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REVELATION, BOOK OF. This book, frequently called by its Greek name, the Apocalypse, i.e. the Revelation, was written by John the Divine, the same as John the Apostle and the Evangelist, about A.D. 66.
That John received the Revelation in the Isle of Patmos, whither he was exiled, in the time of Nero, is certified by Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian ; by the title to the Syriac version of the Revelation ; the fragment on the canon published by Muratori ; also by Andreas and Arethas, bishops of Caesarea.
Theophylact, an archbishop of Bulgaria, says of the Apostle : “He lived in exile in the isle of Patmos thirty-two years after the death of Christ.” This places his banishment before the destruction of Jerusalem, and in the reign of Nero, who began to persecute Christians in A.D. 64. Even the statement of Irenaeus, who lived at the close of the second century, that “the Apocalypse was seen iut long ago, but almost in our generation, near the end of the reign of Domitius,” seems not to refer to Domitian, which is the name of a later emperor, but to Nero, whose name was Domitius Nero.
The Apocalypse has been called an Epopee, because it has all the leading qualities of an Oriental epic poem. Though written originally in the Greek language, the form of Hebrew poetry, as well as its spirit, prevails to a great extent throughout the work. As a Hebrew, and thoroughly imbued as the writer was with the knowledge of the Hebrew prophets, he has often adopted from their writings images, sentiments, and expressions, and applied them to analogous subjects. The symbolic representations, or pictorial sketches, described in the Apocalypse, were seen in vision. Some of the symbols are evidently from Hebrew sources,—the temple, the altar, and the holy services ; and others, apparently, from the sculptured composite figures of monstrous size and form, wherewith the ancient Assyrians and other Eastern nations used to adorn their palaces end temples. Throughout the book there is much in the drapery or costume which is used for embellishment, and yet tends to give definiteness to the representation of the subject. Even the numbers occurring so frequently as seven, ten, twelve, etc. are rarely to be taken arithmetically, unless when there are special reasons for so doing. The prologue to the first part— chapters i.—iii,—represents Christianity throughout the empire in a state of guff ring; the Epistles admonish and exhort t he several churches to faithfulness. Theft rut part of the book, including chapters iv.—xi. in a variety of symbols, portrays the Divine judgments upon Jerusalem, the representative of Judaism, the destruction of the Jewish persecuting power, and the ascendancy of the doctrines of Jesus. The seven seals and the seven trumpets relate ostensibly to Jerusalem, ” spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, where our Lord was crucified.” So, also, Josephus compares Jerusalem to Sodom. ( War», \. 10.) The correspondence of some of the predictions in this book with those of our Lord, respecting the fall of the Holy City—Rev. i. 7. as compared with Matt. xxiv. 30; and Rev. vi. 12, 13, with Matt. xxiv. 29; and also Rev. vi. 1C, with Luke xxiii. 30—shows that both in respect to words and things, they have the same reference.
..The three schemes of Apocalyptic interpretation, held by different expositors, with some diversity in the several details, are First, the Futurist, according to which the book, after the first three chapters, refers to events yet future. Second, the Continuous, which represents the book as a progressive history. Third, the Preterist, which regards the book as having to do with events long since fulfilled. To the Preterist scheme of interpretation we incline, regarding the predictions of the book as having been fully accomplished before the close of the year 135, within less than seventy years from the time when the book was written. The Apocalypse was evidently written to the Asiatic churches during a period of furious persecution, when the Christians greatly needed encouragement, consolation, and admonition. The writer has made a full disclosure of the persecuting powers of the Jews and Romans, and declared that their respective fall and ruin “must shortly come to pass.'”
..The Jewish War, so plainly and definitely predicted by our Lord, commenced early in the spring of A.D. 67. when Vespasian marched his overwhelming army into the region of Galilee; and the fall of Jerusalem was in August, A.D. 70. The war, therefore, lasted about three years and a half. (Rev. xi. 1—3.) After some
Rev. H. B. Kendall (1888)
The Evangelical repository
The Evangelical repository
But this abundance of biblical books is matter for sincere congratulation. If our tables groan in one sense under these, our spirits rejoice in another. For as the glorious oracle itself says, ” The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” It is the only book on which is written—” And this is life eternal;” and, therefore, we hail with satisfaction a work like that now laid upon our table, which borrows its chief light, indeed, from the word of God, but also casts light upon it, caught from the lesser luminaries of literary research.
Mr. Bastow has the credit of having been early in the field. Although the first edition of his Bible Dictionary was published in three volumes, between the years 1845 and 1853, there had been an earlier issue in parts, beginning in 1842. It will thus appear that our author was at the work of Sacred Lexicography before the honoured Dr. Kitto broke ground in that walk of literature, in which he has happily had many followers.
Mr. Bastow’s work is superior to all the other Bible Dictionaries which we have on our shelves in this respect, that it is prefaced by a most comprehensive and well-digested “Introduction to the Literature of the Bible,” consisting of fifty-two closely printed double pages. The reader will find in this very deliberate essay an instructive account of all the principal Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, as well as of the Targums, commentaries and paraphrases which were written in ancient days upon the Sacred Scriptures. We extract the following interesting quotation concerning the Vulgate or Latin version of the Word of God: — “The Vulgate V«niiun is the appellation usually given to the common Latin translation of the Scriptures. After Christianity had extended itself in the West, a Latin version of the Old Testament was made from the Septuagint, and of the N’ew from the original Greek. This translation was called Vulgata common, popular, and in modern times is often called the Italic or Itala.
Several fragments of this ancient version are still extant. As the manuscripts of this old version had become by degrees very much corrupted, a revision was undertaken, in A.D. 383, by Jerome. However, while thus employed in the revision of the ancient Vulgate, Jerome, whose knowledge of the Hebrew was very respectable, ventured to commence also a new version of his own, out of tin; original Hebrew, which he completed in A.D. 401. While engaged in this work, he enjoyed the oral instruction of learned Jewish Rabbins in Palestine, and availed himself of all the former Greek versions, and of the Hexapla of Origen. He also translated the New Testament from the original Greek. This version, which surpasses all the preceding in usefulness, did not at once meet with the anticipated general reception; nevertheless, it maintained itself along with the ancient one; and at length, in the seventh century, supplanted it almost entirely.
At the Council of Trent, in 1546, the Latin Vulgate was declared to be the standard version of the Roman community, and to be of equal authority with the original Scriptures. The great value of this version, which among Protestants has been underrated, from the circumstance of its being so highly regarded by the Romanists, arises from its extreme antiquity. Having been made from manuscripts older than most now extant, this translation may fairly In considered as equivalent to a manuscript of the fourth century. The vast influence exercised by the Vulgate is seen from the fact that by far the greater part of the current theological terms are derived from it. Predestination, justification, sanctification, regeneration, salvation, propitiation, redemption, reconciliation, satisfaction, mediator, election, grace, repentance, revelation, inspiration, Scripture, sacrament, communion, and priest, are terms—most of which were devoted to new and holy use—which show that the Vulgate has left its mark both upon our language and upon our thoughts. Even ‘baptism, though a Greek term, comes to us from the Latin.
We were particularly interested in Mr. Bastow’s account of the various translations which appeared in the English language. In the following passage our author shows that a serious error is committed even in a respectable work like Bagster’s Hexapla :—
” As Wycliffe’s translation was completed in a comparatively short space of time, and necessarily possessed blemishes incident to a first edition, it is not surprising that a revised version was contemplated even in the lifetime of Wycliffe himself. Accordingly, about the year 1388, not more than four years after the death of Wycliffe, the revision was accomplished, but with few substantial differences of interpretation, by Purvey, who had been Wycliffe’s curate, and after his death, became the leader of the Lollard party. Purvey’s revision rendered the version more correct, intelligible, and popular; and caused the earlier translation to fall into disuse.
It is somewhat remarkable that the revised version by Purvey has been taken until recently for Wycliffe’s own translation, and as such, the New Testament portion van published by Lewis, 1731; by Baber, 1810; and again by Bagster, in his English Hexapla. It is, however, now known that the most ancient version is Wycliffe’s, and the revised or more modern one is by Purvey.
When so much is being said at present about the ” Committee of Revision,” whose sessions are duly reported in the papers from time to time, it may be interesting to our readers to hear Mr. Bastow’s account of the way in which our ” Authorized Version” of the Scriptures was prepared in the days of the pedantic King James, shortly after he had removed his head-quarters from Edinburgh to
“The Authorized Version was undertaken at the command of king; James I, in consequence of several objections having been made by the Puritans to the Bishops’ translation, at the second day’s sitting of the Conference held at the palace of Hampton Court, January 16th, 1603—4. The work of organizing and superintending the arrangements for a new translation was one specially congenial to James ; and the method he then proposed for the accomplishment of it was thus :—That the version should be made by some of the most learned men in both the Universities ; that it then should be reviewed by certain of the Bishops; that it should then be laid before the Privy Council; and last of all to be ratified by Royal authority. Accordingly fifty-four men, preeminently distinguished for piety and learning, were appointed to execute this great work. However, the list of persons actually employed in the translation contains only forty-serf n names. Though several of the persons thus appointed were made bishops before the work was completed, yet as none of them were so at the time of the appointment, it would appear that the number needed to make up the deficiency is to be found in the fact of certain bishops having liven especially named as having the work in some manner under their control. This view is not improbable when it is known that Bancroft, archbishop of Canterbury, is said to have made some alterations in the version; and Bilson, bishop of Winchester, was one of those who gave the work its final revision. Some of the translators were appointed by the University of Cambridge, some by that of Oxford, while several who met at Westminster may have been appointed directly by the king. The translators wore severally divided into six companies, two of which met at each of these three places. The following instructions were drawn up for their proceedings:—
1. ‘ The ordinary Bible read in the church, commonly called the Bishops’ Bible, to be followed, and as little altered as the original will permit. ‘2. The names of the prophets and the holy writers, with the other names in the text, to be retained as near as may be, according as they are vulgarly used. 3. The old ecclesiastical works to be kept, as the word church not to be translated congregation. 4. When any word hath divers significations, that to be kept which hath been ino.st commonly used by the most eminent Fathers, being agreeable to the propriety of the place and the analogy of faith. 5. The divinity of the chapters to so altered either not at all. or as little as may be, if necessity so require. (No marginal notes at all to be alfixed, but only for the explanation of the Hebrew or Greek words, which cannot, without some circumlocution, so briefly and fitly be expressed in the text. 7. Such quotations of places to be marginally set down, as shall serve for the fit references of one Scripture to another.’
The preceding seven rules are the general directions for proceeding in the work ; the rest contain the precise directions for its execution :— “8. ‘ Every particular man of each company to take the same chapter or chapters ; and having translated or amended them severally by himself, where he think good, all to meet together, to confer what they have done, and agree for their part what shall stand. 9. As any one company has despatched any one book in this manner, they shall send it to the rest, to be considered of seriously and judiciously; for his majesty is very careful in this point. 10. If any company, upon the review of the book so sent, shall doubt or differ upon any places, to send them word thereof, to note the places, and therewithal to send their reasons ; to which if they consent not, the difference to be compounded at the general meeting, which is to be of the chief persons of each company, at the end of the work. 11. When any place of special obscurity is ‘luubted of, letters to be directed by authority, to send to any learned in the land for his judgement in such a place. 12. Letters to be sent from every bishop to the rest of his clergy, admonishing them of this translation in hand, and to move and charge as many as, being skilful in the tongues, have taken p;iins in that kind, to send their particular observations to the company, cither at Westminster, Cambridge, or Oxford, according as it was directed before in tlie king’s letter to the archbishop. 13. The directors in each company to be the deans (Andrews) of Westminster, and (Barlow) of Chester for Westminster, and the king’s professors in Hebrew and Greek in the two Universities.
These translations to be used, when they agree better with the text than the Bishops’ Bible, viz. Tyndale’s, Coverdale’s, Matthew’s, Whitchurch’s, (i«., Cranmer’s,) and Geneva.’ “
To these the following rule was added :– “According to these regulations, each book passed the scrutiny of all the translators successively. In the first instance, each individual translated every book which was allotted to his division. Secondly, the readings to be adopted were agreed upon by the whole of that company assembled together, at which meeting each translator must have been solely occupied by his own version. The book thus finished, was sent to each of the other companies to he again examined ; and at these meetings it probably was, as Selden informs us, that ‘ one read the translation, the rest holding in their hands some Bible, either of the learned tongues, or French, Spanish, Italian, etc. If they found any fault, they spoke; if not, he read on.’ In this way every precaution was taken to secure a faithful translation, as the whole Bible underwent at least six different revisions by the most learned men in the kingdom. The translation was commenced in the spring of 1607, and occupied about three years, and the revision of it occupied about three quarters of a year more. The revisers were two selected from each of the three groups, and the six met in London, to superintend the publication. The final correction, and the task of writing the several arguments of the several books, was given to Bilson, bishop of Winchester, and Dr. Miles Smith, the latter of whom also wrote the Dedication and Preface. It was printed in black letter and first published in folio, in 1611, with the title: ‘The Holy Bible, Coutcyning the Old Testament, and the New : Newly Translated out of the Originail Tongues : And with the former Translations deligently compared and reuised, by his Maiesties special Commandement. Appointed to be read in Churches.’ The expense of this translation appears not to have been borne by the king, nor by any Government Commission, but chiefly, if not entirely, by Mr. Barker, citizen ami stationer, of London, who purchased the copyright for the sum of .i!3,SOO. There was a second issue in Ifill, very like the first, yet, as Mr. Fry, in the work already referred to, has shown, almost every leaf differed from it in the setting up of the type. Notwithstanding the popularity of the earlier revisions, such was the demand, that no less than six editions of this translation were published in three years. The folio editions of 1611, 1613, 1627, 1634, and 1640, are seldom found complete, as most of the copies arc much mixed,—the leaves of one edition being used to complete another edition.” ” ‘ Besides the said directors before mentioned, three or four of the most ancient and grave divines in either of the Universities, not employed in translating, to be assigned by the Vice-Chancellor, upon conference with the rest of the heads, to be overseers of the translation, as well Hebrew as Greek, for the better observation of the 4th rule above specified.’
We are reminded that we live in days of progress by the points of contrast that appear between the committees of 1607 and 1870. In the first place, although the Puritans, by their complaints, had something to do with the appointment of that first committee, they were not allowed to have any share in its honourable labours; whereas dissenters are recognized in the representative men now sitting, although, perhaps, not so fully as they might be. Again, Mr. Gladstone will not dream of “appointing” the amended version to be “read in churches.” He knows that the world is too far advanced to stand any such dictation in matters of facts and religion. It would appear, however, that our present Government may learn a lesson as to the pecuniary management of the magnum opim from the economical men of 1607, for the expense of the translation seems to have been borne by the expectant publisher.
Mr. Bastow proposes some good amendments on sundry texts. He advises that the word “things” be left out in Philippians ii, 10 : ” That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and t1ihuJs under the earth;” because, ns he properly observes, ” beings, not things, are meant.” He supports also the following translation and punctuation of Psalm ex, 3: ” Thy people are willing—in the day of thy power—in the beauties of holiness ; from the womb of the morning thou hast the dew of thy youth.” Instead of ” two other malefactors ” (Luke xxiii, ‘f-J), he suggests “two others, malefactors;” an emendation which we hope that the Revision Committee will sustain for England, since it has already been adopted in Scotland. The only point in which we could not fully agree with our author was as to the division of chapters which it seems we owe to Henry Stephens, the celebrated printer. Although the latter is said to have made a large portion of these divisions in haste, ” while riding on horseback,” yet in some instances (though not in all) we prefer the present arrangement tu that suggested by Mr. Bastow.
As to the Dictionary itself, we cordially commend it to our readers. living ourselves had the privilege of travelling through the Holy land, we have, perhaps, been qualified, to some extent, by personal observation to test Mr. Bastow’s work on certain points. We have found that under such words as “Capernaum,” “Jerusalem,” and “Jordan,” he writes both clearly and copiously; and, moreover, that this last edition really is enriched by the results of the most recent explorations and excavations. The author, in the preface, confesses his obligations to Mr. Layard and other oriental travellers for the free use which they have allowed him to make of the remarkable illustrations to be found in their works. Without doubt Mr. Bastow has taken good advantage of the privilege, and has spared no expense in doing so ; for his Dictionary is largely embellished with those monstrous yet beautiful figures from the long-buried chambers of Nineveh, which the distinguished late Foreign Secretary has rendered so familiar to the men of this generation. In a word, if our students, ministers, and Bible-loving people, wish a Bible Dictionary less expensive than Calmet’s, Kitto’s, or Blackie’s Imperial, and yet one that contains almost all that people generally wish to know, let them first Mr. Bastow’s book. We had almost forgotten to add that the doctrinal and theological articles are written with so much unction that the volume is calculated to bless the heart, as well as to enlighten the head. Although the author’ does not give his denominational designation, we would almost be inclined to conclude from the tone of his devotional pieces that he belongs to the Wesleyan communion,— and, assuredly, the readers of this Magazine will not think the less of him, if such really be the address of his ecclesiastical lodgings. In our permanent home with the ” many mansions ” all such names and distinctions will happily be obliterated and unknown. (The Evangelical repository, p. 220-226)
The Homilist; or, The pulpit for the people, conducted by D. Thomas.
The Local Preachers’ Magazine and Christian Family Record (1877)
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