Message of Hope
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE
What is the marriage and marriage supper of the Lamb and where will they take place?
The marriage partners at this glorious event include the Lamb (Christ) (Ephesians 5:25-33) and His bride (the Church)-both of whom have been in heaven during the Tribulation Hour. While those on earth have suffered judgment, the Bride is being investigated in preparation for the wedding (Revelation 19:7). For those who were unfaithful to Christ during the engagement period (their years of service upon earth), this will be a moment of humiliation (1 John 2:28) as every believer will be attired in the wedding garment he or she made while on earth. The material will be composed of their good deeds that remain after the judgment seat has taken place (Revelation 19:7-8). Righteousnesses rather than righteousness is the correct word in this text. The first term has to do with our works, the second with the imputed righteousness bestowed upon believers through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).
The marriage itself takes place in heaven toward the end of the Tribulation period upon earth. The phrase, "the marriage of the Lamb is come" (Revelation 19:7), signifies that the Church's union with Christ has been completed (1 Thessalonians 4:17). From this point on, wherever Christ goes, His beloved bride follows. After the marriage, heaven opens and Christ, mounted upon a white horse, begins His descent to earth for Armageddon followed by His bride, the armies clothed in white linen (Revelation 19:11-14). The place of the wedding reception (marriage supper) is upon earth. After exhaustive study of this great event, I believe that immediately following the marriage in heaven, Christ returns to earth with His bride to begin His millennial reign. Old Testament and Tribulation saints are then raised in order that they may be guests at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 20:4).
If an individual has heard the gospel and rejected Jesus Christ - and the Rapture occurs - will that person have another opportunity to accept Jesus as Lord during the Tribulation?
In response to this question, most evangelicals turn to 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12, which states: "And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth." The reasoning among many is that anyone who has ever heard the gospel and rejected it will no longer have a chance to accept the Savior. I no longer believe that. Here's why I do not hold this position. As I was studying Acts 2:17, which repeats the prophetic passage of Joel 2:28, the Holy Spirit revealed something to me. God says, "I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh." There will be enlightenment as never before. Then it hit me: This is in the midst of the horrific Tribulation Hour, but note what it says in Acts 2:19-21: "And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. " And this whosoever is identical to John 3:16 where all are invited to salvation. Thus, "whosoever" today is identical to "whosoever" during the Tribulation hour.
However, here's my word of encouragement to you. Do not be distraught or depressed. There is great hope for those whose hearts become softened as we approach the return of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. God does not want any man, woman, or child to perish. This is the nature of our heavenly Father (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). Nevertheless, things will get alarming as we approach the end of the age. That's why Jesus said in Luke 21:9, "When ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass." Who would dare question that these days are already upon us? All the more reason for us to share our faith in Christ with those who heretofore have not believed. An added word of encouragement comes to us when our Lord provides the ultimate word of hope and encouragement in verse 31, "When ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand." That is the glorious day we all await. Now is the time to share the good news, and in so doing, become part of God's final plan for the ages as He pours out His Spirit on all flesh.
What is the Tribulation? What is the purpose for the twenty-one Tribulation judgments?
This terrible period of history will be the most horrendous our world has ever seen-seven years of nonstop bombardment. In the midst of this fiery judgment there will be little expression of remorse: Hearts will not be bent toward repentance, with few seeking forgiveness for murder, drug abuse, fornication, sexual promiscuity, or theft (Revelation 9:21). The Tribulation, and the sequential judgments of God, will descend on mankind because of blatant sins committed by humanity. It will be a time of widespread apostasy, coupled with a blatant, wholesale denial of biblical truth, combined with moral chaos, an acceleration of spiritism, persecution, pestilence, and earthquakes. Terrible as all this will be. God has a threefold purpose for this period of human history: