Weekly Newsletter – December 24, 2018
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
The Purpose of the Incarnation
The past two newsletters dealt with the preexistence of Christ, His deity, and His incarnation. This chapter will thoroughly cover the reason that the eternal God had a birth date into our world.
An eternal plan
Why did God come through the channel of a virgin’s womb? Why was it necessary for God, in spirit form, to take upon himself a body? Philippians 2:5-8 explicitly explains this great theological truth. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
The phrase, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross is the focal point of this discussion. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit held a meeting in eternity past and planned the entire program of redemption. All three were, at that time, in spirit form. God the Father was and still is a spirit (see John 4:24). The Holy Spirit was and still is a spirit (see John 16:13). Christ was a spirit because He was (past tense) in the form of God, which we have already proven to be a spirit form (see Philippians 2:6).
However, at this meeting of the Trinity in ages past, it was agreed that one of the three would eventually become a human with a covering of flesh, and Christ was the elected member to fulfill salvation’s plan. This can all be proven from the Holy Scriptures. First Peter 1:20: Who [Christ] verily…was manifest in these last times for you. Messiah means “sent one.” If He is the sent One, He did not originate at Bethlehem’s manger. Instead, Galatians 4:4,5 pictures the facts as they occurred. But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law.
Does this simplistic doctrinal truth penetrate your reasoning processes? Hear it again. God sent forth his Son, made of a woman. There it is-Christ’s deity and humanity. His eternity and birth. God sent the Son who was in His presence, meaning that Christ existed as God before coming to earth. However, He was made of a woman when He was sent. This is, of course, the virgin birth which took place in the manger centuries ago when God became man.
When the Trinity outlined the plan, all the events of future history were foreknown. Remember, God knows everything. The plan progressed according to the omniscience of the Godhead. Since God knows everything about everything and all things about all things, the following points were known thousands, yes, millions of years before they occurred:
1. Man’s disobedience and fall.
God placed man in the garden of Eden with certain restrictions. Genesis 2:17: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shall not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shall surety die. The slithering serpent came along and said in Genesis 3:4, Ye shall not surely die. Instead of listening to Jehovah God, Adam and Eve listened to the devil.
Say, all of us are so much like them. We certainly are chips off the old block. Genesis 3:6 states, And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. This wicked, disobedient act against the Lord God Almighty brought judgment upon the entire human race. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one [Christ] shall many be made righteous (Romans 5:19).
Not only did God foreknow the fall of man, but:
2. The Trinity foreordained the temporary sacrifice.
I imagine the conversation in the heavenlies went as follows: “Because man will yield to temptation and fall, there will need to be a sacrifice offered. Since sinful flesh is responsible and since the life of the flesh is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11), the decree is established in the counsels of eternity that the shedding of blood, which typifies DEATH to the flesh, will be the eternal sacrifice offered. It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul (Leviticus 17:11). Animal blood will be temporarily offered until one of us goes to present the permanent sacrifice.” Let’s investigate the facts and see if God’s program was instituted.
After Adam and Eve sinned they knew that they were naked (see Genesis 3:7). The pangs of a guilt-ridden conscience over sin were being experienced. They wanted to cover their bodies and did so by making fig leaf aprons. However, fig leaves that would shrivel up and die in a few days could not satisfactorily handle the situation. Also, dry fig leaves were bloodless and could not make an atonement for the soul. So God, in the cool of the day, visited this couple and covered them adequately-physically and spiritually. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them (Genesis 3:21). The skins of animals adequately covered them physically and spiritually. Why? In providing the skins, the blood of the animals was shed.
We see the same story unfolded in Genesis 4 concerning Cain and Abel. Their parents, Adam and Eve, had taught them this soul-saving story about the animal skins. Now when the boys were of age and wanted to bring a sacrifice to God, Cain presented an offering of fruit and Abel, of animals. Genesis 4:3-5: And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect.
If you should think that I am stretching the point by stating dogmatically that Cain’s offering was rejected because it was devoid of blood, I invite you to confirm this truth in your heart by studying Hebrews 11:4 which emphatically presents the teaching just considered. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent [more acceptable] sacrifice than Cain.
Notice they brought their offerings as a sacrifice. God had decreed that blood alone could make an atonement for the soul. Abel, by faith, brought an animal. Notice why he did it. It was by faith. Romans 10:17 says, So then faith cometh by hearing. If he brought it by faith and faith comes by hearing, it is only a logical conclusion to say that he heard the story from the lips of his parents, accepted it, and practiced the shedding of blood because he believed God. Cain, the first liberal or modernist, said, “It’s all bunk. I will offer my fruit which contains no blood, and God will have to be satisfied.” But God said, “Cain, I reject your bloodless sacrifice.”
Many have rejected the only method of salvation God has given the world-the shedding or sacrifice of blood for the remission of sins. Self-righteous efforts, good works, prayers, creeds, and religious observances are but offerings of fruit. The Sermon on the Mount, the Golden Rule, and the observance of the Ten Commandments are but the waving of fig leaves in the face of Almighty God. Many of these things are good to practice because one is a Christian, but any method of trying to enter into eternal life that avoids or bypasses the blood will only result in eternal separation from the God who made the decree. It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul (Leviticus 17:11). Now, let’s go one step farther.
3. The Trinity foreordained the permanent eternal sacrifice.
Again we hear the three members of the Godhead speaking in eternity past: “Animal blood will be only a temporary solution because it cannot take away sin, only cover it. Man’s blood is tainted through Adam’s sin. Therefore only one option or course of action is possible. One of the three of us will have to go to earth and take flesh as a covering. This will be necessary because flesh contains the blood of the body. The One who is chosen to go will have to shed that blood to take away the sins of the human race which animal blood only covered.
“The One who goes and takes upon himself that body must have a special birth, because all humans born through natural generation or through the regular channels of birth inherit the old wicked sinful nature of Adam. Therefore, the One chosen will have to have a special birth in the womb of a virgin. The very body will be created and placed in that womb. By this special act of creation-detouring the normal means of reproduction through intercourse-the Saviour will be born into the world. When His blood, holy and pure, is shed, it will take away sin.”
The eternal truth
Does this conversation of the Trinity in ages past seem farfetched to you? Are you wondering if this entire plan presented is really in the Bible? Listen to Revelation 13:8, [Christ was] the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. When? In God’s mind it was planned at the time of the foundation of the world. That’s right, even before Adam and Eve were created. Christ’s shedding of His blood did not take Him by surprise nearly 2,000 years ago. Rather, it was part of the plan He had helped initiate before the world was formed. That’s why Acts 2:23 states, Him [Christ] being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain. In other words, the wicked only did to Christ what the foreknowledge of God had planned.
Did it happen? Yes. God came into the world in human flesh to take a body that contained blood. It was special blood that did not have the taint of Adam’s sin integrated into it by Christ’s having a human father. Instead, the Father and the Holy Spirit placed this created miracle into the womb of the virgin without an act of intercourse or human insemination so that pure blood might course through the Redeemer’s veins. Then He shed that blood at Calvary to take away sin that had only been covered by animal sacrifices.
The proof of these truths is in the following scripture. Hebrews 10:4: For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Notice, animal blood could not take away sins. The Old Testament word atonement means “to cover”-only “to cover.” The priest offering the animal blood would say, “I know that this blood only covers the sinner’s sin until your sacrificial Lamb comes, dear God.”
Who was God’s Lamb? Hebrews 10:5: Wherefore [because animal blood could not take away sin] when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me. That body was prepared in the womb by God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. Luke 1:35: And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
When John the Baptist saw Christ upon the earth, he said in John 1:29, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. Praise God, this was the Lamb sent from heaven who could take away that which was only temporarily covered through the blood of animals. On the cross, Christ cried out, “It is finished.” He was not speaking about His life, but about the plan that had been foreordained before the foundation of the world. Am I certain of this? Yes. [We have been] redeemed…with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:18-20).
Imagine, this precious blood shed for your sins was planned for you before the world was formed. Seven hundred times the blood is mentioned as the only-THE ONLY-way of salvation. Believe it and receive the Christ who shed that pure blood for your transgressions.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
“No, thank You God!”
When I was a little girl, the one day of the year when I never had any difficulty waking up early was on Christmas morning. I knew that Mom and Dad – and, of course, when I was very young, Santa Claus – had gaily wrapped presents waiting for me under the Christmas tree. Oh, how excited and thrilled I was to get those gifts.
At our house, gifts were a very important part of the love we shared one with the other, and my brothers and I were always very anxious to see what we were getting. For every gift, we would say, “Oh, thank you, Mama … thank you, Daddy!” Or, “Look what Santa brought me!”
My parents were always careful to teach and stress the true reason for the season and the real meaning of Christmas. We children learned early on that the gifts we gave and received were just reminders of God’s greatest gift of all, His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior and soon-coming King.
Sadly, in our society today, it seems the focus is on holiday gifts rather than the Gift of Christmas. And if the story of Christ’s first coming is even told, many people glance at the baby in the manger and fail to recognize Jesus for who He really is. How tragic to trade the greatest Gift that could ever be given for commercialism’s flash and glitter or the secular emphasis on feasting, partying, and sensual celebration.
The Gift of Christmas is not a throwaway present to be swept away with the wrappings and ribbons. It is a for-all-the-year Gift. It is not something to open up and then forget about, but Somebody to receive and have forever. The Gift lasts all our lives through … and into eternity. The Bible says, “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
We live in two worlds, one outside our being and the other inside. The outer world is filled with conflict and turmoil, hatred and international tension, struggle and strife. Inside we must deal with hurts and disappointments, discouragement and fear – none of us are free from difficult situations. But if we receive the Gift of Christmas, we have an inner peace and strength to overcome negativism and chaos. We have faith and hope for today and the future.
The Miracle of Christmas
The first miracle of Christmas was that Jesus was born as a result of what has been called an immaculate conception. The word immaculate means “spotlessly clean.” The Word of God says that the Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost, came upon a young Jewish virgin, and the power of the Highest overshadowed her, and she gave birth to the Son of God (see Matthew 1:18-23; Luke 1:30-35).
Some time ago on our weekly telecast, “Jack Van Impe Presents,” my husband was addressing the momentous new development of man’s scientific ability to create clones. A number of different animals have now been created in laboratories – sheep, cows, and several other species. And scientists now feel sure that it is possible to clone a human being. Jack said, “This means that the skeptical preachers who have questioned the virgin birth over the years now have a real problem – because every clone is a virgin birth! If man is able to do it now, why is it so difficult to believe that God accomplished this more than two thousand years ago?”
My husband also pointed out that a clone is an exact image, and the Scriptures teach that Christ Jesus is the image of the invisible God – a clone as far as His birth is concerned!
The human race cannot take credit for the Gift of Jesus
I think it is tremendously important to realize that Jesus was not man’s invention -man’s genius or effort did not develop Him – Jesus was and is the Gift of God. His story is not of a man becoming God, but of God becoming man.
A few years ago a fine Christian doctor, a gynecologist, sent us an article he had written that explained the role of the father and mother in the conception and birth of a baby. Dr. Strohshein, now gone home to be with the Lord, had done years of research, proving that while the mother carries the child for nine months as it develops, feeds the unborn baby, and gives birth to the new life, none of her blood is within the child. Dr. Strohshein’s article went on to show how the seed of the father determines the blood and the crucial characteristics of every offspring. The Bible says, “The Lord hath created a new thing in the earth, a woman shall compass (or surround) a man” (Jeremiah 31:22).
Why is this so significant? It means that when Jesus later sacrificed His life for the world on the cross, the blood that was shed did not come from Mary, but from His Father God! So it was not human blood, but divine! What an awesome thought. That’s why the Gift of God that mankind received on that first Christmas is so remarkable and unfathomable.
Remember that Mary was not a princess with a huge estate or a great prophetess with a large following. She was a humble teenager who was engaged to be married to Nazareth’s local carpenter, a good man named Joseph. And when it was time to give birth, she was not pampered or given special care and attention. Rather, after riding a donkey over rough trails to accompany her husband to Bethlehem to be taxed, she ended up in a rustic stable – probably a cave – surrounded by barnyard animals. There, on a bed of straw, she gave birth to a son, wrapped him in rough-woven cloth, and laid him in a hay-filled manger.
The familiar Scriptures tell us that His first visitors were not society’s elite, the wealthy and powerful. Instead, angels announced Jesus’ kingly entrance into this world to the lowliest, poorest people of all – the shepherds who watched their flocks outside the city. And they came to find the Lord quickly, gladly, still in awe that the King of glory had come to dwell among them.
They came to find Immanuel – God with us … with ordinary people (see Isaiah 7:14). Imagine common folks being able to come into the presence of divinity and have fellowship with the Son of God! How could such a thing be?
God with us meant the end of loneliness … the end of facing life’s trials alone. As the popular Southern Gospel song declares, “I don’t know a thing in this whole wide world that is worse than being alone.” So God gave us Immanuel. No wonder the apostle Paul exclaimed in awe and wonder, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15).
Rejecting the Gift As incredible as it seems, down though the ages – in fact, from the very beginning, starting with Cain, the son of Adam and Eve – mankind has rejected the Gift of God. As we know, the Old Testament saints were saved and redeemed exactly as we are, the difference being that Jesus hadn’t come yet. So they looked forward to the Redeemer while we look back. They offered the blood sacrifice of animals, knowing that it was not sufficient to take away their sins but only to cover them until the Gift of God came.
We look back to Jesus’ sacrifice at Calvary and say, “Yes, the Gift was good enough. Jesus’ blood can wash away the stain and the penalty of my sin.”
But Cain killed his brother Abel in a dispute over the proper sacrifice (see Genesis 4:1-8). In effect, Cain said, “No, thank You, God. I choose not to follow Your plan. I will offer my own sacrifice of the fruit and vegetables I have grown. I want to do it my way, not Yours!” (Hebrews 11:4; 1 John 3:12).
The Bible records examples from virtually every generation of people who turned from God’s way and “every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6). They were saying, “No, thank You, God. I’ll try to make it on my own.”
Tragically, even in our society today people are still rejecting the Gift, saying “No, thank You, God, we’ll go our own way.” The Supreme Court of Alabama ruled that a display of the Ten Commandments could not remain in the courthouse. Military academy cadets will no longer give thanks at mealtime. The European Union new constitution has removed all references to God. And, of course, for years in America’s public schools, prayer has been forbidden.
More and more today, our nation is being molded by what is “inclusive,” culturally acceptable and politically correct. “Well, that might be one way, but we must be sensitive and recognize that it’s not the only way.” Or, “Yes, that is one religion, but there are many great religions in the world, and we must be tolerant and accepting of all of them.”
But what is really being said is, “No, thank You, God. We’ll find our own way of getting to heaven … if it really exists. Or maybe we can mix all the religions together and make a unified belief that everybody can accept.”
A giant step in the wrong direction
What happens when society says, “No, thank You, God. We don’t want to go that way”? The historical record is painfully clear. It is a giant step in the wrong direction – toward doom and death and destruction.
Mohammed is dead. Buddha is long gone. Hinduism’s 100,000,000 (one hundred million) idol gods are not the answer. No other religion offers the Gift. Jesus is the only living Savior, the only God the human race cannot take credit for creating. Like it or not, the Word of God unequivocally declares, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
So any time anyone turns to the man-made religions of the world, he is saying, “No, thank You, God.”
This Christmas, the world’s people will again seek to celebrate a wonderful, fun holiday season. They will grasp for the benefits of Christmas, without making any personal commitment to the Gift.
Merchants will publicize Christmas, encouraging everybody to shop and to buy gifts. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Families will come together to enjoy fellowship, sharing, and a great feast together. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Those in the travel industry love the holiday because so many people take to the highways and airlines to visit friends and relatives around the world. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Where we fall short during this time is in forgetting the Gift of Christmas – of either willfully or negligently communicating, “No, thank You, God, I don’t need what You have to offer.”
Watch out! Don’t make the mistake of the Laodiceans, who said, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” The Spirit replied, “You don’t even know that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (see Revelation 3:17,19).
I realize that this is a very different Christmas article from those the Lord has laid on my heart in the past. But we are living in very different times … and this could well be the last time some of us will celebrate Christmas. I am not trying to be overly dramatic. Our world is filled with terror and uncertainty, and seems to be careening towards disaster.
There is only one certainty … and His name is Jesus. He is the Gift of God. What He offers is salvation, peace, and life – abundant life, eternal life, now and forever.
Make the right choice!
A Sunday school teacher once gave a little boy his choice of two gifts. One was in a beautiful box, with shiny foil paper and multicolored ribbons. The other was a plain and simple metal can. The little boy wisely chose the plain container.
The teacher said, “First we will open the package you did not choose, the one that is so beautiful on the outside.” When she opened the lid, the box contained only old, shredded newspapers.
Then she handed the very plain can to the little boy, and he pried off the lid. A big smile spread across his face as he saw that the can was filled with holiday cookies and candies.
What is the lesson? Don’t be deceived by the outward appearance – it is what’s inside that counts. Jesus came to the world in very humble surroundings, and associated with the poor and humble people of the world. But He brought – and is – a Gift beyond description, for which mankind can’t take the credit.
That wonderful Gift is offered to you again during this holy season. Oh, yes, the world also offers its counterfeit present, so don’t choose the wrong package. Please don’t make the mistake of saying, “No, thank You, God.” This Christmas – right now – accept anew the wondrous benefits He has to offer and join in singing, “Oh, come to my heart, Lord Jesus, there is room in my heart for You.”
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Hi Brother Jack sister Rexella just want to encourage you I’ll let you know I was saved, and pray the sinners prayer after listening to you on Trans world radio Monte Carlo back in 1986 February The first night you did the alter call devil intimidated me not to accept the Lord but the second night you made another call that night I didn’t care what the devil said I was going with Jesus no matter what he threatened (I’ll get you at playtime sort of thing) still going on with the Lord . I have a lovely Christian wife have a love for the nation Israel and end time prophecy it’s been quite a journey a lot of the church has lost its Hebrew roots I praise the Lord for your ministry God bless you Jack and your wonderful wife Rexella hugs to you both
Alistair W. from Britain
For years, WE have been watching this program and have seen the hand of God over this life-giving ministry! The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life! Eternal life begins when we accept Jesus Christ and thank God that your ministry has helped so many escape the second death! Thanking God for your recovery and return to TV!
HIGHLIGHTED PRODUCT OFFERS
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