A Home in Heaven, John 14:1-3

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” John 14:1.

H. A. Ironside noted in his commentary on the gospel of John that this chapter break comes in an unfortunate place. Instead of starting chapter 14 in verse one the text would have been clearer if it had started at John 14:2.

The reason for this is that verse one in this chapter is actually a continuation of Jesus’ words to His disciple Peter in John 13:37-38.

See below for how it would look without the chapter break.

“Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times. Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.’” John 13:37-14:1.

Jesus, knowing that He would be arrested, tried and crucified within hours; also knew how devastating His death would be to the faith of the disciples.

With this in mind He attempted to bolster the faith of all of the disciples, not just Peter with His words, “Let not your heart be troubled…” And their heart will be troubled when their Messiah who was to “remain forever” is crucified.

But Jesus encouraged the disciples not to give up just because things did not go according to everyone’s belief, “…you believe in God, believe also in Me.”

“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.” John 14:2.

The Jews, like most everybody else, believed in a heaven of bliss; Jesus reaffirms this belief by saying, “…if it were not so, I would have told you.”

As for the Father’s house, the meaning is not so much one of a physical house but rather the Father’s household. So, “in My Father’s house are many mansions…” in heaven there are many mansions; a place and room enough for all the “…children of God” John 1:12.

The word mansion is misleading here because the meaning of the word is actually apartment.

Before any of you who have lived in some cracker box apartment, or several over the years, and are sick of the stereo thumping through the walls, or obnoxious neighbors, do not be alarmed, God’s apartments will be beyond anything you can possibly conceive.

Heaven is not a place that can be imagined anymore than its dwelling places.

But if you must, imagine a huge space, furnished more beautifully than you have ever dreamed, with one or more relaxing fountains, perfect temperature, heavenly music playing, food with tastes unknown on earth, perhaps hanging gardens on your balcony, and if you will pardon the expression, a view to die for.

Heaven and its environs are something no artist can paint because there are colors there that cannot be mixed on earth.

It is a place no musician can write music for because there are sounds that cannot be reproduced here.

It is a place no one can imagine or write about, as you can see by the botched up job I am doing here.

To visualize heaven, you must imagine the outrageous, like walking inside a flower, or standing inside the Milky Way Galaxy and looking at a 360 degree view as you rotate in every direction.

Even then your imagination is not good enough! Take the apartment.

“I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2c.

Jesus was not going to build these mansions in heaven since it is possible that they were already built and awaiting occupancy.

Most folks are unaware that when believers died in the Old Testament days, they did not go straight to heaven; they went to Paradise, a place called Abraham’s bosom.

Christ spoke of this place when He told the Pharisees about Lazarus and the rich man.

“So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” Luke 16:22-23.

Notice that this is far different from any description of heaven you may have seen and that in this place, Hades or hell is visible for some reason.

Hades/hell is located under the earth, not beyond it like heaven is. As a result, Abraham’s bosom would be located beneath the earth relatively close by. Here is a little more description as given by Abraham.

“And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.” Luke 16:26.

So try to imagine something like a beautiful park called Paradise where those who had put their faith in the true and living God dwelt, and the miseries of hell separated from it by a great gulf.

As to why these two places were visible to each other is unknown and it is never good to speculate about such things when Scripture does not give a clear explanation.

Speculation is fun, but when taken too far it can entangle us and become a heresy. Please, always be careful with such things when you cannot come up with Bible verses to fill in the blanks.

A good policy to follow when you run across some curiosity for which there does not seem to be a good answer is to file it away under, questions to ask God. Oftentimes you will find the answer yourself months or years later.

The reason believers were in Paradise instead of heaven is that the way had not been opened through the sacrifice of Christ yet.

“For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purged, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.” Hebrews 10:1-4.

“And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” Hebrews 10:11-14.

By faith believers who trusted God’s promise of a Savior offered sacrifices for sins knowing little more than that what God had promised He would do. We now know that the sacrifices were a down payment on the all-sufficient sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

In other words the Old Testament saints were in Paradise on credit, until the cross when Jesus redeemed them and made the way clear to enter into the physical presence of God the Father in heaven. This is the gospel that Jesus preached to these saints when He was in the belly of the earth before His resurrection.

“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Matthew 12:40.

It is at the end of this period in time that Jesus emptied Paradise and led all of those saints into heaven.

“Therefore He says: ‘When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.’ (Now this, ‘He ascended’ – what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers…” Ephesians 4:8-11.

When Jesus “…ascended on high, He led captivity captive”; the captives in this verse are those who resided in Paradise awaiting their redemption, who were led into heaven by the Lord Himself.

“And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” Colossians 2:13-15.

When a person was convicted of a crime and sent to prison, the Romans would nail a list of the crimes for which they were convicted to the cell door.

When their sentence was up, the jailer would remove the notice, write, “it is finished” across it and release them.

“So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” John 19:30.

After winning a battle it was the practice of the Romans to enter Rome with great pomp and ceremony parading the bound and humiliated prisoners of war through the streets; while gifts would also be given out to the citizens.

Jesus, “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them…”, having conquered death and settled the sin question, the Lord then humiliated Satan and his followers in the same manner as they had done to so many of their victims in warfare.

Satan instigates war, oversees the atrocities done during the war, then fires up man’s bloodlust to torture and humiliate the losers. He then keeps the hatred boiling over between the combatant nations for years afterward.

So it is appropriate that Satan’s evil empire should suffer the same humiliation, as they will again on Judgment Day.

How all this was accomplished is unknown. There must have been many, if not all of the heavenly angels looking on with tears of joy as this procession took place.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12.

When warfare is described between Michael and his angels and Satan and his demonic angels in Revelation 12, Satan loses and is cast out of heaven, it is not the third heaven where God resides; they are cast out of the heavens below God’s heaven.

“…but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Revelation 12:8-9.

For clarification, there are three heavens in Scripture; the first heaven is the atmosphere above us, where the birds fly, second is space where the astronauts fly, and the third heaven is where God resides. Satan will be cast out of the first two.

Having led captivity captive and emptying out Paradise; Jesus then gave gifts to men which are described below.

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers…” Ephesians 4:11.

When Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2b, He was telling the disciples that by His sacrifice on the cross He was making the way for them and all of those who put their faith in Him to enter heaven into the presence of God Himself giving them a heavenly home.

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:3.

There are those who think this means that Jesus will come for them upon their, or our, death. This is not what He is saying.

Jesus came to this earth the first time to settle the sin question, which He did on the cross. Having done so, He has set in motion a whole other set of things to happen.

Now that the way has been made into heaven, things need to be reconciled on earth. To do this, man needs to come to the end of himself by seeing that he is capable of evil only.

“…the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5b.

This was God’s estimate of man before Noah’s flood and it is the same today.

For man to see this he will be allowed to do as he pleases until it has to be admitted by all that there is no good in mankind and that he cannot redeem himself.

I agree there is a lot of good in this world, moral, caring men and women who care for widows and orphans, tend the sick, and give food and money for the needy.

If the truth were known though, many, many of those folks are Christians who are obedient to Christ’s commands.

Where Christianity is forbidden, women are abused and degraded, children suffer, and sexual abuse is pandemic. The sick waste away in their own filth, while others die of starvation.

Men fudge on the books and tell us that organizations like the United Nations are doing a great job of caring for the helpless, but that is just creative bookkeeping.

So-called humanitarian organizations like this do a little good, throw huge parties with champagne, expensive food, orchestras, and give giddy speeches thanking each other for the great good they are doing for the downtrodden, while giving themselves huge raises and expense accounts.

Meanwhile the media extols these rich, powerful, political people; they even lionize the callous despots who are creating many of the problems of poverty, famine, and crime.

All of this has the extremely thin veneer of gentle man stooping to help his fellow man, one of humble respectability, a veneer you could scratch off with your fingernail. And indeed if one were to look, it could be seen, but few do.

Man is in rebellion against God and is intent on remaking this earth in his own image, setting up man as the rightful god. This is why there will be a tribulation period.

It will take seven years for man to sink to his lowest level and all of the fallen will confess on Judgment Day that no good resides in his heart.

Because man will be given over to his evil ways, Jesus will remove all Christians from earth as morality and peace cease to exist.

“…I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:3b.

“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’” 1 Corinthians 15:51-54.

“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18.

A Home in Heaven, John 14:1-3 taken from godisrevealed.com posted on 3-14-13, updated on 1-21-18.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.

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