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 Sermons on important subjects by Rev. Paul C. Jong

 

Sermon on the Holy Son 5



The Proof That Jesus Ascended to Heaven


The Bible Written by the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit Testifies to This Truth

Acts 1:1-2 testifies the Ascension of Jesus Christ saying, “The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen.”

Christianity is not a theory-driven religion, but it is the real truth. The Bible thus is authoritative. In particular, the Gospel according to Luke is not a product of the physician Luke’s subjective and superficial knowledge, but it is the living record that “through the Holy Spirit” he wrote of Jesus’ ministry “until the day in which He was taken up.” When we can believe in historical documents left behind by mere mortals, how can we not believe in this Bible that was written through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who is God Himself?

The above passage testifies that Jesus ascended to Heaven before the presence of many who witnessed this with their own eyes. Acts 1:9 says, “Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.” 1 Corinthians 15:6 also states, “After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.” Since Jesus resurrected while over 500 saints were witnessing it, His ascension is the undeniable reality. And this was written when most of those who witnessed it were still alive.



That Jesus Returned Again to the Infinite from the Finite Realms Testifies to His Ascension


We must believe as a matter of course that the infinite Lord came to this finite world incarnated in the flesh of mortals, took upon our sins by being baptized, was crucified, rose from the dead again with His power, and, as the glory of this resurrection, ascended to Heaven returning to the infinite from the finite.

If we the saints were, after coming to and staying on this earth for a while, to return to Heaven, then there is nothing strange about this but it is only a matter of course. Likewise, there is nothing strange in the fact that Christ, who came from Heaven, stayed on this earth for a while and then ascended back to Heaven again, but it is only a matter of course. Our Lord therefore said to Nicodemus, to whom He had explained the principles of Heaven but who could not understand, as the following: “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven” (John 3:10-13).



That Jesus Ascended to Heaven before the Witnessing of Many Testifies the Truth


In Acts 1:10, it is said, “And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up….” Here, the phrase, “looked steadfastly toward heaven,” means that they looked toward Heaven very closely. In other words, it shows that the Lord’s ascension took place before the very eyes of the disciples over an extended time-period. Put differently, this experience of the disciples was not just instantaneous, but it provided clear and detailed evidence. That the disciples “looked steadfastly” means that they gazed for a considerable length of time. Jesus’ ascension was not a momentary and instant event, like a falling star or lightening in the night sky, but it was a concrete and certain event. Like this, Christianity is the very witnessing of the real truth.



Two Angels Bore Witness


In the latter half of Acts 1:10, it is written, “two men stood by them in white apparel.” These two men here clearly refer to angels. The “white apparel” symbolizes purity and honor. Both the Old and New Testament testify alike that angels always manifest in the likeness of human beings (Matthew 28:3; Luke 24:4; Acts 10:30; Genesis 18:2, 19:1; and Revelation 21:17).

Angels are supernatural beings who are sinless. As such, their testimony plants the truth in our hearts, as refreshing as the clear water of a river.



Our Lord Who Will Return in the Same Manner as His Ascension


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Acts 1:11 says, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

After the Lord’s ascension, the 500 brothers gathered to bear witness to this ascension were still staring at the empty sky in sadness even as the Lord had disappeared from their sight. To give them comfort, courage and hope, the two angels testified, “This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

The phrase “in like manner” means that just as He had ascended to Heaven from the Mount of Olives, the returning Lord would invariably come back to this Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4), and He promised that at this time, He will not come in humility as He did when He first came, but He will come in clouds in glory. Therefore the righteous can wait for Him in hope, saying, “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20)

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