June 2, 2014
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
Fifth bowl judgment
Verse 10: And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,
Verse 11: And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
Whereas the fourth judgment produced unusual brightness through the scorching rays of the sun, the fifth bowl unleashes darkness upon the very throne of the Antichrist and throughout his empire. This could certainly be related to the shortening of the days and lengthening of the nights, as already described. Whatever the darkness is, we take it to be literal as was the Egyptian plague described in Exodus 10:2123: And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days: They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.
What a thrilling moment for the saints on earth! They see the satanically-controlled or devil-incarnated leader humiliated internationally as the power of God is unleashed upon his seat of government. This scene is equated with the “the day of the Lord.” The day of the Lord is darkness, and not light (Amos 5:18). Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like [militarily], neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations (Joel 2:1, 2).
Who is the military colossus that produces such darkness and gloominess in the last days? Russia! But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great [frightful] things (Joel 2:20). The only nation in the world north of Israel with a barren area and two oceans surrounding it is Russia. This is the same nation that comes against Israel from the north in Ezekiel 38:15 and is known by the names Magog, Meshech, Tubal, and Rosh. How near it all appears!
In our text, the Day of the Lord has arrived. The wicked gnaw their tongues for pain, but continue blaspheming the God of heaven. Apparently, no amount of punishment for sin can change some people. They repented not. Don’t let it happen to you!
Sixth bowl judgment
Verse 12: And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
Verse 13: And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
Verse 14: For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
Verse 15: Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
Verse 16: And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
The sixth trumpet judgment should be recalled in the light of the sixth tipped bowl. There is a striking similarity. Chapter 9, verses 13-18, depicts the sixth angel voicing his commands. As he does, four angels are loosed from the great river Euphrates-the area of present-day Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Wow! A total of two hundred million troops (9:16) appear in the Middle East from the Orient. This has to be the largest assemblage of military men in the annals of history!
In the text before us (16:12), we witness a miraculous drying up of the Euphrates River in order that the kings of the east might cross over unhindered. The word kings pictures the leaders of troops. They cross the Euphrates in order to participate in the greatest Mid-East confrontation ever-the Battle of Armageddon! Actually, the conflict is a fight against the Lord and His hosts and will be discussed in detail when we arrive at its explanation point-chapter 19, verses 11-16. Upon their arrival in the Holy Land, these oriental kings or rulers join with the leaders of other nations for the war of wars as predicted in Psalm 2:2-4: The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
How near is Armageddon? Bear in mind that both chapters 9 and 16 mention the Euphrates River as a focal point in this war. Keep your eyes on the Mideast-especially Iran, Iraq, and Syria-in the days ahead. The Euphrates was jointly theirs when these nations were called Persia. Thus, Iran, Iraq, and Syria are a prominent identification point for the end-time war.
Between the sixth and seventh seal and trumpet judgments, we encountered parenthetical utterances. Now we find another parenthesis between the sixth and seventh bowl judgments. This we shall consider from verses 13-16, already quoted.
Verse 13 reveals three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouths of (1) the dragon (Satan), (2) the beast (Antichrist), and (3) the false prophet (head of the world church). What we see, then, is an unholy trinity controlled by the power of evil spirits in an age of occultism, as explained in chapter 9, verses 20 and 21. The symbolism of frogs (for the text says “like frogs”) speaks of uncleanness. The plague of frogs in Egypt produced an obnoxious stench that filled the land with indescribable odors and filth (see Exodus 8:14). Thus, the picture is clear. The counterfeit trinity-the devil, the Antichrist, and the false prophet-produce supernatural miracles through the power of the devil and his demonic spirits, thus convincing the kings of the earth that these men are gods. Because of it, the kings willingly follow them to the Middle East for the great day of God Almighty, which is Armageddon. The entire situation reeks in God’s nostrils.
Verse 15 is a pause or lull before the storm. God says He will come as a thief. This again proves that the Church is not present, for that day shall not overtake believers as a thief (see 1 Thessalonians 5:4). The words of verse 15, then, constitute a final admonition to the Tribulation saints, telling them to watch for His coming and to continue walking in pathways of holiness. The terms watcheth and garments refer to slothfulness and carelessness, spiritually speaking. Let’s prove this. In Christ’s day, a one-piece garment was removed at bedtime. It was worn only during waking hours. Here the Lord tells the final group or gleaning of Tribulation saints to watch, for in so doing they will be awake and clothed. The command is to be prepared. Preparation voids their being found naked and ashamed.
The same is true for believers today. When Jesus comes, multitudes will stand at the Judgment Seat naked (without rewards) and ashamed, because they were not watching. Heed the warning of 1 John 2:28: And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
Verse 16 names the location of the great day of God Almighty: Armageddon or “the mount of Megiddo”-the place where numerous battles have occurred throughout history. Armageddon will also be the scene of the final battle when the winepress of the wrath of God is released upon the nations.
Seventh bowl judgment
Verse 17: And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.
Verse 18: And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
Verse 19: And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.
Verse 20: And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
Verse 21: And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.
Satan is the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2). This is why we wrestle… against [evil spirits] in high places (Ephesians 6: 12). The seventh angel, in pouring out his bowl into the air, destroys the last traces of Satan’s abiding place. Armageddon, as will be explained in chapter 19, also destroys every nook and cranny where Satan has had a resting place. As this occurs, a voice out of the temple of heaven victoriously shouts, “It is done!” The twenty-one judgments are completed.
Interestingly, when Christ bore the judgment for our sins, He cried, It is finished. Now, as unregenerate mankind pays the price for their sin of not repenting and allowing Christ to bear their load, a voice from heaven again cries, It is finished. There will be no further judgments. Judgment number twenty-one is the finale.
The seventh outpoured bowl produces thunders, lightnings, and the most devastating earthquake ever to occur upon earth. The Prophet Haggai undoubtedly predicted this when he stated: For thus saith the Lord of hosts.. .1 will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations [Christ] shall come (Haggai 2:6, 7).
One should be certain to note that the final bowl judgment does not bring about the end of the world. Instead, the Lord Jesus Christ returns at this time, establishes His earthly kingdom, and rules for one thousand years (chapter 20, verse 4). Still this is the end of civilization as we have known it. The destruction divides the great city (Jerusalem) into three parts and causes every major city in all nations to fall. In addition, every island flees away and mountains become dislocated, even to the point of disappearing into the oceans. The worst judgment is reserved for Babylon, which receives the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. A detailed study of Babylon’s demise will be conducted in chapter 18.
The climax is the raining down from heaven of hailstones weighing from 86 to 120 pounds. The Greek talent weighed 86 pounds, the Troy talent 96 pounds, and the Jewish talent 120 pounds. Whatever measurement is used, this hailstorm will do more than dent cars and demolish homes. It will literally pulverize everything in sight.
In spite of this plague, the inhabitants of earth continue calling God dirty names. Men never learn. Finally they must die and suffer eternal banishment from God in a fiery hell. Even then they weep and gnash their teeth (see Matthew 8:12). Although weeping denotes sorrow, the gnashing of teeth depicts cursing. No wonder God’s Word says that the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever (Revelation 14:11).
May none of this ever be a part of your experience. Make certain you have gotten in on the first “It is finished” cry of Jesus Christ upon the cross of Calvary. Do not keep hesitating only to finally hear the “It is done” wail of judgment number twenty-one. Christ died for you, shed His blood for the remission of your sins, and He longs to save you.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
At Peace with Who I Am
I’ll never forget meeting Phyllis.
We were at a college in Chattanooga, Tennessee, conducting a series of meetings with the student body. When I sing, I endeavor to establish eye contact with people in the audience, and as I looked over that large group of students, my eyes met hers. She was right in the front, looking up with an angelic face, totally absorbed in the words of my song. I could hardly take my eyes off her.
Phyllis had obviously been born with a defect that hindered her growth. Though she was an adult, she was the size of an infant. Her little legs were too small to enable her to walk well, so she got around by means of a small child’s tricycle. She looked like a tiny doll, sitting on her trike, quietly listening to my song. I don’t think I’ve ever felt such an instant, deep love for anyone as I felt for Phyllis that day.
When the service was concluded, Phyllis asked a friend to bring me to her. Without any hesitation, I did what I had been longing to do from the moment I first saw her. I took her in my arms and hugged her.
Psalm 139:14 says, I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. As I talked with Phyllis this verse came to mind, and I was struck by the thought that the truth of this psalm applied to her just as surely as it applied to the psalmist, or to me, or to anyone else! God had fashioned Phyllis, and regardless of her appearance from our human perspective, He had not made a mistake.
I was particularly impressed by the depth of Phyllis’s quiet beauty. From what I could tell in that brief encounter, she had no self-image problems. To the contrary, she appeared confident, strong, and spiritually mature. As she shared the concerns of her heart with me so that I might pray with her, I noticed that not one of her requests was selfish. Phyllis asked me to pray for her roommates, for her loved ones, and about some problems she was aware of involving other students. She did not ask me to pray for her. Although her physical problems and the difficulties she had getting around resulted in very pressing personal needs, the focus of her concern was on the needs of others. When I gently asked what she would like me to pray for on her behalf, she smiled sweetly and said, “Oh, no, nothing for me!”
Phyllis had grasped a truth that most people completely miss-that we are created by God for His glory. Consequently, she was content with what she had and the way she was. She was fearfully and wonderfully made, and for someone of such small stature, she was touching a multitude of lives.
A designer original
In our society, self-acceptance is a rare reality. Although people today tend to spend a good deal of time thinking about themselves-ours may just be the most self-centered generation ever-most people simply do not like themselves and end up baffled and bewildered by their dissatisfaction. Such self-rejection is completely debilitating, for the one who is dissatisfied with himself has a more difficult time finding true fulfillment.
I believe Psalm 139 was written for those whose dissatisfaction is focused on themselves. Three truths in the psalm provide for the development of an individual sense of self-worth. We want to look at the first one this week and the next week we will cover the remaining two.
First of all, God made us. Verse 16 states:…in thy book all my members were written…when as yet there was none of them. Thus we see that God has not only made us, but He has made us according to a perfect plan. We are not accidents. Instead, as a special creation, each of us has intrinsic value. Regardless of our physical condition, appearance, or abilities, we are of great value to God for we were made to glorify Him.
Mary Crowley, president of Home Interiors and Gifts, Inc., of Dallas, Texas-a very successful businesswoman-has a motto, “Be somebody-God doesn’t take time to make a nobody.” Mary, by giving unselfishly of herself, has earned the respect of the business and political world. She told me in an interview that she feels God has gifted her with the ability to motivate others. She works with the women she employs, helping them to build a strong self-image, with an emphasis on developing inner qualities of beauty. “My self-image is tied up in the character of God himself,” she said. “I want every woman to know that inside her, God has created the potential of genius.”
Contemporary humanity is obsessed with outward appearances. We tend to think that if something looks good it is good, and if it doesn’t look good, it isn’t. As a result, our focus is on externals-clothing, weight, the way we style our hair, and the way we make up our faces. I do not mean to imply that these things are not important. Looking good can make you feel better about yourself, and you may even act better because of it. What I am saying is that the emphasis too often is out of balance. The way we look must always take second place to the condition of the spirit.
Mary Kay Ash, founder of one of America’s most successful cosmetic companies, once said, “True beauty comes from within. You have to feel good about yourself.”
The myths of the advertising world
The advertising world constantly feeds our obsession about our looks with television commercials appearing to our inner cravings to be beautiful and accepted. They tell us diet soft drinks will ensure a slim body, that by using the right toothpaste we will have sparking teeth, and that a certain brand of shampoo will take care of our dandruff problems-people will reject you if they catch you scratching an itchy scalp. And on and on it goes.
Any thinking person should recognize that this is nonsense, but many are lured by promises into buying the products. One can be slim, beautiful, and young looking and still not be satisfied. The incidence of suicide among young models and movie stars is proof that externals do not satisfy.
Furthermore, putting sizzle into a relationship with exotic perfume and by dressing seductively is no guarantee of long-lasting satisfaction. The assault by the media upon our senses with images of gorgeous women and macho men who give every appearance of having attained the ultimate in satisfaction is a myth.
The list of gifted, creative, and attractive people who have killed themselves is long. These were people who had reached the top of the ladder. Supposedly they were successful and satisfied. Any such list is tragic. You may recognize some of these names: John Barrymore, Anne Sexton, Hart Crane, Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, Ernest Hemingway, Marilyn Monroe, Vincent Van Gogh, Thomas Chatterton, and even Socrates. So it can be seen that unless a person has come to terms with himself, with his uniqueness as one of God’s children, no amount of money, fame, or effort expended on ways to change one’s self-image is going to bring durable satisfaction. Ultimately, being baffled, bewildered, and befuddled can have tragic consequences.
The result of modern marketing’s emphasis on the external, the visible, is simply more self-rejection. Commercials are designed to make us dissatisfied with the way we are. Their aim, of course, is getting us to want their products. We are actually being programmed to be dissatisfied with ourselves. We are being taught to focus on the externals only. Consequently, many totally neglect the fundamental truths that God made us to reflect His glory and that how we look on the outside is of fleeting importance.
Looks change. Of all our temporal possessions, outward appearance is perhaps the one that fades first. It can be destroyed instantly by an accident, or it slowly deteriorates. No one stays young forever, and everyone who lives long enough will have wrinkles, a change in the color and texture of their hair or even baldness, and show other signs of aging.
On the other hand, God’s workmanship in us involves qualities of character He desires to build into our lives. For example, He wants us to be reflections of His love. He also desires that we exhibit integrity, purity, and holiness. He wants us to be patient, kind, and humble. None of these things can be accomplished by altering the way we look!
I had the delightful privilege of interviewing Dee Jepson, wife of then Senator Roger Jepson of Iowa. (She also served as Special Assistant to the President for Public Liaison during the Reagan administration.)
Dee told me that a turning point in her life came when she realized that her career, her status in life, and her material successes were not what gave her life meaning. She saw that because she was a creation of a good and almighty and loving God, she had value as a person that would be there even if her career came suddenly to an end or if she lost every material possession. She said:
In a day and age when women are seeking their identity, I think that oftentimes they are looking in the wrong places. I think it is very important that they realize we need to find our identity in our importance as human beings just because we are. I think it is very important that we find our value and our identity in the fact that we are children of God.
I also feel that as women make their choices in life, if they choose to be a homemaker and stay home and contribute in that way, that is an immensely important role. If they serve their family, support their husband’s career, make a house a home, shape and mold young lives, they are making a major contribution to society. They shouldn’t feel any guilt or societal pressure to go out and make some kind of mark in the marketplace.
Dee is one of those people who exudes confidence, strength, and security. Her secret is that she does not base her sense of self-worth on anything that can be taken away from her. Her confidence comes from knowing the One who made her. She knows He loves her, and thus she can accept herself. As she puts it, “For me, Jesus Christ is the center of my life, and that is what life is about. If you are attempting to be, and willing to be, in the center of His will, it makes things so much easier because it sort of transfers the responsibility to Him”. This kind of attitude and understanding builds the kind of satisfaction that nothing external can ever take away.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Jack Van Impe
I just want to thank you for all that you are doing for me and my family you keep us up with the news around the world. And I also want to thank you for bringing me closer to Jesus ever since I lost my best friend which was my papa I went into a depression long story short ever since I started watching your TV show it made me realize that I need to let go I was in ninth grade when I accepted The Lord into my life thank you so so much for all you have done for our country God is very proud of you both!!!
Thanks and God Bless
Dear Rev. & Mrs. Van Impe,
Thank you for another newsletter, my wife and I thoroughly enjoy receiving them and watching your weekly broadcast. Praise God for His wisdom and patience in getting you set up for this inspiring ministry! It is amazing there aren’t more people with biblical upbringing realizing how interlaced in scripture our time has become on a daily basis! I pray that both of you remain in good health and uplifted spirits. Know that we ask Jesus daily for guidance and for his continued blessing on your ministry. We recently purchased your prophecy bible and are very pleased with it! I work at a fire station and bring the bible with me to work daily. I study it during my down time and love the commentaries you have provided. We will continue to watch your program and wait on the coming of the Lord. It’s so exciting living through this time, knowing the end result! In case you were wondering, my wife and I are in our 20s, so don’t think your message is wasted on the young, we hear you and agree with both of you. You guys are an awesome inspiration to us, praise God for His faithfulness!
Grace & Peace,
Drew & Katie D.
HIGHLIGHTED PRODUCT OFFERS
Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe have prepared this powerful new video teaching to show you the Enemies of the Cross and how to defeat them. You will discover the answers to critical questions such as:
- Who is calling the cross ‘useless’, and why?
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- How do contemporary church services fit into the great ‘falling away’ predicted in the Bible?
- How are new Bible translations destroying the Christian faith?
- How does Pope Francis signal Christ’s soon return?
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- Where will the False Prophet come from?
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Do not allow your family and church to be deceived.
Are we now living in the era of the final three Popes? How do these final three Popes signal Christ’s imminent return?
Acclaimed Bible scholar and teacher Dr. Jack Van Impe draws upon his lifetime of research and study to make a definitive case for Christ’s imminent return.
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