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15°-16° Degree Summaries


15th Degree - Knight of the East

In the year B.C. 586, by order of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, thousands of the more prominent Jews were deported from Palestine and settled in colonies in various parts of Babylonia. Cyrus the Great, who conquered Babylonia in B.C. 538 and founded the Persian Empire, issued a decree permitting the captive people to return to their homeland and to rebuild their shrines. Darius I continued this generous policy and gave substantial aid to the returning exiles. Both Cyrus and Darius were disciples of Zoroaster. They believed in one God, who demands righteousness from his worshippers. These religious beliefs, similar in many respects to the faith of the Jews, motivated their considerate attitude toward the captive people.

Inspired by such leaders as Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah, groups of Jews endured the hardships of the long journey, and joined with their loyal brethren in Jerusalem to rebuild the Holy City and the Temple of their God. The second Temple was completed and dedicated in B.C. 516.

In the Allegories of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Degrees, we are taught, by the example of Zerubbabel, the important lessons of loyalty to conviction, fidelity to duty and devotion to Truth.

16th Degree - Prince of Jerusalem

A Council of Princes of Jerusalem presents two degrees, the Fifteenth and the Sixteenth. These degrees are called “Historical” because they deal with events connected with the closing period of the Babylonian captivity of Israel, the return of the exiles to Jerusalem, and the rebuilding of the Temple.

In the Allegories of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Degrees, we are taught, by the example of Zerubbabel, the important lessons of loyalty to conviction, fidelity to duty and devotion to Truth.