Are the "mansions" Jesus is preparing for us actual buildings in which we will dwell while in heaven?

Email Received:

Jesus indicated that He would be leaving to go prepare a "mansion" for each of those who believe in Him. Do you think these "mansions" are literal buildings in heaven that we eventually will live in, or something else?

Ted's Response:

Here is how that passage is quoted in the King James version of the Bible:

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 unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:2,3—KJV)
People generally conceive of a "mansion" as a giant home, in which is located everything we ever could want or need. Ideally, it would be a place of ultimate contentment and fulfillment. Many people actually spend years—or sometimes the rest of their lives—in their mansions and rarely ever leave them.

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. And it also might seem that those who are resurrected and/or caught up at the Rapture event would be dwelling in them, in heaven, through the remainder of the 70th Week, until the second advent (bodily descent) of Jesus back to earth takes place.

However, Jesus indicated that wherever He is, we would be in the "place" He has prepared for each of us. After He returns back to earth, to rule and reign, then how could we be in our "mansions" in heaven if He is on the earth, yet we are to be wherever He is? I do not believe that our "mansions" are great big physical structures, which will be brought to earth when we return with Him from heaven, at His second advent. I believe that they are "heavenly" only in the sense that they have been (or will be) manufactured in heaven and will be located in heaven until Jesus appears in the clouds.

Now consider the following description by Paul:

Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. (2 Corinthians 5:1-4)
This seems to indicate that each of us actually will be clothed with our own "eternal house" or "heavenly dwelling," which now is in heaven, but which Jesus will bring with Him when He comes in the clouds. It will not be a structure that we will enter and exit as we would a building, such as the home in which we live here on earth. Rather, it will be something that will be with us all of the time.

In the same passage, Paul also spoke of an "earthly tent" in which we presently live. He noted that after it is destroyed, then we will have a "building" from God, our "eternal house." What, then, could our "earthly tents" be other than our bodies of flesh and bones, within which our spirits and souls presently dwell? Do not our physical bodies clothe our spirits and souls? I believe that they do.

Describing what will occur at the Rapture event, Paul wrote,

For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." (1 Corinthians 15:52b-54)

I believe that the "eternal house" of a believer will be the glorified, imperishable, immortal body which will "clothe" the believer's spirit and soul for eternity. A believer's present "body of death" (Romans 7:24b), indeed, will be transformed into—or "swallowed up" by (1 Corinthians 15:54; 2 Corinthians 5:4)—his/her resurrection body (1 Corinthians 15:42-44). That everlasting body will be at least as much superior to a physical, earthly body as a mansion is greater than a tent. It will be a perfect, glorious body, made in heaven by Jesus, with which each of us will be clothed, and in which we will dwell, happily serving God eternally.

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