My Dad is a fairly simple fellow. He firmly believes in reading the Bible and believing it for what it says. Yet a pet peeve he harps upon is this idea that heaven is full of shiny pretentious mansions. I’ve always sort of chuckled, wondering why the idea of mansions in heaven offended him so much. He says, “Well, it’s going to be perfect there. No harsh weather, extreme heat or cold. Why would we need a “shelter,” a great big old mansion for every single person in heaven?”
We picture Jesus (a carpenter when here on earth) up there hammering, sawing, measuring, and taking great pleasure in building a house with all our preferences in mind, anticipating our delight. We forget that before Jesus was a carpenter, He was the Creator God. Still is.
Just out of the blue this morning, the Lord turned my mind to a familiar verse I’ve heard all my life and prompted me to “just think about it for a minute.” So I did, and Sha-Zam!
The Scripture was 2 Corinthians 5:1-4:
“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that morality might be swallowed up in life.”
Now, our friend Pastor Mike Hoggard says, “Take a principle or word and chase it down throughout the Scriptures if you want to understand it. The Bible is its own best and most exhaustive commentary and dictionary.”
So I compared 2 Corinthians 5:1-4 to John 14:2, the verse which no doubt inspired the famous song: “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.”
In both passages the word house is οἰκία- pronounced oy-kee’-ah, and means residence or abode. (Strongs G3624).
In John 14:2 the word mansions is μονή-pronounced mon-ay’, and means residence or abode. (Strongs G3438).
The word “house” is used 2026 times in the King James Bible, 206 times in the New Testament, and 10 times in John!
The word “mansion” appears only ONE time in the whole Bible: in John 14:2, and the meaning is the same as that in 2 Corinthians 5.
A tabernacle is a tent, or temporary residence.
Could it be that the “house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens,” the much-anticipated upgrade from what we are “clothed upon with” here, to the “mansion” we shall be “clothed upon with” in heaven, is not referring to our own personal “palace” up there?
I understand the commonly accepted explanation of this passage comes about by parallel with the known marital customs of the ancient time and culture of Jesus’ day, wherein the bridegroom returned to His father’s land or house, and built an addition or dwelling for His bride, and when it was complete he would go fetch her. But think about it! What is it that we groan for? Is it not that moment in time, in a twinkling of an eye, when we shed this corrupt earthly body and are clothed upon with the new incorruptible one!
Like turtles carry their “abode” with them everywhere they go, perhaps this “abode” or “house” or “mansion” spoken of is the new, perfect deluxe model body we will inhabit! Maybe that’s what Jesus has been up there working on and preparing for us all these years!
A tent is to a mansion, as an earthly body is to a glorified heavenly body. There’s really no comparison! Ha! Who needs a castle?
Well, whether mansion means mansion in the plain sense of the word, or in the sense of a house-abode-upgraded body with which we will be “clothed upon,” glory hallelujah, I say bring it on! Either way it is going to be incomprehensibly awesome!