1 ¶ Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 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.
Believing in Christ is essential to believing in God. One of the essentials of Christian belief is that you trust Christ to get to God the Father. This is made abundantly clear later in this chapter. There is no other way to the God who created you than through Christ, who is God, the physical manifestation of God.
If you believe that God is preparing an eighteen room majestic home to occupy in your resurrected body I will not argue with you. I’m just going to give you the literal interpretation and you can do with it what you will. According to the Early Modern English database at http://leme.library.utoronto.ca/menu/menuSearch.cfm the word mansion at one time meant a dwelling place, a house, or even a large, luxurious apartment in a mansion house. Look at some of the cross references to verse 2.
2Corinthians 5:1 ¶ For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
In God’s house, the verse says, there are many mansions. My concern is that we are telling people in our excitement about Heaven and in their unwillingness to read the Bible that we are all going to have our own version of Buckingham Palace. Wouldn’t it be more likely, based on the construction of the sentence, that we will all have our own wonderful, dwelling place in God’s house rather than our own castle next to the golf course?
Psalm 18:19 He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.
Psalm 31:8 And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: thou hast set my feet in a large room.
Psalm 118:5 I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place.
Historical evidence teaches us that, and I quote Michael L. Satlow’s book entitled, Jewish Marriage in Antiquity, the bride would be brought to the huppah, a private place prepared by the groom in his father’s house, where the marriage was consummated.(21) So, Jesus preparing a magnificent room in His Father’s house for His bride has parallels in Jewish customs of the time. There is a lot of interesting information, if you are willing to search it out, about those customs but be careful of copying anyone who doesn’t, at least, provide you with the sources of his statements.
Here, Jesus promises to His followers that He is going to prepare a place in His Father’s house and will return to take them there. This is an amazing promise apparently in keeping with Jewish custom and tradition for marriage. When Jesus ascended into heaven;
Acts 1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
He went to prepare a place for His church, His bride.
2Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
He will return to take His bride to His Father’s house.
1Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Where there will be a feast, a marriage supper, and great rejoicing.
Revelation 19:9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
We await this greatest of all events in our lives.
Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
(21) Michael L. Satlow, Jewish Marriage in Antiquity (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001), 172.