Jesus said, "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you." (John 14:2) This refers to the office of a servant of God who dispenses his duties well.
In this scripture, the word "house" in the Greek is "oikia" (pronounced oy-kee'-ah) and means "household" and by extension "family" the word "mansions" is "mone" (pronounced 'mon-ay') and means "residence" (the act or the place).
Now follow me very closely.
The meaning of the word "mansions" is "residence" but it can either be the place of residence or the act of residence. For all my 20 plus years as a Christian I've heard it taught as a place of residence, Christians are always referring to their "mansion in heaven" and the "keys to their mansion." But does that really make sense?
In my Father's house there are many mansions. If a mansion by definition is a very large house, how can there be many mansions in a house? If we are honest with ourselves we must confess that taken literally this scripture makes no sense at all. Does it?
Even if we expand the meaning of the word 'house' to mean 'household' or 'family' it's still like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
There must be another interpretation for this scripture and I believe I have it!
The word residence" really refers to the act of residence and not a place of residence. Are you familiar with the terms, "a doctor in residence" and "a doctor, completing his residency?"
Here's some interesting information from the World Book Dictionary. The word "Residence" means - The seat of some power or activity. "Residency" means -The position of a doctor who continues practicing in a hospital after completing his internship. "Resident" means - An official sent to live in a foreign land to represent his country.
It's within this context that Jesus made the statement, "In My Father's house there are many mansions." (John 14:2) What He was in fact saying is that, "within the Family or Government of God, there are many official positions of authority!" Many "Residencies" are available! (Since God is a King His family forms the Government)
Right now, here on earth we are spiritual interns in ministry (Mayors, Governors and Presidents-in-training) and if we successfully complete our internship, then when Jesus sets up His Government on earth during the millennial reign, we'll no longer be interns but we'll be ministers "in residence!" Do you see it?
In the government of God (during the millennial reign) there are many residencies (official positions of authority), stop bickering and fighting among your selves for bigger congregations and titles just to be recognized by men (it doesn't make sense)! This is the message Jesus is trying to get across to us in this verse!
He was also saying that the qualified servant of God can occupy and function in any one of those positions if they show themselves approved here and now. He didn't even stop there; look further at the rest of the scripture! "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:2-3)
The word "place" is translated from the Greek word, "topos" and means "special position" so "to prepare a place" means "to prepare a special position." The word "receive" is paralambano" and means "to assume an office," the word "unto" is translated from "pros" which means "by the side of" and the phrase "may be" is the Greek word "o" which means "should stand."
So the verse, "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. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
Can be interpreted, "There are many positions of authority in my Father's Government: If this weren't true I wouldn't say so. I'm leaving to prepare a special place for you now. And if I'm doing this, then I will return and take you with me to stand in that position of authority at my side.
Bearing in mind that Jesus made this statement just after one of His ministers (Judas) left to betray Him and consequently abandon his official position, the understanding is clear.
Jesus is indicating to the rest of His ministers that if they remain faithful to the ministry which they are called and selected for, then at the appointed time He will grant them the right to assume the official offices in which they should stand and for which they have been training.
Verse fourteen seals the deal when it says, "For many are called, but few are chosen." In this verse, being 'called' and 'chosen' has nothing to do with becoming a Christian or getting saved!
This verse has been widely misquoted and largely misunderstood! It's actually speaking about the multitudes who have been called to a particular ministry and the few who have stayed with the training long enough to be commissioned to that ministry. The word "called" from the Greek is "kletos" (pronounced 'klay-tos') meaning "invited" and the word "chosen" is "eklektos" (pronounced 'ek-lektos') meaning "selected."
There's a big difference between being invited to and being selected for a ministry! It's evident that this is not the salvation of the spirit being referred to, because Rom 8:30 states, "Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."
Justification from sin is the foundation of the salvation of the spirit! This scripture leaves absolutely no room for misunderstanding! It clearly says, whom He called, He justified! Indicating that all whom He called, He justified! Within the context of the English language, there is no other reasonable and intelligent way to understand this verse!
It says absolutely nothing about some or few or many... nothing! Whom He called, He justified, whom He justified, He glorified! This encompasses all! Do you see it?
So, the phrase, "many are called but few are chosen" rightly indicates that of all whom the Lord has invited to a particular ministry, there are but a few who will answer the call and stay with the training long enough to faithfully function in that ministry and receive the just rewards of their labors i.e. Their mansion in heaven or their official position of authority in the Kingdom of God.