“I give them eternal existence in my Father’s House; and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
– John 10:28
Ever thought of the phrase “In My Father’s house there are many mansions there…” John 14:2
In speaking to His disciples, Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions,” (John 14:2, KJV). Apart from Jesus’ immediate context (celebrating the Last/Passover Supper with his disciples in an oikia [a palatial estate, Lk. 22:10] versus an oikos [normal private dwelling]), these words of Jesus should appear to us highly unusual. Does He perhaps have in mind the multi-leveled, many-roomed mansion where they were currently celebrating? Even so, how would His hearers have understood a metaphor for heaven that suggested that within God’s house were situated thousands and thousands of individual “mansions”?
The Greek word monai only appears here in John 14:2 and 23 in the New Testament (NT). The meaning “abodes/dwelling places/rooms,” however, is abundantly attested from early Classical Greek literature on through the writings of the early Church Fathers after the NT. Used in this context, it simply means “[small] rooms,” and this is precisely the way the KJV translates the only other use of the term in v. 23. Why, however, would Jesus employ such a common, even mundane, word to describe the location of our heavenly future?
First, we must recognize Jesus as a master teacher who was very skilled in the use of visual aids and word-pictures. It was second-nature for Him to hearken back to the carpenter’s shop and contrast a “fleck of sawdust” with a “roof-rafter” (Matt. 7:3-4). He was as at home with rural references like “birds of the air” (6:26) and “lilies of the field” (6:28) as He was with references like “the gold of the temple” (23:16-17) and “whitewashed tombs” (23:27) in the holy city.
So when Jesus refers to life in eternity being like children who will have our own private rooms inside the family home overseen by our heavenly Father, does He have some specific point of reference in mind? A quick review of the way Jesus typically uses visual aids suggests very strongly that He does—but after 2000 years, discovering them is the challenge! Thankfully, we live in a time when archeology is more than 100 years old as a science, and thankfully, the land of Israel is the most intensely excavated country in the world.
Years ago, archeologists began to discover a very unique style of private dwelling that has come to be referred to simply as the “insula.” This style of home appears to have had its start in places like Rome, Pompeii, and Ostia, and it was soon adopted in Palestine in the Roman Period. They have been discovered in places like Samaria, Capernaum, Meiron, Arbel, in the Negev (David A. Fiensy’s “The Galilean House in the Late Second Temple and Mishnaic Periods” in David A. Fiensy; and James Riley Strange, Galilee in the Late Second Temple and Mishnaic Periods, Volume 1: Life, Culture, and Society. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2014, pp. 222-4) and at Chorazin.
David Fiensy describes the floor-plan of such homes, “[They] consisted of central courtyards with rooms on all sides…..living rooms and other rooms…” (p. 221). In Jesus’ hometown of Capernaum, there were “[s]mall house-rooms (in insula fashion) surrounded large courtyards…” (p. 198). When the need arose, the insula was “simply gradually enlarged by adding more and more buildings to the compound…The courtyard still dominate[d] the domestic space. But multiple rooms [were] added over the years to the courtyard until the floor space of the rooms [was] more than the space of the courtyard” (p. 219). He continues, “Each nuclear family would have lived in a single room and shared the courtyard with other…families or perhaps with other kin. This architectural style was typical for most of the houses in first-century Capernaum” (p. 224). ). Authorities have estimated that the home of Peter in Capernaum consisted of at least 15 rooms and could accommodate at least 100 people (Jerome Murphy-O’Connor. The Holy Land: An Oxford Archeolological Guide from Earliest Times to 1700. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008, p. 254). In some instances such as the insula at Chorazin, more than 150 people inhabited the same home.
Despite their size, their “walls were so weak that…they could never have held a stone slab roof. The roofs must have been beams, brush, and plaster” (Fiensy, p. 198). It is evident that all of these were one-story homes because the walls were so poorly constructed, but the roof was often easily accessed by means of outside staircases, the bases of which were found attached to a number of houses in Capernaum (Fiensy, p. 224 note 32).
This description coupled with the image above is surely the visual image Jesus had in mind in His teaching about heaven, and because this architectural motif was so popular in Roman Palestine, Jesus could assume that His audience (the Twelve) could easily understand His frame of reference. Everyone at the meal possessed shared knowledge and first-hand experience with this style of home. It wasn’t fancy: it provided shelter for the common people of the day. But it was home! It represented the close-knit, supportive, loving, extended families that ate, worked, played, and worshiped together. In this respect, it served as the ideal picture of heaven that Jesus sought to convey — an ongoing (eternal) “Walton’s Mountain” or your-favorite-family-reunion-ever kind of feel. It recalled the times when mom, dad, all the grandparents, brothers and sisters, all their husbands and wives and children, uncles, aunts, and cousins were all together and everything was right in the world.
Amazingly after all these centuries, thanks to God’s providential care of His Word and the very hard work of many archeologists, we are able to “see” the same word-picture that Jesus painted 2,000 years ago almost as clearly as His original disciples saw it. We “see” that Jesus was an incredible communicator Who clarified for us that heaven is an intact, nurturing, loving, joyous, supportive family living together in the presence of its head, our loving Father. Also a master of subtlety, since family and home had become for Jesus a figure of heaven, could it be that He’s calling on us (or simply assuming of us) as His followers that our homes and families should just as easily be used as a picture of heaven as well? One thing is for certain, that when Christians literally walk where Jesus walked and experience God’s Word with historical context in place, the message of Scripture becomes instantly clearer to them — “faith becomes sight” — with a profound and often life-changing impact.
(Postscript: If Jesus used the insula-style home as a visual aid/word-picture in one of His most important teachings on heaven, is it possible that it provides the key to better understanding many of His other words and deeds? This question will be undertaken in the next article in this series!)
I must say that Where ‘Time” does not exist; one ‘Day’ is as a Millennium!
A millennium (plural millennia or millenniums) is a period of 1000 years, sometimes called a kiloyear. It derives from the Latin mille, thousand, and annus, year. It is often, but not always, related to a particular dating system.
a thousand years; the name given to the era mentioned inRevelation 20:1-7 . Some maintain that Christ will personally appear on earth for the purpose of establishing his kingdom at the beginning of this millennium. Those holding this view are usually called “millenarians.” On the other hand, it is maintained, more in accordance with the teaching of Scripture, we think, that Christ’s second advent will not be premillennial, and that the right conception of the prospects and destiny of his kingdom is that which is taught, e.g., in the parables of the leaven and the mustard-seed. The triumph of the gospel, it is held, must be looked for by the wider and more efficient operation of the very forces that are now at work in extending the gospel; and that Christ will only come again at the close of this dispensation to judge the world at the “last day.” The millennium will thus precede his coming.
“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.“
2 Peter 3:8
Yom (Hebrew: יום) is a Biblical Hebrew word which occurs in the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament). The Arabic equivalent is “yawm” or “yōm” written as يوم.
Although yom is commonly rendered as day in English translations, the word yom has several literal definitions:
- Period of light (as contrasted with the period of darkness),
- General term for time
- Point of time
- Sunrise to sunset
- Sunset to next sunset
- A year (in the plural; I Sam 27:7; Ex 13:10, etc.)
- Time period of unspecified length.
- A long, but finite span of time – age – epoch – season.
Biblical Hebrew has a limited vocabulary, with fewer words compared to other languages, like English(which has the largest).
This means words often have multiple meanings determined by context. Strong’s Lexicon yom is Hebrew #3117 יוֹם ] The word Yom’s root meaning is to be hot as the warm hours of a day.
Thus “yom”, in its context, is sometimes translated as: “time” (Gen 4:3, Is. 30:8); “year” (I Kings 1:1, 2 Chronicles 21:19, Amos 4:4); “age” (Gen 18:11, 24:1 and 47:28; Joshua 23:1 and 23:2); “always” (Deuteronomy 5:29, 6:24 and 14:23, and in 2 Chronicles 18:7); “season” (Genesis 40:4, Joshua 24:7, 2 Chronicles 15:3); epoch or 24-hour day (Genesis 1:5,8,13,19,23,31) – see “Creationism”, below.
Yom relates to the concept of time. Yom is not just for day, days, but for time in general. How yom is translated depends on the context of its use with other words in the sentence around it, using hermeneutics.
The word day is used somewhat the same way in the English language, examples: “In my grandfather’s day, cars did not go very fast” or “In the day of the dinosaurs there were not many mammals.”
The word Yom is used in the name of various Jewish feast days; as, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement; Yom teruah (lit., day of shouting) the Feast of Trumpets.
Yom is also used in each of the days of the week in the Hebrew calendar.
A “Period” in the absence of “Time.”
To paint a much clearer picture “Time” came to be when God Created it! In the absence of The Sun, in essence there would be no “Time”.
It goes way further! The multiverse, also known as an omniverse or meta-universe, is a hypothetical group of multiple universes. Together, these universes comprise everything that exists: the entirety of space, time, matter, energy, and the physical laws and constants that describe them.
What is The Solar system?
System mass: 1.0014 Solar masses
Distance to Kuiper cliff: 50 AU
Did you know: Neptune is smaller than all the other gas giants in the Solar System: Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus
Again, we learn that The Solar System, our temporary “Home” is a Drop in the bucket of that which exists! This is mind blowing! The seen comes from the unseen! Atoms, Neutros, Electrons.
On a much grander scale charges hold matter together! No matter how you view it. What has become our known was spoken EONS ago. Before the advent of Nuclear Physics! We can discuss this. We would spend hours attempting to unravel that which is, and not have touched on that which is unseen.
Where does the concept of life on Earth come from? A Pre-existant, ageless blueprint! ALL is and was, prior to what we see!
We can and will delve into the study of what is. To know and understand what has been is tantamount to understanding what is to come.
I in my shares have asked a myriad of times “Where are you from? Where are you going?” Much easier to believe that we go nowhere are we chance? We have spoken about our existence here. One is several million chances! We have looked at this from a purely Scientific front.
The fact that we were ALL born fighters. Each with a reason and purpose! Why did your spermatazoa of every uncountable sperm in that single ejaculate find the Ovum? Chance? Why did your fetus survive ‘chance’? A spontaneous abortion? Developmental agenesis?
YOU are here! You were created a fighter! In the race for fertilization; you beat hundreds of thousands competitors for the goal! Here you are! Have you lost that drive? The drive you were created with?
So, what is a prayer to God in The name of Jesus for drive and purpose?
Remember: Jesus said “Anything you ask God in My name…”
Praying in the name of Jesus is powerful because when we pray in His name, we pray with His authority. God promises to answer whatever we ask in His name according to His will. This is why we must know the will of God in order to pray with the authority of Jesus. This truth is wonderful because we have the assurance that He hears our prayers. Through prayer in His name we shall make known among the nations what He has done. Have you taken advantage of this glorious promise in your own life circumstances? John 16:23-24 says:
“In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”
Completeness of Joy? Inexplicable! Amen.
Completeness? Wow! We will share on this! Glory to God in The Highest! Completeness of Joy?
“In that day you will say: ‘Give thanks to The LORD, call on His Name; make known among the nations what He has done, and proclaim that His Name is exalted’” – (Isaiah 12:4).
Prayer: Fill my Emptiness with God’s Fullness
Jehovah Jireh, the provider of all my needs, I request to be in Your Holy presence, for I am weary, weak and drained.
Uplift me, Lord, when I fall by the wayside. Fill my emptiness with Your strength and mighty power, that I will rise up once again.
I feel so empty, Heavenly Father. I feel as though there is a missing piece in the puzzle of my life. Fill me with that faith to move mountains.
Fill me with that Hope that dissolves doubt and fill me with that unfailing, never-ending, undying Love that never fails.
I pray in Jesus’ Mighty name, Amen.
Draw near to me
Draw near to me Lord. Ease my struggle and pain. I want to feel You. I want to know You. Oh Lord, I want to embrace You, for You are the cup that never runs dry.
Strengthen my relationship with You Lord. Let everything else fall away and, as I seek You, I know I will find You. For those who thirst shall be filled and this emptiness within me will be quenched by Your springs of living waters.
You are my Rock
You are the love of my life and the hope that I will eternally cling to. Worthy is Your precious name.
I pray that every lonely and empty feeling within my mind, body and soul be filled by You. You are my eternal rock and salvation. I cast out that feeling of emptiness in Jesus’ mighty name, Amen!
– For God so Loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
– Even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In Love.
– All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.
2 Timothy 3:16
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.