Playing the role of Moses
As the member progresses around the Preceptory room in this prepared state he listens to a dialogue:
“What is that you carry in your hand?
What kind of token?
A piece of money.
What do you intend to do with it?
Buy burying ground.
Joseph and the friends of Joseph.
Where are you from?
The Plains of Midian.
Where are you going?
To the back side of the desert even to Horeb the Mount of God.
What to do there?
Obtain all the regular signs and passwords of a Royal Black Knight of the camp of Israel.”
The Royal Black degree here mixes scriptural detail with fraternal tradition, which results in a confusing concoction of fact and fiction. This can do nothing but injury to the Gospel. The Black has the initiate acting Moses, whilst superimposing an extra-biblical purpose for him going to “the back side of the desert.” It spells out this was to obtain “all the regular signs and passwords of a Royal Black Knight of the camp of Israel.” This is an obvious deviation from the scriptural account, and powerfully illustrates the hap-hazard way the Black treats the written revelation of God. It imposes its own beliefs upon the Scriptures and uses them as a tool to justify its Black practices. This must distort the actual detail of this biblical story to those who are unfamiliar with it.
The truth is, Moses was forced into the desert initially as he “fled from the face of Pharaoh” (Exodus 2:15). The reason was that Pharaoh “sought to slay Moses.” His journey to the back of the desert took him forty years. He arrived there in the line of duty, tending the sheep of his father-in-law Jethro. It was there that “the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush” (Exodus 3:1-2). His time in the desert was all part of God’s sovereign plan to prepare him for delivering the children of Israel out of Egypt. We can confidently assume that obtaining “all the regular signs and passwords of a Royal Black Knight of the camp of Israel” was not remotely on the godly mind of Moses; such teaching never even existed then.
Bible students know there is no evidence that Moses carried a “piece of money” in his person as a “token” to “buy burying ground” for “Joseph and the friends of Joseph.” This is unknown to the Bible record. Scripture shows that Moses did not buy Joseph’s burying place, but that Jacob the father of Joseph had previously bought it. Joshua 24:32 confirms that the bones of Joseph were buried “in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought.” Again, the Black reinterprets Scripture in order to justify its secret rituals and teaching. Little does he know it, but the candidate is being initiated into the secrets and mysteries of the Gnostic tradition.
The catechism continues:
“What did Moses see on Mount Horeb?
Three great and mighty wonders.
What were they?
First the bush that burned with fire and was not consumed.
Second the rod that when cast upon the ground became a serpent and afterwards a rod again.
Third the withered hand that was restored whole even as his other flesh.
What do you intend to do with these great and mighty wonders when you have obtained them?
Carry them down into Egypt and lay them before Pharaoh that I might free my brethren who are there in bondage.”
During the travel the blindfold is removed so as to show him the three great and mighty wonders Moses saw upon Mount Horeb. Firstly he sees a representation of the bush that burned with fire and was not consumed. The novice is then shown an image of the rod that was cast upon the ground and became a serpent and afterwards a rod again. The candidate then places his right hand in his bosom, representing the hand that was placed in the bosom, and became as leprous as snow. Here, the Black turns the manifestations that the Almighty performed at Horeb into the three mystical signs of a Black Knight.
The member imitates Moses at the bush, removing his shoes at the direction of the Preceptory, because the place on which he stands is said to be holy ground. The Black-room is here likened unto the hallowed place where Moses met God. This is treating the scriptural narrative in an irreverent way, the comparison being totally unsuitable. The Lecturers assume the position of God in ordering the candidate to remove his shoes.
The initiate is then informed that Moses was required to repeat these three great and mighty wonders before Pharaoh. This assertion is untrue and a plain distortion of the biblical story. The first sign or wonder identified in the scriptural account was not the burning bush experience as the Black teaches, but God’s changing of the rod into a serpent and changing it back again (Exodus 4:2-4). The second was the turning of Moses hand leprous as snow and then back again to the way it was (Exodus 4:6-7). The third sign surrounded taking water from the river, pouring it upon the dry land, whereupon the water would become blood upon the land (Exodus 4:9). These were the three signs or wonders that Moses was to replicate. Nowhere was Moses commanded to re-enact the burning bush before Pharaoh. How possibly could the burning bush be replicated by Moses? Where do they get this?
The Black then turns the supernatural work of God pertaining to Moses’ hand into the superstitious symbol of their degree. The address confirms: “The hand is the principal emblem in this degree it gives expression of the feeling of the heart and this sword with which you have been knighted is endowed with three most excellent qualities. It is hilted with justice bladed with fortitude and pointed with mercy and in the hands of Black Knights teaches us this lesson that having faith in the justice of our cause we should press onwards with fortitude never forgetting to extend the point of mercy towards a fallen foe.”
The “Protestant” Knights of Malta initiation parallels the Black in that it describes the same three signs. In the ceremony, the chamber is darkened, whereupon a slide of the burning bush is revealed. Exodus 3:2-5 is then read. When it comes to verse 5 and the command by God “put off thy shoes from off thy feet; for the place whereon thou standest is Holy ground” the member is instructed to remove his sandals. Exodus 4 is then read to the candidate, at which point he is required to cast a rod upon the floor. The candidate takes up a pretended serpent by the tail. Finally the aspirant places his right hand in his bosom; he then places his right hand in his bosom a second time.
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I am that I am
The ritual continues and the aspirant is asked:
“How to you intend to get into Egypt?
By the benefit of a password.
Have you that password?
Will you give it to me?
Are you a true Israelite?
I – am – that – I – am.”
During this Black catechism, the order amazingly claims the sacred name of Jehovah. When the question is presented, “Are you a true Israelite?” the reply is, “I am that I am.” But this is a name and response that belongs exclusively to God! No one else is entitled to use it of themselves. In thus using this hallowed name, Blackmen usurp the One to whom it truly belongs, and defile the merit and meaning of these immortal words. God alone is the great “I Am.” Man is not qualified to use such a hallowed title, especially in such a flippant manner. It is solely a divine designation. For Blackmen to use this holy title in such a glib manner (as they do) is to step into the arena of blasphemy. Their careless treatment of this choice title illustrates the irreverent attitude that exists within this secret institution. It shows that the Royal Black Institution has no proper regard for the holy things of God and has evidently no understanding of the dangers involved in applying divine titles to its members.
The whole background to the revelation of this name is outlined in Exodus 3:13-14, where Moses asks God, “Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?” The reading then records God’s response, saying, “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” This was the inimitable name by which God wanted to be revealed to the children of Israel. In stating this God was telling Moses that He is the great I Am the matchless, eternal, self-existing, and almighty God. He is asserting that there is “none beside me.”
This title was consequently viewed with great awe amongst the Israelites. It belonged alone to Almighty God and could be used by none other. It was treated with the utmost respect in Hebrew culture. When Christ used the name “I am” when speaking to the Pharisees in John 8:58 they wanted to kill Him. They realised He was claiming to be God – a reality they could not accept. John 8:58-59 records, “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.” Adam Clarke comments, “It appears that the Jews understood him as asserting his Godhead; and, supposing him to be a blasphemer, they proceeded to stone him, according to the law.”
In using this phrase as it does, the Royal Black blaspheme, wittingly or unwittingly, God’s holy name. By mimicking the manner by which God identified Himself to Moses they miss the whole point of God’s name, and thus undermine the Almighty. This is the modus operandi of the Black. It is constantly claiming titles and descriptions that belong alone to God or which belong to others. For men to misappropriate this title and use it in such an ad-hoc manner in response to a question in their catechism surely violates the 3rd commandment, which states, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain” (Exodus 20:7).
To invoke the name of Almighty God in such a profane manner breaches this plain command. Jesus said of the professing church of His day, “In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men … Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man” (in Matthew 15:9-11).
The Royal Black not only uses this title as its own, but also claims the name and title of God pronounced at the burning bush for one of its secret degree passwords. They then teach that this was Moses’ secret password to get him into Egypt. However, this was neither his password nor his permit into Egypt. As we have stated, it was simply the sacred name God sovereignly used to reveal Himself to Moses and the children of Israel.
When the Black utters this “password” they do so in a peculiar manner – breaking up this phrase and title of God and pronouncing it in separate syllables with a slight gap between every pronouncement: “I – am – that – I – am.” This teaching about Moses and the mystical password is entirely untrue. The reduction of this divine statement to a mystical secret society password is worse than distasteful, and must draw the condemnation of every Christian who holds the Word of God in due respect. The Black downgrades the words of God to mere trivialities.
This teaching is taken directly from the Royal Arch degree of Freemasonry where the lecturer asks, “Are you a Royal Arch Mason?” to which he replies, “I – am – that – I – am.” The revival preacher Charles G. Finney in his book Character and Claims of Freemasonry declares, “‘I – am – that – I – am’ is one of the peculiar names of Deity; and to use it as above, is to say the least taking the name of God in vain. How must the humble disciple of Jesus feel when constrained thus to answer the question? … Here you observe the candidate taking the Royal Arch degree, when asked if he is a Royal Arch Mason, replies: ‘l am that l am’; which is represented in the Bible as being said by Jehovah himself. This answer was given by God to Moses when he inquired after the Divine name. God answered, ‘I AM THAT I AM’. Just think! a Christian, when inquired of if he is a Royal Arch Mason, affirms of himself ‘I am that I am’, taking to himself the name of the God of Israel.”
He concludes, “I cannot imagine anything more directly calculated to bring the Word of God into contempt, than such a use of it in Masonic lodges. It is enough to make one’s blood curdle in his veins to think that a Christian minister, or any Christian whatever, should allow himself to pass through such an abominable scene as is frequently represented in the degrees of Masonry: – multiplying their horrid oaths, heaping one imprecation upon another, gathering up from every part of the Divine oracles the most solemn and awful sayings of Jehovah, and applying them in a manner so revolting, that the scene must make a Christian’s heart tremble, and his whole soul to loathe such proceedings.”
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The spiritual censure Charles Finney applies to Freemasonry can be fully applied to the Royal Black Institution. The characteristics of the mother have undoubtedly been passed on to the child. The Black possesses many of the ugly spiritual traits of the parent. By using the sacred name of God in the glib way it does, the Black claims it as its own. To answer the Black catechism’s question in the affirmative “I am that I am” is personally to take upon one’s self the title and authority embodied within the phrase – thus the blasphemy. This esoteric lecture blatantly assaults the very nature and working of God.
Of course there is a more sinister meaning behind all this. High-ranking Mason George H. Steinmetz writes in his book Freemasonry: Its Hidden Meaning: “Of all the material creation, man alone can declare ‘I AM.’ But those words are far more than a declaration of material fact. To so declare is recognition of consciousness — a statement of recognized individuality. An affirmation of divinity — for only God, and man, made in His image, can declare ‘I AM.’ Not in the mere statement, but rather in the complete realization of its implications, is the power we seek, for it is an affirmation of immortality … The entire object of Freemasonry is to inculcate such thinking. For when followed to its logical conclusion it is discovered that Freemasonry is not a lodge, not a ritual, but a plan for the loving of life” (p. 157).
These sentiments are representative of the secret thinking existing within Freemasonry. Mason E. C. Prophet teaches, “The Christ Self, then, has communication with the Father who in both Principle and Person is the Presence of God, the I AM THAT I AM, or the I AM Presence. Thus we find that the soul of David, endued by the Holy Ghost, addressed his own Christ Self, the archetype of the Messiah, and received of him the report that God the Father, his own beloved I AM Presence, had addressed his own Christ Self, saying `Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool’” (Mysteries of the Holy Grail p. 217).
This thinking and theology did not find its way into the Royal Black Institution by accident, nor was it invented by biblically naïve Black Knights in 1797. It was acquired directly from the Masonic Lodge. It was formulated by unknown persons within the secret world who were adepts in ancient mysteries and Gnostic theology. This secret society belief is nothing new; it is an ancient dogma that has long existed within the Occult. The dark arts have always denied a personal Saviour, but have looked to inner self as the real Christ. This wicked doctrine was invented by men who obviously hated Christ, and were led of Satan to undermine the truth and simplicity of the Word of God.
Whilst Masonry was the original home out of which this heresy appeared in the early 1700s, this was merely a further channel to spread these mystical ideas throughout the murky underworld of secret societies. It was not long until it opened out to the nations of the world infiltrating the most diverse of peoples. Professing Christians could sit with Muslims and Jews sharing a common ritualistic experience that was devoid of the usual rigid religious absolutes. Today, Masonry and the Black fraternity find themselves as the custodians of an ancient heresy that has been around since the days of the early church.
It is important to note the context that this pronouncement from the Lord is used in the Black lecture. It is a response to a question which it attributes to Moses, that reveals the Black password for the degree. The question is: “Are you a true Israelite?” The answer is: “I – am – that – I – am.” Whilst Moses was “a true Israelite” this statement is hereby attributed to every Black candidate in his initiation. The Blackman is considered “a true Israelite” by his very membership. This is definite evidence of the secret British Israel theology that pervades the Loyal Orders. A Blackman is neither an Israelite physically through his British birthright, nor an Israelite spiritually – while he is yet outside of Christ. He therefore carries no entitlement to take this designation upon himself. He is neither physically nor spiritually of the circumcision.
Toward the end of the travel, the candidate ascends a mock mountain six times, representing Elijah’s servant who was commanded to ascend the mount seven times. The first six times he ascended he saw nothing. The seventh time he saw a little cloud shaped like a man’s hand rising up from the sea. The Black candidate impersonates the servant. The working of this initiation runs along similar lines to the Knights of Malta ritual. In it the initiate, assisted by the Senior and Junior Wardens, will ascend the mount. Care is taken that his movements correspond with the reading. When he reaches the top of the mount he is asked by the Senior Warden if he can see anything. Being blindfolded, he of course replies ‘No’. He is then instructed to place his hands upon his knees and look between his legs. The blindfold and hat of the aspirant are removed, and he sees the transparency of a hand. The Senior Warden then asks: Can you see anything? The candidate is prompted to say: ‘a man’s hand’.
This whole degree is filled with teaching, procedures and imagery which are foreign to Scripture and unknown to orthodox evangelicalism. Even if the Blackman failed to travel any further degrees, there is ample evidence in this rite for him to question the Christian credentials of this mysterious Order. To advance to all the other degrees one must pass through this one. All Blackmen are therefore aware of this teaching. All have traversed its precincts. The first Black degree is the porch-way into this strange mystical house. Those who properly travel this rite will certainly not forget it. They may forget the intricate detail, but they will normally remember the experience. How could anyone forget the human skull and bones, the Black communion from the mystic cup, the triangle of lights and the Judas threat?
We would recommend a revealing book written by David W Daniels – Should A Christian Be A Mason:
Biblical analysis of the Royal Black degree
- Why Black?
- The Royal Black Jesuit Connection
- The Royal Black Mystic cup
- The Royal Black use of human remains in Black rites
- The biblical way to treat human bones
- Evangelical enquiry into the Royal Black
- The Royal Black Judas threat
- Playing the Role of Moses
All the Black Degrees
The Royal Black Institution consists of eleven degrees, as follows: –
(1) Royal Black degree – exposed and biblically examined
(2) Royal Scarlet Degree – exposed and biblically examined
(3) Royal Mark degree – exposed and biblically examined
(4) Apron and Royal Blue degree – exposed and biblically examined
(5) Royal White degree – exposed and biblically examined
(6) Royal Green degree – exposed and biblically examined
(7) Gold Crown degree – exposed and biblically examined
(8) Gold Star and Garter degree – exposed and biblically examined
(9) Crimson Arrow degreee – exposed and biblically examined
(10) Gold Link and Chain degree – exposed and biblically examined
(11) Red Cross degree – exposed and biblically examined
The Institution also possesses a final retrospective degree, which is essentially an overview of the 11 degrees that the candidate has traversed.
Red Cross Grand Charge – exposed
Purchase direct: Inside the Royal Black Institution
Purchase direct: Inside the Royal Black Institution
Testimonies from former leading Royal Blackmen Rev. Canon Brian T. Blacoe (former Deputy Grand Chaplain of the Royal Black Institution), Malcolm McClughan (former Royal Black Lecturer) and David Carson (Chairman of the United Protestant Council).
A book for Blackmen to seriously consider by Cecil Andrew of Take Heed Ministries.
For more information read Freemasonry: The Invisible Cult by Jack Harris