November 4, 2013
What role will mankind itself play in
Ushering in the end of the age?
Signs concerning Mankind
In describing the attitude of mankind and the conditions that will prevail upon the earth at the time of Christ’s return, the Lord Jesus said: “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (Matthew 24:37-42).
In this portion of Scripture we discover that, upon Christ’s return, conditions on earth will be exactly as they were during Noah’s era: “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose…. And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence” (Genesis 6:1-2,5,11). Would you not agree this passage is as current as this morning’s headlines?
Sex Outside of Marriage
The first sign in this listing has to do with sex. “They took them wives” (Genesis 6:2). In doing this, they went against the lesson God had given them at creation. God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18-). What did God create? He did not create a man for a man. Instead, He created one woman for one man. This is God’s established order for the universe. Lust and sin have, however, kicked a dent in the Almighty’s program. Men and women today are running away from one another, leaving children destitute and homes broken. Why? Because their number one concern is the satisfaction of their own flesh. Someone compliments them, they become enamored, and suddenly they find themselves infatuated with the idea of love rather than the genuine article. Soon they go through a predictable pattern of adultery, divorce, and remarriage, only to discover that their second and third choices were not much better than the first. The trouble was not their first mate, but sin. Naturally, there are exceptions. Today, approximately half of all American marriages end up on the casualty list. The signs of Noah’s era are all around us. It is one more example that the Rapture is near.
Jesus further added that they were “giving in marriage.” Dr, M. R. DeHaan and other scholars render this as “exchanging mates” or “wife swapping.” Swingers are still the rage of the day-and in many communities where you might not expect such unsavory activity. Couples get together for a supper bash and end up exchanging their mates for a night of glorified orgies. How low can humans go? The situation dominates modern society, and it has the curse of God upon it. We also see millions today shacking up and living together without a marriage license, and the pulpits remain silent. Hebrews 13:4 states, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” Still, despite God’s warning, millions disobey His commandments. They live life loosely and laugh off the consequences. Sin, however; offers its own reward, and its wages are always death (Romans 6:23). The day of sifting and judgment is coming. Soon a sin-crazy, hell-bent generation will meet the God of holiness: The string will snap and the joke will end.
Gluttony and Drunkenness
Christ also mentioned gluttony and drunkenness as signs foreshadowing His return. He said, “They were eating and drinking . . . until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not [believed not] until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:38-39). The fool’s motto has not changed over the centuries, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die. ” Bars and nightclubs throughout the nation advertise a “happy hour,” or an “attitude-adjustment hour,” meaning that drinks go for half-price during a specified time. But what does this really mean? That one can choose an eternity without Christ at discounted prices. Never have we had so many alcoholics and drug addicts. America’s combined total of addicts exceeds twenty million. Europe, Asia, and all the continents of the world are in the same dilemma. Satan’s brew is eye-enticing and nose-appealing. Millions have fallen victim to his seduction. However, it will not last forever. The third and fourth seals of the Apocalypse picture shortages, poverty, hunger, and death.
Revelation 6:7-8 states, “And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” When life ends, as it must for all mortals, because “it is appointed unto men once to die” (Hebrews 9:27), the sinner must enter a place where even water is unattainable. Christ told of a lost sinner crying out from hell, saying, “Send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame” (Luke 16:24). Liquor is not worth such eternal thirst. The Holy Spirit declares in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21 mentions seventeen sins, and the sixteenth is listed as “drunkenness,” which brings eternal loss, for the conclusion of the text states, “They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Do not let sin rob you of being caught up with Christ in that glorious day that is soon to come.
Is it my imagination, or are corruption and
violence on the increase? What does this have
to do with Christs return?
Noah’s era was also one of corruption: “Every imagination of the thoughts of [mankind’s] heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). The result: “The earth also was corrupt before God” (Genesis 6:11). It takes no stretch of a person’s imagination to see a world of men filled with vile imaginations. This is history’s worst hour. Filthy pornographic magazines and X-rated movies have brainwashed the depraved into submission. Vile, lewd, and licentious pornography floods the world. Savages are roaming the streets raping and sodomizing victims. Since morality is the essence of God’s Ten Commandments, as well as the entire teaching of the Holy Bible, Christians should be crusaders in the battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil. How does it make you feel to see pornographic bookstores within a few doors of gospel-preaching churches? Unfortunately, many believers are doing nothing to stop this intrusion on our morality. This is contrary to the Almighty God who demands that His servants “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1).
If we do not want kiddy porn and its sister, prostitution, to arrive in our communities, we must rid ourselves of obscenity at every level or eventually it will touch the innocent lives of our children. Even the Supreme Court has stated emphatically that the first amendment does not protect obscenity. The laws must be enforced at all levels: local, state, and federal. Many Christians think their children are safe because they are in a Christian school and church. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our homes are being invaded by television filth from morning to night, with the afternoon “freak shows” walking away with the ratings! Yet, millions of American Christians have accepted the philosophy that there is no right or wrong. The result of our inaction? Purveyors of smut capitalize on the opportunities that an uncaring public hands them on a silver platter. The present scene has become so nauseating that celebrities, professional counselors, and media executives themselves are speaking out. One famous comedian, Steve Alien, declared publicly that television has gotten too dirty and that the networks televise junk just to keep the ratings high. A broadcasting executive asked his industry this probing question, “Have we sunk so low that we have sold our children to the dogs in order to make a dollar?”
You’ve probably seen the popular armbands worn by many Christians-young and old alike. There are only four letters on the band: WWJD-a question and a reminder to the wearer: What Would Jesus Do? Good question. “What would Jesus do? Well, I can tell you one thing He’s going to do: He’s going to return in majesty and glory. He’s going to remove His church from the porn, the permissiveness, and the poverty of morality and arrange for His bride to meet Him in the air in a sky-splitting event known as the Rapture. While we remain on planet earth, you and I must heed the apostle’s words, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). This bombardment of continual wickedness, implanting so much filth and false values in our collective minds, is presently reaping an abundant harvest morally, spiritually, and socially. Just as the degenerated values of society in Noah’s day filled the world with violence, so sin, crime, and fear stalk humanity as we come to the close of the twentieth century.
I’m confident this situation will continue to deteriorate because the sign will break forth in all its debauchery during the Tribulation Hour. We are already observing the preview of coming events. Life will not be worth living during the Tribulation, because Satan will be cast out of the heavens and will be enthroned upon the earth. Because he knows that he has only a short time to perform his heinous acts, and because of his impending imprisonment for one thousand years (Revelation 20:3), he will unleash all of his brutality and uncleanness upon earth’s millions. That is why Revelation 12:12 states, “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”
Remember that Noah’s day was also one of violence (Genesis 6:11). Any person who watches television news today surely realizes that we are going through a period of unprecedented violence and terrorism throughout the world. Information coming to the intelligence community is providing further evidence and new details on the operations of a worldwide international terrorist network, which has been functioning since 1969. They are an organized alliance with roots in Asia, the Middle East, especially Iran, Western Europe, Latin America, and the United States. The network’s ideological cement is mixed from Marx and Mao, with proclaimed goals of “world revolution,” to be attained through a worldwide war of terror against the advanced states in attempts to undermine their normal way of life and institutions. While the scope of the terrorist alliance now is attaining global proportions, the Middle East remains its main base and sanctuary area-backed by Russian arms and manipulation. It’s reported that terrorists believe that a larger number of casualties may now be necessary to generate the amount of publicity formerly evoked by less bloody operations.
The world is in a precarious position. But we’ve seen nothing yet. Violence will rear its ugly head in monstrous proportions as terrorists prepare for germ and biological warfare to hold major cities captive. Soon millions will die. When it does occur, could it be the beginning of the Tribulation Hour? But fear not precious flock, Jesus said in Luke 21:9, “When ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come” and then adds in verse 31, “When ye do see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom [return to earth] of God is nigh at hand [near].”
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
“I Almost Missed the Blessing!”
He was standing near the exit of a department store in the shopping mall – a quiet, unassuming man, neatly dressed in casual clothes. As I walked past him on my way out of the store, he glanced in my direction – then quickly looked again, obviously recognizing me.
“Mrs. Van Impe?”
“Yes, I’m Rexella Van Impe.”
“It’s so nice to see you in person. I feel like I’ve known you and your husband for many years – I used to attend your crusade services. Could you spare just a moment? I have a little story to share with you.”
“Of course,” I replied, stepping out of the doorway and to the side of the corridor. I felt perfectly comfortable and at ease with this “old friend” I’d never met before – he was no longer a stranger. “I’d love to hear your story.”
The man stretched out his right arm and pulled back the sleeve of his coat. His arm was atrophied and shorter than normal, with an extremely deformed hand. “I was born this way – with a right arm and hand that were shriveled and useless. As I grew up, I became more and more aware of my deformity. I felt that I was ‘damaged’ and worthless. I became as handicapped emotionally and mentally as I was physically.
“As a little boy, I started praying, ‘Oh, God, heal my hand and arm. Help me and give me a normal life.’ In my mind, I felt the only way my prayer could be answered would be to get a whole new arm and hand.
“Over the years, doctors performed three major operations on me – very involved, complicated reconstructive surgeries. The operations were successful in that they enabled me to gain much use of my right arm and hand. I learned to do lots of things – almost anything I wanted – with my repaired hand.”
As he spoke, the man demonstrated how he could move his arm freely and deftly use his still-twisted hand to pick up and manipulate various objects with obvious strength and dexterity.
With a wry smile, he continued his account. “But the surgeries didn’t help my mind and my feelings. They continued to be ‘deformed’ because my arm was still short and my hand was still twisted – not totally whole in appearance. Instead of being thankful for the tremendous improvement, I found myself thinking, ‘Why didn’t God answer my prayer and heal me? I still don’t have a right arm and hand that match my left side.’ And I went on feeling frustrated and limited for years.
“Then one day during my personal devotional time, I finished my Bible reading and was meditating. I again began to wonder why God hadn’t answered my boyhood prayers. Suddenly I became intensely aware of God’s presence, and He seemed to speak to me.”
“‘I answered your prayer!’ the Lord said. ‘You are whole. You can do just about anything with your right arm that you can do with your left. You have a good marriage and beautiful children. You have a profitable business. I have blessed you and met your needs. Why do you feel that your prayers were not answered?'”
“I was astonished at those words, Rexella. I jumped to my feet and shouted, ‘Thank You, Lord, for opening my eyes. You did answer my prayer. You have made me whole! But I almost missed the blessing!'”
Isn’t that a remarkable experience? Hearing our friend’s tremendous story stirred my heart and started me thinking. How many times do we risk missing out on God’s blessings because they may not arrive in the exact package we’re expecting? How should we act, what should we do while we’re waiting on the Lord to answer prayer?
I love the way The Living Bible instructs and encourages us with Psalm 27:14 – “Don’t be impatient. Wait for the Lord, and he will come and save you! Be brave, stouthearted and courageous. Yes, wait and he will help you.”
Are you waiting for God to answer the cry of your heart and meet some special need for you or a loved one? Here are some suggestions for you.
Wait in prayer.
First of all, I believe that when we’re waiting on the Lord, we should wait in prayer and allow ourselves to be comforted by the Holy Spirit. Too often we allow ourselves to be anxious and apprehensive after we’ve prayed and are waiting. By not allowing the comfort of the Holy Spirit to overwhelm us, we make ourselves vulnerable to the ravages of doubt and fear.
One of the first times I remember hearing “Wait, Rexella” was when I was just a little girl, maybe four years old. My mother had left me with my grandmother for the day. For a while I watched as she worked in the kitchen preparing to bake a pie.
When I grew restless, my grandmother said, “Rexella, as soon as I finish baking this pie, we’ll go down and get an ice cream banana split. But for now I want you to sit here on the counter and wait.”
A few minutes later I asked, “Are you almost done, Grandma?”
“No, honey, you have to wait.”
“Yes, but I want to go get my banana split now!”
“No, I’m not finished here. You must wait a little longer.”
In another moment or two, I was asking again, “Are you through yet?” So my grandmother decided to use the waiting time to teach me something new. Spreading some flour across the counter, she taught me how to form the letters and spell the word B-A-N-A-N-A. I was so delighted at my new accomplishment that I momentarily forgot my impatience.
I believe that God sometimes has lessons to teach us as we wait. There can be great value to be gained just by waiting, although it’s hard for people in today’s age of instant gratification to appreciate this truth.
We’ve all heard the old joke about doctors telling patients to “take an aspirin and call me in the morning.” Well, current medical research suggests that maybe these medics weren’t just ignoring their patient’s needs. The truth is that God has put a miraculous healing force within our bodies that, with just a little time, will begin to heal a high percentage of maladies.
It’s also true that time is a great healer in incidents of loss and grief. What seems unbearable and inconsolable today will become less painful and easier to bear as time goes by. As the Psalmist David expressed so beautifully, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).
Don’t misunderstand me – I’m not saying that we should pray about something, then just wait until we get over it naturally. We’ve all experienced those wondrous times when God came upon the scene and moved in our behalf almost instantly. In fact, there are times, God says, “Before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24).
If we need an instant answer, God will not forsake us or fail. But there are times when we need to wait – not impatiently, but bravely, stoutheartedly, and with courage. In those times the Holy Spirit will come to us … and teach us … and help us. Don’t miss what God wants to do for you!
Wait in faith.
When you pray, wait in faith. Be confident in God. Believe in His love and goodness. Trust the Lord to keep His Word. Jesus said, “If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it” (John 14:14). Let your confidence be based on the knowledge that He will answer your prayer – God will take care of you.
Perhaps you’re saying, “But Rexella, sometimes that kind of faith is a little bit hard to come by.” I understand exactly what you mean.
I heard an illustration about a woman whose view from her kitchen window was blocked by an ugly old mountain that she often wished was gone. One day she read that if she had faith as big as a grain of mustard seed, she could pray for the mountain to be removed and it would go. So she decided to try it.
“Oh, God, if you love me, remove that mountain. I have faith that You can do this, so tonight I’m asking you to take it away.”
The next morning the woman got up, walked into her kitchen, and looked out the window. “There’s that mountain,” she said, “just as I expected!”
Do you expect God to answer when you pray? Do you have faith that He will hear and respond to your prayers according to His will? Has God answered your prayers in the past? Do you know others whose prayers have been answered? Yes, of course!
When you know who God is and what He is like, you can have faith in Him. I believe that real faith is not something you try to believe – it is something you cannot doubt! You must reach a place in your Christian experience where you discover the bedrock truths that require no convincing. And on that Rock you take your stand.
Getting to that place may require you to do some waiting – in prayer … and in faith. Be willing to do it! Don’t miss the blessing!
My third suggestion for learning to wait on the Lord is to be patient – not murmuring, not saying, “Why is this happening to me?”, not rebelling. For forty years the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness, missing out on the blessing of going into the Promised Land.
As a matter of necessity, the road out of Egypt’s slavery led through the desert. But the Israelites did not go through the desert patiently. They griped, complained, doubted, and rebelled! The more they murmured and rebelled, the longer they had to wait.
The land God had promised was out there, just an eleven-day march away (see Deuteronomy 1:2). It was wonderful country – almost literally “flowing with milk and honey.” But most of the Israelites died in the desert, wandering around and around in the wilderness until they missed out on the blessing. It was real! God had intended for them to have it! But their lack of prayer, lack of faith, and lack of patience ultimately destroyed them.
Forty years later, when the doubters and murmurers were dead, Joshua led the new generation – and a handful of faithful old-timers – into the land of Canaan.
Oh, my dear friend, there have been times in my life when I was tempted to focus on the problem and not on the solution God was going to give me. In those moments, I was becoming part of the problem! Have you had that experience?
Isn’t it wonderful that God is faithful? He keeps on reminding us to pray … to wait in faith … to be patient and not to give up or rebel. And as we wait, the Spirit of God comes to us, teaches us, helps us, and meets our need!
When it happens – when the darkness falls away and the power of God breaks through the limitations of our lives and sets us free – how we rejoice! We gratefully discover that – in the words of Solomon and David, “The Lord is our salvation, our refuge, and our strong tower!” (See 2 Samuel 22:3; Proverbs 18:10; Psalm 61:3).
“Thank You, God,” we exclaim. “We almost missed the blessing!”
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Dear Pastor Van Impe, My wife and I watch your program every week and I just want to say May God give you and your wife the richest of blessings!! Thank you for preaching the word and not candy coating it. We love how you ”TELL IT LIKE IT IS, NOOO COMPRAMISE”! God love ya! and so do we!!……
Dave & Barbara C.
Praise the Lord, Drs Jack and Rexella Van Impe!
I am emailing you from Kenya.
I thank Jehovah, the EVERLASTING FATHER, and THE GOD OF ISRAEL IN CHRIST JESUS OUR SAVIOUR for HIS LOVE. I have been receiving your weekly newsletter for a while now and also reading from the web the past issues and I really appreciate your dedicated service to the LORD. Whenever I access television, I usually watch your weekly telecast from time to time and I want to assure you that it is a blessing. Christ the Messiah is coming to Rapture the church yet there are NOT so many voices out there preparing the church for this blessed hope. I pray that the Lord will strengthen you more and more even as you champion repentance and holiness in Christ Jesus, for it is in black and white that without holiness no one will see the Lord (Heb.12:14), God will never bend His word to accommodate the world which is hell bent to wickedness. Your ministry has enlightened me quite a lot especially on end time prophesy. Once again thank you.
Pastor Francis O.
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