My Father's House
In the previous "Left Behind" study, Jesus met His disciples privately on the Mount of Olives and instructed them concerning the sign of His coming. Jesus didn't tell His disciples they would be raptured into heaven, but they will see Him appear "after the tribulation." And then He will send His angels with a loud trumpet to gather the elect. And the disciples were instructed by Jesus before His ascension:
Jesus commanded his disciples to teach all nations and teach them to observe all that Jesus commanded them. This includes the instructions He gave them in Matthew chapters 24 and 25.
In this study, we look at another part of scripture in the Book of John:
"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."
In the above verse, pre-tribbers claim Jesus will go back into in heaven at His Father's house to build mansions (I go to prepare a place for you) for His believers. And when He finishes, He will come before the tribulation to rapture His believers into heaven, or His Father's house. As we have noticed, a few days before, Jesus told His disciples they will be going through the tribulation. And in John Chapter 14, the night of betrayal, according to the pre-tribbers, Jesus tells His disciples He will rapture them into heaven before the tribulation. If this is true, Jesus contradicts Himself. And He contradicts His prayer to the Father in the Garden:
There is a remedy, however. Pre-tribbers claim the disciples in Matthew verses represent the "tribulation saints," or the "Jewish remnant" during the tribulation period. And in John chapter 14, the disciples represent the church. As we see Pre-tribbers apply a double-standard of interpreting scriptures. (First of all, nowhere in scripture can they prove their point of view, and second, it seems illogical for Jesus to tell them one thing and then another.) After all, in both instances, Jesus is talking to the disciples and He tells them (at His ascension) to "teach them to observe everything" He commanded them. Therefore there is an inconstancy how pre-tribbers apply their "literal interpretation" of scripture to fit their own means.
Before we draw any conclusions, we need to examine verses two and three further. Jesus said:
And He said:
As we look at verses two and three, Does Jesus say he is going back into heaven to "build mansions"? When Jesus spoke to His disciples, He used the word "are," as in the present tense when He said "in My Father's house are many mansions." And He didn't say "My father's house will have many mansions." So then "mansions" were in His Father's house as He spoke.
We look into the book of Acts after Jesus ascended into heaven after His resurrection. While Stephen was about to be stoned by the angry mob, Luke gives us this account:
Notice Luke wrote that Stephen saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God. Stephen didn't see Jesus building mansions "in His Father's house." In the epistle to the Hebrews, Paul said after Jesus offered one sacrifice for sins, He "SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD." He didn't say Jesus was building mansions in the sky:
"...But this man (Jesus), after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. "
In John 14 verse 3, Does Jesus say He coming again before the tribulation to "receive you unto myself?" Jesus doesn't say He is coming before the tribulation. Therefore we cannot conclude it will happen then. And Matthew chapter 24 and in John Chapter 17 verse 15, (the gathering of the disciples "after the tribulation") stands correct.
Jesus also said:
If we apply this to a post-tribulational setting, is Jesus going back into heaven with the church to dwell in Heaven after the tribulation? Remember, Jesus will descend from heaven to earth to rule for a thousand years. So we must remember from that point on, when Jesus says " where I am, there ye may be also," then we will be forever with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:17c). Therefore we will be here during the Lord's reign.
When does this setting take place when we live in the Father's mansions? Since there is a possibility the new Jerusalem descends from heaven to the new earth, then we could live in "mansions" at that time.
However, we must also look at the setting of this verse. Jesus was in the upper room with His disciples moments before His arrest. How was Jesus going to prepare a place for His disciples? He was on his way to the cross. He Had to die and rise from the dead or else all hope is gone, and all of us would be destined to spend eternity in hell. This preparation had to be on the cross, the sacrifice in which His blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
Could there be a misunderstanding in this passage how we view the Father's House? Is there anywhere in scripture that says the Father's house is in heaven? Or, could the Father's house be somewhere other than Heaven?
Throughout The Old Testament, the Father's house was a place of worship. In Genesis, while Jacob went on a journey from Beersheeba toward Haran, he had a dream. After Jacob had the dream, he was afraid and said:
Before the temple was built, the priests stayed in the tabernacle. In first Samuel, year after year Hannah
After Hannah weaned Samuel,
Solomon arranged to have the Temple built in Jerusalem. It was called the house of the Lord.
When the Israelites returned from exile, there was a plan to rebuild the temple. Cyrus, the king of Persia sent a proclamation:
In The new testament, early in the book of John, at the Passover, Jesus cleansed the temple in Jerusalem. He called the temple "My Father's house"...
As we have seen in the above, The Father's was a place of worship in Bethany, the tabernacle in Shiloh, and the temple in Jerusalem. So, it is possible that the Father's house in John chapter 14 verse 2 is the Lord's temple in Jerusalem.
We will further examine the word for temple later, but turn our attention to the word mansion. The King James Bible was translated in 1611 (mansion is used once in the entire translation). The word mansion had different meaning than it does today. In our culture, A mansion is a place where the rich live. We usually think of places like Beverley Hills, a city famous for millionaires. They live in mansions with many rooms, in a lavished environment. The word mansion was translated from the Greek "mone" meaning "abode." Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines mansion as: " Any place of residence; a house; a habitation." And Jesus could have referred to the dwelling places in the temple (His Father's House)!
Did Jesus refer to the temple in Jerusalem as His Father's House in John Chapter 14? Or, is there another example where temple is used? Earlier in John chapter 2, as Jesus cleansed the temple, the Jews asked him "What sign do You show to us, seeing that you do these things (verse 18)?" Jesus reply was:
The Jews replied "It took forty years to build this temple, and You will raise it up in three days?" John commented: "But He was speaking of the temple of His body" (verses 20-21). So, in this case, The temple Jesus was referring to was His Body.
As we have seen in table above, temple can mean a dwelling place and it is used for the temple in Jerusalem and the temple of Jesus' body. And Jesus just told his disciples at His Father's house are many dwelling places. This was the night of Jesus' arrest. And earlier in his ministry, He said "Destroy this temple, and three days I will raise it up." Therefore, He was on His way to be crucified, and offered Himself as a sacrifice for our sins ("I go and prepare a place for you"). To further illustrate that the Father's house is the temple of Jesus' body, Jesus explained to Philip:
Jesus said He is in the Father and the Father is in Him. He also said the Father dwells in Him. As we've seen above, Jesus referred to the temple of His body. And temple used in John 2:19 can mean a dwelling place."
Jesus further said "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come and receive you unto myself." If Jesus went to the cross to prepare a place for His disciples, when will He come to receive them to Himself? Remember at this time He didn't ascend to heaven. He came to them (after His resurrection) to receive them unto Himself, His Father's House. Notice, He did not say He was going to bring them back to heaven.
Jesus said later in chapter 14 to the other Judas:
Mansion, or dwelling place in verse two comes from the Greek mone (meaning abode). And abode from verse 23 is also translated from mone and can also mean "a permanent place." Therefore, this is what Jesus referred to, the temple of Jesus' body is the dwelling place where the Father lives. And when a person loves the Son and keeps his word, The Son and the Father "comes to him" and makes Their abode with him.
Jesus further said:
Jesus gives the illustration of the vine and branches (His Father is the vinedresser). He speaks of the relationship between Himself and the believer "abide in Me, and I in You." and the believer needs to abide in Christ to bear much fruit. This a clear example of Jesus as the dwelling place in John 14 verses 2 and three. And not only do we dwell in Jesus, but He dwells in us as well.
And at the end of Matthew, Jesus tells His disciples :
"lo, I am with you alway,even unto the end of the world."
This is the assurance that Jesus will be with us until the end, including the tribulation.