There Are No Mansions In Heaven

There Are No Mansions In Heaven March 19, 2018

“In My Father’s house are many rooms (dwelling places); if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 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)

Most of my life I’ve understood this verse as being about Heaven. But recently someone pointed out to me that the phrase “my Father’s house” is used by Jesus exclusively throughout the other Gospels to refer to the Temple.For example, early on in Luke when Jesus is separated from his parents for three days they find him teaching in the Temple. When they finally find him Jesus says, “Didn’t you know I would be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:48-50)Also, when Jesus clears the Temple of those who sell doves he declares, “stop making My Father’s house a place of business.” (John 2:15-17)

This makes a lot of sense in context as well if we look at what Jesus is speaking to His disciples about in this section of the Gospel of John. We find it’s all about what’s going to happen next, how to prepare for the coming persecution, etc.

If Jesus is speaking about the Temple here, and not about Heaven, then we need to try to re-read this section with new eyes.

Here’s what I think Jesus is teaching His disciples:

“In My Father’s house are many rooms (dwelling places)”

Here Jesus is stating that in the Temple (which is now the Church) there is room for many people. Throughout the New Testament, the Apostles talk about “dwelling places” where we (the people of God) find rest in our Lord and Savior. For instance:

“If anyone has my words and obeys me…we will come and make our house (dwelling place) with them.” – John 14:23

The same word Jesus uses here for “house” He also uses in the passage about the “many dwelling places” in His “Father’s house.”

“Christ is the Lord over his own house, whose house we are if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.” – Hebrews 3:6

So, the idea that we, the Church, are now God’s “dwelling place” is all through the New Testament.

Let’s continue to look at the rest of the passage:

“if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.”

Here, I believe, Jesus is telling His disciples that He needs to go – to get out of the way – in order to make room for them (the Church) to grow as He has promised.

“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.”

Jesus says that if He goes away, it will make room (prepare a place) for the disciples. He also says that where He is they will be also. Where is He going? To be with the Father. And as we’ve already seen, Jesus promised that “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 (dwelling) with him.” (John 14:23)

Where does God dwell? In us – His Church. His Temple. We are His “Father’s House.”
The household of God is the Church:

“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.” – (1 Timothy 3:15) 

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household.” – (Ephesians 2:18-20)

“You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” – (1 Peter 2:4-6)

This promise of Jesus to go away in order to prepare a place for the Temple to expand into the “many rooms” or “dwelling places” was fulfilled at Pentecost when Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and preached the Gospel of the Kingdom and thousands followed Christ in that day. And this promise is still ongoing right now.

So, it may be that Jesus isn’t promising us “mansions in Heaven” after all. In fact, most of the scriptures indicate that our eternal destination is to live here, on a New Earth, and reign with Christ forever.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” – (Revelation 21:1-3)

I’m curious to hear what others think about this passage in John and whether or not you agree that Jesus is speaking about the Temple (His Church) when He speaks about His “Father’s House” in John 14.

Leave comments below and if this was a blessing to you, please share it with your friends on social media.

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Keith Giles is the author of several books, including “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb”. He is also the co-host of the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean. He and his wife live in Orange, CA with their two sons.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Vaughn Malecki

    You are right but it sounds like you’re doing the same thing with the later passage at the end. The new heavens and new earth are here. It wasn’t a literal heaven and earth and God’s never going to destroy His wonderful creation. Here’s a great article explaining how the heavens and earth in fact already passed away.

  • Kathleen Margaret Schwab

    I tend to think of the whole mansions in heaven thing as a way to think about how one perceives being close to God. It can be an interesting exercise for a group – what would your ideal dwelling place be?

  • RebelRose

    Just a thought… Im beginning to wonder if the second coming of Christ is actually an on going thing. That Jesus returns in the life of every person who comes to faith in Him.

  • I like what you’re thinking.

  • I’ve written another article here on my blog about how the New Heavens and New Earth are fulfilled in the Ekklesia here and now.

  • A J MacDonald Jr

    “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2 Cor. 5:1)

  • Jenks Hobson

    I have long thought that ‘eternal life’ was something that begins as our faith/trust in the Good News begins. That seems another way to see the dwellings/Temple as being here. That is ‘here and now’ vs ‘hen and there’.

  • ravitchn

    When you take the bible seriously you get nonsense such as written about here! The bible is a primitive book of superstition and anyone believing it to be true is certifiably insane.

  • Barrie Beaumont

    Keith if you like what “Rebel Rose” is thinking, would you please expound on it with Biblical references so I can see where you are both coming from.

  • Barrie Beaumont

    With respect, and please, I mean no offence, but why don’t you explain what the passage you have quoted means. What comes before and after the text. What is the background of the text, what was the situation at the time, who is the author responding to, what is the author conveying to us, where was the author at the time, what is the preceding situation These few points if employed, will contribute to better understanding. Please, may I suggest use a commentary if you are not doing so.

    I have made this comment because some non Christians may read your comment, and wonder what it means. The text you have quoted maybe ok for some knowing Christians, but for those who don’t know, it requires un-packing and can easily be mis-interpreted. The Zondervan Illustrated Background Commentary Page 218 comments that Paul’s confidence in an unseen realm (4:18) leads him to elaborate on the transitory nature of our present earthly condition and the certainty ofr a tranhsformed physical condition that will come (5:1-5) (…….).

    (5:1-4) Paul depicts the temporary status of our present bodily condition through the imagery of tents (…….) The commentary on these verses is detailed to explain what is going on and what it means to us. It is essential for us to know so that we can place the text in its proper context fot the ongoing benefit of others.

    I saddens me when people quote Biblical verse and may not be sure of its intended interpretation.

  • Barrie Beaumont

    There is an abundance of Bible commentaries written by theologians who specialise in Bible translation and research which are readily available to those who want to, and need to know what the Bible means. There is no excuse for not using a study Bible in parralel with a commentary.

    One of the reasons why we have so many churches, (faiths) following the Reformation is entirely due to Bible interpretation. Some have interpreted various passages one way, and some another, so we have more faiths than we need, and with some, the doctrine is questionable.

    I continue to study theology and church history to ensure that the doctrine of the church (faith) I attend, is Biblically correct so I can accept that it is the church that God wants me to attend. I believe we should all take this direction rather than attend a particular church because our parents did, one that has good music, does not expect too much of us but often we do not attempt to qualify the doctrine and teaching which are so important. Do we question the doctrine, or just go along with it because it seems ok.

  • sheckyshabaz

    1. House size isn’t important in the context of eternal paradise, ie: the common concept of heaven.

    2. Original Hebrew people did not believe in the Christian concept of heaven. Heaven was always used as a euphemism for God. The concept of dying and going to be with God, is rooted in Egyptian, but popularized by plato in what is known as platonism. It’s an ideology that man is separated from god and his spirit (ghost) must be purified on earth and return to heaven. This is not hebraic or biblical, but rather greek.

    3. Your claim about jesus discussing his fathers house when he was a young boy found at the temple is not accurate. The Greek does not use the term oikia which is word translated as house.

    4. In the ancient Hebrew culture the family structure was different than our common nuclear family structure of the last 300 years. The ancient hebrew family had the sons live on the property with the parents. As the son married he would first agree to marry a woman, sign any contract and make any agreed payment. He would then return to his fathers house and build an addition to the home where he and his new bride would live. After the dwelling was built and everything settled for their new, he would return to take his bride. The final ceremony would occur and they would consummate their marriage and live their lives on the fathers property.

    5. The NT does describe humans as the temple

    So when you take it all together it’s more likely that we are the temples that jesus is preparing via the inside. We are the mansions, we are all one family, one spirit, one union according to the hebrew culture. What his is ours, as he is so are we.