LUKE xvii. 37. “And they
answered and said unto Him, Where Lord? And He said
unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be
THE twofold enquiry that always greets the prophet is
Where? and When? These two questions are prompted
by curiosity and self-interest. The passionate desires of
human nature to know the future are testified to by the
whole history of superstition and imposture. Even in-
spired prophecy has been treated in the spirit of this desire.
Our Lord teaches us how such questions should be
answered, and how such a spirit should be dealt with.
He does not answer the “Where “and “When;” not even
in the Revelation to His beloved disciple does He do so.
I. Observe how in a very real sense he does answer the
questions. The answer in effect is this: My judgment
shall come upon the earth as come the vultures upon the
dead by an unerring and terrible instinct. So truly then as
there is ripeness for judgment, and wherever there is that
ripeness, there shall come the judgment of the day of the
II. Mark what these words tell us concerning the great
laws of God’s judgment. These judgments are not
arbitrary judgments, but are joined to the offence by a
natural and necessary law. Where there is ripeness for
them there is no escape from them; but they only fall
where there is that ripeness. We learn also, that before
the last and crowning judgment there must be many lesser
and preliminary days of judgment.
III. Where are we to look for signs of our Lord’s
coming? Not to the heavens far off, but at the dead
thing which lies, it may be, at your very feet.
Can we discern here and there the corpse that calls and
the eagles of judgment that come at its calling. In the
case of individuals it is not wise to judge; but with
families, churches, nations, there is no judgment sound
but a present judgment. The practical lesson is, “Judge
therefore, yourselves brethren, that ye be not judged by
W. C. Magee, D.D.