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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

Ascension of Christ

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his visible elevation to heaven. Our Saviour, having repeatedly conversed with his Apostles after his resurrection, and afforded them many infallible proofs of its reality, led them from Jerusalem to Bethany, and was raised up to heaven in their sight; there to continue till he shall descend at the last day to judge the quick and the dead. The evidences of this fact were numerous. The disciples saw him ascend, Acts 1:9-10 . Two angels testified that he did ascend, Acts 1:11 . Stephen, Paul, and John saw him in his ascended state, Acts 7:55-56 ; Acts 9; Revelation 1. The ascension was demonstrated by the descent of the Holy Ghost, John 16:7 ; John 16:14 ; Acts 2:33 ; and the terrible overthrow and dispersion of the Jewish nation is still a standing proof of it, John 8:21 ; Matthew 26:64 . The time of Christ's ascension was forty days after his resurrection. He continued so many days upon earth, that he might give repeated proofs of his resurrection, Acts 1:3 ; instruct his Apostles in every thing of importance respecting their office and ministry, Acts 1:3 ; and might open to them the Scriptures concerning himself, and renew their commission to preach the Gospel, Acts 1:5-6 ; Mark 16:15 . As to the manner of his ascension, it was from mount Olivet to heaven, not in appearance only, but in reality, and that visibly and locally. It was a real motion of his human nature; sudden, swift, glorious, and in a triumphant manner. He was parted from his disciples while he was solemnly blessing them; and multitudes of angels attended him with shouts of praise, Psalms 68:17 ; Psalms 47:5-6 .

The effects or ends of his ascension were,

1. To fulfil the types and prophecies concerning it;

2. To "appear" as a priest "in the presence of God for us;"

3. To take upon him more openly the exercise of his kingly office;

4. To receive gifts for men, both ordinary and extraordinary, Psalm

Psalms 68:18 ;

5. To open the way to heaven for his people, Hebrews 10:19-20 ;

6. To assure the saints of their ascension to heaven after their resurrection from the dead, John 14:1-2 .

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Ascension of Christ'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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