August 18, 2014
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
Beginning this week we want to do a study on the book of Daniel. We will divide the study into two major parts; Part I: A History of the Times…And the Set-up for Coming Attractions; and Part II: Events Prophesied…Prophecies Fulfilled. These two parts will be broken down and delved into in detail.
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Daniel 1:1, 2
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.
And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.
Swords flashed wildly between the nations of Egypt and Babylon, the two great military giants of the Middle East, as the latter part of the 7th Century B.C. was fast coming to a close. The fierce battles between the two superpowers were visible proof that each was determined to seize full control of their part of the world. Any observer then – or historian today – knew that a decisive battle could not be far off, a conflict in which the ultimate victor would once and for all put his opponent to flight. And that’s exactly what happened.
The time was early summer in the year 605 B.C. The great army of Babylon, under the leadership of Nebuchadnezzar – then crown prince – attacked the Egyptian forces in a place called Carchemish, and Babylonian city on the Euphrates River (see Jeremiah 46 for details). It was a thorough defeat for the Egyptians, who were forced to return to their country to lick their wounds and ponder the weakness of a failed battle strategy that had brought them to their knees. With unparalleled world dominance, the Babylonians now had free reign to step into the unguarded territory of Palestine. By the summer of 605 B.C. they had wrestled control of the city of Jerusalem. And this is where our story begins.
Upon the death of Nebuchadnezzar’s father, Nabopolassar, a short time after the massive Babylonian victory, Nebuchadnezzar rushed home to be crowned king of Babylon. But he did not return to Babylon empty-handed. His saddlebags were filled with rich treasure and precious vessels – much of it taken from the holy temple in Jerusalem. His ungodly hands had pillaged from the house of God, a sort of in-your-face mockery to the Holy One, a Babylonian slap in the face of the Jewish people, their traditions, and their most high God.
An Opportunity for Compromise
But the man who would be king did not return with merely gold, silver, and temple utensils. Among his inventory of rich booty were also human treasures – young, fit sons of Israel who were taken from their beloved homeland and brought to Babylon, exposed to a foreign religion and traditions that bore no resemblance to their beliefs. But those were the rules of war; Lose the battle, do what your captor says. Among the choicest of Jewish young men in this group now being transported to Babylon was a teenager whose name was Daniel.
And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes;
Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.
And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.
Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:
Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abed-nego.
Wise Beyond His Years
Daniel now found himself a captive in a strange land, learning the language of the Chaldeans – the elite, privileged class of Babylon. Young Daniel had to accept the reality that he was now a member of a conquered people, forced to think no longer like a Jew, but like a Babylonian, with the clear demand that he give his full allegiance to Babylonian gods. This was Daniel’s greatest challenge.
But in ways that even Daniel could not have understood, he was more than adequately prepared for his new life. Of royal descent, Daniel had already been trained for palace service – even at his young age. He was not overwhelmed by the pomp and circumstance, nor by the tough courses he and his friends had to take in astronomy, natural history, mythology, or astrology. Gilded thrones didn’t overly impress him either – he’d seen it all before.
Nebuchadnezzar simply did not know what he had on his hands: Daniel might have looked like just another strong, able Jewish boy on the outside, but the king couldn’t discern who Daniel really was on the inside – a man of God, loyal and faithful to his Creator. So unswerving was Daniel’s righteousness that even in the polluted atmosphere of heathen Babylon he would find a way to make himself useful to God – something we’ll observe again and again as our story unfolds.
The Times of the Gentiles
Now here’s a point that I want to make early on because it will be critical to remember it as together we travel on this amazing, prophetic road of Final Mysteries Unsealed, Daniel is distinctly the prophet of the “times of the Gentiles.” This is significant because the “times of the Gentiles” continues on through the termination of Gentile world rule.
Daniel is not only the prophet of the Gentiles, but he’s also a prophet to his own people, the Jews. When Nebuchadnezzar brought the vessels unto the treasure house of his god, this was the beginning of “the times of the Gentiles,” which continues until the time when Messiah returns. You may remember that Jesus said in Luke 21:24,
“And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be lead away captive into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (emphasis mine).
This will be a recurring theme for us throughout the book. In modern English, this is what Jesus was saying: Jerusalem will always be controlled by Gentiles – except for a brief interlude – until I return. So in 586 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem, and Gentile domination began.
From that time onward, Jerusalem would be controlled by Gentiles, with one exception – the time preceding Christ’s return to set up His glorious thousand-year kingdom upon earth. The exception occurred during the miraculous victory the Jewish army experienced as they captured Jerusalem during the Six-Day War, fought June 5-10, 1967. after this military conquest, the Holy City of Jerusalem was in Jewish hands for the first time in 2,553 years.
The victory in 1967 began the countdown to Messiah’s coming to rule and reign at Jerusalem (see Psalm 2:6 and Matthew 5:35). Here’s why. Just before Christ appears upon the Mount of Olives to establish His glorious kingdom, all Gentile nations will gather together at the valley of Megiddo and then march to the valley of Jehoshaphat for history’s final attack against Jerusalem. At this time the Gentiles temporarily retake the city.
But their victory is short-lived, because then Christ appears and destroys the Gentile armies, bringing the “times of the Gentiles” to its horrendous conclusion. Christ will then reign from Jerusalem, the capital of the world, for a thousand years (see Revelation 16:16; Joel 3:2; and Zechariah 14:2-16).
Now here’s the clincher. The Gentiles cannot march against Jerusalem and take it during earth’s final battle if the Jews do not control the city. The Jews must be in possession of the Holy City for such an attack. This is why the Six-Day War of 1967 was so prophetically significant – it prepared the way for the battle of Armageddon and Christ’s return. In a sense, I’m giving you the end of the story first, but I think it’s important for you to understand this as we see the enormous impact that the Book of Daniel has on the outcome of history.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
AM I ADDICTED?
When we hear the words “addict” or “addiction,” it seems that our chest involuntarily tightens and our heart drops in dread and alarm. Alcoholism and drug dependency-whether marijuana, crack cocaine, methamphetamines, heroin, ecstasy, or powerful prescription painkillers-are problems of crisis proportion in virtually every community in our nation.
Literally billions of dollars are being spent waging a futile battle against drugs-it is a war we are losing and cannot win because it is a key prophetic sign of the end-times, pointing to the soon coming of our Lord. Almost weekly the media sources try to personalize this pervasive plague, showing various individuals-often young people-who have surrendered their minds and given their bodies over to horrendous, destructive addictions.
Have you ever known an addict? Perhaps this person wasted all his or her resources on drugs, maybe even stole from family and friends, or got involved in crime or prostitution to feed his or her enslaving habit. It’s heartbreaking to see bright, decent people sink so low that they literally can’t help themselves. I’ve known drug-enslaved youngsters who went into rehabilitation programs and seemed to be all right for a while. But too often they ended up right back on drugs, more hopeless than before.
Is addiction killing America?
Besides alcohol and drugs, Americans struggle with countless other awful addictions. Millions are obsessed by gambling, uncontrolled spending, pornography, illicit sex, and other vicious vices. Millions more spend hour after hour surfing the Internet, playing video games, or sitting like zombies in front of TV sets watching inane and immoral programs. And in a land of abundance and excess, two-thirds of Americans are obese, literally eating themselves to death, fatally addicted to food!
Is this addiction? I believe so. When these activities habitually and obsessively control people’s behavior, causing them to develop a compulsive need for whatever controls them, they are addicts! And these kinds of addictions are powerful…and potentially deadly.
I’ll never forget a teenaged girl I met on the street in downtown Toronto a few years ago. Jack and I had gone to enjoy a few days of relaxation and rest there, and had gone out for a late-night walk. Summertime Toronto is a very safe and wonderful place to walk, with thousands of other people out enjoying the lights and sights of the city.
When we stopped at a corner to wait for the traffic light to change, this teenager came up to me and said, “I know you-I’ve seen you on television.” I greeted her, and we talked for a brief moment. I sensed from her appearance and facial expressions that she probably was part of the drug culture. She told me that sometimes when she couldn’t sleep at night, she went over to a store window with a display of television sets and watched our program, “Jack Van Impe Presents….”
Then she asked, “Where are you going, Rexella?
I replied that Jack and I were on our way back to our hotel-that it was about bedtime for us. And I asked, “Are you going home tonight?”
Her answer burned into my very soul-“I am home,” she said, “I live on the street!”
Just then the stoplight changed, and a flood of people surged off the sidewalk into the street, carrying us along with them. Somehow I lost my new friend in the crowd. I looked for her when I got to the corner…I even went back across the street trying to find her. But I never saw her again. The Lord knows where she is-where all of the lost and addicted souls are who are wandering in the dark.
I often think about that teenager and the sad look on her face whenever I pray about the problem of addicts. I hope she watched our telecast again and received words of hope and encouragement, and that the Lord has helped her get off the streets and free from her addiction.
Can we be addicted to good?
According to the dictionary, one of the definitions for addiction could have a positive connotation-“a compelling motivation.” I believe this is what the Apostle Paul was exhibiting when he declared in 1 Corinthians 9:16, Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
He was saying, “I am compelled to share the gospel. There is something about my calling that is so powerful that it is like an addiction. There is nothing else I can do but preach-I can’t help it, I must do this.” No wonder he wrote in Romans 1:15, I am ready to preach the gospel….
Paul’s calling must have been a “compelling motivation,” because he traveled all over the known world of his day preaching the gospel, making converts, and planting churches. In some areas he was accepted, honored, and lauded, but in many other places he was met with opposition and persecution. No doubt there were plenty of times when he might have turned back had it not been for his addiction to the gospel and carrying out the Great Commission.
Acts 14 relates how unbelievers sought to stone Paul and Barnabas in Iconium, but they escaped and went to preach at Lystra. Then his persecutors did stone Paul there and left him for dead. But he managed to get up and go to Derbe, another city in the area, to preach. After teaching many people there, Paul headed right back to Lystra and Iconium to minister in the very places where people had tried to kill him.
Later Paul listed some of the persecution and trouble he faced in order to carry out his calling. He spoke of being in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness (2 Corinthians 11:23-27).
Why would Paul take such risks and endure such pain and hardship? He was an addict to his calling. He had to go, even if it meant facing persecution. “I have to do it,” he said, “for woe is me if I preach not the gospel!”
Paying the price
There is a price to be paid for serving God. Those who are not sold out, soul and body, to their commitment to Christ and their calling to His commission may find the Christian lifestyle too arduous and difficult. Some have turned back and said, “This is not for me.” But many, many others have given their all to the cause of Christ-they became addicts who gave themselves so completely to the Lord that they could do nothing else.
We have a great host of tremendous examples, all the way back to the first disciples. All of them became martyrs for the Lord-they were all murdered for their faith, every single one. And there are other great Christian champions in almost every era.
Some years ago Jack and I were in Europe visiting England, where I was privileged to interview some noted church leaders in that country. During a visit to historic Westminster Abbey, I was particularly drawn to the burial site of David Livingstone, the renowned missionary to Africa.
Livingstone was born into a poor Scottish family, and began working fourteen-hour days in the cotton mill at age 10. He went to night school for two hours after work each day, and would also prop books on his machine so he could study while working. Later he studied medicine and theology in Glasgow, and soon felt called to go to Africa as a missionary.
Asked why he would leave Britain to go to the “dark continent,” where he most likely would give his life and die, Livingstone said simply, “I am compelled by the love of Christ.”
For the next thirty years he served God in Africa as a missionary preacher, physician, scientist, anti-slavery activist, and explorer. He trekked over and mapped an amazing one-third of the continent. When Livingstone died on May 1, 1873, kneeling by his cot in prayer, his faithful African friends buried his heart at the foot of a giant tree, mummified his body and carried it almost a thousand miles to the coast. A ship carried his remains to London, where he was buried in Westminster Abbey on April 18, 1874. That day was an official day of national mourning in England.
When I stood in that famous old church and read the memorial marker for Livingstone, I was impressed by both his total life sacrifice and his remarkable accomplishments for the Lord. “Compelled by the love of Christ,” he helped change the course of history in Africa and strike a powerful blow against slavery world-wide.
Buried next to Livingstone in Westminster Abbey is his brother, John. While David was preparing himself for a lifetime of missionary service, John’s ambition was to find a way to earn lots of money. Apparently he was successful and became very wealthy. I believe he also became a famous cricket player, and enjoyed fame and adulation in addition to his affluent lifestyle.
None of these things were worthy of consideration when John’s memorial marker was inscribed. There is no mention of his wealth, fame, or position. The marker reads simply: John Livingstone, The brother of David Livingstone.”
Isn’t that astounding? All of John’s riches and privileged lifestyle amounted to nothing in the end. But David Livingstone’s addiction to the gospel-being compelled by the love of Christ-will be recognized forever, both here and in heaven.
I live with an addict!
For an example of a person “addicted” to the work of the Lord, let me take you a little closer to home-in fact, to my home. I have had the privilege of spending a lifetime with my dear husband, Dr. Jack Van Impe. And from the beginning of our life together, I realized that he was absolutely an addict when it came to serving the Lord.
For many years we traveled all over the world ministering in churches, later in large community auditoriums, and doing everything possible to win souls to our Lord. In those days we spent far more time on the road than we did at home. It took dedication, hard work, and an all-consuming passion for soul-winning and for giving people hope and comfort in a troubled world.
But that’s not all. There is absolutely no way for me to fully describe Jack’s determination-no, compulsion!-to memorize the Word of God. For weeks, months, years, he spent hours every day studying handwritten cards with Bible verses written on them. Not only did he memorize each verse and where it was found in the Bible, but also its subject. That’s why today, it’s not unusual to hear him quote a dozen verses from various parts of the Bible relating to a specific topic. It’s amazing, even to me after all these years.
But I know what it cost him-hours and hours and hours of daily study to memorize them…and ongoing hours and hours every year to review and refresh those verses in his mind, even today.
And that’s still not all. For many, many years now, Jack has averaged reading at least one book a day, studying the Bible and prophetic topics, as well as history, current events, and international politics. When he speaks so authoritatively on television, applying the Word of God to today’s news about events and world leaders, he knows what he is talking about. He is an absolute addict to his ministry!
By the way, Jack and I produce fifty television programs a year, in addition to the videos, books, magazines, and other ministry projects. The average TV sitcom does only twenty-seven or twenty-eight shows per year. We’ve been producing fifty programs annually for years. Is the extra work worth it? Absolutely! We get thousands of letters from people who say they prayed the prayer with Jack at the end of the program and accepted Christ into their hearts.
When we go out to a restaurant or a shopping center, we’re almost always bombarded by people who’ve seen us on TV and just want to say hello or share a brief testimony. One evening we were stopped nineteen times on a short walk.
Our office has record of more than two million precious people who have come to Christ through the outreaches of Jack Van Impe Ministries. At a time when others might be thinking of slowing down, he still is addicted to helping others open their hearts and lives to our Lord! Full speed ahead!
Are you an addict?
What about you? Even if you are not called to a pulpit ministry, or to minister on television, or in a church setting, I believe God has given you a special gift to share with others. There is a way you can serve the Lord-in fact; there may well be people you can reach with the gospel who might not respond to anyone else in the whole world.
Wherever God has placed you is your mission field! How can you be a witness to those in your world? Are you taking advantage of your unique opportunities to be used of the Lord?
What if you set a goal to share a testimony, a word of witness, or to stand up for what is right at least once each day? You wouldn’t have to be a preacher, or have dozens of Bible verses memorized, or be a trained counselor. What if you just shared what God has done in your life? If you are willing to do it, someone will listen!
Become an addict for good, for God…driven by an all-consuming passion to do something-anything-for the Lord today.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Enjoy listen to your show; Look forward to each weekly episode.
Thank you for all of your hard work, teaching the truth of Torah, and supporting Israel and the Jewish People.
May Hashem Bless You and Yours!
Rabbi J. M.
Dear Brothers and Sisters Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus
I’m so blessed with the teachings that you are sending me on my email every month. My prayer is that every Christian in the body of Christ must hear them so we can always stay in hope.
HIGHLIGHTED PRODUCT OFFERS
The Jesus of Judaism, Christianity, & Islam
At this precarious time in history, Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe want you and your loved ones to know the Truth!
Amidst the lies, hatred, and destruction of Islam and liberal’s message to the world, Jesus’ message of love and redemption shines throughout history, on the pages of Scripture.
You’ll feel Christ’s love for His chosen people and for you, as Drs. Jack and Rexella expertly reveal the answers to questions like:
- Is the Jesus of the Koran the same as the Jesus of the Bible?
- Who is the Messiah of Islam?
- Did the Jews know Jesus would be crucified?
- That He would rise again?
- What is the future of the Jewish people?
- What are the differences between Christianity and Islam?
- What are the five fundamentals of the Christian faith?
- Is Obama a Christian?
- Does Israel becoming a nation in 1948, and taking Jerusalem in 1967, prove that Jesus is coming back very soon?
- What is jihad really about?
- Does Islam fuel Christian persecution?
- And many more!
The Final Three Popes Signal Christ’s Return
Are we now living in the era of the final three Popes? How do these final three Popes signal Christ’s imminent return?
Acclaimed Bible scholar and teacher Dr. Jack Van Impe draws upon his lifetime of research and study to make a definitive case for Christ’s imminent return.
This power-packed volume is thoroughly documented yet easy to read; an inspiring account proving beyond any shadow of doubt that Jesus is coming soon!