Royal Arch Masonry

The Royal Arch Mason: The Most Excellent Master Mason

One of the benefits of being a learned man is that you are called upon to teach, and if you are, “up to snuff,” everybody that hears you will extol the virtues of your talents.  However, if you are not, “up to snuff,” then you are looked upon as an imposter or one who shows more than he knows.  If you are a teacher, you would be called ‘rahb’ or great one, ‘rabbi’ or my master, or ‘Rabboni’ meaning, my good master!

This degree is founded upon a lot of legend, taken from the time of the concesecration and dedication of King Solomon’s Temple.  It is said that when the Temple was completed, Solomon called all the workers of the Temple to come to Jerusalem to participate in the dedication services and celebration.  Further legend states that, “the stone that the builders rejected, became the chief stone of the corner.  Several references were made about the stone that was rejected, in Psalms, Luke, and Acts.  Jesus made reference to it in Luke 20:17.  In the 18th verse, He speaks of the stone falling and crushing people.  Masonic legend has it that the stone was in an arch at the outer porch where the pillars of Boaz and Jachin were.  It would have to be up in order to fall on people.

The learned sages of the past, have seen an arch that holds up the heavens, as stated by Job, held up by two pillars.  Theologians have placed Job as living before Moses, as there was no mention of the law in any passage dealing with Job, and therefore Job ‘argued’ with God and friends over what was what.  Since man is in a finite state, it is natural that he would seek some material or physical thing when viewing God or His dwelling place.  The idea that any two pillars, no matter how massive, could hold up the heavens, is ludicrous, but many arguments have been heard when men have discussed theosophy and theology.

The ancient stone squarers and Tyrian artisans of Phonecia knew about arches and the ‘uppermost stone’ called the capstone or copestone.  It was a stone that could only be used in one placed if all the other stones were ‘squared’ in the quarry.  It had to be a peculiar stone, and if there was to be a symbolic meaning in the stone, it would have to be placed in a conspicuous place, a place where the majority of the people would see it and know its meaning.

Legend puts the stone at the Temple site ‘too early’ to be used in the wall, and because of ignorance, the stone is cast aside by the uniformed workmen.  As the work on the Temple progresses, most likely the stone was covered over by trash, dirt, etc.  In the seventh year, a hole was seen in a very strategic place in the Temple, and a search was started.  After the inquiry, the stone was retrieved from the rubbish and was placed in its strategic place of high honor, with appropriate celebration.  In Luke 20:18, the word “falls” appears to mean “attack.”  Therefore the stone represents security, as found in a ‘strong foundation.’  Physically speaking, the arch is stronger because of the capstone.

In today’s religious circles, the rejected stone is Jesus the Christ, the ‘stone’ rejected by the establishment, just like He is today.  I like to think of the stone’s strength as that of “Love” and that anyone that “falls on this stone” will be crushed by absence of returned violence, but that same Love will defeat and act of violence shown against it.

We are all rejected stones if we stand for what is right and just, for man, in his finite existence, cannot fathom to the fullest, the real meaning of Love and Compassion.  It seems that by the time we rationalize and theorize, the intent has lost its meaning and we have entered a never never land of indecision.  The young ruler misunderstood when Jesus said, “Sell all your goods and give it to the poor.”  It has been taken by some that money is cursed, but how wrong can you be?  It is the love of it!  To be in Him makes you a Most Excellent Master!



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