Select Page

WILL THERE BE “MANSIONS” IN HEAVEN?

WILL THERE BE “MANSIONS” IN HEAVEN?

We read in Jn. 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”.

Let us set the scene for this passage. We read in Jn. 13:1, “Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father….”. Jn. 14:2 continues our Lord’s discourse with His disciples as His earthly ministry was coming to a close. With that in mind, I would like to suggest the difficulties inherent in this passage if it is taken, as it is by most Christians, to mean that Christ was going to heaven to prepare mansions there for all believers.

1) Christ is speaking to His disciples. His disciples would not be in heaven, each would be on earth judging the twelve tribes of Israel in the millennial reign (see Matt. 19:28).

2) I cannot believe that on the eve of His death, Jesus Christ was speaking to His disciples about them having fine homes (mansions) anywhere, but especially not in heaven, since they would live on earth.

3) The phrase “in My Father’s house” occurs only one other time in God’s Word where it is used of the temple. We must take that into consideration when determining what is meant in this passage.

4) But there were no “mansions” in the temple.

Because of all the difficulties in this passage if understood the way most Christians do, I would like to suggest another view under the following topics:

THE CORRECT READING OF VERSE TWO

A CONSIDERATION OF THE GREEK WORD TRANSLATED “MANSIONS”

A CONSIDERATION OF THE WORD “PLACE”

WHAT IS MEANT BY THE PHRASE “MY FATHER’S HOUSE” IN THIS PASSAGE?

AN EXPLANATION OF JN. 14:2

THE CORRECT READING OF VERSE TWO

We read in verse two, “if it were not so, I would have told you”. Let us put this in context, “In My Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so I would have told you”. This suggests that the disciples had been told that there were many mansions and Christ is telling them that they could believe that because if it were not true, He would have told them that it was not. But nowhere do we read that anyone had ever even mentioned mansions in this way. Also, the next phrase, “I go to prepare a place for you” does not seem to flow from the previous ones. Because of those difficulties, I suggest we look at a few of the notes on this verse in the Companion Bible .

The note in the Companion Bible on the phrase “if it were not so” tells us that there is no verb in the phrase. Therefore it should read, “if not”. The note on the next phrase, reads, “all the texts add ‘that’ “. As we put these things together a better translation would be, “In My Father’s house are many mansions: if not, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?”. In my opinion this is not only more in keeping with the texts, but also makes more sense.

A CONSIDERATION OF THE GREEK WORD TRANSLATED “MANSIONS”

The Greek word translated “mansions” is used only one other time, i.e. in Jn. 14:23 where we read, “Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him”. The word translated “abode” is the same Greek word used in verse 2 translated “mansions”.

Given that in verse 23 the word cannot mean “mansions”, but in both verses the word can mean “abode”, I believe “abode” to be the better translation. In other words, “In My Father’s house are many abodes”, or “abiding places”.

WHAT IS MEANT BY THE PHRASE “MY FATHER’S HOUSE” IN THIS PASSAGE?

As mentioned above, the phrase “My Father’s house” is used only one other time, i.e. in Jn. 2:16 which reads, “and said unto them that sold doves, ‘Take these things hence; make not My Father’s house an house of merchandise’ “. In this verse the phrase obviously refers to the temple. We cannot ascribe to the phrase “My Father’s house” something that is not substantiated by Scripture. We must therefore, understand that the phrase refers to the temple.

Is Christ, on the eve of His death, telling His disciples where they will live, i.e. in the temple? I don’t believe that is what we are to learn from this passage. Consider also that even though in the millennial temple there will be many rooms, none are said to be for the twelve apostles. They are for the guards and the priests (see Ezek. 40:7 and 44).

I believe that in this passage Christ is referring to the millennial temple as “My Father’s house”. One of the reasons for that belief is verse 3, “and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself”. It is in the millennium that Christ will receive the apostles unto Himself. I suggest, therefore,  that in this passage “My Father’s house” refers to the millennial temple.

But this does not address the difficulty that even in the millennial temple there are no rooms said to have been reserved for the twelve apostles. Therefore, I believe that in this passage the term “My Father’s house” is put by figure of speech for the millennial reign of Christ. That figure of speech is Metonymy of Adjunct. The Companion Bible Appendix number six defines Metonymy of Adjunct as, “When something pertaining to the subject is put for the subject itself”. In the case of the phrase, “My Father’s house” i.e. the millennial temple, is put for the millennial reign of Christ. That is to say, the temple is that which pertains to the subject, and the subject is the millennial reign.

We are now ready to determine to what “abode” Christ was referring when He told His disciples that He was going to prepare a place for them.

A CONSIDERATION OF THE WORD “PLACE”

As we consider verse 2 in light of the translations suggested above, we will see that the abiding places in “My Father’s house” are those places which Christ said He would be going to prepare for His disciples. Let us consider the entire verse, “In My Father’s house are many abodes: if not, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?”. I believe that as we determine what our Lord had in mind when He spoke of preparing a place for His disciple, we will have a better idea of how to understand this passage.

The Greek word translated “place” is most often used of a place in the same way we think of “place”, i.e. a location. But it is also used in other ways. Let us look, for example, at how “place” is used in Acts 1:25, “that he (the apostle that would replace Judas) might go to his own (the Companion Bible has “proper”) place“. Here “place” is used to speak of the position that the new apostle would hold.

Let us also consider Jn. 11:48 wherein is recorded the Pharisees’ debate about what they should do about Jesus, “If we let Him alone, all men will believe on Him: and the Romans will come and take away our place, and nation”. The Companion Bible suggests that “place” refers to the temple. But I don’t believe that even the Pharisees thought of God’s House as their own. And we know how they did appreciate their exalted position. I believe that the Pharisees were more concerned about their position than they were about the temple.

Heb. 8:7 is also worthy of consideration, “if the first covenant had been faultless, then should no place been sought for the second”. This obviously does not refer to a location. To what does the word “place” refer? It refers, in my opinion, to “position”. That is to say, if the first covenant had been without fault it would have held it’s position and not given way to a second covenant.

Let us come back to Jn. 14 which tells us that Christ is going to prepare a place for His disciples. As stated above, I do not believe that at the close of Christ’s earthly ministry He is concerned about where the disciples would live, and they are certainly not going to live in heaven. I believe therefore, that Christ was telling His disciples that He was going to prepare a position for each of His disciples. That position had already been told them, i.e that they will judge the twelve tribes of Israel in the millennial reign (see Matt. 19:28).

AN EXPLANATION OF JN. 14:2-3

Let us try to pull all this together. I believe that Christ was telling His disciples that He was going to prepare the millennial reign and their positions in that millennial reign. So a paraphrase of this passage would read, “In the millennial reign are many positions if not, would I have told you that I go to prepare a position for you? and if I go and prepare a position for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that as I rule over Israel, ye may also be there ruling over the twelve tribes”.

This paper was written by Joyce Pollard. If you would like to respond please e-mail me at: janjoyce@aol.com

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *