John 14:1-2 is an often quoted but many times misunderstood Bible verse. Jesus said that He would go to prepare a “mansion” for those who believe in Him. Many believe that these “mansions” are literal buildings in heaven where they will dwell. Most people consider a “mansion” as a giant home, having everything we ever want or need. Ideally, it would be a place of ultimate contentment and fulfillment. If the “mansions” of which Jesus spoke are physical structures, then it might seem, to some, that all the believers who have died are dwelling in them right now in heaven.
John 14:1-2 (KJV)- “ Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
Where is the Monē?
I don’t know about you, but I’m very interested in finding out more about these “many mansions” that Jesus is preparing for us. Now please keep in mind that the English word “mansions” appears but once in the King James Bible. We find it in John 14:2. Strong’s Greek Concordance has it listed as #3438. The Greek word for “mansions” is “μονή”. The transliteration being “monē.” It comes from Strong’s word #G3306 (meno) which means a staying, i.e. residence (the act or the place) – abode, mansion. The Greek word “monē” (pronounced mon-ay) only appears twice in the King James Bible, in John 14:2 and John 14:23. Let’s look at both verses:
John 14:2 (KJV) -“In my Father’s house are many mansions [monē]: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
John 14:23-24 (KJV) – “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode [monē] with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.”
Let’s not be content with looking at only one Greek concordance. Here’s what Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words has to say:
Vines Usage Notes: primarily “a staying, abiding” (akin to menō, “to abide”), denotes an “abode” (Eng., “manor,” “manse,” etc.), translated “mansions” in John 14:2; “abode” in John 14:23. There is nothing in the word to indicate separate compartments in heaven; neither does it suggest temporary resting places on the road.”
Now if we look at other Bible translations, we will see that in many cases instead of translating the Greek word “monē” to “mansions” other expressions are used.
John 14:2 – What Other Translations Say
American Standard Version (ASV) – “In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.”
English Standard Version (ESV) – “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?”
International Standard Version (ISV) – “There are many rooms in my Father’s house. If there weren’t, I wouldn’t have told you that I am going away to prepare a place for you, would I?”
New King James Version (NKJV) – “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
New International Version (NIV) – “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?”
New American Standard Bible (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.”
Weymouth New Testament (WEY) – “In my Father’s house there are many resting-places. Were it otherwise, I would have told you; for I am going to make ready a place for you.”
Out With the Old – In With the New
Many view the usage of the word “mansion” in John 14:2 as a literal “mansion” that one would physically dwell in. This “mansion” would be somewhere in the sky. But if one read’s further in John chapter 14 you will see that it’s the place or abode of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is taking up residence in each born-again believer. On the day of Pentecost God’s people became the new temple where the Holy Spirit would indwell and replace the old temple. What happened to the old temple? In 70 A.D. the Roman army under General Titus destroyed the temple in Jerusalem containing the dwelling place of God, the Ark of the Covenant. The Lord no longer needed or wanted a literal temple and the animal sacrifices that took place in that temple to continue.
Now continue reading John chapter 14:3: “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. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” In John 14:8 Philip asks Jesus to “shew us the Father”. Jesus informs Philip that He (Jesus) is the Father.
Then skipping down to verse John 14:15-16: “If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.” Notice the word “abide” in John 14:16. It comes from the same Greek root word menō used for the English word “mansion” in John 14:2.
Now what or who is Jesus referring to when he says “another Comforter”? The answer is found in verses 17 and 18: John 14:17-18 – “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”
Again look at that word “dwelleth”. It comes from the same Greek root word “menō.” Jesus is telling his followers that He is the Comforter. As the “Spirit of truth,” Jesus Himself will come to them. John 14:26 further illuminates our understanding. It declares that The Comforter is the Holy Ghost! Jesus said that He would not leave them comfortless. That He (Jesus) would come to them. The Comforter is Jesus coming to His people in the form of the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit).
John 14:26 (KJV) – “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
Just as Jesus declared in John 14:2 there are many “mansions”, “rooms”, “dwelling places” or many “resting places”. God no longer dwells in “temples made with hands” (Acts 7:48). Each believer that receives the baptism of the Holy Ghost becomes the “abode” or “dwelling place” of God.
I Corinthians 6:19 (KJV) – “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”
Our body is the temple of God. Yes, my friend we can have something much better than a “mansion” in the sky. Each born-again believer becomes the “dwelling place” of God. Now instead of God’s presence being inside the Ark of the Covenant, a literal temple, it indwells more than one temple. This temple would be inside each believer. His presence indwells each believer. We are the “abode” or “resting place” of the Holy Spirit.