Revelation In Context

The book Revelation In Context, by Irene Belyeu, is a literary and historical commentary on the Biblical Book of Revelation with supporting referents and notes.

Although you will find many helpful articles and blog posts regarding this historical and inspirational book on this website, seekers of the truth of the Revelation will want to study and explore more in depth by purchasing the book.  There are two editions of the book available.

  • Volume 1 — This book is for the serious seeker of the truth of the Revelation and would be ideal for a class setting where each student has a copy of Volume 1 also with access to the Complete Edition as a reference work. (397 pages)
  • Complete Edition — This book contains all of Volume 1 and, in addition, all of the Referents and Notes from the Bible, Rabbinic writings, the Apocrypha, and Enoch. (657 pages)

Printed versions of the book may be purchased online at: Xulon Press and the Complete Edition from Amazon; and Volume 1 from Amazon. It is also available at Living Word

John Was Told To: Write What You See

Revelation 1:11. “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven Churches.” (RSV)

Written or “Oral Law”?

The fact that the Book of Revelation was written was very important in the New Testament era. The written Word of God was distinguished from the so-called “Oral Law” of the Pharisees. Indeed all of the authoritative Scriptures were written, as opposed to the traditions of the Pharisees who claimed that the Law given to Moses at Sinai was in two parts, one of which he wrote and the other which he handed down orally. They taught that this so-called “oral law” was of equal, or greater, authority than the written law.

However, Jesus refuted the authority of their “oral law,” also often referred to as their “traditions,” Matthew 15: 2, 3, and 6. These “traditions” were what Jesus referred to when He said “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time …,” Matthew 5:21-48. But Jesus repeatedly used the written scriptures to refute the scribes and Pharisees and even against the devil, Matthew 4:4, 7, 10.

The other New Testament writers also quoted the written Scriptures as authoritative by saying: “It is written,” Romans 11:8; I Corinthians 1:31; II Corinthians 4:13; Colossians 2:8; Galatians 1:14, etc.. They used these written Old Testament Scriptures to prove their doctrinal points. For example in Romans 11:8 Paul begins to cite the written Scriptures to prove that God had not forsaken His people Israel, but a faithful remnant had obtained the election of God: “According as it is written….

God Himself Wrote

Indeed, it is recorded that God Himself also wrote, Exodus 31:18; Deuteronomy 9:10. Although many of the prophecies given to Old Testament prophets were first given to be proclaimed orally to the people, they were afterwards written down, Jeremiah 1:17; 7:27; 13:12; Ezekiel 2:7; etc.

Pharisees Were Making Converts To Their False Religion

It is of utmost importance to the understanding of the New Testament to realize that the Pharisees were making converts throughout the Roman world by teaching their so-called “oral law.” Jesus said of their teachings:”Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves,” Matthew 23:15.

“Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men,” Matthew 15: 6-9.

Their “Oral Law” Is Available Today In Written Form

It is of vital importance to us to realize that the doctrines of this “oral law” are extant today in the Babylonian Talmud and are still considered to be the authoritative scriptures of the religion called “Judaism” today. One of their leading Rabbis has said: “The Talmud is, then, the written form of that which in the time of Jesus, was called the Traditions of the Elders.”— Rabbi Michael L. Rodkinson
And:
“The Jewish religion as it is today traces its descent, without a break, through all the centuries, from the Pharisees.” — Universal Jewish Encyclopedia.

So, you see, the “oral law” is still a burning issue in our modern world.

For the full text of the Talmud in English translation see www.come-and-hear.com.
May you be informed and blessed by this lesson, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.



What John Recorded

1:2: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, (RSV).

Or perhaps: “Who bare record of the word of God even to the testimony of Jesus Christ.” That is, the Word of God is the testimony of Jesus Christ.
When John speaks of “the Word of God,” he not only has in mind the concepts of the Greek logos, which has been so extensively discussed, but also the Hebrew ideas, not only of the creatively powerful Word, but also of the artistically beautiful Word of Light, of poetry, and music.

The Word, as Logos

The Word of God, as logos, is: “For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do,” (Hebrews 4:12-13, RSV).
The Word not only reveals the innermost Man and exposes him to God, but also reveals the deep things of God to the very spirit of Man.

The Word of God as Written Literature

Every word of God is literature in its highest and purest form. In Genesis 1:3 when God said: “Let there be Light,” He brought Light to light, bearing it forth. The New Testament writer must have had this in mind when he said: “…hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,” (2 Timothy 1:10. See also Rom. 2:7). Think of it!
When God forbade the use of the art forms of graven images, the effect was to divert the energy of this artistic expression into the only form allowed to the engravers, writing. Phonetic writing is the image of the spoken word, the spoken word made visible and durable.
In order that writing might not violate the commandment not to make any graven images, the characters could not be like those of the Egyptians, (and other ancient writing systems), hieroglyphic pictures of their idol gods, but had to be abstract designs. In fact, this requirement for abstraction necessitated the development of a phonetic script, that is, a “picture,” not of any creature in heaven, earth or sea, but an image of sound. It is therefore almost certain that Moses did indeed develop the principle of phonetic writing, as tradition would also have it, probably using the alphabet as a syllabary, which would have been phonetic for the Hebrew language of that time.
So when John bare record of the “Word of God” in the Book of Revelation, it is a powerful and beautiful poem about the loveliest subject, Jesus Christ.*

 1:2. “… the word of God…”

This verse tells us that the message given to John the Revelator, to which he became a witness, was the Word of God. That is, the Scriptures are the testimony of Jesus Christ Who is The Word Of God. The Scriptures, including the Book of Revelation, are to be interpreted as the testimony to Jesus as the Messiah, the Anointed One.

We are therefore, from the meaning of this verse, to expect that the Book of Revelation is to contain a verification of the Scriptures in their role as a testimony of Jesus Christ. The Book is to corroborate, substantiate, confirm, prove, make certain, and establish the Scriptures.

An Eyewitness Account

The Book is also to contain an eye witness account. John has already stated in the Gospel of John and in the Book of 1 John, that he is an eyewitness to the life and ministry of Jesus Christ:

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen [it], and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship [is] with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ, (1 John 1).

Now in the Book of Revelation he is giving his eye witness account of the spiritual realities of the perfected revelation of His coming and Kingdom as revealed to him while in the Spirit.

*For further discussion of the Poetic elements in the Book of Revelation, see pages 34-50 in my book, Revelation In Context, available at the Living Word Bookstore in Shawnee, Oklahoma and online at www.Amazon.com or www.xulonpress.com. For free downloads go to www.revelationincontext.sermon.net.

The Writer: “I, John”

Revelation 1:1. ““And he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John.”

The “I” and the “me” of the Book of Revelation is John, the writer of the Book, not the Church or any other entity, but John the writer, except when it is Christ speaking.

So Who Was ‘John’?

The internal testimony of the Book is that “John“ wrote it. Who was this “John”? The only reason for questioning the authorship of the Apostle John, disciple of Christ and author of the Epistles and Gospel of John, is the proposed date of the writing. If the Book were not written until Domitian’s reign, (AD 81-96), it would be unlikely that John lived to write it. However, if the date is placed in the reign of Nero, some twenty-eight years earlier, then it is more probable that the Apostle John wrote it.

Even so, it would seem that there was a tradition that the Apostle John lived to a great age as indicated by the saying in John 21:23: “Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what [is that] to thee?” John would have been quite old even in 68 AD.

Did John Live To See The Coming of Christ?

One reason for assigning the authorship to John the apostle is that there was a rumor that he would live to the coming of Christ, (John 21:22-23). Christ also taught that some of His disciples would “see the Son of man coming in his kingdom,” (Matt. 16:28; Mark 9:1; Luke 9:27). He also said that some of those living when He uttered His prophecy of the fall of Jerusalem would be alive to see the fulfillment, (Matt. 23:36; 24:34; Mark 13:30; Luke 21:32). The fact that John lived to write the Book of Revelation is proof of the truth of Christ’s words.

Were There Two ‘Johns’?

The historian Eusebius believed that there were two “Johns” named in his source, (i.e. the historian Papias): one the apostle, and the other a presbyter in Asia in later years. However, it can be demonstrated that Eusebius’ reasoning concerning this is faulty. The source does not clearly determine that there were two separate “Johns.”

Eusebius also quotes Justin, (100-165?): “He refers to the Revelation of John, stating explicitly that it was the work of the Apostle.”

According to the tradition of the Old Testament, God revealed what He was doing through His true prophet, in this case, John. Consistent with Amos 3:7: “Surely the Lord does nothing, without revealing His secret to His servants the prophets.” The Book of Revelation is the revealing of the secret to John.

Why Daniel Was The Signifying Angel in Revelation

The fact that this Angel is Daniel signifies the content of the Revelation; i.e., it is to be the fulfillment of the prophecies to Daniel concerning the “end” and which he did not understand previously, Daniel 12:8.

Daniel Did Not Understand

When Daniel did not understand, the Angel told him, 12:9: “Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end…..(13) But go thou thy way till the end be; for thou shalt rest and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.”

Daniel could not understand because the prophecy was concerned with the destruction of the City and Temple, the defeat of the chosen people, the desolation of the sanctuary, the successful exploits of the evil prince against the holy covenant. Even the holy place was to be desecrated and the daily sacrifice caused to cease, Daniel chapters 9, 10, 11.

Even the wisest of men could not reason as to how the Most High God, the Covenant keeping God who had made everlasting promise to David, and who had said of Jerusalem: “I have chosen Jerusalem that my name might be there,” 2 Chronicles 6:6.  Even after she had been sorely punished for her sins, Zechariah could still say: “The Lord shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem, Zechariah 1:17; 2:12. And: “I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem,” Zechariah 8:3).

Daniel Did Not Know Christ

Daniel did not yet know Christ as the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He did not yet see that the fleshly kingdom could be translated into a heavenly kingdom in Christ, and that, in the crucifixion, the old nation would die, but in the resurrection the nation lived again with the eternal Life which God had ordained from the beginning.

In that great mystery, hidden even from Daniel for a time, is that which the New Testament reveals and of which the Book of Revelation is the epitome. The Book of Revelation shows the Great Revealer of Secrets at work again. And Daniel was in on it.

The End Of The Days

The “end of the days” that Daniel had prophesied was the  “seventy weeks of years” and a “time, times, and dividing of times”. Daniel was promised that he would stand in his lot at the end of these times. The word lot refers to the lot for assigning to service or duty as the priests to their courses; singers, musicians and porters were assigned to their positions by lot as in 1Chronicles chapters 24, 25, and 26.

So Daniel was to have an assigned place of duty and service, his lot,  at the “end of the days”. Therefore, since the Book of Revelation is about the consummation and confirmation of the Messianic fulfillment of Daniel’s visions, we should expect Daniel to be there,doing his duty, receiving his recompense and participating in the revelation of Jesus Christ. And that is exactly what we do see in the role of the Signifying Angel of the Book of Revelation.

Daniel’s position in the Book of Revelation as the Signifying Angel, is evidence, if not proof positive, that the Book was written to show the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecies of the end of the natural, physical nation of Israel, the natural race of Jewish people, and the literal City, Jerusalem. It happened on time in 70 AD. 

The nation was translated from the physical to the spiritual; the natural race was translated to the spiritual race of the New Birth in Christ, the Church; the literal city was translated into the heavenly City, the New Jerusalem. The Kingdom of God had been established on earth and God was again dwelling in the midst of His people.

Who Was The Signifying Angel of Revelation 1:1?

As we shall show, the Angel which accompanied John through the Revelation visions was the spirit of the prophet Daniel. This Signifying Angel is introduced in Revelation 1:1 as the means of making the message known to John, “He sent and signified it by his angel….”

The Signifying Angel in Revelation 5:

It appears to be the same Angel in 5:2: “And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the book and to loose the seals thereof?’” Who would be more likely to ask this question than Daniel, who had been given the prophecy but had to seal it till the time of the end? (Dan. 12:4, 9).

The Signifying Angel in Revelation 10

In Revelation 10 we see a “mighty angel” who has a little scroll/book in his hand. This Angel is like the “man clothed in linen” of Daniel 12:7. Daniel had asked this “man” how long it should be to the end of these wonders. The “man” in Daniel 12 lifted his hand toward heaven and declared it was to be “a time, two times, and half a time.”

However, in the Book of Revelation, (10:6), this Signifying Angel also lifts his hand to heaven but here declares “the time is up”: “there shall be no more delay, but in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, (see below on 11:15), the mystery of God, as he announced to his servants the prophets, should be fulfilled,” (Revelation 10:6-7 RSV).

Who but Daniel would qualify for this angelic role in the Book of Revelation? The mystery had been propounded to him during his life on earth and he had questioned the Lord about it, (Dan. 12:8). Who would be more worthy than Daniel to be granted the privilege to see the fulfillment of the mystery?

The Signifying Angel Passes the Little Scroll to John

But this Signifying Angel of Revelation chapter ten, gives the little scroll, (i.e., what is left of the scroll that has already had six seals broken on it), to John and instructs him to eat it. When John eats it, it is sweet in his mouth but bitter in his stomach. He tells John “You must again prophecy about many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.”

This symbolic action signifies that Daniel’s prophecy, the “little scroll” which was only for Israel, was being incorporated into the larger prophecy, the Book of Revelation, that was to be to the whole world in the Gentile age, after they too had heard the Gospel. John was to internalize (eat) the prophecy so that he could apply (regurgitate) it to the Church Age. Who would be more qualified than Daniel to offer the remnants of his prophetic scroll to the prophet John?

Revelation 11

Revelation eleven  follows the same thought, for John is given the builders “measuring line” as described by Zechariah 1:16; 2:1-5 for the building of the New Jerusalem, the City of God, the Church, for the Old Jerusalem is destroyed. This New Jerusalem shall be inhabited as an unwalled village because of the multitude of men and cattle in it; unwalled in the sense that it is to be universal. The Lord Himself will be a wall of fire about her and the glory within her.

Zechariah chapter two continues with this same prophetic promise and the language is identical to that of Revelation 21 and 22 describing the New Jerusalem. Yes, the angelic spirit of Daniel “passes the baton” to John for the building of the New Jerusalem, whose Temple is then opened in heaven, (Revelation 11:19).

 Revelation 14

The Angel of Revelation 14:6-7 also appears to be that of the prophet Daniel for he declares that the hour of God’s judgment has come and calls the people to worship God. It was Daniel who was given the prophecy of the appointed time for the wrath of God on the earthly, fallen city of Jerusalem and the nation of Israel, (Dan. 8:15-19; 9:24-27; chapter 12). He was best qualified to announce that the appointed time had come.

Revelation 17

This Angel in Revelation 17:1, 7 is seen to be one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls of wrath. He, too, may be shown to be the Signifying Angel, Daniel. When the seventh trumpet call was sounded the seven bowls of wrath began. The completion of these bowls of wrath completed the seventh trumpet and finished the mystery, as declared in 10:7.

This Angel invited John to let him explain the mystery of the judgment of the great harlot, (Revelation 17:7). In 17:7-18 this Angel describes the beast and its horns in the same language used by Daniel in Daniel 7:7-8, 19-27. Who but Daniel could qualify so well to describe this beast and its horns and so to see the fulfillment of the mystery of the great harlot? For it was Daniel who had prophesied of the destruction of Jerusalem that was to come at the end of the appointed time.

Revelation 19

The Signifying Angel meets John again in Revelation 19:10. As John falls down to worship him, he says: “I am a fellow servant with you and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” In other words, this Angel was a prophet, a servant, and a man. Only Daniel could qualify for this identity.

Revelation 21

In Revelation 21:9, 15, 17, this Angel is the same as 17:1, 7; that is, “one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the last plagues.” This time, the Angel is revealing the mystery of the Bride, the New Jerusalem. In 21:17, the Angel’s measure of the wall is said to be “a man’s measure, that is, an angel’s.” Again this is a “man-angel” and who but Daniel would qualify for this role?

Revelation 22

Chapter 22 makes it even clearer that this “Man-angel” is the prophet Daniel. Revelation 22:6: “The God of the spirits of the prophets has sent his Angel to show his servants what must soon take place.” This is the same Angel that we met in Revelation 1:1 by whom God sent the Revelation to John.

22:8-9: 1 John … fell down to worship at the feet of the Angel who showed them to me; but he said to me, ‘You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brethren the prophets,’” (RSV). He was a Prophet. Which other prophet would qualify so well for the role of Signifying Angel?

The fact that this Angel is Daniel signifies the content of the Revelation; i.e., it is to be the fulfillment of the prophecies to Daniel concerning the “end” of the nation, city, and people, and which he did not understand previously, Daniel 12:8.

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