This Degree is unique in the astonishingly wide field it covers. In it we have many characters and events of significance. Namely King Solomon and the Temple; Nebuchadnezzar who destroyed it; Cyrus the King of Persia; Moses and the Burning Bush at Mt. Horeb, together with the miraculous signs given to him there; the Tabernacle in the wilderness; Bezaleel and Aholiab who constructed the Tabernacle and its Veils; Zerubbabel, the Prince of the Royal Line of Judah; Haggai the Prophet; Jeshua the High Priest; and the return of the Jews to their homeland from captivity in Babylon with Zerubbabel, Haggai and Jeshua.
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.
The Degree is remarkable and unique as the Degree of Excellent Master is the only one in which the scene is an actual Grand Lodge set in of all places, Babylon in approximately 540BC.
The moral of the Degree is said to remind us that often in life we are compelled to choose a definite course, the result of which may remain with us during the rest of our lives. We will be required in life to make decisions affecting not only our own future, but perhaps also that of many others. It poses the question as to how many of us are capable of choosing wisely and carefully, being unprejudiced by self-interest and other influences.
Contact us today to learn more about how you can enrich your understanding of Masonic history and traditions through the Royal Arch Degrees, available to you upon becoming a member of the USGC.