Weekly Newsletter – June 6, 2016
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
Fifth bowl judgment
Verse 10: And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,
Verse 11: And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
Whereas the fourth judgment produced unusual brightness through the scorching rays of the sun, the fifth bowl unleashes darkness upon the very throne of the Antichrist and throughout his empire. This could certainly be related to the shortening of the days and lengthening of the nights, as already described. Whatever the darkness is, we take it to be literal as was the Egyptian plague described in Exodus 10:2123: And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days: They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.
What a thrilling moment for the saints on earth! They see the satanically-controlled or devil-incarnated leader humiliated internationally as the power of God is unleashed upon his seat of government. This scene is equated with the “the day of the Lord.” The day of the Lord is darkness, and not light (Amos 5:18). Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like [militarily], neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations (Joel 2:1, 2).
Who is the military colossus that produces such darkness and gloominess in the last days? Russia! But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great [frightful] things (Joel 2:20). The only nation in the world north of Israel with a barren area and two oceans surrounding it is Russia. This is the same nation that comes against Israel from the north in Ezekiel 38:15 and is known by the names Magog, Meshech, Tubal, and Rosh. How near it all appears!
In our text, the Day of the Lord has arrived. The wicked gnaw their tongues for pain, but continue blaspheming the God of heaven. Apparently, no amount of punishment for sin can change some people. They repented not. Don’t let it happen to you!
Sixth bowl judgment
Verse 12: And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
Verse 13: And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
Verse 14: For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
Verse 15: Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
Verse 16: And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
The sixth trumpet judgment should be recalled in the light of the sixth tipped bowl. There is a striking similarity. Chapter 9, verses 13-18, depicts the sixth angel voicing his commands. As he does, four angels are loosed from the great river Euphrates-the area of present-day Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Wow! A total of two hundred million troops (9:16) appear in the Middle East from the Orient. This has to be the largest assemblage of military men in the annals of history!
In the text before us (16:12), we witness a miraculous drying up of the Euphrates River in order that the kings of the east might cross over unhindered. The word kings pictures the leaders of troops. They cross the Euphrates in order to participate in the greatest Mid-East confrontation ever-the Battle of Armageddon! Actually, the conflict is a fight against the Lord and His hosts and will be discussed in detail when we arrive at its explanation point-chapter 19, verses 11-16. Upon their arrival in the Holy Land, these oriental kings or rulers join with the leaders of other nations for the war of wars as predicted in Psalm 2:2-4: The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
How near is Armageddon? Bear in mind that both chapters 9 and 16 mention the Euphrates River as a focal point in this war. Keep your eyes on the Mideast-especially Iran, Iraq, and Syria-in the days ahead. The Euphrates was jointly theirs when these nations were called Persia. Thus, Iran, Iraq, and Syria are a prominent identification point for the end-time war.
Between the sixth and seventh seal and trumpet judgments, we encountered parenthetical utterances. Now we find another parenthesis between the sixth and seventh bowl judgments. This we shall consider from verses 13-16, already quoted.
Verse 13 reveals three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouths of (1) the dragon (Satan), (2) the beast (Antichrist), and (3) the false prophet (head of the world church). What we see, then, is an unholy trinity controlled by the power of evil spirits in an age of occultism, as explained in chapter 9, verses 20 and 21. The symbolism of frogs (for the text says “like frogs”) speaks of uncleanness. The plague of frogs in Egypt produced an obnoxious stench that filled the land with indescribable odors and filth (see Exodus 8:14). Thus, the picture is clear. The counterfeit trinity-the devil, the Antichrist, and the false prophet-produce supernatural miracles through the power of the devil and his demonic spirits, thus convincing the kings of the earth that these men are gods. Because of it, the kings willingly follow them to the Middle East for the great day of God Almighty, which is Armageddon. The entire situation reeks in God’s nostrils.
Verse 15 is a pause or lull before the storm. God says He will come as a thief. This again proves that the Church is not present, for that day shall not overtake believers as a thief (see 1 Thessalonians 5:4). The words of verse 15, then, constitute a final admonition to the Tribulation saints, telling them to watch for His coming and to continue walking in pathways of holiness. The terms watcheth and garments refer to slothfulness and carelessness, spiritually speaking. Let’s prove this. In Christ’s day, a one-piece garment was removed at bedtime. It was worn only during waking hours. Here the Lord tells the final group or gleaning of Tribulation saints to watch, for in so doing they will be awake and clothed. The command is to be prepared. Preparation voids their being found naked and ashamed.
The same is true for believers today. When Jesus comes, multitudes will stand at the Judgment Seat naked (without rewards) and ashamed, because they were not watching. Heed the warning of 1 John 2:28: And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
Verse 16 names the location of the great day of God Almighty: Armageddon or “the mount of Megiddo”-the place where numerous battles have occurred throughout history. Armageddon will also be the scene of the final battle when the winepress of the wrath of God is released upon the nations.
Seventh bowl judgment
Verse 17: And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.
Verse 18: And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
Verse 19: And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.
Verse 20: And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
Verse 21: And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.
Satan is the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2). This is why we wrestle… against [evil spirits] in high places (Ephesians 6: 12). The seventh angel, in pouring out his bowl into the air, destroys the last traces of Satan’s abiding place. Armageddon, as will be explained in chapter 19, also destroys every nook and cranny where Satan has had a resting place. As this occurs, a voice out of the temple of heaven victoriously shouts, “It is done!” The twenty-one judgments are completed.
Interestingly, when Christ bore the judgment for our sins, He cried, It is finished. Now, as unregenerate mankind pays the price for their sin of not repenting and allowing Christ to bear their load, a voice from heaven again cries, It is finished. There will be no further judgments. Judgment number twenty-one is the finale.
The seventh outpoured bowl produces thunders, lightnings, and the most devastating earthquake ever to occur upon earth. The Prophet Haggai undoubtedly predicted this when he stated: For thus saith the Lord of hosts.. .1 will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations [Christ] shall come (Haggai 2:6, 7).
One should be certain to note that the final bowl judgment does not bring about the end of the world. Instead, the Lord Jesus Christ returns at this time, establishes His earthly kingdom, and rules for one thousand years (chapter 20, verse 4). Still this is the end of civilization as we have known it. The destruction divides the great city (Jerusalem) into three parts and causes every major city in all nations to fall. In addition, every island flees away and mountains become dislocated, even to the point of disappearing into the oceans. The worst judgment is reserved for Babylon, which receives the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. A detailed study of Babylon’s demise will be conducted in chapter 18.
The climax is the raining down from heaven of hailstones weighing from 86 to 120 pounds. The Greek talent weighed 86 pounds, the Troy talent 96 pounds, and the Jewish talent 120 pounds. Whatever measurement is used, this hailstorm will do more than dent cars and demolish homes. It will literally pulverize everything in sight.
In spite of this plague, the inhabitants of earth continue calling God dirty names. Men never learn. Finally they must die and suffer eternal banishment from God in a fiery hell. Even then they weep and gnash their teeth (see Matthew 8:12). Although weeping denotes sorrow, the gnashing of teeth depicts cursing. No wonder God’s Word says that the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever (Revelation 14:11).
May none of this ever be a part of your experience. Make certain you have gotten in on the first “It is finished” cry of Jesus Christ upon the cross of Calvary. Do not keep hesitating only to finally hear the “It is done” wail of judgment number twenty-one. Christ died for you, shed His blood for the remission of your sins, and He longs to save you.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
Dealing With Depression
In the late nineteenth century, a man suffering from deep depression went to see a London psychiatrist. For two hours, he poured out his soul, trying desperately to explain the sense of futility that overwhelmed him. He hoped fervently that as he talked, his feeling of emptiness and desperation would somehow depart from him along with his words. He described his drained emotions and state of constant turmoil, begging the psychiatrist to say or do something that would release him from his misery and bondage.
The psychiatrist listened knowingly. He had heard the same story many times before. In fact, he shared many of the same feelings himself but passed them off as hazards of his profession. “I am going to prescribe a rather unorthodox remedy for you,” he told the man. “I want you to visit the circus.”
The man looked up inquisitively.
“You need to laugh,” the psychiatrist continued, “and the circus is the best place to do that.”
“I don’t really think that will help me- ” the man began.
“Nonsense!” the doctor interrupted. “I went there myself recently. The whole experience was like a tonic to me.”
“But you see–“
“There is one particularly humorous fellow playing there-Grimaldi, the clown. Surely you’ve heard of him.”
“Oh yes, but-“
“Why, he can make anyone laugh, and I promise it will do you much good to see him.” The psychiatrist looked at his patient, whose sad eyes were beginning to form large tears.
“You don’t understand,” the man said.
“Of course, I do,” replied the psychiatrist. “I’ve just spent two hours listening to you. You’re suffering from depression. You could use something to make you laugh. Go see this fellow, Grimaldi.”
“I am trying to tell you, sir. I am Grimaldi. Those antics you see are only a performance. That smile is painted on! Inside I am a miserable, empty man.”
When success is not enough
The world is filled with miserable, empty, depressed people. Literally millions of Americans attempt suicide each year, playing out their dissatisfaction to its ultimate conclusion. (We’ve talked about this earlier.) The statistics are shocking. Suicide is prevalent in every age group and social class but occurs more frequently in the upper-income brackets than in any other social stratum. Clearly, satisfaction cannot be guaranteed by money, prestige, fame, or even youth.
The shifting sands of popular opinion will never provide inner stability. Imagine how you would feel if you were depending on the world’s acclaim to ensure your feelings of well-being as an actor and you read in the latest TV Guide that you were “too old, too tall, and too fat” for a certain part. Of one actress in a widely hailed television special it was written that she was “lazy” and “relying on primitive skills.” That could deflate one’s ego incredibly fast.
If your whole idea of satisfaction and happiness in this troubled world was linked to your performance (or whatever your given role in the world), this type of criticism could send you into an emotional tailspin. It happens all the time. It accounts in part, researchers tell us, for the growing rate of suicides among businessmen and women. Suicide among artists and writers is quite common, and executive suicides are on the increase. Dentists lead all professions in killing themselves, followed closely by psychiatrists. And doctors are also becoming suicidal with increasing frequency. What leads successful people such as these to this kind of demise?
Dr. Herbert Klemme, director of the Division of Industrial Mental Health at the Menninger Foundation, has suggested that as a person reaches the crest of life, after age 35 or so, he begins to struggle with the inevitability of his own death. He has to revise his life goals in terms of what is still possible to do. He has to be more realistic and may have to settle for a little less than he had hoped to achieve. For the person who is not reaching the goals he has set himself, the efforts can be unsettling or even devastating.
Intensely driven individuals are often very ambitious and have immense ego ideal aspirations. Oftentimes they find it difficult to relax and may have an almost total lack of a sense of humor. Living under this driving pressure to succeed, they have little optimism and easily despair.
Why is depression such a pervasive force in contemporary society? Why do so many who seem to have all they could want choose to end their own lives? Why is it that with all the technological advances of the past generation, depression and dissatisfaction continue to rule the hearts and minds of the vast majority?
The answer is clear-the source of real satisfaction and overcoming depression is a strong, abiding, personal relationship with a loving and merciful heavenly Father. No technology every developed, no amount of money, no amount of recognition or prestige, no device or drug designed by man can ever take the place of knowing God. I am convinced that much of the depression among people in our society is directly traceable to a deep spiritual void in their lives-a void that only the Lord himself can fill. The philosopher Pascal called it “a God-shaped vacuum in every man.”
How to receive your heart’s desires
Psalm 37 is a rich passage of Scripture, written by David during a time when he was struggling with depression. He wrote:
Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass (verses 4, 5).
Contained in those short phrases is the answer to depression-Delight thyself…in the Lord. They also reveal a wonderful promise that deals with the challenge of dissatisfaction-He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
What does it mean to delight yourself in the Lord? Simply to turn your focus away from yourself, or, in the words of the apostle Paul, Set your affection of things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:2). It means to make your relationship with God the central issue in your life-to desire to know Him, fellowship with Him, and live for His glory more than anything else.
I believe there is a dual meaning to the promise that God will give us our hearts’ desires. First, it means that He will fulfill our deepest longings-not the desires we have for things, but our desire for spiritual wholeness. Every human being, whether he is aware of it or not, has deep spiritual needs, and only God can satisfy them. He does that for those who delight themselves in Him.
The promise also means that God will place new desires and aspirations in our hearts. When He makes us spiritually whole, He gives us new priorities, new values-new desires. He gives us holy desires, desires for spiritual blessings, desires that only He can fulfill. And He delights in fulfilling them.
Sometimes, an experience is so dramatic and poignant that I am reminded anew of how amazing God’s love for us really is, and how wonderfully timely His grace is to those who need it most. Such an incident occurred one night several years ago in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We were conducting a citywide meeting there, and I was on the platform prior to the service getting the music ready. Suddenly, I noticed one of our counselors motioning that he would like to speak to me. He seemed to have something urgent to say, so I started a tape of background music and turned my attention to him.
“My wife and I were on our way to the service, when we saw a young woman jump from the bridge near the auditorium,” he told me breathlessly. “We rushed to the edge of the river and saw that she was struggling to get out of the water.”
My heart was pounding as I listened. He continued, “She made her way up to the shore, and my wife held her in her arms while I ran and phoned for an ambulance. By the time I had returned, my wife had told her about God’s love for her and Jesus’ death on the cross for people just like her.” The man told me that there, beside what could have been her watery grave; she found everlasting life by trusting Christ.
God’s timing was perfect. Not only did that couple arrive at the bridge just in time to save the woman’s life, but according to God’s perfect plan, they were able to give her something to live for as well. The salvation she received that night was not only salvation from a watery grave, but also salvation from an eternity apart from God.
Depression and dissatisfaction are not necessarily limited to those who do not know the Lord or who are walking out of His will. Interestingly, the great prophet Elijah also encountered this problem. Even more amazing is the fact that Elijah’s depression hit him just after a great spiritual victory. In 1 Kings 18, we see Elijah winning a great contest against the prophets of Baal. God was vindicated, and the false prophets were destroyed. Yet in chapter 19, just days after this victory, we find Elijah pleading with God to take his life.
Part of Elijah’s problem, I’m sure, was that he was physically and emotionally exhausted. Therefore, the first thing God did was allow him to eat, sleep, and regain his strength (verses 4-9). Then, God spoke to him, listened to his complaints, encouraged him, and sent him right back to work! We can learn much from Elijah’s battle with depression.
Physical causes for depression
First, depression may have a physical cause. Beware-Satan loves to take advantage of us when we become physically exhausted. Therefore, we should take time daily to exercise, rest, and guard our health by eating properly. I interviewed Judy McFarland twice-Judy and her mother Gladys Lindberg co-authored the book, Take Charge of Your Health. She helped me understand the relationship between good physical health and good mental and emotional health. It’s terribly important. God has equipped our bodies with a wonderful healing system capable of handling almost any condition-provided it is given the nutritional support it needs. Judy says one essential fact must be understood if people are to maintain physical and emotional health-the state of their nutrition directly influences their bio-chemistry and their immunological system. There are many misunderstood health problems that go misdiagnosed because a lot of medical people still refuse to recognize the correlation between nutrition and health.
I’m glad that Jack and I recognized this long ago. Both of us enjoy to exercise regularly. And we know that the stress and wear and tear on our bodies caused by the kind of lives most of us lead today necessitates that we eat properly. Also, because there are so many contaminants in the environment and in the foods we all consume that we urge people to pay attention to well-informed people like Judy and her mother Gladys Lindberg (highly respected nutritionists living on the West Coast). When we take care of our bodies we are cooperating with the Creator. There is much said in the Bible on this important subject.
Spiritual causes of depression
Second, you may be attempting to wage the battle of life totally in the flesh, leaving God, His providence, and His power out of the picture. All of us must guard against running counter to or ahead of the Lord. I have long cherished and drawn comfort from the blessed promise contained in Proverbs 3:5, 6-Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Yes, we must allow Him to do the leading, and as we follow, refusing to be discouraged by fear or failure, we will find we can handle the stressful situations that come into our lives that might otherwise leave us depressed and overwhelmed.
Those who know the Lord should be the most satisfied in all the world. This isn’t always the case, however, and sadly, is a poor commentary on our relationship to the very One who provides help and hope. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that we don’t want to admit that these “black nights of the soul” do come to us, and when they do we fail to turn to the Lord, committing our way to Him, trusting Him, and acknowledging that we need His help and direction.
Go to the top for help
Third, and finally, once you have recognized that you have a problem, don’t give up and simply drown in your depression. Realize that you need help, consider the causes, and then begin looking for answers.
If the problem is physical, get medical help immediately.
If it is spiritual, take it to the Lord. Remember His compassionate invitation in Matthew 11:28, given to everyone-Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. If personal counseling is required, start with your pastor. Or if the problem seems to be unusually deep seated, see a Christian psychologist or psychiatrist.
Above all, don’t make the mistake of taking comfort in self-pity-of thinking that you are alone. Elijah did. He said, I, even I only, am left (1 Kings 19:10). But he was not really alone. God was on his side. Furthermore, God reminded him that there were seven thousand faithful people in Israel who had not bowed the knee to Baal-and they all were looking to Elijah for leadership! What an encouraging motivation to overcome disillusionment and depression.
Remember, somebody needs your help and leadership, too. You cannot afford to dwell in the pits of self-pity and depression. You must look beyond yourself, past your problems, to God who is greater than them all. His love for you is deep and unending, and if you trust Him-if you delight yourself in Him-He will give you the desires of your heart. That is His unfaltering promise.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Dear Jack and Rexella:
I have been an avid fan of your work. I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for giving the good word. Your message is strong and is exactly what the world needs to hear. There is a lot of evil out there and most are afraid to address it. The way you tackle it is nothing more than a blessing. I was very sad when you were in your coma, but was elated when I saw that you woke up. The world needs the truth and you provide beautifully. I love you guys. Keep doing what you’re doing and you know you will always have a fan in me. God bless you.
S. C. D.
I just saw your latest program…..I am always so blessed by it. I usually watch it on Tuesdays or Wednesday’s…on the computer. Sometimes when I feel sorry for myself…I will go watch the program and feel so uplifted. It’s nice to know people who are so concerned with the lost that they will reach out to others to help them from going to hell. I will continue to pray for you both that you will be here when the rapture happens.
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