June 29, 2015
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
WEEP FOR YOUR CHILDREN
Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for …your children (Luke 23:28). The Jews missed their Messiah. He walked among them and they did not recognize Him, even though their prophets had described His coming in great detail. His ancestry was to be in the family of David. His coming was to be announced by one who was known as a “voice crying in the wilderness.” His birthplace was to be Bethlehem. He was to be born of a virgin. He was to be the eternal God incarnate. He was to minister to the poor and needy. He was to be presented to Israel as the Prince at the time prescribed in Daniel’s vision of the seventy weeks. He was to be despised and rejected. He was to die for others by crucifixion. He was to be resurrected. Following His death, and in the lifetime of those who rejected and crucified Him, Jerusalem was to be destroyed and its citizens scattered and persecuted. Ultimately He would end war and establish a government of equity and justice, headquartered at Jerusalem. He would bring peace to Israel and to the world. Did Jesus Christ fulfill these ancient prophecies?
We want to look at the first four of these this week, then the remaining ones in the weeks to come.
Roots And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots (Isaiah 11:1). Dr. Luke, who was chosen to give the most complete account of the birth of Christ, records that Jesus was born of the family of David. The third chapter of his Gospel gives a complete genealogy of Mary, the mother of Jesus, tracing her ancestry through David (Luke 3:23 — 38). The angel Gabriel was sent to announce the birth of Jesus. Luke says the heavenly messenger was sent to “a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary” (Luke 1:27). The ancestry of Jesus was known so well to His contemporaries that some who came to seek help and healing referred to Him as the “son of David.” “And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us” (Matt. 9:27). After one of His miracles of healing, many were ready to accept Jesus as the Promised One. They made an unmistakable reference to Him as the “son of David” of whom the prophets had written, asking, “Is not this the son of David?” (Matt. 12:23). But the religious leaders rebuked them, saying He had performed the miracle in the power of Satan.
The Voice in the Wilderness The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God (Isaiah 40:3). Sometimes we forget there were two miraculous births connected with the Incarnation. Although John the Baptist was not born of a virgin, his birth was miraculous in that it was a fulfillment of prophecy and an answer to prayer. John was sent to prepare the way of the Lord. John is called a “voice.” And what a voice he was! Multitudes came to hear him. Even the king stood in his audience. He was an unusual man, fearless and faithful. His boldness cost him his head, but not until his work was done. We know him as the “forerunner of Christ.” It is important to notice that in Isaiah’s prophecy of John the Baptist’s mission, he is said to have come preparing the way of the LORD (40:3). Here all the letters in “Lord,” have been capitalized, showing that John came to prepare the way of Jehovah, an inescapable declaration of the deity of Christ.
Bethlehem But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting (Micah 5:2). Micah the prophet had revealed that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth. How would this problem be solved? The Roman government enacted a law that called for every man to return to the city of his family to pay his taxes, providing a census as well as taxation. It was therefore necessary for Joseph and Mary to leave Nazareth and go to Bethlehem, because he was of the family of David. The mighty Roman Empire unwittingly became a partner in fulfilling the prophecy concerning both the time and place of the birth of the Messiah. And Christ was born in Bethlehem.
The Virgin Birth–God Incarnate Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14). For centuries the Jews had awaited the coming of the Messiah. Longing to be free from foreign domination, they especially anticipated the fulfillment of messianic promises that concerned lasting peace and the restoration of David’s kingdom. When prophetic voices ceased for four hundred years, some doubted.
Suddenly the silence was broken. Angels went on missions of earthshaking importance. John the Baptist was to come (Luke 1:5-25). Christ would be born (Luke 1:26 — 38). The angel Gabriel brought the announcement of the coming birth of Jesus to Mary, who was engaged to Joseph. She would conceive as a result of a miracle of the Holy Spirit and give birth to the “Son of the Highest,” who would sit upon “the throne of His father David” (Luke 1:32). When it became evident that Mary was with child, Joseph was beside himself. The emotional trauma might have destroyed him had not an angel been sent to give him guidance. Explaining the miracle that was happening in Mary, the heavenly agent advised Joseph to proceed with the planned marriage, assuring him that the child conceived in her was of the Holy Spirit. Here human understanding falters. Even Mary asked, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34). Nevertheless, students of the Old Testament know this miracle had been prophesied. Its fulfillment should have been another reason for accepting the Messiah when He came. Bible students who doubt the virgin birth of Christ are themselves a contradiction. They wrestle with the sign, yet often claim to accept the Savior. There is no question but that the virgin birth required God’s intervention. The name “Immanuel,” given by Isaiah, shows that the child would be God robed in flesh. Immanuel means “God with us.” By pinpointing Bethlehem as the Messiah’s birthplace, Micah makes certain that his readers will understand just who is being born in David’s city. He is identified as the One whose “goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2). The Messiah was born of a virgin in Bethlehem, as had been promised by the prophets of Israel. And the world was confronted with the Incarnation of the eternal God.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
Let Me Cry!
I’ve been doing some crying, lately.
A while back I noticed that a young waitress who often serves Jack and me when we go out to eat seemed unusually quiet and withdrawn and there was a strain on her countenance. When I went to wash my hands in the ladies room, I had a chance to pull her aside and ask if something was wrong. Tears spilled down her cheeks as she told me her husband had just asked her for a divorce.
Imagine the pain of having your husband or wife look you in the eye and say, “I don’t love you anymore-I want out of this marriage.” I can’t even begin to comprehend the shock, sorrow, and grief one would feel in such a situation.
I didn’t know what to say to this poor girl -but I put my arms around her and comforted her the only way I knew how…with my tears.
Also in recent months, I have felt an increased burden for my unsaved friends and loved ones. Bible prophecy makes it so clear that time on this old earth is running out fast and that surely Jesus is coming soon…perhaps today! So I have been praying…and weeping …for my unsaved loved ones. It is the only way I know to minister to them!
What is a tear?
The great preacher, T. DeWitt Talmage, once wrote, “Help me explain a tear. A chemist will tell you that it is made up of salt and lime and other component parts; but he misses the chief ingredients-the acid of a soured life, the viperine sting of a bitter memory, the fragments of a broken heart. I will tell you what a tear is: it is agony in solution.”
These are powerful, moving words. And perhaps all of us have either witnessed or personally experienced the truth Talmage sought to convey.
But I suggest to you that there is more to tears than sadness, sorrow, regret, and pain. Tears can be a release from stress and anxiety, a vent for frustration, a safety valve for overpowering emotions. Tears can be the most sincere expression of compassion and love. And just as raindrops wash the smoke, smog, and impurities from the atmosphere, so tears can wash away the stains of bitterness and disappointment from our souls.
A time to weep
As Solomon, perhaps the wisest man who ever lived, once declared, To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…A time to weep, and a time to laugh (Ecclesiastes 3:1,4).
We live in a time when everyone wants to laugh all the time, but no one is willing to weep. And if someone does cry, it makes people really uncomfortable. Children are hushed and told not to cry. Men are taught that tears don’t go with a macho image…that only sissies cry. And women who weep at some sadness or loss are interrupted and advised to wipe their eyes and get control of themselves.
No! No! No! Let me cry. It’s all right to cry. I need to cry. In fact, one of my goals is to minister to those who are weeping. I want to do all I can, to say what I can…and when there are no deeds or words that can help, to weep with them.
Perhaps my resolution is best expressed in the words of the late Bob Pierce in his moving book, Let My Heart Be Broken With the Things That Break the Heart of God.
When Jesus wept, His tears were for others. Both Matthew and Luke describe how He wept over the city of Jerusalem for those who would not hear and accept the Truth! We, too, should weep for others.
Weep over souls
Should we be less concerned over lost souls than our Saviour? Why are we not crying and praying for the lost to be saved before it is eternally too late?
I’ve seen people moved to tears by the plight of fictional characters in a paperback book. A melodramatic film may jokingly be described as a “two-hanky” movie, and it’s perfectly all right. But the same people who get involved and empathize with artificial stories can see real live people around them dying and slipping into eternity without God and never feel a twinge or shed a tear.
I wonder-if the unsaved friends and loved ones I’m praying for don’t seem to be any closer to the Lord than when I first started, could it be because I haven’t shed any tears for them? The Bible says, They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him (Psalm 126:5, 6).
Weep over sin
Sometimes I can hardly watch the news on television or read the daily paper without crying. My heart breaks at what is going on in our nation and the world today. There is such evil and perversion, such wickedness and violence. How long will God allow men’s hearts to be filled with such deliberate, willful sin before calling them to judgment?
I believe we are to weep over sin, whether our own, our family’s, or our nation’s.
The Apostle Paul wrote, For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation (2 Corinthians 7:10).
I am reminded of how Peter, after denying the Lord during the awful hours before the Crucifixion, went out, and wept bitterly (Matthew 26:75). Those tears of repentance led to his being forgiven and restored.
Weep over sorrow
Just as there is a time to weep over souls and a time to weep over sin, there is also a time to weep over sorrow. Do you remember when Mary and Martha showed the Lord the tomb where their brother Lazarus was buried? The Bible says, Jesus wept (John 11:35).
There is a time for sorrow… and when it comes, tears are appropriate. Paul instructed, Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep (Romans 12:15).
Notice that the verse did not say to laugh with those who are laughing and to tell those who are crying to stop and cheer up. No, it says to cry with those who are crying! That means to share their sorrow-to get down under the burden with them. And when you share their tears-when all you can do is cry with them-you’ll find it is a tremendously effective way to minister your compassion and love.
I once interviewed a pastor who had suffered the traumatic loss of his little son. This man told me that in the midst of his grieving, the people of his church did not understand or know how to weep with him. They would come to him and say, “Pastor, why are you crying? Don’t you have any faith?”
After a while this minister wrote a book about what he had learned during his sorrowful experience. He called it, Jonathan, You Left Too Soon. But the main lesson I learned from his experience was that in the day of sorrow, it’s okay to weep. In fact, for most people, it’s a really good way to cope with loss and grief and begin to heal the broken heart and crushed emotions. Tears can be tremendously therapeutic.
I know I have been made acutely aware of the value of tears. And I pray that God will make me willing to weep with those who weep, whether they cry tears of pain, heartache, sorrow…or joy! I encourage you to consider whether God can also use you in a ministry of tears.
Remember, though, that our tears will not -cannot-last long. The psalmist sang, Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning (Psalm 30:5).
I’m here to tell you that a great morning is coming soon, when we will all be in the presence of the Lord. Oh, what a glorious promise and steadfast hope! For on that glad day, God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away (Revelation 21:4).
No wonder Jesus said, Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh (Luke 6:21).
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Dear Friends in Christ,
Just want to say how much I enjoy your program each Monday evening. Thank you for preaching and teaching the Bible in truth. Dr. Van Impe, have been praying for your speedy recovery after your surgery. We miss you and we are waiting for your return to teaching us the truth about God’s word.
Dear Jack and Rexella,
We wanted to send our prayers and well wishes to Jack. God bless you both. We have been watching you for 17 years.
The Stull Family
Just wanted to say you are in my prayers. I’ve been watching you for about 30 years and have always appreciated your love for our Savior and your commitment to spread His message. God bless and pray that you recover soon.
Your brother in Christ,
I would like to thank Drs. Jack and Rexella for the newsletters. I have been saving mine on the book of Daniel so I can study and understand what the book is saying to us. I enjoy the uplifting letters from Dr. Rexella. I pray that your ministry will continue until the Lord says “come up hither”! Thank you so much for all you so and may the Lord continue to bless you.
Alicia in Arkansas
PS Praying for Dr. Jack’s health.
HIGHLIGHTED PRODUCT OFFERS
You love your country, but how can you protect it from radical Islam?
Radical Islam is coming to North America. How can you protect yourself and your family? Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe help you answer this critical question and others with crucial information on Islam and Bible prophecy in a compelling two-video combo pack.
- How Islam and demonic powers are intertwined
- How President Obama demonstrates support for Islam
- How soon Armageddon will happen
- How Islam treats women, compared to Christianity
- Where the gruesome ISIS beheadings are predicted in the Bible
- Where four demons will be unleashed in our lifetime in the Middle East
- And much more!
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.