Was He meaning He would rapture us into heaven with Him, or make mansions/rooms for us to live in, was He referring to our glorified bodies that we will receive, or something else?
ESV - 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
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First, we should try to understand whom Jesus was addressing those words in John 14:1-4 to. The Bible record shows that Jesus had many disciples, but we are not told how many. There were up to 500 present at the ascension, 1 Corinthians 15:6; Acts 1:12 However, we are not told how many the disciples were when the event recorded in Luke 6:12-15 took place. The record says: "One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor (Luke 6:12 -16 NIV). Mark 3:13-19 presents a similar scenario. In these passages, we learn that Jesus chose a select group of 12 out of the crowd of disciples and called them "apostles". The names on list of the chosen 12 are also the names of the first disciples called by Jesus. What this implies is that Bible writers decided to tell us how Jesus called the disciples who later became apostles. Bible writer Mark gave some reasons why the group of 12 was chosen. He says: "...that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons (Mark 3:14-15 NIV). Clearly, then, the apostles were chosen for special assignments. Jesus himself actually stated the ultimate assignment that the apostles will perform. Let us observe that Jesus participated in the Jewish Passover of 33 CE, the last that he partook of, in company of the 12 apostles only, Luke 22:14. The other disciples obviously were not called by Jesus for the Passover feast but these must have observed the event with their families at their various homes, Exodus 12:20. In the course of the evening, Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper, or the Lord's Evening Meal, in which he passed the bread and the wine as emblems of his flesh and blood. In Luke 22:20, Jesus said "...This cup is the new covenant in my blood, even that which is poured out for you". Jesus expanded this point in Luke 22:28-30, explaining what the new covenant is about: "And you are those who have remained...with Me in My trials; And as My Father has appointed a kingdom and conferred it on Me, so do I confer on you [the privilege and decree], That you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Luke 22:28-30 AMP). From the above, we learn of another reason why the apostles were chosen: to be taken to heaven to become kings with Jesus Christ. Now let us relate the above scriptural discussion to the question raised. In Luke 12:32, Jesus said: "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32 KJV). Clearly, these words applied to the apostles, and not to the generality of Christ's followers. DANIEL referred to those that God will give the kingdom to (as corulers with Jesus) as "saints", in DANIEL 2:44; 7:13-14,18,21-22,26-27. It thus becomes apparent that the scripture under reference, John 14:1-4, referred to the "little flock", or "saints of the Most High". In the light of the above, Jesus was encouraging and promising or assuring the apostles that they should not be afraid, or fear, as the Father had approved of giving them the kingdom. He was to go ahead of them to heaven and prepare the kingdom for them. And then, afterwards, he would come and take them to heaven to rule with him. So, to use popular parlance, it is the apostles and others chosen as saints that will be "raptured" to heaven when Jesus returns. But it should be clear that those other disciples not apostles/saints will be on earth as subjects of the Kingdom of God. The kingdom will take over rulership of the earth and turn it into a paradise. See Daniel 2:44; Revelation 21:2-4.
I view Jesus as saying in John 14:3 that He was going (through His imminent death, resurrection, and ascension) for the purpose of preparing the many rooms or abodes in His Father's house to which He had just made reference in the prior verse (John 14:2). It was His atoning death and subsequent resurrection that would make believers' access to those abodes possible. That access would then be fully realized when Jesus returned (whether that return is viewed as occurring at each believer's death, or at the end of time). (However, I do not see any connection between this particular comment of Jesus and the glorified bodies that believers will possess, nor with the rapture of the church discussed in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.)
John 14:3 is a clear promise of our Lord’s return for His people. Some will go to heaven through the valley of the shadow of death, but those who are alive when Jesus returns will never see death (John 11:25-26). They will be changed to be like Christ and will go to heaven (1 Thess. 4:13-18). We will then be a prepared people for a prepared place. [Joh 14:3] Lord Jesus, Come Lord Jesus, come! Nor let us longer roam Afar from Thee, and that bright place Where we shall see Thee face to face. Lord Jesus, come! Lord Jesus, come! Lord Jesus, come! Thine absence here we mourn: No joy we know apart from Thee, No sorrow in Thy presence see. Lord Jesus, come! Lord Jesus, come! Lord Jesus, Come! And claim us as Thine own; With longing hearts the path we tread, Which Thee on high to glory led, Lord Jesus, come! Lord Jesus, come! Lord Jesus, come! And take Thy people home: That all Thy flock, so scattered here, With Thee in glory may appear. Lord Jesus, come! Lord Jesus, come!
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