British Israelism and the Orange Order

Orange Order’s British Israelism teaching

It is not smart to take anything at face value in secret societies. After all, the teaching is intentionally obscure and is only meant to be discerned by gradual initiation enlightenment. Basically, there are levels of revelation. It is like pealing an onion. Core beliefs are concealed beneath a wealth of occult imagery and cryptic teaching. The longer you are in the Orange Orders, the more you discern what the ethos and theology of the Lodge is. British Israelism is constantly taught in a veiled manner throughout the candidate’s Loyal Orders journey.

Every new Orange recruit encounters the Orange Order’s British Israelism teaching when he enters the Lodge. He is hit over the head with what is also known as Anglo Israelism. This is essentially a racist gospel. The Orange Order candidate is personally assured when he joins the Orange Order that he is now one of the elect. He is taught this in the Lodge’s introductory catechism:

“What art thou?
One of the elect!
Of what house?
The house of Israel!
Of what tribe?
The tribe of Levi!”

Any enlightened Bible student will immediately notice the error of this teaching and will understand the danger of this bogus assurance. From a biblical perspective this teaching is plainly spurious. The Orange Order brazenly gives a false hope to every new Orange candidate in regard to his spiritual standing before God. This Orange Order teaching is classic British Israel teaching.

One wonders what biblical authority the Orange thinks it has to promise every Orangeman that they are “one of the elect” simply on the grounds that they have joined the Lodge? Do they think they have divine authority?

The Bible makes it clear that God’s elect are all those who are the recipients of the grace of God and have been born again of the Spirit of God. To teach otherwise to its largely unregenerate Order is dangerous, deceptive and deeply unscriptural. It gives the ungodly a title and a hope that they do not truly possess, and offers them a false sense of assurance which Scripture clearly doesn’t countenance.

In every use of the word [i]eklektos[/i] (meaning elect or chosen) in the New Testament, when it is applied to a human beings, it is used in reference to a Christian and a member of the body of Christ. It is always used in reference to genuine regenerated believers or God’s chosen children who have obtained salvation through Jesus Christ.

Titus 1:1 tells us: “Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness.”

1 Peter 1:1-2 explains: “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered … Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.”

Colossians 3:12 says: “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.”

The elect are God’s chosen people – regardless of nationality. Jews and Gentiles are reconciled to God through faith in Christ. Those, alone, who are the recipients of His electing power and have entered into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ are new creatures in Christ. These are they that have repented of their sin and embraced the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. They love Christ and have had their sins forgiven by the blood of Jesus. The redeemed of God alone are the elect of God. Christ-rejecting Orangemen are not the elect.

Read a detailed exposure of the Royal Arch Purple by W P Malcomson:

The Orange poem “What are you?” reminds the Orangeman of his supposed favoured standing (particular attention should be paid to the last line):

“Are you a loyal Orangeman and worthy of the name
Of William Prince of Orange, immortal honoured fame?
What is your daily practice, which is the part you play?
Do you respond to duties’ call and tread the narrow way? …

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.”

The Orange Order makes no secret of its belief that all Orangemen are a chosen spiritual people on account of their Orange membership. The Orange Order makes no effort to conceal its British Israel teaching. Again, how can they possibly imagine that the sacred and lofty spiritual term “elect” can be attributed to every Orangemen? Allowing for the central part that the Orange Order has played in moulding the Ulster Protestant psyche over the years, this may explain much of the religious pride that exists among ungodly Protestants. Religious men that know nothing of the new birth, the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit and possess no intimacy with God, are given titles that only the sincere enjoy. This has to have produced an immunity to the true Gospel message.

Not happy with promising a rogue assurance to its members, it then indiscriminately elevates them to the household of Israel and to the priestly tribe of Levi in particular. The $64 million question is: on what possible grounds? How can you compare the sanctified priestly role of the tribe of Levi in the Old Testament to that of the Orange Order in our day?

It is hard to believe that a genuine Christian could accept that a candidate for the Lodge becomes “one of the elect” by joining the Orange Order. Moreover, it is startling to believe that he automatically becomes an Israelite and is then advanced to the priestly “tribe of Levi.” Such teaching is (1) fanciful, (2) a flagrant lie of the devil and (3) deeply unscriptural. No Christian should have any part of such apostate teaching.

Scripture solemnly warns, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight” (Isaiah 5:20-21).

The reality is: this is classic British Israel teaching. British Israelism permeates throughout Orange theology. The Orange Order is of the opinion that its institution is a chosen people within a wider chosen race (the British Commonwealth). This belief is such a cancer among the Ulster Protestant people. It engenders cultural pride, something that God judged Israel for in Bible times. Many within the Orders believe they are a superior race. They are better than everyone else.

Christians, on the other hand, know they are saved by grace not by race. They know that God blesses humility and sees the proud afar off. The Ulster Protestant people (like every other nationality) are separated from God before salvation. They are under the wrath of God. Such a condition is only changed through the new birth. That same privilege is equally open to the repentant Roman Catholic.

The Israel of God: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow by O. Palmer Robertson:


The Association of Baptist Churches in Ireland carried out a thorough investigation into into the biblical credentials of the Loyal Orders and released their findings in an in-depth documemt called “The Loyal Orders” A Biblical Examination. They concluded: “As believers in the Lord Jesus the brotherhood to which the people of God are bound is the brotherhood of other believers. The fellowship we are to delight in is fellowship with those who have ‘fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ’. (1 John1:3) This was a distinguishing feature of the life of the early church: ‘they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine, and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers’. (Acts 2:42) This brotherhood and fellowship is dependent upon, and flows from, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and the consequent presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit in the lives of those who know him as such.”

They continued: “The importance of this issue cannot be overstated for those who honour the Word of God. If 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 is rightly taught as prohibiting the unequal yoke in business, marriage and ecumenical relationships then balance, consistency and honesty demand that its implications with regard to the Loyal Orders cannot be ignored. The question must be faced, ‘Is it right for a child of God to bind himself/herself in a religious association with solemn promises and oaths to those who do not belong to the people of God and who in many cases are godless?’ The answer is self evident.”

The Association of Baptist Churches in Ireland renounce the Loyal Orders

Rev Richard Harvey, Grand Chaplain of the Grand Orange Lodge of England, and vocal BI proponent, contends: “The British Israel World Federation and the Loyal Orange Institution of England as bible-believing Protestants who love our Queen and country share many values in common … Is it by chance that Britain has been a blessing to the world wherever it has been its destiny to found new nations? From the lush greenery of New Zealand to the veld of Africa, from the deserts of Australia to the arctic wastes of Canada, in all climates and extremes of terrain and temperature, great nation states have arisen from nothing to become key players on the world stage. What did the founders of those nations all have in common? They shared an allegiance to the British motherland and to her values and they shared an unswerving loyalty to the British Sovereign but there was something more, an understanding of Scripture which we continue to subscribe to today – a recognition that the British Family of nations are a special people, called of God to a role in the world which no other nation can fulfil.”

The British Israel racist teaching advanced by the Orange Order runs contrary to repeated New Testament Scripture. In Acts 10, God uses a vision of unclean food to help the apostle Peter see that in Christ there is no longer any spiritual distinction between races. God now accepts everyone equally on the same terms into His kingdom. Peter responds to this great monumental revelation in Acts 10:34-36: “I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all).”

The word interpreted “respecter” in the King James Version is the Greek word prosopoleptes which simply means: one exhibiting partiality. In fact, the New King James Version renders this, “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.”

This passage is crystal clear in its meaning and explanation of how God views all nations, peoples and tribes equally today.  The reading makes it clear: God is no respecter of persons. This is not strange or outlandish; it is the constant theme of the New Testament. The Gospel is no longer restricted to one particular race but it has been opened up to embrace all nations. This means that God doesn’t accept anyone based on one’s nationality, color or status but rather on whether or not they fear Him. When it comes to salvation he looks at the inward rather than the outward. Those that fear him and walk righteously “in every nation” are now “accepted with him.” He is assuredly “Lord of all.” He has made all nations, tribes and kindreds the focus of His favor today. It is wrong to elevate one nation over another.

Acts 17:30: “the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.”

Christ has come, the Gospel has shone throughout the globe, the offer is presented to sinners of all nations (not just Israel). The nations that were once saturated in complete heathenism and gross idolatry, knowing nothing of the grace of God and the need of repentance, have now received the Gospel through the cross of Christ.  They are no longer ignorant to the truth. They are without excuse.

Jesus and the Land: The New Testament Challenge to “Holy Land” Theology by Gary M. Burge:


The Loyal Orders and British Israelism

Orange Order British Israelism teaching
British Israelism – the underlying theology of the Loyal Orders
The British Israelism thinking behind the Orange Order
The Royal Black Institution and British Israelism
British Israelism Exposed
British Israelism Refuted


A Biblical Analysis of the Royal Arch Purple degree
Questions for Christian Orangemen to consider
A biblical response from Evangelical Truth to Behind Closed Minds (by Rev. Ron Johnstone)
Biblical Doctrine on its Deathbed!

Zion’s Christian Soldiers? by Stephen Sizer and John Stott: