Weekly Newsletter-July 20, 2015
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
THE KNEE BONE CONNECTED TO…
Queen Victoria asked her Jewish prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli, “Can you give me one verse in the Bible that will prove its truth?”
He replied, “Your Majesty, I will give you one word — Jew! If there was nothing else to prove the truth of the Bible, the history of the Jews is sufficient.”
The survival of the Jews is a miracle. Scattered among the nations, despised by kings and generals who tried to destroy them, they have endured as a people. Why?
A Date with Destiny
The reason for the preservation of the Jewish race is found in the Bible. While their trials were foretold by the ancient prophets, so was their ultimate triumph. The same Book that announced their coming dispersion guaranteed their return to the land God had promised them: “Hear the word of the LORD, 0 ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock” (Jeremiah 31:10).
So the future of the Jews has always been sure. Efforts to destroy them as a race have been futile because they are destined to play an important role in end-time events. Actually, the Jews have been and still remain the most secure race on earth. The Hamans and Hitlers of history have come and gone, but the Jews remain. That is consistent with the message of the Bible: “Though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished” (Jeremiah 30:11).
This tiny scattered people, moving through the nations of the world, has had such a definite date with destiny that no power on earth could destroy them.
Further, the future of Israel was pronounced by Jeremiah to be as certain as the laws of the universe:
“Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord“(Jeremiah 31:35-37).
The ability of the Jews to remain a people apart while scattered throughout the world is another evidence of the divine plan. Minister and author Walter Brown Knight once wrote, “Through the centuries, the Jew has maintained his racial identity. Like Jonah in the belly of the great fish — undigested, unassimilated — the Jew has remained unassimilated, unamalgamated, undigested though he has wandered among all nations.”
The Jews have been on a journey to Jerusalem for nearly two thousand years. Although at times some have lost sight of that destination in spite of their “Next year at Jerusalem” at Passover, the story of their sojourn through many lands and their ultimate return to the land of their fathers has been told again and again by the prophets.
Visit to a Cemetery
Perhaps the most vivid of all descriptions of the scattering and return of Israel is given by the prophet Ezekiel in his vision of the valley of dry bones. An acquaintance with this vision is essential to the student of prophecy who longs for an understanding of the events taking place in the Middle East in our day:
“The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord. So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army” (Ezekiel 37:1 — 10).
What an experience! The prophet was taken to a cemetery, a great valley full of bones. Exposed to the wind and sun, the bones had become dry and bleached. Ezekiel looked upon a valley full of skeletons, certainly not a happy sight, And while looking, he was asked: “Can these bones live?” In faith, he replied, “O Lord GOD, thou knowest.”
Ezekiel was then given the responsibility of prophesying about these dry bones. He actually spoke to them and informed them that they would receive flesh, breath, and life. While he was speaking, there was a great noise and a shaking as the bones came together, attaching properly bone to bone. Finally, the skeletons, covered with flesh and given life, stood to their feet and became a great army. Further explaining the frightening experience, the prophet said:
“Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, 0 my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, 0 my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord” (Ezekiel 37:11-14).
Ezekiel’s strange vision can be interpreted in this way: The bones represent Israel. Their disconnectedness and dryness indicate the people of Israel’s scattering and lack of hope. The graves are the nations in which they dwell. The imparting of sinew, flesh, and breath is a miracle timed for the last days.
The Jews are to come out of their graves, i.e., the nations to which they have been scattered. They will return in unbelief and without spiritual life, but finally after being settled in their land, there will come a time of conversion — new birth:
“And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, 0 my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord” (Ezekiel 37:13,14).
Understanding Ezekiel’s vision is not difficult. But is it finding fulfillment in our day? Is there a point in time at which it can be reasonably said that the bones of Ezekiel’s vision began coming together?
Following the ascension of Alexander III as Czar of Russia, thousands of Jews fled west in hope of finding freedom from persecution. Others turned their minds to nationalism. The ancient hope of a return to their homeland began to surface. To many, the thought seemed farfetched because Palestine was under Turkish control. Nevertheless, the desire of the Jews for a sanctuary moved them to establish two organizations, the purpose of both being the setting up of a Jewish homeland in the land of Palestine. Both groups were formed in 1882.
We will look at both of these groups in our next newsletter.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
LET THE DOVES SPEAK
We want to continue this week and look at the last five of the Beatitudes:
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after
righteousness: for they shall be filled (Matthew 5:6).
I believe this Beatitude refers to our having a desire to see justice around us, in our own country and around the world. Those who are blessed by God, foreseeing the needs of others, do things to help just because it is the right thing to do. They speak up for the poor and needy and for people in other lands who have not had the opportunity to live in freedom. Are we concerned enough about righteousness and holiness to be driven by these holy characteristics as urgently as our bodies respond to hunger and thirst?
This verse also makes me a bit introspective. I read it and ask, “How can I be righteous? How can I be right as I walk in this world?” I must die to self and selfishness and allow Christ to live His life in and through me! The apostle Paul said, the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20).
I believe that you and I can claim this blessing only when we truly hunger and thirst after holiness and doing what is right. Then what happens? We shall be filled…with righteousness and with His glory.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy
Mercy and righteousness are inextricably linked together. If we truly want righteousness, we get involved, we extend help to the needy, we assist, and we forgive those who have sinned against us. If it is within our power, we must show this kind of mercy to those we encounter. Can we not share the mercy that we ourselves have received?
The writer of Lamentations cried, It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness (3:22-23).
What a blessing to have the promise of God’s mercy as we show tenderness to others. What a joy to realize that goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life (Psalm 23:6).
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God
Everything that we have seen and experienced so far is by faith. None of us has ever had the joy of really looking at God. We have seen His handiwork, we have witnessed His love for us by sending His Son, and we have seen the attributes in Christ that He wants us to have. But we have never seen Him.
One day we will-if our hearts are pure. That is His promise.
To me, that will be the best thing about heaven. I’m not the most excited about seeing the golden streets and magnificent surroundings. And as much as I love and miss my wonderful mom and dad who are there (and I do want to see them with all of my heart), the first one I want to see in heaven is the Lord, my Savior and my God!
How, then, can my heart be pure? My pretenses and masks must go because purity of heart cannot be falsified-it must be genuine and sincere. My entire being cries out, Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me (Psalm 51:10).
This Beatitude, to my mind, is a foundation stone. It gets down to the crux of everything, doesn’t it? If you don’t have a pure heart, where is the authenticity to want to do the right thing? Without a pure heart, how can you be merciful?
Indeed, without a pure heart, I cannot see Him. And oh, more than anything in this world, I want to look upon His face!
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall
be called the children of God (Matthew 5:9).
The Bible teaches that we are to live peaceably with all men (see Romans 12:18). The Lord doesn’t want us to harbor hate, animosity, or intolerance. There will be no place in heaven for racists or exclusionary creeds. Humbly and gently, we are to seek solutions and to disarm hostility. The Bible says, A soft answer turneth away wrath (Proverbs 15:1). I believe that we should seek to be the kind of person who-at home, at church, at work, or wherever we go-can simply enter a room and change the atmosphere.
Another way we can bring peace is to help bring order out of chaos. Where there is clutter and confusion, simply stepping in to help organize and restore order reduces stress and tension. And we can have the courage to do this by calling upon the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
The Word of God says that everywhere Jesus went He did good and destroyed the works of the devil-which produced peace (see Acts 10:38; 1 John 3:8). And Jesus said that if we believe on Him, the works He did we can do also, and even greater (see John 14:12). So as we go out and do what Jesus did, we will make peace, because He was, and is, the prince of peace, the greatest peacemaker the world has ever, or will ever know.
If you give this a try, don’t be surprised if people start calling you a child of God. After all, that is the Lord’s promise!
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake:
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men
shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of
evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding
glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they
the prophets which were before you (Matthew 5:10-12).
The idea of persecution being a blessing seems very strange, especially for believers in America. We have never experienced most of the things that missionaries and other Christians around the world have been forced to endure for the sake of the gospel. Yet Jesus said that we would have tribulation and suffering in this world. And for such monumental sacrifices, He said there would be great rewards and crowns.
I had great admiration for one of the girls in my home church. She married a minister and they went to South America as missionaries. The team with whom they were working was attacked by primitive warriors from the Auca Indian tribe, and my friend’s husband was one of the men who was killed.
The incident attracted international news coverage, and I vividly recall seeing a television interview with the father of the martyred young man. He was asked, “If you could have kept your son from going to South America and being killed as a missionary, would you have done so?”
I’ll never forget his answer. He shook his head and said, “Would I rob my son of the martyr’s crown?” Of course that father felt grief for his son’s death, but he expressed no bitterness or regret. He genuinely believed that his son would be blessed with a great reward in heaven because of the persecution he endured for the Lord (Revelation 2:10).
I truly believe all those who lose loved ones in God’s work receive a special measure of divine comfort. I believe God might well speak to their hearts saying, “I understand how you feel-I sent My Son into the world, and they crucified Him also.”
The psalmist declared, weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning (Psalm 30:5).
My challenge to you
I encourage you to underscore Matthew 5:3-11 in your Bible and read those few verses often. Life itself is in that short passage. Let the Holy Spirit impress each phrase of the Beatitudes on your heart and stamp them indelibly in your mind.
Remember, this kind of living is possible! Jesus would not have spoken these truths if they were not accessible for all of us! I believe that when you and I hide these words within our hearts and then open our mouths to speak, the Holy Spirit will give us the words that we should say. And when these utterances come forth from our mouths…
…the voices of the doves will be heard!
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
God bless you both and thank you for your faithfulness to the Lord! My mother and I watch your program and the both of you are a blessing. I pray Jack will soon be home I know the Lord will see him through. We need the both of you, a voice of truth in the hour we are living in. May God Bless And Keep You Both. I live with my mother and help her, she was 88 in May. She had been sick the last year but God saw us through. She had her feeding tube removed and now is back to eating as God intended for her. We are very Thankful to our Lord. Again blessings to both of you and Thank You again. We love you!
Cynthia and Doris
Please get well soon. I have followed you since the late 1970 when I was stationed at Fort Knox, KY. I used to watch on WHAS in Louisville. Back then you were preaching on the theme “Perhaps Today”. About the same time my wife saw you in Cebu, Philippines. You had a very big impact on her and thousands of others here in the Philippines. Get well and get back on the air. We miss you.
Gary and Edna
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