The Three Pillars of Freemasonry
The number three (3) is one of the most used numbers in the Holy Bible, and it is in this vein the we seek the deepest meanings of the three(3) Pillars of the Outer Porch of King Solomon’s Temple. While strictly Masonic in character, meaning they are not found in the scriptures, there are deeper meanings when coupling the Masonic teachings with the Holy Bible, and one will find food for thought in the readings.
In Freemasonry, we find five (5) Orders of Architecture with symbolic meanings of:
- Three (3) Principal Officers in a Lodge.
- Three (3) Stages of Life of Youth, Manhood and Old Age.
- Three Attributes of the God-head, Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
- Three Great Lights in a Lodge.
- Two (2) Orders that don’t mean a thing in Freemasonry.
The Orders are: Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian and Composite, which are representative of the five human senses, which every candidate for the degrees must have, but, only three are needed to be known as a Mason and they are called the Three Pillars of Freemasonry.
TUSCAN (A Roman Column)
A Pillar of plainness, one given its name from the Tuscans and the pillar is simple but massive. Many a member of the Masonic Lodge is there as a bench member, as in church, does not do anything outstanding, is on no board or committee, does not serve as an officer. Yet, without him, there would not be the numbers in the Lodge, so we must keep him.
DORIC (A Greek Column)
The second Pillar is different from the first even though it is Massive, for it is more massive or robust that the first and has a different chapiter at the top, a circle which represent the oneness of God (Isaiah 40:22) and its massiveness represents the awesome power of God Himself. It is the first of the Greek Columns and represents Strength, the Pillar of the Senior Warden in the Lodge, one of Support for the Master in the opening and closing of his Lodge. He is the keeper of the wages of the craft and is to pay them out on the orders of the Master of the Lodge.
This pillar is emblematical of the West in direct contact with and for the Worshipful Master, both representing the sun as it travels from East to the West. It is a journey of life, rising and setting, doing so on the just as well as the unjust. It tells of the times as morning, noon, afternoon, evening and night, five (5) stations or areas of time. It is man in his infancy as well as in his seniority or his death.
This Pillar is strength as it pays the wages of those that may become dissatisfied and become disruptive in the Lodge. Those wages are equal and are given to all members that work in the quarries of the Lodge. It was Friendship that got you in the Lodge, Morality was the Lodge’s teachings and Brotherly Love (Filios) is the highest from of Love found on earth. We are to love one another as Christ has loved us. A mighty symbol of Strength, a mighty emblem of the man in control, a Mason of parade!
IONIC (A Greek Column)
The third Pillar is massive with a scroll or book at the top. It is a fluted column and it has a very important sport in the Lodge, for it represent Wisdom, the wisdom of Solomon. Yet, it is simple in its beholding. Solomon was the wisest man known to man until Jesus came on the scene. However, Solomon was also the most foolish and that made him foolish in his beholding, for who needs 700 wives and 300 concubines?
The Pillar is fluted, showing the many attributes of a good Master as well as the authority and powers of the office of to which he has been elected. Even if one flute or one authority is lost, those that are left would be sufficient for the remainder of his term. Yet, the Master must be diligent in all aspects of his administration so as not to bring disgrace and ridicule upon the Lodge, remembering that he represents Solomon, King of Israel.
In his wisdom, the temple was built, and in his wisdom the reputation of Jerusalem was spread around the known world. In his foolishness, he became week for women, but, that is not why God did not bless him. It was because he built temples and altars to the strange gods of his women. The Worshipful Master is supposed to display wisdom for the Lodge and make plans for the successful programs of the Lodge. Still, he is not to be foolish so as to bring ridicule on the Lodge and must stand and act as an upright man should. He is emblematical of the book of wisdom that is displayed at the top of the column and is to keep his hand in the Master’s hand.
He is to be a standout in his home, his church and his community, so that others may say, here is a man and here is a Mason! He looks like a Master, and he is. This Pillar shows a thinking man, one that is worth to be called Rabboni (Master).
CORINITHIAN (A Greek Column)
Behold, a thing of Beauty, this Corinthian Column, fluted, with a spray of God’s creation of beauty, flowers. The fern that grace the chapiters of these columns gives the beauty of Ancient Greece, Corinth from which it gets its name. It is representative of the Junior Warden in the Lodge, an observer of Time, watching it as it rise from the East, superintends it as it travels in a Southern direction towards the West. The Junior Warden represents Hiram Abif, the Widow’s Son, sitting in the South. He also observes the craft when they are at refreshments. Seeing that they do not fall prey to the wiles of the evil one, one that may devour their soul, for he comes to kill, steal and destroy. The Pillar of Beauty is the final result when Wisdom and Strength work together. It is the summation of what to expect when you have Wisdom to contrive and Strength to support, then you will have Beauty to adorn. Strength cannot support and build without the planning of Wisdom, and Beauty cannot paint, carve or beautify if there is nothing. In the Lodge, the Master puts plans on the Trestleboard. The Lodge, under the direction of the Senior Warden, supports the Master’s plans and the Beauty of it all spells success.
When all components work together, when these different parts come together as one, when like the Father, Son and Holy Ghost work together, success will be the byword and all will be at peace in the tranquility of good works.
One day, the Great Junior Warden of the heavens will call us all from refreshment back to labor so that judgment will take place with the Grand Master of the Universe in charge. As the Junior Warden is the prosecutor in the Lodge in case of a trial, it will be Jesus, the Great Junior Warden that will be at the Judgment Bar to decide whether he will be our prosecutor or defense counsel. As we will be wearing no more than lambskin, we will have to face the Lamb himself who will say whether we have been true to the word as a man and as a Mason. If we pass the test, it will be a thing of Beauty!
COMPOSITE (A Roman Column)
Like the very first column, the last one, the Composite column is useless in the Masonic order. As the first one represents Taste, the last column represents Smell. We need the three Pillars for they represent Wisdom, Strength and Beauty, or Seeing (to see the sign), Hearing (to hear the Word) and Feeling (to feel the grip, whereby one Mason may know another in the dark as well as in the light). You need these three (3) to be a Mason, but you can neither taste or smell Freemasonry.
You can smell a Mason if he does not have good hygiene habits, but if you are found tasting a Mason, you will be brought up on charges of unMasonic conduct!
Thank you and have a good day and may God bless each and every one of you!