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

Revelation As Light – Manifestation

Revelation 1:16: “… And His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.”
Manifestation:

The book of Revelation is not so much a message as a manifestation, and that manifestation is the Light of God, the Urim ve Thummim for the direction of His people: “…a Light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of His people, Israel.”

Taken separately, the literal meaning of Urim is ‘Lights” and the literal meaning of Thummim is ‘Perfections.’  Taken together they have the meaning of ‘Revelation,’  ‘Perfection of Light,’ and ‘Revelation and Truth.’

In the beginning God said: “Let there be Light” and in the last book of God’s revealed Word we find that Light has come to perfection, Perfection of God’s Will, and the inevitable outcome of His Word of power.  The most fitting title possible for the final Book of Scripture is Tammim, (a variant form of Thummim), “perfection, completion and fullness.”  The Book itself declares that the Revelation is complete when it pronounces a curse upon anyone adding or taking from the words of the Book.

Symbols of Light as Literary Conventions:

There are several ways in which symbols of light are used in the book to reveal Christ.  These symbols are used according to the literary conventions already established in the canonical literature including both Old and New Testaments.  The book of Beginnings, Genesis, starts with the revelation of the Secret of Light:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  And the earth was without form, and void; And darkness was upon the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.  And God said, Let there be Light: and there was Light.” -Genesis 1:1-3 KJV.

The Gospel of John starts from this same beginning point:

(1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) The same was in the beginning with God.  (3) All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. (4) In Him was Life: and the Life was the Light of men.  (5) And the Light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not

(6)There was a man sent from God whose name was John.  (7) The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through Him might believe. (8) He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.  (9) That was the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.  (10) He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew Him not.  (11) He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.  (12) But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: (13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  (14) And the Word was made Flesh, and dwelt among us, (And we beheld His glory, [beautiful Light], the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”  John 1:1-14.

Jesus Claimed to be this Light of the World:

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life,” John 8:12.

As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world,” John 9:5.

“Then Jesus said unto them.  ‘Yet a little while is the Light with you.  Walk while ye have the Light, lest darkness come upon you:  for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.  While ye have Light, believe in the Light, that ye may be the children of Light.’  These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide Himself from them.”  John 12:35-6.

God is Light:

“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; (For the Life was manifested, [revealed, brought to light], and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that Eternal Life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us:)…This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all.  1 John 1:1, 2, 5.

Revelation was to show [reveal] Christ as the King of Kings:

“…until the appearing [Revelation] of our Lord Jesus Christ: which in His times He shall shew [Reveal], Who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the Light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see; to Whom be honour and power everlasting.  Amen.”  (1 Timothy 6:14b-16.)

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of Lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning,”  James 1:17.

Next: Revelation: Light Was Conceived In Creation

This lesson is an edited excerpt from my book, Revelation in Context, available locally at the Living Word Bookstore in Shawnee, Oklahoma or www.Amazon.com, or www.XulonPress.com.
Free downloads are also available at www.revelationincontext.sermon.net.

Visions of the Exalted Christ Part 4

Revelation 1:11-20

 Urim ve Thummim: (Continued)

Besides the Shekinah, the other visible manifestation of God’s presence was the oracle of Urim ve Thummim.  It was given to the High Priest for the purpose of discerning the instruction of God in matters of utmost importance to the nation.  This most holy oracle was received by means of a very specific and carefully worked out use of the priestly garments which was only to be handled by those specifically anointed as Priests of God and instructed in His purposes.

As this use was so limited it seems probable that the details were not common knowledge but were passed from one generation to the other of the Priests.  Although this information may have been considered secret at times, it was not necessarily forbidden, but rather merely specialized knowledge.  It was simply irrelevant to the general community as it was neither their right nor duty to handle the holy garments.  This technical and specialized knowledge was part of the Pattern of the Heavens which was given to Moses, the Pattern for orientation in time and space.  The benefits of this special guidance were very important to the community.

The Urim ve Thummim, “Perfection of Light,” happened as a result of the combination of the parts of the garments of the High Priest. These were specifically described in Exodus 28, and were only created by one especially anointed with the wisdom to make these things, Exodus 31:1-10.

The Ephod

The ephod was a part of the prescribed garments of the High Priest.  It was the outermost garment worn somewhat as a vest.  It consisted of a breastplate which contained twelve precious stones set according to specific directions.  These twelve jewels were each engraved with the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel.  The breastplate was held in place by shoulder pieces.  These two shoulder pieces contained each an onyx stone engraved with the names of six of the twelve tribes of Israel.

The ephod was worn over a robe which was to  have a hem hung with “pomegranates of blue” and golden bells.

The “Fair Mitre”

The priest was also to wear a headpiece called the “fair mitre,” to which was attached a plate of pure gold with the engraving: “Holiness To The Lord.”   In considering the total effect of these garments, one might imagine the lights reflected by such an arrangement.  Aaron’s garments were made as a copy of the image of the garments of God which is the starry heavens, Psalm 104:2, 6.

The Jewels

The jewels of the breastplate are named, but as these names are not equivalent to the names presently used to describe precious stones, it is not certain exactly which jewels are meant.  From the description and names of these stones, however, it is certain that they were all either transparent or at least translucent.  Without doubt they all reflected light in a very special way.

When used according to God’s instructions, there were “answers” received by means of this combination of the parts of the holy garment.  These “answers” were called Urim ve Thummim.

Meaning of Urim ve Thummim

It has long been a matter of controversy as to the manner in which the Priest received these oracles.  Philo suggested that there was a little image in between the folds of the ephod, which is probably why Philo has earned the reputation of being “Greek” in his thinking, for certainly no one in harmony with the spirit of the Old Testament could ever think that God could be manifest in some little image tucked into the folds of the priest’s garment!

Some have even suggested that the ephod was used as the base for a lottery upon which was cast something like a “sacred dice,” the answer being revealed by the way in which the lot fell.  This is not in keeping with the way God reveals Himself in other instances throughout the Bible.

On the basis of the other accounts of the manifestations of God in the Old Testament, we must believe that God’s will by Urim ve Thummim was revealed when the precious stones of the breastplate in the ephod, in relation to the fair mitre upon his head, in such a way that the reflected light created a visible image of light, even as light from a prism creates a rainbow of colour.

This could only happen when everything was in perfect alignment both literally and spiritually according to the Pattern shown to Moses on the Mount.  The moral condition of the Priest as well as the people must be such as God could approve.  Then and only then did that “glory” appear which was the answer of Urim ve Thummim, Lights and Perfections, taken together meaning ‘Revelation.’

This lesson is an edited excerpt from my book, Revelation in Context, available locally at the Living Word Bookstore in Shawnee, Oklahoma or www.Amazon.com, or www.XulonPress.com.
Free downloads are also available at www.revelationincontext.sermon.net.

Visions of the Exalted Christ Part 3

Revelation 1:11-20

Light Comes Down From Heaven

We should point out that these visions of the “glory” or Light of God were from heaven; they were high and lifted up. In Ezekiel’s vision, for example, he gives a full description of the cherubim, the chariots, wheels, and turning fire, giving a feeling of swift and powerful motion. These “living creatures” are rather “moving things,” i.e. the constellations of the stars and their movements in the starry heavens. The wheel itself is the great turning sky, and the wheel-in-the-middle-of-the-wheel is the Lord Jesus Christ, symbolized by the polar circle upon which the apparent movement of the whole universe is turned.

In all these visions, we see that the highest symbols possible to be used in describing God are the symbols of the starry heavens. It is these same symbols which are used in the book of Revelation of Jesus Christ.

Other Manifestations of God in Light:

In two other glorious manifestations of Light, God revealed Himself in the Old Testament to Israel: namely, the Shekinah glory and that mysterious oracle called Urim ve Thummim.

The Shekinah:
At Sinai when Moses had gone up into the Mount to receive the Law, the people departed from the will of God by creating for themselves a visual image to worship to which they attributed the miracle of their deliverance from Egypt. God was so displeased with their idolatrous act that He proposed to Moses that He should destroy them and make Moses and his seed the heirs of the promises. But Moses interceded for the people and begged forgiveness. In granting this forgiveness, God gave them a visible manifestation of Himself to go with them.

This was not a concrete image such as an idol could have; not the works of men’s hands, but an image of light, the pillar of the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. This manifestation was called the “Shekinah” and offered tangible proof of God’s presence while providing physical guidance for the nation. But this presence was necessarily also a spiritual presence, for when Israel strayed from God morally, His visible presence would remove from their midst until they were again so oriented as to behold the revelation of His glory.

Christ, The Shekinah

In the time of Christ the faithful in Israel had longed for the return of the Shekinah which had been missing since the days of the destruction of the first temple. The literal interpretation of Shekinah is “He dwells with us.” When Christ became manifest in Light, the event represents the return of the Shekinah glory. The message to the faithful is: “Behold Him! The Shekinah glory” thereby reversing the curse of “Ichabod” which literally means “the glory is departed.” Christ as “Immanuel” is God-with-us; the glory has returned.

Next: Visions of God Part 4

This lesson is an edited excerpt from my book, Revelation in Context, available locally at the Living Word Bookstore in Shawnee, Oklahoma or www.Amazon.com, or www.XulonPress.com.
Free downloads are also available at www.revelationincontext.sermon.net.

Visions of The Exalted Christ Part 2

Revelaton 1:11-20

IMAGES

In receiving the Visions of the Book of Revelation, we must be cautioned against concrete images of God for these were forbidden by the second commandment. There was ever, in the writings of the Old Testament, a care taken not to give the manifestation of God a form which could be taken for an idol. The fact cannot be overemphasized that God is a Spirit and therefore cannot be confined to any form. When God revealed Himself in a visible form, according to the Scriptures, He revealed Himself in mediums of Light which, while visible, could never be taken as an idol-form neither could it be made by the works of men’s hands. We may safely say that God is always revealed in some form of light and there is no other visible form in which He has revealed Himself.

Those revelations of light included color, reflections, and luminous displays such as that of fire, smoke, or shaped light such as the rainbow or the shining of precious jewels or the glow of precious metals. This manifestation of light in which God shewed Himself was His visible “glory.” (His glory, however, was also manifest in other than visible forms, for example, the audible Voice.)

Before sin brought about the necessity of the veil, God walked with Adam in an open way, but afterwards He only revealed His Light, or His “glory,” which might also be interpreted as His garment. Repeatedly we are told that no man hath seen God. Moses prayed: “I beseech thee, shew me thy glory,” (Exodus. 34:18), for he was afraid to ‘see God’ for it meant certain death. How marvelous it is when God breaks through the veil of our doubting flesh to shew us His glory. This Christ did in the Revelation, for He is “the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person.” (Hebrews 1:3)

Appearances of God in Light:

When God appeared to the seventy elders of Israel along with Moses, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, they “saw the God of heaven” but amazingly, He is not described! Rather, the surrounding light is described: “There was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.” (Exodus 24:10)

Again, when Isaiah saw his wonderful vision, he, too, hesitates to describe the Lord Himself. He says:
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphim: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory…for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” (Isaiah 6:1-3, 5d)

We marvel that the prophet evades the central subject of the vision and describes the surrounding scene instead!

Ezekiel’s Visions

Ezekiel also says: “As I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, …the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.” (Ezekiel 1:1) He gives a lengthy description of the scene but when he describes the central figure it is in terms of light:
And above the firmament over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire, and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness as it were of a human form. And upward from what had the appearance of his loins I saw as it were gleaming bronze, like the appearance of fire enclosed round about; and downward from what had the appearance of his loins I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness round about him. Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.” (Ezekiel 1:26-28, RSV)

In Ezekiel 8 he again describes the vision of God:
A likeness as the appearance of fire: from the appearance of his loins even downward, fire: from the appearance of his loins even upward, as the appearance of brightness, as the colour of amber.

Then in chapter 40 he simply states that: “Behold, there was a Man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass.” Brass is known for its glow.

Daniel’s Vision of God

When Daniel saw the Ancient of Days, he could but describe the light and colour:
Whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him:” (Daniel 7:9-10)

Here the only thing not described as pure light is that his hair was like the pure wool. Although we might visualize the texture of the wool or its warmth, the writer here, in this context, no doubt had the whiteness of wool in mind, the colour or glow.

Next: Visions of God Part 3

This lesson is an edited excerpt from my book, Revelation in Context, available locally at the Living Word Bookstore in Shawnee, Oklahoma or www.Amazon.com, or www.XulonPress.com.
Free downloads are also available at www.revelationincontext.sermon.net.

Vision Of The Exalted Christ Part 1

Read Revelation 1:11-20.

As John turned facing the north, he saw the beautiful Seven-Star Constellation that appears to be the center of the universal heavens, orbiting the pole star. In the midst of this constellation was “one like unto the Son of Man”. This is so breath-taking a picture that we can hardly imagine it. Yet it is even more magnificent when we see that it had been prophesied by the prophets hundreds of years earlier.

Read Isaiah chapters 11-13.

This appearance of Christ in His majestic position in the height of the heavens is a fulfillment of the promise of Isaiah 11:1: “And there shall come forth a Rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.”

This “Rod” is to stand as an Ensign of the people, (Isaiah 11:10). The Ensign was the Banner that served to signal the people to gather. The signal was to be observed and obeyed by the Gentiles of the whole universe. In Isaiah 12, this gathered Host of the Lord is the true Zion, as it worships and praises Him. Christ is the Holy One of the New Israel in the midst of Zion, His regathered people.

We see this “Banner” again in Isaiah 13:2:

“Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles.”

The “high mountain” was that of the heavens. These who gathered to this “Banner” were the sanctified ones, those who rejoice in the righteousness of the Lord. They are a mighty army. They are about to witness the destruction of “Babylon”, (Isaiah 13:1); for it is the “Day of the Lord”.

Christ Fulfilling Isaiah 11, 12 and 13: The Ensign, Banner, Diadem:

Revelation 1:11-20 shows Christ in His position in the heavens of the exalted Banner of God. The Hebrew word for ‘ensign’, ‘banner’, ‘diadem’, is nâçaç II, ‘To lift up, to exalt’; whence a form of the word is found in Zechariah 9:16: “They shall be as stones of a diadem, (RSV: “Jewels of a Crown”), lifting themselves up in his land,” (RSV “They shall shine on”). A related word, nêzer, that is, (1), the diadem or token by which anyone is separated from the people at large, (2) consecration…the consecrated head.’ We also see these jewels again shining in the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21:18-21.

As this exalted Banner, Christ is also described by another closely related word nêç: “something lifted up, a token to be seen far off, specially, (1) a banner, such as went up on high mountains, esp. in case of an invasion, when it showed the people where to assemble, as in Isaiah 5:26; 11:12; 18:3; 62:10; Jeremiah 4:6, 21; Psalms 60:6, (vs. 4 KJV),….(2) a standard, or flag, as of a ship… (3) a column or lofty pole, as in Numbers 21:8,9, (4) Metaphorically, a sign by which anyone is warned, as in Number 26:10.”

Christ also fulfills the active participle form, nəçibâh, meaning “bringing about the guidance of God.” This ‘Ensign, Banner, Diadem’ was the guiding Light of God when the Christians were called out of Jerusalem as foretold by Isaiah 52:11, 12: “And the God of Israel will be your gathering place,” (or “glory of the Lord shall be thy gathering place.”) Then verse 13: “Thy servant… he shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.”

The outcasts of Israel were to be gathered to this Banner, (Isaiah 10:12), Christ.

John’s vision sees Christ, exalted to the heavens, fulfilling all of the majesty, beauty, and power of the visions of the prophets.

This lesson is an edited excerpt from my book, Revelation in Context, available locally at the Living Word Bookstore in Shawnee, Oklahoma or www.Amazon.com, orwww.XulonPress.com.
Free downloads are also available at www.revelationincontext.sermon.net.