Weekly Newsletter – October 17, 2022
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
Listen to the Birds
I have a special fondness for birds, I enjoy seeing them fly, darting from tree to tree, soaring and wheeling about, riding the wind in joyous freedom.
And it’s fun to watch them splash in a puddle or pool of water, bathing themselves and carefully preening their feathers.
I have two feeders and a drinking bowl in my backyard, and the birds have discovered this safe haven. Besides sparrows, cardinals, robins, blackbirds, and other small songbirds, I’ve seen crows, doves, mallard ducks, and even Canadian Geese in my yard. Sometimes there will be several different kinds of birds there all at the same time.
I especially enjoy listening to the birds. More than any other creature, it seems to me they have learned to serve the Lord with gladness: [and] come before his presence with singing (Psalm 100:2).
When God created the fowl of the air on the fifth day of creation, He gave them a song. And virtually all types of birds make some kind of joyful noise — it seems like they’re always praising the Lord. I’ve seen them after a winter snowstorm, sitting on top of the feeders, thankfully chirping and singing because the food is there.
Jesus once referred to the sparrows, which many consider an ordinary little bird with no apparent value. But He, who values all His creatures, said not one of them falls to the ground without God noticing (see Matthew 10:29).
Luke records what the Lord said about the common crow. Consider the ravens; for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? (Luke 12:24).
Watching the birds and remembering what God has said about them has really been a blessing to Jack and me.
Lessons from the birds
There is much we can learn from our fine feathered friends. The Bible is filled with references to birds as symbols of what we humans ought to be or can do with God’s help.
On the top of the pole where our American flag flies there often is the image of an eagle, symbol of strength and majesty. The Bible tells us that if we wait upon the Lord, He will give us strength to overcome every difficulty and to mount up on wings, as the eagle (see Isaiah 40:31).
Genesis 8 tells us that when the ark landed on solid ground after the great flood, Noah sent out a dove to see if the land was habitable. The dove found no place to light and returned to the ark. A week later, Noah sent the dove out again and it returned in the evening with an olive branch in its beak. So Noah knew it would soon be safe to go out into the unknown.
Of course, it is no accident that the dove is symbolic of the Holy Spirit who wings His way over the abyss of man’s sinful past, bridged by the sacrificial ark of the cross of Christ, and leads all who will follow step by step into the Father’s new beginning.
God used a common barnyard rooster to deal with the heart of Peter during the last days of Jesus’ life. After Peter had boasted that he would stay close to the Lord no matter what happened or who turned against Him, Jesus told Peter that he would deny Him before the cock crowed the next morning.
The gospels tell the awful story of how Jesus was betrayed by Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane, then taken before Caiaphas the high priest to be sentenced to death. Warming himself by the fire at the edge of the angry mob, Peter was asked once, twice, three times if he knew or was a companion to this Jesus.
Once, twice, three times — with oaths — Peter denied knowing the Lord! And at that darkest hour, just before the dawn, a rooster crowed! Instantly Peter remembered his prideful boast and Jesus’ prophetic words… and he wept bitterly.
Of course, we know Peter repented and went on to become a leader in proclaiming the message of Christ’s death and Resurrection all across the known world.
Being fed by the birds
You may remember the story of how God used birds to answer the prayers of the Children of Israel. After wandering in the wilderness for many years and being fed on manna, the people cried out for meat. God caused coveys of quail to come near their camp until there was plenty to feed all the people.
The Old Testament tells of the Prophet Elijah being sent into the wilderness to wait beside the brook Cherith. Twice a day the Lord sent ravens to deliver his food. And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening (1 Kings 17:6).
Imagine depending on crows to deliver your breakfast and supper! I’m not sure I’d want to trust them with my food. But Elijah did… and he never went hungry.
Are birds good parents?
I’m certainly not an ornithological expert, but I’ve been impressed about the strong parental instinct birds seem to have. It’s fascinating to watch them building a nest, gathering twigs, straw, string, and grass to fashion a fragile but sturdy place to lay their eggs.
In some species, both father and mother bird take turns sitting on the nest, keeping the eggs safe and warm. And once the little ones come out of the eggs, the parents feed the babies until they grow large enough to fly.
I’ve seen mother birds fiercely attack other birds, even animals that prowled too close to their nest. In many instances, the mother seems willing to give her own life to protect her young.
During the time the baby birds are being incubated, then fed and cared for until they can fly away, nothing is more important to the mother bird. Her babies are the center of her life and the sole reason for her existence.
In our day, necessity sometimes forces both parents to work outside the home. Still, I can’t help feeling there are lessons both fathers and mothers can learn about parenting from the example of the birds. Most of all, we must understand how precious the lives of our children really are, worth any sacrifice to protect and nurture in the fear and admonition of God.
Once for a lifetime
I’m impressed with the instinct of birds to be good, faithful partners. I’ve heard that some species, including the turtle dove, mate once for a lifetime. Once a male and female come together, they stay with their mate and remain faithful to each other until separated by death.
Oh, that these beautiful creatures could teach the men and women of America the lessons of fidelity and faithfulness. In a society where there are more divorces being granted than new marriages performed, surely we need to turn again to the example of these beautiful creatures for instruction in living as God intended.
Listen, my friend, to the voices of the little birds, and hear God speaking to you today. Observe the life-style and the joy of these beautiful creatures and learn anew of God’s plan for your life.
A CLASSIC MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE
Verse 10: And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
If there were any portion of the Book of Revelation John would like to omit, this would be the verse. He has just done a foolish thing. He allowed himself to become so enamored with the angel delivering the message that he began worshipping a created being. Such recording of human weaknesses proves that God wrote the Bible, for man would have omitted his mistakes. God, however, records them in order to show the world that all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
As John bows his knee to this created being, the angel cries, “Don’t do it. Angels are but ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation (Hebrews 1:14). Get up! I am only a servant of God, as you are.”
John has just learned an important lesson. Have you? Beware of any religion that honors or reveres angels-including the angel Moroni of Mormonism. Such reverence is wrong: Let no man beguile you of your reward in…worshipping of angels (Colossians 2:18). Even the angel’s command in our text is, “worship God.” Thus, it is obvious that we are not to worship men, women, angels, or idols (see Exodus 20:4, 5). Worship God!
Verse 11: And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
Verse 12: His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself
Verse 13: And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
Verse 14: And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
Verse 15: And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
Verse 16: And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
These verses graphically portray the coming of Christ to earth. This event is called “The Revelation” among theologians because this is the moment the Lord reveals himself to the inhabitants of earth. The same scene was observed in chapter 11, verse 15, as well . Remember, chapters 12 through 19 simply repeat the materials presented in chapters 6 through 11.
For centuries, the world has scoffingly cried, Where is the promise of his coming? (2 Peter 3:4). Now the mocking abruptly ceases. Why? Breathtaking signs accompany the One who sits on this white horse-as He comes to judge and make war on the world: Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect [saved Jews and Tribulation saints] from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (Matthew 24:29-32).
The scene before us is a literal event because John sees heaven opened. This is thrilling. Heaven’s door is opened but twice in the Book of Revelation- once in chapter 4, verse 1, and now in chapter 19, verse 11. Chapter 4 pictures the Rapture; chapter 19 pictures the Revelation. The door was opened in chapter 4 to receive the saved; now the door is opened again in order that the saints may return with the rider on the white horse-the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Don’t let anyone tell you that there is but one appearing at Christ’s return. Two opened doors tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
The Rider in verse 12 has eyes… as a flame of fire, which are piercing and purging. He can immediately see through the sham and hypocrisy of men. These are the same eyes we viewed in chapter 1, verse 14. As King, Christ has on His head the crowns of royalty. He also has a special name that will only be exposed at the hour of His return. Until then He alone knows this name and its meaning.
In verse 13, we see that the Lord wears a vesture dipped in blood-a picture of the judgment He is bringing to earth. None can doubt that this Judge is anyone but the Lord Jesus Christ, for His name is called the Word of God. John often called Him by this name. In fact, he was the only New Testament writer to use this title. John 1:1 states: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Verse 14 adds, And the Word was made flesh. He again calls Christ the Word of life in 1 John 1:1.
At this moment John sees the Word of God coming in judgment. He also observes a great host called the armies [of] heaven following Him upon white horses. Notice that they come from heaven; they are not already present on earth. They are the saints who were raptured in chapter 4, verse 1-the Bride who made herself ready and [wore] fine linen, clean and white in verse 8 of this present study. Tens of thousands-yea, millions upon millions in number-avoided the Tribulation hour and are now returning with the King for the conflict at Armageddon. They are privileged to stand with Him as He comes to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him (Jude, verse 15). The time of reaping has arrived.
As Christ returns to subjugate the earth dwellers, He does so with a sword in His mouth (see verse 15). This sword is nothing less than the Word of God.
His Word always smites men in their consciences and lives. This is exactly what happened to the officers of the chief priests and Pharisees when they came to the Garden of Gethsemane, seeking Jesus, As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground (John 18:6). Oh, the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12).
We note in verse 15 that Christ and His Word alone smash the nations at Armageddon. The armies of heaven only observe as He treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. This moment brings the fulfillment of Daniel 2:34, which predicts that a stone…cut out without hands pulverizes the image-the ten-nation confederacy. Then the stone instantly expands and fills the entire earth with a new kingdom, never to be destroyed. Its leader is the King of kings and Lord of lords. No one can miss Him, for His vesture and thigh coverings bear His title-King of kings and Lord of lords. The King has come! Oh, hallelujah! The King has come!
Verse 17: And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;
Verse 18: That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
The devastating scene described in these verses is the result of the Battle of Armageddon (chapter 16, verse 16) fought in the valleys of Megiddo and Jehoshaphat, not Russia’s invasion of Israel (see Ezekiel 38 and 39). Russia made her move in the middle of the Tribulation hour. Why? The Antichrist came to power, made a false peace pact with the nations, and then broke it in the midst of the seven years (see Daniel 9:27). At that point Russia invaded the Holy Land, for she went up to the land of unwalled villages; [saying] I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely (Ezekiel 38:11).
Prior to the appearance of the Antichrist in chapter 13, the nation of Israel is not at rest or dwelling safely. This situation changes when he comes to power, takes control, and initiates his peace plan. Then Israel and all the world proclaim, “Peace, peace,” but it does not last, For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction [comes] upon them (1 Thessalonians 5:3). Russia quickly takes advantage of the opportunity and moves against Israel, for she is at rest, dwelling safely. Moscow’s act of aggression, however, proves to be her “Waterloo,” for she is destroyed by the hand of God (see Ezekiel 39:1 -3).
Conversely, the battle described in this present chapter occurs as God destroys the Antichrist and his ten-homed empire. The following passages vividly portray the terrible, catastrophic judgment which occurs in preparation for, and fulfillment of, Armageddon:
For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, 0 Lord. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down: for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more (Joel 3: 1, 2, 11-17).
Verses 14-20 of chapter 14, and verses 17-21 of chapter 16, already studied, also have to do with the Battle of Armageddon. Thus, we see that before the Marriage Supper of the Lamb becomes a reality, the supper of the great God occurs. This event begins as an angel summons all the fowls (or vultures) of heaven to gather together for a feast, For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together (Matthew 24:28). At this gathering they eat the flesh of deceased kings, captains, mighty men, horses, their riders, and all men from every rank and position of life. What a horrible nightmare as men suffer the consequences of their rebellion against God.
Finally the one who made life so miserable upon earth, who gave men a number (666), who would not let them buy or sell without the number of his name, and who had millions of believers beheaded because they refused his number, is judged by God himself!
Verse 19: And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
Verse 20: And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshiped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
What a conclusion! Two world leaders-one political, the other religious; one posing as God, the other promoting him-now discover that their charade is over. They are cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone-the final abode of all God haters and Christ-rejecters for time and eternity. A thousand years later, when Satan joins them (chapter 20, verse 10), they are still suffering torment day and night. Oh, who is foolish enough to preach immediate disintegration or annihilation in the light of such plain texts?
Verse 21: And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
The battle has ended. None is spared!
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
My name is Tony C. In the 70’s you came to Evansville, Indiana. I went to 1 of your sermons. I was 15 years old. I’ve never forgot what you said and I came forward that night.
I’m now almost 60 years old. I watch you show every time you’re on. I’ll never forget talking to you and Rexella, it wasn’t a very long talk but I remember it.
I’m so glad that you preach the truth and I can believe and count on your every word.
This country is in extreme trouble. When I see it I can’t help but to get upset. Then I listen to you and you put it all in prospective.
It must all happen as the Lord said.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
God bless you.
Thanks for never compromising.
God come quickly.
I enjoyed this newsletter so much! Thanks for all the letters you send! I have always enjoyed you and Jack! May God keep blessing you for all you do.
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