Saturday, October 11, 2008

I am in you, you are in me...interesting note on John 14:2

No, John 14:2 is not one of those "I am in you, you are in me" or "I am in the Father and the Father is in me" verses, but it did make me think of it.

It's easy to see these phrases (John 10:38, John 14:10-11, 1st John 2:24, John 6:56, John 14:20, John 15:2, John 15:4-7, John 16:33, John 17;21) and sorta just take it as saying that some "relationship" is involved. Of course, many Christians try to turn some of them into a Trinitarian message, but that would imply that all believers were of the same substance as God, so we'll leave that to the side.

But it came to me that perhaps there is a finer point to be made here. After all, it is one thing to say "Jesus is in me," but what does it me to say that "I am in Christ"? What does that mean, really?

This brings me to John 14:2. What does it mean when Jesus says there are many abodes in His Father's house?

The word "abodes" is itself a theologically interesting term to look into (the translation "mansion" is rather bizarre), but what does Jesus mean when He says "Father's house."?

I think we generally think of "heaven," but if that is what Jesus meant, He could have just said "heaven." The interesting thing here is the Jewish conception of "house" is different from what we think of. The focus there is on the people inside. So when we say "The house of Jacob," we don't mean a structure, but a people.

So, the "Father's House" in that sense would referring to "God's people." This gives an "adoptionist" metaphor that I will not go into.

But the term "Father's house" also refers to the temple. For example John 2:16 and other discussions of the temple cleansing [and perhaps is what is meant in Luke 2:49, but that is certainly not clear.] In the OT we see several examples of God calling the temple "My house:" 1st Chronicles 28:6, Isaiah 56:7, and later when abominations are described.

Thus the notion of "house" can have an external, umbrella-type meaning of "Everyone under God's banner," or an internal meaning of "The temple where God resides among God's people."

In that latter sense, Jesus is referring to entering the temple [much as described in the theology of Hebrews]. Indeed, the theology of Hebrews helps us understand what "prepare a place for you" means. It appears Jesus is referring to the cleansing of the temple(s) of our souls so that we can receive His Spirit...but receiving His Spirit is what brings us into the New Covenant (and hence makes us a member of the Father's House in the other sense of the term.) Note that the word for "abode" in John 14:2 is the same as the word in John 14:23

I just found it striking how both uses (interior and exterior) of the term "House" can be combined in a single statement...without apparently anyone realizing it.

I actually see an interesting allegory here between:

Exodus -> Sinai -> Davidic Kingdom

Passover -> Shavuot -> Building of Temple

Crucifixion -> Pentecost -> 2nd coming of Christ

The first of all 3 of these refer to a freedom [Freedom from Egyptian rule, Freedom of bondage to Sin], the second regards the beginning of the covenant and its requirements [Command to keep the Mosaic Law, Command to keep the Spirit's Law]. In between the second and the third we have the "temple" being a temporary tabernacle (that "abodes" in John 14:2 and John 14:23] where God resided (as our current bodies are), and in the last we have a kingdom purged of ungodliness where God's Temple can be moored.

Note that the Crucifixion occurred on Passover and Pentecost is the same day as Shavuot.

6 comments:

Ava said...

Good words.

Anonymous said...

Yes, John 14:2 is preached today to refer to heaven, but I have not had one person ever prove that to me from the Scriptures!

Also, "abing" in Christ has been taught in terms of Christian service, when it has nothing to do with that. Those that did not abide in Him were judged - does this mean they lost their salvation? It means they didn't have it in the first place.

In 1 Kings 6:1-10 we see the allusion of the dwelling places around the physical temple. The dwelling places (abode) that Jesus is talking about in John 14 is in relation to His temple of His body. We become the lively stones of His temple. He is the cornerstone of that temple.

Just a slight note here. It was not His body that was raised, it was the TEMPLE of His body that was raised (John 2:19-21) which puts a whole different spin on the resurrection...

'nuff said for now...

TruthSeeker1959

Anonymous said...

last week our class held a similar talk on this subject and you point out something we haven't covered yet, appreciate that.

- Laura

David Rudel said...

Laura, glad it was helpful :) What conclusions did your class come to?

Anonymous said...

Helpful blog, bookmarked the website with hopes to read more!

Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.