April 14, 2014
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
Revelation 12: 1 – 17
As noted previously, chapters 12 through 19 constitute a rerun of the Tribulation hour as presented in chapters 6 through 11. Thus, at this point we come once again to the middle of the Tribulation-and to the worst wave of anti-Semitism the world has ever observed. This is truly what Jeremiah had in mind in chapter 30, verse 7, when he said, Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble. Jacob, as one discovers in Romans 11:26, is Israel.
A number of great signs and occurrences are witnessed in this chapter, each having to do with the horrendous judgment that is enveloping the earth, including the persecution being directed against Israel. These include a great wonder (verse 1), a great red dragon (verse 3), great wrath (verse 12), and two wings of a great eagle (verse 14).
Verse 1: And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
In total, the Book of Revelation pictures four different women: (1) Jezebel, the high priestess of paganism (chapter 2, verse 20); (2) the scarlet woman, the high priestess of apostasy (chapter 17); (3) the Lamb’s wife, the representative of the true, blood-bought Church (chapter 19, verse 7); and (4) Israel, in the text before us.
This woman of chapter 12 is a picture of Israel. Mary Baker Eddy Glover Patterson presented herself as this woman, but her claim was absurd, to say the least. The woman’s offspring could not possibly be the Christian Science movement. Who, then, is this woman, and why does she appear? The term wonder in our text comes from the same Greek word sign. Thus, we see that the woman is a sign. What sign? The sign of Israel. Let’s prove this assertion.
The woman of Revelation 12:1 was pictured in the dream of Joseph centuries ago: And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it [to] his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon [representing father and mother] and the eleven stars [representing Joseph’s eleven brothers] made obeisance to me [the twelfth star]. And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying (Genesis 37:911).
Clearly, the woman clothed with the sun and wearing a crown of twelve stars upon her head, just like in Joseph’s dream, is Israel. The birth of this woman’s (Israel’s) son is predicted in Isaiah 66, verses 7 and 8: Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children [or her son]. Isaiah’s prediction finds its fulfillment in the next verse.
Verse 2: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
Here we have the mother, Israel, bringing forth a man-child who is none other than the blessed Lord Jesus Christ, as one discovers in verse 5. This truth harmonizes with many New Testament texts. For instance, Romans 9:4,5 states; [They] are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
Christ, in His flesh, came forth from Israel; and, at this point in our text, Christ’s adversary, Satan-the one who rebelled centuries ago against the authority of God (see Isaiah 14:12-14)-is about to strike another blow.
Verse 3: And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
Verse 4: And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
The red dragon is conclusively proven to be Satan in verse 9. The number seven speaks of completeness, and therefore, the dragon’s seven heads picture his wisdom. It is written that Satan is full of wisdom (Ezekiel 28:12). God created him that way when he was the anointed cherub [or angel] that covereth (Ezekiel 28:14). His ten horns speak of universal power, just as the ten toes of Daniel’s image do. Satan’s international control, of course, is possible because millions of demons jump at his command. Remember, he is the god of this world system (2 Corinthians 4:4). He is also the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2) and the prince of this world (John 12:31). However, since he is not omniscient (all knowing), or omnipresent (in all places at all times), Satan must rely on demonic hosts (fallen angels) in diversified places to administer his power. This explains why Christians are not fighting against flesh and blood only but against spiritual wickedness in high places as well (Ephesians 6:12). Satan probably enlisted the angels who fell at the time of his rebellion when his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven [a reference to angels] and did cast them to the earth. A similar reference is found in Jude 13.
At this point, one may ask why we use these texts to discuss past, present, and future history. The answer is simple. The scene we are about to witness speaks of the entire age-long conflict from beginning to end. Its details are squeezed into these few verses before us. The same devil who attempted to destroy the woman’s (or Israel’s) son in centuries past (see Genesis 3:15) is now about to strike out against the woman herself via the greatest anti-Semitic purge in history. Hitler’s murderous and barbaric attempt at Jewish annihilation will seem like a Sunday school picnic compared to this holocaust! That’s why Daniel stated: There shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book (12:1). Jesus himself said in Matthew 24:21, 22, For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. The elect, as spoken of here, are the Israelites of Romans 11:28.
Verse 5 proves my earlier statement that the verses before us cover the age-long conflict-past, present, and future.
Verse 5: And she brought forth a man child [over 2,000 years ago], who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron [future]: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne [the present age of grace].
Verse 6: And the woman fled into the wilderness, where: she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
During this final forty-two-month period, described as the Great Tribulation (see Revelation 7:14), because of its intensity and immensity, the Children of Israel are protected by their God. He took care of them for forty years as they wandered through the wilderness, and now He again proves His love to His ancient people by delivering them. Yes, they shall be saved out of it (Jeremiah 30:7). And at that time thy people shall be delivered (Daniel 12:1). Matthew 24:22 adds, For the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. The “elect” in this text are unmistakably Jews. (See Isaiah 42:1, 45:4, 65:9, 22). In the next few verses, a shocking space war takes place.
Verse 7: And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
Verse 8: And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
Verse 9: And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Some Bible authorities believe that this war in heaven began at the time of the Rapture in chapter 4, verse 1. Since a war involves a number of skirmishes or battles, this is a distinct possibility. The assumption is based on Daniel 12:1 and 2.
These scholars reason that since those who are caught up in the rapture of the Church must pass through the areas where Satan reigns-the aerial and stellar heavens-Satan becomes aroused and attempts to hinder this evacuation of the saints from the earth. However, as he attempts to interfere in this glorious event, angels-ministers of the saints (see Hebrews 1:14)-rush to the rescue, and the space confrontation and conflagration begins. This happened in the past-why could it not occur again? Where did it happen in the past? Consider Daniel 10:13 as we are introduced to Michael, the commander in chief of heaven’s armies. Daniel says, But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes [an angelic name and title], came to help me. God tells Daniel that He had every intention of answering His prayers, but that for twenty-one days the devil tried to hinder the response. Finally God had to send Michael to battle the devil in the area of his domain (the first and second heavens) in order to make the answer a reality. Thus, it is possible that Michael will again battle God’s adversary at the time of the Rapture in order to allow Christians their entrance into glory in the twinkling of an eye, as promised in 1 Corinthians 15:51-54.
Michael is mentioned five times in God’s Word, beginning with Daniel 10:13. We find him again in Daniel 10:21 where he is described to the Children of Israel as Michael, your prince. His third mention is in Daniel 12:1: And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people. In Jude 9, we find Michael, the archangel, contending with the devil over the body of Moses. Notice that every time Michael appears, he is connected with the Children of Israel-making it very plausible that he is at war with Satan in our present and fifth text, defending the Jewish people.
The war is on, and it is the greatest aerial combat in history: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon [Satan]; and the dragon fought and his angels.
Are you shocked to discover Satan in heaven? Most people (including most Christians) imagine him as a little creature dressed in a red uniform, running around in a place called hell, jabbing his victims with a pitchfork. This is all a lot of mythological nonsense.
Satan is a magnificent creature to behold. In fact, his beauty brought his ruin. Ezekiel 28:17 states: Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Not only is it a lie to picture Satan as a grotesque monstrosity, but it is equally false to place him in hell. He has never been there. He is the god of this world system, the prince of the power of the air, and the prince of this world, as we have already observed. He has been in heavens one and two (the aerial and stellar heavens) since his fall-and he will remain there until he is cast to the earth in verse 9. It is also important to note that he is not cast into eternal hell (the lake of fire) to join those he has duped until after the Millennium (chapter 20, verse 10). Now, as this battle is fought, Satan is defeated. Praise God! Satan is mighty, but God is Almighty! Satan can destroy, but God can destroy the destroyer! That is why the Christian should never fear the events of daily life. He has victory in Jesus. Yes, greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).
Satan’s demise began when he was cast out of the third heaven (see Isaiah 14:12-14), continues until Revelation 12:9 when he is cast out of the first and second heavens, and is completed when he is cast into the lake of fire (chapter 20, verse 10). John foresaw that hour and said, The prince of this world [shall] be cast out (John 12:31) and the prince of this world is judged (John 16:11). To the eternal Christ, Satan’s doom was as good as accomplished, but for you and me, time had to pass. Now, in our text, the moment has arrived: (Satan and his angels) prevailed not (verse 8.) Michael’s gunners zero in, and Satan’s place-an abiding location for centuries-is found no longer. Instead, the dragon (Satan) which deceiveth the whole world: [is] cast out into the earth, and his angels [are] cast out with him. This signals the end of Satan’s rule in the aerial and stellar heavens, and the victory celebration begins. All heaven rejoices over that which Michael’s defeat of Satan has accomplished.
Verse 10: And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
The spontaneous praise session within this verse occurs because (1) salvation from Satan’s atmospheric control has taken place; (2) God’s strength has crushed Satan’s might; (3) the kingdom is about to arrive; and (4) the power of Christ will be seen as He comes to set up His kingdom. Think of it! The united power of Father and Son casts the accuser of the brethren out of the heavens.
Did you know that accusing the brethren is Satan’s present ministry? He also uses some ministers and holier-than-thou church members to accomplish this goal. Listen carefully. Every bit of slander against another brother or sister in Christ is simply the devil using an individual’s mind and vocal cords. In fact, devil means “slanderer.” The term false accuser in the English Bible is translated from the word diabolos or devil. Thus, Titus 2:3 states: The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers. Literally rendered, this verse states: “That the aged women be not she-devils.” A woman who gossips is a “she-devil,” and a male gossip is a “macho-devil.” Both are controlled by the power of the vile one. No wonder lying is one of the seven sins God hates (see Proverbs 6: 16-19).
When Satan is cast out into the earth (verse 9), the hot spot will be our terra firma where men walk and breathe. At that time there will be only one place of safety and victory-in the arms of the Lord Jesus through His shed blood.
Verse 11: And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
These wise saints resisted Satan by the blood of Jesus and by the Word of God. There is no other way to win a spiritual battle (see Hebrews 4:12). They also overcame Satan by their testimony and loved not their own lives unto death. What a crown awaits them-and you, if you’re true blue! Thus, John states in Revelation 2:10: Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
Though there is rejoicing in the heavenlies, the picture is quite different for earth dwellers.
Verse 12: Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
At this point Satan unleashes all his fury for he knows that within forty-two months (three and one-half years), his reign will be ended. Thus, the great anti-Semitic purge now begins.
Verse 13: And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
Immediately God intervenes.
Verse 14: And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
This verse describes God in His sovereignty and love, protecting His chosen people for three and one-half years. The eagle’s wings probably indicate an airlift or some other miraculous speedy escape. God is probably reminding the Children of Israel of His act of preservation in Pharaoh’s day, and uses the picture of wings to show them His goodness. He declares, Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself (Exodus 19:4). Safety is promised to His people.
Verse 15: And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
The flood undoubtedly portrays a volume of propaganda-anti-Semitic insinuations, slanders, and slurs-released internationally. Yet, God promises: When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him (Isaiah 59:19).
Verse 16: And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
This verse, too, is reminiscent of the miraculous deliverance God provided the Children of Israel during their exodus from Egypt, when the Red Sea closed in over Pharaoh and his army. The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them. Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters. Who is like unto thee, 0 Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them (Exodus 15:9-12). At this point Satan reaches the height of his anger.
Verse 17: And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
WHY HUMILITY IS SOMETHING GOOD
Is it a paradox that many people seemingly enjoy outward success in terms of money, recognition, and prestige despite a decided lack of true humility? Perhaps, although the blessing of God is not measured by immediate or outward accomplishments. Let us examine this more carefully.
The life of pioneer missionary David Livingstone is beautiful proof of this. When Livingstone was a young man, he informed his brother, Charles that he planned to become a missionary. His brother scoffed, saying that he preferred to stay in England seeking fame and fortune. He wanted recognition from his peers, and that was not possible, he said, for a missionary in Africa.
David went to Africa where he labored untiringly among the people as a doctor and preacher. The Lord gave him the desires of his heart, and many people came to know Jesus Christ through his humble ministry. His brother, who stayed in England, did indeed find fame and recognition, and accumulated a great deal of wealth as well.
When David Livingstone died, his heart was buried in Africa and his body shipped home to England for burial in Westminster Cathedral. Later, his brother was buried next to him. We visited this great edifice several years ago, and my heart was deeply touched as I read the inscriptions on the brothers’ graves. Above David Livingstone’s burial vault was this poem:
He needs no epitaph to guard a name
Which men shall prize while worthy work is known;
He lived and died for good-be that his fame:
Let marble crumble; this is Living-stone.
The inscription above David’s brother’s grave simply states: “Charles, the brother of David Livingstone.”
This illustration, more than any I know, reflects the truth of 1 Peter 5:6-Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.
THE FIRST SHALL BE LAST
No attitude or character quality was more emphasized and exemplified by the Lord Jesus than humility. He told his disciples-whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant (Matthew 20:26-27).
Shortly after He gave that lesson, Jesus met with His disciples in an upper room to eat what we have come to call the Last Supper. In those final hours before He was taken away to be tortured and killed, the Lord took time to teach the disciples one more lesson about the importance of humility.
As they entered the room where they would eat that final meal together, they found that everything had been prepared for them, with one exception-a servant to wash their feet. In those days of dirt roads and sandals, washing feet regularly was an essential custom. Since it was not a pleasant chore, it was normally the duty of the lowest slave when an individual entered a house.
After everything Jesus had taught them about humility, it would seem that one of the disciples should have volunteered to accept the responsibility, or at least arranged for a servant to do it. However, none did. Perhaps they were involved in one of their arguments about which of them was the greatest.
Consequently, Jesus rolled up His sleeves, took the basin of water and a towel, stooped down and began to wash the disciples’ feet. They were so shocked by His actions that they became speechless. Jesus told them-Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you (John 13:13-15).
There is a great and important lesson here for all of us. If Jesus could leave heaven and come to earth to die, and on the night before His crucifixion assume the position of the lowliest of slaves, without reservation we should follow His example of humility.
Have you ever met someone who seemed to exhibit a kind of false humility which did not in any way glorify the Lord? It was lowliness put on to impress others. It was not a genuine humility but rather a shallow, external façade that actually sought to put others down.
False humility can take various forms. For example, by refusing to graciously accept a compliment (how embarrassing to the one giving it) and by discrediting one’s own accomplishments, the person actually seeks to draw more praise to himself. This is pride in disguise-not meekness of spirit.
Such hypocritical humility is like the sin of the Pharisees. They put on sackcloth and ashes when they fasted so that everyone would notice how “spiritual” they were. They stood on the street corners to pray just to make certain that no one missed their display of holiness. What they really wanted was the praise of men, and Jesus said that was all the reward they would get for their human efforts.
Humility that calls attention to itself is not humility at all-it is pride. And what makes pride so insidious is that we are most vulnerable to it just when we think we have conquered it. The minute we begin thinking how humble we are, we had better think again. No one who considers himself a paragon of humility knows the first thing about the virtue.
On the other side of the coin, however, neither is a poor self image the same thing as humility. I have known people who did not like themselves very much, but they were so self-centered that they made it difficult for anyone else to like them. The truly humble person can accept himself. He feels good about himself because he is not consumed by the desire to prove himself to others-to convince them that he is something that he is not.
THE ESSENCE OF TRUE HUMILITY
What constitutes true humility? Jesus himself answered this question when He washed the feet of His disciples at the Last Supper. Genuine humility is, you see, a willingness to serve others.
Nobody is more lonely than a “self-service only” individual. In fact, the most dissatisfied persons I know are those who are selfish. Because they are so wrapped up in themselves-their own needs, their own desires, their own preferences, their own problems-they cannot reach out to others for the very fellowship that would dispel their loneliness.
Of all the disciples, Andrew best pictures the meaning of true humility. Andrew had a servant’s heart. He does not seem to have been involved as James and John were in the constant disputes about who was the greatest. Instead, whenever we see Andrew in Scripture, he is bringing someone to the Master.
Andrew began his ministry of soulwinning and discipleship by seeking Peter, his brother. In fact, perhaps the greatest thing Andrew ever did was bring Peter to Jesus. Peter became the leader of the disciples, and after Jesus ascended into heaven, it was Peter who preached the great sermon at Pentecost where so many were converted to faith in Christ.
If you had a brother like Peter, would you have brought him to Jesus? Surely Andrew knew that Peter, with his bold, forceful personality, would inherit the position of leadership among the disciples. He must have realized that he would eventually take a back seat to his brother. Yet Andrew was not concerned with those things. He saw only his brother’s need and knew that Jesus could fill it. In a sense, Andrew did fade into the shadows as Peter came into prominence. But he also continued to bring others to Jesus. One of those he brought was a little boy with a sack lunch-and the Lord used those few loaves and fishes to feed a multitude. Take heart-your seemingly small talent can be used and magnified for God’s glory because He both desires and rewards humble service.
GOD GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE
What does humility have to do with satisfaction which will dispel bewilderment? Humility is a channel through which the Lord can bless us. Pride, on the other hand, isolates us from God. First Peter 5:5 urges-be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
God’s grace is manifested in a special way to those who are humble. If a person seeks to serve others, he receives multiplied blessings from the Lord. If he seeks only to serve self, however, he closes the door to the possibility of such blessings.
Too many who claim to be working for the Lord see the ministry only as a platform on which to display their own talents and abilities. My husband and I believe that our service constitutes a high and holy privilege, and our prayer has always been that God be glorified in all that we say and do-not only in public, but in our private lives as well.
As a result of this belief, we have always felt strongly that we should not push open doors to try to expand our ministry. Everywhere we have gone and in every situation where we have ministered, we have endeavored to wait until God himself opened the portals of increased opportunity. In fact, sometimes we have been so cautious that He has had to push us through them! Still, the peace of mind and soul we have experienced in knowing that God has brought each new phase of our outreach to pass far outweighs any sense of human accomplishment. It also confirms in our hearts the fact that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it (Psalm 127:1).
Through our years of ministry together, I have also appreciated and learned from Jack’s meek and tender spirit. When we conducted our local city-wide meetings, we were inevitably the last ones to leave the auditorium following a service. My husband always had time to answer one more question or sign an additional Bible, no matter how late the hour. As I stood with him, often ministering with him, my heart smiled within me to know that this one who had the power to deliver such authoritative and convicting messages from God’s Word also had the ability to understand the deepest burdens and personally minister to the hearts he touched. Today, our office doors are open to students, pastors, and young evangelists who seek to share the wisdom, counsel, and direction the Lord has given us in conducting our international ministry.
I shall never forget our very first visit to Tennessee Temple Schools in Chattanooga. Jack and I were tremendously excited (and a bit nervous) about ministering in a college environment, not to mention being in the presence of such a respected man as Dr. Lee Roberson, the president. I had never met him and was eager to make his acquaintance.
We arrived in the city several hours ahead of time and drove to the auditorium in order to unload and set up our equipment. We were met by several students and staff members, including a distinguished looking, gray-haired gentleman who helped us carry the heavy pieces to the platform.
Much time was spent placing everything into position, making the proper electrical connections, and testing for operation and sound level. At last our task was completed. I turned to the gray-haired gentleman and thanked him for his assistance. “And when shall we be able to meet Dr. Roberson?” I asked.
The man smiled softly and gently took hold of my hand. “I am Dr. Roberson,” he replied.
That evening, as Dr. Lee Roberson stepped to the podium to welcome the students and guests and introduce us to them, he appeared ever so much taller, broad-shouldered, and distinguished. Silently, I bowed my head and prayed a prayer of rejoicing, thanking God for allowing me the privilege of meeting a true servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is a great deal of true satisfaction in service to others. The servant of God is actually a kind of funnel through which God pours out His love to a needy world. The person who is involved in humble service is vibrant and alive. He can sense the love of God flowing through him, and he is constantly getting a firsthand experience of the wonderful ways God works.
In addition, the truly humble person has all his relationships in proper perspective. He does not think more highly of himself than he ought to think (see Romans 12:3). He does not look down on others, use them for his own benefit, or ignore their needs. Most importantly, he is in right relationship to God.
GOD HATES PRIDE
Many of us are familiar with the children’s story about the frog who wanted to fly. As he sat on his lily pad watching for insects day after day, he often spied the birds of the forest gracefully winging their way through the air. Their freedom and ability to travel quickly from one place to another began to disturb him, and he soon became completely dissatisfied with being a frog-he wanted to fly!
One day the frog went to his friend, the robin. “Mr. Robin, will you teach me to fly?” he asked.
“I’m sorry, but that’s impossible,” said the robin. “You’re a frog. Frogs were not created to fly. Frogs were made to hop.”
Next the frog approached the cardinal. “Mr. Cardinal, please teach me to fly,” he pleaded. To his dismay, the reply was the same.
Then the frog conceived a brilliant idea. He hopped to the robin and to the cardinal. “Robin, Cardinal!,” he shouted enthusiastically. “I have the answer! If you two will pick up a stick and hold it tightly in your beaks, I will grab the stick with my mouth and travel with you as you fly.”
Although somewhat skeptical, the frog’s feathered friends agreed to give his idea a try. They found a sturdy stick, grasped it tightly in their beaks, and the frog clamped his mouth in the middle. Then off they flew-up, up, higher and higher, swiftly skirting the trees of the forest, out across the meadow, and back once more.
The frog was jubilant. He was flying!
One by one, the other animals appeared at the forest’s edge, gazing in disbelief at the sight before them. As the triumphant trio made another sweep past the growing crowd of spectators, the deer exclaimed, “How clever! Who ever conceived such a perfectly ingenious idea?”
The frog, swelling with pride, shouted, “I did! It was all my idea!”
As he spoke, he lost his grip on the stick and hurtled through the air to the ground. Splat! Alas, the frog’s dream and delight proved to be his demise. His life was snuffed out in a moment of time. The sin of pride had claimed another victim-just as it will claim you and me if we do not deal honestly and firmly with it, refusing to allow it any opportunity to rise up.
Remember, God says, Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18).
Why is pride so deadly? For one thing, pride was the sin that led to Satan’s fall. Caught up with his own beauty and wisdom, willfully forgetting the fact that it was God who made him that way, Lucifer began to see himself as something to be worshipped above God. When he said, I will be like the most High (Isaiah 14:14), he lost everything that was his.
Later, Satan succeeded in getting Eve to sin with the same promise with which he had deceived himself-ye shall be as gods (Genesis 3:5). And when Adam and Eve sinned, they, too, lost everything God had given to them. Most devastating of all, they were sent forth from His presence. Ever since that day, the human race has been plagued by the sin of pride and the consequent loss of blessing that comes with it. Like the frog, humanity desperately seeks satisfaction but at the same time stubbornly refuses to renounce the pride that makes dissatisfaction inevitable.
Some would have us believe that pride is a virtue. In recent years, a number of best-selling books have appeared, telling us how to assert ourselves, how to get what we want, how to increase our self-esteem, and how to intimidate others. Humility is viewed by many as a weakness. The “me first” syndrome has spread throughout society like a plague.
In such an atmosphere, it is little wonder that so many are dissatisfied, for it is in giving, not receiving that we are blessed. It is in serving, not being served, that brings fulfillment. And it is in humility, not pride, that we open ourselves to receive the grace of God.
God hates this sin of pride (see Proverbs 8:13). Pride is a denial of God’s right to glory. It is a challenge to His sovereignty. It is a deification of self over God, and it leads to contempt for others for whom Christ died. It is as morally perverse and debasing as any sin known to man, for it can lead to many other kinds of sin. And inevitably, the prideful will experience the frustration of feeling baffled, bewildered, and befuddled.
How damaging and hurtful pride is! It increases the desire for satisfaction and at the same time pushes the possibility of personal fulfillment further and further away. May God give us the grace to be truly humble.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Dear Jack & Rexella,
Never, ever stop sending me your electronic mail!! I love it and I’m so blessed by it. I also watch your program every Saturday night. You always speak the truth. You tell us things that other preachers don’t. Thank you for your obedience to the Lord.
Mrs. Judy S.
Drs. Jack & Rexella,
Thank you for being here. You guys are such a blessing to this world and MANY have been awakened to what is actually going on, not fooled by the main stream media’s relentless godless propaganda assault.
May God continue to keep watch over the faithful and may His continued blessings be with you and yours as we head towards that great and horrible day, very soon the trumpet will sound.
“Be ye therefore also ready! For in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh!”
HIGHLIGHTED PRODUCT OFFERS
The Bible says in these latter days the love of many will grow cold – apostasy will set in – and supposed religious leaders will have a form of godliness but lack its power.
We’re seeing these prophecies fulfilled today!
You and your family deserve to know the facts – the truth that many supposedly ‘Christian’ leaders want to hide from you!
There is only one way to heaven, through salvation in Jesus Christ. Choosing Christ means a change in lifestyle – and many preachers today just don’t want to tell people that they must be transformed!
But Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe set the record straight in their landmark teaching video, Reclaiming and Restoring Biblical Christianity
Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe have prepared this powerful new video teaching to show you the Enemies of the Cross and how to defeat them. You will discover the answers to critical questions such as:
- Who is calling the cross ‘useless’, and why?
- How can we know if Jesus is the only way to heaven?
- How do contemporary church services fit into the great ‘falling away’ predicted in the Bible?
- How are new Bible translations destroying the Christian faith?
- How does Pope Francis signal Christ’s soon return?
- What will the final one world religion look like?
- Where will the False Prophet come from?
- Who has been lured into the New Age Movement?
- And many more!
Do not allow your family and church to be deceived.