heavenward!16-05-2015 - Posted by Andre Piet
Men! Galileans! Why do you stand, looking into heaven? This Jesus Who is being taken up from you into heaven shall come thus, in the manner in which you gaze at Him going into heaven. -Acts 1:11-
As the disciples look up and saw that Jesus hid Himself from their sight by means of a cloud, two men are standing with them. Their message is clear: do not stare into heaven, because Jesus, who was just taken up into heaven, will also return in the same manner. And even in the same location, as we know from the word of prophecy, elsewhere (Zech.14:4): on the Mount of Olives which is near Jerusalem. Instead of staring up into heaven, they were to go to Jerusalem and there wait for the Spirit, which would empower them to witness, everywhere, to the people of Israel (Acts 1:8; Acts 10:42). For Israel had to come to repentance and then would the Messiah return (Acts 3:19-21). The book of Acts shows how Israel, as a nation, rejects the message of the risen Messiah. Also officially, by the Sanhedrin. And then, a thirteenth apostle is called; outside the land of Israel. To him were entrusted secrets, concerning which the twelve disciples had no knowledge. Paul was given the thankless task of informing Israel that salvation is sent to the nations (Acts 22:21; 28:28). The revelation of the Kingdom that was expected, would remain hidden until the appointed time. Due to Israel’s misstep, salvation has come to the nations … until (Rom.11:11,25). Paul is the apostle who, in all his letters, speaks of this interruption in the history of salvation (2Pet.3:15). The name Paul is also model for this pau-se (Acts 13:9-11). Today, we still live in this time of interruption. Cryptically, Hosea spoke about “two days” (Hos.6:1-3), but Peter explains, at the end of his life, with emphasis in this regard, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day (2Pet.3:8). Do we take 30 AD as the year of Jesus’ ascension, then we see (in 2015) that in 15 years, two thousand years will have passed, since Christ’s ascension. The period of two thousand years can also, very well, be a rounded-off number (as in Joshua 3:4), but also in that case, the time, nevertheless, is near at hand. Not only world events point in that direction, but also the foretold period of time makes this unmistakably clear. Is it, in this connection, not remarkable that Luke mentioned that the distance between the Mount of Olives (where Jesus ascended) and Jerusalem (where He will be King) is “a Sabbath day’s journey” (Acts 1:12)? A Sabbath day’s journey is a distance of “about two thousand cubits” (Josh.3:4)! Another remarkable thing is, that while the disciples, at the time of the ascension, were told not to stare into heaven, we also know an apostle who gave a surprisingly different message. Paul wrote from prison, in Rome:
1 If, then, you were roused together with Christ, be seeking that which is above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. (…) 3 for you died, and your life is hid together with Christ in God. -Colossians 3-
Not the revelation of the Kingdom from out of Israel is God’s program for today. No, because Christ now keeps Himself hidden. Seated at God’s right hand (Col.3:1), He makes Himself heard amongst the nations (Col.1:27). Outside Israel and its statutes (Col.2:16). The believers today are united to Christ as their Head and they being His body – our live is above. There, is where we are reckoned to be! … “why, as living in the world, are you subject to decrees: You should not be touching, nor yet tasting, nor yet coming into contact,” Paul asks rhetorically (Col.2:20,21). How wonderful to be alive at this time. In the light of what “is written”. With an open window to the future. And with a view of Him with whom we may share the highest position! Therefore: lift your eyes heavenward – every day!
Whenever Christ, our Life, should be manifested, then you also shall be manifested together with Him in glory. -Colossians 3:4-