November 10, 2014
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
Don’t Look Now, but There’s Something on Your Wall
DANIEL 5:1 – 4
Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.
Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.
Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them.
They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.
Another title for this chapter could be “The World’s Wildest Party,” hosted by playboy millionaire Belshazzar, grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, and number two in command in Babylon. It was a drunken orgy where the women were in abundance and the wine flowed like water-a graphic example of “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” With one small correction: They would not die tomorrow; they would be attacked, defeated, and murdered that very night by stealthy troops already assembled deep beneath the city.
Before we slip into the celebration to see what was really going on, let’s look at the man Belshazzar. Who was he? What were his credentials? It’s important to note that for many years, liberal interpreters of Holy Writ pleaded their case that there was no such person at all. Scholar Ferdinand Hitzack, in 1850, said that no one by the name of Belshazzar had ever existed, and therefore the Book of Daniel was a farce.
However, just four years later, J. G. Taylor was on an archeological dig in southern Iraq where he dug up artifacts that contained sixty lines of cuneiform-a system of writing used for a number of ancient Near Eastern languages from c. 3000 B.C. until the first century A.D. Primarily a Mesopotamian system, cuneiform was inscribed on clay, stone, metal, and other hard materials. This was a key discovery for Taylor and the Christian world, because one of those sixty lines of cuneiform prayed for the health of Nabonidus, and his son Belshazzar.
In 1924, Sidney Smith did some excavating of his own in the region and he, too, unearthed an artifact that stated Nabonidus gave the kingship to his son Belshazzar. Again, liberal Bible scholars do not have a position at all. In fact, those who wish to appear foolish need only to suggest that the Bible has errors in content, history, or personnel. The answers may not be immediately observable, but the truth will always emerge, even as it did in the case of Belshazzar, whom some say was a phantom.
Nabonidus was a great military warrior, always away on a mission to add territory and subjects to his mighty Babylon, and always returning with the booty and spoils of the conquered. In his absence, Babylon was left in the control of his son, Belshazzar. And when the cat’s away, we know what the mice do: They play and play and play-as if there were no tomorrow.
And that’s where we pick up our story-and perhaps the wildest party ever held in Babylon. This was no little soiree in a small drawing room with a few guests. The hall for the festivities was enormous-176 feet long and 56 feet wide. Some of the dinners held in that room had as many as ten thousand guests, with the largest banquet in history having an invitation list of 69,800 people. That’s a lot of folks, and I’m sure that much of the celebration had to be celebrated outdoors. This is the enormous physical environment of chapter five. Big party. Big spenders. Big orgy. Big trouble!
The problems started when young Belshazzar made the mistake of using the holy vessels that his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar stole from the temple in Jerusalem. As far as we know, Nebuchadnezzar committed no sacrilege with these hallowed temple vessels-to his credit. But Belshazzar? He could not have cared less. He wanted to drink, and he didn’t care into what kind of cup his servants poured the brew. Imagine the scene: Young Belshazzar is in charge of the affairs of state, but tonight he figures it’s time to have a party. He goes over the guest list, and probably says, “Well, with Dad out of the country on another campaign, this is my night to howl.”
And howl he did, starting by desecrating the Jewish temple vessels-goblets that told the story of God’s redemption through blood. Hebrews 9:22 says, “Without shedding of blood is no remission [of sins].” The Jews also believed that blood makes an atonement for sins (Leviticus 17:11). These were holy utensils, not everyday cups and saucers. But Belshazzar ordered them to be filled with booze of all descriptions, much to the delight of his pagan friends who drank, laughed, and danced the night away. But no party lasts forever, and this one would be especially short-lived. Belshazzar would pay dearly for his sacrilege.
Booze was about to become a problem for the young ruler. Have you noticed in the age in which you and I live, that liquor is no less a problem? More than half of all our automobile accidents are alcohol-related. Booze has destroyed more families than anyone can imagine. Drinking has ruined careers, crippled relationships, and left otherwise sane people mentally incompetent. The warnings about alcohol have been in the Bible for thousands of years, and I think it’s important to quote a few verses to indicate what God thinks about the issue.
What God Says about Strong Drink
Proverbs 20:1 says,
“Wine is a mocker strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”
Proverbs 23:29 reads,
“Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.”
That’s why Proverbs 31 commands:
“Look not on the wine when it is red.”
Juice was called wine. The writer of Proverbs said that when the wine turns red and ferments, don’t look at it!
It’s also the message of Proverbs 23:20,
“Be not among wine bibbers [drinkers].”
Habakkuk 2:15 says,
“Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also.”
The judgment of God is upon those who drink, upon those who get drunk, and equally, upon those who serve strong drink to others to get them intoxicated. First Corinthians 6:9-10 and Galatians 5:19-21 state that no drunkard can enter the kingdom of heaven unless he repents of this sin and turns to God.
Well, with that fusillade of verses on what God thinks about wine and strong drink, we note that Belshazzar was not only inebriated as he sat there on his elevated platform, surrounded by his many concubines who encouraged all-night drinking bouts with the guests, but he also added sacrilege to indignity by drinking his kingly brew out of precious vessels of redemption-goblets and temple-ware that represented eternal salvation. To top it off, he and his guests “drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone” (Daniel 5:4).During this orgy, God was watching the scene from the portals of heaven, and He was not pleased.
And we will pick-up our study next week with the handwriting on the wall.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
When the Light Goes Out!
I really enjoy flowers and plants. My husband, Jack, and I have numerous trees, shrubs, and flowering plants around our house.
Last summer I was especially proud of some beautiful ferns we had hanging outside around our patio. Given just the right amount of light and water, they really flourished, with dark green, luxuriant leaves and tendrils that cascaded over the sides of the pot like a vibrant, intricately woven tapestry.
I enjoyed those ferns all spring and summer long, and when fall approached, I couldn’t stand to see them die. So Dr. and I carried them to the office and gave them to various staff members to take home.
All except one — the largest and most beautiful plant of all. We put that one in the office chapel up by the pulpit. It was so beautiful, so fresh — it was a reminder of God’s blessings to us through nature. And many commented on how much that fern added to the room.
Then one day a week or so later, I went into the chapel and immediately noticed that something was wrong with the plant. It was still alive, but its rich green color seemed duller and its leaves were drooping. “Oh my, I thought, “What’s wrong? Are we going to lose this beautiful fern?”
Then I saw the problem — inside the walls of the chapel, the plant wasn’t getting enough light. So I moved it so it would get full exposure to the overhead light, and I opened the window blind so natural light came in. And do you know, by the very next day that fern had perked up and looked healthy and full of life again.
The Lord really used that incident to speak to my heart about the importance — and the power — of light in our spiritual lives. When we begin to flounder, to feel wilted, weak, and listless, it’s a sure indication that we need to draw nearer to the light. The vitality and strength we enjoy in our lives come from the Light of the world — from Jesus Christ, our Saviour.
I love the beautiful description of the Apostle John, who wrote, In him was life; and the life was the light of men…. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world (John 1:4,9).
Step out of the shadows
Next, James says there is no shadow of turning with God. Do you know what causes a shadow? Something comes between you and the source of light!
Is there a shadow in your life today? Then find what has come between you and the Lord. Could it be materialism, caring more about this world’s goods and “things” than eternal values? Could it be a person — perhaps you’re in love with a person who is not God’s choice for you. Maybe the object between you and the Lord’s Light is your own desire to be successful.
Could it be that you’ve allowed indifference, resentment, or a critical, judgmental spirit to come between you and God and cast a shadow over your life?
Take a look at your life today. Don’t wait too long! Without a daily infusion of the power of God’s Light, the vibrant colors of your life will begin to fade. Your zeal and energy to witness for Him will wither. Your desire to be all that He wants you to be will shrivel away.
Remember, just going to church is not enough if you keep an “umbrella” over you to block out the light. My beautiful fern would have died just as dead inside the chapel as it would have inside a cellar — without the power of the light! When I let in the light, my plant was fully restored. And the Light of God will do the same for our lives.
But that’s not all. We are so much more important to God than a fern plant. His plan for us is so exciting and fulfilling.
You can be God’s light
As we continue to draw near to His light, something wonderful happens. We begin to glow and radiate His light until it shines on others still living in darkness. Our lives can be beacons, drawing precious souls to Christ. This gives purpose and meaning to our living.
Jesus himself said to us, Ye are the light of the world…. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father, which is in heaven (Matthew 5:14,16).
You may feel that, even at your best, your light is. too small to be of much use. But it isn’t. In the gathering darkness of the world around us, even a candle can be seen. And as we work together for the Lord, combining our efforts and our resource, to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission in these last days of time, the power of God’s light will shine through us and reach into the darkest corners of the earth.
Oh, I want to help light up the world for Jesus, don’t you? My heart goes out to people who still walk in darkness, even in the United States and Canada, as well as in other nations. There is such sadness and despair, such confusion and deception. Men and women live under heavy burdens. Young people face peer pressure and temptation. It seems that Satan has launched an all-out assault on mankind.
I understand full well what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote that we live in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world (Philippians 2:15).
If ever there was a time for us to draw near God’s light, it’s today. If ever the people of the world needed someone to lead them out of darkness into the marvelous light of our Lord and Saviour, it is now. If ever any Christians had the opportunity — and obligation — to win the world for Christ, you and I do.
In the words of a beloved old gospel song —
“There’s a call comes ringing o’er
the restless wave,
Send the Light, send the Light,
There are souls to rescue, there
are souls to save,
Send the Light, send the Light!”
God help us to hear that call today and to do all we can, give all we can, be all we can to send the light of the gospel.
God help us to SHINE!
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
I have been watching your show for Years now, and I would just like to say how insightful and knowledgeable it is. Jack really knows the word of God from Old Testament to New. And you have so much useful information you stream to everyone that is happening now that they would otherwise hear or know nothing about. So thank you Rexella and Jack for your show, and all its great information. I agree 110%. With everything you 2 say. And I will stand with you, for the Lord. I am here to help. And I pray for you 2 and sell that my wife and I can have a long and happy marriage like the Van Impes, and also that his will be done. God bless and good night.
Your friends Jacob James and Tanya
Dear brother & sister in Christ, I love your weekly spirit filled revelatory message. Praise God for your courage and boldness to speak the truth even when you have death threats you still stand firm to the message and the truth of god’s precious word. Thank you for exposing the lies and deception of Islam. It truly is a demonic religion. Want you to know how very much I admire and appreciate your speaking the truth and that you and Rexella are prayed for often that god will bless and protect you and that no weapon formed against you shall not prosper. Please keep on telling us and revealing the truth. God bless and protect you and I love you both.
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The Betrayal of Christianity: Ravenous Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing
Unprecedented blasphemy; apostasy; heresy; so-called Christian leaders utterly turning their backs on the Word of God.
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