(Matthew 24:15-28) – Part 1
In speaking of the last days Jesus gives many warnings and indications of what must happen. Amongst the many signs of the end times there will be great desolation and opposition in the Church. Satan will have his messengers attack the Church from without and within. There will be many false teachers and false prophets arise whose sole purpose is to lead astray the people of God. These false prophets and false teachers are the vultures or eagles Jesus refers to when he said wherever the body is there will the eagles be gathered.
He warns us not to be quickly shaken by these people and these times. They will perform pretended signs and wonders to lead people astray. They will say things indicating where you may find Jesus saying, “He is in the wilderness” or “He is in the inner rooms” or he is someplace else. But Jesus says to ignore them. Don’t listen to them and don’t follow them for they do not know what they are talking about. When Jesus returns it will be such a spectacular event and on such a grand scale that no one in the world will miss it. He likens it to the lightning flashing from one end of the sky to the other and it will not be missed by anyone. (Verse 27) You will not have to go looking for Jesus when he returns as he will literally be larger than life, bigger than any Hollywood blockbuster could ever make him and obvious and apparent to every person on the earth.
But coming back to the eagles, these false teachers and false prophets are likened to birds of carrion. You find eagles and vultures out in the deserts and bushlands where there are dead bodies. Animals that have died in remote places from natural causes, killed by other predators or even hit by cars are the food of these carrion birds. They live off of the flesh of the dead.
These false teachers and false prophets are the same. People who choose to follow falsehoods and refuse to seek or accept the truth are spiritually dead. Even these churches, which may have the appearance of being alive, are spiritually dead. The Lord showed such a thing can exist in the prophecy to the church at Sardis in Revelation 3:1-6. He begins that prophecy saying, “‘I know your works; you have the name of being alive, and you are dead.” Such a church as this is ready to be attacked by these carrion, the false teachers and false prophets. In that section of Revelation there is a warning to beware and repent and so come back to the Lord before falling prey to these vultures.
Individuals will follow after any teaching and forms of belief in the last days, for they choose not to seek the truth by coming to Christ. The apostle Paul was aware of this when he wrote to Timothy saying, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4) Today we see all manner of teachings that are false. There are philosophies, New Age teachings, occult, humanism, atheism, worship of the things of the earth and more, all of which are false teachings designed to lead people astray. And in the church there are polluted teachings that mix some of these things in as well as mixing up teachings from the Old and New Covenants to produce a mumbo jumbo of teachings that have the appearance of religion, but do nothing to set people free from bondage to sin that is at the heart of the New Covenant.
It is the false prophets and false teachers who promote these things to lead people astray. Why do they do these things? Because they are vultures and eagles feeding off the bodies of the spiritually dead who will not listen to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Their end will be with those who are doomed to eternal damnation.
So the warning is clear to all who choose to follow Christ. Seek his ways and learn from him so that when confronted by strange and diverse teachings you are not led astray.