January 6, 2014
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
What about nuclear war? The Bible says the
“elements shall melt with fervent heat.”
Would this refer to nuclear devastation?
Let’s look at what the Bible says about this kind of firepower-and when such annihilation might occur. We read in 2 Peter 3:10 a clear description of the last days: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” God does not need man’s modern inventions to produce the mass devastation mentioned in this text. Atoms have been here since God created heaven and earth (Genesis 1:1). Only in our day has science learned to harness what has always existed. God could have brought the components together at any time to produce the effects predicted in this prophecy. This text pictures the renovation of the world. Since God’s Word promises a final day of rest, there can be no complete renovation of the earth until Christ has reigned for one thousand years. Therefore, this text refers to events to be fulfilled after the Millennium-the thousand-year reign of Christ. However, scores of other texts predict nuclear war for the Tribulation Hour.
Here’s the startling truth portrayed in this portion of scripture: Humanity today has the potential to carry out that which prophecy has long predicted for the human race. Because science has harnessed this power, and because God’s predictions for the Tribulation Hour promise massive fiery devastation, the hour is most certainly at hand. God is able to carry out everything mentioned in Revelation 8:7 and 9:18. He, the omnipotent One, needs no assistance from the world’s Atomic Energy Commissions or the Pentagon. These verses indicate that humans will use atoms during the Tribulation period and at the end of the Millennium. Modem science tells us there are three primary effects of an A- or H-bomb blast. First, there is the tremendous mushrooming effect as it ascends into the heavens upon detonation. Second, as the blast begins its descent, it disintegrates, dissolves, and melts even steel. In fact, a five-hundred-foot steel tower melted into nothingness in the desert of New Mexico during past experiments. Finally, the heat made the same desert a blazing inferno.
Now, observe the statement Peter made under the direction of the Holy Spirit nineteen centuries ago. First, the heavens shall pass away with a great noise. Second, the elements shall melt with fervent heat. God said that the elements would melt. Go to any library and make a study of atomic weaponry. The materials will be classified under the letter E under the term elements-the very word God used. Think of it! Twentieth-century scientists continue to use the same language God employed nineteen hundred years ago. Finally, Peter states, “The earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10). The three major effects of nuclear detonations are identical to Peter’s prophecies and the catastrophic bombardments of earth predicted for the coming Tribulation Hour. In numerous other scriptural texts, undoubtedly, World War HI will be one of incineration. Revelation 9:18 states, “By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone.” I have stood in Japan, near Hiroshima, and remembered with sadness the reports of mayhem and destruction that emanated from the two Japanese cities struck by the atomic bomb during World War II. My mind was troubled. Then I thought about the Tribulation Hour. Zechariah 14:12 pictures an atomic devastation beyond comprehension. The prophet said, “Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.” This is the precise effect of humankind’s newest weapon-the neutron bomb that destroys people but not property! All of this could take place in the near future. Then, after the millennial reign of Christ, the final atomic renovation of 2 Peter 3:10 will occur.
While believers will not endure the horror of the Tribulation, we must know the times so as to be faithful witnesses. That is why we must study and take the time to understand the prophecies in this startling chapter. They are vivid reminders that the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is near. At a time when the world mocks His return, reveling in its atomic weaponry and false sense of security, and during an era when the sixth day is about to expire, Christ could return momentarily. The clock is ticking away its last fateful seconds. Little time remains. If you do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ and have not accepted Him as your Savior and Lord, you, too, will be left behind with those who refuse to believe. All laughter will end when the fire begins to fall (Genesis 19:14, 24, 25; Luke 17:28-30). It will then be eternally too late. “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).
In Conclusion …
I have an important question for you.
In Matthew 24:3, Christ’s disciples asked, “What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world [literally, age]?” The Savior proceeded to provide a list of cataclysmic world events, which would both usher in His return and culminate in the Day of the Lord. He added in Luke 21:28, “And when these things begin to come to pass [or begin to occur simultaneously], then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Concerning this great day, the apostle Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3, “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them.”
Never in the pages of world history have we witnessed such a proliferation of the signs Jesus predicted would be in place immediately before His return. No longer are the days of simultaneous war, famine, pestilence, earthquakes, and cultic activity limited to the pages of the Bible. All we need to do today is glance at the morning headlines or listen for five minutes to CNN (or watch the tawdry afternoon television “peep shows”) to realize that these signs of Christ’s return are in evidence worldwide and increasing both in frequency and intensity. Is it any wonder that the scientists who control the famed “doomsday clock” are moving its hands ever closer to midnight?
Prophecy: History Written in Advance
The questions I have tried my best to answer in the preceding newsletters have dealt with the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to the stream of end-time events that will usher in the Tribulation-a period of unparalleled terror. I remind you, Christians will not be a part of this horrendous time (Revelation 3:10). In answer to your many questions, I have endeavored to deal with most of the major New Testament prophecies that relate to the return of our Lord in the light of current international events. Remember that prophecy is simply history written in advance. It is God’s declaration and description of future events. As such, prophecy cannot, has not, and will never fail in even the smallest detail until all has been fulfilled. The day of that ultimate fulfillment is upon us. My personal prayer is that, upon completing this book, you will renew your vow of love, service, and allegiance to the Savior. If you do not yet know the Lord of lords and King of kings, it is my earnest prayer that you will open your heart and your life to Jesus today. Do not be left behind. Do not say, “I wish I had taken the words of prophecy more seriously.”
Will it be easy for us in the years before the Tribulation? I think not. We will still be compelled to deal with runaway crime, abortions, drug abuse, plagues, pestilence, AIDS, wars, and rumors of wars, and an unprecedented hostility toward the gospel. The question is, Will you be strong in your love for Christ, or will you sell your birthright for a few thrills during the challenging times that are sure to lie ahead? Will you be an end-time hero for the faith? Alternatively, will you be found wanting? The apostle John, thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil, survived the painful ordeal but was disfigured for life and banned to the isle of Patmos. The beloved apostle Paul was beheaded. Two of the New Testament writers, Jude and Peter, were crucified. Another Gospel writer, James, was battered to death with a fuller’s club.
Now let us look at the larger picture: Soon the great hour will have arrived, and all God’s children will be present as the investigation begins. What will you say as you stand with such an array of heroes-believers who gave their all and who proved their first love for Christ during an entire lifetime and even unto death? Only you know the answer. Christ’s return may be tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. We do not know the day or the hour when Jesus will break through the blue to call us home. However, we do know that it is near, even at the doors. Therefore, my closing questions to you are: Are you ready for Christ’s imminent return? Could you bear the investigative judgment if it were to take place tomorrow? Would you be ashamed, embarrassed, red-faced, even brokenhearted? Would tears of sorrow flow from your eyes for an entire millennial age? Is your present disobedience worth such heartache? Would you not rather serve God with all your heart and hear Him say with a loud voice: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21)? It is not too late to make a change, to reverse your lifestyle, and put Christ first in your life. If you do not know the Savior, I urge you to obey John 1:12 and Romans 10:13. If you are away from the Lord, I plead with you to act upon 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Do it. Make the right decision. Then live the remainder of your days for Him, short as those days might be. It will be worth it all when we see Jesus. Maranatha! The King is coming!
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO CHANGE?
How would you feel if you knew you could never again change anything about yourself or your life? Would you be happy with who you are, what you have, what you have accomplished, and the way things are now…from now on?
Or do you have a to-do list of improvements you’d still like to tackle in your personal life-some changes that will result in progress and growth? Chances are that you may have put off getting started simply because the familiar is more comfortable and going in new directions can be a little bewildering at first.
But someone has aptly pointed out that if we keep on doing exactly what we have been doing, we’re doomed to continue getting the same disappointing results. Which means that a little dissatisfaction from time to time may be good for you!
No one enjoys dissatisfaction, but it is not always bad. Without it, we probably wouldn’t be motivated to change, so we wouldn’t grow. And if we didn’t grow, we would atrophy.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that satisfaction is the same thing as smugness. Smugness is a sort of self-satisfaction which is not true satisfaction at all. On the contrary, self-satisfaction breeds apathy, pride, and a holier-than-thou attitude. It is a work of the flesh, not a fruit of the Spirit.
At least one kind of dissatisfaction is both beneficial and desirable. Check out Paul’s words in Philippians 3:12-14-Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (emphasis added).
Room to grow
In this passage, Paul affirms that he did not feel he had arrived at a point of perfection. He was, in a sense, dissatisfied. He knew there were things he could do better. He was aware of certain areas in his life that could be improved. In other words, he had room in his life to grow.
The great apostle responded to this inner feeling of need in a beautiful way. Rather than brooding over his past failures and allowing his sense of imperfection to become an excuse for depression and self-rejection, he acknowledged and accepted them. Then, refusing to abandon himself to failure, he dedicated himself more completely to his purpose of striving to be what God wanted him to be.
We need to develop the same attitude if we are ever to be truly fulfilled. We must forget our past failures and press on toward the mark. We must refuse to sink into self-pity or apathy. Above all, we must refuse to become discouraged. Real satisfaction is within reach, but it requires that we have a healthy dose of the right kind of dissatisfaction.
Signs of a life out of order
Both men and women can recognize signs of a need to get our act together and change our priorities in life. A heart in disarray can magnify itself in many ways.
Sometimes our work may suffer; our social life becomes non-existent, and even our health may deteriorate through discontent and bewilderment. Mother’s may ignore their families, and father’s may become aloof, preoccupied because of inner turmoil.
Dissatisfied enough to change
God often uses our dissatisfaction to make us the best that we can be. Surely when we’re dissatisfied with something we become more willing to change, more eager to improve. God can take our yearning to be better and, through His power working in us, begin to transform us to be more and more like He wants us to be.
I have always been slim, and I even remember a time in my teenage years when I was literally gangly. Like most teenagers, I was self-conscious and not entirely satisfied with my appearance. I thought my teeth were crooked, that I was too skinny, that everything was wrong with the way I looked.
One day I went to my wise and understanding mother who was always completely honest with me. In tears, I cried, “Mother, I think I look awful!”
“Well,” she said, “you don’t look your best, honey, but let’s work on it.” Rather than minimize my dissatisfaction, she wisely decided to use it for my benefit. First of all, she began to build up my confidence. She tried to help me see which of my features could be emphasized and which ones could be improved. She helped me realize that I could look better with a little work and determination, but she brought into focus the importance of accepting the areas that couldn’t be changed. With her tender love and wisdom, she taught me that what we are is, after all, more important than how we look.
So many women today are dissatisfied because they, too, are frustrated with their appearance. Still, instead of doing what should and can be done about it, they allow themselves to be trapped in an attitude of self-pity and despair.
Ladies, I want to encourage you to sit up, think straight, and replace self-pity with self-determination-the determination to look, feel, and be your very best!
Neva Coyle has written two best-selling books about feeling better about yourself. From a defeated, discouraged housewife who didn’t like how she looked or how the world was passing her by, she became a free woman. These books tell the story-Free To Be Thin and Living Free.
At one time or another, each of us needs to be encouraged to improve our appearance (if you don’t believe me, just ask your husband!) And for those of us who are married, this is an important consideration. Our concern serves as an indication that we still care-that we want our husbands to continue to be satisfied and happy with the choice they made. Those of you who are still single need to remember that man [does look] on the outward appearance (1 Samuel 16:7), and accept the validity of that portion of the verse.
While I still disagree with contemporary humanity’s obsession with outward appearances and insist that we must not allow outward things to control us, we must remember that they are important. It is true that “first impressions are lasting impressions.”
The central point, then, is one of attitude. If we know we have done all that we should do and can do to look and be our very best, then we are our best. Problems in this area arise only when we allow our dissatisfaction to overrule rather than help us to improve the aspects of our physical appearance that can be changed. Perhaps the entire subject can best be summarized by a familiar quote: “Lord, grant me the grace to change the things I can, to accept the things I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Hard work, even in the area of trying to better our appearance, is important. If we can improve ourselves by working at it, God expects us to do so. All too often we ask the Lord to give us more than we deserve simply because we are not willing to apply ourselves.
Florence Littauer has written a very down-to-earth book that every woman should read. It’s entitled, It Takes So Little To Be Above Average. The gist of her message is that we shouldn’t be so satisfied to be just average when it’s so easily within our grasp to be above average. So whether it’s dissatisfaction with your weight, your personality, your intellect, your home, your family relationships, your other relationships-set some new goals, take aim, and then go for it.
Setting goals is most essential. I learned very early in life that to succeed, a person must have goals. But above all, they must be the right kind of goals. They must be realistic and attainable. Set your personal goals so they are within reach. Then when you accomplish them, set higher ones-establish a new plateau of achievement.
Recognizing your areas of need
The key to growth, improvement, and maturity is to have a realistic picture of the deficiencies in your life. Don’t make excuses for your shortcomings, but do not be obsessed with them either. One attitude leads to pride, the other to discouragement. Both are detrimental to your growth as a person.
I’m glad my mother did not try to convince me that there was nothing wrong with the way I looked as a teenager. By telling me honestly that I could improve myself and then helping me to do it, she instilled in me a sense of self-confidence and a desire for growth. Through it, I learned to live with an accurate picture of myself, understanding both my needs and my strengths. And that is a healthy step in the right direction toward the kind of satisfaction God wants us to have.
At the beginning of this chapter, I quoted Paul’s words from Philippians 3. Obviously he never saw himself as faultless. None of us should either, for we all have shortcomings.
Most Christians tend to think of Paul as a “super saint,” and truly he was an extremely godly man. He was disciplined, dedicated, and mightily used of God.
But he was also painfully aware of his great spiritual needs. Romans 7 describes his inner struggle between flesh and the spirit. Finally, in desperation, he cried out, O wretched man that I am! (verse 24). Paul’s cry was not one of defeat, but rather the deep, heartfelt yearning of a godly man who wanted to be more godly. Far from giving up in defeat, Paul was simply using his inner dissatisfaction to spur himself on to greater victory!
This message of determination runs throughout Paul’s writings. Please notice a significant truth from his life-as he grew and matured, his sense of personal need only deepened. One would think that as a person wins new victories and attains higher goals, his sense of need would begin to diminish. Just the opposite is true. As we grow closer and closer to what God wants us to become, the more deeply we sense our shortcomings.
Paul’s life beautifully illustrates this truth. In one of his early writings (1 Corinthians), he described himself as least of the apostles (15:9). What humility for one to see himself as last in order of importance and first in order of need.
Later, Paul wrote in Ephesians, [I] am less than the least of all saints [or Christians] (3:8). Now he had demoted himself even further. Not only did he see himself as the least of the apostles, but he also placed himself at the bottom of the list of all believers.
Finally, toward the end of his life, in a letter written to Timothy, Paul described himself as the chief of sinners (see 1 Timothy 1:15). He remembered he had slaughtered hundreds of believers in his persecution of Christians in earlier days.
Thus he had moved to seeing himself as chief among sinners. Here is a man who knew the right kind of dissatisfaction-the kind that spurred him on to greater consecration and, in my opinion, to becoming one of God’s choicest servants.
I am glad for the kind of dissatisfaction that leads one to look for ways to bring about self-improvement. Like Paul, we need to cultivate this kind of dissatisfaction. We need to let it drive us to a greater dependency on the Lord. Indeed, we need to search for and cooperate with His master plan for our lives.
When the work of God is complete in us and we reflect His glory, never again will we be baffled, bewildered, or befuddled by anything life places in our pathway.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Hi Jack and Rexella. I love your TV program. Thanks for letting the public know about what is going on in the world. You are one of the few Christian programs on television that keeps us informed. Thanks for being honest and not being afraid to speak up when things aren’t right. I love you guys. Keep doing what you are doing. God bless you both. I’m not sure if you heard this, yet. In the Walmart in Virginia they have an RFID machine set up already. I guess this is happening faster than I thought. I hope Jesus comes soon.
L. F. (A faithful fan)
Dear Jack and Rexella,
I just watched last week’s show where you talked about the upcoming crusade and taking a stand for Jesus. You asked people to write to you, and so I am writing to tell you that I will take a stand for Jesus. I will proudly wear a cross.
May God continue to bless you both and your ministry. You both mean so much to so many of us. I have asked God to allow you to continue preaching until the Come up Hither! We need you. Thank you so much.
Hi friends Jack and Rexella and Chuck………..I live in Dublin Ireland and watch your show every week I found you on the internet over a year ago and love the solid teachings: I love real food which is God’s word and can’t bear the wrong food that is dished out in many places today: Rexella always gives a line of scripture out at the end of the programme a word of wisdom:
One came to me the other day and I would like to give it to Rexella…. if someone asked you what present you would like for Christmas: my reply is….. I would like Gods PRESENCE: shalom and thank you
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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.
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