I will be happy if I get anything posted today. I am in the middle of moving out of our apartment and it’s just after six on Sunday night; I just got my computer setup and ready to use. In last Wednesday’s post I closed by saying I had more I wanted to say about the idea of mansions Jesus talks about in John 14: 2. This is still true, so here goes. In the typical feudal system the hierarchical structure is perfectly represented; the lord and his family sit on the top tier of the community and below him are all the other surfs or little people. These people are beholding to the lord of the estate and are totally dependent on his benevolence and mercy for their very livelihood if not survival. In this structure, the little people must learn their place if they are to be at all successful in this lifestyle. Religions have for millennia been utilizing this exact model and have seen great success with it. In my book The Jesus Clone I site the Exodus event as perhaps the impetus for this model. In Section Two: The Pre-Jesus God I get into a discussion in some detail about how Moses used a kind of divine bully pulpit to keep order within the swarm of Israelites as they moved through the dessert. Moses’s father-in-law, Jethro mentioned the benefits of utilizing a middle-management sort of system to help Moses handle skirmishes and other unruly manifestations within the throng of God’s children. This middle-management arrangement birthed the whole idea of priesthood and clergy which is still very much in vogue in churches today.
Today this concept of clergy and ministers as special representatives of/for God goes hand-in-glove with all traditional religious formations. But if we can focus an objective eye on this concept of priesthood and priesthood authority for a minute, we might begin to see it in somewhat of a different and possibly more accurate light. In a way, doesn’t a priest or minister act as a kind of proxy agent between the little people and God? This situation or dynamic this proxyism keeps us “little people” out of the loop of Godly matters; at least that is its fruit. So was began as a logistically sound idea to incorporate the use of—for the lack of a better term—ushers to help keep order among the children of Israel as they journeyed across the dessert mutated into the priesthood. In the year zero, this priesthood was firmly entrenched within the Hebrew culture and operating at full throttle when Jesus showed up on planet earth. The Gospels report a number of incidents that clearly portray what Jesus’s opinion of the priesthood was if our minds our opened enough to see them. The Pharisees and the Sadducees were the two main religious factions that operated within this priesthood framework. During the three years of His ministry these guys were constantly dogging and monitoring Jesus; vetting anything and everything He did and said in the attempt to undermine His authority.
These guys were using the Law of Moses as the touchstone of their authority; but when Jesus spoke His inherent authority seemed to simply roll over the crowds. His right to speak for God resonated from within the ideas His words made; the politics of His Father’s love and the principles of His Kingdom and the little people would come from far and wide to hear Him. The truth of His message was self-evident—it didn’t need vetting. Like Ben Franklin says, “We deem these truths to be self-evident.” Whenever Jesus stood preaching before huge crowds His message would come at the people in a highly dramatic and impactful fashion. It moved upon the crowds like a tidal wave. The experience might be likened to witnessing Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock as he worked his magic on his Telecaster guitar. These types of events need no vetting—they’re self-evidencing—there’s no need for officials to rush the stage demanding to see a performance permit, a sheepskin from a school of divinity or a diploma in music!
Just like in the feudal system, the church system is made up of a majority of the little people. I’m not talking about physically short people or children; but people whose position in the system is that of a lesser status and is so by design. The only way one might advance in this system is through an in-depth process of schooling and sanctification aimed to test or validate the spiritual worth of the individual. This feudal-style spiritual system with 99% of its members sitting on the bottom of the spiritual food chain has been in place for so long (and we’re all used to it, by now) almost nobody seems to even notice anything amiss with it.
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.
John 14:2 (KJV)
With this proclamation, Jesus seems to indicate that there is indeed something amiss with this feudal-style spiritual system. In His referring to mansions, not hovels He may very well be stating that all those who occupy lowly stations in the church or community—if He had His way—would occupy an exalted station. The traditional translation of this scripture supposes that Jesus is talking about heaven here; meaning that when we get to heaven in the end, our reward will be great. I don’t think this is what He means at all. Why does He say He is going to prepare a place for them (us)? What does this preparation entail? Wasn’t what He was doing while He was on the earth preparation? He is talking about the Kingdom system here. The fact that so many good, God-fearing folks fail to see the impropriety inherent in the idea, let alone the practice of this feudal-style spiritual system, is indicative of why the problem even is and why it is perpetuating. The 99%—the little people—living and operating within their spiritual hovels will continue doing so as long as they buy into this concept of spiritual proxyism. This is the practice of putting into the hands of others that which the actual Lord has deemed as theirs.