September 29, 2014
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.
Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasures, the counselors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages,
That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up.
And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, all the people, the nations, and the languages fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
We said earlier that kings will be kings, and Nebuchadnezzar was no exception. One moment Daniel had Nebuchadnezzar’s undivided attention, almost persuading him of the’ ultimate power of the one, true God; the next minute, the king was again egocentric and self-promoting, forgetting Daniel’s prophecy and its implications. Perhaps the king was simply denying his mighty Babylonian kingdom would ever really collapse-especially at the hands of the Medo-Persian empire.
A Preview of 666
Imagine the sight of a golden image of Nebuchadnezzar that was ninety feet high (sixty cubits) and nine feet wide (six cubits in all, a cubit being approximately eighteen inches), erected on the plain of Dura. While the ‘golden image may simply have appeared to be little more than a massive statue, it actually holds great prophetic meaning and is yet another end-time mystery about to be unsealed.
For example, the numbers 66 come together here: the number of man (sixty cubits high) and six cubits wide, resembling the number of the Antichrist in Revelation 13:16-18 (six cubits). This gives us a reference to the time when the Antichrist comes into power and his false prophet sets up an image of his likeness in the temple. Revelation 13:15 says,
“And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.”
Faucet’s Bible Dictionary Encyclopedia reports that the archaeologist Opert once journeyed to present day Iraq-the area of biblical Babylon-and excavated what most evangelical scholars believe is the pedestal on which Nebuchadnezzar’s great image had been placed-proving this biblical event really happened! Some believe the gold statue may have been built to honor Nebuchadnezzar’s deceased father, Nabopolassar. Others suggest it was erected to appease Bel or Marduk-the revered pagan gods of Babylon. More likely, the image was a representation of the king himself.
Nebuchadnezzar had a flair for publicity, and he knew where to position the gigantic statue so that no one could miss seeing it. While Babylon was a skyscraper city of its day, the plain of Dura was a huge mound of earth, about six miles southeast of Babylon, probably a walled area that Nebuchadnezzar could have easily used as a focal point to stage an event of this enormity.
Anything constructed in that area would be seen for miles around. Its strategic position allowed for thousands of people to descend on the area at once, thus giving the king a venue for a mass rally where loyal supporters could bow and pay their homage to the king. This seemed to be a carefully planned “photo op” for Nebuchadnezzar and an event which all the chief officers of the land were commanded to attend-including Daniel’s three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.
Fail to Bow… Pay the Price
Here we catch a glimpse of Nebuchadnezzar’s political acumen and get a dramatic preview of the activities of the Antichrist to come. The king knew he had to keep certain conquered peoples under his thumb at all times, and what better vehicle than native religion to promote the power of the state? Nebuchadnezzar knew that whatever officials saw that day on the plain of Dura, they would take back to those captives under their jurisdiction.
Apparently Daniel was somewhere else in the realm on business for the king, since he was not present at the unveiling of the golden image. In fact, Daniel is not even mentioned in this chapter. For the first time in our story, his three friends are on their own. But because Daniel had exerted such great moral and spiritual influence on his companions, compromise with foreign gods was out of the question.
However, these three faithful Hebrews would pay a terrible price for not bowing to the image. King Nebuchadnezzar would try to have them killed, picturing an approaching day when the Antichrist carries out the same penalty on those who refuse to bow to his image and reject his mark, 666. At first reading this passage simply appears to be a provocative piece of biblical history. Closer observation, however, tells us that this story speaks to where you and I are today-and where we are quickly headed.
For instance, during the Tribulation hour, the Antichrist will make an image of himself (Revelation 13:15), and anyone who will not worship that image will be killed, even as those who refused to bow to the image of Nebuchadnezzar were threatened with destruction in a furnace of fire. The only difference between the two events is magnitude. The Tribulation hour will be a time when fire engulfs the earth. Revelation 8:7 says,
“And the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.”
Revelation 9:18 tells us:
“By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone.”
Accompanying all this mayhem will be the Antichrist, who says, “If you don’t worship me and my image, you’re going to die.” Revelation 20:4 says,
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image.”
Matthew 25:31-46, however, declares that there will be multitudes who will survive the seven-year period without taking the number. I’m not sure how, but they will persevere, just as the three Hebrew children ultimately survived their trial by fire.
Nebuchadnezzar-Picture of the Antichrist
So the statue on the plain of Dura was more than just an image of a king. It graphically represented the king’s continued rebellion against God-just as the Antichrist will become the definition of rebellion against the Almighty. The image also indicated that the king was egocentric, offering his image to the people as a symbol of self-deification. Again, there are Antichrist implications (Daniel 11:36).
Politically, Nebuchadnezzar needed a strong, unifying force to continue to bring together the disparate tribes and nations that fell to the power of Babylon. In short, Nebuchadnezzar’s purpose was to institute a totalitarian regime, and this was one way to galvanize the people’s attention and allegiance. What better description can we find in Scripture of the political prowess of the Antichrist to come!
Not surprisingly, when the word went out that this was “bow down” time, the officials, governors, and whoever else had managed to get to Dura that day paid obeisance to the king right on cue. Imagine the scene. Nebuchadnezzar was so fully in control of this grand event that he even had it choreographed. When the conductor of this desert orchestra of cornets, flutes, harps, sackbuts (stringed instruments), psalteries, and dulcimers lowered his baton, it was time to fall to one’s knees. And that’s what the masses did: They looked at the great statue, and they fell down to worship. Why not? To remain standing in defiance of the king’s order would mean certain death in a fiery furnace.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
They Shall Mount Up With Wings
All of us at some point in our lives have had traumatic experiences. Life has a way of forcing us to cope with difficulty, pain, sorrow, and stress.
Some people seem to come through every test stronger… and rise above every tumult. Others appear to be in danger of drowning in their sorrow …of being totally overcome by seemingly insurmountable circumstances.
What makes the difference?
I believe a large part of the answer is a matter of perspective… the point-of-view we have of life and its challenges.
Let me share with you a beautiful experience of Dr. Van Impe’s and mine which helps reveal the way I feel we should look at life’s problems. It happened when a special friend of the ministry called and asked if we’d like to ride in his hot air balloon.
Of course we said yes. And Mr. John Raya, of Father and Son Construction Co. in Rochester, Michigan, set a time for us to meet him.
So on a glorious afternoon, we climbed into the passenger basket and looked up at the beautiful blue-and-white balloon billowing fifty or sixty feet above us. My pulse was pounding with excitement …and I have to admit the tiniest bit of apprehension gripped my stomach.
But not for long! With a blast of flame from a propane burner above our heads, additional hot air was pumped into the balloon… the crew turned loose of the basket… and we took off — up, up, and away!
What a sensation! What a thrill! If you’ve ever gone up in a balloon, you know what I mean — it’s an unforgettable experience.
Ballooning is nothing like flying in an airplane, enclosed by glass and aluminum. Instead, you begin to feel like a free spirit — there is a distinct sense of physical disembodiment as you feel yourself floating upward, leaving the earth, rising higher and higher.
A new way to see!
First of all, I was astonished at what I could see. There was more sky than earth! Once above the walls and enclosures of man-made structures, a panorama of incredible beauty and unlimited space unfolded all around me. I remember thinking that this must be like seeing things from God’s viewpoint.
In their now miniature size, things that appeared so important on the ground seemed somehow insignificant. Dented car fenders, a burned-out house, rushing traffic — everything seemed to blend into a much larger background. The walls and fences separating people diminished before my eyes and faded into mere lines in a magnificent tapestry of soft color and interwoven patterns.
I began to see a bigger picture of life itself. Suddenly I understood as never before how even events that seem like disasters close-up can actually disappear into the perfect pattern of God’s master plan for our lives. And rather than being overwhelmed, it is possible to accept each circumstance as a purposeful part of God’s will… of His greater good for us!
How good it is to develop our spiritual sight in faith. If only we would make it a practice to allow the Holy Spirit to lift us above ourselves and see our situation from God’s viewpoint.
A new way to hear!
The second thing I discovered up in the balloon was that in addition to a new way to look, there was also a new way to listen.
As a musician, I am very conscious of sound — of voices, cries, music. Floating hundreds of feet in the air, I discovered there was no noise — no traffic roar, no barking dogs, no ringing telephones, no blaring radios or TV sets. There was only the soft sigh of the wind… and the silence. It was so quiet I could almost hear my own heartbeat. I actually had to get used to hearing nothing. And in the soothing, uninterrupted silence, I felt a healing, restoring power washing out my brain and smoothing down the wrinkles in my inner being.
With crystal clarity, I sensed a message of reassuring love being whispered inside my heart in a still, small voice. I recognized that Voice! And suddenly I thrilled with new understanding of what my Heavenly Father meant when He gently commanded, Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10).
On that crisp autumn afternoon, drifting quietly above the patchwork quilts of the earth and under the brilliant blue of the heavens, I knew God afresh and anew.
The Lord ministered to me through all my senses on that special day. In addition to being blessed through seeing and hearing, I became so aware of God’s presence that I could almost reach out and touch Him — I’m sure I felt Him touch me!
And smell — the air above our beloved Michigan homeland was so pure, so unpolluted at that height. I’ve never smelled anything so clean. It was like the very breath of God… exhilarating… delicious!
I distinctly remember being aware that my senses were totally filled up — that I wanted nothing to be satisfied. I had no need for food or drink. I could cry out with the Psalmist David, O taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8).
All too soon our balloon ride came to an end, and it was time to descend back to earth. Almost reluctantly we left the sky and stood once more on the ground.
But I’ll never be quite the same again. How much I learned about Christian living through what I experienced that day up in the balloon.
I’m told that in stormy weather, that greatest of birds, the eagle, does not seek a shelter or place of refuge. Instead, he flies high into the sky, turns into the wind and sets his wings so that the very force of the storm lifts him safely above it.
Surely it is no coincidence that God’s Word declares —
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint (Isaiah 40:31).
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!
Dear Mr. & Mrs. Van Impe,
I just want to say thank you for your program and ministry. I have been blessed for many years by your teaching and preaching. Thank you for ministering the Word of God to people so faithfully and without compromise, and for exposing heresy and darkness. Praise God! I am truly blessed by you and other senior saints who serve the Lord with all their hearts. I appreciate everything you do.
Thank you & God Bless You,
Jennifer in California
Thank you for not being a watered down preacher I can’t believe how people are straddling the fence. Love you so much
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