Weekly Newsletter – October 2, 2023
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
Listen to the Birds
My husband, Jack, and I have a special fondness for birds. We 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.
We have two feeders and a drinking bowl in our backyard, and the birds have discovered this safe haven. Besides sparrows, cardinals, robins, blackbirds, and other small songbirds, we’ve seen crows, doves, mallard ducks, and even Canadian Geese in our yard. Sometimes there will he 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
The Seventy Weeks
When Daniel entered the court of Nebuchadnezzar he was a young man. Shortly thereafter he interpreted the king’s dream, giving an outline of the future and showing the rise and fall of the major Gentile empires from that time until the end.
In mid-life he received the strange vision of beasts and kingdoms that substantiated and enlarged the prophecy of his youth. He was greatly exercised about the evil ruler who is yet to appear and who will assume immense power while persecuting the people of God.
Near the end of his life he found himself studying Jeremiah’s prophecy and recalling that the captivity of his people was to last seventy years. Since that period had nearly elapsed, he began to pray about the return to Jerusalem. Mourning over the desolation of his homeland, he prayed for its restoration, confessing his own sins and the sins of his people.
During his prayer Daniel was visited by the angel Gabriel, who gave him a timetable of coming events that would especially affect Israel, his own people. The angelic message given to Daniel is known as the vision of the seventy weeks. This mathematical revelation gave the Jews the exact time at which to expect the coming of their Messiah. It also prophesied His death and foretold the coming destruction of Jerusalem following His crucifixion, as well as the rise of the Antichrist and the establishment of Christ’s coming kingdom on earth. Read this amazing prophecy:
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision of prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 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. 9:24-27).
Sir Edward Denny, a respected nineteenth-century student of prophecy, referred to the vision of the seventy weeks as the backbone of prophecy. It may well be just that.
The importance of the prophecy is stressed by Alva J. McClain in his book Daniel’s Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks, in which he wrote: …only an omniscient God could have foretold over five hundred years in advance the very day on which the Messiah would ride into Jerusalem and present Himself as the “Prince” of Israel. Yet this is precisely what has been done in the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks.
There are two important facts to remember while studying the prophecy.
First, this is a prophecy concerning Israel: “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people” (Dan. 9:24).
Second, the word translated “weeks” literally means “sevens” and does not refer to a week of seven days. The angel announced to Daniel that seventy “sevens” were determined upon the people of Israel.
What were these “sevens”?
The context clearly shows them to be sets of seven years. Daniel had just been considering the years of the captivity of his people and had read Jeremiah’s prophecy that said the captivity would last for seventy years. The seventy years of captivity were years of chastening for not allowing the land to have its Sabbaths for 490 years. The land was granted its Sabbaths during the absence of the Jews. The context is not only years, but another seventy weeks of years, or 490 years. There is no question about the length of time here intended — 490 years.
But 490 years from when? And to accomplish what?
The vision is clear. The 490-year count would begin when the commandment went forth to restore and build Jerusalem. That is a date that has been preserved for us in the Bible.
When the time came for the Jews to return to their land, Nehemiah asked King Artaxerxes for permission to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the city. The king issued the decree to restore and build Jerusalem as Nehemiah requested. It is a thrilling story, especially since it begins by recording the date of Nehemiah’s request and the forthcoming decree:
And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence. Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid, And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ sepulchers, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire? Then said the king unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favor in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchers, that I may build it. And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time. Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah; And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me (Nehemiah 2:1 — 8, emphasis mine).
Note that important date again — the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes. Since the king had taken the throne in 465 B.C., his twentieth year would have been 445 B.C. The month the decree was issued was Nisan. Since the day is not given, Jewish custom demands it to have been the first day of the month. Translating the date given in the Bible to our calendar, the king’s decree to rebuild Jerusalem went forth on March 14, 445 B.C.
At first glance, then, it would appear that 490 years from March 14, 445 B.C. should have brought the end of transgressions, reconciliation for iniquity, the beginning of everlasting righteousness, the fulfilling of all prophecy, and the crowning of the Messiah as King (Dan. 9:24).
But wait! There is a time break in the prophecy. After sixty-nine weeks (483 years) the Messiah would come as the Prince but He would be rejected and cut off.
That is exactly what happened.
Precisely 483 years after the issuing of the decree to build Jerusalem, the Messiah came riding into Jerusalem as had been prophesied:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, 0 daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass (Zech. 9:9).
Messiah the Prince was rejected by His people. He was cut off (crucified), but not for Himself; He died for others.
At the moment of Jesus’ death the prophetic clock stopped ticking as far as this vision for Israel is concerned, for it deals with that time in history when God interacts specifically with that nation. Through the death of Christ, the wall between Jews and Gentiles was broken down. In this church age, Jews and Gentiles become one in Christ at the moment of new birth;
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace (Eph. 2:13 — 15).
The prophetic clock will remain silent, leaving one week of years unfulfilled, until the church makes its exit from the earth at the return of Christ — the Rapture. Israel will then again become the object of God’s special dealing; the final seven years of Daniel’s vision will be counted off in the world’s most terrible time.
The final stages of Daniel’s prophecies will all find fulfillment simultaneously.
Ten nations that once were part of the Roman Empire will join together in an economic and political alliance.
The “little horn speaking great things” will emerge as a powerful political leader to whom three national heads of the new European federation will give full allegiance. Soon the other seven leaders will follow, making this evil man a dictator of immense power.
This newly acclaimed head of the revived Roman Empire will sign a seven-year peace treaty with Israel but will break it in the middle of the seventieth week — the middle of the final seven years:
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).
Those will be traumatic days for Israel. Just when peace seems to have come, it will be taken from her and she will be plunged into another bloody persecution.
What are the ingredients in the mixture of time and circumstances that will produce such a devastating explosion of persecution and misery for Israel at closing time?
And why has this particular nation suffered so much?
We will continue our study in this next week.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
I just wanted to let you know that you and your husband have been a huge inspiration in my life. I come from a Christian background and I grew up in a very rough city by the name of Reading Pa. Drug use and criminal activity was almost normal in my hometown, but there was also a strong Christian presence in my city. Growing up as a kid my mother would take us to church 2 days a week. I was young and hard headed and had some behavior issues, but at the time a small part of me craved to understand God. As I grew older that craving to know God grew stronger but my reckless behavior and reckless lifestyle grew as well. I’ve been to prison a few times, I almost lost my life a few times do to violence associated with criminal activity, but even through all of that I still had something inside of me craving for the knowledge and wisdom of god.. About 15 years ago roughly I began watching your program on television. You answered a lot of unanswered questions for me and you also inspired me to continue to research and learn what I can about God, the world, the players in the world that are opposed to God and so forth. I even went ahead and bought a few of your books which were also very very informative for me, and they opened up a whole new way of looking at the world for me…This journey has been a tough one. Along the way I’ve slipped into sin many of times, but I always pull myself back up. It’s been an internal struggle within me of good and evil… I can say about 15 years later today, I’m 34 years old and I’m still not perfect and I still trying to fight off certain sins. I feel more closer to God then I have ever felt. Every day I ask God to continue guiding me down a righteous path. I know he is working on me. Looking at the world today I can see things unfolding that were foretold in the bible. The knowledge I have gained throughout the years is so valuable in today’s world. So much prophecy happening right in front of our faces… its mind blowing and it makes me come closer to God. I just want to say thank you for helping me along the way in my journey to know God. You both have been a blessing in my life and I’m sure countless others as well. I wanted to share my story with u. God bless you and keep on fighting the good fight.
Jesus Christ is KING
HIGHLIGHTED MINISTRY OFFERS
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- With bonus The Complete Guide to Every Prophecy Verse in the Bible A listing of all the prophetic verses in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation
- Now includes Daniel Final End Times Mysteries Unsealed A full commentary on the book of Daniel by Dr. Jack Van Impe
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