The Hebrew word Shekinah means dwelling. It is the visible presence of the God of Israel among His people. During the wilderness wandering, God’s presence amongst the children of Israel was revealed by the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire and smoke by night. ” And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before them”(Exod.13:21,22). ” And the angel of God , which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went before them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them. And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians”(Exod.14:19,24). ” And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses. And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, and every man in his tent door”(Exod.33:9,10). So shall it be in the last day. But the difference shall be huge. It will not be an isolated phenomenon seen by the surviving remnants of Israel and surviving saints, it shall be a worldwide phenomenon visible to all and sundry. God’s presence shall be revealed in the heavens. It shall be the sign of His coming. It follows the cosmic disturbances. It together with the cosmic disturbances, the sixth seal, is the back-to-back sign given in the sun, moon, and stars.
The disciples asked our Lord Jesus, ” Tell us when shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the ages?(Matt.24:3b). Why were the disciples interested in the end of the ages? It is because it is the point of demarcation of the present age from the age to come. Because it is at this point the saints shall be rescued. The Greek word translated sign here is semeion. It is singular. There is only one sign of His coming, and of the end of the ages. Our Lord Jesus being the great teacher that he is, answered that question by enumerating the sequence of events that shall occur before the appearance of the Son Of Man in the heavens. We have followed that sequence of events in our narrative of the Ends Times.
” There shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and there shall be great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold I have told you before. The starting point of the 70th Week of Daniel shall be marked by the preponderance of false christs immediately after the antiMessiah signs a 7-year peace agreement with Israel(Dan.9:27). But the antiMessiah himself shall be the ultimate false christ. The goal of these false christs and false prophets shall be to deceive as many people as possible; for which purpose they shall show great signs and wonders. Nevertheless they will not be able to deceive the very elect despite the supposedly great signs and wonders which they shall perform which shall be very difficult to refute because of their seemingly genuine nature(Matt.24:24).
The preponderance of false christs and false prophets shall be followed by wars and rumours of wars(Matt.24:6; Rev.6:2,3). During this time, peace shall be taken away from the Earth, and men shall kill one another. This event in the eschatological timeline shall be followed by famine pestilences and earthquakes(Matt.24:7; Rev.6:5,6). The famines, pestilences and earthquakes signal the end of the first three and one-half years, the beginning of sorrows or beginning birth pangs. This shall be followed by the fourth seal, the Great Tribulaion. The activities of these false prophets and false christs shall be most evident during the Great Tribulaion by the chief eschatological antagonist, the antiChrist ( Matt.24:9-28; Rev.6:7,8 ). They shall attempt to lure believers out of hiding in order to coerce them recant and accept to be branded with the mark of allegiance of the beast, or be killed on refusal to recant. 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. 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”(Matt.24:24-27). “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”(Luk.17:24).
The sign of His coming is singular, and occurs in the heavens – in the sun, moon, and stars. Like lightning, it shall shine forth from one end of the heavens to the other. Like lightning, it shall be sudden and fast. Christ in His glory, with the holy angels shall appear in the heavens. This is the light which no mortal man in sinful flesh can approach(1 Tim.6:16). Men will hide from this light. This glorious light shall be blinding to mortal man in sinful flesh. They cannot see it because they will have to close their eyes because of its blinding effect on their eyes. They cannot look at it. They will seek refuge in the rocks and the mountains. They will not be able to stand this light. They will cry out in anguish of soul for deliverance from the wrath of the Lamb which is about to be poured out on the wicked earth-dwellers. Therefore, the Shekinah in the mid heavens signals to the living wicked earth-dwellers that the wrath of God is about to begin.
As for the persecuted saints, His appearance in the heavens shall be a thing of joy. It shall be the indication that our redemption draweth nigh. “And then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh”(Luk.21:27-28). They will know they are about to be rescued by His holy angels, and gathered into His presence, the Shekinah in the heavens. So true believers shall not be deceived by false prophets and pseudomessiahs purported to know the secret location of the Messiah. ” Wherefore if they shall say to you, Behold, He is in the desert; go not forth: behold He is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 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. For wherever the carcase is, there will the Eagles be gathered together”(Matt.24:26-28; Luk.17:37b).
The believers who are hiding shall not need to follow false prophets and false messiahs who purportedly know the secret location of the true Christ. Christ will not hide in the secret chambers or in the desert when He comes to rescue His own. He will come with an entourage of innumerable holy angels in the air. The sign of His coming shall be visible to all and sundry in the sky. From the Shekinah in the mid heavens, He shall dispatch His holy angels to gather His elect. The Greek word aeton(plural, aetoi) which is appropriately rendered eagle in the KJV and inappropriately translated vulture by some other versions is always referent to angel wherever it is used in the NT(Rev4:7; 8:13; 12:14). These eagles, the holy angels, at the command of Christ shall swoop down to wherever the saints( soma = carcase) are hiding and gather them to Christ stationed at the Shekinah in the mid heavens. This is the precise meaning of the Hebrew idiom spoken by Christ, ” for where the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. This is also supported by the Greek word rendered gathered, episunagoge, which means an upward gathering, in this case, to the Shekinah, the visible location of Christ in the mid heavens. The dead in Christ shall be given pride of place, then the living, and surviving remnants of the saints shall be caught up, snatched away(Greek: harpazo), as it were, to meet the LORD in the air.
“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 that are asleep. 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: 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words”(1 Thess.4:15-18). The Greek word translated remain here, is perileipomenoi, which means leave around, survive. This classical rapture passage bears out the fact that the Church shall go through the Great Tribulaion; for these people that are left around here and there are those who have survived the Great Tribulaion by the antiChrist which has just be interrupted by the 6th seal, the cosmic disturbances. They are being gathered to meet the Lord in the air at His appearance in the heavens which follows the cosmic and celetial disturbances.
It is not a secret sign at all as some would have believe; it denotes the rapture of the Church and signals the end of the ages, the outpouring of the wrath of God on the living wicked earth-dwellers, adorers and worshippers of the antiChrist. The coming of the Messiah shall be no secret at all; both at the rapture of the Church which occurs after the cosmic disturbances, the sixth seal, before the breaking of the seventh seal at the inauguration of the End Of The Ages, and His coming to take physical possession of the Earth at Armageddon(Rev.19:11-21), it shall be no secret. “Behold, He cometh with the clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also who pierced Him, and all the kindreds of the Earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen”(Rev.1:7). He is coming in glory, with the clouds of the heavens. White clouds signal glory and righteousness. He is coming in righteousness and glory to judge the living wicked earth-dwellers. His glory, the Shekinah shall appear in the heavens, in the midst of the cold and darkness caused by the cosmic disturbances. It is His Shekinah in the heavens which shall dispel the darkness, brighten the heavens, and defrost the Earth.
“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 the heavens, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son Of Man in the heavens: 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. And He shall send His angels with the great sound of trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other”(Matt.24:29-31).
This is unmistakable. His coming and the rapture occur after the cosmic disturbances, after the sign of His coming is given in the sun, moon, and stars, when the living wicked earth-dwellers, adorers and worshippers of the antiChrist shall wail, and mourn, and call upon the rocks , and mountains to fall upon them, and to hide them from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great Day Of His Wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?(Rev.6:15-17).