God’s Housing Plan – by Milton Hook
Feb 3, 2015 1227
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. In my father’s house are many rooms …. I am going there to prepare a place for you. I will come back and take you to be with me (John 14:1,2).
The Jews taught that in heaven there were grades of housing, the best of saints winning the mansions and those with the least righteous deeds to their account had to be content with a humble billet.
The apocryphal Book of the Secrets of Enoch from first century Egypt spoke of many mansions in a heavenly palace where everyone was assigned a room, the good receiving the best rooms and the evil consigned to the hovels in the dungeon.
The Christian geographer of the second century, Pausanias, was of the belief that “rooms” meant “stages,” that is, the afterlife involved advancing towards heaven, getting better and better in ethical performance with each stage. Origen Adamantius speculated that the dead went to a paradise on earth where they were trained to perform better and begin the stages toward heaven.
Clement of Alexandria in Egypt believed there were degrees of glory and rewards in proportion to a person’s achievements in holiness during this life.
You will notice a recurring colour in this sketch —- “The place” that Jesus said He was going to prepare would be filled with people allegedly judged according to their works. The idea of righteousness by works had a very early beginning. And it persists.
We should notice that the house of many rooms that Jesus mentions is preceded by the admonition “Trust in God, trust also in Me.” The key to the room Jesus has prepared for us is TRUST. The location of heaven and the nature of the rooms are relatively unimportant. It is trust in Jesus that rests at the foundation of the Christian faith. His promise does not include preferential housing. The outstanding element of His promise is, “I will come back and take you to be with Me.”
It would be better to spend eternity in a slum with Jesus than in a palace without Him.
– Milton Hook