Did the Lord Jesus, in John 14, speak about

 (1) physically going to heaven, preparing a place for disciples in heavencoming back physically from heaven and taking disciples physically to heaven  OR did He speak of                                                                                                        (2)physically going into death on  the cross and thus preparing a place for disciples in the Father  (where He himself already was as He physically spoke the words to them) and PHYSICALLY coming back out of death in resurrection to receive them unto Himself so that they could be with Him in the Father?

1.Which is in the context of the chapter?  Heaven or the Father?  “Heaven” is mentioned 19 times in John’s Gospel but the nearest places to John 14 are 12:28 and 17:1. So it is difficult to maintain that “heaven” is the subject under discussion in John 14!  But “the Father” is a major theme in John’s Gospel. He is referred to 119 times in all but is found 21 times in John 14 alone!  So “the Father” definitely is in the context of this chapter!

 2.Where, what, or who is “the Father’s house” in which there are many “mansions”,  “abodes” or “dwellings”?   Is this a place in the universe or is it a person? The Greek word translated “mansions” is MONE (Strong’s #3438. It is only used one other place in scripture and that is John 14:23  “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”

MONE is derived from the Greek word MENE (Strong’s #3306). This word is used by the Lord Jesus in  John 14 and 15 of the “abode” or “dwelling” of divine persons and of believers. In all of these cases the “abode” or “dwelling” is a person or a person’s love!  As the Lord Jesus uses the word in these two chapters,  He never once uses it with reference to a place!

John 14:10  Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth  <3306> in me, he doeth the works. 

John 14:16  And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide <3306> with you for ever;

John 14:17  Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth  <3306> with you, and shall be in you.

John 14:25  These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present <3306> with you.

John 15:4  Abide <3306> in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself,except it abide <3306>  in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide <3306> in me.

John 15:5  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth <3306> in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

John 15:6  If a man abide <3306> not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

John 15:7  If ye abide <3306> in me, and my words abide <3306> in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

John 15:9  As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye <3306> in my love.

John 15:10  If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide <3306> in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide <3306> in his love.

John 15:11  These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain <3306> in you, and that your joy might be full.

Since the Father dwelt in the Lord Jesus (John 14:10), the Lord Jesus, Himself, was the Father’s house! “In my Father’s house are many  mansions…I go to prepare a place for you.”  There are many mansions/abodes/dwelling places in that house and thus believers abide in Christ. (John 15)  Our being “in Christ” is a very oft repeated theme throughout the epistles!

Believers are also the habitation or house of God! Ephesians 2:22; I Tim.3:15

This very radical teaching of the dwelling of God in the saints and the saints dwelling in God was introduced for the very first time by the Lord Jesus, Himself, in John 6:56.  It was never mentioned anywhere else or at any time prior to John 6. But the Lord Jesus develops that truth in John 13-17 and then the apostles expanded  the revelation of that awesome truth throughout the epistles.

 3.Where was the Lord Jesus “going”? From where would He be “coming again” to receive His disciples unto Himself so that they could be where He was?  Was He going to heaven for a long time, or was He going into death for a little time?

 In order to answer these questions we need to find out what scriptural facts would be true at his “going” and what scriptural facts would be true at His “coming again”. Notice the following things that the Lord Jesus said would be true when He went away:

-“yet a little while and the world seeth me no more” John 14:18

-“a little while and ye shall not see me” John 16:17

-“ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful” John 16:20

These things were true when the Lord Jesus went to the cross and died, not when He ascended up into heaven!  The world (unbelievers) never saw the Lord Jesus alive again after He died. And His disciples were sorrowful after He died (Luke 24:17).  But when the Lord Jesus ascended into heaven the disciples were not sad but rather were filled with great joy! (Luke 24:50-52)

Now notice the things that He said would be true at His “coming again”:

-“I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am (I am in the Father) there ye may be also…no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” John 14:3,10,6

-“but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.” John 14:19

-“At that day ye shall know that I am in the Father, and ye in me, and I in you. ” John 14:20

-“and, again a little while and ye shall see me because I go to the Father.” John 16:16

-“but your sorrow shall be turned into joy” John 16:20

-“I will see you again, and your joy no man taketh from you.” John 16:22

-“And in that day ye shall ask me nothing…Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it unto you.” John 16:23

All of these things were true after the Lord Jesus returned in resurrection. We do not need to wait for His return from heaven for these things to be true! We are in the Father, we live, we know that the Lord Jesus is in the Father, and we in Him and He in us, we may have fullness of joy, and we can ask the Father anything in His name and He will give it to us.

 4.Probably the most important question of all is this: “Where did the Lord Jesus say that He was at the moment when He was speaking the words of John 14:1-4,6,7,9 and 10?” The reason why this is a most important question is this: The Lord Jesus said….”I will come again and receive you unto myself that WHERE I AM (present tense as he was speaking) there ye may be also.”   He did not say, “…that where I will go (future tense) there ye may be also.”

In John 14:10,11 the Lord Jesus told His disciples precisely where He was at the moment He was speaking to them. “Believest thou not that I AM IN THE FATHER and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me (the Lord Jesus was the Father’s house!), He doeth the works. Believe me that I AM IN THE FATHER,  and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.”

 5. When the Lord Jesus said that He was “the way, the truth and the life”, did He claim to be “the way to heaven” or “the way to the Father”?

 “…no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” John 14:6

 6. Does scripture teach that after Jesus came back OUT OF DEATH in resurrection that believers in Him are actually IN THE FATHER?

 Yes, it does! John 14:20 says, “In that day ye shall know that I am in my Father and ye in me and I in  you.”  Also 1 John 2:24  says, “Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.”

 7.Does scripture teach that believers go TO HEAVEN when the Lord Jesus returns FROM HEAVEN?

No, It doesn’t! The heavens “must receive” Him UNTIL the restitution of all things. Acts 3:21 When the Lord Jesus descends from heaven there is not a single line of scripture that teaches that He takes a “U turn” in the  clouds and returns to heaven!! Rather  scripture clearly teaches that His return will be in like manner as the disciples saw Him go!  When He went, He ascended from earth to heaven, so when He returns, He descends from heaven to earth!  He ascended from the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:12) and will descend to the very same spot!! (Zech.14:4,5) It is we who make the “U turn”!  We ascend to meet the Lord in the air (I Thess.4:17) and then will be manifested with Him (II Thess.1:10) as He continues His descent to the Mount of Olives. 

 8. Does scripture promise believers rest from trouble seven years prior to the Lord Jesus’   REVELATION?

No! Our rest from trouble is only promised to us “when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  (II Thess.1:7,8)

 No! The gathering of the elect from earth and heaven and our redemption, the redemption of our bodies, occurs AFTER the  tribulation! See Matthew 24:29-31,  Mark 13:24-27, Luke 21:25-28, and Romans 8:23 (“Redemption” in the last two verses is the very same word.)

 9. Does scripture ever teach that new covenant believers “go to heaven when they die or when the Lord comes”?

No, it doesn’t!  The truth of scripture is that people go to heaven when they live! (NOT when they die!) Every person in scripture who ever went to heaven, went there while they were alive in their physical body!

Enoch may have gone to heaven without dying, but scripture does not specifically say so. Gen.5:24 and Heb.11:5

Elijah was taken up by a whirlwind into heaven. II Kings 2:11,

the Lord Jesus ascended into heaven in his glorified body with the marks of Calvary upon it. Acts 1:9-11,

the apostle Paul (II Cor.12:2) and the apostle John Rev.4:1,2 were taken up to heaven in order to see some of what was there and

every New Covenant believer  has already been seated there with Christ! Ephesians 2:6) One of the many blessings with which we have already been blessed in heavenly places in Christ (Eph.1:3) is that we have already been  “seated in heavenly places” (literally “above the heavens”!) in Christ”. Ephesians 2:6 This is not simply “positional truth” as many claim! It is an actual fact! This is as much an actual and very practical fact as all of the following facts of scripture:

-the fact that we died with Christ Romans 6:2

-the fact that we rose with Christ Col.3:1 and Eph.2:5

-the fact that we are all baptized in one Spirit into one Body I Cor.12:13

-the fact that we are forgiven  Romans 4:7; Ephesians 4:32; I John 2:12

-the fact that we are justified Romans 5:1

-the fact that we are in Christ and Christ is in us  John 14:20

-the fact that we have been delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God’s son Colossians 1:13

-the fact that we are accepted in the Beloved Ephesians 1:6

-the fact that we have been indwelt by the Spirit of God John 14:17

-the fact that we have been sealed by the Spirit unto the day of redemption Eph.1:13,14

-the fact that we have been made nigh to God Eph.2:13

-the fact that we have been reconciled to God Eph.2:16

-the fact that we have access by one Spirit unto the father Eph.2:18

-the fact that we are built together as a habitation of God Eph.2:22 etc!!!

 Thus, when the Lord Jesus said, “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“…He was NOT speaking of dwelling places being prepared IN HEAVEN for believers!  He was speaking of going away to Calvary and into death so that when He came again out of death in resurrection power we might be  with Him IN THE FATHER .

The view that has become so commonly accepted that it is not even questioned by most, (i.e. that the Lord Jesus was going to heaven to prepare a place for us in heaven, was coming back from heaven and would take us (at the rapture) to be with Him in heaven) cannot be substantiated by any statements of scripture!  Although it is very commonly accepted, it is nevertheless an unscriptural teaching!

 10. Did Old Testaments saints have any hope of going to heaven when they died”?

No! Scripture never says that any of them would or that any of them did! In fact, on the Day of Pentecost,  Peter declared that even David had not ascended into the heavens! (Acts 2:25-36) But O.T. saints certainly had the hope and assurance of  their bodily, physical resurrection and that, in their flesh, they would see God! (Job 19:26)

 11. Does scripture teach that the eternal dwelling of believers will be “in heaven”?

No, it doesn’t!!   At the coming of the Lord Jesus to the earth, the saints will be gathered from earth and heaven to meet Him in the air (Matt.24:29-31; Mark 13:26,27; Luke 21:27,28; I Thess.4:13-5:11; II Thess.2:1 and will come with Him to the earth (Zech.14:1-5 with Acts 1:9-11)!All of us will then have immortal, incorruptible, glorified physical bodies (I Cor.15:50-53) of flesh and bone just like the resurrection body of the Lord Jesus (Luke 24:39).

 12. When the earth and the heavens are made new, does heaven come down to earth so that the two are united?

NO!  Rather, the New Jerusalem comes down “OUT OF HEAVEN”.  The New Jerusalem is not heaven, nor does heaven come down to earth, nor do saints dwell eternally “in heaven”! The last and third last references to “heaven” in the Bible (Rev.21:2,10)speak of the holy city the new Jerusalem coming down/descending “out of heaven from God”.

 So it is plain that:

the New Heaven and the New Jerusalem are not the same nor will they be united.

the New Earth and the New heaven are not the same nor will they be united.

 The misinterpretation of John 14 has become the major foundational basis for the “pre-tribulation rapture” doctrine. Thus when John  14 is rightly understood the pre-tribulation rapture teaching cannot survive!

2 comments on “John 14: IN HEAVEN OR IN THE FATHER?

  1. Lemuel says:

    Very clear exposition of John 14….never seen it so clearly as I do it now. Thanks very much for posting this.


    • Bruce Woodford says:

      Thanks brother! Had my thinking not been challenged on this passage many years ago, I would never have questioned the traditional thinking! But Albert McShane, an older brother from the UK made a brief comment in a Bible reading on John 14 in Toronto. The brother who was leading the discussion was presenting the traditional view of of Jesus “going to heaven” etc. Brother McShane commented, “The Lord was going to the cross!” Considering that perspective brought everything together for me in John 14-16.


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