According to Jesus, heaven is a real place. It is not a product of religious imagination or the result of a psyched-up mentality, looking for “pie in the sky by and by.”
Heaven is the place where God dwells and where Jesus sits today at the right hand of the Father. Heaven is described as a kingdom, an inheritance, a country, a city, and a home.
“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am you may be also. You know the way to where I am going.” | John 14:2 – 4 (NASB)
I am excited about this good news. Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us.
Heaven is “My Father’s home,” according to the Son of God. It is “home” for God’s children! The poet Robert Frost said that home is the place that, when you arrive there, they have to take you in. A good definition!
The Greek word mone is translated “mansions” in John 14:2 and “abode” in John 14:23. It simply means “rooms, abiding places,” so we must not think in terms of manor houses. It is unfortunate that some unbiblical songs have perpetuated the error that faithful disciples of Jesus will have lovely mansions in glory, while worldly saints will have to be content with little cottages or even shacks.
Jesus is now preparing places for all true believers, and each place will be beautiful. When He was here on earth, Jesus was a carpenter. Now that He has returned to glory, He is building an assembly of believers on earth and a home for them in heaven.
There is a clear promise of our Master’s return for His people. Some will go to heaven through the valley of the shadow of death, but those who are alive when Jesus returns will never see death. They will be changed to be like the Messiah and will go to heaven.
Since heaven is the Father’s home, it must be a place of love and joy. When the Apostle John tried to describe heaven, he almost ran out of symbols and comparisons! Finally, he listed the things that would not be there: death, sorrow, crying, pain, night, etc. What a wonderful home it will be—and we will enjoy it forever!
- John 14:2 – 4 (NASB) — “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am you may be also. You know the way to where I am going.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:1 —For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
- Hebrews 11:16 —But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.
The literal translation of John 14:2 is: “In my Father’s home are many abodes (and if not, I’d have told you), because I’m going to prepare a place for you.”
In other words, the reason there are many abodes in the Father’s home is that Jesus is going to prepare a place for the disciples. The parenthetical comment that he’d have told them if it weren’t so provides assurance that he’s not withholding information which would add to the danger of their heart’s being troubled.
Again other translations are possible, but the foregoing produces the best logic. Most translations speak of the Father’s “house” rather than “home.” But “home” does a better job of connoting a house that’s lived in.
- Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, pp. 349–350). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
- Gundry, R. H. (2010). Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation (p. 429). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.