Summary: Does the Word shape your thoughts about Heaven or old songs and your desires?
This issue has caused me some grief over the years and it is such a petty issue. Yet, some have made it a massive doctrine to be staunchly defended like the Trinity and Substitutionary Atonement. It came up in a discussion of something else tonight so I figured it was a good time to throw it out here.
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.
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.
Why do so many people think that when we get to Heaven we are all going to get antebellum mansions like Tara? Indeed, the New Jerusalem looks more like high rise apartments. To suggest anything other than a 25 room mansion can get you ostracized in some places.
When you look at the Jewish context of John 14:2, what was the practice of the Jewish man when he married his bride? He went to his father’s house and built on to the house a room or maybe two until children arrived and we know from the friend waking up his friend for bread that often the whole family slept in one room so who knows when it would be too much and another room needed?
In our own frontier past there was many houses that only had one floor and at the most two bedrooms. Older children might sleep in the hay loft rather than just building another room.
Looking at the Greek does not show what our concept of a mansion is in this day. House is literally a residence and mansions are places to stay. There is nothing to indicate large homes.
MAN’SION, noun [Latin mansio, from maneo, to dwell.]
1. Any place of residence; a house; a habitation.
Thy mansion wants thee, Adam, rise.
In my Father’s house are many mansions. John 14:2.
2. The house of the lord of a manor.
3. Residence; above.
These poets near our princes sleep,
And in one grave their mansions keep.
MAN’SION, verb intransitive To dwell; to reside. – Webster’s 1828 dictionary
Yes, God as Father is the lord of the manor, but a manor is one house with many rooms not a house with many mansions. Hence, He has the big house and we have a room in that house.
A parsonage hooked to a church is sometimes called a manse. It is attached just as a room for a Jewish couple would be attached to the father’s house.
Think about it. Why do you need a large house? We will not sleep or use the latrine. We don’t need to eat, but we might just eat from the tree of life at the tree and fellowship around it. There is no need for a study, rec room or living room or anything else except for a room no bigger than a prayer closet where we are alone with God and He calls us by the pet name we are given on the white stone He gave us.
Indeed, I think the Borg from Star Trek was what an unbeliever’s view of the New Jerusalem and our unity looked like to him and all the Borg had were charging stations. His view of what kind of abode we will have may be far off or maybe close, but no cigar.