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Summary: Observe, 2. The place He ascended from. It was Mount Olivet, the very place where he began his sad trek to the cross. There is where his heart began to be sad, but here it is made glad.

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May 13, 2013

By: Tom Lowe

Series: The Early Church

Title: The Ascension and Predicted Return

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1.9-11

Acts 1.9-11 (KJV)

9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;

11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

Commentary

9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

And when he had spoken these things,

“When he had spoken these things,” and had said all that he had to say, and having left instructions with them with regard to the proclamation of the Gospel in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and then to the entire world; and after He had promised them the full power of the Holy Spirit, with whom he would govern his church (even though he would be absent in body), he blessed them, according to Luke 24:50—“And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them”—and then He left them.

while they beheld,

It is specifically stated that “while they were looking He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.” Luke describes the episode just as it was told to him: “And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen” (Luke 24:50-53; KJV). It is critical that he added “while they beheld” when he retold the story in this letter written to Theophilus. If this detail were omitted, it could be concluded that He disappeared while His disciples were looking in another direction. But now we know they saw Him ascend and disappear with their own eyes. Elijah, who rode to heaven, in a fiery chariot, told his followers, “…If thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so” (2 Kings 2:10; KJV). SEEING IS BELIEVING!

he was taken up;

He was gradually taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight. We have here the report of Christ's ascending on high, not extracted or withdrawn, as Elijah was, with a chariot of fire and horses of fire, but Christ ascended to heaven, just as he rose from the grave, purely by his own power; his body is now, as the bodies of the saints will be at the resurrection, a spiritual body, and raised in power and incorruption. He began his ascension while the disciples watched, and kept Him in sight until He disappeared into the clouds. They could not be deceived, because they kept their eyes on Him; it is likely that he did not fly swiftly up, but moved slowly upwards. There are seven observations that should be made about this most remarkable event.

Observe, 1. Who and what it was that ascended. It was the same one that descended; Jesus Christ, in his divine nature as God, and in his human nature as man. Both His body and soul ascended.

Observe, 2. The place He ascended from. It was Mount Olivet, the very place where he began his sad trek to the cross. There is where his heart began to be sad, but here it is made glad.

Perhaps we can learn from this that God can make the very places where we face trouble and torment (such as sick-beds, prisons, strange countries), to become places of comfort and triumphant joy, when he pleases.

Observe, 3. The place He ascended to. He ascended into heaven; the third heaven, that is, where the throne of God resides; the place where the blessed live eternally. Consequently, he is said to ascend far above all heavens; that is, above the atmosphere and starry heavens which we see, into the highest heavens; to the place where he was before, which is how he expressed it in John 6:62—“What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?”

Observe, 4. The time when our Lord ascended. It happened forty days after his resurrection. What great love Christ has for His church, for Him to not go immediately to posses the unspeakable glory that awaited him; but he would wait until he had settled all things for the good of His church. Here is a good pattern to imitate; to put God and our religion ahead of our own desires.

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