Weekly Newsletter – July 11, 2016
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
Revelation 20: 1 – 6
Chapter 20 introduces us to the most beautiful, peaceful, and rewarding age this world will ever know-the Millennium, or the one-thousand-year reign of the Lord Jesus Christ as KING OF KINGS; AND LORD OF LORDS. He will sit on the throne of David in Jerusalem, and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor; the mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end (Isaiah 9:6, 7).
Before beginning our study of this chapter, may I take a moment to refute the reasoning of critics who deny this doctrinal truth? Those who oppose the teaching of a literal one-thousand-year reign of Christ upon earth are in direct opposition to the Word of God! Their claim that the doctrine is dangerously built on a single chapter of the Bible proves that they are not good students of God’s Holy Word, for many passages both teach and reflect this truth. Let’s investigate.
First of all, if Israel has no future, dozens of Old Testament prophecies immediately go down the drain.
For example, Genesis 49 and Deuteronomy 33, with all of their benedictions upon the people of Israel, must be scrapped if there is no place upon earth where they find fulfillment. To spiritualize or allegorize the literal truths concerning Israel’s future is to be willfully blinded. I have spent thousands of hours in God’s Book and could never honestly or intellectually arrive at such a conclusion.
Secondly, there must be a Millennium, or scores of verses become hollow platitudes of meaningless predictions. Consider the following texts-they could never depict heaven because they occur on earth. If so, there must be a time and place for their fulfillment, because none of them has yet occurred.
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb (as nature is tamed) (Isaiah 11:6).
But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid (Micah 4:4).
Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness (Isaiah 32:1).
And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed… and it shall stand for ever (Daniel 2:44).
The Lord…shall suddenly come to his temple (Malachi 3:1).
Ezekiel describes this Temple, built and located upon the earth (see chapters 40 through 48). Israel will be the head-not the tail-of the nations in that day (see Zechariah 8:23).
And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them (Isaiah 65:21).
The Lord Jesus Christ referred to the period of time during which these events take place as the regeneration. And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28). Likewise, Peter declared, And [God] shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began (Acts 3:20, 21).
The word restitution means “a reconstitution” and is similar to the regeneration of Matthew 19:28. In addition, Paul stated in Ephesians 1:21 that there is an age which is to come. This same age is called the dispensation of the fullness of times (Ephesians 1:10). Again these terms refer to the rule of Christ and His people over the earth-not angels, as the spiritualizers would have us believe. Angels ruling the earth is an impossibility, for unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come (Hebrews 2:5). Instead, the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men (Daniel 4:17). The title, the most High [God], or the most High is Christ’s millennial title throughout the Psalms, the Book of Daniel, and the Book of Hosea. The most High [God] will also bear the title King of Israel in that day (John 1:49). All upon earth will obey Him for [He] shalt break them with a rod of iron(Psalm 2:9). The result: Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power (Psalm 110:3). Earth’s inhabitants will love the Lord Jesus so much during the kingdom age that daily shall he be praised (Psalm 72:15). Yes, His name shall endure forever (Psalm 72:17).
The center of all this kingdom activity is Jerusalem, not heaven’s golden shores. Proof? Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion (Psalm 2:6). Out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:3). [They] shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem (Isaiah 27:13). And the Redeemer shall come to Zion (Isaiah 59:20). The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem (Joel 3:16). Thus saith the Lord…I will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem (Zechariah 8:3). Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem (Zechariah 8:22).
The preceding evidence is proof enough! Only the spiritually blind can deny the fact of a literal Millennium. Only the willfully ignorant can claim that the teaching is based on just one chapter of the Bible. Our brief review has but touched the hem of the garment concerning millennial truth. Believe God, not men. Now, since mille means “thousand” and annum means “years,” let’s begin our study of chapter 20 which presents the mille annum, Millennium, or the one-thousand-year reign of Christ on the earth.
Verse 1: And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
Verse 2: And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
Verse 3: And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
What a victorious sight John now sees-an angel coming from heaven with a key and a chain in his hand for the purpose of opening the bottomless pit and binding Satan for one thousand years. Some scholars believe the angel to be Christ himself because he has the keys of hell and death (chapter 1, verse 18). This is a distinct possibility. However, one who possesses keys often loans them to another when help is needed. Thus, the angel might be Michael, the archangel. The important observation here is that Christ’s ownership of the keys-which open the pit of the abyss for Satan-is by virtue of His completed work upon Calvary’s cross. Remember His statement in verse 18 of chapter 1: I am he that liveth, and was dead; [Calvary]; and, behold, I am alive for evermore [the Resurrection], Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
The chain carried by the angel is used to bind the villain of the ages-called the dragon, that old serpent…the Devil, and Satan-for 1,000 years. What horrid titles the evil one bears! Dragon, in Hebrew, pictures a hideous monster. The term old serpent portrays the slithering snake who brought ruination upon the entire human race through his deceitful work in the Garden of Eden (see Genesis 3:1-6). Satan means “slander,” for he is the accuser of [the] brethren as we learned in chapter 12, verse 10, and he is also the father of slanderers and gossips (see John 8:44). Devil means “adversary” or “foe,” and surely Satan has been a foe of Christ and His followers until this present moment in our text. Now, at last, he is cast into the bottomless pit, shut up and sealed for a Millennium (verse 3).
The bottomless pit is not the lake of fire into which the beast and false prophet were cast in chapter 19, verse 20. Rather, it is a temporary prison where Satan is incarcerated for ten centuries in order that peace, prosperity, happiness, and holiness may exist on earth during Christ’s millennial reign. At the end of this time, he is loosed [for] a little season, leads one final revolt against God, and is subsequently cast into the eternal lake of fire… where the beast and the false prophet are (chapter 20, verse 10).
Verse 4: 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 worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
John now observes thrones occupied for judgment. Who sits upon them? Members of the first resurrection-which includes the Old Testament saints, Church Age saints, and Tribulation saints. The resurrection of the Old Testament believers is described in Daniel 12:1 and 2, and the resurrection of New Testament saints in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:15-54. As we have seen, the resurrection of the martyred Tribulation saints undoubtedly occurs at the glorious appearing of Christ (Titus 2:13) when He returns to earth. Chapter 6, verses 9 through 11, presented this view. At that point these martyrs awaited their resurrection but were told to wait yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
Thus, we see that the thrones are occupied by resurrected believers from Adam onward, inclusive of the last Tribulation martyrs. Each has been a participant in the first resurrection. These saints are entitled to sit upon thrones because they are members of the royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). Christ has made them kings and priests (chapter 5, verse 10).
Verse 5: But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
The closing sentence of this verse, This is the first resurrection, should have been the conclusion of verse 4. The transition from verse 4 to verse 5 would then be: And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. [This is the first resurrection.] But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This clarifies the issue. The dead of verse 5-raised a thousand years later could not be part of the first resurrection (those of verse 4)-because…
Verse 6: Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
Since the remaining dead come forth one thousand years later, we immediately understand that they cannot be part of the first resurrection. Those who take part in the first resurrection reign with Christ during the Millennium, while the members of this group remain in their graves. They, in turn, are raised for the Great White Throne Judgment after the 1,000 years.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
Through the Eyes of a Child
Just last week I met and talked with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. Right away I said, ‘You look so sad!” I could tell by her eyes.
Certainly our eyes do serve as a barometer of our inner being and can express deep-rooted feelings and emotions without a word being spoken.
The English poet William Blake said our eyes are “windows of the soul.” I’m sure you’ve noticed that the eyes of those around you communicate in a dramatic way their state of mind-anger, fear, mischief, tenderness, love, excitement, boredom, etc.
Doctors often look into the eyes of their patients while examining them to determine their state of health.
So it’s not really surprising to discover that the Bible has much to say about our eyes-there are numerous references throughout both the Old and New Testaments. Only recently have I begun to comprehend just how important our eyes are to our spiritual well-being-that where we look and what we see help determine who we are and what we become.
The Apostle John speaks of the lust of the eyes (1 John 2:16), and Peter warns against those having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin (2 Peter 2:14).
The psalmist, recognizing that what is fed into our eyes affects what we become, affirms, I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes (Psalm 101:3). And the Apostle Paul, in what may be my life’s foundation verse, urges us to continue looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
The lesson of a look
Several years ago, our ministry had an open house in which we invited friends and partners to come tour our World Outreach Center and visit personally with Dr. Van Impe and me and our staff. About 1,500 people toured our headquarters in a single afternoon-it was wonderful to greet so many friends.
I couldn’t help noticing how many little children came through with their parents. And inevitably, when I looked down at them, they would be looking directly into my eyes. I would find myself kneeling to get to their eye level… and happily, many times they ended up in my arms.
But I began noticing how children look at the world. They spend a lot of time looking up! And when they encounter an adult, they look into his or her face, up into the eyes.
Children are very perceptive. They can tell, almost at a glance, if a person is friendly or menacing, if they can trust the person or should run away. By looking into the eyes of the adults around them, they sense if they are welcome or are intruding. And they can tell almost instantly if their parents are pleased with them or disapproving.
Jack and I were having breakfast at a little pancake house not long ago when a mother and her two children came in. They sat at a nearby table-the little boy was unceremoniously dumped into a high chair and the little girl thumped into a chair across from the mother. Once seated, she paid little attention to the youngsters, staring away from them, with a disgruntled look on her face.
When the little boy peered up at the chandelier, pointed a chubby finger and said, “See! See!”-her response was a terse, “Eat!” And when the little girl squirmed and tried insistently to get her mother’s attention, the unseeing, uncaring reply was, “Be quiet- sit up.”
When Jack and I finished eating and he went to pay the bill, I walked over to the table where this mother and her youngsters were sitting.
“You are so fortunate,” I said. With a bit of a start, she asked, “Why?” “You have such beautiful children-they are so sweet.” I said. Then I leaned down and looked into the eyes of the little boy and said, “You are so good.” My reward was a bright, innocent smile.
“I’m good too,” said the little girl.
“I know you are, honey,” I acknowledged. “What a sweet sister you are…and so pretty!” With just those few words, the child blossomed like a rose.
The mother barely smiled, even during the little conversation I was having with her children-she hardly responded, managing a mumbled “Thank you” as I walked away.
I couldn’t help wondering how many children are rebuffed and desensitized by parents whose eyes are too full of other things to really see and respond to their own youngsters.
“You are a delight!”
Jerry Dillon of Century HealthCare, the largest health-care provider for children in the country operates 52 youth programs and 19 facilities in nine states, specializing in treating emotionally-troubled youngsters.
“If parents would look for the things in their children that delight them, and tell them so, what a difference it would make,” says Dillon. “A great prescription to help build a better relationship and a stronger bond between parent and child is simply for the parent to find some reason each day to tell his son or daughter, “You are a delight!”
Much of what we feel-delight or aggravation-is communicated through our eyes, whether we verbalize it or not. So often I’ve noticed how a child will look into its mother’s (or father’s) face for approval, guidance, security, reassurance, and love. Without a word being spoken, so many important things are communicated… through the eyes of a child.
Suffer the little children
No wonder children were attracted to our Saviour during His earthly ministry. The New Testament tells how the children thronged about Him until the disciples were going to send them away. But the Lord said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God (Mark 10:14).
The Bible doesn’t tell us specifically, but I’m very sure each of those little ones came close to the Lord and looked up into His face, directly into His eyes. What they saw there-love, acceptance, safety-made them relax and feel free. I think they wanted to climb up onto His lap and just be near Him.
Many learned and wise theologians have speculated about the meaning of Jesus’ words concerning children and the kingdom of God. Certainly I do not claim to have greater knowledge or wisdom than they have. But I have my own idea about what He meant.
Perhaps He was suggesting that if we looked up into His eyes more often, we would find the peace, direction, and strength we need for our lives. We can find the answer for guilt, sorrow, pain, and loneliness in our Saviour’s loving gaze.
Keep your eyes on Jesus
Our problems come when we take our eyes off Jesus, when we look away from His love, guidance, strength, and sustaining power.
The Gospel of Matthew relates the thrilling story of Peter walking on the water toward Jesus. The Lord had come to the disciples as their boat was tossed by a stormy sea. As long as Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he was fine. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and [began] to sink (Matthew 14:30).
I’ve found in my own experience that when I felt life’s problems were about to overwhelm me, it was because I had taken my eyes off Jesus and fixed them on my troubles. When I looked to Him, He saw me through.
From time to time, I meet an individual who is disillusioned-even cynical-about the Church. Sometimes they say they have lost their faith-they don’t believe in anything anymore.
As I visit with people like this, I usually discover that they have been disappointed in the mistakes and failures of a particular religious leader-their eyes had been fixed on a man. Once they looked back to Jesus, the bitterness and disillusionment lost its intensity, and the healing love of Christ could make them over again.
One of the most beautiful and powerful verses in all of the Bible, for me, is found in Matthew’s account of Peter, James, and John at the transfiguration of Christ. After the disciples had bowed down in the awesome presence of God, Jesus told them not to be afraid. And the scripture says-And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only (Matthew 17:8).
No wonder Jesus said we should become as little children to enter the kingdom of God. Their eyes are focused in the right direction. Lord help us to keep our eyes on You…to seek Your will by looking into Your face-through the eyes of a child!
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Hello Jack and Rexella,
Just a quick note to thank you both for preaching the uncompromised Word of God!
In Canada we see a lot of mediocre, lukewarm churches
Your show is very refreshing!
The teaching helps me to understand the truth of the Bible.
I don’t have a lot of money at the moment to bless you… please accept my gratitude for your service to the Kingdom of God.
Drs. Jack & Rexella,
I just wanted to write and let you know how blessed I am with your Television programs, videos, and writings. I feel that when I watch you I am hearing the Absolute truth. The Holy Spirit doesn’t let me feel that way with the other so called Religious programs on TV. I see them as entertainment. I don’t want to be entertained. I want to learn the Word of God and know what is ahead for us. I know that when I hear it coming from either of you I can trust it and accept it. Thank you for your many years of Service to the Lord and to those who follow you. Thank you for exposing those who aren’t doing right by the Lord and preaching falsely. If you don’t expose it, who will? God Bless both of you, your ministry, and your health. May God encamp His angels around you and protect you from the many barbs of the Devil. And may both of you be extremely blessed.
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