My last post is entitled “Where Will the Vultures Gather?” This question regards biblical apocalyptic. It foretells about a massive amount of vultures feeding on deceased human soldiers and their horses. This carnage will be due to the Messianic Destruction that will occur at the end of the age in the land of Israel.
For example, the book of Revelation predicts that at Jesus’s second coming he will ride out of heaven on a white horse, with angelic armies following him on white horses (Rev. 19.11-14). Then we read, “From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron; he will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, ‘King of kings and Lord of lords'” (vv. 15-16 NRSV).
Many people question this scenario. They think it does not comport with the peace-loving Jesus of the New Testament gospels. For he taught turning the other cheek and loving your enemies (e.g., Matthew 5.38-48). Yet wise King Solomon, under the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit, wrote, “For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal;… a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace” (Ecclesiastes 3.1-3, 8).
When Jesus returns, it will be a time to kill, a time for war. It will be called the “battle of the great day of God the Almighty” (Revelation 16.14). God will direct this war by sending Jesus to lead it. Why such divine wrath? The Antichrist will have had most Christians executed worldwide because they would not worship him as a god (2 Thessalonians 2.3-4; Revelation 13.5-8, 13-18). And in the last days, this Antichrist will lead the nations to hate the Jews, blame them as scapegoat, and annihilate Israel.
When this War of God Almighty and its Messianic Destruction are finished, scavenger birds will gather to feed on all of the deceased flesh. For John the Revelator relates his vision, “Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly in midheaven, ‘Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of the mighty, the flesh of horses and their riders–flesh of all, both free and slave, both small and great'” (Revelation 19.17-18).
The Prophet Ezekiel predicted the same endtimes event about these birds in an even lengthier prophecy (Ezekiel 39.17-20). He says, on behalf of God, it is “a great sacrificial feast on the mountains of Israel” (v, 17). God says to those scavenger birds, “you shall be filled at my table with horses and charioteers, with warriors and all kinds of soldiers” (v. 20). It must involve a very large number of such winged fowl. Supreme among scavenger birds are vultures.
Vultures have large wingspans that allow them to easily soar great heights. In doing so, they expend very little energy in their soaring. Griffon vultures are the model bird for soaring. Griffon vultures, with their wingspan of as much as seven feet, used to be a common sight in the Middle East; but no more. Vultures have been declining in alarming numbers throughout the world. Some are on endangered species lists. But it is the same with all scavenger birds.
Throughout the world, this decline of vulture population has been due to several causes. But most of it is due to poisoning from farm pesticides. Some drugs given to animals are proving toxic to vultures when they feed on those animal carcasses.
Well, if the world’s vulture population, especially that in and near Israel, is in serious decline, how will the prophecies about scavengers birds in Ezekiel 39.17-20 and Revelation 19.17-18 be fulfilled?
Nations and some environmental groups are trying to bring back vultures. It is happening in Israel. The website Israel21c reports about this. In its article entitled, “Israeli scientists help vulture spread their wings,” it says in Israel, “The Nature Reserves Authority, the Israel Electric Company, and the leading zoos in the country are all working [to] return the vultures to Israel, from which they have almost disappeared. In this project all the vultures have been marked and their mates have been identified.”
The article continues, “Israel is not alone in the effort. Across Asia, bird-conservation groups, in cooperation with government officials, are racing to establish captive-breeding facilities in a final bid to rescue the vultures from the brink of extinction, by encouraging the birds to breed and raise young.”
Finally, “The enclosure at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo operates in close conjunction with all the authorities throughout the country that are participating in the Spreading Wings program to save the vultures.”
So, right now there are not enough scavenger birds in Israel to fulfill the prophecies in Ezekiel and Revelation which describe them as the clean-up crew of the “battle on the great day of God the Almighty” that will occur at the end of the age. But according to the Bible, this conservation effort in restoring Israel’s scavenger bird population must, and will, succeed.