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The Testimony Of Jesus Christ

Chapter Nine

The Ascension of Jesus Christ

After His resurrection, Christ left this earth and returned to heaven, His Father, and the heavenly host. His miraculous return is called the “ascension.” Jesus came to this earth as a baby born of the virgin Mary (Matthew 1:23), but He left as the Divine-man in full control of the universe. He came invisibly, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20), but in His ascension He was fully visible. Christ came into this world to accomplish the salvation of “His people” (Matthew 1:21); and having redeemed us, He soon ascended back to heaven. The ascension of Christ is of such great importance that it has been well documented by the Bible and is certainly worthy of a place in this book.

In this study we will look at some of the many passages which declare that Christ ascended. We will start with an Old Testament passage which prophesied of the ascension. Psalm 68:18 states: “Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.” This passage predicted the ascension of Christ, and Paul made that fact very clear in the Book of Ephesians. He wrote, “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)” Ephesians 4:8-10. Clearly, both the Psalmist and Paul spoke of the same event: the ascension of Christ.

Jesus also spoke of His ascension before it occurred. As He spoke pointedly that He was the “bread which came down from heaven” (John 6:58), some were quick to criticize and challenge Him. He responded by asking this question, “What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?” (John 6:62). Without going into a lengthy explanation of the circumstances, let us look at one thought Jesus embedded in His question. He mentioned the ascension, stating He would ascend up where He was previously. Clearly, Christ revealed that He would return to heaven and thus predicted His ascension quite some time before it actually occurred.

As the time of ascension drew near, Christ became more focused on the event. The Bible says, “And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51). He knew the time was drawing near, and we can only imagine His anticipation. Have you ever taken a trip and after a while you could hardly wait to return home? If so, then you can partially understand that Jesus was ready for His return to heaven. What a wonderful experience the ascension must have been for Christ. He left this sinful world and soared to the perfection of heaven. The ascension must also have been an unforgettable experience for those who were blessed to witness it.

In addition to the passages which predicted the ascension, there are also scriptures which describe the event. One such verse is Mark 16:19. It tells what Christ did before He left earth and after He arrived in heaven. It says, “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.” Notice that the Lord talked to His disciples briefly and then ascended to again be seated at the right hand of His Father. But what did Jesus say to the disciples? Have you ever wondered what He talked about? While we do not know His exact words, the Gospel of Luke gives us additional insight that is helpful. Luke said, “And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven” (Luke 24:51). Even though the verse is rather brief, the words are so informative. Luke tells us that Jesus “blessed them.” The exact words He spoke were not recorded, but before Jesus ascended He pronounced blessings upon His disciples. Whether they were immediate or future blessings, we cannot say. In either case, those final moments before the ascension must have enriched their lives and made a lasting impression upon the Apostles.

However, the Apostles of our Lord were not the only ones to benefit from the ascension of Christ. The fact is, those who believe the testimony of scripture are blessed just by knowing it occurred. This phenomenal truth not only encourages our hearts within us, but it also strengthens our outward Christian profession. The writer of Hebrews said, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession” (Hebrews 4:14). Somehow, just knowing that Christ has “passed into the heavens” has a tremendous effect upon our profession. Because of the ascension, we have a powerful and positive profession of faith.

When we share our faith with others, we proclaim profound truths which often bless the souls of men. As an example, let us consider Hebrews 9:24. It says, “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” Think about this fact: there are many “holy places” on the earth. Moses met God and took off his shoes because it was holy ground (Exodus 3:5). Perhaps, as you read these words you are thinking of a place which is sacred to you. But Christ did not enter into some holy place on earth, He entered into heaven. Heaven is real! Christ went there when He ascended and from heaven He reigns.

The ascension is not just about Christ’s return to heaven, but it also involves His reign and power. That connection is made in 1 Peter 3:22. The Apostle Peter was referring to Christ and His ascension when he wrote, “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.” He informs us that Jesus ascended to heaven and again sat on the right hand of the Father, but he also reminds us that the angels and all heavenly powers were made subject to Him. What a picture this truth conjures in our minds. Christ ascended and is now ruling and reigning over the army of heaven and all the inhabitants of the earth (Daniel 4:35). Even now, the ascension of Christ blesses us for He continues to reign by His sovereign powers.

In addition to present blessings, there is future hope because of a promise given at the ascension of Christ. While the disciples of our Lord witnessed His ascension, angels proclaimed a wonderful promise. They promised the sure return of Jesus, saying “...Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). That promise has reassured unnumbered saints throughout the ages. Ponder this blessed truth: though He ascended, He will return to claim His own and take us home. What a blessed hope!


“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). What a wonderful chain of events culminated with the ascension of Christ. God in the flesh, the subject of preaching, left this world and by His ascension was “received up into glory.” Praise God for the ascension of Christ.

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This page last updated on November 1, 2015