In My Father's House Are Many Mansions
THE PROPHETIC PROMISE
Jesus promised us in John 14:2 “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.”
I would first like to study the actual translation of this verse to give us a foundation upon which to build our understanding.
- House is the Greek word oikia, meaning a house, dwelling.
- Mansions is the Greek word moné, meaning lodging, dwelling place, room, abode, mansion.
- Prepare is the Greek word hetoimazó, meaning prepare, provide, make ready.
- Place is the Greek word topos, meaning a place, region, seat; an opportunity.
What is this 'place' Jesus is preparing, providing or making ready? Will we have beautiful housing in heaven and the New Earth? Those who have gone beyond and back certainly testify to this. It may be we too, will not know these things until that glorious day arrives. This hub will give you a twist, for we tend to focus on the predicate of this verse (as Jesus preparing a mansion for us in the kingdom of God*); yet, shouldn't we focus on the subject of this verse (My Father's house)?
Have we ever considered the interpretation of this verse could also apply to the preparation of our hearts by the provision of the Lamb who died for our sins, thus making us ready (holy) to become the dwelling place of God? Let’s delve into the scriptures and see what the Bible has to say. As we continue on with this study, I would like to ask you to pay attention to the word(s)/phrase “dwelling”, “dwelling place”, “among men”, “among them” and “among us”.
IN THE BEGINNING
In order have a foundational focus of the dwelling place of God and man, we should first look at the creation of the heavens and the earth. The angels had an ‘estate’ and left their ‘habitation’ as shown in Jude 1:6 "And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day."
- estate is the Greek word arché, meaning beginning, origin - (a) rule (kingly or magisterial), (b) plur: in a quasi-personal sense, almost: rulers, magistrates, (c) beginning
- habitation is the Greek word oikétérion, meaning a dwelling-place, habitation, abode. This appears to have the root word of oikia, which was translated as the Father's 'house' in John 14:2.
Adam and Eve dwelt in the Garden of Eden, completely bare-skinned and eating of the fruit and vegetation of the trees and plants provided for them. While in the garden, it appears they did not live in a literal 'house'. The Word tells us they talked with God and “heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (Gen 3:8). We can then agree that God dwelt among them. When they fell, they hid from God and covered themselves with fig leaves. Surely, God covered them even more with ‘garments or coats of skin’ (vs. 20), which is a picture of the covering of our sin and shame by the blood of the Lamb, praise God! In fact, believers are said to wear ‘white robes’ in heaven (Rev 3:4, 17; 6:11; 7:9-14; 22:14).
THE OLD TESTAMENT TEMPLE
After the great exodus from Egypt, God’s meeting place with those He chose was on Mt. Sainai (Ex 24:9-11). “The pattern” for the mobile ‘Tent of Meeting’ was given In Exodus 25:8-9: “Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among [tavek – midst] them. According to all that I am going to show you, as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall construct it.”
- sanctuary is the Hebrew word miqdash or miqqedash - from qadash; a consecrated thing or place, especially, a palace, sanctuary (whether of Jehovah or of idols) or asylum -- chapel, hallowed part, holy place, sanctuary.
- dwell is the Hebrew word shakan or shaken -abide, continue, cause to, make to dweller, have habitation, inhabit, lay, place.
- tabernacle is the Hebrew word mishkan - dwelling place, habitation, tabernacle, tent.
The word tabernacle is simply awesome because in John 1:14 we are told that “The Word became flesh and dwelt [tabernacled] among us.”
Now, let’s go forward a bit to 1 Chron 28:12 regarding the first official immobile TEMPLE built by King Solomon in approximately 954 BC:
"[David gave to his son, Solomon] the pattern of all that he had by the Spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things: Also for the courses of the priests and the Levites, and for all the work of the service of the house of the LORD, and for all the vessels of service in the house of the LORD." Are WE not a kingdom* of priests (Rev 1:6; 5:10) and vessels of service (Rom 9:21)? Are WE not the house of the LORD (1 Cor 6:19)?
Solomon’s temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in approximately 586 BC. The next temple was built under the leadership of Joshua and Zerubbabel in approximately 512 BC and rebuilt by Herod in approximately 20-19 BC. This is the temple Jesus prophesied would be destroyed and indeed, it was toppled by the Roman General Titus in 70 AD.1
Though Israel is yet prevented from building the third earthly temple, we can see throughout Old Testament history that God desired to have a dwelling place, though each material temple was built and destroyed by human hands. This brings us to the next phase in our understanding of God’s mansions or dwelling places spoken of by Jesus in John 14:2.
Acts 7:47-49 state, "But it was Solomon who built a house [oikia] for Him. However, the Most High does not dwell in houses [oikia] made by human hands; as the prophet says: 'Heaven is My throne, and earth is the footstool of My feet; What kind of house [oikia] will you build for Me?' says the Lord, 'or what place [topos] is there for My repose' [rest]?"
THE NEW TESTAMENT TEMPLE
In Mark 14:58, the Jews were astonished at the words of Jesus when He said, “I will destroy this temple made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands." How long had it taken the Jews to build the temple standing at that time? 46 years! John 2:21 clearly tells us that Jesus was NOT speaking of the rebuilding of a physical temple, but the temple of His body. Is Jesus yet building this temple? YES and AMEN!
1 Cor 12:27 states, "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it."
Eph 2:19-20 state, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone.”
1 Tim 3:15 confirms, "I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth."
How do we become a part of the temple of Christ, which is the household of God? In John chapter 3 we read Jesus’ command in regard to salvation. He said in vs. 3, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”* The following verses tell us the context of what this means:
Vs. 4-7 “Nicodemus said to Him, 'How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?' Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water [mother’s womb] and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God*. That which is born of the flesh [mother’s womb] is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’"
*What did Jesus say regarding the kingdom of God? Luke 17:20-21 "Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or, 'There it is!' For behold, the kingdom of God is among [entos - midst] you."
Since the fall of Adam and Eve and the exodus of Israel from Egypt, God dwelt in a ‘sanctuary’ made by human hands. The definition of ‘sanctuary’ is similar to that of ‘sanctified’ (hagiazó - I make holy, treat as holy, set apart as holy, sanctify, hallow, purify). Did you know we are sanctified by faith in Christ? Acts 26:18 tells us, “To open their eyes, [and] to turn [them] from darkness to light, and [from] the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me.”
YOU ARE THE TEMPLE
Have you ever wondered WHY Jesus told His disciples, just before His ascension, to WAIT in Jerusalem until they receive the power from heaven? (Luke 24:49). Remember how He told Mary not to touch Him until He ascended to the Father (John 20:17); We know that He went to prepare a place for us ~ that being our hearts ~ to receive the indwelling Holy Spirit (God). When God indwells us, we become His dwelling place!
Think about it; if the Lord could create all that He did in just six, 24-hour days, why would He need thousands of years to prepare a mansion in heaven for us? Rather, we are being transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:2) and God is conforming us into the image of His Son [huios] (Rom 8:29). In Rev 21:7 Jesus said, "He who overcomes will inherit these things [the New Jerusalem/New Earth], and I will be his God and he will be My son [huios]" (as is was in the beginning - Luke 3:38: "...son of Adam, son of God").
The indwelling Holy Spirit of God was made manifest on the Day of Pentecost, just days after the ascension of Christ. The Holy Spirit came as a whirlwind, baptizing all believers by filling them from within to overflow! The Apostles were given the anointing ~ the power to preach the Word boldly to all present. Acts 2:41 tells us, “Then they that gladly received his word [God’s Word through Peter] were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand [souls].” The dwelling places of our God are ever increasing!
When we get born again, WE become the temple or dwelling place of God! 1 Cor 3:16 tells us, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"
And again in 6:19 "What? know ye not that YOUR BODY is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] IN YOU, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?"
THE HEAVENLY TEMPLE
In the book of Revelation, Chapter 21 we read about the New Jerusalem, which John sees coming DOWN from God out of HEAVEN to the New Earth.
Rev 21:2-3 "And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her Husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle [Greek word skene - a tent, booth, tabernacle, abode, dwelling, mansion, habitation] of God is with [among] men, and He will dwell with [among] them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with [among] them, and be their God."
Who is the Bride and who is the Husband spoken of in the above passage? 2 Cor 11:2 tells us, “For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God Himself. I promised you as a pure Bride to one Husband--Christ.”
Rev 21:9-14 go on to tell us, "...'Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.' And he carried me [John] away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." IMAGINE! JOHN FORESAW HIS NAME IN ONE OF THE FOUNDATION STONES!
To gain even more revelation, let’s compare the passage above to the following:
1 Peter 2:5 "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."
Isaiah prophesied in 28:16, “So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious corner stone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.” Compare this again to Eph 2:19-20, which states “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone.”
Finally, in Rev 21:22 we read more about the New Jerusalem: "And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and [kai = even, also, namely] the Lamb are [consist] the temple of it." Truly, we dwell in Christ and He in us (John 14:20).
THE TREE OF LIFE
Based on the above study, we can see that the New Jerusalem is the dwelling place of God and the saints; but, is it in existence NOW? Where is it? Don't we first go to Paradise when we die? While Rev 21:1-6 make it appear that the New Jerusalem isn't made manifest until after the two resurrections and the judgment seat of Christ, remember Rev 21:7? "He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son." To inherit something means it exists prior to obtaining the inheritance. This indicates the New Jerusalem existed then, and even NOW.
Rev 2:7 tells us, "To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.'" Did you KNOW that Paradise and the New Jerusalem are connected? Truly, the clue is found in the tree of life!
Consider Jesus told the thief on the cross in Luke 23:43, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in Paradise."
The Greek word for Paradise is paradeisos - a park, a garden, a paradise. Were Adam and Eve originally in the garden of God? Ezekiel 28:13 and 31:9 call it such. The garden of Eden contained the tree of life, and guess what? So does the New Jerusalem! Based on the biblical description of its location, the Garden of Eden is currently under water, also known as the Persian Gulf. Is Paradise then actually HERE on earth?
Well, if we look at Paul’s words in 2 Cor 12:2-4, we get a clue of where Paradise is: "I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago-- whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows-- such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man-- whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows-- was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak."
Jesus not only told the thief on the cross that he would be with Him in Paradise that very day, but He told Martha in John 11:26, “Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?"
Now, let's read Rev 22 (speaking of the New Jerusalem), in vs. 1-2 and 14: "Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne [singular] of God and [kai = even, also, namely] of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations." Vs. 14 states, "Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city."
Whose names are on the gates again? There are twelve gates, three on each of the four sides, each gate bearing 12,000 names of the twelve tribes of Israel (This totals 144,000 - any connection to Rev 7:4-8? - Also, consider in Rev 21:16 the length, width and height of the City totals 144,000 stadia/furlongs/miles). If we go on to verse 9, the inhabitants would include the 144,000, the Prophets, the New Testament Apostles (their names in the foundation stones of the wall) and we (the 'lively stones') who are in Christ Jesus - the corner stone (He is also the GATE, as written in John 10:7-9).
The Lord has taken me to Rev 2:17 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it."
HIS DWELLING PLACE
Has Jesus prepared that place in YOUR HEART for Him to dwell? Have you been born again? He paid for your sin IN FULL by His death on that cursed tree, and because He lives, He will gladly give you the gift of His Holy Spirit when you believe and ask this of Him (Luke 11:13).
Jesus said in Rev 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”
Rom 10:9 states, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
1 John 5:13 “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
Rom 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
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