Q: #289. Will we really live in mansions in Heaven?
A: This belief is based on the KJV translation of (Jn 14:2) which says, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
Virtually no scholar believes that the word “mansions” means there are actual mansions in Heaven. The NASB uses “dwelling places.” The NIV, ESV and NLT use “rooms.” The Greek word is “mone,” which means “an abode.” This Greek word is used in only one other place in the Bible and that is in (Jn 14:23) where it is translated “abode” (KJV).
Most scholars believe that this should be interpreted one of two ways. The first (which I hold to) is that “mansions” is referring to the glorified bodies all Christians will one day receive. This “mansion” will be: imperishable (1 Cor 15:42), powerful (1 Cor 15:43), and never die (1 Cor 15:54)(Lk 20:36). (Go here for more on these new bodies.) A correlation can be made between the Tabernacle and Temple in the Old Testament. The Tabernacle was a tent and temporary structure which correlates to our “earthly body.” The Temple was a permanent structure (like a mansion) which correlates to our future “glorified body.” (2 Cor 5:1-5) points to this (also see: 2 Pet 1:13-14, Phil 3:20-21). So, with this way of thinking we might say, “In Heaven are many abodes (glorified bodies).”
A second interpretation believes Jesus was saying that “In His Father’s house” (Heaven) will be “many believer’s from all over the world [abiding] together” (in that house).
For those who would take “mansions” literally, I would also ask this question, “Why would we need to live in an ACTUAL mansion in Heaven?” For shelter? For sleep? For safety? To have a place to cook? To use the bathroom? These are not things associated with Heaven. It really makes no sense to think there will be neighborhoods full of mansions in Heaven.
P.S. There are a few people who believe that “mansions” refers “offices, responsibilities, or positions of authority” in Heaven.