Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. Matthew 24:15-31 I remember while at Kruger National Park in South Africa we noticed a group of vultures quietly boldly resting on a dead tree. The guide told us that it was possible that there was a dead animal somewhere and they were waiting there turn to feast on whatever was left of its corpse. My first reaction was “how gross.” The reality however, is that’s what vultures do. In referring to the end times in this passage of Matthew, Jesus is merely stating the obvious. It’s also a warning – a message about following what is dead, namely false prophets who lead people astray. Today, that’s not the only dead thing in this world that leads people astray. We must be able to recognize who and what they are, lest we become more like vultures and less like enlightened disciples of Christ.
“Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.” Luke 17:20-37 Traveling through Krueger National Park in South Africa gave me a different kind of appreciation for life and death. It was nothing like the Bush Gardens Animal Kingdom I visited as a child. In South Africa we rode in an open vehicle as we watched life in this kingdom around us. Up close I saw four of the “big five” animals and a host of other wildlife including a group of vultures perched on a dead tree. Jesus’ discourse about the Kingdom of God being among them and the condition of days when the Son of Man is revealed, ends with the disciples asking where all of this will happen? His response was simply; “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.” Vultures are highly intelligent birds yet serve as natures janitor. They feast on what is dead and decaying. Although they are very important to the ecosystem, Jesus makes clear that what is dead has no place in the Kingdom of God. There are those whose purpose is to feast on what is dead and decaying. We are called to life but if we become like those in the days of Noah and the days of Sodom the “vultures” will gather around us as well.