Submitted by Companion Gary Jascur
Ark of the Covenant
TThe legends incorporated in the English, Irish, and Scottish rites are not the only versions. Variations cannot be given here because they belong to certain other degrees. References can be made to a vision of Enoch, father of Methuselah and author of a Biblical book.
A paper written by A.E. Waite before the Somerset Lodge in 1921 speaks of the Book of Enoch, “said by him to be a set of visions beheld latter in the paper the author refers “to the Royal Arch of Enoch or Knight of the Royal Arch, two titles and forms, the second being incorporated into a long series of the Scottish Rite.
According to Albert Mackey the third book of Exodus, when Moses’ asks of God what is his name, He replies “I am that I am,” and He said: “thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I am hath sent me unto you,” and He adds: “this is my name forever.” The Hebrew word I AM is EHYEH. There is no essential difference between VHVT in the sixth chapter and VUCH in the third, the former being the first person singular, and the latter the third person of the same verb, the future used in the present sense of the verb to be; and hence what was said of the name EHYEH was applied by the Rabbis to the name of JEHOVAH. But of EHYEH God had said, “this is my name forever, “now the word forever is represented in the original by I’OLAM; but the Rabis says CAPELLUS, by changing a single letter, made I’OLAM, forever, read as if it had been written I’ALAM, which means to be concealed, and hence the passage was translated “THIS IS MY NAME CONCEALED,” instead of “THIS IS MY NAME FOREVER,” JEHOVAH,”
The R.A. Masons of to-day assures us that when the Sojourners found “the Pedestal,” in the vault there was on the top a plate of gold. This is indeed very significant, because the plate of gold was a sort of cover for the Ark of the Covenant; and therefore, although the Ark is not mentioned in the R.A. Ritual in this connection, the statement implies that the Ark was there all the time under the plate of gold. (The Genuine Secrets of Freemasonry reprinted in London: A. Lewis 1978, page 208).
The Scottish Rite rituals make no use of the scroll mentioned by Philostorgius, Callistus and Lee. In the American York Rite rituals, however, the BOOK OF THE LAW (TORAH), which corresponds to the scroll, is discovered within the coffer and effects an impending anachronism. In the state of Texas, following an examination of the Arks contents, the Captain of the Host remarks, “Most Excellent High Priest, there are some characters upon the top of the box.” The High Priest responds, “you will place the cover over the box, companion Captain of the Host.” Immediately thereafter, the ritual directs the High Priest to read John 1:1. How can the first line of the Gospel of John, a Christian text, dated ca. 98 C.E., reasonably be read from the Torah centuries before the Christian era? Should it be employed, even ritualistically, in an old testament context? Awareness of this problem may have resulted in the substitution of Genesis 1:1 in many jurisdictions.
Jah— this is the name by which Jehovah was worshiped. (Psalms 68:4).
Bul— this is simply a variation of Baal, Lord, or it may mean “in or on high” (the preposition b or on + al high). The combination Jah-Bul could therefore mean “Jehovah on high.”
On— this is a name for God in Ancient Greek, as He revealed Himself to Moses. In the Septuagint, an Ancient Greek version of the Old Testament, God identifies himself with the words “ego eimi ho” “l AM,” the words “ho on” are also applied to God in Revelations 1:4,
Accordingly, Jah-Bul-On could mean:
1) “Jehovah, the Lord, the I AM”
2) “Jehovah on High: the I AM” or
3) “Jehovah on High: The Being.”
In the English Royal Arch ritual, rather than the Hebrew-based cipher-word they provided an altogether different approach. The characters the angles of the triangle are important. It is immaterial where the combination starts, as each has a reference to Deity, or attribute. They are [Aleph], the [beth], and the [lamed] of the Hebrew, corresponding with the [A, B] and [L] of the English Alphabet.
Taking the aleph and the beth, they form [ab], which is Father; take the beth and aleph and the lamed, they form [bal] which is Lord;
Take the aleph and the lamed, they form [al], which means Word; Take the lamed, the alph, and the beth, they form [lab], which signifies Heart or Spirit.
Take each combination with the whole, and it will read:
[ab, bal], Father, Lord; [al, bal], Word, Lord; [lab, bal], Spirit, Lord. Found in the Aldersgate ritual.
This permutation of Hebrew letters is a Qabalistic practice known as TEMURAH. Although Baal is often considered a “pagan” designation, the name was Biblically employed in reference to Yahweh. Beelida (Baal knows) a son of David, I Chron.14:7, is called Eliada (God knows), in 2 Samuel 5:15. The name Bealiah 1 Chron. 12:5 means “Jehovah is Baal.” Some Qabalistic schools maintain that the mystery is concealed within the permutation of these letters, and that by contemplating their various forms one may obtain enlightenment. The letters represent a primordial Trinity, comprised of Father, Mother and the Son. The letters of the primordial trinity-I, H, V combined with those of their alleged Masonic counterparts- A,B,L form IAHBVL (JAHBUL).
In an attempt to translate Hebrew is not confusing enough, it appears that Masonic ritualist have complicated matters by providing various trinities of letters. The Hebrew characters at the corners of the “triangle” are NOT found in any of our rituals until after the standardization of the English rituals in 1834.
Knight of the Royal Arch which was conferred as an honorary degree in American jurisdiction pre-18 hundreds. Makes use of the Delta [triangular] plate of gold, and in the middle, there was a five-pointed star, on which was engraved the letter [h, yod], and the letters I B L on the three angles of the plate.
(Ray V. Denslow, Missouri Lodge of Research 1955) maintains that the Knight of Royal Arch was a part of the “Helvetic Rite” unclear if he meant the 1784 reformed Helvetic Rite or the 1810 Helvetic Rite. A copy of the ritual was in the collection of H.V.B. Voorhis, in a book entitled Masonic Rituals: Templar, K.T.P., Female Misc. (vol. 1737, item 21). The superscription on Voorhis reads, “the following degree was not included in those of Stphen Morin but was first introduced into the Island of Jamaica by Moses Cohen from North America, as Deputy Inspector. A notation added “before 1800.”