Weekly Newsletter – August 22, 2016
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
Pre-, mid-, or postribulational view.
Which position is correct?
The Bible is truth, it provides peace to troubled souls living in a chaotic world. Because it is a two-edged sword, it cuts through the insignificant and points to what is authentic. Because it is sheer, raw power, it has the dynamic to move the tallest mountains of unbelief. It is a compendium of truth by which we must live and is nothing short of majestic. Yet, there are many interpretations of holy writ. Great controversy continues to surround the subject of the return of Christ for His church-as far as a timetable is concerned. There are essentially three points of view.
The pretribulation position, on which this book is based, reflects the following seven Scriptural arguments. We will consider the first three this week and the remaining next week.
The promise to the church in Philadelphia (Revelation 3:10). The Book of Revelation is written chronologically. It sets forth the believer’s deliverance from wrath in a beautiful way. Revelation 1:19 states, “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be.” Presently, the twentieth century finds us in Revelation, chapter 3. John sees the great escape or evacuation of believers in chapter 4, verse 1. He says, “I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” I believe this to be the Rapture because the twenty-four elders, picturing the saints of all ages-Old and New Testament believers-are already crowned and casting their rewards at Christ’s feet in verses 10 and 11, and believers cannot be crowned until the resurrection of the just occurs (Luke 14:14). Thus, the Rapture has already taken place, the rewards have been distributed, and all is well as the chapter ends.
Then the Tribulation Hour, depicted in Revelation 6, will continue until the Battle of Armageddon, when Christ returns as King of kings and Lord of lords (see Revelation 19:11-16). The crowning of the saints in chapter 4, plus the fact that the Church is conspicuously absent and not even mentioned after chapter 4, is certainly meaningful.
The seven churches of Revelation 2 and 3 represent the professing Church in seven successive eras from the Day of Pentecost to the time of the Lord’s return. Each church fits chronologically into its respective place in history. The sixth church, Philadelphia, escapes the Tribulation Hour, but the seventh, Laodicea, is rejected by Christ. True believers, possessing Christ, are kept from the hour of temptation that immerses our entire planet: “I also will keep thee from [not through] the hour of temptation” (Revelation 3:10). Also, “God hath not appointed us to wrath” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
The case of the twenty-four elders (Revelation 4:1). Now let’s consider another great pretribulational truth-the twenty-four elders. After the “Come up hither” of Revelation 4:1, twenty-four elders are casting crowns at Christ’s feet in verses 10 and 11. Then a throne is set up. Around God’s throne are twenty-four thrones on which sit twenty-four elders, “clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold” (Revelation 4:4). Who are the twenty-four elders? This is of extreme importance for pretribulation proponents: The twenty-four elders are the representatives of God’s people in both Testaments- the saints of all ages. The Book of Revelation unites the representative groups often. For instance, in describing the Holy City in Revelation 21:12-14, the names of the twelve tribes of Israel are posted on the gates, while the names of the twelve apostles are inscribed upon the city’s foundation. Now twelve plus twelve equals twenty-four.
In chapter 5, verses 8 through 10, these twenty-four elders do something that is spine-tingling: “[They fall] down before the Lamb [Jesus], having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they [sing] a new song, saying, Thou art worthy [Christ] to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”
Here we witness the praise session of the ages-Old and New Testament believers, represented by twenty-four elders, praising the Lamb of God for shedding His blood. Someone says, “Old Testament believers were not saved by the blood.” No one-but no one-gets to heaven without the shed blood of Jesus! This is why Acts 10:43 declares, “To [Jesus] give all the [Old Testament] prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Therefore, Old and New Testament believers, pictured by the twenty-four elders, are singing about the blood in Revelation 5:9 before the seal judgments begin in chapter 6 (the beginning of the Tribulation Hour). The Jews of old looked ahead to Calvary’s shed blood as they offered their animal sacrifices while the Church looks back to the Cross as the communion or memorial supper is conducted. Either way, “It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11).
Since the elders are already crowned-and since no one can be crowned until he is either resurrected if dead, or translated if living-it is obvious that the Resurrection has occurred by the time we reach Revelation 4:10. First Thessalonians 4:16 has transpired. We conclude, then, that the scene in Revelation 4 and 5 is the direct result of the Rapture, the great escape before the judgments begin in chapter 6.
The Holy Spirit, the hinderer, is taken out of the way(2 Thessalonians 2:7-8). Another truth concerning the pre-tribulation Rapture that needs to be considered has to do with the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Jesus, before departing from earth to heaven, said, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:7-8). It is evident that the work of the Holy Spirit is to convict us and restrain us from sin. The Spirit of God does this through those whose bodies He indwells.
First Corinthians 6:19 states, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” Every child of God is indwelt by His Spirit: “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Romans 8:9). Spirit-indwelt believers have a purifying effect upon the world. They are the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-14). Salt prevents spoilage, and light dispels darkness. Think of the corruption and darkness that will prevail when the salt of the earth and light of the world are removed at the Rapture. No wonder Jesus said, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time” (Matthew 24:21).
Does the Bible teach such an evacuation of believers? Is there really a great escape before the Tribulation begins? Definitely! The second epistle to the Thessalonians proves this fact. In the first century, some posttribulationists were already sowing seeds of dissent. They said that the Church was already undergoing the trials of the Tribulation. They even produced a falsified letter, forging Paul’s name, that stated the Church was in the hour of trial. Recent posttribulational writers have almost gone as far in falsifying facts. They even print names of people who adopted their viewpoint, and the people “quoted” wonder how they arrived at such a conclusion.
Paul settled the mess by stating in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8: “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him. That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exaketh himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [“hinders”] will let [“hinder”], until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.”
Paul, deeply perturbed by the forged letter, stated in effect, “I understand someone produced a letter, supposedly written by me, stating that the Church is presently experiencing the pangs of the Tribulation Hour. Don’t believe that lying prattle. Don’t be bothered, bewildered, or shaken over such a distortion of facts. I could not and would not write such a letter, simply because the Tribulation cannot begin until two things occur. First, there must be a falling away, and second, the man of sin must be revealed” (paraphrased).
Scholars of the past rendered the phrase “falling away” as “a catching away.” They talked about a time when the law of gravitation would be broken and men would “fall away” via the Rapture to meet the Lord in the clouds. Other scholars believed that the Greek word apostaias meant that an apostasized departure from the faith would occur. The important point to consider is that either must happen before the man of sin-the lawless one, the beast of the seventieth week-is revealed. This introduction of the Antichrist to the world will inaugurate the Tribulation Hour. This means that the “day of the Lord” or the Tribulation period cannot begin until this monstrous maniac is identified to earth’s citizens. Yet he cannot be revealed until the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit is removed: “He who now letteth [“hinders”] will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8).
This does not mean that the Holy Spirit must be removed from the earth. This is impossible because He, as God, is omni-present, everywhere at all times (see Psalm 139:7-11). So it means that His hindering or restraining power over sin-that keeps the Antichrist from mounting the throne- will be removed. This will happen as the Holy Spirit’s temples-believers’ bodies (see 1 Corinthians 6:19)-are taken from the earth to heaven. Then the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” will be removed. This immediately will produce corruption and darkness on an unprecedented scale, allowing the world dictator to come to power. This will begin the Tribulation Hour. Then the “beast” of the ages will rule during earth’s bloodiest hour, proclaiming himself as God, the Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:4). He will rule until Christ returns to earth at the conclusion of the seven years. Then “the Lord shall consume [him] with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy [him] with the brightness of his coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:8).
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.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
I live in Cassopolis, Michigan and had the privilege of catching your TV broadcast this morning on WLLA TV 64.
Dr Jack I have known about you and your ministry all my life. May I say your knowledge and memorization of God’s is amazing and inspiring! I was so encouraged in my faith through your TV broadcast this morning! You reminded me about my Faith in Christ and why I believe what I believe! Life’s problems and difficulties can really drag you down, but when you are reminded of the Fundamentals, life’s problems seem so small! Thanks again!!
God bless you, Rexella, and the entire ministry!
In His Grip,
Dear Jack and Rexella,
Thank you both for 30 plus years of ministry to me and my family. Since 1983 I have watched many TV ministries but yours is the only one I continue to watch and know without a doubt you speak the truth always. Thank you for leading us in the right direction without fail.
I know that soon we will leave this earth and will meet you personally, a confidence I hold dear because you never wavered in your conviction to speak the truth of Jesus’s love and mercy, at all cost.
There are no believers in my extended family and I came from a background of emotional and physical abuse for all of my childhood so I see you both as my spiritual parents and I know I am very blessed to have you in my life.
Thank you both again for your undying love for God’s people,
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!
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils I Timothy 4:1
But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. II Timothy 3:13
Will everyone be in Heaven? Are there many paths to follow to get there? Can anyone get to Heaven without the Lord Jesus Christ? In this world of Political Correctness the answers are shocking. The very foundations of Christianity are under attack.
Drs. Jack & Rexella Van Impe meet these attacks head on in this fascinating new video Christianity Seduced. They stand for Biblical Correctness – “let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4). In this amazing study you will discover that the New Age teaching is nothing new but has been around since Satan first spoke in the Garden of Eden.