Passover to Pentecost – The Ascension Week 6 Day 5
(Jesus) who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand. 1 Peter 3:22 (NIV)
It is forty days since Passover the wheat harvest is underway, and we have a “rest day” coming at the sacrifice of the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost. The group has left Galilee and they are near Bethany probably on the Mount of Olives. Doctor Luke records the most about His ascension in his Gospel and Acts.
Why just be lifted into the air? God took Enoch and Elijah got a fiery chariot, why just lift into the air and disappear into a cloud? Okay, I have no clue, but the “going up to God” part is very important in the whole context of the Feast and the typology from the first Passover to Pentecost and “out of Egypt” theme.
Moses went up the mountain so he could be given the Law. Jesus went up into heaven so He could give the Holy Spirit. The Hebrew word for “ascend” has a lot of different aspects, but some of them are associated with the idea of a journey where you are “going up” to a different place. The whole “out of Egypt” journey to the Promised Land is a going up or ascending to a new land. A way of looking at Jesus’ life as a whole is it was a journey of Him from birth going back to the Father.
The Bride Needs Time to Get Ready!
In reflecting on the Resurrection it is important to understand the Jewish roots for this time period. Jesus came to fulfill all of the Law and the prophetic writings about Himself. In doing this study a phrase kept showing up in the Gospels about Jesus “opening the disciples minds to the Scriptures.” It is easy to think that as Christians we have received the revelations and we know it all but the uneasy feeling that if men who were raised in the Word of God and were taught by Jesus needed their minds open it may be time to do more studying and listening to the Lord.
This website (http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Spring_Holidays/Shavuot/shavuot.html) brings out things that I did not learn in Sunday School. This time period after Easter is known as the “Counting of the Omer” and symbolizes the time from the exodus out of Egypt to the receiving of the Commandments on Mount Sinai.
Ascension Thursday forty days after “First Fruits” (which was barley) is in the time period that wheat is maturing for harvest (Jubilee). Jesus has been teaching and eating with the Disciples as they have left Jerusalem traveled to Galilee and then back to Jerusalem. Imagine the concentrated teaching on His Kingdom that He is giving them but even with everything they have seen the question that is asked in Acts 1 is, “Are you restoring Israel at this time?”
Jesus’ plan was bigger than just Israel because He had been telling them to go into the world. John 14: 15 -31 however tells what He had planned before they could go to the world. This is part of His discourse during the Passover meal before the Disciples paradigm was shattered and their reality was changed. There are two things Jesus offers them in these verses – Peace and the Holy Spirit. The peace was immediate but the Holy Spirit was going to have to wait until Jesus was gone (John 16:5 – 16). In verse 28 and 29 He talks about going to the Father, I always thought that was about Easter but it may foreshadow the Resurrection/Ascension and the day of Pentecost.
There are several “forties” periods in Scriptures and I know that many times people associate it with testing but Jesus will not test what He has not taught. These forty days have been a learning experience for the Disciples but I will still ask why leave at forty? So as I pondered His ascension another “shadow” showed itself and that was the Bride needed time to get ready. So the next ten days of pray and the election of Matthias are part of the picture of what we should be doing while we wait for Jesus to return as the angels said He would in Acts 1:11.