|Letter to the Galatians, Part 6
|Moving to a New Home
|What, exactly, are the mansions in John 14:1-3, which Christ is preparing for His disciples?
|Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
Letter to the Galatians, Part 6
Moving to a New Home
by Brian Gale (United Kingdom)
Recently, my wife and I moved to a new home. In over 44 years of marriage, this was our ninth move, but we were in our last place for nearly 14 years. Even though we had moved many times in the past, we had forgotten what a trauma it can be, and what needed to be done. We sold our house in just three days, which in the present climate, was very encouraging, but we didn’t remember all the hard work that was to follow!
We all hope to be moving to an altogether different and permanent home in the not too distant future! In John 14:1-3, Jesus said: “Let not your heart be troubled; you 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. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
We know from John 2:16 that the Father’s house is the Temple of God, but in John 14, Jesus is referring to God’s spiritual Temple–the Church of God (compare 1 Peter 2:5; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 2 Corinthians 6:16). (See our Q&A this week for a further explanation.) This does not mean that we will go to heaven before or at the time of Christ’s second coming; rather, we have long understood that these mansions or dwelling places represent rulership positions of authority given to the saints here on earth, at Christ’s return (compare Revelation 5:10; 22:12; Luke 19:17, 19).
In our booklet “Is That in the Bible? – The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation!,” on pages 39/40, we state the following: “The Greek word for ‘mansions’ refers to dwelling places. It literally means, ‘dwellings’ (compare the margin of the New King James Bible). The same word is used in John 14:23, where it is translated as ‘home.’ According to the Nelson Study Bible, ‘Everybody has a longing for a permanent, secure place. Such places have already been set aside for all of God’s children.'”
Those of us who remain faithful to the very end will inherit these promises. Then, we will be truly “at home.” While we will “leave” or “put off” our current earthly home–our fleshly bodies (2 Peter 1:13-14)–we will be “clothed with our habitation which is from heaven” (2 Corinthians 5:2). We will receive eternal “spiritual” bodies (2 Corinthians 5:4; 1 Corinthians 15:44). We–converted members of the Church of God, the “body of Christ”–will become Spirit-born members of the God Family. We will have a future where more important issues will occupy our minds and energies.
It will be a time when we won’t have to be concerned about what our neighbors will be like when we move to a new home. Nor will we have to be concerned about schooling, shopping, transport or other issues that can also face us. We will have much greater things to accomplish. The excitement of moving to a temporary home will pale into insignificance by comparison with what the future holds for us–when we will have arrived at our new and permanent home; when we have been redeemed from our physical bodies of death; and when we have received new spiritual glorified bodies of eternal life (compare Romans 7:24; 8:23, 29-30).
All we have to do to make the most important move, any of us will ever make, is to remain faithful to the very end!
This Week in the News
REPORT ON EUROPE
Even though Europe’s elections of their new leaders do not constitute the final configuration of the United States of Europe (the “ten toes” in Daniel 2 and the “ten horns” in Revelation 17), these developments show how quickly altogether unknown personalities can arise on the world scene. Virtually nobody had seriously considered so-called “nobodies” such as Herman Van Rompuy and Catherine Ashton as candidates for their respective positions–and here they are, bursting on the world scene over night.
Similar developments can be expected when the proverbial “beast”–Europe’s final political-military leader, mentioned in the Book of Revelation–will manifest himself in the public arena. For more information, please read our free booklet, Is That in the Bible?–The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation.
The election of the new EU President and Foreign Minister has been met–overwhelmingly–with consternation, unbelief or outright condemnation. Because of their perceived self interests, Angela Merkel, Nikolas Sarkozy and Gordon Brown are labeled as the main “villains” and are blamed for the “debacle.” And still, as the expectations are so incredibly low, the new European officials might end up surprising quite a few observers–not to mention the fact that especially Herman Van Rompuy has been described as a “shrewd manipulator,” who “will do all in his power to further EU integration (except for including the Muslim country of Turkey),” who is “consumed with Catholic piety,” and who has compromised and “sold his soul.”
At the same time, a British paper wrote that the outcome of the European elections “has made a profound clash between Britain and Brussels more inevitable than ever,” and the question is being posed whether Britain will leave the EU.
The world, if it listened, received perhaps a small foretaste of what might be in store, when Mr. Van Rompuy said the following during a press conference on November 19, after his appointment as EU President:
“I also think that going back to our roots in the European Council could help us to discuss from time to time in an informal and open way the big questions of the European project… 2009 was the first year of global governance with the establishment of the G20 in the middle of the financial crisis. The climate conference in Copenhagen is another step towards global management of our planet.”
The following articles present an overview regarding the world’s reaction to Europe’s elections, and they introduce in more detail the new leaders of Europe.
“Europe Chooses Nobodies!”
Der Spiegel Online wrote on November 20:
“Europe’s leaders are relieved that the wrangling over the EU’s new positions of president and foreign minister is finally over. But they have no reason to be proud. Once again, the EU has missed an opportunity to boost its standing on the global stage… The appointments confirm all the prevalent prejudices about the EU. Both jobs are going to candidates who are unknown in Europe. Ashton is not even well known in Britain…
“In addition, both candidates were merely acting as placeholders in their previous positions. The political career of the 62-year-old Herman Van Rompuy was already on the decline when, almost a year ago, he stepped in as interim prime minister to sort out the political chaos in Belgium. And the only reason that Ashton, 53, became the EU’s trade commissioner in 2008 was because her predecessor Peter Mandelson was desperately needed in London to save the Labour government.
“It’s no wonder, then, that the news disappointed many observers… the bloc’s leaders have now chosen two nobodies to represent the EU… Nobody seems to care about the fact that neither of them has any significant foreign policy experience… Germany had even decided from the outset to not put forward any candidates for the two jobs. It was hoping to get the presidency of the European Central Bank, which will fall vacant in 2011, in return for disclaiming interest in the two EU top positions…
“Chancellor Angela Merkel reacted by saying graciously that the two would ‘grow’ into their new positions. Indeed, expectations are so low that Van Rompuy and Ashton can only be a positive surprise.”
Keep your eyes on Germany, which will play a most important role in future European developments.
Deutsche Welle reported on November 20:
“As Herman Van Rompuy and Catherine Ashton blink in the unfamiliar glare of media attention, world leaders have been trying to foresee the impact of the new pair on international politics. If there is one…
“Many Europeans outside the Brussels bubble will see their worst prejudices of the EU confirmed. Namely, that the organization’s appointments tend to be less about democracy, transparency and merit than about political deals designed to balance the competing interests of the bloc’s various centers of power… Once again, observers will be concluding that the EU’s most powerful countries are merely looking out for their own interests.
“French President Nikolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel chose someone who would not threaten their authority. Meanwhile, Britain, always that awkward partner in Europe’s economic triumvirate, was appeased with a high-profile appointment, though not with the candidate it was hoping for, the still-contentious Tony Blair.”
The Telegraph wrote on November 21:
“Behind the scenes, the Eurocrat elite had already established a detailed template for the two top jobs. One would be a man, the other a woman; one from the Left, the other from the Right. One would hail from the EU’s inner realm, the other from the mutinous outer territories. Above all, both would be relatively unknown, and preferably nonentities, whose new powers – formidable under the terms of the Lisbon Treaty – would not go to their heads.
“These parameters were essentially fashioned by the French president Nicolas Sarkozy and the German chancellor Angela Merkel, whose flourishing alliance is founded upon the sharing of real control between Paris and Berlin, and are the reason why Tony Blair, an early front-runner for the top job, never really had a chance. Blair was too big a name, too controversial, too keen to take it on.
“So, instead, we have Van Rompuy, known to hardened Eurosceptics as ‘the Belgian waffler’, a mild-mannered economist, consumed with Catholic piety, who spends one day a month in a monastery among an order of silent monks.”
“Europe Disgraced Itself”
Bild Online wrote the following biting commentary on November 20:
“Europe is seeking to build a reputation and increase its standing and voice on the world stage, yet it has disgraced itself by putting a pair of political no-names in charge… Unfortunately this isn’t a bad joke. It is a methodology. The worst thing is that the selection of the two was no accident, quite the opposite – they were conscious appointments.
“The continent’s big bosses – Angela Merkel (Germany), Nicolas Sarkozy (France), Gordon Brown (United Kingdom) – did not want a strong, shining duo of leaders at the top of newly formed EU. They did not want rivals, but rather their silence. They will get dead silence. A blackout in Brussels. It is disastrously short-sighted. Almost everything which the EU has to be proud of – the engine of prosperity of the single European market; the Euro, an anchor of stability – it owes to strong leadership guiding from the top in Brussels… After this evening it is clear what the unifying factors in Europe are – timidness and paralysis.”
We know how terrible the mood must be in Germany, when even a conservative, Merkel-supporting tabloid like Bild sharply criticizes the German chancellor.
“Brussels’ Anti-Democratic Maneuverings”
The Daily Mail wrote on November 20:
“At last we approach the final act of the squalidly anti-democratic Brussels farce that began when the idea of a European Constitution was first mooted. Last night, after meetings behind closed doors, the European Union chose a President and a High Representative – an unthreatening title for someone who will preside over Europe’s foreign policy, superseding our own government… But the entire exercise – from the jobs themselves to the way they have been filled to the people who have filled them – is a slap in the face for the fundamental principles of British democracy.
“First, the UK electorate never wanted a President or a High Representative, but its views became irrelevant when our government went back on its promise of a referendum on the Constitution. And although there might be those who take heart that the two jobs have been filled by non-entities – one of them British – that would be a profound mistake.
“President van Rompuy may be largely unknown, but the one certainty about him is that he is a rabid federalist, who believes in rapidly transferring more powers to Brussels – including the right for the EU to impose direct taxes – and will use his new job to further these aims. And Baroness Ashton, a lady for whom no one has voted, but whose appointment is supposedly a British victory, has been selected precisely because those in Brussels know that she has neither the political influence nor the determination to stand up for our interests… this grubby stitch-up has made a profound clash between Britain and Brussels more inevitable than ever.”
Who Is Van Rompuy?
On November 20, Der Spiegel Online presented the following profile of Europe’s first President, Herman Van Rompuy:
“Herman Van Rompuy is a practicing Catholic who belongs to the conservative wing of the Flemish Christian Democrat party… The 62-year-old politician likes to project an image of modesty. In a recent interview he admitted he still can’t bring himself to call the German chancellor by her first name. ‘I just can’t do it. I’m too timid,’ he said. Now this shy politician will preside over meetings between Angela Merkel and the 26 other government leaders of the EU bloc… As prime minister, Van Rompuy brought back calm to Belgium, after what was the worst political crisis in the country’s 180-year history.
“Much is unknown about the new EU president, including what his ideas about Europe are. In the past few weeks an old statement by Van Rompuy about Turkish entry into the EU was unearthed. In December 2004 Van Rompuy… said: ‘Turkey is not a part of Europe and will never be part of Europe (…) The universal values which are in force in Europe, and which are also fundamental values of Christianity, will lose vigor with the entry of a large Islamic country such as Turkey’…
“Even though Thursday’s European summit was only the sixth he has attended, he is no stranger to the EU. As budget minister (1993-1999) he prepared the ground for Belgium’s adoption of the euro…”
Did Mr. Van Rompuy “Sell His Soul”?
The Daily Mail added on November 20:
“Devoid of patriotism and contemptuous of democracy, Herman Van Rompuy perfectly embodies the culture of the EU. His sole political ideal is the creation of a federal superstate, destroying national identities across Europe.
“As someone who has known him since the mid-1980s, I recognise Van Rompuy as a man of powerful intellect and deep cynicism. Although diffident in manner, it would be a great mistake to underestimate this Belgian. A shrewd manipulator, he will do all in his power to further EU integration…
“Van Rompuy is a product of the debased, corrupt political life of Belgium… Because of… lack of real nationhood, Belgians despise their own state. But this unpatriotic attitude is precisely the reason why Belgian politicians have been so enthusiastic about the EU, in which they see the mirror image of their own fraudulent, unprincipled country.
“The tragedy of Van Rompuy’s political career is that he used to have a very different outlook. When I first met him in 1985, he was much more skeptical about European federalism. A conservative Catholic… Van Rompuy wrote elegantly about the importance of traditional values and the need to maintain the Christian roots of Europe.
“He was so disgusted by the Belgian establishment’s rejection of these principles he told me he was thinking of leaving politics. But his bosses the Flemish Christian-Democrat Party were appalled at the thought of losing this bright young star. So he was offered rapid advancement up the political ladder. Van Rompuy accepted, and embarked on a series of shabby compromises which brought him high office but proved he had sold his soul.
“In one telling deal, for instance, he helped push through one of Europe’s most liberal abortion bills, even though, as a Catholic, he had once written in defence of the rights of the unborn child. He will feel very at home at the top of the EU.”
Who Is Catherine Ashton?
On November 20, Der Spiegel Online presented the following profile of Europe’s first Foreign Minister, Catherine Ashton:
“… the big surprise came with the appointment of Catherine Ashton as the EU’s new foreign representative… Ashton will now have to set to work earning the respect of the world… the 53-year-old Ashton is a foreign-policy blank slate… She does not, however, lack in self confidence…
“Ashton, though, has never stood for election. In 1999, she was appointed as Labour Party leader in the House of Lords, Britain’s upper house of parliament, by then-Prime Minister Tony Blair. As part of the appointment, she received the title of Baroness. During her time in the upper house, her greatest achievement was getting a majority vote on the Lisbon Treaty…
“Her affable but tough personality has strengthened her reputation as a tough negotiator. The skills served her well as Commerce Commissioner when she quietly put together a trail-blazing free trade agreement with South Korea…
“Part of her new role will be to create a new European diplomatic force that could involve as many as 7,000 people, thus pioneering a genuine European foreign policy… Ashton and van Rompuy are facing expectations so low, they can only exceed them.”
Will Britain Leave the EU?
BBC News wrote on November 16:
“Up to 55% of those asked in recent British opinion polls say they would support… Britain leaving the European Union.
“After all the constitutional wrangling and embarrassing referendum results within the EU in recent years, reluctance to talk about this among the EU mainstream may be greater than ever. But look carefully at the focus of all that wrangling, the Lisbon Treaty. It contains a shock for those used to the EU talking of ‘ever-closer union’. Buried deep in the treaty is a kind of anti-integration time-bomb, a clause which sets out clearly for the first time how an EU member state could ‘withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements’…
“But what would a divorce between Britain and the EU mean in practice? It’s hard to know precisely. Like any such separation, much would depend on the mood in which it was done, co-operative or acrimonious…
“There are many… intriguing aspects of a UK exit… Britain leaving the EU would be an unpredictable process. But the idea that all this is simply inconceivable and irrelevant is no longer credible.”
Bible prophecy strongly indicates that Great Britain WILL leave the EU in the not-too-distant future.
REPORT ON AMERICA’S DOWNWARD SLOPE
We begin with reports on the U.S. Senate’s shameful health care maneuverings, followed by reports on the Fed’s and Mr. Geithner’s controversial actions and the desperate economic situation of the USA, and concluding with a biting analysis of President Obama’s disappointing trip to Asia. All these articles show one thing: The impending FALL of America. For more information, please do not neglect to read our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”
The New $300 Million Louisiana Purchase–How Politicians Can Be Bought
ABC News reported on November 19:
“What does it take to get a wavering senator to vote for health care reform? Here’s a case study.
“On page 432 of the Reid bill, there is a section increasing federal Medicaid subsidies for ‘certain states recovering from a major disaster.’ The section spends two pages defining which ‘states’ would qualify, saying, among other things, that it would be states that ‘during the preceding 7 fiscal years’ have been declared a ‘major disaster area.’
“… the section applies to exactly one state: Louisiana, the home of moderate Democrat Mary Landrieu, who has been playing hard to get on the health care bill. In other words, the bill spends two pages describing [what] could be written with a single word: Louisiana…”
And so the deal was fixed, as were many more deals in the political arena, as the next article explains.
Senate Votes Yes to Reid’s Health Care Bill — Nothing to be Proud Of!!!
The Washington Post wrote on November 22:
“On the eve of Saturday’s showdown in the Senate over health-care reform, Democratic leaders still hadn’t secured the support of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), one of the 60 votes needed to keep the legislation alive. The wavering lawmaker was offered a sweetener: at least $100 million in extra federal money for her home state.
“And so it came to pass that Landrieu walked onto the Senate floor midafternoon Saturday to announce her aye vote — and to trumpet the financial ‘fix’ she had arranged for Louisiana. ‘I am not going to be defensive,’ she declared. ‘And it’s not a $100 million fix. It’s a $300 million fix’…
“After Landrieu threw in her support… the lone holdout in the 60-member Democratic caucus was Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas. Like other Democratic moderates who knew a single vote could kill the bill, she took a streetcar named Opportunism, transferred to one called Wavering and made off with concessions of her own. Indeed, the all-Saturday debate, which ended with an 8 p.m. vote, occurred only because Democratic leaders had yielded to her request for more time.
“Even when she finally announced her support, at 2:30 in the afternoon, Lincoln made clear that she still planned to hold out for many more concessions in the debate that will consume the next month…
“The health-care debate was worse than most. With all 40 Republicans in lockstep opposition, all 60 members of the Democratic caucus had to vote yes — and that gave each one an opportunity to extract concessions from Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid… And the big shakedown is yet to occur: That will happen when Reid comes back to his caucus in a few weeks to round up 60 votes for the final passage of the health bill…
“Landrieu… went to the floor during the lunch hour to say that she would vote to proceed with the debate — but that she’d be looking for much bigger concessions before she gives her blessing to a final version of the bill… That turned all the attention to the usually quiet Lincoln, who emerged from the cloakroom two hours later to announce her decision… she made clear that Democratic leaders would have to give more if they want her to vote yes as the health-care debate continues…
“By the time this thing is done, the millions for Louisiana will look like a bargain.”
Whether one chooses to view this as political “extortion” or political “bribery,” this current state of affairs, “business as usual,” is disgraceful and ungodly.
Fed and Mr. Geithner Under Fire
On November 20, the Wall Street Journal wrote the following:
“The House Financial Services Committee voted, 43-26, to approve a measure sponsored by Texas Republican Ron Paul, vociferously opposed by the Fed, that would direct the congressional Government Accountability Office to expand its audits of the Fed to include decisions about interest rates and lending to individual banks. The Fed says the provision threatens its ability to make monetary policy without political interference…
“The vote was the latest blow to the central bank, which has… become a lightning rod for politicians responding to popular anger that Wall Street was bailed out while the public wasn’t. The Fed faces a stinging backlash from legislators from both parties who argue that [it] has too much power and too little oversight. On Thursday, the Senate Banking Committee began debating legislation that would largely remove the Fed from bank supervision over the objections of the Fed and the Obama administration…
“At the Joint Economic Committee, a couple of House Republicans called for the resignation of Mr. Geithner… Although several Democrats defended Mr. Geithner at the hearing, some liberal Democrats have been complaining that the Obama administration isn’t doing enough to combat unemployment…”
America’s Declining Prosperity
CNBC wrote on November 19:
“As experts debate the potential speed of the US recovery, one figure looms large but is often overlooked: nearly 1 in 5 Americans is either out of work or under-employed. According to the government’s broadest measure of unemployment, some 17.5 percent are either without a job entirely or underemployed… The number dwarfs the statistic most people pay attention to… which most recently showed unemployment at 10.2 percent for October, the highest it has been since June 1983.
“The difference is that what is traditionally referred to as the ‘unemployment rate’ only measures those out of work who are still looking for jobs. Discouraged workers who have quit trying to find a job, as well as those working part-time but looking for full-time work or who are otherwise underemployed, count in the [rate of 17.5 percent].”
The New York Times wrote on November 23:
“The United States government is financing its more than trillion-dollar-a-year borrowing with i.o.u.’s… With the national debt now topping $12 trillion, the White House estimates that the government’s tab for servicing the debt will exceed $700 billion a year in 2019, up from $202 billion this year, even if annual budget deficits shrink drastically.
“Other forecasters say the figure could be much higher… In concrete terms, an additional $500 billion a year in interest expense would total more than the combined federal budgets this year for education, energy, homeland security and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
America’s imminent fate is one of a constant and inevitable downfall. The reasons are spiritual in nature. God says that He will turn His back on His people when they turn their back on Him. Sadly, this applies today to the overwhelming majority of the American people [modern descendants of the ancient House of Israel]–all the way from the top to the bottom. True genuine change or “repentance” might at least delay the coming disaster–but in light of our materialistic, greedy and politically corrupt society, that possibility appears more than remote.
President Obama’s Asian Trip an Utter Failure
Der Spiegel Online wrote on November 23:
“When he entered office, US President Barack Obama promised to inject US foreign policy with a new tone of respect and diplomacy. His recent trip to Asia, however, showed that it’s not working…
“The mood in Obama’s foreign policy team is tense following an extended Asia trip that produced no palpable results. The ‘first Pacific president,’ as Obama called himself, came as a friend and returned as a stranger. The Asians smiled but made no concessions… The Asia trip revealed the limits of Washington’s new foreign policy…
“In Tokyo, the new center-left government even pulled out of its participation in a mission which saw the Japanese navy refueling US warships in the Indian Ocean as part of the Afghanistan campaign. In Beijing, Obama failed to achieve any important concessions whatsoever. There will be no binding commitments from China to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A revaluation of the Chinese currency, which is kept artificially weak, has been postponed. Sanctions against Iran? Not a chance. Nuclear disarmament? Not an issue for the Chinese.
“The White House did not even stand up for itself when it came to the question of human rights in China. The president, who had said only a few days earlier that freedom of expression is a universal right, was coerced into attending a joint press conference with Chinese President Hu Jintao, at which questions were forbidden. Former US President George W. Bush had always managed to avoid such press conferences…”
America is losing all respect in the world–something that the Bible prophesied would happen in these last days.
The Catholic Church in the News
The Bible shows that the Roman Catholic Church will soon play a predominant role on the world scene. In the past, Europe has seen a constant love-hate relationship between “church” and “emperor,” and this relationship is bound to continue in our days.
Still, the book of Revelation shows that the EU and the Catholic Church will work together–to an extent–and that its European political and religious leaders will work hand-in-hand; therefore, a close connection between the EU and the Roman Catholic Church is to be expected; and we also read in the Bible that most “Christian” religions will embrace Roman Catholicism and accept the pope as their spiritual leader. The following two articles hint at the beginnings of the fulfillment of these prophesied events. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”
Continuing Economic Relationship Between Catholics and Anglicans
Times On Line wrote on November 21:
“The Archbishop of Canterbury met privately with the Pope today in an effort to ease tensions over the Vatican’s move to ‘poach’ Anglican clergy… Referring to a potential rift over the Vatican’s invitation to disillusioned Anglicans [a statement from the Vatican] said the talks reiterated ‘the shared will to continue and to consolidate the ecumenical relationship between Catholics and Anglicans’…
“Pope Benedict is offering Anglican clergy the chance to transfer to the Roman Catholic Church, while maintaining many of their traditions and practices, including the right to marry…
“Addressing the ecumenical conference at the Gregorian Pontifical University conference in Rome, yesterday, Dr Williams reaffirmed his stance on women bishops. He said: ‘For many Anglicans, not ordaining women has a possible unwelcome implication about the difference between baptised men and baptised women.’
“The Vatican signalled they were changing their Apostolic Constitution… Pope Benedict XVI said this would allow Anglicans to preserve ‘elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony’ while entering ‘full communion’ with the Catholic Church.”
CNN added on November 20:
“The process will enable groups of Anglicans to become Catholic and recognize the pope as their leader, yet have parishes that retain Anglican rites, Vatican officials said. The move comes some 450 years after King Henry VIII broke from Rome and created the Church of England…”
The Catholic Church will make “concessions” to non-Catholics to gain a following, as long as the pope is going to be recognized as their spiritual leader.
What, exactly, are the mansions in John 14:1-3, which Christ is preparing for His disciples?
Christ said the following in John 14:1-3:
“Let not your heart be troubled; you 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. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
First of all, please notice that after Jesus has prepared these “mansions,” He will come again to the earth and receive His disciples to Himself so “that where I am, there you may be also.” When Christ spoke these words, He was here on earth. That is where His disciples “may be also”–here on earth, not in heaven.
The mansions which Christ was going to prepare are in no way homes which Christians will occupy in heaven, after their death, as many denominations and even some in the Church of God erroneously teach.
Rather, as we point out in this week’s Editorial, “Moving to a New Home,” “we have long understood that these mansions or dwelling places represent rulership positions of authority given to the saints here on earth, at Christ’s return (compare Revelation 5:10; 22:12; Luke 19:17, 19). In our booklet “Is That in the Bible? – The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation!,” on pages 39/40, we state the following: ‘The Greek word for “mansions” refers to dwelling places. It literally means, “dwellings” (compare the margin of the New King James Bible). The same word is used in John 14:23, where it is translated as “home.” According to the Nelson Study Bible, “Everybody has a longing for a permanent, secure place. Such places have already been set aside for all of God’s children.”‘”
Why and how did the Church come to the understanding that the mansions in John 14:1-3 are indeed “rulership” positions?
First, we are setting forth the following excerpts from an article by Herman L. Hoeh, which was published in 1972 in “The Good News of Tomorrow’s World.” The article was titled, “What Is The Place that Jesus Is Preparing?”
In the article, it was stated:
“In His Father’s house, Jesus said plainly, there were many ‘mansions.’ If it had not been true, He said, He would have told us. The Greek word ‘move’ translated ‘mansion’ means in more modern English, ‘a room, a place of staying, an abode, a chamber.’ So in the Father’s house there are a number of ROOMS OR CHAMBERS… When in the Temple, Jesus said to the Jews who were selling doves and cattle therein: ‘Make not my FATHER’S HOUSE an house of merchandise’ (John 2:16)… The TEMPLE at Jerusalem was an earthly type (Heb. 8:5) of the Father’s house in heaven. Luke 19:46 and Isaiah 56:7, also quote the Lord as saying of the TEMPLE. ‘MY HOUSE is a house of prayer ….” So the Temple at Jerusalem in Christ’s day was a type of the Father’s house in heaven…
“In turning to Jeremiah 35:2, we read this: ‘Speak unto them, and bring them into the house of the Lord, INTO ONE OF THE CHAMBERS.’ In the fourth verse of the same chapter, we notice that different chambers were for persons of different rank. Hanan, a man of God, had his chamber or room ‘BY the chamber of the princes … which was ABOVE the chamber of … the keeper of the door.’
“The various chambers or ‘mansions’ corresponded to the ranks of the persons residing in them. Each room of the Temple — a type of the Father’s house — not only designated the RESIDENCE of each official, but also indicated his POSITION OR OFFICE, whether he was a doorkeeper or prince…
“Jesus said: ‘I go to prepare a place for you.’ We learn from other scriptures that Jesus did go to heaven, to the right hand of the Father, where He now acts as our ‘High Priest’ (Heb. 9:11)… A part of the function of the office of High Priest is the preparation of a place for each of us as Jesus promised the disciples…
“There are TWO TEXTS in the Bible which tell us what is being PREPARED.
“The first is in Matthew 25:34. Here Christ said: ‘Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom PREPARED for you from the foundation of the world.’ The other text is in Rev 21:2, ‘And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God OUT OF HEAVEN, PREPARED as a bride adorned for her husband’… Since it is the Kingdom and the Holy City that are finally PREPARED for us ALL, then what Jesus is preparing for EACH of us must be individual positions IN THE KINGDOM AND IN THE NEW CITY, JERUSALEM…
“The Temple had rooms which served as offices for the various residents holding different ranks. In the same way, each of us will have his own personal place or office in the Holy City, in accordance with how well we use the talents God has given us in this life. The more we overcome in this life, the more honorable will be our places in the New Jerusalem and the greater will be our offices of responsibility in the Kingdom…
“Revelation 21:2 plainly proves that the Holy City — the Father’s house or home, SINCE HE WILL MAKE IT HIS PLACE OF FUTURE RESIDENCE (Rev. 21:3 and 22:3) is one of the two things that Jesus is preparing now in heaven…
“Jesus returned to heaven to receive the Kingdom (Luke 19:12). He must be preparing it while acting in the office of High Priest. Since the Kingdom is prepared for all of us to inherit, then the particular place Christ is preparing for each of us must be our own position or office in that Kingdom. PLACE means POSITION, OFFICE, RANK, as well as geographical location. Our places or positions in the government of God will depend on the office we hold. Christ has FIRST PLACE, as He is King of kings. We shall all have secondary PLACES, lesser positions under Him.
“The Kingdom of God is the government of God, the members of which are to be born of God. Being born of God makes the entire Kingdom, then, the FAMILY of God… That is why Jesus used the ancient Temple as a physical type of the spiritual FAMILY or KINGDOM OF GOD.
“Now it is becoming obvious why our places or positions in God’s government had to be prepared in heaven by Jesus. We could not receive the Holy Spirit, the only means by which we can enter the Kingdom, until Christ ascended (John 16:7.) Christ prepares our places or positions in the Kingdom by being our High Priest, interceding for us and by giving us the Spirit of God. The places or positions — the responsibilities of office — are being prepared by training us to fill those offices. Jesus, as our High Priest, has been calling, justifying and perfecting each of us for His Kingdom so that when the Kingdom of God comes to this earth (Matt. 6:10), each position or place in it will be fully prepared by having one of us fill that particular office… Jesus will return from heaven in clouds. We are going to meet Him in the air (I Thes. 4:15-17). At that time Jesus will give us our places or positions in the Kingdom, according to how well we have done with what we have been given…
“Christians are not going to heaven after all. We are to be with Jesus here on this earth — ‘that where I AM, THERE ye may be also.’ We shall be ruling with Christ on earth over the nations (Rev. 20:4). And after that, the New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven to the new earth. Even the Father Himself will dwell among us here on the new earth where we shall live and reign forever (Rev. 22:3-51.).”
Now notice VERY carefully:
The “mansions” or positions of rulership which Christ is preparing in heaven will be given to us when He returns to this earth as the King of kings and the Lord of lords, in great power and great glory. It is THEN when He will give us those positions! Even though the earthly Temple–the Father’s house–was most certainly an earthly type of the Temple of God in heaven, Christ’s reference in John 14:1-3 was not in any way LIMITED to the physical Temple on earth or the Temple in heaven. Please notice too that when the heavenly Jerusalem will descend to this earth in the future, there will be NO Temple in it, “for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (Revelation 21:22).
Therefore, the “Temple” or the “Father’s house,” which Jesus refers to in John 14, must be viewed foremost in a spiritual way. As the Editorial in this week’s Update points out, “We know from John 2:16 that the Father’s house is the Temple of God, but in John 14, Jesus is referring to God’s spiritual Temple–the Church of God (compare 1 Peter 2:5; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 2 Corinthians 6:16).”
Christ mainly refers to the Church of God, when talking about the “Father’s house.” Indeed, in the Church in which the Father and Jesus Christ “dwell” (compare John 14:23), there are many mansions or “homes.” God dwells in each and every one of His disciples. And each disciple will receive his or her place in that Temple–the born-again Church of God–based on how well he or she performed in this life. As this week’s Editorial continued:
“This does not mean that we will go to heaven before or at the time of Christ’s second coming; rather, we have long understood that these mansions or dwelling places represent rulership positions of authority given to the saints here on earth, at Christ’s return (compare Revelation 5:10; 22:12; Luke 19:17, 19).”
As Herman Hoeh’s above-quoted article pointed out, Christ will give us our rulership positions when He returns. We will rule with Christ for one thousand years, on this earth, not in heaven, and our authority will be dependent on how well we have overcome–in this life–our sinful nature, this society and Satan the devil. Today, we are part of the spiritual Temple of God–the Church–but only as begotten members. We still can leave the Father’s house–the Church–while in this flesh. We still can fall away, by losing the Holy Spirit and committing the unpardonable sin (Hebrews 6:4-8).
When Christ returns, we will become Spirit-born members–members of the very FAMILY OF GOD–and as such, we will be incapable of sinning, as GOD cannot sin. God the Father and Jesus Christ will then for all eternity dwell “in us,” and we in Them (compare John 17:21-23). Then, we can and will never fall away; we will never leave God’s spiritual house–His spiritual Temple. Rather, we read in Revelation 3:12: “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more.”
The Revised Standard version says: “… never shall he go out of it.” The Revised English Bible says: “… they will remain there forever.” Moffat writes: “As for the conqueror, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God (nevermore shall he leave it)…” Very interesting is the rendition of the New Jerusalem Bible: “Anyone who proves victorious I will make INTO a pillar in the sanctuary of my God, and it will stay there for ever…”
Since we will be in the new Jerusalem and since there will be “no temple in it,” and since we will stay forever in God’s Temple, the reference in Revelation 3:12 must be understood foremost in a spiritual way: We will never leave the Church of God–the spiritual Temple of God. Today, the Church is the “Kingdom of God in embryo,” as Herbert Armstrong referred to it many times. But when Christ returns, truly converted begotten Church members will change to born-again Spirit beings, and as such, the Church of God will BE a full part of THE KINGDOM OF GOD and the DIVINE FAMILY of God. At that time, Christ will give us our place in the Kingdom of God–one of the many mansions or offices which He is preparing for each and every one of us, individually, “to give to every one according to his work” (Revelation 22:12).
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
Our new booklet on Paul’s letter to the Galatians and related topics has entered the second review cycle.
A new StandingWatch program was posted this week on StandingWatch and YouTube. In the program, Norbert Link is asking: Should we still observe Thanksgiving Day in 2009 in spite of our many problems, including our national debt, financial hardship, unemployment, bank failures, recession and possible depression and inflation? The history of the Thanksgiving Festival should give us much-needed insight.
Our new German sermon, titled, “Erhoerte Gebete” (“Answered Prayers”), was posted on the Web.
How This Work is Financed
This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.
Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.
While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.
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