Handbook for Bible Students


“R” Entries

Reformation, Characteristic Principles of.—From the commencement of the Reformation it became evident, in the course of the struggle, that its adherents proceeded upon a different formal principle (as to the source of knowledge and rule of faith) from that held by the Roman Church of that period. For while the advocates of the Roman Church continually appealed to the authority of tradition, the Protestants refused to yield to any arguments but those clearly drawn from Scripture. This primitive difference was prominently brought forward in the symbolical books in general, and in those of the Reformed Church in particular. It may be specified in the four following particulars: HBS 443.1

1. While the Protestant church asserts that the sacred writings of the Old and New Testaments are the only sure source of religious knowledge, and constitute the sole rule of faith, the Roman Catholic Church assumes the existence of another source, together with the Bible, viz., tradition. HBS 443.2

2. According to Protestants, the Holy Bible is composed only of the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, while the Roman Catholics also ascribe canonical authority to the so-called Apocrypha of the Old Testament. HBS 443.3

3. The Roman Catholic Church claims the sole right of interpreting the Scripture, while the Protestant Church concedes this right, in a stricter sense, to every one who possesses the requisite gifts and attainments, but in a more comprehensive sense to every Christian who seeks after salvation; it proceeds upon the principle that Scripture is its own interpreter, according to the analogia fidei. HBS 443.4

4. With this is connected, in the fourth place, the assumption of the Roman Catholic Church, that the Vulgate Version, which it sanctions, is to be preferred to all other versions as the authentic one, and is thus to a certain extent of equal importance with the original, while Protestants regard the original only as authentic.—Id., Vol. III, pp. 39, 40. HBS 443.5

Religions of the East, “The Winged One.”—There was another way in which Nimrod’s power was symbolized besides by the “horn.” A synonym for Gheber, “The mighty one,” was “Abir,” while “Aber” also signified a “wing.” Nimrod, as head and captain of those men of war by whom he surrounded himself, and who were the instruments of establishing his power, was “Baal-aberin,” “Lord of the mighty ones.” But “Baal-abirin” (pronounced nearly in the same way) signified “The winged one,” and therefore in symbol he was represented, not only as a horned bull, but as at once a horned and winged bull-as showing not merely that he was mighty himself, but that he had mighty ones under his command, who were ever ready to carry his will into effect, and to put down all opposition to his power; and to shadow forth the vast extent of his might, he was represented with great and wide-expanding wings. To this mode of representing the mighty kings of Babylon and Assyria, who imitated Nimrod and his successors, there is manifest allusion in Isaiah 8:6-8: “Forasmuch as this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah that go softly, and rejoice in Rezin and HBS 443.6

Remaliah’s son; now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and mighty, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory; and he shall come up over all his banks. And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over; he shall reach even unto the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel.” When we look at such figures as those which are here presented to the reader [illustrations of bulls from Nimrúd and Persepolis.—Eds.], with their great extent of expanded wing, as symbolizing an Assyrian king, what a vividness and force does it give to the inspired language of the prophet! And how clear is it, also, that the stretching forth of the Assyrian monarch’s wings, that was to “fill the breadth of Immanuel’s land,” has that very symbolic meaning to which I have referred, viz., the overspreading of the land by his “mighty ones,” or hosts of armed men, that the king of Babylon was to bring with him in his overflowing invasion!-“The Two Babylons,” Rev. Alexander Hislop, pp. 37-39, 7th edition. London: S. W. Partridge & Co. HBS 444.1

Revelation, Book of, Time of Writing of.—The older theologians proceeded almost uniformly on the supposition that the book of Revelation was composed in the closing period of Domitian’s reign. [p. 1] ... HBS 444.2

We shall, first of all, examine the external testimonies that relate to the point at issue. From these we shall gather the result that, what Lampe has said in his Commentary on John 1, p. 62, “all antiquity agrees in the opinion of Domitian’s being the author of John’s banishment,” is no paradox, but the simple truth. For the deviations from this result are on the part only of such as do not deserve to be heard and considered. HBS 444.3

The series of testimonies for the composition under Domitian is opened by Irenaus. He says (B. V. ch. 30), “For if it were necessary at present to declare plainly his name (i. e., the name of the person indicated by the number 666 in the Apocalypse 13:18), it might be done through him, who also saw the Apocalypse. For it was seen not long ago, but almost in our generation, toward the close of Domitian’s reign.” Irenaus was in a position for knowing the truth. [p. 2] ... HBS 444.4

Clement of Alexandria (in the work, “Quis dives,” sec. 42, and in Eusebius III, 23) says: “For since he (John) after the death of the tyrant returned to Ephesus from the isle Patmos,” etc. The manner in which he speaks of the matter shows that there is implied a generally known tradition: the tyrant, the Roman emperor of the first century, Domitian, who, as is well known, pre-eminently deserves that name. [p. 3] ... HBS 444.5

Eusebius, in book III, ch. xviii of his “Church History,” says, “Under him (Domitian) tradition relates, that the apostle and evangelist John, who was still alive, on account of his testimony for the divine word, was condemned to reside in the isle Patmos.” In book III, ch. xx: “Then also that the apostle John returned from his banishment on the island, and took up his dwelling again at Ephesus, the tradition of our older men has delivered to us.” Again, in book III, ch. xxiii: “John governed there (in Asia) the churches, after his return from exile on the island, subsequent to the death of Domitian.” Also in the “Chronicon” under the fourteenth year of Domitian, “The apostle John, the theologian, he banished to the isle Patmos, where he saw the Apocalypse, as Irenaus says.” HBS 444.6

Eusebius is quite consistent with himself in the several passages, and always speaks with the same confidence (comp. besides Demonstr. III, 5). When in the “Chronicon” he refers to Irenaus as a sure voucher, it is so far of importance as it shows him to have had no suspicion that that Father had formed it by merely combining notices together. But it does not at all prove that Irenaus was the only source of the tradition of Eusebius. The contrary is manifest from the circumstance that what Eusebius gives as the testimony of tradition, contains more than what is stated by Irenaus, and also because in one of the passages he refers to several depositaries of the tradition. Never once does Eusebius point, by so much as a single syllable, to any other view regarding the author of John’s exile, and the time of the composition of the Apocalypse. So that there must then in this respect have been perfect unanimity in the church. Finally, under the name of Victorinus of Petabio, who suffered martyrdom under Diocletian in the year 303, we have a writing on the Apocalypse, which is printed in the third volume of the Bibl. Patr. Lugd., and which as to its substance is undoubtedly genuine, for it bears too exactly the character of the style which Jerome ascribes to Victorinus (see the collection of his expressions in the Bibl. Patr., and other reasons for its substantial genuineness, may be seen in Lücke, p. 494). But in this work the composition of the Apocalypse under Domitian, during the exile in Patmos, is spoken of as a matter of undoubted certainty. HBS 444.7

These are all the testimonies on the time of the composition of the Apocalypse belonging to the age of living tradition. They declare with perfect unanimity that John was banished by Domitian to Patmos, and there wrote the Apocalypse. [pp. 5, 6]-“The Revelation of St. John,” E. W. Hengstenberg, translated from the original by Rev. Patrick Fairbairn, Vol. I, pp. 1-6. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1851. HBS 445.1

Revelation, Book of, Scenery Employed in.—And what then was to be the mode and manner of unfolding, before the august company thus assembled, this great revelation of the coming future? Was it to be simply, as in the case of some other revelations from God, by the reading out what was written in the book? Not so. The subject matter therein contained was, in a manner far more interesting, to be visibly enacted, even as in a living drama; and for the requisite scenery and agency alike heaven and earth put in requisition.... HBS 445.2

Now of the Apocalyptic scenery, as the reader will be aware, no detailed or connected account is given us. We have only incidental notices of it. These, however, occur perpetually; and, if carefully gathered up and compared together, will be found wonderfully to harmonize, so as indeed to indicate a scenery designedly provided for the occasion, consistent and complete. And the importance of an early and familiar acquaintance with it will hence sufficiently appear, in that it is that from which the character and meaning of many important points in the Apocalyptic prefigurations is alone to be deduced; and that too which connects and gives unity to them as a whole. HBS 445.3

The scene then first visible, and which remained stationary throughout the visions in the foreground, was as of the interior of a temple; including in its secret and inmost sanctuary the throne of Jehovah already spoken of, and the blessed company attendant round it. For this did not appear in open space or public, but, as seems manifest in the progress of the prophetic drama, and is indeed in one place directly intimated, within the inclosure of a temple sanctuary. It was a temple resembling Solomon’s, or, yet more, the tabernacle framed earlier by Moses in the wilderness; although on a grander scale, at least as regards the inner sanctuary, and with other marked peculiarities. The which resemblance is also expressly intimated to us. For it was called upon one occasion “the temple of God;” on another, in words only referable to the Jewish temple or tabernacle, “the temple of the tabernacle of witness, in heaven.” Moreover in its parts and divisions it well corresponded with that of Israel. The temple proper, or sanctuary, was similarly constituted of the holy place and that most holy; save that there was no veil, as of old, to separate them: the one being characterized by the golden altar of incense, and, as I think also, by the seven burning lamps; the other by the divine glory, and the ark of the covenant. A court too appeared attached to this sanctuary, just as to the Jewish, and one similarly marked by an altar of sacrifice standing in it: besides that there was the similar appendage of an outer court also, as if of the Gentiles. HBS 445.4

As the visions proceeded, other objects appeared in connected landscape, around and beneath the temple. Nearest was the Mount Zion and its holy city: not the literal Jerusalem, which had been leveled to the ground, and was now literally in bondage with her children; but that which, though in some things different, sufficiently resembled it to have the likeness at once recognized, and to receive the appellation: then, beneath and beyond, far stretching (even as it might have appeared from that high mountain whence were seen in a moment of time the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them), the miniature but living landscape of the Roman Empire. Both the Mount Zion and the temple seem to have appeared high raised above the earth, although not altogether detached from it; and the former, as well as latter, in near proximity to the heavenly glory within the sanctuary. So that while, on the one hand, the temple might be called “the temple of the tabernacle of witness in heaven,” and they that were true worshipers and citizens in the temple and Mount Zion, “the tabernaclers in heaven,” yet, on the other, the outer court of the temple appeared accessible to the inhabitants of the earth below, and the holy city susceptible of invasion from them. HBS 446.1

Such was the standing scenery throughout the Apocalyptic visions.—“Hora Apocalyptica,” Rev. E. B. Elliott, A. M., Vol. I, pp. 96-99, 3rd edition. London: Seeley, Burnside, and Seeley, 1847. HBS 446.2

Roman Catholic Church, Doctrinal Position Defined in the Sixteenth Century.—Confronted by Protestantism, the Roman Catholic Church found itself under the necessity of examining its own condition. It had to perform a twofold task, viz., first, to secure the doctrines which it confessed from misrepresentations and false inferences; and, secondly, to hold fast, with renewed vigor, that which its principles bound it to maintain. The Council of Trent (1545-1593) had therefore to enlighten the Roman Catholic Church on its own position, and solemnly to sanction its system (developed to a great extent by the scholastics of the preceding period) in conscious opposition to the demands of the Reformers. The declarations of this Council, as well as those set forth in the Roman Catechism, which was based upon the utterances of the Council, are therefore to be regarded as the true symbols of the Roman Catholic Church, and every doctrine which deviates from these must renounce all claim to catholicity.—“A History of Christian Doctrines,” Dr. K. R. Hagenbach, Vol. III, p. 2. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1881. HBS 446.3

Roman Catholic Church, Two Characteristic Dogmas of.—The sinlessness of the Virgin Mary and the personal infallibility of the Pope are the characteristic dogmas of modern Romanism, the two test dogmas which must decide the ultimate fate of this system. Both were enacted under the same Pope, and both faithfully reflect his character. Both have the advantage of logical consistency from certain premises, and seem to be the very perfection of the Romish form of piety and the Romish principle of authority. Both rest on pious fiction and fraud; both present a refined idolatry by clothing a pure humble woman and a mortal sinful man with divine attributes. The dogma of the immaculate conception, which exempts the Virgin Mary from sin and guilt, perverts Christianism into Marianism; the dogma of infallibility, which exempts the Bishop of Rome from error, resolves Catholicism into papalism, or the church into the Pope. The worship of a woman is virtually substituted for the worship of Christ, and a man-god in Rome for the God-Man in heaven. This is a severe judgment, but a closer examination will sustain it. HBS 446.4

The dogma of the immaculate conception, being confined to the sphere of devotion, passed into the modern Roman creed without serious difficulty; but the dogma of papal infallibility, which involves a question of absolute power, forms an epoch in the history of Romanism, and created the greatest commotion and a new secession. It is in its very nature the most fundamental and most comprehensive of all dogmas. It contains the whole system in a nutshell. It constitutes a new rule of faith. It is the article of the standing or falling church. It is the direct antipode of the Protestant principle of the absolute supremacy and infallibility of the Holy Scriptures. It establishes a perpetual divine oracle in the Vatican. Every Catholic may hereafter say, I believe-not because Christ, or the Bible, or the church, but-because the infallible Pope has so declared and commanded. Admitting this dogma, we admit not only the whole body of doctrines contained in the Tridentine standards, but all the official papal bulls, including the medieval monstrosities of the Syllabus (1864), the condemnation of Jansenism, the bull “Unam Sanctam” of Boniface VIII (1302), which, under pain of damnation, claims for the Pope the double sword, the secular as well as the spiritual, over the whole Christian world, and the power to depose princes and to absolve subjects from their oath of allegiance. The past is irreversibly settled, and in all future controversies on faith and morals we must look to the same unerring tribunal in the Vatican. Even ecumenical councils are superseded hereafter, and would be a mere waste of time and strength.—“The Vatican Decrees in Their Bearing on Civil Allegiance,” Hon. W. E. Gladstone, M. P., pp. 83, 84. New York: Harper & Bros., 1875. HBS 447.1

Rome, See of, Has Condemned Important Propositions.—I will state, in the fewest possible words and with references, a few propositions, all the holders of which have been condemned by the see of Rome during my own generation, and especially within the last twelve or fifteen years. And in order that I may do nothing toward importing passion into what is matter of pure argument, I will avoid citing any of the fearfully energetic epithets in which the condemnations are sometimes clothed. HBS 447.2

1. Those who maintain the liberty of the press. Encyclical Letter of Pope Gregory XVI, in 1831; and of Pope Pius IX, in 1864. HBS 447.3

2. Or the liberty of conscience and of worship. Encyclical of Pius IX, Dec. 8, 1864. HBS 447.4

3. Or the liberty of speech. “Syllabus” of March 18, 1861. Prop. lxxix. Encyclical of Pope Pius IX, Dec. 8, 1864. HBS 447.5

4. Or who contend that papal judgments and decrees may, without sin, be disobeyed or differed from, unless they treat of the rules (dogmata) of faith or morals. Ibid. HBS 447.6

5. Or who assign to the state the power of defining the civil rights (jura) and province of the church. “Syllabus” of Pope Pius IX, March 8, 1861. Ibid. Prop. xix. HBS 447.7

6. Or who hold that Roman pontiffs and ecumenical councils have transgressed the limits of their power, and usurped the rights of princes. Ibid. Prop. xxiii. HBS 447.8

(It must be borne in mind that “ecumenical councils” here mean Roman councils not recognized by the rest of the church. The councils of the early church did not interfere with the jurisdiction of the civil power.) HBS 448.1

7. Or that the church may not employ force. (Ecclesia vis inferenda potestatem non habet.) “Syllabus.” Prop. xxiv. HBS 448.2

8. Or that power, not inherent in the office of the episcopate, but granted to it by the civil authority, may be withdrawn from it at the discretion of that authority. Ibid. Prop. xxv. HBS 448.3

9. Or that the (immunitas) civil immunity of the church and its ministers depends upon civil right. Ibid. Prop. xxx. HBS 448.4

10. Or that in the conflict of laws, civil and ecclesiastical, the civil law should prevail. Ibid. Prop. xlii. HBS 448.5

11. Or that any method of instruction of youth, solely secular, may be approved. Ibid. Prop. xlviii. HBS 448.6

12. Or that knowledge of things philosophical and civil may and should decline to be guided by divine and ecclesiastical authority. Ibid. Prop. lvii. HBS 448.7

13. Or that marriage is not in its essence a sacrament. Ibid. Prop. lxvi. HBS 448.8

14. Or that marriage not sacramentally contracted (si sacramentum excludatur) has a binding force. Ibid. Prop. lxxiii. HBS 448.9

15. Or that the abolition of the temporal power of the popedom would be highly advantageous to the church. Ibid. Prop. lxxvi. Also Prop. lxx. HBS 448.10

16. Or that any other religion than the Roman religion may be established by a state. Ibid. Prop. lxxvii. HBS 448.11

17. Or that in “countries called Catholic” the free exercise of other religions may laudably be allowed. “Syllabus.” Prop. lxxviii. HBS 448.12

18. Or that the Roman Pontiff ought to come to terms with progress, liberalism, and modern civilization. Ibid. Prop. lxxx.—“The Vatican Decrees in Their Bearing on Civil Allegiance,” Hon. W. E. Gladstone, M. P., pp. 15, 16. New York: Harper & Bros., 1875. HBS 448.13

Rome, Historical Sketch of.—Among the states and kingdoms which men have reared as the political bulwarks of progress and civilization, Rome has an easy pre-eminence.... From every point of view the mightiness of the Roman power stands forth in tremendous outline, against the background of the past. Above her brow is set a tiara of significant emblems, and at her girdle are hung the keys of the subject kingdoms of the world. HBS 448.14

The beginnings of the history of Rome are set in the prehistoric shadows. Myth, tradition, legend of men and fable of the gods, are mixed and mingled in the story. A city is founded on a hill by the wolf-nursling twins of Rhea Sylvia and Mars. There are half-robber heroes struggling for the mastery-Roman, Sabine, Etruscan-descendants of tribal ancestors of unknown name and station. There are interceding women with disheveled hair, strong as their armored brothers, brave as their warring lords. Then comes a line of kings, mostly mythical, fabled in the Vergilian hexameters-in the Augustan rhapsody-in which the Trojan blood is made to rule in Latium three hundred years. Glimpses of truth flash here and there on the hilltops, until the Elder Brutus comes and Tarquin skulks away. HBS 448.15

More brilliant-less fabulous-is the story of the republic. The Age of the Consuls is the age of rising fame. In mere prowess a greater than the Greek is here. Without the artistic genius of his rival, without the subtlety, the wit, the intellectual acumen, songcraft, and tongue-force of the son of Hellas, the sturdy republican of Rome surpassed him in stalwart vehemence and the stroke of his sword. Stand out of the wind of that strong weapon, O Barbarian! for it is sharp and swift! HBS 448.16

From the times of Africanus [Scipio Amilianus] to the age of Casar the strength and majesty of the republic were displayed to the best advantage.... The trophies of all lands were swept into the Eternal City, and her palaces shone with foreign gems and borrowed raiment. [p. 27] HBS 449.1

It is the judgment of Gibbon that, on the whole, the happiest period of history was the Age of the Antonines [a. d. 121-161]; that then the comforts of human life were more generally diffused, and its sorrows, misfortunes, and crimes fewer and more tolerable. Had the historian lived a century later, he might have changed his verdict; but it cannot be doubted that in some fair degree the empire was at peace; nor is there any period in the imperial course more worthy to be commended than the middle of the second century. From that time forth the decline was manifest. The crimes of the earlier Casars were the crimes of violence and audacity; those of the imperial regime were the colder, but not less deadly, vices of a depraved court and a decaying people. HBS 449.2

Coming to the times of Justinian, we note with admiration how the robust genius of Rome still asserted itself in the perfection of her jurisprudence. It is at this point that the Roman intellect is at its best, not indeed as a creative force, but as a great energy, producing order in the world and equity among men. Here was elaborated that massive civil code which Rome left as her best bequest to after-ages. From the luminous brains of Justinian’s lawyers were deduced those elements of jurisprudence which, abbreviated into textbooks and modified to meet the altered conditions of civilized life, have combined to furnish the principia of the best law study in the universities of modern times. HBS 449.3

The later history of the Roman Empire has much of melancholy in its texture. Not without sorrow will the reflective mind contemplate so majestic a ruin.... HBS 449.4

The harsh cadences of a speech most gutteral were heard in the palaces of the Western Casars, while distant a thousand years the shadow of the semilune of the Prophet was seen rising over the towers of Constantinople. HBS 449.5

Great, however, is the change of aspect from the old ages of history to the new ages which follow. The Ancient World went back, seemingly, into primitive chaos and deep darkness. The wheels of evolution lagged, stood still, revolved the other way. Black shadows settled on all the landscape, and civilization stumbled into ditches and pitfalls. The contemplation of the eclipse of old-time greatness by the dark orb of barbarism may well fill the mind with a melancholy doubt respecting the course and destiny of the human race.... HBS 449.6

For the collapse and downfall of ancient society two general causes may be assigned. The first of these was the decay of those peculiar virtues which constituted the ethical and intellectual strength of the Graco-Italic races. [p. 28] ... HBS 449.7

The second cause of the collapse was the impact of barbarism. For centuries the silent Nemesis-she HBS 449.8

“Who never yet has left the unbalanced scale”-bottled her wrath against the offending peoples who held the Mediterranean. At last the seals were loosed, and the barbaric tornado was poured out of the North. Through the Alpine passes came the rushing cohort of warriors, each with the rage of Scythia in his stomach and the icicles of the Baltic in his beard. The great hulk of Rome tottered, fell, and lay dead on the earth, like the stump of Dagon.—“History of the World,” John Clark Ridpath, LL. D., Introduction, (9 vol. ed.) Vol. III, pp. 27-29. Cincinnati: The Jones Brothers Pub. Co., 1910. HBS 449.9

Rosetta Stone.—The Rosetta Stone was discovered in 1799 at Rosetta, Egypt, in the ruins of an ancient temple. It contains a decree issued in honor of Ptolemy V about 200 b. c., and was inscribed in three forms of writing,-the hieroglyphic, demotic or enchorial, and Greek. This made it a key to the hieroglyphics, which had been entirely unintelligible up to this time. After more than forty years of study, the hieroglyphic form was translated, and thereby the entire field of Egyptian records was opened.—“The Library of Original Sources,” edited by Oliver J. Thatcher, Vol. I, p. 420. Milwaukee, Wis.: University Research Extension Company, copyright 1907. HBS 450.1

Rosetta Stone, Description of.—Rosetta Stone, the name given to an inscribed slab of basalt (38 by 30 in.) found near Rosetta, in the Nile delta, in 1799, and now preserved in the British Museum. It gave the key to the interpretation of Egyptian hieroglyphics, the legend inscribed upon it being trilingual. The topmost inscription is in hieratic characters; the middle inscription is in the demotic or enchorial script used by the people of the country; while below it the legend is again given in uncial Greek. The inscription is a decree of Ptolemy Epiphanes, promulgated at Memphis in 196 b. c.—Nelson’s Encyclopedia, Vol. X, art.Rosetta Stone,” p. 428. HBS 450.2