Waiting in line at the grocery store this evening, a Life Magazine special edition caught my eye: SECRET SOCIETIES: The Most Mysterious Organizations. Figuring it would just be a bunch of scent-throwing disinformation, I rifled through it. Page 1: an 8.5” x 11” black and white photo of the self-proclaimed Beast himself, Aleister Crowley.
Fully aware of the fact that I was paying $13.99 for a bunch of gatekeeping, propagandic nonsense, I was interested in what the current narrative is. What angle are they currently attempting to peddle to the masses?
The introductory article entitled, “The Ancient Roots of Secrecy” concluded with this summary sentence: “Indeed, secret societies, whatever their symbology, run the gamut in terms of seriousness, significance, benevolence, malevolence or simply bonhomie. The tradition reaches back to ancient times—in fact, some of the institutions revered today in the cultural, religious or political mainstream grew from societies that were once, by necessity, secret. Including, for instance, the most successful secret society of the first, second and third centuries A.D.—Christianity.”
[Insert brief intermission here to stifle a soft nose-giggle, wrinkle your brow, shake your head, or give your forehead a little scratch]
I realize we are now living in a culture where the entire English language has become a game of “171,476-word pickup” and we’re all struggling to sort the mess out. Once straight forward words like, oh, I don’t know—male and female—it’s anybody’s guess now. So, let’s start this off with a little vocabulary lesson so we’re all on the same page.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary (at least as of today—check back later in a week in case it’s changed) the word secret means:
- Kept from knowledge or view : hidden
- Marked by the habit of discretion : closemouthed
- Working with hidden aims or methods : undercover a secret agent
- Not acknowledged : unavowed a secret bride
- Conducted in secret a secret trial
Now, I am fully aware that Christians throughout the ages, and even today in closed countries or countries hostile towards Christianity, have been forced to meet underground for fear of death, torture, or imprisonment…but just because some Christian gatherings are, by necessity, kept on the down low, does not automatically make Christianity a secret society.
Christ made it pretty clear to His disciples in John 15:15, 20 that He didn’t have too much to hide.
“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because everything I have learned from My Father, I have made known to you.
“I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret.”
Christ preached and taught publicly in the cities, the towns, and the synagogue. People knew who He was, and knew where to find Him. Now, this does not mean there are no mysteries in Christianity. There were times when Jesus evaded questions, dodged inquiries with questions of His own, or flat out refused to answer (Matthew 27:14, Luke 20:8, Mark 12:17, etc.).
God and Jesus are not bound to any full disclosure laws. Romans 9:21 says, “But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, ‘Why did You make me like this?’”
Romans 11:33-34 says, “O, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and untraceable His ways! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor?”
And yes, there were things Jesus held back from His disciples. For example, John 21:22, when Peter asked Jesus who would be the man to betray Him and asks Him point blank if it will be John, and Jesus says, in essence, “Mind your business.” He also famously refused to tell His disciples the day or hour of His second coming (Matthew 24:36).
These verses, and others like them, might lead some to draw the conclusion that Jesus was evasive, inclusive, or secretive. But with Christ, it wasn’t always about not having the answers, or not being willing to share them…sometimes it was a question of timing. What many fail to realize is that after the resurrection, Luke 24:13-35 tells the story of Cleopas and another man who met up with a yet-to-be-recognized Jesus on the road to Emmaus. During their walk, we are told in verse 27 an incredible thing.
“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.”
Bearing in mind that at this point in time there was no “New Testament,” the phrase “Moses, all the Prophets, and all the Scriptures,” meant Jesus basically unfolded every prophecy concerning Himself in Genesis through Malachi. That’s basically a run-down of 39 books of the Bible in one afternoon—talk about a crash course! But the point is, at this point, ALL of Christ’s cards were laid out on the table. Nothing remained secret.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, a secret society is, “an organization whose members are sworn to secrecy about all its activities.”
This brings us to the Great Commission—another post-resurrection appearance where Christ spoke to a crowd of 500 people, instructing them to go into all the world and preach the Gospel; teaching them everything that He had previously commanded them.
If that looks like covert activity to you, then I don’t know what to tell ya.
And by way of what Christ left unsaid at the time of His death, a mere 50 days later, during Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was given to the 1st century Church—a fulfillment of Christ’s promise that when He died, an Advocate would come, and that from that point on, that Advocate would, “teach them all things” (John 14:26).
This Advocate, and the teachings of Jesus Christ are available to anyone who asks (James 1:5). There are no membership dues, initiation rituals, silly gang signs, goofy hoods, or secret meetings.
Jesus warned His disciples that the world would hate them and that His enemies would become their enemies. In reference to the persecution, Jesus told them,
“Do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the darkness, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim on the housetops.”
When’s the last time you saw a Freemason with a bullhorn on the top of their roof?