9 • Jesus Christ’s Ascension and Work in Heaven
After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples, gave them instructions and spoke about the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:1-5). Later, He was taken up into heaven on a cloud (Acts 1:9)! The disciples literally saw Jesus going into heaven. God’s Book foretold (prophesied about) this event centuries before in Psalm 68:18 where it says, “You have ascended on high, You have led captivity captive, You have received gifts among men, even for the rebellious.” Jesus mentioned to His followers that He would return to this world. After Jesus’ ascension into heaven two angels appeared to the disciples and said to them, ‘Just as Jesus went up to heaven so He will return one day’ (Acts 1:9-11).
It is very important that Jesus is now in heaven. It is written that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus (Matthew 28:18). Since ascending into heaven, Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father in heaven (Ephesians 1:20). That means He has the most powerful position in the universe. In Philippians 2:9-11 it is written, ‘that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow …and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.’ God the Father has given Jesus authority to rule over every power, might and dominion in this world and the next. Jesus Christ is the Head and Leader of the church, His family and army (Ephesians 1:20-22). The Bible states that there is only one Mediator between mankind and God; that Mediator is Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5). Not Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus, nor any other dead, nor supposedly holy person, nor any of our forefathers can hear us from heaven! Jesus taught that the dead have no connection with the living (Luke 16:23, 26). Praying to them is a useless exercise, forbidden by God and condemned by God’s Book (Deuteronomy 18:10-14), because when any person dies, he/she will be either in heaven (paradise) or in hell (Hades) waiting until Jesus comes again (Matt 25:31-46; Luke 16:22-26).
Jesus Christ now prays from heaven for His living children and for those that will be saved, but not for the dead. The Bible states that He prays 24/7 (24 hours a day and 7 days a week) for those who come to Him. That means Jesus never stops praying for those who come to Him (Hebrew 7:25)! You might wonder what He is praying about. He prays for the salvation (Hebrews 7:25) of those whom God has given Him and who will come to Him (John 6:37). He also prays for the sanctification in the truth (growth in holiness) and for the unity (oneness) of His children on earth (John 17:17, 21-23), as well as that His children should be kept from the evil one (John 17:15) and that they might receive and enjoy His joy (John 17:13), love and glory (John 17:22, 26).
Jesus said that if He did not go to heaven, and rule from on high, the Holy Spirit would not be sent to earth (John 16:7). It is therefore beneficial and essential for us that Jesus is in heaven now. Jesus said that He wouldn’t leave His children to be like orphans without a father (John 14:2, 18). He said He would send the Holy Spirit—the Spirit of Life (John 3:3-8), Truth (John 16:13) and Power (Luke 24:49)—so that we can have a vital and real connection with God, like a cell phone that has unlimited Internet connectivity in a Wi-Fi Hotspot. The Holy Spirit’s presence within God’s children is the guarantee and first deposit of the inheritance in heaven of the followers of God (Ephesians 1:13, 14). If you buy a house, you usually first must put down a deposit before living in the house. So, God gave his children the Holy Spirit as thé deposit and as thé guarantee of their inheritance in heaven!
Reality to consider: Do you know that Jesus Christ is praying for all believers? The Bible says He never stops praying for those who come to Him (Hebrews 7:25). Please come to Jesus and do not stop coming to the Saviour and only Mediator of the universe!
Read: Acts 1:1-4; Acts :1-9-11; Psalm 68:18; Matthew 28:18; Ephesians 1:20-22; Philippians 2:9-11; 1 Timothy 2:5; Luke 16:23,26; Deuteronomy 18:10-14; Matthew 25:31-46; Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:34; John 17:13,15,17,21-23,26; John 16:7; John 14:2,18; John 3:3-8; John 16:13; Luke 24:49; Ephesians 1:13,14.