Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, was burned at the stake by the Inquisition, in Paris in 1314. Reportedly, his last words, as the flames rose, were "Vekam, Adonai!" — which is Hebrew for "Revenge, O Lord!"

It is further reported that when Adam Weishaupt of the Bavarian Illuminati received news of the French Revolution and the execution of the French royalty and nobility, he was heard to intone: "Jacques de Molay, thou art avenged!"

The interpretation of these quotations is a matter of great mystery, of which five possible explanations come to mind:

  1. The French monarchy was corrupt and evil, and fed on the ignorance of the masses. The Templars and Illuminati, along with the Freemasons of the time, served God — or at least served enlightenment. The Adonai referred to is the Masonic God, the Great Architect. The Masonically-inspired French Revolution was aimed at enlightenment and the extirpation of ignorance.
  2. The accusations against the Templars were true; both the Knights and the Illuminati served Satan — in the guise of Baphomet in the first case, and a secular "enlightenment" in the second. De Molay's Adonai referred to his lord Satan. The French monarchy, fiercely loyal to the Catholic Church, was righteous all along — and after all, the Revolution was anticlerical as well as anti-aristocratic.
  3. The Templars, after meeting up with the Sufi, Ismaili, or other mystical Muslim sects, became converted to an intellectual species of Islam. Throughout the Renaissance, Muslim-influenced rationalism plotted against the reactionary, anti-intellectual Church in Europe — and the Illuminati were its final expression. Adonai is the liberal Muslim's Allah, finally having revenge upon the ignorant and tyrannical infidel.
  4. There was no direct connection between the Templars and the Illuminati, but Weishaupt thought, or wished, that there was. Perhaps he was inspired by the tale of the Templar's final resistance to persecution. Perhaps he believed his movement to be descended in spirit, if not in historical lineage, from the Knights Templar.
  5. Neither De Molay nor Weishaupt actually said the things attributed to them. Both quotations were invented by romantic historians, the grapevine, or a latter-day conspiracy which wanted to concoct evidence of a centuries-spanning conspiracy of enlightenment.
Which one is true? Damn if I know.