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Decoding the Great Seal of the United States

by Kenneth W. Behrendt

I have always had a fascination with the symbols used in heraldry which include the various symbols used on coats of arms, seals, coins, stamps, flags, and even national monuments. The symbols used are all intended to convey the heritage, ideals, and/or aspirations of whomever initially commissioned the design. The meanings of the symbols may be overtly spelled out in the design or the symbols may be ones that should be recognizable to the audience for whom the symbols are intended. On rarer occasion, however, the symbols may contain hidden information which has been carefully encrypted within them. This information may not be intended for a contemporary general audience of the symbols, but may actually be intended for a special future audience. The encrypted information may be a prophecy about future events or even a warning to future generations who will be able to properly interpret the symbols.

In this article, I want to delve into certain unusual numerical information I noticed, perhaps over a decade ago, while studying the Great Seal of the United States. This is the set of symbols found on the back of the basic unit of United States currency: the ubiquitous one dollar bill. I am now releasing this information because, although I have seen much information and speculation about the symbols in the Great Seal, I have not seen anybody else provide the specific numerologic analysis that will shortly be presented. First, however, for the general reader unfamiliar with this subject, a little background information is in order.

On July 4th of the year 1776, the Constitutional Covention of the newly formed United States of America (which only consisted of its former original 13 British colonies at the time) convened and 12 of the 13 colonial delegates present approved the wording of a "Declaration of Independence" to formally announce their intention to have a separate political and economic existence from Great Britain. (Note: There continues to be some controversy as to exactly when the United States of America became a separate political entity from Great Britain. For example, it was on July 2nd, 1776 that the "United Colonies of America" officially changed its name to the "United States of America" when the delegates of the United Colonies of America adopted a resolution by Richard Henry Lee and John Adams to sever ties with Britain. However, it was on July 4th, 1776 that the official wording and date of this declaration was approved by the majority of the delegates. This dated document had been, by the evening of July 4th, 1776, only signed by the President of the Congress, John Hancock, and the Secretary of the Congress, Charles Thomson, but copies of this document, dated July 4th, 1776, were ordered printed for distribution to the newly declared states. It was not, however, until August 2nd, 1776 that the July 4th, 1776 declaration was finally signed by all members of the Congress. I, like most Americans, will accept July 4th, 1776 as the "official" date that the United States came into being as a separate nation from Britain. I do this because that date appears on the copies of the document used to inform the citizens of the new nation of the event and it was a copy of this SAME partially signed document which later in the year 1776 was sent to King George III to inform him of the newly self-declared status of Britain's former colonies.)

On this historic day, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson were given the job of designing the Great Seal of the United States. In years past, I recall reading somewhere that all three of these men were practicing Freemasons and as members of this international secret society, incorporated secret ancient symbolism into the design. I also recall reading somewhere years ago that this suggested that the political system and destiny of the United States was somehow being controlled by secret human societies whose ultimate plans for the people of the United States could only be dimly perceived by a carefully study of the Great Seal.

Ordinarily, I put little faith in such conspiratorial speculations. In all cases I have researched, the evidence for them is a matter of subjective interpretation with no actual proof ever becoming available. The future predictions made from such speculations inevitably fail to manifest, but in those many cases, the original prognosticators have usually long since left the scene by the time that the original prophecies were scheduled to be fulfilled.. If they are still available and questioned about the failure of their predictions, they will simply state that their original speculation was faulty due to some previous misinterpretation of events or symbols and that it must now be reformulated. More commonly, they may assert that their predictions are correct, but require more time to be fulfilled. Eventually, a new generation arises and may continue the myths and predictions of the former one. But, nothing really changes over time. Certain conspiracy theories eventually become mythologized and develop a life of their own. Therefore, in this article, I will not waste space tracing all of the various POSSIBLE cultural symbolisms found in the Great Seal of the United States, but rather will focus on the very few unusual aspects of it that do seem to me to have some relevance to the times we live in.

In order to finally get the Freemasons out of my treatment, let it suffice to say that at the time that the Great Seal was commissioned only Benjamin Franklin was a practicing Freemason and there seems to be recent evidence that neither Adams nor Jefferson were Freemasons. At this time I do not feel that the Masonic connection to the Great Seal's ORIGINAL specification is strong enough to justify treatment herein. However, this does not necessarily mean that I do not believe that some covert group or individual with intimate knowledge of certain events that occurred during the Revolutionary War did not influence the later versions of the seal, particularly its reverse side. With that matter out of the way, let us proceed with the analysis.

The ORIGINAL design for our Great Seal was not finalized and approved for almost 6 years after its commission. That occurred on June 20, 1782. It was a slow process hampered by delays and even the "final" design was somewhat general and went through MANY variations over the next 150 years! All that was really finalized on that day in 1782 was the BLAZON for the great seal. This blazon is only a technical description of the seal made in language that is in accord with the rules of heraldry. It is not a final design and, in fact, allows for great variation in design over time so long as the basic elements of the blazon's description are present. Most past writers on the subject did not seem to me to be aware of the fact that the presently used Great Seal which appears on our dollar bill was not engraved until l935! Thus, most (but not all) of the design elements found in our current Great Seal's design cannot be used to draw conclusions about the events surrounding the earlier designs.

For example, much is made of the observation that the number 13 shows up several times on both the Seal's front or "obverse" side and its back or "reverse" side. While it is true that the Hebrew word for the number 13 is the same word used for God in the Old Testament (which is "Adonai"), I believe this is just a coincidence and the number is really meant to refer only to the original thirteen American colonies whose ideals and aspirations are expressed in the Seal's design. The design was originally intended to convey to the world that the United States was a new political entity that would endure by following Judeo-Christian moral principles. The excessive use of groups of 13 objects in our current design are not seen in the Seal's very earliest renditions. They seem to have "crept" into the design during the 19th century.

Before continuing with my analysis, let us very briefly summarize the heraldic elements that were originally specified in the Seal's blazon in 1782. For the front side an american bald eagle is specified. This eagle's beak holds a long, narrow ribbon with the latin words "E Pluribus Unum" (which translates into the english "One from Several"). The latin phrase contains 13 letters. In the EAGLE'S right (or "dexter") claw is an olive branch and in its left (or "sinister") claw are a group of arrows (note: only in later designs are there 13 olives and arrows shown). These represent the new union using either the power of peace or war to secure itself. A shield with 13 red and white stripes is required which are located immediately below the top blue section of the shield. The stripes on the shield were intended to represent the original 13 states that supported the President and Congress which were represented by the top blue portion of the shield. As far as the colors are concerned, red represents valor, white represents purity, and blue represents justice. The design of the 13 stars above the eagle's head are arranged in a compact geometric pattern that resembles the Star of David. Again, I believe this is a coincidence because this pattern is the most symmetrical one into which 13 stars can be arranged.

We now, finally, come to the back or reverse side of the Great Seal and, once again, the reader must bear in mind that its design actually took about 150 years after 1782 to be finalized and engraved as shown on the back of the US one dollar bill. I can only assume that it is a composite drawn up from several of the designs made over the years since 1782. It shows a 13 step pyramid with the number 1776 carved into its base course of masonry in Roman numerals. It is a "truncated" pyramid meaning that it has a flat top and its capstone is missing, but in the present day engraving this has been replaced with a hovering and radiant eye known as the "Eye of Providence". The pyramid represents the hoped for endurance of the newly formed United States of America by its citizens and the eye (which is the favorable right or dexter eye) represents God's favor and protection being directed down to the new union. This aspiration is reinforced by the latin words "Annuit Coeptis" above the pyramid which in english mean "He favors our undertakings". A long scroll beneath the pyramid contains the latin words "Novus Ordo Seclorum" which translate into the english "New Order of the Ages" and signify that an "American era" has started beginning in the year 1776. However, it is the pyramid itself which is the focus of this article and which must now be treated.

More than a decade ago, I decided to use a 10 power jeweler's loupe to take a good close look at the Great Seal's reverse side pyramid and see if I could find anything interesting about it. In particular, I wanted to see if I could accurately determine the number of actual stone blocks from which it is constructed and found this to be a very difficult thing to do. The problem is that, while the horizontal lines of the 13 levels or courses of masonry are engraved rather distinctly, the individual stone blocks within a course are mostly difficult to make out because the vertical lines representing the grooves between the stones are sometimes missing or are obscured by the vertical line shading that appears on the front side of the pyramid. I think that the first time I worked on this analysis, years ago when my eyesight was still very sharp, I determined that this pyramid contained exactly 300 stones blocks. I believe that I originally discounted the pyramid's base (the lowest level with the Roman numerals on it which, at that time, I thought might be a solid, one piece slab of stone) and considered only the upper 12 courses of masonry. I observed that the number of stone blocks varied from course to course, but AVERAGED out to about 25 stones per course. I noticed that these stones varied only in height AND NOT WIDTH OR DEPTH (the only exception to this rule being the smaller blocks used to complete the pyramid's edges). I then assigned the lower 2nd course stones an arbitrary height of 1 unit and that then gave the uppermost 13th course stones a relative height of only 0.5 units. The "average" stone block would therefore have a relative height of 0.75 units and its volume would be 0.75 that of the largest 2nd course stones since their widths and depths were the same. Thus, one could then quickly determine the total volume of the pyramid as a MULTIPLE of the volume of one of these average stone blocks by multiplying 300 blocks by 0.75 cubic units per average block. When this was done, I got a figure of 225 average blocks which only means that the pyramid was 225 times more voluminous than an average sized stone block within it or could be said to contain enough material to make 225 average stone blocks. I then noticed that the height of an average block (0.75 of the height of a 2nd course stone or 0.75 units) reminded me of the DATE that appears on the Declaration of Independence (07/04/1776). I then used a new figure, 0.74 cubic units per average block (from the declaration's date with a 7th month and 4th day!), for the volume of an average block of stone in the pyramid and, upon multiplying it by 300 stones, got a total of EXACTLY 222 average blocks contained within the pyramid. I thought that this was no accident and was, in fact, incorporated into the pyramid's dimensions to signify something.

Recently, I wanted to see if there was another mathematical method that could be used to extract this unusual number from the Great Seal's pyramid and decided to try a direct measurement technique. This time, a more careful examination of the pyramid's base showed me that, indeed, it was not a single slab of rock, but, like the 12 courses of masonry it supports, it, too, is made up of stone blocks. Some of the grooves between the base course can be barely made out above the Roman numeral "M" and between the two Roman numeral "C"'s. In this analysis, I would work with a full 13 courses of stone blocks in the Great Seal's pyramid.

Since the 7th course of stones is exactly midway between the upper and lower 6 courses of stone, it must be considered to be made up exlusively of "average" blocks of stone. Using a clear plastic ruler's millimeter edge and my trusty 10x jeweler's loupe I measured the width of the 7th course of stones and found it to be about 9 mm wide. The height of the pyramid from the ground up was about 11 mm. With these measurements, it is now a simple matter to obtain the volume of the pyramid in CUBIC millimeters. This volume is equal to its height times the width of the AVERAGE or 7th course of stones squared. So the total volume of the Seal's engraved pyramid is: 11 mm x 9 mm x 9 mm = 891 cubic millimeters.

By measuring several of the most clearly defined blocks near the 7th course of stones, I get the width of an average block of stone as about 2mm and the height of the 7th course blocks as about 1 mm. Thus, the volume of an average 7th course stone block is: 1 mm x 2 mm x 2 mm = 4 cubic millimeters. Now we can determine how many average stone blocks are contained in the Great Seal's pyramid by simply dividing the engraved pyramid's total volume, 891 cubic millimeters, by the volume of a single average block or 4 cubic millimeters. Doing this gives a figure of 222.75! Since the dimensions I used in my calculations to obtain the engraved pyramid's volume were not exact (the actual ones are just a tiny, tiny bit less and not accurately measured with a ruler), I believe that the actual figure would be 222 average stone blocks contained in the Great Seal's pyramid.

When repeating digits like 222 emerge from the geometry of a heraldic symbol, they often represent a time period, usually years. So, the 222 average blocks contained in the structure of the Great Seal's pyramid most likely represent a period of 222 years which began in 1776. This number, however, could also represent a time period of 22.2 years or even 2.22 years.

In trying to determine the possible significance of the number 222 derived from the pyramid of the Great Seal of the United States, I decided to research some of the personalities that were prominent around the year 1776. I needed look no further that the history of George Washington who is permanently linked to the Seal's pyramid by having his portrait displayed on the front side of the US one dollar bill. He was born in 1732 and died in 1799. Early in life this 6 foot 4 inch tall, 225 pound robust man became a wealthy landowner. Although he was an accomplished surveyor, this intelligent blue-grey eyed man was devotely religious and would think nothing of stopping his activities and dropping to his knees to offer a prayer of thanks to God or one for guidance from Him. His tall stature and personal integrity made him a natural leader and it is no wonder that when the Revolutionary War got started he was quickly appointed Commander-in-Chief of the "Colonial Forces" by the Continental Congress.

However, the year of 1777 did not go well for General Washington's campaign against the British forces. Money and supplies that had been promised to him by the Continental Congress had not arrived in time and his army was slowly being pushed out of the state of New Jersey (by the way, Washington spent fully half of the Revolutionary War fighting in my home state of New Jersey). By the winter of 1777, he had been forced to retreat to Valley Forge in the neighboring state of Pennsylvania. His winter encampment at Valley Forge was a miserable one, indeed. His men were half starving and lacked adequate clothing to protect them against an unusually frigid winter. Washington, however, managed to keep morale up and even began using his own money to pay for supplies! During this time of despair, he often visited a secluded thicket and prayed for divine aid. He knew that the price of losing his campaign against the British would be the end of the newly formed union of states and his own execution! In 1777 there were only about 3 million people in the United States of America and they were bitterly divided over the matter of whether or not they should break away from Britain and form their own nation. At most, only about 3% or 30,000 of the colonists were directly involved in the Revolutionary War.

One afternoon during that bitterly cold winter at Valley Forge, Washington had an experience which he would remember for the rest of his life and that, later, he would only discuss with his closest associates. He was in his quarters doing paperwork at his desk when suddenly he became aware of the presence of an attractive woman standing in the room with him. He asked her several times who she was and what she wanted, but in answer she only raised her eyebrows and transfixed him with her gaze. Unable to move or speak, General Washington noticed that the background around her started to blur and change into a large panoramic map of the North American continent, the Atlantic Ocean, and the continents of Europe and Asia. After a few moments, a dark "angel" appeared over the Atlantic Ocean portion of the tableau he viewed and began creating dark clouds that slowly drifted over the newly formed Union. Washington was told by the mysterious woman that this represented the war he was then engaged in with the British. He was also shown images that represented, according to most modern interpretations of the symbols. the Civil War that would divided the nation in the 19th century and the 20th century struggle between the United States and the communism of the former Soviet Union. He was assured that, through all of these crises that would befall the United States, the Union would survive and continue INDEFINITELY. Then, as quickly as the mysterious woman had arrived, she vanished! I have only given the barest summary here of what has come to be known as the "Washington Prophecy". The entire incident was described in a letter in Washington's own handwriting that he sent to Jefferson shortly before the former's death in 1799. This letter in now in the possession of the Library of Congress and, because of its length, I will not include it in this article. The reader interested in it can find it reproduced at several other websites devoted to prophecy.

Anyway, immediately after Washington's "vision" eye witnesses saw him emerge from his quarters with his face drained of its color. He immediately secluded himself in his private thicket to pray and after an hour or so, returned to his camp and told his generals of his bizarre experience. He told them that his experience had to mean that the Colonial Forces, despite their recent setbacks, were destined to defeat the British. Washington and his generals decided to plan their counter attack against the British to take place as soon as possible and not to wait for warmer weather.

In the early morning hours of December 26th, 1777 Washington's army began crossing the Delaware River that separates the states of Delaware and New Jersey. By 4 a.m. of that freezingly cold morning, he had landed along with his 2400 men and their supplies at Mackoney's Ferry which is about 9 miles north of Trenton, New Jersey. By 6 a.m. he was attacking the British forces in Trenton. These mostly consisted of Hessian mercenaries (hired by the British to bolster their forces in New Jersey) who were still groggy from the previous Christmas Day's festivities. The entire battle lasted only three quarters of an hour! In the process 200 Hessians escaped, over 100 were killed, and 950 were captured. General Washington only lost 2 men in the combat, 2 others froze to death, and a few dozen were wounded. In the following days, the captured Hessian soldiers were paraded through the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the citizens there gave thanks to God for the victory.

In short order, Washington went on to win major victories all across New Jersey, but the battle of Trenton was THE pivotal battle of the Revolutionary War. It was his victory there that swayed the vast majority of colonists in favor of independence from Britain and of support for the war. It is important for the reader to realize that this "make or break" battle probably never would have taken place if Washington had not had his "vision" wherein he was shown that he would not lose the war! Most of the secular biographers of George Washington tend to downplay his "vision" or dismiss it as a dream that he had after dozing off at his desk. I, however, think this would be unlikely. Dreams do not have the length and detail that he described in his letter to Jeffereson about the incident. Also, the idea that he would have invented the experience would have been totally out of character for him. I further dismiss the possibllity that he hallucinated his "vision". Washington was a healthy, active man who never displayed any prior symptoms of mental illness. I am, therefore, forced to conclude that he had a REAL, PHYSICAL experience. A being appearing to be a human female did enter his quarters and was able to immobilize him using telepathy. She then delivered a message to him TELEPATHICALLY which his mind received as both words and a series of images. I can only conclude that this being was, because of her advanced powers, not an ordinary human being. The only possiblity I can see for her origin is that she must have come from somewhere outside of our Earth! I realize that this assertion may seem outlandish to some readers, but it is the only one that fits the facts of the incident. While Washington would have considered her an angel sent from God, I and others might consider her an agent sent by some extraterrestrial force that maintains close contact with Earth and probably takes an active role in shaping the destiny of our planet for some, as yet, unknown purpose. Whatever one's beliefs are, the Washington "vision" is dramatic proof that some outside agency, whether spiritual or physical, has and most likely STILL is involved in controlling events on our planet!

At this point we can make a possible connection between the number embedded in the dimensions of the Great Seal's pyramid and the Washington Prophecy. I feel that it is most likely that the pyramid's 222 represents the period of time covered by the Washington Prophecy; that is, the 222 represents the time period, in years, covered by the events depicted in the "vision" General Washington received that cold afternoon in 1777. If that is the case, then his vision covers the time period from July, 1776 to July, 1998. During this time, the United States of America survived the Revolutionary War and its brief revival during the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and a handful of smaller conflicts including the first war ("Dessert Storm") against Iraq.

The number 222 derived from the Seal's pyramid could also be a period of 22.2 years and it is interesting to note that Washington only lived about that long after the approval and partial signing of the Declaration of Independence in July of 1776. He was President from 1789 to 1797 and only lived about 2.22 years after leaving office. (As an aside, I noticed that Washington was born in 1732, a year whose digits add up to 13...he died at age 67, an age whose digits also add up to 13. Is it any wonder that he would become President of the first 13 states?)

There seems to be some sort of loose affinity between the destiny of the United States and the number 222. It is further interesting to note that if this number represents the time period covered in the Washington Prophecy, then that time period ends at a significant time. July, 1998 is approximately the time that Osama bin Ladin and his Al Quaeda terrorists decided to declare war on the United States. Perhaps they were aware of the Washington Prophecy and also managed to decode the pyramid on the Great Seal! They may then have figured that the promise of protection in the Washington Prophecy would end in July of 1998 and this would be the best time for them to openly declare their war against the United States in order to increase their chance of realizing their goals in their war against the west. Perhaps they missed the part of the prophecy that states that the Union (or United States of America) would endure FOREVER.

In reviewing the tragic events of 9/11/2001 when the the World Trade Center towers were destroyed by Al Quaeda terrorists using hijacked passenger jets, I recall how the two towers reminded me of the number 11 when viewed from a distance. There were TWO buildings that were destroyed that together looked like the number 11...well, 2 times 11 is...22! It is also interesting to note that the first attack on the World Trade Center actually occurred back in early 1993 when a powerful truck bomb was detonated in the parking levels beneath one of the buildings. If we consider the individual digits in the year 1993, we see that, when added, they sum up to...22! If we consider the year when the World Trade Center towers were finally destroyed, 2001, we can treat its first two digits (starting from the left) as being the number 20 and then add the last two digits, 01, to it to obtain 21 which is close to the number 22. Something even more interesting happens when we use the month and date of the second successful attack. September 11th was the 254 day of a year with 365 days in it. We can get the number 254 from the number 365 by subtracting 1 from each of the digits in 365. Additionally, the digits in 254 add up to the sum of 11. Since the 9/11/2001 attack on the TWIN World Trade Center towers was the SECOND attack on these structures, we can multiply the date sum of 11 by 2 and get...22!

Should the reader require additional evidence that there is a connection between numerical data derived from the pyramid in the Great Seal of the United States and the timing of terrorists attacks on the United States, then consider this. In the second numerological analysis I provided for the image of the engraved pyramid on the US 1 dollar bill earlier in this article, I directly measured the width of the seventh course of stones and found it to be about 9 millimeters. A measurement of the pyramid's height yielded a figure of about 11 millimeters. From these measurements we can directly obtain the month and date of the second attack on the World Trade Center towers...the 9th month and 11th day!

Of course, all of these numerological analyses of the dates of terrorists attacks on the United States could, if taken individually, be due to coincidence. However, when they are considered TOGETHER, they would seem to more likely indicate some sort of INTENTIONAL timing by the terrorists that cannot be attributed to mere chance. The terrorists must have selected these dates for a reason and it would seem suggested by the preceeding material that it could be related to the number 222 embedded in the structure of the pyramid on the reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States of America or directly to the dimensions of the engraved pyramid itself.

Finally, as all American citizens know, our country fairly recently began changing the design of our paper currency. This change was necessary to incorporate the latest security safeguards into the currency to help minimize its counterfeiting around the globe. I will not delve into the exact safeguards now appearing in the currency of the United States except to note that they are very elaborate. As of the date that this article was completed, the 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5 dollar denominations have been changed over to the new design and there are plans to reintroduce a 2 dollar note with the new format soon. So far, the changes from the previous designs have been modest and people seem to have gotten used to the new look of our currency. However, I am wondering if the conversion will continue right down to the 1 dollar bill since this small denomination is rarely counterfeited. If it does, then I am wondering whether or not BOTH sides of the Great Seal will still be present on the back of the note and, if they are, how the pyramid will be depicted. Will its engraving be further obscured so as to make extracting numerological data from it virtually impossible? Or, will the pyramid be removed completely?

Complete removal of the pyramid might be perceived by terrorist organizations as a sign that the promised protection given the United States of America by the Washington Prophecy was no longer in operation. Thus, removing the pyramid from the back of the 1 dollar note might embolden the terrorists to continue their attacks against the United States, both domestically and abroad, by making them think that they were more likely to achieve victory against America now that its divine protection was gone! My suggestion to the United States Treasury would be to retain BOTH sides of the Great Seal on the back side of any new design for the 1 dollar note and to make the engraving of the pyramid's 13 courses of masonry even more precise so that individual blocks of stone are easily discernible from each other within a course. This should send a message to the terrorists that continued attacks against the United States of America, in particular, and the west, in general, will be futile.

I, for one, will be keeping the number 222 and the fate of the Great Seal of the United States in mind as I watch the war on terror and terrorists play out in the coming years...

(Note: this article was completed July 6th, 2003)