THE MANY ABODES IN THE FATHER’S HOUSE
“In My Father’s house are many abodes; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you to Myself, that where I am you also may be” (John 14:2, 3).
The Father’s house, we know from 2:16, was the temple, which today is the church, the house of God. In God’s house there are many abodes. The word translated abodes is the noun form of the verb abide. Every member of the church is an abode, or a room, in God’s house. The Lord was intimating to His disciples that by His death and resurrection He would prepare rooms for them.
This is clear from verse 23, where the word abode again is used. “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make an abode with him.” By comparing this verse with verse 2 we can clearly see that the abodes in God’s house are those who love the Lord Jesus. We must interpret the Bible by the Bible, not according to our natural, religious, or traditional concepts. Those who love the Lord will be an abode for the Father and for the Son.
That the church today is the Father’s house we know from 1 Timothy 3:15: “But if I delay, that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and base of the truth.” All we who are members are abodes in this house, which was prepared by Christ’s death and resurrection. The Lord passed through death and entered into resurrection in order to prepare the church. He thus cleared away every obstacle and released the riches of the divine life. Without His death and resurrection there would have been no way for us to be the church. We were hindered by sins, the flesh, the old creation, worldliness, and the Devil. But by His death and resurrection He took away sins, destroyed the Devil, and released the divine life. Thus He prepared the church, making us all abodes in the house of God.
Do not consider the Father’s house in John 14 as a place. Yes, the Lord did say that He was going to prepare a place for us, but this place is not a lifeless space. This place is actually a living Person. This is apparent from verses 5 and 6, where the Lord told Thomas that He Himself was the way to this place. Since the way to the place is a Person, the place also must be a living Person. The way is a living Person, and this way leads us to a living Person. This living Person is the church. Do you know that the church is the enlargement of Christ? Christ Himself is the living way, leading us to the church, which is His enlargement. The personal Christ is the way leading us to the enlarged Christ!
No doubt what I have said conflicts with how these verses have been traditionally interpreted. I was taught that the Father’s house is in heaven, where there is a golden street. The Lord Jesus went there to prepare us a heavenly mansion. Over nineteen hundred years have gone by, and still that mansion is not completed. Think what a splendid mansion that will be, that after so many years it is still not finished! This is what the Brethren taught. I believed it and thanked the Lord for the wonderful mansion He was still working on. It must not yet be finished because He had promised He would come back and receive me there; since He still had not returned, He must still be laboring on it!
(The Mending Ministry of John, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)