Jesus had been asked (king James says demanded) by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come? His answer to them immediately discounts any reason to believe that He is talking about the second coming when the physical Kingdom of God will be set up in Jerusalem.
“The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20)
Jesus is talking about the spiritual Kingdom on the inside of us that is put in place by the Holy Spirit as He comes into our lives as believers. It is not something you can see or observe. It is something you get when you put your faith in Jesus’ finished work on the cross and make Him Lord of your life.
Then Jesus does turn to a different time when He says..
“The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it.” (Luke 17:22)
He explains that people will be saying “look here” or “look there” and He warns us not to go after them. (paraphrased Luke 17:23)
“for as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day.”(Luke 17:24)
So when Jesus returns it will be an unmistakable event. There will be no guess work as to what time it is.
In the days immediately prior to this great event Jesus describes what it will be like. He talks about what will be going on during that time. Check Him out.
And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. (Luke 17:26-30)
In other words Jesus is saying it will be business as usual. People will be about doing their own thing, living life as usual and, not expecting the return of God’s Son upon the earth.
The next few verses of this chapter is where I believe the confusion begins. Jesus talks about not going back into your house to get your stuff. Don’t run home from the field (work) to get your anything. Then He makes a reference to Lot’s wife. She was told not to look back but she did, and, she lost her life. Then he makes a statement about how to keep your life during this time.
“In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. (Luke 17:31-33)
Jesus is not talking about the rapture. He is talking about escaping. He is talking about the days prior to His return which will be as the lightning flashes from one end of the heavens to the other. The time will be so desperate that when you see the need to escape, you don’t need to be thinking about your stuff, you house, your clothes, you car, your money, or, whatever it is that you consider your life. Leave that stuff and get out of Dodge.
Now here is where the rapture gets caught up in this, and, I believe Jesus is still talking about escape at this point. Read the next few verses.
I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.” (Luke 17:34-35)
Right after His statement about seeking to save your life and losing it, and, losing your life to preserve it, Jesus’ very next statement is “I tell you, in that night..” What night? I believe he is still talking about escaping. Why will one out of two men sleeping be taken? Because one will escape. Why will one woman grinding be taken? because the other escapes. Why does one of the men in the field get taken? Because the other knows to escape.
There is one statement I have not mentioned up to this point. It was made by Jesus early in His speech about the coming Kingdom. It is verse 25 in the seventeenth chapter of Luke. Right after He says the coming of the Son of Man will be like lightning flashing from one end of the Heaven’s to the other He says..
But first He (the Son of Man) must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
Jesus ministry lasted about 3 and 1 half years. The great tribulation is prophesied to last about 3 and 1 half years. In the last days I believe Christians will suffer many things and be rejected by this last generation just as Jesus was rejected. It doesn’t mean we will parish. We are already delivered in Christ Jesus. We will escape if we are paying attention to the times and know when to leave. This takes discernment and a close walk with God.
There Is A Rapture For Christians
Matthew 24:29-31 Says this from Jesus’ own mouth..
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.