Weekly Newsletter – February 7, 2017
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
Kingdoms Come… Kingdoms Go
Marduk, Babylon’s chief god, was also called the “god of gold”-something that surely did not escape the king’s notice. In fact, the precious metal gold was almost synonymous with the nation of Babylon. There was gold everywhere-in the ornate palaces, the worship places, and the ubiquitous shrines. Even the walls were overlaid with what was then the most precious substance in existence. Now King Nebuchadnezzar was told that all this gold would one day be swept away by a second kingdom, the kingdom of Medo-Persia.
This later became a historic fact when the two disparate cultures-the Medes and the Persians-united in 550 B.C. under one king to form a great world power. This was the “silver” part of the statue and a proper representation of the Medo-Persian empire since the Medes and Persians based their partnership on the power of money collected through an elaborate system of taxation. Nebuchadnezzar must have been relieved to hear Daniel prophesy that this “silver” kingdom would be inferior to his own, probably because as a partnership nation,
Medo-Persia did not have the political and military unity of Babylon. But despite this weakness, Medo-Persia would one day break the “head of gold.” Because God’s Word speaks only the truth, we should not be surprised to note that Daniel’s prophecy became reality when Medo-Persia brought Babylon to its knees in military defeat in 539 B.C.
But what about the third kingdom, the belly and thighs of brass? The element bronze later became a characterization of the Greek empire, primarily because the Greeks used it extensively as the material for their weapons of war. Daniel foresaw that Greece would one day “bear rule over all the earth” (2:3 9). History shows that Greece did dominate the world of its day. The kingdom of Alexander the Great encompassed much more of the known world than Babylon or Medo-Persia ever did. Again, a prophecy of Daniel was fulfilled in world history.
The Renewal of the Roman Empire
Imagine how Nebuchadnezzar must have reacted to the news from this young prophet. His was probably a mixture of fear and disbelief. But we must also note that Daniel wasn’t finished yet, and the king did not interrupt Daniel’s interpretation.
After the world-dominating empire of bronze another empire would arise-a fourth kingdom composed of two legs of iron. This kingdom would be Rome with its “two legs” representing the expansive empires of the Western Roman Empire, headquartered in Rome, and the Eastern Roman Empire, with the cosmopolitan city of Constantinople as its capital. This empire also would fall. The great historian Edward Gibbon powerfully describes it in his work entitled The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. However, just before Christ returns, this empire will revive as the iron mixed with clay begins to wiggle in the form of ten toes.
Only God could have given Daniel the wisdom to know what is now becoming reality for us who live in the beginning days of the twenty-first century. According to Daniel, the final revival of the Roman Empire would be comprised of a confederation of ten nations, which would finally lead to a new world order encompassing the globe . Why would they come together? For monetary and military security and strength-something we’re already seeing as the European Union moves ahead with such plans at break-neck speed. Thus, Nebuchadnezzar’s image with ten toes pictured the revival and conclusion of the Roman Empire.
Note the gradual deterioration of the metals in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream: from gold to silver to bronze to iron to clay, a clear demonstration that as history marches on, men and their cultures become increasingly corrupt. Tregelles is a scholar who has called attention to the decreasing “specific gravity” of each of these metals: For example, the specific gravity of gold is 19; silver, 11; brass, 8.5; cast iron, 7.8; mixture of iron and clay, 1.93.
The world in which you and I live-the world of the fourth and revived fifth kingdom as prophesied by Daniel-is going to get worse up to the moment that the great stone breaks the feet of the image. That stone is Jesus Christ, who becomes a mountain and fills the entire earth.
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (2:44).
The Ten Toes Begin to Wiggle
The entire end-time message is predicted here in the Book of Daniel thousands of years, in some instances, before the actual historical events occurred-just as Rabbi Shvili in 1935 suggested in his book, Reckonings of Redemption. How could Daniel know this? Because God, historically, has chosen to reveal His secrets through spirit-anointed prophets.
Let’s bring Daniel’s prophecy even closer to home. There was a long interval between the time when Rome’s power began to wane and fall-around 476 A.D.-and the year 1947 when the “ten toes” ; of the statue began to wiggle. First of all, Benelux met in that year-Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg- creating the first three members of the confederation. In 1957, three additional nations met with the countries of Benelux- Italy, France, and Germany-for a total of six, ratified by the Treaty of Rome.
Little by little, in our daily newspapers, we see a revival of the Roman Empire just as Daniel predicted. In 1973, England, Ireland, and Denmark joined the confederation, making it a total of nine members. Then, on New Year’s Day, 1981, Greece became number ten. The time that Daniel prophesied is here. We are living in the latter days, and Jesus is coming soon.
Jesus Is Our Rock
One of the most profound messages of these verses is that you and I don’t have to worry about straightening out our world. We have almighty God, Adonai, who is in charge of the affairs of earth. Jesus is the rock, that stone, on which the true church is built. You’ll remember in Matthew that Jesus asked the apostle Peter, “Whom do men say that I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of God.” And Jesus said, “On this rock I will build my church” (see 16:13-18). Christ was that rock (1 Corinthians 10:4).
Yes, the rock in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream that eventually engulfs the entire world, a rock that will hit the feet, not the head-Babylon; not the chest and arms of silver- the Medes and the Persians; not the stomach and thighs of brass-Greece; not the legs of iron-Rome. They went out of existence. Instead, the rock strikes that group that revives at the time of the end-the ten toes, the restored Roman Empire. Thus, on January 1, 1981, when Greece became number ten, pictured by the ten toes on the image, we were given the clearest signal yet that we were headed toward the end times and would soon be ushered into an environment that would be ready for the return of Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
We can therefore reasonably conclude that the dream of Daniel chapter two reveals that the Kingdom of God will soon be established in connection with the second coming of our Savior. Daniel 2:44 states, and I repeat this for the sake of emphasis,
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.”
It’s all starting to happen. Just as the image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream contained metals that degraded as they descended from gold to iron and clay, so will the world in which you and I live become increasingly apostate and the more our society at large will be governed by outright militarism as its only vehicle to control the violence that is present and that is yet to come.
What was the actual purpose of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream? To show God’s sovereign rule over the affairs of men, leading to the future Gentile world domination and its ultimate destruction, to be replaced by a Kingdom and a King who would reign forever on earth (Matthew 6:10).
One of the reasons the Book of Daniel is so important is that it provides us with a complete scenario for the end times. And it all begins to wind down with the current revival of the Roman Empire, which I believe is the present-day European Union. After this episode is completed, there is no more. This will be the last empire, and it will continue into the latter days, with the Antichrist as the primary figure taking over the resurrected Roman Empire (Revelation 17:10). He will be a dictator of world proportions and will rule the world of his day just as King Nebuchadnezzar ruled his world as leader of Babylon.
But for those of us who know the whole story, we need not fear the perilous times yet to come because “the stone [which] was cut out of the mountain without hands” (2:45) is none other than the person of Jesus Christ, God’s anointed, our Savior, the Rock of our salvation. When He returns to gather His own, God will establish His Kingdom which will prevail in our world, and for a thousand years all beings on earth will be tremendously blessed under the personal reign of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Daniel 2: 46 – 49
Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him.
The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.
Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.
Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.
Daniel’s God Is Greatest!
Nebuchadnezzar’s subjects often fell on their faces before their leader, but for the king to subject himself to such a humble posture meant that Daniel had indeed gotten through to him. It also appeared that Nebuchadnezzar may have been making some spiritual progress, revealed by his act of contrition, admitting that Daniel’s God was the greatest god of all. The king made good on his promise that he would reward the wise one who met the demands of speaking and interpreting his dream, and Daniel was subsequently exalted throughout the realm.
But Daniel, always a man of integrity, did not forget his friends, and requested that the king give them key positions as well. His wish was granted. Daniel continued to be a person of great influence in the king’s court by being allowed to sit in the gate of the king-a position of judge, the equivalent of a Supreme Court justice and confidant of the king. Yet Daniel never compromised his standards in that foreign land.
Through it all, Daniel remained faithful to his God, continuing to speak the truth fearlessly, always serving notice to Nebuchadnezzar that God alone, not earthly kings, has the real power. God does not tremble at the sight of monarchs. If anything, He laughs at their rebellion, and in Psalm 2:1-4-a passage that pictures the battle of Armageddon-we read:
“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.”
But kings will be kings. Seemingly a victim of short-term memory, Nebuchadnezzar goes on yet another rampage. During his recurring paranoia he commands that his servants turn up the heat in the palace furnace seven times hotter. It’s a futile attempt to destroy three Hebrew teenagers-surely one of the most fascinating and familiar stories in all the Bible, and a dramatic preview of the real wrath that is yet to come during the Tribulation hour-another mystery which we will see unsealed.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
Several summers ago, after sensing the need for a change of pace, my husband and I drove to Montreal, Canada, the largest French-speaking city in the world, after Paris. It was delightful and so relaxing. Just what we needed. The people were friendly, the old city intriguing, the food wonderful. Montreal is considered to be one of North America’s most interesting cities. And we found it to be true. In fact, we agreed Montreal is one of the most beautiful cities we’ve ever seen. In two weeks’ time we walked 150 miles savoring all the sights and delights, and learning about the history and the greater metropolitan area itself.
One afternoon we found an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. “It has to be a great place,” Jack said, “look at all the people!” He patted his “midsection” and I raised my eyebrows and we walked in. We found an empty table and placed our order.
Just as we were being served, two bedraggled-looking young people came in each carrying a backpack. They were obviously exhausted. They spied an empty table where the waitress hadn’t removed the plates from the previous customers, and they plopped down. But just that quickly, they snatched up the leftovers and wolfed them down. Eyes darting around, never making eye contact with anyone, they focused on other empty tables with plates containing food and quickly ran from one to the other, stuffing the food into their mouths. The young woman, whom I guessed to be about twenty, was more aggressive than the young man. They were just starved!
It happened so fast that everyone was in a state of shock. About the time we and others had recovered from seeing this, they grabbed their backpacks and were out of the door and gone. “Jack, if only they’d stayed long enough, we could have offered to buy them food!” I was dazed by the brief encounter. “Oh Jack,” I continued, “I wonder whose child she is …” my voice trailed off.
Jack leaned across the table and patted my hand. The food which had been served so attractively had somehow lost its appeal. I looked around and noticed others were feeling the same way. The charming place which just moments before had been the scene of animated conversation now seemed strangely silent.
Jack’s eyes were sad; mine were tearful.
As we left the ice cream parlor and continued our leisurely walk, my eyes glanced around. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the young couple. “There are so many like them in city after city all over Canada and the United States,” my husband said.
“Where are the parents?” I asked. Jack shook his head. Later, as I reflected on the incident, (in fact, I don’t think I will ever forget those two young people), I was reminded that one of the most wonderful things about being a Christian is that we are Gods children. Our needs are important to Him and He is always ready to supply (Phil. 4:19). He knows the way that we take (Job 23:9). I took comfort in the knowledge that God even knew their names (Isa. 45:4). I could leave them in the Fathers hands.
As we walk through life, we can do so with confidence, knowing that the steps, as well as the stops, of God’s children are ordered by Him (Ps. 37:23). Because we are His children, we can count on His promises, and they are so many! Our potential as His children is limitless.
But we need to be living up to our potential. How do people know we belong to God? Three things, it seems to me, characterize the life of a child of God: (1) Our conversation; (2) Our conduct; and (3) Our convictions.
Our conversation: She (or he) openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness (Prov. 31:26).
My mother had a little saying which I have called to mind many times: “He that thinketh by the by the inch, and speaketh by the yard, shall be kicked by the foot.”
The Bible is full of counsel about the need to guard our conversation. Consider just these few: A soft answer turneth away wrath; but grievous word stir up anger (Prov. 15:1). How many relationships would fare better if these words were called to mind when people were tempted to temperamental outbursts! The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is (of) little worth (Prov. 10:20). Silver reflects. What a beautiful word picture this presents! Our tongues should reflect the Lord.
Our conduct: We must back up our conversation with right conduct. Those beautiful graces depicted in Galatians 5 should exemplify the conduct of our lives: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (w. 22, 23). An entire article could be written around each word, but let me simplify it in this way: LOVE is a new constraint, JOY is a new cheer, PEACE is a new compassion, LONG-SUFFERING is a new continuance, GENTLENESS is a new characteristic, GOODNESS is a new character, PATIENCE is a new confidence, MEEKNESS is a new courtesy and TEMPERANCE is a new contentment.
Our Convictions: The story is told of David Hume, the agnostic, who was reproached by his friends because of his inconsistency. He used to like to go hear the famous preacher John Brown preach, and when questioned about this he explained, “I don’t believe all that he says, but at least once a week I like to hear a man who declares his convictions.”
How important for us to have strong convictions and to abide by them. The letter of James emphasizes that our “yes” should be a simple “yes,” and our “no” a simple “no” (Ja. 5:12). In other words, be convinced in your heart and stand by your convictions. Be a man or woman whose word is unquestionable. If you say you are going to do something, or you promise something, it ought to be as if you were in a courtroom and had taken an oath to speak the truth.
These are just some of the identifying characteristics that mark us as children of God. The Psalmist said, Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace (Ps. 37:37). None of us have arrived, we aren’t wholly perfect, progress is perhaps a more accurate word to describe our condition. But we should be progressing.
Perhaps a good prayer would be: “Lord, help me to reflect the fact that I am your child.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Dear Dr. Rexella Van Impe,
Just a short note to commend you on how you do such a good job while Jack is recuperating. Your guest fill-ins are also to be commended on how great a job they do.
Your programs are so enlightening and comforting as well. I am sure it is not easy doing a program each week. All your staff should be commended.
God bless you all. We pray for all of you and Jack’s recovery.
I look forward to that day when we can all be together with OUR SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST.
Lucia and Gerard G.
Rexella and Dr. Van Impe.
I love you guys SO MUCH! In my heart I have adopted you both as my GRANDPARENTS. YOU both are so dear to me!! My own grandparents raised me whom were so very SPECIAL to me, however they both have gone home to be with the Lord. I watch you every week, and you both give me those same feelings of love, comfort, uplifting and warmth as my grandparents did. I have grown so close to the lord with your help. I would love to have the honors of meeting you all. I pray for you both that God gives you Rexella the strength to pull through while Dr. Van Impe gets better, stronger, and back in great health again. Love your sister in Christ,
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