"What though the tempest rage—
Heaven is my home!
Short is my pilgrimage—
Heaven is my home!
And Time's wild wintry blast
Soon shall be overpast;
I shall reach Home at last—
Heaven is my home!"
"In my Father's house there are many mansions."—John
In our last, we considered the "many mansions" of coming
glory as betokening Multiplicity; Permanency; Diversity; Unity.
Let us revert to the same figure, as still further
suggestive of SAFETY.
Where can a child be so safe as in his Father's house? Trials,
buffetings, discouragements, unkindness he may experience elsewhere; here
at least he is secure and happy.
What music is there even on earth in that word "Home!"
The garner of happiness—the haunt of tender affections—the cherisher of
bright hope—the hallowed spot where the spent spirit's weary wing folds
itself to rest—the glad retreat in "the dark and cloudy day." What must be
the Home of Heaven? With what surpassing tenderness does that one word
invest these many mansions, "My Father's house!" and how does it link
us to the Savior, when He thus addresses each heavenward and homeward-bound
pilgrim—"My Father and your Father, my God and your
God!" (John 20:17.)
To enter Heaven, the dwelling-place of the great
Jehovah—to be ushered into the presence-chamber of "the High and Lofty One
who inhabits eternity!"—there might be much to awe and overwhelm the spirit
in such a contemplation. But this beauteous home-word deprives it of
all its dreadfulness, and invests it with all that is winning and
captivating. Each believer, in the prospect of these bright mansions, may,
without irreverence, adopt the words of the Redeemer, and say, "If you loved
me, you would rejoice, because I said, I go unto my Father."
Would that we oftener realized Heaven as such; and, amid
earth's troubles and vicissitudes and sorrows, were led to regard every new
trial, every new epoch of existence, every returning week and month and
anniversary, as fresh chimes of celestial music floating from the towers of
glory, and sounding in our ears, "Nearer home, nearer home!" Our Lord has
taught us, while we "desire" in our daily prayer "a better country," to make
it a filial aspiration—"Our Father, who is in heaven," "Your
kingdom come." Heaven, in the noblest sense, is "the Church in the
House," (Col. 4:15.)
The verse still further speaks of HONOR.
It speaks of admission into God's presence, and to stand in that presence in
the relation of children to a father. Even to be laid, like Lazarus, at the
portals of heaven, and fed with the crumbs falling from the table, would
have been more than what, as sinners, we deserve. What will it be to be
"within the house," honored with a place at the King's own banquet?
There are two Greek words used in the New Testament to
describe the believer's relation to God. Both are significant. The former
literally means a slave, and such His redeemed child really is. He is
the willing slave of righteousness, "bought with a price" by a gracious
Master. He feels it to be alike his highest honor and obligation to be
called "the servant of God." The other word, though translated by the
same term, (servant,) has a higher meaning. It has rather reference to the
believer's heavenly calling. It speaks of His lofty designation and
employment in His Father's house, when He becomes a "ministering one," (John
12:26.) His earthly service is over—"Henceforth I call you not servants, but
friends," (John 15:15.)
"In my Father's house!" "Yes," said a dying believer,
as he quoted these words; "our Lord tells me, You have been an out-door
servant long enough, I will now make you an in-door servant, and take you
out of the wind and rain, to give you a glorified body and better wages and
a better mansion."
What a wondrous transition from the clay tenement to the
everlasting mansions! Well may the poet exclaim, describing the emancipated
"O change! O wondrous change!
Burst are the prison-bars—
This moment there—so low,
In mortal prayer—and now,
Beyond the stars!
"O change! stupendous change!
There lies the senseless clod—
The soul from bondage breaks,
The new immortal wakes,
Awakes with God!"
Finally, the verse tells us that all these wondrous
home-mansions JESUS has gone to make ready for us.
"I go to prepare a place for you." No, more, He confers
them as a right. He speaks as the "Heir of all things." Observe, it is not
"your Father's house," but "my Father's house." As "the Son of
the everlasting God," He seems to say, "I am not ashamed to call you
brethren; and for my sake He will not be ashamed to own and welcome you as
sons and daughters. My name, as 'the Beloved of the Father,' and my work, as
the surety Redeemer, will form a passport and title to every room in these
The value of a gift is enhanced by the character and
worth of the donor. The gift of an earthly sovereign would be highly prized.
Here is a gift bestowed by the "Prince of the kings of the earth," purchased
by blood and toil and agony. These blood-bought mansions form the crown and
consummation of all His other gifts. "This is THE gift, that God has
given us eternal life, and that life is in His Son." "Everything else
that He 'did and taught and suffered,' had a reference to the opening of the
kingdom of heaven to all believers. His coming from heaven was to show
heaven to us. His going again there was to prepare a place for
us. His sitting at the right hand of God is to promote our interest in
heaven. His coming in judgment is to take us back with Him to it." (Manton.)
If He has gone "to prepare this place" for us, be it ours
to endeavor to be prepared for "the place;" seeking every returning morning
to have our tent pitched "a day's march nearer home"—nearer the house of our
Father. "Yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not
tarry," (Heb. 10:37.) "He will not stay," says Goodwin, "a minute longer
than needs must. He tarries only until He has, throughout all ages, by His
intercession, prepared every room for each saint, that He may entertain them
altogether, and have them all about Him."
And shall we pause to ask, Where is that glorious home?
where these sparkling waters, these palms ever green, these robes ever
bright? Does the spirit at the hour of death wing its arrowy flight to some
distant province of creation? Or may Heaven be some mysterious, impalpable
spirit-world around us? Though we hear no gush of the crystal waters, and
gaze on no "city of the crystal sea," may it not be that angel-wings are
hovering over us, and that it is only these dull senses of ours that hide
from us the celestial vision?
But what though we can observe no dim outline of the
everlasting hills? What though we look in vain for the lights gleaming in
the distant windows of these "many mansions? " It is enough to know that
One has gone to prepare them for us. And when completed, His
voice will be heard, saying, "Come, for all things are ready!" "THEN
shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of THEIR FATHER,"
"Here in an inn a stranger dwelt,
Here joy and grief by turns he felt:
Poor dwelling, now we close your door!
The talk is o'er,
The sojourners return no more.
"Now of a lasting Home possest,
He goes to seek a better rest.
Yes, for each saint does Christ prepare
A place with care;
Your Home is waiting, brother, there!"