What, exactly, are the mansions in John 14:1-3, which Christ is preparing for His disciples?

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Christ said the following in John 14:1-3:

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me. 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.”

First of all, please notice that after Jesus has prepared these “mansions,” He will come again to the earth and receive His disciples to Himself so “that where I am, there you may be also.” When Christ spoke these words, He was here on earth. That is where His disciples “may be also”–here on earth, not in heaven.

The mansions which Christ was going to prepare are in no way homes which Christians will occupy in heaven, after their death, as many denominations and even some in the Church of God erroneously teach.

Rather, as we point out in this week’s Editorial, “Moving to a New Home,” “we have long understood that these mansions or dwelling places represent rulership positions of authority given to the saints here on earth, at Christ’s return (compare Revelation 5:10; 22:12; Luke 19:17, 19). In our booklet “Is That in the Bible? – The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation!,” on pages 39/40, we state the following: ‘The Greek word for “mansions” refers to dwelling places. It literally means, “dwellings” (compare the margin of the New King James Bible). The same word is used in John 14:23, where it is translated as “home.” According to the Nelson Study Bible, “Everybody has a longing for a permanent, secure place. Such places have already been set aside for all of God’s children.”‘”

Why and how did the Church come to the understanding that the mansions in John 14:1-3 are indeed “rulership” positions?

First, we are setting forth the following excerpts from an article by Herman L. Hoeh, which was published in 1972 in “The Good News of Tomorrow’s World.” The article was titled, “What Is The Place that Jesus Is Preparing?”

In the article, it was stated:

“In His Father’s house, Jesus said plainly, there were many ‘mansions.’ If it had not been true, He said, He would have told us. The Greek word ‘move’ translated ‘mansion’ means in more modern English, ‘a room, a place of staying, an abode, a chamber.’ So in the Father’s house there are a number of ROOMS OR CHAMBERS… When in the Temple, Jesus said to the Jews who were selling doves and cattle therein: ‘Make not my FATHER’S HOUSE an house of merchandise’ (John 2:16)… The TEMPLE at Jerusalem was an earthly type (Heb. 8:5) of the Father’s house in heaven. Luke 19:46 and Isaiah 56:7, also quote the Lord as saying of the TEMPLE. ‘MY HOUSE is a house of prayer ….” So the Temple at Jerusalem in Christ’s day was a type of the Father’s house in heaven…

“In turning to Jeremiah 35:2, we read this: ‘Speak unto them, and bring them into the house of the Lord, INTO ONE OF THE CHAMBERS.’ In the fourth verse of the same chapter, we notice that different chambers were for persons of different rank. Hanan, a man of God, had his chamber or room ‘BY the chamber of the princes … which was ABOVE the chamber of … the keeper of the door.’

“The various chambers or ‘mansions’ corresponded to the ranks of the persons residing in them. Each room of the Temple — a type of the Father’s house — not only designated the RESIDENCE of each official, but also indicated his POSITION OR OFFICE, whether he was a doorkeeper or prince…

“Jesus said: ‘I go to prepare a place for you.’ We learn from other scriptures that Jesus did go to heaven, to the right hand of the Father, where He now acts as our ‘High Priest’ (Heb. 9:11)… A part of the function of the office of High Priest is the preparation of a place for each of us as Jesus promised the disciples…

“There are TWO TEXTS in the Bible which tell us what is being PREPARED.

“The first is in Matthew 25:34. Here Christ said: ‘Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom PREPARED for you from the foundation of the world.’ The other text is in Rev 21:2, ‘And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God OUT OF HEAVEN, PREPARED as a bride adorned for her husband’… Since it is the Kingdom and the Holy City that are finally PREPARED for us ALL, then what Jesus is preparing for EACH of us must be individual positions IN THE KINGDOM AND IN THE NEW CITY, JERUSALEM…

“The Temple had rooms which served as offices for the various residents holding different ranks. In the same way, each of us will have his own personal place or office in the Holy City, in accordance with how well we use the talents God has given us in this life. The more we overcome in this life, the more honorable will be our places in the New Jerusalem and the greater will be our offices of responsibility in the Kingdom…

“Revelation 21:2 plainly proves that the Holy City — the Father’s house or home, SINCE HE WILL MAKE IT HIS PLACE OF FUTURE RESIDENCE (Rev. 21:3 and 22:3) is one of the two things that Jesus is preparing now in heaven…

“Jesus returned to heaven to receive the Kingdom (Luke 19:12). He must be preparing it while acting in the office of High Priest. Since the Kingdom is prepared for all of us to inherit, then the particular place Christ is preparing for each of us must be our own position or office in that Kingdom. PLACE means POSITION, OFFICE, RANK, as well as geographical location. Our places or positions in the government of God will depend on the office we hold. Christ has FIRST PLACE, as He is King of kings. We shall all have secondary PLACES, lesser positions under Him.

“The Kingdom of God is the government of God, the members of which are to be born of God. Being born of God makes the entire Kingdom, then, the FAMILY of God… That is why Jesus used the ancient Temple as a physical type of the spiritual FAMILY or KINGDOM OF GOD.

“Now it is becoming obvious why our places or positions in God’s government had to be prepared in heaven by Jesus. We could not receive the Holy Spirit, the only means by which we can enter the Kingdom, until Christ ascended (John 16:7.) Christ prepares our places or positions in the Kingdom by being our High Priest, interceding for us and by giving us the Spirit of God. The places or positions — the responsibilities of office — are being prepared by training us to fill those offices. Jesus, as our High Priest, has been calling, justifying and perfecting each of us for His Kingdom so that when the Kingdom of God comes to this earth (Matt. 6:10), each position or place in it will be fully prepared by having one of us fill that particular office… Jesus will return from heaven in clouds. We are going to meet Him in the air (I Thes. 4:15-17). At that time Jesus will give us our places or positions in the Kingdom, according to how well we have done with what we have been given…

“Christians are not going to heaven after all. We are to be with Jesus here on this earth — ‘that where I AM, THERE ye may be also.’ We shall be ruling with Christ on earth over the nations (Rev. 20:4). And after that, the New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven to the new earth. Even the Father Himself will dwell among us here on the new earth where we shall live and reign forever (Rev. 22:3-51.).”

Now notice VERY carefully:

The “mansions” or positions of rulership which Christ is preparing in heaven will be given to us when He returns to this earth as the King of kings and the Lord of lords, in great power and great glory. It is THEN when He will give us those positions! Even though the earthly Temple–the Father’s house–was most certainly an earthly type of the Temple of God in heaven, Christ’s reference in John 14:1-3 was not in any way LIMITED to the physical Temple on earth or the Temple in heaven. Please notice too that when the heavenly Jerusalem will descend to this earth in the future, there will be NO Temple in it, “for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (Revelation 21:22).

Therefore, the “Temple” or the “Father’s house,” which Jesus refers to in John 14, must be viewed foremost in a spiritual way. As the Editorial in this week’s Update points out, “We know from John 2:16 that the Father’s house is the Temple of God, but in John 14, Jesus is referring to God’s spiritual Temple–the Church of God (compare 1 Peter 2:5; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 2 Corinthians 6:16).”

Christ mainly refers to the Church of God, when talking about the “Father’s house.” Indeed, in the Church in which the Father and Jesus Christ “dwell” (compare John 14:23), there are many mansions or “homes.” God dwells in each and every one of His disciples. And each disciple will receive his or her place in that Temple–the born-again Church of God–based on how well he or she performed in this life. As this week’s Editorial continued:

“This does not mean that we will go to heaven before or at the time of Christ’s second coming; rather, we have long understood that these mansions or dwelling places represent rulership positions of authority given to the saints here on earth, at Christ’s return (compare Revelation 5:10; 22:12; Luke 19:17, 19).”

As Herman Hoeh’s above-quoted article pointed out, Christ will give us our rulership positions when He returns. We will rule with Christ for one thousand years, on this earth, not in heaven, and our authority will be dependent on how well we have overcome–in this life–our sinful nature, this society and Satan the devil. Today, we are part of the spiritual Temple of God–the Church–but only as begotten members. We still can leave the Father’s house–the Church–while in this flesh. We still can fall away, by losing the Holy Spirit and committing the unpardonable sin (Hebrews 6:4-8).

When Christ returns, we will become Spirit-born members–members of the very FAMILY OF GOD–and as such, we will be incapable of sinning, as GOD cannot sin. God the Father and Jesus Christ will then for all eternity dwell “in us,” and we in Them (compare John 17:21-23). Then, we can and will never fall away; we will never leave God’s spiritual house–His spiritual Temple. Rather, we read in Revelation 3:12: “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more.”

The Revised Standard version says: “… never shall he go out of it.” The Revised English Bible says: “… they will remain there forever.” Moffat writes: “As for the conqueror, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God (nevermore shall he leave it)…” Very interesting is the rendition of the New Jerusalem Bible: “Anyone who proves victorious I will make INTO a pillar in the sanctuary of my God, and it will stay there for ever…”

Since we will be in the new Jerusalem and since there will be “no temple in it,” and since we will stay forever in God’s Temple, the reference in Revelation 3:12 must be understood foremost in a spiritual way: We will never leave the Church of God–the spiritual Temple of God. Today, the Church is the “Kingdom of God in embryo,” as Herbert Armstrong referred to it many times. But when Christ returns, truly converted begotten Church members will change to born-again Spirit beings, and as such, the Church of God will BE a full part of THE KINGDOM OF GOD and the DIVINE FAMILY of God. At that time, Christ will give us our place in the Kingdom of God–one of the many mansions or offices which He is preparing for each and every one of us, individually, “to give to every one according to his work” (Revelation 22:12).

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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