Luke 17:37 may be the most overlooked Bible prophecy verse in the entire Bible. I have not seen many Bible prophecy commentators address Luke 17:37 in my many years of study. Despite being overlooked, Luke 17:37 may be one of the most important Bible prophecy verses in the Bible. In fact, studying Luke 17:37 caused me to reevaluate many assumptions I had about the end times and caused others to reevaluate everything they were taught about the end times. In this article, I will highlight Luke 17:37 while discussing several important end time passages.
The Days of Noah
Christ compared the time of His Coming to the days of Noah. Christ discussed how people in Noah’s time lived life unaware of their impending doom before the flood. Similarly, many people in the end times will be living life unaware of their impending doom before Christ’s coming. Christ also added that some will be taken away while others will be left behind when He comes.
“(37) But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (38) For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, (39) And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (40) Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. (41) Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” (Matthew 24:37-41)
Many assume that the righteous will be taken away while the wicked will be left behind. But is that assumption correct?
Luke 17 also describes Christ talking about the days of Noah. Luke adds that the disciples asked Christ about the destination of those who will be taken. Christ gave a really interesting answer to His disciples’ question:
“(26) And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. (27) They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. […] (34) I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. (35) Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. (36) Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. (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.” (Luke 17:26-27, 34-37)
Luke 17:37: The Destination
Luke 17:37 says “Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together”. The same statement is found in Matthew 24:28 except that the word “body” is replaced with “carcase”.
“(27) For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (28) For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.” (Matthew 24:27-28)
We can deduce from Luke 17:37 and Matthew 24:28 that those taken will be sent to a place where there will be birds flying over dead bodies.
The Gathering of Birds
Where else in the Bible can we read about a gathering of birds to prey on a bunch of dead bodies during the end times? Ezekiel 39:17-19 and Revelation 19:17-18 each describe birds gathering to feast on wicked people who are about to be slaughtered:
“(17) 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. (18) 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. (19) 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.” (Ezekiel 39:17-19)
“(17) 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; (18) 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.” (Revelation 19:17-18)
Could it be possible that those taken are wicked people who will be sent to their doom?
The Harvest at the End of the Age
The idea that the wicked may be taken seems quite strange in an age where many teach that the wicked are the ones left behind. The righteous will indeed be taken at some point to meet Christ in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). But, the passages above indicate that those taken will be sent to a place where birds will be ready to feast on a bunch of dead bodies.
Is there any other place in the Bible where we can find evidence that the wicked may be taken? There is…
Christ described the end time harvest of the earth in the parable of the wheat and tares. Christ described the wheat (the righteous) and tares (the wicked) both present on Earth until the harvest (at the end of the age):
“Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” (Matthew 13:30)
“(37) He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; (38) The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; (39) The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.” (Matthew 13:37-39)
Notice in Matthew 13:30 that the tares will be taken first: “gather ye together first the tares”. The tares will be taken to their doom according to Matthew 13:40-42:
“(40) As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. (41) The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; (42) And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:40-42)
Putting the Pieces Together
Here are the key facts we have gathered up to this point:
- Luke 17:37 and Matthew 24:28 indicate that some will be sent to a place where birds will be flying over dead bodies. Meanwhile, others will not join them on this journey (Matthew 24:40-41 and Luke 17:34-36).
- Revelation 19:17-18 and Ezekiel 39:17-19 each describe a scene where birds will gather before a great slaughter of wicked people that have assembled.
- Matthew 13:30, 37-42 indicate that the wicked will be gathered first at the end time harvest of the earth and will be taken to their doom.
Piecing these facts together, it’s likely that Luke 17:34-36 and Matthew 24:40-41 refer to the wicked who will be taken to their doom. The wicked will get slaughtered and become food for the birds that will gather to feast on dead bodies.
Who are the wicked? I propose that the wicked are those with the Mark of the Beast, and their slaughter will fulfill the promise given by the third of three angels mentioned in Revelation 14:
“(9) And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, (10) The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:” (Revelation 14:9-10)
The wicked being taken in Matthew 24:40-41 and Luke 17:34-36 are likely those who did not already assemble to the battlefield described in Ezekiel 39:17-19 and Revelation 19:17-18. They will be taken to the scene so they can join others in their doom.
As I mentioned, many assume that the righteous will be taken away while the wicked will be left behind when they read Matthew 24:40-41 and Luke 17:34-36. The passages I shared in this article suggest that the wicked will actually be taken first. I am not the only one who has reached this finding. I know of others who came to a similar conclusion and had their end time viewpoints completely transformed by it.
I know it’s not easy to accept the idea that the wicked are the ones taken in Matthew 24:40-41 and Luke 17:34-36. It took me over two years before I was ready to accept a proper view of these passages. I hope you will not take as long as me to reach the same conclusion I have.