Luke 17:37

ESV And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”
NIV Where, Lord?' they asked. He replied, 'Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.'
NASB And responding, they *said to Him, 'Where, Lord?' And He said to them, 'Where the body is, there also the vultures will be gathered.'
CSB "Where, Lord? " they asked him.He said to them, "Where the corpse is, there also the vultures will be gathered."
NLT Where will this happen, Lord?' the disciples asked. Jesus replied, 'Just as the gathering of vultures shows there is a carcass nearby, so these signs indicate that the end is near.'
KJV 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.

What does Luke 17:37 mean?

Scholars argue over the meaning of this brief interaction. Jesus is talking about His second coming: when He will judge the world. His arrival then will be as sudden and violent as the flood or the destruction of Sodom. His followers need to be completely focused on Him and His offer of eternal spiritual life even as the world descends into chaos—even as their closest friends and family members continue rejecting Him (Luke 17:22–35).

It's unclear what the disciples are asking and what Jesus means by His answer. Are the disciples asking where the "days of the Son of Man" will occur (Luke 17:22)? Where the judgment will be? Where the people will be taken (Luke 17:34–35)? It's not clearly explained here or in other passages.

Similarly, we don't know exactly what Jesus' answer means. Some say it refers not to the location of the events but to the finality of the death of judgment. Once vultures arrive, there's no hope for the corpse.

The Greek for vulture is elsewhere translated "eagle" (Revelation 4:7; 8:13; 12:14). Like the vulture, eagles are carrion birds. In the Bible and other literature, eagles are also representative of swiftness. Jesus may be saying that the end will come quickly. On the other hand, He may be alluding to the eagle as the symbol of the Roman army, known for bringing vengeance quickly and violently.

Conversely, Jesus could be telling the disciples to keep watch over the signs. He has described events which will make His followers think He is returning at once, but that doesn't mean He is (Luke 17:22–23). It won't be possible to miss the second coming of Jesus. His return will be unmistakable (Luke 17:24). The disciples know that if vultures are circling, there is something dead below. In a similar way, Jesus' return will be obvious to anyone paying attention.

This sentiment is also found in Matthew 24:28. In that passage, the meaning seems to be more that the disciples will know what is happening if they watch the signs.
What is the Gospel?
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