Cryptic sayings of the Lord - Where the body is there the eagles will be gathered Mt24:28 & Lk17:37
I thought a thread on Cryptic sayings of the Lord might bring about an interesting study of the Bible. I say this because sometimes one verse that I don't understand leads me on a quest to look through 100's of verses with similar phrasing and contexts. I believe the mystery surrounding some of the more cryptics verses is God's intention to pull us in deeper - seek and ye shall find.
So I thought starting with some of the Escatological saying of Jesus might be good to begin with. I'm a big believer in letting the Bible interpret the Bible so looking for companion verses that are highly relational is usually the way I go when trying to find meaning and context. I'd appreciate comments back if you would be so kind.
-Thanks, Erchomai Kyrios
Both Matthew and Luke reference this saying of Jesus
Mat 24:28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
Luk 17:37 And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body [is], thither will the eagles be gathered together.
First the context here is the 2nd coming of our Lord so this has everything to do with Christ and us.
Mat 24:24-27 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, [he is] in the secret chambers; believe [it] not.
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.
Mat 24:28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
But how does verse 28 fall into context? This is where I believe we must search the Scriptures.
The first thing I noticed is Matthew states "wheresoever the carcase is" while Luke states "wheresoever the body is". Going to Greek in Matthew we find the Greek word rendered as carcass in the Textus Receptus as πτῶμα (transliterated ptōma)
Deferring to Vines and Strongs the word usage and Biblical rendering is:
Outline of Biblical Usage 1) a fall, downfall
a) metaph. a failure, defeat, calamity
b) an error, lapse into sin
2) that which has fallen
a) the fallen body of one dead or slain, a corpse, a carcase
Authorized Version (KJV) Translation Count — Total: 5 AV — dead body 3, carcase 1, corpse 1
Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for ptōma (Strong's 4430)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 6 Aug 2011. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?
However, in Luke we find the Greek word for "the body" as σῶμα (transliterated sōma)
Deferring to Vines and Strongs word usage and Biblical rendering again we have:
1) the body both of men or animals
a) a dead body or corpse
b) the living body
1) of animals
2) the bodies of planets and of stars (heavenly bodies)
3) is used of a (large or small) number of men closely united into one society, or family as it were; a social, ethical, mystical body
a) so in the NT of the church
4) that which casts a shadow as distinguished from the shadow itself
Authorized Version (KJV) Translation Count — Total: 146 AV — body 144, bodily 1, slave 1
Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for sōma (Strong's 4983)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 6 Aug 2011. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?
Now one might say,
'okay well then case closed as sōma appears to be just another synomyn for ptōma
and can mean carcass as well as dead body or corpse', but before we go ahead and just dismiss it as the same rendering quite often "the body in the new testament is "living" indeed. In fact I counted 97 out of 122 verses where it indeed the Scriptures usage very much indeed was a "living" body. A sampling of verses with soma are as follows: (I've shortened it in this edit because there were far too many here are the prominent selections I believe pertinent to the discussion:
Matthew 6:22 - The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, they whole (soma=body) shall be full of light.
Matthw 26:26 And as they were eating Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take and eat; this is my (soma)body.
John 2:21 But He spake of the temple of His body.
1Cor 6:19 What? know ye not that your (soma) body is the templeof the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
Col 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all [things] he might have the preeminence.
So I would disagree that rendering soma as a "dead body" is the majority - in the majority instance the body is very much alive. Even more enlightening is that our body depends on the head of the body who is Christ and that the ordinance of the Lord's supper says "take and eat" I believe by body Jesus meant His own body by which He was crucified, died, was buried and raised so this problem really vaporizes. I believe the body is the Body of CHRIST.
But what of the "eagles" who are they?
The Greek word here is ἀετός translierated as "aetos"
Outline of Biblical Usage
1) an eagle: since eagles do not usually go in quest of carrion, this may to a vulture that resembles an eagle
2) an eagle as a standard (Roman Military)
Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for aetos (Strong's 105)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 6 Aug 2011. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?
So this is more like a bird of prey or one that feeds off the body. But do we who cling to Christ eat of His Body? It should be clear we do for Christ Himself said so.
28 Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”
29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
30 Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ”
32 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”
35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Rejected by His Own
41 The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” 42 And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
43 Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. 47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”
52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”
53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”
So I believe the meaning just may be that we who trust our lives to Christ, who partake of His body, for we certainly can do nothing without Him or have any life or true nourishment other than Christ, shall be gathered how? but none other than exclusively by those who feed off Him. Does anyone have a different insight?
Thanks and May God Bless, Erchomai Kyrios