Luke 17:31-34

Luke 17:31 (KJB)
In that day, he which shall be upon 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.

Jesus now refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. He has placed it in the context of the last day of this world. He is doing a double prophecy here. He brings up the destruction of the ancient world of Noah’s day and speaks of them as being unconcerned about their lifestyle and thinking that all is well when it is not. Then He brings up the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah when they were swiftly destroyed because of their sinful lifestyle. They too just went along as nothing happened until the day the fire and brimstone fell. Now Jesus takes this verse and tells them that the same thing is going to happen to Jerusalem. Jerusalem will pay a bigger price because they rejected the promised Messiah when they should have known the Scriptures which described the life of Christ perfectly.

Here Jesus is also telling His disciples that when they see the abomination of desolation that the urgency to escape will be so great that they will not even have time enough to go into their houses and pack, instead they will have to go down the outside staircase and just keep going. This verse teaches how serious the time was and that there would be no time for packing just time enough to escape with what they had on their back and their lives.

Then Jesus states that even those who are working in the field or anywhere must not go back to their house to get their garments. Basically, what is being taught is that wherever the people are or whatever they are doing, they must cease immediately and flee for their lives. (Mark 13:16 KJV) And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment. The words “let him…return” is one word in the Greek and it is in the imperative mood making it a command of the Lord.

Luke 17:32 (KJB)
Remember Lot's wife.

(Gen 19:17 KJV) And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. When they were given instructions to escape the coming holocaust of Sodom and Gomorrha, their sins were so bad that God warned them that as they flee, they were not even to look back. (Gen 19:26 KJV) But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.  Lot’s wife looked back and she was made into a pillar of salt. The message here is that those who are in Jerusalem at the time of the Roman siege are not to look back, that is, to go back to their homes and collect their belongings. They are to flee Judaea and not look back or else their lives will be in danger. Lot’s wife lost her life because she disobeyed. If there Christians in Judaea at the time of the siege just leave and not look back, then their lives would be spared.

Luke 17:33 (KJB)
Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.

This verse carries with it a double meaning in this position. First, Jesus is speaking about the physical lives of the Christians in Judaea at the time of the Roman Destruction in 70 A.D. If a person does not heed the warning the Lord is giving them and makes an attempt to go back to the house and save all his material goods, then they will lose their opportunity to escape. So in trying to save their life which means if they try to gather their material goods which they have saved over their life, then they will lose their lives in the siege. On the other hand, if they just leave and not concern themselves with all their material goods, then they lose all they had in life but their lives shall be preserved.

Then there is the spiritual meaning to this verse which is applied to all people of the world. Jesus speaks about living the Christian life. First He speaks about those who will save their life shall lose it. What Jesus has in view here are those who have given themselves over to living this present life fully without any thought for the next life. They are basically living for the now and basking in the world system. Their time on earth is dedicated to themselves rather than to Christ. Normally, these are the unsaved but unfortunately there are many Christians who are not involved in any ministry and are just coasting along in this world. Then Jesus makes a second statement and that is about those who are losing their life for His sake shall find it. This is the group of Christians who are working to advance the Kingdom of Christ and concerning themselves with evangelism. When He talks about losing their life He speaks about those who have rejected all the time wasters and traps this world has such as watching sports, TV watching, computer games, chat, social networking, parties, trips, etc. Now this is not to say that Christians cannot interact with each other or even go away for a few days but that is the exception and not the rule in their life. When all their friends are doing some worldly activity, they would be involved in ministry and that is what the Lord means. Those who are seriously involved in true ministry are showing they are saved and although they will miss out on much of what this world has to offer, they will not miss out on anything the next world has to offer.

Luke 17:34 (KJB)
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.

Now Jesus returns to the time of the last day when His return is going to be so sudden that people are going to be about their daily routine. If you notice the Lord is mentioning night here as people sleep and in the next verse He mentions people working. Which means that His return is going to be a worldwide event as all time zones will relinquish their saved and the unsaved will then go to Judgment.