CLAIM: Pre-tribulationists argue that Jesus hinted at the doctrine of the rapture in his word to the disciples:
(Jn. 14:1-3) “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 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. 3 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.”
Does this passage support a pre-tribulational rapture?
RESPONSE: While we hold to a pre-tribulational rapture (see “A Pretribulational Rapture”), we don’t believe John 14:1-3 is the strongest argument for it. Yet this passage fits better with a pre-tribulational rapture than with alternate views for a number of reasons:
First, the AGENT of the rescue. Jesus promised to come personally to rescue the Church (“I will come again and receive you to Myself…”). He did not say that God would rescue them, or even an angel. He would come himself to retrieve the Church.
Second, the SANCTUARY of the rescue. Jesus told them that he was going to prepare a place for believers in heaven—not on Earth (“I go to prepare a place for you”). In the Second Coming, Christ stays on the Earth, rather than going back into heaven.
Third, the PROMISE of the rescue. Finally, Jesus claims that when he comes, we will not be separated from him (“I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also”).
Since Jesus stays on Earth after the Second Coming, this would seem to contradict the fact that he prepares a place for us in heaven. This would be contradictory, unless of course Jesus takes the church to heaven and then comes back later to rule with them on the Earth.