Hope To The End
WE EXALT THEE JESUS
Graphic from Bill Lane
Intimate Ascension; Evening Ascension, and Ascension Thursday
Throughout Church History we have celebrated "The" Ascension of Jesus Christ as a one time event :10 days before Pentecost. Yet the Scriptures actually record 3 ascensions of Jesus Christ. One took place on Easter Morning, as recorded in Matthew 28.
We will call that one the" Intimate Ascension".
The Second Ascension took place on Easter evening and is recorded in Luke 24:50, 51 and in Mark 16:19 and in Acts 1:2.
We will call that the "Evening Ascension."
And finally the third Ascension took place 10 days before Pentecost and is recorded in Acts 1:9. This is the most recognized Ascension and is often referred to as "Ascension Thursday".
Let's examine each more closely in detail.
The Intimate Ascension (Loving Embrace)
The knowledge of this Ascension is derived from direct revelation and by deduction.
Christ directly revealed the fact that He was to ascend to His Father shortly after His resurrection. He revealed this to Mary Magdalene Easter morning in the Garden Tomb area, as found in the Gospel of John 20:17
"Touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father: but go to My brethren, and say unto them,
I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God and your God."
This was a pronouncement by Christ of what was to take place immediately, not 40 days later.
The great I AM exists in real-time.
It is spiritually profound that Christ would ascend to the Father as a completion of His redemptive work here on earth. This is the conclusion of His prayer to the Father found in John 17, spoken on the night of the Last Supper. It is only right, proper and fitting that Christ receive the glory due Him and to receive it at this time. Since Jesus told us directly, why would anyone doubt?
But just in case one does doubt, Our Lord lets us conclude this august fact through deduction.
Christ told Mary Magdalene not to touch Him (she already had grasped His feet, we are told in Matthew 28:9). Jesus was saving that special welcoming embrace for His Father alone. The intimacy They would share in Glory is not revealed to us, but someday we will know. For now, it is only hinted at.
We read in Psalm 2:7
"I will declare the decree: the LORD (Jehovah) hath said unto Me (Jesus Christ):
"Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee".
Easter Sunday, Firstfruits, is truly THE Lord's day.
Although Jesus is and always has been the Son of God, begotten of God, this above verse refers to the fulfillment of Sonship obtained by Christ's willing obedience to the redemptive process (crucifixion, burial and resurrection). This completion and consummation of the Father's will, on our behalf, wrought the embrace of finality by the Father. It is that final embrace we all look forward to when we too shall die or be raptured.
"As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness:
I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness." Psalm 17:15
Keeping in mind the fact that Jesus told Mary Magdalene not to touch Him for He had not yet ascended to the Father---we then realize that after that encounter, Christ ascended to the Father and received the Father's embrace and 'Amen' to the finished work of Christ. Then we go on to notice that that same evening Christ commands the disciples to touch Him and see that it is truly Him.
"Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself: handle Me and see". Luke 24:39
The obvious deduction is that Christ has already been with the Father in Glory and has transported back to earth and it is now permissible to touch Him, and is in fact encouraged.
From these two affirmations--- direct revelation and by deduction--- we can then conclude with certainty that yes Jesus Christ BOTH rose and ascended on Easter morning. This ascension being an "Intimate Ascension".
* * * * *
This may well be the time when Jesus sprinkled His blood upon the Mercy Seat in heaven.
After Christ had descended, He resurrected on Sunday Morning to the Garden Tomb area and spoke with the women at the grave site. He told them He was going to ascend to His Father....which He did that morning. After receiving the embrace of the Father, Jesus most likely sprinkled His blood (miraculously) upon the Mercy Seat in Heaven.
"But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, BUT BY HIS OWN BLOOD He entered in ONCE into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption for us."
Hebrews 9: 11, 12
The Evening Ascension (Joy)
The Evening Ascension is recorded in Luke's Gospel Chapter 24 (also Acts 1:2)
and is discerned from both time and location.
The setting here is Easter evening (not 40 days later) and the place here is Bethany (not the Mt. of Olives, even though Bethany is down the slope of the Mt. of Olives). Bethany is a hamlet in its own right and would never be interchangeable with the Mt. of Olives as an identical location.
Just as there were two witnesses to ascension #1 (direct revelation and deduction) there are now two witnesses to the Evening Resurrection (time and place).
All of Luke 24 deals with one single day: Easter Sunday.
It begins at dawn with the realization that Christ has resurrected from the grave. It goes on to tell the story of Emmaus and how Christ has already transported back to earth (from the Father) and continues to do what He has always done: proclaim the Gospel.
The Chapter then goes on to show Christ revealing Himself to His disciples gathered in the upper room in Jerusalem that same Easter evening. He tells them to touch Him and prove to themselves that it is actually He. Jesus then leads them from the upper room in Jerusalem out over the Mt. of Olives and down the slope to the small village of Bethany. They most likely arrived at the home of Lazarus, Mary and Martha.
Great Joy was shared by all those present there. To realize that Jesus truly was their Messiah, that He had not died in vain, that His resurrection vindicated everything He ever said or did overwhelmed them with uncontainable joy.
Then as evening shadows lengthened and their course of discussion finished, Jesus blesses them and raises His hands and is carried upwards to heaven. This is the second recorded Ascension, the Evening Ascension.
It is our belief that at the time of the Evening Ascension, all those who arose from their graves on that same Easter Day also went up to Heaven with Jesus that evening, after appearing unto many of the brethren.
(Matthew 27:52, 53 ... the Barley Sheaf )
"Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory,
which Thou hast given Me: for Thou lovest Me before the foundation of the world." John 17:24
Don't you suppose that Joseph---Jesus' earthly-father----would have been in that company ?
Easter evening would be the fulfillment of Ephesians 4:8 :
"Wherefore He (the Holy Spirit) saith,"When He (Jesus) ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men". (ten days later on Pentecost).
After Jesus and His company of resurrected saints ascended on Easter evening, his followers then returned to Jerusalem with great Joy, knowing they would shortly see Jesus again. For He had promised that He would see them next in Galilee, probably when the Feast of unleavened bread was over, and most families were returning to their homes and villages from Jerusalem.
These followers had much joy that Easter Evening. Not only did they know that Jesus was alive, resurrected and in an eternal Glorified Body, but they knew they would see Him again. They knew that He had the power to teleport to and from earth since He had done so already twice that same day. He had all power in heaven and earth. Such sweet and utter joy at the time of the Evening Ascension.
Luke refers back to THAT Evening Ascension in his next treatise (ACTS) in Acts 1:2. In that verse Luke tells his friend Theophilus that he, Luke, had previously recorded the earthly life of Jesus
Christ up and until the time He was ascended from Bethany, Easter evening (in his former treatise).
Luke then goes on in Acts to record the most famous ascension of all:
Ascension Thursday (Hope) Acts 1:9
This Ascension is the widely recognized Ascension of Jesus Christ, and is referred to as "THE" Ascension. Unfortunately, it is perceived to be His only Ascension, which of course it is not. Christ ascended at least 3 times as recorded in Scripture and transported many times between heaven and earth during His 40 days here, after His resurrection.
This modern generation accepts so readily Star Trek's version of teleporting ("beam me up, Scotty"). Science Fiction tries so desperately hard to imitate the magnificent actualities found only in the Holy Bible and performed only by Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
But then Satan has always been an imitator and counterfeiter.
This third recorded Ascension is vastly different from the other two ascensions mentioned beforehand.
This ascension has a somber finality to it. Jesus is going Home. He will not be teleporting back and forth as He has been doing for 40 days. The disciples enter their final plea before He leaves. Will He now establish His kingdom on earth ? Jesus intimates that no, not at this time, and that the time will be hidden until the Book of Daniel is reopened for further revelations. All these times are in the Father's Hand.
Another pang of sorrow.
Not only is Jesus leaving them physically (in a final way), but also Israel will have to await its deliverance from the yoke of Rome, and the Messianic earthly kingdom is yet to come.
A SPIRITUAL KINGDOM
They now must live out their days in HOPE and in the Promise of the Father. The Promise is the Holy Spirit.
He will inaugurate Christ's ACTUAL KINGDOM here on earth at Our Lord's Millennium. when in our glorified bodies we will be priests and kings (intercessors for our fellow man and for nations).
We read in Matthew 16:19
"and I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shalt be loosed in heaven". This is the Church's authority--not invested in one man, not in Peter alone (or a pope) , but in all of us as priests of our Lord's spiritual kingdom when He comes after Armageddon"
Our Messianic Hope (the key of David) is yet to come...
Christ's earthly reign is yet to come.
But the Spiritual Kingdom is here already, and we are even now ministering as prayer warriors and ministers of the Gospel of reconciliation.
This Spiritual Kingdom was given in earnest (in down payment) when Christ appeared in the upper room Easter evening and breathed upon His disciples and said,
"Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whosoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and Whosoever sins ye retain, they are retained" John 20:23
This is NOT referring to confessing one's sins to a priest. We confess our sins to God alone, or to the specific injured party.
This is a form of accountability. When offended by others, we either ask God for their change of heart, or for their accountability...whichever works first. Zechariah (2 Chronicles 24:22), David (Psalm 69:22) and Paul
(1 Corinthians 5:5) prayed for accountability, fitting the circumstances.
Our Lord and Stephen prayed for forgiveness for their persecutors at the time of their death. In Christ's case, it worked to the advantage of us all. In Stephen's case it worked to Saul's advantage. The Holy Spirit gives the discernment to know what to pray for.
For verses on the priesthood of the Believer please see:
Exodus 19:6..... Isaiah 61:6 .... 1 Peter 2:5 .... 1 Peter 2:9; ...... Matthew 23:8;
Revelation 1:6; ...... Rev. 5:10 and Rev. 20:6.
We read of the kingdom authority of the Church again in Matthew 18:18
"Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Generally, we bind demonic forces in Jesus name, and we loose the power of the Holy Spirit for regeneration, etc." Our kingdom is SPIRITUAL. It is not a political entity in any way, shape or form. We are intercessors....
people who PRAY for outcomes while living righteously.
"And men began to call upon the NAME of the LORD (Jehovah-Jesus)" Genesis 4:26.
Enos is the first recorded priest in Scripture.
Christ "hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in in heavenly places in Christ Jesus"
This spiritual power refers to the spiritual kingdom. We do not have political power
(aligning with political causes), for Our Lord told us that His kingdom is not of this world. (John 18:36)
His Messianic Kingdom has not yet come. And even when it does come (after Armageddon), politics will play no part in it.
Please see "When the RIGHT becomes wrong" hopetotheend.com/wolves.html
For now, we are on the top of the Mt. of Olives...it is Thursday...the Lord is ending His earthly manifested presence at this time (in His glorified body). From now on, His presence would be spiritual, by the power of the Holy Ghost. The promise and the expectation and the hope is yet future.
The followers were to wait 10 days. We as the Church have tribulation 10 days. "In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world." John 16:33
We too are buffeted on every side ( 1 Corinthians 4:11 ). And we too have the promise of the Comforter, and the Hope of Our Lord's return.
For now, the church is focused on the rapture, and as conditions get worse here on earth, it is good to look forward to the rapture (both Midnight and Cockcrowing). Yet it is also good to await with eager hope and anticipation the earthly kingdom of Jesus Christ. (millennial reign of Jesus Christ) For while it is good for us to leave this world, to depart and thus to ever be with the Lord, it is also good that Righteousness (Tzidkenu) reign here on earth.
One thing this last decade has accomplished for sure, is to make us all yearn and ache for righteousness.
Everything is so totally corrupted and controlled ( New World Order) from the high on down to the low, from east to west and from north to south and from top to bottom. How we all long to be free of the SYSTEM.
We strain to see goodness and righteousness, and our eyes will grow dim until the Day Star rises.
That too was the feeling upon the Mt. of Olives that Thursday long ago: the feeling of somber reality tinged with Hope.
"And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight."Acts 1:9
Christ has now ascended into the highest heaven, Ephesians tells us, and gave gifts to men."
Ephesians 4:8-12. See also Psalm 68:18
THERE IS NO QUEEN of HEAVEN
This Ascension Thursday is perhaps the Coronation Day of our King of the Universe:
"The LORD (Jehovah) said unto my Lord (Jesus Christ)
'Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies thy footstool" Psalm 110:1
"But to which of the angels said He at any time "Sit on My right hand, until I make Thine enemies thy footstool?" Hebrews 1:13
Jesus..."Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God;
angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him." 1 Peter 3:22
"And without controversy great is the mystery of Godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."1 Timothy 3:16
JESUS IS PRAYING FOR US NOW
"Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them." Hebrews 7:25
Our Forerunner has entered heaven ahead of us (Hebrews 6:20) to intercede for us and to prepare a place for us John 14:2...
"Let not your hearts be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me.
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.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." John 14:1-3
Thanks be to God.
"Praise ye the LORD....the LORD is high above all nations,
and His Glory above the heavens." Psalm 113:4
"I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up,
and his train filled the temple". Isaiah 6:1
[due to redemption].....
"Wherefore God (the Father) also hath HIGHLY exalted Him (Jesus), and given Him a Name which is above every name:
That at the name of JESUS every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:9-11
I Exalt Thee" by Jeff Fenholt
Our God is an AWESOME God
Other Scriptural References to the Ascension:
Christ, the Prophet, foretold of His Ascensions in John 6:62 (seen--witnessed-- from Bethany and from the Mt. of Olives) and John 20:17. (foretelling the Intimate Ascension. (unseen).
Stephen witnessed Christ in His exalted position in Heaven in Acts 7:55, 56
and Paul Himself encountered the Ascended Christ on his way to Damascus in Acts 9:3-5.
Excellent articles by JH Keathley:
ANNIE'S Ascension Day http://www.annieshomepage.com/ascensionday.html
Excellent article by Kenneth Alan Daughters
Glorified Body: http://catholic.net/RCC/Periodicals/Faith/0304-97/ESCHATOL.html
Why Did He Have To Go ?
Do You Have a Mansion in the Sky ?......by Frances
25 Features of our Resurrected Bodies:
What is a Glorified Body ?
Pictures of the Ascension http://www.textweek.com/art/ascension.htm
Inaccurate Liturgy : Changing the observance of Ascension Thursday