MANY RIDDLES ABOUT THE MANY MANSIONS, #695
Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (JOH 14:5-6).
In chapter 14 Jesus was not primarily taken up with the suffering He was facing. His entire lesson in this chapter is the peace and consolation of His Bride.
The solemnity of Jesus' statements throughout His public ministry, and especially during His private discourses with His own concerning His approaching suffering and death, perplexed and amazed His disciples. The Lord Jesus was telling His disciples what would befall Him, so when they saw it happen, they would understand that this was God's decree concerning Him.
The disciples had looked for their Master to be the One who would restore the kingdom of Israel. They did not rightly understand His first coming until the day of Pentecost. Even as He was being taken up from them they were still looking for an earthly kingdom as we see in ACT 1:6, "Wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" While the Lord Jesus answered that question He was taken up from them into glory. In verses 7 to 9 we read, "And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight."
Many people today make prophecies and predictions about the second coming of Christ, and they understand less than the disciples did of His first coming. The thing that so perplexed them was that they were looking for Him to restore the kingdom. He gave such a different explanation of His coming glory. They thought He was going to become king, but He talked to them about His suffering, and He told them that they would betray Him and deny Him. Can you see why their hearts were troubled?
In JOH 12:23-24 Jesus tells them how He would be glorified, "And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." They looked for Him to become a king, and He talked to them about dying.
Above all this, Jesus spoke of His own soul's grief with reference to His departure from their presence, saying in JOH 12:26-27, "If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour."
In the light of these things, think of the misgivings they must have had when Jesus, their Lord and Master, told them in JOH 13:33, "Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you."
How could they reconcile all this with what they supposed was His commission as the Messiah? Can we fault Thomas for unbelief? They did not rightly understand that by taking up His cross He would pay the penalty for our sins. It is only through the precious atonement of our Saviour that we have access to the Father.
Our Saviour was not so preoccupied with His own sorrow that He forgot the sorrow and perplexity of His loved ones. When He was hanging on the cross He did not forget your and my sorrow. He said, Father, forgive them, they know not what they do. We do not realize how we crucify the Lord with our sins. We do not realize how we pierce Him with our sins.
Of our Lord it is said that He "needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man," as we read in JOH 2:25. He was well aware of what was going through their hearts and minds. Is that not a blessed consolation, when we are at our wits end, to know that He understands our every thought. He understands everything that goes through our hearts and minds. He understood what they were thinking. He understood their perplexities.
He was and is "a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do," as we read in HEB 4:12-13.
Throughout JOH 14 we see the prophecies fulfilled that we find recorded in
ISA 61:1, "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound." This is what He was doing in JOH 14. He was binding up the hearts of the brokenhearted.
As Jesus hung on the cross He cried out, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" The Father forsook Him because you and I deserve to be forsaken of God for all eternity. How was it that our blessed Saviour endured what He endured? He had His eye on the joy that was set before Him. We read that in HEB 12:2, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
He had His eye of faith fixed on that perpetual joy of that heavenly wedding feast, where He will receive His Bride, washed and cleansed from all her sins, brought before Him for that marriage union. He also comforted His little flock by setting that joy before them, that they may endure their sorrow and shame. He said in JOH 14:1-2, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you."
The Saviour's words, "Ye believe in God, believe also in me," is a reproof to His disciples in this respect: "Your sorrow gives rise from your not believing all that the prophets have spoken concerning Me." See how plainly the present hour had been prophesied in ISA 53:5-6, "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."
The disciples were walking by the sight of their eyes. When we walk by the sight of our eyes, sometimes we cannot understand present circumstances, but if our eyes are lifted up to God and we see Christ and what He is doing, then we do not try to have all the answers. It is just like the Lord Jesus told His disciples in ACT 1, It is not for you to know the times and the seasons. That is not your business. The Father is the One who knows, and we must have faith and trust in God.
DEU 29:29 says, "The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law." If we walk by faith, we will obey the Lord even though it goes against our human reasoning, even though it may not even look right to us. We are not to govern our lives by the secret will of God. We must govern our lives by His revealed will.
David had learned to walk by faith and not by sight as we see from PSA 31:15, "My times are in thy hand." As we learn to walk by faith and begin to trust God's absolute sovereignty, we will understand ISA 54:10, "For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee." Have you ever had something happen to you and you put a finger on someone else and said, Well look what that person did? That person did not do it. He was just God's instrument. God allowed that to happen to you to test your faith, to see whether you would obey His law of love, to see whether you would forgive that person.
Can you imagine how the disciples would be so furious at the scribes and Pharisees for coming to kill their Master? But they found later that He died by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, because God had so decreed that He should die. Then they preached the gospel to these same scribes and Pharisees, teaching them the way of salvation and showing them that their salvation and that very sacrifice was made when they had placed their Saviour on the cross. Even though all elements of nature come against us, we can have perfect peace because we can put it all in the hands of the Lord.
In ISA 54:11-12 we see the beauty of those mansions Jesus talked about, "O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones." This is a beautiful foresight of those precious mansions that Jesus said He had gone to prepare for you. Jesus would deliver us from the power of death and the grave by conquering death and the grave for His people, making it possible that they could come into those mansions.
In COL 1:14-15 we read, "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature."
The Father's house (JOH 14:2) is the place where He dwells and the final place of abode for His dear children who have been reconciled with Him. It becomes a family reunion. The Father and His Son and all those who have been adopted into the family of God will come into their Father's house.
As Jesus finished His ministry in this world He disowned the temple in Jerusalem because of unbelief and rebellion. We see in MAT 23:37-38, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." He no longer called it His Father's house because the candlestick was being removed. They had rebelled against the Word and the teachings of Christ, and they had crucified the Lord of life and glory.
The glories of heaven are revealed through the use of several terms. Its vastness is represented by the term country. In LUK 19:12 we read, "He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return."
The large number of its inhabitants is represented by the term city. We read in HEB 11:10, "For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." This shows the dense population.
The authority given Christ as His reward for His voluntary sacrifice of His life for His bride is represented by the term kingdom. We read in 2PE 1:11, "For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
The emphasis of its delights is revealed in the term paradise. In REV 2:7 we read, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God."
"My Father's house" speaks of our eternal home, the permanent place of rest, security and joy. This is what Jesus referenced in the parable of the prodigal in LUK 15:22-24, "But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry." He is preparing a place of joy, a place of rejoicing and a place to be in that oneness and family accord. It is referring to how the Father in relationship to those who are adopted in Christ will have a place of joy and of gladness.
This heavenly joy that shall be found in "My Father's house," is what we read about in REV 15:2-3, "And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints."
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