July 7, 2014
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
Revelation 20: 1 – 6
Chapter 20 introduces us to the most beautiful, peaceful, and rewarding age this world will ever know-the Millennium, or the one-thousand-year reign of the Lord Jesus Christ as KING OF KINGS; AND LORD OF LORDS. He will sit on the throne of David in Jerusalem, and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor; the mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end (Isaiah 9:6, 7).
Before beginning our study of this chapter, may I take a moment to refute the reasoning of critics who deny this doctrinal truth? Those who oppose the teaching of a literal one-thousand-year reign of Christ upon earth are in direct opposition to the Word of God! Their claim that the doctrine is dangerously built on a single chapter of the Bible proves that they are not good students of God’s Holy Word, for many passages both teach and reflect this truth. Let’s investigate.
First of all, if Israel has no future, dozens of Old Testament prophecies immediately go down the drain.
For example, Genesis 49 and Deuteronomy 33, with all of their benedictions upon the people of Israel, must be scrapped if there is no place upon earth where they find fulfillment. To spiritualize or allegorize the literal truths concerning Israel’s future is to be willfully blinded. I have spent thousands of hours in God’s Book and could never honestly or intellectually arrive at such a conclusion.
Secondly, there must be a Millennium, or scores of verses become hollow platitudes of meaningless predictions. Consider the following texts-they could never depict heaven because they occur on earth. If so, there must be a time and place for their fulfillment, because none of them has yet occurred.
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb (as nature is tamed) (Isaiah 11:6).
But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid (Micah 4:4).
Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness (Isaiah 32:1).
And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed… and it shall stand for ever (Daniel 2:44).
The Lord…shall suddenly come to his temple (Malachi 3:1).
Ezekiel describes this Temple, built and located upon the earth (see chapters 40 through 48). Israel will be the head-not the tail-of the nations in that day (see Zechariah 8:23).
And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them (Isaiah 65:21).
The Lord Jesus Christ referred to the period of time during which these events take place as the regeneration. And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28). Likewise, Peter declared, And [God] shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began (Acts 3:20, 21).
The word restitution means “a reconstitution” and is similar to the regeneration of Matthew 19:28. In addition, Paul stated in Ephesians 1:21 that there is an age which is to come. This same age is called the dispensation of the fullness of times (Ephesians 1:10). Again these terms refer to the rule of Christ and His people over the earth-not angels, as the spiritualizers would have us believe. Angels ruling the earth is an impossibility, for unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come (Hebrews 2:5). Instead, the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men (Daniel 4:17). The title, the most High [God], or the most High is Christ’s millennial title throughout the Psalms, the Book of Daniel, and the Book of Hosea. The most High [God] will also bear the title King of Israel in that day (John 1:49). All upon earth will obey Him for [He] shalt break them with a rod of iron(Psalm 2:9). The result: Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power (Psalm 110:3). Earth’s inhabitants will love the Lord Jesus so much during the kingdom age that daily shall he be praised (Psalm 72:15). Yes, His name shall endure forever (Psalm 72:17).
The center of all this kingdom activity is Jerusalem, not heaven’s golden shores. Proof? Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion (Psalm 2:6). Out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:3). [They] shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem (Isaiah 27:13). And the Redeemer shall come to Zion (Isaiah 59:20). The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem (Joel 3:16). Thus saith the Lord…I will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem (Zechariah 8:3). Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem (Zechariah 8:22).
The preceding evidence is proof enough! Only the spiritually blind can deny the fact of a literal Millennium. Only the willfully ignorant can claim that the teaching is based on just one chapter of the Bible. Our brief review has but touched the hem of the garment concerning millennial truth. Believe God, not men. Now, since mille means “thousand” and annum means “years,” let’s begin our study of chapter 20 which presents the mille annum, Millennium, or the one-thousand-year reign of Christ on the earth.
Verse 1: And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
Verse 2: And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
Verse 3: And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
What a victorious sight John now sees-an angel coming from heaven with a key and a chain in his hand for the purpose of opening the bottomless pit and binding Satan for one thousand years. Some scholars believe the angel to be Christ himself because he has the keys of hell and death (chapter 1, verse 18). This is a distinct possibility. However, one who possesses keys often loans them to another when help is needed. Thus, the angel might be Michael, the archangel. The important observation here is that Christ’s ownership of the keys-which open the pit of the abyss for Satan-is by virtue of His completed work upon Calvary’s cross. Remember His statement in verse 18 of chapter 1: I am he that liveth, and was dead; [Calvary]; and, behold, I am alive for evermore [the Resurrection], Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
The chain carried by the angel is used to bind the villain of the ages-called the dragon, that old serpent…the Devil, and Satan-for 1,000 years. What horrid titles the evil one bears! Dragon, in Hebrew, pictures a hideous monster. The term old serpent portrays the slithering snake who brought ruination upon the entire human race through his deceitful work in the Garden of Eden (see Genesis 3:1-6). Satan means “slander,” for he is the accuser of [the] brethren as we learned in chapter 12, verse 10, and he is also the father of slanderers and gossips (see John 8:44). Devil means “adversary” or “foe,” and surely Satan has been a foe of Christ and His followers until this present moment in our text. Now, at last, he is cast into the bottomless pit, shut up and sealed for a Millennium (verse 3).
The bottomless pit is not the lake of fire into which the beast and false prophet were cast in chapter 19, verse 20. Rather, it is a temporary prison where Satan is incarcerated for ten centuries in order that peace, prosperity, happiness, and holiness may exist on earth during Christ’s millennial reign. At the end of this time, he is loosed [for] a little season, leads one final revolt against God, and is subsequently cast into the eternal lake of fire… where the beast and the false prophet are (chapter 20, verse 10).
Verse 4: And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
John now observes thrones occupied for judgment. Who sits upon them? Members of the first resurrection-which includes the Old Testament saints, Church Age saints, and Tribulation saints. The resurrection of the Old Testament believers is described in Daniel 12:1 and 2, and the resurrection of New Testament saints in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:15-54. As we have seen, the resurrection of the martyred Tribulation saints undoubtedly occurs at the glorious appearing of Christ (Titus 2:13) when He returns to earth. Chapter 6, verses 9 through 11, presented this view. At that point these martyrs awaited their resurrection but were told to wait yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
Thus, we see that the thrones are occupied by resurrected believers from Adam onward, inclusive of the last Tribulation martyrs. Each has been a participant in the first resurrection. These saints are entitled to sit upon thrones because they are members of the royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). Christ has made them kings and priests (chapter 5, verse 10).
Verse 5: But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
The closing sentence of this verse, This is the first resurrection, should have been the conclusion of verse 4. The transition from verse 4 to verse 5 would then be: And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. [This is the first resurrection.] But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This clarifies the issue. The dead of verse 5-raised a thousand years later could not be part of the first resurrection (those of verse 4)-because…
Verse 6: Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
Since the remaining dead come forth one thousand years later, we immediately understand that they cannot be part of the first resurrection. Those who take part in the first resurrection reign with Christ during the Millennium, while the members of this group remain in their graves. They, in turn, are raised for the Great White Throne Judgment after the 1,000 years.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
Where’s My Eraser?
I’ll never forget my first day of kindergarten. I was barely five years old, but I remember it as vividly as if it had happened yesterday.
Making new friends with all my classmates was exciting, the bright and cheery decorations in our homeroom were beautiful, and my teacher seemed very nice.
But the thing that caught my attention and completely fascinated me was…the blackboard.
Watching the teacher take chalk and draw simple pictures and write letters on the board was interesting. But then she took something in her hand, wiped it back and forth across the surface of the blackboard, and instantly every mark she had made disappeared! I watched in wide-eyed astonishment, absolutely intrigued.
Before my kindergarten year was over, I had the opportunity to try it for myself. I made some chalk marks on the board, then used the eraser to make them go away. I never tired of it. The eraser was my favorite discovery.
Although I’m normally not a person who dwells on the past a great deal, I do often reflect on the blessings and good things God has sent into my life. My husband, Jack, and I make it a point to recall and give thanks for the ministry opportunities, friends, and victories the Lord has given us-and continues to bestow upon us. Somehow it seems my mind is like a recorder.
Your life, the movie
An article from Smithsonian Magazine written by Dr. Wilbur Penfield, director of the Montreal Neurological Institute, explains why I felt that way. He wrote: “Your brain contains a permanent record of your past that is like a single, continuous strip of movie film, complete with sound track. This film library records your whole waking life from childhood on.”
Do you ever have “home movies” from your past running in your mind? Sometimes that’s a good thing, but it can also be painful to be reminded of events and people that have hurt us, or things we have done to injure others.
Perhaps there are incidents in our past that we hope nobody else knows about, and sometimes the devil will replay these hidden shames to torment us.
“Oh, you’re such a bad person,” he says. “Just look at what you did. How can you pretend to be so good when you’re really so rotten?” Revelation 12:10 exposes the devil as the “accuser of our brethren” who accuses us before God day and night. But the good news is that we don’t have to worry about his accusations.
Jack refers to Dr. Penfield’s article in one of the devotionals in his Soul Food book. His comments there certainly helped me better understand the concept of the “book of remembrance” mentioned in the Bible. Truly God is the great Bookkeeper. He has a record of my life in a heavenly book that has my name on it-Rexella Shelton Van Impe. God has kept a record book on all of humanity-every single person who has ever lived.
But just as He has written everything down, good and bad-every failure, fault, and sin-He also has the ability and divine desire to erase everything bad on my record. Oh, praise God for a heavenly eraser that deletes every wrong word or thought or deed!
That eraser, of course, is the blood of Christ. And it washes us clean! It wipes everything off the blackboard!
God’s heavenly eraser leaves no trace behind. Isaiah 1:18 declares, Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. And Psalm 103:12 says, As far as the east is from the west-and they never meet-so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
Forgiven and forgotten
When our sins are forgiven, they are forgotten. God promises in Hebrews 10:17-And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. In fact, the prophet Micah rejoiced that God will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19). Then, according to D. L. Moody and Billy Sunday (I don’t know who said it first), He puts up a great-big sign that says, NO FISHING ALLOWED!
God doesn’t want us to go fishing there, looking for and finding the past. He wants us to forget it just as He has. Yet I think that sometimes after God has erased the blackboard of our lives, we keep bringing up events and things that
God doesn’t remember any more. Our human nature has a tendency to go back and keep rerunning the old mental home movies of what we were like before God saved us and made us new creatures through Christ Jesus.
We must learn how to forget the past and look to our future in Christ. The apostle Paul, acknowledging that he was not perfect, cried out, 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 (Philippians 3:13-14).
Of course, the devil will try to remind us of our past. One of his tools of deception is to keep us looking back. He knows if he can make us feel that our past sins make us unworthy to do anything for God, we cannot be effective in the present.
But we can overcome the devil with our testimony of erased sins through the blood of Christ.
Then God can use our life story-our testimony-to reach other people who need to be set free from the shackles of sin. When others see us walking in victory, it gives them hope.
I heard a story about a little girl who said to her pastor, “I want you to know that I am saved.”
“That’s wonderful, honey,” he said. “Can you tell me which one of my sermons brought you to Christ?”
The little girl replied, “It wasn’t anybody’s preaching-it was my Aunt Mary’s practicing!”
Living the life of Christ day by day is not always easy, but there is such power in our testimony. In Romans 7:19, Paul talks about the struggle he faced every day in doing what was right. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Yet, just a few verses later, he declares, There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (8:1).
What’s the secret? Being willing to say, “Where’s my eraser?” Jesus came into the world for a purpose-not only to set the example of a perfect life and to show us God on earth and what we can be though Him, but also to erase the blackboard of our lives again and again! I often find myself saying in my prayer, “Lord, thank You for that eraser.”
Let me make it clear that I certainly am not suggesting that we nonchalantly fail more and sin more, expecting God to erase whatever we do. That’s not what I mean at all. The truth is that even when we do our best to live righteously, there are times when we will not make the right choices. And in those times we can and should say, “Where’s my eraser?”
God is much better at forgiving than we are at sinning!
Eugene Peterson, the pastor who produced The Message a contemporary language version of the Bible, observed that “God is much better at forgiving than we are at sinning.”
Even when we think that we have absolutely gone too far, that we’ve really done it this time, or that what we have done is totally unforgivable, God stands waiting for us with open arms. No matter how “good” we have been at sinning, He is much better at forgiving. No matter what we’ve done (or failed to do), it’s never too bad to be forgiven…and to be erased!
Sin brings shame, but confession brings confidence. The Bible says, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). We can be victorious in the Lord. We can live a life like Aunt Mary that draws others to Jesus. We may have failed yesterday. We may fail today. But we can ask Him to erase our failures and sins.
Then we can begin anew each day.
There’s a beautiful old hymn called, “An Evening Prayer,” that captures the idea of asking God to erase the blackboard of our lives at the end of each day. It says:
If I have wounded any soul today,
If I have caused one foot to go astray,
If I have walked in my own willful way,
Dear Lord, forgive.
Forgive the sins I have confessed to Thee,
Forgive the secret sins I do not see,
O guide me, love me, and my keeper be,
Dear Lord, Amen
Recently I was witnessing to an acquaintance about accepting God’s forgiveness and beginning a new life in Christ. Oh, how this person wanted to do it, but he kept struggling with some really bad sins-truly evil practices-that he feared had ruined his chance for redemption and taken him beyond forgiveness.
God hates sin…but loves sinners
I shared the amazing truth of Romans 5:6-that Christ died for the ungodly. “It’s true that God hates sin,” I told this friend, “but that does not diminish His love for sinners. He died for the very sins that He hates.
“There is nothing in your life that cannot be forgiven-no stains that He cannot erase,” I said. “When God erases your sins and you begin a new life, not only is your future clean, but your past is clean also. That means every mention of your past failure is erased in God’s book. It will never again be found in those heavenly pages where the greatest Bookkeeper of all records your deeds. “
So far the person I’ve been witnessing to has not given his heart to God and accepted Christ as his Savior. I am praying that the Lord will continue to deal with his troubled heart and love him into His kingdom.
The world we live in today is so troubled and filled with strife, so confused and far from God that many people are filled with fear and anxiety. From a natural standpoint, it would be easy to get our blackboard filled up with worry and dread.
If we as believers study and understand the Word, we see that prophecy is coming true. Every day the news points to the coming of the Lord. But those without the Lord-those who do not know that today’s news points to Christ’s coming-must get dreadfully discouraged. There is no hope outside of Christ.
But we do not have to be sad or fearful because Jesus said, Let not your heart be troubled…I will come again (John 14:1, 3). He also declared, These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
If we take our eyes off the Lord and start looking at the world around us, then we’re going to falter. The Gospels tell how Peter started walking on the water to Jesus, and then was distracted by the stormy seas and began to sink. The same thing can happen to us. When we get that sinking feeling, like Peter, we need to cry out to the Lord for help. We need to ask him to erase the turmoil and lack of faith in our hearts. The only cure is to say, “Lord, I missed the mark again. Please erase it, forgive it, and help me start again.”
No regrets! No fear!
You know, because of God’s heavenly eraser, we don’t have to regret the past or fear the future. God has forgiven our past, and He is already in our future. But the only way to get to the future is to live today.
We have absolutely no control over what happened yesterday-and to a large extent, we can’t determine what will come tomorrow. The only time we can really use is now, today, where we are living this minute. We wake up every morning to a clean, fresh page God has given us that is labeled TODAY. And, as I’m sure you’ve heard, it is a gift-that’s why it is called the present!
I challenge you to start living your life to the fullest. Because we know the Lord, this is the most exciting time to be alive since the dawn of creation. Give your best to the Lord. Do your best to make a difference in your family, your neighborhood…in your world. Who knows if God has brought you to the world for just such a time as this?
Yes, there will be challenges. There will be times when you don’t know which way to turn or exactly what you should do. But keep on going with your hand in His. Don’t look at the challenges-just keep your eyes and heart on the Lord. The Bible says, Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee (Isaiah 26:3).
That’s where I want to live from now on-how about you?
Remember; don’t be afraid to ask for the eraser when you need it!
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
My name is John H. I have been watching your program for a good many years. I want to say my soul has been encouraged through your ministry. I love how you validate and stand up for the word of God. You remind me of the Prophet of old “Daniel” how no matter the circumstances you won’t back down. You uphold the Truth of God and the word of God in all things. And believe me when I say I have been validating you every word, and IT’S ALL THE TRUTH VERIFIED AND PROVEN BY GOD’S WORD. May the power and anointing of the 3rd part of the trinity bless you beyond measure poured out pressed down shaken together and running over so that you won’t be able to receive it all. If ever there is a true prophet and apostle amongst us today it is you and Rexella.
Prayerfully interceding for you.
In Christ with you;
PS. Keep on keeping on don’t quit.
Dear Dr. Jack & Rexella Van Impe:
I thought I’d take this opportunity to thank you for saving my soul and, by association, the souls of my children.
You see, I was never raised with any word of God in the home, but I was always curious. One day, when I was in my early twenties, I sat down at home for lunch and caught your show on my TV. My curiosity wouldn’t let me change the channel.
At that time, Jack was speaking of the automated bank cards and a cashless society. I’d never heard of or seen any bank cards at that time, so I thought the idea a little preposterous. Low and behold, just over a year later, I received a bank card in the mail…sent by my bank! I no longer doubted anything Dr. Jack and Rexella had to say and I’ve been watching your show ever since. I am always the curious student of Bible study.
I was baptized at the age of 33 and had my children baptized as well. I’ve heard my share of mocking commentary (even from family) as I’ve given my life over to God. There are times when God is all I’ve had to rely on to get me through some harsh days and I will never regret my decision to have Him in our lives.
So…I will always be indebted to you for saving my life as well as the lives of my children. Thank you again and know that the work you do for God will always touch someone, somewhere, so stay strong, healthy and brave and keep up the wonderful work you do. I wish you both many blessings.
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!
Islamic Shariah Law and the One World Religion
Is Sharia law on the horizon for all 57 Muslim countries; and then the whole world?
Are Muslims calling for Sharia law in the USA?
Could it be part of the one-world religion predicted in Bible prophecy?
What Christian leaders are compromising the faith for ‘Chrislam’, and what it the immediate danger?
What are Islam’s plans for Israel, Christianity, and planet earth?
Get the answers to these are other critical questions in this powerful teaching from Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe – and you will discover the startling truth about the real threat of Islam and its place in these latter days!