December 22, 2014
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
The Purpose of the Incarnation
The past two newsletters dealt with the preexistence of Christ, His deity, and His incarnation. This chapter will thoroughly cover the reason that the eternal God had a birth date into our world.
An eternal plan
Why did God come through the channel of a virgin’s womb? Why was it necessary for God, in spirit form, to take upon himself a body? Philippians 2:5-8 explicitly explains this great theological truth. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
The phrase, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross is the focal point of this discussion. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit held a meeting in eternity past and planned the entire program of redemption. All three were, at that time, in spirit form. God the Father was and still is a spirit (see John 4:24). The Holy Spirit was and still is a spirit (see John 16:13). Christ was a spirit because He was (past tense) in the form of God, which we have already proven to be a spirit form (see Philippians 2:6).
However, at this meeting of the Trinity in ages past, it was agreed that one of the three would eventually become a human with a covering of flesh, and Christ was the elected member to fulfill salvation’s plan. This can all be proven from the Holy Scriptures. First Peter 1:20: Who [Christ] verily…was manifest in these last times for you. Messiah means “sent one.” If He is the sent One, He did not originate at Bethlehem’s manger. Instead, Galatians 4:4,5 pictures the facts as they occurred. But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law.
Does this simplistic doctrinal truth penetrate your reasoning processes? Hear it again. God sent forth his Son, made of a woman. There it is-Christ’s deity and humanity. His eternity and birth. God sent the Son who was in His presence, meaning that Christ existed as God before coming to earth. However, He was made of a woman when He was sent. This is, of course, the virgin birth which took place in the manger centuries ago when God became man.
When the Trinity outlined the plan, all the events of future history were foreknown. Remember, God knows everything. The plan progressed according to the omniscience of the Godhead. Since God knows everything about everything and all things about all things, the following points were known thousands, yes, millions of years before they occurred:
1. Man’s disobedience and fall.
God placed man in the garden of Eden with certain restrictions. Genesis 2:17: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shall not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shall surety die. The slithering serpent came along and said in Genesis 3:4, Ye shall not surely die. Instead of listening to Jehovah God, Adam and Eve listened to the devil.
Say, all of us are so much like them. We certainly are chips off the old block. Genesis 3:6 states, And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. This wicked, disobedient act against the Lord God Almighty brought judgment upon the entire human race. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one [Christ] shall many be made righteous (Romans 5:19).
Not only did God foreknow the fall of man, but:
2. The Trinity foreordained the temporary sacrifice.
I imagine the conversation in the heavenlies went as follows: “Because man will yield to temptation and fall, there will need to be a sacrifice offered. Since sinful flesh is responsible and since the life of the flesh is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11), the decree is established in the counsels of eternity that the shedding of blood, which typifies DEATH to the flesh, will be the eternal sacrifice offered. It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul (Leviticus 17:11). Animal blood will be temporarily offered until one of us goes to present the permanent sacrifice.” Let’s investigate the facts and see if God’s program was instituted.
After Adam and Eve sinned they knew that they were naked (see Genesis 3:7). The pangs of a guilt-ridden conscience over sin were being experienced. They wanted to cover their bodies and did so by making fig leaf aprons. However, fig leaves that would shrivel up and die in a few days could not satisfactorily handle the situation. Also, dry fig leaves were bloodless and could not make an atonement for the soul. So God, in the cool of the day, visited this couple and covered them adequately-physically and spiritually. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them (Genesis 3:21). The skins of animals adequately covered them physically and spiritually. Why? In providing the skins, the blood of the animals was shed.
We see the same story unfolded in Genesis 4 concerning Cain and Abel. Their parents, Adam and Eve, had taught them this soul-saving story about the animal skins. Now when the boys were of age and wanted to bring a sacrifice to God, Cain presented an offering of fruit and Abel, of animals. Genesis 4:3-5: And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect.
If you should think that I am stretching the point by stating dogmatically that Cain’s offering was rejected because it was devoid of blood, I invite you to confirm this truth in your heart by studying Hebrews 11:4 which emphatically presents the teaching just considered. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent [more acceptable] sacrifice than Cain.
Notice they brought their offerings as a sacrifice. God had decreed that blood alone could make an atonement for the soul. Abel, by faith, brought an animal. Notice why he did it. It was by faith. Romans 10:17 says, So then faith cometh by hearing. If he brought it by faith and faith comes by hearing, it is only a logical conclusion to say that he heard the story from the lips of his parents, accepted it, and practiced the shedding of blood because he believed God. Cain, the first liberal or modernist, said, “It’s all bunk. I will offer my fruit which contains no blood, and God will have to be satisfied.” But God said, “Cain, I reject your bloodless sacrifice.”
Many have rejected the only method of salvation God has given the world-the shedding or sacrifice of blood for the remission of sins. Self-righteous efforts, good works, prayers, creeds, and religious observances are but offerings of fruit. The Sermon on the Mount, the Golden Rule, and the observance of the Ten Commandments are but the waving of fig leaves in the face of Almighty God. Many of these things are good to practice because one is a Christian, but any method of trying to enter into eternal life that avoids or bypasses the blood will only result in eternal separation from the God who made the decree. It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul (Leviticus 17:11). Now, let’s go one step farther.
3. The Trinity foreordained the permanent eternal sacrifice.
Again we hear the three members of the Godhead speaking in eternity past: “Animal blood will be only a temporary solution because it cannot take away sin, only cover it. Man’s blood is tainted through Adam’s sin. Therefore only one option or course of action is possible. One of the three of us will have to go to earth and take flesh as a covering. This will be necessary because flesh contains the blood of the body. The One who is chosen to go will have to shed that blood to take away the sins of the human race which animal blood only covered.
“The One who goes and takes upon himself that body must have a special birth, because all humans born through natural generation or through the regular channels of birth inherit the old wicked sinful nature of Adam. Therefore, the One chosen will have to have a special birth in the womb of a virgin. The very body will be created and placed in that womb. By this special act of creation-detouring the normal means of reproduction through intercourse-the Saviour will be born into the world. When His blood, holy and pure, is shed, it will take away sin.”
The eternal truth
Does this conversation of the Trinity in ages past seem farfetched to you? Are you wondering if this entire plan presented is really in the Bible? Listen to Revelation 13:8, [Christ was] the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. When? In God’s mind it was planned at the time of the foundation of the world. That’s right, even before Adam and Eve were created. Christ’s shedding of His blood did not take Him by surprise nearly 2,000 years ago. Rather, it was part of the plan He had helped initiate before the world was formed. That’s why Acts 2:23 states, Him [Christ] being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain. In other words, the wicked only did to Christ what the foreknowledge of God had planned.
Did it happen? Yes. God came into the world in human flesh to take a body that contained blood. It was special blood that did not have the taint of Adam’s sin integrated into it by Christ’s having a human father. Instead, the Father and the Holy Spirit placed this created miracle into the womb of the virgin without an act of intercourse or human insemination so that pure blood might course through the Redeemer’s veins. Then He shed that blood at Calvary to take away sin that had only been covered by animal sacrifices.
The proof of these truths is in the following scripture. Hebrews 10:4: For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Notice, animal blood could not take away sins. The Old Testament word atonement means “to cover”-only “to cover.” The priest offering the animal blood would say, “I know that this blood only covers the sinner’s sin until your sacrificial Lamb comes, dear God.”
Who was God’s Lamb? Hebrews 10:5: Wherefore [because animal blood could not take away sin] when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me. That body was prepared in the womb by God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. Luke 1:35: And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
When John the Baptist saw Christ upon the earth, he said in John 1:29, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. Praise God, this was the Lamb sent from heaven who could take away that which was only temporarily covered through the blood of animals. On the cross, Christ cried out, “It is finished.” He was not speaking about His life, but about the plan that had been foreordained before the foundation of the world. Am I certain of this? Yes. [We have been] redeemed…with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:18-20).
Imagine, this precious blood shed for your sins was planned for you before the world was formed. Seven hundred times the blood is mentioned as the only-THE ONLY-way of salvation. Believe it and receive the Christ who shed that pure blood for your transgressions.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
Have You Seen Him?
Over the centuries, many great artists have tried to imagine and depict what Jesus looked like during His life on earth. Master painters like Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Durer, and Michelangelo devoted their lives and focused their genius upon portraying the Master. Churches and museums in many countries display wonderful works by innumerable artists.
Many have painted the baby Jesus with His mother or on a manger bed, surrounded by his parents, the stable animals, and those who came to celebrate His birth by worshipping Him. Others have depicted Him in the Temple at age 12, puzzling the learned scholars with His knowledge about God and His spiritual wisdom.
Perhaps you have a favorite work of art, illustrating some dramatic scene from the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry-loving the children, feeding the multitudes, healing the sick, teaching His disciples. So many have tried to capture a glimpse of Jesus. Some of these portraits are masterpieces…some much more modest.
I’ve been moved and blessed by these pictures-especially those showing Christ travailing in the Garden of Gethsemane, enduring the tortures of His trial, and weeping for the world from the cross of Calvary. And how I’ve rejoiced while looking at paintings of the resurrected Savior and His Transfiguration.
Thank God for all the artists and their pictures of the Lord. I appreciate them. But even when I’ve gazed in awe at Michelangelo’s monumental paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican or marveled at da Vinci’s famous masterpiece, “The Last Supper,” something inside me wanted more. How I longed to see Jesus for myself.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to go back in time and visualize the scene of Jesus’ birth. Only Joseph and Mary were there when He came-the rest of the world was asleep. As Mary held him and looked into His face for the first time, I wonder if she realized that she was touching the infant God? There must have been something special about the way He looked, but I can’t even imagine it-it boggles my mind!
Have you seen what I’ve seen?
Then the shepherds came-running, out of breath, beside themselves with joy and excitement-to find the baby the angels had told them about…to actually see the Savior who is Christ the Lord! When they saw Him, they bowed in His presence and worshipped the newborn King. When they had seen Him, we’re told, the shepherds hurried out to tell everybody the glorious news. I can see them rushing up to everybody they met to blurt out, “Have you seen Him? Angels told us about the new baby in the stable. His name is Jesus…and He is Christ the Lord!”
Jesus came to be seen
From then on, it seems, everybody wanted to see Him. An ancient Temple priest named Simeon refused to die until he had seen the Christ. When Mary and Joseph placed their child into his arms to be consecrated according to Jewish law, the old man looked into the face of Jesus, then cried out, “Lord, now dismiss your servant in peace, for mine eyes have seen Your salvation!” (see Luke 2:25-32).
Later, wise men from the East came, bringing royal gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Following a bright star in the heavens, they had made a very long journey to see the One born to be earth’s new King.
The Gospels are full of examples of people coming to see Jesus. Jesus came to be seen-to reveal himself to the world and to show mankind the image of God the Father. He that hath seen me, He declared, hath seen the Father (John 14:9).
The people of that day saw Jesus. They saw Him being moved with compassion for the needs of the multitude. They saw Him touching lives and meeting needs. They saw Him teaching great throngs of people, performing miracles of healing, feeding thousands. Some saw Him walking on the water, speaking peace to the wind and the waves. They saw Him sacrificing himself on the cross of Calvary to save all mankind. They saw Him rise up from the grave with resurrection power.
Again and again, they asked one another, “Have you seen Him?”
What about us?
I rejoice with Mary and the shepherds who saw with their own eyes Christ Jesus the Lord! But are we who live today excluded from the awe that Mary felt when she looked into the face of her newborn child and realized that He was the God-man? Must we miss out on the joy of the shepherds who were directed by angels to a stable in Bethlehem to welcome-and worship-the Son of God?
We can see Jesus as clearly as they saw Him. I can. You can. In my personal experience, when I cried out in passionate desperation to see Jesus, He came and opened my eyes so I could see Him! And in that glorious revelation, I found Him to be so much more than I had imagined or even hoped that He would be.
I saw Him as my Savior, my Sin-bearer, my Joy, and my Strength. I saw Him as my Light and my Love, the Breath of my life and the indwelling Presence in whom I live and move and have my being!
Since that day, I’ve been like the shepherds scurrying through the streets of Bethlehem, witnessing to everyone they met. Now I ask people everywhere I go, “Have you seen Him? Have you really seen Jesus? Please let me show you where to find Him.”
Not only can we see Him, but we can hear Him too. Unlike the folks on the far edge of the crowd who had to strain to hear the physical voice of Jesus, we can hear from the Lord any time, all the time. This is really important because we live in an information age where there is a constant clamor of voices trying to get our attention. It’s easy to get confused in the tumult.
But we can always tune in to the voice of Jesus through prayer. It has been said that He speaks in a “still, small voice.” I don’t know how to describe it, but His voice is unmistakable, and I know it when I hear it!
The Lord also speaks to us through His Word, the Holy Bible. Whenever I need comfort, assurance, direction, or help, I turn to the Scriptures. Time and time again, as I read and listen with my heart, His Word speaks to me with just the help and the answers I need. I can’t explain it-I only know it works.
So we can see Jesus today, and we can hear His voice. We can also know that He hears us when we come into His presence. What a joy to be able to talk to Jesus as one friend talks to another. We can speak to Him at any moment.
I don’t have to be in church. I don’t have to be on my knees, or in any other position. I don’t have to use any special phrases or “holy” words. I don’t have to have an appointment. He is always with me, always interested, always understanding, and always ready to help.
The Gospels tell us that wherever Jesus went during His earthly ministry, great crowds gathered around Him. When people in need heard that He was passing by, they went running to find Him. People brought the sick to Him. Lepers came to seek deliverance. The blind and the lame sought His healing touch.
When He began teaching down by the sea, people ran to get near Him. When He sat down on the mountainside, a crowd of more than 5,000 ran after Him to hear His words. They ran to see Him, to hear His voice, to feel His touch.
Seek Him now
If you and I had lived back then, no doubt we would have been running too. We would have joined all the other people who wanted to get close to Jesus.
But if we would have run to Him back then, why aren’t we doing it now? Why aren’t we seeking Him, looking to Him, listening to Him, talking to Him? Why do we forget to read the Bible, skip our devotional prayer time, and perhaps forsake the assembling of ourselves with other believers in worship too often?
In the words of the old spiritual, “If we ever needed the Lord before, we sure do need Him now…we need Him every day and every hour.” Perhaps you feel that you are not as close to Jesus as you once were. Then I would implore you to draw near to Him.
Run to Him! Run to His voice! Run to His touch!
The beloved Apostle John wrote, That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ (1 John 1:3).
During this holiday season, no doubt you’ll be seeing Christmas decorations and greeting cards that will remind you of the birth of Jesus in a Bethlehem stable. Each time you see a manger scene, let it be a reminder to ask yourself, “Have I seen Him today? Have I heard His voice?”
Then find someone you can speak to and ask-
“Have you seen Him?”
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Thank you for your exposure of what Islam really says in the Koran. Those that try to marry the two religions are certainly misguided at the very least.
Thank you again for all you do and for continuing to take a strong stand on the Word of God and for being His fearless servant. So many have been blessed by you both and your ministry. God Bless you and your ministry!
In God’s Love Always
I know you cannot read every email you receive, but I am writing to tell you that you are the only Evangelists on television I watch. You come on at 12:30 am on Sunday in Philadelphia, I stay up to watch you. Thank God that I do. I am a member of the Episcopal Church, I no longer can attend my own church home or any other church in TECUSA. No one mentioned the Muslim prayers at the National Cathedral but you. I would not have known, if not for you. The apostasy in the Episcopal Church is leading people to hell, first gay bishop, then blessing same sex marriage, now this. I could go on and on, I pray God Almighty keeps you healthy and on the air, so we can learn the truth in this world. Be blessed, I will be praying for you both.
The Rev. S. R-F.
HIGHLIGHTED PRODUCT OFFERS
New Third Edition
- With bonus Prophetic Verses of the Bible handbook A listing of all the prophetic verses in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation
- Now includes Daniel Final End Times Mysteries Unsealed A full commentary on the book of Daniel by Dr. Jack Van Impe
- All the prophecy verses in the Bible shaded and identified.
- The majestic King James Version translation text in large print, with words of Christ in red.
- A ribbon bookmarker.
- A special presentation page – perfect for gift-giving
- An inspiring introductory message from Dr. Jack Van Impe.
- A Scripture memorization plan – designed by Dr. Van Impe to enable you to learn the Word of God more effectively than ever before.
- Dr. Van Impes own A to Z Prophecy Index – giving you easy, instant access to the Bible’s answers on the questions that concern you most.
- Dr. Van Impes fascinating verse-by-verse commentary on the book of Revelation.
Unprecedented blasphemy; apostasy; heresy; so-called Christian leaders utterly turning their backs on the Word of God.
What does it mean? What does the Bible say about this colossal falling-away from the faith? What does it signal about YOUR FUTURE?
Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe offer the astonishing answers to these and other riveting questions:
- What does the word apostasy actually mean? Where are we seeing it today?
- What is the “blasphemy law”? How have our U.S. leaders responded to it?
- How does the persecution of Christians around the world relate to the final signs pointing to the return of the Lord?
- How is it possible to determine whether someone is truly a Christian when they claim to be?
- And much more!