07 Mar A Near Death Experience?
“Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.” Matthew 24:28 NIV
Yesterday, our pastor spoke in our church meeting about replacing worry with trust. You can find the notes here. Such a message will only grow in its importance and poignance over the coming months and years.
Pastor Andy touched on Matthew Chapter 24 as one example of where the end times were clearly spoken about – in this example by Jesus himself. Pastor Andy could have really gone in to this more, but chose instead to focus on 8 points that are key to us not worrying, with a focus on Matthew Chapter 6.
As our pastor, I believe there is very good reason why he referenced Chapter 24 but focused instead on 6.
Birthing the Truth
If we are to believe that the Bible is truth, then the content of Matthew 24 has a sober warning of how things will play out. This has become all the more imaginable over the past few weeks then we may previously thought.
It talks of us hearing about wars and rumours of wars. Jesus also says to not be alarmed as this necessary evil is ‘not the end’. That’s a relief. Except, he then refers to this as just ‘labour pains’. What we are and will be experiencing in terms of war is just the beginning…
What follows war is persecution and killing of God’s people who will be hated by ALL nations. For this to happen, there has to be some kind of significant shift across the world, whether this is going to be direct and obvious with a politically more autocratic new world order, or more discreet, with a cultural and socio-economic progression to a level of immorality never known before (as in 2 Timothy 3:1-5). Or both.
These catastrophic events are all a necessary evil, as a result will be that the gospel will be shared to everyone globally – presumably due to the desperation of people to learn and find truth and something tangible to hold on to, and also the waking up of God’s people.
Everyone will hear of the good news, and then Jesus will unmistakably return with power and great glory and the end will come.
At Death’s Door?
But between now and then, many Christians will fall away. Can we assume this does not include us? Amongst the church, the love of many will grow cold. A lot of deception will take place.
In Matthew 24 Jesus warns us to be ready. As these terrible things happen, he is AT THE DOOR. The world will try to carry on as ‘normal’ in ignorance or denial right until the end, and then it will be too late. We must be found ‘doing our job’ without giving up.
We must determine to avoid becoming spiritual ‘carcasses’ ourselves and at risk of attracting vultures.
As one commentary puts it, “a vulture will diligently watch a man that is near death and will follow armies going to battle”.
Some commentaries point at another translation of vultures as being ‘eagles’, and note how the Roman army used the eagle symbol (as have successive armies and empires since, including Nazi and Russian, as well as the US).
Sadly, it doesn’t take much for us to see today how armies are positioning themselves ready to capture, kill, and occupy the vulnerable and weak.
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10
Are we already unknowingly experiencing a ‘near death experience’? Are we close to death’s door, spiritually? Or will we be ready at the door that Jesus is knocking on? Let’s pray for the latter and continue instead to seek the source of that peace that surpasses all human understanding.