Sometimes I want to smack myself because of my inability to understand scriptures. All my life I have seen the following passage as referring to heaven.
John 14:2 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. 3 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. 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. After all, Jesus did leave earth and go up into heaven to the Father. But in what way did he prepare a place for us? Yes, he was a carpenter by trade, but we surely don’t think he went up into the sky to literally construct mansions. He said his disciples knew the way. In another place we find:
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
I doubt any of us think that verse is saying we can go to God only by being physically carried by Jesus. We understand that Jesus means we must come through him by our faith and trust and obedience to his will. In the same way, he was telling his disciples how to be in a relationship with God–how to dwell with him in peace and security. He was going to the Father and we also can be with the Father in his house–through Jesus.
What did Jesus mean when he spoke of his Father’s house? We should allow the scriptures to explain that expression.
Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
1 Timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
1 Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
What is this house of God that Jesus went to prepare (build)?
Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
By going to the Father, Jesus offered himself as the sacrifice for our sins. God accepted that sacrifice and so we are no longer separated from God but are allowed to be called sons of God because we have been brought into a relationship with God.
John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Romans 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
Philippians 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
We are God’s children and he dwells in us. We are his temple–his house. God no longer dwells in a temple made with hands. He dwells in us.
Ezekiel 37: 27 My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28 And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.
2 Corinthians 6:16 . . . for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Revelation 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
Yes, this is in Revelation 21–all the way at the end of the book. But that does not mean that this has not happened. We see in Ephesians 2:19-22, above, and also in 2 Corinthians 6:16 that it is already happening. And we have:
1 Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
I now understand that when Jesus said he was going to prepare a place for his disciples so we could all be where he is, he meant that he was going to offer the sacrifice of his blood before God so we could be reconciled to God and God could dwell with us and we could be his sons—now, here, on this earth. Christ is a “son over his own house; whose house we are” (Hebrews 3:6). He prepared/built a glorious house for us. We don’t have to wait to be in the house of God. We don’t have to sing about a “mansion just over the hilltop.” We are sons of God, a part of his household, today!