CPRC Men’s Bible Study
- Scriptures referring to Christ’s ascension (in Bible order)
Psalm 68:18, 110:1, Mark 16:19, Luke 9:51, 24:51, John 3:13, 6:62, 7:33,8:14, 14:2-4,16:7,28, 20:17, Acts 3:21, Rom.8:34, Eph.1:20-22, 4:8-11, Phil.2:9, I Tim.3:16, Hebrews (10): 1:3-4, 13, 2:9, 4:14-16, 6:19-20, 8:1, 9:12,24, 10:12, 12:2, 1 Pet.3:22. Total 30. Why so many in Hebrews? Because the OT ministry of the tabernacle and high priest, especially on the day of atonement, are fulfilled in Christ’s ascension into the true tabernacle above where he as sacrifice and priest brings himself.
- The nature of Christ’s ascension was a bodily, miraculous ascension from earth to heaven in the final stage of his exaltation (Phil. 2:9) at the end of his earthly work. It signified his successful completion of all his work and his reward in taking his throne to reign (in grace over his church, his iron rod over the nations, and his providence over all things), entering the most holy place to intercede for us.
- In previous resurrection appearances he had appeared suddenly and also disappeared at will but in this one which was pre-arranged, he uniquely ascended bodily without change of state.
- Cloud(s) in Scripture have various significance. The cloud signified God’s presence in the wilderness, it hides a clear vision of God (Ex.13:21). Clouds and chariots signify God’s angels and it would be fitting if he was escorted into glory by those beings. He will come in the same way. We also have a cloud of witnesses (glorified saints) in heaven. See Matt.17:5, Luke 21:27, Heb.12:1, I Thess. 4:17, Rev.1:7, Ps.104:3, Ps.68:17, 2 Kings 2:11).
- In like manner meaning similarly, bodily, miraculously Christ will return but every eye will see him.
- Angels appear as at other times to bring a message to disciples to grant them understanding/interpretation c.f. Daniel, Zachariah, Mary, Joseph. White apparel signify their glory and holiness.
- The angels perhaps ask the question to encourage them to stop staring and get on with their business of witnessing.
- For himself the ascension of Christ meant his vindication, his glory, coronation and reward, joy (Heb.12:2), unlimited power, the Spirit without measure to pour out, the continuation of his work of intercession, his being out of reach of Satan and his demons, in fact Satan was permanently cast out of heaven at the ascension (Rev.12:10-12) and the prelude to his return.
- The significance of Jesus’ ascension for the church is the absolute confirmation of the effectiveness of his atonement (Lev.16:17), our future glory as we shall ascend likewise, the outpouring of the Spirit he earned, the fact he will come again, his reigning (and us in him) over self, sin and the world, his effective intercession for us and his preservation (by all his power) of us over all the power of Satan. We are seated with him even now (Eph.2:6).
- The disciples went to an upper room in Jerusalem after the ascension because Christ had instructed them to remain in Jerusalem until the Spirit was poured out (Luke 24:49, Matthew 28:16).
- A sabbath day’s journey was what the Jewish leaders had worked out was lawful to travel on the sabbath and about 1000 metres.
- The names plus the 120 in the room did not constitute the whole church at that time, but rather the closest disciples. There were other Jews and Gentiles e.g. Zacchaeus, Joseph of Arimathea, rich young ruler, Nicodemus, Bartimaeus, the man born blind, many Samaritans (John 4), the demoniac, the Syrophoenician woman and the centurion.
- The gathering were characterized by unity. They prayed in line with the Lord’s prayer and for the Spirit (Luke 11:13).
- There were ten days between the ascension and Pentecost because God works to a timetable and Pentecost, the time for the Spirit to be outpoured (in line with the wheat harvest and giving of the law) came 50 days after the waving of the sheaf of first-fruits (Resurrection) (Lev. 23:15,16) and was a time when Jerusalem was full of Jews and proselytes from all over the empire. Christ’s appearances lasted 40 days after the resurrection and then there were ten more till Pentecost. Ten is the number of completeness (10 commandments, ten plagues, ten virgins etc) and it meant they had to persevere in prayer.
Next study (DV) Saturday March 24th on Acts 1:15-26