MANSIONS IN HEAVEN? (EXCERPT OF IT IS TIME FOR A REFORMATION OF CHRISTIAN THINKING)
From: It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The original “blessed hope” of the Christian Church was the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth to set up His Kingdom. This is the teaching of the Hebrew Prophets and also of the writers of the New Testament. But today we are looking for the Lord Jesus to come and carry His Church up to Heaven so the believers can live forever in mansions in the spirit realm.
The hope of going to an eternal mansion in Heaven is not based on the Scriptures. In fact, this belief actually leads away from the redemptive purposes of God. It contributes to the spiritual babyhood we see all about us. It is true rather that God is building an eternal dwelling place for Himself, of which Christ is the chief Cornerstone and we are living stones. The concept of the eternal House of God has support in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
It is we who are the places in which God in Christ may find His eternal rest. It is we who are the mansions, the chariots of God. God in Christ in the saints compose the Kingdom that will be established for eternity upon the earth.
The original “blessed hope” of the Christian Church was the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth to set up His Kingdom. This is the teaching of the Hebrew Prophets and also of the writers of the New Testament.
Our traditions have changed the original, scriptural hope. We of today are looking for the Lord Jesus to come and carry His Church up to Heaven so the believers can live forever in mansions in the spirit realm. It may shock Christians for us to say so but our traditions in this regard are incorrect and misleading.
The teaching that the Lord Jesus Christ returned to Heaven in order to build mansions for the believers is based on only one verse of Scripture—John 14:2. There is no other verse in the entire Scriptures that so much as suggests that Christ is building mansions for us in Paradise. All experienced saints know we must not base any doctrine, much less a doctrine that establishes the goal of our salvation, on a single verse of Scripture.
John 14:2 is the only verse that appears to support the idea that Christ is building mansions for us in Heaven. In fact, a careful examination of John 14:2 will demonstrate that even it is not suggesting Christ is building mansions for us in Heaven.
In actuality there is not one verse in the Scriptures that teaches that Christ is constructing mansions for the believers in Heaven and that one day He will appear and carry us up to our mansion. This belief may be one of our strongest traditions but it is unscriptural. Furthermore, it has eclipsed the true goal of the Christian redemption—the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth.
This belief actually leads away from the redemptive purposes of God. It contributes to the spiritual immaturity we see all about us.
Let us examine John 14:2 from a contextual standpoint and then in terms of the word mansion.
The fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John has much to say about the new covenant fulfillment of the old covenant feast of Tabernacles. Christ is teaching that as the Father dwells in Him, the Father and He desire to dwell in us. In the Father’s House (Christ) there is room for us too. In Christ there are many places of abode, of rest, of refuge.
Christ is the House of God. He went to the cross, and then to the Father, in order to prepare a place for us in Himself.
This same idea is repeated in the invitation to abide in Christ (John 15:4-7) and is brought to a climax in the holy prayer of the Lord’s that we become an integral part of the Personality of Christ and God (John 17:21-23).
Notice in John, Chapters 14 through 17 that Christ never once speaks of His going to Heaven or of our going to Heaven. We say, no one goes to Heaven except through Christ. Christ says, no one comes to the Father except through Him. There is a difference between going to Heaven and coming to the Father (John 14:6).
Nowhere in the New Testament is it stated that Heaven is the Father’s house. But several passages refer to Christ and to us as the eternal Temple of God.
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (I Corinthians 3:16)
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? (I Corinthians 6:19)
And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (II Corinthians 6:16)
you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (I Peter 2:5)
Nowhere is it stated that Christ is building fine houses for us in heaven. When Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you,” He was speaking of going to the cross, and then of the sprinkling of His blood in the Presence of God so we may be received into God and become an inseparable part of God and of Christ (Hebrews 9:23,24).
In John 14:3, Jesus said, “I will come again, and receive you to myself.” This is not the coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven. John 14:18-23, which is part of the context of John 14:3, shows that the coming referred to here is the coming of the Father and Christ to make Their abode in the believers. This is the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:39-43).
To claim that John 14:2 is referring to going to Paradise to live in a splendid house is to remove this verse from its context.
The Greek term translated mansion, in John 14:2, has nothing to do with a structure, whether splendid or dilapidated. The term indicates a place of remaining or abiding.
The Greek noun translated mansion is found but twice in the New Testament: in John 14:2, and again in John 14:23 where it is translated abode.
John 14:23 explains John 14:2. It is we who are the mansions, the chariots of God. It is we who are the places in which God in Christ may find His eternal rest (Psalms 68:18; Isaiah 66:1,2; Hebrews 4:1).
The verb related to the Greek noun we are discussing is employed in John 15:4-7 and John 14:10. It is translated abide.
If we are to be consistent with the use of the English word mansion as the translation of the Greek noun and its corresponding verb, we have the following:
“But the Father that mansions in me, he does the works” (John 14:10).
“We will come to him, and make our mansion with him” (John 14:23).
“Mansion in me, and I in you” (John 15:4).
When we die we may, if we are among the saved, go to a beautiful home in Paradise. There is no doubt, according to the teaching of the Scriptures, that the rewards for obedient, faithful discipleship to the Lord Jesus will overwhelm the saint with joy and glory. God knows each of us well and He has prepared our rewards in terms of His personal knowledge of our deepest, strongest desires.
Our crowns and other rewards are tailored carefully to us as an individual. They will not be arbitrary riches bestowed on us apart from the intimate knowledge God has of the longings of our personality.
If we delight ourselves in the Lord He shall give us the desires of our heart.
No good thing will God withhold from him who walks uprightly before Him.
Some trustworthy saints have, in their visions, beheld glorious mansions of light in Paradise. We do not doubt their revelations. Our point is not that there are no mansions in Heaven.
Our point is that we should not be preaching that the goal of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God is eternal residence in a mansion in Heaven. The thought of Christ building magnificent houses for us in Paradise has no foundation in the Scriptures, either Old Testament or New Testament.
However, the idea that God is building an eternal dwelling place for Himself, of which Christ is the chief Cornerstone and we are living stones, has support in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
“And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. (Exodus 25:8)
in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:22)
The Father’s eternal House, His dwelling place, is the Lord Jesus Christ. We Christians are the many places of abode (mansions) of the one House. We are the members of the Body of Christ.
(“Mansions in Heaven?”, 3745-1)