May 25, 2015
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
We want to continue this week in our study of the past and future of Israel.
Famines, Pestilences, Earthquakes
…and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places (Matt. 24:7).
While living in a land of plenty it is difficult to envision widespread hunger. Yet famine is a way of life for a great part of the world. More than two billion people go to bed hungry every night.
About 10,000 people die daily because of a lack of food and the effects of malnutrition, but this will increase dramatically because of a multiplying world population. Although population growth has slowed in the United States, other parts of the world are increasing so fast that experts are unable to come up with an answer to the problem.
A few prominent people are advocating the “lifeboat” solution. This approach sees the ever-increasing number of people as impossible to feed, and foresees a day when dividing food among so many would mean the death of the entire race. The idea is to keep plenty of food in the productive areas — the lifeboats — and let the rest of the world starve.
The “lifeboat” solution view is held by a few Americans who undoubtedly see our land as one of the lifeboats. But even our food sufficiency hangs by a very thin thread.
What if God should withhold rain from America for even one year? What if storms or plant diseases ruined our bountiful harvests? What if tractors sat idle in the fields because energy could not be bought to run them? Our surplus would then be but memories. As in Pharaoh’s dream, the lean years would soon devour the fat ones. Hunger would stalk the fruited plains. And the “lifeboat” solution would be the farthest option from our minds.
Pestilence frequently accompanies famine. Often it may be the cause of it. The insect world is multiplying at an unbelievable rate. Entomologists estimate the number has now climbed to one quintillion, including five million different species. The weight of all the insects in the world would be twelve times the combined weight of the entire human race. The insect problem is compounded by the ability of many varieties to develop immunities to our most powerful pesticides.
Many top scholars identify the biblical term “pestilence” with cancer. A number of dictionaries, as well as the Amplified New Testament, define it as “malignancy, malignant growths, or cancer.” It is well known that exposure to radiation causes malignancies. Nuclear war may well be the cause of much of the pestilence of the last days.
Experiments in germ warfare or in the development of new life forms may bring pestilence. Safety measures have failed to protect the public on some occasions and many people are concerned about the possibility of a laboratory accident or some freak development in an experiment that could bring a plague of major proportions for which there is no known cure.
Earthquakes are taking place on an unprecedented scale. The United States Geodetic Service reports one million earthquakes annually. Often as many as twenty tremors are in progress simultaneously.
Seismologists inform us that the North Pole is tilted off center. This is expected to bring about the most devastating earthquakes in history. Biblical prophecies are unfailing, and in God’s time an unprecedented earthquake epidemic is certain. The greatest quake is yet to come; it will take place when Christ returns to earth.
And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south (Zech. 14:4).
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold (Matt. 24:12).
A lady once prayed, “Lord forgive me! I do so many things that I used to think were wrong.”
Her prayer could be prayed by millions. The sexual revolution is now history and its bitter effects remain. Fornication, adultery, and even homosexuality have gained respectability. Nevertheless, neither new and more appealing names nor a change in public opinion have altered the seriousness of these practices in the mind of God. “Premarital relationships,” “affairs,” and “gays” may be words designed to take the shame out of old labels, but the wages of sin remain the same.
We are told that media productions reflect the state of public taste and morality. If that is true, the days of Noah are upon us.
Television has been called a vast wasteland. That may be too complimentary. Writers purporting to create realism have made the tube a dumping ground for their pitiful products. Even families who are careful about their language have dropped barriers and allowed television characters to profane their homes. Burlesque shows and striptease acts have moved from night clubs to living rooms. Prostitution and homosexuality are often portrayed favorably before the whole family.
Shades of Sodom! And all to sell merchandise.
Ironically, we are becoming more puritanical about our environment but not about our lives. We say we want clean air, clean water, and clean countryside’s. But what good is a clean environment filled with polluted bodies and minds?
But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased (Dan. 12:4).
For centuries the world seemed to slumber. Thousands of years passed without major changes in most areas of life. Paul and Columbus sailed in similar ships even though their voyages were nearly fifteen hundred years apart. Medical know-how moved at a snail’s pace.
Then came an explosion of knowledge, a rash of life changing discoveries and inventions. People who had traveled in horse-drawn vehicles lived to see the skies filled with jet planes and men walking on the moon. The atom was split, ushering in the nuclear age with its perils and possibilities. Miracle drugs that conquered old killer diseases were discovered and vaccines were developed that eliminated former plague producers.
Now we are in the age of computers. These electronic minds are entering every area of life. Former methods of office procedures have been made obsolete. The fact that records on millions of people are available at the push of the proper buttons is a disturbing thought if wicked men come into power.
Computers seem almost human. They have memories. They solve difficult problems. They even speak. Computers will undoubtedly be employed by the prophesied final world dictator in his move to control people and the economies of the world. These space-age wonders will make it possible to enforce the receiving of a special mark in the hand or forehead that, in a future day, will be required in order to buy or sell merchandise. Starvation and martyrdom will be the lot of any who refuse this beastly identification. (More about this mysterious mark later.)
Each day seems to unveil some invention that baffles most of us.
What does the knowledge explosion mean?
Why did this breakthrough tarry for so long?
Why was it reserved for closing time?
We will answer these and other questions in the coming weeks.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
Peace in a Troubled World
In the light of all that is going on in our world today it may sound strange to hear that you can have peace in a troubled world. In our beloved country every day we have:
- 10 teens commit suicide
- 135,000 teens bring a gun to school
- 7,742 teens become sexually active
- 2,705 teen girls get pregnant
- 1,106 teen girls have abortions
- 623 teens get a sexually transmitted disease
- 211 teens are arrested for drug abuse
- 437 teens are arrested for drinking or drunk driving
- 1,512 teens drop out of school
- 1,629 teens are in adult jails
As shocking as this is, it is not only a national dilemma, but also a global plague. Jesus knew this situation would engulf the globe prior to His return by prophesying that “iniquity would abound” but He added “Let not your heart be troubled”. What did He mean by this reassuring statement of comfort?
I want to let you in on the greatest truth I know. Everything I can say about real peace is centered in this fact. Without it, none of us can ever be genuinely at rest.
This truth has transformed millions of people throughout the history of the world. It has made derelicts into saints, hypocrites into godly men and women, and sinners into children of God. It is the truth of salvation in Jesus Christ.
Throughout this study, we have touched on some priceless spiritual verities that have a direct bearing on how to deal with the issues of life that can cause us to feel baffled, bewildered-perhaps even befuddled. In fact, we might say that achieving genuine satisfaction is completely a spiritual issue. To me, satisfaction is the normal state of a healthy soul. A person who neglects his spiritual needs cut himself off from the possibility of knowing real and lasting peace and fulfillment.
The greatest spiritual truth of all is what God has done to redeem us from our sin. By giving His Son to die in our place, God has paid the price of our sin and is able to save us from the bondage and dissatisfaction that comes with it.
Let me clearly say that I am not speaking of religion. Many people who are religious know nothing about salvation. Religion is of human origin, and it almost always requires that we do something. God’s salvation, however, is entirely His work on our behalf. It requires absolutely nothing, since God has already accomplished all that is necessary. Our part is to simply accept it by faith.
A personal commitment
I had the privilege of conducting two wonderful interviews with the Reverend Peter Marshall. He was the co-author (with David Manuel) of two marvelous historical accounts of God’s plan for America and divine intervention in the founding of our nation-The Light and the Glory and From Sea to Shining Sea. Peter grew up in a marvelous Christian family. His father, the late Dr. Peter Marshall, was for many years chaplain of the United States Senate, and his mother, the late Catherine Marshall, is known and loved by millions for her many wonderful books.
I asked Peter what impact his distinguished parents had on his coming to Christ. He explained that they had made clear to him from his youth just what it means to be a Christian. As a result, he never took Christianity for granted, and he never assumed that just because his parents were well-known Christian leaders, he was automatically a Christian as well.
In fact, Peter told me it was not until he was 21 years of age that he felt he had really committed his life to the Lord. Although he had grown up surrounded by Christian teaching and in his head knew it was true, he had not yielded his heart in making a personal commitment to Jesus Christ.
“I graduated from college, and I was lost,” he told me. “I had no idea who I was or why I was here. I thought I was going into the Foreign Service, the United States Diplomatic Corps, but the Lord shut that door and it didn’t work out. So I had nothing. No plans. No goals. Nothing.
“Then I went to a Fellowship of Christian Athletes conference in Colorado in the summer of 1961 and heard Don Moomaw speak. I gave my life to the Lord as a result of that encounter. Two weeks later I was in seminary, and in 1965 I was ordained to the gospel ministry.”
God took Peter Marshall’s aimless life and gave him direction. And, as I interviewed him, Peter expressed his concern and burden that many people do not understand what Christianity really is.
“Christianity is not just running around trying to do great things for God,” he said. “We must understand that we need Jesus Christ because we are sinful human beings-weak and needy. In my pride, I had a hard time accepting this.”
I believe one of the reasons so many people-so many religious people-are dissatisfied is that they perceive religion as something we do for God. But true peace begins when we accept what God has done for us! The Bible says, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8,9).
You see, if salvation were something we could earn for ourselves, it would only contribute to our pride, for when we earned salvation, we would have much about which to brag and boast. Thus, what Peter Marshall says is absolutely correct-all of us are needy sinners-there is none righteous, no, not one…for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:10,23). Yes, all of us fall short of God’s standards, and if we are to receive salvation from our sins, we must receive it as a gift, not as a meritorious award for service.
What sin does to us
Some may have difficulty accepting the fact that all of us are sinners. We all know people who are good, moral, honest, generous, thoughtful human beings. Surely they are not sinners in the same way hardened criminals are sinners-are they?
From God’s perspective, the answer is “yes.” Because His standard is absolute holiness-one hundred percent perfection-the issue is not how many sins we commit or what kind of sins we commit, but if we have sinned at all. And Scripture is clear that none of us can honestly say we have never sinned.
In the presence of absolute holiness, even the smallest sin is as offensive and out of place as the darkest, most heinous act of evil one can imagine. Because God is so completely holy and uncompromisingly righteous, He cannot permit sin to exist in His presence. And the only just penalty for sin is death-For the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
But just as God is holy, righteous, and just, Scripture also informs us that He is a God of mercy and love. Because of His great love for us, He does not wish to condemn us without mercy. Since in His righteousness He cannot simply overlook sin, He found a way that He could make us righteous without compromising His own holiness. However, it cost Him the sacrifice of His Son!
Perhaps the most familiar verse in all of Scripture is John 3:16-For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. That verse, more than any other, has opened people’s eyes to the truth of God’s salvation and the way to real satisfaction.
What this all means is that you do not have to earn God’s approval. You do not have to work to make yourself righteous. You do not have to become deserving of God’s grace. All the work has been done by God himself, and He offers His grace freely to those who will receive it by faith!
Nothing gives a greater sense of personal worth than the truth that God loves us so much that He gave His Son to pay the price for our sins. And nothing on earth brings more complete satisfaction than the confidence of knowing you are secure in God’s salvation.
May I ask you some important personal questions? What are you counting on to make yourself acceptable to God? If you were to stand before Him and give an account of your life, what could you point to that might make you acceptable to Him? Would it be your own works of righteousness? I hope not, because Isaiah 64:6 says, all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. God cannot accept works of righteousness from unrighteous people. Would you point to your heritage? Scripture is clear that salvation is not anyone’s birthright. In fact, Jesus said, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3).
The only thing any of us can point to that makes us acceptable to God is the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. We must simply trust Him with childlike faith and receive His gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23).
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Dear Jack & Rexella,
It has been a great privilege to listen to your program for nearly four decades. I began listening sometime after the Lord saved me September 22, 1974.
It struck me as I listened to you preach today, Jack, 5-19-15, on your most current program, that you were faithfully continuing to proclaim the whole counsel of God. It is always refreshing to hear the Word unabated. But it is particularly comforting to know you will be doing the same thing right up to the Shout, or until the Lord promotes you and gives you cuts to be first in line! My selfish hope is of course that the Lord leaves you till the Trump. But then again, maybe I’ll get that promotion! Either way, we can all rejoice in knowing Him, whom to know is life itself! And that He shall ‘rapiemur’ us out of here while it is called ‘today.’
Hebrews 4:12 becomes evident listening to your presentation that God’s Word is sufficient. One is once again strengthened in the Lord as you preach. Reminds me of the days pastors warned of the approaching time His Word would not be received by many.
You are walking point as we move toward the Rapture. God continue to bless you, Rexella, Chuck and your excellent staff.
I love your TV program and so glad that I now can watch it here online on your web site. I have watched you all for many many years even back when you did the one hour specials on TV. I am in prayer for you both and hope that God will bless you till he comes to be able to share the only truth that we now get about end times. I love you both very much and pray for you every day.
In His love,
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