January 24, 2017 by J.A. Hardgrave
Do Christians Have a Mansion Just Over the Hilltop?
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Written By J.A. Hardgrave
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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. John 14:2
One of my greatest memories as a child growing up in small country church in the south was when a man named Clyde would get behind the pulpit and sing old hymns with deep conviction and passion. For a country boy, hearing good singing followed by a pot luck was about as good as it got.
In particular, Clyde often sang a popular hymn called “I’ve got a mansion just over the hilltop”.
You may remember the catchy chorus:
I’ve got a mansion just over the hilltop
In that bright land where we’ll never grow old
And some day yonder we will never more wander
But walk on streets that are purest gold
This song was so popular that even Elvis did a cover of it!
Considering we sang this song at church almost every other week, it ended up dramatically shaping the way I viewed the afterlife in Heaven.
When I thought of Heaven, I often contemplated the details of my own personal mansion like I had seen on MTV cribs.
I’ve recently been doing a deep study in John chapters 13-17, and I quickly noticed that the context of the conversation Jesus had with His disciples at the last super didn’t seem to be focused on a literal mansion some day yonder in Heaven.
The context communicates Jesus was speaking about His ascension into Heaven(Acts 1:9-11), followed by Him sending the Holy Spirit so He could dwell in believers for all of eternity(Acts 2).
I decided to look up the Greek word for “Mansions” to see if this word is referring to a literal mansion. The Greek word is monē.
a staying, abiding, dwelling, abode
to make an (one’s) abode
metaph. of the God the Holy Spirit indwelling believers
The definition is not a literal mansion, but rather a metaphor for God the Holy Spirit indwelling believers and abiding with us.
This Greek word is only used twice in the New Testament, both times at the last supper. The other use is in John 14:23.
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 Our home(monē) with him. John 14:23
By looking at the Greek word, as well as how this word is used, I think it’s clear Jesus is not depicting a time when He and the Father will be dwelling with us in a literal five story mansion for all of eternity.
Jesus was prophesying of Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit would be poured out and make His abode in believers forever.
Jesus even tells his disciples that He is not speaking literally to them, but figuratively.
“Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father.” John 16:25
We often interject our literal mindset into the words of Jesus when often He was speaking metaphorically and non-literal.
I am sorry to disappoint you, but I am not certain if we have a literal mansion just over the hilltop in Heaven some day.
But I have great news for you that will dramatically impact your life. YOU are the mansion where the Holy Spirit dwells RIGHT NOW!
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” 1st Cor. 6:19
“And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:“I will dwell in them, and walk among them, I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” 2nd Cor. 6:14-18
“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:19-22
“you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1st Peter 2:5
In the New Covenant, the temple is not made of stone, it’s made of believers in Jesus Christ.
As Christians we have the Holy Spirit permanently dwelling in us for all of eternity! We have unlimited access to God’s presence 24/7, 365 days a year!
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever” John 14:16
That’s why there is not a single verse in the New Testament that predicts the temple of stone will be rebuilt some day in the future. The only references to the temple of stone in the New Testament are to it’s destruction.
“Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Matt. 24:1-2
It’s a historical fact that the temple was destroyed in AD 70 by the Roman armies which was documented by the historian Josephus. 1
“The original temple was a shadow of things to come. It was designed to be a temporary edifice looking forward to the completed work of Jesus Christ (Isa. 66:1–3; cf. 1:11–13; Mal. 1:10–11).”
“Jesus’ completed redemptive work makes the need for a rebuilt temple unnecessary. His ministry begins with the declaration that He is our tabernacle (John 1:14), “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (1:29), “the temple” (John 2:19–21), and the “chief cornerstone” (Matt. 21:42; Acts 4:11; Eph. 2:20).” -Gary Demar 2
1) Jesus never mentions a literal mansion in Heaven in eternity at the last supper.
2) In the New Covenant WE are the spiritual temple made up of believers in Jesus Christ.
3) There are no verses in the New Testament that prophesy the rebuilding of the temple of stone because the Old Covenant temple was a temporary structure that looked forward to the completed work of Jesus Christ on the cross which was a final and permanent sacrifice for sin, making the Old Covenant temple with it’s sacrifices outdated and obsolete. (Heb. 8:13, 10:12)
1 See Josephus: The Wars Of The Jews
2 What Does the Bible Say About Rebuilding the Temple? by Gary Demar
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