After announcing His betrayal and Peter’s denial, the Lord said, “Let not your heart be troubled” (v.1). It is precious to see that He was concerned about their troubled hearts even though He Himself was “troubled” (13:21) about having to bear our sins soon. In your worst crisis, looking around for others to comfort will make you like Him.
They believed in God when He predicted the Tribulation, but said that everything would end well in the kingdom; so the Lord asked them to believe in Him as He was telling them He would be betrayed and die, but that it would end well in His resurrection. You too will have troubles (Acts 14:22) but believe God when He says they will end well, working for you now (Ro.5:3) and in eternity (IICor.4:17).
How can the Lord say He was going to die and go to heaven to prepare a place for them (v.2,3) if the hope of the Jews is on earth? How can He say He’ll come again and receive them if the Rapture was a “mystery” (ICor.15:51) not revealed till Paul? Well, let’s define our terms:
“My Father’s house” (John 14:2) is not heaven; a man’s house is his family. There was nothing evil about the house Abraham lived in, so we know that when God told him to leave his “house” He meant his family (Gen.12:1; 20:13). The Lord’s “house” was the house of Israel, and “the glory of His house” (Isa.22:23,24) were the believers in the house of Israel, His “spiritual house” (IPe.2:5).
So what are the “mansions” (John 14:2)? The dictionary defines a mansion as “the house of a lord,” and a lord was a landowner—which is why we have landlords. So if you live in a mansion, you are the lord of some land that you rule from your mansion. Thus the Lord was saying, “In the spiritual house of believers in Israel, there are plenty of positions available to rule in the kingdom of heaven on earth” (cf. Luke 19:17,19).
Disciples under the kingdom program gave up houses and lands to be saved, just as the Lord said they must (Mark 10:17-21). Hearing this, Peter replied that they’d already done that, and followed Him 3 years, implying they should have more. So in Matthew’s version of the story, He prom-ised them a hundred times the land they gave up and a 100% better house (Mt.19:29)—in other words, a mansion where they could rule great lands! Faithful Jews will live like kings in the kingdom (Rev.1:5,6). That’s all hard to be-lieve, so the Lord said, “If it weren’t so, I would have told you, and not asked you to give up your houses and lands.”
What “place” did the Lord prepare for them? “Friends in high places” usually means in government (John 11:48; Rv. 12:7,8). Right now Satan’s hosts are in “high places” in the government of heaven (Eph. 6:12), but someday you’ll take their place (Eph. 1:23; ICor.6:3). But the Lord was talking to the 12 about “places” in the government of earth in the kingdom. In Daniel’s vision, Christ returns to conquer the kings of earth and “no place was found for them” (2:35). There will be no place for unsaved kings in the government in the kingdom, so the 12 will take their “place” (Mt.19:27,28) and faithful Jews with them (Rv.2:26,27).
Of course, the Lord had to die and go to heaven to “pre-pare” a place in “the kingdom prepared for” them (Mt.25: 34). They would have no right to enter the kingdom unless their sins were paid for. He also died to pay for their right to rule there. Satan may have tricked Adam out of ruler-ship of earth, but the Lord didn’t challenge his rulership (Mt.4:8). But to take those kingdoms from him to give them to Israel without paying for that right would be just as wrong as what Satan did to Adam.
When the Lord comes again for the Jews (John 14:3) He will receive them to Himself (Mt.24:31), that where He is, they may be too. He will be ruling “in the earth” (Jer. 23:5) and they will too (Rev.5:10). How will Christ “ever be” with us also (ITh.4:17)? After the millennium, God will gather Israel and the Body together (Eph.1:10) in New Jerusalem, “the mother of us all” (Gal.4:26). The city will be on the earth, but will be 1322 miles high (Rev.21:16), jutting out past earth’s atmosphere. From the top we will rule the heavens, and from the bottom Israel will rule earth.