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

Song: Is Your All On The Altar?

Song: Is Your All On The Altar?

By: Elisha A. Hoffman – 1839-1929

  1. You have longed for sweet peace, and for faith to increase,

And have earnestly, fervently prayed;

But you cannot have rest, or be perfectly blest,

Until all on the altar is laid.

Chorus:

Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?

Your heart does the Spirit control?

You can only be blest and have peace and sweet rest,

As you yield Him your body and soul.

  1. Would you walk with the Lord, in the light of His Word,

And have peace and contentment always?

You must do His sweet will to be free from all ill,

On the altar, your all must be laid.

  1. Oh we never can know what the Lord will bestow,

Of the blessing for which we have prayed,

Till our body and soul He doth fully control

And our all on the altar is laid.

  1. Who can tell all the love He will send from above,

And how happy our hearts will be made,

Of the fellowship sweet we shall share at His feet,

When our all on the altar is laid.

 

Sanctification

Sanctification: Is It an Obsolete Doctrine?

Fifty or sixty years ago the ‘Holiness’ Churches taught sanctification. The debate was whether it is a second work of grace, or is it an ongoing process. Whichever it was, they taught that it must precede the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, for the Holy Spirit will not dwell in an unclean temple. The mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the early twentieth century came upon those who had taught and practiced Holiness unto the Lord.

The Church of God, (Cleveland), of which I was a member, taught that it is the second work of grace and requires total commitment. That is, it requires the crucifixion of the Flesh and total dedication, nothing reserved. Some of their practices are now belittled and often ridiculed, like modesty in dress and style, disciplined sexuality, forbidden use of addictive substances, non-participation in worldly entertainments such as movies, dancing, gambling, etc. These practices are now seen as legalisms but they did furnish a great deal of protection from the spirits and powers that have now brought our culture to ruin.

I still believe that true Christianity requires sanctification. This is the truth that should be restored to our teachings and doctrines and practices. These things that seemed so hard and grievous to us now were actually easy compared to that Baptism of the death of the Flesh, sanctification.

As to the debate, I now realize that sanctification must also be an ongoing process. Like when a baby is first born, it must be washed thoroughly and the mucous removed from its throat. But after a day and night, it must again be cleaned up and mollified with ointments, salves and powders and changes of garment. In the Christian experience, we find that the old crucified Flesh tries to resurrect quite often and has to be severely dealt with and put down under the control of the Holy Spirit.

“But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway,” I Corinthians 9:27.

What is ‘sanctification’?*

First of all it is Holiness: Leviticus 11:44:

“For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves and ye shall be holy; for I am holy.”

It is God’s will: I Thessalonians 4:3-8:

“For this is the will of God, [even] your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no [man] go beyond and defraud his brother in [any] matter: because that the Lord [is] the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man but God who also giveth unto us his holy Spirit.”

Second, sanctification is total commitment and dedication:

Romans 8:10, 13:
“And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”

“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”

Romans 12:1: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

Galatians 2:20: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I but Christ liveth in me: and the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

The meaning of Baptism: Death, Burial and Resurrection,

Romans 6:1-23:
(1) “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
(2) God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
(3) Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
(4) Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
(5) For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection:
(6) Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
(7) For he that is dead is freed from sin.
(8) Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
(9) Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
(10) For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(12) Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
(13) Neither yield ye your members [as] instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness unto God.
(14) For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
(15) What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
(16) Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
(17) But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
(18) Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
(19) I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
(20) For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
(21) What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things [is] death.
(22)But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
(23) For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

It is a Covenant

You make a Covenant with the Lord by the sacrifice of yourself: “Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice,” Psalm 50:5. The Old Covenant sacrifices were but a shadow of the New Testament reality of the sacrifices of oneself, sanctification.

*Strong’s Concordance: sanctification (Hebrew #6942) “Make… pronounce, or observe as clean, (ceremonially or morally), dedicate, hallow, be/keep holy, … purify, sanctify.”

The Second Death

Revelation 2:11 – “He who conquers shall not be hurt by the second death.”

The idea of a second death is shocking because we ordinarily think of death as the final event. The fact that there is a possibility of a ‘second death’ indicates that the first death was not total. Death of the flesh, for the saint, is merely a change of garment. We are changed from the mortal to the immortal, and therefore death is swallowed up in victory.

The old Greek adage “Physician, heal thyself,” was a taunt that challenged the physicians of that time to take their own remedies and medicines before giving them to others. This same idea lay behind the taunt hurled at Jesus on the cross. They said: “He saved others. Himself he cannot save.” They did not know how true their words were, for He indeed was deliberately sacrificing Himself, refusing to come down from the cross, in order to save the world. He would not save Himself from death.

Yet, he was able to turn the words around because He and He only could sacrifice Himself, yet save Himself by rising from the dead. In the resurrection, the Great Physician did indeed heal Himself, as well as the entire world. In the resurrection, the whole world was healed of Death. We were healed. Not merely from this or that disease or infirmity, but the very source of all disease and infirmity, the principle of Death itself, working in our bodies because of Adam’s sin.

In the resurrection, Christ reversed the curse of death upon the human race.

Tribulation And The Crown of Life

Revelation 2:10: “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast [some] of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

Tribulation

The original persecution of Christians is described in the New Testament and was from the unbelieving Jews. It was the Jews of Judea that came into direct conflict with Christ in the Gospels and were the instruments of His arrest, condemnation and crucifixion. The Roman Empire did not distinguish between Christians and Jews until later at the time of Nero, or perhaps Hadrian. Even then the persecution under the Roman government was often at the instigation of the unbelieving Jews, as is indicated clearly in the New Testament as well as secular Roman history.

The tribulation under Nero may have been instigated by his wife, Poppea, who was a Jewish proselyte and a probable source of accusations against Christians . Poppea had requested and received favors for the Jews and had retained the High Priest Ismael and Helcias the treasurer. (Josephus’ Antiquites 20.2, also footnote; see also Eusebius, History of the Church, 104-5).

Other Persecution

There were several other periods of intense persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire. Those under Domitian, (circa AD 96), and Diocletian, (circa AD 245-313), are well documented by secular historians. However, in New Testament times, it was the Jews that “had the greater sin, John 19:11.”

“Persecution of the early Christians was sometimes because they would not bear arms and because they would not worship the emperor. As the Empire weakened some saw its collapse as a prelude to the fall of ‘Babylon’ and the return of Christ. The persecution under Diocletian lasted for 8 years and about 1500 Christians died. Some denied the faith and the Church seemed weakened for a time but the example and testimony of the martyrs became the source of many-fold converts. ‘The blood of martyrs,’ said Tertullian, ‘is seed’.

“‘There is no greater drama in human record than the sight of a few Christians, scorned or oppressed by a succession of emperors, bearing all trials with a fierce tenacity, multiplying quietly, building order while their enemies generated chaos, fighting the sword with the word, brutality with hope, and at last defeating the strongest state that history has known. Caesar and Christ had met in the arena, and Christ had won,'” (Will Durant, in The Story of Civilization, Part III, (Simon and Schuster, 1944), p. 652.

The message of Revelation 2:10 has strengthened every persecuted saint since that time with the command: “Fear not!” A fearless people are unconquerable.

The Crown of Life

The idea of the “Crown of Life” promised here is not taken from the ornamental headdress worn by kings as a symbol of their status, power and authority. It is rather from the idea of the crown of a plant, which is indeed a crown of Life.

The crown of a plant is that amazing cell or clump of cells from which the plant grows and increases. It is the life-producing part which reaches upward toward the light of the sun and multiplies itself continually. At the same time, it is reaching downward into the earth for the water and nutrients required to sustain its growth and produce fruit. Some plants will die if this crown is destroyed. Others will create new crowns at the leaf junctures. In any case, the plant grows only from the crown.

The idea of the king’s crown no doubt originated from the plant crown. It indicates a life source, or eternal life. When associated with mortal kingship, it is therefore a form of idolatry, since it is ascribing attributes of deity to a mortal man. A prominent and enduring motif of this symbol is the fleur de lis, combining the idea of the plant crown and the king’s crown.

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.

Who Is A Jew? – The Purity (?) Of The Jewish Race

Revelation 2:9; 3:9:  “… them which say they are Jews and are not.”

Is there a promise of “eternal security” to all of the physical seed of Abraham? No.

Romans 11: 1 is so often quoted out of context, ignoring the following verses. The point here is that at that time the nation of Israel had been greatly reduced to a bare remnant. (See the many references to the “remnant” in the Old Testament prophets.) Many had been “cut off” and/or “blinded” because of sin and unbelief. The writer of Romans, Paul, compares it to the time of Elias when the remnant had become so small that Elias thought he was the only one left. But Paul says that, like it was in the time of Elias, there is “even so then at this present time,” a relatively small remnant. This remaining remnant is “the elect” according to the grace of God in Christ.

Only a Remnant returned from the Babylonian Captivity

In fact, after the Babylonian captivity, (500+ B.C.) only a remnant had returned to Palestine, Romans 9:27-29, quoting Isaiah 10:21-22; 1:9. Those returning to Palestine after the captivity considered themselves the purified remnant of Israel, whom God had redeemed from bondage and made heirs to the promises.*Those who remained in Babylon went into the false interpretations of Rabbinic Judaism which became known as the “Pharisees” of the New Testament era.

Jesus became the Heir of all things: Hebrews 1:2.

So are those who were “cut off” and “blinded” still Israel? No. Paul quotes from the Old Testament to show that their “cutting off” and “blindness” had been foretold, Deuteronomy chapters 29-32; Psalm 69:22; Isaiah 11:11, 12, 16; Jeremiah 11:16. But they may be grafted back in if they turn from their unbelief. If and when they are grafted back in to Christ, and also with the inflow of the Gentiles, then “all Israel will be saved as it is written,” and he quotes Isaiah 45:17, 25 and Jeremiah 31:31 where the New Covenant was promised. They can only be saved through Christ.

So what happens to those unbelievers who refuse to be grafted back in? Jesus answered that question in John 15:1-6; they will die and be burned. Christ is the only living Branch of the Old Vine. The Old Covenant passed away when there were none left to qualify under its terms. Only in the New Covenant is there opportunity to be born again to a new life.

Old Israel died.

When Old Israel refused Jesus as their Messiah Savior, it died. The doom on the Temple was pronounced in Daniel 9:26; Micah 3:12; Matthew 24:1-2; Mark 13:2; Luke 19:41-44. The curse upon the fig tree, Mark 11:13 was symbolic of the curse upon the nation that was not bringing forth fruit for God. The parable of the fig tree, Mark 12:1-12 was to show that the “vineyard,” Israel, was to be taken from the wicked rulers and given to those in Christ, the Christians.

The New Israel was constituted of those who were in His Body, Matthew 26:26-28; ICorinthians 10:16-17.

But the true “Temple” would be raised up again as promised, Amos 9:11; Matthew 26:61; Mark 14:58; John 2:19-21; that is the Temple of Christ’s Body, the Church, Ephesians 1:22-23.

The Promised Regathering of Israel

The regathering of Israel, as promised by the Prophets, came in the ingathering in Christ, Ephesians 1-10-11. Those who were “in Christ” were no longer strangers and foreigners, but had become Israelites in the true sense of the word, Ephesians 2:11-22. So far as the genetic blood from Abraham was concerned, the Jews were making proselytes in the New Testament era, Matthew 23:15; Acts 2:10; 6:5; 13:43. These proselytes need have no drop of genetic blood from Abraham, yet claimed to be “Jews”.

From the time of Christ on, forever, only those “in Christ” are truly Jews by the Biblical definition.

*(See also John Bright, A History of Israel, Westminster Press, 1959. Pp.379 and 431)

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.