Saturday 21 November 2020


Dear Friends,

I am Bertrand, and I am bearing a very important message for you. But before I convey it, let me request you to read my letter with open mind. Here is my reason for requesting you to read my letter with open mind:

I intend no harm because the message I convey is the Message of Freedom. It is one of the most important gifts from God to the mankind. Just consider the extent of the freedom that God granted to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in which He placed them after creating them! Though He didn’t want them to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil, He did give them the ‘free will’ to eat that forbidden fruit. He asked them not to eat it because if they would eat it, they would die. He didn’t want them to die. But because He wanted them to follow His will by using their free will, He gave it in their hand to choose to obey Him and live eternally.

He didn’t force them to choose life! He didn’t impose His will on the mankind. What’s important is that He never will impose His will on us. This is because He is God indeed! He does not need to impose Himself on us to prove that He is God.

Now, let’s consider why He gave such an extent of freedom to the mankind. The thing is that God had created Adam in His image; therefore man possessed divine nature. If God was not free, then the man He created in His image also would not have been free! And if the man was not created to be ‘free’, then it would have meant that God’s creation was flawed. That surely wasn’t the case. God’s creation was perfect; therefore Adam and Eve were perfect. Perfection, according to Bible, must include freedom together with all that is considered good.

Just consider a scenario in which a man would possess all good qualities but was not free! His lack of freedom would have restricted the workings of all other attributes which define goodness! Love, compassion, pity, humility, holiness…All these good qualities would have been compromised without freedom.

This point is very important: Lack of freedom would not have compromised all that is considered bad in human nature. Adam and Eve had nothing bad in their nature. As already stated before, God had created them perfect. So, the lack of freedom would have compromised only the good that was in their nature! Therefore, God gave ‘free will’ to Adam and Eve.

Sadly, Adam and Eve listened to the logic of the Devil, which put wrong construction on God’s motive behind forbidding them to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. He told them that God didn’t want them to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil because if they ate that fruit, they would be able to know both good and evil, and this knowledge would make them equal to God. God didn’t want them to be His equal and therefore He forbade them to eat that fruit.

The Devil very cleverly trapped them to shift their attention from God’s instructions to his devilish logic. This is how Devil always operates. He takes our attention off God and things Divine and settles it on things diabolical.

Distracted thus, Adam and Eve used their ‘free will’ to listen to Satan and disobey God. This choice led them to death from life. This was what Satan actually wanted to accomplish. He wanted God’s creation to be under bondage of sin, disease and death. Adam and Eve lost their freedom to live their life. After eating the forbidden fruit their desire to live life fully was compromised by all the sins that we see plaguing the world now.

The point I am making is this: God stands for freedom; Satan stands for bondage. If you see your freedom compromised, know for sure that it is the work of the Devil. It can never be the work of God.

Please note that God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden after they committed sin. The big reason for His taking this step against Adam and Eve was that in the same Garden there was the Tree of Life. If the fallen mankind or the sinful mankind would eat the fruit of the Tree of Life, it would have terrible consequences for the mankind. It would have perpetuated their sinful status. Perpetuation of their sinful status would have made their situation very like that of Satan.

In other words, it would have made the mankind utterly hopeless. They would have shared the same fate that Satan is destined for. God did not want this to happen. He did not want His plan for the mankind to end that way. It would have meant a kind of victory for the Devil. God showed that He was invincible and the Devil was a defeated foe by coming up with a fresh plan of salvation for the mankind. In due time we shall talk about this plan. For now we shall conclude our discussion on freedom.

Now, after the fall of the mankind, the only way the mankind can free itself is by knowing truth! It is written in the Gospel According to St. John, chapter 8, verses 31 & 32:

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Jesus also emphasizes the need for freedom for the mankind. Interestingly, He talks about the only way to achieve freedom being none other than TRUTH. But the problem with knowing the truth is that we cannot know the truth without being true ourselves. But the fact is that we are not true! We are not true because we are sinful.

Another thing, if we want to know the truth, we cannot find it anywhere outside God Himself. Truth comes from God and if we trace this truth with tenacity, we invariably end up finding it in God. To put it plainly, if we follow the truth, it inevitably leads us to God. If it does not lead us to God, then it is not truth. Therefore, Jesus said that if we know the truth, the truth will set us free. Only God can set us free. But the problem is that we cannot know God! The reason why we cannot know God is that we are sinful.

So, the main problem with us is this: We are sinful. If we are set free from our sinfulness, then only we can become righteous. But how can we become righteous?

In the Book of Romans in the Bible, chapter 6, verse 23, we are told that the wages of sin is death. So if we commit sin, we must die. Now if we die for our sins, will our death mean that we are free from the sin that caused death to us?

Now, according to human justice, if a person suffers the punishment of his sin, his sin no longer remains. This is because he has already paid the price for his sin. If his sin is to remain even after bearing the punishment for it, then he has to undergo punishment for that sin again. But we do not punish a person twice for the same sin, do we?

But justice in the spiritual realm does not follow the paradigm of earthly justice. In spiritual realm, if a person suffers the punishment for his sin, it would not make him righteous. His sinful nature still remains in him. So if we have to die for our sins, then we shall die for our sins; but we shall die while still in possession of our sinful nature. Death does not and cannot put an end to our sinfulness. So we die in our sinfulness. And with our sinfulness we can never enter Heaven. Heaven is the place where only God and good can exist. So, we cannot help ourselves in any way to enter into the presence of God. God is so holy that nothing evil or unholy can ever exist in His presence.

It is for this reason that we need Jesus. The very purpose of Jesus’ life was to take upon Himself the sins of the world and to suffer punishment for them. But that is not all! Jesus not only takes away our sins from us, He also takes away our sinful nature! This is important. This is what makes His sacrifice unique.

Jesus’ body represented our own body which housed both sin and sinfulness. When Jesus’ body was destroyed on the cross, died and buried in the grave, it also indicated the end of our sins and our sinfulness. On the third day, Jesus conquered death and rose to life.

God gave the body of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, as a promise to the mankind - as a hope of glory that will mark our own existence at the time appointed by Him. God has assured us that our sins are atoned for, and, therefore, our sins are forgiven. He has also guaranteed that time would come when He would give us the kind of glorified body that Jesus had after His resurrection. Jesus is the proof of the veracity of God’s promise.

What does this mean? It means exactly this: If we accept Jesus as our personal Savior, we have the promise that we already discussed above. Our sins are already forgiven because of our acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice. And the sinful nature that still remains in us loses its power because of our acceptance of Jesus. It is extremely important for us to understand this; because it puts us in right standing with God.

What is there to understand is this: When we believe in Jesus and receive Him, we achieve spiritual salvation. Please note that with our spiritual salvation, the process of salvation actually starts. We are not just our body. We are mind, body and spirit. And God will not allow any of the three aspects of our existence to get destroyed. He will save us ‘whole’. Our salvation starts with our spiritual salvation and concludes with the salvation of our body that will utterly free us from our sinful nature or sinfulness.

As a proof of our spiritual salvation, God sends His Holy Spirit to dwell in us. This Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus. It is this dwelling of Jesus’ Spirit in us that makes us righteous; that helps us fight with the temptation to commit sin and overcome our sinful nature. We cannot overcome our sinful nature by our own strength. But we, surely, can overcome it with the help of the Holy Spirit in the same way that Jesus did.

This Holy Spirit helps us live according to the order of the spirit and not according to the order of the body. In other words, we are initiated into the spiritual order of things and assisted to continually grow in it. In growing in spiritual order, our mind gets renewed and experiences salvation. The more we grow into this spiritual order, the farther we move away from the lusts of our eye and body and from the pride of life. So, it is a process through which we attain to the spiritual maturity that God wants to see in us.

One day is appointed when Jesus will come again to take us with Him to the Kingdom of Heaven. On that day the dead will rise from death, and all who will be alive at the time will see Jesus face-to-face. When both the people who will rise from death and those who will be alive at that time will see Him, in that very moment they will undergo complete change and will acquire the image of Jesus.

In other words, we shall be like Jesus Himself! We shall have glorified body that will be free from sinful nature. It is called the ‘salvation of the body’. With the salvation of the body, the process of perfection will be concluded. At this juncture, our total transformation will make us fit to be adopted by God as His sons and daughters. As His adopted sons and daughters, we shall share all the things that God had given to Jesus, His Son. But the most important thing for us is that we shall enter Heaven to live in eternal peace and joy in the presence of God.

Dear Friends, just consider this! We shall be in the presence of God! Yes! We shall see Him face to face! Yes! And the nature of our worship will change into full experience and enjoyment of the Supreme Being of God! Our worship will not be restricted to our attempt at pleasing God through our worship. In Heaven the source of our joy will be the comprehensive knowledge of God and living eternally in that knowledge in peace and joy that cannot be grasped by human understanding nor described by human language.

Another thing, though we shall be in the presence of God, we shall not die. This is because when we shall acquire the image of Jesus, we shall exactly become like Jesus. But the question is, “Who and what Jesus exactly was?” Of course, Jesus was a prophet but He was also a lot more than just a prophet. He was and is the Son of God. Jesus did not have a human father. He was conceived in Mary’s womb when the Spirit of God came upon her. Even you as Moslem agree with the Christian in this respect. All that Mary did was to give the Spirit of God the human shape! So Jesus was the Spirit of God in human shape! That’s how He was and is the Son of God!

Jesus Himself often called Himself the Son of Man because He had this flesh-and-blood existence. He had the flesh-and-blood existence in order to offer it as a sacrifice for the sins of the mankind. Jesus never committed any sin though He had flesh-and-blood existence; because He overcame sin and sinful nature through the Spirit of God which is also called the Holy Spirit.

Jesus’ body did have the capacity to commit sin and yet it remained sinless because Jesus kept it under subjection to God’s will through the Holy Spirit. That is the reason why Jesus made a perfect sacrifice for atonement of our sins. Jesus never committed any sin nor did He die in sin.

Therefore, His death accomplished what our death never could. As stated before, if we die for our sin, we may die for our sin but we die in sin. We die in sin because we die while still in possession of our sinful nature. So we are not liberated in death. Therefore, we cannot go to Heaven.

The only way we can go to Heaven is by accepting the fact that Jesus died for our sins on the Cross, rose on the third day from death and in His resurrection we have the hope of conquering death. We have to accept Him as our personal Savior. He is the Way and the Truth and the Life. He is the Door through which you pass from death to life.


Thursday 24 September 2020

What Jesus Meant When He Said, "For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together." Part 5


Another important fact that begs our attention is the identity of the glorious kingdom mentioned in Daniel 11:20. Is it the kingdom of the North or Israel? There is nothing new or illegitimate about a ruler imposing tax on his own country. Of necessity all rulers have to do that. Therefore, it needs to be asked why the fact is highlighted that the king who arises before the Antichrist imposes tax on the glorious kingdom. In fact, that is the very mark that identifies this king. Is it because the country on which he imposes tax is not his own? If he belongs to the line that rules over the kingdom of the North, then it simply means that the glorious kingdom does not refer to the kingdom of the North or the taxes he imposes on it crosses all bounds of legitimacy.

In other words, he might be a tyrant. Looking at the present situation of the global economy, it cannot be ruled out that he is forced to take such measures out of economic compulsions. But if the glorious kingdom refers to Israel, then it simply means that Israel will lose her sovereignty even before the king comes to power that imposes tax on her. And if this is the case, then we have to acknowledge that the king who comes immediately before him, who stands in the Glorious Land with destruction in his power, is the one in whose time Israel loses her sovereignty! The implication is that the prophecies concerning this king are not already fulfilled as it was suggested before! But for reason already discussed before, he spares her from destruction. In other words, he postpones it. Do we now see how important it is for us to know which country is this glorious kingdom?

As it is, if the above mentioned possibility comes true, then this king never again gets the chance to destroy Israel; because he stumbles and falls and is not to be found anymore. Even his successor does not get chance to do anything more than impose tax on Israel. But things change and become clear from the time that a vile man takes proceedings into his hands and sits on the throne of the kingdom of the North. In spite of the challenge that the king of the South puts up before him, this king is focused on waging a battle that is against the God of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And his main target remains to destroy the Abrahamic covenant, wherein the hope of entire humanity lies. He wants nothing less than His throne and establish the rule of sin and death sitting on it. In him we see the antagonism towards Christ reaching its culmination.

Interestingly, he finds himself fighting against God bound by physical limitations. Roughly 2000 years back, Jesus too was fighting against Satan while in bodily form. This was the only time in eternity that Satan saw his chance to win his battle against the Almighty. So he summoned all his strength to trap Him in the weakest moments of His life, and learned by experience that he was not His match even at the weakest time of His life. At that time, the Devil himself was not bound by any physical limitations; because he was fighting as an evil spirit. As it is, the body of Christ weathered the worst that the Devil could do to Him, and emerged victorious both on the cross and in the Resurrection.

Toward the end of the Age, the table is turned and now it is the Devil who finds himself fighting against God while bound by the limitations of flesh. This time when he faces the Son of God, he will see Him in all the power and the glory that God the Father granted Him before the creation of the world. So, even at this time the Antichrist is not ready to fight directly against God; rather he characteristically chooses to assail Israel that exists as fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant, and the Body of Christ, that is, the Church that will be existing during the time of the Great Tribulation.

Just as the raptured Church, the Church during the tribulation period will also be inseparably bound to this Abrahamic covenant, referred to in Daniel as the holy covenant. That, exactly, is the reason why the Antichrist is hell-bent on destroying the holy covenant.

For this he relies heavily on the god of the fortresses that is none other than Satan. Fortress is a name given to a place of worship dedicated to any god anywhere in the world. This man of sin wants that Satan should be worshiped as god and no other god beside him should be worshiped. Therefore, he works against all gods of all the nations of the world. In other words, he will put all religions under ban and overthrow the temples dedicated to the gods – both known and unknown. But of paramount importance to him is to establish himself above the God of gods, that is, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, whose sanctuary fortress will be in Jerusalem. That’s why though being constantly challenged by the king of the South, he invariably turns to Israel after dealing with the king of the South. And he tries to hurt Israel because of the holy covenant. He is against the holy covenant because he is unholy and is against the God who is holy.

The main reason why a reader gets confused when he reads Luke 17:30-31 is that the Gospel according to St. Luke is focused on God and not on His arch enemy. He shows God in action and not the Devil. He is entirely dealing with God’s plan and how He implements on it. It is when we come to read other prophetic books of the Old Testament and the New Testament that we get to know about the other elements that get involved to fulfill it. We are in a position to understand better the reality as it is presented by St. Luke when we read it along with other texts of the Bible.

For instance, when we read 2 Thessalonians 2, we come to know that even the Antichrist receives power to dominate the world as a part of the divine punishment on all who have chosen not to believe in the Truth and to find pleasure in unrighteousness. It is a good news to all believers that at no point of time the Devil is able to do what he wants to against God’s will. According to Revelation 12:12, he also knows that he has a short time to do all that he wants to. Therefore, when he is bent on doing it, he tries the worst he is capable of.

In the fulfillment of God’s time, when he comes to establish himself as an abomination of desolation in the temple in Jerusalem, that is the time when the Jew run away from the holy city to save themselves from him.

This raises one very important question about what will happen to the Church while Israel is secured in her refuge for the period of three and a half year? The answer to this question is that the Church - or rather the Believers - during the Tribulation period will face the troubles and trials that would mark this period. The solution God that has for them (the elect) is probably shortening the days of trials that Jesus talked about in Matthew 24. The question is: How God would shorten these days of trials for the sake of elect? Does the answer to this question lie in the following passages from Revelation 8:12 and Revelation 11:15-18? Let me quote these two passages:

"Then the fourth angel sounded: And a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night." (Revelation 8:12)

"Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying:

“We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty,

The One who is and who was and who is to come,

Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.

The Nations were angry, and Your wrath has come,

And the time of the dead, that they should be judged,

And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints,

And those who fear Your name, small and great,

And should destroy those who destroy the earth.” (Revelation 11:15-18)

The passage from Revelation 8 may mean shortening of days in one way. This may, in its turn, speed up the events described in Revelation 11. Acceleration of Divine Plan is expected from Revelation 8 onward. Interestingly, in the time when the seventh Angel sounds his trumpet, the mystery of God is FINISHED! And it is also the time to reward those who are His and punish those who are against Him. He has taken the reign in His hands and has started ruling. The one surprising element in the utterance of the 24 elders is the way they address God:

"The One who is and who was and who is to come..."

It simply means that though God's rule has started, His coming is yet to take place. What does this mean? Probably, His Second Coming is referred to here. It would conclude the judgment on the renegade world. But it is not the same as the Rapture. In that case, what would happen to the Believers who would be living during the time of the Great Tribulation. One possible explanation may be that they might be living during the Great Tribulation but they may not live through it. The reason why I think along this line is that at this juncture, that is, the time of the Seventh Trumpet, is indeed the time of the judgment of the dead and of reward to be given to Gods servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear His name, small and great. This is clearly indicated in this verse: 

"And the time of the dead, that they should be judged,

And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints,

And those who fear Your name, small and great..."

It simply means that from now onward it is the time of reward, not of labor, for the people of God. What does this mean? And what exactly is the time when He takes reigns in His hands? I choose not to answer the first question first. Rather I choose to answer the second question first for the reason that you would know. Time is an extremely important factor in understanding these prophecies. Otherwise the events taking place in the context of time will be cast into utter darkness. But, again, I would stress that I have no assertion to make here. I am talking about the possibility. It leads me to think that the time when God and the Messiah take control of power and execute judgment may be the time when John sees the Lamb stand with 144,000 on Mt. Zion. See Revelation 14.

This thought extremely confused me. Because I have been thinking that Jesus would actually descend on the earth at the end of the Great Tribulation. Before this He would appear in Heaven at the time of the Rapture to gather together the elect to Him. When He would descend to the earth at the end of the 7-year tribulation period, the world would see Him fight the Battle of Armageddon. Possibly, at this time it would see Him stand on the Mt. Olivet, not on Mt. Zion. See Zechariah 14. When the Feet of Jesus stand on Mt. Olivet, He is accompanied by all the saints, not just 144,000. The events of the Lamb standing on Mt. Zion with 144,000 and the Lord coming with all the saints to Mt. Olivet are different and indicate different times in which they are framed.

What I am driving at is that Jesus may come down to the earth after the Seventh Trumpet is sounded and the First Bowl of God's wrath is poured on the earth. This may be the time indicated in Luke 17:30. It is possible that the Rapture is completed during this time - if the first one was partial. There must be a lapse of time between His coming (Luke 17:30) and the escape of the Jew (Luke 17:31).

The day that the Son of Man is revealed in Luke 17:30 is made a little bit clear with its comparison with the time when Noah and his family were taken into the Ark before the flood came and destroyed entire world. Noah entering the Ark sounds very like the Church taken out of the world by Jesus. The remainder of the Great Tribulation may show the execution of judgment on the world that culminates in the Battle of Armageddon and casting of the beast and the false prophet alive into the Lake of Fire and shutting Satan up in the prison for the period of thousand years.

The tribulation of those days spoken about in Matthew 24:29-31 seems to be indicating the tribulation time that is covered by the period of the Seven Seals. It may include the time that lies between the First Seal and the Sixth or between the Fifth Seal and the Sixth Seal. Because the signs that, according to Jesus in Matthew 24, immediately precede His coming to take the elect out of the world are almost the same as those given in Revelation 6:12-13.

The events described when the Sixth Seal is broken are quite interesting; because we read something amazing here. Let me quote it:

“Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’”

It is a rational question to ask, If the sky is rolled up like a scroll, then how can we explain the things that happen at the time of the Fourth Trumpet:

“Then the fourth angel sounded: And a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night.”

The particular detail that begs our attention the most is the fact that in the time of the Sixth Seal the world is seeing God the Father and God the Son directly, the curtain of the sky being rolled up. And the people of the world are trying to hide from them, saying, “For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” It is clear that ‘the great day of His wrath’ is not the only great day of the Lord.

Another important thing to notice here is that the events in Matthew 24:29-31 and Luke 21:25-27 are global in scale, not local, limited to the land of Israel.

Still another important thing to notice is that the Kingdom of God also comes in stages. The first stage of its coming is announced in the time of the Sixth Seal (See Revelation 6:17) and it is shown as established in Revelation 7:9-12. The second stage of its coming is proclaimed in Revelation 11:15-18. The third stage of its coming is proclaimed in Revelation 20:4-6.

People will run away from the abomination of desolation. Their flight will be just in time; because when the one who makes desolate is there, he inaugurates a dispensation of lawlessness that is directed towards destroying the Abrahamic covenant. It covers the period of second half of the seven year tribulation period. The first half of the tribulation period will be marked by establishment of several ‘unholy’ covenants, which, in keeping with the spirit of lawlessness, he would break. When at the end of the first half of the tribulation he breaks one of these covenants which he would be establishing with Israel, he will cause the sign of abomination of desolation to appear in Jerusalem.

This can be explained only if the day that the Son of Man is revealed is the time of Rapture. It is very much possible that with the catching up of the Church in heaven the day is over and the night begins, and with night also the time for Jacob’s distress. It is the time of revelation of the man of sin and it is from the man of sin that Israel is to save herself.

1. In Luke, there is no mention of the people of Judea who, in Matthew, are asked to run away to the mountains. So, it is possible that the instruction Jesus gives to people who will be on housetops or in their fields applies to those who belong to other parts of Israel.

2. The time for the taken and the left is specifically given. Jesus says ‘in that night’ one of the two men in bed will be taken and the other left; one of the two women grinding will be taken and the other left; one of the two men in the field will be taken and the other left. In other words, when the night starts, it is the time when the wrath of God starts pouring on the world. Even the rule of the Antichrist is part of God’s wrath on the people who rejected the truth. The left are the people who will find themselves stranded in the night. This is not to say that they wanted to escape night!

They were stranded in the night because, just like the taken, the left are also a part of the night. They are children of night. The only difference between the taken and the left is that the taken are not left and the left are not taken. But if the left are not taken, it does not tantamount to their being at an advantage compared to the taken.

3. Jesus drew parallel between the time of Lot and the time of the end. Drawing parallel between Noah’s time and the end-time is one thing; and drawing parallel between Lot’s time and the end-time is quite another. This becomes quite evident when Jesus asks His disciples to remember Lot’s wife. And it is in connection with Lot’s wife that Jesus made this sentence: “Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.”

As it is, as soon as the Angels brought Lot and his family out of Sodom, they ask them to escape for their life. (The same instruction Jesus gives to the people of Israel when they see the sign of abomination of desolation standing in the holy place.) Also, they warned them against looking back. Lot’s wife worked against this warning and became a pillar of salt. In Luke 9:62 Jesus says, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” And Lot’s wife looked back because what she left behind her was no small treasure. And, it was not just the treasure that she left behind; she also left behind a way of life. That’s how serious it is! Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Her heart was not set on things having to do with the kingdom of God.

In Matthew 19 a rich young man came to Jesus and asked Him what he should do in order to have eternal life. When Jesus asked him to follow the commandments, he replied that he had been doing so from a very young age. Thereupon, Jesus asked him to give away all that he had to the poor and follow Him. When the rich young man heard this, he went away sorrowful because he had much wealth and his heart was set on it. And just consider what idea he must be having about following Jesus vis-à-vis his possessions! It is reflected in his decision to choose his possession instead of following Jesus.

The instance of Lot’s wife seems to explain what Jesus might have meant to say in Luke 17:33. The time in context of which Jesus says this, will be the time when the Antichrist will establish himself in Jerusalem and unleash blasphemies against God and a rule of terror over the people who are committed to the holy covenant, and spread lawlessness among people who either forsake the holy covenant or work against it. The elect will have to choose between life and eternal life. Their choice will place them on the altar.

While the darkness continues in its attempt to overcome the light until the time comes when a burning torch and a smoking furnace appear and pass through the carcass. Isaiah 31:9 seems to have something important to say about fire and furnace:

“’He shall cross over to his stronghold for fear,

And his princes shall be afraid of the banner,’

Says the LORD,

Whose fire is in Zion

And whose furnace is in Jerusalem.”

Please note that the entire 31st chapter of Isaiah is about God’s defense of Jerusalem. Of course, I don’t know about the time the above mentioned verses refer to; but I am sure about the fire and the furnace talked about in them that they are in Jerusalem.


Wednesday 23 September 2020

What Jesus Meant When He Said, "For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together." Part 4


This sequence of events helps us understand that there is an interval in time between verse 30 and verse 31 of Luke 17. Matthew 24 and Revelation 6 tell us about some of the things that transpire in this interval but are not mentioned in Luke 17. One of these things is appearance of the Antichrist on the scene as soon as the Church is taken out of the world. But he cannot appear as long as the Holy Spirit is there. And, He will remain in this world as long as the Dispensation of Grace lasts. The Church is under this dispensation and all its spiritual needs are supplied by the Spirit of God. He is there to help the Church to discern the things divine.

We are driven by our senses and these we are of no use to us for grasping spiritual reality. Therefore, we cannot know who God the Father is, who Jesus is, who the Holy Spirit Himself is, and what they do. And what we don’t know, we don’t accept. Thus, even our saving faith is not ours but is given to us by Him.

The Holy Spirit is also given to the believers as the guarantee of all the promises that are made by God in Jesus. The promises they are given in Christ are embodied in different manifestations of God’s grace through the Spirit of God.

Finally, the Holy Spirit seals us for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30) This redemption takes place at the time of the Rapture when we shall see the Lord face-to-face. In the instant that we see Him face-to-face, we shall be changed into His image. That’s redemption of our body.

Once we are led up to this point, the purpose of the Dispensation of Grace is served and now is time for God to execute judgment on the world that remains in the state of denial. The world remains in the state of denial not because they don’t have ground enough to believe in God but because they are essentially against Him due to their wickedness. Because they cannot be good, they want evil to be glorified. But the fact is contrary to their desire and so it inspires spiritual jealousy against God who is good and the source of all that is good. Therefore, they choose to side with the Devil who, like them, is God’s enemy.

God who has appointed time for everything knows the time for bringing the world to justice. Justice requires the period of Grace to be brought to an end. Then will be the time for God’s wrath. So, immediately before He starts executing His judgment, He takes the Holy Spirit and the Church out of this world.

Here’s a question: If the Holy Spirit is taken out of the world at the time of the Rapture, how can people who will be living through the period of Great Tribulation believe in and accept Jesus? John 16:13 says, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth…” Jesus is the Truth. So without Him we cannot follow Jesus. Therefore, what or who will support the faith of the people whom the Gospel will be preached to during this time?

It is true, the Gospel will be preached during this time and there will be people who will hear and accept it – even if they have to pay the price for it, which could be no less than their life. Without the help of the Spirit, how they will be able to preach or accept the Gospel?

The answer lies in the fact that the people living through this period are the people who will see the divine mysteries unraveled by God Himself one after another right before their eyes. And they will be grasping the spiritual reality with their senses, beginning from the time that the Sixth Seal is broken, which shows them the heavens rolled up like a scroll so that they can directly see both God the Father and God the Son.

At the same time, they will see Jesus coming in the clouds with great power and glory and the Church caught up to Him. Not just that, time will come during this period that it may not be possible for a mere human being to preach the Gospel to the peoples living through it. Therefore, it will be preached to them directly by one of the angels from heaven, and every individual will learn it in his own language. Consequently, they will not need the Spirit of God to provide a ground for their faith in Jesus. It is we, the Church, that need His help; because we don’t see the divine mysteries with our own eyes and grasp them with our senses. We must grasp them spiritually since they exist in the spiritual realm. But the Tribulation period will show both the spiritual and physical realities exist together at the same time. It will be a unique time in history which cannot be called human since it will be dominated by the supernatural.

Coming to the point, the Rapture may take place before the 7-year tribulation period and, at the same time, the Holy Spirit will also be taken out of the world. The Holy Spirit is the One who stops the Antichrist. When He is gone, the man of sin appears and the tribulation starts. The Antichrist falls between Luke 17:30 and Luke 17:31, and it is from him that the Jew run away to save their lives.

To be more specific, this is the time when the abomination of desolation stands in the holy place in Jerusalem. This sign takes place in the middle of the tribulation period, that is, three and a half year counting form the time of the treaty that the Antichrist will strike with Israel and many nations of the world.

The time before the political efforts of the Antichrist might be a turbulent time, marked by big wars between the Kings of the North and the King/Kings of the South, and Israel will find herself engaged in these conflicts, willingly or unwillingly. Biblical scholars are of the view that the prophecies regarding the wars between the kings of the North and the kings of the South are already fulfilled. They also give us proofs for this view. But it is also a fact that when they come to interpret the last of the kings of the North, that is, Antiochus Epiphanes, they link him to the Antichrist. They relate all that Antiochus did to all that the Antichrist will do towards the end of the age. How?

In fact, the angel who came to Daniel to tell him about the whole set of events that we find from Chapter 11 to Chapter 12, says in Daniel 10:14:

“Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.”

As he goes on to speak in Daniel 11, he undoubtedly refers to the time that ranges from the prophecies concerning the four kings of Persia through Alexander the Great bringing to an end the Persian Empire to the Greek Empire dividing into four empires. Daniel 8:23 frames the four empires that were born out of the Greek Empire of Alexander in the time that covers the period that shows the close of the human history. The kings of the North and the kings of the South mentioned in Daniel 11 are the kings of the Northern shoot of the Greek Empire and the kings of the Southern shoot of the Greek Empire. It is these two divisions that remain at the center of political and military upheavals that will mark this period. Daniel 8:23 is quite clear on this.

To be on the safer side, I choose not to say that in the same way that the actions of Antiochus Epiphanes are prophetically repeated by the Antichrist in the end time, the actions of the kings who precede Antiochus will also be repeated by the political leaders who will precede the Antichrist. However, there is a reason for saying that there is strong possibility that the king immediately preceding the vile man of Daniel 11:21, seems to be the seventh king of Revelation 17:10, who continues but for a short time. By this I mean to say that the king of Daniel 11:20, who imposes tax on the glorious kingdom, will appear before the Antichrist.

Here, it is important to stop and think about which country this king belongs to. And who he is? Is he the successor to the throne of the king of the North who fails in his attempt to destroy the Glorious Land through what seems like a proxy war? It is surprising why he himself does not straightaway act and destroy it. After all, he is already standing in the Glorious Land with destruction in his hand! If he wants, he can destroy it. What motives must be driving him to use someone else to destroy it? This question is very important; because it leads to the possibility that the Glorious Land is Israel and by roping in others to unite with him against her, he wants them to be partakers in his aim of dissolving the holy covenant (the Abrahamic) associated with it. This move exposes the essentially spiritual nature of his battle plan. As it is, this plan does not come off well. Interestingly, he suspends it temporarily in order to turn to wage war against the coastlands to take them. It is at this juncture that he is challenged by opposition from a king that we have ground to believe belongs to the west, even Rome. Here, what I suggest is that this is the point from where the Roman Empire of the end-time revives. The person responsible for that is the one who challenges the king of the North. What makes me think along this line? To me, answer to this question lies in these verses from Daniel 11:18-19:

“After this he shall turn his face to the coastlands, and shall take many. But a ruler shall bring the reproach against them to an end; and with the reproach removed, he shall turn back on him. Then he shall turn his face toward the fortress of his own land; but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.”

In the verses quoted above who turns his back on whom? Is it the ruler who challenges the king of the North that turns his back on the defeated king or the king of the North that turns his back on the defender of the coastlands? We have a reason to believe that it is the victor that turns to the fortress of his own land having successfully thwarted the ambition of the king of the North. However, he falls in his own land. His successor is the one who imposes tax on the glorious kingdom. But he does not last long and his place is occupied by a vile man (the Antichrist) who does not deserve to be a king but manages to be one by dint of intrigue. According to Daniel 9:26, the Antichrist is a Roman.

“And after the sixty-two weeks

Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;

And the people of the prince who is to come

Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.

After Messiah’s being cut off, the people who destroyed Jerusalem and the sanctuary were the Roman. Therefore, the prince who is to come is also the Roman. This explains why he is not granted the honor of royalty. It belongs to the legitimate heir to the throne of the kingdom of the North which is the northern division of the divided Greek Empire. Probably, he is the one who is called the prince of the covenant in Daniel 11:22. But he is denied his right to it by this vile man who is Roman and therefore has no right to the throne of the kingdom of the North.

However, he manages to intervene in the internal affairs of the kingdom of the North, perhaps, as a peace-maker and by intrigue gets hold of the kingdom of the North. From this point onwards we witness the rise of the fallen Roman Empire. It is the iron part of the image that Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream. The revived Roman Empire is the feet of that image consisting of iron and clay. That it is made up of iron and clay suggests that this Roman Empire will not be purely Roman but the Antichrist incorporates other elements for practical purposes that he wants to serve. That’s what makes it weak in some parts and strong in other.


Monday 21 September 2020

What Jesus Meant When He Said, "For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together." Part 3


To put it plainly, he will be driven by the spirit of Satan. Therefore, it is written in Daniel 11, “…his heart shall be moved against the holy covenant; so he shall do damage and return to his own land.” His heart shall be moved; his heart shall not move him. And what shall move his heart? It is quite simple. 2 Thessalonians 2 calls him the man of sin and the son of perdition. The phrase ‘son of perdition’ recalls to our mind Judas Iscariot who proceeds to betray Jesus after Satan entered him. The man of sin is also driven by Satan who will attempt to subvert the divine plan by hurting the covenant that God established between Abraham and Him. This he will try to do in two-fold manner:

1. Put an end to the daily sacrifices in the Temple in Jerusalem and placing the abomination of desolation there and

2. Attempt to destroy Israel

These are the ways in which he will work against the holy covenant. It is when Israel will come to face the worst existential crisis in her entire history that the Jew will be seeking help from the Messiah. And that, perhaps, will be the time when false christs will turn up to deceive them – to utterly confuse them.

If we read Matthew 24:26-28 closely, we cannot fail to notice that Jesus talks about the vultures and the carcass in relation to false christs. These false christs are the same vultures that came down on the offering that Abraham made on the altar. The thing is that towards the end of the age, there won’t be Abraham to ward them off but in his stead there will be the people who know their God, the people who understand, that will rise up to withstand them. We find their mention made in Daniel 11:32-35:

“…the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering. Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue. And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end…”

The same people are called ‘elect’ by Jesus in Matthew 24. They will successfully frustrate these vultures, which include false christs, false prophets, the people who forsake the covenant, and the people who do wickedly against the covenant. Please note that the people who forsake the covenant are bound to be the Jew and the Christian; otherwise how can they forsake the covenant?

As it is, the ‘elect’ will prevail against the vultures but not without paying heavy price for it. Nevertheless they will fare far better than the people who will fight on the side of the devil. This we learn from what Jesus says in Matthew 24:22:

“And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.”

The situation would become so grim that the elect would face total extinction. That explains why Jesus comes in so swiftly to shorten those days and destroy in the Battle of Armageddon the side that is fighting against the holy covenant. It will mark the end of the second half of the seven-year Great Tribulation. It will also set off the Millennial Kingdom of the Messiah on the earth.

But when I came to read Luke 17:37, I got confused about the meaning of the carcass-and-the-vulture sentence. I got confused because when I read it in Matthew 24, it seemed to offer the reason why the Lord’s coming would be so swift. The vultures seemed to mean the forces of darkness (including the Antichrist) assailing the covenant of God with Abraham; and the acceptance of the offering of Abraham by God seemed to stand as a sign for the truthfulness of God’s promise.

When Jesus speaks the same sentence in Luke 17, it was in connection with the taken-and-the-left passage. Jesus talks about one of the two men sleeping in the bed, one of the two women grinding mill, and one of the two men in the field, being taken, and the other left. His disciples ask Him, “Where, Lord?” The disciples wanted to know where the taken are taken. Because the left are left where they are when the other is taken to the place that is not explicitly made known to them. Jesus answers their question by the carcass-and-the-vulture sentence. Upon reading this passage closely, I realized that the taken were not the carcass. They were the vultures. It perfectly syncs with the reading of the same sentence in Matthew 24.

However, there are few additional details in Luke 17 which provide deeper understanding of the entire set of end-time events. They are as follows:

1. If the taken are bad people, it simply does not mean that the left are good. Zechariah 14:16-19 provides some interesting information about them. Let me quote it:

“And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain. If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.”

This passage clearly shows that the nations that will come up to fight against Jerusalem will not be utterly destroyed when Jesus comes to defend His city. The armies of these nations will be utterly destroyed there and then; but the people belonging to these nations will still remain. These people are the left which are talked about in Luke 17:34-36.

These people will enter into the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus on earth, see the Lord in His glory, and will have to present themselves to Jerusalem to worship the Lord and celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. Those who will not come to Jerusalem to celebrate this Feast will be punished with a plague. It means that there will be people who will not be willing to respect the Lord even after knowing it clear as daylight that He is the Lord. This is very important; because at this time there will be no Satan to cheat them into disbelieving Jesus and believing in untruth, and encourage them to disown His authority. They will be against the Lord by their own will!

2. Jesus’ instruction to the people to escape is time-specific; because they are asked to escape ‘in that day’. Here, it is necessary that we do not confuse ‘that day’ of Luke 17:31 with the day of Luke 17:30, the day when the Son of Man is revealed. Surprisingly, at the coming of Jesus His people are running for their life. Why?

It seems the only plausible answer to this question can be found in the possibility that there is a lapse of time between Jesus’ coming and the Jew running for their life. Luke 17:30 talks about Jesus coming for the Church, not for the Jew. This is the time Jesus appears in the heaven to take the Church, which also includes the Messianic Jew, out of the world. It is the Rapture, an event which is similar to Noah being taken into the Ark before the flood came. This is the hope that is offered to all prepared believers in Luke 21:27-28. When the Son of Man appears in a cloud with great power and glory, the believers look up and lift up their heads, because their redemption draws near.

The redemption this verse talks about is actually completion of the work that God began with the redemption of our spirit at the time that we believed in and accepted Jesus. The redemption of our body takes place at the time that we see Jesus face-to-face and change in His image. That is the time we shall have glorified bodies with which we can enter into the heavenly kingdom with our Lord.

Jesus Himself makes the timing of the Rapture clear by giving us the signs which will take place before it in Matthew 24:29-31:

“Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”

Many think that the Rapture is the post-tribulation event based on verse 29. They fail to see that the events associated with these signs are almost the same as those which appear when the Lamb opens the sixth seal in Revelation 6:

“I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’”

This passage from Revelation 6 offers some very useful information:

1. It is for the first time that the world will see God and the Lamb with their earthly eyes. It also sees the wrath of the Lamb. It cannot be that they don’t know why He is angry.

2. The people of the world perceive that day as the great day of His wrath. But the Book of Revelation clearly shows that it is one of the great days of God that show His wrath accomplished in different stages. This day is part of the period of the Seven Seals. There will be another day that accomplishes it during the period of the Seven Trumpets. And still another that will conclude His wrath in the period of the Seven Bowls. So, we may say that the great day of the wrath of the Lamb seen in Revelation 6:17 is the first of the great days of the Lamb.

3. Matthew 24 talks about all the tribes of the earth mourn to see His appearance in clouds. Revelation 6:15-17 describes additional information about their response to His appearance.

4. The day the world sees God and the Lamb together for the first time does not only raise the curtain on THEM and THEIR power and glory. It also inaugurates a series of events which would eventually lead up to the full revelation of the mystery of God. But apart from other reasons, this day shows the Son of Man coming with power and great glory to take His elects from the four winds. ‘From the four winds’ contains the suggestion that it is a global event, not something that is limited to the land of Israel. We learn about it from Matthew 24.

5. The heaven being rolled up like a scroll is a temporary event; because if it is not a temporary event, then it will be difficult to explain the things that happen at the time of the Fourth Trumpet:

“Then the fourth angel sounded: And a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night.”


Thursday 17 September 2020

What Jesus Meant When He Said, "For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together."


When I read this blog, I thought that I had got the answer to the enigmatic sentence made by Jesus in Matthew 24 and Luke 17. But, while reading the Book of Genesis as part of my preparation to write my next book, I came across the mention made of the vultures and the carcass in Chapter 15. But, here, the context in which they appear is quite clear. Let me quote the whole thing:

“But Abram said, “Lord God, what will You give me, seeing “I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus? Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!”

And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”

And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

Then He said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.”

And he said, “Lord God, how shall I know that I will inherit it?”

So He said to him, “Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. And when the vultures came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.”

And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces. On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying:

“To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates—the Kenites, the Kenezzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.” (Genesis 15:2-11;17-21)

As we see, this offering was demanded by God. Abraham offered it. This offering was intended by God to be the sign for Abraham who had asked Him, “Lord God, how shall I know that I will inherit it?” The smoking oven and burning torch passed through the pieces of carcasses. (See Isaiah 31:9) By this covenant Abraham knew that God would do what He said. The covenant was all about Abraham and his descendants inheriting from God the land lying between the River of Egypt (Nile) and the River Euphrates.

Interestingly, when the carcasses were lying on the altar, the vultures came down upon it so that Abraham had to ward them off. This was his duty to see that what belonged to God must go to God alone and no third party was to intervene in the matter.

So what the vultures coming down on the carcass mean here? They were against the covenant that God wanted to establish between Abraham and Him; and they were also against the fulfillment of the sign that God wanted to establish in order to prove to Abraham that what He said was true and would surely come to pass.

Thus, on one hand they tried to withhold from God what was due to God; on the other, they tried to undermine the ground which supported Abraham’s faith by doing something that would not allow the sign of the truthfulness and certainty of God’s promise from taking place.

Clearly, the vultures were the forces of darkness. They were as much against God as the person that He chose to bless. Therefore, even after Abraham’s zeal toward God denied them the chance to prevent the covenant from taking place between God and him, they continued to work against it to undo it. What’s more, this struggle between God and the enemy of God continues right till the end of the age. Christ’s statement in Matthew 24 and Luke 17 bears this out.

Daniel 11:20-35 supports this interpretation by supplying some very useful information that clarifies its meaning. Speaking about one of the long line of kings of the North, this chapter offers some useful information that sheds light on the vultures making for the carcasses. I would like to quote it here. Please note that some text is emboldened to draw your attention to the point I am trying to make here.

“There shall arise in his place one who imposes taxes on the glorious kingdom; but within a few days he shall be destroyed, but not in anger or in battle. And in his place shall arise a vile person, to whom they will not give the honor of royalty; but he shall come in peaceably, and seize the kingdom by intrigue. With the force of a flood they shall be swept away from before him and be broken, and also the prince of the covenant. And after the league is made with him he shall act deceitfully, for he shall come up and become strong with a small number of people. He shall enter peaceably, even into the richest places of the province; and he shall do what his fathers have not done, nor his forefathers: he shall disperse among them the plunder, spoil, and riches; and he shall devise his plans against the strongholds, but only for a time.

He shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the South with a great army. And the king of the South shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand, for they shall devise plans against him. Yes, those who eat of the portion of his delicacies shall destroy him; his army shall be swept away, and many shall fall down slain. Both these kings’ hearts shall be bent on evil, and they shall speak lies at the same table; but it shall not prosper, for the end will still be at the appointed time. While returning to his land with great riches, his heart shall be moved against the holy covenant; so he shall do damage and return to his own land.

At the appointed time he shall return and go toward the south; but it shall not be like the former or the latter. For ships from Cyprus shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved, and return in rage against the holy covenant, and do damage.

So he shall return and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant. And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation. Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering. Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue. And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time.”

These verses from Daniel 11 prove that in spite of political and military maneuvering, the king who puts an end to the sacrifices in the temple at Jerusalem and places there the abomination of desolation, will be driven by an ambition that essentially lies in the spiritual realm, the same ambition that made Satan rise against God. He cannot rest satisfied merely with his political and military successes. These are used only to establish power over the world and the peoples inhabiting it. This power is of no use unless it helps promote his desire to overthrow the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and himself occupy His position. His real motive is reflected in the act of putting an end to the daily sacrifices and placing the abomination of desolation there.


Wednesday 26 August 2020

What Jesus Meant When He said, "“For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”


This is all about why in Matthew 24 Jesus said to His disciples, “For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.” What did He mean when He said this? The same sentence is found in Luke 17:37 as well.

This question has been haunting my mind since long and only recently I came a bit nearer to understanding what Jesus actually meant when He made this statement. Much of the confusion arose in my mind from my efforts to put it in context of what immediately preceded it.

In Matthew 24, replying to His disciples questions regarding the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, the sign of His coming, and the end of the age, Jesus gave them the whole timeline of future events which concluded with His coming. The verse quoted above has to do with one of the signs regarding His coming. The following verses provide us with the immediate context for it:“Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t relate the emboldened text to what preceded it, which had to do with the manner in which He would appear. I thought His coming was the same event that I considered to be the Rapture. The above quoted passage meant to say that His coming was as swift as lightning because wherever the carcass was, there the eagles would be gathered together. What did it mean? That Jesus wanted to come to take His church before the vultures would have the chance to swoop down on the carcass wherever it was?

I also happened to remember Matthew 11:12 in this connection, which said,

“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.”

From the days of John nothing of greater significance ever happened in human history than the violent taking the kingdom of heaven by force. This was made possible because of Jesus who inaugurated the dispensation of grace that replaced the Mosaic dispensation which shut doors on all the violent people. These violent people were the undeserving who did not have the strength to become righteous by the Law. When the Law worked, they died.

When Jesus came, He made it possible for them to attain to the level of righteousness that God demanded of them in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. It was the righteousness that came by faith and not deeds because the latter were very weak. It was the faith that was strong. To be more specific, it was violent.

This faith alone had the force against which the doors of heaven could not prevail. That was the faith in Jesus – the faith that led to His acceptance. And accepting/receiving Jesus meant entering heaven; because Jesus was the Kingdom of Heaven. The Kingdom of Heaven was embodied in Him. Therefore, all who accepted Him, entered the Kingdom of Heaven.

Thinking along this line led me to the question: Could the eagles swooping down on the carcass be interpreted as the believers, whose deeds weren’t perfect, who possessed the kingdom of heaven by dint of the force of their faith? But it was difficult for me to thrust it down my throat to compare the Kingdom of Heaven with a carcass and the believers as the vultures. The whole scene is so gruesome to imagine! Both the vultures and the carcass are considered unholy in the Old Testament.

So, this sentence remained an enigma to me for a long, long time. I got the breakthrough when recently I happened to read a blog that was suggested to me by a lady I came across on twitter. This blog was about the same sentence but the view it offered on it was based on Luke 17:37, where the verses immediately preceded were spoken by Jesus and read thus: “I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.”

Jesus’ disciples asked Him, “Where, Lord?”

Jesus’ answer was: “Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”

The authoress of this blog made a very interesting point. According to her, Jesus’ reply had nothing to do with the Rapture. She found the key to understand it in the days of Noah. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage, up until the day Noah entered the ark. In Luke 17, “the Flood came and destroyed them all.” In Matthew 24, “the Flood came and took them all away.”

According to her, Jesus was talking about the same people in both passages – the wicked people who died in the Flood. In other words, in the given context the meaning of ‘taken’ was ‘destroyed’. The point she was making was that at Jesus’ coming, the wicked people would die and vultures would eat their bodies. The word ‘taken’ did not indicate taken to heaven in Rapture. She also evoked Revelation 19 and Ezekiel 39 in this context.

Revelation 19:17-18 reads thus:

“Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.”

Ezekiel 39:4 speaks about the fate of the armies which will gather together against Israel: “You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured.”