Rev. Hanko is a minister emeritus in the Protestant Reformed Churches.
In my Father’s house are many mansions…. I go to prepare a place for you. 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.
Our Lord assures His disciples, “I will come again!”
The church of the old dispensation lived in the expectation of but one coming of the Lord. Then all God’s types and promises would be realized. The believers looked eagerly for the day when the Messiah would come to make all things new. To them it was one great, glorious event, even the dawning of a new day.
We as church of the new dispensation, the dispensation of the fulfillment of all God’s promises, stand in the midst of that coming of the Lord, a part of which has been fulfilled, a part is being fulfilled, and a part is awaiting the final arrival of the Lord and the renewal of all things, a new heaven and a new earth. Therefore the New Testament Scriptures now speak of various comings of the Lord.
Jesus was partaking of the Last Supper with His disciples. It was only a matter of hours before His crucifixion. Jesus assures His sorrowing disciples that He would not leave them comfortless, like orphans, but He would come again to dwell within them in His Spirit—a promise that was realized ten days after Christ’s ascension, when He, as exalted Lord over all, poured forth the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Christ upon His church.
Along with that continued coming is also Christ’s sovereign reign over all as He carries the counsel of God unto the culmination of the ages. Christ rules over His church in love, and for the sake of His church He also rules over the entire universe. At the same time He rules over the wicked in judgment with a rod of iron. The wrath of God is revealed from heaven upon all the workers of iniquity already in this present time.This continuous coming of the Lord also includes the coming spoken of in the text at the head of this meditation. Christ promises His disciples and us that He will come again to take His own unto Himself, that we may be were He is, sharing His glory.
The occasion for this promise is well known to all of us. Our Lord had warned His disciples that the Shepherd would be slain and the sheep would be scattered. A deep sorrow fell upon all the eleven as these words penetrated into their souls. They were sorely troubled. They loved Him dearly. He was their dear Friend, who meant more to them than life itself. He was their Lord, who had taught them with divine authority. Moreover, they were convinced that He was the promised Messiah who would establish the throne of David forever, so that all their hopes of everlasting salvation centered in Him. Where was He going? What would happen to all God’s promises and all the hopes that they had placed in Him as the promised Messiah? Was this the end of their fellowship?
Jesus assures them: “Let not your hearts be troubled. In My Father’s house are many mansions, and I go to prepare a place for you in those heavenly mansions. It is even so very necessary for Me to go that I may carry out My work as your Savior and your Lord. A part of that work, one of My many duties as exalted Lord over heaven and earth, is to bring you into glory with Me forever.”
“I go to prepare a place for you.”
Jesus prepares a place for all those given to Him by the Father, all those whom He redeems by His death on the cross, in whose heart He prepares a place for Himself, and will someday take to Himself in glory to abide with Him forever.
A place, a mansion, or a dwelling is being prepared in Father’s house for each of us. The battle-weary soldier, as well as the worn-out pilgrim, enters heaven with tear-stained eyes and finds there a place that is ready for him. It fits him perfectly, as a place of eternal rest, prepared just for him with Christ in Father’s house.
Paul reminds us that when our earthly house of this tabernacle is dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (II Cor. 5:1).
We now have a house made with hands, a weak, temporary abode. That does not refer merely to our earthly bodies, but it rather includes all our earthy relationships, our life task, the place we occupy in our family, in the church, and in the community. This all falls away at death. Our place soon knows us no more. Soon we are completely forgotten.
Scripture assures us that all that pertains to our earthly house is exchanged for a house that is not made with hands, but is eternal in the heavens. At death we immediately enter into the place which Christ has prepared for us. We will fit right in. Heaven is ready and waiting to receive us at the very moment of our arrival.
As stones are placed in their proper order in an earthly temple, so also we each have our own assigned spot, marked out for us as jewels in the temple of our God that is being built in haven. When that spot is ready, Christ sends His angels to take us to Himself, to take our place at the wedding feast of the Lamb. We join our heavenly family in Father’s glorious house, never to part again.
God is using this present existence to prepare us for our full and eternal life with Him in His heavenly home. In the final judgment every man will be judged according to the deeds done in the body, whether good or evil. Our eternal reward of grace is in keeping with the degree of our faithfulness as stewards laboring with the talents that God has entrusted to us. Christ as our Judge appoints us to our place, which He has prepared for us.
A place. To take up once more the figure that Jesus uses, we will have a mansion, a home, made to order for each of us. No one else can take that place, nor can it be left vacant. We are placed in our new, heavenly environment, relationships, and fellowship, which are all our very own, as decreed for us in the sovereign love and wisdom of our God from all eternity! We will fit there perfectly, for it is prepared exactly for us in divine wisdom. Here on earth we may not always harmonize perfectly. We may rub one another the wrong way, have different habits, goals, and ambitions, but there all disharmony falls away, we live in perfect harmony and fellowship one with another and, more particularly, with God and His Christ.
In heaven we will not be idle, but will be continually occupied with all our faculties and talents, living to the glory of our God. Do we possibly have hidden talents that were never developed in this life but become useful in our future life? We can only surmise. This we know, we shall live and reign with Christ over all the works of God’s hands to the glory of the Father.
The Spirit of Christ will pervade all, creating perfect harmony and unity. Even as the members of our earthly bodies are necessary to serve the other members, so also in that Body of Christ every member serves for the well-being of all the others. There can be no dissatisfaction or jealousy, for all will be filled to capacity with the Spirit of Christ. All the saints will be joined together in perfect harmony and unity to serve one another, but also to serve to the glory of Father’s matchless name over the entire universe.
On this side of the grave we often become so involved in our daily activities, our duties, our cares, our families and friends, our activities in the church, that we live as if that is all that counts. Time and again we must be forcefully reminded that we have here no abiding city, we are only passing through on our way to eternity. God’s purpose with us is not solely limited to this life, our place in the world, in the church, or in our family, but far rather in preparing us for our place in Father’s house with its many mansions. After all, what do these few years of our earthly existence amount to in comparison to an eternity that knows no end?
Let me hasten to add that in the new creation every creature, including all the millions of saints in their glorified bodies, will reflect and be devoted to the glory of God. No one seeks his own interest, but each one exists and lives to be devoted to our God. The purpose of every creature, as well as the desire of every glorified saint, will be to live incessantly engaged in praising and glorifying our Creator, our Savior and Lord, the ever blessed and adorable God.The ultimate goal and purpose of the entire creation and all history will be realized. As the loud voice from heaven proclaims: “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.”
God will be exalted in all His glorious majesty, world without end. God’s name will be hallowed, set apart, and praised above every other name in the new creation. The whole creation will burst forth in the powerful refrain: “Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power be unto him that sitteth upon the throne forever and ever!”
Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled.”
When the heart is troubled, the soul is tossed about in doubt and anxious concern, like a derelict upon a stormy sea. How true that was of the disciples. Their Master had just informed them of His impending death. Upon Him they had built all their hope and expectation of complete and blessed salvation. Now they are informed that their Shepherd will be slain and the sheep scattered. Their future looked utterly hopeless.
But now Jesus appeals to their faith. Ye believe in God, believe also in Me. What now appears to be a hopeless end is actually a glorious beginning. I go to the Father in heaven. But that does not mean that My work as your Lord is finished. I will continue that work by preparing a place for you, that you may be with Me in My glory forever. When that place is ready, I will come to take you to Myself, that ye may be where I am. What could be more blessed than that?!
Now we have a foretaste of the life that awaits us in the world to come. We have the assurance that we belong to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ, in whom we are assured of all God’s blessings. We experience a peace with God and the hope of being eternally with Him in His glory. When doubts and fears arise, we have our refuge in prayer, for the Spirit of God prays for us with groanings that cannot be uttered. In our darkest moments and deepest sorrows we find our comfort in the assurance that our heavenly Father knows and understands every need far better than we can tell Him.
And always we cherish the hope that when our place is ready, we also will be ready to fill that place and thereby join the family of God in glory. There we will always be with Father in Father’s house. There we will be joined with the family of God, all our brothers and sisters of all the ages. And we will be one of them, with the saints of all ages. Yes, then we will be home. Home at last.