Q. In Matt. 24 Jesus is talking about the taking up of the Church. I have no problem with any of it, but this one verse, 28, has me scratching my proverbial head. Why does He say, “For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together” (KJV). Is that a mention of the Judgement gathering, or is He simply referring to the dead rising first and the angels going to and fro bringing us out? I thought, too, he might simply be parablizing verse 27. What is your take on this?
A. For a number of reasons, I don’t believe Jesus was talking about the rapture in Matt. 24. In verse 28 I think He was giving us a hypothetical example to illustrate His point about the 2nd Coming. The same Greek word translated “eagle” in the King James is translated “vulture” in other versions, and this makes Matt. 24:28 easier to understand. If you’re in the country looking for a dead body, the easiest way to find it is to look up in the sky to see where the vultures are, because they will be circling over the body.
In the same way, if you’re looking for the Lord’s return, don’t look in the desert or in the inner rooms (Matt. 24:26), look up in the sky like you would for lightning (Matt. 24:27) because that’s where He’s coming from. Then in Matt. 24:30 He said immediately after the end of the Great Tribulation the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky.