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May 18, 2015

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A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE

World conditions, especially the tense Middle East situation, have aroused interest in Bible prophecy to an all-time high. But it is impossible to grasp God’s prophetic plan apart from an understanding of His promises to Israel.

All prophetic truth revolves around the Jews. The Bible reviews their history and unfolds their future. The future of the world will be affected by the future of Israel.

In this work we will give special attention to the dispersion and sufferings of the Jewish people, believing this will lead to a better understanding between Jews and Gentiles and that it will help readers to appreciate the Jewish longing for a national home.

The history of the Jews during the past two thousand years is a panorama of persecution. It is doubtful that any people have suffered so consistently and so long as have the descendents of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Anti-Semitism is a cancer that never seems to heal. Although there have been periods of respite, this evil has erupted periodically, bringing misery and heartache to the children of Israel.

Are we about to witness another wave of persecution of Jews?

Old Testament prophets were careful to outline the events of the end time as they would affect Israel and the world. They saw a return of the Jews to their homeland in the latter days. Does the existence of the State of Israel fulfill that prophecy?

Today, most Christians are acquainted with terms in the prophecy vocabulary, such as the Rapture of the church, the Tribulation period, the Antichrist, the mark of the Beast, Armageddon, and the Millennium. What do these mean? And when will the events of which they speak find fulfillment?

ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE

In 1860, a French scientist named Pierre Berchelt predicted: “Within a hundred years of physical and chemical science, man will know what the atom is. It is my belief that when science reaches this stage, God will come down with His big ring of keys and will say to humanity: ‘Gentlemen, it is closing time.'”

The first part of Berchelt’s forecast is history. We live in the perilous atomic age. But what about the remainder of the prediction? How near is closing time?

And what is closing?

Are we to expect the end of the world? Judgment? Will some power-hungry leader plunge the world into a life ending nuclear nightmare? Will experiments in germ warfare or the creation of new life forms bring about scientific suicide?

Today’s uncertainties have produced immense interest in the future. Something is in the wind, and it has not gone unnoticed. Mystics, psychics, and leaders of occult groups have seized this opportunity to swell the ranks of their followers. Astrology is flourishing; instruction for living in tune with the stars is available in nearly every newspaper. False prophets are legion and their very presence in ever-increasing numbers is a fulfillment of prophecy. But curiosity about the future is not new. Even the disciples longed for more light on things to come when they asked, “…what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matt. 24:3).

The Lord’s answer to their question, along with other Bible prophecies, provides a composite of required conditions for closing time.

War

And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom… (Matt. 24:6,7).

War seems unthinkable in this era of unparalleled education. One would think that enlightened man would have forsaken such a barbaric practice. Yet the twentieth century, more than any other, has demonstrated that full heads and empty hearts produce violence. Twice in the span of a generation, Europe’s most scientifically advanced nation plunged the world into bloody conflict.

William Howard Taft wrote: “The battlefield as a place of settlement of disputes is gradually yielding to the arbitral courts of justice. The interests of great masses are not being sacrificed as in former times to the selfishness, ambitions, and aggrandizement of the sovereigns.”

Sounds like progress, doesn’t it? But Mr. Taft wrote his evaluation in 1911.

Many years later, General Douglas MacArthur declared:

Military alliances, balances of power, leagues of nations, all in turn failed, leaving the only path to be by way of the crucible of war. The utter destructiveness of war now blots out this alternative. We have had our last chance. If we will not devise some greater and more equitable system, Armageddon will be at the door. The problem basically is theological and involves a spiritual recrudescence and improvement of human character that will synchronize with our almost matchless advances in science, art, literature and all material and cultural developments of the past 2,000 years. It must be of the spirit if we are to save the flesh.

But the search for a more equitable system has been fruitless. Too many have died in battle since MacArthur’s thought-provoking analysis. Genuine spiritual revival still has not taken place. The present worldwide military buildup surpasses any ever known.

And Armageddon approaches.

Although wars have been fought throughout history, the Bible says the end-time battles will be more frequent and disastrous. The situation is compared to a woman in travail — labor. The pains increase with frequency and severity as the birth draws near (Rom. 8:22,23).

Fifty-two million were killed in World War II, compared to eight million in World War I. The prospect of casualties in a future conflict is mind-boggling.

Even small nations are assembling arsenals of doomsday proportions. This is another fulfillment of prophecy: “Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears: let the weak [small nations] say, I am strong” (Joel 3:9,10).

Meanwhile, peace continues to be an elusive dream, as it has through the centuries. Though peace talks continue and disarmament dialogues claim spasmodic progress, tranquility will be temporary at best. “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (1 Thess. 5:3).


FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE

Dealing With Depression

In the late nineteenth century, a man suffering from deep depression went to see a London psychiatrist. For two hours, he poured out his soul, trying desperately to explain the sense of futility that overwhelmed him. He hoped fervently that as he talked, his feeling of emptiness and desperation would somehow depart from him along with his words. He described his drained emotions and state of constant turmoil, begging the psychiatrist to say or do something that would release him from his misery and bondage.

The psychiatrist listened knowingly. He had heard the same story many times before. In fact, he shared many of the same feelings himself but passed them off as hazards of his profession. “I am going to prescribe a rather unorthodox remedy for you,” he told the man. “I want you to visit the circus.”

The man looked up inquisitively.

“You need to laugh,” the psychiatrist continued, “and the circus is the best place to do that.”

“I don’t really think that will help me- ” the man began.

“Nonsense!” the doctor interrupted. “I went there myself recently. The whole experience was like a tonic to me.”

“But you see–“

“There is one particularly humorous fellow playing there-Grimaldi, the clown. Surely you’ve heard of him.”

“Oh yes, but-“

“Why, he can make anyone laugh, and I promise it will do you much good to see him.” The psychiatrist looked at his patient, whose sad eyes were beginning to form large tears.

“You don’t understand,” the man said.

“Of course, I do,” replied the psychiatrist. “I’ve just spent two hours listening to you. You’re suffering from depression. You could use something to make you laugh. Go see this fellow, Grimaldi.”

“I am trying to tell you, sir. I am Grimaldi. Those antics you see are only a performance. That smile is painted on! Inside I am a miserable, empty man.”

When success is not enough

The world is filled with miserable, empty, depressed people. Literally millions of Americans attempt suicide each year, playing out their dissatisfaction to its ultimate conclusion. (We’ve talked about this earlier.) The statistics are shocking. Suicide is prevalent in every age group and social class but occurs more frequently in the upper-income brackets than in any other social stratum. Clearly, satisfaction cannot be guaranteed by money, prestige, fame, or even youth.

The shifting sands of popular opinion will never provide inner stability. Imagine how you would feel if you were depending on the world’s acclaim to ensure your feelings of well-being as an actor and you read in the latest TV Guide that you were “too old, too tall, and too fat” for a certain part. Of one actress in a widely hailed television special it was written that she was “lazy” and “relying on primitive skills.” That could deflate one’s ego incredibly fast.

If your whole idea of satisfaction and happiness in this troubled world was linked to your performance (or whatever your given role in the world), this type of criticism could send you into an emotional tailspin. It happens all the time. It accounts in part, researchers tell us, for the growing rate of suicides among businessmen and women. Suicide among artists and writers is quite common, and executive suicides are on the increase. Dentists lead all professions in killing themselves, followed closely by psychiatrists. And doctors are also becoming suicidal with increasing frequency. What leads successful people such as these to this kind of demise?

Dr. Herbert Klemme, director of the Division of Industrial Mental Health at the Menninger Foundation, has suggested that as a person reaches the crest of life, after age 35 or so, he begins to struggle with the inevitability of his own death. He has to revise his life goals in terms of what is still possible to do. He has to be more realistic and may have to settle for a little less than he had hoped to achieve. For the person who is not reaching the goals he has set himself, the efforts can be unsettling or even devastating.

Intensely driven individuals are often very ambitious and have immense ego ideal aspirations. Oftentimes they find it difficult to relax and may have an almost total lack of a sense of humor. Living under this driving pressure to succeed, they have little optimism and easily despair.

Why is depression such a pervasive force in contemporary society? Why do so many who seem to have all they could want choose to end their own lives? Why is it that with all the technological advances of the past generation, depression and dissatisfaction continue to rule the hearts and minds of the vast majority?

The answer is clear-the source of real satisfaction and overcoming depression is a strong, abiding, personal relationship with a loving and merciful heavenly Father. No technology every developed, no amount of money, no amount of recognition or prestige, no device or drug designed by man can ever take the place of knowing God. I am convinced that much of the depression among people in our society is directly traceable to a deep spiritual void in their lives-a void that only the Lord himself can fill. The philosopher Pascal called it “a God-shaped vacuum in every man.”

How to receive your heart’s desires

Psalm 37 is a rich passage of Scripture, written by David during a time when he was struggling with depression. He wrote:

Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass (verses 4, 5).

Contained in those short phrases is the answer to depression-Delight thyself…in the Lord. They also reveal a wonderful promise that deals with the challenge of dissatisfaction-He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

What does it mean to delight yourself in the Lord? Simply to turn your focus away from yourself, or, in the words of the apostle Paul, Set your affection of things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:2). It means to make your relationship with God the central issue in your life-to desire to know Him, fellowship with Him, and live for His glory more than anything else.

I believe there is a dual meaning to the promise that God will give us our hearts’ desires. First, it means that He will fulfill our deepest longings-not the desires we have for things, but our desire for spiritual wholeness. Every human being, whether he is aware of it or not, has deep spiritual needs, and only God can satisfy them. He does that for those who delight themselves in Him.

The promise also means that God will place new desires and aspirations in our hearts. When He makes us spiritually whole, He gives us new priorities, new values-new desires. He gives us holy desires, desires for spiritual blessings, desires that only He can fulfill. And He delights in fulfilling them.

Sometimes, an experience is so dramatic and poignant that I am reminded anew of how amazing God’s love for us really is, and how wonderfully timely His grace is to those who need it most. Such an incident occurred one night several years ago in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We were conducting a citywide meeting there, and I was on the platform prior to the service getting the music ready. Suddenly, I noticed one of our counselors motioning that he would like to speak to me. He seemed to have something urgent to say, so I started a tape of background music and turned my attention to him.

“My wife and I were on our way to the service, when we saw a young woman jump from the bridge near the auditorium,” he told me breathlessly. “We rushed to the edge of the river and saw that she was struggling to get out of the water.”

My heart was pounding as I listened. He continued, “She made her way up to the shore, and my wife held her in her arms while I ran and phoned for an ambulance. By the time I had returned, my wife had told her about God’s love for her and Jesus’ death on the cross for people just like her.” The man told me that there, beside what could have been her watery grave; she found everlasting life by trusting Christ.

God’s timing was perfect. Not only did that couple arrive at the bridge just in time to save the woman’s life, but according to God’s perfect plan, they were able to give her something to live for as well. The salvation she received that night was not only salvation from a watery grave, but also salvation from an eternity apart from God.

Depression and dissatisfaction are not necessarily limited to those who do not know the Lord or who are walking out of His will. Interestingly, the great prophet Elijah also encountered this problem. Even more amazing is the fact that Elijah’s depression hit him just after a great spiritual victory. In 1 Kings 18, we see Elijah winning a great contest against the prophets of Baal. God was vindicated, and the false prophets were destroyed. Yet in chapter 19, just days after this victory, we find Elijah pleading with God to take his life.

Part of Elijah’s problem, I’m sure, was that he was physically and emotionally exhausted. Therefore, the first thing God did was allow him to eat, sleep, and regain his strength (verses 4-9). Then, God spoke to him, listened to his complaints, encouraged him, and sent him right back to work! We can learn much from Elijah’s battle with depression.

Physical causes for depression

First, depression may have a physical cause. Beware-Satan loves to take advantage of us when we become physically exhausted. Therefore, we should take time daily to exercise, rest, and guard our health by eating properly. I interviewed Judy McFarland twice-Judy and her mother Gladys Lindberg co-authored the book, Take Charge of Your Health. She helped me understand the relationship between good physical health and good mental and emotional health. It’s terribly important. God has equipped our bodies with a wonderful healing system capable of handling almost any condition-provided it is given the nutritional support it needs. Judy says one essential fact must be understood if people are to maintain physical and emotional health-the state of their nutrition directly influences their bio-chemistry and their immunological system. There are many misunderstood health problems that go mis-diagnosed because a lot of medical people still refuse to recognize the correlation between nutrition and health.

I’m glad that Jack and I recognized this long ago. Both of us enjoy to exercise regularly. And we know that the stress and wear and tear on our bodies caused by the kind of lives most of us lead today necessitates that we eat properly. Also, because there are so many contaminants in the environment and in the foods we all consume that we urge people to pay attention to well-informed people like Judy and her mother Gladys Lindberg (highly respected nutritionists living on the West Coast). When we take care of our bodies we are cooperating with the Creator. There is much said in the Bible on this important subject.

Spiritual causes of depression

Second, you may be attempting to wage the battle of life totally in the flesh, leaving God, His providence, and His power out of the picture. All of us must guard against running counter to or ahead of the Lord. I have long cherished and drawn comfort from the blessed promise contained in Proverbs 3:5, 6-Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Yes, we must allow Him to do the leading, and as we follow, refusing to be discouraged by fear or failure, we will find we can handle the stressful situations that come into our lives that might otherwise leave us depressed and overwhelmed.

Those who know the Lord should be the most satisfied in all the world. This isn’t always the case, however, and sadly, is a poor commentary on our relationship to the very One who provides help and hope. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that we don’t want to admit that these “black nights of the soul” do come to us, and when they do we fail to turn to the Lord, committing our way to Him, trusting Him, and acknowledging that we need His help and direction.

Go to the top for help

Third, and finally, once you have recognized that you have a problem, don’t give up and simply drown in your depression. Realize that you need help, consider the causes, and then begin looking for answers.

If the problem is physical, get medical help immediately.

If it is spiritual, take it to the Lord. Remember His compassionate invitation in Matthew 11:28, given to everyone-Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. If personal counseling is required, start with your pastor. Or if the problem seems to be unusually deep seated, see a Christian psychologist or psychiatrist.

Above all, don’t make the mistake of taking comfort in self pity-of thinking that you are alone. Elijah did. He said, I, even I only, am left (1 Kings 19:10). But he was not really alone. God was on his side. Furthermore, God reminded him that there were seven thousand faithful people in Israel who had not bowed the knee to Baal-and they all were looking to Elijah for leadership! What an encouraging motivation to overcome disillusionment and depression.

Remember, somebody needs your help and leadership, too. You cannot afford to dwell in the pits of self pity and depression. You must look beyond yourself, past your problems, to God who is greater than them all. His love for you is deep and unending, and if you trust Him-if you delight yourself in Him-He will give you the desires of your heart. That is His unfaltering promise.


CHANGED LIVES-one at a time

Dear Jack and Rexella,

My wife and I both eagerly wait for the times your program is on satellite to watch you. I am writing to express my appreciation and support for you and your ministry.

You are a prophet of God speaking His voice to the Church and to its leaders. We are blessed by your messages, and we stand with you and pray for God’s protection on you and your loved ones.

We love you both, Jack and Rexella.

Yours in Christ,

R. S.

Australia

 

Hello Drs. Jack and Rexella,

Greetings in the lovely name of Jesus!

I was so happy to see you on the God Channel this morning. I watch you from the UK. It is so encouraging to know that you stand for the truth and speak the truth in love. I believe many will acknowledge Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour and Lord. I had been watching you on TBN and Daystar. Now that you are not on TBN. All things work together for good to them that love God and to them that are called according to His purpose.

Keep up the good work!

God richly bless you both.

Angela,

UK


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