In John’s Gospel, Jesus refers to God’s heavenly kingdom, saying, “In my Father’s house are many rooms (μοναὶ; monaì). If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (14:2-3 ESV). Many modern readers assume that Yeshua speaks of taking believers to these “rooms” in a “rapture” to heaven. However, this assumption misses the broader context of Jesus’ words in John; rather than rapturing believers to heaven, Jesus promises to bring God’s kingdom with him from heaven, and to abide with humanity eternally on earth.

Though several English translations say that the Father’s house has many “rooms” (μοναὶ; e.g., ESV; NIV; NRSV; RSV), the underlying Greek word comes from a verb that means “to abide” (μένω; méno). Thus, a better translation would be “abiding places.” Incidentally, the King James renders μοναὶ as “mansions” which, despite their lavish connotations today, just meant “places to stay” in seventeenth-century English. Whichever way one chooses to translate the term, the important point is that Jesus’ statement about these abiding places does not denote a rapture to heaven. Part of the confusion comes in Jesus’ promise to his disciples to prepare heavenly spaces (14:2) and then to “take” them to himself (14:3). In English, this sounds like Jesus will “take away” believers from earth to heaven; however, the Greek word (παραλαμβάνω; paralambáno) never means to “take away” in John’s Gospel. In fact, it means the opposite: παραλαμβάνω indicates “receiving” someone, rather than taking away.

Helpfully, παραλαμβάνω only appears two other times in the Fourth Gospel, so it’s easy to see that it means “receive” rather than “take away.” First, παραλαμβάνω describes the Word of God coming into the world: “He came (ἔρχομαι; erchomai) to his own, and his own received (παραλαμβάνω) him not” (Jn 1:11). The term in 14:3 retains the same linguistic content, context, and connotation: Yeshua promises to “come” (ἔρχομαι; erchomai) again and “receive” (παραλαμβάνω) his followers where they are—that is, on earth. Second, just before Jesus’ crucifixion, Pilate “handed him over to [the Roman soldiers] to be crucified, so they received (παραλαμβάνω) Jesus and he went out bearing his own cross” (19:16-17). The soldiers receive Jesus from Pilate; they do not take him away—to the contrary, he goes away from them! In light of John’s other usages of παραλαμβάνω, John 14:2-3 describes Jesus coming to earth and receiving his disciples there; the verses do not record a rapture to heaven.

After the initial verses of John 14, the text clarifies that Jesus’ goal is to abide with his followers on earth. The exact same word for “abiding place” (μονή; moné) in 14:2 reappears when Jesus declares, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come (ἔρχομαι; erchomai) to him and make our abiding place (μονή; moné) with him” (14:23; cf. 1 Jn 2:28). This verse explains the meaning of Jesus’ promise at the start of the chapter: ultimately, Jesus and his Father will make their home here. Revelation affirms this eschatology when John sees “a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,” so that “the dwelling place of God is with humanity” (Rev 21:2-3). In John’s Gospel, Jesus does not promise a “rapture” to heaven, but rather his permanent residence among God’s people in an eternal kingdom.

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78 COMMENTS

  1. so instead of going to a differnt place like heaven we just step into the newly prepared kingdom at death? Am i thinking right at this? Jesus return will reveal that kingdom when he returns?

  2. I am so glad that you explained this. So many ministers have led people to believe that they are going to Heaven when they die. However, the Psalmist tells us that Heaven is God’s domain and the Earth is ours. Not only that, the book of Revelation shares that the new Jerusalem comes “down” from Heaven and that God will dwell with His people here on the Earth. Thanks.

    • Israel Bible Center equips you with the tools you need to enter into the Jewish world of Scripture. We provide first-rate teaching, and the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s top scholars. As a student, you will be able to interact personally with our teaching faculty, and gain access to hundreds of hours of Bible courses, including The Jewish Gospel of Matthew and The Hebrew Psalms: How To Worship God. Become a part of the community of teachers and students at Israel Bible Center today!

  3. Often people get their interpretations wrong by reading into passages what isn’t there. Seeing “in my Father’s house” as = heaven would make the temple = heaven (“you have made it (my Father’s house) a den of thieves” John 19:46

  4. Thanks. It’s difficult, in this day and age, to keep in mind how central resurrection and God’s kingdom on earth were to the early Jesus followers. As we know, Paul and others expected it in their lifetimes.

    • Helpful comment, John. Yes, bodily resurrection is central to NT thought, and “rapture” to heaven undercuts that centrality. Thanks for reading.

    • We are very happy that you’ve joined our discussion forum. Would you believe that these articles are only a taste of what Israel Bible Center has to offer? We also provide comprehensive teaching on a variety of biblical, historical, and cultural topics. You might begin with The Jewish Gospel of Matthew or The Hebrew Psalms: How To Worship God. You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!

  5. Rev 20:4&5 would then emply: A. Christians go through the 7 year tribulation. B. At the end of tribulation all living go into the millenium. C. Those martyred for Christ will arise at the first resurection and reign “rule” with Christ through the millenium. D. After the millenium all dead arise, good and evil, for the Great White Throne judgement. Is that your position?

    • Thanks for your question, Delbert. Insofar as Revelation’s imagery is apocalyptic, often symbolic, and fairly complex, it may not be prudent to hold a systematic position on its eschatological chronology (cf. Matt 24:36; Mk 13:32).

      • So the events in revelations are not in order? Theres a clear flow of events that are being explained to John… Between rev. 6-18 (tribulation period) it’s quite odd there is not a single mention of the church. You would think they would be active in evangelysm during this period. Could it be its because they were “kept from the hour of trial that is to come on the whole world” – Rev. 3:10.

        • Thanks for your question, Nick. The entire book of Revelation constitutes information for the church. The end of the book states, “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify about these things for the churches” (Rev 22:16). Hence it would be even odder if Jesus spent the entire book detailing events “for the church,” which the church would not experience. On Rev 3:10, Jesus can protect the church at Philadelphia from trial, but that doesn’t necessitate a “rapture to heaven”; in Revelation, believers receive protection on earth, not in heaven (e.g., 12:6).

        • We are very happy that you’ve joined our discussion forum. Would you believe that these articles are only a taste of what Israel Bible Center has to offer? We also provide comprehensive teaching on a variety of biblical, historical, and cultural topics. You might begin with The Jewish Gospel of Matthew or The Hebrew Psalms: How To Worship God. You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!

      • In rev. 19:11-20 it describes the glorious appearing yet ironically there’s NOT a hint of the resurrection so that the Bride can join her Lord as promised. Interesting enough it just assumes they are already with Him. I’m curious how you would explain this.

  6. If He must “go away” to prepare a place to receive them, why do you believe it is on the earth? Jesus was clear that the place He goes to is called “paradise” and promised one of the other men cruscified they would be there that day.

  7. i understand heaven and hell are in another universe, which will be created after this universe where we presently live has been destroyed. G-d will receive us, after judgement has been made

  8. Theres obviously two returns – one to take up His church were Paul says that we will be “caught up in the air” hence the rapture – and another of His glorious return to establish His kingdom.

  9. I just started reviewing Israel Bible Center. I love the content and have nuggets of truth I’ve tucked away to use in my sermons. But please keep the doctrional differences to yourselves. I’m a tongue speaking HG filled missionary. You’d do good to not delve into controversial doctrional differences and write off a large portion of believers.

    • Nick, we are glad you’re finding sermon fodder on our site, but IBC does not engage in “doctrinal” declarations. Instead, the faculty seeks to interpret passages on their own terms and offer options for understanding those passages. The “doctrine” that one produces as a result of these readings is up to the individual readers.

      • What you’ve said in this post just doesnt make sense – so basically the ‘judgement seat of christ (which will involve millions of people), marriage supper of the lamb, are all going to happen in a “twinkling of an eye?” Youve got to play quite a game of twister to make all this fit together.

        • Nick, this post doesn’t mention any of the texts to which you allude in this response (i.e., 2 Cor 5:10; Rev 19:6-10; 1 Cor 15:52). John 14 makes perfect sense on its own; attempting to fit it together seamlessly with various other texts may necessitate a “game of twister,” but the above article does not attempt to do this (nor does Scripture demand this kind of modern, systematic approach).

  10. This is also shown in Acts 1 when Yeshua leaves the Mt of Olives. The next event the angels mention to the onlookers is HIS RETURN in like manner as you see him go. Zechariah also mentions it will be to that spot on the Mt of Olives where his feet will touch earth once again. 🙂

  11. What does it mean then when Jesus said there will be a new heaven AND new earth. What is the point of a new heaven if we live on earth?

    • Thanks for your question, Paula. “New heavens and new earth” language (cf. Isa 65:17; 66:22; 2 Pet 3:13; Rev 21:1) is the equivalent of saying “new sky and new land”; that is, a “new creation” of the skies and the land — the first one having been created at Gen 1:1. In biblical thought, “heaven” is where God lives, but people don’t go there (cf. Jn 3:13).

  12. 1 Thes 4:16-17 and Rev 19:14 confirm that there is going to be rupture and coming together. But as you said, John 14 refers to permanent dwelling. Jesus will come to earth and we will with Him -after being caught up first.

    • Thanks for your question. At no point do humans go to heaven; instead, God comes down from heaven to humanity (cf. Rev 21:2-3, 10).

  13. whao!!! Thanks so much for the great work Dr. Nicholas, may the lord continue to enrich your scope of thinking…

  14. I don’t quite agree with your own teaching on how kingdom shall be established. While it is true that the kingdom shall be established here on earth, it is also true that there is a rapture of the saints. If you say there is no rapture what then will call the event predicted by Paul in first Thessalonians 4:13-17?

      • As mentioned – this just doesnt fit scripture. So how long are we in the air for? 2 thess. 2:1-12 starts off with “concerning the COMING of our Lord Jesus Christ AND our GATHERING TOGETHER to him…” (2 events) –> AND THEN describes the ‘revealing of the man of sin,’ exalting himself as God, his deception, etc. + plus everything else in revelations – seals, trumpets, etc.

        • The meeting in the air is a brief encounter that precedes a return with Jesus down to earth — where believers “will always be with the Lord” (1 Thess 4:17). See https://weekly.israelbiblecenter.com/meeting-lord-rapture-return/ The beginning of 2 Thessalonians describes tribulation for those who have persecuted believers and subsequent marveling by believers — both of which will occur in tandem at Jesus’ single return to earth (see 2 Thess 1:5-10). There is no reference to a rapture in 2 Thessalonians, and there’s no reason to conflate the letter with Revelation (no “s” at the end).

        • Israel Bible Center equips you with the tools you need to enter into the Jewish world of Scripture. We provide first-rate teaching, and the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s top scholars. As a student, you will be able to interact personally with our teaching faculty, and gain access to hundreds of hours of Bible courses, including The Jewish Gospel of Matthew and The Hebrew Psalms: How To Worship God. Become a part of the community of teachers and students at Israel Bible Center today!

      • So if you are lumping together these two events – according to the chronological timeline of revelations – Jesus doesnt come back until revelation 19 (after the trumpet & vial judgements). What then is the point of being “caught up in the air.” – if according to what you are saying – we will go through these extremely horrid events.

        • Nick R, I am curious as to why you think believers are spared from ” horrid events” when it is clear that believers all over the world are already and have often, historically, experienced horrible things? Has God forsaken them but spares those in other parts of the world? Or does He keep them safe spiritually?

          • Hi Lois, i cannot see if Nick R has answered your question.I agree with him about the Rapture and also agree that the new earth will be our eternal home. Regarding being kept safe from the tribulation – both 1 Thess 1:10 and Romans 5:9 tell us we will be kept from God’s wrath – the things happening in the world today is man’s persecution. while the Tribulation is God’s wrath upon a world that refuses Him – Christ has already paid that price for us.

  15. How true Jeremiah 16:19 is is becoming more and more apparent as we approach (if we’re not already in) the last days. Yet more and more people seem to be finding the truth. People are leaving mainline denominations in droves, seeking that truth, and many are finding it. Barukh ha-shem Adonai. :clap:

  16. Yes, Dr. Schaser, God, in the consummation, will dwell (make His tabernacle) with us on earth. However there seems to be undeniable teaching in both

  17. … OT & NT supporting a rapture and then the coming down of God to dwell on earth (eg. Rev. 21:1-4). The only thing we’re not to do with the rapture is fixing dates for it since the Lord said the angels even don’t know the time.

  18. Thanks Dr. Nicholas for the exposition on “being caught up” by Apostle Paul. Where then will the believers be during the ‘Great Ttribulation and reign of the Antichrist for seven years?

    • Thanks for your question, Daniel. In John, Jesus assures his disciples, “In this world you will have tribulation” (Jn 16:33); thus, John would say that believers will experience any upcoming tribulation, rather than be “raptured” out of it.

    • Israel Bible Center equips you with the tools you need to enter into the Jewish world of Scripture. We provide first-rate teaching, and the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s top scholars. As a student, you will be able to interact personally with our teaching faculty, and gain access to hundreds of hours of Bible courses, including The Jewish Gospel of Matthew and The Hebrew Psalms: How To Worship God. Become a part of the community of teachers and students at Israel Bible Center today!

  19. Sir, May I suggest that the word ‘mansion’ is quite correct. When the word ‘house’ is used, it refers to the family of God in the same way that in England, the Queen is from the ‘House of Windsor’. ‘Mansion’ to a 17th century reader would have meant a grand place of comfort and safety – a reward for being part of God’s family.

  20. This is a better explanation than “mansions in heaven” which is common among most preachers and commentaries. My explanation would be too long to type here. If anyone is interested to see my take on this, I did two sermons entitled “My Father’s House”, you can listen to it on youtube, in youtube search type “Arnold Rajan kingdom of God” and listen to sermons 4 and 5. Shalom.

  21. you have taught me to take the whole of the Bible not part of it to ensure correct interpretation with this in mind why have you ignored Pauls teaching in 2 Thess on the rapture

  22. If there is no Rapture, then obviously all believers must go through the Tribulation. So, then, (1) why doesn’t the New Testament instruct believers on how to weather out this awful-beyond-comprehension event and (2) why does Paul tell us to wait for the “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13)? How can waiting for the coming Tribulation be in anyway a blessed hope???

    • (1) The New Testament contains several references to weathering tribulation and persecution (cf. Matt 24:9-28; Mk 13:9-23; Lk 17:20-37; Jn 16:33; 1 Pet 2:19-20; 2 Tim 4:5); (2) The “blessed hope” is not the “tribulation,” but rather Christ’s arrival, which includes simultaneous but separate outcomes for the righteous and the unrighteous (cf. Matt 25:31-46; Thess 1:5-10).

  23. Dr. Schaser, great article. I love the way you treat Jesus’s words as the foundation of your understanding. It seems like we are afraid of Jesus, and we need to read other people, like Paul and Peter and John to understand the one who says Come to Me. Probably indicative of our level of human development. Great read. Away with escapism. When God is ready to reveal all, it won’t be from Paul’s ideas, but Jesus will tell it like it is. And the scriptures will agree with Him and every other prophet. Anyway, those are only ideas in my head. thanks

  24. Although I agree with you that rapture, generally as taught, is an erroneous teaching and I have taught this way for many decades. I would like your scholarly input on Revelation 21:2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. In conjunction with other passages, and our understanding of the Bride being the church and Yeshua the Bridegroom, the mystery of marriage etc it appears that the New Jerusalem “coming down” “out of heaven” is the church. If there is a coming down, there must have been a going up, at some point.

    • Thanks for your comments and questions, Israel. There is a “going up,” but it’s a meeting with the Lord in the air followed by a return to earth. See https://weekly.israelbiblecenter.com/meeting-lord-rapture-return/ In Revelation, the New Jerusalem descends from God in heaven “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (21:2). God comes down from heaven along with the New Jerusalem so that the “dwelling place of God is [now] with humanity” (21:3). This suggests that humanity remains on earth, rather than enjoying an extended stay with God in heaven via “rapture.” More, “the kings of the earth will bring their glory into [the city]” (21:24), which means that people on earth enter the New Jerusalem once it comes from heaven; indeed, anyone who is “written in the Lamb’s book of life” enters once the city comes to earth (21:27). For more on Paul’s view of “rapture,” see https://weekly.israelbiblecenter.com/paul-really-report-rapture/

  25. thank you, as far as the text says about the New Jeruslaem being compared as the Bride, how can we seperate that from the imagery all throughout as the “bride” being the “church”? is this new jerusalem coming down with Jesus not His believers/saved ones? or at least a portion of? Ive never believed in a “rapture” in the way of taking people away, especially from the clear tribulation. however, it seems that the meeting in the air ia almost like a commissioning (how ive interpreted) and those who meet Him in the air are changed and come back down to continue the work. ive wondered cpuld this be in conjunction with the “half hour of silence” that comes after the tribulation but before the judegement. considering the promises given to the Revelation churches, that are conditional “if….then” statements. It appears to me that not ALL will rule and reign, not ALL will sit on throne. Not ALL will “judge with a rod of iron”, etc. instead the verbiage is “those that overcome”. could this be that indeed “some” will then have some sort of meeting, something happen (not sure) but then come back down with Jesus as reigning King? since salvation is not on the condition of “works” I cant see the disqualification a salvation issue, but rather an positional issue. not all will receive the same rewards. since revelation promises are rewards based on works it cannot imply salvation nor can it imply “all” saved receiving these promises.

    • These are good questions and comments, Israel. Based on Rev 3:12, it seems that those in the “church” (ekklesia) commune in the New Jerusalem, but are not themselves the “New Jerusalem.” That is, believers enjoy eternal life in the city that comes down from heaven, but they are not that new city. Jesus tells the church in Sardis, “If you conquer, I will make you a pillar in the temple of my God; you will never go out of it. I will write on you the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem that comes down from my God out of heaven.” The believers at Sardis are a “pillar” of the Temple of God who resides in the New Jerusalem, but the church itself is not the new city (the believers “will never go out of it”). In the Tanakh, Jerusalem is compared to a bride (see Jer 2:2; cf. Song 6:4), and Revelation seems to be drawing on this imagery for the New Jerusalem. Aligning 1 Thessalonians with Revelation is a tricky business, but you’re right about differences in “position” among those who are saved. Paul’s language seems to include everyone (both alive and resurrected) meeting the Lord in the air, rather than only some. Though, apocalyptic texts like 1 Thess 4 and Revelation were not meant for building all-encompassing, systematic eschatologies, and there’s a good amount that these texts leave unspecified.

    • We are very happy that you’ve joined our discussion forum. Would you believe that these articles are only a taste of what Israel Bible Center has to offer? We also provide comprehensive teaching on a variety of biblical, historical, and cultural topics. You might begin with The Jewish Gospel of Matthew or The Hebrew Psalms: How To Worship God. You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!

  26. thank you very much, and I apologize I realized I’m logged in under my husbands account, my name is Janette Hatton

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