The Masonic Candidate
After securing the initiate's undivided loyalty, the Royal Arch Purple candidate is 'made up' for initiation in a practice known within secret societies and the occult world as being 'properly prepared'. In 'The Meaning of Masonry', prominent Freemason W.L. Wilmshurst explains the significance of such a practice, saying, "If he be truly a worthy candidate, 'properly prepared' in his heart and an earnest seeker for the light, the mere fact of his entering such an atmosphere will so impress and awaken his dormant soul faculties as in itself to constitute an initiation and an indelible memory" (p. 117).
This custom is, in reality, the state of readiness the initiate obtains before receiving mystical enlightenment into a secret body. The candidate could justly be described as being properly prepared for his (counterfeit) new birth experience. Occultist Fredrick Goodman in his book 'Magical Symbols' contends: "When a man has so prepared himself as to achieve insight into the nature of the spiritual realm, then he is said to be an initiate."
The oath-bound Royal Arch Purple aspirant is prepared for initiation in typically Masonic manner, by being stripped of much of his clothes. He is divested of his coat and vest, collar and tie, shoes and socks. One shoe is then placed on candidate's left bare foot, and the legs of his trousers rolled up above the knee, his left breast being bare. The candidate is then blindfolded, and a piece of purple ribbon is fastened to the front of the candidate's shirt or other garment.
The Arch Purple lecture states: "I was neither naked nor clothed, barefooted nor shod, deprived of all moneys, means, and minerals, blindfolded, and led by the hand of a friend to a door."
SEMI-NAKED AND BAREFOOTED
This peculiar practice of stripping the candidate before initiation, whilst overtly humiliating, has a deep spiritual significance. The custom itself goes back to the time of Nimrod, the father of the ancient mysteries. The Rev. Alexander Hislop in his book 'The Two Babylons' (p. 183) explains how Nimrod, before he was cut in pieces, was "necessarily stripped" in what was "a voluntary humiliation." He then states, "When, therefore, his suffering was over, and his humiliation past, the clothing in which he was invested was regarded as a meritorious clothing, available not only for himself, but for all who were initiated in the mysteries."
This obscene rite, consequently, took on great importance within the mysteries and the occult world. Hislop, referring to a typical initiation, states, "after being duly prepared by magic rites and ceremonies, they were ushered, in a state of absolute nudity, into the innermost recesses of the temple" (p. 183).
Hislop then explains, "When the initiated, thus 'illuminated' and made partakers of a 'divine nature', after being 'divested of their garments', were clothed anew, the garments with which they were invested were looked upon as 'sacred garments', and possessing distinguished virtues. 'The coat of skin' with which the Father of mankind was divinely invested after he was made so painfully sensible of his nakedness, was, as all intelligent theologians admit, a typical emblem of the glorious righteousness of Christ - 'the garment of salvation', which is 'unto all and upon all them that believe'. The garments put upon the initiated after their disrobing of their former clothes, were evidently intended as a counterfeit of the same" (p. 183). This vulgar practice has assumed a strategic place in most heathen initiations, being subtly designed to mimic the Christian new birth experience.
Freemasonry makes no secret of the significance of such a practice. Masonic authority A.E.Waite in his book 'A New Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry' explains that this preparation is designed to portray "an image of coming out from some old condition by being unclothed therefrom-partially at least-and thereafter of entering into another and new order, in which a different quality of light is communicated, another vesture is to be assumed and-ultimately-another life entered" (p. 155).
Clearly, the Arch Purple initiate by participating in such a ceremony is aligning himself with those initiated into the mysteries throughout the centuries. This practice, which harmonises with the rest of the initiation, is carefully devised to caricature the humble and unworthy way a repentant sinner comes to Christ. This objectionable preparation serves not only to divest a man of his clothes but also of his dignity and is designed to represent the putting off of the old garments, the old life and the putting on of the new. Such imagery is intended to undermine the teaching of Scripture, which commands the believer to put off the old man, the old nature, the old lifestyle and "put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:24).
Experienced Freemason Bernard E. Jones in his book 'Freemasons' Guide and Compendium' outlines the mystical significance of entering the lodge bare-footed. He states, "The nations of antiquity worshipped their gods bare-footed and we know that in connexion with religious and magical rites the Romans often had their feet bare… the sorceresses, intent on the exercise of their art, went with one foot or both feet naked... People attended the worship of Isis with naked feet" (p. 269).
To justify this pagan practice the Royal Arch Purple subtly re-enact Moses' encounter with Almighty God at the burning bush, where the candidate is significantly instructed to cast off his shoe, because, as he later learns: "the place whereon I stood was holy ground."
In the 'Symbolism of Freemasonry' (pp. 127-129), the Mason is taught that the Lodge is the 'holy of holies', it is 'holy ground', thus deceptively taking Moses' encounter at the burning bush as justification for their mode of dress. The Royal Arch Purple also conveniently covers such superstitious behaviour with biblical language so as to sweeten the devil's poisonous tablet and cause the initiate to feel comfortable with this iniquity.
The draft to the Royal Arch Purple Chapter book 'History of the Royal Arch Purple Order' says, "Neither barefoot nor shod is a condition which has always been symbolic. In medieval folklore the unlaced shoe was taken as a sign that one was always ready to avert or escape from danger… To remove and give the shoe to another person denoted trust, sincerity and fidelity."
The Chapter attempts to further justify this peculiar heathen practice in the published book, stating, "It is indeed taken as a sign of respect all over the world as seen by the rows of shoes outside mosques." Following Islam's example can hardly be a reason why any Protestant (never mind believer) should take off his shoes in front of a Chapter of largely unregenerate men.
DEPRIVED OF ALL MONEYS
The candidate is deprived of all valuables before participating in initiation, signifying his present poverty-stricken state and his new dependence and trust upon the Chapter. Authoritative Mason Bernard E. Jones explains, in his 'Freemasons' Guide and Compendium' that, "the candidate is deprived of moneys, metallic substances, and of 'everything valuable' before he enters the lodge, so that, emblematically, he is received into masonry poor and penniless, a symbolism which we might regard as being all-sufficient" (p. 267).
The Royal Arch Purple Chapter boldly asserts in its unpublished draft that: "The phrases 'neither naked nor clothed' and 'deprived of all moneys, means and minerals' are self-explanatory. They are used to illustrate that all must be prepared to enter in humility and in a poverty stricken attitude."
One of the most prominent items within the Royal Arch Purple degree is the blindfold or hoodwink. It has been used by all secret societies throughout the centuries. It is placed on every Arch Purple candidate at the commencement of his initiation and remains on him throughout his travel until its removal at a strategic moment in the ceremony.
The blindfold's significance is distinctly profane and highlights the deception that has been perpetrated by the Royal Arch Purple and the Independent Orange Institution over the years. Like all the mysteries, the blindfold upon the initiate represents 'the spiritual darkness of his soul'. This emblem and its removal later in the ceremony represent the candidate's 'journey from darkness into spiritual enlightenment'.
This is one of Freemasonry's most important objects. Masonic authority Pearson explains: "The material darkness which is produced by the hoodwink is the emblem of the darkness of the soul." ('Christ the Christian and Freemasonry' p. 88)
Mystical initiations must always take place in a mode of darkness. Albert Mackey, thirty-third degree Mason and Masonic historian explains in 'The Craft and its Symbols' (p. 42), that "the aspirant was always kept... in a condition of darkness. Darkness, in all forms of initiation, has always symbolised ignorance" ('Christ the Christian and Freemasonry' p. 88).
The significance of this repulsive occultic emblem is further explained in 'The Pocket Encyclopaedia of Masonic Symbols': "Blindfolding a candidate in any rite is not for practical but for spiritual reasons. The temporary blinding is a symbol of present darkness, which will be displaced by light when and if the initiate succeeds in penetrating the mysteries before him" ('Hidden Secrets of the Eastern Star' p. 222).
As in the ancient mysteries, the modern day initiate's journey 'from darkness to light' is a counterfeit of the Christian new birth experience. Modern Masonic writer George Draffin states that that the hoodwink or blindfold in the ritual is to remind the candidate that he is "undergoing a birth process," just as "conception and fertilisation take place in the darkness of the womb" ('Inside the Brotherhood' p. 143).
Harry L. Haywood further states: "The purpose of the hoodwink is not to conceal something from the candidate, for it has another significance: it symbolises the fact that the candidate is yet in darkness, like the babe lying in its mother's womb. Being in darkness the candidate is expected to prepare his inmost mind for those revelations that will be made to him after the hoodwink is removed"('Hidden Secrets of the Eastern Star' p. 223).
Some rank and file evangelicals within the Royal Arch Purple might be surprised at such assertions but their hierarchy are certainly not. In the recent Royal Arch Purple publication 'History of the Royal Arch Purple Order' the Order boasts: " All candidates entering the Institution, do so to some degree in a state of ignorance and so it could be said that they are open to be hoodwinked. But it is in this way that the lesson of dependency on the friend that has been sent to guide them can be most clearly demonstrated."
In the draft of the Royal Arch Purple book the significance of the blindfold is more explicitly outlined: "The blindfold or hoodwink is taken by some to denote secrecy, but it can also be symbolic of dependency on a friend and in the state of darkness or ignorance which will be relieved by the true light of knowledge."
Masonic authority Albert Mackey explains this peculiar teaching in 'A Lexicon of Freemasonry' (p. 68): "Darkness among Freemasons is emblematical of ignorance; for as our science has technically been called 'Lux', or light, the absence of light must be the absence of knowledge… In the spurious Freemasonry of the ancient mysteries, the aspirant was always shrouded in darkness, as a preparatory step to the reception of the full light of knowledge."
The child of God subjecting himself to such error and allowing himself to participate in this hoodwinked ceremony (ignorantly or not) is in a dangerous position. He is openly denying the light of the Christian's new birth and blasphemously denying his true Redeemer and the teaching of His precious Word. The Bible says, "men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil" (John 3:19).
The hoodwink has always been used in pagan ceremonies. Its origins stretch back into the mists of time, to the heathen initiations of the ancient mysteries. Masonic authority Harry Haywood states: "The use of the blindfold goes far back among secret societies, even to the ancient mysteries, in which the candidate was usually made to enter the sanctuary with eyes covered. The Cathari, whom [Pope] Innocent III tried so hard to annihilate, and who were at bottom Christian mystics, were accustomed to call those seeking initiation into their mysteries 'hoodwinked slaves' implying that the eyes of the soul were still blind in ignorance and lust" ('Hidden Secrets of the Eastern Star' p. 222).
The Bible states: "If we say that we have fellowship with him [Christ], and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (I John 1:6-7).
ROPE (noose, cable-tow or halter) AROUND THE NECK
The Masonic practice of placing a rope round the neck of the prepared candidate does not exist within the Royal Arch Purple Chapter of Ireland. Nevertheless the Chapter's book, 'History of the Royal Arch Purple Order' does refer to an undated document from the Grand Orange Lodge of England (which must be post 1913, when English Orangeism accepted the Arch Purple into their Institution). They compare it to the Irish working of the Arch Purple. The Chapter's book states, "There is one major variation in this degree, that is in the instruction for the preparing a candidate, a halter [a rope] is to be placed around his neck," and they continue, "This must have been a local practice as it is not spoken of in any other place and certainly not usual in Ireland" (p. 185).
So what is the significance of this custom? Here again we must go behind the Masonic veil of secrecy to discover the meaning of this strange usage. In the Masonic first degree the 'Worshipful Master' explains to the blindfolded candidate how there was a "Cable Tow, with a running noose about your neck, which would have rendered any attempt to retreat … fatal by strangling" (Masonic Manual p. 9). Every aspect of preparation and instruction, so subtly inherited from Freemasonry, is devilishly designed to draw men into the bondage of fear.
Martin Short in his book 'Inside the Brotherhood' outlines the spiritual significance of the cable-tow round the candidate, stating that "the cable-tow round his neck is 'a symbolical umbilical cord' which when cut, symbolizes 'birth and new life' " (p. 143).
Like all secret societies the mode of preparation for initiation into the Royal Arch Purple is subtly designed by the devil to mimic the humble, unworthy and totally dependent state in which a repentant sinner comes to Christ for salvation.
Whilst the Arch Purple Order causes its candidate to humble themselves in the presence of the Chapter the Bible admonishes man: "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time" (1 Peter 5:6).
The Protestant Truth Society booklet written by former Deputy Grand Chaplain of Grand Orange Lodge of England, Rev. Alexander Roger, states: "Is it becoming to a Christian man and the self respect of any gentleman to appear in this half stripped condition? Is it necessary in order to secure his adherence to the maintenance of the Protestant Faith in Church and State to enforce submission to what after all is a degrading ceremony bordering upon the blasphemous? That it should be deemed necessary to blindfold the Candidate until nearly the close of the initiation is strongly suggestive."
As we analyse the pathetic sight of the prepared Royal Arch Purple candidate, we see a remarkable picture of the carnal Laodicean Church described in Revelation 3. The Lord condemned it, saying: "thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." (V. 17) This vivid betrayal, which is shared with most other secret societies and occult bodies throughout the world, shows the incredible lengths to which Satan will go, to mock the Word of God. Could this pitiful mode of preparation be a graphic picture of the dismal spiritual state of the Church in Ulster today? Surely when upwards of 95,000 Ulster Protestant males can be lured into such an undignified state to join a so-called Protestant Order we are in urgent need of God's help.
Jesus says of the Laodiceans, "thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth" (Revelation 3:15-16).
The Protestant people of Ulster seem to be under the judgement of God. Surely it is time for us to get back to the old trusted paths of our forefathers and consecrate our lives afresh to the Saviour.
The Lord instructs the believer: "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent" (Revelation 3:18-19).
Brother in the Lord, remember that "judgment must begin at the house of God" (1 Peter 4:17).
The source of the degree