Apostolic Preterist

Do we get a mansion?

Do we get a literal mansion in heaven?
John 14:2-3

King James Version (KJV)

2 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. 3 that where I am ye may be also we have always been taught that in the above scripture that when we go to heaven that we get a mansion. This is a poor translation of the Greek word “mone.” Which means in the strongs concordance-

1) a staying, abiding, dwelling, abode

2) to make an (one's) abode

3) metaph. of the God the Holy Spirit indwelling believers

We have always looked at the word mansion carnally, thinking it was a literal mansion in the sky, but it's actually the place or abode of the holy spirit. Jesus was about ready to use the Romans to destroy the old temple and the ark of the covenant inside of it. He was doing this so that the law would stop being practiced. He became our one time sacrifice for sins and he no longer needed or wanted the literal temple and animal sacrifices that took place in that temple to stand or continue. On the day of Pentecost  Gods people became the new temple where the holy spirit would indwell and replace the old temple. Now instead of Gods presence being inside the Ark of the covenant in a literal temple it would indwell the new temple, which is inside his believers. Now the above scripture is fulfilled where he says “that where I am, ye may be also.” Now his presence indwells his believers. When Jesus came he was our temple and we indwell in him. That is why in Ephesians 2:5 it says- 5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) When we are saved we are seated in heavenly places with Christ spiritually while we are on this earth. The bible says if you're born again that you are IN him, speaking of Christ. That means that technically when our physical bodies die our spirit/soul continues to live in Christ in heaven.

                                               The New Jerusalem

Matthew 5: 14You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

When I was a child, I remember singing a song that says:

“I’ve got a mansion just over the hill top

 in that bright land where we’ll never grow old

and some day yonder, we’ll never more wander,

but walk those streets that are paved with gold.”

I may have gotten a few words wrong, but the gist of the song is pretty clear.  That is, that we’re going to heaven—“to that bright land where we’ll never grow old” and “walk those streets that are paved with gold.” However, in aspiring to go to heaven,  the writer was, in referring to golden streets,  addressing an attribute of the holy city, New Jerusalem.

In the many years since my childhood days of singing that song, I’ve never once read in the Bible where it says that heaven has golden streets. However,  Revelation  21:21, in speaking of the New Jerusalem, does say “the  street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.” You can see from this illustration, the thought of heaven having golden streets,  is just one example of the confusion of heaven and the New Jerusalem.

Well, someone may say, “Aren’t they one and the same—heaven and the New Jerusalem? I say heaven. You say New Jerusalem. It’s all about the same.” However, the opening verse I referenced points to a distinction. In Revelation 21:2 it says that the holy city, The New Jerusalem is coming down out of heaven. This verse directly indicates a difference, for the New Jerusalem to come down out of heaven indicates that the two expressions are not synonymous.

Heaven, God’s dwelling (1 Kings 8:50), the place of His throne (Isa. 66:1), and the place where Christ ascended physically after His resurrection (Acts 1:9-11)  is no doubt a physical place. However, the New Jerusalem is not a physical place “to which we go.”

From Revelation 21:2, however, we can see that the New Jerusalem is “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”  From verses 9-10, we can see that the bride, the wife of Lamb is the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. I’d like to point out again that this city is “out of heaven,” so it is not heaven. Second, I’d like to point out that this city is married to the Lamb, Christ (John 1:29). Such a bride is adorned for her husband (v. 2).

1. Prepared as a bride adorned for her husband

2. The bride is the wife of the lamb

3. The NJ city is married to God

4. The NJ city is adorned for her husband

Who is the bride of Christ? We, Gods people were and are the bride of Christ. Since we are the bride the wife of the lamb doesn't that mean that the New Jerusalem city is married to God. That we the church are the bride of Christ, The New Jerusalem?

The New Jerusalem was built on 12 foundation, what would that be? It would be the 12 disciples Gospel message of salvation that the church was founded upon. What is the tree of life? The tree of life is Christ Jesus. The only one who can give life. He is in the city ( His people) When they are saved and his holy spirit abides within them. What is the water that flows from the tree of life. It represents the holy spirit. Jesus said out of your bellies shall flow rivers of living water (which was speaking of the holy spirit) He told the woman at the well in John 4:14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Outside of the New Jerusalem where dogs and whore mongers which represented sinners. If the New Jerusalem was heaven there would not be sinners outside the pearly gates. On the other hand, if the New Jerusalem represents Gods bride the church then yes, outside Gods church there would be dogs and whore mongers (sinners) 

The main flaw in this interpretation is (as is often the case with misinterpreted Scripture) that it ignores the context, which explains what is being described. Here is how the passage begins:

“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven final plagues came and spoke with me, saying, ‘Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.’ And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, like a stone of crystal-clear jasper ….” (Rev 21:9–11)

It is hard to imagine the passage being clearer in terms of what it intends to describe: “the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” This is not a description of heaven, nor of any specific tangible (or intangible) “place.” Rather, the passage is clear that it is a metaphorical description of the “bride of Christ”—that is, of the church, the assembly of God’s people.

She has a high wall (v. 12) because she must be entered by proper means and is protected from outside attack. She has twelve gates (v. 12), because this is the number of the tribes and the original number of the apostles, through whom one must enter. Those gates are on all four sides, since the Church is to come from the whole earth. The passage even explicitly says that the twelve foundation stones represent the twelve apostles (v. 14)!

And the gold streets and many precious stones? This is all well within the traditional portrayal of the virtues and virtuous people:

“The tongue of the righteous is like choice silver. (Prov 10:20)
“Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word rightly spoken.” (Prov 25:11)
“There is gold, and many jewels, and an abundance of utensils—the lips of knowledge.” (Prov 20:15)
“An earring of gold and an ornament of gold is a wise judge to a listening ear.” (Prov 25:12)
“Who can find an excellent wife? Far better than jewels!” (Prov 31:10)

“His head is like gold, pure gold;
His locks are like clusters of dates
And black as a raven.
“His hands are rods of gold
Set with beryl;
His abdomen is carved ivory
Inlaid with sapphires.
“His legs are pillars of alabaster
Set on pedestals of pure gold;
His appearance is like Lebanon
Choice as the cedars.” (Song of Songs 5:13–15)

According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise architect I laid a foundation; another is building on it. But let each pay attention to how he builds on it. For no person can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. But if someone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each person’s work will be exposed; for the day will show it, since it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each one’s work. … Do you not realize that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor 3:10–13, 16)

Perhaps even more significant is the promise in Isaiah that God has not forgotten Zion, that her enemies will become a part of her, that she will put them on “like jewels and bind them on like a bride” (one of many prophecies of Gentile incorporation in Isaiah)

“But Zion said, ‘The LORD has forsaken me,
And the Lord has forgotten me.’
“Can a woman forget her nursing child
And have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.
“See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands;
Your walls are continually before me.
“Your builders hurry;
Your destroyers and devastators
Will depart from you.
“Lift up your eyes and look around;
All of them gather together, they come to you.
As I live,” declares the LORD,
“You will surely put on all of [your destroyers and devastators] as jewels and bind them on as a bride. (Is 49:14–18)

So it is evident that the description of the “New Jerusalem” in Revelation is intended to be a description of the people of God, not of some vision of the future abode of the saints (for that matter, recall that a new—or renewed—earth is portrayed as the future home of the saints).

Why Does It Matter?

This is admittedly not the most important issue in Christianity, but it does affect a few things. For one, it portrays a vision of eternity that focuses on money, etc.; is it really supposed to be a selling point for Christianity that there will be a lot of valuable stuff sitting around? What good would it be in that environment, anyway? Secondly, it misses the point of this part of Revelation, which intends to illustrate the true righteous qualities of God’s people—God’s people have become the very jewels of righteousness, their very essence is righteous. Thirdly, attention is taken away from the real prize of eternity as portrayed in Revelation: the presence of God is entirely in the midst of his people. Fourthly, it misses some of the intertextual connections with passages like Isaiah 49, where it connects the restoration of Israel with the incorporation of Gentile “enemies,” leading to potential misunderstandings of the eschatological message of Christianity.

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