Sunday, October 08, 2006

Where Vultures Gather

As I was reading my Bible this morning a passage that has always baffled me suddenly became clear. As I explain it, perhaps you will say, "Well, of course! You never realized that before?"

Well, no, I never did, and because I think there may be others in my shoes, permit me to go through the passage (Matthew 24:24-28:

For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect - if that were possible.

So if anyone tells you, "There he is, out in the desert," do not go out; or, "here he is, in the inner rooms," do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.

It always seemed to me that the line about vultures (which I've italicized) was pretty mysterious. I didn't see what it had to do with the rest of what Jesus was talking about.

But now, I believe I finally see it.

The carcass is a false Christ (or false prophet) and the vultures are those who gather to feed on the rotting meat he has to offer. It is a commentary on both the false Christ (one who is spiritually dead and whose message is rotten like a decaying carcass) and those who gather around him (those who enjoy his dirty message, like vultures who enjoy the taste of rotting flesh.)

To carry it just a bit further, this may also be a contrast between the true Christ and false Christs. Jesus told his disciples that he is the "bread of life" (John 6:35) and that they were to eat his flesh and drink his blood (John 6:56). In the same sense, the followers of the false Christs eat of their master, except in their case it is not a meal of life, but of death.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Brad,

I think you are on to something significant and I believe your hunch is closer to what Jesus is really talking about than many other comments I've seen. I see the words Jesus uses in this passage as basically the same warning re: unsavory characters infiltrating the flock as that found in the book of Jude.

I tend to think the rotting carcass refers to defeated spirit of the "slowly dying" Christians who have succumbed to these "vultures" feeding off of them by pretending to belong to Christ so that they (the vultures) might make their living with and among them (the exploited Christians).

brother J

Brad said...

Thanks for your comment!

Liv-Sou Sud said...

The carcass there is a dead body. The vultures are demons. Demons gather to capture the spirit to take it to hell of you did not know Jesus.