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

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.

 

Passing The Baton

“Building a legacy of blessing, power, and character for the coming generations is an indispensable part of God’s plan — for every follower of Christ and for every church,” Bayless Conley.

The passing of a ministry to the next generation is of utmost importance both to those passing on and those receiving the ministry. It is similar to what happens in a relay race when the runners must only run part way to the goal and pass the baton to the next runner and that to the next until they reach the finish line. Winning the race and reaching the goal depends upon each runner passing and receiving the baton in the most efficient way. If one fumbles or drops the baton, precious time is lost, — and possibly the race. In a ministry, if the next runner fumbles or drops the baton, precious souls are lost.

In John chapters 14 through 17 Jesus was “passing the baton” so to speak. He was preparing His disciples for carrying on the ministry after His imminent crucifixion, death and resurrection. In 17:13-26, He prays to the Father:

And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have My joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them Thy Word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

“I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thous shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As Thou hast sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.

Father, I will that they also whom Thou has given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me: for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world.

“O, righteous Father, the world hath not know Thee: but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent Me. And I have declared unto them Thy Name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and Thou in Me,” John 17:13-26.

The Resurrection Sabbath

There has been much confusion over which day of the week Jesus was crucified and what day was the resurrection. Jesus said he would be in the grave three days and three nights, Matthew 12:40. The popular tradition is that Jesus was crucified on Friday and arose on Sunday. However, by our calendars, this does not figure as three days and three nights.

The Hebrew Calendar

We must understand that they were not going by our calendar, but rather the Biblical Hebrew calendar as given to Moses. We know that the Passover was ordained of God to begin on the fourteenth day of the first month of the year. Their months were to be reckoned by the appearance of the new moon, not by a calendar page. Just as our months do not always begin on the same day of the week, so theirs did not. Just as our Christmas day does not always fall on Sunday, so their Passover did not always fall on a regular seventh-day Sabbath. So the fourteenth day of the month was not always on the Sabbath, according to the regular consecutive counting of seven-day weeks. However, it would fall on the Sabbath occasionally.

Passover

Fourteen days after the appearance of the new moon, they were to slay the Passover lamb, Leviticus 23:4-8, regardless of what day of the week it was. They were to slay it in the evening, but were to feast on it in the night, verse 8. In their system of time-telling, the day began at evening, when a certain number of stars had appeared. So, although they slew the lamb in the evening of the fourteenth, the night that followed would have been the fifteenth.

This began the seven days of unleavened bread, verses 15-19. This fifteenth day was to be a “holy convocation” and counting from that day to the seventh day following was to be another “holy convocation.” It was to be a day of rest, “no manner of work shall be done.” The word Sabbath means “rest, repose, cease from labor.” Therefore, a day when they were commanded to cease from labor, to rest, could be called a Sabbath. So the fifteenth day could also be a Sabbath, and, counting seven days from that was to be another Sabbath. On every year that the fifteenth day fell on the Sabbath, there would have been a double Sabbath.

We find this more clearly spelled out in Leviticus 23 and Numbers chapters 28 and 29. In Leviticus 23, the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are described clearly. The fifteenth day of the first month was to be the feast of Unleavened Bread, a day of rest, a holy convocation, and of offerings. From this day they were to count seven Sabbaths, or forty-nine days, and the day following would be the fiftieth day, which was also to be a “holy convocation” where no work was to be done, therefore it, too, was to be a Sabbath. Here we can clearly see that there would again be a double Sabbath, the forty-ninth day and the fiftieth day.

The Double Sabbath: Resurrection Day

On the Passover when Jesus was crucified, there would have been a double Sabbath. Therefore, He was crucified on the day of the slaying of the lamb, the fourteenth.  Then He was in the grave three days and three nights and arose on the third day, which was the “second Sabbath after the first.” We find mention of this same phenomenon in Luke 6:1 where it mentions the “second Sabbath after the first.” In their calendar-reckoning, there were many double Sabbaths.

The Sabbaths were counted consecutively as the seventh day. However, when there was a double Sabbath, the counting for that next week began with the eighth day, that is, the day after the first Sabbath. Therefore, the whole system of Sabbaths from the beginning foreshadowed the resurrection of Christ which began on the “first day of the week,” and was called “The Lord’s Day.” This signifies the rest which Christians enjoy in the Lord: “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God,” Hebrews 4:9.

            Revelation 14:13: “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”