One of the most prominent, and yet deceptive, aspects of the Orange Order's Royal Arch Purple Degree is its symbolism. This imagery, like the teaching and practices of the Order, was inherited directly from Freemasonry and is universally recognised. Its true significance is disguised beneath a thick veil of secrecy, mystery and deception; nevertheless, as we analyse the mystical nature of the symbolism employed within the Royal Arch Purple it is not difficult to recognise its occult origins.
Freemasonry itself, which is widely accepted as the largest and most influential occult body existing throughout the world today, inherited its imagery, known as esoteric (or occult) symbolism, directly from the fountainhead of the pagan ancient mysteries. Evangelical author of 'Christ the Christian and Freemasonry', and himself an Ulsterman, W.J. McK. McCormick states, "Whatever rite or symbol we examine in Masonry, in spite of protests well-meaning or otherwise, from those who have been deceived, we find that it derives its true origin and meaning from the Ancient Mysteries" (p. 94).
All occult symbolism is in fact dualistic in meaning or interpretation, in that, it has an exoteric or outward meaning (known to the masses) and an esoteric or hidden meaning (known only to the elect few). Occultist Fredrick Goodman in his book 'Magical Symbols' (p. 6) explains: The true magic symbol is an image which hides an inner meaning. This meaning is usually cunningly hidden behind a form which most people think they can understand immediately."
He further states that, "True magical symbols are 'disguises' for ideas, how their forms are so arranged as to provide a clue to some hidden meaning. The 'hidden meanings' are often very subtle, and an ability to recognise magical symbols must be developed by anyone who wishes to seek these out" (p. 11).
Christian authority on Freemasonry E.M. Storms, in his book 'Should a Christian be a Mason?' (p. 43) states, "Nowhere in Masonry is the 'brother' more cleverly deceived than in the presentation of its varied and ancient symbols. Most symbols are dualistic in nature and Masonic symbols are no exception. Behind all Masonic symbolism there is an undisclosed occult interpretation of which most Freemasons are ignorant."
The ironic fact is both evangelical and Masonic authorities are at complete agreement on the deceptive nature of secret society symbolism. The most authoritative Masonic writer ever, was held to be Albert Pike (1809-1891). He rose to Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of the thirty-third degree (Mother council of the World) and Supreme Pontiff of Universal Freemasonry. In his book 'Morals and Dogma' (accepted universally as 'the bible' of Freemasonry) Pike admits: "Masonry like all religions, all the Mysteries, Hermeticism and Alchemy, conceals its secrets from all except the Adepts and Sages, or the Elect and uses false explanations and misinterpretations of its symbols to mislead those who deserve to be misled; to conceal the Truth which it calls Light, from them, and to draw them away from it."
He further states, "The Blue Degrees are but the outer court or portico of the Temple. Part of the symbols are displayed there to the Initiate, but he is intentionally misled by false interpretations. It is not intended that he shall understand them, but it is intended that he shall imagine he understands them" ('Final Notice' by Barry Smith pp. 328-329).
It is these dualistic symbols, which the Royal Arch Purple has foolishly received from Freemasonry, that are subtly elevated today as honourable symbols of Protestantism. Such folly can never be, as they disguise a hidden occult significance, and are in reality the devil's dirty imprints.
THE ARK OF GOD
THE ALL-SEEING EYE
The Masonic third degree lecture teaches that the "All-Seeing Eye whom the Sun Moon and Stars obey, and under whose watchful care even comets perform their stupendous revolutions, beholds the innermost recesses of the human heart, and will reward us according to our works" (Beyond The Light' p. 136).
Here, whilst addressing the subject of the all-seeing eye, Freemasonry once again outlines its erroneous teaching of 'salvation through an upright character and good works'. This is in complete violation of Scripture which teaches: "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified" (Galatians 2:16).
Significantly the Royal Arch Purple repeats this false teaching (nearly word for word), by saying, "The All-Seeing Eye whom the Sun Moon and Stars obey, and under whose watchful care perform their stupendous operations, looks to the innermost thoughts of the heart, and will reward us according to our actions."
The peculiar secret society teaching that surrounds this esoteric symbol, not surprisingly, disguises an occult meaning. Evangelical author of 'Guardians of the Grail' J.R. Church states, "The symbol may represent a god, but it is not the God of the Bible. It is a human eye indicating that man is god. It represents so-called 'mind power', the ability to manipulate one's world with thought" (p. 165).
Occultist Fredrick Goodman writes that, "the eye relates to the 'God within' to the higher spiritual guardian who can 'see' the purpose of man's life, and in some mysterious way guide him" (Magical Symbols p. 101).
J.R. Church further points out that, "Many modern groups, though not related through organisation structure, nevertheless, claim to be offshoots of the original so-called Mystery Religion. They practice and believe the same so-called Secret Doctrine. Some organisations may even appear to be enemies, but their underlying philosophy is the same. They appear to be tributaries of the mainstream Babylonian philosophy. They all carry the same symbols, such as the All Seeing Eye, and believe in the same so-called Secret Doctrine." (p. 161) He also explains that "It is the symbol of the Illuminati, as well as the symbol of the Rosicrucians" (p. 165).
FIVE POINTED STAR
This symbol is one of the most prominent emblems within the Royal Arch Purple, though its significance, like every symbol inherited from Freemasonry, is concealed behind a smokescreen of secret society ambiguity.
The five-pointed star is found on most Arch Purple memorabilia and represents the blasphemous resurrection rite of the five points of fellowship, each point mystically symbolising a part of the resurrection act. First - Foot to foot. Second - Knee to knee. Third - Hand in hand. Fourth - Breast to breast. Fifth and last - Left hand behind back.
The symbol is normally seen within the Arch Purple with the single point pointing upwards denoting its association, like Masonry and Mormonism, with white witchcraft. Ironically, all these aforementioned bodies employ the heathenish five points of fellowship within their respective initiations.
In the 'Dictionary of Mysticism' by Frank Gaynor we learn that the five-pointed star "is considered by occultists to be the most potent means of conjuring spirits. When a single point of the star points upward, it is regarded as the sign of the good and a means to conjure benevolent spirits; when the single point points down and a pair of points are on top, it is a sign of the evil (Satan) and is used to conjure powers of evil" ('Hidden Secrets of the Eastern Star' p. 84).
Lewis Spence states in 'An Encyclopaedia of Occultism': "This symbol has been used by all secret and occult societies, by the Rosicrucians, the Illuminati, down to the Freemasons today" ('Should a Christian be a Mason?' p. 53).
The book of Acts tells us how the disobedient children of Israel brought such imagery into the camp and how God dealt with it: "Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness? Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon" (Acts 7:42-43).
SUN, MOON AND STARS
The children of Israel were often seen turning towards these objects of idolatry at times of great apostasy in Scripture. Such a time is revealed in II Kings 17:16, where "they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal."
OTHER SYMBOLS EMPLOYED
The Royal Arch Purple Order use many other esoteric symbols such as the 'blindfold' (c/f. Ch. 3) the 'sword pointing to the heart' (c/f. Ch. 4), a 'mystical ladder' (c/f. Ch. 6), the 'two and a half (c/f. Ch. 6), 'a coffin' (c/f. Ch. 6) and many more. All these symbols carry a hidden occult significance, which can only be comprehended by acquiring esoteric knowledge provided during ritual initiation. This teaching and imagery is common to all secret societies and is shared also with Mormonism and the New Age movement.
Some apologists for the Royal Arch Purple have sheepishly argued, on the general subject of symbolism, that "it is what you take out of it!" But is it? Such an argument, if correct, would lend support to so-called 'evangelical Roman Catholics' partaking of the wafer in the idolatrous mass. After all "it's what you take out of it?" It would also give credence to a deluded Christian wearing a superstitious crucifix round his neck to denote his deep love for Christ. Again "it is what you take out of it?"
Such a liberal position is expounded in the book 'The Orange Order: An Evangelical Perspective', written by Grand Chaplain of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland, Arch Purple man and Rev. Ian Meredith and Irish Arch Purple man Rev. Brian Kennaway. With reference to the five-pointed star, they suggest, "It means what you want it to mean and nothing more." Referring to the all-seeing eye they repeat their shallow stance, saying, "The symbol is neutral, it all depends what it means to you." Holding such an indeterminate logic would force a man to assume an attitude that there are no absolute rights and no absolute wrongs, i.e. secular humanism. This philosophy is at clear variance with the instruction of Scripture, which teaches that there are absolute rights and there are absolute wrongs.
Other apologists for the Royal Arch Purple even try to liken the Arch Purple symbolism to the occasional symbolism found within some evangelical churches like the dove and the burning bush. Nevertheless, comparing such rare (and open) symbolism to the numerous mystical hidden occult symbols employed within secret societies is contorted in the extreme.
Setting aside such empty reasoning, we see that the Royal Arch Purple has unquestionably received its symbols from a blatant occult source - Freemasonry. Those at the top of the Order today, like those who formed the Order, are fully aware of the true origins and significance of these mystical symbols. Occult symbolism is, in reality, the devil's fingerprints and they can normally be found anywhere he enjoys control.
The Psalmist exposed the same compromise in his day, saying, "Lift up thy feet unto the perpetual desolations; even all that the enemy hath done wickedly in the sanctuary. Thine enemies roar in the midst of thy congregations; they set up their ensigns for signs" (Psalms 74:3-4).
Any Christian owning any secret society memorabilia (whether regalia, books, certificates or artefacts) should destroy them. Deuteronomy 7:25&26 instructs: "The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God. Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing."
David followed this instruction in 2 Samuel 5:21 after he had defeated the Philistines in the valley of Rephaim. The Bible records: "And there they [the Philistines] left their images, and David and his men burned them."
Paul the Apostle was faced with a similar circumstance, in his day, as he preached the Word of God to the Jews and Greeks in Ephesus. This time the Spirit of the Lord convicted the new converts to destroy their accumulated heathen imagery. The Bible says, "and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed" (Acts 19:17-20).
It is high time that Protestantism was purged of every semblance of Baal worship!
The source of the degree