July 9, 2012
Pre-, mid-, or postribulational view.
Which position is correct?
The Bible is truth; it provides peace to troubled souls living in a chaotic world. Because it is a two-edged sword, it cuts through the insignificant and points to what is authentic. Because it is sheer, raw power, it has the dynamic to move the tallest mountains of unbelief. It is a compendium of truth by which we must live and is nothing short of majestic. Yet, there are many interpretations of holy writ. Great controversy continues to surround the subject of the return of Christ for His church-as far as a timetable is concerned. There are essentially three points of view.
The pretribulation position, on which this book is based, reflects the following seven Scriptural arguments. We will consider the first three this week and the remaining next week.
The promise to the church in Philadelphia (Revelation 3:10): The Book of Revelation is written chronologically. It sets forth the believer’s deliverance from wrath in a beautiful way. Revelation 1:19 states, “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be.” Presently, the twentieth century finds us in Revelation, chapter 3. John sees the great escape or evacuation of believers in chapter 4, verse 1. He says, “I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” I believe this to be the Rapture because the twenty-four elders, picturing the saints of all ages-Old and New Testament believers-are already crowned and casting their rewards at Christ’s feet in verses 10 and 11, and believers cannot be crowned until the resurrection of the just occurs (Luke 14:14). Thus, the Rapture has already taken place, the rewards have been distributed, and all is well as the chapter ends.
Then the Tribulation Hour, depicted in Revelation 6, will continue until the Battle of Armageddon, when Christ returns as King of kings and Lord of lords (see Revelation 19:11-16). The crowning of the saints in chapter 4, plus the fact that the Church is conspicuously absent and not even mentioned after chapter 4, is certainly meaningful.
The seven churches of Revelation 2 and 3 represent the professing Church in seven successive eras from the Day of Pentecost to the time of the Lord’s return. Each church fits chronologically into its respective place in history. The sixth church, Philadelphia, escapes the Tribulation Hour, but the seventh, Laodicea, is rejected by Christ. True believers, possessing Christ, are kept from the hour of temptation that immerses our entire planet: “I also will keep thee from [not through] the hour of temptation” (Revelation 3:10). Also, “God hath not appointed us to wrath” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
The case of the twenty-four elders (Revelation 4:1): Now let’s consider another great pretribulational truth-the twenty-four elders. After the “Come up hither” of Revelation 4:1, twenty-four elders are casting crowns at Christ’s feet in verses 10 and 11. Then a throne is set up. Around God’s throne are twenty-four thrones on which sit twenty-four elders, “clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold” (Revelation 4:4). Who are the twenty-four elders? This is of extreme importance for pretribulation proponents: The twenty-four elders are the representatives of God’s people in both Testaments- the saints of all ages. The Book of Revelation unites the representative groups often. For instance, in describing the Holy City in Revelation 21:12-14, the names of the twelve tribes of Israel are posted on the gates, while the names of the twelve apostles are inscribed upon the city’s foundation. Now twelve plus twelve equals twenty-four.
In chapter 5, verses 8 through 10, these twenty-four elders do something that is spine-tingling: “[They fall] down before the Lamb [Jesus], having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they [sing] a new song, saying, Thou art worthy [Christ] to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”
Here we witness the praise session of the ages-Old and New Testament believers, represented by twenty-four elders, praising the Lamb of God for shedding His blood. Someone says, “Old Testament believers were not saved by the blood.” No one-but no one-gets to heaven without the shed blood of Jesus! This is why Acts 10:43 declares, “To [Jesus] give all the [Old Testament] prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Therefore, Old and New Testament believers, pictured by the twenty-four elders, are singing about the blood in Revelation 5:9 before the seal judgments begin in chapter 6 (the beginning of the Tribulation Hour). The Jews of old looked ahead to Calvary’s shed blood as they offered their animal sacrifices while the Church looks back to the Cross as the communion or memorial supper is conducted. Either way, “It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11).
Since the elders are already crowned-and since no one can be crowned until he is either resurrected if dead, or translated if living-it is obvious that the Resurrection has occurred by the time we reach Revelation 4:10. First Thessalonians 4:16 has transpired. We conclude, then, that the scene in Revelation 4 and 5 is the direct result of the Rapture, the great escape before the judgments begin in chapter 6.
The Holy Spirit, the hinderer, is taken out of the way (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8): Another truth concerning the pre-tribulation Rapture that needs to be considered has to do with the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Jesus, before departing from earth to heaven, said, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:7-8). It is evident that the work of the Holy Spirit is to convict us and restrain us from sin. The Spirit of God does this through those whose bodies He indwells.
First Corinthians 6:19 states, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” Every child of God is indwelt by His Spirit: “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Romans 8:9). Spirit-indwelt believers have a purifying effect upon the world. They are the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-14). Salt prevents spoilage, and light dispels darkness. Think of the corruption and darkness that will prevail when the salt of the earth and light of the world are removed at the Rapture. No wonder Jesus said, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time” (Matthew 24:21).
Does the Bible teach such an evacuation of believers? Is there really a great escape before the Tribulation begins? Definitely! The second epistle to the Thessalonians proves this fact. In the first century, some posttribulationists were already sowing seeds of dissent. They said that the Church was already undergoing the trials of the Tribulation. They even produced a falsified letter, forging Paul’s name, that stated the Church was in the hour of trial. Recent posttribulational writers have almost gone as far in falsifying facts. They even print names of people who adopted their viewpoint, and the people “quoted” wonder how they arrived at such a conclusion.
Paul settled the mess by stating in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8: “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him. That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exaketh himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [“hinders”] will let [“hinder”], until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.”
Paul, deeply perturbed by the forged letter, stated in effect, “I understand someone produced a letter, supposedly written by me, stating that the Church is presently experiencing the pangs of the Tribulation Hour. Don’t believe that lying prattle. Don’t be bothered, bewildered, or shaken over such a distortion of facts. I could not and would not write such a letter, simply because the Tribulation cannot begin until two things occur. First, there must be a falling away, and second, the man of sin must be revealed” (paraphrased).
Scholars of the past rendered the phrase “falling away” as “a catching away.” They talked about a time when the law of gravitation would be broken and men would “fall away” via the Rapture to meet the Lord in the clouds. Other scholars believed that the Greek word apostaias meant that an apostasized departure from the faith would occur. The important point to consider is that either must happen before the man of sin-the lawless one, the beast of the seventieth week-is revealed. This introduction of the Antichrist to the world will inaugurate the Tribulation Hour. This means that the “day of the Lord” or the Tribulation period cannot begin until this monstrous maniac is identified to earth’s citizens. Yet he cannot be revealed until the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit is removed: “He who now letteth [“hinders”] will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8).
This does not mean that the Holy Spirit must be removed from the earth. This is impossible because He, as God, is omni-present, everywhere at all times (see Psalm 139:7-11). So it means that His hindering or restraining power over sin-that keeps the Antichrist from mounting the throne- will be removed. This will happen as the Holy Spirit’s temples-believers’ bodies (see 1 Corinthians 6:19)-are taken from the earth to heaven. Then the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” will be removed. This immediately will produce corruption and darkness on an unprecedented scale, allowing the world dictator to come to power. This will begin the Tribulation Hour. Then the “beast” of the ages will rule during earth’s bloodiest hour, proclaiming himself as God, the Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:4). He will rule until Christ returns to earth at the conclusion of the seven years. Then “the Lord shall consume [him] with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy [him] with the brightness of his coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:8).
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
AM I ALONE AND IN TROUBLE?
Ah, Lord God! behold, thou hast made
the heavens and the earth by thy
great power and stretched out arm, and
there is nothing too hard for thee.
Probably all of us, at one time or another has faced a sudden and unexpected crisis in our lives when we cried out in alarm, “How can I get through this? Its overwhelming, and I feel so alone!” Has that ever happened to you?
The good news is that for the child of God, the Lord himself has promised that you are never alone! For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5). In times of crisis, we must remind ourselves that we can access the power that is given to us through our connection with the Lord.
Let me open my heart and tell you about a time in my life that compares to no other…a time when I ordinarily could have asked, “Am I alone and in trouble?” But not for one moment would the Lord allow me to feel His absence. On the contrary, I felt His peace, His power, and His presence.
“Honey, I need you”
It was three oclock in the morning on August 15, 2005. I was sleeping soundly when, all of a sudden, I heard my husband say urgently, “Honey, I need you!” Immediately I was wide awake. I sensed that for Jack to call out to me in distress meant that this was no ordinary time. He had never awakened me in the middle of the night like this.
Oh, there had been times when both of us had awakened together if we had a special burden or an exciting event coming up. Wed sit up in bed and say, “Lets go have a cup of hot chocolate and a word of prayer together.” Those were mostly happy times. But this time was different. Jacks “Honey, I need you” wasnt an invitation to share blessings, but a request for help with a true need…and I instantly knew it!
You see, my husband is a very organized, together, self-sufficient kind of person, always motivated and goal-oriented. Very seldom in our entire marriage has he ever come to me and said, “I need you!” Ive always been blessed if he asked a favor or shared a need or concern with me. But this was not one of those times-it was much, much more!
When I opened my eyes and looked at him, I saw that Jacks teeth were chattering and his body was in convulsions, shaking uncontrollably. This was serious trouble! Instantly I was out of the bed and on my feet. And at that moment, somehow the Lord overwhelmed me with His guidance and peace.
I said, “Just a moment, honey!” I grabbed an extra quilt, tucked it around him, then looked up a number and used the bedside phone to call our doctor at home. As soon as I explained what was happening, she interrupted me-
“Rexella, the emergency room, NOW!” Oh, my, it was a tone I had never heard in her voice before. She repeated, “You need help now! Go!”
Doing the impossible
How could I get a big man like Jack-helpless from his convulsive shaking-out of bed, down the stairs, and into the car? Somehow I just knew I didnt have time to wait for an ambulance to be dispatched. Waiting that extra twenty to thirty minutes could have made a tragic difference in this emergency! Seeing Jacks condition, I knew that time was critical.
I pulled Jack to a sitting position, and then urged him to his feet, wrapping the quilt around him for warmth. As I helped him across the room to the stairs, I felt so much strength surging through my body, so much clarity and resolve in my mind. Somehow I knew what to do and how to do it. Like the psalmist David, I discovered that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).
Step by step we made it down the stairs, then across the downstairs to the garage. I opened the passenger door, turned Jack around and eased him down into the seat. I lifted his jerking legs into the car and shut the door. In another moment, I was in the drivers seat, carefully backing out of the driveway. Then we were on our way to the hospital emergency room.
Looking back, I honestly dont know how I did it. And Jack, suffering a violent physical attack, doesnt remember anything about those crisis minutes. The only prayer I had time to pray at the time was three simple words, “Lord help me!” But those words made direct contact with heaven. I have never prayed a more sincere prayer in my whole life. “Lord help me!” And He did. Without supernatural strength, there is no way I could have done what I did. But Gods presence was all around, enabling me to do what I couldnt possibly have done in the flesh. I had Gods strength, His courage, and His sufficiency.
“Its life or death!”
Upon arrival at the hospital, the medical staff was waiting for us. Technicians pulled him from the car, put him in a wheelchair, then on a stretcher, and then almost immediately ran to the emergency room. As soon as I got inside, I answered a couple of questions because Jack was unable to speak.
Then they moved him into a treatment room and started IVs and emergency procedures. The atmosphere was dramatic and filled with high tension. As the medical staff moved quickly around the bed where my husband lay, three different doctors told me this was a life-or-death situation. So I was well aware of Jacks near-death condition, but somehow I felt the peace of God, which passeth all understanding (Philippians 4:7). It was almost as if my spirit was confidently saying, “Lord, nothing is too hard for You.”
I am sure this is the same feeling that must have overcome Noah when he was building a ship on dry ground…and Abraham when he was commanded to offer up his son as a sacrifice on the altar… or Daniel as he knelt to pray, knowing that a den of ferocious lions awaited him. No doubt Moses felt the pressure of crisis when he started out leading two million people out of Egypt. And Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the three Hebrew children, faced the fiery furnace with only their faith to protect them. Their action required absolute trust and commitment. There are so many other wonderful stories in the Bible where great men and women of faith put their all on the line. If their trust in God didnt work, it wouldnt be just a disappointment-it was life or death!
The record shows that these people took their stand, not for some rich reward but because they were doing what God wanted them to do. It was heroic faith in God. And I can humbly say from my heart-this was the kind of faith God gave me.
The miraculous healing
I later learned more details about Jacks condition and the horrendous attack on his physical body. He actually had an infection in his blood, called Sepsis, which travels quickly through the bloodstream and, more often than not, takes the life of its victim. Sepsis is a deadly condition because it is such a raging force that races throughout the body almost immediately. Normally speaking, a patient could die within two to four hours!
I gasped when I heard that. Truly God had both strengthened and guided me in that crucial early morning trial. Had I not been awakened…had I called an ambulance and waited for it to arrive.. .had I not had clear sailing on a usually traffic-clogged street across town and into a very busy emergency room…had the ER technicians not been standing by, waiting in professional readiness for our arrival-truly, Dr. Van Impe could have been gone!
Why did everything go so smoothly? Because God kept His promise found in Isaiah 45:2: I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight. I believe that with all of my heart.
One of the medical technicians who worked on Jack in the emergency room spoke up and said, “Dr. Jack, I love your television program, but I didnt want to meet you like this!” The doctor in charge of the ER that night came to visit Jack in his hospital room for the next four days. Its not often that a doctor will take the time to visit after he is off duty. But this man came every day to be sure that Jack was still okay, and to express his gratitude to God for intervening.
The next night after Jacks attack, the doctors and nurses assured me that Jacks condition was stable and that because of the antibiotics they were pouring into him, he was now starting to recover. Also, they had discovered that he had anemia, so they started him on an aggressive treatment-vitamin B-12 shots daily for seventeen days, then weekly for a month, then once a month for the rest of his life! But because he was stable, they told me I should go home and rest for a few hours.
As I gathered up my possessions to go home, I saw the quilt I had wrapped around Jack on our emergency trip to the hospital. It was my mothers quilt that she had used when she was recuperating from a stroke. In the crisis hour, I had grabbed it to put around Jack-it was as if I had wrapped him in my mothers love! Seeing that link to a woman of such strong faith was a real comfort to me.
This is my story, this is my song,
praising the Savior all the day long
I am sharing this testimony, not to boast of my strength or faith. I can identify with David, who confessed, This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles(Psalm 34:6). I just want you to know that when you get in trouble and are confronted with overwhelming need, you can call and God will be there. And there is nothing too hard for Him!
If youre reading this newsletter right now and you have found yourself wondering, “Am I alone and in trouble?”-I have encouragement for you. If you know the Lord, you are never alone. And no matter how big your battle, your situation is never hopeless because God is able. And He will be there for you to meet your need.
I went back to the hospital the next morning, and I could see that Jack was already improving. He was alert and talking, conversing with the nurses, the doctors, and the chaplain who visited. And by the time I left to go home that evening, he said, “Honey, dont forget to bring me some books tomorrow!”
Jack only stayed in the hospital four days. By then he seemed like his old self. On Thursday, the fourth day after his terrible attack, he told the doctor he was ready to go home. A bit dubious, the doctor said, “I dont know if you should be going home this soon.”
“Im fine,” said Jack. “Ive got a telecast to do. I need to go home!” And he did. However, he had an additional three weeks of treatment at home.
He got home on Thursday, rested and studied on Friday, and Saturday we went into the studio and taped our telecast! Friends who know Jack well may have detected a little less vibrancy in his face, but he was there at the desk, smiling, with the anointing of the Holy Spirit on him. Thats what God did! It was just amazing. And it is no exaggeration to call it a miracle!
Nothing takes God by surprise
Isnt it wonderful to know that nothing takes God by surprise? The devil didnt surprise God by attacking Jack-we are always on Gods mind. I take comfort in the Lords words to David; Nevertheless I am continually with thee (Psalm 73:23).
So, my friend, what are you going through? What do you need from the Lord? Even if it appears that you are facing insurmountable odds, there is hope and help for you! You are never alone, and nothing is too hard for God. All things are possible if you believe.
God is no respecter of persons-His Word declares it. What He did for Jack and Rexella Van Impe, He will do for you. The same Great Physician who touched and healed Jack already has His hand outstretched to you. There is hope for the hopeless and help for the helpless in Jesus!
Many years ago I heard Dr. M. R. DeHaan make a statement that I love and appreciate. I suggest that you write it in the front of your Bible and read it every day when you have your personal devotional time. It will revolutionize your whole life. Are you ready? Here it is-
Faith expects from God
what is beyond all expectation!
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Dear Jack & Rexella
Glory be to God for He has empowered you to minister His truth. My wife and I originally from England, use to watch you on TV in Toronto about 20 years ago, we were young Christians then and found your method of expression a bit out there, (probably because we’re British) and thus could not receive your message. We moved back to England about 15 years ago and have seen how the Word has been growing. There was only 1 channel here, called the God channel and now there are close to 20. We have now been watching you now for about
10 years and praise God, because we have grown and now understand the message you are putting forth. Bless you both.
Rick & Kiran
Drs. Rexella & Jack Van Impe:
Thank you so much for your broadcasts, which I follow constantly. God has given you both such awesome insight into the Bible and His teachings. You have made them so simple for a common person like me to understand.
Bless you for all your hard work you both do. I love that you use actual scriptures from the Bible to prove your point.
I am so frustrated from false prophets and apostates that I see on TV. It sickens me to hear them and I have to turn the channel quickly. I can’t hardly wait for Jesus to return—MARANANTHA!
God bless you both for the wonderful work of God you do.
HIGHLIGHTED PRODUCT OFFERS
Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe explain the biblical truth for you and your family.
When Bible prophecy speaks of the latter times and latter years, the last day and latter days, the end of time and the time of the end – does this foreshadow the end of the world, the passing away of planet earth? What will you and your family do at the time of the end?
Discover 19 stupendous signs of the times, the truth about the USA in prophecy, what the current knowledge explosion means, the facts about 666 and the Mark of the Beast, and much more.
In this video teaching, Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe illuminate the biblical facts regarding each of those phrases which refer to “end times,” and show you from the Scripture how our world will never end – and how you and your family can be prepared for the prophecies about to unfold!
Plus as a bonus with your order you will receive the companion book 11:59 The Countdown which delves into details not found on the video
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.