"And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.”" Luke 17:37
Still unable to comprehend the full meaning of their Master's words when he spoke of his second advent being visible in all parts of the world, they asked, "Where, Lord, will all this take place which thou hast been telling us about?" and he replied enigmatically, "where the body is, thither will the vultures be gathered together."
The imagery is taken from Job 39:30, "Where the slain are, there is she" the bird intended being most probably the great vulture, well known throughout the Middle East.
In "The Nile Tributaries of Abyssinia," Sir Samuel Baker describes these carrion birds as possessing an extraordinary range of vision,
'...and though they are invisible from the earth...they are perpetually hunting in circles within sight of each other." And when one discovers a body upon the surface of the earth, it falls from the heavens "in haste with closed wings to the bloody feast, followed quickly by many of his brethren (and suddenly) hundreds of hungry beaks are tearing at the offal." (The Antichrist Babylon and the Coming of the Kingdom. G.H. Pember, pp. 166-167)
Vultures are scavengers that purify the whole earth from the putrid carcasses with which it would otherwise be encumbered, thus the Lord's answer to the question - "Where?" was that his words applied to the whole earth. The terrible and awful scenes he had pictured would take place everywhere on an earth devoid of the knowledge of God.
Once the citadels of Christianity, W. Europe and America are nearly apostate today. The strangely twisted atmosphere of our age is the "death of God" made tangible and it is Nietzsche, the German philosopher who announced the death of God, who describes our meaningless, disordered, materialistic, ugly, atonal, brutal, upside-down climate of nothingness:
"We have killed him (God), you and I! ...But how have we done it? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the whole horizon? What did we do when we loosened this earth from its sun? Whither does it now move? Whither do we move? ...Do we not dash on unceasingly? Backwards, sideways, forwards, in all directions? Is there still an above and below? Do we not stray...through infinite nothingness? Does not empty space breathe upon us? ...Does not night come on continually, darker and darker?" (Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age, Eugene Rose, p. 108)
Such is the theater of the absurd in which there is neither up nor down, male nor female, right nor wrong, true nor false, normal nor abnormal because the living God is dead, and as America and the West drift aimlessly in "infinite nothingness" spiritual poisons progressively dissolve the foundation of soul, mind, worth, morality, family, and individual liberty.
When people fall away from the knowledge of God and transgress against His commandments, these actions effectively turn them back to their natural state.
This means that in turning away from the living Triune God comes the reversal of conversion in which the soul ceases to live from the spirit and begins to live with the life of the body. The disordered passions thereby revived absorb the life of the person who spiritually dies resulting in the natural man of 2 Tim. 3:3. (St. Tikhon, Works II, as quoted in Political Apocalypse: A Study of Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor, Ellis Sandoz, p. 120)
In this light we are able to understand that when our Lord said, "Wherever the body is, there will the vultures be gathered together" the body collectively represents all people who can no longer respond to the appeals of the Holy Spirit because by their own choice they are completely destitute of the knowledge of God, thus spiritually dead and incapable of any influence except that of polluting and corrupting the air around them and spreading spiritual disease and death.
The vultures therefore represent the Angels of God appointed for punishment alighting on such a society and removing the spiritually dead:
"The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear." Matthew 13: 41-43