16° Prince of Jerusalem
15° Knight of the East, or Knight of the Sword
The Council of Princes of Jerusalem confers the 15° and 16° which teach lessons using the settings based on the Babylonian captivity of the Jews and the building of the second Temple.
In the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the U.S.A, Council of Princes of Jerusalem stands alone as the second of the four bodies, which comprise a complete Scottish Rite Valley. In the Southern Jurisdiction, however, the 15° and 16° degrees are part of the Rose Croix Chapter which is the second of the 4 Southern Jurisdiction bodies.
The Fifteenth and Sixteenth Degrees of Scottish Rite Masonry are known as "Knight of the East or Sword" and "Prince of Jerusalem." These degrees sometimes referred to as the historical degrees, constitute an allegorical narrative presenting the story of a captive people who "wept beside the rivers of Babylon." When liberated they were consecrated to the task of building the Second Temple or rather of rebuilding the original temple of Solomon, which had been destroyed by marauding Assyrians.
In the characters of Daniel, Joshua, Zerubbabel and his companions, the earlier virtues of patience, courage, and fortitude are contrasted with the disillusionment and loss of zeal that developed as the rebuilding of the temple proceeded. The motif of this spiritual struggle is portrayed against a tapestry, representing a scene of oriental and pagan splendor in the court of one of the most imposing empires of history. This was the Achaemenian dynasty at the height of its power. The ancient authority of Assyria and Babylon, of Syria and Sidonia and of all the fabulous empires of the East had been overthrown and the Persians ruled supreme.
Contrasted with the hauteur of these imperious monarchs is the humility of the little group of those born in bondage pleading for the redress of an ancient wrong. The lessons of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Degrees are from these elements of the historical drama which transpired during the reigns of the Great Kings, Cyrus and Darius.