THE (SECOND) COMING OF CHRIST

 

The Second Advent of Jesus Christ is a theme which has been often preached and discussed throughout Church History. Most Christians believe that the event is an imminent one. It is generally referred to as The Rapture. Each generation of believers has expected the Lord Jesus Christ to come in their day when their bodies would be changed and they would meet Him in the air (1 Cor.15: 51-52; 1 Thess.4:15-17). But, it has been almost 2000 years since the Lord Jesus and His Apostles mentioned about His return, yet He has not come.

 

IMMINENCE

The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for His Bride, His True Church, is not an imminent event. Many preachers have been guilty of teaching and causing their flocks to believe that the Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ 'can happen at any moment'.

The use of the word imminent, or any similar word or words, in teaching the sudden coming of Christ, is based on the phrase, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye”, in 1 Corinthians 15:52. This phrase does not imply an imminent coming of Christ but rather a change in the bodies of both the dead and the living saints. After reading the following verses (and other similar or somewhat similar ones), most Christians tend to have the impression that the Lord Jesus was referring to His sudden unexpected coming in the sky: “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (Matt.24:42), “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” (Matt.25:13). [We shall deal with the above passages later in this message.]

While it is true that an individual Christian may be called home to meet the Lord at any time, the Lord will come for the whole body of His true Bride in the Rapture only when all the prophecies pertaining to His Second Coming have been fulfilled. All the prophecies concerning the First Advent of Christ were fulfilled at the time of His First Coming. Likewise, all prophecies concerning His Second Advent will have to be fulfilled before He comes again.

When narrating the seven parables of Matthew 13, the parable of the fig tree, and other parables, the Lord Jesus had foreseen that certain events would have to come to pass before His Corporeal Return. The seven parables of Matthew 13 were pointing ahead to the Gospel Dispensation of the Seven Church Ages. As the fact was wrapped in mystery form, the disciples could not understand it fully then. It was only later in their lives when the Holy Spirit slowly unfolded the plan of God to them that they began to have a full understanding. Certain statements made by the Apostles showed that they had the revelation concerning the Lord's Corporeal Return. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:6 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 clearly tell us that the Rapture will not take place until certain prophecies are fulfilled. And when those prophecies begin to be fulfilled, then those who are truly God's children will know that they are living in the season of the Second Advent of Christ.

I believe this is the very generation that Christ's Corporeal Return will materialize because some of the relevant prophecies have been fulfilled, while the rest are in the process of fulfillment.

 

ENDTIME PROPHECIES

One of the most important prophecies concerning Christ's Second Advent that has already been fulfilled was the appearance of His Forerunner. However, the nominal Christians, who lack understanding of the Scriptures, tend to doubt that there will be a Messenger who will forerun the Second Advent of Christ. Yet, it is not only recorded in the Scriptures, but also in human history, that before the arrival of a royalty or a dignitary at a certain place, a forerunner would be there to announce his impending arrival. If most Christians can accept John the Baptist as the Forerunner of Christ's First Advent, why is it so hard for them to believe someone who had the same power and spirit of Elijah to be the Forerunner of Christ's Second Advent?

Malachi chapter 4

5  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

6  And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, AND the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

There can be no doubt whatsoever that a Forerunner had been sent to announce Christ's Return in these last days of the closing of the Grace Age. Although he was widely known, this man of God has not been recognized and accepted by the religious systems and orders of our generation. Like the ministries of the prophets of old and that of Christ Jesus, his ministry will continue to be disputed by a majority of people. His life and ministry truly patterned after that of the Biblical prophets of old. This Forerunner, who had the spirit of Elijah (Mal.4:5-6b), was also the Messenger to this age of Laodicea (Rev.3:14; 10:7). He was none other than the late William Marrion Branham of Jeffersonville, Indiana, U.S.A. [The author is not dealing with the subject of this prophet's life and ministry in this message. For further information on the said subject, you can write to THE VOICE OF GOD RECORDINGS, Inc., P.O.Box 950, Jeffersonville, Indiana 47131, U.S.A. or go to  The William M. Branham Website.]

Just as the First Advent of Christ was wrapped in a shroud of mystery, the same is true of His Second Advent. Only a small group of God-fearing people would be given the revelation of the event. When reference is made to the Return or Second Coming of Christ, most Christians would only think of Christ's Corporeal Return in the Rapture (which they believe would take place at any time).

 

PAROUSIA - COMING

Several different words have been used to describe the Second Advent of Christ in relation to His coming, His presence, His appearing, and His revelation.  And one of the Greek words used is PAROUSIA which has often been translated as COMING.

The word parousia emphasizes both the idea of being near or being there and having come. It denotes both an arrival and a consequent presence. It is said that the Christians in the Graeco-Roman world used it as a technical term for the Glorious Return of Christ. The borrowed term was originally used for official visits by royalty. Remember, Jesus Christ is King of kings. Today, most Bible students stress that the word parousia is used to describe THE CORPOREAL COMING of Jesus Christ in the Rapture and HIS PHYSICAL PRESENCE with those to whom He has come. It is only an assumption. The word parousia, in itself, does not signify a physical presence unless expressly stated. For an example, read the statement of Paul in 2 Corinthians 10:10. Notice the adjective in the phrase, “his bodily presence” (Grk: parousia tou somatos). The phrase specifically denotes St. Paul's physical presence (cf. 1 Cor.16:17; 2 Cor.7:6-7; Phil. 2:12). When the word parousia is used to describe the Return of Christ, the emphasis is more on THE PERIOD of His Return rather than on THE COMING of His Person. During this particular PERIOD of time God's many purposes are worked out and accomplished as time ends.

Theologians and intellectual Bible seminarians will disagree with many things discussed in this book because even among themselves they are unable to agree on their own theories concerning the Second Advent of Christ. They are divided over whether the Church will be raptured before the Great Tribulation (Pre-Tribulation Rapturism), in the middle of the Great Tribulation (Mid-Tribulation Rapturism) or after the Great Tribulation (Post-Tribulation Rapturism). [Note: This author is aware of a Parousia doctrine which is propagated by certain 'Endtime Message' preachers in the U.S.A. Because of false ideas and misinterpretations of the Word of God, it is but a false doctrine which has confused many believers. There is no similarity between that Parousia doctrine and the one taught in this book.]

All Bible students agree that Bible prophecies may contain more than what is spoken or written. Bible prophecies often contain a double reference to persons, things or places. They may also point to a dual event which may span a considerable period of time. Such prophecies are not easily understood and are a cause of the many different theories concerning Christ's return. Two good examples of such prophecies are Malachi 4:5-6 and Matthew 24:15-22.

 

MYSTERY

Now, what is the mystery that surrounds the Second Advent of Christ? How will THE CHRIST of the Almighty God come, at the close of the Grace Age, to be received by the elect?

Well, the mystery is that, before the appearing of CHRIST THE (CORPOREAL) PERSON, CHRIST THE WORD must first come to pave the way. As in the First Advent, CHRIST THE WORD will precede the Glorious Return of CHRIST THE PERSON.

“For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell”
– Colossians 1:19

“For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily”
– Colossians 1:19

[Note: The Greek word for Christ is Christos. It is not a name, but a title. Christ means Anointed or Divine. It is derived from the Hebrew word Mashiach, the Hebrew word for Messiah. There is only ONE SUBSTANCE which is DIVINE and that is the SPIRIT OF GOD. God is the Divine Anointer Who gives the anointing. God is not the Anointed One because He does not receive anointing. He is not a PERSON. He is a SPIRIT. A person who receives an anointing from God is called the anointed or divine one. The divinity of the anointed one must be distinguished from the Divinity of God, the Anointer. The Old Testament prophets are called hoi christoi Theou, which means the anointed (christs) of God, because they carried the Word. According to the Apostle John's revelation, “the Word (Grk: Logos) was made flesh” (Jhn.1:14a) when THE ALMIGHTY SPIRIT incarnated Himself in Jesus right after His baptism. It was THEN that JESUS CHRIST BECAME THE VISIBLE PERSONALITY OF THE INVISIBLE GOD. At no time before His baptism was Jesus GOD. He was only a sinless human being, who was God's Only Begotten in whom and through whom God would manifest Himself to the world. Remember: there is only One True and Living God Who is THE ALMIGHTY SPIRIT. And He incarnated Himself in the One Body of Jesus. [There is only One Spirit (or One God), One Body (Jesus, God's only Begotten Son), and One Incarnation of God. Hence, the teachings of a Holy Trinity of Persons and Jesus Christ is the Eternal Son of God are false doctrines.] Jesus was called THE CHRIST (not a Christ) because He had the Full Anointing of God and He carried the FULL WORD (LOGOS), the REVELATION of God bodily. The fullness of God is expressed in THE PERSON Christ Jesus. Hence, the LOGOS of God and the SPIRIT of God are ONE (Jhn.1:1).]

 

THE FIRST ADVENT

In the First Advent, when the PAROUSIA (COMING, PRESENCE) of the Lord's Christ was on the earth in the town of Nazareth, besides Zechariah, Elizabeth, Joseph and Mary, who else recognized it? Again, when the Lord's Christ was born in Bethlehem, who else recognized His Parousia besides those shepherds who were out in the field at night? And, besides the wise men of the East who followed a star to a house where the Child lived, who else recognized the Parousia of the Christ, the King of the Jews?

And when the Child was presented to the Lord God in the temple at Jerusalem, who else, besides Simeon and Anna, knew of His Parousia? Also, did any of the Ecclesiastics of the Law recognize the Parousia of the Christ when the twelve-year-old Lad was sitting in their midst in the temple discussing the Word of God with them?

Evidently, except for those few blessed people, many could neither recognize the days that they were living in nor realize that the Parousia of the Lord had been in their midst for some 30 years. It was not surprising that the majority of Israel could miss the revelation that the Word of God had come in their midst because they had been in and out of God's Word and playing the harlot. The same is true of the majority of Church people today. Many are also playing the harlot, having adulterated the Word with their filthy creeds and dogmas. They have failed to recognize the day that they are living in. We know that not all who profess to be Christians are the children of God.

 

THE PERSON OF GOD

When John the Baptist was upon the scene preaching the Gospel of repentance, it was then close to the hour when the CORPOREAL PERSON OF GOD INCARNATE would be ushered in and manifested to the people. The Anointed Word, which had arrived in a mysterious way some 30 years earlier, had paved the way. The VOICE of (an anointed) one crying in the wilderness began to sound his message, “PREPARE ye the way of the Lord…! He is among you! He will appear!” And not long after that, John baptized Jesus. The Heaven was opened and the Almighty God came and tabernacled in the flesh of Jesus who then became God Incarnate. (The Anointing upon Jesus was the FULLNESS of the Almighty Spirit dwelling in Him bodily to express His WORD.) Then John proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah: “Behold the Lamb of God…!” The Visible Corporeal Person of God HAD APPEARED and WAS MADE KNOWN to the disciples of John, who had earlier received the Word which was sent to prepare them to receive THE PERSON OF THE WORD. (Read 2 Timothy 1:9-10). THE WORD, which had arrived some 30 years earlier, and ITS PAROUSIA, which was felt by some chosen ones of God, HAD BECOME FLESH. GOD (THE SPIRIT AND HIS WORD) HAD COME TO REVEAL HIMSELF to his people. CHRIST THE WORD IN SPIRIT FORM HAD BECOME CHRIST THE WORD IN BODY FORM. One is recognized spiritually by the revelation of the Spirit, the other is recognized spiritually and literally by knowledge.

 

A PERIOD OF PROPHETIC EVENTS

Hence, we notice that the First Advent of Christ consisted of several events stretched over a period of time and not just one single event which took place after John the Baptist's proclamation: “Behold the Lamb of God…!” But when the fullness of time according to God's calendar had fully come, God began to unfold His PROMISED WORD concerning the COMING OF CHRIST and those who could recognize it in that hour could say, “The Messiah is COMING”, “The COMING of the Messiah is nigh”, or “The Messiah is HERE” because the PAROUSIA (COMING) had taken place. Read Luke 1:42-43; 2:10-11, 25-32.

 

CHRIST THE WORD AND CHRIST THE PERSON

Similarly, the Second Advent (or Parousia) of Christ is also a comprehensive whole encompassing several events. It would begin with the Coming of the Word at a certain time and end with the LITERAL APPEARING of Christ, the Person. CHRIST THE WORD would have to come to the True Worshippers of God before CHRIST THE PERSON would come and receive them.

 PREPARE YE! -- by
                         THE
                         WORD.

BEHOLD YE! -- THE
                      PERSON
                      OF
                     THE WORD.

Thus, God would have to send THE SPIRITUAL AND PROPHETIC WORD first to a group of spiritual people, who were known of Him before the foundation of the world, and who would accept and receive THE WORD. THE WORD would then fully prepare them and make them ready in order that they would behold and receive THE (LITERAL) PERSON OF THAT WORD. [It is interesting to note that the Hebrews do not separate the words from the person. The words of a person, such as a dignitary, are first sent forth via a document, a messenger, or other means, to a people, nation, etc., in order to prepare them to accept and receive the person. If the words of a person are accepted, then the person will be accepted. Hence, in order for a person to be received, his words must first be received.]

The Holy Scriptures show that both the First and the Second Advents of the Lord's Christ are stretched over a period of time. It must be emphasized that THE PERIOD OF BOTH ADVENTS OF CHRIST BEGAN WHEN THE WORD CAME AND MANIFESTED ITSELF TO BRING ABOUT THE CORPOREAL APPEARING OF GOD IN THE MAN, CHRIST JESUS. Such AN ARRIVAL and CONSEQUENT PRESENCE of THE WORD would only be recognized by a group of God's elect as can be seen in the Bible regarding His First Advent.

As for the Second Advent, we shall look into some passages of Scriptures to get an understanding from the Gospel writers. We shall examine closely as to why they wrote them the way they did. The passages are: Matthew 24; Mark 13; and Luke 17:20-37; 21:5-36. These passages relate the EVENTS of the Return of Jesus Christ. The accounts of the events are similar but the presentations and the emphases are different. And if we study them carefully we will understand that the Return of Christ embraces many prophetic events before Christ Jesus appears physically to whisk away the members of His Bride to Heaven, and then come back with them to earth after the Great Tribulation is over to set up the Kingdom of God.


Matthew chapter 24

1  And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
2  And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
3  And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of THY COMING, and of the end of the world?
4  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
6  And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8  All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9  Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
10  And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
11  And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
12  And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
13  But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
14  And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.                              [cf. Mark 13:1-13; Luke 21:5-19]

15  When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
16
 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
17  Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18  Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
19  And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
20  But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
                                                      
[cf. Mark 13:14-18; Luke 21:20-24]

21  For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22
 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.                                   [cf. Mark 13:19-20]

23  Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
24  For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
25  Behold, I have told you before.                                             [cf. Mark 13:21-23]

26  Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
27
 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the COMING of the Son of man be.
28  For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
                                                                                                
[cf. Luke 17:23-24]

29  Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
                                                                      [cf. Mark 13:24-27; Luke 21:25-28]

32  Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
33  So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
34  Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
35  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
                                                                      [cf. Mark 13:28-31; Luke 21:29-33]

36  But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.                                                                                               [cf. Mark 13:32]

37
 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the COMING of the Son of man be.
38  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39  And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the COMING of the Son of man be.
40
 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
41  Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
42  Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
43  But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
44
 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
45  Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
46
 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
47  Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
48  But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
49  And shall begin to smite his fellow-servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
50  The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
51
And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 

THREE QUESTIONS

The texts of Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21:5-36 are sometimes called The Olivet Discourse. Notice the questions that were asked by the disciples of Christ after what He had said concerning the impending destruction of the beautiful Temple in Jerusalem. Matthew recorded three questions whereas Mark and Luke recorded only two. The two questions recorded by all the three writers are:  (1) “When shall these things be?” and (2)What sign will there be when all these things shall be accomplished?” (or “What is the sign of the end, the consummation of the age?” ) These questions are dealt with in the texts. However, the one question that we should pay close attention to is that which was not dealt with by Mark and Luke. The question is: “What shall be the sign of thy COMING?” or “What shall be the sign of thy PAROUSIA (PRESENCE)?”

 

THE THIRD QUESTION

Because this last question was not recorded and dealt with by Mark and Luke, there was no necessity for them to record and deal with the answer in their writings. Remember also that both these writers were not numbered among the Twelve Disciples. Their gospels were compiled from materials gathered from some of the Apostles whom they were acquainted with. When reading Matthew 24 we notice that Christ's answers do not correspond with the three questions. From verse 4, He prophesied of the events that would take place by and by, and how that the situation would get worse and worse. After verse 14, we should skip verses 15-22 and continue with verse 23 to get a correct sequence of thought. Verses 15-20 are a sort of interjection which provide the answer to the question about the destruction of the Temple, with reference to the prophecy of Daniel the prophet concerning the abomination of desolation that would come upon Jerusalem, and the Great Tribulation that will follow with the close of the age (verses 21-22). Verses 15-22 are dual prophecies of a similar event. A similar record appears in Mark 13:14-20. However, Luke only mentioned about the desolation of Jerusalem but not the Great Tribulation that will follow although he wrote about certain events concerning the Sixth Seal (Rev.6:12-17) in Luke 21:25-28.

[Note: Many Bible expositors believe that the prophetic events in Matthew 24 parallel the Seven Seals of Revelation and that they will happen sequentially, as recorded, entirely in the 70th Week of Daniel. Some of them even believe that it is completely Jewish in character and has nothing to do with the Church. Most of them interpret the Four Horsemen of Revelation as False Christs and False Prophets (White Horse), Wars (Red Horse), Famines (Black Horse) and Pestilences (Pale Horse), and that these four Seals will be fulfilled at the beginning of the 70th Week of Daniel. Now, if such an interpretation is correct, this question needs to be answered — Why are all these events (including earthquakes which are not parallel to any SEALS in the Book of Revelation) happening now? In fact, they are on the increase. Also, to interpret verses 9-14 as parallel to the Fifth Seal in the period of Daniel's 70th Week would totally ignore the millions of saints who had been betrayed, persecuted and killed in their days.]

Matthew 24:29-31 and Mark 13:24-27 give a description of the events of the Sixth Seal. They should be read following Matthew 24:22 and Mark 13:20 respectively as a sequel regarding the Great Tribulation.

We should take note of one important point in Matthew 24:25 and Mark 13:23. The two verses appear to have the same meaning.  However, they have been presented differently in a few versions of the Bible.  The Authorized Version and the Numeric New Testament present Matthew 24:25 as, “Behold, I have told you before.” This implies that some time before the Olivet Discourse, Christ had warned the disciples about the various deceptions concerning His appearance. As a matter of fact, some weeks before His Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem (Matt.21:1-9; Lk.19:29-44), Jesus had given His disciples the warning when He told them about the Coming of the Kingdom of God. Somehow Matthew did not record the warning. But Luke did. Read Luke 17:20-37. And since Mark did not deal with the parousia question, the statements recorded by Matthew in 24:26-28 were absent in Mark's text.

Matthew recorded exactly all that Jesus had spoken on Mount Olives as he viewed the Parousia of Christ to be of great importance. Yet, there are slight differences between his record and that of Mark's and Luke's. Luke was also careful enough to record what the other Gospel writers had left out in the earlier account (Lk.17:20-37). Apparently the topic of the SECOND PAROUSIA (COMING) of the Messiah in the endtime, which covers many EVENTS, had been widely discussed by Christ with His disciples.

 

MATTHEW'S RECORD —
THE SIGN OF THY PAROUSIA”

From the parousia question which was asked by the disciples in Matthew 24, two things ought to be clear to all Bible readers. First, Christ was asked “What shall be the SIGN of Thy Parousia?” and not “How will Thou return?” or “How will Thou appear?” Second, the word parousia was used with reference to the coming of a royalty who would make his appearance. As such, it obviously could not be referring to the coming of the Holy Spirit of Christ on the Day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit is a Gift and a Seal of a believer. His coming was a spiritual coming to comfort the believers as Christ had promised (Jhn.14:16-18).

As Jesus dealt with the appearances of false Christs and false prophets, whose signs and wonders would deceive many, except the very elect, He warned His disciples not to believe in rumours concerning Christ is here” or Christ is there”. He said: “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the PAROUSIA of the Son of man be” (Matt.24:27).

This verse 27 has been interpreted by many Christians to be the sudden appearing of Christ in the sky where He would be seen from the east to the west. Is it not a ridiculous assumption? Do they mean to say that when Christ appears in the sky in one part of the earth He could also be seen in the opposite part at the same time? As I have just mentioned earlier, the question “What shall be the SIGN of Thy Parousia?” should NOT be inferred as “How shall Thou return?” or “How shall Thou appear?”  The word parousia means more than that. Notice how Jesus related certain events to His Parousia. First, He mentioned about false Christs arising. Then He warned His disciples not to believe in any hearsay about “Christ is here” or “Christ is there”. And He went on to make clear THE SIGN of His PAROUSIA by explaining it as a type of lightning, and how that its illumination in one corner of the earth could be seen in the other. So, the verse has nothing to do with a sudden appearing of Christ in the sky.

Yes, the Parousia of Christ will not be in some remote place or secret chamber, but His parousia will be known as it illuminates from one corner of the world to another. But who will know the sign? Upon whom will the illumination come?

 

THREE PHASES, FIVE EVENTS

In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, Paul wrote that there will be three phases in the PAROUSIA of Christ (v.15). The three phases are: THE SHOUT, THE VOICE OF THE ARCHANGEL, and THE LAST TRUMP. The third phase comprises the TRANSFORMATION OF THE SAINTS' BODIES — the raising of the dead in Christ, and the transformation of the living saints (cf. 1 Cor.15:51-54). Five events must take place and be known to Christ's Bride before she will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Thus, Paul also shows us that the PAROUSIA of Christ is not just a sudden appearing of the Lord Jesus in the sky.


1 Thessalonians chapter 4

13  But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.


1 Thessalonians chapter 5

1  But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
2  For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3  For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4  But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5  Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6  Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

From 1 Thessalonians 5, we should realize that those who are truly the children of God will undoubtedly know the times and the seasons when the Parousia of Christ will take place. It will be a period when the general populace of the world will feel a sense of world peace and security, and the religious people (who are without spiritual eye salve) will live in a state of total spiritual darkness. As we know, thieves generally strike at night when people are slumbering or sleeping. Hence, the world, which is in darkness (having no understanding), will be overtaken by the Parousia of Christ until it faces the wrath of God. But it will not be so with the true children of God who put on the armour of God's WORD. They are the children of light and of the day, and they will know the SIGN of the Parousia of Christ. And the illumination of the Parousia will fall upon them. For that reason, Jesus said: “For wheresoever the carcase (Grk: ptoma) is, there will the eagles be gathered together” (Matt.24:28). Yes, wherever there is freshly-killed meat – THE WORD OF TRUTH BEING REVEALED – there will be God's eagles (God's elect) gathered together.

Beloved, do you not see that the Parousia of the Son of man begins with the Coming of CHRIST THE WORD to God's elect who are watchful and prayerful, and are also ready for its time and season? (Read and compare the parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew chapter 25.) They are the only ones who could and would know about it. The SPIRITUAL COMING OF THE ANOINTED WORD brings the illumination that THE SECOND ADVENT OF CHRIST has arrived for the elect. This fact is substantiated by the REVELATION OF TRUTHS which comes forth from the WRITTEN WORD as FRESHLY-KILLED FOOD for God's eagles, the elected members of the Bride of Christ. Obviously the Parousia of the Son of man does not only illuminate the FOOD of God (in a time and season of darkness) that the eagles of God may gather together and eat for strength and maturity until the CORPOREAL APPEARING OF CHRIST, it also destroys the spiritual deceptive works of the DECEIVER. All Satan's deceitful workers – the man of sin (the son of perdition), the false prophets and the false Christs – who work to bind God's elects will be consumed at Christ's Corporeal Appearing (Manifestation) and Presence (2 Thess.2:1-12).

 

TYPES

It is interesting to see the types in the ceremonial events of the Ancient Oriental Wedding. The Friend of the Bridegroom would head the wedding procession of musicians, dancers, torch-bearers, and others involved in the wedding to the home of the Bride. The party would usually arrive at night (evening time) at the vicinity of the place chosen for the marriage ceremony. The Friend of the Bridegroom would give a 'shout', to announce the ARRIVAL of the Bridegroom. While the physical person of the Bridegroom was still way back in the wedding procession, his PRESENCE had begun to be felt by the people around. The brightness of the torches or lamps would illuminate the whole realm of activities. The 'SHOUT' of the Friend of the Bridegroom and the 'BRIGHTNESS' indicated the PAROUSIA of the Bridegroom.

Hence, we see that the first phase (THE SHOUT) of the Parousia of the Lord's Christ is the type of THE SOUNDING FORTH OF THE MESSAGE OF THE SEVENTH CHURCH AGE MESSENGER (Rev.10:7). THE SHOUT “Behold the Bridegroom cometh! Come ye out to meet Him!” denotes an ARRIVAL and NOT some future appearing. (The sign of the Messiah in the ministry of the son of man – the Seventh Church Age Messenger – and the sign of the Supernatural Cloud formed by seven angels in connection with the revealing of the Seven Seals confirmed His arrival. Christ the Word of God is the Supreme Judge. He has come to judge between Truth and Falsehood. The Revealed Word separates the Light from the Darkness.) Although this first phase has passed, THE MESSAGE still sounds unto those who will hear. As a matter of fact, THE VOICE OF THE ARCHANGEL (Chief Angel), which is THE VOICE OF THE LORD, IS NOW SPEAKING TO THE BRIDE TO MAKE THE LORD HIMSELF KNOWN AS HE SHOULD BE KNOWN before THE SOUNDING OF THE LAST TRUMP.

 

THE DAY OF THE LORD

Continuing with His discourse, Jesus then pointed to the Day of the Lord when He will actually appear in BODILY form to the world (Matt.24:29-31; Mk.13:24-27; Lk.21:25-27). The Day of the Lord is a period at the close of the Great Tribulation when the Lord Jesus will pour out His wrath (contained in the Seven Vials/Bowls of Revelation) upon the earth and then, together with His army of saints, goes forth for the Battle of Armageddon. He will fight against those who will unite themselves against Jerusalem. In that day He will stand on the Mount of Olives and cause a great earthquake to spilt the mountain into two from east to west. (Read Zech.14:4; Rev.6:12-16; 16:12-16; 19:11-21.)

“And then shall APPEAR (Grk: PHAINO, shine forth, become evident) the sign of the Son of man in heaven:…and they SHALL SEE (Grk: OPTOMAI, gaze with wide-open eyes at) the Son of man COMING (Grk: ERCHOMAI, come) in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matt.24:30).

The word COMING in Mark 13:26 and Luke 21:27 is the same word used in Matthew 24:30. This is the EPIPHANY (Grk: EPIPHANEIA, appearing, manifestation) OF JESUS CHRIST in His return to EARTH. It is not the epiphany to the saints at the Rapture. The EPIPHANEIA of Christ is the FLAMING, VISIBLE MANIFESTATION OF POWER of His PAROUSIA to bring about something good – something glorious – to the world. The word EPIPHANEIA is also used to describe His first appearing to bring LIGHT – the Gospel – to the world of darkness (2 Tim.1:10 cf. Lk.1:79).

 

ELECT'S CONCERN

By now, we should understand that, like the First Advent of Christ, the Second Advent also comprises a series of events which will climax on the Day of the Lord. However, as Believers of the Word, we are undoubtedly more concerned with His PAROUSIA to the Bride until His appearing in the air to take her to His Father's Home.

As Jesus continued His discourse with His disciples He told them a parable which pointed to the time and season of His Parousia which “is nigh, …even at the door”.

“Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matt.24:32-35).

Luke chapter 21

29  And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;

30  When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.

31  So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.

32  Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.

33  Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

The parable of the fig tree “and all the trees” (included in Luke) putting forth leaves points to the independence, as sovereign nations, of both the nation of Israel (from which the Jews were forced to disperse in the first century) and other nations. And with the increase in the prophetic events, as foretold by Christ, the year 1948 (when Israel became a sovereign nation) was the transition time between spring and summer. After Israel's independence, many other nations also became independent in the following decade of the 1950s. That was the decade when the Second Forerunner of Christ began to proclaim the Message of the Parousia of Christ. Yes, summer is nigh! “So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.”  It is the time and the season of the Parousia!

As we approach the rest of the text, we must bear in mind that Matthew recorded three questions while the other writers recorded only two. After Jesus had told His disciples the parable of the fig tree, He went on to warn them about several things. When we read each record carefully, we would observe that they are somewhat different from one another. And Matthew's record is totally different from that of Mark and Luke.

Since Matthew had recorded all three questions, he also had to record the answer, which was provided by Christ, to the extra question: “What shall be the sign of Thy Parousia?”

“But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the parousia of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the parousia of the Son of man be” (Matt.24:37-39).

You should have noticed that this passage is not found in Mark 13 and Luke 21. But there is a somewhat similar passage in Luke 17 which is not part of the Olivet discourse.

Prophetically, Jesus foretold of the conditions at the time when His parousia would take place. It would be a period when the conditions shall be similar to that of Noah's day. Do we not see the same conditions prevailing in the present generation? The prophecy is now being fulfilled in our days.

But what was wrong in marrying, eating and drinking in the days of Noah? Nothing, except that the people continued doing them without giving heed to the SIGN of God's imminent judgment which was right in their midst before the flood.

Notice the use of the phrase — “before the flood”. What was “BEFORE the flood”? THE SIGN OF THE IMPENDING JUDGEMENT OF GOD!  But what was that SIGN? THE ARK! The ark was the sign of the imminent judgement of the world! The people ignored it, but Noah and his family recognized the message which pointed them to the ark and safety. Although the ark stood for several decades as an evidence of the imminent judgement, the people disregarded its presence and continued with their activities. Even when different pairs of animals were led orderly into the ark without any hostility among them, the intellectual and religious people remained blind to the 'illumination' of the SIGN.

After Noah and his family had gone into the ark, the huge door was left open “for yet seven days” (Gen.7:4) for 'whosoever will come' in before the rain began to flood the whole earth. (Mercy and Grace are two of God's great attributes. The “seven days” type the “seven years” of the 70th Week of Daniel. Like the water of the flood which came after the seven days, the wraths of God (contained in the Seven Bowls) will be poured out at the end of the seven years. During these seven years there will still be mercy and grace for certain elected ones of God (i.e. the Foolish Virgins and the Faithful Spiritual Jews who will have to give up their lives as martyrs). They will be added to the Family of God only after the Day of God's wrath shall be complete on the earth.) All that went into the ark were safe. They had escaped the judgement of God. But those who were outside were all judged since the very day when Noah sounded his message. The judgement of God upon the world at that time BEGAN when the ANOINTED WORD of God came to Noah. The sounding of Noah's message was to bring the judgement upon the world as well as to gather a people for a 'new world'. The ARK was the CONFIRMATION that the ANOINTED WORD had come to do just that. Nevertheless the people continued with their activities “and KNEW NOT until the flood came, and took them all away”.

Yes, when the door of the ark was shut and the rain came, the people began to realize that it was God Who was doing all those 'unconventional' things through Noah. The judgement was passed even before the rain came. But they knew it too late. They should have accepted the message of Noah when they saw all the activities around the ark. Unfortunately, they did not.

“SO SHALL ALSO the parousia of the Son of man be.”

And so it is today.

Today, the majority of the people of the world, especially the intellectual and religious groups, do not realize that the prophecy is presently being fulfilled. Like the mass of people, Christians are also being deceived and blinded by Satan as they go about performing their religious duties or taking part in religious programmes and activities. They do not recognize the significance of the day and its message. This is the day of the fulfillment of the PAROUSIA OF CHRIST. The SIGN was evident in the ministry of the son of man, William Branham, who REFLECTED the very PRESENCE OF THE SON OF MAN, Jesus Christ. Christ the WORD is here. The illumination (brightness) of the Parousia has attracted the EAGLES to come together and feed upon the fresh WORD OF GOD which is prepared for them.

Yes, the SIGN has appeared in this present hour. The Rapture will soon take place and be followed by a 'flood' of destruction — the Great Tribulation (Dan.9:26-27; Matt.24:21). Just as it was in Noah's time, so it is today. The general mass of people, who are blinded by their own great intellectual knowledge of science and technology, and the religious people by their religions, will continue with their everyday activities without knowing what is happening right now until sudden destruction comes upon them (1 Thess.5:2-3).

 

"THE SON OF MAN"

Notice also the title "The Son of man" used by Jesus in His discourse. Throughout the Scriptures, the three titles often used are: "The Son of God", "The Son of man" and "The Son of David". All the three titles refer to Him, and Him alone. Each title emphasizes a different aspect of the Man. "The Son of God" refers to Jesus' Divine nature as Messiah. "The Son of David" points to Jesus' genealogical link to King David and His right to the Throne of Israel. And "The Son of man" focuses on Jesus' humanity and His Prophetic Ministry.

The prophets of the Old Testament were called "sons of man" because they were the "anointed ones" to whom the WORD of God came. They were called "gods" (Jhn.10:35). Jesus is the "Son of man" over all the "sons of man", that is, He is the Prophet of prophets. The ministry of all the "sons of man" REFLECTED the "Son of man" and His Ministry. Hence, it should be clear why Jesus frequently applied the title "Son of man" to Himself. The Parousia of Christ begins when the ANOINTED WORD comes to a people. And the Prophetic WORD must come through the PROPHETIC MINISTRY — "SON OF MAN". And William Branham was a "son of man" who was sent with the "SHOUT" message to herald the arrival of the "Son of man" — CHRIST THE WORD and GROOM (1 Thess.4:15-17). He fulfilled the prophecy of Malachi 4:5-6b and turned the heart of the children of God (in this endtime) to the faith of their Apostolic Fathers. His prophetic "son of man" ministry REFLECTED the "Son of man" and His Ministry in this 20th Century. The PAROUSIA OF THE SON OF MAN IS NOW BEING FULFILLED. According to the sequence of events, the elect have now entered the second phase of THE PAROUSIA OF THE SON OF MAN (1 Thess.4:13-17). [Note: The SHOUT will continue to echo for the remaining short period of time that the last few staggering elect may hear and be gathered into the Body of Christ. But when the LAST TRUMP begins to sound, the door will be closed and mercy for the Gentiles will be over. O, children of God, can you not discern the time? Be wise: get in now before it's too late!]

 

THE REVELATION OF THE SIGN

After Jesus had dealt with the SIGN of His Parousia, He went on to describe what most Christians term as the 'The Rapturing of the Saints'. When He comes, only those who are ready would be taken up to meet Him in the air because they are watchful and prayerful (Matt.24:40-44). Now, compare this passage with Mark 13:32-36, and observe the contrasting words used by the two writers. Matthew recorded the positive aspect of ONE WHO KNEW THE SIGN OF THE PAROUSIA OF THE LORD AND WHEN HE WOULD COME BECAUSE HE WAS WATCHFUL. On the other hand, Mark recorded the negative aspect of ONE WHO DID NOT KNOW WHEN THE LORD WOULD COME BECAUSE HE WAS SLEEPING.


Matthew chapter 24

40  Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
41  Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
42  Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
43  But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
44
 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.


Mark chapter 13

32  But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
33  Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.
34  For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.
35  Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:
36  Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.

Hence, it is the SIGN OF THE PAROUSIA which provides the knowledge of the hour of the Rapture. Without the revelation of the SIGN OF THE PAROUSIA, no one will be able to understand the final events of the Second Advent of Christ which are beautifully and mysteriously portrayed in Revelation 10 as seen by John in a vision.

In concluding His discourse, Jesus spoke of some very interesting things which are now taking place (Matt.24:45-51). Truly, we can see some faithful and wise servants (ministers of the Ascension Gifts of Ephesians 4) whom the Lord has made rulers (watchmen, shepherds) over His household (of eagles which are gathered together in various parts of the world) to give them fresh meat (solid food, "carcase") at the right time. These are the ministers who know the season of His Parousia and, hence, the hour of His corporeal return. On the other hand, there are also evil ministers who think that the Lord would delay His corporeal return because they are not aware of the season of His Parousia. They would smite (persecute, kill the image of) their fellow-ministers and dine (fellowship) with the drunkards (Christians who have lost their spiritual senses and values, such as Ecumenists make-believers, "Jezebels", etc.). When the Lord returns, not only would they be scourged, but they would also have their parts in the Great Tribulation with the hypocrites.

 

LUKE'S RECORD —
“ONE OF THE DAYS OF THE SON OF MAN”

Having examined the Olivet Discourse, we shall now look into Luke 17:20-37. Some ministers believe that this passage, beginning from verse 22 or 23, forms part of the Olivet Discourse. We know that this could not be so when we harmonize the events of the four Gospels before and after it. Also this statement made by Jesus in Matthew 24:25: “Behold, I have told you before” could only imply that He had an earlier discussion with His disciples on the subject of His return to earth to set up His Kingdom.

And, if Luke had recorded part of the Olivet Discourse in chapter 17, besides all that were recorded in chapter 21, he would have contradicted himself when he stated: “It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order (that is, an orderly account),…” (Lk.1:3).

 

Luke chapter 17

20  And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
21  Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
22  And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.
23  And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them.
24  For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.
25  But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.
26  And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
27  They did eat, they drank, they marri ed wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
28  Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
29  But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
30  Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
31  In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return  back.
32  Remember Lot's wife.
33  Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
    
[cf. Matt.24:15-20]

34  I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.
35  Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
36  Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
37  And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.

The earlier discourse by Jesus on the subject of His return to earth was prompted by the Pharisees' demand to know when the Kingdom of God would come. In reply to the question, Jesus gave the Pharisees a firm rebuke before He turned to His disciples to discuss the subject with them. He stated that the Kingdom of God did not come with observation (Grk: parateresis), which means hostile watching for some outward evidence or some visible display. The Pharisees were doing that because they were hostile towards Jesus, and they were keeping tag of His movement. Jesus continued and stated that no one would be able to say “Look! Here it is!” or “See! There it is!”, but that the kingdom was right in their midst or among them. It was already there in the Person of the King — Jesus. His very presence marked a kingdom!

Of course, the carnal religious Pharisees just could not grasp the Truth. Likewise, today's religious organized churches also do not recognize the Revealed Word of God for this hour.

Turning to His disciples, Jesus then revealed to them that there would come a time when they would long to see “ONE OF THE DAYS of the Son of man”, but they would not be able to see it. (Remember the term "Son of man" is applied to Jesus Christ in respect of His Prophetic Ministry in carrying the WORD of God to mankind.) There would not be another opportunity for them because He would be rejected by His generation and be taken away and be crucified. His Prophetic "Son of man" Ministry on earth would then cease. Jesus also warned them not to believe in any rumour that they might hear concerning His physical return. Such rumours that “He is here” or “He is there”, in a certain locality, could only mean one thing; that that Christ is a false Christ (cf. Matt.24:23-26). Amen! [Even now, there are already quite a number of men who claim that they are the incarnation of Jesus Christ.]

 

THE SON OF MAN IS BEING REVEALED

Then Jesus continued to describe how He would return. Just as the illumination of the lightning flash lights up from one end of the earth to the other, SO SHALL THE SON OF MAN ALSO BE in the day when He shall be revealed (cf. Lk.17:30). In other words, there would come a time when THE SON OF MAN Ministry would again return to earth and Christ's presence would be made known from one part of the world to the other by the illumination (revelation) of the Word of God. It would not be the Corporeal Person of Jesus Christ Who could only be seen in one particular place, but rather the Prophetic Ministry of THE SON OF MAN being revealed and recognized from one corner of the earth to the other.

And just as the disciples saw the days of THE SON OF MAN in their generation (before the Church began), the true disciples of Christ in this endtime shall also see such a day (before the Church closes).

Though the word parousia is not used in the passage, the phrases “one of the days of the Son of man” (Lk.17:22) and “in the day when the Son of man is revealed” (Lk.17:30) reveal that THERE MUST FIRST BE A RETURN (AND MANIFESTATION) OF ONE OF THE DAYS OF THE SON OF MAN MINISTRY. The return would take place in a generation with the same conditions which prevailed in the generations of Noah and Lot. The people will be so taken up with their daily affairs and activities that they will fail to notice the events preceding the judgment of God upon the world.

The day of THE RETURN OF THE SON OF MAN MINISTRY will mark the beginning of several prophetic events which will unveil the Coming of Jesus Christ for His True Church, His Bride, until His CORPOREAL APPEARING (Grk: Epiphaneia) and REVELATION (Grk: Apokalupsis) to the world at the Battle of Armageddon in the Day of the Lord.

 

3-FOLD REVELATION

The verse “even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed” carries a 3-fold revelation of THE SON OF MAN. Firstly, THE SON OF MAN has been revealed to the Bride through the ministry of a "son of man", William Branham. THE SON OF MAN, Jesus Christ, through this "son of man" has revealed to His Bride that He has begun His return (His descent – cf. 1 Thess.4:16) to earth to claim her. The Day of THE SON OF MAN is revealed to the elect by SPIRITUAL REVELATION of the Prophetic Word which, in turn, gives the Full Revelation of the Godhead and all His mysteries. Secondly, after the Bride is raptured, there will be a return of “one of the Days of THE SON OF MAN” to Israel. THE SON OF MAN will be revealed SPIRITUALLY to the 144,000 Jewish servants of God (Rev.7:1-8) through the two "sons of man" (i.e. the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11) in order that they will be sealed. Thirdly, THE SON OF MAN will appear corporeally in that Day of the Lord and be revealed physically to the world. He will then judge the world, cleanse it, and set up His Millennial Kingdom. As THE SON OF GOD, He will be worshipped as God. But He will ascend the Throne of David as THE SON OF DAVID and be THE KING of kings. Then, His Prophetic Ministry will be over and He will no longer be THE SON OF MAN.

The people of the world, including all kinds of religious people, will never be able to recognize the day and its message. But unto those who do, Jesus also warned them against having an attitude of caring too much for their physical lives and material riches insomuch that they shall even lose their own lives (Lk.17:26-33).

 

THE GATHERING TOGETHER OF THE EAGLES

In concluding His subject, Jesus touched upon the TRANSLATION OF THE SAINTS. Not everyone who claims to be a born again Christian will be translated, because not all who profess to be Christians are truly Christians (cf. Matt.7:21-23). Our Lord will claim as His only those whom the Father has given to Him (Jhn.6:37,65).

A casual reading of the last four verses of Luke 17 shows that verses 34-36 correspond with Matthew 24:40-41, while verse 37 is different from Matthew 24:28. Matthew 24:28 states: “For wheresoever the CARCASE is, there will the eagles be gathered together”, whereas Luke 17:37 states: “Wheresoever the BODY is, thither will the eagles be gathered together”.

"For wheresoever the
CARCASE is, there
will the EAGLES be
gathered together"

     
Matthew 24:28

"Wheresoever the
BODY is, thither
will the EAGLES be
gathered together"

             Luke 17:37

As we have already noticed, the passage of Matthew 24:23-28 deals with the question of THE SIGN OF THE PAROUSIA OF THE SON OF MAN. Hence, the word CARCASE (a dead body, translated from the Greek word 'ptoma' ) is rightly used in verse 28. The revelation here is that the freshly-killed CARCASE is actually the WORD of God being broken down, revealed and fed to God's elect, His eagles, in this EAGLE AGE. The Parousia of The Son of Man illuminated His Word and God's eagles flock to It to be fed. On the other hand, it is recorded in Luke that the translated saints, the eagles of God, would be gathered together to where the BODY is. The word BODY is translated from the Greek word 'soma'. [Some Bible students treat the word "body" as synonymous with the word "carcase" and make no distinction between the two verses (and texts) in question. However, 'ptoma' denotes a fall, that is, a body slain for food. But 'soma' denotes a whole body. It is also used metaphorically of the Body of Christ (Eph.5:23; Col.1:18, 22,24).] Therefore, it is clear from Luke's text that the eagles of God, upon their translation, will be gathered together into one BODY OF CHRIST (not several bodies) to meet Christ Jesus in the air. (The Lord Jesus Christ had also rightly typed the elect of this age as eagles instead of lions, oxen or men. The Christians typed as lions, oxen and men had already fulfilled their roles in the past three great dispensations in combating Satan's riders on his White Horse, Red Horse and Black Horse respectively.)

Before the saints of God could be gathered together into ONE BODY at the Rapture, they must first be gathered together to the REVEALED WORD of God. That is why it was necessary for God to send a prophet-messenger, a son of man, to reveal THE SON OF MAN. The late William Branham was that son of man. And he heralded the PAROUSIA OF THE SON OF MAN. God gave him the prophetic message to call the elect out of the bondage of organized religions. The elect have to be united with the WORD OF GOD in spiritual marriage, and be made ready by the WORD for the Rapture to the Grand Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

Today, there are about 2000 'Christian' denominations, sects, and cults in the world claiming to be the True Body of Christ. Yet, each is different from the others in their 'faiths'. As there is only ONE BODY OF CHRIST, THEY CAN ONLY BE ONE TRUE FAITH. Hence, it stands to reason that the ONE BODY OF CHRIST cannot be made up of 'Christians' from all these 2000 different 'faiths'. Read Ephesians 4:4-6.

This is the Eagle Age, and Jehovah Eagle Himself will provide Eagle food as He sounds forth His Eagle scream. His Eagle screams will not only attract the eagles of God, but also other kinds of birds which believe that they are 'eagles'. However, because the food is solid meat, which is suitable only for true eagles' belly, and the place of abode, which only true eagles can perch on, the rest would drop out sooner or later (cf. Heb.5:11-14). Eagle's faith is not for any bird which looks like an eagle, acts like an eagle or even screams like an eagle. Only the true eagles are able to fly to where the Great Eagle's call is. They are able to gather themselves together to feed upon the Revealed Word of God and stay upon It. Amen!

Now is the preparation time for the eagles of God to prepare themselves for their flight to Gloryland. Yes, eagles of God, feed upon the PTOMA which is prepared for you! Get nourishment, get strength! As you hearken to His Voice and submit yourselves fully to Him, your Faith will increase and be as strong as His, and the day will come when He will call forth your name and scream: “Fly, eagle, fly!  Fly home to where the SOMA is!”

Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

I hear the Eagle scream,
I hear the Midnight Cry:
“Behold, the Bridegroom cometh!”
He's coming in the sky.
Lift up your voice and shout,

Lift up your wings and fly.
The sunset gleams,
The Eagle screams.
He's coming for His Bride!

I hear the Eagle scream,
I spread my wings and fly
To where Jehovah Eagle
Is calling in the sky.
Here comes the snow-white Dove,
He leads me as I fly.
I stay in line,
The Token's mine.
He's coming for His Bride!