June 23, 2014
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
Chapter 19 is exhilarating because it begins with a heavenly host singing an Alleluia chorus, and this is a Hebrew word meaning “praise Jehovah” or “praise the Lord.” Chapter 19 contains the only mention of the term in the New Testament, and we will find it four different times in the following six verses.
Verse 1: And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:
John says, after these things. After what things? After the destruction of religious and political Babylon. Then what? Then he hears the tremendous sound of a multitude conducting a praise and testimony meeting in heaven. Probably led by the martyred saints of the Tribulation hour (chapter 7, verse 9), this group eventually includes all the redeemed in glory. They are rejoicing because (1) evil has run its course; (2) the Tribulation hour is concluding; (3) Christ is preparing to return with His saints; (4) the armies of the world are about to be demolished; (5) swords will then be remade into plowshares and spears into pruninghooks (see Isaiah 2:4); and (6) Christ will soon establish His millennial kingdom upon the earth. Such “good news” would make anyone shout, “Amen! Praise the Lord!”
The reason this praise is directed to One whose attributes are: (1) salvation, (2) glory, (3) honour, and (4) power is revealed in the next verse.
Verse 2: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.
Verse 3: And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.
The refrain is repeated as God’s people acknowledge the fact that Babylon’s doom is eternal. Never again will religious or political alliances bring men into bondage. Never again will man be duped, deluded, and destroyed through pompous ceremonialism. No, Babylon’s smoke ascends up for the ages of ages-forever and forever!
Verse 4: And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshiped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.
At this point the twenty-four elders (those we observed casting their trophies or crowns at Jesus’ feet following the Rapture and Judgment Seat of Christ in chapter 4) join the praise session. The world system that so harassed and persecuted them has finally been judged. The four beasts (identified as cherubim and seraphim in chapter 4) also lend their voices in glorifying God. They are rejoicing over the fact that they did not follow Lucifer, the head angel, as so many of their group did when he rebelled against the Almighty (see Isaiah 14:12-14). Now they are eternally secure, whereas the fallen angels are everlastingly damned.
Verse 5: And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.
This voice is undoubtedly an angel encouraging the heavenly host to continue the praise session. He is the celestial cheerleader at one of heaven’s most momentous and climactic hours.
Verse 6: And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
This is the final chorus as all heaven joins together in song. The multitudinous voices resound so loudly that the roar is likened to the sound of many waters and mighty thunderings. Why not? The prayer of the ages, Thy kingdom come, uttered by millions upon millions through the centuries, is about to be answered. Thus, the exclamation: [Praise Jehovah!] for the Lord God Omnipotent [soon] reigneth.
Verse 7: Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
Verse 8: And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
At the hour of Christ’s return to earth with His bride (the Church), His honeymoon is launched for 1,000 years. These verses are further proof that the Rapture is a pre-Tribulational event. The marriage of the Lamb takes place in heaven, not on earth. The Bride prepares herself at the Judgment Seat of Christ (which also takes place in heaven) before the wedding. These are time-consuming events. Then she returns with her lover-the Lord Jesus Christ-from heaven.
The Saviour is the Bridegroom because He is the Lamb of God, [who] taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29). The marriage partners at this glorious event include the Lamb (Christ) and His bride (the Church). Question: Where have they been during the Tribulation hour depicted in chapters 6 through 18? The answer: Heaven! You see, the Church was raptured in Revelation 4:1 and has not been mentioned again until this point-the time of preparation for the wedding.
During the seven years that earth dwellers suffered judgment from heaven, the Bride was being investigated in heaven, for 2 Corinthians 5:10 states: We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Second Corinthians 11:2 continues: For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste [pure] virgin to Christ. For many who were unfaithful to Christ during the engagement period (their years of service upon earth), this will be a time of humiliation (see 1 John 2:28).
Since we are then betrothed or engaged to Christ from the time of our conversion until the moment of the Rapture, God commands that we live consistently holy lives (see 1 Peter 1 :16). Then, immediately after we are called home in the “twinkling of an eye,” the pre-marital examination concerning our faithfulness as His sweetheart begins. Today’s signs definitely indicate that the hour is near. Our next appointment has been scheduled. How heartbreaking the report should the Bridegroom say, “I have discovered a problem.” Child of God-don’t be among the losers-live victoriously!
In preparation for the marriage ceremony itself, every believer will be attired in the wedding garment he made upon earth. The material will be composed of the good works remaining after the Judgment Seat has occurred. Someone may ask, “Doesn’t the Bible teach that believers are clothed in the righteousness of Christ?” Definitely (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). This is how one becomes a Christian in the first place. However, the word righteousness in the original Greek of verse 8 is not singular-(righteousness based upon Christ’s work) but plural-(righteousnesses based upon the believer’s life and deeds upon earth). At the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10), every work-good or bad-will be investigated. Then those works will be placed in the fires of testing (see 1 Corinthians 3:13). At that time if any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss [of rewards]: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire [by the skin of his teeth] (1 Corinthians 3:14, 15).
The two texts just referenced describe the preparation of the bride of Christ (all Christians) for the wedding (the marriage of the Lamb). Clearly, the wedding gown is composed of the believers’ righteousnesses (good works) performed on earth in honor of the lover of her soul. When this great moment arrives-undoubtedly soon, yes, perhaps today-what will you have? What will your wedding garment picture? Oh, I plead with you to live for Christ. Give Him your very best and all that you have. If you do, your rewards will be great, your joy complete, and your heavenly entrance abundant (see 2 Peter 1:11).
Verse 9: And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
This verse discloses the fact that the marriage of the Lamb will include a reception with many guests invited. Please note that the Bride and the Bridegroom are never guests. They are the ones for whom the ceremony is performed. Who, then, are those in attendance at the Marriage Supper? The guests include all believers up to Pentecost as well as the Tribulation saints. John-the disciple Jesus loved (see John 19:26) and the one who wrote the Book of Revelation-said, He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled (John 3:29). No wonder our text states: Blessed [or happy] are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.
The bride is composed of all believers who become members of the body of Christ from the Day of Pentecost until the Rapture. Now we find that the guests are those who trusted in the Lord either prior to Pentecost or following the Rapture. Since the marriage takes place in heaven, and the Old Testament and Tribulation believers are part of the earthly group, their only hope of participating in this event of the ages is that the wedding reception and Marriage Supper take place on earth. This is exactly what happens.
The fact that the marriage takes place in heaven and the supper occurs on earth is beautifully portrayed by the parable of the ten virgins: Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh (Matthew 25:113).
Notice that verse 6 of the above text states: Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. The reason the emphasis is on the Bridegroom instead of the Bride is because the Lord Jesus is all in all. Even John says, Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come (Revelation 19:7). Believers-members of the Bride-ought always to remember that the glory is His. He redeemed us. We would be nothing were it not for Jesus. These texts, then, explain the marriage, the supper, the guests, and the location.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
PEACE IN A TROUBLED WORLD
In the light of all that is going on in our world today it may sound strange to hear that you can have peace in a troubled world. In our beloved country every day we have:
- 10 teens commit suicide
- 135,000 teens bring a gun to school
- 7,742 teens become sexually active
- 2,705 teen girls get pregnant
- 1,106 teen girls have abortions
- 623 teens get a sexually transmitted disease
- 211 teens are arrested for drug abuse
- 437 teens are arrested for drinking or drunk driving
- 1,512 teens drop out of school
- 1,629 teens are in adult jails
As shocking as this is, it is not only a national dilemma, but also a global plague. Jesus knew this situation would engulf the globe prior to His return by prophesying that “iniquity would abound” but He added “Let not your heart be troubled”. What did He mean by this reassuring statement of comfort?
I want to let you in on the greatest truth I know. Everything I can say about real peace is centered in this fact. Without it, none of us can ever be genuinely at rest.
This truth has transformed millions of people throughout the history of the world. It has made derelicts into saints, hypocrites into godly men and women, and sinners into children of God. It is the truth of salvation in Jesus Christ.
Throughout this study, we have touched on some priceless spiritual verities that have a direct bearing on how to deal with the issues of life that can cause us to feel baffled, bewildered-perhaps even befuddled. In fact, we might say that achieving genuine satisfaction is completely a spiritual issue. To me, satisfaction is the normal state of a healthy soul. A person who neglects his spiritual needs cut himself off from the possibility of knowing real and lasting peace and fulfillment.
The greatest spiritual truth of all is what God has done to redeem us from our sin. By giving His Son to die in our place, God has paid the price of our sin and is able to save us from the bondage and dissatisfaction that comes with it.
Let me clearly say that I am not speaking of religion. Many people who are religious know nothing about salvation. Religion is of human origin, and it almost always requires that we do something. God’s salvation, however, is entirely His work on our behalf. It requires absolutely nothing, since God has already accomplished all that is necessary. Our part is to simply accept it by faith.
A personal commitment
I had the privilege of conducting two wonderful interviews with the Reverend Peter Marshall. He was the co-author (with David Manuel) of two marvelous historical accounts of God’s plan for America and divine intervention in the founding of our nation-The Light and the Glory and From Sea to Shining Sea. Peter grew up in a marvelous Christian family. His father, the late Dr. Peter Marshall, was for many years chaplain of the United States Senate, and his mother, the late Catherine Marshall, is known and loved by millions for her many wonderful books.
I asked Peter what impact his distinguished parents had on his coming to Christ. He explained that they had made clear to him from his youth just what it means to be a Christian. As a result, he never took Christianity for granted, and he never assumed that just because his parents were well-known Christian leaders, he was automatically a Christian as well.
In fact, Peter told me it was not until he was 21 years of age that he felt he had really committed his life to the Lord. Although he had grown up surrounded by Christian teaching and in his head knew it was true, he had not yielded his heart in making a personal commitment to Jesus Christ.
“I graduated from college, and I was lost,” he told me. “I had no idea who I was or why I was here. I thought I was going into the Foreign Service, the United States Diplomatic Corps, but the Lord shut that door and it didn’t work out. So I had nothing. No plans. No goals. Nothing.
“Then I went to a Fellowship of Christian Athletes conference in Colorado in the summer of 1961 and heard Don Moomaw speak. I gave my life to the Lord as a result of that encounter. Two weeks later I was in seminary, and in 1965 I was ordained to the gospel ministry.”
God took Peter Marshall’s aimless life and gave him direction. And, as I interviewed him, Peter expressed his concern and burden that many people do not understand what Christianity really is.
“Christianity is not just running around trying to do great things for God,” he said. “We must understand that we need Jesus Christ because we are sinful human beings-weak and needy. In my pride, I had a hard time accepting this.”
I believe one of the reasons so many people-so many religious people-are dissatisfied is that they perceive religion as something we do for God. But true peace begins when we accept what God has done for us! The Bible says, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8,9).
You see, if salvation were something we could earn for ourselves, it would only contribute to our pride, for when we earned salvation, we would have much about which to brag and boast. Thus, what Peter Marshall says is absolutely correct-all of us are needy sinners-there is none righteous, no, not one…for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:10,23). Yes, all of us fall short of God’s standards, and if we are to receive salvation from our sins, we must receive it as a gift, not as a meritorious award for service.
What sin does to us
Some may have difficulty accepting the fact that all of us are sinners. We all know people who are good, moral, honest, generous, thoughtful human beings. Surely they are not sinners in the same way hardened criminals are sinners-are they?
From God’s perspective, the answer is “yes.” Because His standard is absolute holiness-one hundred percent perfection-the issue is not how many sins we commit or what kind of sins we commit, but if we have sinned at all. And Scripture is clear that none of us can honestly say we have never sinned.
In the presence of absolute holiness, even the smallest sin is as offensive and out of place as the darkest, most heinous act of evil one can imagine. Because God is so completely holy and uncompromisingly righteous, He cannot permit sin to exist in His presence. And the only just penalty for sin is death-For the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
But just as God is holy, righteous, and just, Scripture also informs us that He is a God of mercy and love. Because of His great love for us, He does not wish to condemn us without mercy. Since in His righteousness He cannot simply overlook sin, He found a way that He could make us righteous without compromising His own holiness. However, it cost Him the sacrifice of His Son!
Perhaps the most familiar verse in all of Scripture is John 3:16-For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. That verse, more than any other, has opened people’s eyes to the truth of God’s salvation and the way to real satisfaction.
What this all means is that you do not have to earn God’s approval. You do not have to work to make yourself righteous. You do not have to become deserving of God’s grace. All the work has been done by God himself, and He offers His grace freely to those who will receive it by faith!
Nothing gives a greater sense of personal worth than the truth that God loves us so much that He gave His Son to pay the price for our sins. And nothing on earth brings more complete satisfaction than the confidence of knowing you are secure in God’s salvation.
May I ask you some important personal questions? What are you counting on to make yourself acceptable to God? If you were to stand before Him and give an account of your life, what could you point to that might make you acceptable to Him? Would it be your own works of righteousness? I hope not, because Isaiah 64:6 says, all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. God cannot accept works of righteousness from unrighteous people. Would you point to your heritage? Scripture is clear that salvation is not anyone’s birthright. In fact, Jesus said, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3).
The only thing any of us can point to that makes us acceptable to God is the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. We must simply trust Him with childlike faith and receive His gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23).
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
I want to thank you for the program on Sunday June 15th. It was so good to hear you say that what is going on in our world is not right. I have known that in my heart, but it doesn’t seem that anyone wants to admit it. We thank you for taking a stand for our Lord Jesus and sharing it with the world. We look forward to your program on Sunday nights.
We love you and Rexella and can’t wait to spend eternity with you in heaven.
Lee and Shannon W.
I don’t know that you will ever read this, but I wanted to tell you what a blessing it is to “fellowship” with you and Rexella and “Chuck” each week.
I purchased your prophecy bible and love it! I really feel you are a blessing from God and look forward to seeing you and hearing your commentary each week. I am 51 years old from Cincinnati, Ohio. I have listened to you off and on for over 25 years now. I recently have “returned” back to the fold about 5 months ago, as I truly feel that we are coming to the end of the age, and the return of our Savior Jesus Christ. I feel you are a messenger blessed by him and trying to reach us through His Word. I unfortunately cannot afford a lot of your offers, but wish you nothing but the best. I just felt that I wanted you to know you are special to me. Keep up the Lord’s work.
HIGHLIGHTED PRODUCT OFFERS
Reclaiming and Restoring Biblical Christianity
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- 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?
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