Of the Tribe of Levi
When the initiate enters the 8th Gold Star & Garter degree, he is told,
“Why do you wear that emblem?
That Gold Star?
Because I am a Priest.
Of what order?
Of the Order of Melchisedec.
And of what tribe?
Of the tribe of Levi.
Why stand thou thus?
Because I stand on *prying ground.
Why standest thou on prying ground?
Because I am of the High Priestly Order.”
* The “prying ground” that the Blackman is said to stand on before initiation simply refers to the enquiring and inquisitive state of the candidate desiring to be initiated into this degree.
The Black candidate is informed that he wears the gold star emblem because he is a “Priest” in “the High Priestly Order” of “the Order of Melchisedec.” In addition to this he is also told that he is a member of the “tribe of Levi.” These offices, titles and descriptions may be strange to the reader who is unfamiliar with Scripture, but every Bible student will know they are all very cherished and privileged designations in Holy Writ. Ironically, the more enlightened one is in the Word of God the more startling this secret lesson appears. The Black makes claims to titles that are not its to own. Indeed, one does not need to be a theologian to notice the many glaring errors contained within this Black catechism. Anyone with the most elementary knowledge of God’s Word reading this lecture will immediately note how unscriptural this lesson is, and that it is full of contradictions, ambiguities, and false teaching.
Most Christians will be bewildered by this reading, and will probably be left scratching their heads as to the real meaning and origins of this bizarre Black teaching. Before examining the content of the address in greater detail and establishing the real significance behind this Black teaching, it would be wise to establish a few scriptural absolutes on this subject, which no true evangelical could dispute:
(1) Christ is man’s sole, final and eternal High Priest today. Through the cross, He eternally replaced the old covenant succession of high priests and rendered the Levitical priesthood forever obsolete.
(2) Christ’s High Priesthood will never be shared with, or superseded by, anyone else.
(3) There is only one Priest of the order of Melchizedek – the Lord Jesus Christ.
(4) The high priestly order of Melchizedek is completely distinct to that of the priestly tribe of Levi. The Melchizedek priesthood is active and ongoing; the old covenant priesthood has been abolished.
(5) Israel has only ever had one high priest at a time.
With this in view, the reader will quickly perceive the obvious blasphemy contained within this secret Black instruction. It is important to understand the meaning of blasphemy. The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary explains: “There are two general forms of blasphemy: (1) Attributing some evil to God, or denying Him some good that we should attribute to Him … (2) Giving the attributes of God to a creature.” There can therefore be little doubt that this Black teaching falls firmly within the second category outlined here.
Assuming the “High Priestly” position
The Royal Black Institution claims that it is a “High Priestly Order.” It demonstrates this by supposedly initiating its members into (what they say is) “the Order of Melchisedec.” This is a most astounding claim coming from an organisation that claims to be Reformed. In doing so, the Royal Black shows a blatant disregard for scriptural truth. First, it must be in complete ignorance as to what a high priestly order is. Secondly, it must have no comprehension of what the scriptural requirements and function of a high priest are. Thirdly, it must have no understanding of the New Testament teaching in relation to Christ’s individual position as sole high priest to the people of God. Let us therefore look at the office of high priest, what it involves, and who is fit to hold the high priestly office today in this New Testament era.
The responsibility of the high priest in Scripture was essentially two-fold. He had to make atonement for the sins of the people and he had to represent man with God by way of intercession. In his function, the priest was completely different to the prophet. Whilst the priest represents man with God, the prophet represents God with man. Hebrews 5:1, referring to the old covenant high priestly order, explains: “Every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.”
This passage reveals that the Old Testament high priestly office involved the making of a blood sacrifice in the stead of the people of God, and also the presentation of supplications to God on behalf of God’s people. This office was consequently vital and central to the spiritual wellbeing of the nation. We therefore cannot over-emphasise the importance of this. Under the old covenant a priest was appointed from amongst the people to act as their representative and mediator, drawing nigh to God on their behalf. The congregation were forbidden from entering into the very presence of God; only the high priest could enter within the veil, and even then with blood which he offered for himself and for the sins of the people. Whilst the old covenant priest represented the people, he was not appointed by the people. The priest was chosen by God and set apart for this special purpose.
Charles Hodge tells us in his Systematic Theology that a priest is a man “duly appointed to act for other men in things pertaining to God. The idea which lies at the foundation of the office is, that men, being sinners, have not liberty of access to God. Therefore, one, either having that right in himself, or to whom it is conceded, must be appointed to draw near to God in their behalf. A priest, consequently, from the nature of his office, is a mediator.”
He then goes on to outline the two main requirements of the office, “A priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. His function is to reconcile men to God; to make expiation for their sins; and to present their persons, acknowledgments, and offerings to God.” Finally, “He makes intercession for the people. Not merely as one man may pray for another, but as urging the efficacy of his sacrifice and the authority of his office, as grounds on which his prayers should be answered.”
So for anyone to hold this worthy office of high priest they had to make atonement for the sins of the people and stand as man’s representative with God and intercede. The high priest alone was permitted to enter the holy of holies, which he did only once a year, on the great Day of Atonement. There he made expiation for the people, sprinkling the blood of the sin offering on the mercy seat and offering up incense. Incense here represents the intercessory prayer connected to the blood sacrifice. These two tasks were inextricably linked and embodied the responsibility contained within the office.
In Numbers 1:50, the Lord confirmed that Israel’s tribe of Levi would specifically (and exclusively) be set aside to minister in the temple. Throughout the Old Testament the position of high priest was restricted to the Levites. No other tribe could partake in its responsibility. It was from the tribe of Levi that God chose an individual high priest to minister on behalf of the whole nation of Israel. God chose Aaron and his family to function in the high priestly office. Aaron was appointed directly by God to be the first high priest (Exodus 28:1, Leviticus 8:1-12). He and his sons were consecrated to continue the priesthood throughout the Old Testament (Leviticus 8 and 9). They alone could assume this honoured office of old covenant high priest. Aaron’s family was indeed a choice line within a choice tribe inside a choice nation.
There was a time in Old Testament history when one of the kings mistakenly thought he could exercise the responsibility of priest, something he was expressly forbidden from doing. He believed he could minister in the office, an act he was not entitled or qualified to do. What resulted must be a solemn warning to every Blackman who claims to be of the high priestly order today.
2 Chronicles 26:16-21 tells us: “when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense. And Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him fourscore priests of the LORD, that were valiant men: And they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him, It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the LORD, but to the priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense: go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast trespassed; neither shall it be for thine honour from the LORD God.”
The narrative continues, “Then Uzziah was wroth, and had a censer in his hand to burn incense: and while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the LORD, from beside the incense altar. And Azariah the chief priest, and all the priests, looked upon him, and, behold, he was leprous in his forehead, and they thrust him out from thence; yea, himself hasted also to go out, because the LORD had smitten him. And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house, being a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD: and Jotham his son was over the king’s house, judging the people of the land.”
Uzziah tried to claim the high priestly office – a position that was not his to own or operate. This carried very grave repercussions for him. God judged him causing him to carry the consequences to the grave. The thing to note is: Uzziah was a child of God. He was familiar with the precepts and demands of the law. He knew that the office of high priest was not his to function, yet he foolishly insisted in exercising it. Is this not similar to what we are here dealing with in the Royal Black Institution? Many within the Order know that the title and office of high priest and order of Melchizedek pertains exclusively to Christ, yet they willingly continue in a secret fraternity that claims this priesthood. They have allowed themselves to be given these hallowed divine titles without the slightest protest.
We recommend The Secret Teachings of the Masonic Lodge by John Ankerberg and John Weldon
Many Blackmen claim to be evangelical, yet, remarkably, they are happy to sit in a secret body that claims the Saviour’s office. They are content to receive this illustrious title and comfortable to commit their loyalty to this illegitimate order. There is something seriously wrong here. Surely the words of Azariah the priest are pertinent to the Blackman: “It appertaineth not unto thee … neither shall it be for thine honour from the LORD God.” Surely Blackmen are in dangerous territory in likewise claiming this eminent position for themselves?
The only problem with the Old Testament priestly administration lay in its human shortcomings and its ultimate inadequacy. It involved men who by nature were prone to sin and who therefore fell short of what God required of them. Time after time, the high priest failed in God’s requirements through sin or compromise and consequently God judged the whole nation. Corruption eventually took a hold of the office and brought it into complete disrepute. This opened the door to idol worship and apostasy. What is more, with the blight of sin in man came death. This meant the office was continually passed from one to another.
Whilst there were many priests in the nation of Israel under the old covenant there never was an order of high priests because there was only ever one high priest at any one time. The office was passed on upon death from one high priest to another. Only he could enter into the holy of holies once a year on the Day of Atonement and make a sacrifice on behalf of the people and intercede for them. Hebrews 7:11-12 tells us, “If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.”
Scripture makes clear there was no perfection in the old Levitical priesthood. The mode of function and the persons holding the high priestly office had therefore to be changed. God needed someone to satisfactorily, effectively and eternally fulfil the office of high priest. A perfect high priest was required to satisfy divine justice. These old covenant priests were only imperfect types and figures of the true Priesthood of Christ. Whilst the priests in the Old Testament were a foreshadowing of Christ they were deficient figures. The Old Testament high priest was, with his expiatory sacrifices and intercession for the people, a figure of Christ – our only real, perfect and eternal great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14, 5:6, 9).
Hebrews 7:19 tells us, “The law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.” Christ owns the only high priestly office that God recognises now and for all eternity. Hebrews 7:22 confirms, “By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.” For “He is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises” (Hebrews 8:6). If the old covenant priesthood had continued it would be in direct competition with Christ our only high priest.
The Bible tells us, “For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself” (Hebrews 7:26-27).
Christ needed not continually to sacrifice for man’s sin like the Old Testament priests but voluntarily laid down His own life, in one all-sufficient sacrifice for those that were lost. The old imperfect sacrifices made by the representative priests in the Old Covenant were superseded at the cross by the one final satisfactory sacrifice by the one true eternal Priest – the Lord Jesus Christ. When Christ ascended to “the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3, 8:1) He did so as man’s final perfect High Priest. He was the substance and fulfilment of the Old Testament high priestly order who served as the temporal shadow of the coming Messiah. He met every requirement demanded of God to reconcile the sinner unto God.
The Lord eternally abolished the earthly structure of high priests in His own unique way – as God’s one final unchanging High Priest. Through the cross, the succession of high priests is now abolished; there is now only one accepted eternal high priest. Hebrews 4:14 assures us, “We have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God.” Hebrews 4:15 tells us that we have “an high priest” that is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” Hebrews 2:17 tells us that Christ was “a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.”
Man has one true heavenly High Priest and requires none other; for Blackmen to believe otherwise further underlines the deception that exists within the order. Christ is the High Priest who put an end to the earthly line of high priests and to the Levitical priesthood altogether. The one true eternal High Priest has perfected the last sacrifice for sin, and now sits in heaven interceding for His elect. Thus He perfectly fulfils the two-fold duty of the priest – making atonement for sin, and interceding on the people’s behalf.
Hebrews 10:19-21 says, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God.” Note that we do not have high priests (plural) over the house of God today, but a High Priest (singular). Whatever way you look at it, the New Testament strictly forbids the possibility of any other human being ever again assuming the high priestly order and office, which is Christ’s alone.
The book of Hebrews effectively deals with, and unambiguously rebuts, many of the Black’s claims. Hebrews 8:6-7 explains, “Now hath He [Christ] obtained a more excellent ministry (than the priests that made imperfect sacrifices), by how much also He is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.”
This leaves us wondering how a Protestant order can purport to induct its members into the high priestly order? How could any Blackman fulfil the criterion demanded from the high priestly office? Clearly, no Blackman can or ever will come up to these requirements. Whether we are looking at the succession of Old Testament high priests (plural) or the New Testament High Priest (singular) there are no grounds for a Blackman claiming to be a “priest” in the “High Priestly Order.” The Old Testament high priestly order is now obsolete because of Calvary. The new covenant high priestly order is held in heaven by Christ and can be shared with no one.
We should briefly state in passing, even though this will be the subject of a deeper study later in this book that the Bible does speak about a priesthood of believers. However, this is strictly identified with those that have experienced the Christian new birth. This is not a high priesthood and is altogether different from the Levitical priesthood or the Melchizedek priesthood of Christ.
Individual Office of High Priest within the Black
We can see from early Black documents that the Order operated an actual office of high priest for many years. The first one we note is referenced by Knights of Malta historian Thomas Henry Gilmore in his thorough history of the Knights of Malta and Black. This certificate, dated 30th August 1814, identifies Francis Hawksham as the High Priest of the Grand Black Order of Orangemen. The office was still in existence in 1820, Daniel Maulang being cited as High Priest and George Dobson as Deputy High Priest.
Another Black grouping called the Royal Black Association lists William McKey as High Priest in a document dated 2nd March 1821. Yet another Black association, the Royal Black Lodge, Honourable Protestant Association affirms William Halliday as its High Priest on 1st August 1829. A certificate relating to the Royal Black Association in Scotland issued by its Grand Black Assembly on 24th June 1831 identifies Sir William Johnstone as High Priest. The same body released a similar certificate on 24th March 1833 naming Sir Andrew Williamson in the same office. This elevated office seemed to have been active within all the different Black groupings at their beginnings.
When the newly formed Grand Black Chapter set out its Rules and Regulations for 1847 the position of High Priest was included in its required offices for every individual Black Preceptory. Under ‘Formation of Preceptories’ it instructed, “Every Preceptory shall have a Master, Deputy Master, High Priest, Registrar, Treasurer, Standard Bearers, Lecturers, Pursuivant, and five Committee-men.” Whilst this office continued for a time it was finally scrapped and replaced with the current title of Chaplain. Notwithstanding, the fact that early Blackmen happily employed this office without the slightest difficulty indicates the very doubtful make-up of the organisation from the beginning. It also highlights the lack of spiritual discernment that existed amongst the founding fathers of the Black Knights. And it also shows that the Black Institution’s teaching on the whole matter of the priesthood is fundamental to its structure, and that it still exists.
This custom is shared with all the various secret societies and has again been bequeathed by Freemasonry. The Masonic Lodge liberally uses such titles as Priest, High Priest, Worthy High Priest, Grand High Priest and Most Excellent General Grand High Priest. With so many competing high priests, one wonders where Masons fit Christ into their thinking. Instead of being man’s only High Priest He is thrown into a pile with an untold number of merely human and sinful high priests.
The Blackman is reminded in this catechism that he is of Israel’s tribe of Levi. This may seem odd to the outsider, but it is not strange to the Black candidate for this degree. He has been previously assured in his Loyal Orders’ trek that he was part of this priestly tribe. It would be imprudent for us to try and understand the meaning of this Black teaching without also taking into consideration other related preparatory teaching the candidate has already received on the subject in previous degrees. After all, these are essential preliminary illuminations in the candidate’s journey up the steps of the Loyal Orders. Like a child putting a jig-saw together, we must be acquainted with all the pieces before we can effectively put the puzzle together. In fact, it is only as we examine all the teaching the initiate has already received in preceding lectures, and specifically that which is related to the subject in view, that we can truly make sense of the beliefs before us and grasp their full import.
The degrees of the Orange Order and the Royal Arch Purple Chapter (through which every Black candidate is required to travel before being eligible to join the Black institution), along with the previous seven Black degrees that he has already travelled, are all important inter-connected elements in enlightening him into the mysteries and secrets of the Orders. All the varying practices the candidate undergoes and all the peculiar revelations he receives on his journey are essential individual segments of the overall mystical whole. Leave a piece out and the picture remains incomplete or unclear. This is why those who only travel as far as the Orange or Arch Purple never truly get the full picture. All the varying degrees, colours and initiations the aspirant experiences serve as important interdependent parts of a gradually unfolding overall message. When one piece is put in place, it helps put the next in place. The more components which come together the clearer the picture he receives of the esoteric content and mystical nature of these Orders.
To untangle this strange teaching before us and ascertain the true import of this Black lecture we must first weigh up a few important facts. Firstly, every Blackman is informed at the start of his Loyal Orders journey in the Orange Order that he is “of the tribe of Levi.” This is the first teaching that he receives when joining the Orange. When the candidate comes to join the Black he is already familiar with this. It is not a new revelation. He is not qualified to join the Black unless he has been furnished with the secrets and mysteries of the Orange and the Arch Purple.
The candidate has been previously informed in the first degree of the Orange Order by way of catechism:
“What art thou?
One of the elect.
Of what house?
The house of Israel.
Of what tribe?
The tribe of Levi.”
Although we do not want to major on the “elect” issue as it pertains to the Orange Order, we must allude to it in passing, as it relates to every Blackman and is important to an understanding of the background to the Black instruction. The above assurance is given to every single Orange recruit, irrespective of whether he is saved or unsaved, when he is welcomed into the Lodge at the start. It is the candidate’s first encounter with teaching on the subject in his passage through the degrees and rituals of the Orange, Arch Purple and Black.
It is astonishing that the Orange would be so naïve to take it upon itself to assure every new member that they have become “one of the elect” through simply joining the Order. It is even more alarming that professing Christians can sit comfortably within the Lodge while this false assurance is relayed to every member. This is done without the slightest protest from any of them, despite the fact that most would concede their Institution consists mainly of unconverted men. They must surely recognise the danger of indiscriminately bestowing the favoured spiritual title of “elect” upon every Orangeman without any due qualification. They must also see that this gives unregenerate men a false hope of salvation.
Every true Christian knows that the word “elect” can never be attributed to an unsaved man as he is still outside of salvation, and therefore outside of grace. The Bible tells us that the elect of God refers solely to the redeemed, blood-bought, born-again, faithful, children of God throughout all the ages. 1 Peter 1:2 tells us that they alone are: “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.”
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This company consists solely of those that have come to God’s only appointed way of salvation – the way of Christ and the way of the cross. These are the only chosen people God recognises. Any Orangemen who are not born again of the Spirit of God are precluded from owning this sacred title, still being under the wrath of God and destined for a lost eternity. For the candidate to assume this title outside of salvation is for him to delude his soul and jeopardise his eternal destiny.
Having given every candidate a false assurance, the Orange lecturers then amazingly and systematically elevate each candidate to the household of Israel and to the priestly tribe of Levi in particular. It is only by being aware of this preliminary teaching that we can fully grasp the import of the Gold Star & Garter degree teaching before us. This teaching only serves to confirm the strong British-Israel ethos that exists within the Loyal Orders. The difficulty with this instruction is that it gives unregenerate men titles and promises which do not remotely belong to them, and offers them a false sense of importance which Scripture does not apply to them. We must remember that this promise is given to every Orangeman, whether saint or sinner.
The theology of the Loyal Orders certainly belongs within the British Israel camp. British Israelism views the Anglo-Saxon Protestant people of the United Kingdom as being the physical descendents of believing Israel. They attempt, by all types of imaginative theories, to prove that some of the most notable men of Scripture (Old and New Testament) actually immigrated to, or visited, the British Isles in their travels. Some within the Loyal Orders hold that within this choice nation of Britain the Orders occupy an elevated position – the equivalent to that held by the Levites before the cross. They feel they are the literal descendents of the Levitical tribe and the guardians of their supposed ancient secret practices. They believe that the Orders have preserved much of their teaching and practices.
Whilst it is clear from their own testimony and ceremony that the Orders view themselves as being the modern-day tribe of Levi, it is difficult to grasp the thinking behind this belief. Black historian Sir Knight A.S. Brooks is helpful here, giving some valuable insights in a secret Black booklet. The pamphlet, called A History of the Order and its relation to the Orange Order and thoughts for study, asserts: “Those familiar with the work of the Order know that it originates in ancient Israel, but who knows for sure how it was preserved and handed down. It is however an Israelitish Order as well as Christian. All ancient Israelitish religious ceremonies were ritualistic and were in general use at the time Christ began His ministry and there is no doubt about His being familiar with the Jewish and Israelitish form of worship.”
Brooks continues, “After Pentecost was over, there was an order formed known as the Brotherhood of Disciples whose colours were Purple, Blue and Scarlet. Saint Peter refers to them in the First Epistle of Peter, Chapter two verse seventeen … I take it for granted the reader is familiar with the story of Israel and will know that the tribe of Levi were set apart as a Priestly Order to minister in the Temple and conduct the ritualistic religious service of the Israel nation.”
He contends, “This Priestly Order continued to function and was in charge of religious worship in the Jewish nation at the birth of Christ. Christ knew and understood this Order, and further, He did not destroy it but was careful to observe and to do what was required by the law … Just as God set apart the tribe of Levi in ancient Israel, so now He ordains and sends out a new order to function in what was to become Modern Israel … The whole fabric of our Order very definitely indicates that we are tied in with the old Levite Order, and as such, we are playing a part in bringing about the fulfilment of God’s plan for mankind.”
Sir Knight Brooks explains how the tribe of Levi was a “ritualistic” priestly order and then tries to offer this as evidence of the links between the Black and the Levites. However, such a proposition is absurd. The two orders could not be more diverse. The ceremonies practised by the Old Testament priests were God-ordained and can in no way be compared to the degrading neo-Masonic man-made rites performed by the Black Preceptory. Brooks presses this line of reasoning as support for the belief that the Black is a bona-fide priesthood today.
He contends that just like “the tribe of Levi was set apart as a priestly order to minister in the temple and conduct the ritualistic religious service of the Israel nation” so the Black Preceptory has similarly been ordained of God and sent out “to function in what was to become Modern Israel” (whom he believes is Britain). Sir Knight Brooks then turns Christ’s closest followers into a secret sect and invents an esoteric title for them describing them as “the Brotherhood of Disciples.” If it was not as serious it would be laughable. He further claims that this ritualistic fraternity was instituted “after Pentecost” and that it owned the same colours as the Loyal Orders have today.
Brooks adds a supplementary enquiry: “Was this Brotherhood used of God to preserve and hand down to us those ritualistic treasures we possess? Who knows. The fact that we today have this treasure proves they were handed down to us through some unknown channel which could have been the Brotherhood.” Sir Knight Brooks comments illustrate the thinking that pervades the Royal Black Institution in relation to the tribe of Levi. He suggests the Black is the modern continuation of the Old Testament priestly tribe. He argues that, rather than being superseded by Christ and the order of Melchizedek at the first Advent, the tribe of Levi continued on after Christ – with His expressed blessing. He boldly contends: “He did not destroy it.” Brooks connects these ‘two priestly orders’, contending that the Black is “tied in with the old Levite Order.” He suggests that the whole character and composition of the Black proves that it is joined to the Levitical tribe. He states that “the whole fabric” and “work of the Order … originates in ancient Israel.” He suggests that those familiar with the internal workings of the Black (namely the membership) are fully aware of these facts.
Not content with connecting the rituals, working and structures of the Royal Black Institution to that of the Levites, Brooks then tries to present the Lord’s disciples as those who acquired this secret system and then in turn passed it on to others. Brooks presents the apostles as the likely link between the old covenant priestly order and the modern-day ‘Black priestly order’. He gives the impression that these followers of Christ were inducted into the mysteries and secrets of an ancient secret tradition, which he attributes to the tribe of Levi. He suggests that the character and function of this old covenant priesthood was similar to the Black movement today.
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In doing this, Brooks succeeds in sullying both the name of this Old Testament priestly tribe and the early apostles. Scripture gives no intimation that either group engaged in any of the secret practices perpetrated by the Black or propagated any of their mysteries and secrets. He then tries to put Christ’s blessing upon it, thus giving the impression that the Black Knights are instituted by Him to fulfil a divine purpose. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reader should note that Brooks is still held in high esteem by the Royal Black today. Evidence of this can be found on the website of the Grand Black Chapter of Canada (http://www.royalblack.ca/history.html), which recommends this particular booklet as an accurate history book of the Order.
Many Blackmen will be shocked at such sentiments, although these things are in fact the accepted belief amongst those “in the know” within the higher echelons of the Institution. Every Christian knows the disciples were not a secret band of elitists who, having obtained the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, selfishly hid it behind closed doors. They were not a company of ritualists who performed all types of weird and elaborate ceremonies throughout Jerusalem and Galilee. They were a group of godly men, saved by the grace of God, who let their light so shine before men. They took the Gospel out to all who would hear it – irrespective of nationality, colour or creed. In doing this, they were open in their religious practice and unguarded in articulating truth. Ritualism was not part of their activities. In fact, the apostles were strongly anti-ritualistic. Mark 16:20 tells us, “They went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.”
Sir Knight Brooks elevates the Royal Black Institution to a unique place of favour amongst the people of God today. In fact, he indicates that the Institution’s status today is comparable with the position held by this choice old covenant priesthood in ancient times. Of course this is consistent with the teaching of the actual degrees. The Black shamelessly appoints it members to this old covenant priestly tribe despite the fact that the Bible says, “no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron” (Hebrews 5:4). In contravention of this strict condition, the Blackman takes on this honour without being given it of God. Plainly the Black Knights have no biblical warrant to take this position or apply it at will to its mainly unregenerate membership.
With the introduction of the kingdom of God to this earth (in the Person of Christ) and the onset of the new covenant, we entered into a new divine arrangement that superseded the shadow, type and figure of the Old Testament. The imperfect and temporal Old Testament high priests were replaced with the perfect eternal High Priest. The book of Hebrews destroys any notion of the continuation of the old covenant priests. The Black is therefore wrong to argue that the tribe of Levi still exists and are particularly deceived if they believe they are the modern extension of this ancient priesthood. What is more, by a Blackman claiming he is of the priestly tribe of Levi he is suggesting that the Jewish ordinances and traditions are still valid. However, Christ came to fulfil this imperfect system. Therefore, this priesthood no longer exists, nor is there any need for the Levitical priesthood today.
Professor E. Odlum, MA, BSc., an Orangeman himself, supports many of the statements advanced by Brooks in his pamphlet called The Orange Order in Relation to Anglo-Israel. He testifies how, as he progressed through the different degrees he obtained a fuller revelation of his Israelite roots. In Canada, where Professor E.Odlum was initiated, some of the Black degrees are integral to the Orange Order. In fact, there are four Orange degrees in Canada: Orange, Royal Blue, Royal Arch Purple and Royal Scarlet. He testifies of his experience: “During my several initiatory steps, I found myself faced with a most important presentation. At every turn as I passed through the degrees, I was intensifyingly forced to the belief that I was and am an Israelite.”
He continues, “Further yet. The ceremonies and vows are of such character that it was impossible for me to advance through the several steps unless I accepted the irresistible conclusion that I was and am a blood-descended child of Abraham and the other patriarchs … No man of thought and perception on earth could go through the degrees of the Orange Order, as I have done, without being a pronounced believer in our descendence from the House of Israel.”
Lodges Examined by the Bible by John R. Rice
These two personal testimonies from eminent Loyal Orders witnesses confirm the thinking that pervades the higher reaches of the Orders. Many within them are of the view that Blackmen are the modern priestly manifestation of the tribe of Levi. They believe that they are the physical offspring of Israel. Both of these Loyal Orders spokesmen present the nature and content of the degrees as evidence that the Loyal Orders are Israelite. The membership is said to be direct descendents from the children of Israel, the Loyal Orders being a choice religious group within this chosen race. These claims are absurd on all ethnic, spiritual and theological grounds.
There is no credible historic evidence to associate the Black Knights with literal Jewish descent. The reality is that Ulster Protestants are literally and physically uncircumcised. They are the converse group of the Jews. The membership of the Black is plainly non-Jewish by birth, physical appearance and origin. Observing the sentiments outlined by these Loyal Order writers demonstrates the dangerous effect this Black teaching has upon its members. They are indoctrinated into believing they are something which they are not, and which, even if it were true, would advantage them nothing “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek” (Romans 10:12).
Blackmen are not of the tribe of Levi, neither are they of the high priestly order. They are not of the house of Israel. This teaching is a fallacy. The absurdity of the British Israel thinking is built upon a lie. Most of the historic theories that pervade the Orders are extremely far-fetched, emanating from the wild imaginations of men engulfed in the secret theology of these secret fraternities. Notwithstanding, they are unsupported by history and lacking in any authenticated evidence. Contrary to what British Israelites imagine, salvation and favour from God has absolutely nothing to do with race, but totally all to do with grace. God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:29, Romans 2:11, Galatians 2:6, Ephesians 6:9, Colossians 3:25, 1 Peter 1:17). The sinner of all nationalities enters exclusively into communion with God through regeneration and the new birth experience, certainly not by racial origin or by fallacious ritualism.
These Orange and Black writers argue that the elaborate rituals and secret teaching they have inherited are of ancient Jewish origin and that they have been carefully preserved down through the years by a select group of adherents, albeit by an unknown source. Professor Odlum does admit that Freemasonry is one of the participants in this secret tradition, commenting, “The qualification for membership and degree was based on their classification as workmen, such as Apprentices, Masons, Master Masons, Craftsmen, Master craftsmen, etc. Thus was born that great Masonic Order … and there is no doubt in my mind as to its formation being in line with God’s plan for man.”
It is interesting that Odlum incorporates the Masonic Lodge into the spiritual heritage of God, given the overt anti-Christian nature of the Lodge with its prohibition of any mention of Christ in Craft Masonry. Odlum is only articulating here what is privately held by many within the leadership of the Black movement. The hierarchy of the Black Knights fully realise the Masonic Templar roots of the Black. The Masonic Knights Templar ballad, which is suitably entitled Sons of Levi, confirms the source from which this Black teaching originated. It asserts:
“Come all you Craftsmen that do wish
To propagate the grand design,
Come, enter into our high temple,
And learn the art that is divine.
For we are the true born sons of Levi,
None on earth with us compare;
We are the root and the branch of David,
The bright and the glorious morning star.
Come all ye Knights Templar of Malta,
Forth in glittering armour shine,
Assist your good and worthy master
To protect the ark divine.”
For more information, please William Schnoebelen’s enlightening book Masonry Beyond the Light
Whilst this is part of the Irish version, we find the same ballad on the National Library of Scotland website, although there are a few slight indigenous variations in the wording. The Library, in its commentary of this ballad, states: “Oddly enough the tune to the Sons of Levi, as it is normally known, has links with the earlier Jacobite song, Mo Ghile Mear. Despite this origin the song was eventually inherited from the Freemasons, by the Orange Lodge and is still part of their repertoire of tunes. It can be found in most traditional Loyal Orders song books. The song is a description, in biblical terms, of a new member’s initiation.”
Mo Ghile Mear, which is Gaelic for ‘My Hero or My Dashing Darling’, was a Jacobite lament for Bonnie Prince Charlie. The song may be read as a love song of a broken-hearted widow lamenting the loss of her true love; however, it was really an allegory in which Ireland laments the loss of its king, the Stuart Prince. It was based on the dance tune The White Cockade, which was widely regarded as seditious because it related to the white cockade or rosette worn as a badge of allegiance by the supporters of King James. It is certainly interesting that this Knights Templar ballad should be linked to the Jacobite camp. This further reinforces the viewpoint that the Jacobites invented the Masonic Templars as a secret vehicle to accomplish its ulterior political designs.
The words of this song show us that the Black concept of being of the tribe of Levi is nothing new, but is a deeply embedded belief within the Masonic Templar tradition. High grade Masons view themselves as “the true born sons of Levi,” a conviction they passed on to their spiritual offspring – the Royal Black Institution and the Knights of Malta. It is clear from our study that these Templar progeny speak and act just like the mother order. Whilst the idea of belonging to the tribe of Levi is biblically unacceptable it is certainly not the worst part of the ballad. The remaining lines of the same verse are most disturbing and show the depth of error that permeates Templarism. It testifies: “None on earth with us compare; we are the root and the branch of David, the bright and the glorious morning star.” These words are an absolute blasphemy. Here, the Templars take titles and descriptions that belong exclusively to the Saviour and claim them as their own. Christ, and no-one else, is the root and the offspring of David; He alone is the bright and morning star.
Revelation 22:16 records, “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”
In applying these hallowed descriptions to themselves, these Black Knights are taking the place of Christ. They have no regard for Christ or His Word. They undermine the matchless name of Christ and assault His exalted divinity in their bogus internal theology. The Templar family trample upon the inerrancy of Scripture and attempt to turn Scripture into a meaningless story book that can be used and abused at will. These men are deluded by their own propaganda. Little do they know that self-exaltation naturally follows self-deception. Man deceives himself into thinking he is greater than he really is. Once pride takes control, man becomes beguiled. D.L. Moody says, “God sends no one away empty except those who are full of themselves.”
Self-exaltation was the very sin that caused Satan to fall at the beginning. Isaiah 14:13-15 records: “For thou (speaking of Lucifer) hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”
In this attempt, Satan manifested every putrid facet of pride. He ultimately wanted to dethrone Christ and everything He represented. In place of this he wanted to enthrone himself. Satan essentially coveted something that did not belong to him. This is what the Black Templar movement does. It desires positions, descriptions and titles that do not belong to it. Its leaders are not content with their own station in life, they need to rise higher. All the time they are thoughtlessly sinking lower and lower. Templarism fills its cup of iniquity by declaring: “None on earth with us compare.” Such words expose the thinking that controls these secret orders. Only God can affirm such lofty words. He states in Isaiah 46:5, 9, “To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like? … Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me.”
Remainder of the Star and Garter degree
We would recommend a revealing book written by David W Daniels – Should A Christian Be A Mason:
We would recommend a revealing book written by David W Daniels – Should A Christian Be A Mason:
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
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