Friday, May 24, 2019

Two Pillars

It is often claimed that Russell made use of Masonic symbolism of "two columns" or "two pillars." It is evidently true that some Masons have made use of such symbolism.

We know that the Bible mentions "two pillars" several times. We have not found any evidence that Brother Russell himself ever used any special artwork related to "two pillars". In Biblical times, many edifices had a porch supported by two pillars, and the Bible mentions such related to the House of Jehovah that Solomon built, and possibly also of the palace that was the seat of Jehovah's throne upon which Solomon sat. -- 1 Kings 7:15,20,41; 2 Kings 25:16; 2 Chronicles 3:15; 4:12; Jeremiahs 52:20.

We know some have presented photos of some advertisements related to the showing of "The Photo Drama of Creation" that contains two pillars or columns, although the artwork is not the same as that used in the symbolism of the Masons. These advertisements appear to have been designed after Russell died, but we don't see anything in the use of imagery of two Biblical pillars that would mean that one should imagine that any such Biblical usage is of the Masons. Often, however, although there is nothing actually in the advertisement that identifies anything as being Masonic, some have asserted it to be a fact that the two columns are Masonic. Actually, the idea that the two columns that are used in the Photo-Drama advertisement constitute a Masonic symbol has to be supplied out of the imagination of whoever wishes to see them as "Masonic symbols".

Some claim that one pillar in the above-mentioned advertisement represents Jachin, while the other represents Boaz. If the two pillars in the Photo-Drama advertisement actually were meant to represent Boaz and Jachin of 1 Kings 7:21 and 2 Chronicles 3:17, then this is indeed a Biblical, not a "Masonic" symbolization, not unless one should also believe that the Bible is a "Masonic" book.

John Gill tells us that the name Jachin (1 Kings 7:21) "signifies 'he will establish', i.e. the house to which here was an entrance, so long as the pure worship of God should continue in it." He tells us that Boaz "signifies 'in him', or 'it is strength', namely, in the Lord that dwelt there." Matthew Henry, of course, believed in the trinity, and the alleged "two natures" of Jesus as being that God Almighty and also a man at the same time; thus, he makes such application of these pillars to such. Obviously, the pillars to have symbolic significance for the church, but the Bible itself does not tell us what this is, thus, any conclusions anyone gives should not be considered scriptural doctrine, especially not dogma.

John Gill, however, suggests that Christ's "royal dignity, signified by the crowns of chapiters on them, decorated as they were whose legs are as pillars of marble, in whom are righteousness and strength, which is no small encouragement to those who are entering into the church of God the temple was a type of; who should they fear, being feeble and weak, that they should totter and fall, here stands Jachin, to let them know the Lord will establish and settle them; or that they should never hold out to the end; here is Boaz to direct them to Christ, in whom their strength lies, see (Song of Solomon 4:15) (Isaiah 45:24). Allusion is had to these. (Revelation 3:12).

Matthew Henry tells us of 1 Kings 7:21:

Two brazen pillars, which were set up in the porch of the temple (v. 21), whether under the cover of the porch or in the open air is not certain; it was between the temple and the court of the priests. These pillars were neither to hang gates upon nor to rest any building upon, but purely for ornament and significancy. (1.) What an ornament they were we may gather from the account here given of the curious work that was about them, chequer-work, chain-work, net-work, lily-work, and pomegranates in rows, and all of bright brass, and framed no doubt according to the best rules of proportion, to please the eye. (2.) Their significancy is intimated in the names given them (v. 21): Jachin —he will establish; and Boaz —in him is strength. Some think they were intended for memorials of the pillar of cloud and fire which led Israel through the wilderness: I rather think them designed for memorandums to the priests and others that came to worship at God’s door, [1.] To depend upon God only, and not upon any sufficiency of their own, for strength and establishment in all their religious exercises. When we come to wait upon God, and find our hearts wandering and unfixed, then by faith let us fetch in help from heaven: Jachin —God will fix this roving mind. It is a good thing that the heart be established with grace. We find ourselves weak and unable for holy duties, but this is our encouragement: Boaz —in him is our strength, who works in us both to will and to do. I will go in the strength of the Lord God. Spiritual strength and stability are to be had at the door of God’s temple, where we must wait for the gifts of grace in the use of the means of grace. [2.] It was a memorandum to them of the strength and establishment of the temple of God among them. Let them keep close to God and duty, and they should never lose their dignities and privileges, but the grant should be confirmed and perpetuated to them. The gospel church is what God will establish, what he will strengthen, and what the gates of hell can never prevail against. But, with respect to this temple, when it was destroyed particular notice was taken of the destroying of these pillars (2 Ki. 25:13, 2 Ki. 25:17 ), which had been the tokens of its establishment, and would have been so if they had not forsaken God.

Brother Russell would probably not agree with all details of these Christian authors, but if he held any significance to these columns at all, he would more than likely be more inclined to agree with with some of the significance as spoken of these authors, rather than going beyond any scriptural significance, or to Masonic symbolism.

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