Pre-tribulation, Post-tribulation, partial rapture, no rapture. There are as many theories about the rapture as there are people to proclaim them but what does JESUS say about the rapture? It would be prudent to operate by the rule of the bible as is stated in 2 Corinthians 13:1 - This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. Jesus gives two examples from biblical history to explain the future event we know as the Rapture.
Before we discuss what Jesus says about the rapture, let’s take a look at His response about the Kingdom of God to the Pharisees. The Pharisees were questioning Jesus on when the Kingdom of God would come no doubt to try to discredit Jesus before the Jews because the Jews had long expected the Messiah to come in glory and take over the nations when He returned. Even today orthodox Jews are still awaiting this event. Jesus had not come in Glory but as the son of a poor carpenter. This they undoubtedly thought would reveal Jesus to be a fraud before His followers.
Jesus’ answer made it clear that the Kingdom of God would first come without observation, that is, without the use of human eyes. Jesus said to them, “Behold (look) the Kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:22) The Greek word that was translated within you is entos which literally means within the middle of you or within your soul. Jesus was informing the Pharisees that the Kingdom of God had already arrived and they did not see it because it is within the hearts of men not outward in the flesh as the Pharisees were expecting. He was educating them on the true Kingdom of God which is a spiritual kingdom not an earthly one bathed in hypocrisy and show. As Jesus told the woman at the well in John 4 when she asked where she should worship physically, “God is a Spirit and those that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”
Jesus then begins to expound on the Pharisees’ question to His disciples about the revealing of the Son of Man who is God in the flesh returning to rule the nations as foretold by the prophets. He tells them that many will be attempting to get us to look for the Son of Man with our eyes. Luke 17:23 And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them 24 For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. It will be clear to everyone when Jesus returns who He is. We will not need man to tell us of His identity. Jesus foretells Isaiah 53 in Luke 17:25 But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. Below is a timeline as Jesus describes it.
Kingdom of God comes into the hearts of men.
Messiah first must suffer many things, and be
rejected of this generation.
would be snatched away to His Father’s house.
- Destruction will come upon all men dwelling on the earth.
This is where Jesus begins to tell of His return and the destruction of the world as we know it. He gives us two examples from biblical history. The first one is Noah and the second one is Lot. He compares them to the day when the Son of man is revealed. He says that one will be taken and the other will be left. The Greek word from the Received Text is paralambano which means to take with oneself or to join to oneself as an associate.
This is reminiscent of John 14:1-3 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. Jesus promised those that believe in Him that He would come back and receive them to Himself. The Greek word that was translated receive is the same word that was used in Luke 17, paralambano. Jesus told those that believed in Him in John 14 that He would be going away to His father’s house to prepare a place for them. He made it clear that He would receive them and take them to the Father’s house where He had prepared a place for them.
Jesus set the order in Luke 17 as to what would happen, as it was in the days of Noah and Lot; the same day that Noah entered the ark and was safe destruction came on all of them that were outside on the earth and the same day that Lot went out of Sodom and was safe, everyone in Sodom were destroyed.
When the disciples asked Jesus where they were going to be taken He said, “Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.” Luke 17:37. The Greek word for body is soma which means the body of men. John 20:17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
Clearly Jesus' body went to be with the Father in heaven which is where He said He will take us BEFORE the destruction of the unbelievers in this world. If this doesn’t prove a pre-tribulation rapture from the very words of our Lord and Savior Jesus, then nothing will.