Q. In John 17:15, Jesus is praying to God “not that you take them [his disciples] out of the world” and in verse 20, He prayed “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message. ” I’ve seen these two verses combined to refute the rapture. What is your take on the context of these two verses?
A. John 17 begins with Jesus by praying for Himself (v. 1-5) and then for His Disciples (v. 6-19). And of course, He’s not asking the Father to take them out of the world because He’s entrusting them with the task of building His Church. Then, in verses 20-26 the prayer is for all believers in the Church Age. In verse 24 he prays, “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”
He was certainly not praying that all believers of the Church Age would join Him in the Upper Room on the night He was praying. To see Him and His Glory requires that we go where He is now. This is consistent with His promise of John 14:2-3, “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
To say that Jesus prayed that the Father would not take us out of the world contradicts his promise in John 14:2-3, made the same night, and violates the intent of John 17:24 as well.