I want to look into what the Bible says about Heaven. This will probably turn into a series, simply because Jesus says so much about heaven, and it is all over the place in the Bible, and it would be crazy to fit it all into one blog entry.
Another series from last year is here:
One thing Jesus says, in John 14:2-3, is that heaven is a big house with lots of rooms. See, look: My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
In this section Jesus calls heaven his father’s house. That is heaven. They are one and the same. Heaven is God’s house. That is not all it is, of course, but that is one way of thinking about it. Jesus has to use a lot of different expressions to describe it because it is too big and too extraordinary to be understood by a human mind.
In any case, one way to think of heaven is a gigantic house full of rooms that Jesus himself is building. It is God’s house, but Jesus is preparing a place for us there. He is adding on.
You may know a few things about old Jewish wedding traditions in the time of Jesus but it is important to catch what he is saying here. This discussion of heaven is mostly about a wedding, and that is important.
In the time of Jesus the traditional way to get married was for a bridegroom to set an engagement with a woman, and then leave her while he built a room onto his parents house. He wouldn’t talk to her or visit her during the time it took to build the room, and it could sometimes take years if circumstances slowed him down. Then, when the room was ready, he would call the bride’s family and want to get married the next day. The bride’s family’s job was to be prepared for the wedding, have all the guests already invited, and make sure lots of them attended. It was hard to prepare for something like that, but the bride’s family would constantly talk to the groom’s family, and pay attention to what was going on so they would have an idea when to be ready. It would shameful for the groom to be ready and the bride not be ready.
The wedding had to wait for the groom to finish building a room, but it didn’t wait a day longer than that. Once it was ready, it was go time, and all the family and guests were expected to be there for it.
What Jesus is saying here is obviously parallel to this ancient Jewish wedding practice. He tells the bride that he is going away to build onto his father’s house, and then he leaves. We are the bride, he is the groom, and someday, hopefully soon, he will return for the wedding.
It is hard to understand the idea of Jesus marrying us. The church as a whole is called the “Bride of Christ” in the Bible, and the analogy carries throughout all of scripture. Obviously it won’t be exactly like an ordinary wedding on earth, but the concept of a wedding is certainly part of our understanding of Heaven. For now, don’t let it confuse you too much. It is important, but not if it causes confusion. We can dig into that deeper some other time.
What is important is that Jesus is up there right now building rooms for us to live in, doing his half of the work to prepare for the wedding. He is building rooms. Lots of them. Probably at least a billion of them if I had to guess, and plenty of space for more than that. When you read other descriptions of Heaven (which we will do some other time) you find out that it is HUGE. There are going to be enough rooms up there, and plenty of space up there, for all of us.
This is why Jesus says one of the signs of his coming will be when the gospel is preached to everyone in the world. He is making enough rooms for everyone, and it is our job to get the wedding invitation sent to everyone so we are all ready for the day he returns.
We are the bride, waiting for the groom to return. Our job is to make sure all the guests come to the wedding, and make sure we ourselves are ready for it. The guests are all the people we bring to heaven with us. Heaven is joy, feasting, and celebrating, just like a wedding. We need to make sure we attend, and bring as many guests as we can.
There are plenty of rooms for all of us.