Wherever the Carcase is. . .

Matthew 24:28. “For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.”

Jesus referred in this verse to the carnage that will take place during the battle of Armageddon, when the scavengers will feed on the dead. There has never been a battle like the one that comes at the end of the Tribulation, and there will never be another.  It will be fought in a valley, and there will be horses ridden into this battle.  It is said in Revelation 19 that the blood of this battle will rise to the level of the bridles of the horses. Death, and the stench of death, will permeate the land, the water, and the air.  Here are some other references for you to look up:

Job 39:30; Ezek. 39:17-22; Luke17:34-37;Revelation 19:17-21.

The believers of the Church Age will have already been taken up in the Rapture that precedes the Tribulation. The events in this verse take place not in the air, but on the earth. Some have tried to interpret this prophecy as post-Tribulation Rapture, but the details don’t connect. We need to study all the different places in which this prophecy is made, and it becomes clear that this is not the Church.  Armageddon happens after the Rapture, after the Tribulation, when Christ returns with His armies of saints from all the ages to set up His kingdom on earth.

The next several verses give us more of the signs of His coming. We’ll take them up on Monday.

Luke’s Genealogy of Jesus

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I hope you’ll take the time to study this chart.  It would be helpful to do so as you read both Matthew’s and Luke’s genealogies of Jesus Christ.  They are different because they present Jesus in different aspects; each presents proof of His claim to the throne of David, and His claim to be Messiah. 

In Matthew, Jesus Christ  is proven to be the King legally; in Luke, His genealogy as the Son of man is presented, linking Him with all of mankind.  In Matthew, Mary’s husband Joseph is a descendant of David through the house of Solomon.  In Luke, Mary, the virgin, is a descendant of David through the house of Nathan.  As a woman, she did not have a claim to the throne. In order for Jesus to have that legal right to the throne, He had to be born to the wife of a man who had  a perfectly legal, unchallenged right to the throne.  Through Joseph, Jesus is the legal heir. Because He was the Son of man and, finally, Son of God, He had the absolute, indisputable right to claim the throne.

Luke’s genealogy begins in chapter 3, verse 22-23 and ends with the incredibly beautiful words, “Which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.”  No one but Jesus has ever, or ever will, fulfill the prophecies of a baby, born of a virgin, in the city of Bethlehem, Who would legally be King and Messiah, and through Whom would come salvation for all mankind. 

Wise men still seek Him. 

Missionaries

When Paul was at Troas, he received the commission from God to work in Macedonia (Acts. 16:8-10). The  preaching of the gospel in Thessalonica was a part of that work. Paul and Silas had received a terrible beating in Philippi, and were tossed into prison because their work had touched on the financial nerve of the local merchants Acts 16; I Thess. 2:2). They went from Philippi to Thessalonica (Acts 17:1), a journey of about 100 miles.They passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, but there is no record that they stopped to preach, possibly because these cities had no synagogues.  Remember that at this point Paul’s ministry was mainly to the Jews scattered throughout the Mediterranean world. Perhaps, also, Paul realized the strategic location of Thessalonica  as being key to the evangelization of the whole of Macedonia. The gospel would surely spread from there  into the surrounding areas. 

In Luke’s account of Paul’s journeys in the Book of Acts, he drops the pronoun we after the account of events at Philippi.  It would seem that Luke dropped out at this point, and we aren’t sure if Timothy remained with Paul as he traveled to Thessalonica. We don’t hear him mentioned again until he is at Berea with Paul.  It may be that Paul and Silas entered Thessalonica together, with no other workers, on this first visit to the city.  However, Timothy is included in the salutation of I Thessalonians, which leads some to think he was involved in the planting of the first church in the city. In any event, it is clear that he was involved in the work there at some point and shared Paul’s love and regard for the  believers there. It is clear from I Thess. 3 that Timothy spent some time in Thessalonica ministering the the Christians there who were suffering persecution. 

 I think it’s fascinating to follow along in the Book of Acts as we read I Thessalonians. It helps us to understand certain references in Thessalonians, and to get the timeline of events clear in our thinking. You can find most of the story, for now, in Acts 16 and 17.

Tomorrow we’ll take at look at the synagogue ministry in the city.

I’ve always loved this rendering of the Apostle Paul by Rembrandt: 

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