Weekly Newsletter – June 13, 2016
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
Revelation 17: 1- 18
Chapters 17 and 18 form another parenthesis. They are expositions of two verses previously discussed. Chapter 17 explains Revelation 14:8 and chapter 18 expounds Revelation 16:19. In Revelation 14:8 we read, And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
Likewise, in chapter 16, just concluded, we learned that great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath (verse 19). As we have already discussed, the Babylon of chapter 14 is a religious system, whereas the Babylon of chapter 16 is political. The chapter before us, then, is the story of the rise and fall of the ecumenical world church, while chapter 18 describes the destruction of a political system. Let’s begin our investigation of chapter 17 and discuss its prophetic implications, historically.
Verse 1: And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:
Here we see one of the seven angels who administered one of the seven judgments speaking to the disciple, John, inviting him to view the judgment of the great harlot who sitteth upon many waters. This phrase, many waters, speaks of religious control over humanity, internationally. Proof? Verse 15: The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
Verse 2: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.
Here we discover that this worldwide religious system holds both earth’s leaders and people within its grasp. The fornication committed is between these worldly leaders and the church. Remember that fornication, spiritually speaking, has to do with idolatry, including all its evil connotations and associations.
Spiritual fornication also has to do with Christianity embracing the world-leaping out of Christ’s arms into those of another lover. God’s Word instructs true Christians to be separated from the world (see Romans 12:2), specifically cautioning them not to fall in love with the world or anything that it contains (see 1 John 2:15). Those who disregard these commands are spiritual adulterers or fornicators. That’s why James 4:4 declares, Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Harlotry and whoredom, then, speak of idolatry and worldliness.
During the Tribulation hour, a vast international religious system (the great whore of verse 1) creates impure alignments with kings, rulers, and presidents in an unprecedented way. Her control is so overwhelming that humanity becomes mentally stupefied or hypnotically drugged as they are made drunk with the intoxicating brew of these religious/political alliances.
Verse 3: So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
At this point John, guided by the Holy Spirit, observes the woman (or world church) sitting upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. We saw this beast in chapter 13, verse 1: I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns. We immediately recognize him to be the Antichrist, who came to power through a confederation of Western nations pictured by the ten horns and ten toes discussed previously.
The only difference between the present text and verse 1 of chapter 13 is that the beast is now described as being scarlet coloured. Most commentators believe this reflects his bloody assault upon the world as he rises to power. He begins his reign with a fake peace pact (see Daniel 9:27) which he later breaks! As a result, millions are slaughtered during his rule. Now he bears the blood-red color of an executioner.
Verse 4: And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
As this world church on earth is described, please keep in mind that the true Church-the bride of Christ-is in heaven (chapter 4, verse 1). Her members were raptured from all nations and from many denominations. In fact, their song was recorded in chapter 5, verse 9: Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. The lyrics clearly prove that they trusted in the precious blood of Jesus for salvation. There is no other way (see 1 Peter 1:18, 19). Cain rejected the blood and tried to appease God with a vegetable offering (see Genesis 4:3), but God said, It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul (Leviticus 17:11). One cannot get to heaven by following the commandments of men (Matthew 15:9), observing tradition (see Mark 7:9), or as a result of works (see Titus 3:5). Thus, those who believed and obeyed God’s teachings concerning the blood of the Lamb are in heaven when the false church, the great whore that sitteth upon many waters, holds sway over the earth.
This false religious system of the Tribulation hour is a complete union of the church and the world. Its members are the leftovers from all denominations. They were either doctrinally or morally wrong. One is as bad as the other. The doctrinally wrong are described in 2 Peter 2:1 and 3: But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction…whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
The morally wrong are pictured in Jude, verses 821. Now we understand why theology and morality are so important! When God says, All have sinned (Romans 3:23), He means all. When He declares, The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), He means punishment. When He declares, The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin (1 John 1:7), He means just that! There are no two ways about it! God says what He means-and means what He says. If one rejects God’s Word, he will end up among this Tribulation crowd of self-indoctrinated religionists in a world church destined for destruction.
Secondly, if one says he is a Christian but continues to live in sin, the result will be the same even though his doctrinal theories may coincide with the true teachings of the Word. Yes, disobedience to revealed truth, as well as incorrect doctrine, keeps one from the presence of God for all eternity. This is why Titus 1:16 states: They profess that they know God [lip service]; but in works [daily living] they deny [God], being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate [counterfeit]. Therefore, the members of both groups remain on earth when Jesus calls His genuine children home in the twinkling of an eye. Then these leftovers from all denominations become members of the only religious body still in existence-the world church under the false prophet.
Looking at verse 4 once again, we notice that the woman or mother of the united world church is clothed in materials of purple and scarlet colour. This signifies rulership, for imperial Rome bedecked its leaders in such fashionable elegance. Strange, is it not, that ecclesiastical rulers have always desired temporal authority? They have sought to control the world as well as their parishioners.
Constantine, who became Emperor of Rome in 312 A.D. and eventually head of the church, is a perfect example of this power struggle which has continued to the present hour. Shades of Nicolaitanism! Remember the church of Ephesus in chapter 2. Question: Is such a goal scriptural? No! Jesus taught His disciples to pray, Thy kingdom come (Matthew 6:10). When that great event takes place in chapter 19, verse 16, then and only then, is a theocracy-the government of God-established upon earth. This position of leadership is reserved for the Lord Jesus Christ, and no mortal has any business taking His place. The throne belongs exclusively to the King of kings and Lord of lords.
The colors and jewels of verse 4 picture a church composed of prelates or leaders elegantly dressed in purple and scarlet (the colors of the emperors from the time of Constantine). They are also decked with gold and precious stones and pearls (a picture of wealth) and use idols in worship (pictured by the golden cup in the woman’s hand). The cup is full of (1) abominations and (2) filthiness.
Verse 5: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
Here we discover that the mother church has daughters. Her offspring are groups who either rejected the true teachings of the founder of Christendom or who had a counterfeit experience with the Son of God. They went through the motions but were never truly converted. Among them are cultists, apostates, and unconverted professors of religion-including Baptists, Catholics, Lutherans, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, and those who were members of a host of denominations. They never really knew the Lord (see Matthew 7:21-23). The fruit of daily living was spoiled. Now they are all united in one homogenized ecumenical monstrosity-the counterfeit church under the leadership of the false prophet. However, the true believers from many denominations are already on the glory side and were evacuated at the Rapture (see Revelation 4:1).
Friend, at the Judgment Day, no church-not even your church-will be the final standard of truth. Neither will tradition hold sway at the judgment bar of God. The only and absolute authority of truth, faith, and religious practice is God’s Holy Word (see 2 Timothy 3:16)! This is why the Lord Jesus himself said in Mark 7:7 and 13, Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered.
Verse 6: And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her I wondered with great admiration.
As John watches all the cunning antics of persecution this woman used and uses, he [wonders] with great admiration. This does not mean he admires the one who has so mercilessly destroyed so many. Instead, the original Greek is that John “wonders with a great wonder.” He is mystified.
Verse 7: And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her which hath the seven heads and ten horns.
The explanation begins in the next verse.
Verse 8: The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
The angel continues unfolding the mystery of the beast in verses 8 through 17. Then, in verse 18, the identity of the woman is revealed. Concerning the beast, the angel declares, The beast that thou sawest was [past tense], and is not [present tense]; and shall ascend [future tense] out of the bottomless pit. This is the same beast found in verse 3 and also in chapter 13, verse 1. The reason the beast was, and is not and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition is that, as mentioned during our study of chapter 13, verse 3, he is more than likely assassinated during the Tribulation hour-and thus, is not. Then Satan, the great imitator, resurrects him and enters the body of this human for the final forty-two months of the Tribulation. This explanation fulfills the statement, and yet is (verse 8). While he is deceased, the beast is in the place of departed evil spirits-the bottomless pit. At the time of his resurrection, he ascends out of this pit, only to eventually go back into perdition at the conclusion of his reign when Christ comes (at the Battle of Armageddon) and casts him into the lake of fire (chapter 19, verse 20). Verse 8 also tells us that those persons whose names [are] not written in the book of life, are emotionally stirred as they see the beast that was [alive], and is not [because of his assassination] and yet is [because of his resurrection] ruling again.
Verse 9: And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
This is a tremendous text. It locates, geographically, the final world power block and headquarters for the world church as well. Historically speaking, Rome is the only city situated on seven hills. The names of her seven peaks are (1) Aventine, (2) Caelian, (3) Capitoline, (4) Esquiline, (5) Palatine, (6) Quirinal, and (7) Viminal. There is no disputing the fact. The world church, sitting on these seven hills, heading up scores of denominations, rides to power on the back of the ten-horned Western federation of nations.
Verse 10: And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
As John receives this vision of the seven kings, five have already fallen. They were (1) Assyria, (2) Egypt, (3) Babylon, (4) Medo Persia, (5) Greece, (6) Rome, at the time John receives this revelation, and Number 7 is yet to come. He, of course, is the Antichrist whose reign will last briefly, or a short space.
Verse 11: And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
This verse is a thought-twister, but easily understood when one considers it carefully. Who is king number eight if there are only seven kings in the first place? Number eight is number seven resurrected! And the beast that was [before his assassination], and is not [because of his untimely death], even he is [because of his resurrection] the eighth. He is of the seven because Satan, who incarnated his body while dead, also motivated the other seven. As further proof that number eight is the resurrected Antichrist (number seven), we are again told that he will eventually go into perdition. This statement is also made concerning number seven in verse 8 as well as in our text-verse 11. King number seven and king number eight are one and the same.
Verse 12: And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
The ten horns have now become quite familiar to us. They may soon control the world. Communism, as we have learned, is not the final power block of history. Rather, this ten-toed Western alliance is. The power of these nations, however, will be for one hour, or for but a brief moment of time.
Verse 13: These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.
The final ten-nation Western federation-after the Antichrist ousts three of the original members and replaces them-becomes so unified that everything they possess, economically and militarily, is placed under the control of this world leader (see Daniel 7:8,24).
Verse 14: These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
This verse is fulfilled in chapter 19, verses 11 through 16, when the world’s armies gather together against the Lord and His anointed as pictured in Psalm 2:2: The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed. The Lamb (Christ) is the Lord of lords, and King of kings. The called, chosen, and faithful who accompany Him are the armies of heaven (chapter 19, verse 14) composed of the believers (the true Church) who were raptured out of the world in chapter 4, verse 1, and who then waited in heaven seven years to return with the Bridegroom.
Verse 15: And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
As explained in our discussion of verse 1, the woman sitting upon many waters is the world church who exercises religious control over mankind internationally.
Verse 16: And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.
The Antichrist eventually betrays his religious followers. They bowed and scraped to his image, but now he no longer wants to share the limelight and glory with them. Thus, the individual leaders of the countries in the ten-nation confederacy turn against the world church. They hate her, strip her of all possessions (the gold, precious stones, and pearls of verse 4), and destroy her by burning her remains to the ground. Who places such a plan of action in the hearts of these rulers? None other than God Almighty!
Verse 17: For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.
Imagine, God does it all! This portion of Scripture emphasizes the futility of politics. Despite the methods and manipulations of man, God’s plan always comes to pass. He sets up and knocks down world rulers at will (see Psalm 75:7). They are but pawns in the game of life (see Proverbs 21: 1). God’s will prevails regardless of what humans attempt to do. Christian, get souls saved! This is your God-given goal. Let the world spend time on temporal issues. The cause of Christ is eternal!
Verse 18: And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
This great end-time city is located within the European Union and proves that the political and religious power brokers exist together simultaneously. Since the world church forms at the time when ten Western nations unite-and both the European Economic Community (now the EU) and World Council of Churches began unity proceedings in 1948-Christ’s coming must be near. How long, O Lord, ere we shout that glad song, “Christ returneth, hallelujah!” Yes,”Hallelujah!” Amen!
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
PEACE IN A TROUBLED WORLD
In the light of all that is going on in our world today it may sound strange to hear that you can have peace in a troubled world. In our beloved country every day we have:
- 10 teens commit suicide
- 135,000 teens bring a gun to school
- 7,742 teens become sexually active
- 2,705 teen girls get pregnant
- 1,106 teen girls have abortions
- 623 teens get a sexually transmitted disease
- 211 teens are arrested for drug abuse
- 437 teens are arrested for drinking or drunk driving
- 1,512 teens drop out of school
- 1,629 teens are in adult jails
As shocking as this is, it is not only a national dilemma, but also a global plague. Jesus knew this situation would engulf the globe prior to His return by prophesying that “iniquity would abound” but He added “Let not your heart be troubled”. What did He mean by this reassuring statement of comfort?
I want to let you in on the greatest truth I know. Everything I can say about real peace is centered in this fact. Without it, none of us can ever be genuinely at rest.
This truth has transformed millions of people throughout the history of the world. It has made derelicts into saints, hypocrites into godly men and women, and sinners into children of God. It is the truth of salvation in Jesus Christ.
Throughout this study, we have touched on some priceless spiritual verities that have a direct bearing on how to deal with the issues of life that can cause us to feel baffled, bewildered-perhaps even befuddled. In fact, we might say that achieving genuine satisfaction is completely a spiritual issue. To me, satisfaction is the normal state of a healthy soul. A person who neglects his spiritual needs cut himself off from the possibility of knowing real and lasting peace and fulfillment.
The greatest spiritual truth of all is what God has done to redeem us from our sin. By giving His Son to die in our place, God has paid the price of our sin and is able to save us from the bondage and dissatisfaction that comes with it.
Let me clearly say that I am not speaking of religion. Many people who are religious know nothing about salvation. Religion is of human origin, and it almost always requires that we do something. God’s salvation, however, is entirely His work on our behalf. It requires absolutely nothing, since God has already accomplished all that is necessary. Our part is to simply accept it by faith.
A personal commitment
I had the privilege of conducting two wonderful interviews with the Reverend Peter Marshall. He was the co-author (with David Manuel) of two marvelous historical accounts of God’s plan for America and divine intervention in the founding of our nation-The Light and the Glory and From Sea to Shining Sea. Peter grew up in a marvelous Christian family. His father, the late Dr. Peter Marshall, was for many years chaplain of the United States Senate, and his mother, the late Catherine Marshall, is known and loved by millions for her many wonderful books.
I asked Peter what impact his distinguished parents had on his coming to Christ. He explained that they had made clear to him from his youth just what it means to be a Christian. As a result, he never took Christianity for granted, and he never assumed that just because his parents were well-known Christian leaders, he was automatically a Christian as well.
In fact, Peter told me it was not until he was 21 years of age that he felt he had really committed his life to the Lord. Although he had grown up surrounded by Christian teaching and in his head knew it was true, he had not yielded his heart in making a personal commitment to Jesus Christ.
“I graduated from college, and I was lost,” he told me. “I had no idea who I was or why I was here. I thought I was going into the Foreign Service, the United States Diplomatic Corps, but the Lord shut that door and it didn’t work out. So I had nothing. No plans. No goals. Nothing.
“Then I went to a Fellowship of Christian Athletes conference in Colorado in the summer of 1961 and heard Don Moomaw speak. I gave my life to the Lord as a result of that encounter. Two weeks later I was in seminary, and in 1965 I was ordained to the gospel ministry.”
God took Peter Marshall’s aimless life and gave him direction. And, as I interviewed him, Peter expressed his concern and burden that many people do not understand what Christianity really is.
“Christianity is not just running around trying to do great things for God,” he said. “We must understand that we need Jesus Christ because we are sinful human beings-weak and needy. In my pride, I had a hard time accepting this.”
I believe one of the reasons so many people-so many religious people-are dissatisfied is that they perceive religion as something we do for God. But true peace begins when we accept what God has done for us! The Bible says, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8,9).
You see, if salvation were something we could earn for ourselves, it would only contribute to our pride, for when we earned salvation, we would have much about which to brag and boast. Thus, what Peter Marshall says is absolutely correct-all of us are needy sinners-there is none righteous, no, not one…for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:10,23). Yes, all of us fall short of God’s standards, and if we are to receive salvation from our sins, we must receive it as a gift, not as a meritorious award for service.
What sin does to us
Some may have difficulty accepting the fact that all of us are sinners. We all know people who are good, moral, honest, generous, thoughtful human beings. Surely they are not sinners in the same way hardened criminals are sinners-are they?
From God’s perspective, the answer is “yes.” Because His standard is absolute holiness-one hundred percent perfection-the issue is not how many sins we commit or what kind of sins we commit, but if we have sinned at all. And Scripture is clear that none of us can honestly say we have never sinned.
In the presence of absolute holiness, even the smallest sin is as offensive and out of place as the darkest, most heinous act of evil one can imagine. Because God is so completely holy and uncompromisingly righteous, He cannot permit sin to exist in His presence. And the only just penalty for sin is death-For the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
But just as God is holy, righteous, and just, Scripture also informs us that He is a God of mercy and love. Because of His great love for us, He does not wish to condemn us without mercy. Since in His righteousness He cannot simply overlook sin, He found a way that He could make us righteous without compromising His own holiness. However, it cost Him the sacrifice of His Son!
Perhaps the most familiar verse in all of Scripture is John 3:16-For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. That verse, more than any other, has opened people’s eyes to the truth of God’s salvation and the way to real satisfaction.
What this all means is that you do not have to earn God’s approval. You do not have to work to make yourself righteous. You do not have to become deserving of God’s grace. All the work has been done by God himself, and He offers His grace freely to those who will receive it by faith!
Nothing gives a greater sense of personal worth than the truth that God loves us so much that He gave His Son to pay the price for our sins. And nothing on earth brings more complete satisfaction than the confidence of knowing you are secure in God’s salvation.
May I ask you some important personal questions? What are you counting on to make yourself acceptable to God? If you were to stand before Him and give an account of your life, what could you point to that might make you acceptable to Him? Would it be your own works of righteousness? I hope not, because Isaiah 64:6 says, all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. God cannot accept works of righteousness from unrighteous people. Would you point to your heritage? Scripture is clear that salvation is not anyone’s birthright. In fact, Jesus said, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3).
The only thing any of us can point to that makes us acceptable to God is the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. We must simply trust Him with childlike faith and receive His gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23).
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Dear Jack, and Rexella
I want to thank you for taking a stand on preaching the truth. Our nation has fallen from what our country was founded on "God, Jesus Christ, and the Bible”, and values as I am typing this I am praying for you.
I look forward listening to your broadcast.
Thank you for sharing your love for Jesus Christ, and providing me an extra lesson on wed. Night.
God Bless you Both
I just want to tell you that back in the late 1970’s when I was a young twenty year old, I when occasionally be flipping through the TV stations and would see the two of you talking about the Lord. But the mindset that I had at the time was not trying to hear what you had to say. But I must say my grandmother planted the seed when I was a young child. I would go to church with her and we would read the bible together and sing hymns. Now, I have been watching your tv program for well over 20 years and I am saved. Thank you for your teaching and continuing to water this flower. May God continue to bless both of you.
Love your sister in Christ.
HIGHLIGHTED PRODUCT OFFERS
Unprecedented blasphemy; apostasy; heresy; so-called Christian leaders utterly turning their backs on the Word of God.
What does it mean? What does the Bible say about this colossal falling-away from the faith? What does it signal about YOUR FUTURE?
Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe offer the astonishing answers to these and other riveting questions:
- What does the word apostasy actually mean? Where are we seeing it today?
- What is the “blasphemy law”? How have our U.S. leaders responded to it?
- How does the persecution of Christians around the world relate to the final signs pointing to the return of the Lord?
- How is it possible to determine whether someone is truly a Christian when they claim to be?
- And much more!
This book is a collection of 30 of the most powerful sermons that Dr. Jack Van Impe preached to millions during over 800 full-length crusades, and more than 260 mass citywide endeavors.