EXEGESIS: LUKE 17:33-37
There The Vultures Gather
Pamela Ayn Austen
22. Then He said to the disciples, “The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. 23. People will tell you, ‘Look, there He is!’ or ‘Look, here He is!’ Do not go out or chase after them. 24. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other, so will be the Son of Man in His day. 25. But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 26. Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man:
27. People were eating and drinking, marrying and being given in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. 28. It was the same in the days of Lot: People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29. But on the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. 30. It will be just like that on the day the Son of Man is revealed. 31. On that day, let no one on the housetop come down to retrieve his possessions. Likewise, let no one in the field return for anything he has left behind. 32. Remember Lot’s wife! 33. Whoever tries to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it. 34. I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed: One will be taken and the other left. 35. Two women will be grinding grain together: One will be taken and the other left.” 37. “Where, Lord?” they asked. Jesus answered, “Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.”
The people trying to save their lives apart from Jesus are the ones Jesus is referring to when he says, "Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather." They are the vultures, and they are feeding off of a spiritually dead world, a world that is a carcass when Jesus returns. They love the world more than Jesus, and so their worldly lives and worldly possessions are what they're feeding off of, and what they're trying to save.
When Jesus returns, this world, and all that is in it, will be as good as dead; but all the same, the unsaved will be rushing to try and save it and their doomed souls. They won't care that the world and their possessions are a rotting carcass; it and their own desires are all they know and all they've spent their lives gathering and preserving, just like unreasoning vultures that work solely from base instinct. Both Peter and Jude call these people
unreasoning beasts. (2 Peter 2:12, Jude 1:10)
When the disciples asked Jesus "Where?" as in "Where are those 'taken' being taken to?" Jesus could have told them what Paul tells us later: they'll be taken up to meet the Lord in the air.
1 Tim. 4:17 But instead, Jesus tells his disciples about those who will be left behind, and where, or rather to what, they're being left to: they're being left to their own death, as they take their share in God's judgment against a wicked world. And so Jesus told them to remember Lot's wife.
Lot's wife looked longingly back to Sodom even though God's judgment was raining down on it, and because she willfully identified herself with Sodom, she took a share in its judgment, and she died with it. See my article about Salt, for more on Lot's wife.
This world is going the way of Sodom, and it's going the way of eternal fire and condemnation. Don't be like Lot's wife who loved Sodom, and who considered herself a part of Sodom, while turning away from Jesus and heaven. Those who love this wicked world are likened to vultures feeding on death, and they will take their full share in the world's eternal death, just like Lot's wife perished with Sodom.
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