Updated: Jun 5
By Luke Lancaster
This passage is where Jesus speaks to the disciples in the upper room about how He will be leaving earth to prepare a place for them in Heaven, “the Father’s house.” Then, He will return and receive the disciples to Himself. Pre-tribulation Rapture believers will say that Jesus is coming to earth in the rapture, and that He will be bringing them to Heaven first to preserve them from the tribulation. After that, He will return to earth with His disciples to deliver the final judgment upon the world and resurrect everybody’s bodies to live in a new Heavens and a new earth.
The issue with this interpretation is that it assumes a few things:
First, just because Christ is coming to earth, does not mean this is a reference to His coming before the tribulation. John 14:3 (and 1 Thess. 4 for that matter) does not speak of a tribulation, not is it in the context of the passage.
Second, it is assumed that Christ’s disciples are going straight to Heaven. Yet, other New Testament passages speak of Christ coming in a "Parousia" (1 Cor. 15:23; 2 Thess. 2:8; 2 Peter 3:4; 1 John 2:28, etc) which is a word used in the first century to mean a victorious military commander or nobleman meeting with his people before executing judgment on the town. The man’s friends would meet Him outside of the city, only to come back into the city for the king to execute judgment upon his enemies. This is what Christ does at the end of the world.
As we can see from this passage, our Rapture believing friends are reading into the text. There is no mention of a tribulation in the text, so why assume that Jesus meant to preserve the disciples from it? Ancient times had a meaning to the "Parousia" and that 1st century custom is being disregarded.