Weekly Newsletter – October 29, 2018
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
The final two chapters of the Book of Revelation present the glorious future which awaits every believer of all dispensations and ages. The eternal state of both the saved and lost is described in the first eight verses of this chapter. In addition, verses 9 through 27 present a glowing description of the New Jerusalem. The view is absolutely breathtaking. Let’s begin our study.
Verse 1: And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
The passing away of the first heaven and earth occurred at the conclusion of the Great White Throne Judgment. This was part of the renovation of the world which Jesus predicted in Matthew 24:35 when He said, Heaven and earth shall pass away. The time and method are described in 2 Peter 3:7, 10-13. Listen carefully to these solemn words: The heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
In the new world, the sea is eliminated, possibly because of its connotation with wickedness: The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt (Isaiah 57:20). Another reason may be that oceanic vegetation is no longer necessary.
Verse 2: And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Two Jerusalems are mentioned in Scripture (see Galatians 4:25, 26 and Hebrews 12:22). One is earthly and the home of the believers during the millennial period. The other is heavenly-as the New Jerusalem, or celestial city, hovers over the earth during the thousand-year (millennial) reign of Christ and then becomes situated eternally upon earth at the end of the thousand-year period. Revelation 21:1-8 actually follows 21:9-22:15. This is one time the chronological outline of the book of Revelation is different. The New Jerusalem is undoubtedly the one Christ has been preparing for over 2,000 years, for the Saviour said in John 14:2, I go to prepare a place for you. This magnificent masterpiece descending toward earth reminds one of the elegant beauty of a bride on her wedding day.
Verse 3: And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
To this point in time, God’s Tabernacle has been located in heaven. Now we discover a change of address. The Almighty descends to earth with His heavenly entourage, settling in the New Jerusalem to begin global operations from this satellite city. The redeemed-in their glorified bodies-live in the New Jerusalem. Those with bodies of flesh-those who were born and saved during the millennial hour-enter the eternal state with their natural bodies. They live on earth, in and under the light of the Holy City (see chapter 21, verse 24). The true beauty of the entire scene is that God dwells in the midst of His people, for a voice cries, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
Another exciting fact is that believers, with their glorified bodies, will be able to travel as fast as the speed of light, yea, as fast as their thoughts. Thus, they will traverse back and forth to earth from their city in space-the New Jerusalem-in a moment of time. Presently the world’s scientists predict that men will certainly be living in space cities within our century. They don’t know the half of it! Amen!
Verse 4: And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
This verse should be a favorite among God’s people. Think of it! Pain, sorrow, crying, and death are forever eliminated in this land of eternal life. This, as mentioned in verse 2, is only true after the Millennium when Christ’s Kingdom is recommissioned and eternally established on earth. No wonder the redeemed are able to triumphantly shout, O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (I Corinthians 15:55). Never again will a funeral procession take place, for death, the last enemy, will have been destroyed (see I Corinthians 15:26). In addition, everything associated with death is also eliminated for time and eternity. Glory! No more disease, heart attacks, automobile accidents, wars or rumors of wars. “It is finished” is truly the national anthem of eternity.
Although these truths are wonderful in themselves, the greatest fact is that the Lord’s people see His face (see chapter 22, verse 4). In addition, sin has ceased to exist because Satan is eternally incarcerated in Gehenna, the lake of fire (see chapter 20, verse 10). A new day in a new heaven suspended above a new earth has arrived because…
Verse 5: He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
Verse 6: And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
God speaks to John, saying, It is done. As Christ completed His redemptive work for sinners on the cross, He cried, It is finished. Now God, who has made all things new, again announces, It is finished, or done. His will has been accomplished in Jesus Christ-namely, that the earth should be free from the curse of sin and that its inhabitants should be conformed to His very likeness. This has happened. It is done. God adds, I am [the] Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Alpha and Omega are the first and the last letters of the Greek alphabet. Hence, the explanation, the beginning and the end. But what does it mean? In Christ, all creation began without sin (see Colossians 1:15-19). Now, in Christ, it has ended without sin.
In this glorious city-New Jerusalem-the spiritual thirst of God’s people is also satisfied forever. While on earth, Jesus said to the woman of Samaria, Whosoever drinketh of this water [in the well] shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life (John 4:13,14). That time has come, and God states: “I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.” It is yours to possess throughout the ages. Enjoy yourselves!
However, make no mistake about it. The eternal prize of being in the presence of God in the New Jerusalem, where there is no more death, sorrow, crying, pain, or thirst, is only for those who trust in the merits of the shed blood of Christ.
Verse 7: He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
Who is the overcomer? The one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God (see 1 John 5:4). Oh, be sure of your salvation, because the next verse mentions a motley group of sinners who miss the eternal paradise upon earth.
Verse 8: But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
This text plainly states that those who were condemned at the judgment of chapter 20, verses 11-15, have been cast into the lake of fire, or Gehenna. They were not given a reprieve, a commuted sentence, or a second chance, as some sentimentalists teach. Revelation 21 is the eternal state.
No more changes are possible. Those who stood before God’s Great White Throne did not make it. Who were they?
- The fearful-those who rejected Christ to escape the ridicule of men.
- The unbelieving -those who rejected the doctrine of Christ’s deity and shed blood as the only means of obtaining eternal life. Jesus said, Ye shall die in your sins… if ye believe not that I am he [or that I am God] (John 8:24). In John 5:40, the Saviour again said, Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
- The abominable-those who engaged in wicked practices. They spoke the language of christendom but never lived it: They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate (Titus 1: 16).
- The murderers -including those who carried hatred within their hearts and minds for others. If you don’t believe it, listen to the following: Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him (1 John 3:15).
- The whoremongers-those who engaged in fornication (premarital sex), adultery (extra marital flings), or perverted sex.
- The sorcerers -those who practiced drug usage for “kicks” and “highs.”
- The idolaters -those who worshiped or revered anyone or anything other than the living and true God, or who used idols in worship. Remember God’s warning, Little children, keep yourselves from idols (1 John 5:21).
- All liars-those who deceived others, distorted the truth, and destroyed mankind by lies.
Verse 9: And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.
Here one member of the angelic host which administered the final seven judgments now speaks to John, saying, “Come here. I want to show you the Bride, the Lamb’s wife, the one who made herself ready [in] fine linen, clean and white (chapter 19, verses 7 and 8) and who returns with Him for the 1,000-year honeymoon (chapter 19, verses 11 through 16).” At this point the Bride is envisioned in her final resting place.
Verse 10: And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.
The Bride is pictured as the city of the New Jerusalem because a city is composed of people. Buildings, streets, and light are but aids to the residents. For example, one refers to a city as “clean” or “wicked.” Why? Because of its people. Now, as John views God’s heavenly creation, he is impressed by (1) the brilliance of the city (verses 9-14), (2) the size of the city (verses 15-17), and (3) the beauty of the city (verses 18-21). He describes the city as…
Verse 11: Having the glory of God and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a Jasper stone, clear as crystal;
Verse 12: And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:
Verse 13: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.
Verse 14: And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
In Bible times walls were erected for protection. However, since war is forever finished, one may question the presence of this wall in the New Jerusalem. The answer? It serves as a reminder that the God of love protected His people while on earth. This wall is an eternal memorial to the fact that our lives have been hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3).
The city also has twelve gates, each inscribed with one of the names of the twelve tribes of the Children of Israel.
The gates are staffed with angels who welcome those possessing the right and privilege of entering the city (chapter 22, verse 14). The twelve angels standing at these entrances are possibly those who worked jointly with each tribe during the earthly sojourn of the people of Israel. We also note that, just as the gates are inscribed with the names of the twelve tribes, the foundations of the wall itself contain the names of Christ’s twelve apostles. Next week we will consider the size of the city.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO CHANGE?
How would you feel if you knew you could never again change anything about yourself or your life? Would you be happy with who you are, what you have, what you have accomplished, and the way things are now…from now on?
Or do you have a to-do list of improvements you’d still like to tackle in your personal life-some changes that will result in progress and growth? Chances are that you may have put off getting started simply because the familiar is more comfortable and going in new directions can be a little bewildering at first.
But someone has aptly pointed out that if we keep on doing exactly what we have been doing, we’re doomed to continue getting the same disappointing results. Which means that a little dissatisfaction from time to time may be good for you!
No one enjoys dissatisfaction, but it is not always bad. Without it, we probably wouldn’t be motivated to change, so we wouldn’t grow. And if we didn’t grow, we would atrophy.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that satisfaction is the same thing as smugness. Smugness is a sort of self-satisfaction which is not true satisfaction at all. On the contrary, self-satisfaction breeds apathy, pride, and a holier-than-thou attitude. It is a work of the flesh, not a fruit of the Spirit.
At least one kind of dissatisfaction is both beneficial and desirable. Check out Paul’s words in Philippians 3:12-14-Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (emphasis added).
Room to grow
In this passage, Paul affirms that he did not feel he had arrived at a point of perfection. He was, in a sense, dissatisfied. He knew there were things he could do better. He was aware of certain areas in his life that could be improved. In other words, he had room in his life to grow.
The great apostle responded to this inner feeling of need in a beautiful way. Rather than brooding over his past failures and allowing his sense of imperfection to become an excuse for depression and self-rejection, he acknowledged and accepted them. Then, refusing to abandon himself to failure, he dedicated himself more completely to his purpose of striving to be what God wanted him to be.
We need to develop the same attitude if we are ever to be truly fulfilled. We must forget our past failures and press on toward the mark. We must refuse to sink into self-pity or apathy. Above all, we must refuse to become discouraged. Real satisfaction is within reach, but it requires that we have a healthy dose of the right kind of dissatisfaction.
Signs of a life out of order
Both men and women can recognize signs of a need to get our act together and change our priorities in life. A heart in disarray can magnify itself in many ways.
Sometimes our work may suffer; our social life becomes non-existent, and even our health may deteriorate through discontent and bewilderment. Mother’s may ignore their families, and father’s may become aloof, preoccupied because of inner turmoil.
Dissatisfied enough to change
God often uses our dissatisfaction to make us the best that we can be. Surely when we’re dissatisfied with something we become more willing to change, more eager to improve. God can take our yearning to be better and, through His power working in us, begin to transform us to be more and more like He wants us to be.
I have always been slim, and I even remember a time in my teenage years when I was literally gangly. Like most teenagers, I was self-conscious and not entirely satisfied with my appearance. I thought my teeth were crooked, that I was too skinny, that everything was wrong with the way I looked.
One day I went to my wise and understanding mother who was always completely honest with me. In tears, I cried, “Mother, I think I look awful!”
“Well,” she said, “you don’t look your best, honey, but let’s work on it.” Rather than minimize my dissatisfaction, she wisely decided to use it for my benefit. First of all, she began to build up my confidence. She tried to help me see which of my features could be emphasized and which ones could be improved. She helped me realize that I could look better with a little work and determination, but she brought into focus the importance of accepting the areas that couldn’t be changed. With her tender love and wisdom, she taught me that what we are is, after all, more important than how we look.
So many women today are dissatisfied because they, too, are frustrated with their appearance. Still, instead of doing what should and can be done about it, they allow themselves to be trapped in an attitude of self-pity and despair.
Ladies, I want to encourage you to sit up, think straight, and replace self-pity with self-determination-the determination to look, feel, and be your very best!
Neva Coyle has written two best-selling books about feeling better about yourself. From a defeated, discouraged housewife who didn’t like how she looked or how the world was passing her by, she became a free woman. These books tell the story-Free To Be Thin and Living Free.
At one time or another, each of us needs to be encouraged to improve our appearance (if you don’t believe me, just ask your husband!) And for those of us who are married, this is an important consideration. Our concern serves as an indication that we still care-that we want our husbands to continue to be satisfied and happy with the choice they made. Those of you who are still single need to remember that man [does look] on the outward appearance (1 Samuel 16:7), and accept the validity of that portion of the verse.
While I still disagree with contemporary humanity’s obsession with outward appearances and insist that we must not allow outward things to control us, we must remember that they are important. It is true that “first impressions are lasting impressions.”
The central point, then, is one of attitude. If we know we have done all that we should do and can do to look and be our very best, then we are our best. Problems in this area arise only when we allow our dissatisfaction to overrule rather than help us to improve the aspects of our physical appearance that can be changed. Perhaps the entire subject can best be summarized by a familiar quote: “Lord, grant me the grace to change the things I can, to accept the things I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Hard work, even in the area of trying to better our appearance, is important. If we can improve ourselves by working at it, God expects us to do so. All too often we ask the Lord to give us more than we deserve simply because we are not willing to apply ourselves.
Florence Littauer has written a very down-to-earth book that every woman should read. It’s entitled, It Takes So Little To Be Above Average. The gist of her message is that we shouldn’t be so satisfied to be just average when it’s so easily within our grasp to be above average. So whether it’s dissatisfaction with your weight, your personality, your intellect, your home, your family relationships, your other relationships-set some new goals, take aim, and then go for it.
Setting goals is most essential. I learned very early in life that to succeed, a person must have goals. But above all, they must be the right kind of goals. They must be realistic and attainable. Set your personal goals so they are within reach. Then when you accomplish them, set higher ones-establish a new plateau of achievement.
Recognizing your areas of need
The key to growth, improvement, and maturity is to have a realistic picture of the deficiencies in your life. Don’t make excuses for your shortcomings, but do not be obsessed with them either. One attitude leads to pride, the other to discouragement. Both are detrimental to your growth as a person.
I’m glad my mother did not try to convince me that there was nothing wrong with the way I looked as a teenager. By telling me honestly that I could improve myself and then helping me to do it, she instilled in me a sense of self-confidence and a desire for growth. Through it, I learned to live with an accurate picture of myself, understanding both my needs and my strengths. And that is a healthy step in the right direction toward the kind of satisfaction God wants us to have.
At the beginning of this chapter, I quoted Paul’s words from Philippians 3. Obviously he never saw himself as faultless. None of us should either, for we all have shortcomings.
Most Christians tend to think of Paul as a “super saint,” and truly he was an extremely godly man. He was disciplined, dedicated, and mightily used of God.
But he was also painfully aware of his great spiritual needs. Romans 7 describes his inner struggle between flesh and the spirit. Finally, in desperation, he cried out, O wretched man that I am! (verse 24). Paul’s cry was not one of defeat, but rather the deep, heartfelt yearning of a godly man who wanted to be more godly. Far from giving up in defeat, Paul was simply using his inner dissatisfaction to spur himself on to greater victory!
This message of determination runs throughout Paul’s writings. Please notice a significant truth from his life-as he grew and matured, his sense of personal need only deepened. One would think that as a person wins new victories and attains higher goals, his sense of need would begin to diminish. Just the opposite is true. As we grow closer and closer to what God wants us to become, the more deeply we sense our shortcomings.
Paul’s life beautifully illustrates this truth. In one of his early writings (1 Corinthians), he described himself as least of the apostles (15:9). What humility for one to see himself as last in order of importance and first in order of need.
Later, Paul wrote in Ephesians, [I] am less than the least of all saints [or Christians] (3:8). Now he had demoted himself even further. Not only did he see himself as the least of the apostles, but he also placed himself at the bottom of the list of all believers.
Finally, toward the end of his life, in a letter written to Timothy, Paul described himself as the chief of sinners (see 1 Timothy 1:15). He remembered he had slaughtered hundreds of believers in his persecution of Christians in earlier days.
Thus he had moved to seeing himself as chief among sinners. Here is a man who knew the right kind of dissatisfaction-the kind that spurred him on to greater consecration and, in my opinion, to becoming one of God’s choicest servants.
I am glad for the kind of dissatisfaction that leads one to look for ways to bring about self-improvement. Like Paul, we need to cultivate this kind of dissatisfaction. We need to let it drive us to a greater dependency on the Lord. Indeed, we need to search for and cooperate with His master plan for our lives.
When the work of God is complete in us and we reflect His glory, never again will we be baffled, bewildered, or befuddled by anything life places in our pathway.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Dear Van Impe’s,
Thank you so much for all the research and valuable messages over the years, and for sharing it with us all. You two mean so much too so many, and are loved by countless more.
I know we will never meet in this world, but you will know me in Heaven, and I can only hope that the love we carry here on Earth is carried with us to that final and great destination.
God’s love to you both,
Dear Jack and Rexella,
We love you both and have been watching your ministry for years. My wife and I are so very happy to see you back on television. You both are truly the best as you tell the truth and verify it through scriptures. May God continue to bless you and your hearts!
Sincerely, with love,
Frank and Leta H.
HIGHLIGHTED PRODUCT OFFERS
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- How soon will Jesus return?
- Why is deception such a danger in these latter days?
- What does the Bible really mean when it talks of ‘wars and rumors of wars’?
- What does Matthew 24 mean when it talks about pestilences, earthquakes, natural disasters, and famine? How does this scriptural passage relate to today’s headlines?
- How will Jesus establish the New Jerusalem? What will it be like?
- How long will it take us to get to heaven in the Rapture?
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