January 13, 2014
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
The Book of Revelation is the culmination of Bible prophecy – the point at which all the prophecies of the ages converge and find their ultimate fulfillment. Revelation discloses the future of the Jew, Gentile, and the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Within its pages are specific details concerning the Savior’s return, the establishment of His Millennial Kingdom and, finally, the eternal state of both the saved and the lost.
The word revelation comes from the Greek apokalupsis, meaning “an uncovering or unveiling.” For this reason, the Book of Revelation is also known as the Apocalypse. In either case, the definition reflects the fact that God has made known to mankind those eternal, supernatural truths and realities which man, on his own, could never realize or discover.
The Book of Revelation is the final work of the New Testament and the Revelation of Jesus Christ which details world history from the time of John (the Early Church Age) to eternity. It constitutes God’s last special revelation to mankind this side of heaven. Simply stated, Bible prophecy and Revelation are history written in advance. They form God’s description of future facts and events. Such prophecy is completely trustworthy because God is Omniscient, He knows all things, whether they be actual or merely possible, and He knows them perfectly from all eternity. Acts 15:18 states: Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world. Thus, the Almighty is able to fully and accurately describe the future in advance of its actual occurrence.
Current international events reflect exactly the conditions and happenings predicted throughout the Bible for the last days of this age. Yet, comparatively little prophetic teaching and preaching are currently taking place. This is probably due to the fact that this field of endeavor involves a great amount of research and study (see II Timothy 2:15). Millions more prefer not to have prophecy explained to them because they would rather live by the world’s standards and dictates. As individuals who are seeking satisfaction and rewards in this life, they are obviously not anxiously anticipating Christ’s return.
As we walk through the Book of Revelation together, remember that this special message has been given to reveal God’s truth, not conceal it; and to clarify God’s eternal purpose, not mystify it. I will not present an elaborate outline or engage in the use of heavy theological terminology. My goal is a simple verse-by-verse analysis. I trust that, as a result, each reader will gain a clear understanding of the blessed truths that the Book of Revelation contains.
Verse 1: The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.
We begin our study by immediately recognizing that the noun is revelation, singular, not revelations, plural. This term comes from the Greek word Apokalupsis and means “an unveiling or uncovering.” It is often used in the epistles as a “manifestation” (Romans 8:19), a “coming” (1 Corinthians 1:7), a “revealing” (2 Thessalonians 1:7), and an “appearing” (1 Peter 1:7). The Book of Revelation, then, concerns the unveiling or appearing of our precious Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not the unfolding of the story of St. John the Divine, or even of prophetical truth, but rather the message of the “appearing of Christ.” This appearing takes place at the Rapture (chapter 4, verse 1), as well as at the hour of His return to earth when every eye shall see Him (chapter 1, verse 7).
Secondly, we see that this revelation was given to Jesus Christ, as is everything, for Jesus said, All things are delivered unto me of my Father (Matthew 11:27). They are presented unto Him to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass. The term shortly in the original means “rapidity of action once there is a beginning.” This certainly pictures the present hour when signs pointing to His return are beginning to appear with alarming frequency. These truths, then, are sent and signified by Christ’s angel unto John, the writer of the book, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Notice that the first four letters of the word signified spell SIGN. Why? The Book of Revelation is a study of signs. There is the sign of the Holy Spirit presented as seven spirits (verse 4) and the sign of the seven golden candlesticks and the seven stars (verse 20). Thus, through signs, we come to an understanding of this gloriously revealed portion of Scripture.
Verse 2: [John] bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
This statement is self-explanatory.
Verse 3: Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
Verse three proves that the apocalypse is not some deep, mysterious, confusing book. God would not be an omniscient, all-knowing God if He promised a special blessing to those who read, hear, and keep what they read and hear, if they were unable to comprehend the truth. No, the Book of Revelation is understandable and fills the heart with joy once one sees its glorious message concerning the Savior.
One reason that readers and hearers are to keep that which they have heard is because the time of Christ’s return is at hand. The words at hand mean “imminent.” Near and imminent are not synonymous. Imminent means “impending.” Hence, the event could happen immediately or within ten minutes, ten months, or even ten years. “Imminence” is always the meaning of at hand when speaking about the return of the Lord. For example, Romans 13:12 says, The night is far spent, the day is at hand [imminent]. Philippians 4:5 declares, Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. And 1 Peter 4:7 says, But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. Thus, the next event on God’s calendar, the return of Christ for His Church, may happen momentarily. That is why we, as Christians, should keep our eyes fixed heavenward, looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13).
Verse 4: John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven spirits which are before his throne;
John now focuses his attention on seven local churches located in a land area called Asia. This is not Asia as we know it today, but probably a portion of Turkey. Only seven churches are mentioned, although there were undoubtedly more in existence. Seven is God’s number of perfection. The number also pictures seven different sets of conditions reflecting the history of God’s people through the Church Age.
God’s salutation, found in nineteen of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, is presented here as well: Grace be unto you, and peace. It is not “peace and grace” but “grace and peace,” because this is God’s program for sinners. They cannot have peace until He has shown them His lovely grace. God must show His unmerited favor and love, called “grace,” before one can experience peace. This grace is shown through the sacrifice of Calvary and is freely bestowed upon all who believe and receive Christ. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8,9).
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men (Titus 2:11). When grace has done its job, peace follows: Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). This peace was made through the blood of his cross (Colossians 1:20). Thus, Romans 15:13 states: Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
Only Jesus can give this peace. An unsaved psychiatrist is unable to do the job. Psychiatrists need the same peace that they strive to give. Thus, we must turn our problems over to the Son of God.
We also find that the message of grace and peace is from the entire Trinity. First, the Father which is, which was, and which is to come; then from the seven Spirits which are before the throne (a designation of the blessed Holy Spirit in all of His holiness, for seven means perfection)…
Verse 5: And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
The question is often asked, “Why is Christ the first begotten from the dead, when Lazarus and others were raised first?” The answer is simple. Others were raised to life, but they died again. They were raised from physical death to physical life only to eventually die a second time. Jesus Christ was raised from the dead to immortality—never to die again! He is the first to have been resurrected with a new never-dying body. This is why Christ should be the first that should rise from the dead (Acts 26:23)…and why He only hath immortality (1 Timothy 6:16).
Five times Christ is called “the first begotten” or “the firstborn from the dead.” Another five times He is called “the only begotten.” The term “only begotten” refers to His incarnation, whereas “first begotten (or firstborn) refers to His resurrection. For instance, he bringeth in the first begotten into the world (Hebrews 1:6). [Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn [first begotten] of every creature (Colossians 1:15). And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn [first begotten] from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence (Colossians 1:18).
Romans 8:29 declares, For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn [yea, the first begotten] among many brethren. Think these verses through carefully so that no cultist can trip you up on the terms “first begotten” and “firstborn,” in his attempts to make the eternal Christ have a beginning. No, praise God, Christ is from of old, from everlasting (Micah 5:2). Yea, He is one with the everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6).
The Lord Jesus Christ is also called the prince of the kings of the earth. This, of course, refers to the future, when the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) returns to earth as the KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (Revelation 19:16). This glorious event will be the fulfillment of Psalm 2:6, which states: [I have] set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. At that time the Lord Jesus shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth (Psalm 72:8).
Verse 6: And [He] hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Verses 5 and 6 contain three glorious statements concerning Christ’s work on our behalf: (1) He loved us; (2) He washed us from our sins in His own blood; and (3) He hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father. The order is beautiful. Let’s examine it in detail.
First, the Lord Jesus had to love us in order to wash us and make us kings and priests. However, it is even more thrilling when one sees that His love is in the present tense, meaning that He continues loving those He has washed. This is why John 13:1 triumphantly declares, [Jesus], having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. Can you understand such love? Oh, that you may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge (Ephesians 3:18,19). This love is forever. That is why Paul declared in Romans 8:37-39: Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The love which Jesus Christ has bestowed upon each born-again believer should manifest itself in daily living, for He said to His own, A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another (John 13:34,35). This love for you and me brought Christ from heaven’s glory to the cruel cross of Golgotha’s hill. Love made Him shed His blood for the remission of our sins.
Secondly, He washed us! Some do not like the teaching about the blood. They want to earn heaven by their own meritorious works. However, being whitewashed is not the same as being washed white. There is a vast difference! It is not less toil that solves the difficulty, it is no toil. Listen to God: Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration (Titus 3:5).
When one trusts in the merits of Christ’s shed blood, his sins are gone, As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:12). Isaiah 38:17 declares, Thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back. God says, I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins (Isaiah 44:22). Yes, He has cast all our sins into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19). Oh, come to Jesus and He will lift all your load. Here’s proof! To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins (Acts 10:43). It matters not how far astray the wayward son or daughter has gone, the blood of Jesus Christ [God’s] Son cleanseth us from all sin (1 John 1:7).
Thirdly, because of His love and the washing of regeneration, Christ is able to make us kings and priests unto God and his Father. “Priest” is the title of every believer. It is also the reason one does not need a minister to help him get closer to God. If you have been born again, you are a priest in the eyes of the Almighty. You can bring your own petitions to God. One is not heard any more rapidly because he has been ordained by men, for all born-again believers are on the same level. All are members of a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that [we] should shew forth the praises of him who hath called [us] out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). What a calling! Thank you, Jesus. John adds, To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
How to deal with negatives
So many people seem to be constantly battling their negative feelings, or relying too heavily upon them. Everyone likes to feel good, and no one enjoys being depressed or tension ridden. While some people spend their entire lives in search of the ultimate emotional high, others seem to revel in feeling low.
Regardless of what kind of person you are, your feelings and how you respond to them play a major role in determining how much you can experience and enjoy satisfaction, or how susceptible you are to feeling baffled, bewildered, or befuddled by the negatives in life.
As we have already learned, being satisfied is not the same thing as being happy. Happiness is our emotional response to what happens to us and around us. Conversely, a truly fulfilled person remains stable in grief, under pressure, and during other times of negative emotional expression. Genuine satisfaction, then, is not an emotion, and it is not dependent upon a positive emotional response to a given situation.
Nevertheless, negative emotions, if dealt with improperly, can destroy our sense of well being and joy. If we see our trials as coming from God in order to bring us to maturity, for example, we can be composed even in the midst of deep tribulation. But if we resist trials and allow them to make us bitter, we destroy the possibility of beneficial gain. This is true for every kind of negative emotion and feeling.
Bitterness, resentment, and an unforgiving spirit
Quite often negative feelings are an indication that there is something wrong in our lives. A personal failure, a broken promise, or something someone said has hurt us or undermined our sense of self-confidence. As a result, we begin brooding over the situation and harboring critical thoughts. Then, before we realize it, we find ourselves on the threshold of bitterness and resentment, baffled and bewildered.
One of the most negative attitudes we can experience is an unforgiving spirit. Nothing is more damaging to a person’s spiritual and emotional well being. Yet, often we find it so difficult to forgive.
Following a city-wide meeting several years ago, a young woman came to me in tears. “Oh, Rexella,” she cried, “I can’t forgive him, but after your husband’s message tonight I can at least say that I’m on the road to forgiveness and I no longer hate him.” She then related to me one of the saddest stories I have ever heard.
As a young child, this woman had been left alone and put up for adoption. After many years of struggling to organize her life into one that had meaning and purpose, she was adopted by a Christian family. As a teenager, she had accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior. Later, she married a fine Christian man and God blessed them with three beautiful children. Her life was full and complete.
The couple enjoyed the friendship of many Christians in their local church. One young man was especially friendly to them, and they frequently invited him into their home for fellowship. They appreciated his testimony and apparently consistent lifestyle.
But one afternoon the young mother returned home to find her 10-year-old daughter in tears. The young man they had loved and trusted had come by for a visit and sexually assaulted their child!
Although that horror had occurred two years in the past, the trauma of the experience was still very real in the life of this mother. She wept as she told me how she had harbored hatred and bitterness against the man who had violated her daughter. Now, because of it, her life was in chaos.
I could hardly keep back my own tears as I listened. I shared this mother’s anger over what had happened to her young daughter. Together we wept over the child, the crime, and the whole situation. The words choked in my throat as I tried to help her find the strength to forgive this man for his evil deed. God had already given her the grace to stop hating him, and now He could give her the grace to forgive him. I assured her that God shared her hatred for the evil done to her daughter, for Scripture assures us that He cares for children in a special way (see Matthew 18:6). I also showed her from the Bible that we cannot believe everyone who says He knows Christ. Finally, I emphasized that she must forgive this man for his sin against her family, just as God had forgiven her when as a teenager she accepted His forgiveness for her sins.
We prayed, read the Word, talked, and prayed some more. At the end of our time together, the woman was radiant-at peace with the Lord and at peace with herself. She had forgiven that man, but she was the one who benefited most from the act of forgiveness.
Most of us will never know from what depths of God’s resources this woman had to draw in order to forgive. The crime committed against her daughter was unspeakable, and she had carried that memory inside her for two years. But the bitterness that grew inside her because she would not forgive had begun to destroy her, and she could not be happy until she was released from the bondage of an unforgiving spirit.
That incident left an indelible mark on my memory, for it brought clearly into focus the truth that forgiveness is always costly. The awfulness of the sin committed against that woman and her daughter is appalling. I cannot get away from a sense of disgust and righteous indignation over a man’s assaulting a young girl. And yet the mother brought to herself harm physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually by refusing to forgive.
On one occasion in the life of the Lord Jesus, Peter came to Him and asked, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? [Jesus answered,] I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven (Matthew 18: 21,22).
The Savior was saying that there can be no limit to the number of times or the depth of forgiveness with which we are to forgive. None of us has a right to withhold forgiveness from another. We are not left with an option of whether to forgive. Jesus went on to emphasize this truth in a parable, telling of a man who had been forgiven of a massive debt but was unwilling to write off a debt of a few dollars someone owed to him. The foolishness of that man’s stubbornness shows just why we must forgive-because God has forgiven us of so much.
Forgiving a person for a wrong committed against us is costly. It may cost us our pride, it may cost us money, or it may cost us in terms of violated rights. But God’s forgiveness to us cost even more-it cost His Son. Jesus died to pay the price for our forgiveness, and in that dreadful moment that surpassed time and eternity as He hung on the cross bearing our sin, God the Father had to forsake His only begotten Son. It was an incredible price to pay to forgive undeserving sinners.
Forgiving and forgetting
Sincere, effective forgiveness also includes another important element-forgetting. In her book, It Feels Good to Forgive, my friend Helen Hosier has penned an irreversible truth: “Regardless of how many times you may say to someone who has wronged you, ‘I forgive you,’ if you have not forgotten then you have failed in forgiveness. If you find it necessary to remind the individual of his or her betrayal, unfaithfulness, or untrustworthiness, then you have not truly forgiven the other person.”
Forgiving and forgetting is truly God’s way, for this is exactly what He does for us when we come to Him through Christ. This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more (Hebrews 10:16-17). If God can forgive and forget our terrible iniquities which sent His Son to the cross, surely we cannot do less. In fact, He will give us the power to accomplish this task, for we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).
Many times our bitterness and resentment become so imbedded within us that we actually extend our anger beyond the person or situation that has hurt us and begin blaming God. Even Christians are prone to ask, “God, where were You? Why did You let it happen? I thought You loved me. What about your promise of guidance and protection in Psalm 121?”
Erwin W. Lutzer, one time pastor of Moody Church in Chicago, has a most enlightening answer for such inquiries. In his book, Living With Your Passions, he states: “God’s love does not prevent us from the tragedies of sexual abuse or any other kind of mistreatment. Christ was God’s ‘beloved Son,’ yet the Father didn’t shield Him from the torture of the crucifixion. That crime, despite its horror, has become for us a fountain of blessing. The horror of Good Friday must be understood in the light of the joy of Easter Sunday. God can do the same with the ugly hurts of life.”
Dr. Lutzer then admonishes his readers to confess their bitterness toward God. “Concentrate on His infinite grace and be forgiven and accepted,” he says. Only in this way will you be able to experience the deep spiritual release and sense of relief which are the beginning of true satisfaction.
How to have right attitudes
Perhaps you are struggling with bitterness or an unforgiving spirit and wonder how you can ever come to the point of confession, forgiveness, and be set free. Let me share with you the secret to removing wrong attitudes and negative feelings. It is the power of the Word of God.
Hebrews 4:12 says, For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. In other words, when you let Scripture fill your heart, it transforms what is in there. It seeks out wrong attitudes, exposes them, and then makes them right.
The best way to let Scripture do that is to get to know it better. Read it every day, memorize it, and meditate on it. James 1:21 speaks of the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. When Scripture gets into your life and becomes a living part of you, it has an incredible transforming power.
Peter wrote something very similar. Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby (1 Peter 2:1,2). Again, Scripture is the antidote to wrong attitudes.
I am convinced that one of the reasons my husband has been so blessed of God in the ministry is that early in life he committed himself to memorizing Scripture. Now he knows thousands of Bible verses by memory and is called “the walking Bible.” I am often asked what it is like to live with a man who has memorized so much Scripture. My answer is, “It is wonderful.” God’s Word is constantly working in Jack’s heart to guide him, mold him, shape his attitudes, and direct his life.
All this victory is the result of Jack’s tremendous desire, determination, and discipline-and it is an ongoing process. He continues to add to his storehouse of memory verses each month. The most wonderful, miraculous thing about Scripture is that the more we appropriate it, the greater our appetite for it becomes.
Through the years, God’s Word has changed Jack’s personality from that of a teenaged practical joker to the mature man he is today. He still has his sense of humor and enjoys a good time, but he also exhibits a seasoned wisdom that comes only from an intimate knowledge of God’s Word. My life has been immeasurably enriched by living with this godly man for whom the Bible is his meat and drink. Jack has not only memorized the Word, but he also puts it into practice daily.
This is the essential element in building right attitudes-a willing and submissive obedience to the teaching of God’s Word. James says we should be doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving our own selves (James 1:22). Knowing the Bible intellectually without practicing it experientially can actually harden us to its truth!
God’s ideal for you is a life of victory over negativity. He wants you to cut out all roots of bitterness, regardless of how painful the cutting process may be. He also wants you to receive the engrafted Word, which is able to transform your soul. This where we begin to reach the pinnacle of satisfaction.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Good evening and greetings from Ghana ,
My name is Linda and I write to you from Ghana. I have not been on the right path and I have not followed Gods word. Today, I prayed along with you and I accepted Jesus as my lord and personal savior. I want to be ruptured too when Jesus comes so I will live a righteous life and serve him for the rest of my life until he comes to take us with him. I pray to Jesus that I will be able to maintain my righteousness garment until he comes. Thank you Jesus for saving me. Thank you for the blood.
I watched your program this morning with my grandparents as we typically do while I visit. The topic however was on drug and alcohol use and I got an overwhelming feeling that it was especially for me.
I am sober from drugs and alcohol for nearly 10 months but I have been struggling with feelings of hopelessness and unworthiness. My grandma and I pray for The Lord to heal my body and mind and expel the devil from my thoughts. The prayer that Jack ended the show with helped me immensely and I wanted to send my gratitude.
My God bless you and heaven accept you.
HIGHLIGHTED PRODUCT OFFERS
Discover 15 amazing biblical signs that prove this generation is the one that will see the Lord Jesus returning in the clouds! Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe use current events, Bible prophecy, scientific facts, and more to show you the answers to critical questions such as:
- Is Mark of the Beast technology going to be globally deployed by the year 2017?
- Why are Russia and China conducting joint military maneuvers; and why is Iran cozying up to China?
- Who is deceiving President Obama right now, and how does his role as ‘peacemaker’ for Muslim nations signal the rise of the Antichrist?
- What world leaders are calling for global Islamic law, and where is it actually predicted in Bible prophecy?
- Will our enemies attack North America with nuclear bombs?
- And much more!
This is a powerful teaching for believers and will show non-believers the truth of the soon return of Jesus!
Rampant addictions; a sign of the times? Now you’ll understand how God’s Word previews the bondage of alcoholism and drugs, tobacco, pornography, gambling, and more that we see all around us today as a sign of the soon return of the Savior and the approaching Tribulation.
In this insightful video, Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe also reveal hope for you or a loved one who is struggling with a life-controlling addiction, through the power of Jesus Christ. Learn about the biblical perspective on substance abuse – the roots of addiction – how to overcome addictions as notorious as alcoholism or as overlooked as gossip, lying or cursing.