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May 26, 2014

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A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE

Revelation 16:1-9

The information presented in the following twenty-one verses should cause all men to examine their relationship with the Almighty God. The events we are about to observe are both awesome and terrifying. In fact, the only consolation for the believer is that he will not be present when the forthcoming scenario actually takes place. By the time our study is concluded, we will understand and appreciate more than ever before the words of the Apostle Paul in Titus 2:13: Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. The final seven judgments of the Tribulation hour are about to begin.

Verse 1: And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.

The voice of Almighty God issues forth from the smoke-filled Temple, directing the angels to carry out their duties. Remember, God himself is sending forth these judgments. His holiness has been offended.

Mankind has worshiped a man-the Antichrist, the devil in human skin-even bowing to his image, the abomination of desolation (Matthew 24:15). The true and eternal God is justly angry. He cannot allow this iniquity to go unjudged.

In Isaiah 42:8 Jehovah says, I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. Again, in Exodus 20:4-6: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Because mankind, en masse, has grossly violated this commandment during the Tribulation period, the promised judgment must begin.

First bowl judgment

Verse 2: The first [angel] went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshiped his image.

What a scene, as the first bowl is poured out and men become covered with ulcerated sores! They had the mark of the beast (666), and now they have the mark of God-ulcers. These festering infections probably obscure the beast’s number.

Can this verse be taken literally? The plague is similar to one of past history: And the Lord said unto Moses and unto Aaron, Take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it toward the heaven in the sight of Pharaoh. And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains [ulcerated sores] upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt. And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast. And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians (Exodus 9:8-11). What a terrible price men pay for not believing God!

Second bowl judgment

Verse 3: And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.

Again history records a time when the waters turned to blood: Thus saith the Lord, In this thou shalt know that I am the Lord: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood. And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall loathe to drink of the water of the river. And the Lord spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone. And Moses and Aaron did so, as the Lord commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt (Exodus 7:17-21). If God did it once, He can certainly do it again. He is the omnipotent, all-powerful God. His promises never fail.

Pausing momentarily to review our studies, we recall that the second seal (chapter 6:3,4) brought great bloodshed upon earth and the second trumpet blast (chapter 8:8) caused a third part of the sea to become blood. In the verse presently under study, every sea creature perishes when the water is turned to blood. The result is an unbearable stench throughout the entire world as these organisms decease and decay. Think of it! That which always symbolized life-the life of the flesh is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11)-and symbolized salvation-the blood of Jesus Christ [God’s] Son cleanseth us from all sin (1 John 1:7)-now becomes a symbol of condemnation and death. Wait! There is more. The third vial extends the destruction to all bodies of water internationally.

Third bowl judgment

Verse 4: And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.

Verse 5: And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.

Verse 6: For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.

Verse 7: And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.

By this time, one may have been tempted to believe that God is not just. To the contrary, God is always equitable, fair, and righteous in His dealings with men. Genesis 18:25 declares, Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? No man has all the facts in his possession. Thus, he must wait until he meets God face to face. Then and only then will he be able to make unbiased decisions.

Notice that angelic beings have different responsibilities upon earth. In our text, we see the angel of (or over) the waters justifying God’s actions by saying, Thou art righteous, O Lord [the eternal one] … because [of thy judgments]. In effect, the angel is saying, “The wicked beast worshippers who shed the blood of so many of Your saints and prophets may not satisfy their insatiable desire for blood by drinking it to their heart’s content. They deserve what has happened to them. You have answered the prayers of Your saints under the altar” (chapter 6). As this message of vindication to the Almighty is concluded, a voice from the altar replies, “Even so,” or “Amen.” Justice prevails. God’s judgments are true and righteous.

Fourth bowl judgment

Verse 8: And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.

Verse 9: And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.

The inhabitants of planet earth now experience the greatest heat wave in history. Many of us remember what happened in the South during the summer of 1980. Crops were parched and great numbers of people died as temperatures consistently soared over 100 degrees F. Now we see what happens when the sun is out of control. Isaiah predicted this period of time in chapter 24, verses 4-6: The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.

The earth becomes so drastically hot during this judgment that God has to alleviate the suffering by shortening the daylight hours. Jesus said in Matthew 24:22, And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. What did He mean? Many scholars have proposed the idea of the Tribulation period being abbreviated, but this is an impossibility because God’s predestined program for the Tribulation totals seven years-or eighty-four months, or exactly 2,520 days. Since the scheduled timetable is already prophesied, not one day can be cut from the program. Verse 2 of chapter 11 mentions 1,260 days as one-half of this period and no one can change God’s plan. Therefore, we must find another explanation.

Is there a solution? Definitely! God shortens the daylight hours and lengthens the night seasons to keep millions alive. He accomplishes this by darkening the sun, as predicted by His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ: Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened (Matthew 24:29). This statement harmonizes with Revelation 6:12: And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair. God’s method of shortening the daylight hours hinders the sun’s death purge of earth’s inhabitants by reducing the amount of ultraviolet rays bombarding the planet. This act of mercy is for His people, the saved Tribulation saints, for He adds in Matthew 24:22, But for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

Once again we need to remember that the Church, the elect bride of Christ composed of all those who were born again prior to the Rapture (chapter 4, verse 1), is at home in glory during this time. The earthly group of Tribulation saints presently being discussed constitutes the election of Romans 11:28. They are also referred to as Jacobites, or Israelites, in Romans 11:26. These are Jews. They are not members of the bride of Christ, but rather members of the wife of Jehovah (See Isaiah 42:1, 45:4, 65:9, 22).

Mankind’s reaction to the scorching with fire takes the form of further rebellion. Instead of repenting and appealing to God who has power to stay the plague (verse 9), the people aim a barrage of four-letter blasphemies at the Almighty. The human heart is exceedingly wicked and callous (see Jeremiah 17:9). Even in the face of such agonizing judgment, repentance, restitution, and reconciliation are the farthest things from men’s minds. Truly, they are hardened sinners.


FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE

We want to continue this week looking at 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 Rexella and Jack,

So look forward to your program each week here in the Atlanta area. We pray for your steadfastness and protection in these dark but exciting times. Continue in the faith.

God bless you both,

In Christ,

Ron and Marcia M.

 

Dear, Jack and Rexella

We just wanted to write and let you both know how much we enjoy your teaching. I do know when we all get called home The Lord is going to say “Good and Faithful Servants Jack and Rexella. Thank you so much for your teaching DVDs. Our hearts have been Blessed and the knowledge we have gain is all due to you and our Holy Spirit. I Thank the Lord for bringing you both into our home here in the little town of Wellsville, New York every Sunday evening. We rush home from Bible study so we do not miss you. If we do miss thank goodness for your u tube site. May the Lord Bless you both and it is our heartfelt desire to meet you both. I do know if not here now, surely in God’s house.

In Jesus Christ Love,

Tom and Sherry


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