Did you ever wonder why Yeshua compared His return to vultures gathering around carcasses? That thought kept tugging at my heart so I turned to Matthew 24:21-27 and read:
“For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will again. And if those days had not been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘He is over here,’ do not believe him. For false messiahs and false prophets will arise and will provide great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance. So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them. For just as the lightening comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.”
This is a very clear, easy to interpret description of Messiah’s return. But why on earth did He follow the above words with what’s written in Matthew 24:28?!
“Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”
I mean, why didn’t He compare His return to fresh dew on the morning grass in the valleys and mountain tops or the myriad of stars and constellations that appear so brilliantly in the evening sky? Vultures – seriously?
As I began to investigate the nature of vultures, several things occurred to me:
Vultures are just plain ugly. “He (Messiah) had no stately form or majesty that we would look at Him, nor an appearance that we would take pleasure in Him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of great pain, familiar with sickness; and like one from whom people hide their faces, He was despised, and we had no regard for Him.” Isaiah 53:2-3
A modern definition of a vulture is a contemptible person who preys on or exploits others. In Matthew 23:15, Yeshua declared, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel on sea and land to make one proselyte and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” The religious leaders of His time accused Yeshua of proselytizing and being a hypocrite, the very same things that they themselves were doing!
It’s all about the blood. Vultures are some of the highest flying birds on earth, such as the Rüppell’s vulture which has been documented as flying above Mt. Everest. This is due to a specialized hemoglobin protein in their blood which is very efficient at processing oxygen.
Vultures are essential for life and public health. If vultures went extinct, a multitude of animal carcasses would rot and become putrid, causing swine flu, botulism, leprosy, anthrax and other deadly bacteria to flourish. Then rats, dogs and other predators could spread these life-threatening diseases into human populations and bring tremendous plagues. Because of their incredibly strong stomach acid of pH1, vultures can consume and remove toxic pathogens from the environment, without getting sick at all.
So it’s rather ironic that the very bird that is culturally seen as an emblem of death can actually prevent huge quantities of fatalities that could be caused by the spread of deadly diseases. For many people whose eyes have been blinded to Messiah, Yeshua has been labeled “despised and rejected” and yet He is the only one who can rescue this world from huge quantities of eternal fatalities.