That’s probably the first time many of you have heard that or even considered it. But it’s true. Nowhere in the New Testament are we told that when Jesus returns He will whisk us off to Heaven. The scriptures tell us “the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1Thessalonians 4:16-17).
The scriptures also say that when Jesus comes He will destroy the AntiChrist and his armies and set up His 1,000 year reign on the earth. We are to reign with Him at during that time: “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6).
There is a scripture that has caused many to believe that when Jesus returns He will take us to heaven. Let’s read it.
“‘Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 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. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also'” (John 14:1-3).
“See!” Some will say, “Jesus said when I come again, where I am, there you will be also! And Jesus is in heaven and He’s prepared a mansion for us there!”
You’re correct. Jesus has prepared a place for us in Heaven. And not only Heaven, but anywhere He may be. That is exciting.
Of course, those who hold to the doctrine that Jesus is speaking of His second coming have made a classic mistake of taking a scripture out of it’s setting and making that scripture fit one’s doctrine.
Let’s look at it in it’s context.
“So, when he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him immediately. Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’ so now I say to you. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.’
Simon Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, where are You going?’
Jesus answered him, ‘Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward.’
Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake.’
Jesus answered him, ‘Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times'” (John 13:31-38).
Clearly, what Jesus is discussing is His sacrifice and resurrection. Peter couldn’t go to the cross as Jesus did and take our sins, but afterward, Peter could follow Jesus to Heaven.
“Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’ so now I say to you” (John 13:33). Where was Jesus going? To the cross.
“Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him immediately'” (John13:31-32). God glorified Jesus “immediately” after the resurrection. Now the glorified Christ sits at the right hand of God in heaven where He has prepared a place for us! Yay!
As you can see, when this is placed in it’s context, Jesus isn’t speaking of His second coming. There is no promise of taking us to Heaven when Jesus comes again.