Weekly Newsletter – February 13, 2017
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.
Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasures, the counselors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages,
That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up.
And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, all the people, the nations, and the languages fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
We said earlier that kings will be kings, and Nebuchadnezzar was no exception. One moment Daniel had Nebuchadnezzar’s undivided attention, almost persuading him of the’ ultimate power of the one, true God; the next minute, the king was again egocentric and self-promoting, forgetting Daniel’s prophecy and its implications. Perhaps the king was simply denying his mighty Babylonian kingdom would ever really collapse-especially at the hands of the Medo-Persian empire.
A Preview of 666
Imagine the sight of a golden image of Nebuchadnezzar that was ninety feet high (sixty cubits) and nine feet wide (six cubits in all, a cubit being approximately eighteen inches), erected on the plain of Dura. While the ‘golden image may simply have appeared to be little more than a massive statue, it actually holds great prophetic meaning and is yet another end-time mystery about to be unsealed.
For example, the numbers 66 come together here: the number of man (sixty cubits high) and six cubits wide, resembling the number of the Antichrist in Revelation 13:16-18 (six cubits). This gives us a reference to the time when the Antichrist comes into power and his false prophet sets up an image of his likeness in the temple. Revelation 13:15 says,
“And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.”
Faucet’s Bible Dictionary Encyclopedia reports that the archaeologist Opert once journeyed to present day Iraq-the area of biblical Babylon-and excavated what most evangelical scholars believe is the pedestal on which Nebuchadnezzar’s great image had been placed-proving this biblical event really happened! Some believe the gold statue may have been built to honor Nebuchadnezzar’s deceased father, Nabopolassar. Others suggest it was erected to appease Bel or Marduk-the revered pagan gods of Babylon. More likely, the image was a representation of the king himself.
Nebuchadnezzar had a flair for publicity, and he knew where to position the gigantic statue so that no one could miss seeing it. While Babylon was a skyscraper city of its day, the plain of Dura was a huge mound of earth, about six miles southeast of Babylon, probably a walled area that Nebuchadnezzar could have easily used as a focal point to stage an event of this enormity.
Anything constructed in that area would be seen for miles around. Its strategic position allowed for thousands of people to descend on the area at once, thus giving the king a venue for a mass rally where loyal supporters could bow and pay their homage to the king. This seemed to be a carefully planned “photo op” for Nebuchadnezzar and an event which all the chief officers of the land were commanded to attend-including Daniel’s three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.
Fail to Bow… Pay the Price
Here we catch a glimpse of Nebuchadnezzar’s political acumen and get a dramatic preview of the activities of the Antichrist to come. The king knew he had to keep certain conquered peoples under his thumb at all times, and what better vehicle than native religion to promote the power of the state? Nebuchadnezzar knew that whatever officials saw that day on the plain of Dura, they would take back to those captives under their jurisdiction.
Apparently Daniel was somewhere else in the realm on business for the king, since he was not present at the unveiling of the golden image. In fact, Daniel is not even mentioned in this chapter. For the first time in our story, his three friends are on their own. But because Daniel had exerted such great moral and spiritual influence on his companions, compromise with foreign gods was out of the question.
However, these three faithful Hebrews would pay a terrible price for not bowing to the image. King Nebuchadnezzar would try to have them killed, picturing an approaching day when the Antichrist carries out the same penalty on those who refuse to bow to his image and reject his mark, 666. At first reading this passage simply appears to be a provocative piece of biblical history. Closer observation, however, tells us that this story speaks to where you and I are today-and where we are quickly headed.
For instance, during the Tribulation hour, the Antichrist will make an image of himself (Revelation 13:15), and anyone who will not worship that image will be killed, even as those who refused to bow to the image of Nebuchadnezzar were threatened with destruction in a furnace of fire. The only difference between the two events is magnitude. The Tribulation hour will be a time when fire engulfs the earth. Revelation 8:7 says,
“And the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.”
Revelation 9:18 tells us:
“By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone.”
Accompanying all this mayhem will be the Antichrist, who says, “If you don’t worship me and my image, you’re going to die.” Revelation 20:4 says,
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image.”
Matthew 25:31-46, however, declares that there will be multitudes who will survive the seven-year period without taking the number. I’m not sure how, but they will persevere, just as the three Hebrew children ultimately survived their trial by fire.
Nebuchadnezzar-Picture of the Antichrist
So the statue on the plain of Dura was more than just an image of a king. It graphically represented the king’s continued rebellion against God-just as the Antichrist will become the definition of rebellion against the Almighty. The image also indicated that the king was egocentric, offering his image to the people as a symbol of self-deification. Again, there are Antichrist implications (Daniel 11:36).
Politically, Nebuchadnezzar needed a strong, unifying force to continue to bring together the disparate tribes and nations that fell to the power of Babylon. In short, Nebuchadnezzar’s purpose was to institute a totalitarian regime, and this was one way to galvanize the people’s attention and allegiance. What better description can we find in Scripture of the political prowess of the Antichrist to come!
Not surprisingly, when the word went out that this was “bow down” time, the officials, governors, and whoever else had managed to get to Dura that day paid obeisance to the king right on cue. Imagine the scene. Nebuchadnezzar was so fully in control of this grand event that he even had it choreographed. When the conductor of this desert orchestra of cornets, flutes, harps, sackbuts (stringed instruments), psalteries, and dulcimers lowered his baton, it was time to fall to one’s knees. And that’s what the masses did: They looked at the great statue, and they fell down to worship. Why not? To remain standing in defiance of the king’s order would mean certain death in a fiery furnace.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
Are You in Contact With Your Spirit Guide?
We’re hearing so much in this day about the New Age Movement and how we should be in contact with our “other self” through our “spirit guide.” These concepts are being taught in our public schools, even at the lower grade levels. Misguided, deceived individuals are teaching our innocent children about transcendental meditation, yoga, and the spirit world.
Numerous celebrities, such as Shirley MacLaine have publicized their involvement with such fearsome ancient spirit guides as Ramtha, Spectra, and Lazirus, who supposedly possess supernatural knowledge and can assist them in making important decisions and choices.
The truth is that most of the spirits out there are not holy. It is vitally important to recognize this fact. Sadly, too many people do not realize that when they participate in activities like “channeling,” trances, seances, etc., they are opening themselves up to all kinds of demonic spirits. Often, people actually give themselves over to evil spirits, with tragic results.
As Christians, our Spirit Guide lives within us. Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you (1 Corinthians 6:19). Therefore, if our Spirit Guide is within us, we have no need to go outside ourselves for guidance as others suggest. He is all we need.
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come (John 16:13).
Imagine, you have access to the greatest Spirit of all-the precious Holy Spirit. You can possess, and be possessed by, the most powerful force in all the universe, the omnisclent, omnipresent Spirit of the eternal God. Shiriey MacLaine and others talk about their spirit guides being so special because they are ancient. But our Spirit Guide-the Holy Spirit-helped create the world, even man.
Genesis 1:1,2 says, In the beginning God 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. So the Holy Spirit was there at the dawn of creation-as a part of the Trinity. He is from the beginning and predates all other spirit guides.
We can have contact with this Holy Spirit and be guided by Him, but first we must possess Him. The only way that can happen is by the illumination of His Word. He must convince us of the truth. John 16:8 says, And when he is come, he will reprove [convince] the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. He convinces us that we need Him and guides us to the born-again experience.
Thank God, the Spirit does strive with us and illuminates the truth to us.
Not only does the Spirit convince us of our need of Christ, He also creates intercessory thoughts in us. There are times when we don’t even know what we need-what is good for us. So many times we may not even know how we should pray or what we should ask for. So we have to join our spirit with the Holy Spirit to seek out God’s best plan for our lives. Romans 8:26 says, Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
There are times when we come to God, praying only for what we want-asking for His approval-instead of seeking His will for our lives. I’m convinced that on those occasions when we come to God, asking selfishly, the Holy Spirit is saying, “No, Father, no.” When we do not ask within the will of God, then the Holy Spirit, in His mercy, intercedes for what is best.
As a young bride, I had an experience like this. I wanted a baby so much that I begged God to let me have one. I refused to consider how much a child would have hampered and burdened my calling and ministry, which at that time required me to live “on the road” for months at a time. I avoided thinking about how cruel and unfair my work load and life-style would be to a helpless, wholly-dependent little one.
Even after I knew that motherhood was not God’s will for me, I asked anyway. But the Holy Spirit, in His goodness, interceded for me-for my own good. And now, when I can see things clearly and in perspective, that knowledge brings me great comfort.
There may also be times when we experience a yearning for something that is undefined and inexpressible. It’s a hunger or yearning we simply can’t understand. At times like these, we can join our spirits with the Holy Spirit and let Him create intercessory thoughts within us. Then we can have peace that what is being sought in our behalf is for our good…and will be done. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him(l John 5:14.15).
Allowing the Holy Spirit to create intercessory thoughts and prayers brings such satisfaction and fulfillment. It goes beyond our understanding or ability to put it into words. It is so beautiful and powerful.
Then, the Holy Spirit comforts us. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you (John 14:18).
I love the story about a very sad unbeliever who was seated next to a Christian man on a train. During the trip, the unsaved man began to cry and weep. The believer said to him, “I see you are troubled and sad. Is there some way I can help you?”
The sorrowful man replied, “I’ve just lost my wife. Our home seems so empty. All I have left to keep me company is her parakeet.”
The believer replied, “Well, as a Christian I have the Paraclete-the Holy Spirit. He never leaves me. And He will meet your need if you’ll allow Him to.”
Paraclete, in the Greek, means “comforter” and is the name given for the Holy Spirit. As Christians, we have the constant, unfailing presence of the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort us.
Our Spiritual Gift-giver
The Holy Spirit also controls the spiritual gifts bestowed upon the body of Christ, the Church. The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge…to another faith…to another the gifts of healing… to another the working of miracles: to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).
God gives these gifts to each believer, as He wills. Each of us has been given a very special gift-and the Holy Spirit will guide us into a place of service using the particular gift He has chosen for us. He will also give us power when using that gift.
Peter had the gift of communication- the ability to preach. But after he was filled with the Holy Spirit (see Acts 1:8; 2:4), he not only had the gift but also the fruit… boldness (see Acts 4:13). So the Holy Spirit not only gives us spiritual gifts. He also gives us the ability (fruit) and strength to use them.
Spiritual gifts are not given to hoard for our own benefit or enjoyment. They are given to enable us to minister to others. And the Spirit will provide the opportunity- He will definitely show us our place of service.
I believe there are times, depending on the circumstances, when more than one gift of the Spirit may be exercised through you. A situation may arise where there is no one else to depend on and the Holy Spirit manifests (or works) a particular gift through you to meet a particular need at a particular time. It may be a gift that has never operated in your life before, but when the Spirit puts you in a situation, He will illuminate your mind to meet the need. You will discover that where God guides. He provides.
The Holy Spirit is our Keeper
Not only is our Spirit Guide with us in life, but He remains with us even after death.
Dr. J. Wilbur Chapman relates a beautiful story about how he personally discovered this thrilling truth. He was sitting in his home, reading an address delivered by Dr. Moorhead at a Bible Conference. Dr. Moorhead declared that when one becomes a child of God, the Spirit of God comes in to dwell in that person and will continue in that body until the Resurrection. Even after the human spirit has departed to be with the Lord, the third member of the godhead remains with that body until the Resurrection.
Dr. Chapman said that as he thought about this, he started to cry. He said, “We hitched the horse to the carriage, and my wife and I rode out to a little graveyard where we had buried our firstborn son. As we stood there beside that little grave, we said, Thank You, Lord, for keeping watch.’ Immediately the peace of God flooded our souls.” He went on, “Later, when I stood by the grave of my mother, again I said, Thank You, Holy Spirit, for staying with Your temple and keeping watch.'”
What a comfort! On the day of Resurrection the Spirit will touch the body with new life, reunite it with the soul, and sweep our triuned body, soul, and spirit to be with God. How amazing and beautiful!
I encourage you today to get in contact with your Spirit Guide. But don’t be fooled by the false teachers of the so-called New Age Movement. Satan always has a counterfeit for the real and profitable things in life. He would like to deceive you into listening to his emissaries of evil and guide you into darkness. But he is no match for the real “Spirit Guide”-the Holy Spirit, who will always guide you into all truth. Remember, Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
I wanted to express my gratitude for your sermon on 2/7/17 newsletter. It was exactly what I needed. It really helped solidify my perspective of what God is doing, and the heathen raging going on now, and Christian hate and persecution. How the kings and people are taking counsel together against the Lord and His anointed ones. Rexella, your prayer, and couple story, moved my spirit. It was a painful reminder, too, of the fact that, many more, have yet to come.
God’s continued blessings,
My mom loved your program well September 4 last year my mom grew her wings and flew to heaven. I miss my mom but I know she is in heaven. She got me to watching your program well I’m watching it. Thank you so much for coming into my house with your program. Godspeed
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