December 24: “I Don’t Need a Mansion in Heaven”

Today’s Bible Reading:

2 Chronicles 29
Revelation 15
Zechariah 11
John 14

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

John 14:2–3 (CSB): “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am you may be also.”

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

Once again, we come to a passage of Scripture where newer translations cause us to raise a red flag. In the case of the verses I have chosen for today, some may be tempted to say: “Hey, I don’t want a room! I want a mansion!”

This idea of getting a mansion in Heaven is ingrained in the minds of so many Christians because it has appeared in a popular English Bible translation and even in some of our songs.

But, as serious students of God’s Word, we need to constantly investigate the Scripture (Acts 17:11) to see if what we are being told is actually biblical. If it’s not, we need to reject it no matter how popular the view is.

So, let’s look briefly at the original languages to determine what exactly we will inhabit in Heaven.

First of all, virtually every English translation begins with “in my Father’s house.” That is an accurate translation. The word that is translated “house” literally means just that. It is the Greek word “oikia” and it refers to the place where one lives. So, our Heavenly Father really does have a “house,” although, it is much different and more spectacular than any house we have ever lived in.

Next, we come to the word that has been translated “mansions” in some English translations and “rooms” in other translations. In the Greek language, that the New Testament was originally written in, the Greek word is “monae.” It is simply another word that refers to the place where one lives. Jesus uses this same word later in John 14.

John 14:23 (CSB): “Jesus answered, ‘If anyone loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home (Greek: “monae”) with him.’”

So far, we have learned that God has a “house” and in that house are places where people make themselves at home.

If we were to restate Jesus’ words in John 14:2, they would go something like this: “In my Father’s house are many places in which people make themselves at home…”

Friend, what do houses have inside of them? What are the places inside a house where people make themselves at home? They are called rooms! There are bedrooms. There is a room where the family gathers (we call them living rooms). There are also any number of other rooms where you feel at home.

Let’s dig a little deeper…

In John 14:2-3, we discover that God has a “house” and Jesus is preparing places for us to dwell.

John 14:2–3 (CSB): “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am you may be also.”

So, what is God’s “house” that Jesus is preparing for us?

I believe the answer is found in the last two chapters of Revelation. I believe that the New Jerusalem is the Father’s house that Jesus is preparing!

The final Heaven will be a brand new earth with the New Jerusalem coming out of Heaven to rest upon that new earth for us to inhabit and enjoy forever and ever. Just listen to what the Word of God has to say about it.

Revelation 21:1-3 (CSB): “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look, God’s dwelling is with humanity, and he will live with them. They will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them and will be their God.”

Did you see the word “prepared” in those previous verses? It said that the New Jerusalem is “prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.” That Greek word (“prepared”) is the same word used in John 14:2 where Jesus said, “I am going away to prepare a place for you.” The New Jerusalem is God’s house that Jesus is getting ready. Inside that New Jerusalem (house) are many dwelling places (rooms?).

Honestly, living on a new earth and having a “room” (like no room we could ever imagine) in my Father’s New Jerusalem is much more attractive to me than having a mansion.

A mansion appeals to the fleshly desire for status (the bigger, the better). Further, it appeals to one’s desire to get away from everyone else as one steps into the privacy of one’s own mansion. A mansion is also typically filled with all sorts of luxuries that would tend to make it easier to be by oneself for prolonged periods of time without a compelling desire to spend time with others outside the home.

That’s not at all the picture that Scripture paints of Heaven.

Heaven is going to be all about relationships. The two greatest commands that Jesus gave us call us to 1) love God will all of our being and 2) love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Heaven will be the place where we are able to experience the joy of obeying that command to the fullest. We will love and be loved by our God and each other.

With that being the case, all I will need is a dwelling place (a room) in the New Jerusalem (“my Father’s house”). I don’t plan on spending much time in that room because I will want to enjoy being outside that room with my God and my family of friends, enjoying the relationally rich pleasures of Heaven.

Will there be mansions in Heaven? I suppose that it’s possible. But I don’t believe the Bible teaches it even though many Christians are convinced that it does.

Photo by Daniel Barnes on Unsplash

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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