When one thinks of the Eastern Star, thoughts immediately go to the star that led to the Three Wise Men to the newborn King of the Jews in Bethlehem. To fully understand the Eastern Star, it is important that we understand a star and its meanings, and then we can understand why the Three Wise Men were charting the stars in the first place. Then, we will try to get into Robert Morris' mind as he chose a star, a passive star, as the emblem of the Order of the Eastern Star.
In Genesis 1:16, we see the creation of the lights of the heavens: a greater light (the sun) to rule the day, and a lesser one to rule the night. To compliment the lesser light, He made the stars also. This was on the fourth day of creation, after Day and Night was created; after evening and morning were created; after the firmament was created dividing the earth from the heavens; after waters were divided. The stars and the lights came after the creation of land and seas, vegetation and all the plants and seeds of plant life.
As one old preacher puts it, "After God made the sun and moon, He had some glory left, and He just flung them out in the firmament and called them stars.
Stars were ordained by God (Psalms 8:3), and was considered by David just before his great question of God, "What is man...?" Stars were named by God (Psalms 147:4), given the names of Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades (Job 9:9).
Stars were used to foretell the future and it is in this vein that the Three Wise Men, characteristically called Magi, or students of Zoroaster, a great philosopher of ancient Persia. Keep his name in your mind, for we shall link him with the teachings of our learned brother Pythagoras.
Stars are figuratively of several things, namely:
Of Christ's First Advent: Numbers 24:17
Of Christ's Second Advent: Revelation 22:16
Of Angels: Revelation 1:16,20
Of Princes: Daniel 8:10
Of False Security: Obadiah 1:4
Of Glorifying Saints: Daniel 12:3
Of Apostates (falling away from God's Truth): Jude 1:13
Of Christ's Birth in Bethlehem: Matthew 2:2,9,10
The captioned character was a great Greek philosopher that lived around the Sixth Century, and traveled to Egypt in search of "more light." On finding the pyramids built to such an uncanny exactness, he sought the mathematical equation for such perfection. As the priests of the temples in Egypt were also architects, he sought their help. Being Greek, he looked for a very complex answer, and wound up getting one of great simplicity. The priests merely pointed upwards towards the heavens as an answer.
Dumbfounded but not undaunted, Pythagoras sought to find the secret and wound up getting initiated into the Egyptian mysteries. Afterwards, in measuring the pyramids, he discovered the number five creeping in his measurements all the time. Likewise, the numbers 3 and 4. Together, they form a very interesting set of numbers in the Hebrew numerical system as well as in mathematical terms elsewhere in the civilized world at that time. After arduous labor, he soon hit upon what we know as the Pythagorem Theorem, or the 47th problem of Euclid. Being a philosopher first, Pythagoras sought a higher meaning for the equation and wound up with:
a2+b2=c2 or, Individual plus goals equals achievement or method.
From the heavens, Pythagoras took the star as a five pointed entity, as this is what the star appeared. The most famous one for the Egyptians was Sirus, the Dog Star, the star that was held in high esteem because of its prophetic powers. It was by this star's appearance that the Egyptians reckoned the time to remove themselves from the banks of the Nile River and its floods. It was by this star that they knew when to plant, when to harvest. And it was by this star that they built the pyramids.
Pythagoras called the star a Pentalpha. Penta, Greek for five; alpha, also greek, for beginning. Thus the term, Five New Beginnings. Each point of the star looks like an alpha or an "a" of the English alphabet. Therefore, where ever you started numbering on the pentalpha, you always had the first letter of the alphabet. When John the Evangelist was on Patmos, exiled, but "in the spirit on the Lord's Day" he beheld the Savior as Alpha and Omega, the description of a circle. In Revelation, the circle is made up of seven stars, representing the seven churches of Asia Minor.
Lying on his bed of affliction in Jackson, I believe that God ordained the writings of Robert Morris, and influenced his thoughts to give to Robert McCoy for his fine tuning of the degrees we know today as the Order of the Eastern Star. The degrees are fitted within the scope of the star, incorporating the ideas of the Star of Fellowship, that of Zoroaster, and the Star of Hope, that of the Jews, later the Christians. It was fitting that three men of great wisdom would be chosen to search out the true meaning of the Star of Bethlehem, that which we call the Eastern Star, for in their bosom, they carried the news of the ages, news that would make Zoroaster's star be revealed in all its splendor, the Star of Fellowship.
Zoroaster believed in relationships, and from his writings in his Zend-Avesta, the star played a very important part in exemplifying the five relationships of a man, or for that matter, a woman. They are the relationships you have with the following:
Believing that if you controlled your Karma or being, you would win the battle that was constantly warring in everyone, the light and darkness. The Chinese call it the Ying Yang Principle, Moses saw it as a pavement of light and dark squares; we see it today as Good and Evil. Paul saw it as "in our best days, we stand before God as filthy rags..." With these thoughts in mind, probably, Morris proceeded to form the Eastern Star degrees.
Needing philosophical lessons from material things, Morris looked to "the hills from whence cometh his help..." Searching the Holy Scriptures, he came up with these five heroines, three from the Old Testament and two from the New Testament. Even today, his selection is worthy as well as mysterious, for the very first woman named in the degrees, actually did not have her name mentioned in the Bible as such.
Adah is mentioned three times in the Bible, but not as Jepthah's daughter. Genesis 4:19 states that she was the wife of Lamech and the mother of Tubal Cain, one of the heroes of Masonic Lore. Another Adah is mentioned as a wife of Esau, the brother of Isaac. Still another is called Bashemath in Genesis 26:34. Based on the characteristics of the Adah's named, most likely, Morris used the Adah of Lamech, since there is a Masonic connection and that is what we are looking for.
Jepthah was a man of questionable birth, being the son of a harlot and Gilead, his father. Because of his illegitimacy, he was put out of the camp of the Israelites, only to be called back to lead them in their fight against the Ammonites, and later the Ephraimites. We all know the story and how she asked for two months to bewail her virginity. This was done for two reasons.
Every maiden thought themselves least likely to be chosen as the "handmaiden of the Lord" and bring forth a Savior, but every maiden wanted to be. Adah was no different and that in itself, was reason enough for crying.
Being the only child of Jepthah, there could be no heir if she is to be executed. This was ample reason when you had the love for a father that Adah had for hers.
Can't you sympathize with her as most likely, she had gone through years of ridicule because of her parentage and grand parentage? Needless to say, we do not look upon illegitimacy as the big "no no", today. Seeing his only daughter ran out, later to be sacrificed, is reason for the exclamation, "Alas, my daughter!"
No sweeter words could have been spoken at any time, than the words that Ruth spoke to her mother-in-law, than "Entreat me not to leave you..." Even today, mother-in-laws are not to be counted among a wife's favorite people. Yet, this young widow, Ruth, was telling an older widow, Naomi, that Ruth would go with her, regardless. Consider too, Ruth's background, a Moabitess, was questionable and despicable among the Jews, for she was a descendant of incest, the illicit relationship between Lot and his daughters with a son, Moab, being the result. The Jews knew this and most likely, it may have laid heavy on Naomi's heart.
The plot thickened even further when of all people, Ruth was noticed by a man of also questionable parentage, Boaz. This man was the son of a harlot, Rahab, by his father Salmon from the Tribe of Judah. Rich, because of his mother's lucrative trade on the walls of Jericho, a Heroine of Jericho. We all know the story of the Threshing Floor and the settling of claims against Naomi's lands. It is interesting to note the Jewish customs noted in the Book of Ruth:
A woman could not own land.
The next of kin got everything, including the women as wives.
The custom of removing the left shoe as a sign of a contract. Note the left foot of Justice.
The redemption by the oldest next of kin. Consider the "giving away of" Mary at the crucifixion by Jesus to John.
The book of Esther is most unusual as it does not mention God one time. Yet, there is a lesson of personal sacrifice, threat of personal loss, that says more for the duties of a wife than anything else when viewed from a lofty plain. Esther gives us the earthly happenings of a divine plan to save a nation of people, and why? Because of envy and jealousy, the prime enemies of any organization. Ahasuerus, Esther's husband, was like any other ruler at the time, probably illiterate and therefore, depended heavily on advisors. Consider our presidents today and how important, and how powerful the advisors have become in Washington, D.C.
In Esther we find the festival of Purim, celebrating the two days of Esther's feast, on the 14th and 15th days of the month of Adar which corresponds to our February and March, about half and half. The 14th and 15th days would probably be about the 28th and 29th of February, or March 1st in the Leap Years.
In Babylon, during Esther's time as queen, many things happened: Daniel went in and out of the Lion's Den; three Hebrew Children went into the fiery furnace; Daniel wrote the Book of Daniel; Daniel saw the handwriting on the wall, etc. After seventy years of captivity, Esther's people left for the return trip to Jerusalem, and the rebuilding of a temple and a nation.
Martha is classic study of faith in divine intervention. She is also a study of the difference between the earthly values and spiritual values. Martha displayed the earthly values by owning a house, being a perfect hostess, so she thought, and a good example of "how not to confuse earthly values with those of a higher plane."
Disgusted with her sister Mary who stayed close to Jesus' feet, Mary went about her housework grumbling because of no help. Jesus heard her and reprimanded her for not recognizing that the soul needs feeding as well as the physical body. Mary, her sister has been called the same as Mary Magdalene because of the episode of "washing Jesus' feet with her tears and drying them with her hair." Many 'devout' Christian writers have tried to disassociate Mary the pure from Mary the impure. I have no problem with Mary being identified with the Magdalene, for they got their money from somewhere, and who is to doubt the redeeming grace of Jesus Christ. He healed the woman at the well; the woman accused; and the sinner woman that came in from the night at Simeon's house. Why couldn't He save Mary Magdalene from prostitution?
Martha got great lessons from this man of Galilee and those lessons should be imbedded in our hearts for all times as a lesson of faith. Believeth thou this?
In his 2nd Epistle, John is addressing an organization, the early Christian Church, not a woman as one would think. It is interesting to note that probably, the early church, because of persecution by the authorities, were beginning to get weak, and were probably lashing out at each other. Hence the commandment reiterated, "Love ye one another." Electa is given to us as "an election" and is to be viewed as such. Not an election where one votes for candidates, but as one, 'elects' to make her his wife.
The characteristics of Electa are found in the Bible for your scrutiny:
Eternal (as a true church will be). Ephesians 1:4
Sovereign (as a true church should be). Romans 9:11-16
Faith (what a true church is built on). 2nd Peter 1:10
Holiness (what a true church is all about). Ephesians 1:4-5
Divine Protection (when a church is truly, "God's Church"). Mark 13:20
Manifest it in Life (when you are a true Christian). Colossians 3:12
At another time, and another place, we will deal with the colors of the Eastern Star, and how it conforms with the Masonic Family, and why it deserves a place by the side of her sons, brothers, husbands, fathers, and deceased husbands. The Eastern Star is a living example of all that is good, if it is used for what it was organized for, as a compliment to the Master Masons.