Jun 13, 2013

Jesus: Ascension, Session and Return NOTES

“Jesus: Ascension, Session and Return”
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God the Father Almighty; Maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried; the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven; and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.
Gerald Healy was a well-known actor and playwright who was prominent in Irish theatre in the 50’s. One of his productions was called The Black Stranger, focusing on the potato famine of 1846. Some of the relief work included workers paving non-functional roads. One of the characters involved named Michael realizes this. He comes home one day and exclaims the tragedy of it all: “They’re makin’ roads that lead to nowhere!”
Is this what history is? A road that leads to nowhere? An accidental story with no meaning? One that has no intended ending and instead just gets interrupted somewhere in the middle, right as tis being played out? And is there even an audience to witness this tragic tale, anyway? In short, is history going anywhere? Does history have any purpose? Many moderns have answered with a resounding NO, history has no point. For example …
Sir George Norman Clark (1890-1979) was a historian who taught at both Oxford and Cambridge. In his Cambridge inaugural lecture he said this about history: “There is … no plan in history to be discovered.” He went onto say that no “future consummation could make sense of all the irrationalities of the preceding ages.”
The Right Honourable Herbert Fisher (1865-1940), a historian, educator, politician and professor at Oxford said he could not see any plot or pattern but rather “only one emergency following upon another as wave upon wave” in history.
Andre Maurois (1885-1967), a famous French author, said this in regards to the purpose of history: “the universe is indifferent” and “I am quite convinced that no one has the slightest idea” as to why we are here on this “spinning” “puny mud-heap”.
But this is nothing new. Even while Jesus was ministering in Galilee, the two main schools of Greek philosophical thought were the Stoics and Epicureans. The Stoics thought history was a never-ending repeat without change! Imagine the world is like that mp3 file you leave on repeat, but forever. The Epicureans believed that everything was merely material (completely random at that) and the gods –who did not create us- were unconcerned with human history, as they were too busy being happy themselves. The Epicureans taught that everything would simply dissolve into its component parts and then that was that – nothingness. Because of this, Epicurus himself could say “Death is nothing to us; for that which is dissolved, is without sensation, and that which lacks sensation is nothing to us.” 
In the exaltation of Christ, there are (also) four aspects:
-his resurrection
-ascension into heaven
-session at the right hand of God
-return in glory and power
(the state of humiliation and the state of exaltation broad categories to organize Jesus’ work)
I.                   ascension
LUKE 24:50-51, aCTS 1:9-11, 7:55-56, 9:4-5, REV 4.1; JOHN 3:13; 6:62; 7:33-36; 8:21-24; 14:28-29; 16:4-11; acts 1:10; hebrews 4:14, 9:24
“…the cloud had meaning. The Jew spoke of the Shechinah, meaning the manifestation of the glory of God. … The cloud and the glory of God are synonymous. So then … anyone who knew the Old Testament, would see at once in the Ascension … with the cloud into which Jesus was received, the reception of Jesus into the glory of God.” – William Barclay, The Apostles’ Creed for Everyman

“The significance of the ascension … . suggests that [Jesus] carried His humanity with Him back to heaven. The idea is emphasized in Hebrews, where it is stated that since He shared our human experiences, He is able to be a merciful and faithful High Priest. To know that we have an Elder Brother in heaven is a great comfort” - Ralph Earle, Basic Christian Doctrines

II.                  THE HEAVENLY SESSION
Acts 7:54-58; psalm 110:1, 4; hebrews 2:18, 4:14-16; 7:26; 8:1; 9:14; 10:12-3, 22; 12:1-2
1 john 2:1; 1 Peter 3:21–22
Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

His work is finished
He is interceding (advocate) Romans 8:34, HEB 7.25, I JN 2.1
He is strengthening us as we are tempted (Luke 22:31-2) 4:14-16
joy luke 24:50-51 and Psalm 16:11 ... 
Ephesians 1:15–21
For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

Ot –He is coming gospels – he has come acst epistles apocalypse – he is coming again! Parousia – coming, as in arriving or presence

“Two advents of Christ have been announced: the one, in which He is set forth as suffering, inglorious, dishonoured, and crucified; but the other, in which He shall come from heaven with glory … The rest of the prophecy shall be fulfilled at His second coming.” (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 110)

318 references in the NT, every 13 verses!

Return - Matthew 26:64, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, Jn 14:3, Titus 2.13; 1 Cor 15:51-55, 1 Thess 3:13; 1 thessalonians 4:13-18 – COMFORT!;  1 Pet 5:4, 2 Pet 3:4; when? Matthe 24:3, 30, 44 26:64, MK 14:62 (MK 13.26, LK 21.27); come lord jesus – rev. 1:7, 22:20

judgment 2 tim 4.1; john 14:1-3; titus 2:13; john 5:25-29; 12:48; revelation 20:11-21:4; 22:20; matthew 24:3-4, 44; 25:14-46; 2 thessalonians 1:8-9; 2:3-9; 1 john 2:18; 3:2-3; romans 8:18-24; 2 peter 3:10-13; acts 10:42-43; 17:30-31; The Day of the Lord

What this means:
-History is going somewhere
-He is qualified as god (perfect holy just wise) and man –he understands, he is the go-between
Matthew 26:64 and Colossians 3:1–4
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

The significance of the ascension is that Jesus left behind the conditions associated with life on this earth. Thus the pain, both physical and psychological, experienced by persons here is no longer his. The opposition, hostility, unbelief, and unfaithfulness he encountered have been replaced by the praise of the angels and the immediate presence of the Father. God has exalted him and given him a “name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, … and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9–11). The angels have resumed their song of praise, for the Lord of heaven has returned. What a contrast to the abuse and insults he endured while on earth! Yet the song of praise now goes beyond that which was sung before his incarnation. A new stanza has been added. Jesus has done something he had not done previous to his incarnation: personally experienced and overcome death.[1]

John 5: “I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.… Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned” (vv. 25, 28–29). Other affirmations of the resurrection are found in John 6:39–40, 44, 54, and the narrative of the raising of Lazarus (John 11, especially vv. 24–25).[2]

Q23 in the Westminster Shorter; Celebrated on the 6th Thursday after Resurrection Sunday

Ascent - Luke 24:31, Acts 1:9-11, 2:33-35, Heb 4:14, Eph 1.20
Jesus predicted it in John 16:4-11 – the holy spirit in john 16:7
he’s preparing a place for us – john 14:2

Session - Hebrews 4:15-16, 8:1, 1 Jn 2:1
3 parts: sits (completion-Heb 10:12, intercession)), right hand, God

Right hand suggests special favor and status - Psalm 110:1
And it suggests that he “has the Father’s ear” (Heb 7:1-25; Rom 8:34)
practical application of this is Colossians 3:1-2 – the right perspective on life
Jesus is rightly exalted to the level of cosmic king
this is a position of authority from which he governs the world

Judge- Acts 10:42-43, 17:30-31, Rom 14:9, 2 Tim 4:7-8, Jn 5.22-27, 2 Tim 4.1

1 Jn 3:2, Rev 22:20; We are judged by one who knows all (everything about us)

“When He came before, He came fully disguised … but this time He will come with His glory unsheathed – and people will see Him as He really is. His glory will eclipse the brightness of the sun. Ten thousand of the most glorious sunsets or sunrises will pale into insignificance when He shall come with a myriad of angels attending.” – D. James Kennedy, Knowing the Whole Truth

“Still for us he intercedes, Alleluia!
His prevailing death he pleads, Alleluia!
Near himself prepares our place, Alleluia!
He the first-fruits of our race, Alleluia!”
-      Charles Wesley, Hail the Day That Sees Him Rise

Jesus ascension to heaven also was a return of sorts. To what exactly did he return to? (John 17:5 or Philippians 2:5-11 may be helpful here).
What is Jesus doing now? Please provide at least one Scripture.
What is the importance for us of what he is doing now? Please provide at least one Scripture.
How is the return of Christ a reason for hope for the Christian?
Why do you think Scripture does not tell us everything (eg, the time) about the return of Christ?

[1] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (2nd ed.; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1998), 796.
[2] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (2nd ed.; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1998), 1202.

Chapter 33: Of the Last Judgment
1. God hath appointed a day, wherein he will judge the world, in righteousness, by Jesus Christ, to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father. In which day, not only the apostate angels shall be judged, but likewise all persons that have lived upon earth shall appear before the tribunal of Christ, to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds; and to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.
2. The end of God’s appointing this day is for the manifestation of the glory of his mercy, in the eternal salvation of the elect; and of his justice, in the damnation of the reprobate, who are wicked and disobedient. For then shall the righteous go into everlasting life, and receive that fullness of joy and refreshing, which shall come from the presence of the Lord; but the wicked who know not God, and obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast into eternal torments, and be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.

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