A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Aaron - enlightened
He was the brother and assistant of Moses, and the first high priest under Mosaic
dispensation; hence, he was the founder of the "Aaronic" priesthood.
The staff carried by Aaron, brother of and assistant to Moses, as a token of his office which miraculously blossomed as evidence of his Divine choice as High Priest. It was afterwards preserved in the Ark of the Covenant.
Abhorrence of Evil
Required of all true Masons.
Abif - his father
An honorary title given to Hiram, the Tyrian builder. The word is used often in original Hebrew scriptures, but it does not appear in English versions.
Abraham - father of a multitude
Abraham, earlier known as Abram, the son of Terah of Ur, and whose name was changed to Abraham by God, was the founder of the Hebrew race. He was noted for his faith, for piety, and for his loyalty to God.
The timber of the Shittim tree, widely used in making the sacred furniture of the Temple. In speculative Masonry, the term is used as a symbol of the immortality of the soul.
Accord - agreement; concurrence
Required of all Masons in order to attain true Brotherhood.
An active member is one who maintains his membership in a Masonic Lodge by the payment of his regular dues and who takes part in the work and responsibilities of the Craft. One who fails to do these things may remain a Mason in heart, but deprives himself of the benefits of membership.
Adam - earthborn: ruddy
This is the name given to the first man in Biblical creation, and the name denotes that he was derived from the ground.
The Worshipful Master is the sole judge with reference to the adjournment of a Lodge.
One of the most exacting duties in the ethics of Freemasonry is that a Mason shall not publicize the faults of a Brother Mason, but shall whisper good counsel in his ear. An admonition must be given with the language of brotherly affection, the magic tongue of love, and with the persuasive attitude of "mercy unrestrained."
While this proper name is not found in our English Bible, it occurs in several passages of the original Greek and Hebrew texts, and is the special title of the pre-incarnate Son of God.
A fundamental tenet of Freemasonry is that God is supreme, pre-eminent, and exalted above all creation, and the He alone is to be worshipped. Throughout all of the Degrees and in all of the ritual of Masonry God is worshipped in adorations which are expressed in both silent and oral prayers.
Freemasonry believes that adversity should be accepted as a test of character and met with courage and prayer. Also, a Mason should go to the aid of a Brother Mason in adversity.
Affirmations instead of oaths are entirely inadmissible in Freemasonry.
This is the age when a man may apply to join a Masonic Lodge. In many jurisdictions, it is the age of twenty-one (21); in others, such as the Grand Lodge of Missouri, it is eighteen (18).
Aid of Deity
A fundamental principle of Freemasonry as illustrated in David's intercession for Solomon for the task of building the Temple.
An alarm in Freemasonry means "a notice of the approach of someone desiring admission," given by the Tiler.
A Mason owes allegiance first to the Lodge in which membership is held; and, second, to the Grand Lodge under which the Lodge is chartered. Should there be a conflict between the regulations of the Lodge and the supreme body (Grand Lodge), then allegiance to the supreme body is mandatory.
A perpetual and permanent symbol in the Lodge and work of Freemasonry, signifying the omnipresence and omniscience of God.
Almsgiving - gratuitously relieving the poor
Solemnly charged upon all Masons on the basis of Divine Commandments.
Altar - place of sacrifice or worship
The altar holds the central place in the Lodge room of Freemasons. Lying on the altar is the Holy bible, the principal Light of Masons, which is open during the work of the Lodge. Here, Masons voluntarily kneel and assume the oaths and obligations of the several Degrees.
Amen - verily; truly; certainly
An expression by which one person confirms the word of another and expresses his wish for the success of that word. Masons employ the literal rendering of the word, "So mote it be."
In those Degrees of Masonry where the ceremonies and instructions relate to life and death, man's journey over the sea of life is symbolized by Noah's Ark, and the hope of immortality and a safe landing in the haven of eternal security is symbolized by the anchor.
Anger - vexation; ire; rage
The tenets of Freemasonry teach its members to avoid and to subdue every element of ire and wrath, or enraged emotions and malicious emotions and sentiments.
Anxiety - painful uneasiness
Freemasonry discourages every form of undue concern about material things, and stresses simple trust in God and his providences.
The use of an apron or some equivalent investiture, as a mystic symbol, was common among Ancient Masons. Hence, in the First Degree of Freemasonry, the initiate is presented with the pure white lambskin apron as a reminder of that purity of life and rectitude of conduct which is so essentially necessary to his gaining admission into the Celestial Lodge above where the Supreme Architect of the Universe resides forever. This apron becomes his permanent property as the "badge of a Freemason." As he advances in Masonry, he may receive other aprons of varying types, but never one that equals this first one in emblematic significance and Masonic value.
George Washington was presented with an apron at Mount Vernon by the Marquis Lafayette. Many of the emblems of Freemasonry had been wrought in the needlework upon white satin by Madam Lafayette for the making of this apron, and it was conveyed from Paris to George Washington's home Lodge by Lafayette himself as a special honor.
Arch, Holy Royal
Job compares Heaven to an arch supported by pillars. This is, of course, allegorical, even as is the name "Holy Royal Arch" degree in Masonry. The pillars which support the arch are emblematical of Wisdom and Strength; the former denoting the wisdom of the Supreme Architect, and the latter the stability of the universe.
The five orders of architecture recognized in Freemasonry are Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Tuscan and Composite. The Doric order represents the West; the Corinthian Column represents the South. The Gothic, or pointed style of architecture, was intimately connected with the Middle Ages, over which Freemasonry maintained exclusive control.
Ark of the Covenant
The Ark of the Covenant was a chest originally constructed according to specific instructions given to Moses by God, and was the only article placed in the Holy of Holies in the Temple. Within the Ark were placed the two tables or tablets of stone on which the Ten Commandments were engraved, Aaron's baton which had budded as a token of his divine appointment to the office of High Priest, and a pot of manna.
Artificers - skilled workmen
Tubal-cain was the first notable artificer mentioned in history. The best available of these master craftsmen were employed in the building of the Temple.
Arts, Parts and Points
These terms are used in the mysteries of Masonry. Arts represents the knowledge or things made known; Parts, the degrees into which Masonry is divided; and Points, the rules and usages of Masonry.
Arts and Sciences
Freemasonry recognizes the seven principal arts and sciences as: Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Arithmetic, Geometry, Music and Astronomy.
Asher - fortunate; happy
Asher was the eighth some on Jacob and the founder of the tribe of the same name. In the tribal blessings promised to him, his tribe was to enjoy richness and royal dainties. Hence, entrusting the Masonic initiates with the mysteries of the Order is symbolized by the tribe of Asher.
Ask, Seek, Knock
The applicant for membership in Freemasonry Asks for acceptance, Seeks for Light, and Knocks for initiation.
Atheism - denial of the existence of a Supreme Deity
No atheist can become a Mason. Every candidate must confess faith in God before crossing the threshold of the Lodge. This confession is an essential element in all the work of a Masonic Lodge.
Audi, Vide, Tace
These Latin words form the motto often found on Masonic medals and documents. They mean: Hear, See, Be Silent.
Babbler - senseless talker
Freemasonry recognizes the unprofitableness of vague and senseless talk, and forbids babbling in and out of Lodge.
Backbiting - slandering an absent party
Every form of slander, especially the speaking of evil of an absent Brother, is expressly forbidden by the principles and laws of Freemasonry.
Badge of a Mason
See Apron (above).
Balloting on the acceptance or rejection of a candidate is secret; small round white and black balls are used in voting. White balls elect; black balls reject. In casting the ballot, all members are required to base their ballot on personal knowledge, information of the committee on investigation, and reputed character of the candidate. Under no circumstances are members to allow themselves to be influenced by personal likes and dislikes of the candidate or by a spirit of prejudice or revenge.
Every member is required to vote conscientiously for the good of the Order and in Brotherly consideration of the applicant. The candidate is rejected if one or more black balls are cast against him.
Banishment - compulsory exile of one who is unworthy
The practice of Freemasonry in banishing from its membership unworthy persons is fully sustained by Biblical authority and practice.
The removal of one or both shoes has been for many hundreds of years a token of reverence and a symbol of yielding one's self to the control and sovereignty of another.
Operative Masonry has as its chief objective beauty and symmetry in architecture in building of King Solomon's Temple; speculative Masonry emphasizes the beauty of character and the virtues of true manhood.
Among the ancients, the beehive was a symbol of an obedient people and an emblem of systematized industry. Hence, Freemasonry has adopted the beehive as a symbol on industry -- a virtue stressed in ritual and by lectures.
A Lodge must never be closed without a solemn invocation of Divine Blessing.
Benevolence - disposition to do good; charitableness
Strictly speaking, Freemasonry is not to be classified as a benevolent institution; but the disposition and practice of benevolence of the widest and most generous scope are strongly stressed by the Fraternity.
Bible - sacred Book of Christendom
Masons accept this Book and believe in it as the Law of God, as the Great Light of Freemasonry. It is an open Book on the altar during all work of the Lodge, and certain appropriate passages are used for the different Degrees.
intolerance toward those of different creeds or religious affiliations
Masonry has always been bitterly opposed to religious intolerance of every kind. As an institution, it has bee the harbinger of religious and civil freedom, liberty of conscience, and separation of church and state.
Blue is the color of Freemasonry. As the color of the vault of Heaven, which embraces and covers the entire earth, it is to a Mason the symbol of universal friendship and benevolence. Expect for white, blue is the only color ever used for decoration in a Master Mason's Lodge. The name "Blue Lodge" designates the Symbolic Lodge in which the first three degrees are conferred.
Boaz - strength
The name of the left-hand pillar that stood on the porch of King Solomon's Temple, and adopted into speculative Masonry because of its symbolic meaning. It was broken to pieces by the Babylonians and carried to the city of Babylon.
Book Of The Law
This is another name for the Holy Bible.
Brass - hard metal formerly made primarily of copper, but later of certain alloys
This metal was used extensively in the building of the Temple.
Freemasonry recognizes the Divine requirement that godly men love their neighbors and that this love should be for all mankind. Emphasis is lain upon the privilege and duty of special love for members of the Fraternity. There are certain bonds and obligations in Freemasonry which are fulfilled only in the spirit of true brotherhood.
Building of the Temple
Speculative Masonry was evolved from the organization of the workmen in the construction of Solomon's Temple and the union of operative masons who labored on that notable and Holy Building. Much of the ritual is traced directly back to the building of the Temple.
From time immemorial, Freemasons have given special attention to the interment of their dead, and the proper burial of a Brother Mason is regarded as a sacred and binding duty. Solemn, beautiful and profoundly meaningful burial rites and ceremonies are provided for deceased Brothers where such are requested by the Brother himself or by members of his family.
Busybodies - meddling persons
The principles and tenets of Freemasonry forbid every form of whispering, talebearing, gossiping and slander.
Among the most beautiful and forceful features of the work of Masonry are the solemn and exacting charges given to the candidate as he advances from one Degree to another.
Charity - acts of inward love
The three great cardinal virtues are Faith, Hope and Love. Charity as an act of genuine, heart-felt love is so closely related that it is sometimes employed in the place of Love, and is regarded as one of the three great cardinal virtues. Charity in its various implications and forms of action hold a high place in the life of every Freemason.
Chastity - purity in sexual relations
Freemasonry stands uncompromisingly for the purity of womanhood and for the protection of a woman's chastity. Sacred obligations with respect to certain phases of chastity have been assumed by every Mason, and he is bound in honor and under severe penalties to keep untainted these obligations.
Perhaps no institution or organization has contributed more to good citizenship than Freemasonry. Democratic principles, good government, freedom of conscience and civic liberty have always been championed by Masons. Many of the world's great patriots and statesmen of all nations have been members of the Fraternity. Loyalty to one's government, faithfulness in all the duties of citizenship, and active support of public institutions are demanded throughout all the rituals of Freemasonry.
The use of this term in Masonic work is based on the fact that a special clay found only in the Jordan Valley was used in casting the two great pillars, called Boaz and Jachin, which stood before the Great Porch of Solomon's Temple. This same clay was also used for casting ornaments and vessels used in the Temple.
Clods of the Valley
This term is used in Masonic ritual in its Biblical meaning and signifies the sweetness of rest for the dead of the Lord.
It has always been the custom among all peoples for designated officers, leaders, and people of rank to wear special regalia or a particular type of clothing which indicates a person's official position. Based on this custom and upon Biblical examples, and for reasons of dignity and beauty, Masons follow this practice.
Three columns are employed to signify the supports of a Lodge; the columns of Wisdom, Strength and Beauty.
A Masonic Lodge meeting is called a "communication" because it dates back to the earliest meaning of the word -- the having of things in common, the fellowship of men engaged in a common purpose, governed by a common principle, and participation in common interests and activities.
The compasses are emblems of virtue, the true and holy measure of a Mason's life and conduct.
Contention Among Brethren
Whenever and wherever men are grouped together for any purpose or a brotherhood is formed, differences of opinion will arise, conflicting interests will present themselves and the spirit of true brotherhood can be threatened. Among Freemasons, every effort must be put forth to prevent such circumstances from producing contention. Masons can agree to disagree.
This is usually the stone that lies at the corner of two wall of building in which certain historic documents are placed and on which historic inscriptions are engraved. In Masonic buildings, it is always placed at the northeast corner, and this position is preferred in buildings for which Masons perform the cornerstone-laying ceremony. Beautiful and meaningful symbolisms are associated with the laying of cornerstones as a dedication to the one living Great Architect of the Universe.
Covenant of Masons
A covenant is a contract or agreement between two or more parties on certain terms. In becoming a Mason, a man enters into a covenant with the Fraternity, agreeing to fulfill certain promises and perform certain duties. On the other hand, the Fraternity and its members bind themselves to certain ties of friendship, brotherliness, protection support and benefits. The breaking of a covenant is subject to stated penalties.
This is strictly a Masonic term; it means an intruder, and is used especially of an eavesdropper. He is a person who seeks the secrets and benefits of Freemasonry in a clandestine manner.
The term "craft" applies to persons collectively engaged in a trade or mechanical operation. It is used of operative Masons and the vast number of men employed in the building of the Temple are referred to as Craftsmen. In speculative Masonry, the entire Fraternity is spoken of as the Craft, whereas individual members are Craftsmen.
Freemasonry recognizes Jehovah as God and as the Great Architect of the Universe, the creator of all things, both material and spiritual. And it accepts the account of Creation given in the Book of Genesis and confirmed by other Scriptures. To a Mason, earth and the heavens declare the Glory of God.
The sacred cubit is 36 inches; the profane cubit is 18 inches.
Darkness to Light
Physical darkness is symbolic of ignorance and of spiritual blindness. Applicants for the enlightenment of Freemasonry are, of course, in total ignorance of the rituals and symbolisms of the Order. They are, hence, required to enter the Lodge in complete darkness. They are in search of Light, and this is given to them as they advance through the several Degrees of Masonry.
David was the youngest son of Jesse of Bethlehem who was chosen and anointed to become the successor of Saul as King of Israel while only a lad and shepherd of his father's flocks. He served King Saul as a musician, later as a military leader of some genius, bravery, and great heroism. However, he was bitterly persecuted by the King because of his jealousies. At the age of thirty, David was anointed King at Hebron and later established his throne at Jerusalem. He reigned forty years and was permitted by God to make extensive preparations for the building of the Temple which was later erected by his son and successor, Solomon. He was forbidden by to build the Temple because he was a warrior while his son, Solomon, would be a man of peace.
From the beginning, the period of twenty-four hours embracing one season of light and one of darkness has been regarded as a day. Among the ancients, the day began at sunset and ended at sunset the next day instead of running from midnight to midnight.
In every Masonic Lodge there are two officers called Senior and Junior Deacons. Their duties comprehend general surveillance over the Lodge, the introduction of visitors, and to serve as proxy for the Worshipful Master in certain circumstances.
The Masonic idea of death is accompanied with no gloom, because it is represented on as physical sleep for an unknown period of time, from which there will be an awakening of the body and a resurrection of a spiritual body capable and fitted for eternal life. From beginning to end, the rituals of Freemasonry teach and symbolize the doctrine of man's immortality and repudiate every iota of the doctrine of annihilation at death. In Masonic philosophy, death is the symbol of initiation completed, in which the resurrection of the body will be its final consummation.
The Ten Commandments.
Desires Shall Fail
This quotation is used in its figurative significance, referring to the fact that in the infirmities of old age men are no longer concerned about the carnal and secular things of the earth.
Destruction of the Temple
The Temple built by Solomon underwent many defamations and was several times stripped of its golden adornments and treasures, sometimes by foreign attacks and sometimes by Judean kings for payments of tribute. These were judgments sent upon the nation for apostasies. The final destruction of the Temple was the burden of many prophecies and took place as predicted by God under the onslaughts of the armies of Nebuchadnezzar (586 B.C.).
Dew of Hermon
The dews of Mount Hermon, and of Palestine in general, were sources of irrigation, fertilization and refreshment for vegetation and agricultural growth. The phrase is employed as a symbolic expression of the bedewing influences of Divine Grace.
Distressed Worthy Brother
To go to the aid of a distressed worthy Brother is not only the aid of every Mason, but is solemnly enjoined by Holy Writ. Masons believe and practice the Bible's edict of "we are our Brother's keeper."
Doors Shall Be Shut
The expression, "The doors shall be shut in the street when the sound of the grinding is low" refers to the decrepitude of old age.
An old man in his dotage is one whose fruit has ripened and rotted, who has suffered the loss of judgment and memory, and is in that state of intellectual decrepitude which makes him incapable of comprehending the lessons of Freemasonry.
Dust to Dust (or Dust To Earth)
Man's body was made from the earth and must return to dust in one form or another. The use of this phrase points to the mortality and frailty of the physical being and to the need of recognizing the immortality of the spirit of man.
The faithful servant is one who is diligent in his stewardship, dutiful to his master and loyal in the face of temptation and trial.
Fatherhood of Good
Masonry believes that man is the offspring of God by creation, that God made mankind all of one blood and that God is, by virtue of His creation of man and of His goodness to man, man's Father.
Fears Shall Be In The Way
This phrase describes the failing of courage of old age, the nervous and excited state of mind natural to declining man.
Flight to Joppa
The story of Jonah's flight to Joppa in his effort to escape a Divinely-entrusted responsibility and service for God is strikingly used in Masonic ritual.
This expression, which is employed of the travels of Master Masons of the operative class following the completion of the Temple in search of labor and for wages, is correctly understood by few who hear it. In its symbolic meaning, it does not refer to the activities of those who have completed the Master Degree. Hence, Heaven is the "foreign country" into which Master Masons travel, where the True Word, not given in this life, is to be received, and where the Master Mason is to receive his wages.
The importance and essential value of this virtue of true manhood for Masons is enforced by the use of the story of unfaltering courage and faith of the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace and by Daniel's bravery in the lion's den.
The deeply laid and solid foundation of the Temple strikingly symbolizes the necessity for a good foundation in the building of character and in life's vocations.
The origin of the use of the term "free" in speculative Masonry is in the fact that the operative Masons who worked on King Solomon's Temple were exempted from imposts, duties and taxes as were their descendants. They were, therefore, declared to be "free."
Grasshopper Shall Be A Burden
This expression is a figure of the weakness accompanying old age.
This was the name give to the vestibule at the entrance into the Temple of Solomon.
Great and Sacred Name
Any name that is used as a title of Deity is held sacred by Freemasons, and all names of our God are to be uttered with profound reverence and never thoughtlessly or blasphemously.
Great White Throne
This term refers to the pure and glorious throne of God. Before it, every knee must bow and every tongue confess that Christ is God to the Glory of the Father.
Ground Floor of the Lodge
Mount Moriah, the site on which Solomon's Temple was erected, is symbolically referred to as the "ground floor of the Lodge."
Hills and Valleys
In ancient times, and even today, high elevations suggest the worship of God. The hilltop or mountaintop is a symbol of "Holiness unto the Lord."
Throughout Masonic ritual, the absolute and superlative Holiness of God is recognized, and every representation of the Deity in symbols, attitudes and words must be in the most reverent manner.
Holy of Holies
The ancient Tabernacle erected by Moses at Mount Sinai was divided into two compartments or rooms. At the west end was the Most Holy Place constructed of a perfect cube fifteen feet in all dimensions. It was separated from the other room, the Holy Place, by curtains. The only article of furniture in the Holy of Holies was the Ark of the Covenant which contained the Book of Law, the stone tablets on which God had written the Ten Commandments, a pot of manna and Aaron's rod that budded. The Most Holy Place was entered only by a high priest once each year on the Great Day of Atonement. Like the Tabernacle, King Solomon's Temple was divided into two compartments. The Most Holy Place was a perfect cube forty feet in all its dimensions. All the walls were overlaid with fine gold as was the floor. Again, the only article of furniture was the Ark of the Covenant.
One of the two compartments of the Tabernacle of Moses was the Holy Place or Sanctuary at the east end of the Tabernacle. The furniture of the Holy Place consisted of the great Candlestick, the table for shewbread and the altar of incense with its censer and snuffers. In King Solomon's Temple, the Holy Place, sometimes referred to as the Greater House, followed the pattern of the Tabernacle, but was much larger. Instead of one candlestick, there were ten: five on the right side and five on the left, all made of pure gold. The Altar of Incense occupied the west end of the Sanctuary and was also made of pure gold, as was it censer.
House Not Made With Hands
This expression comprehends the eternal dwelling place of God and the resurrected and glorified body of the redeemed in the life beyond.
There is here the recognition of the truth that all the natural faculties and endowments of man are the products of the creative energy of God and are loving gifts from Him.
Indwelling of God
That God deigns to dwell among his people and with the hearts of the pure and the good is a fundamental truth to Masons.
It is generally agreed among the Believers that the correct pronunciation of the most sacred name of God has been lost, and to this traditional fact Masons assent. In it believed, however, that the mysteries of this Ineffable Name is held by the Messiah until the Day of Resurrection.
Just as the mysteries of God's truth are available to those who earnestly knock, so admittance to the lessons of Freemasonry are opened by the proper knock at the Inner Door of the Lodge.
From time immemorial, the lamb has been regarded as an emblem of innocence. Since Masons are required to strive after perfect innocence, especially in the Masonic conduct, the apron worn by them must be made of pure white lambskin.
The grave is the natural resting place for the bodies of the dead, but it is not the final abode of these bodies. We honor our dead in interment, but we await their Resurrection.
In order that perfect quiet and reverence might prevail in the building of the Temple, no iron tool of any kind was employed, and
Jachin - He doth establish
The two great pillars of Solomon's Temple supporting the Great Porch, known as Solomon's Porch, were called Boaz and Jachin. Jachin is a combination of two words, Jah, the poetical name of Jehovah, and iachin, meaning establishment. The full significance of the name is, therefore, "With God's help to establish," the symbolical meaning given to in the work of Freemasonry.
The story of Jacob's dream or vision is which he saw a stairway leading from earth to Heaven and angels descending and ascending on it holds an important place in Masonic ritual. It is employed as a symbol of the progressive course from earth to Heaven, and of the transition from death to life.
The poetical name of Jehovah.
Jesus and the Temple
The parents of Jesus carried him to the Temple when he was only forty days old for purification ceremonies. At the age of twelve, he attended the Passover in Jerusalem and visited the Temple. After beginning his public ministry, he honored the Temple on a number of occasions, cleansed it twice, taught the people, performed miracles within its sacred precincts, and otherwise recognized it as the House of God, even though it was being greatly profaned.
Judah - praised
Judah, the fourth son of Jacob and the founder of the tribe bearing his name, is also the representative of a key point in ancient Masonry. Judah distinguished himself on a number of occasions and was given Messianic distinction in the tribal blessings of his father and by Moses. The royal house of Israel was of the tribe of Judah, even as was Jesus the Messiah. The tribe of Judah was the first to cross the Jordan and enter the Promised Land. For this reason, and because of its distinction as the tribe of David, Solomon and the Messiah, Judah represents or symbolizes the entrance of the candidate into the Light and liberty of Freemasonry.
Keepers of the House Shall Tremble
This expression is a figure of the failings of the body in old age or as weakened by the approach of death. The usual interpretation is that the arms and legs are the keepers.
In ancient times, it was customary to mark the boundaries of lands by the means of stone pillars or heaps of stones. The removal of such landmarks was a grievous crime and an evidence of fraudulent intent by the offender. In speculative Masonry there are also landmarks, and the same rigid rule with reference to ancient landmarks applies to these.
Level of Equality
The level in Masonry is a symbol of the fraternal equality of mankind as the offspring of God, all races and nations having been made of one blood. The fundamental principle that all men are created equal, with certain inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is basic in Freemasonry.
Throughout the ritual and work of Freemasonry, Light is the symbol of knowledge, and just as God spoke into existence physical light, so He is the original source of all true knowledge. The Great Light of Masonry is His inspired work. Masons are pledged to strive after more and more Light as life goes on and should seek above all things Light Eternal.
Light of Life
The source of enlightenment and knowledge for life's darkness, perplexities and doubts, as well as for life's responsibilities and duties, is the Holy Bible -- the Great Light of Masonry.
The lily has always been an emblem of peace and purity. For this reason, lily work occupied a place of conspicuousness and distinction in the ornamentations of the Temple and its furniture.
Lion of the Tribe of Judah
In the tribal benediction pronounced upon Judah, the "lion's whelp" is used emblematically of strength. Hence, the ensign on the banner of Judah was a lion. The phrase in the Masonic ritual, "The lion of the tribe of Judah," is Messianic and refers to Christ, the anointed of God and royal head of God's Kingdom.
Two or more Freemasons, "in regular assembly and properly opened and prepared for work or business," constitutes the Lodge.
The lost word was the ineffable name of God, but the term is used symbolically of Divine Truth.
In ancient Israel, the use of metal tools in the actual construction of sacred altars and edifices was forbidden; hence, the preparation of all materials for the building of Solomon's Temple was done in the forests and quarries.
These were exchange bankers who set up tables in the precincts of the Temple where they provided Jewish coins for Temple offerings in exchange for foreign moneys, charging fees for their services. Jesus drove them from the Temple, declaring that they had made the "House of Prayer a den of thieves."
This phrase refers to the bond of fraternal love, to the solemn vows of eternal Masonry, irrespective of differences in race, nationality and conflicting interests. By this mystic tie, men of the most discordant opinions are united in one band, meet at one altar, even when fighting in opposing armies or affiliated with different religions. It is, indeed, an indefinable spiritual tie, and those under its influence are rightly spoken of as "Brethren of the Mystic Tie."
Names of the Temple
The Temple built by Solomon, which occupies such importance throughout the symbolisms and legends of Freemasonry, is given a number of names in the Bible: The Palace of Jehovah, The House of Sanctuary, and The House of Ages.
Naphtali - my wrestling
Naphtali was the fifth son of Jacob and the founder of the tribe bearing his name. In the tribal blessing given him by his father, and confirmed by Moses, wise counsel and prosperity were to be the chief characteristics of the tribe. Naphtali represents the investiture of the lambskin apron bestowed in the West and South.
With the change in character and fortune, it is often appropriate that one be given a new name.
In Masonic symbolism the North Side of the Lodge represents God's exalted throne.
As one progresses through the rites and symbolisms of Freemasonry, receiving more and more Light, he reaches the Northeast Corner with all the outward appearances of a perfect and upright Mason, a true and tried representative of the cornerstone of a great moral and spiritual edifice.
From time immemorial, men have entered into covenants of brotherhood and friendship under solemn oaths of fidelity and loyalty, and whenever the circumstances and purposes warranted it, secrecy has been pledged. This practice among Masons has man precedents and is based on the truths and principles set forth of the Great Light of Masonry. The oath in such covenants is given in the name of God, and perjury in such oaths is subject to severe penalties. All vows voluntarily taken in Masonry must be faithfully performed and are never subject to revocation.
Opening of the Lodge
It is absolutely necessary that the Lodge be opened in due and ancient form. Without these ceremonies, the assembly is not a Masonic Lodge. This is true because the Master must be reminded of the dignity and character of himself and of his position. And the other officers must be impressed with the respect and veneration due from their sundry stations. But more important, the Fraternity in Lodge assembly and in work must maintain a reverential awe for Deity, and must look to the Great Light of Freemasonry, the Holy Bible, for guidance and instruction. Thus, in the opening of the Lodge, the Great Architect of the Universe must be worshipped, and His blessings upon the work about to be performed must be supplicated. At the same time, prayer is offered for peace and harmony in the closing of the Lodge.
Peace on Earth
The principles and tenets of Freemasonry and the teachings of the symbols and legends of the Fraternity are conducive to "peace on earth and good will to men." Due recognition is given to the Truth that only as the Prince of Peace reigns in the hearts and lives of men can the world ever have real peace.
The splendor and beauty and glory of Solomon's Temple and of its appointments were but symbols and prophecies of the superior Temple, that house not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens, with its gates of pearl.
Pillars of Brass
Important and significant features of the architecture of King Solomon's Temple were two giant bronze shafts which stood in striking relief in front of the entrance to the Great Porch at the east entrance of the Temple, one on the left and one on the right. Each was seventy feet high and twenty-four feet in circumference. They were highly ornamented by a network of brass overhung with wreaths of bronze pomegranates, each row containing one hundred. Each of these giant pillars had a chapiter at the top, ten feet in length, making the total height of each pillar eighty feet. On the top of these chapiters were great bowls for oil, called pommels, over which were hung festoon-like wreaths of pomegranates, interspersed at various points with lily work. These two great shafts were given the names Boaz and Jachin.
Pillars of Wisdom
The seven great pillars of wisdom are regarded by Masons to be of superlative worth in the building of a moral and spiritual edifice.
Pitcher Be Broken at the Fountain
The heart is the fountain of human life, and the great vein which carries the blood to the right ventricle is symbolically called the pitcher. When this is broken as a result of the decrepitude of old age or by human disease, death soon follows.
This tool of operative Masonry used to form and regulate a perfect perpendicular in erecting walls is employed in speculative Masonry as a symbol of justice and uprightness in our deals with our fellowmen. Divine truth is the plumbline in the erection of a moral and spiritual edifice.
Almost from the moment that a candidate for Freemasonry crosses the threshold of the Lodge, the duty of rendering aid and sustenance to those who lack in this world's necessities is urged upon him.
The Great Porch of the Temple of Solomon was magnificent and expansive, and its value to the appointments and uses of the Temple was invaluable. Hence, this porch is given a distinctive recognition in the ritual and teachings of Masonry.
Petitions to Deity in behalf on one's own needs, intercessions for others, communion with God, and prayer in all its elements of praise and worship are fundamentals in the tenets of Freemasonry. From the time a candidate crosses the threshold of the Lodge to the topmost Degree in Masonry, the privilege and duty of prayer are urged upon him, and every step is taken in a Holy atmosphere of Divine worship.
In all the work of Freemasonry, emphasis is placed upon the importance of adequate preparation of moral, ethical and spiritual vocations. Preparation of the heart is the first essential in Masonry, and certain outward preparations symbolic of, and manifesting, inward preparedness are required.
Growing out of the cardinal virtues which are emphasized throughout the Degrees of Masonry is the practice of prudence by which we are instructed to regulate our conduct by the dictates of reason and in obedience to the cardinal virtues of faith, hope and love.
"Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason" refers to the final symbolic ritual of the Third Degree celebrating our faith in the Final Resurrection of our bodies, to the Divinely Revealed Truth that these vile bodies shall be fashioned into the likeness of the risen and perfected and glorified body of the Lord Jesus Christ.
From the beginning, Freemasonry has been built on two cardinal beliefs: A belief in God, and a belief in a Resurrection to a future life. This later belief assumes faith in the immortality of man in his soul or spirit life, and recognizes the need of Redemption or Salvation from sin through Divine Grace. Throughout the rituals and symbolisms of Freemasonry, and in all of its mythical teachings and legends, belief in these truths is exemplified and demanded.
Reverence for God
The very nature of God, His attributes and qualities, His creation, preservation and sovereignty over man, His redemptive grace and love, even His name, demands of man a reverent attitude at all times. God, Himself, and His name which stands for his personality, supremacy, majesty and glory are always revered in the Lodge of Masons, and the same attitude toward God should characterize the personal life of every true Mason. Anything and everything that represents God to the mind of man should be held sacred.
Rubbish of the Temple
Hindrances in the erection of the Temple of Solomon caused by the scattered rubbish is a figure of worldly and material things of life which prevent proper moral, ethical and spiritual growth or the building of that spiritual structure of character and usefulness which is the supreme end of Freemasonry. These are to be removed with diligence and faithfulness
Freemasonry recognizes man's constitutional requirement for one day's rest from the ordinary secular toils of life, and accepts as part of its fundamental teachings of the Divine establishment of the Sabbath Day. By legendary instructions, through symbolisms, and by precept, the privilege and duty of Sabbath observations are inculcated. The Sabbath Day is honored as an allotted period for rest and Divine Worship.
Holy places dedicated to the services and worship of God are a necessity for man. They are to be revered even as the name of God and utilized by man for his spiritual culture and for communion with the Most High. Moses erected a Sanctuary under the directions of God, and Holy places for worship have been perpetuated ever since. In the Bible, this name is ascribed to the Most Holy Place in the Tabernacle and in the Temple.
The Latin phrase referring to the Holy of Holies or innermost chamber of King Solomon's Temple where the Ark of the Covenant was kept.
It is not only required that the Bible on the altar in the Lodge be spread open as a necessary preparation for opening the Lodge and during its work, but that it be opened at certain passages during the several Degrees. For the First Degree, the assigned passage is Psalms 133; for the Second, Amos, chapter 7; in some jurisdictions, 1 Corinthians, chapter 13, and for the Third, Ecclesiastes, chapter 12.
the duty of supporting one's self and his family by individual initiative and personal labor is a universal tenet of Freemasonry.
A word used by followers of Jephthah to test certain of the Ephraimites who sought to escape across the Jordan after having refused to fight in the armies of Israel was Shibboleth. Because of their Ephraimite dialect, they pronounced it Sibboleth.
"Or ever the silver cord be loosed" is a figurative expression in the beautiful passage descriptive of the delibitations of old age or approaching death. It is thought to refer to the weakening of the spinal cord which results in the loosening of the nervous system.
Solomon - peaceable
Solomon was the son of David and Bathsheba, and David's successor on the throne of Israel. Though not the oldest of David's sons, he was chosen by his father to be his successor and was crowned king prior to David's death, when only about twenty-one years of age. He was solemnly charged by his father to build the Temple for which large funds had already been gathered. Solomon prayed especially for wisdom which was given to him by God above the measure of any other man in history. The league made with Hiram, King of Tyre, by his father was perpetuated, and by his assistance the Temple was carried to completion within seven and one-half years, beginning the fourth year of his reign.
Freemasonry draws many sublime lessons and deduces many worth truths from the symbolisms of the building of King Solomon's Temple, as well as from operative Masonry and architecture respecting the more important superstructure of moral, ethical and spiritual components knows as the Spiritual Temple. The building of this Temple is in vain without Divine aid. It fact, it must be build of God as the Chief Architect, and all the material that goes into it must pass His inspection and approval.
Stand To and Abide By
This is a unique pledge of every mason and means that he convenants himself to stand by and obey every regulation of the Order, that he will be governed at all times by its laws and rules, and that the landmarks of the Fraternity will be followed faithfully in every detail.
St. John the Baptist
Masons honor St. John the Baptist as the forerunner of the Messiah and Saviour. The names of the Holy St. John the Baptist and the Holy St. John the Evangelist are reverently associate in significant rituals of the Masonic Fraternity.
St. John the Evangelist
As a disciple of St. John the Baptist, John, a son of Zebedee and brother of James, was among the earliest to follow Jesus and to enter into full Christian discipleship. He was numbered among the Apostles and was designated as the "disciple whom Jesus loved." He was author of five of our New Testament books: the Gospel bearing his name; three Epistles; and the Revelation of Jesus Christ. In Masonic history and in rituals, St. John the Evangelist is highly honored and his memory beautifully commemorated.
This was a moveable structure build under the directions of Moses at Mount Sinai according to the pattern given to him by God in a special revelation. In its truest sense, the Tabernacle was a representation of the presence of God in the midst of Israel, and the central place for worship. This is the model Solomon used to build his Temple.
Table of Shewbread
This article of furniture in the Tabernacle was a table made of acacia wood and of the ordinary make-up with legs. It was furnished with dishes, bowls, spoons and covers, all made of pure gold. Upon this table was placed twelve cakes of bread made of fine flour, in two rows of six cakes, called shewbread (also referred to shewbread). These cakes or loaves were removed every Sabbath and fresh bread supplied in their place. Only the priests were allowed to eat this removed bread. In King Solomon's Temple, instead of just one table, ten were used. They were patterned after the table of the Tabernacle, except they were made of pure gold and were much larger.
King Solomon's Temple holds a place of universal and pre-eminent interest due, in great measure, to Freemasonry which has kept alive through the centuries many fascinating legends and romances, innumerable symbols and rituals, a goodly number of rites and ceremonies associated with the building of the Temple and with its history. Refer to the section in this web site entitled, King Solomon's Temple for additional information concerning the Temple.
The legend of the Temple builder which forms a significant feature of the Third Degree in Freemasonry and the basis of profound lectures has been an essential part of Masonic ritual and Degree work throughout the history of the Order. Its authenticity cannot be questioned nor can its importance in the rites of Freemasonry be overestimated.
Temple of the Body
The symbolism of Solomon's Temple in the science of speculative Masonry, and the several rites of the Order based upon operative Masonry in the construction of the Temple, are intended to convey and inculcate great moral, ethical and spiritual truths. Among these truths is the teaching that man's body is to be made a fit Temple for the indwelling of God, and than many of the symbolisms in the building of King Solomon's Temple find their realities in human life and experience.
Masons recognize and honor the Decalogue incorporated in the laws of Moses as being of Divine origin and accept them as the moral code by which all human relations with God and with mankind should be regulated.
In ancient Israel and other societies, the putting off of the shoes was a testimony of reverence for God or for an earthly superior, and as a token of confirmation in making contracts with fellowmen. The practice in certain rituals of Masonry may be traced back to this ancient custom.
The upper, middle and lower chambers of King Solomon's Temple were rooms adjoining the main building fitted for quiet communication with God, as places for the preparation of priests and for storage of Temple vessels and instruments.
In operative Masonry, the workman known as the Tiler placed over the finished edifice a roof of tiles, and thus provided protection for the building. The symbolism of his work is invested in the office of Tiler (spelled Tyler in some jurisdictions) in speculative Masonry. His duty is to provide protection for the Lodge when it is organized and ready for business, closing the doors, keeping away eavesdroppers and intruders, and guarding the sacred precincts from intrusions of any kind.
Troubles of Life
Freemasonry recognizes the fact that man in his sin-fallen state is the natural heir to sufferings, frailties, weaknesses, trial and troubles; and that release and renewal of strength may be found only in God and the use of the means of Divine Grace and Providence.
Trust in God
In this life, mans knows not what an hour or a day may bring forth. Paths upon which he must travel are unknown, and many unseen and unexpected dangers await him. Even when among friends, there is a constant need for Divine wisdom, sustenance, strength, aid and guidance. Hence, as the candidate crosses the threshold of the Lodge, and throughout all the ceremonies and rites of Freemasonry, he is required to "put his trust in God."
The son of Lamech, a descendant of Adam through the Cainite line, Tubal-cain is regarded in Masonry as the father of skilled workmanship in artistic productions for building purposes.
The mystic tie of true fraternalism is love. But, even where brotherly love prevails, differences of opinion, conflicting ideas, unenlightenment on the part of some, prejudices and varied interests in life endanger the spirit of genuine fellowship and unity. Hence, Masons are constantly taught to avoid "confusion among the workmen," discord, strife, jealousies and vain discussions on non-essentials; and to cultivate zealously and fervently the spirit of true unity in the Lodge and in the Fraternity.
The use of mortar not composed of the correct ingredients or in which these ingredients are improperly mixed in operative Masonry is certain to result in a weak and defective building, in a building that will soon disintegrate and tumble down. In speculative Masonry, such untempered mortar is symbolic of dishonest and fraudulent mixtures in the building of character or in the construction of the institution of Freemasonry. It represents hypocrisy, the representation of evil as good, the employment of bad materials in moral, ethical and spiritual architecture.
Uttering a thing in parabolic form (i.e., parable) with its meaning hidden. Many of the sublimest truths of Freemasonry are thus spoken, and even those who have been given the mysteries of speculative science must delve into the caverns of Masonic mystery to gather these hidden gems of truth.
Veil of the Temple
This was the curtain or partition which separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. It served as a constant reminder to worshippers than only the High Priest, and he only once a year after having made proper atonement for his own sins and for the sins of the people, was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies. As a result of the atonement of Christ in his death on the cross, this veil was rent and destroyed, and through Him as High Priest an open door into the Heavenly Sanctuary has been prepared for all true worshippers.
The laws of ancient Israel with respect to the treatment of strangers or visitors have full recognition and force among Freemasons. In fact, no Mason is allowed to regard as a stranger or visitor any Brother Mason, even though he has no acquaintance with him, and even if he may be of some other religion, country or nationality.
The "vows of a Mason" are the inward and spiritual covenants of the mystic ties of the Fraternity which have their outward expression in the formal obligations assumed in the several Degrees of the Order. The vows are the covenants of heart and conscience which serve as the main force of heart and character in faithfully observing the obligations verbally expressed before the altar.
It is certain that the operative Masons who labored in the construction of King Solomon's Temple were paid wages, but there is no Biblical reference as to the daily wage paid. Speculative Masons perform certain labors which are moral and spiritual, and their wages or rewards are spiritual. The true and enlightened Mason finds his rewards in the gratifying and beneficial results of his studies, and in the fruitful products of his Masonic deeds.
A traveler or transient, one with no settled home, is often referred to as a wayfaring man.
White is symbolic of purity in its various uses in Masonry.
The white stone is a token of fraternal friendship and helpfulness as well as enduring alliance.
Masons are sometimes referred to as "sons of the widow" as this was the title applied to Hiram, chief architect of Solomon's Temple.
Widows and Orphans
Masons are solemnly pledged to make special provision for widows and orphans in need, especially among families of the Fraternity.
The Temple of Solomon was equipped with an impressive winding stairway consisting of fifteen steps leading from the porch to the second floor. Elaborate and extensive symbolisms are attached to these winding stairs in the work of Freemasonry.
Wisdom of Solomon
In ancient Craft Masonry, King Solomon stands as the representative of the highest degree of wisdom. the East, the source of light, symbolizes for every true Mason the wisdom needed for success in life. The East is represented by the pillar that supports the Lodge and by the Worshipful Master.
In all of its several and varied uses, the term WORD symbolizes Divine Truth. The search for the Word in any sense means ultimately the search for Truth. The whole system of speculative Masonry is, in its essence, the search for Truth. The written word of God hold a pre-eminent place in all Degrees of Masonry and in all of its teachings.