What did Christ mean that “In my Father’s House there are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you” ?
“These *many mansions *signify different degrees of glory in heaven.” (From the Haydock Bible footnotes. haydock1859.tripod.com/id107.html )
The degree of glory is proportionate to our good works on earth:
**Mt. 16:27 **“He will render to every one according to his works”
1 Cor 3:8 "And every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labour "
2 Cor 9:6 “He who soweth sparingly shall also reap sparingly: and he that soweth in blessings shall also reap blessings”
Even as a Pentecostal, and later an evangelical, I disliked the “many mansions” translation. A better translation would be “dwelling places.” The context is that of a Middle-Eastern house, which is an entry into a central courtyard, surrounded on all sides by dwelling spaces, usually on at least two levels. When a young man became betrothed, he would prepare a living space in his own father’s house, and when the space was ready for occupancy, he would go get his bride and consummate the marriage, and they would live in the spaces prepared in his father’s house.
The idea that when we get to heaven, each of us is going to have a 50-room, gold-plated “mansion” smacks of Western hyper-consumerism.
For me it speaks of the permanence of our place in glory. Dwelling places denotes permanent residency whereas this world and its life is often depicted in Scripture as a tent that is struck down and carried away. For a nomadic people the idea of a permanent place, an oasis of peace, denoted heaven, versus constantly moving to scrounge a living. We are promised that our place in heaven will be everlasting rather than temporary, as our life now is temporary.
If I have my choice of dwelling place it will be a thatched roof cottage in a green wood. I have no desire to live in a gold plated anything no matter how grand. Give me simplicity and quiet over opulence every time.