by Paul Benson
I heard about a mansion He has built for me in glory. And I heard about the streets of gold beyond the crystal sea; About the angels singing, and the old redemption story, And some sweet day I’ll sing up there the song of victory. (Victory in Jesus -an old Gospel hymn by E.M. Bartlett 1939)
As followers of Christ we need to understand that a great share of what is commonly taught as doctrine is little more than the traditions of man which have no foundation in the Word of God. For example: we have heard all our lives that the Bible talks about the day that ‘the lion shall lay down with the lamb’; but there is not a verse in the Bible that actually makes that claim. If you don’t believe me try to find it!
It does say: ‘The wolf and the lamb shall feed together’ (Isaiah 65:25), but I guess that wasn’t lovey-dovey enough to make it into the Book of Traditions (many folk’s favorite Bible).
I am quite sorry to burst anyone’s bubble here but the notion of dwelling forever in a fabulous mansion on a street of gold in Heaven is just another one of those traditions that does not reflect the truth of Scripture. What does the Bible really teach about our eternal dwelling place? Is it in Heaven?
I realize this article may irk a few folks. But it is important to root out these facets of error as they open the door to further erroneous conclusions. The song ‘Victory in Jesus’ promotes the notion of the resurrected and caught away Church leaving planet Earth to go dwell in Heaven. The Bible teaches no such thing.
That lively song used to be one of my favorite Gospel hymns, but now I realize Mr. Bartlett was promoting false doctrine with his lyrics (a sad but common ingredient in most ‘Christian’ music). No where in the Bible is this concept taught of the Church departing Earth to go live in Heaven. It is merely one more piece of rotted fruit on the noxious pre-trib rapture vine! Though many would try to force their beliefs into certain verses, there is not one verse of Scripture that actually describes the resurrected Body of Christ in Heaven. NOT ONE! The souls of those awaiting the resurrection? YES! But the resurrected Church? NO!
But before we try to get a fix on our true eternal home it might be helpful to take a look at what the Scriptures teach about God’s eternal dwelling place. In my book ‘The Pre-Trib Rapture: A Bucket Full of Holes!’ I asked the questions: Does God live in a house in Heaven? And if so: How high would those ceilings have to be? We are talking about an omnipresent God who inhabits all of Creation here, don’t you know.
Many mistakenly use John 14: 1-2 to try and further this concept of going to Heaven to live forever. But as we will see that is not in line with the overall counsel of the Word of God.
Where Is The Fathers House?
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. John 14:2-3
Many a sermon has been preached, and many songs written and sung, about the hope of an eternal home in Heaven. About how a big plush house on Gold Street awaits us in glory. And these verses from the Gospel of John are normally quoted as a foundation for that line of thought. Although many would fuss and argue to defend this notion, the picture the Word of God provides is a quite different story. Have you ever pondered just where it is that God himself actually dwells?
God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Acts 17:24
Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? Isaiah 66:1
For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. 14 This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it. Psalms 132:13-14
God has declared that his eternal habitation is Zion. In case you have not yet caught the implication, Zion is referring to you and I, the followers of Christ!
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. John 14:23
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 1Corinthians 3:16
As believers WE are the dwelling place of Almighty God! Sometimes I wonder if we really do comprehend that truth. Here are some thoughts from my book ‘A Bucket Full of Holes!’:
QUOTE: Jesus said there were many mansions in his Fathers house. Some would be surprised that a mansion in old English and one in our modern English mean two different things. The proper Bible definition for mansion is a ‘stately room’, not a giant house. In his Fathers house are many stately rooms. I believe Jesus’ use of the words ‘mansion’ and ‘Father’s house’ were parabolic, and not literal. I don’t expect to be hanging out in a big mansion for all eternity, but I do expect Jesus was saying we’ll be ‘living large’. It’s going to be awesome!
Here’s one that might take you aback: He did not say that what he went to prepare would be forever in Heaven. Isn’t there going to be a new Heaven and Earth? What’s going to happen to your house in Heaven? Ever considered that?
He went to prepare for us a place like a ‘stately room’ in the dwelling place of the God who inhabits all of creation and all of eternity. WOW! What would it take for the place he has prepared for us to fulfill the Scripture:
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 1Corinthians 2:9
And now let’s consider the last part of that promise of John 14:2 3.
…I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14:3
Jesus says he is going to return to earth, and receive us unto himself, so we can be with him where he is. The Second Coming, and our catching away at that time, will fulfill that perfectly! I don’t see him promising to take anyone to Heaven here. Man has inserted that mistaken notion into the text. But I do see a wonderful promise we will be with him. And if we are going to be where he is, maybe we ought to find out where he is actually going to be.
And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in Heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. Revelation 11:15
And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Luke 11:2
Jesus taught his followers to pray that the Kingdom of God would come to earth; not that the Church would be taken to Heaven. Are you praying for the Kingdom to come? If so, your prayer, as well as the promise of John 14:1 2, will be completely fulfilled by Jesus returning to earth at his Second Coming to rule and reign. Where he is we will be also; right here on planet earth!
If you think your blessed hope is a big house on a golden street, and Jesus is up there sawing boards and pounding nails, you are missing something big. He is not building you a mansion on a street of gold; he is preparing a place for you in his eternal Kingdom; he went to prepare for us a place right at his side!
Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; 22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; 23 And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s. 1Corinthians 3:21 23
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. Romans 8:17
In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. Ephesians 2:22
Don’t you see? As joint heirs with Jesus we not only inherit the Fathers creation, we have become the Father’s house! The place that was prepared for us is son-ship; adoption into the family of God. We will dwell in the Fathers presence as sons and daughters of the Most High God! Him in us and us in Him! We ARE the Father’s house; each of us a stately room. There has been a wonderful place prepared for us in Christ purchased by his Cross and by his Blood.
There are NO verses in the Bible which teach a marriage supper in Heaven, nor literal houses for believers being built in Heaven. This has been fabricated as support for the pre-trib theory. But truly what a wonderful fulfillment of John 14:2 3 we’ll see at the Return of our Lord! END QUOTE
Our Eternal Abode
In the 15th chapter of 1Corinthians we find a lengthy narrative on the Resurrection of the Dead and the glorified body we will receive at that time. Our bodies will take on an eternal glorified state which will mirror the glorified body of our Lord Jesus Christ! Paul also spoke of this amazing transformation in 2Corinthinas:
For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle (our mortal body) were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands (eternal glorified body), eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house (body) which is from heaven (notice it came from Heaven, not stayed in Heaven): 3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4 For we that are in this tabernacle (our mortal body) do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon (our eternal glorified body), that mortality might be swallowed up of life (compare 1 Cor. 15:51-54!). Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 2Corinthinas 5:1-5 (italics are my comments. PB)
In this passage Paul referred to our earthly body as a tabernacle (home) and our resurrected and glorified body as a new home from heaven. We will ‘move into’ that home on Resurrection Day when Christ has returned to Earth!
Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. Philippians 3:21
This is the place Jesus went to prepare for us! Not a mansion on a street of gold, but a glorified state to dwell in forever. And we will be dwelling in that home from Heaven right here on Earth with Jesus as he rules and reigns over Creation. Throughout the Bible are many promises which detail our inheritance as being here on Earth. I find it amazing the way the teachings of so many seem to ignore that fact.
But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. Psalms 37:11
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5
There is much Scripture on this issue. We could go into a lengthy study on the promises of God to his elect, and where those promises would be fulfilled. In studying this out I see nothing about moving to Heaven, but much about the Kingdom of God coming to Earth. You pre-tribbers need to get straitened out on this issue. You have gotten it totally wrong. You have it backwards!
As believers we are NOT awaiting a departure. We are awaiting an arrival!
The arrival of Christ and his Kingdom! This is the promise the Church has been anticipating all these long years; NOT an escape from a tumultuous time of tribulation and persecution! Jesus plainly stated our inheritance would be right here on this planet; and that at his Return to Earth he will have our reward with him (Rev. 22:12). Why are so many teaching instead that we will dwell in Heaven? I don’t know about you, but I am awaiting my eternal tabernacle Jesus is bringing with him FROM Heaven, just as promised in the Word of God!
Let’s embrace the promises of God about our future state according to the truth of his Holy Word; and not according to any ear-tickling fables concocted to pet the flesh. That’s the only way we can ever truly ‘get it right’!
As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness. Psalms 17:15
What a wonderful day it will be when the believers from all ages will awake in their eternal home – a glorified body just like that of our Lord!
That is the TRUE promise of John 14:2-3.
Blessings upon all who love the truth of God’s Word;
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