Weekly Newsletter – September 5, 2016
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
What validity, if any, should be given to the Prewrath Rapture theory?
In a book titled The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church by Marvin Rosenthal, this earlier reliable proponent of the pretrib position altered his view and suggested that the Rapture will take place twenty-one months after the time designated by the midtribulationists and five and a half years after the pretribulation position. In other words, the Church would be destined to face the terrors of the Tribulation before the period of God’s wrath occurs.
The problem with this view is that rather than the Church looking forward to the return of Christ, the focus now shifts to the fearful expectation of the coming of Antichrist. No longer is the Church safe from the Tribulation, but is now present during the first three-quarters of this most horrible period in history. When first presented to the public, this end-time, theological bombshell resulted in enormous confusion and dismay in many theological quarters. While to date it has been largely dismissed as improbable and unbiblical, it is still important to recognize that this position is shot through with speculation and misinterpretation of Scripture-primarily because it tampers with key verses that for more than one hundred years have been the theological bedrock to the understanding of the Rapture and what has, for the most part, been a pretribulation view.
For the Christian, the pretrib position must remain paramount because it encourages us to look forward to that “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13)-that any-moment-return of “the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” The pretrib view promises that Christians will not endure the great terror of that day when Antichrist rules, when hordes of pestilences invade our world, when incurable diseases strike humankind with abandon, and when the atmosphere of earth as we know it deteriorates to where planet earth is unlivable and the air not fit to breathe.
The prewrath view puts Christians in the heat of battle. The brilliant scholar Dr. Gerald B. Stanton writes: “Rosenthal contradicts himself on the extent of God’s wrath and the time of the Second Coming of Christ. While his sincerity may be beyond question, many of his definitions appear to be homemade and supporting evidence is completely inadequate. … Rosenthal is in serious error when he attempts to set the time of the Rapture three-fourths of the way through the seven years of judgment and wrath, some 1,890 days after the Anti-Christ makes his unparalleled covenant with Israel. . . . The Lord’s people should not be confused by vehement argumentation designed to set the day of His appearing.”
If Rosenthal were correct in his assumptions, a prewrath Rapture would be the Christian’s ultimate nightmare, hardly the “blessed hope” promised in Scripture. Tim LaHaye makes the point: “It would be a non-event, for there would be few if any Christians left to rapture at this time. Could any Christian take Antichrist’s mark and thus survive to be raptured? Indeed not. Revelation 14:9-10 makes it clear that ‘those who worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark’ will be consigned to hell. “2 Well said.
Since the publication of Rosenthal’s book, virtually every reviewer has brought its limitations and biblical inaccuracies to light-primary among them the issue of imminency. The prewrath theory destroys the sense of expectation, demotivates the body of Christ, and puts the believer’s focus on evil rather than good. The only solace given to Christians in the prewrath theory is that they will be raptured before the great Battle of Armageddon-small comfort since the Church would have already endured the worst of the great Tribulation judgments. Fortunately, while disruptive in some circles over the years, Rosenthal’s theory has never gained ardent followers.
Who are the “elect” of Matthew 24:22
Posttribulationists (those who believe the Church of Jesus Christ will endure the terrible period of the Tribulation) like to use this verse-“Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:22)-saying this passage proves the Church will remain on earth because we are the “elect.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Many do not realize that God has two elect groups on earth. There is the Church (see Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:2), but that is not the group referred to in Matthew 24:22. How do I know this? Isaiah 42:1 speaks of the Jews as God’s elect. So does Isaiah 45:4; 65:9; and 65:22.
How does one know that the Jews are the elect for whom the days are being shortened in Matthew 24:22? It’s important at all times to keep the biblical text in context, and this is especially true here. First of all, this elect group is to flee from Judaea to the mountains. Judaea is the Holy Land, the area where Christ walked and ministered in human flesh (see Matthew 24:16). They are not to flee on the Sabbath day (shabbat) (Matthew 24:20). According to Exodus 31:13, the Sabbath day is to be eternally practiced by the Jews. In Mark 13:9, we find that they are beaten in the synagogues… not in the churches. We don’t meet in synagogues because we are the Church (see Acts 2:47).
Finally, all these events take place in the area of Jerusalem (see Luke 21:24). The elect, therefore, at this time in history, are Jews, God’s chosen people, the Israelites. Because of their history of rejecting Jesus Christ as Messiah (Savior), God, in His foreknowledge, has set up a different schedule for the Jews as a nation.
Because the true Church, all born-again believers, wholeheartedly accept Christ as Savior (John 1:11-12), they are called to heaven to escape the Tribulation period, or Time of Jacob’s Trouble. During this time of disillusionment and despair, the Jews as a nation will finally recognize Jesus Christ as Messiah and King in the midst of their suffering (Romans 11:26). This clarifies Matthew 24:22, which states, “But for the elect’s sake [Israel, Deuteronomy 7:6-7] those days shall be shortened.”
The judgment seat of Christ for the Church then occurs in the heavenlies as the Tribulation judgment hits the earth with massive force. Both elect groups are being prepared for the Millennium-one in heaven, the other upon earth. At the conclusion of this Time of Jacob’s Trouble, Christ returns with an army of believers and judges the nations on the basis of their rejection of Christ and their treatment of Israel (Matthew 25:31-46).
Who are the 144,000?
What is their role in the great revival to come?
When will that revival take place?
Before or after the Rapture?
In one of the best books in print on the last days, Escape the Coming Night, by Dr. David Jeremiah, the author titles one of his chapters “Revival during Hell on Earth.” What an apt description of the Tribulation. It will indeed be hell on earth-something we have already described, but that we’ll continue to refer to throughout this book. Here’s how Dr. Jeremiah describes the Tribulation Hour judgment of a “groaning planet.”
First, the white horse gallops onto the world scene carrying the man of deception, the coming world dictator; second, the red horse claws the air, abolishing any semblance of peace on earth; third, the black horse appears, creating hunger and economic disaster; fourth, the pale horse spreads deadly plague in its path. The fifth seal reveals the martyrs of the Tribulation, and the sixth seal unleashes one of the most devastating earthquakes. What a gloomy backdrop! No wonder the question is asked, “Who is able to stand?”‘
Who indeed? Monstrous catastrophes will afflict the earth and its people. But then, we see that God sends His angels to seal His people off from final judgment. A reprieve, it seems. Light at the end of a dark tunnel. Once again God protects His own-even as He spread His covering wings over Noah and his family, shielding them from extinction; Rahab the harlot, carried to safety by means of a sturdy scarlet rope; Daniel spared from a den of hungry lions; Moses swept to safety from the bulrushes of Egypt; Lot and his family rescued before the terrible fire fell on Sodom; and the protection of Israel’s children through a dabbing of blood on the doorposts of their Egyptian homes. God has provided protection for His people-the children of Israel-throughout the annals of biblical and secular history. Now He promises to protect them once again-during the end times-giving them the opportunity to know the Messiah they so long rejected.
Who will be the minister of God’s salvation during this time? The Jews themselves-God’s chosen people. Scripture gives ample proof that God can do anything at any time. I do not expect there will be a great revival before the Rapture because 2 Timothy 3:13 states, “Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” John also spoke about the latter-day Church in Revelation 3:15-16: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”
Presently some of our churches are so cold that we could have signs above the doors stating: First Church of the Deep Freeze, Dr. Jack Frost, Pastor. However, there is going to be a great revival. It will occur during the seven-year Tribulation period when 144,000 Jews (Revelation 7:4-8) will circle the globe, preaching the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 24:14), declaring the good news: The King is coming! At that time, the Bible says, “All Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:26). That means Jews. But when one gets to Revelation 7:9, it is a “great multitude.” Who are they? These are the ones who emerged from the Great Tribulation “and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (v. 14). They have trusted in the blood of the Lamb. They have been cleansed. Both Jews and Gentiles are saved during the greatest revival in history, because at that time, God says, “I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh” (Joel 2:28). Yes, there will be a great revival, and it will occur after the Rapture. In all probability, the Rapture will convince many that all these things they heard about Jesus and the Bible are, in fact, true, persuading them to want to know the Lord before it is too late.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
WHO ARE YOU?
I grew up with a healthy appreciation of the arts. All through my school years, I learned to recognize the genius of the great masters of painting, sculpture, architectural design and, of course, music. As a singer at school and in church, I was in awe of the classical composers who could hear, create, and capture such glorious melodies and rich harmonies, making them come alive again and again in different places and times.
So when Jack and I were married and made our first trip to Belgium to meet all his relatives, it was an unbelievable joy to me. In addition to the welcoming and wonderful fellowship with the extended Van Impe family, the history and culture of old Europe was everywhere-the food, the traditions, the sights, sounds, and smells-the very atmosphere itself. Except for being seasick on the voyage over (we decided to fly on future trips), I loved every moment of our adventure.
When we strolled through the streets of Brussels and suddenly came upon the Grote Markt/Grand-Place, the amazing marketplace and celebration center of the capital city, my mouth flew open in amazement. There were flowers everywhere surrounding little booths and open-air shops that offered fresh produce, baked goods, candies, handicrafts of all kinds, and wandering troupes of street entertainers. There was color, sound, and life as far as the eye could see in every direction! And surrounding it all, framing the pulsing heart of the inner city, were the great, historic seventeenth century buildings with elaborate facades of brick and stone and glass, filled with shops, offices, and apartment flats. Amazing!
To this day, Brussels’ Grand-Place is one of my favorite spots in all the world, an ever-changing spectacle of vitality and excitement. But on my first trip to Europe as a young bride, the experience was almost overwhelming.
To further highlight my first visit to Europe, Jack and I got a car and drove from Brussels to Paris! I don’t have the words to describe my excitement at seeing the countryside, villages, and towns-most of them with their own marketplaces bustling with life-and soaking up the sounds of old languages accented with laughter and shouts. The people were real, live characters from folk literature, with costumes that would have seemed too elaborate even for my active imagination.
And then we were in Paris, standing outside perhaps the most famous art museum in the world, the Louvre! Could this really be happening to me? I’d always loved great art, and enjoyed visiting fine museums during family outings and school field trips. But the Louvre? As we walked through galleries filled with some of the most famous works of art in the world, I was literally overwhelmed. My mind could barely take in the reality of seeing the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Aphrodite, and works by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Michelangelo, da Vinci, Renoir, Mondrian, Monet, Cézanne, El Greco, and scores of other great masters from the past. Too soon my brief visit was ended-I could have spent days there.
Fortunately, Jack and I got to go back to Europe to spend time with his relatives about every other year, and on each trip we tried to take in some notable or worthwhile place. I learned so much each time we went for a visit.
Life is all around you-don’t miss it!
Here at home, my husband and I also try to keep up with significant news developments and often visit historically important places. Connected with our ministry on our trips abroad-we’ve been in about fifty countries-we’ve explored noteworthy local sites and sought to better understand the people and cultures. Of course, Jack is always aware and sensitive to people, places, and events around the world with prophetic significance.
So many times as we’ve visited some historic site or an area with prophetic importance, suddenly the realization would hit me that I was seeing something important…that I was literally part of something significant or noteworthy. I felt a little nudge that I should pay special attention to what was around me at that moment-as if the Holy Spirit was whispering, “He that hath an ear, let him hear…” (see Revelation 2-3).
That happened to me again just this week! While Jack was getting his hair cut, I wandered through a little antique shop nearby and soon found myself browsing a small art exhibit. I’d never heard of the artist before, but he was extremely talented-I’d put him in the category of a great master-painter. I was drawn to a powerful work he had done that captured the images of two young girls. As I looked at them, it seemed they took on a life of their own as they laughed together and looked out on the vista before them.
The girls seemed so much more real than just a painting. They seemed so relaxed, so comfortable, so real. I felt that I should know them…that I’d like to know them. As I stood there for several long moments, I actually said aloud, “Who are you?”
It was the kind of deeply introspective moment a person may have in his life on occasion when he looks into a mirror and wonders, “Does anybody know who I am? Do I even know? Does God know that I’m here?”
As I looked into the skillfully created faces of those two youngsters in the painting, I whispered again, “Who are you?” And I thought in response, “I know Someone who knows you better than this artist, and that is the Lord. No matter where you are today, He knows you!”
I didn’t see anybody else in the quietness of that little gallery, but in that instant I became keenly aware that the “Someone” I’d just thought about had seen me…and recognized me…and knew me!
God knows us even before we are born
God spoke to Jeremiah and said, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee (Jeremiah 1:5). What a phenomenal statement. When did Jeremiah become a “viable,” individual person? At conception? At some point in the prenatal process? At birth? According to the Lord God, He knew Jeremiah long before.
When Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me” (Mark 10:14), the Greek word used for “children”-brephos-can refer to born and unborn, I’m told. This would mean that Jesus was not just saying, “let these children come unto me, but all children-those who have been born…and those who are not yet born.”
I have a little sister in heaven who was miscarried. I have a brother in heaven who was born but lived only three hours. I will see them both in heaven someday! Every child who was ever conceived is known of God. He declared that before a child is formed in the belly or is born, He knew that baby! Before I was completely developed in my mother’s womb, God knew that I would be born and called Rexella Shelton. He knew who I was before I was!
I know He knows our names because in Revelation 3:5 He declares that He will not blot our name out of the book of life. Every name is in the book-it can only be blotted out if a person rejects the Lord. That’s why every child goes to heaven, no matter what. Jesus himself said that our names are written in heaven (see Luke 10:20).
What a great promise! So many children’s lives have been snuffed out in wars, epidemics, and famines. Millions more have been destroyed by abortion. But, thank God, how wonderful to know that every child is safe with Him…and He knows them all by name! Every single one of these precious lives is now with the Lord. Oh, that blesses me!
God walks with us in life
Have you ever needed to know that you were not walking life’s road all alone? Did you ever need the strong shoulder of the Lord to lean on in life’s hard places?
Thank God, the Word says, For the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee (Deuteronomy 23:14).
I believe all of us have plenty of occasions when we need to be delivered. The longer I serve the Lord, the more times I recognize His presence in my camp, walking close beside me to deliver me from all harm and danger.
I remember getting up to sing one night to an audience of eight thousand people. As I looked over the crowd, I saw four men in the fifth row with stockings over their heads. God gave me peace so I was not afraid to go ahead and minister although it was obvious the men were there to try and disrupt the service or intimidate Jack and me. We later learned there was great turmoil in that city because a number of drug dealers had been converted, and the drug bosses wanted to threaten our lives. But God protected us from violence.
Another time in South America, we were on our way to the airport when a huge riot broke out. We were trapped in the middle of the violence, but God’s hand kept us safe.
Over the years we’ve received threats in the mail and over the phone, but Jack and I never were afraid, knowing that: There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways (Psalm 91:10-11).
More recently, I was not afraid when Jack was attacked by a serious, life-threatening physical illness. Somehow the Holy Spirit reminded me that God was in control and that my husband would be delivered. And he was!
How sad when people-even believers-lose contact with the presence of the Lord who is always with us. How tragic when they can no longer see the hand of God at work in their lives and are overwhelmed by despair. Thinking that nobody cares for them or is looking out for them, they try walking alone through the dark valleys of this world and are overwhelmed. The sad statistics reveal that more and more people are committing suicide, taking matters into their own hands.
Recently our long-time friend and team member, Chuck Ohman, told us of a friend of his who committed suicide. Some time ago, a pastor friend of our family in Detroit, took his own life. Another Detroit pastor we knew well had lunch with his daughter, kissed her and sent her on her way, then went into his office bathroom and hanged himself.
How sad to see these precious souls reach such a state of futility that they ended it all. Oh, if we had known their need! It hurts so much to see people destroy themselves in despair. Oh, if they had just come to us-or some other believer-for encouragement and help. Perhaps someone could have helped them find the answer to the question, Who are you? The answer for them-and for all of us-is: “I am the beloved child of my Father, God almighty!” If we know who we are, then we know there is help for the helpless and hope for the hopeless in Jesus. Nothing or no one is more powerful than God, and no one cares more than the Lord.
God remembers us in death
Several years ago I was in Israel interviewing some of the more influential members of the Israeli government, including members of the Knesset and various other leaders. One person I was to interview was the heroic military leader, General Moshe Dayan.
He was standing on a staircase, in uniform, complete with his trademark eye patch, ready to begin. As I greeted him, he suddenly said brusquely, “I am not going to do this interview!”
I was stunned because I had worked hard to make all the necessary arrangements, and politely inquired what had happened to change his mind. “Oh, it’s nothing you have done,” he said. “I’ve just realized that this is pointless because no one will remember me when I am dead anyway!” And he walked away.
I believe General Dayan was wrong. A great many people knew and cared about him. They appreciated his patriotism, and his heroic efforts to preserve the nation of Israel in the face of overwhelming odds. To this day, his name is remembered and revered as a great soldier and leader.
But even if no one on earth remembered Dayan after his career and his life were ended, there is Someone who will not-who cannot-forget who you are in birth, in life, and in death. This friend is aware of even the most minute details of our lives-He is the Lord!
The Bible says, But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered (Luke 12:7).
I have interviewed some 250 outstanding leaders and world figures, and I made it a practice to try, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to share something uplifting with them as well as seeking information and comments from them. I wish I’d had the opportunity to witness to General Dayan. I’d love to have been able to tell him that, indeed, someone would remember him-and walk with him-after death. Someone would remember, and walk with him through the valley of the shadow of death. He is God almighty!
Perhaps you think your life has been less distinguished and noteworthy than someone like General Dayan. But you are not less important to God. He has been with you before birth, and throughout life. And He will not desert you when you come to the end of life in this world. Who are you? You are God’s child…and one of His favorite traveling companions!
The time will come for all of us when it is time to cross over from this world to the next. And the Lord will walk with us, faithful to the end, until the shadows of life are illuminated by the light of heaven. So we can make that final walk in confidence.
The Bible says, We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). My husband, Jack, says that the phrases “absent from the body, present with the Lord” in the Greek are both instantaneous and simultaneous! When the time comes, just as you close your eyes-you’re there!
And He will have been with you all the way!
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Dear Drs. Jack and Rexella,
Hope you are keeping well.
I just wanted to express my gratitude to you both for your excellent program.
I receive it here in the U.K. on Thursday morning 9.30.
I never want to miss it and am grateful for your emails I am receiving about the Book of Revelation; it answers many of my questions and corrects some wrong interpretations!
May the Lord give you many, many years to continue and to inform and educate us all.
God bless you both!
With much love and blessings,
Dear Jack & Rexella,
I am writing to commend your both for your television ministry.
I love your very honest straightforward way of preaching, exposing evil.
Your programme every Saturday at 4 o’clock on Daystar truly is the highlight of my week, I never miss it. Keep up the good work. This world needs more like you both.
Rexella, I have never witnessed such kind eyes and gentle soft voice.
Coming out of a hard, cruel background I love your kindness. Jesus shines through you both. What an inspiration.
You are both very much in our prayers. I can’t wait until to-morrow to watch you both. I experience lots of joy and peace listening to you both.
We have been Christians for about 30 years but unfortunately backslidden many years due to heresy in the church we attended, but Jesus kept his hand on us and drew us back into His presence. When we lose faith, he remains faithful.
May God always be with you and in you both. I love you both.
Myra & Alan
HIGHLIGHTED PRODUCT OFFERS
Jesus is coming soon! All the biblical prophecies — and all the current news headlines — bear witness to this truth. Now prophecy experts Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe give you the facts about what is happening in our world today! Get the critical answers to critical questions like:
- What doesn’t the Antichrist want you to know about Pope Francis and Bible prophecy?
- How has Pope Francis compromised with Muslims?
- Is Islam a religion of peace — or do Muslims want to take over the world?
- What happens under Sharia law?
- What prophetic role does Islamic terrorism play in North America?
- What happens after the Rapture?
- …And many more!
Share this teaching with your church, family, and friends. Let them know: The return of the Lord is at hand.
Prophecy experts Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe lay out the evidence that YOU are part of the Rapture generation — the people who will see the coming of Christ and be caught up to meet Him in the air!
In this power-packed teaching, you’ll get answers to critical questions such as:
- What does Armageddon really mean?
- What do recent natural disasters have to do with Jesus’ prophecies of the latter days?
- What are some examples of recent Islamic terrorist attacks?
- What does this have to do with their obeying the Koran?
- Could this be the year that the Lord will return? What are the signs?
- What does the Bible say about terrorism being one of the major signs before the Lord comes back?
- And Many More!