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.