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Notes on Revelation

Ravenous Birds

1 Nisan, 5761
March 25, 2001

Ezekiel 39:1-5 Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel: And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand. Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.

Ezekiel 39:17-20 And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood. Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan. And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you. Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord GOD.

Revelation 19:17-21 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

In Nissan, the skies of Eretz Yisrael [land of Israel] are full of birds. Because this tiny strip of land is on the main migration route to and from Africa, it is home to a disproportionately large number of birds each spring. They each know "their appointed time...the time of their coming."


The stork usually passes through Eretz Yisrael during the week of parashas Shemini in spring and during the week of parashas Re'eh in the fall; these are the two parashiyos in which it is mentioned (Zimras HaAretz V'HaShamayim on Perek Shirah)

(Season of Life: The Reflection of the Jewish Year in the Natural World, Nosson Slifkin)

parashas = weekly Torah portion
Shemini = "eighth" Leviticus 9:1 - 11:47 (This year is read 04/21/01)
Re'eh = "see!" Deuteronomy 11:26 - 16:17 (This year is read 08/18/01)
(for more on Torah portions, please see Chronology of Book of Revelation?)

Jerusalem in Autumn...Eagles are seen in large numbers along this land corridor between continents. As many as 200,000 of several different kinds will pass over Israel in four days.

(VHS tape: Birds of the World: Eagles: The Majestic Hunters)

Israel's bird population is among the most varied in the world. Tristam's (Survey of Western Palestine) survey lists over 350 species. Some of these are year-round residents, others visit only briefly during their autumn-spring migrations. Every year, for example, hundreds of thousands of raptors from E Europe fly S over Israel on their way to winter homes in Africa...Among these migrants are the white stork...and the buzzard...Israel's raptor population, though now much diminished by pesticides and poisons, include the bearded, black and griffon vultures...the golden, imperial, spotted and tawny eagles, and lanner and peregrine falcons.

(Anchor Bible Dictionary)


* raptor: bird of prey
* bird of prey: a carnivorous bird (as a hawk, falcon, or vulture) that feeds wholly or chiefly on carrion or on meat taken by hunting.
* carrion: dead and putrefying flesh; also: flesh unfit for food.

See also Gog and Magog


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