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Who is God? "In my Father's house are many mansions..." This fine old King James-ism translates the Greek of the Textus Receptus, monai, "abodes" into a beautiful language picture reflecting the French invasion of England in 1066, an invasion which remerged the roots of such as the French, maison, and before it the Latin, mansus, with the language of the Angles and the Saxons. Today, for me and probably for you, "mansion" brings up the image of an ornate and palatial home with many rooms and more than one storey, a residence set on sumptuous grounds with gardens, and many attendants, and many friends coming and going. And this is a fine image for our homes in heaven, whether seen as a suite in the endless palace of God or as many literal manses/mansions lining the many streets and ways (even vertical streets apparently as the city is "foursquare") in "the capital" of heaven, a city 1200 miles by 1200 miles by 1200 miles which St. John reveals to us, and which is the Great Metropolis called, "the New Jerusalem." Each of us will have an abode in Heaven, a place to call our own, whether the image is one of a comfortable personal room or rooms in the Father's overall palace or a full blown mansion--as we now think of the word--in the eternal city, this New Jerusalem. It is of little difference in the Kingdom of an unlimited God. The point is we each have an abode there. An abode or home is the signification of our individuality. We are individual beings, made in the image of God our Father. We have domain, a place that is marked and individuated as our own. It has our stamp and our person marked upon it, like "your own room" when you were a child. "In my Father's house are many mansions...." "Many" is another beautifully simple word. It neither sets nor limits the number, but leaves room for very expansive thinking and definition. There is room for unlimited "abodes" in Heaven, personalized "rooms." But there will also be many other specialized, even consecrated rooms to be found out and explored, "rooms" set apart for the very many different purposes and high things and causes, yes, for all the thoughts of God! And "how many there are!", says the Psalmist (139:17-18). The Adversary makes his argument against God and against Heaven by saying, among other things, that Heaven would too limit and smother his (and those who listen to his lies) freedom of choice in that he must bow down to God to be there, but the Truth is that God is without limit and the true Freedom lies in bowing down to Him and entering his Endless Realm. Leap forward with me for a moment to our present mentality, an age of technology and dizzying advance. How do mansions fit here? Think of God's house and of your own assured abode, personal space, there. Now, picture the many days of eternal bliss, joy, and unfettered adventure there. How many mansions will we explore, how many friends will we entertain or visit in the endless congratulations of being with each other in the Saviour? How endlessly will we reveal our own souls in perfect harmony and bliss with our fellowsaints, servants, and friends of his on any one small day of ten or twenty thousand years before the promise of the dawn of the next one? What's on your calendar for next week, brother? Shall we go have a look (as time will not limit us either) or shall we abide in the present pleasing century for the moment? Shall not Time Itself be even a living museum for us, to be visited at our leisure, and with the Central Moment of all Time, Christ on the Cross (dead, buried, and resurrected--the Gospel!), ever a memorial before us as The Payment for our bliss? This soul, while finding human loneliness a mortal enemy nevertheless often enjoys the bliss of solitude under God's hand and, in this world and for the present, rejoices even in God's Creation displayed in Nature--with many walks in the woods and such. What more will be the "Nature" of heaven? From my own abode, my own mansion, I can open one door anywhere in it and look down corridors of door after door, "world without end", surveying "address after address" down the gold streets of Heaven. If I choose, at random, so to speak, to walk down one lovely corridor for mile after mile and finally choose a door, I can open it to find more endless corridors of doors, and behind each of them, yet more, and behind each door a different paradise--each with its own nuances and pleasant realities--from the Mind of God. This is only the beginning of the vastness of the Mind of God. I can only speak as a mortal man, but St. Paul, who was caught up into The Third Heaven, tells me, "Eye hath not seen, Ear hath not heard, neither hath it entered into the mind of man the things that God has prepared for them that love him." So, I can only sketch with the merest of mortal imagination. Yet, down my corridors--just an architectural metaphor here--are not only the confines of door frames and lines and architecture, but while that may serve to launch the thought, on down my corridors also are "living rooms" full of parlors and portals among the forests and colonnades of trees, full of the glories of iridescent skies--always reflecting the glory of God--as living ceilings over me. And yet portals open eternally off every copse of birch and aspen or herd of ancient oak, and I may as well find myself passing through "worm holes" (there must be a better word) to travel as easily through three dimensional space--across the star trekking light years--as to walk from one grove to the next. Is this the "limit" at which satan chafes? And this is only the merest beginning of the Mind of God. In fact, for most of us mortals, a moment could soon arrive, in which we find, even then and there, fear at the immensity of God. For the power which finds that we can zip through dimension after dimension, world without end, ever expanding, could easily give us a whirling vertigo and a sense of it also being just "all too much!" "Am I lost again!?" And fear, not mere reverence, but Fear, is appropriate to a Being of such unfathomable magnitude. But for his gracious and loving Pleasure, we would be unmade in less than an instant; we would be of eternal inconsequence. The devil and his angels and the souls of the damned among men have no place in all of God's vastness; because he gave them and us Will, he has to make a place of his own forgetfulness, a place without virtue, without pleasure, without life or moisture, without fruitfulness, dry, hot, barren, the cellarhole of the universes that they may there abide. It is their abode, their mansion. And there the God who knows all and forgets nothing will invoke his own mystery and forget them. Forever. That they may gnaw the ashes of their own hatred. Satan will receive what he wants, to be the king of nothing, and a fire will arise from within him (Ezekiel 28:18) so that he may torment himself forever with the taste of the ashes of his kingdom. (Perhaps, the only "comfort" for the citizens of hell, will be that his torment is greater than their own, and their king always a spectacle for fools?) I consider the speculations of science fiction and astrophysics as they postulate about black holes. In these holes, matter is ever collapsing and growing smaller and smaller. Perhaps hell will have this quality. While souls, whether angelic or human are eternal, how appropriate that the infernal space the Damned will occupy, will always be diminishing, down from galaxies to mere filterings between atoms and on down endlessly into nothingness upon nothingness, yet a lake of fire to its insatiable inhabitants, "forgotten" by God. How horrible, but yet this could be a means, or at least an illustration, of "the forgetfulness of God." But, back to us, the saved in Glory! Will the fear of God yet grip us as we explore his Endlessness? Perhaps, "for the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom," but then another feature of God will also be there as our ever present Comfort. He is Person. We, also, are person. This is the highest of all his Creation for it has been invited to share in--to enter into fellowship with--his own Uncreated Quality. Wherever we might be, down all the endless corridors of our mansions, having turned into so many doors, we could never remember the way back, having leapt from universe to universe at rates that will make lightspeed look like a school zone speed limit, if we should stop suddenly and remember our old human limits, will we feel fear that the whole thing is just a little too big for us??? (I speak as a mortal.) No, we will soon "get used to it," for God the Person will be with us at any moment and everywhere--across the vastness of Heaven and the Heavens, and re-centering on Him will restore familiarity to our surroundings instantly though we be far out among the stars of his Vastness. For Person is the highest of all worlds--and it will bridge all time and space and Eternity, and we have been made in his own image as personal beings ourselves and invited into his House to abide (take up mansion) with Him and his Person forever. (The Holy Spirit is so much more than a manifestation at a pentecostal meeting; He is the Personal Being Who hovers over all the Universes of heavens and earths, the Prime Mover and Present Sustainer of All Things, world without end.) There is a picture of this Personhood at the end of John's Revelation. It is the beginning of Eternity and it is called The Judgment of the Great White Throne. Do you, as a little child, sometimes imagine God as a Big, Big Man, a thousand feet tall, ten thousand feet tall, and you, as a little person with his head tilted way back, looking up at Him? Well, that could be the case (if He so chose). Yet, Jesus, was a man, between five and six feet tall, and looked at and talked with Peter, and James, and John, and the Marys, and Martha and all the rest, eye to eye and face to face. And He is God with us. At the Great White Throne, all the rest of the known universe (and maybe the universes of the angelic beings too) will have passed away with "a great noise and a fervent heat" Peter tells us. The sky, the clouds, the stars will be rolled up and put away like an old garment. Imagine, the infinite lightyear depths of space will be treated like a mere two dimensional piece of old clothing by God! We will be left, all of humanity, and all of the Persons that people all of the worlds of God (men and "the hosts of heaven"), face to face with God...and that's it...nothing more. That is when Personal Being itself will be all that remains. We will be persons, individuals, face to face with God the Person, a God in no hurry, sitting upon the seat of Final Judgment. Those of us who pass through this judgment by the precious Blood of Christ will be ever after in the Full and Personal Presence of God the Almighty. Out of this, new heavens (without end) and worlds (without end) will spring forth for our Pleasure and for his, but, however far we go and expand into the Joy of them, we will also and ever be face to face with his Person and in his Presence. (Perhaps our own mansion will be a world of our own creation--as one would decorate a house--as we get to be like God and create delights ourselves!) This is but the merest musings of a man with midnight indigestion and who sits now at his computer, awakened to these meditations. How shall the Glory itself be? "In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would've told you." This is Who God is: Christ Jesus, Y'shua the Messiah, Immanuel; God come to us in human form as one of us; One God in Three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. World without End. Amen.
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