“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 14:2-3.
Whenever this section of scripture is read, it’s common to picture a literal place called heaven where our Lord will prepare a house for us. A well know minister once shared of a heavenly visitation he experienced where he was taken to see his house which happened to be on the same street as the prophets of old. It had manicured grass, large foyers, grand stairs, etc.
So, was this what Jesus meant when He said in My Father’s house are many mansions? Let’s carefully consider this section of scripture. First, many automatically associate this scripture with “heaven”. But John 14 is not about “heaven”. In fact the word heaven is not mentioned in this chapter. On the contrary, Father is mentioned 23 times pointing us to its primary message. Second, as we will see, Jesus is speaking about God’s house not merely a house for you and me. Thirdly, notice that the mansions are in Father’s house. Now, have you ever seen mansions in a house? A mansion is itself “a large house”. However, contrary to the King James translation, the word used for ‘mansions’ properly means dwelling or abode. So it should be translated: “in My Father’s house are many dwellings”. So the idea that we each get literal houses or mansions is not indicated in this verse.
So who are these dwelling places (mansions)? Dear saint, you and I are the dwelling place of God. You make up one of those many mansions in the corporate house that the Lord is establishing. Thus, Hebrews 3:6 states: “Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are”. We are God’s dwelling place. We are His Temple. We are His home. In fact the same Greek work used for mansions in John 14:2 (Greek: mone) appears also in John 14:23 and is translated as “abode” and implies a family. Consider the verse: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our ABODE with him”.
You see, the house that the Lord is preparing is not a literal house with a roof, with running water, with a bathtub, with sofas, kitchen cabinets… rather it is a habitation of God. God is now preparing us as the place where He can live and have His domain. However, as His dwelling is in us, our dwelling place is also in Him. Is this not why Jesus said: “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” (Joh. 14:3)? Jesus also prayed to the Father in John 17:24 saying: “I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am”. Praise God, He is receiving us to Himself that we may abide in Him.
So, where did Jesus go to prepare a place for us? Surely he did not go to some “celestial Disney World” in the sky or some blissful place with gold streets. Not at all! He went into the superior reality of the spirit realm. He went into the Father! Thus, as we read further in John 14 Jesus clearly identifies where He is: “I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (Joh. 14:20) and again “Do you not believe that I AM IN THE FATHER, and the Father in Me?… Believe Me that I AM IN THE FATHER and the Father in Me” (Joh. 14:10-11). Time and again, Jesus reaffirms this truth that we may lay hold of it. He is the only “begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father” (Joh. 1:18). Again speaking of the Father, Jesus said: “I came forth from You” (Joh. 17:8) and “I come to You” (Joh. 17:11, 13).
Beloved, it is there, in the Father, that our Lord Jesus is receiving us. We are all being gathered into Christ who is in the Father. For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things (Rom. 11:36). The amplified rendering reads: “For all things originate with Him and come from Him; all things live through Him, and all things center in and tend to consummate and to end in Him.” To live and abide in the Father is to be in heaven! This is our inheritance. For we are heirs of God and join-heirs with Christ.
Hence, heaven is not defined by a geographic location for it is the realm of God’s Spirit. It is the invisible and omnipresent dimension of spiritual reality. In Him we abide in heaven, not when we die, but right here and now. For heaven is a state of being, a dimension of life and a sphere of existence that we experience as we walk in God’s Spirit. Oh what glory and joy to dwell in the Father and He in us!
Beloved, we are the body of Christ. This body of Christ is made up of living stones and God is now building this corporate house – made up of many dwellings. For we 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 (1 Pet. 2:5). This is the true temple and abode of God where we abide in Him; in His rest, in His peace, in His life and in the full splendor found in the eternal I AM. To misappropriate this hope for a celestial house of brick and cement is to miss this truth and to substitute all that we find in Him with mere material things.
The message is just this – God is preparing you and me as the place to live and have His abode. Our mansion is in God and God’s mansion is in us. Praise be to His name!