What’s Your Spiritual Condition ?
I just want to give you some “food for thought” today. Here’s a lesson on what the bible teaches, about what I call, “spiritual conditions”. When I say “spiritual conditions”, I am contrasting, being in a spiritual “condition”, with being in spiritual “place”. I believe that when our bibles use the word “place” in regard to our spiritual destiny, such as it does in John 14, verse 2, where Jesus says; “..For I go to prepare a place for you..” it is simply referring to the apostles being given a “position”, or you might say, a “standing” in Christ’s kingdom I don’t believe that it refers to a “place” in the sense of a located place.
In other words, when Jesus told His apostles; “I go to prepare a place for you..” He wasn’t saying that He was going to go prepare for them, their own little “corner of heaven”, that was theirs and no one else’s. What He was saying, is that He was going to prepare a “position” for them, in the kingdom of God. Everyone who is saved, will receive a “place”, or a “spot”, or a “position” in the kingdom of God and of Christ.
Jesus was going to leave this earth, but He said to His apostles; “..I will come again, and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, you may be also.”
Now there’s two beliefs concerning what Jesus was referring to there. Probably the most common belief is that Jesus was referring to His coming at the last day, to deliver the kingdom back to the Father. The other belief is that Jesus was referring to when He would come in His kingdom, which was going to occur fairly soon.
Either way, doesn’t affect the question of whether the “place” that Jesus was going to prepare, was a “place” as in a location, or a “place” as in a position. Actually, I lean towards believing that Jesus was referring to when He would come in His kingdom, and give the apostles a “position” in that kingdom. Now, like I said to begin with, please just consider this to be “food for thought”. I was introduced to this interpretation of this passage about a year ago, and after a lot of studying about it, it does seem to be a very plausible interpretation. Though I can’t prove either way, exactly what Jesus meant.
But consider this; Jesus told His disciples, in Mathew 16:28; “Truly I say to you, there are those standing here, who will not see death, until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” Now that’s a figurative expression when He told them they shall “see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom”. That’s because when Jesus came in His kingdom, no one actually saw Jesus Himself. But rather, they saw the “effects” which were wrought by the Spirit of Jesus, which is the Holy Spirit.
Jesus didn’t come physically in His kingdom, because His kingdom is a spiritual kingdom. But Jesus did indeed “come in His kingdom”, spiritually, on the day of Pentecost. And on that day of Pentecost, Jesus, through the Holy Spirit brought the gift of tongues to the apostles, and He brought the words of salvation to the mouth of Peter, when Peter stood up and proclaimed; “Repent, and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise (the promise of the gift) is for you, and your children, and for all those who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself.” (Acts 2:38 & 39)
When the apostles, and all those present on the day of Pentecost, witnessed these things happening, they were witnessing Jesus coming in His kingdom. Jesus was given His kingdom when He ascended back to heaven, as predicted in Daniel 7:13 & 14, and then He brought that kingdom down to men, on the day of Pentecost. Jesus had promised that He would give Peter the “keys to the kingdom”, in Mathew 16:18, and when Peter was given the words which he spoke, on the day of Pentecost, he “unlocked” the kingdom to the Jews. And Peter would also “unlock” the kingdom to the Gentiles, as recorded in Acts 10, when he preached these same words of salvation to the household of Cornelius, the Roman centurion.
Jesus came as the King of the kingdom, and as the “head” of the body. That is the “standing” that Jesus has in the kingdom, and that is His “position” in the kingdom. We’re told in Colossians 1, verse 18; “He is also the head of the assembly, and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, so that He Himself might come to have first PLACE, in everything.” The “place” that Jesus occupies in the kingdom, is at the very top. He’s the first, He’s the beginning, He’s the head, of everything!
When Jesus came in His kingdom, He received His apostles into that kingdom, so that, as Jesus said; “..Where I am, you may be also.” They were all given a “place’ in the kingdom. They were given a “position” and a “standing” in Christ’s “church”, in His “assembly of the saved”.
Now, here’s a secondary question, to what I’m talking about today; A considerable amount of question has arisen, as to whether or not the apostles were baptized into Christ, for the forgiveness of their sins, either on or before the day of Pentecost. The bible doesn’t actually tell us either way. We know that the command from Peter that day, was “repent, and let each one of you be baptized..” So then, “each one” who was seeking salvation, had to be baptized.
And I suppose that pure logic would tell us that, that command would apply to the apostles, as well as everyone else. But yet we aren’t directly told that the apostles were baptized into Christ’s death. Of course everyone assumes that they must have been baptized into John the Baptist’s baptism. But that’s not the same thing.
Just for an example of how that’s not the same, and how that hasn’t been sufficient for salvation, ever since Jesus established His new covenant, Let me read to you what it says in Acts 19, verses 1 thru 5;
“And it came about that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul, having passed through the upper country, came to Ephesus, and found some disciples.” (He found some men who had come to believe in Jesus, as the Christ) “And he said to them; Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” Paul was wondering if they had received any miraculous gifts from the Holy Spirit, after they had come to believe in Christ.
“And they said to him; No, we’ve not even heard that a Holy Spirit exists!” So then these “disciples” obviously weren’t very “schooled” in the subject of baptism into Christ, and in the promise of the Holy Spirit, and in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. So Paul says to them; “Into what then were you baptized? And they said; Into John’s baptism.”
“And Paul said; John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus. And when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they began speaking with tongues, and prophesying.”
So we can obviously see, that John’s baptism was of no value any more, after Jesus had established His kingdom. But now think back to the day of Pentecost. Here were the apostles waiting in Jerusalem, just like Jesus told them to do, in Acts 1, verse 4. And then Jesus tells them in verse 8; “But you shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit has come upon you..”
Well, right after Jesus tells them to wait in Jerusalem, He ascends back to heaven, and He’s given the Kingdom, by the Father. And the apostles wait in Jerusalem, not knowing exactly when that promise of the Spirit was going to come upon them. Now remember what Jesus had told them in John 14, verses 2 & 3; “..For I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, you may be also.”
Now, listen to what the bible says in 1 Corinthians 12, verse 28; “And some indeed, God has set, in the assembly; First apostles, (the apostles were the first to be “set”, or “placed” in the church) ..second prophets, third teachers, etc..” When it says; “God HAS SET, in the assembly..” it means that God Himself has “placed” them there. He has “appointed” them to be there. He has “established” them and “fixed” them, in that position, in the kingdom. The word “set” means.. “to put, to place, to set, to lay, to fix, to establish”.
God Himself is the one who “adds us to the kingdom”, just like we’re told in Acts 2, verses 41 & 47.
so now, the question remains; How did the apostles get into the kingdom? Were they baptized into Christ, on the day of Pentecost, along with the other approximately 3,000 souls who were added to the kingdom, or had God already “set them” in the kingdom. Maybe the apostles, by virtue of simply being the original apostles of Jesus Christ, were added to the kingdom, and had their “places” ordained, even before the day of Pentecost. And maybe they didn’t even know it, until the day of Pentecost.
And maybe, on the other hand, they were all baptized into Christ, along with everyone else, on that first day of the week, the day of Pentecost. We simply cannot say, with 100% certainty, because the bible doesn’t tell us. We cn have our opinions on the subject, but we cannot know for sure.
So now, let me talk about those “places” in the kingdom. In John 14, verse 2, in the KJV, Jesus said; “In My Father’s HOUSE, are many MANSIONS..” The NASB says; “In My Father’s HOUSE, are many DWELLING PLACES..”
I don’t know why the KJ translators choose to use the word “mansions”, in that verse, because the original word simply means a dwelling, or an occupancy, or a residence. But I imagine that they were thinking about how richly God blesses us, and so the figured if we were going to receive any kind of a dwelling place at all, it would probably be a mansion.
Let’s talk about the word “house” in that verse; “In my Father’s house..” The word translated “house”, can mean.. A literal house, or a household of persons, or it can mean simply a dwelling or an abode (whether it’s a physical dwelling or abode, or a spiritual dwelling or abode), or it can mean one’s property, or their assets, or their means.” And which word you choose to use in the translation, depends a lot on your perception of what the bible teaches.
For example; If you perceive of heaven as being an actual location somewhere, you’d most likely use the word “house”. But you’d be using the word figuratively, so as to liken heaven, to one enormous structure, where all the saved would be “sheltered”.
The NIV, and the English Standard version, both translate this verse to say; “In My Father’s house, are many rooms..” But I really think that the best word to use, instead of the word “house”, is the word “abode”. This word is only used twice in the bible; Once here, in John 14, verse 2, and once again in verse 23. Here’s how it’s translated in verse 23; “If any man loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him.”
Now that verse isn’t talking about dwelling with God in a house, or in a room. It’s talking about “abiding” in God, and God abiding in us. It’s just like what’s said in Ephesians 2, verse 22; “In whom you also are being built together, into a dwelling of God, in spirit.” As we “keep His word”, we become a “dwelling of God, in spirit.” In other words, The Father and the Son, “make their abode” with us.
And so that’s why I think the best translation of John 14, verse 2, is; “In My Father’s abode, are many dwellings..” We abide with God, and He abides with us, in the kingdom of God which is His church. That’s what Jesus is talking about in that verse. Abiding together in His kingdom. Jesus was first, then the apostles, then all who would obey God.
The bible says in Ephesians 2:19; “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, (that used to be our standing) ..but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are God’s household.” That’s the position we want to be in! The position of citizenship with the saints. And to be counted as a member of God’s “household”. That’s the so called “place” that we want to be in!
Please be sure to read “Spiritual Conditions – Part 2”