June 15, 2015
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
The prophet Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream when he was a very young man. Nearly forty years later he was given a vision that confirmed and further explained his first preview of the future. In this vision Daniel saw the major world empires represented by four beasts (Dan. 7).
The first beast was like a lion with eagle’s wings (7:4).
The second was like a bear that raised itself on one side, having three ribs in its mouth (7:5).
The third was like a leopard, having four wings and four heads (7:6).
The fourth was described as “dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly.” It had ten horns and after a time another little horn grew and plucked up three of the other horns by the roots. The little horn had eyes like a man and a mouth speaking great things (7:7, 8).
What do these four beasts signify? Could they be interpreted in the light of nations now on the world scene? Is the lion with eagle’s wings a reference to the British Empire and the United States, as some contend? Is Daniel’s bear really Russia? Does the leopard symbolize the African nations, since that area is the leopard’s natural home?
If not, why not?
Historically, students of Bible prophecy have seen Daniel’s vision as a further development of the preview given in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.
The reason? The context of the Scripture portion demands it.
The lion then represents Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian Empire.
The bear finds fulfillment in the Medo-Persian Empire that followed. The bear was raised on one side because the Persians were stronger than the Medes. The three ribs in the bear’s mouth indicate three major conquests of that empire.
The leopard, having four wings and four heads, was a prophetic picture of the Grecian Empire. Led by Alexander the Great, the Greeks were swift and devastating in their conquest of the Medes and Persians. Alexander declared himself emperor of the world and great honors were paid him. But the young military genius died in his early thirties and his empire was divided between his four generals, fulfilling the prophecy that the leopard would have four heads.
The fourth beast, described as “dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly,” represents the Roman Empire.
Daniel’s interpretation of his vision of the four beasts gives little explanation of the significance of the beasts themselves or the empires they represent. That is not strange since they are but an enlargement of his interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. But the prophet is fascinated by the ten horns, which correspond to the ten toes on the great image, and especially by the little horn that rises later, portraying a powerful leader in the end time. Note Daniel’s warning about this coming evil person:
And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time (Dan. 7:24, 25).
Who is this persecutor whose evil power seems unchecked for three and one-half years (a time and times and the dividing of time)? Why does the world accept him? Why is he allowed to bring such destruction? We will learn more about the earth’s most evil ruler through the study of another of Daniel’s prophecies, this one concerning his own people, the Jews.
The Seventy Weeks
When Daniel entered the court of Nebuchadnezzar he was a young man. Shortly thereafter he interpreted the king’s dream, giving an outline of the future and showing the rise and fall of the major Gentile empires from that time until the end.
In mid-life he received the strange vision of beasts and kingdoms that substantiated and enlarged the prophecy of his youth. He was greatly exercised about the evil ruler who is yet to appear and who will assume immense power while persecuting the people of God.
Near the end of his life he found himself studying Jeremiah’s prophecy and recalling that the captivity of his people was to last seventy years. Since that period had nearly elapsed, he began to pray about the return to Jerusalem. Mourning over the desolation of his homeland, he prayed for its restoration, confessing his own sins and the sins of his people.
During his prayer Daniel was visited by the angel Gabriel, who gave him a timetable of coming events that would especially affect Israel, his own people. The angelic message given to Daniel is known as the vision of the seventy weeks. This mathematical revelation gave the Jews the exact time at which to expect the coming of their Messiah. It also prophesied His death and foretold the coming destruction of Jerusalem following His crucifixion, as well as the rise of the Antichrist and the establishment of Christ’s coming kingdom on earth. Read this amazing prophecy:
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision of prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate (Dan. 9:24-27).
Sir Edward Denny, a respected nineteenth-century student of prophecy, referred to the vision of the seventy weeks as the backbone of prophecy. It may well be just that.
We will delve into the prophecy of the seventy weeks in our next newsletter.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
Through the Eyes of a Child
Just last week I met and talked with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. Right away I said, ‘You look so sad!” I could tell by her eyes.
Certainly our eyes do serve as a barometer of our inner being and can express deep-rooted feelings and emotions without a word being spoken.
The English poet William Blake said our eyes are “windows of the soul.” I’m sure you’ve noticed that the eyes of those around you communicate in a dramatic way their state of mind-anger, fear, mischief, tenderness, love, excitement, boredom, etc.
Doctors often look into the eyes of their patients while examining them to determine their state of health.
So it’s not really surprising to discover that the Bible has much to say about our eyes-there are numerous references throughout both the Old and New Testaments. Only recently have I begun to comprehend just how important our eyes are to our spiritual well-being-that where we look and what we see help determine who we are and what we become.
The Apostle John speaks of the lust of the eyes (1 John 2:16), and Peter warns against those having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin (2 Peter 2:14).
The psalmist, recognizing that what is fed into our eyes affects what we become, affirms, I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes (Psalm 101:3). And the Apostle Paul, in what may be my life’s foundation verse, urges us to continue looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
The lesson of a look
Several years ago, our ministry had an open house in which we invited friends and partners to come tour our World Outreach Center and visit personally with Dr. Van Impe and me and our staff. About 1,500 people toured our headquarters in a single afternoon-it was wonderful to greet so many friends.
I couldn’t help noticing how many little children came through with their parents. And inevitably, when I looked down at them, they would be looking directly into my eyes. I would find myself kneeling to get to their eye level… and happily, many times they ended up in my arms.
But I began noticing how children look at the world. They spend a lot of time looking up! And when they encounter an adult, they look into his or her face, up into the eyes.
Children are very perceptive. They can tell, almost at a glance, if a person is friendly or menacing, if they can trust the person or should run away. By looking into the eyes of the adults around them, they sense if they are welcome or are intruding. And they can tell almost instantly if their parents are pleased with them or disapproving.
Jack and I were having breakfast at a little pancake house not long ago when a mother and her two children came in. They sat at a nearby table-the little boy was unceremoniously dumped into a high chair and the little girl thumped into a chair across from the mother. Once seated, she paid little attention to the youngsters, staring away from them, with a disgruntled look on her face.
When the little boy peered up at the chandelier, pointed a chubby finger and said, “See! See!”-her response was a terse, “Eat!” And when the little girl squirmed and tried insistently to get her mother’s attention, the unseeing, uncaring reply was, “Be quiet- sit up.”
When Jack and I finished eating and he went to pay the bill, I walked over to the table where this mother and her youngsters were sitting.
“You are so fortunate,” I said. With a bit of a start, she asked, “Why?” “You have such beautiful children-they are so sweet.” I said. Then I leaned down and looked into the eyes of the little boy and said, “You are so good.” My reward was a bright, innocent smile.
“I’m good too,” said the little girl.
“I know you are, honey,” I acknowledged. “What a sweet sister you are…and so pretty!” With just those few words, the child blossomed like a rose.
The mother barely smiled, even during the little conversation I was having with her children-she hardly responded, managing a mumbled “Thank you” as I walked away.
I couldn’t help wondering how many children are rebuffed and desensitized by parents whose eyes are too full of other things to really see and respond to their own youngsters.
“You are a delight!”
Jerry Dillon of Century HealthCare, the largest health-care provider for children in the country operates 52 youth programs and 19 facilities in nine states, specializing in treating emotionally-troubled youngsters.
“If parents would look for the things in their children that delight them, and tell them so, what a difference it would make,” says Dillon. “A great prescription to help build a better relationship and a stronger bond between parent and child is simply for the parent to find some reason each day to tell his son or daughter, “You are a delight!”
Much of what we feel-delight or aggravation-is communicated through our eyes, whether we verbalize it or not. So often I’ve noticed how a child will look into its mother’s (or father’s) face for approval, guidance, security, reassurance, and love. Without a word being spoken, so many important things are communicated… through the eyes of a child.
Suffer the little children
No wonder children were attracted to our Saviour during His earthly ministry. The New Testament tells how the children thronged about Him until the disciples were going to send them away. But the Lord said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God (Mark 10:14).
The Bible doesn’t tell us specifically, but I’m very sure each of those little ones came close to the Lord and looked up into His face, directly into His eyes. What they saw there-love, acceptance, safety-made them relax and feel free. I think they wanted to climb up onto His lap and just be near Him.
Many learned and wise theologians have speculated about the meaning of Jesus’ words concerning children and the kingdom of God. Certainly I do not claim to have greater knowledge or wisdom than they have. But I have my own idea about what He meant.
Perhaps He was suggesting that if we looked up into His eyes more often, we would find the peace, direction, and strength we need for our lives. We can find the answer for guilt, sorrow, pain, and loneliness in our Saviour’s loving gaze.
Keep your eyes on Jesus
Our problems come when we take our eyes off Jesus, when we look away from His love, guidance, strength, and sustaining power.
The Gospel of Matthew relates the thrilling story of Peter walking on the water toward Jesus. The Lord had come to the disciples as their boat was tossed by a stormy sea. As long as Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he was fine. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and [began] to sink (Matthew 14:30).
I’ve found in my own experience that when I felt life’s problems were about to overwhelm me, it was because I had taken my eyes off Jesus and fixed them on my troubles. When I looked to Him, He saw me through.
From time to time, I meet an individual who is disillusioned-even cynical-about the Church. Sometimes they say they have lost their faith-they don’t believe in anything anymore.
As I visit with people like this, I usually discover that they have been disappointed in the mistakes and failures of a particular religious leader-their eyes had been fixed on a man. Once they looked back to Jesus, the bitterness and disillusionment lost its intensity, and the healing love of Christ could make them over again.
One of the most beautiful and powerful verses in all of the Bible, for me, is found in Matthew’s account of Peter, James, and John at the transfiguration of Christ. After the disciples had bowed down in the awesome presence of God, Jesus told them not to be afraid. And the scripture says-And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only (Matthew 17:8).
No wonder Jesus said we should become as little children to enter the kingdom of God. Their eyes are focused in the right direction. Lord help us to keep our eyes on You…to seek Your will by looking into Your face-through the eyes of a child!
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Dear Drs. Jack and Rexella,
I want to thank you for your courageous work for Our Lord for all of us. You are in my everyday prayers. God be with you always; to bless and keep you both healthy and safe. Your preaching of Gods’ Holy Bible is like no other. I just wanted you to know how much both of you are appreciated and loved. God Bless and Protect you and all those you love,
I’ve been watching with you Rexella and Dr. Jack Van Impe since I was a kid; you were two of my first Christian family members. I am 37 now. I know that the Father matures us in our walk with Him but am so glad that the way you have and deliver the gospel hasn’t changed over the years. You are such a blessing to us. God bless you and keep you.
HIGHLIGHTED PRODUCT OFFERS
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!
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.