Growing up in a middle-class Nigerian family comes with its pros and cons. One of the major pros is that you are closer to the knowledge of the good life than most people. By the good life I mean- nice houses, flashy cars, a luxurious lifestyle and unending comfort.
So you are sent to school to make sure you acquire the knowledge required to get that good life. But another very significant part of my life growing up was my Christian upbringing.
My parents are devout Christians so church on Sunday was a must-do thing, no negotiations and no excuses.
The most fascinating part of going to church was when we had to learn about heaven. Oh heaven, that perfect place, with gold streets and Mansions. Hearing about such a place resonated with the longing for the good life.
So I wanted to go to heaven, I wanted my own mansion. I mean I have suffered enough, no offence, I was born in Lagos and I have tried. So I kept this dream alive until I saw a different perspective that questioned all my previous expectations of heaven.
So let us look at the bible together and I would allow you make up your mind on one of the greatest Christian fantasies.
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. 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. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. – John 14:1-4 (KJV)
Above are the verses that give the idea of mansions in heaven and the statements were made by Jesus. The points below are from the different perspective I was shown about the above verses.
- Mansions in a House
The first thing that should get your attention is what Jesus says in the second verse, ‘In my Father’s house are many mansions’. This should raise your curiosity as an educated and introspective reader. How many mansions can you possibly have in a house? Think about that while I move to the next point.'In my Father’s house are many mansions’. This should raise your curiosity as an educated and introspective reader. How many mansions can you possibly have in a house? Click To Tweet
- The Greek word ‘Mone’
The bible was not originally written in English. In fact, none of the characters in the bible ever spoke English. The earliest manuscripts of the New Testament were written in Greek before they began to be translated into other languages.
A problem that arises when translating from one language to the other is the problem of balance.
For example, while the English language has more than 10,000 words, no Nigerian language comes close to that number. This was the case of the Greek language in comparison with the English language at the point of translation. The Greek language had three times more words than the English language. This is why it helps your bible study, to know the Greek words used in many cases, so that you can get the exact idea that is communicated.
So coming back to John 14:2, the Greek word for mansions is ‘Mone’. If you have a bible that has Strong’s numbers, which are the Greek translations of the English words, you would see that the word ‘Mone’ more accurately means one of three things:
- A staying, abiding, dwelling abode
- To make an (one’s) abode
- Metaphorically of the God the Holy Spirit indwelling
This leads me to the next point.
- Newer Translations
In the last point, I stated that the bible was not originally written in English. The King James Version was one of the earliest attempts to translate the Bible from the original Greek to English. This was several centuries ago and indeed the English language has evolved from what was spoken when the bible was first translated.
So the summary of all that gist is: thus sayest or that wentest or camest is not a more spiritual way to speak English, it is actually just old English. This is why if you type some of those things on Microsoft Word they would be underlined in red. Those words have lost their relevance in modern English. So many times you are likely to understand the Bible better if you read a translation that is written in today’s everyday English.'Thus sayest' or 'thou wentest or camest' is not a more spiritual way to speak English, it is actually just old English. Click To Tweet
I am not saying there is a problem with the King James Version, I am just saying that the problem might be in your understanding of the usage of the words. So let us have John 14:1-2 in two newer translations, to help you better understand this point.Many times you are likely to understand the Bible better if you read a translation that is written in today’s everyday English. Click To Tweet
John 14: 1-2 (English Standard Version (ESV))
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
John 14: 1-2 (Holman Christian Study Bible (HSCB))
“Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you.
You see that the ESV and HSCB say rooms and dwelling places respectively where the KJV says mansions. These translations are even closer to the original Greek meaning of the word.You see that the ESV and HSCB say rooms and dwelling places respectively where the KJV says mansions. These translations are even closer to the original Greek meaning of the word. Click To Tweet
So with these few points of mine, I would like to get your opinions on the following question, in the comments section.
Was Jesus talking about giving us the Holy Spirit, as a proof of our acceptance in the father or He was speaking about actual mansions in heaven?