June 22, 2015
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
We want to pick-up our study where we ended last week, dealing with the 70 Weeks of Daniel’s prophecy.
The importance of the prophecy is stressed by Alva J. McClain in his book Daniel’s Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks, in which he wrote: …only an omniscient God could have foretold over five hundred years in advance the very day on which the Messiah would ride into Jerusalem and present Himself as the “Prince” of Israel. Yet this is precisely what has been done in the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks.
There are two important facts to remember while studying the prophecy.
First, this is a prophecy concerning Israel: “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people” (Dan. 9:24).
Second, the word translated “weeks” literally means “sevens” and does not refer to a week of seven days. The angel announced to Daniel that seventy “sevens” were determined upon the people of Israel.
What were these “sevens”?
The context clearly shows them to be sets of seven years. Daniel had just been considering the years of the captivity of his people and had read Jeremiah’s prophecy that said the captivity would last for seventy years. The seventy years of captivity were years of chastening for not allowing the land to have its Sabbaths for 490 years. The land was granted its Sabbaths during the absence of the Jews. The context is not only years, but another seventy weeks of years, or 490 years. There is no question about the length of time here intended — 490 years.
But 490 years from when? And to accomplish what?
The vision is clear. The 490-year count would begin when the commandment went forth to restore and build Jerusalem. That is a date that has been preserved for us in the Bible.
When the time came for the Jews to return to their land, Nehemiah asked King Artaxerxes for permission to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the city. The king issued the decree to restore and build Jerusalem as Nehemiah requested. It is a thrilling story, especially since it begins by recording the date of Nehemiah’s request and the forthcoming decree:
And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence. Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid, And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ sepulchers, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire? Then said the king unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favor in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchers, that I may build it. And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time. Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah; And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me (Nehemiah 2:1 — 8, emphasis mine).
Note that important date again — the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes. Since the king had taken the throne in 465 B.C., his twentieth year would have been 445 B.C. The month the decree was issued was Nisan. Since the day is not given, Jewish custom demands it to have been the first day of the month. Translating the date given in the Bible to our calendar, the king’s decree to rebuild Jerusalem went forth on March 14, 445 B.C.
At first glance, then, it would appear that 490 years from March 14, 445 B.C. should have brought the end of transgressions, reconciliation for iniquity, the beginning of everlasting righteousness, the fulfilling of all prophecy, and the crowning of the Messiah as King (Dan. 9:24).
But wait! There is a time break in the prophecy. After sixty-nine weeks (483 years) the Messiah would come as the Prince but He would be rejected and cut off.
That is exactly what happened.
Precisely 483 years after the issuing of the decree to build Jerusalem, the Messiah came riding into Jerusalem as had been prophesied:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, 0 daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass (Zech. 9:9).
Messiah the Prince was rejected by His people. He was cut off (crucified), but not for Himself; He died for others.
At the moment of Jesus’ death the prophetic clock stopped ticking as far as this vision for Israel is concerned, for it deals with that time in history when God interacts specifically with that nation. Through the death of Christ, the wall between Jews and Gentiles was broken down. In this church age, Jews and Gentiles become one in Christ at the moment of new birth;
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace (Eph. 2:13 — 15).
The prophetic clock will remain silent, leaving one week of years unfulfilled, until the church makes its exit from the earth at the return of Christ — the Rapture. Israel will then again become the object of God’s special dealing; the final seven years of Daniel’s vision will be counted off in the world’s most terrible time.
The final stages of Daniel’s prophecies will all find fulfillment simultaneously.
Ten nations that once were part of the Roman Empire will join together in an economic and political alliance.
The “little horn speaking great things” will emerge as a powerful political leader to whom three national heads of the new European federation will give full allegiance. Soon the other seven leaders will follow, making this evil man a dictator of immense power.
This newly acclaimed head of the revived Roman Empire will sign a seven-year peace treaty with Israel but will break it in the middle of the seventieth week — the middle of the final seven years:
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. 9:27).
Those will be traumatic days for Israel. Just when peace seems to have come, it will be taken from her and she will be plunged into another bloody persecution.
What are the ingredients in the mixture of time and circumstances that will produce such a devastating explosion of persecution and misery for Israel at closing time?
And why has this particular nation suffered so much?
We will continue our study in this next week.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
WHY AM I SURPRISED?
It’s very hard for me to describe my feelings-perhaps a sense of awe, humility, and gratitude?-when I think about the wonderful opportunity God has given to my husband and me to reach around the world via television each week with the gospel. I definitely believe the Holy Spirit impressed Jack to find a format that so many people watch.
When we first knew we were going to have a program that would be beamed around the world, we had prayerfully planned an unusual approach that seemed really exciting. Then, about a week before we were to start production, Jack came to me and said, “Rexella, I believe we are to do a different format. I sense that we are to gather news from around the world-global headlines-and connect them to the Word of God.
With all my heart, I believe the Lord directed my husband in that decision. Today we get hundreds of pounds of mail every week from viewers who ordinarily would not watch a church-related or religious program. One day we walked into a restaurant and were recognized by a group of some twenty Jewish people. “Oh, Dr. and Rexella,” they said, “we love your program and try to tune in every week!”
In the same restaurant, we met a smaller group of Arab people who smiled and said, “Thank you for your TV program-we appreciate it so much!”
I was also stopped by the wife of a state senator who said, “I don’t know if you know this, Rexella, but the first thing on the agenda of many of the senators on Monday morning is to get together over coffee and discuss your program!”
On the street in Toronto not too long ago, we were stopped by a Muslim man who said, “Many people in our community here watch your telecast often-we enjoy it so much.” I couldn’t help asking, “Why are you attracted to a Christian program that presents the gospel and quotes the words of Jesus? Why would you want to watch that?”
His answer was so humbling-“We trust you!”
So many calls and letters we receive are from people like this who might never go to church or watch another religious program. Our media consultants (who also work with numerous other ministries) say that we are seeing more response to the invitation for salvation than perhaps any other program on the air today.
Many people write to say, “We couldn’t make it through our week without hearing your analysis and encouragement.”
And not long ago I got a letter that brought tears to my eyes. A young girl who had decided to commit suicide was flipping through the TV channels and stopped on our program. She wrote, “Rexella, you looked straight into the camera at me and said, ‘God cares about you…and so do I!’ That changed my whole thinking…and saved my life.”
Preparing for the promised days
Jack and I pray earnestly as we prepare for each program. We are keenly aware of the responsibility that is ours because we truly believe that we are living in the days just prior to the coming of the Lord. We don’t like to use the phrase “last days” because it’s not a countdown to the world ending. Actually, it’s the promised days-just before Christ will come back to earth, set up His kingdom, and stop all the mayhem and madness. It will be the beginning of a thousand years of peace on the earth.
I believe we are now living in the time the Bible refers to as the “hour of temptation” that will come upon all the world and try those who live on planet earth (see Revelation 3:10). But Jesus surely is coming very soon!
When is He coming? Each week on television, we talk about the events the Bible says are signs of His coming. We share news reports about wars, rumors of wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, and countless other distresses and fateful events.
Often people will say, “The world has always had war and famine and trouble-all these things. Are today’s events any different? Why do they have special significance now?”
The answer is found in two key verses. Jesus said, And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end (end of the age) come (Matthew 24:14). Only recently, in our generation, could it be said that the gospel has been preached in all the world, witnessing to all nations.
Secondly, the Bible doesn’t say, “when you see wars, look up” or “when you see famine and pestilence, the time is near.” Look carefully at what Jesus said in Matthew 24:33-when ye shall see ALL these things, know that it is near, even at the doors (emphasis mine). All these things, all at once-simultaneously! That’s the key Jesus said to watch for, and I’m telling you, that day has come!
There are many places in the Word that talk about things that will come to pass-there’s a whole list of them, but I’ve chosen to write about just four-perhaps the top four-that have to come together before the coming of the Lord.
So today we must do all that we can to point the lost to the Answer-not a theory, a contract, a plan-but to the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. That’s what Jack and I do every week on our worldwide telecast.
Hunger and pestilence (Revelation 6:8)
The second thing that shocks me is how there can be famine, privation, and deathly need and starvation in a world where there is such abundance. Why am I surprised? Often there can be unimaginable opulence and wealth at one end of the street, and hunger, want, and terrible suffering at the other end of the same street.
The hunger, disease, and pestilence around the world hurt my heart so much. Today we have many, many billionaires all over the world-people with so much wealth that they literally cannot even count it all. There are billionaires not only in prosperous, wealthy countries, but also in poor, underdeveloped nations. Outside the gates of these billionaire’s estates-in the very shadow of their elegant palaces of privilege-starving people die in the darkness.
In nations ravaged by famine, with millions of starving children, cruel dictators hoard the country’s meager resources and even confiscate the humanitarian aid sent by other nations for their own personal gain. No wonder the Word reminds us that the heart (of man) is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).
Most of us are not billionaires. Perhaps we do not even have much to spare beyond our basic needs. But in the words of American writer Edward Everett Hale-
I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do something I can do.
There is always something we can do to help share the gospel with those who do not know the Lord. Even when the physical needs of nations and people are beyond our means to change, we can point them to Jesus and His words of eternal life. In many impoverished regions where television is not available to very many, we are broadcasting the message of Christ’s soon return on radio, hoping that somehow we can get through to some of the people.
Without natural affection (2 Timothy 3:3)
Recently on our telecast, I read a horrifying headline and story about a mother who cut off the hands of her children because they were disobedient! Can you believe it? That’s not the affection of a mother’s heart. How could a parent’s mind get so twisted as to mistake brutal, bloody amputation and dismemberment as loving discipline? Truly we are living in “perilous times.”
Do you believe we are living in a day when people are without natural affection? We see and hear about it all the time. There are many husbands who beat and abuse their wives, even wives who also are abusive. There have also been numerous cases of children who have murdered their parents, or beat or injured a younger brother or sister.
Why am I surprised? We live in an age when sexual predators stalk children on the playgrounds of schools. Even teachers and religious leaders have been involved in horrible sexual abuse of young boys and girls. I just reported a story on our telecast recently about a man who had the names of 36,000 young boys on his computer. Investigators suspected that he had probably actually had sex with hundreds of them.
That’s not a natural heart! That is a person without natural affection. You do not prey on children-I don’t care who you are or what “logic” you use to rationalize it. God intended for us to love our neighbor as ourselves-to have a love for everyone, no matter who they are. Betraying the trust and dependence of children and family is unnatural!
The Bible warns us about a whole laundry list of terrible behavioral practices that become common in the world before the end of the age comes. The Apostle Paul wrote, For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away (2 Timothy 3:2-5).
Do you recognize any of these things in our society today? Are they happening around where you live? Then pay attention. This is a biblical, prophetic sign of the promised days just prior to Christ’s coming!
Worldwide terrorism (Matthew 24:37; Genesis 6:11, Luke 21:9)
Worldwide terrorism! Why am I surprised? Jesus said, But as the days of Noe [Noah] were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be (Matthew 24:37).
What was it like in Noah’s day? The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence (Genesis 6:11). Does that description fit the world you know? I think so.
Finally, Jesus said, But when ye shall hear of wars and (violent) commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass…nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom… (Luke 21:9, 10).
Terrorism is certainly on the upswing right now. But we must not be surprised when it strikes. Jesus said these things must come to pass-terrorism will continue at some level right up until the coming of the Lord!
This is why I am so excited, positive, and thankful about the incredible tool the Lord has given to us with our weekly telecast, Jack Van Impe Presents. We don’t come on each week with global news and gloom and doom. We say, “Yes, we do see terrorism, just as Jesus foretold. But let not your heart be troubled-these things must come to pass. They precede the coming of the Lord.” We’re trying to prepare people with a positive outlook, knowing that trials teach us trust in our Heavenly Father!
Yes, there have been some dark days. There may well be dark times again. But don’t be afraid of “the power of darkness.” I believe darkness doesn’t really have any power of its own-it’s only the absence of light! If you carry light with you, it always dispels darkness! Darkness has no power if you hold up the light of the world-Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Savior and our Lord. He said, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27).
Today let us allow God to comfort our souls and give us hope for tomorrow. Be ready and watching for His return. With all my heart, I believe He is coming very soon!
Don’t be surprised!
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
I wanted to wish you a speedy recovery from your surgery! Get back up and bring us the Truth as only you can do it!! I look forward to hearing you proclaim the Word of The Lord with the same conviction that you have had since I was a kid watching you with my grandmother! I remember turning to my grandmother at 13 years-old as we watched your awesome program and saying "I want to accept Jesus".
Jack, I thank-you for being the one who led me to Christ with such strength and courage! You have been, and continue to be a blessing to me and my family! We love you and can’t wait to hear you speak mightily of our Lord’s triumphant message!!
God Bless You!!!
The Lord has blessed me with you. You are such a wonderful godly example to me and the world. I thank the Lord for you all the time. I prayed for your healing and you to get back on the air spreading the gospel as soon as possible. As you well know there is not much time left, and we all need you, feeding us. Jack give your awesome wife a kiss and thank the Lord for your blessings.
I love you Jack God bless you
S. A. M.
We have already won in the name of Jesus!
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