Weekly Newsletter – October 23, 2017
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
WEEP FOR YOUR CHILDREN
Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for …your children (Luke 23:28). The Jews missed their Messiah. He walked among them and they did not recognize Him, even though their prophets had described His coming in great detail. His ancestry was to be in the family of David. His coming was to be announced by one who was known as a “voice crying in the wilderness.” His birthplace was to be Bethlehem. He was to be born of a virgin. He was to be the eternal God incarnate. He was to minister to the poor and needy. He was to be presented to Israel as the Prince at the time prescribed in Daniel’s vision of the seventy weeks. He was to be despised and rejected. He was to die for others by crucifixion. He was to be resurrected. Following His death, and in the lifetime of those who rejected and crucified Him, Jerusalem was to be destroyed and its citizens scattered and persecuted. Ultimately He would end war and establish a government of equity and justice, headquartered at Jerusalem. He would bring peace to Israel and to the world. Did Jesus Christ fulfill these ancient prophecies?
And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots (Isaiah 11:1). Dr. Luke, who was chosen to give the most complete account of the birth of Christ, records that Jesus was born of the family of David. The third chapter of his Gospel gives a complete genealogy of Mary, the mother of Jesus, tracing her ancestry through David (Luke 3:23 — 38). The angel Gabriel was sent to announce the birth of Jesus. Luke says the heavenly messenger was sent to “a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary” (Luke 1:27). The ancestry of Jesus was known so well to His contemporaries that some who came to seek help and healing referred to Him as the “son of David.” “And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us” (Matt. 9:27). After one of His miracles of healing, many were ready to accept Jesus as the Promised One. They made an unmistakable reference to Him as the “son of David” of whom the prophets had written, asking, “Is not this the son of David?” (Matt. 12:23). But the religious leaders rebuked them, saying He had performed the miracle in the power of Satan.
The Voice in the Wilderness
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God (Isaiah 40:3). Sometimes we forget there were two miraculous births connected with the Incarnation. Although John the Baptist was not born of a virgin, his birth was miraculous in that it was a fulfillment of prophecy and an answer to prayer. John was sent to prepare the way of the Lord. John is called a “voice.” And what a voice he was! Multitudes came to hear him. Even the king stood in his audience. He was an unusual man, fearless and faithful. His boldness cost him his head, but not until his work was done. We know him as the “forerunner of Christ.” It is important to notice that in Isaiah’s prophecy of John the Baptist’s mission, he is said to have come preparing the way of the LORD (40:3). Here all the letters in “Lord,” have been capitalized, showing that John came to prepare the way of Jehovah, an inescapable declaration of the deity of Christ.
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting (Micah 5:2). Micah the prophet had revealed that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth. How would this problem be solved? The Roman government enacted a law that called for every man to return to the city of his family to pay his taxes, providing a census as well as taxation. It was therefore necessary for Joseph and Mary to leave Nazareth and go to Bethlehem, because he was of the family of David. The mighty Roman Empire unwittingly became a partner in fulfilling the prophecy concerning both the time and place of the birth of the Messiah. And Christ was born in Bethlehem.
The Virgin Birth–God Incarnate
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14). For centuries the Jews had awaited the coming of the Messiah. Longing to be free from foreign domination, they especially anticipated the fulfillment of messianic promises that concerned lasting peace and the restoration of David’s kingdom. When prophetic voices ceased for four hundred years, some doubted.
Suddenly the silence was broken. Angels went on missions of earthshaking importance. John the Baptist was to come (Luke 1:5-25). Christ would be born (Luke 1:26 — 38). The angel Gabriel brought the announcement of the coming birth of Jesus to Mary, who was engaged to Joseph. She would conceive as a result of a miracle of the Holy Spirit and give birth to the “Son of the Highest,” who would sit upon “the throne of His father David” (Luke 1:32). When it became evident that Mary was with child, Joseph was beside himself. The emotional trauma might have destroyed him had not an angel been sent to give him guidance. Explaining the miracle that was happening in Mary, the heavenly agent advised Joseph to proceed with the planned marriage, assuring him that the child conceived in her was of the Holy Spirit. Here human understanding falters. Even Mary asked, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34). Nevertheless, students of the Old Testament know this miracle had been prophesied. Its fulfillment should have been another reason for accepting the Messiah when He came. Bible students who doubt the virgin birth of Christ are themselves a contradiction. They wrestle with the sign, yet often claim to accept the Savior. There is no question but that the virgin birth required God’s intervention. The name “Immanuel,” given by Isaiah, shows that the child would be God robed in flesh. Immanuel means “God with us.” By pinpointing Bethlehem as the Messiah’s birthplace, Micah makes certain that his readers will understand just who is being born in David’s city. He is identified as the One whose “goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2). The Messiah was born of a virgin in Bethlehem, as had been promised by the prophets of Israel. And the world was confronted with the Incarnation of the eternal God.
Ministering to the Poor and Needy
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn (Isaiah 61:1,2).
In the early part of His ministry, Jesus entered the synagogue in Nazareth on the Sabbath day and read this prophecy. Upon finishing, He closed the book, gave it to the minister, and sat down. As all eyes turned to Him, He said: “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:21).
The years that followed demonstrated the truth of His statement. The poor and needy came to Him and He received them. Lepers were cleansed. The blind were given sight. Lame men walked. Grieving people had loved ones restored to life, Even little children were not overlooked; He laid His hands on them and prayed for them.
The Messiah was a man of compassion, seeing people as sheep without a shepherd and longing to gather them to Himself as a hen gathers her chicks when sheltering them from danger. The rich and self-righteous were often bitter about His holy life and resented His authority in preaching, but the common people heard Him gladly.
He is despised and rejected of men… (Isaiah 53:3).
Desire sometimes colors judgment. Prophecies concerning the Messiah should have prepared the people both for His suffering and for His earthly kingdom of peace and justice. But the majority of Jews thought only of the glories of the messianic reign and the benefits it would bring to Israel.
Ignoring prophecies concerning the Messiah’s meekness and mercy and concentrating only on His might and power, Jewish leaders formed a picture of the Promised One that did not fit the gentle Jesus who went about ministering to the sick and taking time for little children. Their dreams of liberation and political power caused them to be blind to the total message of their prophets about the Messiah.
When He came, they despised Him.
They taunted Him with questions, hoping to embarrass Him publicly. They incited the people to riot and persuaded them to attempt His murder by stoning. They slandered Him with subtle comments about His virgin birth. They mocked His claims to deity and demanded He show some sign of His authority. They attributed His miracles to the devil. Finally, they collaborated with one of His disciples to betray him for thirty pieces of silver, another fulfillment of prophecy: “And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver” (Zech. 11:12).
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).
The suffering and death of Christ should not have come as a surprise to those who awaited the coming of the Messiah. Isaiah referred to Him as a lamb brought to the slaughter. He also described the suffering and shame the Messiah would be subjected to just before His death on the cross: “I gave my back to the smiters and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6).
This same prophet wrote of the silence of the Savior before His persecutors and revealed that His grave would be with the wicked and the rich. Jesus was crucified between two thieves and buried in the tomb of the wealthy Joseph of Arimathea. Isaiah described the death of Christ and explained its significance seven hundred years before it took place.
Daniel foresaw the Messiah’s death and prophesied that He would be “cut off, but not for himself” (Dan. 9:26).
Zechariah wrote of the piercing of Jesus’ body and said He would receive wounds in His hands: “…and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced…” (Zech. 12:10). “And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends” (Zech. 13:6).
Perhaps the most remarkable prophecy having to do with the Messiah’s death is David’s description of crucifixion given in Psalm 22. Here the coming death of Christ on a cross is depicted about eight hundred years before that method of execution was used by the Romans. The Jews knew nothing of crucifixion at that time; capital punishment was carried out by stoning.
Beginning with the very words the Messiah would cry from the cross (“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”), this Psalm accurately expresses the agonies of that awful death. In his book, Christ in the Psalms, the late Dr. William Pettingill calls Psalm 22 the “Psalm of Sobs,” saying it is a picture of our Lord’s crucifixion written a thousand years before the event.
The footnote given in the New Scofield Reference Bible on Psalm 22 is excellent:
Psalm 22 is a graphic picture of death by crucifixion. The bones (of the hands, arms, shoulders, and pelvis) out of joint (v. 14); the profuse perspiration caused by intense suffering (v. 14); the action of the heart affected (v. 14); strength exhausted, and extreme thirst (v. 15); the hands and feet pierced (see v. 16); partial nudity with the hurt to modesty (v. 17), are all associated with that mode of death. The accompanying circumstances are precisely those fulfilled in the crucifixion of Christ…
But the crucifixion was not the end, as we cover see in our next newsletter.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
I Need a Nap!
On the closing night of our citywide crusade in Rochester, New York, I went down front after the service to greet people, sign Bibles, and just enjoy a time of fellowship with our friends there.
As always, several children gathered around me — we seem to have a special affection for each other. The photographer who was covering the crusade for us asked if I’d pose for a photo with his two children. When he finished taking the shot, one of the youngsters, a little boy, crawled up in my lap.
“I’m tired,” he said, “I need a nap.” Then he nestled inside my arms, laid his head trustingly on my shoulder, and started to go to sleep.
In a few minutes his dad came and took him from me, but as I sat looking down at that beautiful child resting in my arms, I remembered how Jesus taught that we must receive the kingdom of God in simple, childlike faith and trust… and rest in Him.
The Lord invites us to come to Him when we are tired and worn out and “take a nap,” secure in His care. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).
Why, then, are so many plodding along, worn out and exhausted, loaded down with burdens and care? For these people, life almost seems to be an endurance contest, each day providing another grim challenge.
Could it be because we haven’t really learned to trust… or have gotten our eyes on the frailties of men instead of the everlasting arms of the Lord?
A lesson in trust
When my brothers and I were quite young, Dad sometimes would take us swimming in a beautiful fresh water stream. There was a little waterfall that dropped into a natural pool, and my older brother would plunge over that waterfall and splash into the water below.
It looked like such fun… but I was afraid to try it myself. I was four years younger than my brother, and when I climbed up above the falls, the jump down took my breath — and my courage — away! No amount of coaxing or wheedling by my brother could convince me to try it.
Finally, my father went into the pool below and looked up at me. “Jump down here, Rexella,” he said. “I’ll catch you!” And he held out his arms.
Immediately I jumped into the waterfall, down in and under the torrent, deep into the water below. As I came up out of the deep, half laughing, half crying, Dad’s strong arms caught me and lifted me up.
After a few more jumps, I was ready to try it on my own… and I was never afraid to go over the waterfall again.
What made the difference? Trust! I knew my father would take care of me and never allow me to be injured. So if he had said to follow him through fire, I would have put my hand in his and started walking!
How much more should we trust our Heavenly Father? When the burdens and troubles of this life are wearing us down, we should come into the presence of God and say, “Lord, I need a nap.” Then, casting all our care upon the One who knows and understands all things, we can put our heads upon the bosom of Christ and rest in Him.
Dare to trust God
But we can relax and rest only when we trust God and turn loose of our load of care. It is possible to come to Jesus and present our problems, then go away just as burdened and weighted down as when we came.
We sometimes think we’re the only ones who understand just what’s at stake. We can’t turn loose and fully trust the Lord or anybody else. So we go away sorrowful, trying to worry our way through.
Perhaps you are carrying a heavy load today that has you exhausted, mentally, physically, and spiritually.
Dare to trust God.
He sees your concern for those loved ones.
He knows the financial needs you are facing.
He understands the anxiety and indecision that has stolen your peace of mind and kept you awake so many midnight hours.
What would happen if you really trusted the Lord with all of your life? What if you threw yourself into His arms and said, “I need a nap,” and let Him take care of you? Would He let you fall, or turn His back on you?
Of course not! He will not — cannot — fail. So cast all your care upon Him for He careth for you (see 1 Peter 5:7).
But we must trust Him, yield to Him, wait for Him. How often do we get too impatient, even in prayer? Do we kneel to pray, and instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us, blurt out our frustration and tell God how we think He should meet our need?
In the beautiful words of the poet —
He knows, He loves, He cares,
nothing this truth can dim.
God gives the very best to those
who leave the choice with Him.
The beautiful old gospel song, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” reminds us of the help that is ours when we come, trusting, into His presence.
“Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God… in prayer.”
Trust God, my friend. Hear His invitation to come to Him and find rest. Join me in looking up into the wonderful face of Jesus and saying, “I’ve come to You, Lord, because I need a nap!”
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Over the years your ministry has been steadfast to the Christian faith. I would tune in and watch both of you as the Word of God is preached. Thank you for all you’ve done to further God’s Word thru the world!
I have been watching your program for such a long time, you always bless us with keen insight on prophecy as well as tying in what’s happening in the world around us. You all are always in my prayers. What a mighty and awesome God we serve!!!!!
Sincerely in Christ,
HIGHLIGHTED PRODUCT OFFERS
For 70 years, Dr. Jack Van Impe’s prophetic voice has been warning our world of the apocalypse to come — and the desperate need for every human being to choose new life in Christ before it’s forever too late!
Now all the prophecies Drs. Jack and Rexella have been uncovering are happening rapidly before our eyes … and people still need to know the Truth about the current apostasy, the Rapture, the Tribulation, the return of the Lord, and more!
Do not let your friends and family stumble blindly into these latter days! Use this DVD teaching to help you share the facts about Bible prophecy — and the Gospel with everyone.
And I looked, and behold a pale horse; and his name that set on him was Death, and Hell followed with him Revelation 6:8
Death and Hell about to be unleashed on our world? Revelation 6 gives a horrifying description of the ‘Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’ and now Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe show you that those riders could be mounting their devastating steeds right now!
This video teaching uses Bible prophecy and today’s headlines to show you the startling truth – and help you answer critical questions such as:
- Who are the four horsemen?
- What does former Pope Benedict’s conflict with Islamists reveal?
- What prophecy says Francis will be the last pope before the Antichrist arises?
- What stands in the way of a one world religion?
- When will there be peace in the Middle East?
- What role does Russia play in Armageddon?
- Has the horseman of terrorism already been unleashed?
- Could Shariah Law come to the USA?
- And many more!