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This article is part of the series " Kindled from a Blessed Tree "

II. The Templars

Rabbi Makhir was a Babylonian Jew who, most likely because of a dispute about progeny, emigrated from Mesopotamia and went to Europe. He became the leader of the Jewish community in Narbonne. Pippin III, King of the Franks, was in need of his help against the proceeding troops of the Saracens, who invaded South of France. After the defeat and the drawback of the Saracens, Pippin gave Makhir extensive land property as a sign of his gratitude.

According to a narration reported by Abraham ibn Daud, a Jew from Andalucia in his 'Sefer ha-Qabbalah', written around 1161, Makhir was a descendant from the house of David. His son was Guillaume de Gellone.

Narbonne became the centre of the medieval Kabbalah. It is said that the Kabbalists inspired the crusades to get important Holy Scriptures from Jerusalem, which were inaccessible due to the occupation of the holy land by the Muslims. Therefore the order of the Knights Templar was founded (it is proven that it was established in South of France).

The order of the Knights Templar was established around 1118, its full name was 'Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon (Pauperes commilitones Christi templique Salomonici Hierosalemitanis). The Knights took a vow in front of the patriarch of Jerusalem and pledged poverty, chastity and obedience and fulfilling the task of protecting the pilgrims. The new King of Jerusalem, Balduin II., gave the Knights Templar in the year 1119 the building of his former palace, which was said to be built on the terrain of the old temple of Salomon, therefore the name Knights Templar. The Knights Templar made excavations and found the 'Sepher ha Bahir', which revived the lost mystic tradition and caused a cultural revolution of the medieval Kabbalah (it is proven that the book Bahir was published for the first time in the 12th century in the South of France).

On the 29th of March 1139 the organization of the Knights Templar became recognized by Pope Innozenz II. and came under his order. Henceforth it was nearly untouchable for worldly rulers. It was not only exempted from paying taxes but was even allowed to take taxes. Through different financial innovations like cheques, exchange and 'interest-free' loans, the Knights were able to by-pass the prohibition of 'interest', which existed since the time of Moses, Jesus and Muhammad s.a.w. in all religions. This 'clever' multiplication of money made the order within a short time a multi-national finance cooperation, which influence spread over Europe and the Middle East. About 15.000 members managed 9.000 properties, which were located all over Europe.

Influenced by Phillip IV., the order was dissolved on the 22th March 1312 by Pope Clemens V. and the last grandmaster of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay, burned in Paris on the pyre. The King as well as the Pope died within a year, exactly as a curse - uttered by Molay on the pyre - predicted it.

The Knights Templar were no Jews but inspired by the Kabbalah. And they were influenced by the Catharses, a gnostic sect of the South of France. The resulting point of view must have been approximately the following:

Lucifer (lat.: he who brings the light) is not the fallen angel, fallen because of disobedience, but helps humanity in its spiritual development. He is also called the 'Mirror of God', who enables the knowledge of the Self and God and therefore plays only his role in the process of attaining knowledge and illumination. (This is even not so far from the Islamic point of view, because without evil, man could not decide for the good, therefore Satan is necessary.)

Satan promised Adam and Eve, they would be like God if they would eat from the tree of knowledge.

But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. [Genesis 3, 3-5]

Lucifer brings humanity not only knowledge, he also liberates them from the dogma and dualism of religion and of the oppression of tyrannical systems, the tyranny of the pope, of an absolutistic king and even of ... God.

The Knights Templar were accused of practicing idolatry and to worship Baphomet but only 12 of 231 Knights confessed under torture to know anything about Baphomet. This indicates that there was an elected group within the order, whose knowledge was hidden from the rest of the members.

After the elimination of the order the Knights went underground. Many surviving Knights went to Scotland because in Scotland the verdict of the Pope was not pronounced and the order kept existing. Many of them served under Robert the Bruce in the Scottish Guard. Descendants of Guillaume de Gellone also found their way to Scotland and became grandmasters of the Scottish freemasonry.

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Next chapter:

III. Freemasonry and Humanism
The question if a Christian Kabbalah, a kabbalistic mysticism with Christian elements, ever existed, cannot be answered for sure. But evident is a fruitful reception of kabbalistic scriptures in the early humanism...