March 10 Newsletter2.html, 2014
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
The seventh seal is discussed in chapter 8. However, before we get there, God has a parenthesis for us in this chapter. Chapter 7 may be divided into two portions dealing with two groups-verses 1 through 8-the 144,000 Israelites, and verses 9 through 17-the multitudinous Gentiles. This chapter also portrays God as compassionate, merciful, and loving. This is right, for God is love (1 John 4:8). In fact, God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved (John 3:16, 17).
It’s mankind’s wickedness, rebellion, and sin that produce judgment: For the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same (Job 4:8). The judgments already described were unleashed because of the hardness of men’s hearts. They rebelled-and continue to rebel-for thousands of years. God, however, is so great that, at this point, He declares a “time out.” He still loves the human race and longs to save mankind. He desires for men everywhere to open their minds and hearts and come unto Him. The result is this chapter, which deals with the mercy of God in the midst of Tribulation. God, in love, creates a lull before the storm in order to call men to salvation and revival.
The 144,000 Israelites
Verse 1: And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
The fact that the angels are standing on the four corners of the earth does not signify that the earth is square. God knows the world He made is round: He …sitteth upon the circle of the earth (Isaiah 40:22). This statement was in the Bible when Christopher Columbus allegedly was making a fool of himself by claiming, contrary to public opinion, that the world was round. The God who made it and sits upon the circle of it knows it is not square. Therefore, the term “the four corners of the earth” is but a Bible expression depicting north, south, east, and west-the four points of the compass. The four angels, standing at these four positions administering judgment, are commanded to relent so there might be a time of great revival as the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads.
Verse 2: And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
Verse 3: Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
The wicked get their seal-666-under the super-deceiver, the great imitator, the Antichrist (chapter 13, verses 17 and 18). The genuine believers receive their seal from the angel of God at this point in time.
Verse 4: And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
Verse 5: Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.
Verse 6: Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.
Verse 7: Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.
Verse 8:Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.
This group cannot be the Church, for the Church is already in heaven (chapter 4, verse 1). Also, the Church is not Jewish, but is composed of all races, people, and tongues. Again, this group does not picture the Seventh Day Adventists or the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Both have claimed this in their theological writings.
The Seventh Day Adventists say that the 144,000 are not Englishmen or Americans either, as the advocates of British Israelism teach. They make the Israelites forerunners of the Anglo-Saxons. Come on now, Armstrongites and Garner Ted. Surely you cannot be that foolish! These are Jewish tribes with Jewish names. Do the names Juda, Reuben, Gad, Aser, Nepthalim, Manasses, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zabulon, Joseph and Benjamin sound British? Had they been named Heathcliff, Sir Winston, or Sherlock Holmes you might have had reason to propose such nonsense. Under the circumstances, however, you had better allow Jews with Jewish names to head up Jewish tribes in a Jewish nation-Israel.
Presently the Jews are not certain of their tribal heritage. However, the omniscient, all-knowing God will untangle this condition at the appointed time. Actually, no one today really knows what his stock is. As a result of migrations, most people are a hodgepodge of differing nationalities. Perhaps it is best not to know or trace one’s ancestry. We might be embarrassed to discover our roots! One might learn that he is a descendant of Attila the Hun! Persons planning to study their family tree should beware. They might find some of their relatives hanging by the neck, while the evolutionists find theirs hanging by the tail!
The 144,000 Jewish evangelists are anointed by the Spirit. Joel 2:28, 29 describes the situation as these Spirit-filled preachers proclaim the gospel of the kingdom. And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
We need to pause here briefly because there is a great deal of confusion concerning the presence of the Holy Spirit during the Tribulation hour. This has resulted from a faulty understanding and interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2:7: For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. The term letteth is the Old English word for hinders. The picture being painted here is the rise of the Antichrist. 2 Thessalonians 2:6 states: Ye know what withholdeth that [the Antichrist] might be revealed in his time. Then verse seven makes it clear that the Hinderer-the Holy Spirit-continues to hinder the Antichrist’s rise until He-the Holy Spirit-is taken out of the way.
Here is another reason millions believe in the pre-Tribulation Rapture. Why? The Hinderer lives in the hearts of His people: If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his (Romans 8:9). Also, 1 Corinthians 3:16: Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? Because of this truth, God’s Spirit cannot be taken unless those in whom He lives are taken. Hallelujah! One should note, however, that the Spirit’s removal only speaks of His restraining power.
Let me prove this assertion: The Holy Spirit is God, the third member of the Trinity. As God, He is omniscient (all knowing), omnipotent (all powerful), and omnipresent (everywhere at all times). Therefore, the Holy Spirit cannot be removed from the earth because He, as God, is in all places constantly. David states in Psalm 139:7-10: 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. Since the Holy Spirit is everywhere at all times, only His restraining influence over sin is removed during the Tribulation hour.
Presently Christians are the salt of the earth and the light of the world (see Matthew 5:13-16). The evacuation of Christians, in whose hearts the Holy Spirit lives, is the way-the only way-His restraining influence on sin is removed, ridding the world of salt and light. Christians are God’s preservative forces, as well as the dispellers of darkness. Imagine what happens when the Spirit’s restraining influence (the Church) is removed via the Rapture. Quite literally, all hell will break loose upon earth. Still, even during this time, His continuing personal presence on earth produces one of the greatest revivals in the history of mankind.
The message of the 144,000 centers on the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. This was the emphasis of the Old Testament preachers: To [Jesus] give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins (Acts 10:43).
In addition to preaching the message of the shed blood of Jesus, the 144,000 proclaim the advent of the King: And this gospel [or good news] of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come (Matthew 24: 14). This is not the message of His first coming- the Rapture (chapter 4, verse 1) but the Revelation or revealing of Christ as King (chapter 19, verse 16).
In order to get a picture of the complete message the kingdom messengers proclaim, one must study the life of John the Baptist. John’s message was: (1) Repentance: He said, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 3:2); (2) the blood: again, He saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29). This message of repentance and the blood was to prepare the hearts of the people for the third part of His message-the coming of the King. Though Christ was rejected in the days of John the Baptist, He will be accepted when the 144,000 Jews preach the identical message.
At this time a worldwide revival ensues, for one of the elders asks, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (chapter 7, verses 13 and 14). Let’s study this God-sent, Holy Spirit-empowered revival, step by step.
The Multitudinous Gentiles
Verse 9: After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
John states: After this. After what? After the 144,000 Jewish evangelists are sealed by the Spirit of God. God’s message is always to the Jew first, then to the Gentile. That’s why Romans 1:16 declares, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Since the Jews have heard, John sees a great multitude standing before the throne which no man could count, from every race and nationality. Their white robes prove that they have trusted in the message of the blood and are clothed in the righteousness of Christ. The waving of the palms in their hands signifies victory. They have overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. They are joyous because they have survived the first six seals of judgment and their joy leads to praise.
Verse 10: They cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
This multitude recognizes the source of their salvation and victory. They cannot be kept silent. Who can be silent when the grace of God does its mighty work of salvation in one’s heart? Immediately the angels join with them in praise to the Father and to the Son.
Verse 11: And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshiped God,
Verse 12: Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
What a glorious scene as the angels surrounding the throne and God’s people (represented by the elders) fall on their faces in worship, praise, and adoration!
Their sevenfold praise session to God centers around: (1) blessing, (2) glory, (3) wisdom, (4) thanksgiving, (5) honour, (6) power, and (7) might…forever and forever! No wonder they say, “Amen!” Then one of the elders asks a question.
Verse 13: And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
Verse 14: And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
This is another proof that the Church is in heaven, not upon earth. Why? John does not recognize this group. He knows the raptured Church in heaven (chapter 4, verse 1), but not the ones on earth in this text. These are Tribulation saints who have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Please hear God once again: These are they which came out of great tribulation. That settles it and explains why John-who recognized the Church in heaven-is in a fog concerning these individuals. They are new brothers and sisters in Christ, though unknown to John. They have been saved in a different period of time-a time when he and the Church were in heaven. The Church was not on earth to make their acquaintance.
The next scene is exciting. Each group saved during different dispensations of time has different duties to perform. The Church is the bride of Christ and enjoys the 1,000-year honeymoon upon earth (chapter 20, verse 4). They reign as rulers, kings, and priests (1 Peter 2:9 and Revelation 1:6). The 144,000 serve as bodyguards of the Lamb and His bride (chapter 14, verse 4). The Gentiles saved during the Tribulation will be Temple servants, waiting on Christ and His bride. They serve in the glorious Temple (described in Ezekiel chapters 40 through 48) which is set up immediately after Russia-under the names of Gog, Magog, Meshech, Tubal, and Rosh-is destroyed (Ezekiel 38 and 39). Everything is so near. Russia could march soon, then Antichrist would be smashed and the Lord would return with His bride. At that time the millennial Temple is erected and the Gentiles serve.
Verse 15: Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
Because God is dwelling among them, the deprivations they suffered under the Antichrist are now abolished. Under the reign of the world dictator, there was little food and one had to take the mark of the beast, 666, to obtain sustenance. These believers who refused the number had to eke out an existence day by day. Now, with the Lord in their midst, the picture changes.
Verse 16: They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
This refers to the scorching effects of the sun during the Tribulation hour: [As] the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire (chapter 16, verse 8). In addition, the word heat refers to the fires of persecution as described in 1 Peter 1:7. Such trials are finished forever.
From this point onward the people of God from all dispensations enjoy the presence of God. Their days of suffering, heartache, and abuse by an ungodly world are finished. Tears are wiped way as every remembrance of past sorrow is obliterated from their minds.
Verse 17: For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
“Just a Cup of Coffee, Please!”
The news media often calls attention to the large number of homeless and hungry people in our nation’s big cities. The scenes of people sleeping on benches, huddling in cardboard boxes, or looking through garbage cans for food are pitiful and troubling. While many of these individuals have ended up on the street through misfortunes beyond their control, even sadder are the cases that are there largely by choice.
As I prayed and thought about this problem, it occurred to me that while not homeless and destitute, most of us, in a spiritual sense, have gotten by with just a cup of coffee and a morsel of bread when we could have been feasting on God’s plentiful banquet of spiritual manna. As the Apostle James observes, Ye have not, because ye ask not (James 4:2).
My husband, Jack, and I have a favorite little “home cookin'” cafe we often visit when it’s just the two of us. It’s not fancy at all, but it’s a cozy, comfortable place where we can relax-and the food is good. We go there often enough that we know most of the waitresses and many of the regular customers.
For weeks we noticed that a certain man was almost always in the cafe, sitting at the counter. He looked as if he might be homeless, usually dressed in worn, slightly shabby clothes which probably hadn’t been laundered in weeks. He was always alone-never did we see him with a friend or ever having a conversation with others at the counter. His countenance was drawn and sad, and one could sense that he had known much sorrow in his lifetime. The waitresses told us he ate only once a day-the rest of the time he just drank coffee…”buy one cup and the refills are free.”
Jack and I felt terribly sorry for this man. One night as we were having a light dinner, we looked over at him sitting alone at the counter, nursing his coffee cup, and it made us sad. My hubby called a waitress over and said, “Give that man the best dinner in the house and bring me the bill. Let him pick out anything on the menu and tell him a friend has picked up the tab.”
“No, Dr. Van Impe, you don’t need to do that,” said the waitress.
“But I want to,” he answered. “He looks like he needs a good meal and I’d just like to help him a little.”
“You don’t understand,” she said. “That is Mr. _____” (and she named a very well-known and wealthy local family). “His father owned much of the land that is now the City of Troy-he’s the heir to millions!”
“But he looks so underprivileged!” I exclaimed.
“Yes, I know,” said the waitress, “but he’s really a multimillionaire. He lives like a pauper by choice.”
I haven’t seen that poor, sad man lately, but recently I’ve been thinking about his situation. Could it be that many Christians are living like spiritual paupers when they could be enjoying God’s manifest blessings every day of their lives? Are they settling for just a cup of coffee when they could be feasting at the Lord’s banquet table?
As we face the future, are we anxious about what lies ahead? Will it be a time of happiness and blessing-or endless loneliness and deprivation?
Change your wardrobe
The old man in the cafe was dressed in worn, shabby clothes. Yet he could have been wearing the finest suit from the best tailor in town.
What are you wearing? The Prophet Isaiah said, I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels (Isaiah 61:10).
Clothe yourself in the wardrobe God has provided for you. Get dressed in His righteousness and see what a change His garments will make in your whole outlook on life. You’ll discover a new awareness of God as your Sustainer and Protector. You’ll stand taller and walk in trust and confidence.
So resolve to stop dressing like the world and get clothed in His righteousness.
Put sadness aside
The old man in the cafe looked so sad, as if the weight of the world was on his shoulders. Yes, from a worldly perspective, he had everything. He was from a prominent family, with every possible financial advantage at his disposal. If money could buy happiness, he could have had it all.
Christianity is the most joyful of all the world’s religions. Yet we often manage to make it appear the most sad and mournful by our actions and our countenance. Mark Twain once had his famous character, Huck Finn, wondering if the mule in the barn had “got religion” because of its long face!
The psalmist exults, Thou hast put gladness in my heart. For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness (Psalm 4:7; 107:9).
I think we sometimes develop a bad habit of letting our faces reflect the care and confusion of the world around us instead of the joy and peace of the Lord welling up within us.
If we have full access to God’s goodness, gladness, and blessedness, shouldn’t our faces show it?
As Christians, our future is as bright as the promises of God. And the Word of God is filled with wonderful promises. Some of my favorites include Christ’s promise: Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (Matthew 28:20) and also God’s assurance that as thy days, so shall thy strength be (Deuteronomy 33:25).
If we believe God, we have something to smile about.
Be a friend
In all the times we observed the old man in the café, Jack and I never saw him with a friend…or ever being friendly with those around him. While others had pleasant conversations and shared personal things with each other, the old man sat alone, without a friend. How sad.
But while true friendship is measured by more than “hellos” and conversations, some people have no friends because they will let no one get close to them.
As the writer of Proverbs observes, A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).
One must be a friend to others to have friends who will share fellowship and companionship in return. And this is an important part of life. But even if earthly friends do fail in times of trouble, we can be secure in knowing that we can have a friend who will stick closer than a brother, in good times and bad.
We know we can count on Him because He has said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5).
When we have such a Friend, why don’t we rely on Him more? In the words of the grand old gospel song, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,”
Oh, what peace we often forfeit.
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget the old man in the cafe, scrimping by on one meal a day, when he could have had anything on the menu, anytime he wanted it. Yet he’d order “Just a cup of coffee, please” and ask for free refills. How tragic to see a multimillionaire going hungry.
But how much more tragic to have the riches of heaven at our disposal and go through life starving ourselves spiritually! Do you have a Bible? Of course, you do. Are you feasting daily on the abundant nourishment found there-or do you hurriedly pull out a single scripture card and glance at it before you dash out into the day?
Compare your biblical diet with Jeremiah’s. He said, Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts (Jeremiah 15:16).
Don’t settle for just a cup of coffee-eat heartily-even as the Apostle Peter admonished us to do in 1 Peter 2:2, stating: As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby. The psalmist concurs, saying, O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him (Psalm 34:8).
I heard the story of a man whose dream was to go to America. For years he saved his money to buy passage on a ship. Finally he had just enough, with only a small amount left over.
He took part of the little money he had left and bought some bread and cheese he could take on board. By careful rationing, he thought there would be just enough to last through the voyage.
So he set sail, glad to finally be going to the “promised land.” Other passengers were festive and happy, going into the ship’s dining room to eat wonderful meals, and strolling about the decks, laughing and having refreshments together.
The man would go to his little cabin at mealtime and eat stale bread and hard cheese.
But he had miscalculated the length of the voyage, and a few days before the ship was to arrive in New York harbor, he ran out of food. He drank water and did without for a day or so. Then he got so hungry he didn’t think he could last. So he scraped together all the money he had left-several coins-and went to a steward in the dining room.
“Excuse me, please,” he said. “Is this enough money to buy just a little bit to eat? I’ve run out of food and I’m very hungry.”
The steward said, “Sir, you do not need to pay extra to eat in the dining room. Your meals were paid for in the price of your ticket.”
I urge you to begin living up to your privileges in God. Jesus Christ paid for them in the price of your passage to heaven!
Blessing, gladness, satisfaction, goodness, and all other spiritual pleasures are yours. Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God (Psalm 146:5).
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
I am writing to you because I would like for you to know how much I learn from you. I live in Suffolk, VA and I watch you on Sunday mornings.
I have been struggling with a certain addiction and am trusting God to deliver me. I know he can. Not by might nor by power but by his spirit says the Lord.
Please pray for me.
Thank you for being so in tune with God and Scripture.
Thank you so very much for relying on God’s word for everything you believe & teach. You are a faithful servant of the One true God & His son Jesus Christ. God bless you in His work.
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!
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.
This power-packed volume is thoroughly documented yet easy to read; an inspiring account proving beyond any shadow of doubt that Jesus is coming soon!