Various etymologies of this word are found; as a mystic word it may be deliberately obscure, though the first syllable is invariably given as being Hebrew יָהּ (Yah) ‘Yahweh’. Some theories often cited:
- First, that it is a compound of יָהּ (Yah) ‘Yahweh’ + בּעל (bul) ‘on high, in heaven’ + אוֹן (’on) ‘strength’. Reference: The Rev’d Canon Richard Tydeman, An Address to Grand Chapter (of England), 13th November 1985.
- Second, that it may have been a blend of Hebrew יָהּ (Yah) ‘Yahweh’ + זְבוּלוּן (Zəbūlūn) ‘Zebulun or Zabulon, son of Jacob’.
- Third, it is explained as being a combination of Hebrew יָהּ (Yah) ‘Yahweh’ + בּעל (bul) ‘Baal’, + אוֹן (’On) ‘On’ (a city of Egypt, explained as a reference to Osiris, perhaps as a misunderstanding of Genesis 46:20).
- Stephen Knight in The Brotherhood and Martin Short in Inside the Brotherhood argued that Jahbulon is a trinity consisting of Yahweh, God of the Jews, Baal, God of the Phoenicians and Celts, and Osiris, an Egyptian God.
- Hyphenation: Jah‧bul‧on
Jahbulon (or Jabulon) is a word that was used in the past in some rituals of certain parts of Masonry. It is also said to be used in Ordo Templi Orientis rituals.
The origin and meaning of this word are not completely known. Different groups think the word means different things. Even Masonic researchers do not all agree to what the word means or where it came from. One Masonic scholar says that the word was first used in an early 18th century Royal Arch ritual. He said it was the name of an explorer looking for King Solomon’s Temple. Another Masonic scholar thinks it is a name for God in Hebrew. The most used Masonic explanation is that it is a word that comes from putting together parts of the name of God in different historic languages.
Writers who are not Masons, especially those against Masonry, have said that it is a Masonic name for God. Some say it is the name of a unique “Masonic God”. Freemasonry’s officials have said many times that “There is no separate Masonic God”. They have also said that there is no separate proper name for a deity in any branch of Freemasonry. This meaning of the word has caused many religious groups to argue about and condemn Freemasonry. In England, no ritual with the name has been in official Masonic use since February 1989. Stephen Knights, author of The Brotherhood:The Secret World of the Freemasons, says it is a trinity composed of three ancient Middle Eastern Gods, Jah, God of the Jews, Baal, God of the Phoenicians, and On, an Egyptian God.
Jahbulon – Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jahbulon or Jabulon (Hebrew: יהבעלאון, translit. Yahb’elon) is a word which is allegedly used in some rituals of Royal Arch Masonry, and derivations thereof.
There has been much debate over the origin and meaning of this word. There is no consensus even among Masonic researchers as to its meaning or legitimacy: one Masonic scholar alleges that the word first appeared in an early 18th-century Royal Arch ritual as the name of an allegorical explorer searching for the ruins of King Solomon’s Temple. Another Masonic scholar believes it is a descriptive name for God in Hebrew; The most common masonic explanation is that it is a word derived from combining parts of the name of God in different historic languages.
Non-Masonic authors have alleged that it is a Masonic name for God, and even the name of a unique “Masonic God”, despite repeated statements by Freemasonry’s officials that “There is no separate Masonic God”, nor a separate proper name for a deity in any branch of Freemasonry. It is this interpretation of a “Masonic God” that has led to debates about and condemnation of Freemasonry by several religious groups. In England, no ritual containing the name has been in official Masonic use since February 1989.
According to Masonic historian Arturo de Hoyos, the word Jahbulon was first used in the 18th century in early French versions of the Royal Arch degree. It relates a Masonic allegory in which Jabulon was the name of an explorer living during the time of Solomon who discovered the ruins of an ancient temple. Within the ruins he found a gold plate upon which the name of God (YHWH) was engraved.
In Duncan’s Masonic Ritual and Monitor, published in the mid-19th century, Malcolm Duncan uses the word as a recognition password in his rendition of the Royal Arch degree,[note 1] and in a footnote states that the word is a combination of sacred names.[note 2] However, there has been controversy regarding Duncan’s ritual. According to Turnbull, Everett and Denslow, Duncan has the candidate swear: “I furthermore promise and swear, that I will support the Constitution of the General Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the United States of America…” whereas the General Grand Chapter at the time styled itself: “General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of the United States, a subtle but significant difference. Some Masonic authors state that even if Duncan’s ritual is authentic, it is either an outdated exposure or that it had been superseded by another explanation.
Ordo Templi Orientis
According to Francis X. King in The Secret Rituals of the O.T.O., the word is used in two rituals of the Ordo Templi Orientis: the Lodge of Perfection, in which the candidate receives the Fourth Degree (which is called Perfect Magician and Companion of the Holy Royal Arch of Enoch); and the Perfect Initiate (or Prince of Jerusalem) degree, which falls between the fourth and fifth degrees. King prints in his book the lyrics of a song that mentions the word “Jahbulon.”
It has been suggested that the Rastafari word for God, Jah, comes from the term Jahbulon, although the name JAH (a transliteration of YAH, shortened from Yahweh) appears in the King James Version of the Bible, in Psalm 68:4. The term “Jah” also appears throughout the Psalms in other Bible translations, for instance the Darby translation or Young’s Literal translation. William David Spencer, in his 1999 Dread Jesus, proposes that Archibald Dunkley and Joseph Nathaniel Hibbert were among the preachers that inspired the Rastafari movement, and that both were members of the “Ancient Mystic Order of Ethiopia”, a fraternal order derived from Prince Hall Freemasonry. Spencer believes that several features of the Rastafari movement derive from this lodge, including the name “Jah”, from the word Jah-Bul-On.
Examples of interpretations of the word based on its syllables
According to The Rev. Canon Richard Tydeman, in an address to the Supreme Grand Chapter of England on 13 November 1985, the word is a compound of three Hebrew terms:
יהּ (Yah, I AM, which indicates eternal existence),
בּעל (b’el, owner, husband, lord ) and
און (on, strength); pronouncing three aspects or qualities of Deity, namely Eternal Existence, Ownership, and Omnipotence and equating to “The Eternal God – Master – Almighty”.
According to Walton Hannah, the word is a compound of the names of three gods worshipped in the ancient Middle East.[note 3]
Jah (= Yahweh)
On, a name in Genesis in the Bible (in “Potiphar priest of On”), thought in older times to be a name of Osiris (but now known by Egyptologists to be the Hebrew form of the Ancient Egyptian name of the city of Heliopolis).
Criticisms of the word and its uses
Much of the available material that discusses the word Jahbulon does not address the administrative and jurisdictional distinctions amongst the appendant bodies of Freemasonry. Royal Arch Masonry is an appendant body to Freemasonry. In some areas it forms part of the York Rite, and in others it is an independent body. To be eligible to join one must first be a Master Mason. The administration of the Royal Arch is entirely separate from the administration of Craft Freemasonry. Every Masonic organization is sovereign only in its own jurisdiction, and has no authority in any other jurisdiction. This means that there is no standardization whatsoever with regards to words, signs, grips, or any other Masonic “secrets”.
Walton Hannah stated in his book Darkness Visible that the interpretation that Jabulon was a name for God reportedly disturbed Albert Pike, the Sovereign Grand Commander of the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite, who, when he first heard the name, called it a “mongrel word” partly composed of an “appellation of the Devil”.
A Church of England report into compatibility of Freemasonry and the Church reached conclusions of objection based on six points. One of these points was Knight’s interpretation of Jahbulon; “JAHBULON, the name of description of God which appears in all the rituals is blasphemous because it is an amalgam of pagan deities. In effect, use of the term is taking God’s name in vain.” The interpretation of the word as discussed by Knight led certain churches to include it in their justification for objections to Freemasonry. These churches state that, conjoined with a number of other aspects of Freemasonry, it demonstrates that Freemasonry is incompatible with their religious philosophies.
It has been claimed that the “Masonic God” allegations “proves” that the Royal Arch Degree – and by extension all of Freemasonry – is incompatible with Christianity. The Southern Baptist convention has mentioned this as an offensive concept that is incompatible with Christianity.
Certain Christian ministries take the position that Jahbulon is the name of a Masonic Pagan god, and therefore violates the Biblical commandment “You shall have no other gods before me”.
The interpretation by Knight also contributes to an assertion, which emerged in 1987, that there is a link between Freemasonry and the Dajjal, a Muslim equivalent of the Antichrist. A reference by David Misa Pidcock, a British convert, has been widely propagated on the Internet following the September 11 attacks in 2001. The Muslim group, Mission Islam, states on their website that based on Knight’s interpretation, “Freemasons secretly worship a Devil-God, known as JAHBULON.”