is an element of truth, unlike the modem use of the word, which implies pure fantasy. Legend on the other hand is entirely fanciful.

First there was Enoch.
 There are three books valued by the Jewish people, the Pentateuch or Torah, the Mishnah and the Talmud. This essay quotes from the Pentateuch and the Talmud.

There is but a passing reference to Enoch in the 5th chapter of Genesis (vs 21 - 24):
"when Enoch had lived sixty-five years, he became the father of Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after the birth of Methuselah for three hundred years, and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty five years. Enoch walked with God: and he was not for God took him". A mysterious passing.

And from the Talmud (pp 18 - 21)
"... ... ... ..Jared begat Enoch, and Enoch begat Methuselah... ... ..."




Here begins a fantasy, written into the Talmud in the early years of the first millennium, perhaps handed down by word of mouth or copied from an earlier manuscript from years before, a mythic development from a simple statement.

"And Enoch served the Lord and walked with him, despising the wicked ones about him, and cleaving with knowledge and understanding to the ways of the Most High.
Enoch did not mix with the people, but lived alone as a hermit for many years.

And it came to pass as he was praying in his apartment an angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, saying,
"Enoch, Enoch," and he answered," Here am I"

Then said the angel: "Arise, go forth from thy solitude and walk among the people of the land. Teach to them the way they should go, and instruct them in the actions they should perform." And Enoch did as the Lord commanded him.

And Enoch reigned over the human race and the people obeyed him, and while Enoch was among them they served God. And princes and rulers came to listen to his words of wisdom and to make obeisance before him. In 'justice and righteousness" he ruled, and peace blessed the land during all this period.

And it came to pass, Enoch again felt a longing for solitude and he withdrew from frequent communion with his people. He did not separate himself from them altogether. For three days he remained alone, and on the fourth he appeared to exhort and instruct them. But when a few years had passed he increased the periods of his withdrawal from the world, and separating himself from the people for six days, he preached to them upon the seventh.

And Enoch became so holy that the people feared him, dared not approach when he appeared before them, for the glory of heaven rested on his face.
And it came to pass when the inhabitants of the world had learned from Enoch the ways of the Lord, an angel called to him from heaven, saying: "Ascend, Enoch, ascend to heaven, and reign over the children of God in heaven as thou hast reigned over the children of men on earth."

Enoch continued to teach peace and harmony among the people, and pointed out to them the path to everlasting life. And his followers proclaimed, "Who is he that wishes to live and to know the ways of the Lord? Let him seek Enoch and learn, ere he is taken from us and the earth."

In due time, Enoch mounted his horse and rode away, and a multitude of people followed him a day's journey.
. And it came to pass on the second day that Enoch spoke to those who followed him, saying:
"Return to your tents. Wherefore follow me? Return, lest death overtake you. "
A number of the followers returned at these words and every day he spoke to them, saying: "Return, lest death overtake ye."

And on the sixth day there were still some who followed after him, and they said, " Where thou goest will we go~ as the Lord liveth nought but death shall separate us." So when Enoch saw that they were thus determined he spoke to them no more.





On the seventh day Enoch ascended to heaven in a whirlwind, with chariot and horses of fire.

And it came to pass after Enoch had gone up to heaven that the people started out to search for those men who had followed him. And on the spot where they had left them they found deep snow and ice. They cut through and there found the dead bodies of the men for whom they were searching. But Enoch they did not find. Therefore is the meaning of the words of Scripture, "And Enoch walked with God~ and he was not, for God had taken him" (Gen 5: 24)

Thus with this awesome ascension, there is the group of persistent followers, some paying the ultimate price of loyalty. Enoch ascends with a whirlwind, with chariot and horses of fire.


And now let us turn to Elijah the Tishbite, from east of the Jordan, from outside the main- stream of Hebrew life. He had no apparent priestly connections, and took the role of a religious activist with a message from Jehovah. He came to the Kingdom of Israel to warn Ahab of what lay before him, of a punishing three-year drought.

Jeroboam known to Freemasons as the supervisor of construction of Solomon's Temple had been the first king of the now divided Israel. He was the catalyst to break the United Kingdom of Israel into the two parts, Judah and Israel. Some time after the split, Ahab became king of Israel and ruled from the new capital, Samaria. His wife, the Phoenician princess, Jezebel, strongly influenced Ahab, leading him from the ways of the Lord Jehovah. The princess was a devotee of the heathen goddess Astarte, the consort of the god Baal, the former the goddess of fertility and the latter the god of the storms and rains, Both were essential for the success of crops and the begetting of children in Jezebel's pagan beliefs.

Elijah challenged these gods, Baal in particular on Mount Cannel, and had a resounding victory. Baal was deaf to the entreaties of the pagans. But Jehovah answered sending fire from above consuming Elijah's offering, scattering the pagan prophets. He was a loner, complaining that he was the only faithful follower of Yahweh in the country, that he alone represented the one true God. He then retired in despair to Mount Horeb, It was here that we read of the episode of the "still small voice" appealing to him after the furious wind, the earthquake and the fire.

He was clearly not alone. There were numerous groups of prophets in the Biblical account as told by the Book of Kings, but Elijah preferred to believe that he was the sole believer. He continued his ministry and anointed his successor, Elisha who was to be a far less forbidding prophet

Then came the event, which relates to this essay - Elijah's ascension to heaven. Elisha knows of the coming event and wishes to remain close to Elijah, to cross the River Jordan to be with him for the final moments. Here we are reminded that Enoch discouraged his people from following as the time for departure approached. But Elisha has asked for a share of Elijah's power. Elijah now promises this benefit, but only if Elisha is alone to witness his departure. On cue, as they walked and talked, a chariot of fire pulled by horses of fire came between them and Elijah was taken into heaven by a whirlwind. Elijah's cloak falls away from him. Elisha picks it up and returns to the River Jordan, then to continue an effective but less dramatic ministry than that of his predecessor.





The next character in this trio was Mohamed. He came from Mecca, born in 570.
Losing both parents at a young age, he was adopted by his grandparents after a time spent living with nomadic tribes. His guardian and grandfather died but he was able to travel widely with the head of the clan, an uncle who traded throughout Syria. By 595, as a trusted young man with business acumen, he was put in charge of the merchandise of a rich woman. So well did he impress her that they were joined in marriage. She is said to have been about 40, and she bore Mohamed at least two sons, who died young, and four daughters.

The marriage was a turning point in Mohamed's life and by his marriage he obtained sufficient capital to engage in mercantile activity on a scale commensurate with his abilities
So it was from the very beginning of Islam, that Mohamed inculcated a sense of brotherhood and a bond of faith among his followers, encouraging a social and a business partnership among his people, a close relationship that was accentuated by their experiences of persecution as a growing community in Mecca.

In AD 622, when the Prophet fled to Medina, his preaching was readily accepted, and the community-state of Islam emerged. During this early period, Islam acquired its characteristic ethos as a religion uniting in itself both the spiritual and temporal aspects of life and seeking to regulate not only the individual's relationship to God (through his conscience) but human relationships in a social setting.

The evolution of the Muslim faith, the writing of the Qur'an and the expansion of Islam are well documented in history.

Of his death, the records say, "that Mohamed simply died."

What place then does he have in this essay? Islam has, as have many faiths, its share of mystery built around the landmark events of the founder's lives.

Mohamed, whose only miracle, according to his own words, was the bringing of the Qu’ran to his followers, is credited with innumerable miracles and associated with a variety of miraculous occasions. Here is one example. A cooked meal had been poisoned. The meal spoke and warned him of this. He discarded the food. This may be compared with the events of the poisonous water and the stewed meat in the life of Elisha

Mysticism associated with Mohamed developed in the late 9th century. He is shown as the one who precedes creation, his light is pre-eternal, and he is the reason for and goal of creation. He becomes the perfect man, uniting the divine and the human. His birth was said to be surrounded by miracles, and his birth-date became a holiday for which numerous poems were written to praise his achievements.

A simple death has been transformed into miraculous event. His ascension to heaven is still celebrated. No longer was there the simple passing. now he rides the winged horse Buraq in the company of the angel Gabriel through the seven spheres, meeting with other prophets, until he reaches the divine presence alone.






The hope for him who has been sent and will intercede for his community on Doomsday is extremely strong, especially among the masses, where these legends have completely overshadowed the historical figure.

This horse, Buraq, in Islamic tradition, the creature said to have transported the Prophet Mohamed to heaven is described as "a white animal, half-mule, half-donkey, with wings on its sides

Buraq was originally introduced into the story of Mohamed's night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and the return, thus explaining how the journey between the cities could have been completed in a single night. In some traditions Buraq became a steed with the head of a woman and the tail of a peacock. As the tale of the night journey became connected with that of Mohamed's ascension to heaven, Buraq replaced another legend, the ladder as his means of access into heaven.

Was this a myth developed from the story of Jacob and his ladder? You will recall the story of Jacob travelling from Beersheba to Haran to find a Hebrew wife. While asleep, he dreamed of angels ascending and descending a stairway reaching to heaven. Thus dream preceded his wrestling encounter with Jehovah. (Gen.28: vs 10 etc)



Comparisons can be made between these three men. All were holy men. Enoch was the ascetic, clearly a Hebrew, ministering to the people. Elijah, although a Hebrew apparently came from outside the current Judo-Israeli culture from east of the River Jordan and preferred to act alone. Mohamed was a man of the people, living and working in the community before dedicating himself to religious duties and the writing of the Qur'an


Freemasonry and religions have gathered around themselves mythical interpretations of historical and traditional events. Mysticism in religious faith may reinforce belief or subtly distract the believer from the core truth. But we are reminded of our faith in the one God and in his Son so clearly expressed in the Eighteenth Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Rite.


We are also reminded of the accounts in St. Luke's Gospel and in the Acts of the
Apostles. After blessing the disciples "Jesus was taken up into heaven as they watched him and a cloud hid him from their sight (Luke 24: 51 & Acts 1: 9)




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