Acts 1:9. "And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a
cloud received him out of their sight."
Our Lord was raised from the dead and ascended into Heaven from a hill outside Jerusalem. His ascension was actual, physical, visible, and in the presence of His disciples. Mark 16:19 says He was “received up.” Luke 24:51 He was "carried up.” Acts 1:9 He was “taken up." Ephesians 4:9 indicates that He went up by His own power, just as He had come down from heaven by His own power. Acts 1:9 said “a cloud received Him.”
There are some interesting things about His Ascension. Hebrews 4: 14. "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." "A great high priest, that is passed into the heavens." There are three heavens, first, our atmosphere, second, the realm of the stars, sun, moon and the planets and galaxies that we call outer space, and third, there is the abode of God.
Ephesians 1:20b-21. God has "set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21: Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:" He is seated and honored beyond anything a created being could accomplish or understand.
Hebrews 9:24. "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:" This "heaven itself" is the one above the air, clouds, sun, moon, and stars, up to where God reigns on His throne over all the universe.
Hebrews 8: 1-2. "Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; 2: A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man." In the "earthly tabernacle," the "holy place" was a picture of this sanctuary, "the true tabernacle." The "holy place" was where the priest served the table of showbread, the lampstand, and the altar of incense. Our Lord took up these ministries in their spiritual form as the High Priest of His redeemed people when He was awarded the seat "on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens." It proved His equality with God the Father and it also awarded Him the office of High Priest of His redeemed ones.
A priest's work was to bring an offering and he was to have a place to offer it. Under the Law, Jesus was disqualified from earthly priesthood because He was from the Tribe of Judah, not from the Tribe of Levi. His place of serving as High Priest is in heaven. His service there has a far higher rank than any earthly priest's service ever could be.
Hebrews 6: 19-20. [NKJ] "This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, 20: Where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become high priest for ever...."
"Behind the veil" refers to the presence of God. In Old Testament times, God dwelt in the holy of holies that was shut away from the rest of the Tabernacle by the "veil."
The high priest had to go inside the veil into the holy of holies once a year, every year, with animal blood for a sacrifice for his own sins. Then he went a second time with blood from a second sacrifice for the rest of the nation. On the cross, our Lord entered within the veil once, that is, the presence of God, and sprinkled His own blood on the mercy seat of God for an everlasting payment for our sins. A second sacrifice wasn't needed. Our Lord had no sin of His Own.
Hebrews 9:24-26. "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures [or pictures] of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: 25: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest enters into the holy place every year with blood of others; 26: For then must Christ often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself."
Verse. 24 tells us that He actually "appears in the presence of God," face to face, for us. Our everlasting acceptance by God the Father is based on His intercession on our behalf, and He has the proof of payment in full for our sins in His nail pierced hands.
LET'S LOOK AT FOUR DIFFERENT POSTURES OF OUR LORD IN HEAVEN: SITTING, STANDING, SERVING [OR MINISTERING], AND WAITING.
SITTING. “He was received up into Heaven, and sat on the right hand of God”, Mark 16:19. Mark's Gospel characterizes our Lord as a servant in His earthly work, so it's interesting that his is the only Gospel that tells us our Lord is sitting in this heavenly place. This indicates Jesus had completed His earthly work of Salvation for all who would believe.
In Hebrews 1:3. "Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;" In this instance, sitting indicated the completion of our redemption.
In Hebrews 10:11-12 we read, "And every priest stands daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;" This verse emphasizes the sufficiency of His sacrifice. The Lord didn't have to repeat the work of redemption, it was finished forever.
STANDING. After His ascent, there are several references in Scripture to Him standing. One of the most noteworthy is in Acts 7:55-56, when He stood to receive the soul of Stephen into Heaven. "But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56: And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God."
It appears as though Jesus personally welcomed His servant home to heaven.
Fanny Crosby, the blind hymn writer, often wrote of her desire as a Believer to see Him face to face. Contrast how the Believer and the non-believer will meet Him face to face. Revelation 5:6 says, “in the midst of the throne ... stood a Lamb as it had been slain.” This pictures Christ when He rises to pour out the final judgments of God on a godless world. He'll do away with the heathen kingdoms and establish His own kingdom in the very place where He was crucified.
SERVING, or ministering. We already read Hebrews 8:2 where it tells us of His serving. When Jesus was on earth, He said in Luke 22:27 “I am among you as one that serves.” During the 40 days between His resurrection and His ascension, He continued in this serving. John 21:13. "Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise." Right now He's serving us at God's right hand, interceding for us against all Satan's accusations and at the same time ministering to all our daily needs.
WAITING. He's waiting for the day when He'll come in the air for His bride elect, the Church, and take her into His loving embrace. We usually think of ourselves as the ones who are waiting, but our Lord is waiting to receive the bride He won with so much anguish and pain.
The love that exists between Christ and the Church is beyond our understanding. We have a wonderful future waiting for us in that home He has prepared for us in heaven.
At this very moment, He's also waiting for the time when He will return to earth and put all His enemies under His feet. 1 Corinthians 15:24-25. "Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25: For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet."
We've seen Him sitting, standing, serving, and waiting on our behalf.
LET'S LOOK AT HIM AS HEAD OVER ALL THINGS: CREATION, KINGS, HIS KINGDOM,
AND THE CHURCH
Ephesians 1:22. "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,"
HEAD OVER ALL CREATION. Colossians 2:10. "And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:" There are angelic powers, demonic powers, and cosmic powers in God’s universe. God uses angels in many ways. He used them to deliver the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai. Demons are fallen angels who have power over sinful men. Cosmic powers are the laws that govern the universe. The Lord Jesus Christ is Head of all of these. His hand made every move in creation’s story, and, as head over it all, He governs and guides it all.
HEAD OVER ALL RULERS. [KINGS] Whether they acknowledge it or not, He is the head over every ruler of all time.
In the course of human history, men such as Alexander the Great of Greece, Napoleon of France, Hitler of Germany, and Stalin of Russia have tried to dominate the world but they all ended in failure and died in shame and disgrace. It's sad, but this world has no real headship. That headship died when Adam, who was the natural head, sinned. Confusion in world government today can be explained by the fact that there is no real head.
During the coming Tribulation, Satan will try to govern all mankind with a human head, the Beast of Revelation 13. When Christ appears, the Beast and the False Prophet will be thrown into the lake of fire and the Devil will be chained for a thousand years and then join them in hell. The Headship of Christ over all the universe will be established and He will reign supreme.
HEAD OVER HIS EARTHLY KINGDOM. Revelation 19:12. “On His head were many crowns” This is how the Lord will appear for His inauguration in the millennial kingdom. He'll come as the Son of man, and He'll be seen in His glorified body. He is the one and only Redeemer and He'll be wearing the crown of redemption. He'll also wear the scars from His sufferings on the cross as evidence that He bore our sins. This world that was the scene of His humiliation, shame, agony, and death, is going to be the scene of His glorious triumph. He'll be recognized by all the universe as Lord of lords and King of kings.
HEAD OF THE CHURCH. Ephesians 1:22. “The head over all things to the church.” There are two things here I want to bring out. Our Lord's Lordship and our Lord's Headship. Our Lord’s Lordship is basically positional; that is, He is in the position of absolute authority. His Headship is more of a functional nature because He guides, protects, and even participates in the Church by means of the Holy Spirit.
As Head of the Church, He does have a supreme position; but we think of Him more in terms of the function of the Church. God has given no man authority to be the head of the Church. The Lord Jesus is the sole, living Head of the body of believers which is the Church.
The Head is the seat of government, not only of the Church but of the individual Believer as well. The head tells each member how to act and move. Believers aren't under any law of external commandments, not even the Ten Commandments, but we are under the direction of the Head, Christ, every moment of every day.
The Head is also the seat of wisdom. We can ask for, and receive, His wisdom in every earthly and spiritual matter.
The Head is the source of all comfort, so the Lord Himself is the Source of any and all comfort we may find. His Word even appoints some to be messengers of sympathy to those who are sick or hurting.
The Lord is the Head that supplies our every need. I graduated from High School in 1945, and turned 18 in August that year. World War II was still going on with Japan and I was drafted into the army and trained to be a tank commander. The Japanese surrendered and the army, in it's infinite wisdom which is rivaled only by God, decided it needed a company clerk more than a tank commander so, due to popular demand, I became a company clerk.
Our supply sergeant, who had been in service for four years or longer, got discharged, so I trained a man to be company clerk and I became supply sergeant. My job was to see that every physical object needed to clothe, train, transport and supply 250 trainees daily along with 20 or 30 cadre was available when it was needed. This even included making out the daily mess hall menu.
I did a pretty efficient job as supply sergeant, so good that when my time of service was over they tried to get me to stay on, but I declined their generous offer of $153 dollars a month, plus room and board, and became a civilian again.
I'm telling this story to show a parallel. Our Lord is the supply center of all the needs of all members of His own precious body. Army Quartermaster supplied only the physical needs of the soldier. The Lord supplies every need, every day, every hour, be it physical, mental or spiritual.
Another attribute of the Lord is that He has the ultimate seat of honor. Colossians 1:18. “That in all things He might have the pre-eminence." Psalm 115:1. “Not unto us, 0 Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory.”
In this same connection, Paul wrote, in 1 Corinthians 15:10. “By the grace of God I am what I am.”
And he was only a sinner, saved by grace, just as I am.