Q. I was reading John 17: 15 where Jesus is saying his prayer is not for believers to be taken out of this world but for God to protect them from the evil one while they are here on earth. This prayer appears as if Jesus didn’t have a thought of believers being raptured at some point. Why did Jesus pray for us not to be taken out of this world if he knew that at some time he will come to rapture us? Also, in the Lords prayer of Matt. 6:9-13 He speaks about praying for the Kingdom of God to come on earth and His will be done on earth. What is the use of praying this prayer for the kingdom to come on earth if we are going to be raptured anyway? Can you please give your opinion on these passages?
A. Read John 17:15 more carefully and you’ll realize Jesus was praying only for His disciples at that point. His prayer for them begins in John 17:6 and continues through John 17:19. In John 17:5 Jesus was asking His Father to protect and sanctify the disciples while they did the work He was sending them to do. Then in John 17:20 He shifted focus to include all believers, confirming His promise of John 14:3 that He wants all believers to be with Him where He is and see His glory (John 17:24).
As for Matt. 6:10, when we pray for the Lord’s kingdom to come and for His will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven, we’re praying for all end times prophecy to be fulfilled. As Christians we don’t just long for the rapture to take us out of the world, but also for the world to be redeemed and restored for the people who will live here in the Kingdom Age, which we call the Millennium.
It’s important in all this to remember that Jesus never taught openly about the rapture. Especially in the early parts of His ministry He spoke primarily about end times events as they relate to Israel. The first clear teaching on the rapture was given to the Gentiles by Paul almost 20 years after the crucifixion in his first letter to the Thessalonians. But even so, we who know about the rapture can see hints of it in some of the Lord’s statements. Matt. 24:31, John 11:25-26, and John 14:2-3 are good examples.