What Does John 14 Tell Us About Heaven?
In John 14, Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me.” Verse 2: “My Father’s house has many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” Underline “I am going there to prepare a place for you.” He goes on, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back.” And what will He do? “I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
Christ teaches six things here, and He threw them a curve ball. Number one, He says, “Concerning this thing about death”—and the disciples in the context were afraid because Jesus was going away, and so He’s really being pastoral here. He’s counseling them. He’s comforting them. He said, “Don’t worry about it. Trust me. Don’t be anxious. Those of you that are sweating death, don’t be anxious. Don’t worry about that. I’ll be with you.”
And there’s a couple of ways He can do that. One is He can be with you just in His presence through your life and the Holy Spirit of God. But He said, “Number one, don’t worry about it.”
Number two, He says, “I go to prepare a place for you.” Do you realize that Jesus has a building project that He’s working on? How long has He been working on that building project? At least 2,000 years. Must be some building. And what’s the building for? “For you!” He said, “I’m going to prepare a place for you.” That’s number two.
Number three, where is this spot at? It’s in “my Father’s house.” Where’s the Father’s house? Boston? No, last time I looked, heaven. Put “heaven” right there: “In the Father’s house,” heaven. So He’s going to prepare a place for you, and it’s in heaven; very important, as we’ll see in a moment—a very specific location around which this whole prophecy revolves.
He says, “My Father’s house has many rooms. Or, as the King James version puts it, “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” Let’s just stop there for a moment. It is a dwelling place; it is a room in the Father’s house. If you can remember, put a picture in your mind of the temple during Jesus’ own time, Herod’s temple. If you remember, the main sanctuary right in the middle, and then around it you have rooms, if you want. This is where the priests were at. I think when Jesus said that He looked over at the temple and what He was saying was, “When we get to heaven, God’s house is going to be like that in the sense that we’re all going to be in the same place.” He’s talking about intimacy. He’s talking about closeness.
You see, some of you, you feel like you are a second-class Christian. Ankerberg and some of the others, they’re going to have a house right next door to Jesus, but the fact is, because of the way that you lived and who you are, you’re going to be about six miles down the road. Jesus is saying, “Wrong. We’re all going to be in the same house together. We are all going to have dwelling places, we’re all going to have rooms that He is preparing in the Father’s house.” You will be in the house with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Why? Because He wants it that way. He doesn’t want you six miles down the road, He wants to have fellowship with you. He wants to be close to you. He wants to enjoy you, and He wants you to enjoy Him. So in a sense, the Father will be sleeping in the room next to you. You will be in the Father’s house.
Now, in terms of, what’s it going to be like? This is not Motel 6 where they leave the light on for you! Now, I’ve traveled as an evangelist for a lot of years, and I can remember sometimes as a teenager going out into the farmlands of Nebraska. And some of you other guys, you remember this, too. They didn’t have heat in those second rooms. My father, he was a couple of years before me. I mean, he had an extension cord that went out to his car that plugged into his battery that could heat him up, because he had the rug on him and two suits and blankets on him and he still wasn’t warm in some of those rooms. They were tough. But there are some nice motels.
I remember we went into Rhodesia to have a citywide crusade. And we were in the best hotel in Rhodesia, right next to the Parliament. And they gave us the presidential suite. Now, Darlene and I, we were just newly married. We came walking into this place, and I mean, the main room was just a little smaller than this room. And then off of this room—this was just the sitting room; this was where you had the guests in the presidential suite—and then it had another huge room about as big as our house. And that was where you slept. And then you went off of that and there were some bathrooms. And I came into this one big room, and all it was was black tiles all the way around the room. And I said, “What do you do here? What’s this for? There’re no sinks, no mirrors. What do you do here?” You go and you stand in the middle of the room, and they had these nozzles that hit you from all different spots. That was the shower! So, there are some spots that are really interesting.
What kind of room are we going to have in the God’s house? I think it’s a neat spot. And Jesus says, “I’m so interested in that place being a nice place, I’m going to go and prepare a place for you.” Can’t wait to see that.
Then He says, “If I go and prepare a place for you,” number four, “I will come back and take you to be with me.” Now, when He says you will be “with Him,” where do you think He is? Well, He says, “I’m going back to the Father’s house, I’m going to prepare a place for you there, and then I’m going to come again and get you so you will be where I am.”
Where do you get the idea we’re going? We’re going back to the Father’s house. He just got done saying, “I’m preparing a place for you. I’m going to come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” So I get the idea, and I think the disciples got the idea, that Jesus is coming and He’s going to take us back to heaven.
You have Jesus coming at the rapture for His Church, and then we go to heaven. He presents us to the Father. We are there. We have the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. We are in the place, those dwelling places that Jesus has been preparing for us. And then a few years later, approximately seven years later, we come back with Jesus Christ, and we watch as He establishes His Kingdom and takes care of His enemies on earth. Makes a lot of sense.
Jesus said, “I go and prepare a place for you. I will come again and take you to be where I am.” In other words, wherever it is, we’re going to be there with Him, which is very important.
Ed. Note: This article is excerpted from a sermon given by Dr. Ankerberg, and has been slightly modified for publication.