The Forgotten Doctrine of the Ascension
by Impact Church
The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. (Psalm 110:1
Every Christ-follower can attest to the significance of Jesus’ incarnation celebrated at Christmas. If enough songs of praise were not penned about His miraculous birth, hundreds more rightfully followed hailing His death, burial and resurrection and their unmistakable importance in the redemption of man.
But how many hymns or worship choruses have you sung recently (or how many sermons have you listened to, for that matter) celebrating the day Jesus returned to His rightful place at the right hand of the throne of God?
The ascension of Christ — when our Risen Lord majestically rose off the ground He created and disappeared into the clouds 40 days after walking out of a borrowed tomb — is one of the key pieces in the giant puzzle of God’s eternal plan of redemption!
The triumphant day when the Son of God, the Redeemer of fallen man, would take His seat of authority and power at His Father’s right hand had been anticipated and even prophesied throughout the pages of the Old Testament. And David’s short 110th Psalm was quoted by Jesus Himself some 1,000 years after it was penned and was also referenced by Luke, Paul and John later in the New Testament.
Interestingly, the oft-missed magnificence and magnitude of Christ’s ascension can be summed up in four common directional words: up, down, right and under. Most Christians get fired up about the first two and almost totally disregard the latter couple.
When the Savior slipped the grip of gravity and went up into the heavens, angels appeared and assured onlookers that the same Jesus who was taken up would also come back down one day. For two millennia, the Church has clutched that promise of the Second Coming of our Lord! To this day, we still await that “divine descension”!
But the real power of the ascension lies in what happened between the “up” and “down” and the absolute assurance of what will come ultimately. Jesus assumed the seated position of honor, power and authority at the right hand of God, essentially putting the exclamation point on His “It is finished!” declaration from the cross of Calvary! The ascension to the throne room of Heaven solidified the Deity of the Bethlehem-born son of a carpenter: Jesus proved Himself to be the Messiah, the victorious Seed of the woman promised where it all began in Genesis 3:15. “Tetelestai!” indeed!
One may wonder what could possibly be left after the Master has declared His work “finished.” For those of us who have staked our lives on the reliability of the Bible, the only part of redemption’s plan that needs to be unfolded is a foregone conclusion: Christ will soon reign over all the universe and put His enemies under His feet! David declared that the King-Priest will judge His enemies and rule forever! (Ps. 110:4-6)
Though the darkening culture we live in may sometimes seem like a powder keg ready to spontaneously combust, the Bride of Christ can almost hear her Groom whisper “Peace, be still.” The consummation of all things is so certain it’s almost anti-climactic.
Ever since the first Adam disobeyed Father God, all creation has groaned and travailed (Romans 8:22). But the last Adam succeeded where the first one failed, being obedient unto death and reconciling fallen man to his forgiving, faithful Creator whose desire for loving fellowship with us knows no bounds.
In the ascension, God has exalted Christ as Lord over all creation, eventual Ruler over all nations, principalities and powers! Indeed, He has put everything under His Son’s feet, symbolizing the powerful act of a conquering king putting his foot on the defeated foe’s neck! While the enemies of our Lord may seem to be raging, they are like the characters in Act 2 of a three-act play. They’ll follow the script the Author and Finisher of our faith has ordained.
Read the final scene in Revelation 11:15 … “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.'”
Lift up your head, dear saint! Our Sovereign sits at the seat of power where He ever lives to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25). And because He has already defeated death, we have nothing to fear!
In fact, why not go ahead, put your feet up and rest in what our victorious Lord has accomplished!