Weekly Newsletter – January 2, 2017
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
Beginning this week we want to do a study on the book of Daniel. We will divide the study into two major parts; Part I: A History of the Times…And the Set-up for Coming Attractions; and Part II: Events Prophesied…Prophecies Fulfilled. These two parts will be broken down and delved into in detail.
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Daniel 1:1, 2
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.
And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.
Swords flashed wildly between the nations of Egypt and Babylon, the two great military giants of the Middle East, as the latter part of the 7th Century B.C. was fast coming to a close. The fierce battles between the two superpowers were visible proof that each was determined to seize full control of their part of the world. Any observer then – or historian today – knew that a decisive battle could not be far off, a conflict in which the ultimate victor would once and for all put his opponent to flight. And that’s exactly what happened.
The time was early summer in the year 605 B.C. The great army of Babylon, under the leadership of Nebuchadnezzar – then crown prince – attacked the Egyptian forces in a place called Carchemish, and Babylonian city on the Euphrates River (see Jeremiah 46 for details). It was a thorough defeat for the Egyptians, who were forced to return to their country to lick their wounds and ponder the weakness of a failed battle strategy that had brought them to their knees. With unparalleled world dominance, the Babylonians now had free reign to step into the unguarded territory of Palestine. By the summer of 605 B.C. they had wrestled control of the city of Jerusalem. And this is where our story begins.
Upon the death of Nebuchadnezzar’s father, Nabopolassar, a short time after the massive Babylonian victory, Nebuchadnezzar rushed home to be crowned king of Babylon. But he did not return to Babylon empty-handed. His saddlebags were filled with rich treasure and precious vessels – much of it taken from the holy temple in Jerusalem. His ungodly hands had pillaged from the house of God, a sort of in-your-face mockery to the Holy One, a Babylonian slap in the face of the Jewish people, their traditions, and their most high God.
An Opportunity for Compromise
But the man who would be king did not return with merely gold, silver, and temple utensils. Among his inventory of rich booty were also human treasures – young, fit sons of Israel who were taken from their beloved homeland and brought to Babylon, exposed to a foreign religion and traditions that bore no resemblance to their beliefs. But those were the rules of war; Lose the battle, do what your captor says. Among the choicest of Jewish young men in this group now being transported to Babylon was a teenager whose name was Daniel.
And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes;
Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.
And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.
Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:
Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abed-nego.
Wise Beyond His Years
Daniel now found himself a captive in a strange land, learning the language of the Chaldeans – the elite, privileged class of Babylon. Young Daniel had to accept the reality that he was now a member of a conquered people, forced to think no longer like a Jew, but like a Babylonian, with the clear demand that he give his full allegiance to Babylonian gods. This was Daniel’s greatest challenge.
But in ways that even Daniel could not have understood, he was more than adequately prepared for his new life. Of royal descent, Daniel had already been trained for palace service – even at his young age. He was not overwhelmed by the pomp and circumstance, nor by the tough courses he and his friends had to take in astronomy, natural history, mythology, or astrology. Gilded thrones didn’t overly impress him either – he’d seen it all before.
Nebuchadnezzar simply did not know what he had on his hands: Daniel might have looked like just another strong, able Jewish boy on the outside, but the king couldn’t discern who Daniel really was on the inside – a man of God, loyal and faithful to his Creator. So unswerving was Daniel’s righteousness that even in the polluted atmosphere of heathen Babylon he would find a way to make himself useful to God – something we’ll observe again and again as our story unfolds.
The Times of the Gentiles
Now here’s a point that I want to make early on because it will be critical to remember it as together we travel on this amazing, prophetic road of Final Mysteries Unsealed, Daniel is distinctly the prophet of the “times of the Gentiles.” This is significant because the “times of the Gentiles” continues on through the termination of Gentile world rule.
Daniel is not only the prophet of the Gentiles, but he’s also a prophet to his own people, the Jews. When Nebuchadnezzar brought the vessels unto the treasure house of his god, this was the beginning of “the times of the Gentiles,” which continues until the time when Messiah returns. You may remember that Jesus said in Luke 21:24,
“And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be lead away captive into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (emphasis mine).
This will be a recurring theme for us throughout the book. In modern English, this is what Jesus was saying: Jerusalem will always be controlled by Gentiles – except for a brief interlude – until I return. So in 586 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem, and Gentile domination began.
From that time onward, Jerusalem would be controlled by Gentiles, with one exception – the time preceding Christ’s return to set up His glorious thousand-year kingdom upon earth. The exception occurred during the miraculous victory the Jewish army experienced as they captured Jerusalem during the Six-Day War, fought June 5-10, 1967. after this military conquest, the Holy City of Jerusalem was in Jewish hands for the first time in 2,553 years.
The victory in 1967 began the countdown to Messiah’s coming to rule and reign at Jerusalem (see Psalm 2:6 and Matthew 5:35). Here’s why. Just before Christ appears upon the Mount of Olives to establish His glorious kingdom, all Gentile nations will gather together at the valley of Megiddo and then march to the valley of Jehoshaphat for history’s final attack against Jerusalem. At this time the Gentiles temporarily retake the city.
But their victory is short-lived, because then Christ appears and destroys the Gentile armies, bringing the “times of the Gentiles” to its horrendous conclusion. Christ will then reign from Jerusalem, the capital of the world, for a thousand years (see Revelation 16:16; Joel 3:2; and Zechariah 14:2-16).
Now here’s the clincher. The Gentiles cannot march against Jerusalem and take it during earth’s final battle if the Jews do not control the city. The Jews must be in possession of the Holy City for such an attack. This is why the Six-Day War of 1967 was so prophetically significant – it prepared the way for the battle of Armageddon and Christ’s return. In a sense, I’m giving you the end of the story first, but I think it’s important for you to understand this as we see the enormous impact that the Book of Daniel has on the outcome of history.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
How to deal with negatives
So many people seem to be constantly battling their negative feelings, or relying too heavily upon them. Everyone likes to feel good, and no one enjoys being depressed or tension ridden. While some people spend their entire lives in search of the ultimate emotional high, others seem to revel in feeling low.
Regardless of what kind of person you are, your feelings and how you respond to them play a major role in determining how much you can experience and enjoy satisfaction, or how susceptible you are to feeling baffled, bewildered, or befuddled by the negatives in life.
As we have already learned, being satisfied is not the same thing as being happy. Happiness is our emotional response to what happens to us and around us. Conversely, a truly fulfilled person remains stable in grief, under pressure, and during other times of negative emotional expression. Genuine satisfaction, then, is not an emotion, and it is not dependent upon a positive emotional response to a given situation.
Nevertheless, negative emotions, if dealt with improperly, can destroy our sense of well being and joy. If we see our trials as coming from God in order to bring us to maturity, for example, we can be composed even in the midst of deep tribulation. But if we resist trials and allow them to make us bitter, we destroy the possibility of beneficial gain. This is true for every kind of negative emotion and feeling.
Bitterness, resentment, and an unforgiving spirit
Quite often negative feelings are an indication that there is something wrong in our lives. A personal failure, a broken promise, or something someone said has hurt us or undermined our sense of self-confidence. As a result, we begin brooding over the situation and harboring critical thoughts. Then, before we realize it, we find ourselves on the threshold of bitterness and resentment, baffled and bewildered.
One of the most negative attitudes we can experience is an unforgiving spirit. Nothing is more damaging to a person’s spiritual and emotional well being. Yet, often we find it so difficult to forgive.
Following a city-wide meeting several years ago, a young woman came to me in tears. “Oh, Rexella,” she cried, “I can’t forgive him, but after your husband’s message tonight I can at least say that I’m on the road to forgiveness and I no longer hate him.” She then related to me one of the saddest stories I have ever heard.
As a young child, this woman had been left alone and put up for adoption. After many years of struggling to organize her life into one that had meaning and purpose, she was adopted by a Christian family. As a teenager, she had accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior. Later, she married a fine Christian man and God blessed them with three beautiful children. Her life was full and complete.
The couple enjoyed the friendship of many Christians in their local church. One young man was especially friendly to them, and they frequently invited him into their home for fellowship. They appreciated his testimony and apparently consistent lifestyle.
But one afternoon the young mother returned home to find her 10-year-old daughter in tears. The young man they had loved and trusted had come by for a visit and sexually assaulted their child!
Although that horror had occurred two years in the past, the trauma of the experience was still very real in the life of this mother. She wept as she told me how she had harbored hatred and bitterness against the man who had violated her daughter. Now, because of it, her life was in chaos.
I could hardly keep back my own tears as I listened. I shared this mother’s anger over what had happened to her young daughter. Together we wept over the child, the crime, and the whole situation. The words choked in my throat as I tried to help her find the strength to forgive this man for his evil deed. God had already given her the grace to stop hating him, and now He could give her the grace to forgive him. I assured her that God shared her hatred for the evil done to her daughter, for Scripture assures us that He cares for children in a special way (see Matthew 18:6). I also showed her from the Bible that we cannot believe everyone who says He knows Christ. Finally, I emphasized that she must forgive this man for his sin against her family, just as God had forgiven her when as a teenager she accepted His forgiveness for her sins.
We prayed, read the Word, talked, and prayed some more. At the end of our time together, the woman was radiant-at peace with the Lord and at peace with herself. She had forgiven that man, but she was the one who benefited most from the act of forgiveness.
Most of us will never know from what depths of God’s resources this woman had to draw in order to forgive. The crime committed against her daughter was unspeakable, and she had carried that memory inside her for two years. But the bitterness that grew inside her because she would not forgive had begun to destroy her, and she could not be happy until she was released from the bondage of an unforgiving spirit.
That incident left an indelible mark on my memory, for it brought clearly into focus the truth that forgiveness is always costly. The awfulness of the sin committed against that woman and her daughter is appalling. I cannot get away from a sense of disgust and righteous indignation over a man’s assaulting a young girl. And yet the mother brought to herself harm physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually by refusing to forgive.
On one occasion in the life of the Lord Jesus, Peter came to Him and asked, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? [Jesus answered,] I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven (Matthew 18: 21,22).
The Savior was saying that there can be no limit to the number of times or the depth of forgiveness with which we are to forgive. None of us has a right to withhold forgiveness from another. We are not left with an option of whether to forgive. Jesus went on to emphasize this truth in a parable, telling of a man who had been forgiven of a massive debt but was unwilling to write off a debt of a few dollars someone owed to him. The foolishness of that man’s stubbornness shows just why we must forgive-because God has forgiven us of so much.
Forgiving a person for a wrong committed against us is costly. It may cost us our pride, it may cost us money, or it may cost us in terms of violated rights. But God’s forgiveness to us cost even more-it cost His Son. Jesus died to pay the price for our forgiveness, and in that dreadful moment that surpassed time and eternity as He hung on the cross bearing our sin, God the Father had to forsake His only begotten Son. It was an incredible price to pay to forgive undeserving sinners.
Forgiving and forgetting
Sincere, effective forgiveness also includes another important element-forgetting. In her book, It Feels Good to Forgive, my friend Helen Hosier has penned an irreversible truth: “Regardless of how many times you may say to someone who has wronged you, ‘I forgive you,’ if you have not forgotten then you have failed in forgiveness. If you find it necessary to remind the individual of his or her betrayal, unfaithfulness, or untrustworthiness, then you have not truly forgiven the other person.”
Forgiving and forgetting is truly God’s way, for this is exactly what He does for us when we come to Him through Christ. This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more (Hebrews 10:16-17). If God can forgive and forget our terrible iniquities which sent His Son to the cross, surely we cannot do less. In fact, He will give us the power to accomplish this task, for we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).
Many times our bitterness and resentment become so imbedded within us that we actually extend our anger beyond the person or situation that has hurt us and begin blaming God. Even Christians are prone to ask, “God, where were You? Why did You let it happen? I thought You loved me. What about your promise of guidance and protection in Psalm 121?”
Erwin W. Lutzer, who retired in 2016 as the senior pastor of Moody Church in Chicago, has a most enlightening answer for such inquiries. In his book, Living With Your Passions, he states: “God’s love does not prevent us from the tragedies of sexual abuse or any other kind of mistreatment. Christ was God’s ‘beloved Son,’ yet the Father didn’t shield Him from the torture of the crucifixion. That crime, despite its horror, has become for us a fountain of blessing. The horror of Good Friday must be understood in the light of the joy of Easter Sunday. God can do the same with the ugly hurts of life.”
Dr. Lutzer then admonishes his readers to confess their bitterness toward God. “Concentrate on His infinite grace and be forgiven and accepted,” he says. Only in this way will you be able to experience the deep spiritual release and sense of relief which are the beginning of true satisfaction.
How to have right attitudes
Perhaps you are struggling with bitterness or an unforgiving spirit and wonder how you can ever come to the point of confession, forgiveness, and be set free. Let me share with you the secret to removing wrong attitudes and negative feelings. It is the power of the Word of God.
Hebrews 4:12 says, For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. In other words, when you let Scripture fill your heart, it transforms what is in there. It seeks out wrong attitudes, exposes them, and then makes them right.
The best way to let Scripture do that is to get to know it better. Read it every day, memorize it, and meditate on it. James 1:21 speaks of the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. When Scripture gets into your life and becomes a living part of you, it has an incredible transforming power.
Peter wrote something very similar. Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby (1 Peter 2:1,2). Again, Scripture is the antidote to wrong attitudes.
I am convinced that one of the reasons my husband has been so blessed of God in the ministry is that early in life he committed himself to memorizing Scripture. Now he knows thousands of Bible verses by memory and is called “the walking Bible.” I am often asked what it is like to live with a man who has memorized so much Scripture. My answer is, “It is wonderful.” God’s Word is constantly working in Jack’s heart to guide him, mold him, shape his attitudes, and direct his life.
All this victory is the result of Jack’s tremendous desire, determination, and discipline-and it is an ongoing process. He continues to add to his storehouse of memory verses each month. The most wonderful, miraculous thing about Scripture is that the more we appropriate it, the greater our appetite for it becomes.
Through the years, God’s Word has changed Jack’s personality from that of a teenaged practical joker to the mature man he is today. He still has his sense of humor and enjoys a good time, but he also exhibits a seasoned wisdom that comes only from an intimate knowledge of God’s Word. My life has been immeasurably enriched by living with this godly man for whom the Bible is his meat and drink. Jack has not only memorized the Word, but he also puts it into practice daily.
This is the essential element in building right attitudes-a willing and submissive obedience to the teaching of God’s Word. James says we should be doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving our own selves (James 1:22). Knowing the Bible intellectually without practicing it experientially can actually harden us to its truth!
God’s ideal for you is a life of victory over negativity. He wants you to cut out all roots of bitterness, regardless of how painful the cutting process may be. He also wants you to receive the engrafted Word, which is able to transform your soul. This where we begin to reach the pinnacle of satisfaction.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Dear Jack & Rexella,
First of all, I want to wish you both a wonderful New Year abundantly overflowing with Our Saviour’s Blessings.
Secondly, I want you to know that my prayers are with you always & especially now, for your speedy recovery! I know first-hand, how much the enemy has put out there this year, but with prayer and faith, we can overcome because we are conquerors and heirs!
Hope to see you back soon Jack!
Mrs. Cristina N.
You asked for comments regarding the newsletter.
I have copied every one and went back on years past in order to have a study guide for us and others. We so enjoy the insight and information that both of you provide and we have listened to you for years on TV.
I do hope you will not discontinue this newsletter as we all need study material.
When we lived in Texas we were members of the Bible Study Fellowship groups. In upstate NY nothing of this type study group exists – even in the churches we have been members of or churches visited. I so wish you had something of that type we could print off and study and maybe form on online group.
We so very much need to share the knowledge you have tucked inside you.
Thank you for being there.
June and Rick S.
HIGHLIGHTED PRODUCT OFFERS
Eternity: Who? Where? When? Why?
Do you know where you will be eternally?
It’s the most important question you will ever answer!
Bible prophecy experts Drs. Jack & Rexella Van Impe use their vast knowledge of the Scriptures to show you:
- Eternity is real – and every human will be in either heaven or hell.
- Jesus Himself talked about hell – this video shows you what He said and what it means for you, your family, and all humanity.
- The concept of the Trinity is integral to you belief in God – and only faith in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit can save.
- The Rapture is foretold in the Scriptures – and you can see which prophetic signs have already taken place and prove the return of the Lord is at hand.
- And much more!
This teaching is perfect for any believer and great to share with non-Christians who want the truth about eternity, heaven, hell, and the return of Christ!
Thy Kingdom Come – Arriving Soon
Jesus is coming soon! All the biblical prophecies — and all the current news headlines — bear witness to this truth. Now prophecy experts Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe give you the facts about what is happening in our world today! Get the critical answers to critical questions like:
- What doesn’t the Antichrist want you to know about Pope Francis and Bible prophecy?
- How has Pope Francis compromised with Muslims?
- Is Islam a religion of peace — or do Muslims want to take over the world?
- What happens under Sharia law?
- What prophetic role does Islamic terrorism play in North America?
- What happens after the Rapture?
- …And many more!
Share this teaching with your church, family, and friends. Let them know: The return of the Lord is at hand.