Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | May 23, 2006

Christ’s Ascension – Part 1

“I kept looking until thrones were set-up, and the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow and the hair of His head like pure wool, His throne was ablaze with flames, its wheels were a burning fire.  A river of fire was flowing and coming out from before Him; thousands upon thousands were attending Him, and myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; the court sat, and the books were opened.  Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire.  As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted them for an appointed period of time.  I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven one like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him.  And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nation and men of every language might serve Him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.”  Daniel 7:9-14.

I have heard that many Christians today believe that the above referenced passage is referring to a future event.  On the other hand, I have heard compelling arguments that suggest that the events referenced in the passage above have already occurred, which are a prophecy of Christ’s Ascension.  I tend to agree with the latter view rather than the former and believe that this passage is foretelling an event that is associated with the accomplished work of redemption, the Ascension.  Today we begin to look at this subject, which will be covered in the next few entries.  Question 46 of the Heidelberg Catechism begins the explanation of this portion of the Apostles Creed in the following:  

Q. What do you mean by saying, "He ascended to heaven"?

A. That Christ, while his disciples watched, was lifted up from the earth to heaven 1
   and will be there for our good 2 until he comes again to judge the living and the dead. 3

1 Luke 24:50-51: And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them.  While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven.  Acts 1:9-11:  And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.  And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them…
2 Romans 8:34: …who is the one who condemns?  Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.  Ephesians 4:8-10: Therefore it says, ‘When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men’.  Now this expression, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth?  He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.  Hebrews 7:23-25: …Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.   Hebrews 9:24:  For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.
3 Acts 1:11: They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky?  This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.

The majority of Christians agree that Christ has ascended and is currently seated at the right hand of the Father.  There is even agreement that He is currently ruling is some type of capacity.  Many, however part company and disagree to what extent His rule currently is comprised of whether it is all of heaven only, all of heaven and just the Church on earth, or all of heaven and all of earth.  These views tend to have major implications not only about the role of Christ’s current rule, but also on the significance of the cross, the power of the Gospel and the status of Satan in our time.

In the next few entries we will consider these implications and others that are related to the ascension of our Lord.


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