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.”


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