Weekly Newsletter – December 12, 2016
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
The Deity of Christ
The thought of an eternal God being born may seem to be a contradiction of terms, but when one studies the God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ, insurmountable evidence supporting this truth manifests itself upon the pages of Holy Writ. The teachings of Christ’s deity must be an accepted truth if one is to enter the eternal home of the redeemed.
John, in his first epistle, makes this dogmatic assertion: That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us) (1 John 1:1,2). There is no doubt that the One John saw, heard, and touched was that Eternal Life which was with the Father.
In chapter 2, verse 22, of this same epistle, John goes on to say, Who is a liar but he that denieth…the Father and the Son. When one denies that Christ is the eternal One who came to earth clothed in human flesh, this skeptic or doubter immediately is classified as a liar and an antichrist. Since no liar or antichrist may enter the presence of God in that condition, it is abundantly clear that the one who denies the eternity of Christ is lost.
In 1 John 4 another warning is presented. Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. How does one recognize the false prophets? Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist (verses 1-3). Since spirits refers to teachers or preachers, the apostle is saying that preachers denying the doctrine of God coming in the flesh are preachers or teachers possessed by the spirit of Antichrist. God wrote it. I only quote it, but I believe it.
Then John states in chapter 5, verse 1, Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. Messiah, translated Christus or Christ means “the Sent One”. Since He was sent from the Father, the conclusive proof is that He already existed. If He preexisted His mission to earth, He did not begin in Bethlehem’s manger. The teaching of the Holy Bible is that He eternally existed as God, the second member of the Trinity, and came to earth to be clothed with a body containing blood so that He might die for sinners. Is He really God? Did He really exist before His birth upon earth? What does the Holy Spirit state in the Word of God?
Christ’s deity in the Old Testament
Isaiah 9:6 states, For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder. This prophet speaks about Christ’s incarnation and humanity in the phrase a child is born and about His eternity and deity in the other phrase a son is given. Incarnation comes from the Latin words in and carnis, meaning “flesh” or “in the flesh”. Thus, at this incarnation or coming in the flesh, He was the child born. However, as the son given. He always existed-uncreated and unborn.
Micah 5:2 states, Whose [His] goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. This again points to the uncreated, eternal Son of God. Psalm 45:6: Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. This great Old Testament scripture, addressed to God, is about the Lord Jesus Christ. Who said so? The greatest authority in heaven and earth-Jehovah, the Father. Prove it? I will!
In Hebrews 1:8 we find Jehovah God of the Old Testament speaking: Unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Isn’t this fantastic? The Father calls Christ “God” for ever and ever. Followers of Jehovah would be wise to listen to His voice and give Christ the glory due His holy name. God had His Son with Him from all eternity past. Christ was present when the human race was created. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were involved in Genesis 1:26 when God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. The pronouns us and our speak of a plurality or trinity of personages. This same Christ was present when the earth was formed and set into motion. Proverbs 30:4: Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell? The Son is present in the Old Testament scriptures hundreds of years before His human birth occurs in the New Testament. Rational, logical contemplation makes one realize that He preexisted as God, the Son.
Christ’s deity in the New Testament (The Trinity)
The title of “God” is given to our Saviour on numerous occasions. Matthew 1:23 declares, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. In the first chapter of John, Christ is called “the Word.” Verse 14: And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. The only member of the Trinity who became flesh was Christ. Since the term Word is synonymous with Christ, as has just been proven, let’s put the term Christ in place of Word in John 1:1-3 and see the results. In the beginning was [Christ], and [Christ] was with God, and [Christ] was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by [Christ]; and without [Christ] was not any thing made that was made.
John 1:10 states, He [Christ] was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. Now we have just heard from the Author of this book, the Holy Spirit, who said that Christ was from the beginning, that He was God, and that He created the world. Yes, Christ shared this creative ministry with the Father and Holy Spirit. This is so because all three members of the one Godhead always existed.
To prove that the Holy Spirit was also present at the time of creation, one need only study Genesis 1:1,2. In the beginning God [this is the plural noun Elohim, meaning “more than one”] created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. The combining of John 1:10 and Genesis 1:1,2 proves conclusively that the entire Trinity was present at the creation of the world.
Some scoff at the teaching of a Trinity. They say, “The word Trinity is not found in the Bible, so there can’t be such a doctrine.” Well, the word Bible is not found in the Bible either, but I guarantee that there is such a book-and the teaching of the Trinity is found repeatedly throughout God’s Word. Man has given the title “Trinity” to the doctrine because the meaning of the word is “three.” Since there are three- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit-“Trinity” is a properly designated theological term.
Let’s continue our search of the scriptures concerning the deity of Christ. The Philippian jailor cried out in Acts 16:30, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? Paul and Silas replied, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved, and thy house (verse 31). The entire family made a commitment to this Christ and verse 34 finds them rejoicing. Why? Because they believed in God with all their house. Here is unequivocal proof that Christ is God. Compare the two verses again. Acts 16:31: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. Verse 34 says he believed in God- the Christ of verse 31.
Again we see the truth in Romans 9:5 which states, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. First Timothy 3:16 declares, Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, and Hebrews 1:8 says, But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever. This is Jehovah God telling the world that His Son is God. Never mind the book peddlers who run from door to door with their teaching of Christ being an inferior God, a little created God. Some even call Him Michael, the archangel. Jehovah knows everything for He is omniscient and all-wise, and He calls Jesus “God.” I say with Paul in Romans 3:4, Let God be true, but every man a liar.
Christ’s Deity through a comparison of Old and New Testament texts
Perhaps the most interesting and exciting proof of Christ’s deity is discovered when one compares the statements of God in the Old Testament with His revealed truth in the New. For example, in Isaiah 42:8, God states, I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. Since Jehovah will not give His glory to another but is willing to share it with Christ, it is only logically deductible to say that they must be one and coequal. The sharing of this glory takes place when God’s people lay their crowns at the feet of the Saviour in Revelation 4:11, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created
Again the King of glory is Jehovah in Psalm 24:10. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. The noun LORD in this text is the Hebrew word Jehovah, the name of the Father. However, when one examines 1 Corinthians 2:8, he discovers that the Lord of glory was crucified. Thus Christ is also called the Lord of glory. Will you Bible manipulators tell me how there can be two Lords of glory, coequal, if there is no Trinity?
Once again Isaiah 9:6 calls the child born and the son given, The mighty God, The everlasting Father. If these are titles of the Son, how many mighty Gods and everlasting Fathers are there? The answer is one because of the unity and oneness of the Trinity. Jesus said, I and my Father are one (John 10:30). Psalm 10:16 says, The LORD [Jehovah] is King for ever and ever. Again we have problems if there is no Trinity because we now have two kings. When one studies Revelation 19:11,16, he finds that Christ, the King of kings, comes to set up His kingdom upon this earth. And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True. Verse 16: And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
This constant reiteration of identical names and titles for both Father and Son can mean only one thing to honest, searching hearts. It is that Christ is God, coequal with the Father and Holy Spirit. Deuteronomy 32:39 states, There is no god [but Jehovah] and yet 1 Timothy 3:16 tells us that God was made manifest [came] in the flesh. The only solution is the doctrine of the Triune God which the saints of all ages have proclaimed. The only groups in the annals of history that ever fought this precious truth were rebel-rousing heretics.
Mr. Scoffer, you who would make Christ but a mere man, what will you do with Jonah 2:9? Salvation is of the LORD. Or Isaiah 43:11 which says, I, even I, am the LORD [Jehovah]; and beside me there is no saviour. If there is no other Saviour but Jehovah, and Christ is called “the Saviour” scores of times in the Bible, then He and the Father must be one or there are two Saviours. Christ is the God who left the bosom of the Father to die on Calvary’s cross. There He shed the pure sinless blood that coursed through His veins so that sinners might be eternally saved. The Bible teaches that He is the only Saviour. Acts 4:12: Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Since both Jehovah and Christ are called “Saviour,” let’s believe that the Trinity alone presents the answer.
Christ was incarnated, not created
There are those who teach that the Father always existed and that Christ was created. Perish the thought! Christ always existed and was not created. Isaiah 43:10 states, Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. In simple English, no God was created before or after Jehovah. They coexisted as a Trinity eternally. Thus Christ was from all eternity or He wasn’t. Either He always existed or He didn’t. Since no God was created before or after Jehovah, we take Micah 5:2 for what it says about the One who was to come to earth and experience a human birth. He was from of old, from everlasting. Thus, His human birth was not His creation. Rather, as we discussed earlier in this chapter, the word incarnation comes from the Latin words in and carnis, meaning “in the flesh.”
An eternal God having a birth is not contradictory. In eternity He was God. To become a man, a birth had to occur. None of us can become another species without the miracle of a birth. God had to become incarnated (become flesh) so that He could shed the pure, sinless blood that flowed in His veins. The miracle of the Holy Spirit’s insemination of the virgin Mary’s ova and womb with the body and blood of God the Son made this shedding of blood possible. This was a necessity because the blood of animals could not take away sin, only cover the sinner’s transgression.
Hebrews 10:4 states, For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. So verse 5 has Christ saying, A body hast thou prepared me. God lived in that body, went to the cross in that body, shed the blood in that body to take away the sins that had only been covered, died in that body, arose three days later in that same body, ascended to heaven in that body, and will throughout eternity live in that body in which He had the birth. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9).
There it is. The eternal God left heaven to be born into human flesh because a body could contain sinless blood through a virgin birth. That blood was shed for sins and can wash you from every stain and taint of this world’s defilement when you put your trust in the God in whom the Philippian jailor trusted, the Lord Jesus Christ. Do it today.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
Is There Room in Your Heart for Him?
What a special time of the year! Thanksgiving and Christmas are more precious to me than any other holidays, and they so beautifully go hand in hand.
More and more, Dr. Van Impe and I realize the importance of being grateful for the true essence of Christmas – that God became flesh. He came as a baby, humbling himself to a manger, and, one day, to Calvary’s tree for you and me. Oh, what love!
I wonder if we can really understand the emotion in heaven and the joy here on earth as Mary and Joseph made their way to Bethlehem just prior to the birth of Christ.
Can you see them as they wearily make their way through the narrow streets of Bethlehem? Mary, tired from the long journey, sits on the little donkey as Joseph leads it along.
Their journey is almost over, and none too soon. They stop in front of one of the inns in Bethlehem. With a tender word, Joseph comforts his wife and then strides quickly toward the inn door.
Have you ever wondered what Mary was thinking as Joseph knocked at the innkeeper’s door? Perhaps she was remembering what her cousin Elizabeth had said to her some time before. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance [fulfillment] of those things which were told her from the Lord. (Luke 1:42-45).
Mary knew how blessed she was, for out of all the women in the world, God had chosen her to give the world this baby; He was the Son of God, produced by the Holy Spirit, waiting to be born in Bethlehem (see Luke 1:35 and Hebrews 10:5).
Mary knew about the promise that foretold: But thou, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting (Micah 5:2).
Mary’s mind didn’t dare leap ahead to contemplate the rest of those words. It was enough for her to know that she was, at this very moment, in Bethlehem (ancestral home of King David, Joseph’s forefather) and that her time to give birth was at hand.
Mary looked at Joseph, footsore and fatigued from walking alongside the donkey all the way so that she could ride. She knew how blessed she was to have this good and just man as her husband. He had handled the situation so well. He had shown her nothing but love and concern. More than once he had told her, “I know, beloved wife, that this child has been conceived in a special way. The angel laid all my fears to rest.”
Joseph had learned of Mary’s pregnancy after she returned from visiting Elizabeth. For six months, they had marveled at the conversations they each had with the angel. It must have been awesome for them, realizing that the Holy Ghost had visited Mary and that the child she carried was a divine original.
“Oh, Joseph,” I can hear Mary saying, “He is to be called ‘the Son of God’.”
“Yes, Mary,” Joseph responded, “and His name is to be called JESUS, for He shall save His people from their sins.”
Did they recall the words of Isaiah? Did they repeat those names? Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel … For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6).
Perhaps Mary remembered those conversations as her husband knocked at the innkeeper’s door. She was so tired. The journey had been long and hard. But now, at last, they had arrived in Bethlehem.
For us, today, a journey to Bethlehem is still not easy. In the hustle and bustle of the season, there are many things to deter us. We’ve all heard that we should keep Christ in Christmas, but let’s be sure that we keep ourselves in Christmas, as well! If we are not careful, we can become so busy with Yuletide activities that we are exhausted before we get to Bethlehem – and miss the real Christmas altogether.
Knock … knock … knock!
Joseph knocks at the innkeeper’s door. A Baby is about to be born – the most important Baby ever to be born on this earth. “Let us in … let Him in … out of the cold and darkness of the night .” But the Bible tells us there was no room for them in the inn (Luke 2:7).
No room! Those are heart-rending words. Would we have said that? Yet, isn’t it being said every day? We are all innkeepers, with room for many things, but do we have room for Him? In our lives – shabby stables that they are – He may be cradled, but we must give Him room.
Joseph, the rugged carpenter of Nazareth, a just man whose faith transcended his misgivings, enfolded Mary’s helplessness in his strong arms as he lifted her off the back of the little donkey. Someone had tapped him on his sagging shoulders and said, “There is a place, if your wife won’t mind. I know I can fix it and make it clean. It will be quiet there … and warm.”
Joseph had ministered to Mary’s needs in that weary pilgrimage to Bethlehem; but his husbandly duties had not yet ended. Mary in a stable? The Son of God born in a barn? How his mind must have reeled. Remember, he was very human.
Husband, would you like for your wife to give birth to her firstborn in a stable? What lowly circumstances! The Lord of all heaven and earth was about to make His human presence known in the world – but in a barn? This was not the birthplace Joseph had imagined for JESUS.
Barns smell, not just of clean hay, but of animals. Barns are not always sanitary. Oh, the lovely Nativity scenes we see at Christmas do not begin to portray what Joseph and Mary must have experienced in those pre-birth moments, as they contemplated their plight.
Humanly speaking, one wishes we could push back the pages of time and make it different – but it happened just as God ordained it before the beginning of time. And so it was, that … she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn (Luke 2:6,7).
As we recall this short synopsis of the most beautiful story ever given from God, may your heart be reminded of the importance of remembering, not just the gifts that are to come, the families we are to see, and the loved ones we shall enjoy, but remembering the true message of Christmas – God’s love for us. And may we not get so distracted by the many activities of the holiday season that we never even reach Bethlehem.
Dr. Van Impe and I are grateful for the opportunity to share the saving message of God’s love for the world in these closing days of time. Thank you for your prayers and support.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Thank you for what you do. Your God given knowledge and how you explain it really makes a difference in so many people’s lives. Again….THANK YOU so much for your diligence in serving the Lord.
I just want to thank you for your newsletter!! Thank you and Rexella for NOT CHANGING!! I love you and pray for you. Please continue to pray for me. I love Jesus and praise him!! Pray that I can give all my burdens to HIM…and not take them back…!!! Love and prayers…..
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- With bonus The Complete Guide to Every Prophecy Verse in the Bible A listing of all the prophetic verses in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation
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Soul Food: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
Dr. Jack Van Impe’s wonderful year-long devotional, Soul Food: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread is the perfect daily reading to keep you growing in God, looking forward to His return, and finding peace, comfort and hope for each new day, every day of the year. There’s a daily memory verse to help you keep learning new Scriptures throughout the year, plus powerful insight from the man called “The Walking Bible.” This is great devotional material for you, and it makes a wonderful gift for a loved one.