In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so ..." (John 14:2-4)

In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. 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. You know the way to the place where I am going." (John 14:2-4)
Jesus is speaking to his students as he refers to his coming departure after his persecution and the murder of his physical body. Actually, there are a couple of mistranslations that have created some misunderstandings of these statements. Here is an explanation of Jesus' statement together with an alternate translation below.*

What does "in my Father's house are many rooms" mean?

"House" comes from the Greek word οἰκία (oikia), which means "a house: an inhabited edifice, a dwelling," according to the lexicon.

"Rooms" is being translated from the Greek word μονή (monē), which means "a staying, abiding, dwelling, abode." In the plural, the accepted translation is "dwelling places."

Jesus is not referring to a physical house with rooms in it. He is speaking metaphorically about the spiritual realm - because the spiritual dimension is not perceivable with the physical eyes, nor is it fully describable by physical language. Jesus is using what is called a metaphor: Using something easily observed to explain something not easily observed.

Jesus is telling his students that the spiritual realm contains many different spaces - or regions. This is a place where there is a wide range of variety: There are lots of activities and many different types of forms and relationships with the Supreme Being.

In other words, there are many different relationships between the spirit-persons (we are each a spirit-person) and the Supreme Being in the spiritual realm. Each of us was constituted with a unique relationship with the Supreme Being. But each of us has the choice of whether we want to embrace that relationship.

What does he mean by, "I am going there to prepare a place for you"? 

This indicates that Jesus is going to be arranging for his students' return to the spiritual realm.

How does Jesus do this? Is he talking about fluffing up some pillows for his students? Or cleaning out some of the "rooms" so they are ready for them?

That's ridiculous. Jesus is talking about the task of continuing to guide them to the spiritual realm. It is they who must become prepared to return to the spiritual realm. The spiritual realm is already prepared. But they must perfect their dedication to the Supreme Being by learning to love God and do His will as Jesus has taught them.

And it is questionable from the Greek that Jesus is referring to himself when he supposedly says, "If I go and prepare a place for you...." Is he saying that he might or might not do it?

Jesus is speaking of their choosing to become prepared. This means that Jesus' teachings would essentially continue to offer guidance for their spiritual progress. If they continue to follow his instructions, they would create a place for themselves in the spiritual realm.

By following one who is dedicated to the Supreme Being, one develops their own dedication to the Supreme Being. And by following one who is intimate with the Supreme Being, one also gains an intimate relationship with God.

It is the follower of Jesus, as also indicated by the Greek, who becomes the subject of preparation. Should they follow his instructions, Jesus will be preparing them for entry into the spiritual realm, by virtue of his intimate relationship with God.

Did Jesus have an intimate relationship with God?

Clearly Jesus enjoyed a relationship with God that was unseen to most of those around him. This intimate relationship with God was discussed elsewhere:
"And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven." (Mark 14:62)
Jesus is obviously referring to his close relationship with the Supreme Being ("Mighty One") here. To sit at someone's "right hand" doesn't mean they are just sitting around all day. This is a metaphorical phrase that refers to being someone's assistant or servant. Being someone's "right hand man" is still a common phrase used today to refer to a person who is dedicated to carrying out the wishes of the person in charge.

In order to be someone's "right hand" person, there must be two persons: The person in charge and the person who carries out the person-in-charge's wishes. Jesus indicated elsewhere that his purpose was acting on behalf of God:
"For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me." (John 6:38)
and
"My teaching is not my own. It comes from Him who sent me." (John 7:16)
It is clear that Jesus is acting on behalf of God, and that being God's "right hand" person means to be doing God's will.

What about 'coming on the clouds of heaven'?

What does "coming on the clouds of heaven" mean? Does it mean Jesus' "second coming"?

And does this have anything to do with Jesus saying to his students (above): "I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."?

As far as "coming on the clouds of heaven," this is a mistranslation. The word "coming" is translated from the Greek word, ἔρχομαι (erchomai), which means, according to the lexicon, not just "to come" but also "to arise" and "to appear" or "make one's appearance" - relating to being present somewhere.

Furthermore, how does a person "come" "on the clouds of heaven"? Will the "clouds of heaven" be moving in with Jesus riding them like some kind of a horseback rider?

This is a ridiculous notion, yet this is precisely what sectarian teachers and some imaginative painters have portrayed to us. They portray that a bunch of clouds will be rolling in with Jesus standing on top of them like horses, "riding" them.

This is speculation. The "clouds of heaven," refers to the spiritual realm. As discussed, ἔρχομαι (erchomai) can better be translated to "arise" or "appear." Jesus is clearly saying that he would become present in the spiritual realm. He would be leaving his physical body in the material world and rise to the spiritual realm - and would appear there and be present there - where God resides, and where the community of the spiritual world resides.

Luke confirms this interpretation, as Jesus answers the same question in the same situation (during his trial) with:
"But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God." (Luke 22:69)

What about Jesus returning?

As to Jesus saying specifically to his followers that he would be returning for them ("I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."): The word "returning" is expanding Jesus' metaphorical language outside of its intended meaning.

Jesus is not talking about some end of the world scenario thousands of years into the future when he will ride on horseback (or 'cloud-back') and come down to the surface of the earth.

Rather, Jesus is speaking metaphorically about being there for them and guiding each of his students back to the spiritual realm during their lifetimes and at the time of death - after they leave their present physical bodies. He is speaking about something that will occur within the next few decades for each of them. Because each of his students will die within the next few decades.

Because he is speaking of the time of death of their physical body, Jesus is speaking of their "last day."

When the body dies, the person leaves the body. At that point, each of us will go to our next destination, depending upon our consciousness and life's activities. Those who dedicate their lives to following Jesus' teachings will be guided back to the spiritual realm by Jesus. Those who have used their lives otherwise - will go to another place accordingly.

One might compare this situation with the coast guard retrieving people who have fallen into the ocean from a boat offshore. The coast guard helicopter will take off from an airport and fly to the place where the people are struggling in the ocean. As the helicopter hovers overhead, a coast guard person will descend down to the water with a chair on a rope in order to pull people up from the water. This is what Jesus is speaking of with respect to retrieving his students who have dedicated their lives to following his instructions.

This is the mercy of God and His representative - whom God sends to the physical world to bring us back to Him. God's representative will instruct followers during their physical lifetimes, and when they leave their bodies at the time of death, those students who followed those instructions will be guided back to the spiritual realm by those instructions. This is the process of being saved.

This is also a natural process. Suppose we were invited to a party by a friend, and we didn't know anyone else in the party nor the person giving the party. Would we be accepted into the party walking in alone? No. They would think we were crashing the party. Rather, our friend who invited us would need to arrange to have us invited, or arrange with the owner so we can get in. This would enable our entrance. Such a friend might also escort us into the party and introduce us to the host/owner of the house and some of the other people at the party. Once this occurred, we'd be accepted into the party.

Is a personal invitation required?

The process is a very personal one and requires invitation and introduction - but this is at God's personal discretion. This can also occur at any time. Spiritual awareness and introduction can occur before the time of death, during or after. The citizens of the spiritual realm each have a unique loving relationship with the Supreme Person. To gain entry means we have to be introduced to the Supreme Being and develop a relationship with Him. This introduction can be made by God's representative who may be on the earth or not. Or it may be arranged directly by God. This is why developing a personal relationship with God's representative is so important.

Just consider if we wanted to be introduced to the President of the United States on a personal basis. How could we even get to him by ourselves? There is no way unless we are introduced to him by someone who is already close to him, or he reached out to us personally somehow. When a friend of the President introduces us to the President, a personal relationship with the President is possible. But this is still at the discretion of the President.

The same process works with the Supreme Being. God is a Person, and God is all about relationships. The entire spiritual realm is all about relationships - of love and loving service. This is why we are each wandering around the physical world looking for love. We are yearning for love because our spiritual selves are from the spiritual realm - where loving relationships abound.

If we have lost our unique loving relationship with the Supreme Being, we have to work to get it back. This is the law of love and relationships.

Being re-introduced to Him by God's representative is being defined metaphorically by Jesus as "preparing a place" for us in the spiritual realm.

It is critical to understand that Jesus is speaking to his disciples, who have been following his instructions carefully. He is speaking to them intimately because he knows his body will be murdered soon and he will be leaving them physically and returning to the spiritual realm.

He says, "to be with me that you also may be where I am." This is not an institutional situation. Jesus is talking to his disciples personally, about guiding each of them back to the spiritual realm. He wants his close disciples to know that if they continue to follow his instructions, then he will continue to be with them. He will continue to help guide them back.

Jesus can also help guide us back if we follow his teachings.

If we decide to return home to the Supreme Being, God will guide us - through the teachings of His representative and from within in the form of the Holy Spirit. Should we follow that guidance, and come to develop our love for the Supreme Being, a place will also be prepared for each of us in the spiritual realm.


*Here is the translation of Jesus' statement from the Lost Gospels of Jesus:
"My LORD’s dwelling place has many regions – if there weren’t I would have told you, because I depart to prepare you for that place. And if I depart and prepare you for that place, I will stay with you and guide you myself so that you may be there with me. And you will know the path to where I am going.” (John 14:2-4)