Meaning of the Bible Verses used in the York Rite
Set up: Like that of the Blue lodge
Bible verse: Matthew 20th chapter (1-16 verse)
Parable of the Laborers in the vineyard
The writer: The early church unanimously ascribed this Gospel to the Apostle Matthew, also called Levi. He refers to himself as “the publican,” which may indicate his feeling of humility for having been exalted by his Saviour from such a low estate to the distinguished rank of an apostle. He was not conspicuous among the apostles, either during the ministry of Christ or in the early work of the church; but he appears to have been especially well qualified for writing this first “Memoir of the Life and Teachings of the Christ.” His familiarity with the Jewish Scriptures and his earnest and ready acceptance of Jesus’ invitation to discipleship are clearly an evidence of his cherished hope and expectation of the Messiah. His position prior to his conversation to Christ, as a tax collector in Capernaum, required that he be thoroughly versed in both the Aramaic and Greek languages-a qualification of primary importance for writing a gospel especially for Jewish readers.
Importance:According to the earlier traditions, this Gospel was placed first in the order of the “four Memoirs” for two reasons: It was first in the date of composition. The date of writing is placed by some as early as A.D. 37; present-day scholarship, however, ascertains the date in the vicinity of A.D. 60 to 64. Secondly, this Gospel was regarded as first in importance in early Christian history because the predominant element among the early Christians was Jewish. Early Christian history strongly indicates that Matthew first wrote a “Memoir of the Life and Teachings of Christ” in Aramaic, or spoken Hebrew of Palestine. Later, then, he wrote his Gospel in Greek as handed down to us in ancient manuscripts. The Aramaic edition was probably written as early as A.D. 37; the Greek edition, at a later date, probably about A.D. 60.
Purpose and Need: It is now generally agreed that each of the four writers of the Gospel of Christ wrote to meet a definite need: that each formed a purpose of his “Memoir” under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and selected from the life, ministry, and teachings of the Saviour, the materials which best fitted the need and the purpose in mind. Matthew wrote his Gospel especially for Jewish readers, presenting Jesus as verily the Messiah of Old Testament prophecies. The Greek term “Kingdom of Heaven” occurs 33 times, and the term “Kingdom of God” 4 times, a total of 37 times in all. Jesus is called the “Son of David” 9 times, whereas this title is used only 3 times in Mark, 3 times in Luke, and not one in John. Matthew quotes from the Old Testament 65 times; he makes 35 references to the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies in Christ without quoting specific references.
During the first 15 years after Christ’s ascension, converts to Christianity were confined largely to the Jews. Two serious problems prevailed among these Christian Jews: First, they were bitterly persecuted, and needed confirmation in the fundamentals of Christ’s redemptive mission and teachings; second, they found it difficult to completely renounce Judaism and its rites and formalisms. To meet these needs, Matthew wrote his Gospel. His Gospel recognizes, however, the truth that Jesus Christ is God’s appointed Redeemer for all mankind, and that the saving ministry of God’s kingdom is to be extended to the entire world.
Outline of the text: I. Birth and Old Testament Qualification of the Messiah II. Jesus’ Messianic Office recognized III. Initiation and preparation for Messianic work (3:1 – 4:11) IV. Messianic Ministry to Israel (4: 12-16:20) V. Messianic Ministry leading toward Calvary (16:21- 20:34) VI. Israel’s rejection of Messiah; the Messiah’s Rejection of Israel (21-23) VII. The Messiah’s predictions to His followers (24-25) VIII. Death, Triumph, and Commission (26-28)
5th Degree: Name: Past Master Mason, Colors: Purple and Gold Set up:
Like that of the Blue Lodge Bible verse: Ecclesiastics 12
Incitements to early piety
Name:The title of this book is a transliteration of the Greek work meaning “Preacher.” This term was employed in the Septuagint for the rendering of the Hebrew word Kohelelth, meaning “Assembler” or “Preacher.” The Koheleth of the book is said to be the “king over Israel in Jerusalem” (1:12); this indicates that Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes.
Theme: The author assumes the role of a sage at the head of a college, or congregation of inquiring students, and presents a series of discourses and observations on the problems of life. In reality, the book is a dramatic biography of the author, with extracts drawn from his own weaknesses and failures, interspersed with profound aphorisms. Isolated statements in the book are agnostic in sentiment, but they appear as the author’s presentation of the other side of the question under debate, and are, I the ultimate, an argument against agnosticism.
The writer recognizes a supreme personal Deity, accepts the Genesis story of creation and the fall of man under sin, affirms the fundamentals of the Mosaic Law, and emphasizes the duty of reverential worship of God. He stresses a man’s duty to fear God, to obey the divine laws, and to do justice to his fellow man. Man’s privilege to enjoy in a temperate, decent, and legitimate manner, the good things of life is fundamental in the philosophy of the author. All life is of God, and he who fears God will faithfully serve God and humanity, utilizing life for his future eternal security.
Outline: I. Statement and proof of the theme that all life is vanity. (1:1 – 3: 22) II. The theme unfolded I the light of human sufferings (4:1- 10: 20) III. Ways and means of overcoming the vanities of life by supreme recognition of God and his laws (11:1- 12:12) IV. The sublime conclusion (12:13, 14)
6th Degree: Name: Most Excellent Master, Colors: Purple, White and Gold
Set up: Like the Blue lodge without a Junior Warden
Bible verse: 2nd Chronicles (CH. 6) Solomon’s opening address
Name: This book is a continuation of the first book of Chronicles. Its chief purpose is similar, although it more strongly recognizes the prophetic element in the religious life of the nation.
Theme: Devoted largely to the affairs of Judah, it refers to the Northern Kingdom only when its affairs are closely related to those of Judah. The building of the temple by Solomon and the vital place that this institution held in the religious interest of Judah is given much attention. Revivals of true religion began at the house of God and were reinforced by the destruction of idols; but the worthlessness of mere ritualism was strongly urged.
Outline: Second Chronicles falls into eighteen divisions, each one covering the reign of one of the kings from Solomon to the captivities, supplying a record, first, of the division of David’s kingdom under Rehoboam and Jeroboam. Reviewing a period of more than 400 years, the history of both kingdoms was a growing apostasy, broken temporarily in Judah by reformations under five notable kings: Asa (14-16); Jehoshaphat (17: 1-19); Joash (24); Hezekiah (29-32); and Josiah (34,35). According to Ussher, the events recorded in Second Chronicles cover a period of 427 years.
7th Degree: Name: Holy Royal Arch Mason, Colors: Scarlet, White and Gold
Set up: Like the Tabernacle Bible verse: Ezra 1
Proclamation of Cyrus for the building of the temple
Name: Ezra is the first of the postexilic books, the others being Nehemiah, Esther, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. It takes its name from the Jewish patriot who exercised a profound influence upon the religious and civic life of the remnant of Jews who returned to Palestine under the edict of Cyrus. The traditional view is that it was written by Ezra; quite certainly, he was the author of the last four chapters (7-10), if not the entire book. It is immediately connected with the closing records of the Second book of Chronicles and covers the history of the Jews I Palestine over a period variously estimated from 80 to 110 years.
Theme: Ezra relates the story of the return of a group of Babylonian exiles under Zerubbabel soon after the decree of Cyrus granting this permission in 536 B.C. and of the laying of the foundation of the new temple. Subsequently, in 458 B.C., Ezra himself led a second expedition of Jews to Palestine and under his leadership the law and ritual of worship was revived. Still later, a third expedition returned to Jerusalem under Nehemiah. Ezra’s chief object I going to Jerusalem was to bring about a religious reformation and to reestablish was to bring about a religious reformation and to reestablish the Mosaic institutions; he was eminently successful in both.
Outline: The book falls into two chief divisions: I. From the decree of Cyrus in 536 B.C. to the dedication of the new temple in 515 B.C. (1:1 – 6:22). A period of about sixty-years is passed over in silence.) II. The ministry of Ezra beginning in 458 B.C. (7:1 – 10:44) According to Ussher, the events recorded in Ezra cover a period of 80 years.
8th Degree: Name: Royal Master, Colors: Purple and White
Set up: As a sanctuary
Bible verse: 1st Kings (the whole book) Commonly called the third book of the Kings
Name: The two books of Kings, like the books of Samuel, were originally one book in the Hebrew canon. In the present arrangement, the First Book of Kings is really the third in the series; it continues the history of the monarchy from the second book of Samuel. The title of the two books is derived from the fact that they provided a history is continued through Judah and the Northern Kingdom (after the disruption), and then to the end of both.
Theme: The first book of Kings furnishes a record of David’s death, Solomon’s reign and death, the division of the kingdom under Rehoboam and Jeroboam, the history of the two kingdoms to the reign of Jehoram over Judah, and Ahaziah over the Northern Kingdom. The history is to brief to be a biography of the kings; it was not intended as such. Although political in many respects, it is really a theocratic history, a retrospective survey of Israel’s history under theocratic government; and it is more religious than political. It is the story of unceasing conflicts, largely represented in the kings: between faith and unbelief, between the worship of Jehovah and the worship of Baal, between national righteousness and national wickedness.
Throughout the period covered by the two books of Kings, prophets were the spokesman of God, the real saviours of the nation in times of crises. The marvelous ministry of Elijah in the Northern Kingdom, filled with supernatural events, is covered in First Kings. Other prophets of a less conspicuous stature were active during the time covered by this book.
Outline: I. Last days of David (1:1 – 2:11) II. Solomon’s reign to the dedication of the temple (2:12- 8:66) III. Solomon’s continued reign and Apostasies (9:1- 11:43) IV. The kingdom divided; Judah under Rehoboam; Israel under Jeroboam (12:1-14:31) V. The two kingdoms to the accession of Ahab in Northern Israel (15:1-16:28) VI. The wicked reign of Ahab; and contemporaneous Kings, Asa and Jehoshaphat to the accession of Jehoram to Judah, to the reign of Ahaziah over Northern Israel (22:41-53) According to Ussher, the events of First Kings cover 118 years.
9th Degree: Name: Select Master, Colors: Purple and White
Set up: Like the Sanctuary Bible verse: 1st Kings (same as above)
10th Degree: Name: Super Excellent Master, Colors: Purple Set up: Like the Council
Bible verse: 1st Kings (same as above)
11th Degree: Name: Knights of the Red Cross, Colors: Red and Black
Set up: Like the Council Bible verse: Ezra 4
Adversaries of the Jews hinder their work Explanation the same as Ezra 1
12th Degree: Name: Knights Templar, Colors: Red and Black
Set up: The Asylum Bible verse: James 1 (1-10)
Authorship and salutation, the ministry of trials, spiritual wisdom comes from God, warning against riches
Name: This Epistle is addressed to “the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad”; it is truly a Jewish book, book, even more so than Matthew, Hebrews, and the Apocalypse, but the author introduces himself as “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,” and refers to “the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1:1, 2:1). He is, therefore, quite evidently a Jewish Christian, and his epistle is intended for the dispersed Jewish Christians. There are four who bore the name James mentioned in the New Testament but it quite generally agreed that it was James referred to as the Lord’s brother (Matt. 13:55) who wrote this Epistle. After the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, James became a disciple and was honored by the appearance of the risen Christ.
Theme: As a patriotic Jew, and at the same time a devout Christian, James seeks to counsel his Jewish Christian brethren with respect to the privations, sufferings, and characteristic needs in which they are living.
Outline: I. The right attitude toward trials and tests (1:1-18) II. Exhortation to receive the word (1:19-27) III. Exhortation to impartiality (2: 1-13) IV. Inadequacy of faith without works (2: 14-26) V. Warnings against sins of the tongue (3:1-12) VI. Admonition with reference to false and true wisdom (3:13-18) VII. Rebukes for worldliness and pride (4:1-10) VIII. Considerateness toward their brethren (44:11, 12) IX. Rebukes for unchristian conduct (4:13 -5:6) X. Exhortation to patience (5:7-12) XI. Proper conduct in affliction (5:13-18) XII. Proper treatment of an erring brother (5:19, 20)
13th Degree: Name: Knights of Malta, Colors: Purple and White
Set up: Like the Council Bible verse: Acts 28 (1-6)
Paul is kindly entertained by the barbarians
Name: The fact that Luke was the writer of this book and that he wrote it after his gospel had been completed is clearly indicated in the opening verse. The testimony of early Christian writers universally confirms this claim. It is also quite evident that the book was in common use among the churches of the second and third centuries of Christianity, many writers refer to it in a very definite manner, and many others quote from it.
Theme: In this book, Luke continues the elements of historical narrative given in his Gospel. In the one, he sets forth the work of the Lord Jesus I his redemptive labors and teachings, concluding with accounts of his sacrificial death, his resurrection and instructions to his followers, and his ascension to the right hand of God. Taking up the narrative at that point, Luke sets forth the continuing redemptive work of the risen Christ through the administration of the Holy Spirit and by the followers of Christ. He tells of the descent of Christianity in Jerusalem, of the dispersion of the disciples into various outlying countries, and their continued ministry of the gospel.
Purpose: The book of Acts, like the four Gospels, grew out of some very definite situations in the early church. There was need for proof concerning the activities and teachings of the leaders in the church, for evidence that the Christian movement was one movement whether the believers were Jews, proselytes, Samaritans, Grecians, or Gentiles in general. It was especially necessary to set forth the truth that Jewish and Gentile believers enter the kingdom of God upon the common ground of faith, which in Christ there is no difference, that man and women of every race and nation must enter into perfect brotherhood and fellowship in the church.
Period: Acts covers the history of Christianity from the ascension of Christ to Paul’s imprisonment at Rome, closing with the record of his two years imprisonment, and prior to his release and fourth missionary journey. The account covers a period of 32 years. It was probably written during Paul’s first Roman imprisonment, or about A.D. 60-61.
Outline: I. A repetition of the account of Christ’s Ascension and commission to the Church (1:1-11) II. The enduement of the church for its gospel witnessing (1:12-2:47) III. The Gathering of Disciples in Jerusalem (3:1-8:1a) IV. The evangelization of Judaea, Samaria, and surrounding provinces (8:1b-40) V. The conversion and early ministry of Paul (9:1-31) VI. Peter’s ministry to the Gentiles (9:32-11:30) VII. Persecution by Civil authorities (12) VIII. Paul’s call and first missionary tour (13-14) IX. The Jerusalem council and the victory for religious freedom (15:1-35) X. Paul’s second missionary tour (15:36-18:22) XI. Paul’s third missionary tour (18:23-21:16) XII. The arrest and trial of Paul in Jerusalem (21:17-26:30) XIII. The imprisonment of Paul in Caesarea (23:31-26:32) XIV. Paul’s voyage to Rome (27:1-28:16-31)
Heroines of Jericho: Has three degrees within and is the oldest house in the Adoptive Rite. Colors: White, Blue and Scarlet
Set up: Like the court Bible verses are based on the degree opened on and are thus explained:
Master Mason’s Daughter: Bible verses: Opened on St. Mark 11th Chapters 1-10 (Christ’s royal march into Jerusalem)
Name: The writer of this Gospel was not an apostle, but he was closely associated with the apostles, especially with Peter and, in later life, with Paul and Barnabas. Mark was the son of one of the Mary’s who numbered among the devout women disciples of Jesus and in whose home the early church assembled. He is variously designated as John, whose surname was Mark (Acts 12:12, 25: 15:37); John only (Acts 13:5), 13); Mark only (Acts 15:39); and in later writings always as Marcus or Mark (Colossians 4:10; 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 24; 1 Peter 5:13). Tradition places his conversion under the ministry of Jesus, but even if this is true, he was greatly influenced by the Apostle Peter and is reported as an “interpreter of Peter’s preaching.”
Theme: It is quite generally accepted that Mark’s Gospel was produced from information received from Peter; it may be spoken of as “Peter’s Gospel” written by Mark. It is quite generally agreed that he refers to himself in the account of the youth who fled in the garden at the time of Christ’s arrest. This indicates his personal association with Jesus, at least in the closing days of his life. It also appears certain that the “upper room” in which Jesus kept the Passover with his disciples was in the home of Mark’s mother. His intimacy with Peter, his labors with Paul and his cousin Barnabas, and his evident Roman training and characteristics fitted him to write the “Memoir of the Life land Teachings of Christ” especially adapted to the needs of Gentile readers throughout the Roman world. He Presents Jesus as the mighty worker, as the divine, humanly incarnate, and all-powerful Savior, as the incarnate Son of God in the form of a servant. Mark’s Gospel is distinguished for vividness and detail, for activity and energy, for supernatural power over disease, nature, and demons, as well as for amazing and wonderful features-distinguishing marks adapted especially to the Roman kind.
Date of Writing: Various dates from A.D. 57 to A.D. 63 have been suggested for the writing of Mark’s Gospel. Early writers suggest that it was written by Mark while in Rome during Paul’s imprisonment, and at the request of Roman Christians as a means of preserving the teaching of the Apostle Peter. It is thought that this was Peter’s method of carrying out his pledge given in 2 Peter 1:13-15. The many graphic details enumerated in Mark’s Gospel clearly point to an eyewitness of the events described and ear witness to the utterances recorded; that witness was either Mark himself or the Apostle Peter who acted as Mark’s informant.
Outline: The following, though brief, outline will be helpful:
I. Initiation and preparation of the Messiah for His public ministry (1:1-13) II. Ministry of the Messiah in Galilee (1:14-7:23)
III. The Ministry of the Messiah North and East of Galilee(7:24-9:50)
IV. The Ministry of the Messiah en route to Jerusalem (10)
V. The Ministry of the Messiah in Jerusalem (11-13)
VI. The obedience of the Messiah (14-15)
VII. The triumph of the Messiah in His resurrection, Commission and Ascension (16) Verse explaining the password is St. John 12th Chapter verses 12-15 (Christ’s triumphal entry in Jerusalem)
Name: The evidence that the Apostle John wrote this Gospel is unanswerable. Even though it was published long after the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, it was universally accepted by the Christian writers of the second and third centuries in its Johanean authorship and divine authority. Quotations from the Old Testament and references to the fulfillment of Jewish prophecies clearly indicate that the writer was a Christian. His Jewish racial identity is further attested by the manner I which he centers much of Christ’s teachings around the great feast of Israel, particularly the Passover. It is also clear the writer was a contemporary of the events and persons mentioned I this narration; and that he was familiar with the whole land of Palestine and the scenes of Christ’s ministry, as well as the city of Jerusalem and the temple. Many of John’s sayings and all of his quotations of Christ’s words clearly suggest that he was an apostle-an eyewitness of the things recorded and an ear witness of the teachings of Christ quoted. Frequent reference to the other apostles by name eliminates all of them from authorship. One specific statement in which no name is mentioned points unmistakably to John (21:20, 24); the manner in which John introduces himself also indicates that he is the writer (13:23, 25).
Purpose: John’s purpose in writing the Gospel was to supplement the records of the three older Gospels, not to correct any deficiencies in them. Never in a single instance does he disagree with the events and truths found in Matthew, Mark and Luke. The alm of the Gospel is directly spiritual, and its purpose is that men may have spiritual life though faith in the Christ revealed therein. The symbolic words used of Christ are also profoundly spiritual, such as the Word, the Truth, the way, the light, the life, the Bread of Life, and the Good Shepherd. The Gospel is distinguished by its stress upon believe. This word and its cognates appear about 100 times; reference to God as Father is given 122 times; love and its cognates appear 57 times. Thus it will be sent how deeply spiritual this Gospel really is.
Outline: Considering John’s Gospel as a testimony to Jesus as the Christ, the following simple outline will be helpful:
I. The testimony of the Essential Deity of Christ (1:1-5)
II. The Testimony of Divine Incarnation (1:6-18)
III. The Testimony of His Public Ministry (1:19-12:50)
IV. The Testimony of His Private Ministry to his Disciples (13-17)
V. The Testimony and glorification of His resurrection, power and glory (20-21) True Kinsman Degree
Set up: Like the Court Color: Blue Bible verse: Book of Ruth Chapter one 12th-17th verse (Ruth’s heroic choice)
Name: This lovely story takes its name from the Moabitish widow, Ruth, who became the wife of Boaz, ancestor of David and of Jesus. Ruth gave up her religion and became a proselyte to the Hebrew faith. As a result, she is honored by being mentioned in the genealogy of the Saviour (Matt. 1:5).
Period: Historically, the book belongs within the early period of the Judges, and it fittingly describes the domestic and pastoral life of devout Israelites of that turbulent era.
Theme: In the characters of this narrative, Naomi, Boaz, and Ruth, the beauties of Christian virtue and faith are delineated; and the power of true religion to overcome the most adverse circumstances in life is demonstrated. As a consequence of trust in Israel’s God and adherence to the principles of righteousness, a heathen woman, without childhood training and true religious environment, became glorious in character and renowned in history.
Outline: Ruth is regarded as a type of the Gentile church of Christ and her experiences are compared to that of a Christian under the analysis:
I. Ruth deciding
II. Ruth serving
III. Ruth resting
IV. Ruth rewarded Heroines of Jericho
Set up: The court Color: Scarlet Bible verse: Second chapter of Joshua (Joshua’s 2 spies and the spies between the spies and Rahab)
Name: This book takes its name from the events recorded in the life of its leading character, Joshua, who was the divinely chosen successor of Moses as leader of Israel. He was also the commander in charge of Israel’s armies in the conquest of Canaan. This is the first of the twelve books of history in the Old Testament, including those from Joshua to Esther.
Connection with Preceding Books: This book continues the historical data of Deuteronomy and completes the story of Israel’s redemption. Exodus tells of Israel’s deliverance out of bondage, whereas the book of Joshua gives the story of the second phase of the nation’s redemption in its settlement of the Promised Land (Duet. 6:23). Moses’s position as God’s representative of the theocracy set up at Sinai is perpetuated in Joshua. Redemption for Israel in the possession of Canaan is wrought by the power of God under the leadership of a divinely anointed representative and under blood, even as was redemption in deliverance from bondage.
Authorship: The book was written either by Joshua himself toward the close of his life, or it was wholly written shortly after his death by some other author from documents penned by Joshua. The account of his death was added by a later compiler.
Purpose of the Book: The book was written to describe the settlement of Israel in Canaan according to God’s promise. It shows how God punished the sin and godlessness of nations in the destruction of the Canaanites, and it sets forth the unceasing conflict between the forces of God and the powers of evil.
Outline: The book falls naturally into four main sections:
I. The crossing of Jordan and the conquest of Canaan (1-12)
II. The division of Canaan among the twelve tribes and the special provision made for the Levites (13-21)
III. An occasion of discord and its solution (22)
IV. Joshua’s last counsels and death (23-24). Joshua was 80 years old when he assumed leadership of Israel. He died at the age of 110; this the book covers a period of 30 years.
Heroines of the Templar’s Crusade colors: Purple and White
Set up: Like the Palace Bible verse: Ephesians 6 (11-18)
Relative duties of children, parents, servants and masters
Name: Ephesians is one of Paul’s four “prison epistles”, the others being Colossians, Philippians, and Philemon. Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon appear to have been written in close conjunction: they are similar in doctrinal content; they were all dispatched to their destination by Tychicus; and their probable date was A.D. 60. The Pauline authorship and its authenticity are fully sustained by early tradition, by its general use I the churches and by the leaders of Christianity. The close similarity of Ephesians to Colossians is probably due to the fact that the letter to Colosse was written immediately before Ephesians.
Theme: Ephesus was the capital of pro consular Asia and the great political, commercial, and religious center of Asia. Paul laid the foundation for the church when he was there for a short time on his return trip from his second missionary journey; he also spent three years in the city on his third missionary tour. It was the first of the seven churches of Asia to which the special letters of The Revelation were directed, and it was the city on which John the Apostle resided in the closing days of his life. Although the Epistle is addressed to the church at Ephesus in many of the ancient manuscripts, the two oldest extant manuscripts do not have the name Ephesus. For this reason and because of lack of personal greetings or other statements of personal nature, many think the Epistle was not written exclusively for the church at Ephesus. The theme of the Epistle is the Church, Christ’s Spiritual body. The real object of the apostle is to set forth God’s purpose in summing up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth.
Outline: This theme and chief purpose are simply set forth in the analysis which follows:
I. The Doctrinal Section (1:1-21)
II. The Practical Section (4:1 -6:24)