Order of the Scarlet Cord
Ritual of the Fifth Grade – Council of the Entrusted
All members of the Fifth Grade will be referred to as Members of the Council
of the Entrusted
The Council Chamber is set up in the Temple as shown below:
Beside each officer is a lighted candle. In addition, one member of the fifth grade will be required to occupy the office of Grand Guarder, one to marshal the other candidates and four to assist with the concealment of the Ark. The Grand Watchman will be outside the Temple.
The Consistory will be opened in the First Grade and then adjourned, but only members of the Fifth Grade will be present.
Grand Summus, stands, *: Companions, assist me to open this Council of the Entrusted in the Fifth Grade of our Order.
Companions, the day is far spent, the night is at hand. Grand Guarder, what saith the Grand Watchman?
Grand Guarder, gives a court bow to the Grand Summus, opens door and says to the Grand Watchman outside: Grand Watchman, what of the night?
Grand Watchman: Grand Guarder, the night is at hand and all is safe and well.
Grand Guarder returns to his place, gives a court bow to the Grand Summus and says: Grand Summus, all is safe and well.
Grand Summus: Companions, you will stand to order with the sign of the Fifth Grade of the Order.
All companions give sign and discharge it.
Grand Summus: I declare this Council duly opened in the Fifth Grade. * * * * *.
GDC opens VSL at Jeremiah Chapter 25: 8-14.
GDC: Be seated Companions.
The general Temple lighting will be extinguished.
The GDC and the member of the Fifth Grade delegated to conduct the other candidates will retire. This conductor will lead those candidates to their reserved seats in the Temple. The Aspirant (wearing his personal regalia as a member of the Fourth Grade) is introduced info the Temple by the GDC and stands just outside the Council Chamber.
Grand Summus: Companion ..., the Fifth Grade of our Ancient Order is amongst the most fascinating and intriguing ceremonies in the whole canon of Freemasonry. The events it portrays represent a highly significant episode in the Masonic tradition of King Solomon's Temple as well as impressing on the mind valuable lessons of faith, ministry and perseverance. It is only conferred on those Grand Officers that have made significant contributions to our Order. Indeed, the title or style bestowed on those who receive it, "Keeper of the Hidden Secret," reflects the particular mark of distinction it represents.
You have been recommended to participate in our mysteries by reason of your past services but you must first, however, prove your proficiency in the former Grade. Are you willing to do so?
Aspirant, prompted by GDC: I am.
Deputy Grand Summus: Where did you receive the Fourth Grade of our Ancient Order?
Aspirant, prompted by GDC: In a lawfully convened Council of Elders.
Deputy Grand Summus: What honour was first bestowed upon you?
Aspirant, prompted by GDC: I carried the banner of Judah across the River Jordan on dry ground.
Deputy Grand Summus: What caused the river to cease flowing?
Aspirant, prompted by GDC: The Ark of the Covenant was placed in the middle of the river.
Deputy Grand Summus: What task did you next perform?
Aspirant, prompted by GDC: My companions and I took stones from the river bed to form a mound at Gilgal.
Deputy Grand Summus: To what end?
Aspirant, prompted by GDC: So that our descendants would know that Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground because the hand of the Lord is powerful.
Deputy Grand Summus: What trial awaited you?
Aspirant, prompted by GDC: I walked in darkness and on being restored to light saw the Hosts of the Lord.
Deputy Grand Summus: What was the last duty required of you?
Aspirant, prompted by GDC: To assist in the capture of the city of Jericho.
Deputy Grand Summus: How was this achieved?
Aspirant, prompted by GDC: By the power of the Ark of the Covenant which is the power of God.
Deputy Grand Summus: How were you rewarded for your labours?
Aspirant, prompted by GDC: I was entrusted with a sign and word.
Deputy Grand Summus: Communicate them to us.
Aspirant, prompted by GDC shows sign and says: Adonai-say-bah-rot.
Grand Summus: Companion Officers, if you are satisfied with the Aspirant's replies, you will each stand and signify in the usual manner.
They rise and signify, beginning with the Assistant Grand Summus and finishing with the Grand Summus. All sit.
Grand Summus: Having proved your proficiency in the preceding Grade, I must now enquire if you are willing to keep inviolate the secrets of the Fifth Grade?
Aspirant, prompted by GDC: I am.
Grand Summus: In the ordinary course, a solemn obligation would be required to bind you to this response. Can you give me any reason why such an obligation is unnecessary?
Aspirant, prompted by GDC: My word is my bond.
Grand Summus: Well answered, my Companion! You may now take your seat amongst us and the ceremony will proceed.
GDC and Aspirant enter the Council Chamber and are seated.
Grand Summus, rises: I can now reveal to you that the scene depicted here indicates the Ark behind him represents a cave on Mt Nebo, the final resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. The circumstances which led to the concealment there of the Ark form the basis of our Fifth Grade ceremony. I will first draw your attention to a lecture on the historical background and then the story of the Prophet Jeremiah. Sits.
Assistant Grand Summus, rises: Following Solomon's death in about 931 BC, the ten northern tribes refused to accept Solomon's son Rehoboam as their King and broke away, continuing to be called the Kingdom of Israel or Northern Kingdom.
The tribes of Judah and Benjamin remained loyal to Rehoboam and became the Kingdom of Judah or Southern Kingdom, with Jerusalem as its capital.
The Northern Kingdom of Israel existed as an independent state until around 720 BC, when it was conquered by the Assyrian Empire and many of its population exiled, leading to the legend of the Ten Lost Tribes.
The Southern Kingdom of Judah remained intact, ruled b y a succession of Kings, some of whom were devout believers in the Jewish Faith. But some were not and used the Temple for the worship of pagan gods.
Under King Josiah, the Temple was restored and the Ark of the Covenant returned to it. He outlawed all forms of pagan worship, encouraging belief in the one true God. But on Josiah's death, the nation quickly returned to idolatrous practices. Sits.
Keeper of the Hidden Secret (1), rises: Now that you are in possession of the historical background, we will relate to you the story of the Prophet Jeremiah.
Jeremiah was the son of Hilkiah, a priest of a village just north of Jerusalem. He was still a young man when God made him a Prophet. Remains standing.
Grand Episcopus, rises and recites: The word of the Lord came to me, saying, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations " ... Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, "Now, I have put my words in your mouth." Sits.
Keeper of the Hidden Secret (1): During his early ministry, Jeremiah devoted himself mainly to preaching , going where the Lord sent him to support the reform pro gramme of King Josiah. But under King Jehoiakim, these reforms were quickly forgotten and Jeremiah would urge repentance from lusting after idols and serving false religion. He would predict dreadful consequences for Judah if the word of the Lord was not heeded. However, his preaching was vilified by the King, by the majority of the priesthood and by the people. Sits.
Grand Episcopus, rises and recites: In the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah King of Judah, the Lord spoke to Jeremiah saying, "Take a scroll and write on it all the words I have spoken to you concerning Israel, Judah and all the other nations from the time I began speaking to you in the reign of Josiah till now. Perhaps when the people of Judah hear about every disaster I plan to inflict on them, each of them will turn from his wicked way; then I will forgive their wickedness and their sin." Sits.
Keeper of the Hidden Secret (2), rises: So Jeremiah summoned his Scribe Baruch to write down on a scroll all the words the Lord had spoken to him. Baruch then took the scroll to the Temple and read its contents to the people. But the Temple officials took the scroll from Baruch and carried it to King Jehoiakim. Remains standing.
Grand Episcopus, rises and recites: It was the ninth month and the King was sitting in the winter apartment, with a fire burning in the firepot in front of him. When Jehudi had read three or four columns of the scroll, the King cut off pieces of it with a scribe' s knife and threw them into the firepot, until the entire scroll was burned in the fire. Sits.
Keeper of the Hidden Secret (2): Only God's protection spared Jeremiah from execution at the hands of the King.
Politically, King Jehoiakim had begun his reign in alliance with the Egyptians. After three years, he paid tribute to Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. But after three more years, he returned to the Egyptians, enraging Nebuchadnezzar, who sent a mighty army to besiege Jerusalem. During this siege, Jehoiakim died, to be succeeded by his son, Jehoiachin. These two different names must be clearly emphasized. Sits.
Deputy Grand Summus: The next part of the ceremony takes place in the Throne room of King Jehoiachin, who is discussing the siege with his councilors. It is necessary that you assume the name and character of the Prophet Jeremiah, who is summoned by the King so that they might hear the word of the Lord.
The Aspirant and other candidates are taken to the Ante-Room. The Temple is re-arranged as follows: The Council furniture is cleared and re-instituted in the Grand Temple. The Ark of the Covenant and flaming torches are removed outside. The Officers take up their same places in the Grand Temple, save that the Deputy Grand Summus and Grand Summus change places. The Deputy Grand Summus, now representing King Jehoiachin, dons an OSM Supreme Ruler's robe. The other candidates are then led to their seats by their conductor. They enter the Temple via side door. The Aspirant and GDC then enter the Throne Room from the same door, proceed to a position just west of the officers and bow.
The King and his councilors are in deep discussion as the candidates enter.
Jehoiachin: Enter, Jeremiah, you have nothing to fear from us. Unlike my father, I know you to be the wise prophet of the Lord.
Jeremiah, prompted by GDC: I do not fear you O King. The Lord's strength is with me.
Grand Episcopus, rises and recites: The Lord said, "I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land- against the Kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land. They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you." Sits.
Jehoiachin: The Babylonian forces are besieging us. My councilors do not know how to proceed. We have summoned you here to tell us the word of the Lord.
Jeremiah, prompted by GDC: The victory of the Babylonians is inevitable. There is nothing you can do to prevent it.
Grand Episcopus, rises and recites: The Lord said, "I will summon all the peoples of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon ... and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants ... This whole country will become a desolate wasteland and these nations will serve the King of Babylon seventy years." Sits.
Jehoiachin: Jeremiah, what is my own fate? Will I die here?
Jeremiah, prompted by GDC: King Jehoiachin, exile is your fate.
Grand Episcopus, rises and recites: The Lord said, "As surely as I live, even if you, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim King of Judah were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still remove you ... I will hand you over to those who seek your life, those you fear ... to Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon and to the Babylonians. I will banish you and the mother who gave you birth into another country, where neither of you was born and there you both will die. You will never come back to the land you long to return to." Sits.
Jehoiachin: And tell me Jeremiah, are the Holy Vessels of the Temple to fall into the hands of the Babylonians as well? Has the Lord spoken of this?
Jeremiah, prompted by GDC: He bas, O King, but it is for your ears alone.
Jehoiachin: Councilors, we would be alone with Jeremiah.
The Councilors leave their places and take other seats in the Grand Temple. The GDC prompts Jeremiah to approach the King, who rises.
The two position themselves as for a whispered conversation.
Grand Episcopus, rises and recites: And Jeremiah said, "Behold Lord, now we know that you are delivering the city into the hands of its enemies and they will take the people away to Babylon. What shall I do with the Holy Vessels of the Temple service?"
The Lord said to him, "Take them and consign them to the Earth." Sits.
Jehoiachin, breaking away from Jeremiah: Then you must take Baruch and your other most trusted servants and do what the Lord has commanded.
Jehoiachin returns to his seat. Jeremiah, the GDC and four other Fifth Grade members (previously instructed to carry the Ark) leave the Temple, followed by the other candidates under the supervision of their conductor. The Ark of the Covenant and four flaming torches are outside. Jeremiah and the GDC and two of the other candidates, carrying the flaming torches, lead the way to the original Temple (which is in complete darkness), followed by the Fifth Grade members carrying the Ark and with the remaining other candidates at the rear. The GDC should explain that they are leaving Jerusalem by underground passages and making their way under cover of darkness to Mt Nebo. The Ark of the Covenant is placed in the centre of the Temple with a flaming torch at each corner.
Under the direction of the GDC, all then process around the Ark in a clockwise direction and leave the Temple. Outside, the GDC instructs everyone to watch as Jeremiah carefully closes the doors, representing the sealing of the cave. They all return to the Grand Temple, where the Grand Summus and the officers of the Council have resumed their original places, the Deputy Grand Summus having removed the robe. The GDC and Aspirant resume their seats in the Council.
Keeper of the Hidden Secret (3), rises: The prophet Jeremiah, in obedience to God' s command, took the Ark of the Covenant and certain other treasures and concealed them in a cave on Mt Nebo. Nebo is that mountain from which Moses was given a view of the Promised Land. There he died and was buried by God Himself. Afterwards, when Jeremiah's followers wanted to mark the place, they could not find it. Jeremiah told them that it should remain unknown "Until the time that God gather his people together and receive them unto mercy." Shortly after this, Jerusalem fell to Nebuchadnezzar. King Jehoiachin, together with his Court and all the prominent citizens and craftsmen and the majority of the population, were led into captivity in Babylon. There the Jews remained for seventy years. Sits.
Grand Episcopus, rises and recites: By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. Sits.
Grand Summus: The Ark of the Covenant will remain hidden on Mt Nebo until it pleases God to restore it to the people. But although the physical presence of the Ark may be removed from us, its mighty power, which is the power of God, is always at hand.
The Aspirant and GDC rise and stand before the Grand Summus, who himself rises.
Grand Summus: I now bestow on you the title "Keeper of the Hidden Secret" and receive you into this Council of the Entrusted. I invest you with this star, the symbol of your new rank. The word of this Grade is Jeremiah, which means "The Lord Exalts." The sign is given by bringing the hands slowly together in front of the face, palms of the hands outwards, to represent the concealment of the Ark in the cave. Finally, I congratulate you on attaining the Fifth Grade of our Order.
GDC conducts Aspirant to his seat in the Council Chamber. The other candidates will then be led to the Grand Summus to be invested and congratulated by their conductor. Grand Summus sits.
Grand Summus, stands, *: Companions, assist me to close this Council of the Entrusted.
GDC: Companions, you will stand to Order with the sign of the Fifth Grade.
Companions stand to order with the sign of the Fifth Grade and then discharge it.
Grand Summus: By virtue of the authority vested in me, I close this Council of the Entrusted.
* * * * *.
GDC closes VSL.
The Consistory is then resumed in the First Grade.