British Israelism and the Loyal Orders
Most candidates within the Orange Order are unaware of the underlying British Israelism theology that permeates the Loyal Orders.That is because prospective candidates are not subjected to the teaching until they join. Even if they wanted, they have no means of scrutinising it in the light of Scripture. It is only learn after they have obligated themselves to this secret Order.
British Israelism views the Anglo-Saxon Protestant people of the United Kingdom as being the physical descendents of believing Israel. They attempt, by all types of imaginative theories, to prove that some of the most notable men of Scripture (Old and New Testament) actually immigrated to, or visited, the British Isles in their travels. Some within the Loyal Orders hold that within this choice nation of Britain the Orders occupy an elevated position – the equivalent to that held by the Levites before the cross. They feel they are the literal descendents of the Levitical tribe and the guardians of their supposed ancient secret practices. They believe that the Orders have preserved much of their teaching and practices.
The Orange Lecture
Every new Orange member (saved or lost) is personally informed when he joins the Orange Order that he is “one of the elect.” He is taught this in his introductory catechism. The Orange Order gives this false assurance to every single new candidate when they join the order, regardless of his spiritual state, assuring him that he is saved, saying:
“What art thou?
One of the elect!
Of what house?
The house of Israel!
Of what tribe?
The tribe of Levi!”
It certainly doesn’t take a theologian to see the danger and error of such instruction. After all:
(1) Every Orangeman is said to be “one of the elect” because of his Lodge membership.
(2) Every Orangeman is said to be of “the house of Israel” because of his Lodge membership.
(3) Every Orangeman is said to be of the priestly tribe – “the tribe of Levi” because of his Lodge membership.
It is astonishing (and arrogant) that the Orange Order would think it posses the spiritual authority to take it upon itself to assure every new member that they have become “one of the elect” through simply joining the Order. It is even more alarming that professing Christians can sit comfortably within the Lodge while this false assurance is relayed to every member. This is done without the slightest protest from any of them, despite the fact that most would concede their Institution consists mainly of unconverted men. They must surely recognise the danger of indiscriminately bestowing the favoured spiritual title of “elect” upon every Orangeman without any due qualification. They must also see that this gives unregenerate men a false hope of salvation. The fact is – this is classic British Israelism!
The Orange Order poem “What are you?” ends with the lines:
“These are simple questions, to each your answer give
The world will prove its value by the life you try to live
If you’re a would-be Orangeman then choose some other sect,
But if a worthy Orangeman you’re one of the elect.”
Every true Christian knows that the word “elect” can never be attributed to an unsaved man as he is still outside of salvation, and therefore outside of grace.
The Bible tells us that the elect of God refers solely to the redeemed, blood-bought, born-again, faithful, children of God throughout all the ages. 1 Peter 1:2 tells us that they alone are: “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.”
This company consists solely of those that have come to God’s only appointed way of salvation – the way of Christ and the way of the cross. These are the only chosen people God recognises. An Orangeman that is not born again of the Spirit of God is precluded from owning this sacred title, as he is still under the wrath of God and destined for a lost eternity. For the candidate to assume this title outside of salvation is for him to delude his soul and jeopardise his eternal destiny.
Having given every candidate a false assurance, the Orange lecturers then amazingly and systematically elevate each candidate to the household of Israel and to the priestly tribe of Levi in particular. This teaching only serves to confirm the strong British-Israelism thinking that governs the Loyal Orders. The difficulty with this instruction is that it gives unregenerate men titles and promises which do not remotely belong to them, and offers them a false sense of importance which Scripture does not apply to them. We must remember that this promise is given to every Orangeman, whether saint or sinner.
The Royal Black Lecture
Every Blackman must be an Orangeman and a Royal Arch Purpleman. When the initiate enters the 8th Gold Star & Garter degree, he is told,
“Why do you wear that emblem?
That Gold Star?
Because I am a Priest.
Of what order?
Of the Order of Melchisedec.
And of what tribe?
Of the tribe of Levi.
Why stand thou thus?
Because I stand on *prying ground.
Why standest thou on prying ground?
Because I am of the High Priestly Order.”
The Blackman is reminded in this blasphemous catechism that he is of Israel’s tribe of Levi. All the varying degrees, colours and initiations the aspirant experiences serve as important interdependent parts of a gradually unfolding overall message. When one piece is put in place, it helps put the next in place. The more components which come together the clearer the picture he receives of the esoteric content and mystical nature of these Orders. In reality this teaching is typical British Israelism gibberish!
The Royal Black Institution claims that it is a “High Priestly Order.” It demonstrates this by supposedly initiating its members into (what they say is) “the Order of Melchisedec.” This is a most astounding claim coming from an organisation that claims to be Reformed. In doing so, the Royal Black shows a blatant disregard for scriptural truth. First, it must be in complete ignorance as to what a high priestly order is. Secondly, it must have no comprehension of what the scriptural requirements and function of a high priest are. Thirdly, it must have no understanding of the New Testament teaching in relation to Christ’s individual position as sole high priest to the people of God
Uzziah tried to claim the high priestly office – a position that was not his to own or operate. This carried very grave repercussions for him. God judged him causing him to carry the consequences to the grave. The thing to note is: Uzziah was a child of God. He was familiar with the precepts and demands of the law. He knew that the office of high priest was not his to function, yet he foolishly insisted in exercising it. Is this not similar to what we are here dealing with in the Royal Black Institution? Many within the Order know that the title and office of high priest and order of Melchizedek pertains exclusively to Christ, yet they willingly continue in a secret fraternity that claims this priesthood. They have allowed themselves to be given these hallowed divine titles without the slightest protest.
The Masonic Knights Templar ballad, which is suitably entitled Sons of Levi, confirms the source from which this Black teaching originated. It asserts:
“Come all you Craftsmen that do wish
To propagate the grand design,
Come, enter into our high temple,
And learn the art that is divine.
For we are the true born sons of Levi,
None on earth with us compare;
We are the root and the branch of David,
The bright and the glorious morning star.
Come all ye Knights Templar of Malta,
Forth in glittering armour shine,
Assist your good and worthy master
To protect the ark divine.”
Whilst this is part of the Irish version, we find the same ballad on the National Library of Scotland website, although there are a few slight indigenous variations in the wording. The Library, in its commentary of this ballad, states: “Oddly enough the tune to the Sons of Levi, as it is normally known, has links with the earlier Jacobite song, Mo Ghile Mear. Despite this origin the song was eventually inherited from the Freemasons, by the Orange Lodge and is still part of their repertoire of tunes. It can be found in most traditional Loyal Orders song books. The song is a description, in biblical terms, of a new member’s initiation.”
Mo Ghile Mear, which is Gaelic for ‘My Hero or My Dashing Darling’, was a Jacobite lament for Bonnie Prince Charlie. The song may be read as a love song of a broken-hearted widow lamenting the loss of her true love; however, it was really an allegory in which Ireland laments the loss of its king, the Stuart Prince. It was based on the dance tune The White Cockade, which was widely regarded as seditious because it related to the white cockade or rosette worn as a badge of allegiance by the supporters of King James. It is certainly interesting that this Knights Templar ballad should be linked to the Jacobite camp. This further reinforces the viewpoint that the Jacobites invented the Masonic Templars as a secret vehicle to accomplish its ulterior political designs.
The words of this song show us that the Black concept of being of the tribe of Levi is nothing new, but is a deeply embedded belief within the Masonic Templar tradition. High grade Masons view themselves as “the true born sons of Levi,” a conviction they passed on to their spiritual offspring – the Royal Black Institution and the Knights of Malta. It is clear from our study that these Templar progeny speak and act just like the mother order. Whilst the idea of belonging to the tribe of Levi is biblically unacceptable it is certainly not the worst part of the ballad. The remaining lines of the same verse are most disturbing and show the depth of error that permeates Templarism. It testifies: “None on earth with us compare; we are the root and the branch of David, the bright and the glorious morning star.” These words are an absolute blasphemy. Here, the Templars take titles and descriptions that belong exclusively to the Saviour and claim them as their own. Christ, and no-one else, is the root and the offspring of David; He alone is the bright and morning star.
The Order of Melchisedec
It is important to establish an absolute here; it is the Blackman in this degree who confesses he is a “priest” in “the high priestly order” of “the Order of Melchisedec.” This is something the Loyal Orders are careful to publicly conceal. Let us be sure, this is not Christ speaking; neither is the Blackman speaking on Christ’s behalf. He would have no warrant to do that anyway. In any case, this cannot be speaking of Christ, as He did not belong to the tribe of Levi. The person in view here that is being represented must be someone apart from the Saviour.
Hebrews 7:14-17 proves this: “For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”
The writer of the book of Hebrews uses the word “evident” to underline the obvious nature of the fact that Christ came out of the tribe of Judah and not Levi. You would nearly think the Holy Spirit specifically inserted this into the Word of God because He knew that one day there would be secret fraternities claiming otherwise. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown say of this word “evident” (prodeelon): it means “‘manifest before the eyes’ as indisputable: a proof that whatever difficulties now appear, then Christ’s genealogy laboured under none.”
The Lecturers continue:
“Why do you take the-tribe-of-Judah for your great and grand password and you of the tribe of Levi?
Because from thence The Lion sprang that prevailed.
Have you the great and grand password of the Knights of the Gold Star and Garter or the High Priestly Order?
This part of the lecture should remove any doubt (if any remains) that the person being informed he is of the order of Melchizedek and the tribe of Levi is anyone other than the Black candidate. Here he is again reminded that he is “of the tribe of Levi,” he is also once more informed that as a Knight of the Gold Star & Garter he now belongs to “the high priestly order.” We should not overlook the fact that being a Knight of the Gold Star & Garter is considered synonymous with being of “the High Priestly Order.” Armed with this knowledge he is then told that the great and grand password of the Knight of the Gold Star & Garter is “the-tribe-of-Judah.” After that he is told why: “Because from thence the lion sprang that prevailed.” Christians will know that Christ is the lion of the tribe of Judah.
So to sum up: evidently there are two parties in view here – both who are said to belong to a high priestly order. The Blackman claims to belong to both the tribe of Levi and the order of Melchizedek, but Scripture shows that to be an impossibility. Christ, on the other hand, belongs to the tribe of Judah (which was not the Israelite priestly tribe) and holds the order of Melchizedek. The Blackman is placed in two high priestly orders, Christ is placed in one. Here we have a notable conflict. The reality is that the Black Knights belong to neither the tribe of Levi nor the order of Melchizedek. Their claims to both are spurious and their stated position is entirely imaginary.
The Orange Order and British Israelism