The Sacred Number Nine

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
Christopher Tilley, 33°

*Editors Note* Chris Tilley was an amazing man and Freemason. He was active, he was passionate and he was a researcher. Chris graduated last year and when he left us it was surreal. The outpouring for him was astounding. All who knew him, miss him. I was scrolling through some old emails and I cam upon an email from Chris. In it, he said, "Hey Robert, let me know what you think. You don't need to publish this, in fact it's probably silly. But let me know." I read it. I really liked it. But I never published it. I don't think he wanted the attention. Before deciding to publish this posthumous article, I reached out to some of my Brothers at the Valley of St. Louis for a blessing. They felt it would be a fitting tribute to Chris. So below is Chris' piece. This is dedicated to Chris and his family, friends and Brothers.
Most Freemasons are familiar with the numbers 3, 5, and 7, but those are just a few that have symbolic meaning. As an active Cryptic Mason, I have heard the number nine used in the Select Master degree. I would like to share what I have found about the number nine with you. In Freemasonry, Rosicrusianism, and in the Holy Bible, there are many important numbers that are repeated. I believe the number nine to be one of the most symbolic numbers. As we study Geometry, Pythagoras, and the Ancient Mysteries, numbers will become more relevant. This paper will be very repetitive with -you guessed it- the number nine.

Jesus was about 33 years old when he died 3x3=9. Jesus expired at the ninth hour. Jesus appeared nine times to his disciples and apostles after his resurrection. King David ruled for 33 years 3x3=9. The number nine is used 50 times in the Bible. St. Paul enumerates nine fruits of the spirit; love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (Galatian’s 5:22) and 5+2+2=9. The Nine spiritual gifts of God enumerated by St. Paul are: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, working of miracles, prophecy, distinguishing spirits, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 12, 4-11) and 12+4+11=27, 2+7=9.
” Now Peter and John went up together into the Temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour” (Acts 3:1).
 “And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour, and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, behold a Man stood before me in bright clothing” (Acts 10:30). 

According to Revelation 144,000 are to be saved. This number 1+4+4 added up also equals nine. These are just some examples of the importance of the number nine in the Holy Bible.

There are also a few subtle Blue Lodge hints of the number nine. At the close of Lodge of Master Masons, the Master, Senior and Junior Wardens gavel 3 times each to equal nine. In the second section of the Master Mason degree the main characters include 3 Kings, 3 Craftsman, and the 3 Ruffians, which adding up to nine. The size of the Masonic apron should be 144 square inches and exclusive of the flap. The numbers added means 1+4+4 makes our beloved lambskin nine. Our Jurisdictions (MO) Grand Honors are made by a 3 step movement repeated 3 times to equal nine.

In a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons (MO), the opening consists of the Companions forming a chain and balancing three time three and 3x3=9. Next, three Companions form a three triangles together which three triangles is nine. The number nine plays a huge part in the way the Companions deliver the password. When the password is given, it is split into three parts and delivered three time to equal nine.

The Royal Master and Select Master degrees of the Cryptic Council also have many appearances by the number nine. In the Royal Master degree a certain character with the initials “H.A.” conducts a Companion around three times and knocking three times each time and this also equals nine. Later in the degree, nine Cherubim are needed. The number of the Select Master degree is actually nine. The original name of the Select Master degree was “Select Masons of Twenty Seven” and 2+7=9. The Secret vault that contained the Ninth Arch kept the Sacred Treasure. The hours of labor started at nine at night. Select Masons cannot open a Council without having nine Select Masters present. The top three officers gavel nine times each to open Council. Nine claps are given in the York Rite Grand Honors.

In the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, the highest degree is the 33rd degree which is 3x3=9. The symbol for the 32nd degree is three triangles that form a nine pointed star. The 18th degree that is full of symbolic and religious symbolism has 1+8=9. The Royal Order of Scotland’s symbol is a nine pointed star. The Rosy Cross degree is about the battle of Bannockburn in 1314 which is 1+3+1+4=9. In this battle 63 Knights Templar assist King Robert the Bruce in battle 6+3=9. Allied Masonic Degrees is limited to 27 members 2+7=9.

The SRICF is limited to 72 members and 7+2=9. Up till 1908 each college was limited to 36 members and 3+6=9. There are 9 grades in the SRICF college system. An early document numbers the grades in reverse order with the Grade 9 Magus actually being grade 1 this would mean 1=9 or 9=1. This is very interesting considering the number one is divisible in any number and can be added to any odd number to make it even and can make any odd number even.

I will now give more examples of the number nines symbolic meanings. The number nine was the symbol of Man and nine is an imperfect number. The number ten is a perfect number and is the symbol for God. The number nine was the first square of an odd number (3x3). It meant failure and was imperfect because it was short of the perfect number ten. On the Great Seal, the pyramid has 72 stones 7+2=9 with the top stone missing. 

The Quabbalistic tree of the Jews consist of the nine branches or worlds. The alchemists symbol is 3x3=9. The nine is the esoteric number of Man. Mystery groups all included the nine. An example would be “The Nine Worlds of the Odinic Mysteries. There are thirty three segments in the human spinal column, which is 3x3=9. This could have symbolism if we consider our spine as the Ninth arch and the Word being in our heart.

I came to my own conclusion after finding so many examples of the number nine throughout Masonry and the Bible. The number nine represents Man in his imperfect state who holds the sacred treasure within him. The outside of Man is the Temple. Inside Man, under the last Arch is his heart and the True word of God, which is safely deposited therein. This word that we have searched for is inside us if we believe and ask forgiveness for our Sins. The Atheist or irreligious libertine who does not repent the “Word” will always be Secret or hidden away. As H.A. says in the Royal Master degree “but if I die the Word will be buried there.”, which I believe means the word is in him and will die with him. Since the word is within us and we are the number nine then the Sacred number 9=The Word.


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