Here is verse 28 in The Amplified Bible: “Wherever there is a fallen body (a corpse), there the vultures (or eagles) will flock together.” The birds described here belong to a family known as Old World Vultures, which includes eagles, buzzards, kites, and hawks. When vultures gather to eat a carcass, it is known as a “wake.”
Vultures seldom attack healthy animals, but they have a keen sense for when one is wounded or sick, often killing an unhealthy animal rather than waiting for it to finally succumb. Their digestive systems are so acidic that they can ingest rabies, cholera, botulinum toxin, and even deadly anthrax without harm. They perform a grisly but necessary job in disposing of flesh that would otherwise encourage the spread of disease.
As Christ says, where a carcass is, a wake of vultures is imminent. This tells us little, aside from the fact that it is in response to the disciples' question about the sign of His coming and the end of the age (Matthew 24:3). Combined with the reference to lightning, it implies that His return will be highly visible.
David C. Grabbe
Where the Eagles Are Gathered
In verses 23-28, Jesus sounds a warning to those who are so eager for His return: Do not be snookered by those who claim that Christ has returned. He is not out in the desert or hiding in some inner room. He cautions us that “false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (verse 24). We need to be discerning about the information we swallow.
We can extend this in principle to cover those who think they know when, how, or where Christ will return. These are only distractions and deceptions because He has told us Himself what to look for. His return will not be secret or sneak up on us! It will be a tremendous show, as it were, like a massive flash of lightning and a roll of thunder that encompasses the whole of the sky (verse 27). His coming will be a worldwide phenomenon that no one will be able to miss. And it will happen during a time of war (verse 28).
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The End Is Not Yet
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Matthew 24:27: