On Lk 17:20-37
(Lk 17:20)MKJV And being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered and said, The kingdom of God does not come with observation.
(Lk 17:21) Nor shall they say, Lo here! or, behold, there! For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.
When the Lord stated that "the kingdom of God does not come with observation", he indicated also that the kingdom of God will come. The kingdom of God, also known as the kingdom of heaven, is now in heaven. However, it will be also on the earth. They will not say, "Lo here!" or, "Behold, there!" because the kingdom will be everywhere. It will not be confined to a certain region of the earth, but it will be everywhere. Moreover, the coming of the kingdom will not be a process that people will observe, but rather the world will suddenly become God's kingdom. The Lord said, "The kingdom of God does not come with observation ... For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst". In the context of the coming of the kingdom, the statement that "the kingdom of God is in your midst" does not mean that the kingdom has already been here, but describes how the kingdom comes. One moment it is not here, and the next moment, behold, it is everywhere. The coming of the kingdom is not the same thing as the second coming, First the world becomes God's kingdom (Rev 11:15, 12:10); later, the Lord comes to his kingdom (Mt 16:28, Rev 19:11-16).
The phrase "in your midst" appears also in the form "among you" or "within you" in other translations. (The phrase in the original language that is translated "in your midst" is examined in the article εντος.) Since the Lord was speaking about the coming of the kingdom, he was not saying that the kingdom was already present. Clearly, the Lord was not telling the Pharisees that they had God's kingdom inside themselves. Rather, "you" does not refer to the Pharisees but to people who will live at the time of the coming of the kingdom. When the world will become God's kingdom, everything in the world will belong to the kingdom. Whatever people may have among themselves that they consider their own, and even their own bodies, will belong to the kingdom. In this sense, even what is within them will belong to the kingdom. This does not mean that everyone will be a citizen of the kingdom. In fact, many will be judged and condemned when the Lord returns (Mt 25:41). However, the believers were told that they are citizens of God's kingdom (Php 3:20). Until the earth becomes God's kingdom, the citizens of the kingdom that live on earth serve as ambassadors (2Co 5:20).
(Lk 17:22)KJV And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.
(Lk 17:23) And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them.
(Lk 17:24) 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.
(Lk 17:25) But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.
(Lk 17:26)MKJV And as it was in the days of Noah, so it also shall be in the days of the Son of Man.
(Lk 17:27) They ate, 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.
The Lord mentioned a longing to see "one of the days of the Son of man". In view of Lk 17:24 and Lk 17:26-27, the Lord is not speaking here about days when believers will be with him in heaven, or about the days when the kingdom of God will be on earth, but about certain days that will manifest his presence and surprise the world. There are two major days that fit this description: the rapture day and the day when the Lord returns. While the plural "days" appears in "one of the days" in Lk 17:22, the singular "day" is used in "his day" in Lk 17:24. We can understand that Lk 17:24 applies to each of the two days of the Lord, that is, his presence will be very obvious on both the rapture day and the day of his return. Lk 17:22 is normally fulfilled in times of persecution. However, when the Lord said that "ye shall not see it", he indicated that the time of the end was not near, for the believers were warned that they would keep facing persecutions without seeing the days of the Lord in their lifetime.
(Lk 17:28)KJV Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
(Lk 17:29) But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
(Lk 17:30) Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
The rapture day will reveal the Lord, so by the time of his return he will have been revealed. It follows that Lk 17:30 mentions the rapture day. That day will surprise the world and will impact everyone, just like the flood of Noah, and just as disaster came unexpectedly on Sodom and Gomorrah and affected all their inhabitants. There is no way that someone living during the time of the end could fail noticing the rapture day or the day of the return of the Lord. Therefore, this passage speaks against the false teachings that are predicted in Lk 17:23.
(Lk 17:31)MKJV In that day he who shall be on the housetop, and his goods in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise, he who is in the field, let him not return to the things behind.
As indicated in Lk 17:30, the Lord speaks here about the day of the rapture. Those taken in the rapture will be changed "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" (1Co 15:52). The rapture will take place quickly. One will not have time to take something from his house, or something that he has left behind in the field.
(Lk 17:32)KJV Remember Lot's wife.
(Lk 17:33) Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
Lk 17:33 indicates that in the period of time preceding the rapture it will be quite inconvenient for people to become followers of Christ. Those deciding to follow Christ will do it at the risk of their lives. However, the Lord warned that those seeking to save their lives will lose it. He also mentioned the wife of Lot. She did not escape the judgment on the sin of Sodom because she lingered and looked back. She was supposed to run quickly so as to escape the disaster coming on Sodom. What happened to her resembles what will happen to some in the time of the end. The rapture will be an opportunity for people to escape the judgment coming on the world. Those who will not respond promptly to the gospel will risk missing this opportunity to escape. Just as the wife of Lot did not escape the judgment on the sin of Sodom because she lingered, so also those who will postpone their decision to follow Christ could miss their opportunity to escape the judgment coming on the world.
(Lk 17:34)EMTV I say to you, in that night two shall be on one bed: one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.
(Lk 17:35) Two shall be grinding together: one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.
There will be some who will leave behind friends and family members. Only true followers of Jesus will be taken in the rapture.
(Lk 17:37)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.
The Lord warned against false teachings about the rapture and his return in Lk 21:23. Then, he elaborated on the nature of the rapture day and of the day of his return. By teaching on this topic, the Lord provided information necessary to recognize false teachers. Reasoning based on the answer of the Lord in Lk 17:37, the question "Where, Lord?" goes back to Lk 21:23. The disciples were asking where will these things take place. The answer of the Lord indicates that wherever there are people who can be deceived, there will be false teachers coming to reach them, just as eagles gather to a dead body.