The Royal Black Knights
THE ROYAL BLACK KNIGHTS
A HISTORY OF THE ORDER AND
ITS RELATION TO
Sir. Knight A.S.Brooks
(Past Grand Master of Ontario,
Past Grand Master of British America)
In order to fully understand and appreciate the importance of The Royal Black Knights of the Camp of Israel, it is necessary to have a fairly good grasp of the historical and ritualistic background of the Order?
All things created were made by God. Then, as the world progressed, and mankind being free will agents, left to work out their salvation, it became necessary for God to plan and institute ways and means to bring about the fulfilment of His Divine plan for mankind, such as the establishing of His Chosen Race, The Nation Israel.
We therefore, being of the House of Israel, were undoubtedly ordained of God to play an active part in bringing about the fulfilment of the Divine plan for mankind.
Knowing and realising the significance of these facts not only offers a challenge to the members of this great Priestly Order, but must surely inspire them to fulfil to the best of their ability, the duties evolving upon them in their high and noble calling?
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. 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, "Honour all men. Love the BROTHERHOOD. Fear God. Honour the King" (CAPITALS in the original document). Note they were to 'Honour all men' but they were to 'Love the BROTHERHOOD'.
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.
With the background I have given here it will be in Order to pass on to some of the events leading up to the forming of Knightly Orders.
About the close of the sixth century or the beginning of the seventh, a man by the name of John the Almoner built the hospice. In the years following many more were built. They served a very great need and in 1048 a move was made to organise and bring all these units into a great Knightly Order and Order of St. Johns of Jerusalem came into being?It became like a tree and the branches continued to grow, or break off and become separate Orders, or at least become known by different names, although actually, they were Knights of St. Johns. Because of the black robes worn by some, they were nicknamed Black Knights. One Branch eventually adopted this name and became the Order of Black Knights from which we are descended.
In setting up this new Order it was quite evident that men who were familiar with the Black Order not only gave assistance in organising, but they helped prepare the Ritual which was made up of certain parts of the Black ritual that were suitable to the designs of the new Order, which was an operative Order and 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 the great Masonic Order which is somewhat younger in years than the Black, but Ritualistically it is just as old, and there is no doubt in my mind as to its formation being in line with God's plan for man. Their ritual work being copied from the Black, accounts for the similarity of Emblems and the work of the two Orders. The Masonic Order has no doubt carried on with less interruption or lapse than has the Black, but both Orders have, and are, doing a great work in the world today?
Black Lodges and Knights of Malta both contributed much to the forming of the Orange Order. The Ritual of the Orange Order indicates that persons with a knowledge of the Black Ritual assisted in drawing the Orange Ritual?
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. 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?
Here we see history repeating itself. 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 Christian Church grew and spread very rapidly and when the first Christian Missionaries- among whom Joseph of Arimithea - journeyed to Britain in AD 36, they found people of Israelitish origin living there and using Israelitish ritual which had been in use for hundreds of years. These people gradually accepted the story of the Christ and embodied it in their religious service?
The reader may be asking the question here, what has all this to do with Black Knighthood? In answer I would say that in order to properly understand this Order, one must have a knowledge of those things as Knighthood is so closely tied with the same, and it is necessary to have the complete picture in order to fully understand, not only HOW but WHY. 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.