Mat 24:28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
Now just what might this verse mean?
The most sure way to come up with the right answer is to let the Bible explain itself.
How may this be done?
Consult the cross references that are given for this verse in The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury.
Here are the references I have collected for this verse:
For. FS74, +Jdg 5:31.
wheresoever. FS184C, +Mat 4:9, +*Deut 28:49, Job 39:27, 28, 29, 30, Jer 16:16, Hos 8:1, Am 9:1-4, Hab 1:8, *Luk 17:37.
the carcase. Deut 28:26, **1Sa 17:46, Psa 110:6, +*Isa 66:24, **Eze 39:4; **Eze 39:11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, Mar 6:29, +**#Luk 17:37 note.
the eagles. or, vultures. Lev 11:13, +*Deut 28:49, **1Sa 17:44; **1Sa 17:46, +*Psa 79:2, Lam 4:19, Eze 17:3, Dan 7:4, Hos 8:1, Hab 1:8, Zec 5:9, +**Luk 17:37 note. Joh 11:48.
be gathered. Job 39:30, Pro 30:17, **Eze 39:17; **Eze 39:18, Hos 8:1, *Rev 19:17; *Rev 19:18.
In particular, what does the word “carcase” refer to? Older but highly respected Bible scholars have had various opinions about what Jesus was speaking of. I have presented some of these varied opinions at a note I have placed at Luke 17:37 which is a parallel passage. Here are my cross references and my notes for Luke 17:37 as now given in The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury:
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.
Wheresoever. FS138C, +Gen 22:14. Luk 21:35, Job 39:29-30, +**Isa 66:24, Eze 39:4-5; Eze 39:11-18, +*Dan 9:26; +*Dan 9:27, Joe 3:2; Joe 3:9-16, Am 9:1, 2, 3, 4, +*Zep 3:8, Zec 13:8-9; Zec 14:2, Mat 24:28, Joh 11:48 x, Rom 2:8-9; Rom 2:16, 1Th 2:16, *Rev 16:14, 15, 16; Rev 19:17, 18, 19, 20, 21.
the body. Note: The word σωμα here must signify the same as πτωμα, a dead carcase, in Mat 24:28, by which is intended the Jewish nation, which was morally and judicially dead, doomed to be devoured by the Roman armies, called eagles, partly from their strength and fierceness, and partly from their military ensigns, which were gold or silver eagles. The Roman fury pursued these wretched men wherever they were found: see the horrible account in Josephus, Bel. l. vii. c. 2, 6, 9-11, **Eze 39:11-15, **Dan 7:11, +*#Mat 24:28, Rev 19:18.
Whatever interpretation and application is made here of the term “body,” must consistently apply equally to the term “carcass” used in +*#Mat 24:28.
To suggest the body is that of Christ, or believers, or the nation Israel, does not harmonize with Scripture.
Rather, suggesting that “body” and “carcass” refer to the defeated armies gathered against Jerusalem at the end of the tribulation described in Eze 39:17, 18, 19, 20, 21, seems to fit precisely, and is no doubt the event Christ is alluding to, reinforced by the mention of “eagles” directly in this connection, for the “feathered fowl” are invited to feast upon the carnage after that great battle (Eze 39:17).
To suggest that eagles here represent the Romans is not supported by the context, for the Romans are not otherwise alluded to in this passage, and the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 is not the subject of this prophecy, for here these events take place at the second advent, when “the Son of man shall be revealed” (Luk 17:30).
Neither is it necessary to regard the eagles as being angels, nor is it necessary to suggest that they are the saints (the position taken by Peters, Theocratic Kingdom, vol. 2, p. 320). They are literal eagles, birds of prey, gathered to feast literally upon the dead bodies left after the great battle of Eze 39:4, 5, 6.
Peters sees here the translation or rapture of the saints, which my notes (on Luk 17:34 and Mat 24:41) conclusively show to be a mistaken view.
Peters further errs here when he takes the question “Where, Lord” to mean “i.e. when shall this be witnessed or made known” (vol. 2, p. 320, 321). But the question is not when, but where, and Peters’ next statement that “the evidence of such a removal will be openly shown when these very ones shall be gathered together at the overthrow of Antichrist” (p. 321), citing Zechariah 14, Revelation 19, Joel 3, in “his efforts to crush the Jews at Jerusalem,” in a “mighty confederation against the truth” (Peters, Theocratic Kingdom, vol. 2, p. 105), is correct in placing these events at Jerusalem, but incorrect in taking this to be the translation of the saints.
“In comparing prophecy it is distinctly announced that he shall unite nations and armies into an expedition into Palestine and a siege against Jerusalem, Daniel 11, last part and Dan 12:1; Isa 14:24-27; Joel 3; Zechariah 14; Rev 14:20; Rev 16:16; Eze 38:8-19, and that he is to be destroyed by a revelation of Christ in Palestine, Eze 38:21-23; 2Th 2:8; Rev 19:11-20, etc.” (Peters, vol. 2, p. 105).
This passage therefore answers the question where, not when, for Christ already informed them as to when these events would take place (Luk 17:30, at his advent). The eagles are not the saints, and there is not a reference here to the rapture or translation of the saints, for the rapture or translation of the saints logically must be prior to Christ’s revelation in power and glory with his saints (+*Psa 149:5, 6 7, 8, 9, +*Zec 14:5). Eze 39:11, 12, 13, 14, 15, Dan 7:11, +Mat 24:28, Rev 19:18.
the eagles. or, vultures. Gen 40:17-19, %Deut 28:49, *Job 39:27-30, Pro 30:17, Isa 18:6; %+*Isa 40:31, Jer 16:4, **Eze 39:17-21, %Hos 8:1, Hab 1:8, +*#Mat 24:28, %Rev 4:7; *Rev 19:17-21.
be gathered together. **1Sa 17:44; **1Sa 17:46, **Eze 39:4; **Eze 39:17.
When you want to find out what the Bible actually teaches about Bible prophecy, you will find the explanation is given in The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury. Cross references to the explanatory passages are given at every verse more completely in this resource than any other. Included are helpful notes at the more difficult passages as seen in the example above.