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

Rethinking the House Top Experiences

The Way Through the House Top?

Luke 5:19: “And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the house top, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.”

Does it always bother you a little bit when we hear the story of the men who let their friend down through the roof of the house so he could be healed by Jesus? Well, it does bother me a little bit. Just seems to be rather unfair or dangerous, or expensive, but, of course, worth it.

However, it has set me to thinking: the house-tops seems to have been used quite a lot. For example even in the Proverbs 21:9:

It is better to dwell in the corner of the house top than with a brawling woman in a wide house.” And just in case anyone missed this wise counsel, it is repeated in Proverbs 25:24. Was this poor hen-pecked husband actually considering living on the housetop? He would surely have been desperate!

New Testament House Tops

Then there are the passages in the New Testament when Jesus was warning His followers to be ready to leave Jerusalem in order to escape the siege that was to come upon it:

Matthew 24:17: “Let him which is on the house top not come down to take any thing out of his house.” This is also recorded by Mark, 13:15 and Luke 17:31.

Then we have the account of Peter on the house top, Luke 10:9: “On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the house top to pray about the sixth hour.”

Then, in verses 20 and 21, we see that Peter “went down” to greet his guests. It says nothing about him breaking through the ceiling.

From these passages and from the pictures representing the houses of that era in Palestine, it appears that the house tops were commonly flat and used as we now use a patio. There would, no doubt, have been a passageway, stairs or at least some kind of steps or a ladder from inside the house up to the roof, where there would have been a covered opening and a doorway to the outside of the rooftop. In Luke 5:19 it must have been large enough for the invalid man and his couch to move through.

It would have been a pleasant, private place, away from the daily chores and family activities. It would have been cooler and quieter in the evenings and at night. And, in the case of the man with the brawling wife, it wouldn’t really have been all that bad!

Holiness Is Wholeness

The United States: A Divided House

Matthew 12:25: “And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, ‘Every Kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.

The United States of America is no longer “United”; it is fractured in many different ways. In spite of our perceived strengths, we are weak and as a nation are falling into the hands of our enemies. It is not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of God that our nation can stand.

Matthew 12:25 was spoken in the context of Jesus’ answer to the scribes and Pharisees who had accused Him of casting out devils by the power of Beelzebub, Satan. He clearly declares that His power to cast out Satan is the power of the Holy Spirit of God. “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you,” verse 28. He did cast out devils by the Spirit of God, so, therefore, the Kingdom of God has come unto us.

Question: What will it take to unite us? Answer: Jesus.

Colossians 1:16-17: “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him, and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”

In Jesus and only in Him does everything “consist,” cohere, or hold together. It is impossible that our nation can hold together without Jesus.

For us, just as for Jesus, It is the Holy Spirit of God that binds the strong man, the devil, Satan. It is only by the wooing of the Holy Spirit that men can be drawn to salvation. It is only by the Holy Spirit of God that men’s hearts can be alive to bring forth the good fruit of the Spirit: love, joy peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.

It is the Holy Spirit of God that makes us holy and binds us together.

How do we obtain this Holy Spirit? It is not by rituals, nor ceremonies, nor man-made laws, but by our repentance and whole-hearted searching for it. Jeremiah 29:13: “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” “All your heart” means total surrender.

You cannot create your own holiness; it only comes from the Lord. Yet, you can seek it, you can discover it, you can research, excavate as an archaeologist in the Word and in humility and prayer. You can experience it. It is the “good treasure,” Matthew 12:35.

It is this “good treasure,” as found in Jesus, that binds people together in unity of Spirit. This is the ingredient of any social group that makes it cohere, hold together, in wholeness. Without it, the unity is broken, and the group becomes dysfunctional, weak and dying.

 

The Cleft of the Rock

Moses had known and worshiped the Lord and had led the nation of Israel out of Egyptian bondage and yet Moses longed to see God’s glory:

Exodus 33:18-23 KJV: “And he [Moses] said, ‘I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.’ And He [God] said, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.’ And He said, ‘Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me and live.’ And the Lord said, ‘Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.’”

But now, in Jesus, we have that unimaginable privilege to see God’s face:

2 Corinthians 4:6-7: “For God, Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

Revelation 22:4: “And they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.”

The songwriter, Fannie Crosby, has expressed the glory of living in that “clift of the Rock” even in this present world:

“He Hideth My Soul”

“1. A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord, A wonderful Savior to me;
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the Rock, Where rivers of pleasure I see.

Chorus:
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock, that shadows a dry thirsty land.
He hideth my life in the depths of His love, And covers me there with His hand.
And covers me there with His hand.

2. A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord, He taketh my burdens away,
He holdeth me up and I shall not be moved, He giveth me strength as my day.

3. With numberless blessings each moment He crowns, and filled with His fullness divine,
I sing in my rapture, ‘O glory to God!’ for such a Redeemer as mine.

4. When clothed with His brightness transported I rise to meet Him in clouds of the sky
His perfect salvation, His wonderful love, I’ll shout with the millions on high.”
– Words by Fannie J. Crosby; Music by Wm. J. Kirkpatrick.

Ezekiel’s Dry Bones Prophecy

 

When?

Ezekiel chapter 37 describes his experience of being carried out in the Spirit to the Valley of Dry Bones in order to prophesy to them. These bones represented the whole house of Israel which at that time had been captured and carried away into Babylon. The historical timeline for this was during the seventy years of captivity, about 605 to 535 BC. This captivity was for seventy years as foretold by Jeremiah 25:11-12, which also promised a “return” to the land.

A False Conflation of Scriptures

Did this captivity literally end in seventy years? Yes, according to Ezra 1:1-4. Yet many so-called “prophets” today are saying that this is only being fulfilled in recent times, about 2500 years later, by a people calling themselves “Israel.”  They are making a false conflation of the Scriptures, artificially fusing the Old Testament promises of a literal return to a geographical land with the eternal promises of the New Covenant, also foretold by Jeremiah 32:40; 33:1-26.

The New Covenant

This New Everlasting Covenant was to be fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the Branch of Righteousness. Contrary to popular “prophesy,” these modern so-called “Israelis” can only be saved from their sins by this Branch, Jesus. According to Amos 9:10-11: “All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, ‘the evil shall not overtake nor prevent us’. In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old.”

Fulfilled In Jesus Christ

This was fulfilled in Jesus Christ and His ministry according to Acts 15:15-18: “And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, ‘After this I will return and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called,’ saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

Do not be deceived by a false conflation of the Scriptures. Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant, the Heir of the promises, the Branch of Righteousness, the true Tabernacle of David.

Is Capitalism More Biblical Than Socialism?

As we face a national election, the debate rages as to what is the best economic system, capitalism or socialism.

Webster defines ‘Capitalism’ as: “An economic system in which capital and capitalists play the principal part; specifically, distribution and exchange of goods, and the operation of the system itself, are effected by private enterprise, and control under competitive conditions.”

‘Socialism’ is defined as: “An economic and political theory of social organization based on collective or governmental ownership and democratic management of the essential means for the production and distribution of goods, also a policy or practice based on this theory.”

Which of these two systems do you think is more just and equitable? Which is most like the Biblical tenth commandment: “Thou shalt not covet“? 

Obviously, capitalism creates a class system: the “haves” and the “have-nots”; that is: (1) those owning the capital, and (2), those with little or no capital. This system, without some mitigating power, naturally leads to injustices, inequality, and virtual slavery. This appears to have happened in the USA when the wealth has become more and more concentrated in the “top one percent” now taking the profits and failing to fairly distribute the wealth.

This creates great unrest in and among the poor and working class of people and has, throughout history, become the source of great rebellions, with much suffering and bloodshed. When men and women are denied the means of livelihood for themselves and their families, they will rebel. This is a fact of history.

So is socialism a better way? Should the government own the resources and should distribution of wealth depend upon the democratic vote? Under this system, the masses of people, suffering inequity and injustice, grow to the point that they can vote for their own welfare and interests. This, too, without some mitigating power, leads to abuse of the system by those who want a free ride without the requirements and incentives to work, to discipline themselves, and to contribute to the wealth of the land. It leads to the suicide and end of a democracy.

Those who oppose the “welfare system” accuse the poor and working class as “having their hands in the pockets” of the rich; that is, stealing from them. The working class, on the other hand, say that the capitalists have had their hands into the very lives of the workers, paying them unfair wages and passing unfair economic laws. They say that the capitalists have made their wealth largely from the labor of the poor.

What is the Biblical system? It clearly teaches that the rich men should consider and pay a fair wage: James chapter five is a scathing condemnation of unfair labor practices. Jesus taught compassion and charity for the poor, as well as legal rights. As Christians, we should see the poor, the slave, and the disenfranchised as our brothers and sisters in Christ, as in Paul’s letter to Philemon.

To the servants Paul writes: “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice as menpleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God,” Colossians 3:22.

To the masters, he says: “Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven,” Colossians 4:1.

Christianity is “the mitigating power” that makes an economic system work. It delivers us from greed and covetousness. Without it, any system will fall under its own weight. Christ was born to give us power to be our brothers’ keeper with love and compassion.

This verse from the song: “O Holy Night” expresses the Christian viewpoint:

“Truly He taught us to love one another; His law is love and His Gospel is peace.

Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother; And in His Name all oppression will cease.”

As in all questions of profound human relationships: Jesus is the answer.