On Friday, somebody brought a newspaper into our room so I decided to take a look as I had not looked at a paper for a while. There on the front page was an article about an earthquake that shook part of Italy. 207 people were killed at that time and they expected more. 1500 people injured and many homeless. Then there were a few photos, too, and there was a church, a cathedral that was built in the 13th century and that building was badly damaged. In the photo, you could look right into it and you could see that it was a beautiful old building. It had paintings inside and a domed ceiling and there were paintings on there but now all around it was just ruined. Everything had tumbled under this terrible force. There were people walking around in this wilderness not knowing where to go.
A devastating thing took place and after that I took up my Bible and I read this chapter in Matthew 24 where the Lord Jesus spoke about the last days. As He went out of the temple, His disciples came to Him to show Him the buildings of the temple 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.” They continued to ask Him, ”When will these things happen? How will it be?” He tried to tell them. He told them that they had to be careful. He answered and said unto them, “Take heed that no man deceive you for many shall come in My name and say, ‘I am Christ,’ and shall deceive many. 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. For nation shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom and there shall be famines and pestilences, and earthquakes in diverse places. 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. And then shall many be offended and shall betray one another and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound the love of many shall wax cold, but they that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved.” Then He spoke of the great affliction that will come upon the earth and He said, “Let them which be in Judea flee unto the mountains. Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house.” “Woe unto them which are with child”….“Pray that your flight be not in winter”….“For then shall be a great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened there should no flesh be saved; but for the elect’s sake, those days shall be shortened. Then if any man say unto you, “Lo here is Christ, or there; believe it not.” You know that portion of scripture. He said that the coming of Christ will be like the lightning that shines from the east to the west, so shall the coming of the Son of man be. For wherever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
We sometimes read where it tells us about the future, things that we can go on to and things that are far better than what we have now, and we love that. But here is a prophecy that came from the mouth of the Lord Jesus when He prophesied about the times that are coming, terrible times. It will be aimed chiefly against the church, against His followers, against the Christians. This thing will be so powerful and it will affect many – cause them to lose their faith, to betray one another, and hate one another. A terrible time, and it was just as if the whole thing was going to collapse, just like an earthquake. So much will happen here on the earth in that time. When it will come, it says that these things that will happen will be like earthquakes, but yet it is not the time. It is yet coming and we can think that it is still ages away but it can be very near, this time when there will be such confusion and so much damage will be done. Here we sit today and we all have a good feeling in our hearts and purpose to continue and to serve God faithfully. Even the very elect shall have a problem that day to continue with what they purpose to do. It is going to be a very, very difficult time on the earth.
He says, “Wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.” I have often thought about that verse and I have spoken about it at times, different from what my thoughts were yesterday when I read it again. After having read about this earthquake and about this church that was damaged so badly, I looked in different Bibles in different languages and different versions. I also looked at that word ‘carcass’ in the dictionary and it says that it originates from the thought of a ruin, a ruined building, just a carcasa. Whatever church building stood there, there is just a ruin, just a carcass. Wherever the ruin is, there will the eagles be gathered together. It seems as if this church, this that now seems so firm on its foundation, that this earthquake will come and shake it to its foundation. Much will be damaged and all that will be left will be a ruin, a carcass.
It then says that there will the eagles be gathered together. Some translations speak about the vultures. One would think this of the false churches but here the Lord Jesus spoke about the true church collapsing, becoming a ruin, bereft of its former glory – just a ruin and there will the eagles gather. The Lord Jesus continued to speak about that day of His return. The angels will be sent out and they will have to look amongst the ruins where the true souls are, those who continued to the end, they shall be saved. These angels will come and they will know where to look and they will find them. The people were working in these ruins hoping to find either bodies or living people. They may have missed them while they were still alive but maybe an hour later they may be dead. But these angels will know where to look and they will take them to be with Christ forever. A perilous time for those who were not wholehearted and a wonderful time for those who continued, in spite of all, unto the end. It will cost a great deal of self discipline and the spirit of God’s presence, to help us in those days. Anyone who would still be standing on his or her feet just because of a background, just because of having had parents who professed, not whole-hearted, they will not stand, they will tumble down on that day. They will not continue to stand. Only the sturdy souls depending only on Christ, will stand and the rest will fall.
I thought of that time when Nehemiah went back to Jerusalem after Jerusalem was destroyed. He went there with the intention to help the people and they started with this work but then it says that the enemy said, “What do these feeble Jews? Will they fortify themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they make an end in a day? Will they raise the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish?” The enemy asked the question, “What are these people doing? They are attempting to rebuild this wall but will they fortify themselves? If they work together they may succeed but will they fortify themselves?” The thing we need to do is to make sure that this thing is not just on the surface, that my service towards God is a whole-hearted service. One must look to find this inward strength which will enable one to stand no matter what comes. Will they fortify themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will the spirit be in them to sacrifice because it is going to cost a lot? Will they sacrifice their own thoughts and ideas, their own human rights and whatever they could have had, are they willing to sacrifice so that this wall can be built? Will they continue until they finish? Will they raise the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish? Those that are still there and useful, will they revive them?
The secret of success is if we will be able to revive that which has been destroyed. This faith, this hope, this love and all those qualities that are so essential, will they still be there? Will we be able to revive them, make them alive again? If there is a possibility that they could do that then there is a possibility that they could finish this work. If that is not there, they would not be able to repair this. It is like what the Lord Jesus said, “Have you never read in the scriptures, the stone which the builders rejected, the same has become the head of the corner? This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvellous in our eyes.”
This stone that was rejected. Those people that were there at the time when the Lord Jesus lived, important people, they rejected Him. He didn’t fit into the ways they were thinking. His shape was such that they just couldn’t get it to fit into their way of doing things. He became a stumbling stone and they rejected that stone. That stone which was so important, so vital in this building, which could have kept it together, it was rejected. But the day will come when He will become the head of the corner, the chief stone, and the stone which will keep it together. We know that this is our only hope, that the Lord Jesus will help us and He has helped us hitherto and He will help us in the future. He is the one that can do the repairs.
A little verse came into my mind that I knew years ago and I don’t know whether I can still get it back. It says about Him, “He came to mend earth’s broken things, that compass of old, God’s broken law. Men’s broken hearts and broken dreams untold. He came to mend earth’s broken things, to heal the wounded soul. His body broken on the cross, broken to make you whole.” This is what He came down to earth for, He came to mend earth’s broken things. This building was broken, lying there just a carcass.
Wherever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together. This chief corner stone will not be damaged but can it be revived?
I remember what Reg Schlemmer told me once that there in New Zealand there is a museum there and it is called, ‘Awesome forces.’ They have pictures there of volcanic eruptions and great powerful things that happened. Awesome forces. He said there were two stones there, huge big rocks actually and each of them weighed a few tons. They found these two stones, one lying on the northern island and the other on the southern island. I don’t know how they discovered that but these two stones belonged together. They fitted into each other like a glove as if it was machine made. There was no mistake, this used to be one huge rock. Some force, some awesome force, shot this rock into the air. It could have happened in Malaysia or Indonesia or wherever. It is not just as if the one left the other but the whole thing went up into the air by some awesome force. Some volcanic eruption must have flung this into the air, sent it hundreds of kilometres, split it and one landed up in the northern island and one on the southern island. Two pieces that belonged to each other. An awesome force. This stone that was rejected by mankind and they couldn’t get it to fit into their ways of thinking. Eventually this rock, this chief corner stone will repair everything. He will come back to repair everything which belongs to this building. It will be there and it will be there forever.
I can’t get my thoughts as I feel it in my heart but I think you will understand that this thing is going to happen. We are going to be tested and tried. It may even come down to a ruin but these eagles will be there and the stone will be there. May it encourage us to keep true and not just on the surface but deep in our hearts so that when that day does come, we will be able to stand.