John 14:1-3, Matthew 24:29-44, 1 Corinthians 15:54-58, 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18
Summary: Questions abound as to whether the Lord Jesus was referring to the Rapture in John 14:1-3 and later taught by the apostle Paul in his letters to the churches at Corinth and Thessalonica. It is an issue worth examining.
The Synoptic Gospels, the writings of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, with their similarities in content and narrative, all present the apocalyptic teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ as He met with His disciples across from the city of Jerusalem upon the Mount of Olives. Each Gospel tells of troubling and horrific days to come which will affect the whole world. It will be a visible and unmistakable display of God’s wrath and power to wicked humanity and also that the Lord Jesus Christ will return as the conquering King of Kings to rule and reign over a new redeemed world for all time.
The fourth Gospel, written by John, known as the “beloved apostle,” takes an entirely different course in his recollection of the Lord Jesus. He is not just the Promised Messiah but is God Himself who came to this world in order to bring salvation to His people.
John 1:1-4 presents Jesus’ Divine nature as the Creator of all things (Genesis 1; Colossians 1:16-18) and was with God the Father and the Holy Spirit from eternity past, with no beginning and no end. As the Divine Creator, He is outside of space, time, and matter and needs nothing to sustain Him. He is self-sufficient yet displays perfect love, demonstrating the love of the Father and doing the work that the Father expects of Him in the power of the Holy Spirit.
John gives the account of eight miracles that showed the Divine nature of Jesus, yet he also writes of other miracles that he did not record, “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (20:30-31). The written miracles start with the turning of water into wine (2:1-11), the healing of the nobleman’s son (4:46-54), the healing of the man at the pool of Siloam (5:1-9), the healing of the man born blind (9:1-7), the raising of Lazarus from the dead (Ch. 11), and the quantity of fish caught in the disciples’ nets (21:1-6).
Bible scholar and pastor John Mac Arthur gives John’s overall reason for writing his gospel:
“John is the only one of the four Gospels that contains a precise statement of the author’s purpose (20:31). His objective was both apologetic (defending the faith) and evangelistic. In keeping with his evangelistic purpose, he used the verb “to believe” nearly one hundred times; twice as much as the Synoptics, emphasizing that those who believe in Jesus as the Savior will receive eternal life (3:16; 4:14; 5:24, 29-30; 6:27, 33, 40, 47-48, 54, 63, 68; 10:10, 28; 12:50; 14:6; 20:31). John’s evangelistic purpose is inseparable from his apologetic purpose, showing the true identity of Jesus, that of God Incarnate (1:1, 14; 8:23, 58:10:30; 20:28), the Messiah.”
(Source: The Mac Arthur New Testament Commentary: John 1-11, Chicago, Moody Press, 2006, p.9)
From this point on, attention will be given to the last night Jesus had with His disciples before He was to face betrayal, abandonment, a sham trial, and a horrific death on the cross that would serve an eternal purpose.
This account took place in what has been referred to as “the Upper Room” (Mark 14:14-15), and John devotes a large portion of his Gospel to this one event (Chapters 13-17). It would be in this room that Jesus demonstrated the nature of service, told of the arrival of the Holy Spirit as their Teacher and Comforter, and declared that He and He alone was the only way to the Father. He described Himself as the True Vine by which they would bear fruit, look to Him in prayer for their needs in the future, love one another as He loved them, and concluded with the High Priestly prayer on their behalf and for those who come to believe in the future. He also told them that He would come back again at a future time to “receive them to Himself” and take them to heaven (14:1-3):
“Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places. If it were not so, I would have told you, for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” (NASB).
Bible teachers like Dr. MacArthur, the late Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, Dr. John Walvoord; Dr. Tim LaHaye, Dr. Ed Hindson, Dr. Mark Hitchcock, Dr. Thomas Constable, and others believe these verses spoken by the Lord Jesus are referring to the event known as “the Rapture” or the sudden “snatching away” of the true church (1 Corinthians 15:51-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), also known as “the Blessed Hope” (Titus 2:11-15).
This promise from Jesus is in the minds of many Christians as they observe the events occurring around the world and the powder keg of the Middle East and the nation of Israel specifically. If things go the way many of us believe, the promise of His arrival is going to be a lot sooner than expected, and we all need to be ready by being certain that we have come to Jesus Christ in faith and a repentant heart (Psalm 51; Romans 10:9-10; 2 Peter 1:10). Much has been written about prophecy and the events to come before Jesus’ return, and it is worth the time and effort to examine, like the Bereans, “whether or not these things are so” (2 Timothy 2:15; Acts 17:11).
Friend, no amount of reading or studying the subject of Bible prophecy will do you any good if you do not know the Savior. I ask you this day to repent of your sins and ask the Lord Jesus Christ to save you (Psalm 51: Romans 10:9-10). Like the Prodigal Son, now is the time to come to your senses, get out of the world’s pigsty, and come home to the loving embrace of the LORD (Luke 15:17-24). I want you to be ready when He comes back to take us all home.
Donald was born and reared in the authentic “Cajun Country” of southern Louisiana. He is a graduate of Louisiana College (B.A. in History Education/ Biblical Studies, 1984), New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div. In Christian Education, 1994), and Andersonville Baptist Seminary (Doctor of Ministry, Biblical Exposition, 2000). He has been in the Gospel ministry since 1986, serving as an evangelist, interim and supply pastor, hospital and rescue mission chaplain, high school and college teacher, and pastor in churches in Louisiana and Oklahoma.
In 2018 he began to devote his time to the rich field of internet and social media evangelism and outreach. In 2021 he became a member of the Oklahoma Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists, using his skills as a writer to contribute articles and sermons to websites such as Rapture Ready, Sermon Central, and Inspirational Christian Blogs. He also writes Bible studies and curricula for churches in southeast and central Asia and Africa, the locations of which are anonymous. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries, information, and speaking/preaching engagements. His website is www.realitycityreverend.com . A copy of his resume is also available upon request.