Where The Carcass Is – Eagles Gather

“For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.”
(Matthew 24:28)

Christ’s Advent

Our Lord’s second coming will be a sudden, climatic, glorious event. — “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” (v. 27). Contrary to the “prophecy experts” of our day, there is no such thing as a secret rapture. When our Lord appears, His coming will be as startling and sudden as a bolt of lightening. He will be seen by all men at once (Revelation 1:7). His coming will terrify the wicked. But it will be the delight of the believer. Let us live every moment in the hope and expectation of His glorious advent (Titus 2:14; Jude 1:21).

 Where the Carcass Is

“For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together” (v. 28). — There are two common interpretations given to this verse by sound, orthodox men. Frankly, I do not know which is strictly correct; but since both are theologically sound, I will give them both to you.

Most of the commentators teach that the carcass here refers to empty, dead Judaism, and the eagles to the flocks of lost religious men and women who clung to it feverishly, even to the destruction of their lives and of the lives of their sons and daughters. So it is today. Find a church that is utterly dead, void of the knowledge of God, His gospel, His Word, His grace, his Son, and His glory, and you will find a “church” full of lost religionists. Foul, unclean birds feed upon a dead carcass. Where there is no life, people cling to rituals, ceremonies, creeds, and emotionalism.

But there is another interpretation, one that I think is better. Perhaps the carcass here refers to our Lord Jesus Christ, who was slain for our sins, and the eagles refer to chosen sinners like you and me who flee to Him for salvation and life. In that case the lesson is this: — Christ crucified is the great magnet by which God draws chosen sinners to Himself. Whether that is the teaching of this verse or not, I will not attempt to say; but it is the teaching of Holy Scripture (John 12:32-33; 1st Corinthians 1:21-23). And that is clearly our Saviour’s teaching in Luke 17:37, where He makes a similar statement. — “Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.” Notice the use of the definite article. Our Lord said, “Wheresoever the body is (not wheresoever bodies are), thither will the eagles be gathered together.” Also, notice that He speaks of eagles (not buzzards) in the plural.

“The body” of the One slain is our Lord Jesus Christ. “The eagles” are God’s elect who are gathered to Him in faith. This is clearly the teaching of Holy Scripture (Deuteronomy 32:8-12; Job 9:25-26) and the teaching of our Saviour here. God’s elect are spoken of in the Scriptures as eagles. His church is given “the wings of the eagle, that great eagle” (Revelation 12:14). — “They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles” (Isaiah 41:31).

Wherever Christ crucified is set forth in the preaching of the gospel, wherever the crucified Christ is revealed to men by the power and grace of His Spirit through the preaching of the gospel, there His elect will be gathered unto Him “in the day when the Son of man is revealed.”

Christ’s eagles “gather” to him who is their food. He is the One upon whom we live. He is to us life eternal. The body of our slain Saviour, Christ crucified is the meeting-point of His elect. He is the great magnet, drawing needy souls, like eagles to the carcass. He said, “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”

God our Creator in the Book of Job says of the eagle, his creature, “She abideth upon the rock from thence she seeketh the prey; her eyes behold afar off… where the slain are, there is she.” God our Saviour here tells us, “As the eagles gather round the body, so the souls of men, chosen, redeemed, and called by my grace, are gathered unto me.” Keen and swift as eagles for the prey are God’s elect for Christ crucified. These are the words of our blessed Saviour. Let not one of them fall to the ground. — “Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.”

The eagle is a bird of prey. In all birds of prey, we are told, there is great sense of smell. Added to its sense of smell, the eagle has a ravenous appetite. Compelled by hunger and its sense of smell, it flies quickly, at every opportunity to its feast. But the eagle is not a vulture. It does not feed on dead things, but living. And the crucified Christ, upon whom our souls feed, though once slain as our Substitute, is alive for evermore!

If Christ has given us life in Himself, if He has made us alive by His grace, He gives us a continually increasing appetite and hunger for Himself. Does He not? Do you not hunger for Him, for His grace, for His embrace, for His face, for His righteousness, for His blood, for His presence? Hungering for Him, His eagles fly to the place where He is, like famished birds hastening to the prey. They fly with eager anticipation to His house, His Word, His ordinances, and His throne of grace.

As David longed for the waters of Bethlehem when He was thirsty, O let our souls long for Christ. “As the hart panteth after the water brooks,” so he longed for his God. May the same be true of you and me. Oh for grace to have our souls hungering for Christ crucified day and night! As the eagles gather together unto the prey, so should we be found feasting upon Christ crucified relentlessly. In Him, in His glorious excellencies is everything our souls need. His name is our Salvation and High Tower. His blood is our atonement. His righteousness is our dress. His perfections are our delight. His promises are our meditation. His grace is our assurance. His visits are our sweet memories. His presence is our joy. His strength is our comfort. His glory is our ambition. His coming is our hope. His company forever is our heaven!

Crave Him! Crave Him! Like birds of prey crave their food, let us crave our Saviour. If we have tasted that the Lord is gracious, let us feast upon Him. May God give us an insatiable, constant, ever-increasing hunger for Christ, a hunger for everything He is, for everything He gives, for everything He has done, for everything that belongs to Him, touches Him, and smells of Him, a hunger that graciously forces us ever to fly to Him, like an eagle to the prey! Wherever Christ is, there will His people fly, as eagles to the prey and as doves to their windows (Isaiah 60:8).

 D. Fortner

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