Now after the completion of His earthly ministry, Jesus is “taken up” into heaven. (Satan has been completely defeated.)
Jesus’ ascension must have been one of the most amazing events ever witnessed by man. Imagine being one of the apostles or other disciples gathered at the Mount of Olives when this took place. The truth is, this event is so amazing it is impossible to imagine.
While it’s possible Luke was an eyewitness to this monumental event, it isn’t likely that he was there. He is simply reporting what he heard from those who were eyewitnesses of all that took place that day. And so, Luke ‘sees’ this event the same way we do – through the eyes of those who saw.
I greatly appreciate the simplicity of this account – especially since it is so amazing it is beyond imagining. Had this not been both true, and written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, it would not have been so humbly offered. (I am certain human authors would have added great legendary embellishment to this story should it have been a work of human imagining.)
Often, we wonder about the ‘Rapture of the Church,’ and when it will happen and how it will happen, and what it may look like. Here we ‘see.’ Jesus was – just as all those who have placed their faith in Christ for salvation will be – “taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.” In Rev 12:5, speaking of this event, we are told Jesus was “caught up to God and His throne.” The word employed in Rev 12:5 is the Greek word ‘harpazo,’ which in Latin is ‘raptuse,’ (from which we derive our English word ‘rapture.’)
Jesus was ‘raptured’ into heaven in the same way we will be caught up in the clouds, in a moment, in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye. As hard as this may be for us to imagine of ourselves, here we have a wonderful example of this taking place – and just as Jesus was taken up in the cloud as they watched, we are informed by two men in white apparel He will, “come again in like manner just as you saw Him go into heaven.”
Just as Jesus was ‘raptured’ individually, so shall we be together – in like manner. And we will meet Him in the clouds with all those who have preceded us in death, including these witnesses.