Life-Study of 1 & 2 Thessaloniansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
According to both 1 Thessalonians 1:1 and 2 Thessalonians 1:1, the church is in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. In the foregoing message we pointed out that for the church to be in Christ is to be in resurrection life. This resurrection life is Christ Himself in resurrection as the life-giving Spirit. What we need is not self-improvement but the growth of this resurrection life within us.
In John 14 we have a further indication that we the believers are in God the Father. According to the traditional religious understanding, this chapter speaks of heavenly mansions. However, what John 14 speaks about is not heavenly mansions; rather, it speaks of abodes, abiding places, in a divine Person, in God the Father. In verses 2 and 3 the Lord Jesus says, “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.” The Lord Jesus was telling His disciples that through His death and resurrection He would prepare the way to bring them into the Father.
The Lord Jesus is in the Father (John 14:10-11). He wanted His disciples also to be in the Father, as revealed in John 17:21. Through His death and resurrection, He brought His disciples into Himself. Since He is in the Father, they are also in the Father by being in Him. Hence, where the Lord Jesus is, there the disciples are also. Where is the Lord Jesus? He is in the Father. Therefore, for us to be where He is means that we also are in the Father.
It is actually superstitious to believe that John 14:2 and 3 mean that the Lord is building a heavenly mansion and that He will come back only after this work of building is complete. Some Christian teachers claim that the fact the Lord Jesus has not come back indicates that the building of the heavenly mansion is not yet finished. I was told this by a Christian teacher when I was very young. In their talk about the heavenly mansion, some have said, “How marvelous the heavenly mansion will be! The Lord Jesus has been there for more than nineteen hundred years, and still He hasn’t finished the building of this mansion. The Lord said that after He prepares a place for us, He will come back and receive us to Himself. We know from the fact that He has not yet come back that He is still building the heavenly mansion.”
While I was in England in 1958, I was enlightened to see from the Bible that John 14 has nothing to do with a heavenly mansion. The use of the word mansion in the King James translation of John 14:2 is not accurate. This verse speaks of abodes, not of mansions. The word used in Greek is a noun form of the verb abide. Here the Lord Jesus seems to be saying, “I am your abode, and you shall abide in Me. You are My abode, and I shall abide in you. I am going to prepare an abode in God the Father. The Father wants to receive you all. However, because you are sinful and unrighteous and He is holy and righteous, you cannot enter into Him unless I die on the cross to take away your sins. My death will open up the way for you to come into the Father. After I have prepared a place for you in the Father through My death and resurrection, I shall come again.” Praise the Lord that in this sense the Lord Jesus has already returned! He has already come back, and He has brought us into the Father. Now as members of the church we can declare that we are in God the Father. The church, including all of us, is where the Lord Jesus is, that is, in God the Father. Hallelujah, where the Lord Jesus Christ is, there we are also! We are in the same abode as the Lord Jesus is. How wonderful!
When I began to teach that John 14 speaks not of heavenly mansions but of abodes in God the Father, I was criticized and condemned. Some accused me of taking away their heavenly mansion and complained that at a funeral they could no longer tell people that there is a heavenly mansion for the dead believers.
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