Eschatology

Many of those who arrive at this page will wonder what ‘eschatology’ actually means. Unless one is familiar with religious terms, it’s likely that they will have seen but not used the word. Eschatology may be defined as being “doctrines of the last or final things, as death, the judgment, heaven, and hell; the branch of theology dealing with these doctrines. 

Some ‘religious intolerants’ will point to certain phrases from Masonic ritual in an attempt to prove that such a doctrine exists within Freemasonry. They charge, for example, that the ‘Apron Presentation’ is where Freemasonry’s eschatology is most visible. 

Most jurisdictions have a brief paragraph or two (amongst hundreds of other things) when, during the degree ceremony, a newly initiated Entered Apprentice (the name for the first of the three degrees of Craft masonry) is presented with the lambskin or white leather apron. 

Rituals will vary slightly but essentially, they remind the candidate that the lambskin or white leather apron is used because the lamb, in all ages, has been deemed the emblem of innocence. The lambskin is to therefore remind the new Entered Apprentice of that he should conduct himself so that he will be worthy to ‘gain admission to the Celestial Lodge above’. 

The ‘religious intolerant’ whose arguments involve a claim that Freemasonry does not accept Jesus (and not accepting the argument that Freemasonry is a FRATERNITY and not a religion so has no place in determining what one should or should not believe relative to Jesus, the hereafter, or any other religious topic) will argue that the lodge has its own plan of salvation and that the only way to enter Heaven is through acceptance of Jesus Christ. 

Reminding a member that they should lead an upright and good life is wrong somehow? The ‘religious intolerant’ seems to make this case. They argue that without Freemasonry explaining that Jesus is the only way to that ‘Celestial Lodge’, Freemasonry has somehow created its own way to Heaven. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

The simple facts are these: the apron which a Mason wears at each and every meeting is there to remind him to walk uprightly before God and Man! As a Mason looks at his brethren, he is reminded that his conduct should be such that nothing he says or does will (symbolically) besmirch that spotless lambskin which was presented to him when he first became a Mason. 

At least one anti-Mason has argued as follows, quoting one jurisdiction’s ritual (although admittedly most are somewhat similar to this): “…and when your trembling soul shall stand naked and alone before the Great White Throne, there to receive judgment for the deeds done while here in the body, may it be your portion {emphasis added} to hear from Him who sitteth as the Judge Supreme the welcome words:  ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant!  Thou hast been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things!  Enter thou into the joy of Thy Lord’.

One anti-Mason (Duane Washum) declares, based on the above: “This is Freemasonry’s definitive statement as to what will transpire at the Great White Throne Judgment. According to the eschatology of the Lodge, all Masons will stand before the Judge Supreme, and when the deeds done while here in the body are laid out on the table, the Lodge says the Judge Supreme is going to be so impressed with all the wonderful things the Masons have done, that He will immediately admit them all into heaven.”

Now if you read that sentence again, you’ll find that Duane either ignorantly or conveniently missed the entire concept of what is said. Note that the Masonic speaker HOPES that the deceased would be able to hear from God the welcome into His glory. There is no promise nor is there any statement to the effect that it will be granted.  Can Duane have such a difficult time reading? (Yes, it appears so based on his other fantasies but that's an entirely different subject!)

Since all Freemasons have a belief in God, a statement with this commonality of belief represents not eschatology but rather a confirmation of a shared ideology. Further, there is NO guarantee in those words. “…may it be your portion….” simply is not the same as “…it will be your portion….” regardless of who is doing the interpreting! 

Does a Mason believe that simply behaving in an appropriate manner will allow him entrance to Heaven? Perhaps – if this is what his religious beliefs tell him. Does he believe that only through Jesus Christ will he reach Heaven? Yes – if his religious beliefs tell him that. Does Freemasonry teach that ‘works alone’ will guarantee entrance to Heaven? Certainly not! – nor does it teach what does (or might) guarantee such entrance. 

Does Masonry tell its members that they’ll be doomed to Hell if they don’t believe in Jesus Christ? No – because Freemasonry is NOT a religion and teaches no religious creed or dogma. Does Freemasonry tell its members that they’ll go to Heaven if they do? No – again, because Masonry is NOT a religion and teaches no religious creed or dogma. 

Freemasonry allows a member their own religious beliefs – something certain detractors find abhorrent when those religious beliefs aren’t the ones they adhere to today. You see, Freemasonry through its lectures or symbolism does not try to REPLACE religion; sometimes, though, it does tend to AUGMENT it. Would the ‘religious intolerants’ be happier if Masonic members were told that their behavior could be obscene and dastardly but that as long as they believe in Jesus Christ all will be forgiven and they’ll arrive in Heaven?

It’s simply NOT the place of ANY fraternal organization to do that – and Freemasonry doesn’t! What about after that ceremony involving the Apron? Anything else? Well, prayers said at the funeral of a deceased Brother speak of a fond hope that he will gain admission to ‘the Celestial Lodge above’; it would appear, though, that some ‘religious intolerants’ would prefer that we curse the deceased and remind the family that he is doomed to the eternal fires of Hell since he had not accepted their particular sub-set of theological beliefs. And, of course, if Freemasonry did do just that, they would continue to complain that the organization had its own eschatology...

The simple fact is that Freemasonry has NO specific theology surrounding Heaven and/or Hell. Because it does not expect a belief in any particular format of religion, it is vexing to those who believe that the only way to Heaven is according to their proscribed standards or their interpretations of their Holy Book discrediting any others' beliefs.

 

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