Article of the Month
The Gathering of The Eagles
There are two accounts of Jesus'
talking about the gathering of eagles to feed on a
carcass. One is in Matthew 24:28; the other is in Luke
We might note at the outset that
the King James Bible translation is faulty in the
passages. Eagles eat LIVE prey, not dead animals. The
best translation in both of these passages would be
“vultures” or “buzzards.”
This might seem picky, but an
important distinction exists. Both of these passages are
about the gathering of the Lord's people now, at the end
of the age, to feast on the truths the Lord has provided
for them. And THAT is exactly the point. Eagles provide
their own meals — they search out what they want, and
they kill it. But the Lord's people look for the food
which He has provided. They don't select their own
meals; they want only what the Lord has selected and
prepared. So the distinction between eagles and vultures
is a great one as far as Jesus' teaching is concerned.
While the two verses mentioned
are virtually the same, they do not appear in the same
place in the contexts of Matthew and Luke. Both contexts
are about conditions which prevail when Jesus' second
advent (or the “harvest” of the Gospel Age) occurs.
Matthew and Luke either remember Jesus' words
differently, or Jesus actually spoke these verses twice
in the context of his remarks; but Matthew and Luke each
only mention one of the occurrences.
—The Basic Context of Jesus'
Both citations are connected
with the frenzy of trying to find Jesus when he returns.
This is in itself interesting since traditional belief
has him coming in the sight of all, blowing a trumpet —
an analogy the Scriptures do make, but for an entirely
MATTHEW says (verses 23-26) that
when someone says Christ is here or there (a place),
don't believe him. The Matthew account continues
pointing out that “signs and wonders” will be offered in
order to ensnare the multitudes of Christian peoples in
name only (nominal). Jesus will not be in the desert
(some isolated or remote location). He will not be “in
the secret chambers” (probably the dark rooms of spirit
mediums). He will not be in a restricted location.
Matthew concludes the account
with Jesus' words that his second advent would be like a
sunrise — a gradually-increasing brightness of truths
that will permeate from east to west (verse 27).
“Lightning” is a very poor
translation here. We all know that lightning doesn't
strike from east to west. (Nor does it give much light!)
The Greek word literally means “THE BRIGHT SHINING.” We
all know what “bright shiner” goes from east to west. It
is the sun. And that is Jesus' point. His second advent
is a gradual increase of brightness which floods the
world with long-lost truths.
“Coming” also is a poor
translation in verse 27. The Greek word indisputably
means “PRESENCE.” Jesus is talking about the time of his
secret “thief-like” presence — the time when he has,
indeed, RETURNED, but not yet manifested himself
personally. He has manifested himself only by the
predicted INDICATION — one of which is increasing light.
When the Matthew account finally
arrives at verse 28, it is that INCREASED SPIRITUAL
TRUTH or LIGHT which is symbolized in “the carcass.” The
light of his presence is the carcass or meal prepared
for the far-seeing vultures — his true disciples.
Thus verse 28 follows verse 27
verse 27 — Jesus' presence is
manifested by ever-increasing light.
verse 28 — That light is the food
to which his disciples flock. They are “gathered
together” not to a denomination, but to a feast of
LUKE reports the context
somewhat differently from Matthew. Thus the “vultures”
verse, though it has the same meaning, is connected to a
In Luke 17:23 and 24 we have the
equivalent of Matthew's “lightning” verse. But then
several verses intervene. When we come to 17:34-37 we
again encounter the “vultures” verse, but this time
connected with the idea of the SEPARATION of true
Christians from those who are “in name only” (nominal).
The SEPARATION concept is
important during the “harvest” of the Christian or
Gospel Age. In Matthew 13:24-30 and 13:36-43, Jesus gave
the parable of the wheat (true Christians) and the tares
(nominal Christians). In this parable he counsels
letting both co-exist until the end of the age, or
“harvest” time. Then he counsels their SEPARATION. This
is reflected also in Revelation 18:4 where the
admonition is given: “Come out of her, my people, that
ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not
of her plagues.”
It is this “coming out” or the
SEPARATION of true from merely- professing Christians
that in the Luke account prompts Jesus to teach the
“vultures”' flocking to the carcass. In other words,
“WHERE DO WE GO?” to separate? The answer: We flock to
the new meal which Jesus provides at the end of the age.
This is reflected in Jesus' words to the final period of
his Church in Revelation 3:20: “If any man hear my
voice, and open the door, I will come in to him AND WILL
SUP WITH HIM, and he with me.”
Returning to Luke 17:34-37 we
find Jesus teaching that SEPARATION will occur. TWO will
be in one creed bed; but one will be drawn away while
the other remains — content with his denominationalism.
Then we find TWO who have worked
together to provide spiritual food — grinding at the
mill. But one is drawn away by better food while the
other keeps grinding out the old errors and partial
truths dispensed by nominal Christianity for centuries.
Then we find TWO with no
particular religious affiliation — out in the field
(“the world” — Matthew 13:38). There are many
“Christian” people who have left denominations feeling
that they have little to offer. Yet, even in the field,
one is drawn away by something intriguing, while the
other remains behind — content with a pseudo-Christian
profession, not wanting to pursue new ideas or to be
“entangled” in again.
When Jesus gave these examples
of “one left, one taken,” the disciples naturally
inquired, “Why, Lord?” — Where were they taken? Then we
once again find e answer in Matthew 24: “Wheresoever the
body is, thither will the eagles (buzzards) be gathered
— The Lesson —
As must be expected, Jesus'
predictions have, indeed, come true. An enormous “body”
of truth has been placed before us in the last century
or so. Many (although relatively few) have flocked to
it. They are without denominational ties, but they are
not without fervent hunger and phenomenal satisfaction
with the food provided.
The Lord, himself, calls us out
and provides the meal. We hope this website has given
some “taste” of its good nutrition and
appetite-stimulating flavors. To meet with those who so
hunger and thirst is, indeed, a privilege and a
pleasure. Feast on! Gather with the “eagles”!
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