I wrote yesterday about the death of Jesus and His proclamation to the demons in prison. I also wrote how Paradise was in the belly of the earth, distinct and different from heaven which is far above. On the third day, Jesus rose! He is alive, He is not in the tomb any more!
Immediately He appeared to the disciples, many times. Jesus ministered on earth after His resurrection. Acts 1:1-3 begins this way:
“The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.”
Then it came time for Jesus to leave earth, and He blessed the group one more time, and was lifted on a cloud to heaven —
“After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)
So ended the Age of Law, and began the church age, the Age of Grace unto the all the world, including Gentiles. The Jews had rejected their Messiah, (Matthew 8:5-13 the Centurion’s Faith, Parable of the Tenants (Matt. 21:33-46) and the Wedding Banquet (Matt. 22:1-14). Because of the Jews’ unbelief, the Gospel was opened to the Gentiles. “For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:” (Rom 11:30). The Jews would be restored, which we have seen beginning in 1948, and they will be admitted to the Kingdom – if they have faith- not by birthright. But because of their unbelief, Jesus sent the Spirit to found His church and intended to take a full number of people unto Himself. (Romans 11:25). When that number is completed, He will call His church up to Him (the rapture) and He will return His attention to the unfinished business with the Hebrews, descendants of Abraham. That moment will begin the last 7 years of the Age of Law, paused all this time since Jesus ascended upon the cloud.
The angels said that we shall see Jesus return the same way as He left. That prophecy is stated in Luke 21:25-27 — “The Return of Christ “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. “Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN A CLOUD with power and great glory.”
Revelation 1:7 –“Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.”
When Jesus left on the cloud, the disciples went their way, rejoicing. When the earth people see Him return, they will not rejoice. He is coming in wrath, to judge. In between He has gifted the world with His presence in the form of the Holy Spirit, has breathed out the Holy Word in the form of the bible, and has raised up evangelists, missionaries and Christians to bring the Word of His Resurrection.
Jesus’ triumph over death, His sacrifice of Himself as the Spotless Lamb who takes away the sins of the world, is incredible. That His majesty and power also contains such love for you and for me is even more incredible. What will you do with this information? What will you do with His gift? Will you accept it, and repent of your sins and become one of His children? Or will you reject it, being one of those who sees Him come in power and great glory, only to hide your face in shame at the squandering of His life-giving blood offered to you?