“I tell you, in that night there shall be two men m one bed; the one shall be taken and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding to­gether; the one shall be taken and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken and the other left. 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 17:34-37


It happened one day, during the sojourn of the Lord Jesus on earth, that the Pharisees asked of Him when the Kingdom of God should come. To them He made answer and said: The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation, that is, with outward show! There is a rebuke in these words. Observation, out­ward show was all that these poor souls could muster in their so-called religion. Inwardly they were full of corruption and wickedness.

And then the Lord pointed out to them, that in a certain sense the Kingdom of God was already come, for it was in their very midst. Certainly the King of that Kingdom stood before them, and many of the citizens of that Kingdom likewise walked about the earth at that time, even as at all times. There al­ways were people of God on the earth. And it was always the life of the Kingdom of God which dwelled in their hearts which made the distinction between them and the children of the devil.

But the Pharisees were blind, even as the major­ity of mankind in every age.

Later the Lord explained about the coming, the final coming of that Kingdom of God. And He said: For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part un­der heaven, so shall also the Son of Man be in His day! When Christ Jesus returns on the clouds of heaven, His coming shall be sudden, like a bolt of lightning.

And then He gives them the facts of history, types of His coming: that is, the flood in the days of Noah and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in the days of Lot. In those days there was no more time left for conversion. It was the end. You either were in the ark and safe, or you were without and drowned. Or, as in the case of Sodom, you escaped from that hell on earth, or you burned. And if, as in the case of Lot’s wife, you seemed to escape, the aven­ging righteousness caught you just without the gate, and you turned into a pillar of salt. Is it for that reason that Jesus said: Remember Lot’s wife?

Well, I like to tell you of the coming of that Christ in His day. He shall come as the King of the King­dom of God, and I would like to say a few words on how He shall find the human race; and how He shall separate them; and what shall be the main character­istic in that race of men.

First then the question: How shall he find the human race?

There are some who say that He will find the whole world in a dreadful chaos. His day shall be a day of great upheavals and revolutions, they say. I do not believe it. Holy Scripture does not teach that. To the very contrary. You will remember that Jesus compared His coming to the days of Noah and of Lot. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah en­tered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise also as in the days of Lot: they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heav­en, and destroyed them all.

Therefore, you see that those days were very nor­mal. The usual things shall be done when that aw­ful lightning shall strike and men shall see the sign of the Son of Man in the heavens. It will be a com­plete surprise.

That same picture you find in the specific words of our meditation at this time. You will recall the text.

So you see that life in its normalcy is presented here. The picture is rather complete. We see the usual three spheres of life: the social home life—two in the bed; the industrial life: two grinding together; and the agricultural life: two are in the field. Life went on as usual.

Yes, things shall be very orderly in that wonder­ful and also dreadful day. The world in all its usual activities shall show a rather orderly picture to the eye of Jesus when He comes. All according as your station in life shall be, you will eat, drink, marry or be given in marriage, you shall buy or sell, you shall build or plant, you will calmly live your usual life.

Note, further, that all those things shall be done together, that is, the child of God and the child of the devil shall live together. And they shall do things to­gether. Two men are in one bed, two women in one mill, two men in one field. And that is correct. Hu­manity is one organism. You cannot sever yourselves from man. We are of one blood and of one flesh. And our ways intermingle. Paul would say: you cannot go out of this world. No, the Bible certainly does not teach the life of the monastery and the cloister. They are monstrosities. And have led to dreadful and abnormal horrors.

No, they shall be together. The children of God and the children of the devil shall work together in one shop, factory, home and field. All the activities of mankind are common to both peoples. That is not their difference.

What then?

Oh, but when Jesus comes, that seeming unity shall be rudely dissipated. He will make a terrible and absolute separation. They shall fall apart into the most marked distinction. Christ Jesus shall see and penetrate all the dwellers of the earth. And He shall see two diametrically opposed principles of life and conduct in the hearts of man, of all men. And according to these life-principles the human race shall be infallibly split in sunder.

These principles are two, no more. By the one group He will find and recognize the love of God.

In passing we may state that this is always the case at any moment in the history of the world. It is not always manifest, but it is nevertheless the real truth. You are either a child of God, and then you love Him; or you are a child of the devil, and then you hate Him. There is no neutrality; there are no three ways; there is just the way to the right and the way to the left, and that is all. This separation is an ab­solute separation. The difference between these two peoples is as the difference between night and day, up or down, white or black, sin or righteousness, heav­en or hell, God or the devil. There is no middle way.

That I speak the truth is evidenced by the text: The one shall be taken and the other left.

A very nice word is used in the original Greek for the word “taken”. It means to take to one’s self, to fold in one’s bosom, therefore. It shows the eager­ness with which Christ shall take His disciples to His bosom. It shall interpret the longsuffering of God. He shall have waited long for this wonderful moment when He shall come in Christ, His Son, to fold His people to His bosom and let them rest in His heart of love for evermore.

The other word is terrible. It sounds rather weak in our translation. It means literally to send away from one. It is elsewhere called to reject, or to cast away. Oh, yes, He shall also take the others, but it shall be to cast them from Him into outer darkness where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

And you will do well to remember that all this is highest wisdom and no capriciousness. The deepest ground for this taking and leaving is the goodpleasure of God. It pleased Him to elect His people and to make them vessels of His love, so that they might be to His eternal praises and glory forever and ever. And it also pleased Him to reprobate others unto everlast­ing shame and darkness. They are reserved unto darkness forever. And then in this way that they are not coordinate but subordinate. The latter serves the former. Rejection serves election. Such is holy Scripture. It is no dry dogma which man found out and taught. It certainly is contrary to the mind of man to so teach and preach. No, but God has proclaimed on a thousand pages of the Bible that such is the case: the one shall be taken and the other left.

Yes, some will say: that is correct; but some are taken because they believed and the others are left because they would not believe! And I would say: Amen! But I would like to ask a very simple ques­tion: Where did they obtain faith in the blessed Lord? And then your own Bible will provide the answer: “For by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God!” There is the answer. You find it in Eph. 2:8. No, some people receive faith and others do not. And if you ask why? then God answers: it so pleased Me! And who shall answer against God?

And those that are left, because of the black prin­ciple in their heart: it is the principle of sin and cor­ruption. Oh, yes, the others also had that principle of corruption and sin in their heart by nature, but God redeemed them. Christ died for them and the Holy Ghost sanctified them and made them ready for their place in the highest heavens.

Oh, believe me, the Lord God has everything plan­ned and He will execute it in all justice and righteous­ness and, yes, also in all goodness. There shall not be devil or man that will be able to accuse God for one moment when He takes the one and leaves the other. They will all admit: it is divinely right!

And I assure you that if you are honest with your­self, you will see the justice of God’s doings even now. It is clearly revealed.

You see, God has told us from time immemorial that man is wicked and perverse. And God has proved it. In the fulness of time, He sent His sweet­est possession into the wicked world. And that is Jesus. And, remember, in this Jesus of Nazareth, the living God Himself is revealed. Jesus is God, re­vealed in the flesh and come into the likeness of the flesh. Well, for 33 years this revelation of the living God walked among the children of men. And His conduct is above reproach: He certainly acted the God­head. He healed the sick; He raised the dead; and He preached the way of the Kingdom of Heaven.

And what did man do?

This: They took Him, spit upon Him, scourged Him, and nailed Him to the accursed tree. No, no, do not say that those wicked Jews did this: you and I did this. It shows how and what we are through sin that dwells in our heart and mind and soul and all our affections. We are wicked from our youth and grow more wicked as the days of the years of our life pass on. And the proof is the Cross of Jesus. As He fared in Jerusalem, so He has fared everywhere. What will you do with Jesus? We will trample Him underfoot and we will despise Him and His God and His law and promises. There is no room for Jesus in the heart of natural man. That heart is filled with everything but Jesus.

And no wonder! Jesus is the Light of the world. He discovers all the darkness, all the evil of our hearts. So He did to the Pharisees, and so He does today to all men that read and hear His Word. Jesus is bother­some to the natural heart. So bothersome that He must be cast away, and crucified.

Yes, God has proved His judgment. Man is wicked from his youth and he is worthy of damnation that is eternal.

But some He saves and shall save. And that sal­vation is of the Lord exclusively. Christ’s name is Savior. Strange, that most men never gave it a thought. They say: He is my Savior, but they save themselves. No, no, but God in Christ is the Savior, the complete Savior! He it is that loved His sheep from all eternity that sent His Son into the world so that He might take upon Himself all the guilt of His sheep and deliver them from the wrath to come; He it is that sent His Holy Ghost into the heart of all those that are chosen and through that Spirit they cry Abba Father! And He it is that shall quicken our mortal bodies in the day of His coming and place us with Him in everlasting bliss. He is the complete Savior. The text says: The one shall be taken. Yes, and as it is in the last day so it was the first day: If you are loved of God: you are taken, you are taken in His arms and He leads you home. That is the Word of God.

But the others are left. And they carry within them the ground of their rejection.

Read the text: Where the body is thither will the eagles be gathered together. And if you will look up the same message in Matthew 24:28, you will see that the word “carcase” is used. The Lord made this ans­wer because of a question of His disciples. They asked Him where this ingathering of God’s people and this rejection of the wicked should take place. So the Lord gives in these words a characterization of the state of things at the end of the world. Things shall be so utterly corrupt, and the number of God’s people shall be so very small, that He likens the whole human race to a dead body, a carcase that will be devoured by the eagles, that is, the vultures.

How true a sign! Do you not see it right around you, wherever you are? The world is simply filled with this violence, that is, primarily violence to God Triune, who is the blessed forever!

Yes, the point of view of the parable in the text is this: it is the coming of the Messiah in retribution, avenging on the spiritually dead carcase of His en­emies. The body of the dead carcase is rotten hu­manity and the eagles are the vultures, His messengers of eternal doom!

G. Vos