Is Christ in Heaven Building Our Mansions?

“In my Father’s house are many abodes (KJV, mansions)¸ if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2)

This week a  subscriber, commenting on my most recent post, “Heaven or the New Jerusalem is there a difference?” asked “Is Jesus not the Carpenter? I heard that He is in heaven building our mansions.”

“Mansions” or “Abodes” in the Father’s House?

In response to his question, I can say that our dear Lord Jesus is surely a builder, for in Matthew 16:18, He promised to build His church. But the thought that He is “in heaven building our mansions,” though comforting as it may seem, is a misunderstanding due to an archaic translation of 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”(KJV).  The Greek word translated “mansions” in this verse is actually the word for “abodes” (µονή, pronounced “monee”) and is the same word as in John 14:23 where the Lord Jesus said,

“If anyone loves Me, he will keep my word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make an abode with him.”

An “abode” with the Father and the Son is not something we have to wait for until we die. Rather, it is a mutual abode that we can enjoy today in the resurrection life of Christ.

Physically, what can abide in you and at the same time you abide in it? The most simple response is “air.” You are in the air and the air is in you. Well, our wonderful Christ, after making the promise of John 14:2,  passed through the process of death and resurrection to become a life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45).

“So also it is written, “The first man Adam, became a living soul;” the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit.”(1 Cor. 15:45)

Since Christ is now the life-giving Spirit in resurrection, we can be in Him and He also can be in us, like the air. This is the base for the mutual abiding referred to by the Lord Jesus in John 15:4,

“Abide in Me and I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.” (John 15:4) Continue reading

Heaven or the New Jerusalem—Is there a Difference?

“And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Rev. 21:2)

 Fundamentally Different, Not Just a Matter of Semantics

Many people unintentionally, mistake the New Jerusalem for heaven. When I was a child, I remember singing a song that says:

“I’ve got a mansion just over the hill top
 in that bright land where we’ll never grow old
and some day yonder, we’ll never more wander,
but walk those streets that are paved with gold.”

 I may have gotten a few words wrong, but the gist of the song is pretty clear.  That is, that we’re going to heaven—“to that bright land where we’ll never grow old” and “walk those streets that are paved with gold.” However, in aspiring to heaven,  the writer was, in referring to golden streets,  addressing an attribute of the holy city, New Jerusalem.

In the many years since my childhood days of singing that song, I’ve never once read in the Bible where it says that heaven has golden streets. However,  Revelation  21:21, in speaking of the New Jerusalem, does say “the  street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.” You can see from this illustration, the thought of heaven having golden streets,  is just one example of the confusion of heaven and the New Jerusalem.

Well, someone may say, “Aren’t they one and the same—heaven and the New Jerusalem? I say heaven. You say New Jerusalem. It’s all about the same.” However, the opening verse I referenced points to a distinction. In Revelation 21:2 it says that the holy city, New Jerusalem is coming down out of heaven. This verse directly indicates a difference, for the New Jerusalem to come down out of heaven indicates that the two expressions are not synonymous.

Then what is the distinction?

Heaven, God’s dwelling (1 Kings 8:50), the place of His throne (Isa. 66:1), and the place where Christ ascended physically after His resurrection (Acts 1:9-11)  is no doubt a physical place. However, the New Jerusalem is not a physical place “to which we go” but the greatest sign in the entire Bible (see Rev. 1:1) signifying, God’s spiritual, eternal building of divinity and humanity.  It is the eternal, consummation of all God’s work in humanity throughout the ages, a mingling of God and man to be the mutual dwelling place for both God and all His redeemed people for eternity. Continue reading