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

What Is Time?

Revelation 1:3: “… The time is at hand.”

The Biblical view of Time embraces the knowledge that Time is synonymous with Light, and, therefore, is a powerful and beautiful symbol of Christ, for Christ is Light.

When we come to the word time in Revelation 1:3, we should not go further in interpretation until we understand the system of time within the larger framework of the writing of the Book of Revelation and of the culture as a whole.  It will not do to skip over to Revelation 20 and speak of millennialism without first dealing with the underlying concept of time.[1]

The Book of Revelation shows Christ in His full, universal, transcendent exaltation, fulfilling His role of Light.  He is not only The Light of the World, but is also The Light of the Universe.  In fact, He is the very Light that proceeded forth from God, the Father of Lights, in the beginning, (Genesis 1:3), by which all things were created and through which all things consist and are united.  Now He is revealed as the Perfection of that Light, Urim ve Thummim, Light and Time. For a proper view of the Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, we must see His relationship to time.

What is time?

Time is the signature of Light.  As God is Light, time is His written Name, but just as a name differs from a signature, so the Name of God is greater than the concept of time.[2]

Time is the impress of light upon the physical world.  Time is marked by the turning of the earth in relation to the heavenly lights, creating days and nights, seasons, months, and years. Through this impress of time, we have a likeness by which to speak of the power of God’s Name in the earth, both spiritual and natural.  As we can only speak of spiritual things through some kind of analogy with natural things, so it is the relationship of time to light that furnishes the analog for relating the Name of God to God Himself.

Time is the silent, invisible factor in every calculation that determines the ultimate outcome.

The final judgment of deeds is their result when multiplied by time.[3]  Every true vision of literal reality takes into account the effects of time.  Woe to the soul who lives only for ephemeral pleasures!  Woe to the generation that lives only for the present!  Woe to the nation that has no long-range policies!  The message of the Bible is that Man is an eternal being – one who must weigh every decision in the light of eternal time. Not only “Is it good for me,?” but “Is it good for the coming generations?”

“So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom,” Psalms 90:12.

[1] L. Hicks, “Time”, Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, (IDB) vol.4, (New York, Abingdon Press 1962), 642-9. “More than any other writings, the apocalyptic writings provide material on the concept of time.”

[2] W. F. Albright says that the high gods of ancient times may all be related through the concept of Light.  He gives the names from many cultures of [idol] gods that may be related to Semitic El.  The root meaning of the Indo-European words connect them with heaven through the concept of Light (From Stone Age to Christianity, Garden City, New York, Doubleday, 3rd edition, 1962).

[3] It is no accident that the term for multiplication is ‘times.’

Who Are Jesus’ Brethren?

Jesus promised great blessing to those who ministered to His “Brethren,” Matthew 25:40 and great judgment to those who refused to minister to them, verse 45. So who are His Brethren?

Matthew 12:46-50 KJV –

46 While he yet talked to the people, behold, [his] mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. 47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. 48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? 49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, ‘Behold my mother and my brethren. 50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.’”

Here we see that Jesus is identifying Himself by His spiritual family and not his kindred after the flesh. He even would have included His mother in those He denied as His kindred, but she was certainly also one who did the will of His Father, God, and so was His mother both spiritually and physically. He denies kinship with all those who do not the will of God. Therefore, He only recognizes Christians as kindred.

Are those calling themselves “Israel” today really Jesus’ Brethren?

Many prominent ministers and theologians are declaring that those calling themselves “Israel” today are Jesus’ Brethren, and therefore in order to be blessed, we must support them with all necessary material means. This ignores the fact that their religion is anti-Christian, using the Talmud as their authority instead of the Bible, cursing Christ and blaspheming. The USA has provided and is continuing to provide finances, military protection, grants, and loans which become grants for the establishment and military protection of that wicked state since its inception, all under the guise of their supposed kinship to Jesus.

This is deceit at its worst.

Where Was Mary’s Mother?

 

Luke chapters 1 and 2.

It is a great mystery to me that Mary’s mother is never once mentioned in these Scriptures. After the astounding visit of Gabriel with the even more astounding news that the Virgin Mary was to bear the Christ-Child, Mary went immediately to see her cousin Elizabeth:

And Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste into a city of Judea and entered into the house of Zacharias and Elizabeth.” Did she not talk with her mother about this? and if not, why not?

What Would You Have Done If You Were Mary’s Mother?

What would you have thought and said to your teen-age daughter in such circumstances? Would you have allowed her to go away like that? It is understandable that Mary would want to go see Elizabeth to confirm the words of the Angel concerning her pregnancy. But, if you had been her mother, would you not have at least talked with her about it?

Then, after about 3 months, Mary returned to her home and was married to Joseph. Still no mention of a mother or the wedding. As a mother, you would have insisted that the wedding should have been immediately, not after three months! And mothers like to be included in wedding plans.

And, Good Heavens! Going on a long, hard trip near her due date?

But most amazing is the fact that this young woman, near the time for the birth of her baby, set out for a journey to Bethlehem. Her transportation would probably have been a donkey or by foot. What mother would have allowed her daughter to go on such a journey at such a time!?

Was her mother dead? Or was she so aware of the true nature of this event that she wholly agreed to whatever Mary did? Or was her opposition just totally ignored by the writers of the Gospels?

If you or I had been her mother, would we not have opposed her journeys, thus trying to hinder the work of the Holy Spirit?

But since we are not Mary’s mother, what would we do if our child, son or daughter, should be called of God to make great personal sacrifice to fulfill God’s call upon their lives?

Wise Men From The East – Matthew 2:1-12

In the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him,’” Matthew 2:1b-2, KJV.

Who were these “Wise Men from the East”?

The Greek word here translated “wise men” is from magos, defined by Strong’s Concordance as “an Oriental scientist; by implication, a magician: – sorcerer, wise man.” Yet, in this instance, Strong’s concordance seems to be in error.

In historical context of the times they were not “Oriental scientists” nor magicians, but rather the sages from the Jewish colony in Babylon, east of Jerusalem.

The Babylonian Jews

This colony of Jews had remained in Babylon dating from the captivity when Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem and Judea in 605 BC. Although a remnant of them had returned to Palestine after seventy years, as prophesied, the majority of them had remained in Babylon and prospered as international merchants. This large colony, although in disobedience to God, continued to call themselves “Jews” and their priests and Rabbis maintained a strong school of Biblical studies. It was here that they began to re-interpret the Scriptures to conform to their situation without a temple and without the land. These interpretations later became known as their ‘traditions’ which developed over time into the doctrines of the Pharisees, the supposed “oral law” and the written Babylonian Talmud.

They called these scholars sages, that is, “wise men.”

In Babylon these sages were the Biblical scholars, or intelligentsia, of their colony and they claimed for themselves the authority of interpretation. They knew the written Scriptures and the priestly lore of the time-telling heavens. Thus they would have been able to determine which astronomical events would mark the time foretold for the birth of the Messiah.  It was these men who understood that it was time for the “King of the Jews” to be born. Thus, they would have recognized the “star” that announced this event.

They became “believers.”*

These particular “wise men” probably were sincere in their desire to worship the new-born Messiah, Matthew 2:2, 11. They were truly guided by their knowledge of the Scriptures and of the stars and had the spiritual insight to hear and obey the warning of God, (vs. 12). They were, therefore, the first, or among the first, Jewish converts to Christianity and bore a powerful witness to the deity of Jesus Christ. When they returned to Babylon, they would have announced the “Good News” that the Messiah had indeed been born in Bethlehem of Judea, as foretold by the Prophets.

Thus it is much more likely and more in keeping with the Biblical record that these men were Jewish priests and Rabbis from the colony in Babylon, about 500 miles east of Jerusalem, than to think that they were “Oriental scientists or magicians”.

*Acts 12:17 reports that Peter left Jerusalem and “went into another place.” It may have been that Peter went to this colony in Babylon and established a Church there, I Peter 5:13.

The Manger In A ‘Tabernacle’

“And the Word became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us; and we [actually] saw His glory, (His honor, His majesty), such glory as an only begotten Son receives from His father, full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth.” AMP

THE MANGER:

Luke 2:7: “And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”

Verse 12: “And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

The majesty of this scene is only matched by its simplicity: The Creator of heaven and earth had come to deliver Mankind from Death and He was wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger, a feed trough in a stable for cattle.

A Barn or a Tabernacle?

In context of the New Testament times, was this stable an Old English or Early American barn? I don’t think so. In Biblical times, it was probably a ‘booth’, such as was built for the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles. The instructions for this celebration are recorded in Leviticus 23:39-43:

(39) Also, on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a Sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a Sabbath.

(40) And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days.

(41) And ye shall keep it a feast unto the Lord seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month.

(42) Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths:

(43) That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I AM the LORD your GOD.

Keeping this Feast would have resulted in hundreds of these ‘booths’ in and around Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The Hebrew word for ‘booths’ is Succoth. It is defined as: booths, cottage, covert, pavilion, tabernacle, and tent. It is most familiar to us in its usage as “tabernacles.”

These “Tabernacles” were also used for cattle:

This word is used in Genesis 33:17: “And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house, and made booths [succoth] for his cattle, therefore the name of the place is called Succoth.” From this passage we know that these ‘booths’ or ‘tabernacles’ were also used for sheltering animals and so would have contained a manger, or feeding trough.

In Biblical context, it is likely that Christ was born in one of these succoth – a tabernacle, a temporary shelter. As He was “an Israelite born” He probably lived there for the seven required days, thus fulfilling the law. After the seven days in the ‘succoth,’ on the eighth day they took him to be circumcised, Luke 2:21.

He is said to have “tabernacled” among us, John 1:14, Amplified Version:

And the Word became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us; and we [actually] saw His glory, (His honor, His majesty), such glory as an only begotten Son receives from His father, full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth.” AMP

God hid His glory for a while in a stable, a succoth, as foretold by Psalm 27:5: “For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion, in the secret of his tabernacle [succoth] shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.” The stable became a royal pavilion for a while.

Jesus shared with us the human condition of the brevity of this life in the flesh: He was born in a “tabernacle.” He thus exemplified the true meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles; that is, that our flesh is merely a temporary abode:

For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (2) For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven. (3) If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. (4) For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. (5) Now He that hath wrought us for the self-same thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit,” 2Corinthians 5:1-5:

Peter also saw his earthly body as a temporary tabernacle: “Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; (14) Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me,” 2Peter 1:13-14.

Jesus became our ‘tabernacle’ as foretold by the Prophets.

His Body is “the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not man,” Hebrews 8:2.

His Body fulfilled Amos 9:11: “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 built it as in the days of old.

Isaiah 4:6: “And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and rain.

Revelation 21:3: “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

Jesus is our Immanuel, “God with us.”