Freemasons Symbols and signs explained

 Freemasonry Explained

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Building the Temple of King Solomon

Many of the details in a lodge room are patterned after aspects of King Solomon's Temple, as described in the Bible and other historical records. Freemasonry teaches by symbolism, and much of that symbolism is based upon the accounts of Solomon's Temple. The Temple was built in the 10th century B.C. on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. Solomon built it as a temple to God and to store the sacred Ark of the Covenant, which contained the tablets of the Ten Commandments given by God to Moses. The details of Solomon's Temple are described in the Bible in 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles. In its time, the temple's magnificence was known all over the ancient world.

Early stonemasons claimed their guilds originated with the great construction projects of the Bible, . When Freemasonry became a philosophical organization in the 1700s, the Masons who developed the ceremonies and practices of the fraternity seized on the symbolism of Solomon's Temple to help teach moral and spiritual ideas.

A lodge room contains much that is based on interpretations of descriptions of Solomon's Temple. There are some variations throughout the world, depending on differences in customs, rituals, and rules, but in general, lodge rooms are arranged in a very similar fashion.

 

THE SYMBOLS OF FREEMASONRY

Freemasons are “Builders”.  Firstly builders of themselves. Next, by living  an example and exemplifying standards  of a human society built upon values.

One major task is to form oneself, to become a stone fit to be a part of the “Temple of Humanity”.

To do this, Freemasonry has adopted the tools of the ancient stonemasons to teach moral lessons. A brief description of these tools is set out below. Modern Freemasonry is about building the individual as a temple, not made with stones. (know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 1 Corinthians ch6 v19).

THE SQUARE is a symbol of rectitude or rightness of behavior and has been so for 5000 years, long before Freemasonry came into being. Ancient civilisations used it as a symbol in this way. So common is the symbolism of the square that it has become part of our language. e.g. a square deal. Since the try square was so valuable a tool for the operative mason in testing the dressed stones it is easy to understand why the speculative mason adopted it as one of the symbols to moralise upon, symbolising as it does the testing of our lives to see if by rectitude we are fitted to be stones in God's temple

The compasses are used to delineate a circle. There is an area enclosed within the circle or circumscribed by the circle. Such an area has a clearly defined limit or border beyond which is space outside of the parameter of the circle. Thus symbolically the circle defines the limit of human behaviour which is acceptable and good and beyond which we must not go

THE SQUARE AND COMPASSES. These two are frequently taken together since they symbolise for all Freemasons rightness of behaviour and an area of good behaviour. From where does this rightness of behaviour come? From the Volume of the Sacred Law. What defines the limits of good and evil? The Volume of the Sacred Law. Thus it is to symbolise these things that, while the lodge is open, the square and compasses  lie on the Volume of the Sacred Law as a clear lesson to all members.

The 24 inch Gauge  is a symbol of time well spent. It represent 24 hours of the day and serves as a reminder that part of our daily life should be spent in our usual vocation, part in rest and recreation and part in the service of our Creator

 

THE COMMON GAVEL was used by the mason to trim the stones to ensure a better fit. It has been adopted as a symbol in Freemasonry that we must so trim our own lives, thereby so that we may become spiritual stones and become more acceptable to our Creator.

THE PLUMB LINE As the operative mason erects his temporal building with strict observance of the plumb line which will not permit him to deviate one hair's breadth from the perpendicular, so the speculative mason, guided by the unerring principles of right and truth inculcated by the symbolic teaching of the implement, is steadfast in the pursuit of truth, neither bending beneath the frowns of adversity nor yielding to the seductions of prosperity

 

THE LEVEL is used to lay stones level. As a symbol it represents equality. It thus relates to the Masonry concept of God as the Father of Mankind and all men as brothers to one another. All are equal in the sight of God irrespective of colour, or language or in the possession of material things. This symbol teaches Freemasons to treat others as brothers without discrimination of any kind and to live our life on the level.

 

THE PENCIL serves to remind a Mason that his words and actions are observed and recorded by the Almighty, to whom, at some time, he must give account of his actions and  actions through his mortal life       

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