September 8, 2014
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
A King Dreams… A King Is Confused
- And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.
- Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to show the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.
- And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream.
- Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriac, 0 king, live for ever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.
- The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill.
- But if ye show the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honour: therefore show me the dream, and the interpretation thereof.
- They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation of it.
- The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me.
- But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can show me the interpretation thereof
- The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can show the king’s matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean.
- And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can show it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.
- For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.
- And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.
Perhaps at some time in your life you’ve had a dream that was so unnerving and perplexing that it kept you from sleeping through the rest of the night. You tried to figure out what it might mean and may have even asked others to help you with an interpretation that made sense. If this has happened to you and me, we know it’s happened to people throughout history.
In the year 603 B.C., King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream so bizarre that he marshaled his wisest men to his chambers to give him a reasonable interpretation. Not only did the crafty king want an interpretation of the dream he could understand, but he went one step further: He demanded a recital of the dream itself. Unreasonable? Of course. But Nebuchadnezzar was the king, and just as the gorilla sleeps anywhere it likes in the jungle, so the king could make up his own rules-which he did with an impish look in his eye, I’m sure.
Nervous Coughs and Furtive Looks
Did the king really forget the content of his dream? I doubt it. I think this was Nebuchadnezzar’s way to test the wisdom and alleged supernatural powers of his magicians, astrologers, and sorcerers. Heavy has been the head that has worn the crown throughout history, and Nebuchadnezzar’s crown must have weighed a ton. Kings come and go; their enemies are forever nipping at their heels. What if Nebuchadnezzar’s dream were to portend evil for his realm? Superstitious as he was, he demanded an interpretation.
But there was a risk that one of the palace sorcerers might give the king information he didn’t want to hear. So what does a wizard do? Equivocate? Beat around the bush? Try to buy some time? After all, the wrong information would produce disastrous results for the wizards-like being cut to pieces and having their houses made into a dunghill. But if they could state the dream and give Nebuchadnezzar an interpretation he could live with, then all manner of blessings would fall on the necromancers. So the stage was set.
I can almost hear the nervous coughs and see the furtive looks as one magician after the other would say something like, “0 King, that’s a marvelous idea, our telling you your dream- not that it will be easy. Say, would you mind running that dream by your servants just one more time, and then I’m sure we’ll be able to come up with just the right interpretation.”
The king didn’t bite. He knew he had his magicians and wise men trapped, and he accused them of stalling. Finally, probably with perspiration pouring from their brows, the wizards and astrologers came flat out with the truth, saying that such an assignment was impossible-certainly too great a job for the wisest person in the realm, and one that could only be accomplished in cooperation with the gods-whose “dwelling is not with flesh“. An interesting comment from savants who were supposed to be able to predict the future and come up with detailed-and accurate-answers to life’s most perplexing problems. Yet, when push came to shove, they figured hearkening to the gods might not be such a bad idea after all.
But the king didn’t buy their delay and became furious. In a fit of rage he demanded that all the wise men of Babylon be rounded up and destroyed-something we’ve seen again and again throughout secular and religious history. When frustration mounts in the palace, scapegoats are found, and these innocents are often summarily done away with. It happened when a paranoid King Herod, intent on finding an alleged usurper to his throne, put out a decree to kill all Jewish baby boys in the land.
We saw it with Hitler who, in his cruel attempt to create his Third Reich, killed six million Jews, burned all books that threatened his reign, and more than decimated all non-Aryans under his control. We saw it again just a few years ago, in the mid-to late 1960s, when an equally paranoid Chairman Mao threw all of China into convulsions with his demented “Cultural Revolution”-a nationwide witch hunt that was only an official excuse to kill and maim millions of dissidents, destroy any semblance of ancient tradition that flew in the face of his hybrid communism, and put China on a crash course with history. Will tyrants ever learn?
Now, the net was thrown wide throughout the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar to bring all the men of wisdom to their knees and ultimately to their collective death. Although it appears that Daniel and his friends were not in this shouting session with the king, they were, in fact, to be included in the king’s order. The great irony of the king’s manifesto as it related to Daniel was that once again God was setting the stage for a display of His sovereignty over the affairs of men. Meanwhile, the hunt was on.
- Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king’s guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon:
- He answered and said to Arioch the king’s captain, Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel.
- Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would show the king the interpretation.
- Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions:
- That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
- Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
- Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:
- And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:
- He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.
- I thank thee, and praise thee, 0 thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.
- Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon: he went and said thus unto him; Destroy not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will show unto the king the interpretation.
We’ve now begun to see the sterling character of Daniel. Though still young, he was wise beyond his years; though relatively inexperienced in the affairs of life, he demonstrated how God can use a servant who gives his absolute loyalty to the Father. Now, it was again Daniel’s turn to settle uncontrollable waters. Here’s where we as believers need to take careful note of Daniel’s spiritual strategy.
- First, he asked for time-always a good idea when we are trying to come up with a solution to one of life’s challenges.
- Second, he was bold enough to say that he would fulfill the king’s demand-that is, he promised to do what the other wise men could not. Daniel knew that with God on his side he was not stepping out on a partially sawed-off limb. He knew his heavenly Father would give him the insight required at the time he would need it.
- Third-and how often we fail to do this-Daniel went back to his quarters and held an impromptu prayer meeting/counseling session with his companions Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Proverbs 15:22 reminds us, “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.” Daniel knew the importance of feedback from his companions-an awareness that runs throughout the entire book.
Daniel’s “Model Prayer”
Now I want you to pay special attention to Daniel’s prayer- just one of the many prayers of this great man of God we will discover in the pages of this amazing prophecy. Remember, Daniel already believed that God would give him the answer he’d need when he would soon stand before the king. He’d already conferred with his friends and received their counsel. But Daniel knew that unless he prayed earnestly to his God for divine insight and wisdom, he would never be prepared for his daunting assignment with a paranoid king.
For years, I’ve felt this prayer of Daniel should be a model for our own time with God-a prayer that moves me anew as I read it again, perhaps for the thousandth time. Daniel blesses God for His wisdom. He acknowledges that earthly kings are just that-as common as dirt-and that God alone sets up rulers and brings them crashing down from their man-made thrones. He recognizes that only His God-not Marduk, or any other Babylonian idol-gives wisdom to the wise and has the necessary resources to bring light to that which is shrouded in darkness.
Then, in a final burst of praise, Daniel thanks God for the wisdom and might He’s given to His servant. Daniel thanks God – giving no credit to himself – for the answers he now has to King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Can’t you just hear Daniel’s prayer build with confidence as he moves toward his final crescendo-his glorious amen to his God?
Ready to Meet the King
Daniel has done his homework. He’s been patient. He’s prayed. Now he’s ready with an exuberance and confidence that can only come to a believer in the one true God. Only after this serious, pre-audience preparation does Daniel finally say to Arioch, “All right, now’s the time. I’m ready to enter the presence of the king . . . and by the way, make sure that the king spares the lives of the wise men of Babylon. There’s now no reason for them to die.” Daniel, a young man with limited life experience, is now used by God to shape the destiny of an entire kingdom.
The apostle Paul, hundreds of years later, would say to another young man, Timothy, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). In God’s eyes, age has little significance when it comes to being a wise servant. Just as He did then, all God demands from His people is obedience. This spirit would be the hallmark of the man Daniel to the end of his days.
We will go into the details of the king’s dream in our next newsletter.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
The Night God Took Off His Mask
The ancient Greeks loved the theater. Their writers created elaborate stories — both comedies and tragedies — in the form of plays to be acted out in their amphitheaters.
Greek actors, skilled at playing many roles, switched from one character to another by going backstage and changing masks. When an actor returned to the stage with a new face he became another person.
The Greek word for one of these people of many faces was hypokrite — or hypocrite in English. It has come to mean one who acts out a part or pretends to be what he is not.
In the New Testament Jesus chided the religious elite of His day, the scribes and Pharisees who were more concerned with the traditions and ceremonies of serving God than the meaning and purpose of God’s laws. He said, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me (Mark 7:6).
Today so many who call themselves Christians have an extensive collection of masks they can put on and take off at will. They wear many different faces, depending on where they are, who they are with, and what they are doing.
Don’t misunderstand me — I’m not talking about being able to perform different functions as a person. A man may be a husband, father, businessman, sports enthusiast, handyman, scholar, and spiritual leader. A woman may be a wife, mother, counselor, chef, chauffeur, seamstress, designer, musician, gardener, etc. But in both examples, the individual can remain the same person while performing various functions.
Hypocrisy comes from attempting to be completely different people according to the environment or situation in which we find ourselves. And all of us are tempted to try our hand at role playing at one time or another.
The real you!
Do you ever find yourself acting one way at church, another way at home, and still another at work? Have you ever considered allowing your values, appearance, vocabulary, personality, and behavior to change dramatically from Sunday to Monday… from your work place to your home… from public to private life?
Are there times when you wonder who — and what — is the real you?
Several years ago, Dr. Van Impe and I knew of a young evangelist who had enormous ability. He was handsome, knowledgeable, and articulate. He spoke with eloquence, diction, and power. It seemed certain that he would become one of the most effective ministers in America.
I remember especially his strong messages about the evils of alcohol and how the devil was using strong drink to cause untold misery and destroy countless lives.
Then, in the prime of his life, this young minister suddenly died! In an instant he was gone. Later, it was revealed that he had fought an unending personal battle with liquor. Many nights after his evangelistic services he drank himself into an alcoholic stupor. How tragic that he proclaimed the life-changing, transforming power of Christ’s salvation to multiplied thousands, yet never accepted God’s deliverance from the satanic bondage that enslaved him.
One troubled young man in California came to as after a service and said, “I don’t understand my dad’s religion. He’s a deacon in the church and he seems so pious and so holy. But when he comes home, he yells and swears at my mother.” This boy was troubled at the mixed signals he was receiving from his father’s behavior. He realized that something was dreadfully wrong.
The Apostle James asked, Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? (James 3:11, 12).
Of course not! Then why is it that we often see entire casts of characters wrapped up in a single individual? Sometimes we’re not quite sure which face they will show us next. How can this happen?
I believe it may be explained by noting that man loses the awareness of his true identity when he loses sight of who God is! When man — either deliberately or accidentally — loses sight of God the Father, he soon loses his way in the resulting darkness.
The Bible tells how in the beginning the Lord God himself came into the Garden of Eden to have fellowship with Adam and Eve. He knew them personally… and they knew Him.
Then they sinned by disobeying God. Immediately Adam and Eve changed the way they acted — they hid themselves from the presence of the Lord. Ultimately they were driven out of the Garden… and out of fellowship with God.
From that day on, the human family began to lose sight of God — to forget who He was and what He was really like.
Putting a mask on God
As the years and centuries went by, man created a picture of God that was so distorted and mistaken that very few really understood His divine plan and His tender lovingkindness.
In the eloquent words of Paul the apostle: When they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man (Romans 1:21-23).
I like the way The Living Bible expresses verse 21 — And after a while they began to think up silly ideas of what God was like and what He wanted them to do.
In effect, man created a mask — grotesque and corrupt — and used it to cover the face of God. And darkness again covered the earth and the lives of men.
It was then that God chose to reveal himself afresh and anew to all mankind. Paul Scherer described “the night of all nights when God came down ‘the stairs of heaven with a child in his arms .'”
Throwing aside the crude mask that man had placed upon Him, the Father sent His Son, Jesus, from heaven to earth — to once again walk among men and show them who God is and what He is like. So Jesus came, ministering to the poor, healing the sick, pouring out boundless love to all men. “Do you see me and my works?” He asked. “Then understand that this is the nature of God. For when you see me, you see the Father.”
Identify with God
Oh, my friend, the joy of seeing the Father… of having fellowship with God! This is the secret of true self-discovery. For as you find out who God is and your eternal relationship with Him through Christ, you will suddenly see yourself in a new light.
And then, you can strip away all your masks and faces and go forth in your new identity — as a child of God.
Join me in giving thanks for that first Christmas, when God took off His mask and revealed himself to us again. If you have not yet received Him, I urge you now to –Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face; And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
You brought me to Christ Nov 1st 1973
I was 8 yrs. old and attended your crusade at Arie Crown Theater in. Chicago.
You also help me recommit myself to Christ 30 years later by watching your TV ministry. Amazing story. God bless.
J. M. M.
Thank the Lord for you Jack and Rexella for your many years of disciplined faithfulness to Christ. I remember in the mid-sixties a tent meeting at our little Baptist church in Bay City, Mi. with you when I was a young teen. I was so impressed with your dedication even back then. Thank you!
M. W. S.
HIGHLIGHTED PRODUCT OFFERS
Discover 15 amazing biblical signs that prove this generation is the one that will see the Lord Jesus returning in the clouds! Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe use current events, Bible prophecy, scientific facts, and more to show you the answers to critical questions such as:
- Is Mark of the Beast technology going to be globally deployed by the year 2017?
- Why are Russia and China conducting joint military maneuvers; and why is Iran cozying up to China?
- Who is deceiving President Obama right now, and how does his role as ‘peacemaker’ for Muslim nations signal the rise of the Antichrist?
- What world leaders are calling for global Islamic law, and where is it actually predicted in Bible prophecy?
- Will our enemies attack North America with nuclear bombs?
- And much more!
This is a powerful teaching for believers and will show non-believers the truth of the soon return of Jesus!
Christ’s Return: Millions Deceived
Too many Christian leaders don’t understand or refuse to acknowledge the truth about the Rapture and the Great Tribulation and thus millions are deceived!
Don’t let your family remain in darkness. Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe can show you what the Bible actually says – and help you answer critical questions like:
- Who prays the Lord’s Prayer hypocritically right now?
- Who was the very first preacher to teach about the Rapture?
- How does the Antichrist come to global power?
- Who are Armageddon’s international players?
- When does Christ return bodily to this earth?
- How close are we to the Rapture?
- How do we know Christ is coming soon if the Bible says no one knows the day or the hour?
- Where does the Bible predict “road rage”?
- Can you find rockets and missiles in the book of Isaiah?
- Jesus predicted iniquity would abound before His return – could He have meant the cesspool of Hollywood, today’s sexual perversions, mass murders, terrorism?
- Who is slaughtering Christians right now?
- Why do signs like persecution, violence, economic upheaval, and terrorism mean we should actually rejoice?
- And many more!