What kind of unity did the Lord pray for in John 17?

What was the Lord requesting in John 17:21-23?

Most trusted teachers believe Lords words, "that they all may be one," anticipate the unity that will be displayed at the Rapture. I humbly, hesitantly suggest an alternative.

John 13:31 through 16:33 is the Lords "Ultimate Disclosure," finally bringing His disciples into eternal counsels, truth uniquely for the Church, the Body. This disclosure is predicated on His being glorified in heaven (John 13:32), rather than Peters Jewish expectation of the Son of Mans being glorified on earth (13:37). Instead of an earthly prospect, they were to wait for His coming to receive them to heaven (14:1-3). The Lord then disclosed the Spirits coming from heaven (14:16, 17; 16:7), thus embodying the unique provisions of this age.

In Chapter 17, following His delightful pattern in John, the "Revealer of Secrets" requests the Father to accomplish these revelations: the predication of His disclosure (His glorification, 17:1-5); its prospect (the Rapture, 17:24); and its provision (17:21-23). I take this to be accomplished in the Spirits descent at Pentecost (Acts 2). "I in them" (verse 23) points to our past, not our future. Pentecost made believers one with Christ (17:21b; 14:20) and made Jews and Gentiles one Body (17:21a, 23; 10:16).

Whether we interpret this request as being fulfilled at Pentecost or to be fulfilled at His coming, we must conclude that the unity of John 17:21-23 is not external, but spiritual. Since it is compared with the eternal relationship of the Father and the Son in each verse, this unity cannot be effected or destroyed by men. Only God can produce this unity.

D. Oliver