“…He said to them, ‘Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.’” Luke 17:37 ESV
Now here’s a verse that’s found a plethora of interpretations through the centuries! Many a godly man has commented on the nuances of its meaning. From the immediate judgment of sin to Anti-Christ’s armies surrounding a modern Jerusalem, countless discussions have taken place with very little consensus as to the Lord’s meaning. In this short writing I’m not inclined to weigh in on interpretations so much as just stating the obvious of what the verse says: where scavenging birds are circling overhead, you will find a dead body. It’s not a pretty image, but it’s effective nonetheless. It’s a valuable illustration because it confirms the assurance that where one thing happens (circling vultures) the next is true also (you’ll find a corpse).
Now let’s take a moment and plug this meaning into the context of what Jesus was communicating at the time. In answering questions of when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus informs his disciples that people would be saying, “look there” or “look here,” and then warns, “Do not go out and follow them!” There will be those who say they have the answers of where and when, don’t believe it. The Lord continues by reporting His coming will be like the days of Noah and Lot, once the righteous are protected, the coming judgment and His return will be both immediate and obvious! There will be no questions if this is Jesus or not. As light flashes from east to west so will be the Son of Man in His day—quickly and unmistakably. When one thing happens, (the righteous are secured), the next is true also (the return of Christ and the judgment).
Lately we’ve heard a lot in the media about a certain man’s predictions of specific dates regarding Christ’s return and the coming judgment. Everyone’s talking about it. I went into a Kinko’s on the day predicted and was confronted by a salesperson asking if I realized the day would end by 6:00pm EST. It was a joke and absurdity to the person waiting on me. My point here is not to argue the folly of predicting days of which Jesus says only the Father knows; my concern is the cynicism drummed up by a media focusing on this one false prophet’s foolishness. The danger of this man’s err, and others like him, is the whole of humanity becomes lulled to sleep by the silly notion Jesus will not come at all! That’s the real problem with this false prophet’s predictions. Society loses touch with the reality of Christ’s return, period. The second coming and the advancing judgment becomes a big joke, something to mock and make sport of.
The great bible teacher Harry Ironside said, “Exposing error is a most unpopular work. But from every true standpoint it is worthwhile work.” When Jesus Himself says in Matthew 24:36, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only,” it is an error to give specific days of Christ’s return and the coming judgment. But please do not make the mistake of believing that judgment and the 2nd advent will not happen at all! As sure as “Where the corpse is, there will vultures will gather,” so will be the return of the Son of Man—it will happen! Whether in our lifetime or three generations away—it will happen. Do not be lulled to sleep by cynics mocking one man’s error.
J. Robert Hanson