Weekly Newsletter – March 3, 2016
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
Revelation 8:1 – 9:12
We now witness the opening of the seventh seal. This seal includes the seven trumpet judgments. They are so terrifying that, as they are opened, all the heavenly host becomes silent.
Verse 1: And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
Bob Ripley, in his “Believe It or Not” newspaper column, stated: “This verse proves there will be no women in heaven.” Ha! Seriously, what causes this breathtaking silence among angels and men? Answer-the contemplation of the forthcoming trumpet blasts.
Verse 2: And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
These trumpet judgments were prophesied by Enoch as recorded in the Book of Jude, verses 14 and 15, and were anticipated by the psalmist as well. That’s why Psalm 96:13 states: He cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth. Paul also confirmed these judgments in Acts 17:31, mentioning a time when the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men (Romans 1:18). Before the first trumpet sends forth its blast in verse 7, however, we witness an unusual prayer meeting in the next three verses.
Verse 3: And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
This angel is obviously the Lord Jesus Christ himself, because He ministers both to God and man (see 1 Timothy 2:5). The Saviour also appeared as the angel of the Lord in the Old Testament in many instances: He wrestled with Jacob, walked among Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, and made numerous other Old Testament visits to His people. This Mediator between God and men ever liveth to make intercession (Hebrews 7:25) and now stands at the altar adding incense (efficacy) to the prayers being offered by the saints of God on earth. They are imprecatory prayers for judgment, as in Revelation 6:10. They cry, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? At this point their prayers have reached the throne of God!
Verse 4: And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
Now prayers are answered, and judgment is prepared.
Verse 5: And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.
What a contrast from the solemn silence of verse 1. Now every noise imaginable is heard as judgment is prepared.
Verse 6:And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets pre-pared themselves to sound.
At this moment the heavenly military says, “Ready! Aim! Fire!” This is it!
Verse 7: The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
We have no difficulty understanding this verse literally. The same kind of judgment occurred in Exodus 9:22, 23: And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch forth thine hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt…And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt. So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. It happened then; now it happens again!
Verse 8: And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood;
This judgment is undoubtedly a giant meteor falling into the sea. Notice the phrase, as it were a mountain. This, again, is a symbolic description. Always take every word of the Bible literally unless God tells you to take it figuratively. This passage is an example of the latter. Something gigantic, as or like a mountain, is cast into the sea and causes a third part of the sea to become blood. A similar occurrence was experienced in Moses’ day: And the Lord spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone. And Moses and Aaron did so, as the Lord commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. And the fish that [were] in the river died (Exodus 7:19-21).
Verse 9: And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.
God’s second trumpet blast is so horrendous that one-third of the creatures in the sea die and a third part of the ships are destroyed. God only knows what horrendous plagues will result when nuclear war under, upon, and above the oceans takes place.
Verse 10: And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters,
Verse 11: And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
Strange that Chernobyl in the Ukrainian Bible means “Wormwood.” This judgment also occurred in Moses’ day: Behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood (Exodus 7:17). Now the phenomenon is repeated. A star, or meteor, soaring through space, speeds toward earth. When it strikes, one-third of our planet’s water supply becomes a deadly poison. Rivers, springs, and wells are affected. Something similar happened in decades past. A volcanic explosion in the Aleutian Islands on March 21, 1823, caused the waters in that area to become bitter and unfit for human consumption. This could easily happen again.
God created every star, knows their locations, and has named them. Job 9:9 states: [He] maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south. He also knows where the star, Wormwood, meaning “bitterness,” is located, because Jeremiah 9:15 reports, Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink (Jeremiah 9:15). It will happen!
Verse 12: And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.
Verse 13: And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!
This fourth judgment has to do with earth’s luminaries-the sun, moon, and stars. We note with interest that, on the fourth day of creation, God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven (Genesis 1:14). Now, at the blast of the fourth trumpet, one-third of the light produced by these bodies is extinguished. This, too, happened in Moses’ day: 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 (Exodus 10:21-23). It happened once; it will happen again!
The worst, however, is yet to come. An angel flying through the midst of heaven cries, Woe, woe, woe! This correlates with Daniel, chapter 9, where the Seventieth Week (discussed in Revelation, chapter 6) is described. The first three and one-half years of the Tribulation are not nearly as severe as the final three and one-half years. In Matthew 24:8, our Lord described the first half of this time period as the beginning of sorrows. However, He referred to the final three and one-half years as the great tribulation (Matthew 24:21). As the Tribulation hour approaches its climax, the judgments become more severe and the loss of life greater. This is especially noticed as one observes that two verses cover the scope of each of the first four trumpets. However, trumpet five requires twelve verses and trumpet six necessitates nine verses.
Verse 1: And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
The star John sees-a male personage-is without a doubt the devil of verse 11. The Greek tense in verse 1 is not fall – present tense, but fallen – past tense. Isaiah describes this fall in chapter 14, verses 12 through 14: How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most high. Satan’s fall came through pride. He wanted to be coequal with God. Jesus, in eternity past, beheld this fall and said to His seventy disciples, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven (Luke 10:18). This fallen one is presented with a key to the bottomless pit, and he uses it.
Verse 2: And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.
The term bottomless pit does not refer to one who has a voluminous appetite! Instead, the literal Greek renders it “the pit of the abyss.” The term is found nine times in the New Testament. In each case, it is a place to restrain or hold certain beings which have come under the judgment of God. For instance, when Christ went into the country of Gadarenes, He met a certain man who had a legion of demons. The demons within the man besought the Lord that he would not command them to go out into the deep [or abyss] (Luke 8:31). Their dread and terror of the pit (or abyss) was so great that they would rather become incarnated in swine. Oh, the pit of the abyss must be a terrible place!
How frightful, then, is the hour when the prison house of fallen angels is finally opened. The smoke ascending out of the pit darkens the sun and the air. Talk about pollution! The environmentalists had better get saved or they will be around for the greatest soot inundation in history. Then they will have a steady job picketing the portals of hell-but it will be too late.
Verse 3: And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power
These are not literal locusts. Their power is too great. They are most likely fallen angels who have been restrained and imprisoned in the bottomless pit since their fall (described in Genesis 6). These wicked beings, chained in darkness all of these centuries (see 2 Peter 2:4), can hardly wait to begin their acts of evil. They are told what they can and cannot do:
Verse 4: And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
In chapter 7, we saw multitudes sealed. The locusts, or fallen angels, are not allowed to touch the sealed, only the unsealed-those who have worshiped the Beast and accepted his number, 666. Note also that the locusts are not allowed to kill the unsealed (the unsaved). They are permitted only to torture them.
Verse 5: And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.
What an agonizing period of time this will be!
Verse 6: And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
The next four verses give us a vivid description of these locusts, or fallen angels.
Verse 7: And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle [this speaks of strength and speed]; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold [this speaks of royalty; a picture of conquerors], and their faces were as the faces of men [denoting intelligence] .
Verse 8: And they had hair as the hair of women [picturing attractiveness], and their teeth were as the teeth of lions [portraying cruelty].
Verse 9: And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron [picturing invincibility]; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle [denoting calamity].
Verse 10: And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.
These facts reinforce the gruesome portrait of life upon earth as the pit of the abyss is opened and the convicts of the ages-the fallen angels-are released. The next verse clearly identifies the fallen star who is the leader of these perverted angels.
Verse 11: And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
This king is named in both Hebrew and Greek. Abaddon is Hebrew. The term, found only this one time in our English Bible, is found six times in the Hebrew Bible: Job 26:6; 28:22; 31:12; Psalm 88:11; Proverbs 15:11; and 27:20. The Greek form, Apollyon, means “the destroyer”-a word that certainly describes Satan.
Verse 12: One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
Is God Listening?
Several years ago I contracted a dangerous viral infection which threatened the sight of my left eye and produced severe discomfort and pain. Just as I was getting a little better, I came down with pneumonia in my right lung.
During this time of unusual stress and trauma, Jack and I spent even more time than normal praying and seeking God. Thank the Lord, He heard and answered our prayers!
Experiencing those wearisome days when I might have been tempted to ask, “Does God care? Is He listening?”-I found new assurance that the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary (Isaiah 40:28). And I can truthfully say with the psalmist that I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry (Psalm 40:1).
While prayer has always been an important part of our lives and ministry, now it has become even more vital-an integral part of the very fabric of Jack’s life and mine. Prayer has become as natural as breathing to me, and has carried me into the Father’s presence where I draw directly from His unlimited strength.
In the times of testing I often felt as if the Lord comforted me by saying, “Pray.” And in saying “Come to me,” He also said, “Wait patiently.” It has been my experience that life’s difficulties may sometimes be meant for the strengthening of one’s heart and soul.
The power of prayer
When we enter into prayer, we enter into the realm of divine omnipotence and tap into the unlimited power of God. Prayer leaps over boundaries, stops at no distances, and balks at no obstacles. No wonder Jesus said, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible (Mark 10:27).
The late Dr. M. R. DeHaan recognized the tremendous force God placed in the hands of His people through prayer. DeHaan said, “I would far rather have the power of prayer to move the powers of heaven, than to have the power of preaching to move the masses on earth.”
While some of us may not have the gift of preaching or the anointed eloquence to proclaim the gospel to all who will hear-all of us do have the power of prayer at our disposal. We can commune directly with our Creator, and cry out to the God of the universe with the steadfast assurance that HE IS LISTENING… and He will answer.
Why, then, do we go about laden with burdens too heavy to bear? Why do we endure overwhelming sorrows and pain? Why do we attempt to make the best of living with want and lack? The Lord gently scolds us for failing to seek His help by saying, Ye have not, because ye ask not (James 4:2).
I love the grand old gospel song that asks, “Are you weary, are you heavy-hearted?” then responds, “Tell it to Jesus, Tell it to Jesus!” On and on the song goes, listing man’s most common troubles and fears, and always reminding, urging, commanding-“Tell it to Jesus alone!”
God has invited us to come to Him with our needs and burdens. Jesus said, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened (Matthew 7:7).
Are the answers you need being given? Have you asked?
Are you finding the solutions to life’s problems? Are you seeking?
Are the doors of opportunity being opened to you? Are you knocking?
God is ready and willing to meet your every need. He is more than enough for all your problems. But to receive what He wants you to have, you have to take the first step. Have you ever taught your children to come to you for assistance with their needs? Even though you sometimes knew what they needed before they asked, have you ever waited until they made their petition to you?
Jesus said, If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? (Matthew 7:11).
So we need to learn to ask-we need to be sure to make our petitions known to God through prayer.
Pray in faith
Then, too, we must pray with faith. Some people feel their faith is too weak, but I believe, with the Apostle Paul, that God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith (Romans 12:3). If our faith comes from God-if He has provided it for us, then we have enough…and it is sufficient!
When in the midst of suffering and in need of healing, many of us may find it difficult to receive healing directly from the hand of God. But the Lord often uses other hands, other instruments to meet our need. Often healing comes through the channel of doctors and medicine. Depending on such healing aids is not necessarily a lack of faith.
An old motto I’ve heard suggests that we should work as though everything depended on us, but pray as if everything depended on God. Perhaps this is the perfect blending of faith and works endorsed by the Apostle James (see 2:20-26).
I thank God for the fine doctors and “miracle” drugs employed in my treatment during my illness. But I am absolutely convinced that prayer helped speed my healing by making my body more receptive to the treatment than it ordinarily would have been.
I recovered with no lasting ill effects, no scars, no permanent damage. Yet, another lady with almost the same condition, being treated by the same doctor, with the same medication, did experience facial scarring and ongoing trauma.
Is God really interested in our individual needs and problems? Aren’t our personal difficulties too small to bring to the attention of the Almighty? Isn’t He preoccupied with wars and cataclysmic events, interested only in global and universal affairs?
Not at all! Nothing is too great or too small to bring to the Lord. He knows! He sees! He cares! Oh, yes, my friend. He is listening…and He will answer.
I know this-when our own strength and provision fail, prayer helps us tap into an inexhaustible divine supply. And it is undeniably true that more miracles are wrought by prayer than this world could ever imagine.
The Holy Spirit intercedes
Dr. Van Impe and I are finding that when we pray, the Holy Spirit directs us and helps us to pray. We do not have to depend on long prayer lists and “vain repetitions” that become meaningless rituals (see Matthew 6:7).
There are times when I feel so overwhelmed by needs or challenges before me that I don’t even know how to pray. But the Holy Spirit does-and He ministers through me to touch the heart of God. Paul wrote, Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit [himself] maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered (Romans 8:26).
There have been times when I knelt to pray and could only weep-I couldn’t find the words to express what was inside. I would cry out, “Oh God, I don’t know how to put this because I’m so burdened. ” What a comfort to know that the Holy Spirit went right on interceding for me with groanings and expressions too deep to be uttered.
And sooner or later, as I waited before God on my knees, that deep peace that passes all understanding would sweep over me, and my troubled spirit would be at rest. Once again I would have the blessed assurance of knowing that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
My friend, what God has done for me, He will do for you. The Lord is ready to minister to you in every part of your life. He is listening.
TAKE TIME TO PRAY
I got up quite early one morning
And rushed right into the day;
I had so much to accomplish
I took no time out to pray.
The problems just tumbled about me,
And heavier came every task;
“Why doesn’t God help me,” I wondered,
He said, “Why, you didn’t ask!”
I saw naught of joy or of beauty-
The day sped on, gray and bleak;
I asked, “Why won’t the Lord show me?”
He said, “But you didn’t seek!”
I tried to come into God’s presence;
I used all my keys at the lock,
God gently, lovingly chided,
“My child, why didn’t you knock?”
I woke up quite early this morning
And paused ere entering the day;
There was so much to accomplish
I HAD TO TAKE TIME TO PRAY!
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
I just wanted to thank you Dr. Van Impe for your continued stand on the Bible no matter what. You all and your ministry continue to be in my prayers daily. I look forward to watching your program every week.
I cannot thank you and Rexella and your staff enough for your program and all your teachings. You are truly a man of God who stands firm on the Word of God and will not let anything or anyone stop you from doing the work He has given you to do and I am honored to help support you. I look forward to meeting you and everyone at Jack Van Impe so I can thank you all personally.
In God’s Love Always
D. M. H.
Hello Pastors Jack & Rexella
I so look forward to your emails. You give me such hope and strength when the world we live in tears us down each day.
I watch your TV shows weekly and always look for your messages and information that keeps me in touch and ready for the rapture. Oh, how I am ready!!! This world is not meant for us Christians, this is not our home. We look forward to our heavenly life, being the Bride of Christ. Bring on the rapture, followed by the earth’s cleansing.
God Bless you both,
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