September 22, 2014
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
Kingdoms Come… Kingdoms Go
Marduk, Babylon’s chief god, was also called the “god of gold”-something that surely did not escape the king’s notice. In fact, the precious metal gold was almost synonymous with the nation of Babylon. There was gold everywhere-in the ornate palaces, the worship places, and the ubiquitous shrines. Even the walls were overlaid with what was then the most precious substance in existence. Now King Nebuchadnezzar was told that all this gold would one day be swept away by a second kingdom, the kingdom of Medo-Persia.
This later became a historic fact when the two disparate cultures-the Medes and the Persians-united in 550 B.C. under one king to form a great world power. This was the “silver” part of the statue and a proper representation of the Medo-Persian empire since the Medes and Persians based their partnership on the power of money collected through an elaborate system of taxation. Nebuchadnezzar must have been relieved to hear Daniel prophesy that this “silver” kingdom would be inferior to his own, probably because as a partnership nation,
Medo-Persia did not have the political and military unity of Babylon. But despite this weakness, Medo-Persia would one day break the “head of gold.” Because God’s Word speaks only the truth, we should not be surprised to note that Daniel’s prophecy became reality when Medo-Persia brought Babylon to its knees in military defeat in 539 B.C.
But what about the third kingdom, the belly and thighs of brass? The element bronze later became a characterization of the Greek empire, primarily because the Greeks used it extensively as the material for their weapons of war. Daniel foresaw that Greece would one day “bear rule over all the earth” (2:3 9). History shows that Greece did dominate the world of its day. The kingdom of Alexander the Great encompassed much more of the known world than Babylon or Medo-Persia ever did. Again, a prophecy of Daniel was fulfilled in world history.
The Renewal of the Roman Empire
Imagine how Nebuchadnezzar must have reacted to the news from this young prophet. His was probably a mixture of fear and disbelief. But we must also note that Daniel wasn’t finished yet, and the king did not interrupt Daniel’s interpretation.
After the world-dominating empire of bronze another empire would arise-a fourth kingdom composed of two legs of iron. This kingdom would be Rome with its “two legs” representing the expansive empires of the Western Roman Empire, headquartered in Rome, and the Eastern Roman Empire, with the cosmopolitan city of Constantinople as its capital. This empire also would fall. The great historian Edward Gibbon powerfully describes it in his work entitled The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. However, just before Christ returns, this empire will revive as the iron mixed with clay begins to wiggle in the form of ten toes.
Only God could have given Daniel the wisdom to know what is now becoming reality for us who live in the beginning days of the twenty-first century. According to Daniel, the final revival of the Roman Empire would be comprised of a confederation of ten nations, which would finally lead to a new world order encompassing the globe . Why would they come together? For monetary and military security and strength-something we’re already seeing as the European Union moves ahead with such plans at break-neck speed. Thus, Nebuchadnezzar’s image with ten toes pictured the revival and conclusion of the Roman Empire.
Note the gradual deterioration of the metals in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream: from gold to silver to bronze to iron to clay, a clear demonstration that as history marches on, men and their cultures become increasingly corrupt. Tregelles is a scholar who has called attention to the decreasing “specific gravity” of each of these metals: For example, the specific gravity of gold is 19; silver, 11; brass, 8.5; cast iron, 7.8; mixture of iron and clay, 1.93.
The world in which you and I live-the world of the fourth and revived fifth kingdom as prophesied by Daniel-is going to get worse up to the moment that the great stone breaks the feet of the image. That stone is Jesus Christ, who becomes a mountain and fills the entire earth.
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (2:44).
The Ten Toes Begin to Wiggle
The entire end-time message is predicted here in the Book of Daniel thousands of years, in some instances, before the actual historical events occurred-just as Rabbi Shvili in 1935 suggested in his book, Reckonings of Redemption. How could Daniel know this? Because God, historically, has chosen to reveal His secrets through spirit-anointed prophets.
Let’s bring Daniel’s prophecy even closer to home. There was a long interval between the time when Rome’s power began to wane and fall-around 476 A.D.-and the year 1947 when the “ten toes” ; of the statue began to wiggle. First of all, Benelux met in that year-Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg- creating the first three members of the confederation. In 1957, three additional nations met with the countries of Benelux- Italy, France, and Germany-for a total of six, ratified by the Treaty of Rome.
Little by little, in our daily newspapers, we see a revival of the Roman Empire just as Daniel predicted. In 1973, England, Ireland, and Denmark joined the confederation, making it a total of nine members. Then, on New Year’s Day, 1981, Greece became number ten. The time that Daniel prophesied is here. We are living in the latter days, and Jesus is coming soon.
Jesus Is Our Rock
One of the most profound messages of these verses is that you and I don’t have to worry about straightening out our world. We have almighty God, Adonai, who is in charge of the affairs of earth. Jesus is the rock, that stone, on which the true church is built. You’ll remember in Matthew that Jesus asked the apostle Peter, “Whom do men say that I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of God.” And Jesus said, “On this rock I will build my church” (see 16:13-18). Christ was that rock (1 Corinthians 10:4).
Yes, the rock in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream that eventually engulfs the entire world, a rock that will hit the feet, not the head-Babylon; not the chest and arms of silver- the Medes and the Persians; not the stomach and thighs of brass-Greece; not the legs of iron-Rome. They went out of existence. Instead, the rock strikes that group that revives at the time of the end-the ten toes, the restored Roman Empire. Thus, on January 1, 1981, when Greece became number ten, pictured by the ten toes on the image, we were given the clearest signal yet that we were headed toward the end times and would soon be ushered into an environment that would be ready for the return of Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
We can therefore reasonably conclude that the dream of Daniel chapter two reveals that the Kingdom of God will soon be established in connection with the second coming of our Savior. Daniel 2:44 states, and I repeat this for the sake of emphasis,
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.”
It’s all starting to happen. Just as the image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream contained metals that degraded as they descended from gold to iron and clay, so will the world in which you and I live become increasingly apostate and the more our society at large will be governed by outright militarism as its only vehicle to control the violence that is present and that is yet to come.
What was the actual purpose of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream? To show God’s sovereign rule over the affairs of men, leading to the future Gentile world domination and its ultimate destruction, to be replaced by a Kingdom and a King who would reign forever on earth (Matthew 6:10).
One of the reasons the Book of Daniel is so important is that it provides us with a complete scenario for the end times. And it all begins to wind down with the current revival of the Roman Empire, which I believe is the present-day European Union. After this episode is completed, there is no more. This will be the last empire, and it will continue into the latter days, with the Antichrist as the primary figure taking over the resurrected Roman Empire (Revelation 17:10). He will be a dictator of world proportions and will rule the world of his day just as King Nebuchadnezzar ruled his world as leader of Babylon.
But for those of us who know the whole story, we need not fear the perilous times yet to come because “the stone [which] was cut out of the mountain without hands” (2:45) is none other than the person of Jesus Christ, God’s anointed, our Savior, the Rock of our salvation. When He returns to gather His own, God will establish His Kingdom which will prevail in our world, and for a thousand years all beings on earth will be tremendously blessed under the personal reign of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Daniel 2: 46 – 49
Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him.
The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.
Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.
Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.
Daniel’s God Is Greatest!
Nebuchadnezzar’s subjects often fell on their faces before their leader, but for the king to subject himself to such a humble posture meant that Daniel had indeed gotten through to him. It also appeared that Nebuchadnezzar may have been making some spiritual progress, revealed by his act of contrition, admitting that Daniel’s God was the greatest god of all. The king made good on his promise that he would reward the wise one who met the demands of speaking and interpreting his dream, and Daniel was subsequently exalted throughout the realm.
But Daniel, always a man of integrity, did not forget his friends, and requested that the king give them key positions as well. His wish was granted. Daniel continued to be a person of great influence in the king’s court by being allowed to sit in the gate of the king-a position of judge, the equivalent of a Supreme Court justice and confidant of the king. Yet Daniel never compromised his standards in that foreign land.
Through it all, Daniel remained faithful to his God, continuing to speak the truth fearlessly, always serving notice to Nebuchadnezzar that God alone, not earthly kings, has the real power. God does not tremble at the sight of monarchs. If anything, He laughs at their rebellion, and in Psalm 2:1-4-a passage that pictures the battle of Armageddon-we read:
“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.”
But kings will be kings. Seemingly a victim of short-term memory, Nebuchadnezzar goes on yet another rampage. During his recurring paranoia he commands that his servants turn up the heat in the palace furnace seven times hotter. It’s a futile attempt to destroy three Hebrew teenagers-surely one of the most fascinating and familiar stories in all the Bible, and a dramatic preview of the real wrath that is yet to come during the Tribulation hour-another mystery which we will see unsealed.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
WHO ARE YOU?
I grew up with a healthy appreciation of the arts. All through my school years, I learned to recognize the genius of the great masters of painting, sculpture, architectural design and, of course, music. As a singer at school and in church, I was in awe of the classical composers who could hear, create, and capture such glorious melodies and rich harmonies, making them come alive again and again in different places and times.
So when Jack and I were married and made our first trip to Belgium to meet all his relatives, it was an unbelievable joy to me. In addition to the welcoming and wonderful fellowship with the extended Van Impe family, the history and culture of old Europe was everywhere-the food, the traditions, the sights, sounds, and smells-the very atmosphere itself. Except for being seasick on the voyage over (we decided to fly on future trips), I loved every moment of our adventure.
When we strolled through the streets of Brussels and suddenly came upon the Grote Markt/Grand-Place, the amazing marketplace and celebration center of the capital city, my mouth flew open in amazement. There were flowers everywhere surrounding little booths and open-air shops that offered fresh produce, baked goods, candies, handicrafts of all kinds, and wandering troupes of street entertainers. There was color, sound, and life as far as the eye could see in every direction! And surrounding it all, framing the pulsing heart of the inner city, were the great, historic seventeenth century buildings with elaborate facades of brick and stone and glass, filled with shops, offices, and apartment flats. Amazing!
To this day, Brussels’ Grand-Place is one of my favorite spots in all the world, an ever-changing spectacle of vitality and excitement. But on my first trip to Europe as a young bride, the experience was almost overwhelming.
To further highlight my first visit to Europe, Jack and I got a car and drove from Brussels to Paris! I don’t have the words to describe my excitement at seeing the countryside, villages, and towns-most of them with their own marketplaces bustling with life-and soaking up the sounds of old languages accented with laughter and shouts. The people were real, live characters from folk literature, with costumes that would have seemed too elaborate even for my active imagination.
And then we were in Paris, standing outside perhaps the most famous art museum in the world, the Louvre! Could this really be happening to me? I’d always loved great art, and enjoyed visiting fine museums during family outings and school field trips. But the Louvre? As we walked through galleries filled with some of the most famous works of art in the world, I was literally overwhelmed. My mind could barely take in the reality of seeing the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Aphrodite, and works by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Michelangelo, da Vinci, Renoir, Mondrian, Monet, Cézanne, El Greco, and scores of other great masters from the past. Too soon my brief visit was ended-I could have spent days there.
Fortunately, Jack and I got to go back to Europe to spend time with his relatives about every other year, and on each trip we tried to take in some notable or worthwhile place. I learned so much each time we went for a visit.
Life is all around you-don’t miss it!
Here at home, my husband and I also try to keep up with significant news developments and often visit historically important places. Connected with our ministry on our trips abroad-we’ve been in about fifty countries-we’ve explored noteworthy local sites and sought to better understand the people and cultures. Of course, Jack is always aware and sensitive to people, places, and events around the world with prophetic significance.
So many times as we’ve visited some historic site or an area with prophetic importance, suddenly the realization would hit me that I was seeing something important…that I was literally part of something significant or noteworthy. I felt a little nudge that I should pay special attention to what was around me at that moment-as if the Holy Spirit was whispering, “He that hath an ear, let him hear…” (see Revelation 2-3).
That happened to me again just this week! While Jack was getting his hair cut, I wandered through a little antique shop nearby and soon found myself browsing a small art exhibit. I’d never heard of the artist before, but he was extremely talented-I’d put him in the category of a great master-painter. I was drawn to a powerful work he had done that captured the images of two young girls. As I looked at them, it seemed they took on a life of their own as they laughed together and looked out on the vista before them.
The girls seemed so much more real than just a painting. They seemed so relaxed, so comfortable, so real. I felt that I should know them…that I’d like to know them. As I stood there for several long moments, I actually said aloud, “Who are you?”
It was the kind of deeply introspective moment a person may have in his life on occasion when he looks into a mirror and wonders, “Does anybody know who I am? Do I even know? Does God know that I’m here?”
As I looked into the skillfully created faces of those two youngsters in the painting, I whispered again, “Who are you?” And I thought in response, “I know Someone who knows you better than this artist, and that is the Lord. No matter where you are today, He knows you!”
I didn’t see anybody else in the quietness of that little gallery, but in that instant I became keenly aware that the “Someone” I’d just thought about had seen me…and recognized me…and knew me!
God knows us even before we are born
God spoke to Jeremiah and said, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee (Jeremiah 1:5). What a phenomenal statement. When did Jeremiah become a “viable,” individual person? At conception? At some point in the prenatal process? At birth? According to the Lord God, He knew Jeremiah long before.
When Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me” (Mark 10:14), the Greek word used for “children”-brephos-can refer to born and unborn, I’m told. This would mean that Jesus was not just saying, “let these children come unto me, but all children-those who have been born…and those who are not yet born.”
I have a little sister in heaven who was miscarried. I have a brother in heaven who was born but lived only three hours. I will see them both in heaven someday! Every child who was ever conceived is known of God. He declared that before a child is formed in the belly or is born, He knew that baby! Before I was completely developed in my mother’s womb, God knew that I would be born and called Rexella Shelton. He knew who I was before I was!
I know He knows our names because in Revelation 3:5 He declares that He will not blot our name out of the book of life. Every name is in the book-it can only be blotted out if a person rejects the Lord. That’s why every child goes to heaven, no matter what. Jesus himself said that our names are written in heaven (see Luke 10:20).
What a great promise! So many children’s lives have been snuffed out in wars, epidemics, and famines. Millions more have been destroyed by abortion. But, thank God, how wonderful to know that every child is safe with Him…and He knows them all by name! Every single one of these precious lives is now with the Lord. Oh, that blesses me!
God walks with us in life
Have you ever needed to know that you were not walking life’s road all alone? Did you ever need the strong shoulder of the Lord to lean on in life’s hard places?
Thank God, the Word says, For the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee (Deuteronomy 23:14).
I believe all of us have plenty of occasions when we need to be delivered. The longer I serve the Lord, the more times I recognize His presence in my camp, walking close beside me to deliver me from all harm and danger.
I remember getting up to sing one night to an audience of eight thousand people. As I looked over the crowd, I saw four men in the fifth row with stockings over their heads. God gave me peace so I was not afraid to go ahead and minister although it was obvious the men were there to try and disrupt the service or intimidate Jack and me. We later learned there was great turmoil in that city because a number of drug dealers had been converted, and the drug bosses wanted to threaten our lives. But God protected us from violence.
Another time in South America, we were on our way to the airport when a huge riot broke out. We were trapped in the middle of the violence, but God’s hand kept us safe.
Over the years we’ve received threats in the mail and over the phone, but Jack and I never were afraid, knowing that: There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways (Psalm 91:10-11).
More recently, I was not afraid when Jack was attacked by a serious, life-threatening physical illness. Somehow the Holy Spirit reminded me that God was in control and that my husband would be delivered. And he was!
How sad when people-even believers-lose contact with the presence of the Lord who is always with us. How tragic when they can no longer see the hand of God at work in their lives and are overwhelmed by despair. Thinking that nobody cares for them or is looking out for them, they try walking alone through the dark valleys of this world and are overwhelmed. The sad statistics reveal that more and more people are committing suicide, taking matters into their own hands.
Recently our long-time friend and team member, Chuck Ohman, told us of a friend of his who committed suicide. Some time ago, a pastor friend of our family in Detroit, took his own life. Another Detroit pastor we knew well had lunch with his daughter, kissed her and sent her on her way, then went into his office bathroom and hanged himself.
How sad to see these precious souls reach such a state of futility that they ended it all. Oh, if we had known their need! It hurts so much to see people destroy themselves in despair. Oh, if they had just come to us-or some other believer-for encouragement and help. Perhaps someone could have helped them find the answer to the question, Who are you? The answer for them-and for all of us-is: “I am the beloved child of my Father, God almighty!” If we know who we are, then we know there is help for the helpless and hope for the hopeless in Jesus. Nothing or no one is more powerful than God, and no one cares more than the Lord.
God remembers us in death
Several years ago I was in Israel interviewing some of the more influential members of the Israeli government, including members of the Knesset and various other leaders. One person I was to interview was the heroic military leader, General Moshe Dayan.
He was standing on a staircase, in uniform, complete with his trademark eye patch, ready to begin. As I greeted him, he suddenly said brusquely, “I am not going to do this interview!”
I was stunned because I had worked hard to make all the necessary arrangements, and politely inquired what had happened to change his mind. “Oh, it’s nothing you have done,” he said. “I’ve just realized that this is pointless because no one will remember me when I am dead anyway!” And he walked away.
I believe General Dayan was wrong. A great many people knew and cared about him. They appreciated his patriotism, and his heroic efforts to preserve the nation of Israel in the face of overwhelming odds. To this day, his name is remembered and revered as a great soldier and leader.
But even if no one on earth remembered Dayan after his career and his life were ended, there is Someone who will not-who cannot-forget who you are in birth, in life, and in death. This friend is aware of even the most minute details of our lives-He is the Lord!
The Bible says, But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered (Luke 12:7).
I have interviewed some 250 outstanding leaders and world figures, and I made it a practice to try, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to share something uplifting with them as well as seeking information and comments from them. I wish I’d had the opportunity to witness to General Dayan. I’d love to have been able to tell him that, indeed, someone would remember him-and walk with him-after death. Someone would remember, and walk with him through the valley of the shadow of death. He is God almighty!
Perhaps you think your life has been less distinguished and noteworthy than someone like General Dayan. But you are not less important to God. He has been with you before birth, and throughout life. And He will not desert you when you come to the end of life in this world. Who are you? You are God’s child…and one of His favorite traveling companions!
The time will come for all of us when it is time to cross over from this world to the next. And the Lord will walk with us, faithful to the end, until the shadows of life are illuminated by the light of heaven. So we can make that final walk in confidence.
The Bible says, We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). My husband, Jack, says that the phrases “absent from the body, present with the Lord” in the Greek are both instantaneous and simultaneous! When the time comes, just as you close your eyes-you’re there!
And He will have been with you all the way!
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
To the Power Team of Jesus!
Dear Jack and Rexella Van Impe,
Just letting you both know how much I look forward to your weekly broadcast, off of Daystar. It really boosts my spirits and is such a blessing….thank you for all your hard work and sincere, heartfelt words of truth and revelations!
In this day and age of haters and liars it is so refreshing to have you there…so keep up the excellent work as I am praying for you both, every day! P.S. Rexella…you’ve got a very kind spirit!
And Jack….so knowledgeable and wise….you are on fire for Him!
Agape to you both, your brother in our Lord and Savior JESUS!
I have been watching your program for almost 20 years now. Back in January of 1995 a friend turned me on to it. About a year before that, heopened my eyes to Christ and taught me several scriptures. It was not until January 15 of 2013 when I surrendered to Jesus and begged him to take away all ofmy sins & remove my desire to drink. Yes there I was in my house alone. My wife & daughter had left me because of my actions & my alcoholism. Ihad a lot to drink that night. I hit my knees and begged God to remove the evil from me. When I opened my eyes, I was completely sober and I have nottouched a drop since, nor have I had a desire to drink. With Christ in my life, I no longer need it. I am writing you for two reasons. First to sharethe story of that miracle with you, second, I would really like to have a copy of the book you offer every week “Steps in a new direction” I know thatthe time is short and I would like to read it while I still have a chance to. I have listed my address below. Thank you for helping me understand the Bible better.
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