Glossary

Browse the glossary by clicking on any of the letters below.

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Alphabetically Arranged with Cyclopedic Meanings and Bible References

Rabbinism

Rabbinism is the philosophy, taught by Jewish Rabbis subsequent to the dispersion, which is devoted to mystical explanations of the oral law.  The Jewish Talmud is a compilation of this philosophy.  Rabbinism contains many allegorical and symbolic modes of instruction, borrowed from Arabaic, Grecian, and more largely Egyptian, philosophies.  Some legends from the Jewish Talmud have been incorporated in the mythical philosophy of Speculative Masonry.

Rabboni - my Master

About the time of Christ this title came into use in the school of Hillel.  It is said to have been given to only seven of their wise men who were preeminent for their learning.  Gamaliel, distinguished as preceptor of the apostle Paul, was one of them.  The term is significant in the higher degrees of Masonry, and has been given the translation of "a most excellent Master."  The title once applied to Christ... John 20:16

Raised

This expressive term is used to designate the reception of the candidate into the third or sublime degree of a Master Mason, and alludes both to a part of the ceremony and to our faith in the glorious morn of the resurrection, when our bodies will rise, and become as incorruptible as our souls.  Hos. 6:2  -  1 Cor. 6:14 -  John 11:23 -  Job 19:26,27

Rebuilding of the Temple

Who ordered the rebuilding of the temple?  Cyrus, 536 B.C. Issued an edict permitting the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the house of the Lord.  At the same time he restored to them all the sacred vessels and precious ornaments of the first temple, which had been carried away by Nebuchadnezzer, and which were still in existence.  The leader of these Jews was Zerubbabel.  Ezra 1:11

Reconsideration of the Ballot

Q.  When a candidate has been rejected by one or more secret votes, can a reconsideration be requested?  A. No, the Worshipful Master alone, can, for reasons satisfactory to himself, order a reconsideration, and he can do this only on the night of the ballot, and only if no member present and voting has departed.

Red - a cardinal color

Red, scarlet, or crimson, is the appropriate color of the Royal Arch Degree, and is said symbolically to represent the ardor and zeal which should actuate all those who are in possession of that sublime portion of Freemasonry.  Red is also a predominant color in some higher degrees; when the symbolism refers to to moral virtue it signifies fervency; when it relates to historical items it is emblematic of the shedding of blood.  A symbolic color in the distinct clothing of the high priest... Ex. 28:6,8,9

Refreshment

In Masonic language, refreshment is opposed in a peculiar sense to labor.  While a Lodge is in activity it must be either at labor or refreshment.  If a Lodge is permanently closed until its next communication, the intervening period is one of abeyance, it activity for Masonic duty having for the time been suspended; although its powers and privileges as a Lodge still exist, and may be at any time resumed.  But where it is only temporarily closed, with the intention of soon again resuming labor, the intermediate period is called a time of refreshment.

Regalia

Strictly speaking, the word regalia, from the Latin, regalia, royal things, signifies the ornaments of a king or queen, and is applied to the apparatus used at a coronation, such as the crown, scepter, cross, mound, etc.  But is has in modern times been loosely employed to signify almost any kind of ornaments.  Hence the collar and jewel, and sometimes even the apron, are called by many Masons the regalia.

Relief

One of the three principal tenets of a Freemason's profession, and thus defined in the lecture of the First Degree:  To relieve the distressed is a duty incumbent on all men, but particularly on Freemasons, who are linked together by an indissoluble chain of sincere affection.  To sooth the unhappy, to sympathize with their misfortunes, to compassionate their miseries, and restore peace to their troubled minds, is the great aim we have in view.  On this basis we form our friendships and establish our connections. 

Repoussť

Relief ornament hammered from the under or inner side of the metal.  Usually given added sharpness of form by surface chasing of detail and outline.  Has been practiced from early times.  Introduced to this country by Samuel Kirk in 1828.

Reprimand - rebuke; correction

This is the lowest type of punishment for an offender in a Masonic Lodge; it is a reproof, given privately or before the Lodge, for a breach of Masonic rules and regulations.  A private reprimand is usually given by letter from the Master.  This punishment can be inflicted only when charges have been made, and by a majority vote of the Lodge.  It does not affect the Masonic standing of the person reprimanded.  This form of punishment recommended; of great benefit when rightly administered and accepted... Luke 17:3 -  Prov. 25:12 -  Psalms 141:5

Religious Connections

Masonry is not a religion; it is a handmaiden to true religion.  Masonry, properly understood and lived, supports and sustains a man in his religious affiliations, better qualifies him for his religious activities, encourages and strengthens him in his performance of his religious duties, and opens up to him many opportunities for genuine services of a religious character for his fellow-men.  A man should be a better church member because of his Masonry, not a poorer one.

Renunciation of Masonry

For reasons which may or may not be justifiable a man may sever his connection with a Masonic Lodge; but it is utterly impossible for any Mason who has been honest and understanding in accepting the Rites of Freemasonry to repudiate his Masonic Obligations.  Nor can any man, in all good conscience with himself, toward man, and toward God, denounce his principles, tenets, symbolic instructions, inner workings, and uplifting benedictions of Freemasonry, once he has fully understood Freemasonry and fully assimilated its teachings.

Resignation of Membership

The spirit of the Law of Freemasonry does not recognize the right of any member of a Lodge to resign his membership, unless it be for the purpose of uniting with another Lodge.  This mode of resignation is called a dimission.  (See Dimit)

Response

In the liturgical services of the church an answer made by the people speaking alternately with the clergyman.  In the ceremonial observances of Freemasonry there are many responses, the Master and the Brethren taking alternate parts, especially in the funeral service as laid down first by Preston, and now very generally adopted.  In all Masonic prayers the proper response, never to be omitted, is, "So mote it be."

Resurrection

A belief in God and a belief in a resurrection to a future life is the belief of every true Master Mason.  This doctrine of a resurrection is one of the great Landmarks of the Order, and its importance and necessity may be estimated from the fact, that almost the whole design of speculative Masonry, from its earliest origin, seems to have been to teach this great doctrine of the resurrection.  St. John 11:25-26 -  Psalms 17:15 -  Isa. 26:19 -  Dan. 12:2 -  Matt. 22:31 -  1 Cor. 15:1-8,20-23 -  1 Thess. 4:16

Rd. or Rd No.

Registered Design, followed by a number. The British equivalent of the United States Design Patent. Begun in 1884. Prior to 1884 the British used a dual system, which began in 1842, for Ornamental Designs and Useful Designs. The Ornamental Designs used a diamond shaped mark with a complex system of numbers and letters inside the diamond. Useful Designs were marked "REGISTERED No.......", followed by the date of registration. The explanation of how to read these marks is provided in several publications.

Repoussť

Relief ornament hammered from the underside of the sheet metal, done manually.  Often given added sharpness of form by surface chasing of detail and outline.

Reproductions and/or fakes

A reproduction is a copy of an original, properly marked with the maker's name, or the current proper hallmarks. It is up to the buyer to check the marks.  These may become fakes when the marks are rubbed and distorted and the vendor attempts to pass an item off as being of earlier vintage. Reproductions in cast iron abound, some with copies of the original marks, or lacking any marks at all.  Fakes in silver are designed to resemble old style artifacts, but have not been copied from an original.  Enameled fakes are usually done using an original item, and either re-enameling the original enamel cavity, or enamel a perfectly good side of a plain item.  In either case, the original hallmarks remain intact and the result convincing.   A few good articles have been published that are very helpful, but mostly it is a matter of experience and BUYER BEWARE.

Rhetoric

The art of embellishing language with the ornaments of construction, so as to enable the speaker to persuade or affect his hearers.  It supposes and requires a proper acquaintance with the rest of the liberal arts; for the first step toward adorning a discourse is for the speaker to become thoroughly acquainted with its subject, and hence the ancient rule that that the orator should be acquainted with all the arts and sciences.  Its importance as a branch of liberal education is recommended to  the Freemason in the Fellow Craft's Degree.  It is one of the seven liberal arts and sciences, the second in order, and is described in the ancient Constitutions as "retoricke that teacheth a man to speake faire and in subtill terms."

Right Angle

A right angle is the meeting of two lines in an angle of ninety degrees, or the fourth part of a circle.  Each of its lines is perpendicular to the other; and as the perpendicular line is a symbol of uprightness of conduct, the right angle has been adopted by Freemasons as an emblem of virtue.  Such was its signification among the Pythagoreans.  The right angle is represented in the Lodges by the square, as the horizontal is by the level, and the perpendicular by the plumb.

Right Hand

The right hand has in all ages been deemed an important symbol to represent the virtue of fidelity.  Among the ancients, the right hand and fidelity to an obligation were almost deemed synonymous terms.  Thus, among the Romans, the expression fallere dextram, that is to betray the right hand, also signified to violate faith; and jungere dextras, meaning to join right hands, and thereby to give a mutual pledge.  Among the Hebrews, iamin, the right hand, was derived from aman, to be faithful.

Rising Sun

The rising sun is represented by the Worshipful Master, because as the sun by his rising opens and governs the day, so the Master is taught to open and govern his Lodge with equal regularity and precision.

Rite

The Latin word ritus, whence we get the English rite, signifies an approved usage or custom, or an external observance.  Vossius derives it by metathesis from the Greek, whence literally it signifies a trodden path, and, metaphorically, a long-followed custom.  As a Masonic term its application is therefore apparent.  It signifies a method of conferring Masonic light by a collection and distribution of degrees.  It is, in other words, the method and order observed in the government of a Masonic system.

Ritual

The mode of opening and closing a Lodge, of conferring the Degrees, of installation, and other duties, constitute a system of ceremonies which are called the Ritual.  Much of the Ritual is esoteric, and, not being permitted to be committed to writing, is communicated only by oral instruction.  In each Masonic Jurisdiction it is required, by the superintending authority, that the Ritual shall be the same; but it more or less differs in the different Rites and Jurisdictions.

Rococo

A decorative art style of French origin derived from rocailles (rocks) and coquilles (shells). The design elements in the form of C and S scrolls and other elements were popular throughout most of the 19th century.

Rolled plate

Also called Sheffield plate.  Devised by Thomas Boulsover ca.1743. Produced by fusing, with intense heat, a thin sheet of silver to one or both sides of a thick sheet of copper, the sheet then rolled down to the desired thickness for fabrication. By the 1860s it had been supplanted by electroplate.

Rose of Sharon

The passage in the Song of Solomon which reads the "Rose of Sharon" is applied to Christ, symbolizing especially that through him "life and immortality were brought to light."  Thus we have explained the origin of the Rose Croix as the name of the Degree which centers in and around Christ.  The rose as a symbol of Christ and the cross as an emblem of his death untied on the Jewel of the Rose Croix point to the truth that through Christ the secret of immortality is revealed and through his death an immortal life of purity and happiness is made available.  The "Rose of Sharon"... Song 2:1

Rough Ashlar

What is the symbolism of the rough ashlar?  The entered apprentice has not perfected himself in Masonry is symbolized by the freestone in the quarries, that has not been smoothed by the Master Builder.  1 Kings 5:18  -  1 Cor. 3:9-12

Royal Arch Masonry

That division of Speculative Masonry which is engaged in the investigation of the mysteries connected with the Royal Arch, no matter under what name or in what Rite.  Thus the mysteries of the Knight of the Ninth Arch constitute Royal Arch Masonry.

Royal and Select Masters

How is the calendar computed in this degree?  From the year in which Solomon's Temple was completed, viz.: 1000 B.C. Thus 1000 plus 2001 equals 3001, the year of the Royal and Select Masters.  1 Kings 6:38

R.P.

Rolled plate.

R.P.

Reichspatent. Government patent. German.

Rubbish of the Temple

The legend of the "rubbish of the Temple" has been preserved by Freemasonry; no reference is found in the Scriptures.  Hindrances to the workmen on the Temple by this rubbish represent the material and worldly things of earth which retard moral and spiritual growth in the building of that spiritual edifice which is the supreme end of Freemasonry.  Hindrances in the moral and spiritual life should be avoided or removed... Matt. 19:22 -  Heb. 12:1 -  1 Pet. 2:1

 

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