Matthew 24:25 "Behold, I have told you in advance.
26 "So if they say to you, 'Behold, He is in the wilderness,' do not go out, or,' Behold, He is in the inner rooms,' do not believe them.
27 "For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.
28 "Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.
FOREWARNED SO THAT
YOU ARE FOREARMED
Ryrie - This is a warning as well as a prediction.
MacArthur - The (Jewish) fugitives will have access to Jesus' words recorded here.
Gundy - To be forewarned of the danger is to be forearmed against it. "Behold" emphasizes the forewarning. (Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation)
During the dark deceptive days of the coming Great Tribulation the Bible will truly be an essential "survival guide" for the Jews who have eyes to see spiritually. (cp Ps 119:105)
The parallel passage in Mark adds the command "Take heed" and the qualification "everything" (all things) - "But take heed (blepo in the present imperative = command calling for a Spirit enable lifestyle, continually staying spiritually alert); behold, I have told you everything in advance." (Mark 13:23) Hiebert commenting on Mark's passage writes that "all things means all things necessary to keep them from being misled. What He has here said will given them needed guidance. His message will stand as an abiding prophetic reminder."
Regardless of what others say or do during this last 3.5 years of great deception, believers are to obey their Master, always a good "antidote" for the subtle deception of pretenders.
Behold calls on us to pay attention to this forewarning!
Behold (2400)(idou) is the second person singular aorist middle imperative of eidon which means to see, perceive, look at. In the NT idou is used as a demonstrative particle that draws attention to what follows. Idou in the middle voice means "you yourself look, see, perceive!" The aorist imperative is a command emphasizing "Do it now! Don't delay!" Idou is used by the Biblical writers to (1) prompt or arouse the reader's attention (introducing something new or unusual), (2) to mark a strong emphasis ("Indeed!" Lk 13:16) and (3) to call the reader to pay close attention (very similar to #1) so that one will listen, remember or consider
Zodhiates adds that idou is a "demonstrative particle. "Lo and behold!", serving to call attention to something external or exterior to oneself; usually used at the beginning of a clause or only with kai (and), before it, but sometimes in the mid. of a clause before words which are to be particularly noted (Mt 23:34; Lk 13:16; Acts 2:7). (The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament. AMG)
Hendriksen comments - Lovingly the Master provides for his disciples. When the fiery trial (cp 1Pe 4:12) arrives they must never be able to say, "How strange and unexpected! Why did not the Lord prepare us for this? Why did He not warn us?" Having been forewarned, the disciples (Ed comment: In the first century and until the end of time) will not be unduly disturbed when the prediction is fulfilled. In fact, their faith in Jesus will even be confirmed.
Told in advance (4280)(proereo from prÃ³ = before + eréo = to say, declare) means literally to say beforehand, so to speak in advance. Some uses convey a "prophetic" sense of declaring or telling before an event (foretell - Acts 1:16, Ro 9:29, 2Co 13:2). Here we see Jesus' warnings in the context of the Olivet Discourse conveys the sense a foretelling of things to come. The perfect tense speaks of the enduring effect or impact of His words (i.e., the idea is "I told you and this warning stands!")
Matthew 24:26 "So if they say to you, ' Behold, He is in the wilderness,' do not go out, or,' Behold, He is in the inner rooms,' do not believe them: ean oun eiposin (3PAAS) humin Idou (AMM) en te eremo estin (3SPAI) me exelthete (2PAAS - functions as an aorist imperative) Idou (AMM) en tois tameiois me pisteusete (2PAAS - functions as an aorist imperative): (desert: Mt 3:1 Isa 40:3 Lu 3:2,3 Ac 21:38)
THE COMING OF THE SON OF MAN
NOT HIDDEN OR SECRETIVE
He is in the wilderness - compare Mt 11:7-9 where the people went out into the wilderness to see John the Baptist, a true prophet who pointed to the true Messiah.
Wilderness (2048)(eremos) describes a solitary, lonely, desolate (Lxx of streets of Jerusalem = Jer 33:10), uninhabited, abandoned place. Literally of a desert, a deserted place, a lonely region. Of an uncultivated region fit for pasture (Lk 15:4 = open pasture). Eremos describes the place where John the Baptist lived (Lk 1:80) and heard "the word of God" (Lk 3:2) and preached (Mt 3:1), and cried out "in the wilderness" (Mt 3:3, Mk 1:3, Lk 3:4, Jn 1:23). Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Mt 4:1, Mk 1:12, Lk 4:1 = where He "was led about by the Spirit") Of the lonely place Jesus withdrew early in the morning (Mt 14:14, Lk 4:42, Mk 1:35 - Do you have a "lonely place" to which you retire early in the morning? If Jesus needed one, so do we! Mk 6:31 Do you have a "wilderness" in which to pray? = Lk 5:16, cp Lxx use in Ps 63:1). Jesus speaking to faithless Israel declared "Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!" (Mt 23:38) Because of popularity Jesus had to stay "out in unpopulated areas." (Mk 1:45, cp Jn 11:54) Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness (Jn 3:14), the same place Israel ate manna (Jn 6:31, 49). Jehovah appeared to Moses in wilderness on Sinai (Acts 7:30, 38, cp Lxx uses Ex 3:1, 18, 4:27) and he led Israel 40 years in the wilderness (Acts 7:36; cp Lxx Ps 68:7, 78:52, Hos 13:5, Amos 2:10) where they offered sacrifices for 40 years (Acts 7:42, cp Acts 13:18 = where God "put up with" Israel, cp Lxx of Amos 5:25) and where they first had the tabernacle of testimony (Acts 7:44) and where God laid low most of Israel because He was not pleased with them (1Cor 10:5, Heb 3:17) for they provoked Him there (Heb 3:8, cp Lxx - Ps 95:8; 106:14, Ps 78:40). The wilderness is where the woman (Israel) will flee in the future and be nourished by God, protected from the devil for 3.5 years (time, times, and half a time = 1260 days - Rev 12:6, 14, cp Da 7:21, 25, Da 12:7).
In Lxx of Hag 1:9 Jehovah laments "of My house which lies desolate." God "will make Nineveh a desolation, Parched like the wilderness (Lxx - eremos)." (Zeph 2:13) God says of Judah "The whole land shall be a desolation." (Jer 4:27, cp Jer 9:12 "like a desert"; Jer 12:10 = "a desolate wilderness") God speaks of Israel's future restoration when He will purge the rebels and bring others into the bond of the covenant (Ezek 20:37,38) - "As I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you," declares the Lord GOD." (Ezek 20:36) Note that Ezekiel 20:33-44 speaks of His regathering Israel to their land in the future time of Christ's Second Advent.
Figuratively eremos is used of individuals who are abandoned, forsaken (Gal 4:27, Acts 1:20 = desolate, cp Lxx of Hos 2:3) God says "Have I been a wilderness to Israel" (Jer 2:31)
NAS translates eremos - desert(2), deserts(1), desolate(6), open pasture(1), secluded(5), unpopulated(1), wilderness(32).
Eremos - 48x in 48v - Matt 3:1, 3; 4:1; 11:7; 14:13, 15; 23:38; 24:26; Mark 1:3f, 12f, 35, 45; 6:31f, 35; Luke 1:80; 3:2, 4; 4:1, 42; 5:16; 7:24; 8:29; 9:12; 15:4; John 1:23; 3:14; 6:31, 49; 11:54; Acts 1:20; 7:30, 36, 38, 42, 44; 8:26; 13:18; 21:38; 1 Cor 10:5; Gal 4:27; Heb 3:8, 17; Rev 12:6, 14; 17:3
Liddell-Scott-Jones - I desolate, lonely, solitary, 1 of places, the desert parts. 2. of persons or animals, ( I weep in solitude) 3. of conditions, II c. gen., 1. reft of, void or destitute of, 2. of persons, bereft of, a house without heirs, Isa 7.31. 3. with no bad sense, wanting, without; free from III 1. an undefended action, in which one party does not appear, and judgement goes against him by default,
Eremos - 319v in the Septuagint - Ge 12:9; 13:1, 3; 14:6; 16:7; 21:14, 20f; 24:62; 36:24; 37:22; Ex 3:1, 18; 4:27; 5:1, 3; 7:16; 8:20, 27f; 13:18, 20; 14:3, 11f; 15:22; 16:1, 3, 10, 14, 32; 17:1; 18:5; 19:1f; 23:29, 31; Lev 7:38; 16:10, 21f; 26:31, 33; Nu 1:1, 19; 3:4, 14; 9:1, 5; 10:12, 31; 12:16; 13:3, 17, 21f, 26; 14:2, 16, 22, 25, 29, 32f, 35; 15:32; 16:13; 20:1, 4; 21:1, 5, 11, 13, 20, 23; 23:28; 24:1; 26:61, 64f; 27:3, 14; 32:13, 15; 33:6, 8, 11f, 15f, 36; 34:3; Deut 1:1, 19, 31, 40; 2:1, 7f, 26; 4:43, 45; 6:4; 7:22; 8:2, 15f; 9:7, 28; 11:5, 24; 29:5; 32:10, 51; 34:3; Josh 1:4; 5:6; 12:8; 14:10; 15:1, 21; 16:1; 20:8; 21:36, 42; 24:7; Jdg 1:16; 8:7, 16; 11:16, 18, 22; 20:42, 45, 47; 1Sam 4:8; 23:14, 24f; 24:1; 25:1, 4, 7, 14, 21; 26:2f; 2 Sam 2:24; 15:18, 23, 28; 16:2; 17:16, 29; 1Kgs 2:34; 4:20; 19:4, 15; 2Kgs 2:8; 3:8; 1Chr 5:9; 6:78; 12:8; 21:29; 2Chr 1:3; 8:4; 20:16, 20, 24; 24:9; 26:10; Ezra 9:9; Neh 2:17; 9:19, 21; Esther 8:12; Job 1:19; 15:28; 38:26; 39:6; Ps 29:8; 55:7; 63:1; Ps 65:12; 68:7; 75:6; 78:15, 19, 40, 52; Ps 95:8; 106:9, 14, 26; Ps 107:4, 33, 35; 136:16; Pr 9:12; 21:19; Song 3:6; Isa 1:7; 5:9, 17; 6:11; 13:9; 14:17, 23; 15:6; 16:1, 8; 17:9; 21:1; 24:12; 30:6; 32:15f; 34:11; 35:1f, 6; 40:3; 41:18; 42:11; 43:19f; 44:26; 48:21; 49:8, 19; 50:2; 51:3; 52:9; 54:1; 58:12; 61:4; 62:4; 63:13; 64:10; Jer 2:6, 15, 24, 31; 4:11, 26f; 9:2, 10, 12, 26; 12:10, 12; 13:24; 17:6; 22:6; 23:10; 25:24; 31:2; 33:10, 12; 34:22; 44:2; 48:6; 49:13; 50:12; Lam 4:3, 19; 5:9; Ezek 5:14; 6:14; 13:4; 14:8; 19:13; 20:10, 13, 15, 17f, 21, 23, 35f; 23:42; 25:13; 26:20; 29:9f; 30:12; 33:28f; 34:25; 35:3f, 7, 12, 14f; 36:2, 33, 35, 38; 38:8; Dan 4:25; 9:17; Hos 2:3, 14; 9:10; 13:5, 15; Joel 1:19-20; 2:22; Amos 2:10; 5:25; Zeph 2:13; Hag 1:9; Zech 14:10; Mal 1:3-4;
Hendriksen - Some, with reflection on John the Baptist (Mt 3:1), may point to the wilderness as the place where the Messiah is to be found. Others, to the inner rooms, as if the Christ were only for a few initiates, the Head of a private fraternity, revealing himself to no one else. In fact, the very opposite is the truth. It will not be necessary in that day to go in search of the Christ, as if he were to be found in some arid waste or some dark corner.
Behold, He is in the inner rooms - Jesus' point is that when the real Messiah returns, it will not be for just a few to see.
Gundry writes that "For their own emphasis, false prophets will also use "Behold!" Jews often thought that messianic salvation would begin in the wilderness (compare Israel's exodus from Egypt into the wilderness as deliverance from slavery, and Israel's entrance into Canaan out of the wilderness as the gaining of a homeland). "Storerooms" contrasts hideouts in the city with the wilderness. False teaching in the church is seldom brazen. It's usually offered with theological justification, such as a claim to have had direct and recent contact with the Christ, so that attention supposedly needs to be paid to a new communication that outdates his traditional teaching. Jesus warns, then, against contacts said to have taken place in the isolation of the wilderness and in the secrecy of urban hideouts, where public authentication that the Christ has returned and communicated with these false prophets is lacking. But people in the church can be easily taken in by false prophets who enhance their proclamations with claims to private contacts with the Christ and new communications from him. So Jesus will now play up the publicness of his return." (Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation)
Inner rooms ("secret chambers" - KJV) (5009)(tameion = later form of tamieion = treasury and it is this latter form used in the Septuagint) can describe a storeroom or storage chamber, a secret room or an inner chamber. Tameion speaks of the interior rooms of a house reserved for privacy.
Uses of the form tamieion in the Septuagint - When he saw his long lost brothers Joseph "entered his chamber and wept there." (Ge 43:30 = tamieion) Delilah had men "lying in wait in an inner room" to bind Samson (Jdg 16:12, 9 = tamieion). Tamieion was the place Amnon violated Tamar (2Sa 13:10 = "the bedroom", cp 1Ki 1:15, 2Ki 6:12) Tamieion was the place Beh-hadad hid in the city ("into an inner chamber" 1Ki 20:30). Micaiah described tamieion as "an inner room" where one could hide (1Ki 22:25). Tamieion was the place Joash (the last male heir in the Davidic line as the others were put to death) was hidden with his nurse by Jehosheba and thereby preserved the line of the Messiah (2Ki 11:2 - "But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah and stole him from among the king's sons who were being put to death, and placed him and his nurse in the bedroom, actually either the palace storeroom where servants kept the bedding or a room in the living quarters of the temple priests. So they hid him from Athaliah, and he was not put to death." Note 2Ki 11:3 says Joash was hidden for 6 years in the Temple)! Tamieion describes "barns" that are "filled with plenty" (Pr 3:10)
Tameion - 4x in 4v -
Matthew 6:6 "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
Matthew 24:26 "So if they say to you, 'Behold, He is in the wilderness,' do not go out, or, 'Behold, He is in the inner rooms,' do not believe them.
Luke 12:3 "Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops.
Luke 12:24 "Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds!
Tameion is not found but the earlier form, tamieion is found 34 times in the Septuagint: Ge 43:30; Exod 8:3; Deut 28:8; 32:25; Judg 3:24; 15:1; 16:9, 12; 2 Sam 13:10; 1 Kgs 1:15; 20:30; 22:25; 2 Kgs 6:12; 9:2; 11:2; 2 Chr 18:24; 22:11; Job 9:9; 37:9; Ps 105:30; 144:13; Prov 3:10; 7:27; 20:27, 30; 24:4; 26:22; Eccl 10:20; Song 1:4; 3:4; 8:2; Isa 26:20; 42:22; Ezek 28:16
ESV Study Bible - The Messiah will not come secretly to a select group and stay hidden from public view. Rather, he will appear like a flash of lightning—sudden and visible to all.
Tony Garland - At the Second Coming, Jesus will not be out in some wilderness hide-away where only a choice few or dedicated zealots know to find Him. Nor will he be squirreled away in the inner sanctum of a secret fortress or compound accessible only to the initiated. One wonders how many false Christ's even to our own time could have been rejected simply on the grounds of this verse?
Do not believe - Although this is in the aorist subjunctive, in context it functions as an imperative or a command.
Believe (4100)(pisteuo from pistis; pistos; see related studies the faith and the obedience of faith) means to consider something to be true and therefore worthy of one's trust, accepting it as genuine or real. Notice the next verse begins with "for" (gar) which explains why Jesus issues the warning to not believe their claims to Messiahship -- they will perform great signs and wonders, which one might think could only be performed by the Messiah. In the Gospel of John Jesus tells us how we might be enabled to discern truth from error - "If any man is willing to do (present tense - as one's lifestyle) His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself." (Jn 7:17) In this coming day of deception, believers walking by the Spirit of Truth will be enabled by Him to discern truth from error. (cf Gal 5:16-note, 1Jn 2:20-note, 1Jn 2:27-note).
Thomas Ice - Previously, Jesus has been warning the Jewish remnant during the second half of the seven-year tribulation to watch out for spiritual deception. Jesus referenced "the elect" (verse 24) for the second of three times in which that term is used in this passage, which refers to the Jewish remnant who will come to Christ during the tribulation. Jesus continues His instruction and warnings to "the elect" in Mt 24:26-28.
Notice how the preterist interpret this passage, saying that it is saying that when Jesus returns it won't be just like when He ascended (like the angel said it would be!) in Acts 1:9-11 -
Quite emphatically the Lord warns His disciples He will not come in a visible, bodily manner in those days (Ed: Then why would Jesus contradict Himself in Mt 24:30 and why does John reiterate that every eye see Him in Rev 1:7? The answer is patently obvious -- because every eye will SEE Him!). He twice states that any report of His physical presence would be erroneous (Ed: The context is critical -- this is during the last 3.5 years, not at the end of the Great Tribulation! Cp His phrase "immediately after the tribulation of those days" in Mt 24:29).: Clearly these statements discourage their expecting any visible return in that day; He expressly declares that any command to look for Him in some limited particular location would be a mistake. Yet there will be a "coming" of Christ in that day:…This, however, is a spiritual judgment-coming, rather than a bodily coming." (Ed: This is utter nonsense and clearly counters the plain reading of Rev 1:7 and Mt 24:30!) (Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Perilous Times: A Study in Eschatological Evil Texarkana, AR: Covenant Media Press, 1999, p. 71) As Ice says fortunately this misinterpretation of Jesus' return as a "spiritual return" of Jesus is one that only a small percent of commentaries espouse.
Matthew 24:27 "For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be: hosper gar e astrape exerchetai (3SPMI) apo anatolon kai phainetai (3SPMI) eos dusmon outos estai e parousia tou huiou tou anthropou: (as: Job 37:3 38:35 Isa 30:30 Zec 9:14 Lu 17:24-37) (the coming: Mt 16:28 Mal 3:2 4:5 Jas 5:8 2Pe 3:4)
THE COMING OF THE SON
LIKE A FLASH OF LIGHTNING
For (gar) - Terms of explanation should always prompt a question to the good inductive Bible student. In this case - What is Jesus explaining? He is explaining why they are not to believe the deceivers regarding Messiah's presence in places like the wilderness or inner rooms. His appearance will not be in desolate regions or darkened rooms visible to only a few, but will be brilliantly evident to all, like lightning flashing from east to west! In short, His sudden return will not be local but global!
Gundry - "For" makes the wide visibility of the Son of Man's coming the reason not to go out into the wilderness or squeeze into urban storerooms to see him. (Ibid)
Stuart Weber explains that for "tells us why we should not believe the Messiah will be seen in a single location on earth. When he comes, the whole world will know! Unlike his first advent—through natural birth into a human body and thirty-four years of life as a man—the coming of the Son of Man here Jesus used the title with its full messianic impact) will be like lightning, which comes from the east and is visible even in the west. The picture is that of a bolt of lightning, flashing all the way across the sky, from horizon to horizon, in an instant. Jesus was about to tell us more about his coming (24:29-31), but this alone distinguished him from all the imposters at the end of the age. They would be mere men, lingering about in one place or another, while he would come suddenly and visibly, and he would not be limited to a single location. (Holman New Testament Commentary)
This is Jesus' first specific answer to the question concerning the sign of His return (cf Mt 24:3-note).
Be very careful reading the commentaries! E.g., one preterist (DeMar) makes the nonsensical statement that "Jesus came "like lightning" to set Jerusalem "aflame all around." Is that really what a plain reading of Mt 24:27 says?
Just as the lightning comes (see discussion of term of comparison) - The point is you cannot miss it! Why? Because it travels at the "Speed of light!" When lightning strikes, it is visible for just a moment. A lightning strike is sudden, often catching the observer by surprise!
Just as (hosper) means wholly as, just as, exactly like and is used in NT only in comparisons.
Some commentaries feel that Jesus' will be seen as the world revolves, but this comparison implies all the world will see Him at once. Why? Because unlike North and South, there is no point where East stops and West starts.
MacArthur has an excellent note - Jesus assures them (the disciples). His coming will not be stretched over a long period of time but will be quick, sudden, public (Ed: Public in contrast to the "inner rooms" of Mt 24:26 implying a secretive appearance!), visible, universal, and unimaginably glorious.....Christ's appearance not only will be unmistakable to those in hiding on that day but to every human being on earth, including His most implacable enemies. For those who belong to Him, Christ's coming will be marvelous deliverance, but for those who have resisted and opposed Him it will be the ultimate day of tragedy.....Until the Lord appears in that predicted and unquestionable way, those who are hiding should remain where they are. After the true Christ appears, however, His people and His enemies will exchange places, as it were. Those who had been hiding in the mountains and caves will be released to freedom and blessing, and their would-be captors and murderers will themselves seek refuge, as the righteous wrath of God replaces and punishes the evil wrath of man and of Satan. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary)
Hendriksen - The sense of the comparison, then, is this, that just as a lightning flash is so brilliant that from one end of heaven to the other it is clearly visible, so Christ's coming shall be such that "every eye shall see him" (Rev. 1:7-note).
Heinrich Meyer - The advent of the Messiah will not be of such a nature that you will require to be directed to look here or look there in order to see him; but it will be as the lightning, which as soon as it appears, suddenly announces its presence everywhere;…what is meant is, that when it takes place, it will all of a sudden openly display itself in a glorious fashion over the whole world. Ebrard (comp. Schott) is wrong in supposing that the point of comparison lies only in the circumstance that the event comes suddenly and without any premonition. For certainly this would not tend to show, as Jesus means to do, that the assertion: He is in the wilderness, etc. is an unwarrantable pretence. (Critical and exegetical handbook to the Gospel)
Flashes (5316)(phaino) means to bring to light, to cause to appear. To shed light upon (Rev 8:12). Phaino refers to "something which is visible, something which appears." Phaino is used again in Mt 24:30 = "the sign of the Son of Man will appear".
Paul uses the related noun (derived from phaino) epiphaneia which literally means a "shining forth" or "shining upon," a visible revelation which includes the idea of something sudden and unexpected! (cp Mt 24:36).
And then that lawless one (Antichrist) will be revealed (when he commits the abomination of desolation - Mt 24:15, cp 2Thes 2:3-4) whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance (epiphaneia) of His coming." (2Thes 2:8, cp epiphaneia also used in context of the Second Coming in 1Ti 6:14).
Coming (3952)(parousia is a combination of two Greek words para = with, alongside + ousia = being -- ousia is the participial form of the verb eimi = to be) which together literally mean to be alongside. Parousia conveys the thought of an arrival (advent or coming) of a person to a place plus the idea of their presence at that place until a certain event transpires. The word parousia has no English equivalent and therefore is often transliterated in writings.
John MacArthur - Parousia refers to more than just coming; it includes the idea of presence. Perhaps the best English translation would be "arrival." The church's great hope is the arrival of Jesus Christ when He comes to bless His people with His presence. That glorious truth appears in more than 500 verses throughout the Bible (Ed: In fact 1 in 20-25 of every NT verses alludes to the Second Coming!). (Macarthur J. Commentary on James.) (Bolding added)
Son of Man - Emphasizes His humanity. Fully God and Fully man. Found 88x in 84v - Matt 8:20; 9:6; 10:23; 11:19; 12:8, 32, 40; 13:37, 41; 16:13, 27f; 17:9, 12, 22; 18:11; 19:28; 20:18, 28; 24:27, 30, 37, 39, 44; 25:31; 26:2, 24, 45, 64; Mark 2:10, 28; 8:31, 38; 9:9, 12, 31; 10:33, 45; 13:26; 14:21, 41, 62; Luke 5:24; 6:5, 22; 7:34; 9:22, 26, 44, 56, 58; 11:30; 12:8, 10, 40; 17:22, 24, 26, 30; 18:8, 31; 19:10; 21:27, 36; 22:22, 48, 69; 24:7; John 1:51; 3:13f; 5:27; 6:27, 53, 62; 8:28; 9:35; 12:23, 34; 13:31; Acts 7:56; Heb 2:6; Rev 1:13; 14:14
Light in the eastern sky, Jesus returning!
Light in the western sky, Jesus is near!
Soon shall the nations, His advent discerning,
Hail Him with gladness, or see Him with fear.
Lord, by Thy hands that were nail pierced and torn:
Lord by the crown that they wove of the thorns:
Lord, by Thy passion in Gethsemane:
Christ of all tenderness, plead Thou for me!
Bright be our lamps as we watch for the dawning,
Girded our loins, that our strength may not fail;
So as He shines through the mists of the morning,
We may be ready to cry Him, All hail!
Not as at Nazareth—lowly they found Him;
He as the Judge cometh back from the sky;
Borne on the whirlwind, with angels around Him,
Veiling their face from His glory so nigh.
Judge of the earth, who in mercy unfailing
Offered Thyself as atonement for sin,
In that great day, by Thy love all prevailing,
Grant us the rest of Thy heaven to win!
Vincent - Carcass (ptoma). From pipto, to fall. Originally a fall, and thence a fallen body; a corpse. Compare Lat. cadaver, from cado, to fall. See Mark 6:29; Rev 11:8. On the saying itself, compare Job 39:30.
Vincent on vulture - The griffon vulture is meant, which surpasses the eagle in size and power. Aristotle notes how this bird scents its prey from afar, and congregates in the wake of an army. In the Russian war vast numbers were collected in the Crimea, and remained until the end of the campaign in the neighborhood of the camp, although previously scarcely known in the country.
ESV Study Bible has some excellent thoughts on this unusual saying - It seems best not to "over-interpret" this striking proverbial expression. It probably means simply that, just as people from far away can see vultures circling high in the air, Christ's return in judgment will be visible....A similar view is that the vultures suggest the widespread death that will accompany the return of Christ to judge those who have rejected his kingdom. In either case, it will be impossible for people not to see and recognize the return of Christ.
John Walvoord on vultures will gather - the glorious coming of Christ is the natural sequence to blasphemy and unbelief, which characterizes the preceding period. Just as when an animal dies, the vultures gather, so when there is moral corruption, there must be divine judgment.
Hendriksen has an interesting comment on this difficult to interpret passage - Vultures swoop down upon a carcass. When morally and spiritually the world has degenerated to such an extent that it resembles carrion, in other words when the Lord judges that the world's cup of iniquity is full (cf. Ge 15:16; Rev. 14:18), then, and not until then, Christ shall come to condemn that world. Then his coming is a divine necessity.