Illuminism is often referred to as the Age of Enlightenment, but more than an age, it is first and foremost a religion and one that stems from Freemasonry. The Age of Enlightenment, also referred to as the Age of Reason, was ‘an intellectual and philosophical movement that dominated the world of ideas in Europe during the 18th century,’ It can only indirectly, through its Masonic roots, be associated with the Illuminati.
During the Age of Enlightenment pegged roughly between 1715 the year of Louis XIV‘s death and 1789, the beginning of the French Revolution, Les philosophes, advanced the revolutionary concepts of liberty, fraternity, tolerance. At the heart of the Illuminism was the undermining of the absolutism of the monarchy and the authority of the Church, paving the way for the political revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries. This made way for constitutional government and separation of church and state. This liberalisation from years of Roman Catholic legalism was a vital step towards the futuristic concept of a New World Order under a single “Messianic” leader.
The emphasis of Illuminism was on reason through scientific revolution – turning away from the supernatural to the natural. It was influenced by philosophers such as Bacon, Descarte, Spinoza and Locke. Benjamin Franklin, one of the patriarchs of American Freemasonry, was a frequent visitor to Europe during this period, and he carried these ideologies back to America, many of which were incorporated into the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and later into the Constitution of the United States.
Among the publications of the time, the most influential was the Encyclopédie (Systematic Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts, and Crafts) which was published between 1751 and 1772 in thirty-five volumes. The initial work was done by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert and, later, by a team of 150 scientists and philosophers. This compilation helped spread the ideals of Illuminism across Europe and beyond.
The Age of Reason arose, primarily, from the rejection of the polluted source of the Roman Catholic Church, particularly in regard to its persecution of the secret societies – and coming out of her was perceived as emergence from darkness into light. This second birth – from the Dark Ages into the Age of Enlightenment is, in essence, the hermetic version of the children of Israel coming out of Egypt and entering the promised land, or the Christian “born again” experience.
Nicodemus, a Pharisee, and leader of the Sanhedrin in Judea went to Jesus under cover of darkness for fear of his fellow Jews. He recognised that Jesus’ ability to teach and perform miracles had to have been given to Him by God. Jesus’ answer confused him: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked.
….unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:5-8 NKJV)
This Christian rebirth, which takes a follower of Christ from darkness into the light, was emulated and supplanted by the Age of Enlightenment. The Illuminists saw Christianity as law. Law convicts a man of his sin but is powerless to change the heart – only grace makes for true liberty, and Jesus Christ is grace and truth John 1:14. Ephesians 1:18 puts it this way:
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places… (Eph 1:18-20)
“Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité” the watchwords of Illuminism during the French Revolution, and a legacy of the Age of Enlightenment meant, in fact, liberty, equality, and fraternity to some, but bondage and death to many others. The ‘illuminism’ of science and reason had become man’s answer to God. It was not just a replacement of God’s divine law, it was, in fact, a triumphant rejection of God Himself.