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 The Holy Royal Arch Degree

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Royal Arch Degree Timeline

Historical timeline of our degrees

974 BC

The Mark Master Mason Degree

The story of the Degree is based on the preparations for the building of King Solomon’s Temple and follows the fate of an ambitious Craftsman (the Candidate) seeking promotion in his trade by demonstrating his skill and ability by fashioning a particular stone. In the early part of the ceremony his talents go unrecognised and his hopes are dashed but eventually he triumphs over adversity and is justly rewarded for his work and made a Mark Master.

534 BC

The Excellent Master Mason

This Degree relates to around 534 when upon hearing of a Decree of Cyrus allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem to re-build the Temple, three men present themselves before the Jewish authorities remaining in Babylon requesting permission to return and sojourn in Jerusalem to assist in the project. They were instructed how to apply to the august Sanhedrin, then governing in Jerusalem.

534 BC

The Holy Royal Arch Degree

The Royal Arch Degree deals with a lengthy period following the end of Solomon’s reign. At the destruction of King Solomon’s Temple by Nebuchadnezzar, the Jews were carried into captivity in Babylon where they remained for seventy years. Eventually Babylon fell to Cyrus the Great of Persia and became part of the Persian Empire. It was Cyrus who set the Jewish captives free and invited them to return to Jerusalem to commence rebuilding the Temple.

During the rebuilding of the Temple a great discovery was made in a secret vault in which they discovered a treasure of great benefit and value to the Craft and that which was lost in the 3rd Degree is restored.

2500 BC

The Royal Ark Mariner Degree

The Degree teaches us that to those who worship the one universal God, then unto them He has promised His everlasting peace and mercy. This promise is expressed in two covenants recorded respectively in the Book of Genesis, Chapter 9, Verses 8 to 17, and the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 54, Verses 9 and 10. As a token of the first of these two covenants, God has set the rainbow upon the heavens.

Accordingly, the symbol of the Royal Ark Mariner Degree is the rainbow, and the colours of the Degree are the colours of the rainbow

968 BC

The Select Master (Cryptic Degree)

The building of the Temple is well in hand and nearing completion. The three Grand Masters, knowing that the prophets had foretold that the Holy City would be destroyed and that the inhabitants would be carried into captivity, secretly began to hollow out a crypt underneath the Temple in which to deposit the sacred treasures and secrets.

968 BC

The Royal Master Degree (Cryptic Degree)

In the year of the slaying of Hiram Abiff in 968 the Temple is almost complete. One of the most senior of the Craftsmen approached Hiram Abiff, asking him when he would receive that which would make him a Master. Hiram Abiff gave him his view on mortality and explained that if he (Hiram Abiff) unexpectedly suffers death then that which the Craftsman sought would eventually be discovered and restored.

968 BC

The Most Excellent Master Degree (Cryptic Degree)

The Temple is now complete and dedicated and King Solomon, wishing to reward many of his skilled and devoted craftsmen, instituted this Degree as a token of merit and reward.

538 BC

The Super Excellent Master Degree (Cryptic Degree)

The story of this Degree is set 381 years after the dedication of the Temple, Zedekiah is King. Jerusalem is under siege by Nebuzaraddin, Captain of the Guard of Nebuchadnezzar. The City falls, the Temple is pillaged, its treasures plundered and the King and many of the population are carried off into captivity in Babylon. (2 Kings, Jeremiah, Daniel)

538 BC

The Knight of the Sword Degree (The Red Cross Knight of Babylon Degree)

The Persian King, Cyrus, has conquered Babylon and issued a Decree allowing all foreign nationals to return to their own lands. Under the Decree of Cyrus, an advance party of Jews led by Zerubbabel, returns to Israel. The treasures taken by Nebuchadnezzar are returned to them to be restored to the rebuilt Temple

518 BC

The Knight of the East Degree
(The Red Cross Knight of Babylon Degree)

The Degrees depict certain historical incidents which occurred during the period of twenty years that begins with the release of the Jews from their captivity in Babylon and ends with the completion of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. This degree is intimately associated with the Holy Royal Arch.

516 BC

The Knight of the East & West Degree
(The Red Cross Knight of Babylon Degree)

Zerubbabel returns to Jerusalem in triumph and the second Temple is completed.

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