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.


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