Weekly Newsletter – December 25, 2023
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
Who Is Mary?
It seems to me that most Christians today – especially Protestants – spend little time thinking about Mary.
Oh, once a year she shows up on a Christmas card, shown either riding on a donkey’s back or keeping a silent vigil beside the newborn Christ child in the manger.
Even then, she may be scarcely noticed amid the animals, shepherds, and wise men.
On those occasions when we do think about Mary, our main concern may be maintaining the proper balance between reserve and respect for this remarkable woman. Yet we can’t fully understand the miracle of the Christmas story if we fail to consider Mary’s role. She’s really the central human figure in one of the most important events in the history of mankind.
Who was Mary? What relevance does her life have to our personal faith?
I am astounded by her comprehension and calm acceptance of the monumental miracle the angel Gabriel announced would happen. Imagine a poor, uneducated peasant girl being told she would conceive and give birth to a great king, the Son of God! Yet Mary understood … and she believed.
Perhaps one of the few people Mary could confide in during this time was her cousin, Elisabeth, who was to be the mother of John the Baptist. Elisabeth confirmed that what was happening to Mary was divinely ordained and encouraged her. Blessed is she that believed, said Elisabeth, for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord (Luke 1:45).
In the midst of today’s relaxed (collapsed?) moral standards, it may be difficult for us to realize the sacrifice Mary had to make to agree to yield herself to the Holy Spirit. In her culture, for an unmarried woman to be found with child could have resulted in a death sentence! At the very least, she faced misunderstanding by most people, probable rejection by her betrothed, and scorn and shame in the eyes of her contemporaries.
Which of us would have the courage and strength to subject ourselves to such an ordeal? But Mary’s strong faith moved her to cooperate with God’s plan. Her simple, humble response was, Be it unto me according to thy word (Luke 1:38).
Mary stands out in the Gospel story as the symbol of the true humanity of Jesus. She is the link between the divinity of Christ and the humanity of all mankind. Jesus could not have been completely God and completely man without Mary’s role.
Without question, Mary and her husband, Joseph, played an important role in shaping and influencing the developing years of the young Jesus. As a youngster, Jesus was taught the scriptures and the laws of God. When He amazed the learned scholars in Jerusalem at age twelve, one can say that His divinity shone through … but He also had been taught and trained to do His homework.
And it may well have been at home that Jesus learned the words He cried in Gethsemane — “Not my will, but thine be done!” Certainly His mother had set an example before Him of humble submission to the plan of God.
The character exemplified in the life of Mary is an inspiration and challenge to every believer. She was courageous, committed, compassionate, and concerned.
I envision Mary having great strength and durability, yet remaining complete and perfect femininity. She was courageous, going calmly and with dignity where few others would have been willing to go. She faced hardship, opposition, even danger, with no complaints. She was willing to let God’s Will be done in her life.
After facing the ostracism and personal humiliation of being pregnant without a husband, Mary had the strength and courage to mount a donkey only a few days before giving birth and make the long, hard journey to Bethlehem.
And it must have taken courage of another kind to deal with the throngs of strangers who came to visit her newborn son —shepherds, wise men from the East, and doubtless other curious onlookers.
Later, when Herod sought to kill all babies in the land, she helped save Jesus from the slaughter by journeying to Egypt with Joseph and the child to live among foreigners. Did this take courage? Absolutely!
And let’s not forget the courage demanded of Mary to take on the responsibility for rearing and nurturing Jesus through His childhood and into manhood. It takes great courage to be the parent of any child — how much more to be the mother of the Son of God?
Once Mary heard and responded to the angel’s announcement that she was chosen for a divine commission, she was committed.
From that moment on, she never wavered or looked back.
Her commitment was complete — she set aside any personal ambitions and dreams to make herself available to God’s plan. Her whole life was dedicated to carrying out the diving mission to which God had called her.
So seriously did she take her responsibility that the crisis of losing and finding her Son again in Jerusalem when He was twelve prompted her to scold Him for causing her such concern. And Jesus gently rebuked her by reminding her that He must be about His Father’s business.
And a few years later at Calvary, her commitment kept her at the foot of the cross while almost everyone else fled. Even in the face of what must have been tremendous anguish to see her Son’s suffering, she remained committed to God’s plan.
From the beginning of her adult life, Mary lived her life for others. She put the needs of others before her own and ministered to those around her — husband, family, and friends.
I imagine Mary as being the perfect embodiment of all the marvelous qualities of the virtuous wife described in Proverbs 31. She was humble, but supremely capable and efficient in her efforts to serve.
Can you imagine this woman going around very arrogantly, saying “Treat me special – I am the mother of the Son of God”? Of course not.
Surely Jesus patterned part of His life after her example. When He promised rest to those who labor and are heavy laden, He said, I am meek and lowly in heart (Matthew 11:29). I am sure as a child He must have observed the qualities of humility and compassion in her daily life.
Mary’s concern for others
The story of Christ’s first miracle in turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana provides a very telling insight into the character of the mother of Jesus. Even in a situation where providing the refreshments was not her responsibility, Mary was concerned for others. When it became obvious that there was not enough to drink at the wedding feast and the host was about to be embarrassed, she got involved.
She was aware of what was going on around her … and was concerned about the problems of others. But more than feeling sympathy for them, she had a solution. “I know my Son can take care of this,” she said.
After making Jesus aware of the problem, she told the servants of the house, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it (John 2:5). And, of course, the Lord did meet the need and the beverage He provided was recognized as the best of the evening!
Truly Mary’s life is an inspiration to us — her courage, commitment, compassion, and concern. Her Christ-like character and devotion is an eloquent witness that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can be strong enough to withstand any test, even the crucifying tensions of modern life.
Perhaps the key to Mary’s spiritual life is found in that beautiful Bible passage known as the Magnificat (see Luke 1:46-53). In those wonderful verses it seems one can hear her opening her innermost heart as she cries —
“My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior… holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.”
Thank you, Mary, for the inspiration and Godly example of your faith-filled life! May God help us to magnify the Lord, rejoice in our spirits, and receive His mercy…today, and until His perfect plan is fulfilled around the globe.
A CLASSIC MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE
The Birth of the Eternal God
I feel that there is a tremendous need to enlighten mankind as to the true identity of Christ. Multitudes think of the Saviour as just another member of the human race born nearly 2,000 years ago. Nothing could be further from the truth. In this chapter, I clearly want to trace the preexistence of Christ to prove that He was “the Eternal God” who became man, in order that He might die for poor, helpless, hopeless sinners. I also want to show that His birth had to be through the channels of a virgin, inseminated by the power of the Holy Spirit, if His sacrifice for sinners was to be effective.
The altogether lovely One, born in Bethlehem’s manger, existed from all eternity. The verse that prophesies His exact birthplace also tells of His preexistence. Micah 5:2: But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, 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. Isaiah masterfully handles this truth in chapter 9, verse 6, 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, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Let’s analyze this verse for a moment. Notice that a child is born (this speaks of the Lord’s birth), but the next phrase mentions a son being given. This speaks about God sending the Son who was in His presence and coincides with Galatians 4:4, When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son. Then Isaiah goes on to proclaim this Son as God by the titles “The mighty God” and “The everlasting Father.” These terms are possible because of the relationship of the Trinity. Remember that Jesus said in John 10:30, I and my Father are one.
John opens his gospel with the statement, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made (John 1:1-3). In verse 14, he identifies this member of the Trinity who is called the “Word.” And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. Think of it. This One who was in the beginning with God and was God became flesh and lived among insignificant human beings because of His love for sinners.
Yes, Christ always existed and came from heaven to earth. Listen to His numerous statements verifying this truth: For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world (John 6:33). I am the living bread which came down from heaven (John 6:51). Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world (John 8:23). I proceeded forth and came from God (John 8:42). I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world (John 16:28).
In His high priestly prayer, Jesus said, I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was (John 17:4,5). Jesus said in John 5:46, Moses…wrote of me. Here Christ delves back hundreds of years to the first five books of the Bible, called “The Pentateuch,” and states that Moses mentioned Him. This is important because Moses recorded these words centuries before the birth of Christ. Jesus also said in John 8:56, Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. How could Abraham see His day centuries before His birth if there were no preexistent One?
Oh, friend, Jesus always existed as a coequal member of the Trinity. Don’t listen to a group of blinded cultists who would rob Christ of His deity, but hear the Word of the Lord. His preexistence is also proven through the Bible statements indicating that He created the world. John 1:3: All things were made by him. John 1:10: He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. Colossians 1:16: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. Hebrews 1:2 states, By whom also he [Christ] made the worlds.
The part Christ had in creating the world and mankind agrees with the Old Testament account of creation. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth (Genesis 1:1). The Hebrew for God is Elohim, a plural noun, meaning “more than one.” This is a glorious declaration of the Trinity. You don’t believe it? What will you do with Genesis 1:26? And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
We have but skimmed the surface of evidence that proves that Christ preexisted His earthly birth. Now let’s move on to the glorious truth of His coming to earth via the channel of a virgin’s womb. At this point let’s consider Philippians 2:5-8 because it is such a glorious transitional passage. It brings the eternal God from heaven to a bodily appearance upon earth so that He might die for sinners. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God [His spirit form in eternity], 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 [His birth]. Why? Verse 8: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Christ’s virgin birth
Lost religionists mock the virgin birth. In an issue of the magazine Challenge, a number of sickening articles and poems appeared. I quote one of them to show the world how far liberal modernistic religionists will go in their attempt to rob Christ of His deity. It is a poem about Mary, the mother of Jesus. In the poem she says:
First, I’ve got nothing to say-about anything that happened before Joseph and I got married. Jesus was our child. Joseph’s and mine. You can believe it or not. Suit yourself. He was my first born so naturally I thought he was something special. So, he’s the Messiah they say. I’d rather he had stayed a carpenter, married a nice Jewish girl and given me a lot of fat little grandchildren.
What blasphemy! This is the prophecy of the Apostle Peter fulfilled before our eyes. But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privity shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of (2 Peter 2:1,2).
Yes, the way of truth is often evil spoken of because of ordained wolves in sheep’s clothing who call themselves members of the “Christian faith” and yet would tear Christ to shreds if the opportunity presented itself. The crucifixion would be mild in comparison to what some of our lost seminary professors would do to Jesus if they had the chance in this twentieth century. However, let’s not waste our time on man’s drivel but instead invest it wisely as we listen to the Word of God concerning the truth about the virgin birth.
A virgin birth was necessary because Adam sinned. Since Adam was the head of the human race, every person born into it through natural generation or through the process of birth inherits the old sinful Adamic nature. Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Romans 5:12). Yes, all sinned or became guilty of sin simply by inheriting the fallen nature of Adam at birth. Quirks and diseases are passed on from generation to generation. Sugar diabetes is a prime example. Likewise, the sin nature is passed on to every generation. Romans 5:18 is another verse that clearly teaches the necessity of a virgin birth. Therefore as by the offence of one [Adam] judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [Christ] the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
Notice that judgment came upon all men unto condemnation because of Adam’s sin, but through the righteousness of Christ one may be liberated from this judgment. It is only logical to conclude that if Christ had come through the normal channels of reproduction, He would have also been born with this judgment of condemnation upon Him because He also would have inherited Adam’s sinful nature. Therefore, in order that He might set men free from this condemnation, He had to be born in another manner so as not to be tainted with the old wicked nature of Adam.
There was only one way this possibility existed and that was through a virgin birth-bypassing man through insemination of the virgin’s ova by the Holy Spirit. This ova lies dormant in every woman until it is activated by a male sperm. Gasoline is also dormant until activated by a spark. Is it an impossibility for the God, who formed man out of the dust of the ground and took a rib out of man to form woman, to place the activating seed within this holy virgin and bring forth His Son through the miracle-working power of His Holy Spirit? Of course not. This is exactly what the Father did. Hear the Word of God.
The very first messianic prophecy is found in Genesis 3:15. There we hear the Lord God uttering a prophecy against the serpent, saying, And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it [the woman’s seed] shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. The statement, “her seed,” is the first reference to the virgin birth in God’s Word. All humans are from the seed of man, but the seed of a woman implies a stupendous miracle. Jeremiah 31:22 again speaks of a miraculous event that would occur upon this earth. For the LORD hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man.
A woman conceiving and bearing a man-child would not be a new thing in the earth-this is the rule of life. After conception, one bears a male or female child. Therefore this entirely new thing that would transpire had to be a miracle. What was it? A woman, without any human intervention or penetration, would conceive, carry, and deliver a man-child. This happened tobe the Lord Jesus Christ, Saviour of the world. Isaiah 7:14 again sheds light on this event of the ages. Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah is not merely referring to a young woman giving birth to a son. That would not be a sign. Millions of young women have been able to bear sons. The sign is that a virgin shall bear a son without an act of intercourse.
Forget the arguments of the religious contortionists who argue that the Hebrew word almah is “young woman” instead of “virgin.” All one need do is study Matthew 1:23 where the Greek word parthenos can only be translated “virgin” to arrive at a final answer. 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. Verse 22 states that this is a quotation from the prophet. What prophet? Isaiah. And where did Isaiah make the statement? Chapter 7, verse 14. So, the Greek text handles the Old Testament Hebrew text proving that God meant a “virgin” and not a “young woman.”
I repeat what was stated earlier: A young woman bearing a child would be no sign. Any of you young expectant mothers reading this would be the first to realize this truth. However, had you become impregnated miraculously by the power of God without knowing a man, it would very obviously be a sign. That happened to Mary and only to Mary.
The reason that God the Son, originally in spirit form (see Philippians 2:5), had to have an earthly birth is found in Hebrews 10:4,5. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not [animal blood could not take away sin], but a body hast thou prepared me. Since animal blood only covered sin and was presented as a down payment for sin’s debt until God’s Lamb should come, Christ had a body with divine blood prepared in the womb of a virgin so that He could shed that blood and die for the sins of the world. Because it had to be pure blood, free from the taint of Adam’s sin, the body and blood were prepared by the Father and placed in the womb of the virgin Mary.
Luke 1:26-28,30,31,34 depicts this thrilling story: And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS…. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
This is a precious truth. Though she was espoused or engaged to Joseph, she had not known a man or experienced premarital sex. Remember that God wrote the Bible, and He declares that Mary was a pure virgin. Away with the mentally warped, religious hypocrites who are so defiled that they imagine all sorts of depraved things about this sweet virgin. Not everyone thinks and acts as they do. Mary declares, “I have never known a man-how shall this baby be conceived?” The blessed answer is found in verse 35: 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. Anyone who believes that God created this gigantic, fantastic, and astronomical universe certainly believes that God can bring His only begotten Son into the world by a separate act of creation. With God nothing shall be impossible (Luke 1:37).
There is the entire story. The preexistent God, second member of the Trinity, came to take upon himself a body with blood so as to shed His blood for sinners. The sin-tainted blood inherited from Adam would not qualify Him as the sinless Saviour, so a body was prepared with blood produced by the Father, and placed into the womb of a virgin by the blessed Holy Spirit. Christ eventually went to the cross and shed His blood. Because He was the God-man shedding untainted holy blood, mankind may have eternal life by receiving this sacrifice. Believe the Word of God-see Christ crucified and risen again. Receive this Christ today.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
I am lifting you up in prayer; that you will be surrounded with a prickly hedge of protection, hemmed roundabout with angels on assignment from our Father… May the Holy Spirit fill you with His Peace so the Joy of Jesus will ease any and all concerns that may be looming. Take care, may God Bless and keep you in His loving care. Love and prayers from an old friend… Though we have never met, I look forward to seeing both of you after the trumpet sounds and we are snatched up to meet Jesus in the air!! Hallelujah!
HIGHLIGHTED MINISTRY OFFERS
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Jack Van Impe Ministries joins together Dr. Rexella Van Impe and Dr. Robert Jeffress to answer all of your questions about heaven and why it’s so important to share the promise of heaven with the lost. This special packs a powerful message that will:
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- Now includes Daniel Final End Times Mysteries Unsealed A full commentary on the book of Daniel by Dr. Jack Van Impe
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