I. The Nature of Song in the Church of Christ.
A. Singing must be done with understanding.1 Corinthians 14:15 - What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
B. Singing is done to teach.Colossians 3:16 - Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
C. Teaching something that the Bible does not teach is to teach error.Deuteronomy 4:2 - Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
Galatians 1:9 - As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
2 John 1:9 - Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
Revelation 22:18 - For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
D. Whatever we do must be authorized by scripture:Colossians 3:17 - And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. [Note: “In the name of” means “by the authority of”. Like “stop, in the name of the law!”]
II. Mansions.John 14:2 - 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 Greek word translated “Mansions” in the KJV is ‘mone’ which is only used twice in scripture. The other reference is also in John 14, in verse 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.”
It is not known why this word was translated "mansion" in the first verse and "abode" in the second by the KJV translators.
The immediate context is “In my Father’s house are many mansions [dwelling places]...”
A. In my Father's house...First, note that the mansions are in God’s House. What is God’s house? All references to God’s house under the New Testamentare are references to the church. Not one reference of God’s house is a reference to heaven.
1 Timothy 3:15 - But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
Paul is not instructing Timothy how to behave in heaven but as a member of the house of God, the church. It even states explicitly in this passage that the house of God is the church of God.
Hebrews 10:21 - And having an high priest over the house of God;
Jesus is not the high priest over a location, He is the high priest over a people, the church, spiritual Israel.
2 Corinthians 5:1 - For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
“We have” is present tense. See Hebrews 12:22-23 below. That it is eternal means that the house of God, the church, will not be destroyed, ever. Also note that it is in the heavens, plural, meaning in all the heavens. Three of the four heavens will not exist after time is ended, the sky, space, and earthly authorities. The fourth, Heaven, God’s throne room is the only heaven (singular) that will remain.
Hebrews 3:1-6 – “1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; 2 Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. 3 For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. 4 For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. 5 And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; 6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.”
Christ is not the eldest son in authority over a building. He is in authority over the younger siblings, the children of God, the household of God, the church.
B. "...ARE many mansions...”Some would conclude that since Jesus was speaking of God’s house in the present tense before the church existed in this passage, that God’s house can not be a reference to the church. This reasoning would also mean that the kingdom is not a reference to the church as the kingdom is referred to in the present tense:
Matthew 13:24 - Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
Matthew 13:31 - Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:
Matthew 13:33 - Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.
Matthew 13:44 - Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
Matthew 13:45 - Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
...and so on.
C. Further immediate contextFurther immediate context referenced by many is the rest of John 14:2 through 14:3:
“...I go to prepare a place for you. 3 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.”
- “...I go...” Jesus was going to sit at the right hand of God. (Acts 1).
- “...to prepare a place for you.” The place he was preparing was NOT the place he was going. He was going to prepare these abodes just spoken of. This preparation was done by Him leaving and sending the Holy Ghost, the Comforter that Jesus speaks about later in the chapter.
- “And if I go...” to heaven. See #1.
- “...to prepare a place for you...” See #2.
- “...I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” from heaven.
Jesus is thus leaving as the preparation of the coming kingdom (Pentecost). However, back to vs. 23, we see that He and the Father will come and make their abode (we are the NT Temple) with the faithful (Gal. 2:20).
John 14 is not about the end of time, its about the setting up of the kingdom/church/house of God.
D. What's Wrong With Heaven?The final point to make is with the idea of Jesus going to Heaven to prepare Heaven. Heaven is eternal. The nature of eternal things is to be unchanging. They are timeless, superior to time even.
If Jesus went to prepare Heaven, either Heaven wasn't already perfect and needed to be perfected, or it was already perfect, then Jesus made it other than what it was.
III. ConclusionIt is a symptom of the lukewarmness in the church that we are not examining our songs closer, that we are not listening to the words we sing and studying them according to scripture, that it has taken this long for someone to recognize this problem. I have been guilty of this as well in years past. No longer. The songleaders in the church have just as much responsibility studying the soundess of the songs they lead as the preachers have of making sure the sermons they preach are sound.
In Truth and Love.