Readers Question / Comment - What can we learn from the ascension of Jesus into heaven?

A warm greeting to you all.

It is my deep longing to meet you all one day. I have been teaching in Kenya in Word of Life (Phil.2:15). Also in the prisons where I donate Bibles and goodies. Whenever I can be of any help to the website you can write to me because many are going to see it all over!

Can you help me with insights about the ascension because I have to prepare that (Acts. 1) and believe that there is truth that needs to be told. We are united deeply.

JPN Reply:

Hi!

Awesome... sounds like you have a great ministry in Kenya. I haven't written anything about the Acts 1 ascension on the website, but thinking about it, here are some points. Hope some of them help.

Firstly, it is obviously a great picture of His soon return at His 2nd Coming.

Act 1:11 who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."

The Believers Bible Commentary puts down some of these comparisons writing:

Here we have a clear promise of the Lord's Second Advent to set up His kingdom on the earth. It is not the Rapture, but the coming to reign that is in view.

1. He ascended from the Mount of Olives (v. 12).
1b. He will return to the Mount of Olives (Zec_14:4).
2. He ascended personally.
2b. He will return personally (Mal_3:1).
3. He ascended visibly.
3b. He will return visibly (Mat_24:30).
4. He was received up in a cloud (v. 9).
4b. He will come on the clouds of heaven (Mat_24:30).
5. He ascended gloriously.
5b. He will return with great power and great glory (Mat_24:30).

There are some interesting pointers with the cloud that received Him as well. I don't think it is just talking about a normal cloud. Arno Gaebelin writes:

Then they saw Him ascending. What a sight it must have been! Their Lord was “received into Glory.” Gradually in majestic silence He must have been lifted out of their midst. Lovingly His eyes must have rested upon them, while their eyes saw only Him. Then a cloud received Him out of their sight. “And then a cloud took Him in (literal rendering) out of their sight.” The cloud was not a common cloud of vapor, but the glory- cloud. It was the cloud of glory which had filled Solomon’s temple, which so often in Israel’s past history had appeared as an outward sign of Jehovah’s presence. Then angels announced His coming in like manner. And thus He will come, even back to the Mount of Olives (Zec_14:4).

J. Vernon McGee takes the same line and has a nice comparison between the start and end of Jesus' earthly life:

The ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ is an important and significant miracle in the ministry of the Lord. This is especially true for our space age when eyes are turned aloft and we are talking about travel in space. Space travel isn't really new. The Lord Jesus took off, and He didn't need a launching pad or a space suit or a missile.There was a cloud to receive Him. What kind of a cloud was that? Was it a moisture cloud? No, this was the same shekinah glory cloud that had filled the tabernacle. In His high priestly prayer He had prayed: "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was" (Joh_17:5). When He was born into this world, He was wrapped in swaddling clothes. When He left this earth, He was wrapped in glory clouds. This is the way He returned to the Father's right hand.

You could also focus on the fact that we worship an ascended, glorified Lord. Not someone dead, not someone gone, not someone now without power. We worship Jesus who ascended visibly on high to the right hand of the Father, proving that He completed His earthly work, had conquered death and has been given all authority.

Good to remember what Jesus spoke about his leaving/ascension back to heaven as well - especially to the disciples before His death to comfort them. He said it was GOOD that He was leaving. I like what somebody wrote regarding this:
"At the Ascension Jesus left the Here for the Everywhere;
He left the Time for the Eternal;
He left the First Century to fill All the Centuries."


John 14:28 You have heard Me say to you, 'I am going away and coming back to you.' If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, [84] 'I am going to the Father,' for My Father is greater than I.

From this He said we should rejoice! He is going back to His Father - the place of authority. It isn't an end to His ministry because He lives forever as our High Priest (Heb 7:25).

John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.

He points out that it is good that He is leaving so that the Holy Spirit can come! That is what is emphasized above in the 'At the Ascension Jesus left the Here for the Everywhere.' All believers can now posses the Spirit - the very life of God! And that is why He came - I have come that you might have LIFE!

It is also that He returned for other reasons. Jesus' ascension was the freeing of captives and gifts for believers:

Eph 4:7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: "When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men." (What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)

Not only that but Jesus' ascension begins the preparation of our Heavenly Home! (John 14:1-3) This is the wonderful hope and future that we have to look forward to!

Well I hope there are some thoughts here that help.

May God Bless,
Iain.