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Weekly Newsletter – July 25, 2016

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A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE

Revelation 21:1-14

The final two chapters of the Book of Revelation present the glorious future which awaits every believer of all dispensations and ages. The eternal state of both the saved and lost is described in the first eight verses of this chapter. In addition, verses 9 through 27 present a glowing description of the New Jerusalem. The view is absolutely breathtaking. Let’s begin our study.

Verse 1: And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

The passing away of the first heaven and earth occurred at the conclusion of the Great White Throne Judgment. This was part of the renovation of the world which Jesus predicted in Matthew 24:35 when He said, Heaven and earth shall pass away. The time and method are described in 2 Peter 3:7, 10-13. Listen carefully to these solemn words: The heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

In the new world, the sea is eliminated, possibly because of its connotation with wickedness: The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt (Isaiah 57:20). Another reason may be that oceanic vegetation is no longer necessary.

Verse 2: And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Two Jerusalems are mentioned in Scripture (see Galatians 4:25, 26 and Hebrews 12:22). One is earthly and the home of the believers during the millennial period. The other is heavenly-as the New Jerusalem, or celestial city, hovers over the earth during the thousand-year (millennial) reign of Christ and then becomes situated eternally upon earth at the end of the thousand-year period. Revelation 21:1-8 actually follows 21:9-22:15. This is one time the chronological outline of the book of Revelation is different. The New Jerusalem is undoubtedly the one Christ has been preparing for over 2,000 years, for the Saviour said in John 14:2, I go to prepare a place for you. This magnificent masterpiece descending toward earth reminds one of the elegant beauty of a bride on her wedding day.

Verse 3: And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

To this point in time, God’s Tabernacle has been located in heaven. Now we discover a change of address. The Almighty descends to earth with His heavenly entourage, settling in the New Jerusalem to begin global operations from this satellite city. The redeemed-in their glorified bodies-live in the New Jerusalem. Those with bodies of flesh-those who were born and saved during the millennial hour-enter the eternal state with their natural bodies. They live on earth, in and under the light of the Holy City (see chapter 21, verse 24). The true beauty of the entire scene is that God dwells in the midst of His people, for a voice cries, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

Another exciting fact is that believers, with their glorified bodies, will be able to travel as fast as the speed of light, yea, as fast as their thoughts. Thus, they will traverse back and forth to earth from their city in space-the New Jerusalem-in a moment of time. Presently the world’s scientists predict that men will certainly be living in space cities within our century. They don’t know the half of it! Amen!

Verse 4: And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

This verse should be a favorite among God’s people. Think of it! Pain, sorrow, crying, and death are forever eliminated in this land of eternal life. This, as mentioned in verse 2, is only true after the Millennium when Christ’s Kingdom is recommissioned and eternally established on earth. No wonder the redeemed are able to triumphantly shout, O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (I Corinthians 15:55). Never again will a funeral procession take place, for death, the last enemy, will have been destroyed (see I Corinthians 15:26). In addition, everything associated with death is also eliminated for time and eternity. Glory! No more disease, heart attacks, automobile accidents, wars or rumors of wars. “It is finished” is truly the national anthem of eternity.

Although these truths are wonderful in themselves, the greatest fact is that the Lord’s people see His face (see chapter 22, verse 4). In addition, sin has ceased to exist because Satan is eternally incarcerated in Gehenna, the lake of fire (see chapter 20, verse 10). A new day in a new heaven suspended above a new earth has arrived because…

Verse 5: He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

Verse 6: And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

God speaks to John, saying, It is done. As Christ completed His redemptive work for sinners on the cross, He cried, It is finished. Now God, who has made all things new, again announces, It is finished, or done. His will has been accomplished in Jesus Christ-namely, that the earth should be free from the curse of sin and that its inhabitants should be conformed to His very likeness. This has happened. It is done. God adds, I am [the] Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Alpha and Omega are the first and the last letters of the Greek alphabet. Hence, the explanation, the beginning and the end. But what does it mean? In Christ, all creation began without sin (see Colossians 1:15-19). Now, in Christ, it has ended without sin.

In this glorious city-New Jerusalem-the spiritual thirst of God’s people is also satisfied forever. While on earth, Jesus said to the woman of Samaria, Whosoever drinketh of this water [in the well] shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life (John 4:13,14). That time has come, and God states: “I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.” It is yours to possess throughout the ages. Enjoy yourselves!

However, make no mistake about it. The eternal prize of being in the presence of God in the New Jerusalem, where there is no more death, sorrow, crying, pain, or thirst, is only for those who trust in the merits of the shed blood of Christ.

Verse 7: He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

Who is the overcomer? The one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God (see 1 John 5:4). Oh, be sure of your salvation, because the next verse mentions a motley group of sinners who miss the eternal paradise upon earth.

Verse 8: But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

This text plainly states that those who were condemned at the judgment of chapter 20, verses 11-15, have been cast into the lake of fire, or Gehenna. They were not given a reprieve, a commuted sentence, or a second chance, as some sentimentalists teach. Revelation 21 is the eternal state.

No more changes are possible. Those who stood before God’s Great White Throne did not make it. Who were they?

  1. The fearful-those who rejected Christ to escape the ridicule of men.
  2. The unbelieving-those who rejected the doctrine of Christ’s deity and shed blood as the only means of obtaining eternal life. Jesus said, Ye shall die in your sins… if ye believe not that I am he [or that I am God] (John 8:24). In John 5:40, the Saviour again said, Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
  3. The abominable-those who engaged in wicked practices. They spoke the language of christendom but never lived it: They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate (Titus 1: 16).
  4. The murderers-including those who carried hatred within their hearts and minds for others. If you don’t believe it, listen to the following: Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him (1 John 3:15).
  5. The whoremongers-those who engaged in fornication (premarital sex), adultery (extra marital flings), or perverted sex.
  6. The sorcerers-those who practiced drug usage for “kicks” and “highs.”
  7. The idolaters-those who worshiped or revered anyone or anything other than the living and true God, or who used idols in worship. Remember God’s warning, Little children, keep yourselves from idols (1 John 5:21).
  8. All liars-those who deceived others, distorted the truth, and destroyed mankind by lies.

Verse 9: And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.

Here one member of the angelic host which administered the final seven judgments now speaks to John, saying, “Come here. I want to show you the Bride, the Lamb’s wife, the one who made herself ready [in] fine linen, clean and white (chapter 19, verses 7 and 8) and who returns with Him for the 1,000-year honeymoon (chapter 19, verses 11 through 16).” At this point the Bride is envisioned in her final resting place.

Verse 10: And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.

The Bride is pictured as the city of the New Jerusalem because a city is composed of people. Buildings, streets, and light are but aids to the residents. For example, one refers to a city as “clean” or “wicked.” Why? Because of its people. Now, as John views God’s heavenly creation, he is impressed by (1) the brilliance of the city (verses 9-14), (2) the size of the city (verses 15-17), and (3) the beauty of the city (verses 18-21). He describes the city as…

Verse 11: Having the glory of God and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a Jasper stone, clear as crystal;

Verse 12: And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:

Verse 13: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.

Verse 14: And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

In Bible times walls were erected for protection. However, since war is forever finished, one may question the presence of this wall in the New Jerusalem. The answer? It serves as a reminder that the God of love protected His people while on earth. This wall is an eternal memorial to the fact that our lives have been hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3).

The city also has twelve gates, each inscribed with one of the names of the twelve tribes of the Children of Israel.

The gates are staffed with angels who welcome those possessing the right and privilege of entering the city (chapter 22, verse 14). The twelve angels standing at these entrances are possibly those who worked jointly with each tribe during the earthly sojourn of the people of Israel. We also note that, just as the gates are inscribed with the names of the twelve tribes, the foundations of the wall itself contain the names of Christ’s twelve apostles. Next week we will consider the size of the city.


FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE

Let Me Cry!

I’ve been doing some crying, lately.

A while back I noticed that a young waitress who often serves Jack and me when we go out to eat seemed unusually quiet and withdrawn and there was a strain on her countenance. When I went to wash my hands in the ladies room, I had a chance to pull her aside and ask if something was wrong. Tears spilled down her cheeks as she told me her husband had just asked her for a divorce.

Imagine the pain of having your husband or wife look you in the eye and say, “I don’t love you anymore-I want out of this marriage.” I can’t even begin to comprehend the shock, sorrow, and grief one would feel in such a situation.

I didn’t know what to say to this poor girl -but I put my arms around her and comforted her the only way I knew how…with my tears.

Also in recent months, I have felt an increased burden for my unsaved friends and loved ones. Bible prophecy makes it so clear that time on this old earth is running out fast and that surely Jesus is coming soon…perhaps today! So I have been praying…and weeping …for my unsaved loved ones. It is the only way I know to minister to them!

What is a tear?

The great preacher, T. DeWitt Talmage, once wrote, “Help me explain a tear. A chemist will tell you that it is made up of salt and lime and other component parts; but he misses the chief ingredients-the acid of a soured life, the viperine sting of a bitter memory, the fragments of a broken heart. I will tell you what a tear is: it is agony in solution.”

These are powerful, moving words. And perhaps all of us have either witnessed or personally experienced the truth Talmage sought to convey.

But I suggest to you that there is more to tears than sadness, sorrow, regret, and pain. Tears can be a release from stress and anxiety, a vent for frustration, a safety valve for overpowering emotions. Tears can be the most sincere expression of compassion and love. And just as raindrops wash the smoke, smog, and impurities from the atmosphere, so tears can wash away the stains of bitterness and disappointment from our souls.

A time to weep

As Solomon, perhaps the wisest man who ever lived, once declared, To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…A time to weep, and a time to laugh (Ecclesiastes 3:1,4).

We live in a time when everyone wants to laugh all the time, but no one is willing to weep. And if someone does cry, it makes people really uncomfortable. Children are hushed and told not to cry. Men are taught that tears don’t go with a macho image…that only sissies cry. And women who weep at some sadness or loss are interrupted and advised to wipe their eyes and get control of themselves.

No! No! No! Let me cry. It’s all right to cry. I need to cry. In fact, one of my goals is to minister to those who are weeping. I want to do all I can, to say what I can…and when there are no deeds or words that can help, to weep with them.

Perhaps my resolution is best expressed in the words of the late Bob Pierce in his moving book, Let My Heart Be Broken With the Things That Break the Heart of God.

When Jesus wept, His tears were for others. Both Matthew and Luke describe how He wept over the city of Jerusalem for those who would not hear and accept the Truth! We, too, should weep for others.

Weep over souls

Should we be less concerned over lost souls than our Saviour? Why are we not crying and praying for the lost to be saved before it is eternally too late?

I’ve seen people moved to tears by the plight of fictional characters in a paperback book. A melodramatic film may jokingly be described as a “two-hanky” movie, and it’s perfectly all right. But the same people who get involved and empathize with artificial stories can see real live people around them dying and slipping into eternity without God and never feel a twinge or shed a tear.

I wonder-if the unsaved friends and loved ones I’m praying for don’t seem to be any closer to the Lord than when I first started, could it be because I haven’t shed any tears for them? The Bible says, They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him (Psalm 126:5, 6).

Weep over sin

Sometimes I can hardly watch the news on television or read the daily paper without crying. My heart breaks at what is going on in our nation and the world today. There is such evil and perversion, such wickedness and violence. How long will God allow men’s hearts to be filled with such deliberate, willful sin before calling them to judgment?

I believe we are to weep over sin, whether our own, our family’s, or our nation’s.

The Apostle Paul wrote, For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation (2 Corinthians 7:10).

I am reminded of how Peter, after denying the Lord during the awful hours before the Crucifixion, went out, and wept bitterly (Matthew 26:75). Those tears of repentance led to his being forgiven and restored.

Weep over sorrow

Just as there is a time to weep over souls and a time to weep over sin, there is also a time to weep over sorrow. Do you remember when Mary and Martha showed the Lord the tomb where their brother Lazarus was buried? The Bible says, Jesus wept (John 11:35).

There is a time for sorrow… and when it comes, tears are appropriate. Paul instructed, Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep (Romans 12:15).

Notice that the verse did not say to laugh with those who are laughing and to tell those who are crying to stop and cheer up. No, it says to cry with those who are crying! That means to share their sorrow-to get down under the burden with them. And when you share their tears-when all you can do is cry with them-you’ll find it is a tremendously effective way to minister your compassion and love.

I once interviewed a pastor who had suffered the traumatic loss of his little son. This man told me that in the midst of his grieving, the people of his church did not understand or know how to weep with him. They would come to him and say, “Pastor, why are you crying? Don’t you have any faith?”

After a while this minister wrote a book about what he had learned during his sorrowful experience. He called it, Jonathan, You Left Too Soon. But the main lesson I learned from his experience was that in the day of sorrow, it’s okay to weep. In fact, for most people, it’s a really good way to cope with loss and grief and begin to heal the broken heart and crushed emotions. Tears can be tremendously therapeutic.

I know I have been made acutely aware of the value of tears. And I pray that God will make me willing to weep with those who weep, whether they cry tears of pain, heartache, sorrow…or joy! I encourage you to consider whether God can also use you in a ministry of tears.

Remember, though, that our tears will not -cannot-last long. The psalmist sang, Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning (Psalm 30:5).

I’m here to tell you that a great morning is coming soon, when we will all be in the presence of the Lord. Oh, what a glorious promise and steadfast hope! For on that glad day, God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away (Revelation 21:4).

No wonder Jesus said, Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh (Luke 6:21).


CHANGED LIVES-one at a time

Dear Jack and Rexella

I just want to say thank you a million times for you program on TBN Channel. I live in South Africa, Gauteng, Benoni and your program comes up on Thursday evenings. I agree with everything you say, and your message is an eye opener. Thank you for speaking the truth and thank you for not being shy for the gospel of Jesus Christ the Messiah. There must be more people like you!

Regards and love

Aletta P.

 

Dear brother Jack:

Thank you for sharing the truth. Your presentation tonight, July 17, was spellbinding. No matter how much I study the book of Revelations with your help, your sermons on TV make my hair on my arms stand up with excitement and anticipation.

I expect you realize that you are most likely the only man in the world that is preaching…unafraid…the truth.

May the Holy Spirit hold you well and safe now and always and protect your ministry upon which so many of us rely.

Blessings

David S.

Goderich


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