Companions, the stage is set for the drama about to unfold. The time is around 500 BCE in Jerusalem. You will remember that 500 years ago (1000 BCE), just before the completion of King Solomon’s Temple, the genuine secrets of a Master Mason were lost due to the untimely death of our Master Hiram Abiff and that he ordered the use of substitute secrets. The Third Degree leaves us up in the air as to what happens next. We are about to witness the completion of that story.
Seventy years ago, Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon and the Israelites were taken into captivity, as will be later told by the Principal Sojourner. But our story begins even before then, before the building of Solomon’s Temple. It starts with the children of Israel fleeing from the Egyptians, and Moses leading the twelve tribes, across the Sinai Desert. In some Chapters, they hear about the First or Holy Lodge held in the wilderness during that journey. Companions, the First Lodge was held in a tent or Tabernacle in the Sinai desert. The Tabernacle was the place of worship and housed the Ark of the Covenant. The Principals were Moses, Aholiab, and Bezaleel, craftsmen who created the Tabernacle and the Ark. The ensigns represent those twelve tribes who lived together in their respective camps.