From 100 Bible Verses
22. John 14:2
In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. —John 14:2
Perhaps you’re familiar with this verse from the King James Version: “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” It’s among the most precious verses in the Bible about heaven; but modern translations have replaced the word mansions with “rooms” or “dwelling places.”
I’m not happy that my heavenly accommodations have been downgraded from a mansion to a room. What gives?
Well, our English word mansion comes from a Latin word meaning “to live or dwell.” Originally the word simply meant “a place to live or a place to dwell.” When William Tyndale first translated the Bible into English, he used the word manse or mansion; it simply meant “dwelling place.” From there it came into our early English versions. That was also the meaning of the Greek word used by John, and it fits the analogy Jesus is using about His Father’s house.
But that doesn’t mean we’re all going to be confined to one-room efficiencies in some sort of heavenly tenement house throughout eternity. I actually think the word mansion is a pretty good one. After all, the smallest house in heaven is going to be a million times better than the grandest palace on earth, so I don’t think the idea of mansion is inappropriate. I’m going to stick to my old King James terminology here. In my Father’s house are many mansions.
What we often call heaven is referred to in Revelation 21 and 22 as the new heavens, the new earth, and the new Jerusalem. I’m convinced the Bible teaches that a literal city, new Jerusalem, is currently in the highest heaven and is the dwelling place of God. Christians are transported there instantly at death. At the end of earth’s history, this world and the entire universe will be recreated. This glorious, golden city will then descend from the heaven to the new earth, and the dwelling place of God will be with us, and we will be His people, and He will be our God. Our eternal home will be on the new earth and in this great city. There’ll be more than enough room for all the mansions, apartments, cottages, and dwelling places we’ll ever need. In his book Heaven, Randy Alcorn writes, “Heaven isn’t likely to have lots of identical residences. God loves diversity, and He tailor-makes His children and His provisions for them. When we see the particular place He’s prepared for us—not just for mankind in general but for us in particular—we’ll rejoice to see our ideal home.”
A tent or a cottage, why should I care? They’re building a palace for me over there.—Harriet E. Buell
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