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Luke 17:20-37

The Coming of the Kingdom

17:20 Now at one point 1  the Pharisees 2  asked Jesus 3  when the kingdom of God 4  was coming, so he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs 5  to be observed, 17:21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is 6  in your midst.” 7 

The Coming of the Son of Man

17:22 Then 8  he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days 9  of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 17:23 Then people 10  will say to you, ‘Look, there he is!’ 11  or ‘Look, here he is!’ Do not go out or chase after them. 12  17:24 For just like the lightning flashes 13  and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. 14  17:25 But first he must 15  suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 17:26 Just 16  as it was 17  in the days of Noah, 18  so too it will be in the days of the Son of Man. 17:27 People 19  were eating, 20  they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage – right up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then 21  the flood came and destroyed them all. 22  17:28 Likewise, just as it was 23  in the days of Lot, people 24  were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building; 17:29 but on the day Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. 25  17:30 It will be the same on the day the Son of Man is revealed. 17:31 On that day, anyone who is on the roof, 26  with his goods in the house, must not come down 27  to take them away, and likewise the person in the field must not turn back. 17:32 Remember Lot’s wife! 28  17:33 Whoever tries to keep 29  his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life 30  will preserve it. 17:34 I tell you, in that night there will be two people in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. 31  17:35 There will be two women grinding grain together; 32  one will be taken and the other left.”

17:36 [[EMPTY]] 33 

17:37 Then 34  the disciples 35  said 36  to him, “Where, 37  Lord?” He replied to them, “Where the dead body 38  is, there the vultures 39  will gather.” 40 

1 tn The words “at one point” are supplied to indicate that the following incident is not necessarily in chronological sequence with the preceding event.

2 sn See the note on Pharisees in 5:17.

3 tn Grk “having been asked by the Pharisees.” The passive construction has been translated as an active one in keeping with contemporary English style, and the direct object, Jesus, has been supplied from the context.

4 sn The kingdom of God is a major theme of Jesus. It is a realm in which Jesus rules and to which those who trust him belong. See Luke 6:20; 11:20; 17:20-21.

5 tn Or “is not coming in a way that it can be closely watched” (L&N 24.48). Although there are differing interpretations of what this means, it probably refers to the cosmic signs often associated with the kingdom’s coming in the Jewish view (1 En. 91, 93; 2 Bar. 53—74). See D. L. Bock, Luke (BECNT), 2:1412-14, also H. Riesenfeld, TDNT 8:150.

6 tn This is a present tense in the Greek text. In contrast to waiting and looking for the kingdom, it is now available.

7 tn This is a far better translation than “in you.” Jesus would never tell the hostile Pharisees that the kingdom was inside them. The reference is to Jesus present in their midst. He brings the kingdom. Another possible translation would be “in your grasp.” For further discussion and options, see D. L. Bock, Luke (BECNT), 2:1414-19.

8 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

9 sn This is a reference to the days of the full manifestation of Jesus’ power in a fully established kingdom. The reference to “days” instead of “day” is unusual, appearing only here and in v. 26, but it may be motivated merely by parallelism with the “days” of Noah there and the “days of Lot” in v. 28.

10 tn Grk “And they will say.” The plural in Greek is indefinite, referring to people in general. Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

11 tn The words “he is” here and in the following clause are understood and have been supplied from the context.

12 sn Do not go out or chase after them. There will be no need to search for the Son of Man at his coming, though many will falsely claim its arrival.

13 sn The Son of Man’s coming in power will be sudden and obvious like lightning. No one will need to point it out.

14 tc Some very important mss (Ì75 B D it sa) lack the words ἐν τῇ ἡμέρα αὐτοῦ (en th Jhmera autou, “in his day”), but the words are included in א A L W Θ Ψ Ë1,13 Ï lat sy bo. On the one hand, the shorter reading is impressive because it has some of the best Alexandrian and Western witnesses in support; on the other hand, the expression ἐν τῇ ἡμέρα αὐτοῦ is unusual (found nowhere else in the NT), and may be considered the harder reading. A decision is difficult, but it is probably best to retain the words. NA27 rightly has the words in brackets, expressing doubt as to their authenticity.

15 sn The Son of Man’s suffering and rejection by this generation is another “it is necessary” type of event in God’s plan (Luke 4:43; 24:7, 26, 44) and the fifth passion prediction in Luke’s account (9:22, 44; 12:50; 13:32-33; for the last, see 18:32-33).

16 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

17 tn Or “as it happened.”

18 sn Like the days of Noah, the time of the flood in Gen 6:5-8:22, the judgment will come as a surprise as people live their day to day lives.

19 tn Grk “They.” The plural in Greek is indefinite, referring to people in general.

20 tn These verbs (“eating… drinking… marrying… being given in marriage”) are all progressive imperfects, describing action in progress at that time.

21 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

22 sn Like that flood came and destroyed them all, the coming judgment associated with the Son of Man will condemn many.

23 tn Or “as it happened.”

24 tn Grk “they.” The plural in Greek is indefinite, referring to people in general.

25 sn And destroyed them all. The coming of the Son of Man will be like the judgment on Sodom, one of the most immoral places of the OT (Gen 19:16-17; Deut 32:32-33; Isa 1:10).

26 sn Most of the roofs in the NT were flat roofs made of pounded dirt, sometimes mixed with lime or stones, supported by heavy wooden beams. They generally had an easy means of access, either a sturdy wooden ladder or stone stairway, sometimes on the outside of the house.

27 sn The swiftness and devastation of the judgment will require a swift escape. There is no time to come down from one’s roof and pick up anything from inside one’s home.

28 sn An allusion to Gen 19:26. The warning about Lot’s wife is not to look back and long to be where one used to be. The world is being judged, and the person who delays or turns back will be destroyed.

29 tn Or “tries to preserve”; Grk “seeks to gain.”

sn If there is no willingness to suffer the world’s rejection at this point, then one will not respond to Jesus (which is trying to keep his life) and then will be subject to this judgment (which is losing it).

30 sn Whoever loses his life. Suffering and persecution caused by the world, even to death, cannot stop God from saving (Luke 12:4-6).

31 sn There is debate among commentators and scholars over the phrase one will be taken and the other left about whether one is taken for judgment or for salvation. If the imagery is patterned after the rescue of Noah from the flood and Lot from Sodom, as some suggest, the ones taken are the saved (as Noah and Lot were) andthose left behind are judged. The imagery, however, is not directly tied to theidentification of the two groups. Its primary purposein context is topicture the sudden, surprisingseparation of the righteous and the judged (i.e., condemned) at the return of the Son of Man.

32 tn Grk “at the same place.” According to L&N 46.16, this refers to a hand mill normally operated by two women.

33 tc Several mss (D Ë13 [579] 700 al lat sy) add (with several variations among these witnesses) 17:36 “There will be two in the field; one will be taken and the other left.” It is not well enough attested to be original. Further, it is an assimilation to the parallel in Matt 24:40, which marks the addition as secondary. The present translation follows NA27 in omitting the verse number, a procedure also followed by a number of other modern translations.

34 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

35 tn Grk “they”; the referent (the disciples, v. 22) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

36 tn Grk “answering, they said to him.” This is redundant in contemporary English and has been simplified in the translation.

37 sn The question “Where, Lord?” means, “Where will the judgment take place?”

38 tn Or “corpse.”

39 tn The same Greek term can refer to “eagles” or “vultures” (L&N 4.42; BDAG 22 s.v. ἀετός), but in this context it must mean vultures, because the gruesome image is one of dead bodies being consumed by scavengers.

sn Jesus’ answer is that when the judgment comes, the scenes of death will be obvious and so will the location of the judgment.

40 tn Grk “will be gathered.” The passive construction has been translated as an active one in English.

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