What Did Jesus Mean in Luke 17 verse 37 About the Eagles Gathered Around the Body?

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What Did Jesus Mean in Luke 17 verse 37 About the Eagles Gathered Around the Body?

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In this case, yes there are. A parallel account of this was recorded in Matthew 24:28 Matthew 24:28For wherever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
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, and in both places, it appears that Jesus was paraphrasing the inspired words of Job: “Does the eagle mount up at your command, and make its nest on high? On the rocks it dwells and resides, on the crag of the rock and the stronghold. From there it spies out the prey; its eyes observe from afar. Its young ones suck up blood; and where the slain are, there it is” (Job 39:27-30 Job 39:27-30 27 Does the eagle mount up at your command, and make her nest on high? 28 She dwells and stays on the rock, on the crag of the rock, and the strong place. 29 From there she seeks the prey, and her eyes behold afar off. 30 Her young ones also suck up blood: and where the slain are, there is she.
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). It’s interesting to note that the Hebrew word for “slain” in this verse is chalal , which can be translated “pierced to death.”

The symbolism in this allegory of Job helps unlock the mysterious but valuable message Jesus Christ gave many years later. Other scriptures show by analogy, metaphor, or allegory what “eagles” can symbolize. Isaiah spoke of eagles as an allegory of Gods faithful people:

“But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 Isaiah 40:31But they that wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
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).

Where does Job say the eagle dwells? On the rocks, when using the symbolism of Gods people, points to Jesus Christ, who is our spiritual Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4 1 Corinthians 10:4And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
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).

What is the “prey,” which is “afar off” that the “eagles” seek? The answer is found in Matthew 6:33 Matthew 6:33But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
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—the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Now that we have unlocked the symbolic meaning of Job 39:27-30 Job 39:27-30 27 Does the eagle mount up at your command, and make her nest on high? 28 She dwells and stays on the rock, on the crag of the rock, and the strong place. 29 From there she seeks the prey, and her eyes behold afar off. 30 Her young ones also suck up blood: and where the slain are, there is she.
American King James Version×
, we need to read Christ’s statement in Luke 17:37 Luke 17:37And they answered and said to him, Where, Lord? And he said to them, Wherever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.
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and Matthew 24:28 Matthew 24:28For wherever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
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and ask what the context surrounding these verses is.

In both accounts, the context is about the coming Kingdom of God on Earth. Notice how right before Luke 17:37 Luke 17:37And they answered and said to him, Where, Lord? And he said to them, Wherever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.
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in Luke 17:24-36 Luke 17:24-36 24 For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines to the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. 25 But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. 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. 28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. 31 In that day, he which shall be on 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. 32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. 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.
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, Jesus prophesies the events immediately preceding His return to this earth and the resurrection of Gods faithful people:

“For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day…Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left” (Luke 17:24 Luke 17:24For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines to the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.
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, Luke 17:35-36 Luke 17:35-36 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.
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).

The same is true in the verses right before Matthew 24:28 Matthew 24:28For wherever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
American King James Version×
. So the context of the statement is of the end of the age, just preceding Christ’s return and the resurrection of Gods people.

We can now understand that Jesus Christ is the “body” around whom the “eagles” (the Church, His faithful people) will congregate at the resurrection when Jesus returns to this world to rule over all the nations as King of Kings (Revelation 11:15 Revelation 11:15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
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, Zechariah 14:9 Zechariah 14:9And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.
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, Revelation 5:10 Revelation 5:10And have made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
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).

It was our Savior Jesus Christ who allowed Himself to be pierced and bleed to death to become a “carcass” before He was resurrected. He was dead for three days and three nights and did not go to His Father in heaven during His time in the grave.

Did the faithful “eagles (Gods faithful disciples) gather around Jesus Christ when He was resurrected then? Yes they certainly did. Paul recorded how Jesus was seen by over 500 brethren during the 40 days He revealed Himself after His resurrection to life again (1 Corinthians 15:6 1 Corinthians 15:6After that, he was seen of above five hundred brothers at once; of whom the greater part remain to this present, but some are fallen asleep.
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).

Will Gods faithful people be resurrected in the end of the age and gather around the “body” of the returning Jesus Christ? Yes, indeed they will:

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
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).

We too can be considered by God to be worthy “eagles” in that resurrection, to be with the “body” of Jesus Christ when He returns in power to set up His Kingdom on Earth, and to rule over all the nations with His faithful people.

To learn more why not read our free Bible study guide: Why Were You Born?

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