The Thirteenth Degree or Royal Arch of Enoch
The Thirteenth degree is one of the Intermediate Degrees in our Rite. Authors in the last two centuries BC and first one or two AD produced pseudoepigraphical books, that is, the authors remaining anonymous while ascribing authorship to an ancient figure. Enoch, an Old Testament hero is the subject of such a set of writings.
Who was this Enoch?
Many antediluvian names are quoted among the early biblical heroes - Adam, Abel, Shem, Seth, Methuselah, Melchizedek - but none receives the high honour given to Enoch who, together with Noah, is praised to the highest heavens as a man of righteousness and wisdom who found supreme favour in God's sight. The literature of early Judaism makes frequent reference to him as do later writings, Jewish and Christian alike. No doubt, the seed-bed, as it were, for much of this growth of interest is to be found in the intriguing passage in Genesis 5.21-24 which reads,
"When Enoch had lived sixty-five years, he became the father of Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after the birth of Methuselah for three hundred years, and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him."
As we shall see, this miraculous entry of Enoch into heaven opened the way for all kinds of speculation concerning that spiritual world where God lives together with his hosts of angels.

Apocalyptic Literature
As the Book of Enoch is, in some respects, the most notable extant apocalyptic work outside the canonical Scriptures, it will not be inappropriate to offer a few remarks here on the Apocalyptic Literature in general. It is not one of the Apocryphal Books. Apocalyptic refers to mysterious revelations, angels, the supernatural world, and the ultimate judgement. Apocryphal refers to concealed or hidden meanings.
The Old Testament priesthood collapsed into a politically corrupt role leaving the Hebrew nation with two successors, the Christian Church and the Rabbinical Schools. And of the two, it was the Christian Church that was more faithful to the ideas enshrined in the Apocalypses, and did consider itself, not without some reason, the fulfilment of those ideas
"We study the Apocalypses to learn how our spiritual ancestors hoped against hope that God would make it all right in the end; and that we, their children, are here to-day studying them is an indication that their hope was not wholly unfounded".
Hope was, indeed, the main underlying motive-power, which prompted the writers of the Apocalyptic Books. And this hope was the more intensive and ardent in that it shines forth from a background which was dark with despair, for the Apocalyptists despaired of the world in which they lived, a world in which the godly were of no account, while the wicked seemed too often triumphant and prosperous.


With evil everywhere around, the Apocalyptists saw no hope for the world as it was; for such a world, there was no remedy, only destruction; if the good were ever to triumph it must be in a new world. Despairing, therefore, of the world around them, the Apocalyptists centred their hope upon a world to come, where the righteous would come into their own and evil would find no place. They look away from this world in their visions of the future.
The Apocalyptist glances at the contemporary history of the world around him, to which many a cryptic reference is made. This necessitates some knowledge of the history of this period (circa 200 B.C.-A.D. 100) for a full understanding of the books in question.
[The supernatural plays a great part in the Apocalyptic literature and this supernatural colouring will often strike the reader of this literature as fantastic and this word is used in the old-fashioned sense!]
On the one hand, the minds of the Apocalyptists were saturated with the traditional thoughts and ideas of the Old Testament, and, on the other, they were eagerly absorbing the newer concepts, which the spirit of the age had brought into being.
Again, to realise the significance of much that is found in these Apocalypses one has to reckon with a rigid predestinarianism, which was characteristic of the Apocalyptists. They started with the absolute conviction that the whole course of the world, from beginning to end, both as regards its physical changes and also in all that concerns the history of nations, their growth and decline, and of every single individual, was in every respect pre- determined by God Almighty before all time.
But these things, according to the Apocalyptists, were divine secrets hidden from the beginning of the world but were revealed to God-fearing men to whom was accorded the faculty of peering into the hidden things of God and understanding them, hence their name of Apocalyptists as "revealers".
In spite of all the mysticism, the Apocalyptists fully realised the need of practical religion; they were upholders of the Law, the loyal observance of which they regard as a necessity for all God-fearing men, laying all stress on the spirit of its observance rather than upon the letter as was the manner of the Pharisees. And they embraced Jew and Gentile equally. Their veneration for the Law was whole-hearted; it was the real guide of life; punishment awaits those who ignore its guidance.
The Apocalyptic Literature, began to come into existence about the period 200-150 B.C. i.e. from the time of that great landmark of Jewish history, the Maccabean Era. The earliest extant example of this literature, the earliest portions of the Book of Enoch belong to this period. Works of an Apocalyptic character continued to be written for about three centuries
The Two Men Who Walked with God
Let us now turn to the two men who 'walked with God', particularly to Enoch and less so to Noah
Of particular interest is the early Babylonian tradition, which tells how, in the time before the Flood, there were ten 'kings' who reigned for specified periods of time. These kings were semi-divine beings who had come down from heaven. The seventh in line was (called Enmeduranki), the king of Sip par, a city known to us from other sources as the city of the sun god Shamash.



Thus, as this king was the seventh in line from the first 'king' after creation, so Enoch was the seventh in line from Adam the first man; the duration of Enoch's life is given as 365 years and being the same number as the days of the solar year has a particular relevance to the above king who worshipped the sun-god.
At a more general level it may be noted that, in both Babylonian and Assyrian sources, the belief is expressed that the men who lived in antediluvian times were men of great knowledge and profound wisdom, a belief expressed also in the Jewish traditions concerning Enoch and others who, like him, lived before the Flood.
From this is revealed a highly complex 'secret tradition' associated with the name of Enoch. Based on the simple assertion concerning Enoch quoted above, there develops a highly speculative tradition which was no doubt shaped and re-shaped orally for some time before finding written form in the Jewish literature of the second century BC onwards.
Our apocalyptic knowledge of Enoch (and Noah) comes from The Book of Enoch, which is divided, into three parts, the Ethiopic, the Slavonic and the Hebrew Books, the last of which lies well beyond our field of concern and may belong to the fifth or sixth century AD.
The First Book contains several sections and the first, the Book of Watchers (1-36) is one of the earliest sections and is probably to be dated early in the second century BC.
The author presents himself as God's spokesman and prophet by claiming a divine revelation through a vision in which he foresees the judgment of the wicked and the justification of the righteous. This indeed is to be a recurring theme throughout the entire work.
The succeeding chapters (6-11) tells how two hundred angels or 'Watchers' who "lusted after the beautiful daughters of men" and who bore children to them.
This story is a reference to Genesis Chapter 6, found between the statement about Enoch and Noah's Flood and reads "When mankind has spread over all the world, and girls were being born, some of the supernatural beings (or sons of God) saw that these girls were very beautiful, so they took the ones they liked."
Scripture continues "In those days and even later, there were giants on the earth who were descendants of human women and the super-natural beings. They were the great heroes and famous men of long ago".
These children grew up as giants who corrupted the earth, teaching men to make instruments of war and all kinds of enchantments. Michael and his fellow-archangels intercede on behalf of mankind and in response to their plea God warned Noah of the impending flood. Gabriel and Michael are advised to bind and destroy the children of the Watchers. The earth shall then be cleansed and the messianic age begins.
Enoch now appears on the scene. He is requested to go and pronounce judgment on the fallen angels. Hearing him, in fear and trembling they beg him to intercede for them. In reply Enoch warns them that they will have "neither peace nor forgiveness of sin”
In the remaining chapters Enoch is taken by angels in visions to the east, to the place of punishment for the fallen angels and finally to Sheol itself where the dead are separated into compartments corresponding to the degree of reward or punishment they will receive.



These supernatural beings were called Watchers. Note that the Watcher of the Thirtieth Degree who interrogates the candidate before being admitted to receive the Degree is not related to these beings.
This is very old mythic material, lesser younger gods rebelling against the supreme one, the story blurring the distinction between god and man.


Apocalyptic Visions

The scene changes and Enoch is taken to "seven magnificent mountains" (24.2) where stands the throne of God (24.3; 25.3) and is shown a tree 'beautiful and fragrant' which is the tree of life. He is also shown the "metal mountains" (52.2) from which are made the weapons of war. In the final chapters, he is taken to the four points of the compass and seeing the wondrous works of God. He blesses 'the Lord of Glory who has made great and glorious wonders' (17-36).
There follows a set of Parables and then The Book of Heavenly Luminaries, (Chapters 72-82) dating also from the earlier years. Fragments found at Qumran confirm the view that what we now have is a shortened version of a longer text. It is an astronomical treatise dealing with the measurement of time based on the movement of the sun, the reliability of the solar year of 365 days and an account of cosmic upheavals marking the end of time.
A careful account is given of the natural elements and the movements of the heavenly bodies - not so much for their beauty or even their wonder but rather their order and their governance within the cosmos. Thus, the Book of Heavenly Luminaries (I En. 72-82) describes the movement of the sun through its twelve 'portals', the various phases of the moon and the paths taken by the stars, demonstrating that there as no deviation in the laws governing the heavenly bodies. Only with the coming of the day of judgment will the order of the cosmos be upset for then the moon will alter its course and the stars will fail to appear at their proper seasons (80.1 ff.)
Enoch, it is said, records 'the signs of the heavens according to the order of their months'. This reference is to the twelve months of the solar calendar corresponding to the twelve Signs of the Zodiac crucial for the fixing of the religious festivals. We observe that the writers of these books were at one with the Qumran covenanters in advocating a solar calendar over against the lunar calendar of 'official' Judaism, occasioning conflict between the men of Qumran and the Jerusalem hierarchy.
The Dream Visions, contained in later chapters (83-90), are to be dated in the Maccabean period towards the end of the 160 BC. They consist of two visions granted to Enoch concerning the future of the world. The first (is in chapters 83, 84 and) foretells the destruction of the earth by flood, caused by sin and traceable to the machinations of fallen angels. The second (85-90) discloses the history of the world from Adam up to the time of the Maccabees and the coming of the messianic kingdom.
Another, The Book of Admonitions (91-105) may reflect the situation prevailing in the late Maccabean period. Enoch addresses his children, and thence to his contemporaries, admonishing them to follow righteousness, predicting their resurrection and the judgment of the wicked (92.1-5; 91.1-11,18-19).



He is renowned as a teacher of righteousness, reinforcing the above further, urging his own children to "love righteousness and walk in it; for the paths of righteousness are worthy of acceptance, but the people of iniquity will quickly be destroyed and vanish" (94. 1; ch 91. 19). ]
Not only are they to guard themselves against evil but also to accept responsibility for the poor and hungry and even towards the animal creation (58-60).
Elsewhere (in the Parables) Enoch has a particular affinity with "the Righteous One, the Chosen One", in whom righteousness dwells (44.3) and indeed with all the righteous who will rise in resurrection (94.1-5, etc.).
Enoch's travels recall the journeys of the Babylonian hero Gilgamesh who visits the underworld and of Homer's Odesseus who travels to meet the shades of the departed in Hades.

Let us now consider:

Enoch and the Masonic Tradition

In the study of the sciences, in teaching them to his children and his contemporaries, and in instituting the rites of initiation, Enoch enjoyed for many years a peaceful, pious, and useful life. The crimes of mankind had increased to such a height that, in the expressive words of Holy Writ, "every imagination of the thoughts of man's heart" led him to despair.
According to a Masonic tradition, Enoch, disgusted with the wickedness that surrounded him, and appalled at the thought of its inevitable consequences, fled to the solitude and secrecy of Mount Moriah. There he devoted himself to prayer and pious contemplation. This spot was first consecrated by his presence, afterwards to be made still more holy the sacrifices of Abraham, David, and Solomon. It was here that he was given those instructions which were to preserve the wisdom of the Antediluvians to posterity when the world, with the exception of but one family, should have been destroyed by the forthcoming flood. The circumstances which occurred at that time are recorded in a tradition which forms what has been called the great Masonic "Legend of Enoch", and which runs to this effect:
Enoch, being inspired by the Most High, and in commemoration of a wonderful vision built a temple under the ground, and dedicated it to God. His son, Methuselah, constructed the building; although he was not acquainted with his father's motives. This temple consisted of nine brick vaults, situated perpendicularly beneath each other, and communicating by apertures left in the arch of each vault.
Enoch then caused a triangular plate of gold to be made, each side of which was a cubit long lying on a block of agate of the same form. On the upper plate he engraved the ineffable characters, the true name of the deity and placing it on a pedestal of white marble depositing the whole within the deepest arch.




When this subterranean building was completed, he made a door of stone, attaching to it a ring of iron, by which it might be occasionally raised. He placed it over the uppermost arch and so covered it over that the aperture could not be discovered. Enoch himself was not permitted to enter it but once a year. Following the deaths of Enoch, Methuselah, and Lamech, and the destruction of the world by the deluge, all knowledge of this temple, and of the sacred treasure which it contained, was lost until, in after times, it was accidentally discovered by another distinguished Freemason who like Enoch was engaged in the erection of the Temple on the same spot.

The legend goes on to inform us that after Enoch had completed the subterranean temple, fearing that the principles of those arts and sciences which he had cultivated with so much assiduity would be lost in that general destruction of which he had received a prophetic vision, erected two pillars, the one of marble, to withstand the influence of fire, and the other of brass, to resist the action of water.

On the pillar of brass he engraved the history of the creation, the principles of the arts and sciences, and the doctrines of Speculative Freemasonry as they were practised in his times. On the one of marble he inscribed characters in hieroglyphics, indicating that near the spot where they stood a precious treasure was deposited in a subterranean vault.

Josephus gives an account of similar pillars in the First Book of his Antiquities .."they made two pillars the one of brick, the other of stone; they inscribed their discoveries on them both, that, in case the pillar of brick should be destroyed by the flood, the pillar of stone might remain and exhibit those discoveries to mankind. Now this remains in the land of Siriad to this day."

Enoch, having completed these labours, called his descendants around him on Mount Moriah, and having warned them in the most solemn manner of the consequences of their wickedness, exhorted them to forsake their idolatries and return once more to the worship of the true God. Masonic tradition informs us that he then delivered up the government of the Craft to his grandson, Lamech, and disappeared from the earth.
[From: Mackey - Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry - 1917




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