Home Is Where the Christ Is: Atonement and Abiding in John 14:1-6

Commentators have generally interpreted the promised location (“rooms,” “a place for you”) in John 14 through the primary lens of the church’s eternal dwelling with God in heaven. The use of Temple imagery within the Gospel, however, may suggest a more immediate meaning while not contradicting the accepted view. Specifically, this paper would propose that Jesus’s going to the cross to prepare a place through his atoning death and glorification and return via resurrection results in immediate access to the Father in a restored and redefined Most Holy Place with Jesus serving as the mediating High Priest. Therefore, the access given to humanity is not simply entrance to a heavenly future, but a current restoration to the Father’s presence. The eschatological interpretation remains an important future implication, but it only takes effect in consequence to the initial resolution accomplished by Jesus the High Priest.

This thesis will be argued by considering (1) the images of the Temple and abiding in the Johannine literature, with emphasis on the Fourth Gospel; (2) OT and Intertestamental ideas of the Temple, noting the interplay between both physical and cosmic dimensions; and (3) thematic coherence with the Hebrews author’s presentation of the High Priesthood of Christ and the heavenly Temple. The anticipated conclusion of the study is that the chief anthropological goal—reconciliation of humanity with God as ultimately expressed in the Beatific Vision—will find its basis in the atoning work of Jesus the High Priest as defined by Him in John 14.

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