Freemason symbols are one of those things we have seen in different places. Most of us are probably ignorant about what they mean. More than half of these symbols have been used since time immemorial.
The early freemasons and stonemasons used many of these symbols in conjunction with trading tools. Examples of such tools include: Masonic apron, gavel, compass, square, level, and trowel gauge.
The reasoning behind freemasonry hinged on the Bible’s view of God as an authoritative figure who allows free will. If authority was to be wielded forcefully, the rule of law and freedom would be elusive. Believing or not believing in God’s authority is entrenched to one’s free will.
The authority of God in the universe is imitated by the master of the freemasons lodge. During a ritual in a Masonic degree, a candidate is informed that the Master is stationed on the east always, while the senior and junior wardens are stationed at the west and south respectively.
At his inauguration, the lodge master is entrusted with a Masonic gavel by the installing officer. The gavel is to be an emblem of his authority. Nonetheless, the authority bestowed on him can still be misused if he chooses to do evil. The general point is that true authority in the Masonic empire is wielded by the sceptre rather than the weapon. This is based on King Solomon in the Bible, whom the Freemasons call the best grandmaster.
The usual stonemason gavel is normally tipped on one end. It is used to shape stones and bricks. The Masonic gavel is used figuratively in the same way as a signifier of chipping away the uncontrolled nature of man.
The implication of the Masonic gavel is that the bearer does not replace divine authority but rather, restrains his own will in order to be used as a conduit for the order of divine authority. The sceptre symbol of the gavel is a further illustration of the restraint to be exercised by the master, in order to rule effectively. The ruler who fails in this call is the one who forcefully exercises his leadership thus showing lack of restraint.
A master who exercises restraint symbolically grants the brethren freedom to feel the loving guidance of their deity. The mindful master understands the implication behind the sceptre in the gavel and thus inhibits his natural man, who is naturally bent to be impulsive.
When a Masonic candidate is under training, he is also encouraged to learn through the compass. In their dealing with other men, particularly other masons, they are to keep their passions and desires at bay.
The many teachings in Freemasonry through different symbols are meant to teach the learner to exercise restraint in many issues of life so as to live in harmony with all people.