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Theology > Jesus > Resurrection and Ascension > A Literal Ascension  


The Ascension is recorded in three books of the New Testament: Mk. 16:19; Lu. 24:50-53; Acts 1:6-11. The accounts speak of a bodily ascension that was observed by a number of individuals; in other word, the event was historical. It really happened—it was a literal ascension.

Succinctly the Text states: “while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9), and “He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God” (Mk. 16:19). The Son returned to the Father, and to the Glory that He shared with the Father, the Glory that He gave up for a period of time in order to come to earth to accomplish man’s redemption. Luke adds that: “while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven” (Lu. 24:51). Repeatedly Jesus had predicted that when He accomplished the work that He had come to do He would return to the Father:

What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? (Jo. 6:62);

I go to prepare a place for you (Jo. 14:2);

. . . because I go to My Father (Jo. 14: 12);

But now I go away to Him who sent Me (Jo. 16:5);

. . . because I go to My Father and you see Me no more (Jo. 16:10);

A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father (Jo. 16:16);

I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father (Jo. 16:28);

And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was (Jo. 17:5);

Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, “I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God” (Jo.  20:17).

The Ascension of Christ was not an unexpected event; Jesus had spoken of it openly and often. But the disciples, as on numerous other subjects, failed to grasp the full meaning of His statements. The Scriptures place on the lips of the disciples a statement attributed to Christ:

Then some of His disciples said among themselves, “What is this that He says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’; and ‘because I go to the Father’?” They said therefore, “What is this that He says, ‘A little while’? We do not know what He is saying” (Jo. 16:17-18).

At the time of His Ascension the statement was made: “This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). Just as the Ascension was real and literal, so the Second Coming of Christ will be real and literal. The believer longs for that event.

Jesus Himself asks the question:
“Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things
and to enter into His glory?”
Lu. 24:26

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