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Matthew 28
posted August 9, 2012

Revelation 13
posted August 16, 2012

The Ascension Of Jesus - December 9, 2005


Sermon of the Week #200546 – December 9, 2005

Ladies and Gentlemen, There are several references in the New Testament regarding the ascension of Jesus to Heaven after His resurrection. We are told that He spent forty days on earth instructing the Apostles before He was taken up. So the following is a short list of some of the references of that momentous event. What a day that was when Jesus was taken up!

Jesus Himself spoke of it as a marvel when He challenged some of His followers in John six, “What then, if you would see the Son of man ascending up where He was before?” Perhaps this message will give a partial answer to that question of Jesus to modern-day disciples.


The first ascension story we note is in Mark, “So then the Lord Jesus, after He had spoken unto them, was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by the signs that followed.” Amen.

When the Lord Jesus Christ ascended into Heaven and sat down at the right hand of God, His work continued on earth as the Apostles went forth and preached the gospel. But Jesus was more than a passive observer of the activity of the Apostles as they preached the Word. Mark tells us that He worked with the Apostles from Heaven confirming the Word by the signs that followed.

The signs that He gave them were casting out demons, speaking in new tongues, taking up serpents, and immunity from drinking poison. The speaking in tongues were fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost when the Apostles were heard by sixteen different tongues. Many instances of casting out demons are mentioned in the Book of Acts, and while no example of immunity from poison is mentioned, we do have one example of Paul taking up a poisonous serpent and suffering no ill effects from snakebite.

The Lord confirmed the Word by the working of these signs. Although we do not need to confirm the Word today, since it has already been confirmed there is no need for these miracles today as worked through the hands of men.

Some today may not agree, but it seems they are selective in the signs given the Apostles they want to duplicate. I know of some who think they can speak in different tongues as they did on the Day of Pentecost, but not many try their hand at taking up serpents.

I heard a song one time that told of a man who attended a snake-handling service. As they passed the rattlesnake from person to person this particular man got nervous and inquired, “Where is the back door?” He was informed there was none. He said, “Reckon where would they want one?”

        However the Lord is still busy today working with those who preach the Word as found in the Book of Acts. In His providence, Jesus brings together both the preacher and audience to hear about the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord and the response that He requires, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. Repent ye and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. And they went down into the water both Philip and the Eunuch and he baptized him. Many of the Corinthians hearing believed and were baptized. Arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes and was baptized he and all his household straight way.” The emphasis on the ascension in Mark is on evangelism.


The account of the ascension according to Luke tells us, “And He led them out until they were over against Bethany: and He lifted up His hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He parted from them, and was carried up into heaven. And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple, blessing God.”

The emphasis on the ascension of Jesus according to Luke seems to be more on the personal worship of the Apostles. They worshipped Him and were continually in the temple blessing God.

         Today we need to worship in the temple. We do have a temple. Paul speaks of that temple when he says, “Know ye not that your body is the temple of God therefore glorify God in your body.” Our worship in the temple is a day-by-day experience of glorifying God in the life-style of the Christian. Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world; a city set on a hill cannot be hid.” The Christian by his life should be just as conspicuous as a light on a hill.

Our worship also includes the gathering of the members of the local congregation together according to Acts twenty, verse seven, “And upon the first day of the week when we were gathered together to break bread”. Our observance of the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week is a continual reminder to the world that Jesus died on the cross, was buried, ascended and is coming again.

         Then again the emphasis of worship on the Lord’s Day is a challenge to any serious-minded follower of the Lamb according to Hebrews chapter ten. There it is stated, “Not forsaking our own assembling together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more as you see the day drawing nigh.”

         And then this somber warning to those who misuse the day of worship, “If we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment of fire that that shall devour the adversaries.” According to that statement, a person who deliberately avoids the worship service is an adversary of God.

           Furthermore the warning is even more disturbing when the inspired Word states, “You have trodden underfoot the Son of God and counted the blood of the covenant wherewith you have been sanctified an unholy thing”; and then beyond that it is said, “You have done despite to the Spirit of grace.”

Listen again to that awful pronouncement, “Adversary of God---trodden underfoot the Son of God---counted the blood of the covenant an unholy thing---done despite to the Spirit of grace.”

           This warning is emphasized and in addition to all this is the warning, “As ye see the day drawing nigh. The Christ who ascended is coming again and He Himself has said, in an hour when ye think not the Son of man cometh.” And if that is not enough to light your fire finally there is the awful statement, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”


In the ascension of Jesus according to the Book of Acts the Lord was on the Mount of Olives with the Apostles. He had just told them, “…would be His witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when He had said these things as they were looking, He was taken up and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they were looking steadfastly into heaven as He went, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; who also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye looking into heaven? This Jesus who is received up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye beheld Him going into heaven.”

In this account of the ascension of Jesus, it is emphasized that this same Jesus will return in like manner as He was seen going into Heaven. The Second Coming is predicted in this account of the ascension.

One way He will come in like manner as He was received up into Heaven was given by the Lord Himself when He told Caiaphas at His trial, “Henceforth ye shall see the Son of man coming sitting at the right hand of power and coming on the clouds of Heaven. He shall come in like manner as He was received up into Heaven.

Another is what John said in the first chapter of Revelation, “Behold, He cometh with the clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they that pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth shall mourn over Him.”

Not only will Caiaphas see Him, but also every eye shall see Him all at the same time. Those who crucified Him or rejected His blood sacrifice will mourn at the sight of the victorious Christ coming in the clouds of Heaven. He shall come in like manner as ye beheld Him going into Heaven.

Another statement about His coming in like manner as He was received up into Heaven is in First Thessalonians, “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we that are left alive unto His coming shall together be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” He shall come in like manner as ye beheld Him going into Heaven.

Then another reference that informs us that He will come in like manner as He ascended into Heaven is in Second Thessalonians when Paul speaks of the revelation of the Lord Jesus from Heaven with the angels of His power in flaming fire, rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that have not obeyed the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Notice that Paul tells of angels in flaming fire in the Lord’s return. That reminds us of the translation of Elijah. He was taken up in a chariot of fire. The chariot of fire must have been a company of angels that carried him up. In Hebrews chapter one, we learn, “He maketh his angels winds and His ministers a flame of fire.” The angel that appeared to Gideon ascended back to heaven in a flame of fire. Jesus did not need a fiery chariot to take Him up to Heaven; He ascended under His own power, but when He comes again the angels will return with Him in flaming fire. He shall come in like manner as ye beheld Him going into Heaven.

Then this statement of encouragement for the Christian as Mark records these words of Jesus regarding His coming in like manner as He was received up into Heaven, “And then shall they see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then shall He send forth His angels, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.” He shall come in like manner as ye beheld Him going into Heaven.


There is a reference to the ascension of the Lord Jesus in Hebrews the fourth chapter, “Having then a great High Priest, who hath passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.”

Jesus when He ascended passed through the heavens. The Jews in those days believed in three heavens. The first heaven was the heaven where the birds fly. Jesus said the birds of the heaven have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head. When the Lord ascended He did not stop somewhere in the heavens where birds and airplanes fly. The second heaven is the heaven where the stars, planets, sun and moon, are to be found. Jesus referred to the second heaven when He said in regards to His second coming, “The sun shall be darkened, the moon shall not give her light, and the powers of the heaven shall be shaken.” Then the third heaven is the home of God and the entire heavenly host.

When the first Russian cosmonaut who went up in space returned, he said he had been to heaven and he did not find God up there. The reason he did not find God was because he did not go high enough. He went through the first and second heavens, but there was no way he could ever get to the third heaven. No rocket ever made will blast off to the third heaven. Jesus said, “No man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” We can blast off from Cape Canaveral and go to the moon, but to go to the third heaven you must blast off from Cape Calvary.

So Jesus passed through the heavens and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. The emphasis on this reference of the ascension of Jesus is that He sits at the right hand of God to be our intercessor.

We have not a High Priest that cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, but one who was tempted in all points like as we are and yet without sin. Because Jesus lived on this earth in the flesh just as we live, He understands our weakness.

That is why the Hebrew writer continues and urges us to draw nigh with boldness to the throne of grace that we may find grace and mercy in time of need. There is no time in my life, no day or hour or minute that I do not need to cry out for grace and mercy. I am always a beggar before God. I have never done anything whereby I can approach God and ask for something on the basis of what I have done. I am always in the need of grace and mercy. Grace is what God gives us that we do not deserve and mercy is God’s grace in action.

If God the Father would ever entertain the notion to pick up this world like a basketball and slam-dunk it into hell, it is still the nail-scarred hands of Jesus that stays Him from that purpose. Jesus is our intercessor and is always ready to plead our case before the Heavenly Father.


There is one more reference to the ascension of Jesus we note in First Timothy the third chapter, “Great is the mystery of godliness. He was manifested in the flesh.” Some religions worship a god in the form of a bull or a crocodile. No one ever dreamed that God would visit the earth as a baby. Justified in the Spirit. He was justified in the Spirit at His baptism when the Spirit of God descended in the form of a dove and a voice was heard saying, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” He was seen of angels. Angels announced His coming to the shepherds at Bethlehem. He was preached among the nations. The great commission instructed them to teach all nations. He was believed on in the world. John said he saw a number that no man could number out of every tribe and tongue and nation. Then He was received up in glory.

In this reference to the ascension of Jesus the emphasis is on the glory of the triumphant Son of God.

When Jesus went out of sight of the wondering Apostles, He was very much in sight of the host of Heaven as they welcomed the King back home. They had seen Him leave home and now they see Him return. His arrival is no doubt what the Psalmist had in mind when he wrote these words, “Lift up your heads O ye gates and be ye lifted up ye everlasting doors and the King of glory shall come in.” The gates seem to be personified and they cry back in answer to the angels and say, “Who is this King of glory?” The angels call back the answer, “The Lord strong and mighty the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads O ye gates and be ye lifted up ye everlasting doors and the King of glory shall come in.” And again, the gates call back for more information; “Who is this King of glory?” Again, the angels give the answer, “The Lord of hosts he is the king of glory.”

A Church of Christ evangelist of many years ago wrote a gospel song that tells about the ascension of Jesus. The lyrics of one verse tells us, “At His feet on old Olivet’s Hill they say, Cloud chariots halted, took Christ away; Then the angels came and to wondering disciples said, He’ll come and earth and sea shall yield up their dead.  I am so happy in Jesus, captivity’s captor is He; angels rejoice when a soul’s saved, some day we like Him shall be.  Sorrow and joy have the same Lord, valley of shadows shall sing; death has its life, its door opens in heaven eternally, Christ is King.”