Weekly Newsletter – October 2, 2015
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
Jerusalem means “city of peace” or “foundation of peace.”
But the history of Jerusalem is one of war and destruction.
The sounds of battle, the clash of arms, have been heard in Jerusalem through the centuries. From the siege of David in 1000 B.C. to the Six-Day War of 1967, the city of peace has experienced forty-six sieges and thirty-two partial destructions. It has been burned to the ground five times, yet has always risen from the ashes. It has been the scene of four wars in the past twenty-five years. Today it is the site of the most volatile political, religious, and military problem in the entire world.
The Jewish cry for peace in Jerusalem is sincere, finding its roots in the promise of peace for the Jews given through Moses: “And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land” (Lev. 26:6).
The Jews were instructed to pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee (Ps. 122:6-8).
As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the LORD shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity: but peace shall be upon Israel (Ps. 125:5).
Yea, thou shalt see thy children’s children, and peace upon Israel (Ps. 128:6).
He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat (Ps. 147:14).
The Jewish desire for peace has waited long and weathered many storms. Since the dispersion, this troubled people has anticipated a day of peace.
Following the Golden Age of Spanish Jewry, during the Spanish Inquisition, while Crusaders attacked them in the Rhine Valley and murdered them in the name of God, the Jews longed for peace.
Suffering unbelievably at the hands of the Cossacks during the Polish rebellion, under the reign of the merciless Czars who instituted the bloody pogroms, the Jews cried for peace.
During Hitler’s holocaust, when total annihilation of the Jews in Europe seemed imminent, the Jews longed for peace.
At the birth of their nation in 1948, the Jews longed for peace.
When surrounded by hostile neighbors and under the threat of being pushed into the sea and destroyed by the forces of Nasser in 1967, the Jews longed for peace.
But peace did not come. The long struggle for the end of hostilities continued. Tranquility evaded them. And the words of the prophet Jeremiah seemed to describe their daily experience: “We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of health, and behold trouble!” (Jeremiah 8:15).
The Push for Peace
Today the entire world has a stake in the peace of Jerusalem. As never before, the Middle East is the proverbial powder keg of the world. Informed people everywhere know that a spark of conflict there might ignite a fire that would engulf the entire planet, plunging all of civilization into a nuclear nightmare.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” is good advice for all people.
Since the Yom Kippur War of 1973 and the introduction of oil as a weapon of war, all industrial nations need peace in the Middle East. The prospect of unemployment, recession, inflation, and worthless currency has made political leaders aware of the absolute necessity of solving the Middle East problem and moving the Arab-Jew conflict to a peaceable solution.
Talk of peace will be increasingly the order of the day. Western nations, the United Nations, and the Communist world, acting together and unilaterally, may be involved in seeking to both calm and exploit Middle East tensions. Top-notch diplomats will be employed. Peace conferences will be scheduled in the most desirable locations. Behind-the-scenes bargaining between all powers can be expected. Diplomatic arm-twisting will not be overlooked. News releases reporting the slightest progress toward peace will be fed to the public. The push for peace will seem almost irresistible.
But peace will not come easily to the Middle East. Differences there are deep and longstanding. Jerusalem itself presents an almost insurmountable obstacle to peace. It is important to the three major religions of the world: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Some Arab leaders are determined to wrest control of Jerusalem from Israel. And the Jews, having finally retaken their most important city, are determined not to give it up.
Jerusalem has passed from one Gentile power to another since 400 B.C. Consider the conquerors since A.D. 70 alone: A.D. 70, the Romans; 614, the Persians; 637, Caliph Omar; 1099, the Crusaders; 1187, Salidan; 1250, the Egyptian Mamalukes; 1517, the Turks; 1917, the British; and finally in our lifetime, 1967, the Jews.
An anguished and heartfelt cry for peace is both desirable and dangerous.
The desire shows the heart is right regarding peace, for that is to be the aim of the child of God: “Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it” (Ps. 34:14).
On the other hand, one may be so enamored with the hope for peace that he closes his eyes to the danger of accepting fraudulent conditions for peace. Prime Minister C. Neville Chamberlain of England met with Hitler before the outbreak of World War II and thought his policies of appeasement had bought peace for the world. Instead they had but increased the appetite of an evil ruler. The report of the conference was one of peace, but it was a false peace that would not last. The temporary tranquility was just the calm before the storm. And what a storm! Jeremiah described that kind of peace, lamenting: “They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14).
Another fact that makes Israel open to the acceptance of peace negotiations is the message of peace associated with the promised Messiah. Of His rule, Isaiah wrote:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this (Isaiah 9:6,7).
Micah declared: “And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men” (Micah 5:5).
And the prophet Haggai spoke of a better day: “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts” (Hag. 2:9).
The Bible message then is one of genuine peace for the Jews in the future. For that reason, leaders of Israel who believe the prophets are conditioned to expect ultimate peace. Since they have not recognized nor accepted their true Messiah, they may be open to deception by one who seems to be able to deliver peace to the world, especially to the Middle East with security guarantees to Israel.
The Hebrew prophets warned of a false peace plan that will be accepted by the Jews near the end time. The attack upon Israel by Russia and other nations prophesied by Ezekiel for the “latter years” will come when the Jews feel secure in their land:
After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them…. And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates (Ezek. 38:8,11).
Furthermore, Israel and perhaps many other nations will enter into a covenant (treaty) with the final world dictator wherein they will be guaranteed peace. The duration of the agreement will be seven years. This seven-year agreement will coincide with the seventieth week of Daniel’s prophecy, and genuine peace will be short-lived. The treaty will be broken after three and one-half years, and its breaking will usher in earth’s most terrible time:
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate (Dan. 9:27).
Commenting on Daniel 9:27 and the efforts for peace in the Middle East, Walvoord and Walvoord have written:
A peace settlement in the Middle East is one of the most important events predicted for the end time. The signing of this peace treaty will start the final countdown leading to Armageddon and then introduce the new world leader who will be destined to become world dictator — the infamous Antichrist. According to Daniel 9:27, the last seven years leading up to the second coming of Christ will begin with just such a peace settlement. The same passage describes a covenant to be made between the nation of Israel and the prince who will rise to power (Daniel 9:26). While the details of the covenant are not given, it will be an attempt to settle the Arab-Israeli controversy which has focused world attention on the Middle East. It may well take the form of a forced peace settlement in which Israel returns much of the land conquered through war in exchange for strong international guarantees for Israel’s safety and prosperity…
The key issue in negotiations would be the city of Jerusalem itself, which Israel prizes more than any other possession. Undoubtedly there will be a strong attempt to make Jerusalem an international city with free access not only for Jews but for Christians and Muslims as well. The temple area may be internationalized, and Israel’s territorial conquests will be greatly reduced. In the light of Arab power and the isolation of the United States as the sole supporting force behind Israel’s continuity as a nation, it seems that any settlement short of this will not satisfy the Arab world.
The ingredients then in the coming peace agreement between Israel and other Middle Eastern countries are as follows:
- Israel will long for peace.
- The Arabs will long for peace.
- The world will fear the igniting of a nuclear war through a Middle East confrontation.
- Arab wealth and power will have produced worldwide apprehension of an energy cutoff or another economy-shattering rise in the price of oil.
- The prophets have written of a temporary peace that will come to Israel in the end time that will be broken by the Antichrist.
The peace offensive is already on. We may expect a number of lesser treaties before the tragic one involving the final world dictator. As diplomats assemble and the push for peace increases, it will be well to remember Paul’s comment concerning the cry for peace at closing time: “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:3).
Students of the Scriptures will remember that real peace can only come when the Prince of Peace returns. Until then there will be no lasting peace on earth. And the crescendo of peace rhetoric that has already begun is but a sign of end-time destruction, the harbinger of history’s bloodiest hour — the Time of Jacob’s Trouble.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
At Peace with Who I Am
I’ll never forget meeting Phyllis.
We were at a college in Chattanooga, Tennessee, conducting a series of meetings with the student body. When I sing, I endeavor to establish eye contact with people in the audience, and as I looked over that large group of students, my eyes met hers. She was right in the front, looking up with an angelic face, totally absorbed in the words of my song. I could hardly take my eyes off her.
Phyllis had obviously been born with a defect that hindered her growth. Though she was an adult, she was the size of an infant. Her little legs were too small to enable her to walk well, so she got around by means of a small child’s tricycle. She looked like a tiny doll, sitting on her trike, quietly listening to my song. I don’t think I’ve ever felt such an instant, deep love for anyone as I felt for Phyllis that day.
When the service was concluded, Phyllis asked a friend to bring me to her. Without any hesitation, I did what I had been longing to do from the moment I first saw her. I took her in my arms and hugged her.
Psalm 139:14 says, I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. As I talked with Phyllis this verse came to mind, and I was struck by the thought that the truth of this psalm applied to her just as surely as it applied to the psalmist, or to me, or to anyone else! God had fashioned Phyllis, and regardless of her appearance from our human perspective, He had not made a mistake.
I was particularly impressed by the depth of Phyllis’s quiet beauty. From what I could tell in that brief encounter, she had no self-image problems. To the contrary, she appeared confident, strong, and spiritually mature. As she shared the concerns of her heart with me so that I might pray with her, I noticed that not one of her requests was selfish. Phyllis asked me to pray for her roommates, for her loved ones, and about some problems she was aware of involving other students. She did not ask me to pray for her. Although her physical problems and the difficulties she had getting around resulted in very pressing personal needs, the focus of her concern was on the needs of others. When I gently asked what she would like me to pray for on her behalf, she smiled sweetly and said, “Oh, no, nothing for me!”
Phyllis had grasped a truth that most people completely miss-that we are created by God for His glory. Consequently, she was content with what she had and the way she was. She was fearfully and wonderfully made, and for someone of such small stature, she was touching a multitude of lives.
A designer original
In our society, self-acceptance is a rare reality. Although people today tend to spend a good deal of time thinking about themselves-ours may just be the most self-centered generation ever-most people simply do not like themselves and end up baffled and bewildered by their dissatisfaction. Such self-rejection is completely debilitating, for the one who is dissatisfied with himself has a more difficult time finding true fulfillment.
I believe Psalm 139 was written for those whose dissatisfaction is focused on themselves. Three truths in the psalm provide for the development of an individual sense of self-worth. We want to look at the first one this week and the next week we will cover the remaining two.
First of all, God made us. Verse 16 states:…in thy book all my members were written…when as yet there was none of them. Thus we see that God has not only made us, but He has made us according to a perfect plan. We are not accidents. Instead, as a special creation, each of us has intrinsic value. Regardless of our physical condition, appearance, or abilities, we are of great value to God for we were made to glorify Him.
Mary Crowley, president of Home Interiors and Gifts, Inc., of Dallas, Texas-a very successful businesswoman-has a motto, “Be somebody-God doesn’t take time to make a nobody.” Mary, by giving unselfishly of herself, has earned the respect of the business and political world. She told me in an interview that she feels God has gifted her with the ability to motivate others. She works with the women she employs, helping them to build a strong self-image, with an emphasis on developing inner qualities of beauty. “My self-image is tied up in the character of God himself,” she said. “I want every woman to know that inside her, God has created the potential of genius.”
Contemporary humanity is obsessed with outward appearances. We tend to think that if something looks good it is good, and if it doesn’t look good, it isn’t. As a result, our focus is on externals-clothing, weight, the way we style our hair, and the way we make up our faces. I do not mean to imply that these things are not important. Looking good can make you feel better about yourself, and you may even act better because of it. What I am saying is that the emphasis too often is out of balance. The way we look must always take second place to the condition of the spirit.
Mary Kay Ash, founder of one of America’s most successful cosmetic companies, once said, “True beauty comes from within. You have to feel good about yourself.”
The myths of the advertising world
The advertising world constantly feeds our obsession about our looks with television commercials appearing to our inner cravings to be beautiful and accepted. They tell us diet soft drinks will ensure a slim body, that by using the right toothpaste we will have sparking teeth, and that a certain brand of shampoo will take care of our dandruff problems-people will reject you if they catch you scratching an itchy scalp. And on and on it goes.
Any thinking person should recognize that this is nonsense, but many are lured by promises into buying the products. One can be slim, beautiful, and young looking and still not be satisfied. The incidence of suicide among young models and movie stars is proof that externals do not satisfy.
Furthermore, putting sizzle into a relationship with exotic perfume and by dressing seductively is no guarantee of long-lasting satisfaction. The assault by the media upon our senses with images of gorgeous women and macho men who give every appearance of having attained the ultimate in satisfaction is a myth.
The list of gifted, creative, and attractive people who have killed themselves is long. These were people who had reached the top of the ladder. Supposedly they were successful and satisfied. Any such list is tragic. You may recognize some of these names: John Barrymore, Anne Sexton, Hart Crane, Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, Ernest Hemingway, Marilyn Monroe, Vincent Van Gogh, Thomas Chatterton, and even Socrates. So it can be seen that unless a person has come to terms with himself, with his uniqueness as one of God’s children, no amount of money, fame, or effort expended on ways to change one’s self-image is going to bring durable satisfaction. Ultimately, being baffled, bewildered, and befuddled can have tragic consequences.
The result of modern marketing’s emphasis on the external, the visible, is simply more self-rejection. Commercials are designed to make us dissatisfied with the way we are. Their aim, of course, is getting us to want their products. We are actually being programmed to be dissatisfied with ourselves. We are being taught to focus on the externals only. Consequently, many totally neglect the fundamental truths that God made us to reflect His glory and that how we look on the outside is of fleeting importance.
Looks change. Of all our temporal possessions, outward appearance is perhaps the one that fades first. It can be destroyed instantly by an accident, or it slowly deteriorates. No one stays young forever, and everyone who lives long enough will have wrinkles, a change in the color and texture of their hair or even baldness, and show other signs of aging.
On the other hand, God’s workmanship in us involves qualities of character He desires to build into our lives. For example, He wants us to be reflections of His love. He also desires that we exhibit integrity, purity, and holiness. He wants us to be patient, kind, and humble. None of these things can be accomplished by altering the way we look!
I had the delightful privilege of interviewing Dee Jepson, wife of then Senator Roger Jepson of Iowa. (She also served as Special Assistant to the President for Public Liaison during the Reagan administration.)
Dee told me that a turning point in her life came when she realized that her career, her status in life, and her material successes were not what gave her life meaning. She saw that because she was a creation of a good and almighty and loving God, she had value as a person that would be there even if her career came suddenly to an end or if she lost every material possession. She said:
In a day and age when women are seeking their identity, I think that oftentimes they are looking in the wrong places. I think it is very important that they realize we need to find our identity in our importance as human beings just because we are. I think it is very important that we find our value and our identity in the fact that we are children of God.
I also feel that as women make their choices in life, if they choose to be a homemaker and stay home and contribute in that way, that is an immensely important role. If they serve their family, support their husband’s career, make a house a home, shape and mold young lives, they are making a major contribution to society. They shouldn’t feel any guilt or societal pressure to go out and make some kind of mark in the marketplace.
Dee is one of those people who exudes confidence, strength, and security. Her secret is that she does not base her sense of self-worth on anything that can be taken away from her. Her confidence comes from knowing the One who made her. She knows He loves her, and thus she can accept herself. As she puts it, “For me, Jesus Christ is the center of my life, and that is what life is about. If you are attempting to be, and willing to be, in the center of His will, it makes things so much easier because it sort of transfers the responsibility to Him”. This kind of attitude and understanding builds the kind of satisfaction that nothing external can ever take away.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Dear Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe,
I’ve had your wonderful DVD, "Animals in Heaven?" for several years and it continues to be a blessing each time I have watched it. I loaned it to some relatives who were also blessed by it.
A few weeks ago I lost my cat, Rocky, who was 14 years old. He was a gorgeous light orange tabby and a sweetie. I have watched the DVD again since he passed and it really encouraged my heart. Rocky is the third cat I have had who each lived between 13 and 15 years of age. They have been my four-legged children, and have been so blessed to have had them in my life. I look forward to seeing them again in heaven.
Thank you so very much for producing this DVD and sharing what God’s word says about our animals. It is just another way we can see how much God loves us and cares for what concerns us.
Dear Mr. & Mrs. Van Impe,
I just want to say thank you for your program and ministry. I have been blessed for many years by your teaching and preaching. Thank you for ministering the Word of God to people so faithfully and without compromise, and for exposing heresy and darkness. Praise God! I am truly blessed by you and other senior saints who serve the Lord with all their hearts. I appreciate everything you do.
Thank you & God Bless You,
Jennifer in California
Thank you for not being a watered down preacher I can’t believe how people are straddling the fence. Love you so much
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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?
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- 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?
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