The Five Points of Fellowship
|THE PAINFUL TRAVEL
Before he experiences the five points of fellowship, the Royal Arch Purple candidate is led round the Chapter room three times in a time-honoured heathen manner. This practice is known as ‘circumambulation’ and is common to all the pagan ancient mysteries and all their modern day counterparts. Albert Mackey describes, in ‘A Lexicon of Freemasonry’ (p. 57): “Circumambulation or a procession around the altar, always formed a part of the ancient religious ceremonies [the ancient mysteries].”
In his Manual of the Lodge, (p. 24) Mackey says that: “Circumambulation among pagan nations referred to … sun worship. Freemasonry alone has preserved the primitive meaning.”
Irish Masonic authority and author George Power in his book ‘A 2nd Masonic Collection’ (p. 56) expounds the pagan origins of circumambulation: “In Degree and Installation ceremonies, we are familiar with the custom of processing around the altar. This derives from one of the most ancient religious ceremonies. In ancient Greece, the priests walked three times round the altar during sacrifice, and sang a sacred hymn. The procession moved according to the course of the sun, and a hymn to Apollo had words ‘We imitate the example of the sun, and follow its benevolent course’. The Druid priests used a similar ceremony – three times round the altar, accompanied by all the worshippers. In the Scottish Isles, the people, in religious ceremonies, walked three times round the cairns. All these processions were in a clockwise direction, east to west, according to the course of the sun…we should be conscious of the solemn and mysterious custom which stretches back to the dawn of civilisation.”
It is amazing to see how such a blatant heathenish practice could infiltrate an institution professing Protestantism. The same shows how easily men can be deceived.
Whilst ignorance may pervade throughout the grassroots of the Royal Arch Purple about such matters, those in authority within the Order share no such naivete. In the draft copy of the Royal Arch Purple book ‘History of the Royal Arch Purple Order’, the Chapter states: “The part of the degree which we refer to as the ‘travel’ is where the original theme is played out. It is conducted in a time honoured manner, namely by ‘circumambulation’ or walking all around. This is a practice that has been used from very early times in all the mysteries and religions of every age. It was usual to walk all around a sacred object or place in a very formal manner. The Romans observed this custom for expiation and purification and their word ‘Lustratio’ implies purification and walking in a circular direction always in a clockwise direction.” How long will the membership be deceived!
The Royal Arch Purple candidate circumambulates the Chapter room three times, the floor of which is covered in branches and brambles, so as to ensure the journey is one of obvious suffering for the barefooted candidate.
The floor covering may vary slightly from Chapter to Chapter, but the ceremony is usually the same. The Protestant Truth Society’s pamphlet of 1925 describes the scene of a helpless initiate’s journey across a Chapter floor covered in hot coals: “The unfortunate candidate stepping upon the coke and cinders uttered exclamations of pain and surprise. He fell to the floor upon coke-amid renewed laughter. The coke was imported into the ceremony (so the Master said) as a ‘special treat’ for the unfortunate candidate.” This sinister practice is widely employed throughout eastern religion.
Deuteronomy 18:10-12 solemnly warns, “There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.”
During his three journeys round the Chapter room, the candidate (without warning) is violently whipped on his legs with brambles and branches by the assembled brethren. This practice normally results in varying amounts of cuts and bruises to the initiate, depending on the brethren administering such, the candidate enduring a symbolic fall, each lap of the hall.
The whipping of the initiate’s legs and the barefooted travel over brambles and branches is painfully endured by the candidate to the accompaniment of hilarious laughter from all those present, many imitating goat bleats, (reminding the candidate of his impending ride on the goat). This deeply offensive practice is carefully designed to further humiliate the nervous candidate. Amazingly, such ridiculous buffoonery is accompanied by the reading of Holy Scripture. The Protestant Truth Society’s pamphlet of 1925 again testifies to such, stating: “The Chaplain during this portion as other portions of the ceremony, is engaged in either reading portions of Scripture or certain prayers.”
Like all secret societies the Royal Arch Purple Order preside over the hypocritical large scale appointing of scores of unsaved men to the office of ‘Chaplain’. Whilst some so-called separated ministers within the Royal Arch Purple Order are quick to deride the mainline churches for placing unconverted men into office, they themselves are condoning the same by their active participation in the Royal Arch Purple. Such behaviour wherever it occurs is unscriptural and is more akin to the sinful actions of disobedient King Jeroboam in Scripture who “made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi” (I Kings 12:31).
For more information read Freemasonry: The Invisible Cult by Jack Harris
We recommend a very compelling book written by Masonic authority E. M. Storms called Should a Christian be a Mason?
This apostate practice only serves to deceive godless men into feeling a false sense of righteousness and respectability. Jesus aptly said of such men: “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:7-9).
Clearly, the reading of God’s Word is not to be taken lightly and is certainly no laughing matter. No Order, whatever its label, has the authority to treat the Bible in such an irreverent manner. Those involved in such mockery should pay heed to the solemn words of Scripture. The Bible says, “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:8-10).
In trying to justify this humiliating experience, the Royal Arch Purple employ the scriptural story where the children of Israel journeyed through the wilderness. The lecturer states: “I was led three times around the wilderness, once across the Red Sea, and the river Jordan, to testify that I was duly prepared to receive the degree of a Royal Arch Purple man.”
The Royal Arch Purple candidate is led round the Chapter room three times in a time-honoured heathen manner. This practice is known as ‘circumambulation’ and is common to all the pagan ancient mysteries and all their modern day counterparts. Albert Mackey describes, in ‘A Lexicon of Freemasonry’ (p. 57): “Circumambulation or a procession around the altar, always formed a part of the ancient religious ceremonies [the ancient mysteries].”
During his three journeys round the Chapter room, the candidate (without warning) is violently whipped on his legs with brambles and branches by the assembled brethren. This practice normally results in varying amounts of cuts and bruises to the initiate, depending on the brethren administering such, the candidate enduring a symbolic fall, each lap of the hall. The roots of such folly are again found in Freemasonry where the Royal Arch candidate is told, “As Moses led the Chosen People in their devious wanderings through the wilderness, so I now conduct you.”
In normal circumstances the perpetrators of such an organised scandal would find themselves subject to the civil or criminal law, and facing widespread public ridicule. Notwithstanding, such folly exposes the rogue nature of the Royal Arch Purple. In a spiritual context this indecent ceremony violates the conduct expected of a child of God in a Christian gathering. The Bible says: “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40).
The Arch Purple lecturers later poetically explain, “I was beaten and torn by brier and bramble, bitten and stung by fiery serpents, I received three great and mighty falls with my back to the earth, and my face towards the heavens.”
In ‘The Origins of Freemasonry’ by David Stevenson, we discover the significance of such a ceremony: “The element of rough horseplay and humiliation commonly found in these types of ceremony…may be undignified, but formed important elements in the ritual with serious functions…those who had to suffer to gain entry were more likely to be strongly committed to the group they had joined than they would otherwise have been. The ordeal at once indicated to the candidate how exclusive the new status was and that he had to be proved worthy of it…The fact that all in a group had to undergo the same type of initiation served to create a strong bond between them. But there was also another psychological effect associated with the elements of ordeal. Stress may be deliberately induced to heighten receptivity to new ideas…Fear and pain (either physical, or psychological pain induced by having to accept ritual humiliation) can be aids to memory.”
He then reveals, “The ordeals of entry to mystery cults in the ancient world had exploited pain, fear, humiliation and exhaustion as aids to changing attitudes, just as modern brain-washing techniques do.”
The Royal Arch Purple Chapter tries to excuse this behaviour in the draft copy to its book, stating it exists to, “denote the seriousness of the step he is about to take and remind him and the members, of the responsibility that rests with them to keep a constant guard against those who would work against the best interests of the members.” This statement reveals the pathetic attitude that exists within this sinful Order.
The Royal Arch Purple shows little respect for the dignity of its members when they reduce them to such a pitiable state. Furthermore, for a Christian to subject himself to such indignity in front of men (who are largely unsaved) from his own neighbourhood must seriously damage his testimony. One wonders how he could expound (with any credence) the solemn truths of God’s Word to his ‘new found brethren’ after participating in such a profane farce. The Bible solemnly declares, “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you” (II Thessalonians 3:6-7).
Such unseemly behaviour is at variance with the teaching of Scripture, which instructs the believer: “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand” (Philippians 4:5).
The Protestant Truth Society booklet of 1925 asks this important question: “Can you picture a more discreditable parody of Sacred things, conducted as it was amid efforts of the onlookers to restrain inordinate laughter? Does not this introductory invocation to the Holy Spirit bring it within very close proximity of blasphemy? Think of so-called ministers of the Gospel taking part in such a scene! To countenance it at all is to disgrace their profession and bring discredit upon themselves.”
Strong opposition to the Royal Arch-Purple degree existed within the Orange Institution throughout the whole of the 19th century. Prominent English Orangeman, Henry Prigg reflected this sentiment when in December 1877 he declared: “Rites such as the Arch-Purple attract the wrong men into our ranks; we want sober, religious-minded Protestants, not pot-house politicians and practical jokers…Let the Pagan practices be prohibited and put out of the Order, and then men not worth having with their tomfoolery will leave us and go elsewhere, and better men will be attracted to our ranks.”
We would recommend a very compelling book written by Masonic authority E. M. Storms called Should a Christian be a Mason?:
FIVE POINTS OF FELLOWSHIP
The candidate experiences the five Points of fellowship by first travelling three times round ‘the wilderness’. These are accompanied by three great falls symbolising the candidate’s victory over death and the grave. As the candidate is led round the room the first time he sustains a fall, and is raised up, on the words “O death, where is thy sting?” He is then led round again and receives the second fall, and is raised up, on the words “O grave, where is thy victory?”
The Royal Arch Purple here, foolishly, apply this text, found in 1 Corinthians 15, to all its initiates, presenting a false hope of victory over death and the grave. Such hope pertains solely to a child of God and should never be addressed to a child of darkness. No amount of manufactured ceremony within the Royal Arch Purple initiation will ever procure victory over death and the grave for man; such comes through Christ alone.
The child of God alone can sing with assurance of Christ:
“To Him I owe my life and breath,
On the third and final lap round the Chapter room, the initiate sustains his third and final fall, which results in him being blasphemously raised to a figurative new birth by the five points of fellowship. This practice involves the candidate being raised from the floor by a lecturer or office bearer, who is assisted by some of the assembled brethren. The ‘brother’ raising the candidate then embraces him and acts out each individual point of fellowship; so as to leave a deep impression upon the candidate.
As the candidate is raised he is taught:
“First – Foot to foot. That I would not be afraid nor ashamed to go a foot or two out of my way to serve a brother Royal Arch Purple man in his time of need.
Here the hypocrisy of the Royal Arch Purple is once again exposed. In the one breath the candidate is told to go hand in hand with his brethren in “all just and lawful actions.” In the next he is admonished to conceal the secrets of his Royal Arch Purple brethren, “murder and treason excepted.” This sinful demand is carefully designed to further remind the candidate of his grave obligation of loyalty, which he undertook to his brethren at the commencement of the ceremony.
“Fifth and last – Left hand behind back. To testify that I would be as true and faithful behind a Royal Arch Purple man’s back as I would be before his face. I would allow no plots nor plans to be laid about him, without giving him due and timely warning of all approaching danger, as far as in my power lieth, so that, on the one hand, he can come manfully forward to meet it, or, on the other hand, step aside and avoid it.”
An illustration of two Masons engaged in the aforementioned resurrection embrace (accompanies William Morgan’s expose of Freemasonry – Fig. 1)
The Royal Arch Purple appropriated this practice from pagan Masonry, changing the order of the five points of fellowship slightly. The Masonic sequence follows –
First – Hand in hand …
The extent and gravity of loyalty demanded by the ‘five points of fellowship’ can never be met by a true child of God. His real brethren are not those who share the same polluted collarette, but those of the household of faith. This selfish, sinful allegiance demanded by the Royal Arch Purple violates the teaching of Christ, who said: “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother” (Matthew 12:50).
What is the will of the Father?
The Lord explains in John 6:40: “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life.”
For the committed Christian, a brother is a fellow believer, one who has surrendered his life to Christ. Such exclusive loyalty to a sinful, man-made brotherhood with its many unsaved members is a clear contravention of Scripture and an anathema to the faith. James 4:4 says: “know ye not that friendship of the world is enmity with God?”
Whilst the exclusive language of the five points of fellowship is clearly objectionable to evangelicals, it is the figurative resurrection rite that accompanies it which proves probably one of the most idolatrous practices found within secret societies.
That which the Arch Purple often conceals, Freemasonry normally reveals. Even allowing for Masonry’s veiled language, there is usually enough explanation given in their ceremony to give the discerning candidate some indication of the true significance of the Order’s practices.
After being raised on the five points of fellowship in the third degree, the Master Mason learns, “It is thus all Master Masons are raised from a figurative death to a reunion with the former companions of their toils…Yet even by this feeble ray you may perceive that you stand on the very brink of the grave into which you have figuratively descended” (Masonic Manual p. 70).
Every practice employed within secret societies is carefully designed to counterfeit and undermine important elements within the Christian new birth. As we analyse these superstitious five points of fellowship, we discover a subtle design to mimic the biblical practice of believers’ baptism.
Romans 6:3-8 explains the important symbolic significance of believers’ baptism and its relationship to the new birth: “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.”
We clearly see that this corrupt Arch Purple practice, which is shared with many modern secret societies and cults, is in reality a grim mockery of the Christian new birth experience. In the ‘Manual of the Lodge’, by Albert Mackey (1862) we learn, “The Master Mason represents a man saved from the grave of iniquity, and raised to the faith of salvation.”
W.J. McK. McCormick in ‘Christ, the Christian and Freemasonry’ explains: “He [the candidate] falls under the blows of the ‘Assassins’ and, shamming death, is ‘buried’. Some Lodges are constructed with a grave in the floor, into which the candidate is lowered … Well, after death and burial comes the ‘resurrection’. Two attempts are made to raise ‘the corpse’ and ‘prove a slip’. The Worshipful Master then leaves the chair to show how it can be achieved. He embraces the ‘corpse’ with the ‘five points of fellowship’ (breast to breast, knee to knee, etc.) and the ‘corpse’ returns to life. The candidate’s baser nature is now dead and he rises a perfectly regenerated being” (p. 36).
This heathenish practice can ultimately be traced back to the pagan religion of Egypt and the elevation of their false gods, Osiris, Isis and Horus. Egyptian religion being built around the mythical life, death, and ‘resurrection’ of Osiris.
Martin Short in his secular book, ‘Inside The Brotherhood’ affirms that, “Osiris was a King of Egypt who married his sister Isis. His brother, Set, wished to usurp the throne and so plotted his death. He tricked Osiris into climbing in a golden chest. As soon as he was inside, Set nailed down the lid and flung the chest into the Nile. It was carried off to Byblos in Syria where it came to rest against a small tamarisk or acacia tree, with the dead Osiris still inside. Isis found out what Set had done to Osiris, so she set off to find her husband.”
He continues, “A vision led her to Byblos, where she recovered his body and took it back to Egypt. Alas! Set stole it and tore it into fourteen pieces, which he scattered through Egypt to prevent Osiris coming to life again. Isis recovered all but one of the pieces and gave Osiris a fit burial. Their son, Horus, avenged him by slaying Set. Another son Anubis, resurrected Osiris with the lion grip. Having triumphed over the grave, Osiris now reigns as King and Judge of the so-called dead.”
This Egyptian trinity is always personified in pagan art by the sun (with a face), the moon (with a face), and the all-seeing eye.
Evangelical authority, former occult High Priest and thirty-second degree Freemason William Schnoebelen, alludes to this practice, revealing, “This a blatant re-creation of the ancient pagan sex-cult resurrection rites…and a mockery of the Lord’s resurrection and Christian baptism! After ‘dying’ with the Masonic ‘christ’ (actually Baal or Tammuz), he is raised with him… The resurrection… is intended to be what occultists call a ‘conscience-raising experience’. It is supposed to induce an altered state of consciousness, an open doorway for demon oppression” (p. 222).
Whilst this deceptive, superstitious rite is designed by the devil to counterfeit the Christian new birth experience, the child of God can joyfully testify to being delivered from death unto everlasting life through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. The Bible says: “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-6).
The true believer stands blameless before the throne of grace, being justified by faith and born again of the Spirit of God. The hand of God rather than the tainted arm of flesh has graciously raised him up to a marvellous newness of life. The Bible says: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2).
We recommend a sound compelling book written by the great revivalist Charles Finney who was a former Freemason (The Character, Claims And Practical Workings Of Freemasonry):
| The History of the Orange Order
The Royal Arch Purple oath
A hostile reception
The Five Points of Fellowship
Riding the goat
The Orange Order Blood Curdling Penalties
A false hope
- What should a Royal Arch Purple man do?
- Unsaved reader
- Specimen Resignation Letter
- Wiccan Witchcraft revealed and compared to Freemasonry.
- The Royal Arch Purple compared to Freemasonry
- The Mormon link
- Largest Grand lodge opinion poll on Arch Purple degree
Royal Arch Purple push-back
Evangelical Truth response to Former Independent Orange Grand Master’s attack on Behind Closed Doors.
Biblical response to Rev. Ron Johnstone (Royal Arch Purple spokesman): Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6
Grand Chaplain to the Grand Orange Lodge of England JRG Harvey book in response to Behind Closed Doors: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.
Evangelical Truth debate with Independent Orange Institution
Ulster Christian review of Behind Closed Doors
The response of George Dawson (Imperial Grand Master of the Independent Orange Institution).
Readers response (including the author of ‘Behind Closed Doors’ – Paul Malcomson).
Second response of George Dawson (Imperial Grand Master of the Independent Orange Institution).
Evangelical Truth reply to George Dawson
We recommend The Secret Teachings of the Masonic Lodge by John Ankerberg and John Weldon