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In John 14:2, Jesus tells his disciples:

In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. (NIV)

What is Jesus referring to by "my Father's house?" Would the disciples have understood it as the temple? As heaven?

And what did Jesus mean by it - the temple, heaven, his own body, something else? The simplest idea seems to be heaven; but later in 14:23 Jesus talks about he and the Father coming and making his dwelling with the disciples (in my understanding by the indwelling of the Spirit) leading me to think he might be speaking otherwise in 14:2.

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One of the two great themes of the book of John is that those who believe can have life in Jesus’ name. (John 20:31) In John 14-17 Jesus revealed the magnitude of this teaching, showing that he desires people to be one with him, just as he is one with the Father. In the next few verses after John 14:2, Jesus tried to emphasize that he was going to the Father. He did not emphasize that he was going to heaven (although by inference that is clear). He specifically emphasized that we was going to the Father, to be in the Father. (John 14:20)

Jesus started chapter 14 by talking about dwelling places. He carried that concept forward through the rest of John 14 and 15. In verse 23 he says, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.” This is where the Father dwells, where his house is – in those who love him and keep his word. Then again in chapter 15:4-5 Jesus said, "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” These are the dwelling places Jesus was talking about – abiding in him.

Jesus finally concluded his discourse with a prayer, saying, “I do not ask on behalf of these [the disciples] alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” Note that Jesus was not here praying for unity of believers with one another, as important as that is. He was praying for unity of believers with himself. He continued, “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” (John 17:20-23) Jesus wants believers to be one with him as he is one with the Father. So when Jesus was talking about his Father’s house, he was talking about his own body. (John 2:21) He was talking about his Spirit dwelling in the hearts of those who believe in him.

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"House" is the same as the "dwelling place" and the dwelling place of both the Father and the Son is man, for both Father and the Son will find a dwelling place in those who love Jesus and fulfil His commandments (John 14:23).

This can be taken as the point of interpretation of "house" and "rooms": "house" is the entire mankind as a whole, community of human beings, the crown of creation, the only beings created as images of God and as potential inheritors of the Eternal Kingdom. But "rooms" are the individual human persons, individual human hearts, for all humanity is in fact the "house" of God, but not all "rooms" of this big "house" are open to His presence, for human free response to God is necessary, for God, respecting human freedom, does not "break into", so to say, in those rooms/hearts, but waiting for the free response, stands at the door and knocks (Revelation 3:20); there is only one handle of this door, that inside the room, and only we can open it.

As to "I will go and prepare" phrase: this phrase is semantically the same as the phrase "it is better for you if I go, for unless I go the Paraclete will not come" (John 16:7); for unless Christ removed His corporeal and sensually tangible presence from the disciples, they would not have developed a loftier and more spiritual (that is to say, Holy Spirit-guided) understanding of the Messiah, as not a mere parochial politico-religious leader of Jewish nation, but as the universal Messiah of all humans; as not only an external teacher of enhanced and perfected divine commandments, but as God's very inseparable Word through whom everything was created (John 1:1-3); as not only Him, who co-acts external-visible miracles with the Father, so that the Latter is absolutely unable to do anything without Him (no less than the sun is unable to enlighten without emitting rays) (John 5:19), but also as Him who starts to dwell within human hearts and work powerfully inside humans (Col. 1:29). And now, as Paul says, in this new stage Christ is not known in a merely bodily way, as before, but already in a more elevated, spiritual way (2 Cor. 5-15). In fact, "going away" of Jesus, that is to say, His physical removal from the physical, habitual setting was in this way even necessary for the advent of the authentic Christianity, for had He remained on earth, there would have always been in the disciples the pernicious vestigial hope that Jesus would eventually become a powerful earthly King, making the disciples earthly ministers (Matt 20:21). Unless this vestigial hope was eradicated altogether, the Holy Spirit's work in human heart would be blocked, and that is why by His Ascension Jesus removed Himself for good from any context of political-patriotic expectations of Jews, forcing as it were His disciples to cleanse their hearts from those blocks that prevented full-fledged divine presence in them.

Thus, His "going away" and "preparing rooms", means that He will start a process of cleansing and nurturing human hearts through the advent of Holy Spirit to newer and greater preparedness for being a "dwelling place" of God. This process starts during the earthly life, but is not stopped by a physical death and continues to all eternity, for heart's joyful growth in God never ends, and thus Christ eternally "prepares" human heart to a greater and greater intensity of divine presence in it, this sublime unending process being expressed by Pauline wording as "epektasis", or "forgetting what was behind" and "straining/stretching oneself /ἐπεκτεινόμενος/ forward" (Philippians 3:13) to newer, yet unknown and unexperienced dimensions of divine presence, for "a star differs from a star by splendour" (1 Cor. 15:41), as does an angel from an angel and a saint from a saint.

Just as a post scriptum: not only the Father and the Son will abide eternally in heart of a God-loving person, but, as briefly noted above, also the Holy Spirit, of whom the temple human being is (1 Cor. 3:16).

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We've got to keep in mind that he spoke these things to his disciples just a few hours before he would be arrested and Judas had already gone to betray him, so he comforts his disciples not to worry of what is about to happen, there are many mansions in my father's house (I believe Jesus is definitely referring to heaven), and I will go and prepare a place for you. I beleive the preparation the lord ment here was the work done on the cross , which gives us the access to the fathers house . He promises to come back to them to receive them; I'm sure the disciples would not have understood at that moment but later after the resurrection they would have understood (Luke 24:8). After the Lord's crucifixion the disciples were quiet lost and didn't know what to do (John 21) which is why the Lord told them, "I'll come back to receive you to myself." The reason i said (definitely heaven ) is because I believe, lot of things took place when Jesus died on the cross, we read that the lord had descended to the heart of the earth , where paradise and Hades was until his ascension,like what Jesus said in luke 16:19-31 rich man and the Lazarus, read also Matt 12:38-40 that is why he says to the thief that todat you will be with me in paradise, and then we read in Ephesians 4:8-10 “When he ascended on high (heaven) ,he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.” (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)

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  • @stanly john. Hi! Why do you say "definitely heaven" when the scriptures still refer to Him as the Coming One? – hannes Jul 16 '13 at 13:31
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JESUS is comforting his disciples, the context I believe is ultimately ENCOURAGEMENT, 1. IN MY FATHERS HOUSE - Who's house? The fathers, not the sons. It's the place where the Father lives - whether we call it heaven, the dwelling of God, the abode of God doesn't matter. 2. MANY ROOMS - it says what it means & it means what it says, don't complicate, draw from the word, don't put into it. In other words everybody who goes there will have a place. 3. I AM GOING THERE TO PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU - exegesis draw from the word I am going (JESUS) THERE, context of the previous quote,FATHERS HOUSE TO PREPARE to get ready, to adorn to make presentable for his bride.

I've tried not to put into the scripture here, simple interpretation will help us get a simple answer.

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[Jhn 2:16, 19 NKJV]

16 And He said to those who sold doves, "Take these things away! Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise!" ...

19 Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."

According to verse 16, the Father's house is the physical temple in Jerusalem. However, according to verse 19, the Father's house is now the spiritual temple of Jesus' body. Both are true statement because the physical temple in Jerusalem is an Old Testament type of the spiritual temple: the body of Jesus.

Initially the temple is only the individual body of Jesus, but through His death and resurrection on the third day, Jesus enlarges the Father's house to make room for all His believers. Now all His believers are part of the "resurrected" temple (1 Corinthians 3:16) to be the Father's house, the dwelling place of God in spirit (Ephesians 2:21-22) on the earth.

To accomplish this, Jesus has to go to the Father (John 14:2, 12). But where is the Father? Most Christians will assume that the Father is in heaven. But Jesus Himself said in verse 10 that the Father is actually in Him (John 14:10). This is because according to John 2:19 and 21 the Father has "moved out" from the Old Testament temple into the New Testament temple: Jesus. Jesus is now the New Testament Father's house. He is the moving-walking-living temple.

So between Jesus and the Father there is no separation. Jesus and the Father are indwelling one another. They are one! However, between His disciples and the Father, there is still a great spiritual distance.

Jesus Himself becomes the unique way to bridge this great gap by His resurrection that allows Him to give His divine life to His believers (John 14:6, 11:25). This connects John 2:19 with John 14:2 where He says that He will raise up the Father's house in three days.

So His going to the Father involves His going to shed His blood on the cross to remove the barriers righteously and reconcile the spiritual gap between God and man through His resurrection. Now by believing into Jesus, man can have access in one Spirit to, not just to God, but to the Father. This means His believers are no longer merely His creatures but His family, His household, His dwelling place on the earth: the enlargement of the Father's house.

[Eph 2:13, 16, 18, 19 NKJV]

13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. ...

16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. ...

18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,

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  • @H3br3wHamm3r81 Sure, I add my edit to connect John 2:19 and 14:2. I also add Ephesians 2 to strengthen the conclusion. – Indra Feb 11 '15 at 17:13
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In the gospels Jesus preaches "repent because the kingdom of God is imminent". He said it would arrive before the current generation died (IE: about 40 years). Not all of his hearers would die before the arrival. The arrival would be public with the Son of Man appearing in the sky for all to see and descending as he had "taken off".

However, if the people failed to repent and refused their king, the kingdom would not come:

KJV Mat 21:33  Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:  Mat 21:34  And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.  Mat 21:35  And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.  Mat 21:36  Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.  Mat 21:37  But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.  Mat 21:38  But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.  Mat 21:39  And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.  Mat 21:40  When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?  Mat 21:41  They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.  Mat 21:42  Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?  Mat 21:43  Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.  Mat 21:44  And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.  Mat 21:45  And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.  Mat 21:46  But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.

In fact, Paul explained that because of the rejection of Jesus by the Jewish leaders precisely what Jesus warned came to pass:

Act_13:46  Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.

Paul explains that Jesus did not ultimately come to be crowned but rather to be rejected:

KJV Rom 11:25  For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

And so the many promises of the arrival of the kingdom did not occur. Instead there was a horrific judgment in the for of the Roman destruction of the temple, Jerusalem and a large percentage of the Jews. The Israel-centric program was, for the moment, terminated.

What Jesus promises to the twelve in John 14 was related to the arrival of the kingdom which, as we see played out, was not to come about at that time. Instead the "Church age" was ushered in among the gentiles. The realization of the kingdom promises have been deferred until a time in the distant future.

So what did Jesus promise? He promised that the new Jerusalem above, where God lives would descend to the middle east and make his abode with his people in the promised land. This is also what John promised in the latter part of the Revelation.

KJV Joh 14:1  Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.  Joh 14:2  In my Father's house [the Jerusalem above] are many mansions [safe accommodations]: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  Joh 14:3  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.

His promise was the arrival of the city which Abraham also anticipated:

KJV Heb 11:8  By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.  Heb 11:9  By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:  Heb 11:10  For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

Though the arrival of the city of God did not occur on schedule it will still occur, when the fullness of the gentiles has come in. Then Jesus will be king of Israel forever:

KJV 1Ch_22:10  He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever.

God himself will be the King over the kings of the whole earth from his throne in Jerusalem, while Jesus will be one of the subject kings:

KJV 1Co 15:24  Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.  1Co 15:25  For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.  1Co 15:26  The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.  1Co 15:27  For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.  1Co 15:28  And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

Then will be fulfilled Jesus' promise:

KJV Joh 14:23  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.  Joh 14:24  He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.

KJV Rev 21:2  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  Rev 21:3  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.  Rev 21:4  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  Rev 21:5  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.  Rev 21:6  And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.  Rev 21:7  He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

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The Father's house in John 14 is not heaven. Indra and Jeff W have explained the Father's house well.

v. 23 Jesus answered and said to him, If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make an μονή/abode with him.

Anyone who loves Jesus is an abode for the Father and the Son. They live in him/her. Collectively, all the abodes combined, is the Father's house in verse 2.

v. 2 In My Father's οἰκία/house are many μονή/abodes; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.

Verse 2 is about our abode in the Father's house. The abode that the Father and the Son make with a believer becomes an abode for him/her. We live in Him and He lives in us (John 14:20).

v. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you to Myself, so that where I am you also may be.

His going was for His further coming. At that time He was only with the disciples not in them. He went to the cross to remove the barriers between us and God and prepare a standing for us in God the Father. He came again in His resurrection and breathed Himself as the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of reality, and the life-giving Spirit (20:22; 14:17,18; 1 Cor. 15:45) into His disciples. God in Christ as the Spirit is making His home in our heart (Eph. 3:17). The more we love Him, the more we become His home, and the more He causes us to love Him.

"I will receive you to Myself" - to a person not to a place. In resurrection, He also brought us into Himself ("you in me" - John 14:20). Since He is in the Father, we are also in the Father. Now, we are where He is – in the Father, and thus in the Father's house. This is a mutual home, His home is also our home. Christ in us is our home. The extent to which He has made His home in our heart, we can live in Him. The more we μένω/abide in Him, the more He μένω/abides in us (John 15:4). The vine in Chapter 15 is the house in Chapter 14. The many branches in Chapter 15 are the many abodes in Chapter 14.

We are the many rooms in the Father's house. Each room is not physical but spiritual, living, and organic. Collectively, all the rooms – the Father's house – is not something physical but a living organism – the Body of Christ. He is building up the Father's house by building us up with each other (Eph. 2:21,22). This building up consummates in the New Jerusalem (which is presented to us not with a physical description but as a symbolic vision) in Rev. 21 and 22. This is the goal of God's salvation and the eternal destiny of the believers, not heaven. Heaven is real and there is a physical aspect to our eternity future. But the Father's house and the New Jerusalem are describing something completely different. Here are some articles related to this.

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The idea goes back to Noah's ark, which contained many "nests," in which every creature, clean or unclean, that is, priestly or kingly, could rest in comfort and safety.

Taking it back even further, the Father's house was the Garden of Eden. Sin against the Father was theft of what was God's. Sin against the Son was Cain's murder in the Land. Sin against the Spirit was the godless intermarriage (the Spirit is the "matchmaker" who knits things together).

Adam was to speak as a prophet against the serpent, and present his bride as a chaste virgin to God. The account of Noah follows the same pattern. He speaks and the animals submit and come to him for shelter. For Christ, it is the "animal nations," and the shelter was the fulfillment of Booths in the first century. Jesus would become a tree of righteousness, food and shelter - all that Adam was intended to be.

In application, every man in authority is to be a shelter for those in his care, whether a husband, father, employer or leader. How does God turn a man into a shelter? As with Abraham, he puts him under a deep darkness, and cuts into him to make a holy place, a place in his bosom that is safe for the bride. She is the gemstones on his breast, which is a house of many rooms (the Tabernacle was humaniform, and the High Priest was the Tabernacle in miniature).

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    -1. This doesn't address the question of "what is the Father's house that Jesus goes to prepare?" Also, you say Abraham, but I think you mean Adam. – Frank Luke Jul 16 '13 at 16:46
  • @FrankLuke. I believe Mike is referring to the parody about the rich man in hell and the poor one that comes to sit in Abraham's bosom in the more pleasant compartment. So the House of the Father would after this view be in Hades. However, I am not sure Mike Bull would subscribe. – hannes Jul 16 '13 at 19:20
  • @Mike Bull. You are supplying fireworks of references in many of your postings. Many of them are interesting. A few appear somewhat grotesque e.g. the animals in Noah's Ark as kings and priests. One might conclude the Bible were a work of references to references which again lead to references only to refer you back to where you started off. What will be left after all referential symbols are done away with? – hannes Jul 16 '13 at 19:41
  • That's how the Bible works. It's a fractal. I have a free ebook coming out soon which shows how it works. It's amazing. BTW, the animals the ark substituted for the people who were preached to. Animals also pictured the nations in Peter's vision. But all symbols do have an original physical referent. – Mike Bull Jul 17 '13 at 1:06
  • The difficulty with your approach is – hannes Jul 18 '13 at 12:21

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