After he (Jesus Christ) said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” [Acts 1:9-11. NIV]i
Let’s go back a little over a month before this event. Before Jesus could ascend into heaven, He had to first walk out of the tomb; and, before that He had to die on the cross and be placed in the tomb.
If Jesus had not carried our sins to the cross as a sacrifice for all mankind, for all time… and, had He not walked out of his tomb three days later, …there would be no “Good News” message. There would be no forgiveness of our sins. There would be no reconciliation with God. And, there would certainly be no alternative to death, …for anyone. Digest that!
But, …He did! Which brings us (40 days after He arose) to his ascension—which we just read about. How important is that? Extremely! For two reasons. First, had Jesus Christ not gone back to heaven (and His Father) we would not have gotten the Holy Spirit. I think you would agree that our lives would be very different had not the Holy Spirit convicted us of our sins; and then sealed our relationship with God as He (the Spirit) took up residence within us when we first became Christians. If I try to imagine life without the Holy Spirit, …I can’t. It is simply too ugly and far too depressing.
The second reason the ascension is so important is the notice, and vision, we have been given of Christ’s return. Or, what is usually called, “the Second Coming”. It will happen very near the end of the Tribulation. Which means that (hopefully) we will not see it.ii (Although some people think we may actually be part of it.) The point is that Christ’s return will mark the end of the earth as we know it. We will stand the only judgment we will ever stand in heaven; and it will be in front of Jesus. It will not be to decide if we will go to Heaven or Hell. That decision was made when we accepted Christ as our savior. At this judgment, we will be given our eternal rewards—built up over our lives as Christians.
Thank-you for this never ending story. I live in awe of it’s simplicity, and yet, …complexity. And, how it all comes together for me and everyone (anyone) else who simply believes and asks for your love and mercy. You are the one, true, great, mysterious, loving, triune-God. Your eye is on everyone.
Thank-you for choosing me. On my merit, I certainly did not deserve it. In fact, I deserved death. I can earn nothing of eternal value. My faith and my hope is in You. And, while I’m sure I have failed You more times than I ever care to think about; Your love and provision have never failed me. Words fail….
i Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervon publishing House. All rights reserved.
ii I think that the Rapture—which is not to be confused with the Second Coming—will happen shortly before the beginning of the seven years of Tribulation. Some think the Rapture will occur at the mid-point of the Tribulation; and still others say, “very near its end”. I certainly hope it will be “before,” since the Tribulation is going to be a horrific time for most people on earth; and, especially for those who are (or become) Christians during the Tribulation. And yes, I do believe non-Christians will be able to become a Christian during the Tribulation.