Luke 17:31

ESV On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back.
NIV On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything.
NASB On that day, the one who will be on the housetop, with his goods in the house, must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one in the field must not turn back.
CSB On that day, a man on the housetop, whose belongings are in the house, must not come down to get them. Likewise the man who is in the field must not turn back.
NLT On that day a person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. A person out in the field must not return home.
KJV In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.

What does Luke 17:31 mean?

This continues Jesus' warning to the disciples, about what His followers should do at His second coming. That is the moment when He physically returns to Earth, to judge the Antichrist and the fallen world. At that moment, the people will be celebrating life, working, marrying, feasting, and making plans. Jesus will come in a moment no one will expect, like the flood waters at the time of Noah or the burning sulfur that rained on Sodom at the time of Lot (Luke 17:22–30).

This prophecy could apply to several different events. Some think the similar warning in Mark 13:15–16 refers to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 70. Although that may be a minor application, Jesus says the event He mentions is the greatest tribulation that has ever been (Mark 13:19). Certainly, the flood was worse, so it can't just refer to AD 70; it must primarily be during the second coming at the end of the tribulation.

Matthew's version includes "Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath" (Matthew 24:20). That would indicate the warning is for Jews. During the tribulation, the Jews will be driven from Israel, but it seems this will happen at the mid-point of the seven-year tribulation, not when Jesus returns at the end (Revelation 12:13–14).

Luke presents a general warning to all Jesus-followers during the tribulation who realize judgment is imminent. The nations will be concerned with "luxurious living," precious metals, jewels, fine clothing, art, spices, and slaves—"human souls" (Revelation 18:3, 12–13). When the end is near, Jesus' followers must not even go back for a wallet. They need to run.
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