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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Going to the Father, #2
For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the Lord behold the earth; To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death; To declare the name of the Lord in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem; When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the Lord. (Psalms 102:19-22)
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (I Thessalonians 4:16)
The emphasis of the Old Testament is on life on the earth and the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. The emphasis of the New Testament is on the coming of the Lord and the redemption that is to take place at that time.
Throughout the Scriptures the stress is on the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth and our relationship to the Lord as a Person, not to Heaven as a place.
The New Testament writings emphasize Christ dwelling in us and we in Him, and our being changed into the image of Christ—particularly in our behavior.
Since the above is true, it is obvious that our entire Christian viewpoint concerning the purpose and nature of salvation is in need of modification.
At the beginning of John, Chapter 14 we find one of the best-known passages of all Scripture, a passage that has comforted multitudes of saints:
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 unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:2,3)
The question we are raising has to do with the expression, "In my Father's house." What is the Father's house? If the Father's house is Heaven, and the "many mansions" are beautifully constructed houses, Christ is pointing us toward eternal residence in Heaven and the traditional understanding of the Christian churches is correct.
But if the Father's house is not Heaven, and the many mansions are not beautifully constructed houses, then Christ is not emphasizing our residing eternally in Heaven and the traditional understanding of the churches is incorrect.
What is the house of God? If Heaven is the house of God, then verses six through twenty-three of Chapter 14, the context of John 14:2, are not referring to John 14:2, for these verses are speaking of the Father abiding in Christ and the Father and Christ abiding in us, not of mansions or residence in Paradise.
If John 14:2 is speaking of houses in Heaven it is unrelated to what follows in context.
But if John 14:2 is referring to union with God through Christ rather than to going to the place termed Heaven, then John 14:2 is an integral part of verses six through twenty-three.
We submit that the subject of John 14:2-23 is the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:34), that is, the adding of the believer to the Body of Christ so the Father may find rest in him or her.
To be continued.