Drifting Away: A Sailing Story

Where the vultures gather

I'm sure you're familiar with this verse. It is in Matthew 24 and here from Luke 17

"Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.” And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.” (Luke 17:33-37).

The above is a real photo that I took when driving along in my hometown in GA. They are indeed vultures, turkey vultures, and I thought the composition was interesting. They didn't budge when I stopped my car under the branch and snapped a few photos. Then I inverted it, changed the mode to B&W and voila, spooky birds.

Vultures always seem kind of spooky, don't they. While camping in the Everglades, the buzzards used to glide in and stand on the picnic table, staring at us. They are huge birds, made all the more spooky by knowing they eat carrion. Or live things, it doesn't matter. We kept our cat holed up in the VW pop-up while we were there. The birds just seemed way to interested in chomping either her, us, or our lunch.

And that is the point of the verse. So many people think that it is a rapture verse. It is not. The Lord had spent the bulk of the Matthew passage explaining the labor pangs of the Tribulation to the disciples, in order and in detail. Luke has a shortened version of it. Then in Matthew, the Lord explained the Abomination of Desolation, which is the unveiling of the antichrist at the Temple, calling himself God. Then He said when you see that happen, do the following, and He delivered instructions to the Jews.

He concluded with "Immediately after the tribulation of those days..." and gave a couple of parables to finish it off. The verse is contained in the section at the end of Matthew 24 and Luke 17, where the Lord tells us that no one will know the day nor hour of His coming. The world will not know because the sun is dark, no one knows what day it is, the antichrist had sought to change times and seasons. They lose track of what day it is. THEN the Lord will come in a blaze of glory.

The people taken are those non-believers taken alive who displeased God, and those who are left are those believers who pleased God. He takes the non-believers away to judgment. He cements this thought by saying they will be where the vultures gather. Vultures are carrion birds which gather where the (spiritually) dead are. Believers are left to enter the Millennial kingdom on earth. Jesus concludes with reminding us that where the carnage is, the spiritually dead and the physically dead in judgment, there the vultures gather. It is the wicked who are taken- to judgment.

Any person can escape all these things by believing on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He came to save the world and make the payment to God for our sins, taking on God's wrath instead of allowing it to be poured out on us, as it should have been. He was crucified and died. He was buried but by the power of God, who was pleased with His son, resurrected Him from the dead. Jesus is in heaven now, reigning on His throne, and will come again to earth to judge the living and the dead.

If you are still not sure about the interpretation of the Matthew 24 passage as a Tribulation and not rapture passage, and also the Luke 17 parallel passage, here is a lesson at Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM) on How to Interpret the Bible and they use these exact verses to share how to interpret a passage. It will lead you through it verse by verse and step by step.

If you believe you are a sinner disqualified from entering heaven, and believe that Jesus is our savior and Lord, you can be saved. Saved from what? His wrath. That is what the Luke and Matthew passage refers to, the spiritually dead who are already under God's wrath and which will come fully one day to judge you. Pray to the Holy Spirit, Who is also God, for more information, as you read more here too: God's Simple Plan of Salvation. Or speak to a local pastor of a bible believing church. You are spiritually dead and are gathering where the vultures are. The miraculous grace of God can regenerate you alive. Think on these things- they are real issues and eternal, too.


  1. And I perceived another messenger, standing in the sun. And he cries with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which are flying in mid-heaven, “Hither! Be gathered for the great dinner of God,

    18 That you may be eating the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of the strong, and the flesh of horses and of those sitting on them, and the flesh of ALL freemen as well as slaves, and of small and of great.”

    1. amen ~ as it says, the meek shall inherit the earth xxx

  2. I agree. In the days of Noah the wicked were taken away by the flood (Mat 24:29). - and the tares will be taken out of the wheat out of the wheat FIRST (Mat 13:30).


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