Weekly Newsletter – October 17, 2016
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
Will Russia invade Israel? If so, under
what circumstances? Also, clarify the
importance of the Israeli capture of
Jerusalem in 1967.
One of the most significant prophecies about the Middle East and the Rapture of the Church concerns Russia’s imminent invasion of Israel. In the previous newsletter, we addressed the issue of Israel becoming a nation. Why is that reality so vital to our discussion? Because eighteen times in Ezekiel 38-39, the prophet states that Russia will wage war against Israel. For nearly nineteen hundred years, there was no nation called Israel-thus no government and no specific piece of Middle East real estate that the Jews of the diaspora could call their own. Now you and I have lived to see Israel become a mighty nation, a people to be reckoned with in the commonwealth of nations. Therefore, when God’s Word foretells a Russian invasion of Israel, and we know that such a nation now exists, we can only assume that the coming of the Lord must be near. Ezekiel 38:1-2 states, “And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him.” Since we will study these names in detail later, I will not spend time attempting to prove that this refers to Russia. I simply want you to see, for now, that this is a northern enemy, for they come from the north (see Ezekiel 38:15; 39:2). Remember, Russia is due north of Israel. If one draws a line northward from Israel, he passes directly through Moscow. As this great end-time invasion begins, they will come against the mountains of Israel (Ezekiel 38:8). Verse 16 says, “Thou shalt come up against my people of Israel.” Verse 19: “Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel.” Ezekiel 39:2 says, “I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel.” Verse 4: “Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel. ” Verse 12: “And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them.”
Let me repeat that Russia’s invasion of Israel could not occur until Israel became a nation. There was no such nation, for two thousand years, until 1948. Thus, this event could not have occurred in times past. However, since Israel now exists as a viable, powerful nation (and has recaptured Jerusalem after twenty-five hundred years of dominance by Gentiles), and because Russia will move against Israel only when she is a nation, here is the thrilling scenario to follow-something that is already beginning to happen in front of our eyes today. Follow me closely. Ezekiel 36 and 37 describe the Jew returning to his own land and setting up his government. This occurred in 1948. In Ezekiel chapters 40-48, Messiah is back on earth-and that is when you and I have returned with Him to rule and reign for one thousand years (Revelation 20:4). Between Israel’s becoming a nation-which you and I have lived to see-and Messiah’s return to earth, a war with Russia takes place in the Middle East (read Ezekiel 38 and 39). The Jews are now home. Today Israel has its own government, monetary system, and well-fortified and -trained armed forces. Russia marches when Israel is a nation, followed by Messiah’s return. There is no doubt that we are living at the very edge of this hour when the sign concerning Russia’s march to the Middle East is about to be fulfilled. It could happen at any moment, followed by Christ’s return. This ancient Jewish teaching is found in Avoda Zara 3B. The clock is ticking toward midnight. Jesus is coming again, and the day of His return is at hand.
What Is the Importance of the Jews Finally Reclaiming Jerusalem?
Since 400 B.C. the city of Jerusalem has been handed over to one Gentile superpower after another. Here are a few of those ” transference” dates since A.D. 70 concerning Jerusalem: A.D. 70, the Romans; 614, the Persians; 637, Caliph Omar; 1099, the Crusaders; 1187, Saladin; 1250, the Egyptian Mamelukes; 1517, the Turks; 1917, the British; and finally, in 1967, the Jews captured Jerusalem. The event took place during the Six-Day War, from June 5 to 10 of that year, The Jewish control of Jerusalem is a most important sign because of Jesus’ statement in Luke 21:24. The disciples had asked Him, “When are you going to return to this earth?” Jesus replied, “[Jerusalem] shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” What was the Savior saying? Simply that the Jews would be scattered throughout the world and the city of Jerusalem controlled by Gentile powers until the time of His return. All the various Gentile groups-the Romans, the Persians, the Crusaders, the Egyptians, the Turks, and the English-controlled Jerusalem from A.D. 70 until May 1967.
Then, in June 1967 the Jews took control of Jerusalem for the first time in more than nineteen hundred years. When we tie this historical information to Ezekiel’s bones coming to life, the Jews returning from the Gentile nations, and the earlier prophecies already outlined, there can be only one conclusion: Christ must come to earth soon, primarily because during the third and final invasion of the Armageddon campaign, all nations come against Jerusalem to battle and to take it back from the Jews (Zechariah 14:2). This would have been impossible before 1967 since the Jewish people did not possess Jerusalem until that Six-Day War fought June 5-10,1967. Thus, when the final invasion during Armageddon occurs, Christ descends to the Mount of Olives to end the atrocities committed against Israel at Jerusalem and to then set up His kingdom (Zechariah 14:4).
What signs exist in Israel today that provide clues
to a rapidly approaching Tribulation period?
Of the hundreds of questions I am asked, issues related to the Great Tribulation always seem to top the list. To review, there is going to be a terrible period of tribulation. Jeremiah 30:7 says, “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it. ” Daniel 12:1 warns, “There shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation,” and Jesus Himself said in Matthew 24:21, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Although this event will not be the end of the world, it will bring death to one-half of our planet’s inhabitants: “By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone” (Revelation 9:18). When one combines the cumulative facts and figures from the Book of Revelation in 9:18 and 6:8, he discovers that nearly one-half of the earth’s population will be destroyed in the greatest fiery conflagration and pestilential judgment that have ever occurred in the history of mankind.
Again, however, let me remind you: This great war signals the coming of Jesus Christ to the earth, when He reveals Himself to the entire world and stops the carnage (Revelation 11:18). As we learned earlier, this event is called the Revelation, and it is the second phase of the Second Coming. We have also learned that prior to the Revelation, a Rapture-the evacuation of all saints, dead and living, from the earth-will occur (Revelation 4:1). Immediately following the Rapture, the Tribulation Hour, that period of seven years of unprecedented turmoil and trouble, begins. Then, at the end of the seven years, Jesus Christ comes back to the earth to set up His kingdom for a thousand years-called the Millennium.
Remember that all the signs of Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 17 and 21 point directly to the second phase of the Second Coming, and not to the Rapture. If there were not one sign in existence anywhere at this moment, we could still go home to be with our Lord, because all the signs could occur during the seven-year period described in chapters 6-18 of the Book of Revelation. However, since all the signs point to Christ’s return to the earth-not His coming in the clouds (Revelation 4:1) but His coming to the earth (Revelation 19:11), and since you and I as Christians return with Him to the earth-then every sign in Revelation 6-18 points to our coming back to the earth as well. This glorious event must occur soon since all signs are already in place.
Three Signs in Israel
For many decades Orthodox Jewish rabbis said: “When three signs appear in the Holy Land, it will be the hour for Messiah to return.” What are these three signs?
- Horseless carriages, or modern automobiles, running through the streets of Jerusalem.
- Jerusalem being defended by airplanes.
- The desert of Israel blossoming as a rose.
Have these things happened? I will leave the answers to you. When my wife, Rexella, and I last visited the Holy Land, we had an opportunity to preach, teach, and spend time with Jewish Christians in Jerusalem. So what I am about to share with you regarding the “signs in Israel” is not theoretical. As I began to observe them, I said, “Rexella, these are the signs that point to our return with Jesus Christ.” Since they are already in progress and are now being fulfilled, Jesus must be coming soon for His church in that glorious event called the Rapture. Let’s investigate these three signs that the rabbis have so long awaited.
Nahum 2:3-4 states, “The chariots shall be with flaming torches in the day of his [Messiah’s] preparation. . . . The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall justle one against another [accidents] in the broad ways: they shall seem like torches [headlights and taillights], they shall run like the lightnings [the speed of these vehicles running through the streets of Jerusalem].” This phenomenon is presently occurring!
Isaiah 31:5 tells us, “As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem.” Since A.D. 70 the much beleaguered city of Jerusalem has passed from one Gentile power to another. In 1517, the Turks took control and maintained their authority for exactly four hundred years. Then, in 1917, General Allenby of England marched into Jerusalem with his troops. The British had just discovered airplanes, and as they flew overhead, the Turks, never having seen such machines, became frightened, dropped their guns, and fled the city. Britain’s conquest of Jerusalem was one of the few battles in history won without weapons. Why? Because the Turks saw men flying as birds over Jerusalem. This event was the beginning of the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. Today, as one stands anywhere in the Holy Land, he sees jets flying overhead daily. There is no end to it. The prophecy is here. It is being fulfilled now!
Isaiah 35:1 promises, “The desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.” During our first visit to the Holy Land in the late 1950s, Rexella and I noticed that everywhere we looked the ground was dry, arid, barren, rocky, and mountainous. Today, however, when one visits the Holy Land, it is anything but arid. It has been wondrously transformed into hundreds of square miles of fertile, blooming, productive land. Truly, Isaiah’s promise has become a reality; the third major sign pointing to Messiah’s coming.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
Give Me Your Hand
In my daily Bible reading, I’ve been noticing how much is mentioned about the hands of our Lord. Again and again the Gospels relate how He reached out to people in their need and hurt and sorrow. And when He touched them, they were never the same again.
His hands healed the sick
After He began His earthly ministry, great multitudes thronged about Him wherever He went. Those who were sick, blind, and lame — even those marked for death with the curse of leprosy — came to Him seeking to be healed and made whole.
When the hands of Jesus touched them, pain and suffering ceased, diseases and infirmities were cured, and lives shattered and ruined by sickness were restored.
His hands fed the multitude
It was the hands of Jesus that fed the multitudes who followed Him out into the desert place to hear His words. When evening came, Christ’s disciples urged Him to send the people away. But Jesus saw their hunger and weariness and, in compassion, desired to minister to them.
Taking a few small loaves and fishes — barely enough for one small boy’s lunch — the Lord blessed the food. Then His hands began to break and divide the bread and fish into portions which He gave to His disciples to serve.
We’re told that 5,000 men were fed that day, not counting the women and children. And when everybody had eaten all they wanted, there were twelve baskets full of leftovers! The hands of Jesus not only provided enough…but plenty to spare.
His hands blessed the children
Loving children as I do, my heart is touched to read the biblical account of how the hands of Jesus blessed and comforted the little children. He specifically told His disciples not to prevent them from coming to Him. And in my mind’s eye, I can see the Lord sitting down and opening His arms to them. As they eagerly jostled about, perhaps He lifted a toddler into His lap, shook hands with an older lad, touched the cheek of a shy little girl. And as His gentle hands patted little shoulders and smoothed tousled hair, the Lord blessed these little ones. Somehow I think they probably never forgot that day when the hands of Jesus touched them.
The hands of the Master
No doubt the hands of Jesus were strong and powerful. Growing up around Joseph’s carpenter shop, He probably learned to hold and use various tools to shape and assemble wood into useful items. His hands knew how to work.
It was those strong hands that later would grasp a whip as an indignant Jesus drove the callous money changers out of the holy halls of the Temple. Those hands were instruments of righteousness and justice.
It was those hands that reached out to lift and save impetuous Peter who, after walking on the water toward Jesus, took his eyes off the Lord and began to sink.
There are so many other references to the hands of Jesus that we could talk about. But the single most important mention of Christ’s hands is when they were nailed to the cross.
A very dear, life-long friend gave me a beautiful wall plaque, which I have hanging in my kitchen. It says:
I asked Jesus, “How much do You love me?”
“This much,” He answered, and He stretched out His arms and died.
Greater love hath no man than this, said Jesus, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).
And who is Jesus’ friend? The deeply spiritual and very religious? The learned and respectable? The proud traditionalists?
No, our Lord said that He was called a friend of…sinners! (Luke 7:34).
The Apostle Paul reminds us that Christ died for the ungodly… in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6,8).
It is strangely and beautifully significant that the first person to benefit from Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary was a thief on the cross next to His! Think of it — the first person to whom the Lord stretched out His nail-pierced hands was someone totally unworthy of His love.
Some time ago my husband, Jack, and I were guests at a Christian fellowship dinner in another city. During the meal I got acquainted and talked with a dear little mother who sat next to me. After a while, with tears streaming down her cheeks, she leaned over and whispered the sad story of a wayward daughter who had run away from home, mounted up many debts, and fallen to the very depths of sin, even into a life of prostitution.
“I pray for her every day,” she said, “and every time I hear from her I beg her to come home. My husband doesn’t make a lot of money, so I got a job to help pay off the debts our daughter made. I’m doing everything I know how to do to help her. Please pray with me.”
When I reached out to take hold of this precious mother’s hands to comfort her, they were rough and calloused, scarred by long hours of hard work, week after month after year. Those hands were scarred by love…by a mother’s selfless sacrifice and desperate desire to reach and save her wayward daughter.
As I held those hands and prayed, I was reminded of Christ’s nail-scarred hands that also were pierced for that lost daughter…and for every lost sinner in the whole world. They were scarred for me…and for you!
Just as the hands of our Lord ministered to men and women, boys and girls, wherever He went during His time on earth, so we today can feel the touch of His hands in our daily lives. His power is still available to us today.
In our times of pain and suffering, He is still the Great Physician who lays His hands upon us and restores our bodies. Whether our healing comes through medication, the skill of a surgeon, or by the power of faith alone, we know that He is the source of all healing.
When we are hungry and experiencing a lack of supply — when we’re empty physically, emotionally, and spiritually — Christ’s hands will bless and multiply the smallest things we have to offer Him and make it sufficient to meet our need…with plenty to spare.
When we’ve tried and failed — when like Peter, we’re sinking into the depths of trials and tribulations, with no hope in sight — He will come to us, walking on the waters of our stormy sea. His hand will save us, lift us up, and lead us safely to the solid rock!
My challenge to you
Let us be challenged to reach out in His love into every man’s world with a helping hand. Let us emulate our Lord’s great example and use the resurrection power that flows through us to minister to the needs of those around us.
Never forget that for many people in the world, their first glimpse of Christ may be in you…the only hands that will touch them in love, that will comfort, lift, and bless them, may be your hands.
Reach out whenever you can, wherever you can, to whomever you can. However unlovely or unworthy the person you find may be, remember that Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient…and that He loves that individual just as much as He loves you.
Do not be afraid to stretch forth your hand to anybody. For you minister, not in your own strength and ability, but in His love. So when you reach out, it will not be just your hand that touches them, but the hand of God through you!
I love the beautiful gospel chorus that cries out
Oh, to be His hand extended,
Reaching out to the oppressed,
Let me touch Him, let me touch Jesus,
So that others may know and be blessed.
Look around you today and find someone who is hurting or needy, someone who is in trouble. Ask God to guide you to someone who needs Jesus.
When you find them, don’t hesitate or delay. Go to them with a smile filled with the light of His love and simply say…
“Give me your hand.”
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Dear Dr. Jack and Rexella,
I just wanted to write to you both and thank you for all of your years of hard work for The Lord and The Gospel.
I became a Christian in 1993 and The Lord introduced me to your program very early in my walk. I thank Him for leading me to you because He knew that I would want to know what was happening around me and that I would want to be prepared. I always prayed for Him to give me eyes to see as He sees and for wisdom and knowledge, discernment, understanding and Truth.
He began preparing me for these end days and He used me in a mighty way for 3 years. I truly believe that you planted seeds in my heart over the years that The Lord used for His glory in my life. You helped me sustain a passion for the times and knowing what’s going on around me, spiritually. God’s calendar and ways are not our ways.
I was watching you and Rexella this weekend and I just prayed for you both.
Thank you so much for being there all of these years to help me fulfill my destiny for Jesus. He loves me.
Jack – so glad you blasted the “feel good” churches. I heard Paul Washer describe some churches as “Six Flags over Jesus”, because they’re more worried about entertaining the congregation, than sharing the unbridled Word of God.
Also I’m glad you addressed the worship of money instead of the Lord.
God Bless you Jack & Rexella – keep on displaying the Truth of Christ!
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