October 8, 2012
What about earthquakes, global crime, and the
many strange activities presently occurring in
space? How do these signs suggest that
Christs return is at hand?
When they read Matthew 24:7, Mark 13:8, or Luke 21:11, some men foolishly observe, “We’ve always had earthquakes. How can this be a sign?” The Lord made this prediction around A.D. 30. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, from 1890 to 1930 there were only 8 quakes measuring 6.0 or larger. From 1930 to 1960, there were only 18. From 1960 to 1979, however; there were 64 “killer” quakes. And from 1980 to the present, there have been more than 200. Think of it! More than 200 major quakes in less than three decades-an earth-rattling reminder that the Rapture is near.
Crimes against Humanity
Christ went on to say in His pronouncement of signs, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matthew 24:12). What a portrait of modern-day America and the world! The U.S. Justice Department reports that about 30 percent or more of the nation’s households are victimized by serious crime every year. The U.S. attorney general says that on average one of every sixteen American families is brutalized by violent crimes such as murder, rape, and aggravated assault. The FBI index also paints a grim picture, giving us the unsettling information that a murder occurs every twenty-four minutes, a forcible rape each seven minutes, a robbery every sixty-eight seconds, and an aggravated assault each fifty-one seconds. The total figures show that a violent crime is committed every twenty-seven seconds, a property crime every three seconds. Judge for yourself: Are things getting better or worse? The answer is obvious.
Signs in Space
Matthew 24:27-31 tells us: “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
I quote from these scriptures in Matthew because many believers are confused by this scenario. It is important to note that the reference here is to the Revelation-the revealing of Christ to the entire world as He returns to earth as King of kings-not the Rapture. The elect mentioned in this text are the elect Israelites of Romans 11:28. He gathers them together “from the four winds.” Gentile believers are not listed with the twelve tribes who mourn as Christ returns. Again, these are Jewish signs pointing to Christ’s coming as King of kings and LORD of lords. The people of the Tribulation Hour will know when the momentous event is near because Matthew 24:29 pinpoints the time: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.” The space signs are for the close of the Tribulation Hour. There is no way that they could point to the pretribulation Rapture, for we Christians will be gone when the dreadful bombardment of earth, probably with meteorites from space, occurs.
Luke adds to this account, “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken” (Luke 21:25-26). These signs point to the close of the Tribulation Hour because they signal the return of the King to earth. Verse 27 adds, “Then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” This describes the coming of Christ to set up His glorious millennial reign (Revelation 20:4).
Space signs, which are to take place at the conclusion of the Tribulation Hour or almost seven years after the believers’ departure via the Rapture, are already showing partial fulfillment. Such feats as humans walking, driving, and planting a flag on the moon make us realize these signs are only for twentieth-century citizens-for you and me. If a person had made such a prediction at the turn of the century, he would have become a candidate for a mental hospital. Space activity has become so commonplace today that no one even talks about the first step Neil Armstrong took on the moon in 1969.
“We have always had signs,” some skeptics say. “Nothing has changed. It’s the same as it was in Grandma’s day.” My response to that ostrich stance is simply to get your head out of the sand and fix your eyes on the heavens. The Space Age is with us, and Christ’s prophecies are occurring with such rapidity that only a hardened heart could doubt it. Each new venture will incorporate additional methods of placing the potentials of space on earth. Christ’s astounding prophetic statements about space are beginning to fill the skies. Some scientists and space writers are raising the possibility that the next large-scale war could be fought entirely in space. This possibility means that Satan and his demonic hosts could use the world’s inventions for the war of wars described in Revelation 12:7-9: “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
The Signs and Space Phenomena
I believe the rash of reports about UFOs are connected with the spirit world. The question “Is there life on other planets?” is unimportant. There is life in the heavens, for they are full of live, demonic spirits. This could easily explain the thousands of saucer sightings in recent years. Ezekiel 1 and 2 Kings 2:11 talk about angels and chariots of fire. Whoever controls them is incidental. What is important is that these strange signs in space are prophesied for the latter days. Those days are now upon us and should make us realize the coming of the Savior is near.
Do Old Testament signs primarily
speak of Christs return to earth?
What about the signs
in the Epistles?
I am asked this question repeatedly. While the Old Testament and four Gospels are filled with scores of references to Christ’s return or the Revelation, the Epistles also contain a rich storehouse of scripture that speaks about Christ’s return to earth. Look at the description in 2 Timothy 3:1-5: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy. Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good. Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
Let’s look at several of the signs-as recorded in the Epistles-concerning the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to earth.
“Men shall be lovers of their own selves.” What a picture of the hour in which we live. You do not need to watch CNN for more than a few minutes to understand that people are living a life dedicated to self. Moreover, it is not only unbelievers who live such lives. When church members are so busy satisfying their flesh with the world’s goodies and pleasures that they have no time to pray or witness to lost souls-that is the height of selfishness. You will remember the Bible passage about the scribe who came to Jesus in Matthew 22:36-40 and said, “Master, which is the great commandment… ? Jesus said unto him. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.“
How different are we today, really? We, too, are lovers of our own selves. A person might expect this attitude in the ungodly world of pagans, but how sad when it occurs among those who are supposedly of the family of God. As selfishness accelerates and becomes the central theme at the beginning of a new century, you can be sure it is a sign that the end of the age is near.
The Love of Money
In the first century, Peter could say, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee; In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6). Churches today have incredible wealth. We build huge buildings and enjoy elaborate campuses. Much of this is good. However it is also a problem for many ministries, because the tail is wagging the dog. Furthermore, money does not have the power to perform miracles. As we approach the return of Christ, we need to recognize that we are living in the Laodicean age. Revelation 3:15-16 declares, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” God is saying, “You lukewarm parishioners make Me sick!” Why? “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing: and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (v. 17).
In our churches, many regard themselves as “upper crust.” They have money, power, and influence. Many of these Christian elite personalities feel they are too important to help others or to carry out acts of kindness in the Savior’s name-no time for anything except to earn a few more dollars. God declares, “The love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10).
God says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:10). Satan fell because of pride. Moreover millions more have followed in his wake. Imagine the gall Satan must have had to say, “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14).
Satan has infiltrated the hearts of millions of Christians. A man with tears in his eyes once came to me and said, “I was trying to win a young lady to Christ. She was poor and needy. Her parents are alcoholics. She was so destitute that all she had to wear was an old tattered dress. I took her to our church-a Bible-believing fellowship. When she and I walked down the aisle to our seats, I overheard a few snooty people behind me say, “Why do they bring that kind of trash to our church!'” That kind of story breaks my heart, and I hope it breaks yours. However, if you feel your pedigree is better or more important than others, then I pray that God will speak to you and show you that you are one of the signs that Jesus Christ is coming again. Our Savior said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
The Easy Burden
Talk about busy! For many months Dr. Van Impe and I have been going from early to late, working harder than we ever have in our lives.
In addition to our normal activities and responsibilities, every hour is filled with reading, praying, studying, writing, planning… working on our weekly telecasts, and the in-depth teaching videos we produce!
Don’t think I’m complaining — I’ve never been so excited and thrilled. There are so many tremendous opportunities before us that I can hardly wait for morning to come… and sometimes I’m reluctant to turn off the lights at bedtime.
The other day someone said to me, “Rexella, don’t overdo it. You’ve got so many responsibilities — it’s really a tremendous burden!”
I appreciated the concern of this friend, who had only my best interests at heart. But although I’m working harder than I have in all my life before, I am not overloaded and burdened down!
I have discovered the secret of the easy burden.
The lesson of the ant
A biologist once was doing a study of ants. One day he watched a worker ant carrying a piece of straw. Compared to the ant’s size and weight, that straw must have been a heavy and unwieldy load. But the ant kept working — kept carrying his load.
After a while the ant came to a large crack in the earth. He explored to the left and the right, but there was no way to go around — and the crack was too wide and too deep to get across.
The ant stood there on the brink of the precipice as though pondering the situation. Then, he took the burdensome straw off his back. Stumbling, tumbling, and straining, somehow he managed to put one end of the straw on one side of the crack and let it fall across the span! Then the ant walked across the straw safely to the other side.
With a few tugs and strains, he pulled the straw across the crack, put it back on his back… and went on his way again! He triumphed by using his burden as a bridge to the other side.
What a lesson for us!
In this life we will have burdens. The Apostle Paul noted, For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened (2 Corinthians 5:4). But we need not be unduly crushed to the ground by our load if we allow the Lord and His strength to sustain us. The psalmist cried, Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee (Psalm 55:22).
Jesus said, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matthew 1 1:28-30).
Did you notice that Jesus did not say, “Come throw down your load and walk away with no burden at all. “He only promised to give us rest. Then we are to take on His yoke and pick up His burden. And what kind of load is it?
It is a light yoke, an easy burden!
The Lord has not promised that we will not have to work in this life. There is no guarantee that we will not face difficulties and trials. Nowhere does He tell us that the road will not be long or the night not so dark.
Rather, He promises that where we go, He will go… and never will we be left alone. For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5). And He also promised, Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (Matthew 28 :20).
If Jesus is with us, and His burden is always light, why do we get so loaded down at times? I think it is because we pick up the burdens of the past along with tomorrow’s burden and add it to the load allotted for today.
John Newton once wrote, “I compare the troubles which we have to undergo in the course of a year to a great bundle of fagots, far too large for us to lift. But God does not require us to carry the whole at once. He mercifully unties the bundle and gives us first one stick, which we are to carry today, and then another, which we are to carry tomorrow, and so on. This we might easily manage if we would only take the burden appointed for us each day. But we choose to increase our troubles by carrying yesterday’s stick over again today and adding tomorrow’s burden to our load before we are required to carry it.”
Jesus says, “Come rest. Lay down yesterday’s burden, and don’t lift tomorrow’s load yet. Just pick up today’s burden… and it will be easy!”
And like the resourceful ant, we may discover that at times we can use our burden to bridge the chasms in the path before us. It can literally become a stepping-stone to higher ground.
A burden of joy
What an exhilarating realization! And here is another load-lifting thought. When we realize what our burden is — or to be more exact, who our burden is — our attitude changes.
I heard about an American soldier during the Vietnam war who saw a little 7-year-old girl carrying a 2-year-old baby on her back. As he passed her trudging along a dusty road, the G.I. said to her, “Honey, it looks like you’re carrying an awfully heavy load.”
But that little child had learned part of the secret of the easy burden. She replied, “Oh, no, this is no load — this is my brother!”
And it is true — the load of egotism and self-pity is tremendously heavy. No one can stand up under it for long! But if our burden is for others… for the lost and unreached, it can become a burden of joy.
We are reminded of Jesus, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).
For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross! What joy? The joy of seeing you and me in heaven! He carried the cross for us. He died that we might live. And now, His work completed, He is at the right hand of God.
Oh, I want to see Him! I am so homesick for heaven. And I believe it will not be long until our Saviour comes for us — perhaps today!
Until then, I know I can carry the easy burden He has for me. And so I can truthfully say that every television program I help to host, every article I write, and every letter I answer — the workload is not a depressing or oppressing burden. I can do it — I’m glad to — because of the joy that is set before me …the joy of knowing that I am doing it for the Lord to reach souls for eternity.
Stepping-stones to higher ground
I have no way of knowing what kind of burden you have been asked to bear. But I urge you to catch sight of the joy set before you. If it is to be a good mother to your children — do it with joy and blessing. If you are a father who gets up at 5:30 a.m. to go to work and earn a living for your family and to help support the work of God — do it with joy and a blessing.
My father got up at this hour almost every day of his adult life and yet always found delight in driving to every meeting that my husband and I or my brother Bob (who also is an evangelist) might have within a 100 mile radius of my parents’ home. Dad found strength in the Lord and got hold of the easy burden and made it a stepping-stone to higher ground. May you also, as mothers and fathers, find stepping-stones to higher ground.
The day will come — and soon, so soon — when you will stand before God and lay down your burden for the last time. What a thrill, what unspeakable joy, to hear the voice of your Father say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!”
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Dear Rexella & Jack:
I have been following your ministry since I was a baby Christian almost 20 years ago. I can’t thank you enough for the truthful preaching standing on God’s word and not holding back because someone might be offended. I look forward to my weekly podcasts and the newsletter that I pass on to as many people as I can. May God richly bless you both!
I send out my thanks to both of you for what you do in the name of Christ. If you want some feedback, I must tell you that I look forward to your messages. It is usually one of the first things that I read when opening my mail. Thank you again for continually evangelizing! You are doing what we all must do. These are trying times, but also a time to show your faith in Christ ..Keep up the good work and I will continue to look for your message!
HIGHLIGHTED PRODUCT OFFERS
New Age deceptions about the faith are being proclaimed even from the pulpits of America’s churches! And these lies promoted as ‘Gospel’ are just one more sign of the great falling away predicted in Bible prophecy. They’re a sign that Jesus is coming soon! In this video, prophecy experts Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe expose the most shocking lies promoted in the name of Christianity today!
- How can Christians distinguish the real Christ from false christs?
- What does the Bible really say about sin? How is the New Age Movement, and some evangelical ministers, wrong about it?
- Whom did David Wilkerson predict would become ‘angels of light’ and ‘tools of deception’?
- What is ‘666’, and who is teaching members of his church to tattoo it on their bodies?
- Who are the foremost celebrities and ministers promoting the New Age Movement?
- And More!
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are set to ride – and the USA slumbers in ignorance of the catastrophe about to descend upon her! Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe want to awaken this nation to the perils that lie ahead, and the soon return of the Savior! Discover the answers to critical questions:
- How soon will apocalyptic judgments begin?
- What does the Bible say about the prediction of the world’s end in 2012?
- How do current events fit with prophecies of Christ’s coming?
- What is the Mark of the Beast and who will control it?
- And much more!