June 9, 2014
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
Revelation 17: 1- 18
Chapters 17 and 18 form another parenthesis. They are expositions of two verses previously discussed. Chapter 17 explains Revelation 14:8 and chapter 18 expounds Revelation 16:19. In Revelation 14:8 we read, And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
Likewise, in chapter 16, just concluded, we learned that great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath (verse 19). As we have already discussed, the Babylon of chapter 14 is a religious system, whereas the Babylon of chapter 16 is political. The chapter before us, then, is the story of the rise and fall of the ecumenical world church, while chapter 18 describes the destruction of a political system. Let’s begin our investigation of chapter 17 and discuss its prophetic implications, historically.
Verse 1: And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:
Here we see one of the seven angels who administered one of the seven judgments speaking to the disciple, John, inviting him to view the judgment of the great harlot who sitteth upon many waters. This phrase, many waters, speaks of religious control over humanity, internationally. Proof? Verse 15: The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
Verse 2: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.
Here we discover that this worldwide religious system holds both earth’s leaders and people within its grasp. The fornication committed is between these worldly leaders and the church. Remember that fornication, spiritually speaking, has to do with idolatry, including all its evil connotations and associations.
Spiritual fornication also has to do with Christianity embracing the world-leaping out of Christ’s arms into those of another lover. God’s Word instructs true Christians to be separated from the world (see Romans 12:2), specifically cautioning them not to fall in love with the world or anything that it contains (see 1 John 2:15). Those who disregard these commands are spiritual adulterers or fornicators. That’s why James 4:4 declares, Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Harlotry and whoredom, then, speak of idolatry and worldliness.
During the Tribulation hour, a vast international religious system (the great whore of verse 1) creates impure alignments with kings, rulers, and presidents in an unprecedented way. Her control is so overwhelming that humanity becomes mentally stupefied or hypnotically drugged as they are made drunk with the intoxicating brew of these religious/political alliances.
Verse 3: So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
At this point John, guided by the Holy Spirit, observes the woman (or world church) sitting upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. We saw this beast in chapter 13, verse 1: I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns. We immediately recognize him to be the Antichrist, who came to power through a confederation of Western nations pictured by the ten horns and ten toes discussed previously.
The only difference between the present text and verse 1 of chapter 13 is that the beast is now described as being scarlet coloured. Most commentators believe this reflects his bloody assault upon the world as he rises to power. He begins his reign with a fake peace pact (see Daniel 9:27) which he later breaks! As a result, millions are slaughtered during his rule. Now he bears the blood-red color of an executioner.
Verse 4: And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
As this world church on earth is described, please keep in mind that the true Church-the bride of Christ-is in heaven (chapter 4, verse 1). Her members were raptured from all nations and from many denominations. In fact, their song was recorded in chapter 5, verse 9: Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. The lyrics clearly prove that they trusted in the precious blood of Jesus for salvation. There is no other way (see 1 Peter 1:18, 19). Cain rejected the blood and tried to appease God with a vegetable offering (see Genesis 4:3), but God said, It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul (Leviticus 17:11). One cannot get to heaven by following the commandments of men (Matthew 15:9), observing tradition (see Mark 7:9), or as a result of works (see Titus 3:5). Thus, those who believed and obeyed God’s teachings concerning the blood of the Lamb are in heaven when the false church, the great whore that sitteth upon many waters, holds sway over the earth.
This false religious system of the Tribulation hour is a complete union of the church and the world. Its members are the leftovers from all denominations. They were either doctrinally or morally wrong. One is as bad as the other. The doctrinally wrong are described in 2 Peter 2:1 and 3: But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction…whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
The morally wrong are pictured in Jude, verses 821. Now we understand why theology and morality are so important! When God says, All have sinned (Romans 3:23), He means all. When He declares, The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), He means punishment. When He declares, The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin (1 John 1:7), He means just that! There are no two ways about it! God says what He means-and means what He says. If one rejects God’s Word, he will end up among this Tribulation crowd of self-indoctrinated religionists in a world church destined for destruction.
Secondly, if one says he is a Christian but continues to live in sin, the result will be the same even though his doctrinal theories may coincide with the true teachings of the Word. Yes, disobedience to revealed truth, as well as incorrect doctrine, keeps one from the presence of God for all eternity. This is why Titus 1:16 states: They profess that they know God [lip service]; but in works [daily living] they deny [God], being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate [counterfeit]. Therefore, the members of both groups remain on earth when Jesus calls His genuine children home in the twinkling of an eye. Then these leftovers from all denominations become members of the only religious body still in existence-the world church under the false prophet.
Looking at verse 4 once again, we notice that the woman or mother of the united world church is clothed in materials of purple and scarlet colour. This signifies rulership, for imperial Rome bedecked its leaders in such fashionable elegance. Strange, is it not, that ecclesiastical rulers have always desired temporal authority? They have sought to control the world as well as their parishioners.
Constantine, who became Emperor of Rome in 312 A.D. and eventually head of the church, is a perfect example of this power struggle which has continued to the present hour. Shades of Nicolaitanism! Remember the church of Ephesus in chapter 2. Question: Is such a goal scriptural? No! Jesus taught His disciples to pray, Thy kingdom come (Matthew 6:10). When that great event takes place in chapter 19, verse 16, then and only then, is a theocracy-the government of God-established upon earth. This position of leadership is reserved for the Lord Jesus Christ, and no mortal has any business taking His place. The throne belongs exclusively to the King of kings and Lord of lords.
The colors and jewels of verse 4 picture a church composed of prelates or leaders elegantly dressed in purple and scarlet (the colors of the emperors from the time of Constantine). They are also decked with gold and precious stones and pearls (a picture of wealth) and use idols in worship (pictured by the golden cup in the woman’s hand). The cup is full of (1) abominations and (2) filthiness.
Verse 5: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
Here we discover that the mother church has daughters. Her offspring are groups who either rejected the true teachings of the founder of Christendom or who had a counterfeit experience with the Son of God. They went through the motions but were never truly converted. Among them are cultists, apostates, and unconverted professors of religion-including Baptists, Catholics, Lutherans, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, and those who were members of a host of denominations. They never really knew the Lord (see Matthew 7:21-23). The fruit of daily living was spoiled. Now they are all united in one homogenized ecumenical monstrosity-the counterfeit church under the leadership of the false prophet. However, the true believers from many denominations are already on the glory side and were evacuated at the Rapture (see Revelation 4:1).
Friend, at the Judgment Day, no church-not even your church-will be the final standard of truth. Neither will tradition hold sway at the judgment bar of God. The only and absolute authority of truth, faith, and religious practice is God’s Holy Word (see 2 Timothy 3:16)! This is why the Lord Jesus himself said in Mark 7:7 and 13, Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered.
Verse 6: And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her I wondered with great admiration.
As John watches all the cunning antics of persecution this woman used and uses, he [wonders] with great admiration. This does not mean he admires the one who has so mercilessly destroyed so many. Instead, the original Greek is that John “wonders with a great wonder.” He is mystified.
Verse 7: And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her which hath the seven heads and ten horns.
The explanation begins in the next verse.
Verse 8: The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
The angel continues unfolding the mystery of the beast in verses 8 through 17. Then, in verse 18, the identity of the woman is revealed. Concerning the beast, the angel declares, The beast that thou sawest was [past tense], and is not [present tense]; and shall ascend [future tense] out of the bottomless pit. This is the same beast found in verse 3 and also in chapter 13, verse 1. The reason the beast was, and is not and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition is that, as mentioned during our study of chapter 13, verse 3, he is more than likely assassinated during the Tribulation hour-and thus, is not. Then Satan, the great imitator, resurrects him and enters the body of this human for the final forty-two months of the Tribulation. This explanation fulfills the statement, and yet is (verse 8). While he is deceased, the beast is in the place of departed evil spirits-the bottomless pit. At the time of his resurrection, he ascends out of this pit, only to eventually go back into perdition at the conclusion of his reign when Christ comes (at the Battle of Armageddon) and casts him into the lake of fire (chapter 19, verse 20). Verse 8 also tells us that those persons whose names [are] not written in the book of life, are emotionally stirred as they see the beast that was [alive], and is not [because of his assassination] and yet is [because of his resurrection] ruling again.
Verse 9: And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
This is a tremendous text. It locates, geographically, the final world power block and headquarters for the world church as well. Historically speaking, Rome is the only city situated on seven hills. The names of her seven peaks are (1) Aventine, (2) Caelian, (3) Capitoline, (4) Esquiline, (5) Palatine, (6) Quirinal, and (7) Viminal. There is no disputing the fact. The world church, sitting on these seven hills, heading up scores of denominations, rides to power on the back of the ten-horned Western federation of nations.
Verse 10: And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
As John receives this vision of the seven kings, five have already fallen. They were (1) Assyria, (2) Egypt, (3) Babylon, (4) Medo Persia, (5) Greece, (6) Rome, at the time John receives this revelation, and Number 7 is yet to come. He, of course, is the Antichrist whose reign will last briefly, or a short space.
Verse 11: And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
This verse is a thought-twister, but easily understood when one considers it carefully. Who is king number eight if there are only seven kings in the first place? Number eight is number seven resurrected! And the beast that was [before his assassination], and is not [because of his untimely death], even he is [because of his resurrection] the eighth. He is of the seven because Satan, who incarnated his body while dead, also motivated the other seven. As further proof that number eight is the resurrected Antichrist (number seven), we are again told that he will eventually go into perdition. This statement is also made concerning number seven in verse 8 as well as in our text-verse 11. King number seven and king number eight are one and the same.
Verse 12: And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
The ten horns have now become quite familiar to us. They may soon control the world. Communism, as we have learned, is not the final power block of history. Rather, this ten-toed Western alliance is. The power of these nations, however, will be for one hour, or for but a brief moment of time.
Verse 13: These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.
The final ten-nation Western federation-after the Antichrist ousts three of the original members and replaces them-becomes so unified that everything they possess, economically and militarily, is placed under the control of this world leader (see Daniel 7:8,24).
Verse 14: These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
This verse is fulfilled in chapter 19, verses 11 through 16, when the world’s armies gather together against the Lord and His anointed as pictured in Psalm 2:2: The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed. The Lamb (Christ) is the Lord of lords, and King of kings. The called, chosen, and faithful who accompany Him are the armies of heaven (chapter 19, verse 14) composed of the believers (the true Church) who were raptured out of the world in chapter 4, verse 1, and who then waited in heaven seven years to return with the Bridegroom.
Verse 15: And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
As explained in our discussion of verse 1, the woman sitting upon many waters is the world church who exercises religious control over mankind internationally.
Verse 16: And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.
The Antichrist eventually betrays his religious followers. They bowed and scraped to his image, but now he no longer wants to share the limelight and glory with them. Thus, the individual leaders of the countries in the ten-nation confederacy turn against the world church. They hate her, strip her of all possessions (the gold, precious stones, and pearls of verse 4), and destroy her by burning her remains to the ground. Who places such a plan of action in the hearts of these rulers? None other than God Almighty!
Verse 17: For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.
Imagine, God does it all! This portion of Scripture emphasizes the futility of politics. Despite the methods and manipulations of man, God’s plan always comes to pass. He sets up and knocks down world rulers at will (see Psalm 75:7). They are but pawns in the game of life (see Proverbs 21: 1). God’s will prevails regardless of what humans attempt to do. Christian, get souls saved! This is your God-given goal. Let the world spend time on temporal issues. The cause of Christ is eternal!
Verse 18: And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
This great end-time city is located within the European Union and proves that the political and religious power brokers exist together simultaneously. Since the world church forms at the time when ten Western nations unite-and both the European Economic Community (now the EU) and World Council of Churches began unity proceedings in 1948-Christ’s coming must be near. How long, O Lord, ere we shout that glad song, “Christ returneth, hallelujah!” Yes,”Hallelujah!” Amen!
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
We want to continue this week looking and the remaining two truths from Psalm 139.
Cooperating with the Designer
A second truth from Psalm 139 is that God knows us. In fact, He knows everything that can be known about us. He knows us better than we know ourselves. The psalmist wrote:
O Lord, thou has searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou has beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it (verses 1-6).
One reason we, as human beings, are so concerned with externals is that much of what we can see of others is what shows from the outside. God, however is not so limited. The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Yes, God knows all the secrets of our hearts, all our thoughts, all our desires, and all our feelings. He knows some terrible things, doesn’t He? In addition, if we understand that God is holy and hates sin, the fact that He knows everything about us can become even more frightening, for all of us are guilty of sin. We cannot keep the deepest secrets of our hearts hidden from God-He knows them.
Nevertheless, despite our secret sins, God reaches out to us in love. The corruption of our hearts does not change His compassion and care for us. The wonderful truth is that He offers His forgiveness, continuing love, and salvation unconditionally to all those who will trust Him. He could deal with us as enemies, but He chooses to love us.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I do not believe that self-acceptance is the same as self-indulgence. True self-acceptance does not mean that we abandon ourselves to our faults or that we blind ourselves to our character flaws. Rather, it means that we recognize them for what they are-sin-confess them, and determine to cooperate with God’s work in conforming us to His image. Does that sound difficult? Then remember Dee Jepson’s statement that when we do this the responsibility transfers to God.
Notice the promise of 2 Corinthians 5:17-Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [or creation]; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. What a blessed truth. We can be like the Lord because of His work within us!
Companionship that satisfies
A final truth from Psalm 139 is that God is with us. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee (verses 7-12).
How marvelous to know that God, having made us, did not simply abandon us to ourselves! What assurance there is in knowing that He didn’t just create the universe, set things in motion, then walk off and leave it to whatever fate lay ahead! God wants to be with us, fellowship with us, commune with us, know us, and have us know Him intimately. This, apart from anything else we say or do or become, gives each of us tremendous value.
Nothing gives me more confidence than the knowledge that God is with me. I could not have sung before thousands, travel as I have done, or appeared in front of the television cameras for an international weekly program without the knowledge that God is with me and that He has called me and is empowering me to do what I am doing.
Each of us, you see, is a bit like Moses, who had a definite self-image problem. Perhaps he had it because his first attempt to lead the Israelites ended in incredible failure-he killed a man, was publicly humiliated, had to give up his position of status and wealth, and spent forty years on the back side of the desert thinking about it. Talk about being baffled, bewildered, and befuddled! How miserable he must have been. Then God appeared to him in a burning bush and called him to confront Pharoah on behalf of the children of Israel.
Moses, his ego wounded from his previous failures, didn’t think he had what it would take to speak for the Lord. He protested, I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue (Exodus 4:10). God answered him, I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say (verse 12). What an incentive to service that must have been! God himself promised not only to be with Moses but to give him guidance and instruction as well. He promises the same to you and me.
Yes, the God who made us and knows all about us wants us to know Him in His fullness. That is why He has revealed himself through His Word. He wants us to walk with Him, to enjoy His presence, to draw on His strength, and to lean on Him in times of uncertainty and pain. His promise is, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5).
In the early days of our ministry, there were times when I was very sick and weak. I can remember getting out of bed to sing in meetings and then, later, returning to bed with heavy medication. Sometimes the pain was so excruciating that I did not feel I could sing another note. Yet, when I was weak, the Lord sustained me. When I was tired, He strengthened me. When I hurt, He comforted me. I could never have done it in my own strength. Through those experiences, I learned the same truths Paul discovered during his ministry-God’s grace is sufficient. His strength is most powerful in the midst of our weaknesses.
Most of all, I learned that God made me the way He did for a purpose. If I had been given the opportunity to choose my characteristics as a minister’s wife, I probably would have asked for a tremendous amount of stamina and physical strength. I would have requested perfect health and unlimited abilities. God, in His infinite wisdom, did not make me that way. Instead, He has used my weaknesses to amplify His strength.
My heart aches for those who are not satisfied with themselves. I wish they knew the satisfaction of resting in the confidence that God made us, He knows everything about us, and He is with us. Ultimately, you see, the person who rejects himself is really rejecting the God who made him the way he is. For such a person, there is no hope of true satisfaction, but instead he will remain baffled, bewildered and befuddled.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Dear Dr. Van Impe,
I became a Christian in the fall of 1958 and shortly after that I attended one of Billy Graham’s Crusades and after that I ran into The Jack Van Impe ministry. Off and on over the years I ran into your ministry and can give praise to the Lord that you were always as faithful in your ministry and message as the very first day I heard you preach. You are one of the very very few TV ministries that has remained constant in proclaiming God’s word without change or deviation for all these many years.
Thank you and Rexella for keeping your relationship with Jesus as the primary focus for your lives and ministry from 1958 (and before) to the present. I cannot guess just how many lives you must have reached during all these years but I am sure Jesus will be able to update that number when you meet him shortly at the Rapture. Thank you for a life time of service to God and his children and I am looking forward to meeting you in Heaven when we get our new up dated bodies which should work much better than our present ones.
In Christ Love and Salvation,
I can’t begin to tell you how very important it is for me to watch your program. To see both of your smiling faces and your sincere attitude toward all of us comes thru. Jack’s teaching gives such a sense of security as well as the true word of Yahweh, Our God. I feel so connected to you both, my prayer is for your health and well-being for both of you because you are greatly needed on this earth to continue to teach and bring the truth out so we can know how to stay on the right path to our Home. Being able to discern The Way and hold on tight to Our Savior, Jesus and when everything around us is falling down Our Jesus just says don’t be afraid I am with you. Can’t wait to see and hear your message next week. Please remember to keep me in your prayers. I may never get to meet you on this earth but will look for you in Our Heavenly Home.
HIGHLIGHTED PRODUCT OFFERS
Discover 15 amazing biblical signs that prove this generation is the one that will see the Lord Jesus returning in the clouds! Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe use current events, Bible prophecy, scientific facts, and more to show you the answers to critical questions such as:
- 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?
- Who is deceiving President Obama right now, and how does his role as ‘peacemaker’ for Muslim nations signal the rise of the Antichrist?
- What world leaders are calling for global Islamic law, and where is it actually predicted in Bible prophecy?
- Will our enemies attack North America with nuclear bombs?
- And much more!
This is a powerful teaching for believers and will show non-believers the truth of the soon return of Jesus!
- 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!