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.


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