Knights of Malta Rick Joyner
Q. Why did I join the Knights of Malta?
This remains a frequently asked question, so I want to answer it as completely as I can. The names that are left out in this account are because I have not had a chance to ask them if I could use their names.
In 1987 I met a man from one of the old noble families of Eastern Europe. His family had owned a large and prosperous industry before the communist takeover in their country. In a conversation with him, I was told about an extraordinary order of knights who were keeping alive the vision of chivalry and the defense of Christianity, and were waging a brave fight to reclaim what had been lost to the enemies of the cross. He explained that you could not join this order, but had to be recommended and proven to be true of the most stringent biblical standards of morality and integrity, and have risked your life for the sake of the gospel. I was very intrigued, and decided to research this order called "The Knights of Malta."
I visited the island of Malta while in the Navy, and at that time toured their old fortifications. I was very moved as I read about their historic exploits, but had no idea the order still existed. While reading about their battles against Islam during the Middle Ages, I felt it was one of the greatest stories of courage, endurance, and devotion to a calling since biblical times. Three times they faced the most powerful armies of Islam, outnumbered by as many as one hundred to one, but vowed never to retreat before the enemies of the cross. They endured some of the most terrible sieges in the history of warfare, and to the astonishment of the whole world, these few brave knights prevailed. They almost single-handedly stopped the seemingly unstoppable hordes of Islam, saving Christian Europe.
Over the next couple of years, I often traveled through Europe, and was surprised to find many who still revered the famous Knights of Malta. I became convinced that, even though the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but spiritual, there was a desperate need for such courageous souls to again band together and vow to retreat no further before the enemies of the cross. I saw many parallels in the history of the Knights of Malta, who are also called the Order of St. John (OSJ), with what I had been shown prophetically in the vision I was given about the coming harvest and the struggle that much of the world was about to face.
In the mid and late 1980s, a number of prophetic people that I know began to receive indications that communism was going to decline, but that what would arise to take its place would be far worse than communism had ever been. A number of us were shown that there would arise a combination of some of the elements of communism with Islamic extremism. This would not be a combination of communism with Islam as much as it would be a military alliance of some kind in which these extremists would gain access to weapons of mass destruction, and they would use them to terrorize the entire world.
Others and myself gave many prophetic warnings about this in the late eighties, which we have repeated from time to time. We also believe that when things like this are shown to prophetic people, it is for the purpose of stopping them. This can be done with prayer, repentance, or revival. We are not warring with flesh and blood, and our warfare is never against people, but the evil forces of darkness that can gain control of them. The call is for Christians to arise and do the same thing in the spirit that the OSJ did in the natural during the Middle Ages. Our weapons are the Word of God and His truth, which are infinitely more powerful.
I was also shown that some of the great last-day leaders of Christianity would emerge from these extreme Islamic groups who would be converted by the power of God. These would be as radical for Christ as they had been for Islam, and they would be willing to make any sacrifice required for the sake of the truth, and turn multitudes to life in Christ that they would have otherwise killed.
Then I was shown that the Lord had preserved a remnant of true knights of the OSJ because they had a purpose in the great last-day battle between light and darkness. One day I actually prayed that, even though I had never desired earthly honors or titles, I would like to become one of these knights. After this prayer, it seemed that hardly a month went by and prophetic people began saying that they had seen me being knighted by the Lord. Sometimes I was told this in public meetings, which I am sure many who were in our early meetings remember.
During this time, while I was in Berlin speaking at a conference, Paul Cain and I had dinner with Colonel Eugene Bird. Col. Bird had been the American Commandant of the Spandau Prison, which housed the Nazi war criminals after the war, and was famous for the international bestseller he had written about Rudolf Hess titled The Loneliest Man In The World, (recently re-released as Prisoner Number Seven). Many now consider Col. Bird to be one of the foremost authorities on Nazi Germany. He is also one of the most fascinating people I have ever met.
In the 1970s I was shown that what took place in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s was "a dress rehearsal" for the way the anti-Christ spirit would try to take over the world at the end. I had also studied that period of history for years. I began telling Col. Bird about my recent study of the interesting history of the Knights of Malta. To my surprise Col. Bird told me that he had recently been knighted by this Order, and that I too had been recommended for investiture by an Austrian baron. He also told me about a spiritual renewal that was taking place in the OSJ, and that some of this had come about because of my books which were being read by the knights.
About a week later I was standing in a Nuremberg hotel lobby with some friends, when one of them announced the entry of the Austrian baron who Col. Bird had just told me about. As this man approached, I asked Bobby Conner to tell me if he saw anything prophetic about this man. Bobby began to share with him a vision that he had just seen of a strange briefcase, and that he had just visited the office of Kurt Waldheim. The baron was astonished because he had just had a briefcase custom made like the one Bobby described for Kurt Waldheim, and had just come from giving it to him in his office (Kurt Waldheim was at that time the President of Austria, but Bobby did not know who he was). The Austrian baron was already a believer in the prophetic, but he said that he had not seen anything on quite this level. This began a series of events that made Kurt Waldheim a believer as well. This was important for a significant prophetic/diplomatic meeting with one of the most powerful Arab leaders in the Middle East which would take place at a later date. This was when I first realized how some of the knights of the OSJ were being used for amazing spiritual-diplomatic achievements that were in the interest of the kingdom of God. A number of very influential world leaders were presented straightforwardly with the gospel, as well as given important prophetic information which came to pass.
This was all very intriguing, but I began to have questions about joining the OSJ simply because I felt it was something that could be controversial and easily misunderstood by Christians who did not have the benefit of witnessing the kind of things that I had. I asked the Lord to show me clearly if this was something I should do that had a purpose. I don't mind controversy, but I just want it to serve a purpose. A few days later one of my most trusted prophetic friends called me from Europe and said that the Lord was about to give me "an honor" and credentials that I would be able to use like Paul used his Roman citizenship. He had no idea what it was specifically, but I did.
That was all the confirmation I needed as I was reminded of the many words that I had received about being knighted. It was at this time that I also happened upon a story about how the early Moravian bishops crossed the Alps to have the remnants of the early French reformation movements lay hands on them for their blessing. Because I knew there was a coming great world conflict with Islamic extremists, I wanted the blessing of the Order of their courage and resolve never to retreat before the enemies of the cross. I had been shown that the Lord was going to again raise up true knights of the Holy Spirit who would stand against this terrible onslaught, and again be used to turn it back. If the OSJ was going to again arise to stand as it had before, I wanted to be a part of it in any way that I could.
I was also shown that there would be a controversy around the OSJ that would follow me, but that this too was a blessing from the Lord that would help to keep paranoid people away from us. For the onslaught that was to come, which was fear in many terrible forms, we would need the fellowship of those with unfailing courage. We would need the resolve to stay focused on who the real enemy was and not waste time fighting phantom enemies that paranoid people spend much of their time fighting.
I was also shown that a reason for the rise in Islamic extremism was the moral pollution and perversion that was being spread over the earth from America and the West. Just as the Lord disciplined Israel's apostasy by allowing the heathen nations to carry them into captivity for a time, the United States was also in danger of actually being reduced from being a world power, and that we too could be carried into a terrible and oppressive captivity that would be imposed by Martial law in reaction to the terrorism.
Just as the knights of the OSJ had to fight the hordes of Islam by day, and then battle fires within their fortress at night, what was coming would be a two front battle, both within and without. I believe if we are going to win this battle against the extremists from Islam, and the moral meltdown that is going on within, Christians will have to become true knights of the cross, and fight like them. There is going to be a revival of a true order of knights that will restore honor, nobility, and morality, to the nations. On both fronts, within and without, we are fighting for our very existence. In Daniel 11:31-32 we read something that is very relevant to this:
"And forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation."
"And by smooth words he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will display strength and take action."
Here we see that at the very time when the man of sin is setting up the abomination of desolation and turning many to godlessness, those "who know their God will display strength and take action." There are great and noble souls who are about to arise with unfailing resolve and courage to stand against the great darkness of all time. They do not have a retreat mentality, but they will "display strength and take action" right in the face of the ultimate evil.
Q. Is The OSJ connected to the Masons?
No. Neither are there any secret vows or rituals in the OSJ. The OSJ is a true Christian order, and the vows for knighthood are commitments to be servants of Christ and no other god, as well as to Christian truth and principles. The eight pointed Maltese Cross was designed to represent the eight beatitudes of Christ which the knight was to wear on his heart at all times as a constant reminder of what was to be in his heart.
Because some believe that the origin of the Masons was the Knights Templer (Knights of the Temple), which also had its origin in the crusades at about the same time as the OSJ as well as a number of other orders, some have tried to assert that the Masons and OSJ are related. Actually, when the Templer knights were excommunicated for their secret vows and rituals that were considered to be witchcraft, they believed that the OSJ was behind their debacle, and some consider the OSJ to be the greatest enemy of the Masons to this day. However, most Masons, and members of the OSJ, are oblivious to this, as well as much of the rest of their history. I have also heard that in some countries Masons and the OSJ do work together for charitable causes that both are committed to, such as hospitals and medical relief.
Some have also concluded that they are related because the head of each is called a Grand Master. These are simply titles that were left over from the Middle Ages, and such guilt by random association is a symptom of paranoia which may be an even greater danger in the future than any wayward order. Should Christians give up their title as priests to the Lord because there are satanic priests? We don't throw away our real money because someone finds a counterfeit, neither should we give up our vocabulary just because the enemy decides to use it.
Also, even though the majority of Masons are only aware of three degrees (Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master Mason) there is a secret society within some Masonic groups that recognize thirty-three degrees. Each of these degrees has a title, and the title given to the twenty-seventh degree is "Knight of Malta." Some assert that this proves there is a relationship between them, but they also use other Christian titles for some of these degrees, none of which do I believe relate to the Christian use of it. I do not think that we should give up any of them just because some Masons use them.
As a Christian I am deeply alarmed by everything I have studied about the Masons. I do not know how any Christian can make the basic vow required for entry to the Masons. I have not, nor would I ever be a part of any secret society, or one that has secret rituals. The OSJ has neither. They do everything in the light, all of its vows and rituals are Christian, and are commitments to basic Christian doctrine.
There are some who claim to be the true OSJ that do at least have teachings that I believe to be in conflict with basic Christian truth, but we also have groups that claim to be the true Christian church that do as well. Should Christians stop calling themselves the church because some who are not true Christians call themselves the church? Again, I do not intend to let those with such flawed reasoning dictate what I do or do not do, as I am committed to walking by faith, not by fear.
Q. Am I trying to start an elite group of Christians?
Absolutely. I will not apologize for the fact that I am on a quest to find Christians who will rise above the lukewarm and fearful to be true knights of the cross, true nobility in the earth that will not compromise the biblical standards for morality, integrity, and commitment to sound biblical truth. I do believe that this is what the Lord intends for all of His people to be, but the fact is such are becoming increasingly rare.
Will this be an "exclusive" club? Absolutely not. It will always be wide open to all who aspire to live for the Lord and not themselves, who are committed to fight the good fight of faith with all of the passion and zeal that our King deserves.
Q. Do I think that we need orders in Christianity?
Ideally no. I think that simply being a member of the body of Christ is the greatest honor that we can ever have on this earth. However, because of the present and historic weaknesses of the church in general, they have served a great purpose in creating spiritual advances, and will again do so for at least the near future.
Just as Count Zinzendorf, the true father of modern missions, created the Order of the Mustard Seed, which touched and inspired men like John Wesley to release a spiritual fire in the earth that created the First Great Awakening in America and Europe, I think that the church is in desperate need of groups who will join together to press beyond the state of modern Christianity as it is generally found in most of the world. Call these "elitist" groups if you want, but we need them to call all Christians to higher standards of faith and life. I make no apologies for my plans to start one (which I will explain later), and to assist the OSJ to accomplish its mandate. Such a thing will only be offensive to the lukewarm and the fearful, which in the midst of our present distress, I do not believe we have the time to care about offending.
For several years I have considered starting a special fellowship for those who will rise up to become true Christian knights of the Spirit. A year ago I was given a clear mandate from the Lord to do this, which He also showed me was given many years ago but I had not understood it as such. It is to be a fellowship of those who would walk in a manner worthy of their calling, never retreating before the enemies of the cross, or compromising their principles or integrity, intent on one mission—following the King, fighting His battles, and standing resolutely for His truth.
As a part of this program we are also called to start a similar fellowship for children and youth. I appreciate programs like Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, but the church is in need of something that greatly surpasses these programs in preparing the coming generation for their purpose. What we are now starting is a program that takes children from eight years old and plants sound doctrine deep in their hearts, while raising them up to be true knights of the Spirit who will live their entire lives as such. If they are alone in a foreign land, they will conduct themselves as such—always ready to defend the truth, the poor, and the oppressed, representing our King in a manner worthy of His soldiers.
Recently I was given a little book of sermons by John G. Lake, one of the great Christian leaders of modern times. Lake not only had one of the most effective ministries in history, he seemed to be one of those rare souls who walked in a manner worthy of his calling to the end, never falling to the pride or other worldly seductions that trip up so many. He wrote shortly before he died in 1935:
"I am getting ready in my soul, not to preach the old message with the old fire, but the new message with the new fire—not only to ask men to be good and go to heaven when they die, but to be God-like in character, nature, substance, and being. God is priming our souls. He is going to send forth the living waters and call by experience the new order of Knights of the Morning Star into being and action." (Spiritual Hunger and Other Sermons by John G. Lake, page 18. Published by Christ For The Nations, Inc.)
When I saw this I did take it as a prophecy whose time had come. I am looking for those who will devote themselves to true spiritual chivalry and nobility who will not only speak the truth, but will live it. We are seeking the fellowship of those who will live by the courage that it will take to resist the great darkness of our times that is rising from both within and without. I am looking for extreme Christians who will not hesitate to lay down their lives for the sake of the gospel. I am looking for those who will conduct themselves as the true nobility in the earth, sons and daughters of the King, even when they are alone with no one to see them but God. I am looking for those who will live with a zeal that burns away the chaff of lukewarmness that so grips modern Christianity, but do it without falling to the ultimate sin of pride, who will remain humble by being teachable, and who will consider it their duty to serve the poor and the oppressed until every captive has been set free.
Q. If the OSJ is not a secret order, why have so few Christians heard of it?
I think that few American Christians have heard of it, and we do tend to have the pride that if something does not start with us, or is not known by us, it must not be important.
Before I was knighted I thoroughly checked out the OSJ to be sure that there were not secret vows or rituals, which I am steadfastly against as I believe that anything that has to be done in secret is of darkness, and my resolution is to walk in the light. I found that there were many groups that claimed to be the true remnant of the OSJ, and many of these had fallen to weird, if not demonic, practices. I also studied the position that the Roman Catholic OSJ had taken when it was re-commissioned, declaring themselves to alone be the true order, which, in my opinion is the same erroneous position that they had taken when they declared themselves to be the only true church. From my research I concluded that the OSJ that had recommended me for investiture was in fact the one that had the greatest claim on this great title.
When I talked to the head of the Order about this he said very generously that the OSJ was now much like the church, divided into many different groups, some of which claimed to be the only valid one, but that he was committed to recognizing all who were true knights of the cross, as such. It is true that there are many weird groups on the fringe of the church that claim to be the true church who are now at best sects, and some of which have become cults. Should we stop calling ourselves the church because of them? Of course not. In fact these help purify the motives of those who are a part of the church, as do many of these strange groups who also claim to be knights of Malta.
I have many other things that I will be sharing about this in the future, but time prevents me from doing so now. However, you can be sure that we will be open and forthright about all that we do and why. I do appreciate people's questions about it, though I do confess to not wanting to waste time with those who I feel are in the grip of invalid spiritual fears and paranoia. I do not expect everyone to agree with us, and do believe that just as almost all of Europe considered the OSJ "archaic relics from the past" until they rose up and saved Europe, we do not expect to be understood or appreciated by much of the church today. Honestly, that is not important to me anyway. I just want to know that I am being obedient to the King, Jesus.
Epic spiritual battles are now being fought. Great knights of the Spirit are now gathering, and are likewise vowing to never retreat before the enemies of the cross. They are taking their stand against the great powers of darkness that even now seem to be covering the earth, seeking to build their strongholds of deception and corruption in every nation and culture. Brave spiritual knights are gathering to take their stand against these hordes from hell. They are building their own strongholds on truth, honor, and true spiritual chivalry. Our fight will take no less courage, endurance, and focused vision to prevail. We would do well to review, and take courage from the great history of the Order of St. John.
I wrote a booklet on the history of the OSJ titled, Courage That Changed the World, which you can order on this website, or by calling our toll free number 1-800-542-0278.
Rick Joyner, 6/26/2007