The ‘Kingdom of God’ can be a confusing term, but it is less complicated than it seems. It is the community of the Father and has two aspects—the current community on earth and the future, eternal community we join at our resurrection. Another term is the kingdom of heaven, but this is just another way of saying the kingdom of God.
On this blog, I sometimes use the term ‘The Father’s House’ or God’s Community to avoid confusion, because we cannot relate to kingdom metaphors as they did in Jesus’ day. But on one occasion, Jesus, himself, speaks of the Father’s House in its future aspect.
In the Upper Room
Jesus was in the upper room with his disciples after Judas had left and he told them,
“My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.”
Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”
Of course, the disciples were understandably distressed and confused. In John chapter 14 Jesus responds,
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
Jesus was going to prepare a place for them; he began this with his death and resurrection. He also promised to come back and take them there. This promise extends to us as well and we look forward to his coming back to take us to the Father’s House.
Plenty of Room for All of Us
‘Rooms’ most likely mean dwellings; there will be plenty of room for everyone. But the King James Version reads ‘mansions’. When I was a child we were very poor, and on the way to our small church of poor believers we always drove past what my family called a mansion. I would gaze at it and imagine it was a place like I would live in for eternity. Actually it was only a nice, two-story home with columns at the front door, but I had never seen a grander house and could only imagine living in one—but not in this life.
Whether it is rooms, dwellings, or mansions doesn’t matter. What matters is that the Father has a place for us in his eternal community of peace and joy, and Jesus has gone to prepare it for us. While we are already a part of the Father’s household, we look forward to a time when we can live in a place where his will prevails completely—the Father’s House.
Where is this Father’s House and what kind of place is it? I don’t know, and I don’t think anyone does. Perhaps it is a place far beyond our comprehension, or maybe it is the restored creation that we live in now. In any case, it will be a wonderful place and Jesus has gone to prepare it for us.
The Father Welcomes Us Into His House
The Father welcomes us into his House and Jesus is preparing a place for us there. But this is only something nice to think about if we never actually get there. However, Jesus also promises that he will come back for us so that we can be there with him—in the Father’s House. Some expect he will come for us at the end of normal history, and they are probably correct. But he will come for most of us when we come to the end of our own personal histories.
I look forward to it—to my place in the Father’s House.
Next time we will see what else Jesus says about the Father in the upper room.
I heard a funny story about living with all the saints in heave…
To live with the saints in heaven will be glory
But to live with them here on earth is another story!
Any way I share you desire and anticipation for a dwelling in heaven where we will forever be in His presence.
David, that’s a great little verse! Sometimes living with the saints here on earth does not feel glorious at all! I think that in our eternal state we will understand each other better and will also better understand the issues that now divide believers.
We have never met, but I look forward to meeting you in the Father’s House!
When I think about our Father’s House, i think about Mount Zion and the heavenly Jerusalem (see Hebrews 12:22). This is the place where the spiritual and material creations interface. Although its current residents are human and angelic spirits, it will have physical dimensions and characteristics (see Revelation 21:9-27). Because it is referred to as Mount Zion, I envision it as a huge pyramid. With the dimensions given and the possibility of many levels, there will be sufficient space to provide mansions for all. Because of its size I believe that New Jerusalem will not rest upon the surface of the new earth, but will orbit it. People in their glorified bodies will be able to transit between the new earth and the Holy City with ease. New Jerusalem will shepherd the new earth through the new heaven for all eternity.
Marc, I have no idea how our future home will be or where it will be, but you have provided a wonderful possibility. Your description sounds consistent with some dispensational speculations I have read.
Whatever it turns out to be, I just want to be there!
Inwardly we are in the Father’s house now. 1 Tim. 3:15 tells us “…you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God…”
You are absolutely right Don! The Father’s House has two aspects: the current and the future. We are already part of the Father’s House but looking forward to that future state. So many people are not aware of this. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!
Myself, I tend not to concern myself with what the afterlife will be like. Given that it is outside of space and outside of time it is, by definition, outside of our ability to conceive in any meaningful fashion. Hence it’s not described terribly consistently in the Bible itself, and I suspect (but do not know) that the details given have some metaphoric significance relevant to the message God is conveying, rather than a literal street-map of heaven. That’s not to say that I don’t believe in Heaven and Hell – I totally do – just that I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about things I know my brain can’t hold.
I’m given to understand that the Zoroastrians (Who make a cameo appearance in the Gospel of Matthew) had a similar conclusion. They simply referred to hell as “The Worst Existence” and heaven as “The Best Existence” and left it as that. Wellllllll, actually they also used “The House of Song” to describe Heaven if they were feeling poetic.
I agree with you Rep, I have NO idea what the afterlife is going to be like. But I am drawn to Jesus statement that he is preparing a place for us and coming back to get us (whatever that means).
Dogmatic speculation about the afterlife are not very useful to me, but non-dogmatic speculation helps me perhaps to dream and look forward to it–like I would look forward to a birthday or a vacation. I think the descriptions in the Bible are such speculations.
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I loved your post.
I can understand Jesus comment that he is preparing a place for his followers.
I am trying to prepare a place for gay and lesbian people in the Church.
My brief glimpses of heaven are of a place of unimaginable beauty.
My understanding of it is that the clouds of heaven are clouds of spiritual love.
Heaven is the place where God’s will is done.
And that will is Love.
Thank you Michael. I look forward to the Fathers House and I also look forward to LGBT believers having places in our churches.