In 534, the three sojourners whose story is told in the Excellent Master Degree, arrive in Jerusalem and are set to work preparing the ground for the rebuilding of the Temple. They discover the long forgotten underground vault, and the secret treasures and artefacts deposited by the three Grand Masters are restored. The lost secrets are recovered and the sojourners are suitably rewarded for their discovery.
So now, as a Royal Arch Freemason, the Master Mason is complete. His patience and enquiring mind have borne fruit and the genuine secrets have replaced the substituted ones he has lived with for so long.
The Royal Arch Degrees was considered so important in the early years of Freemasonry that at the formation of the United Grand Lodge of England in 1813, when the then two Grand Lodges in England, the Antients and the Moderns, united to form a single Grand Lodge, a firm and solemn landmark was adopted and placed in the Articles of Union to guide Masons throughout the world forever on this matter. This Ancient Landmark is described by the United Grand Lodge of England at its formation as being:-
“Pure Antient Freemasonry consists of but three degrees, viz., that of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason, including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch.”
The landmark has never been changed and to this day no other degree in England has been officially recognized in this way. This Ancient Landmark, with the addition of the Honourable Degree of Mark Master Mason, is also to be found in the Constitution of the United Grand Lodge of NSW and the ACT in Chapter 1.1.
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.
The Royal Arch Degree complements the Master Mason’s Degree and completes the story and moral lessons commenced in the Craft.
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.