Picking Up the Mantle of Jesus: The Witness of the Ascension & the Experience of Arrival

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament account of the spiritual body of Christ—the Church—as it was written and recorded by the physician Luke. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first forty-one verses of the second chapter of this New Testament book. “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Capadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya, about Cyrene, and strangers or Rome, Jews, and proselytes, Cretes, and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine” (Acts 2:1-13).

 

            “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; and it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: and I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: and it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:14-21).

 

Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain; whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it is not possible that he should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad: moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance” (Acts 2:22-28).

 

Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his seuplchure is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:29-36).

 

Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:37-40).

 

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41).

 

THE SPIRIT ARRIVES! THE SPIRIT HAS COME! When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find that which the Lord Jesus Christ had promised unto His disciples and followers coming to pass. While Jesus was present upon the earth He promised His disciples that He would not leave them orphans and would not leave them comfortless but would come unto them. I am absolutely convinced that in order to truly understand the words which are found in the second chapter of the New Testament book of Acts—not only must we understand the words which John the Baptist spoke concerning the coming and manifestation of the Holy Spirit but we must also understand the words which Jesus Himself spoke concerning the coming of the Holy Spirit. What’s more is that when you read the words found in this passage of Scripture you will encounter and come face to face with the apostle Peter’s use of the words of the Hebrew prophet Joel to describe that which took place on the day of Pentecost. For ten days the apostles together with Jesus’ mother Mary, Jesus’ brethren and others who were gathered together in the upper room would gather together in one accord and in one place. For ten days following the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ those who had witnessed and beheld the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ would gather together daily in the Temple worshipping and praising the living God. Not only would those who witnessed the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ gather together in one place and with one accord but they would commit themselves to prayer before the living God. Many of them had walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ during His three and a half years of public ministry within the earth and many of them had heard the words which John the Baptist had spoken concerning Jesus as well as the Holy Spirit.

 

When you come to the first chapter of the New Testament book of Acts you will encounter and come face to face with the tremendous truth that this book was written as an addendum and follow up to the previous book which Luke had written concerning all that Jesus began both to do and to teach while He was yet still upon the earth. It would be in the opening verses of the first chapter we encounter Jesus giving very specific instruction unto His apostles and followers concerning the need to tarry, abide and wait in the city of Jerusalem. The purpose of their waiting was that they might be endowed with the power of the Spirit from on High which would be the promise of the Father. If there is one thing that is so absolutely incredible when reading the words found in the opening chapter of the New Testament book of Acts it’s that although Jesus instructed and commanded His apostles and followers to tarry and abide in the city of Jerusalem He would declare unto them that which they were waiting, tarrying and abiding for. Jesus didn’t merely instruct the apostles and His followers to abide and tarry in Jerusalem without giving them an understanding concerning that which would come as a result of their waiting and tarrying. As you read the words found in this passage of Scripture you will encounter the tremendous truth that the Lord Jesus Christ instructed and commanded His apostles and followers to tarry and abide in the city of Jerusalem until they be endowed with power from on High. In other words with the command to tarry and abide was a promise given unto them by the Lord Jesus—and not only a promise given unto them by the Lord Jesus but also a promise concerning their being endowed with power from on high and their being witnesses for Him in Jerusalem, in Judaea, in Samaria and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.

 

I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in the opening verses of the first chapter and I can’t help but be reminded of the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Second Kings. I consider the narrative of Jesus’ apostles and followers being present together with Him on the mount called Olivet at the time He ascended unto heaven until a cloud received Him out of their sight and I can’t help but be reminded of the Old Testament narrative between Elijah and Elisha. If you turn and direct your attention to the Old Testament book of Second Kings you will find the time of Elijah’s departure drawing nigh and Elijah’s own awareness of that departure. What’s more is that the prophets in various locations were also aware of the departure of Elijah and knew that the living God was going to take Elijah from this earth. Perhaps Elijah and those who knew and understood the living God was going to take him were aware of what was written in the first book of the Law of Moses concerning that man called Enoch. It is in the fifth chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis you will find a lineage of Seth as being manifested within the earth and a specific one who descended from him. Not only this but you will read in the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews how Enoch walked with God and pleased Him and that the living God had taken him from the earth. Oh there is not a doubt in my mind that in order to understand the words which are found in the first and second chapters of the New Testament book of Acts we must first turn our attention back to the days of Enoch who walked with God and was no more because He took him as well as the narrative which was written concerning Elijah whom the living God would also take. In essence there were two different men within the Scriptures who never tasted death within this life and who were both taken from this earth—perhaps to tarry and abide until the appointed time of their return at the end of the age.

 

With this being said I find it incumbent that you consider that which was written concerning these two men whose lives are written and recorded in the Old Testament for both of these men would be taken from God without tasting death. What’s more is that I am convinced that the first taking up and taking away set the stage and prepared the way for the second taking up and taking away—almost as if to be a portent, sign and symbol of another taking up and taking away. Oh in the New Testament there would indeed be the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ unto the right hand of the Father which was recorded in the New Testament gospels of Mark and Luke and the New Testament book of Acts but there would also be a second ascension and taking up that would take place—one that would be written and recorded in the first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints as well as in the epistles written unto the saints which were in Thessalonica. I am absolutely convinced we must needs recognize and understand the words found in the Old Testament book of Genesis as well as the Old Testament book of Second Kings for the former prepares the way for the latter and the latter stands as a powerful symbol for what we find in the New Testament concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and His followers. It is at this juncture I invite you to consider the following words which are found in each of these Old Testament books before also considering the words which are present in the New Testament gospels of Mark and John as well as the New Testament book of Acts:

 

And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: and all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: and Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (Genesis 5:21-24).

 

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:1-6).

 

And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. And Elijsah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Beth-el. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD Liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Beth-el. And the sons of the propehts that were at Beth-el came forth to Elisha and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho. And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elijsah, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here: for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on. And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan. And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hiether and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground. And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: NEVERTHLESS, IF THOU SEE ME WHEN I AM TAKEN FROM THEE, IT SHALL BE SO UNTO THEE; BUT IF NOT, IT SHALL NOT BE SO. And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood back by the bank of Jordan. And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? And when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over. And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha” (2 Kings 2:1-15).

 

It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and pay attention to the words which are found within these two passages of Scripture for not only do they both point to the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ forty days after His resurrection from the grave but they also point to the ascension and translation of the dead in Christ who will be caught up together in the air to meet Christ with those who were alive and remain within the earth. I am convinced there is something to be said about the words which are found in the second chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Kings—specifically when you read of Elijah asking Elisha what it was he desired of him. When Elisha heard this question asked of him by his master Elijah he responded by asking for a double portion of his spirit to rest upon him. That which Elisha desired and requested of Elijah was that a double portion of the spirit that was upon him rest upon him as he undoubtedly heard about the events of his life prior to casting his mantle upon him as well as walked with and followed him during the rest of his days up to the time he was translated. That which Elisha asked of his master Elijah pertained to the manifestation of the spirit that rested upon his master Elijah and it was that manifestation of the spirit that was upon Elijah that so prompted Elisha to desire and request it. Elijah would ask his servant and attendant what he desired of him and he responded as honestly and forthcoming as he knew how to by requesting a double portion of the spirit that was upon Elijah. Essentially that which Elisha desired of his master Elijah pertained to the spirit for he undoubtedly recognized the presence of the Spirit which was upon his master. Oh there is not a doubt in my mind that Elisha saw, witnessed and beheld the manifestation of the Spirit within and upon the life of Elijah and earnestly and eagerly desired that within his own life. Elisha knew that his master was going to be taken from him and as a direct result of this he desired that a double portion of the spirit which rested upon him would be upon him after his departure.

 

There is something to be said about the desire of Elisha when his master Elijah asked him what he desired of him for when he heard this question he responded by declaring his desire for a double portion of the Spirit that was upon him. Although the Holy Spirit is not mentioned by name here in this text I have to believe that it was the very presence and power of the Holy Spirit that was present within and upon the life of Elijah during those days. There is not a doubt in my mind that the spirit which Elisha spoke of and requested of Elijah when they stood there at the Jordan River was indeed the Holy Spirit which during the days of the Old Testament rested upon men that they might be empowered to accomplish that for which the living and eternal God had called them to. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding Elisha’s request—and not only Elisha’s request of the spirit but also the response of Elijah. As you read the words presented before us in the text you will indeed find the request of Elisha for a double portion of the spirit for the same measure of the spirit which was upon Elijah was not enough for him. Oh this is something which must be recognized and understand as well—particularly and especially when you consider the words which Jesus Himself spoke unto His disciples concerning His departure and the works they would do in the earth. There is not a doubt in my mind that this encounter between Elisha and Elijah was not only a powerful portent and symbol of the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ and those who witnessed and beheld His ascension unto heaven before a cloud received Him out of their sight but also a powerful picture of the words which Jesus spoke unto His disciples concerning the works which they would do because He ascended unto the right hand of the Father.

 

When Elijah heard Elisha ask for a double portion of the spirit that rested upon him he initially declared that he asked a hard thing of him and would further go on to declare that if he witnessed and beheld him when he was taken up from him he would have what he asked for. It would be almost immediately after Elijah said that the two were parted and divided there at the Jordan River and a chariot and horses of fire were manifested before them. It would be this chariot and these horses of fire that would take and translate Elijah from the earth and carry him away unto heaven and thus no more be present upon the earth. What we witness within the second chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Kings is truly spectacular for not only did Elisha witness and behold Elijah his master be taken up unto heaven before him but he also picked up the mantle of Elijah which was left behind. We must needs pay close attention to this for it fulfills the word which Elijah had spoken unto his servant as he declared that if he saw and beheld him when he was taken up from him he would have what he asked for. There were no more journeys for Elijah and Elisha to take once Elisha made his request and his master Elijah responded unto him. Elijah was very clear that if he saw him when he was taken up and carried away into heaven from him he would have what he asked for. The scripture is very clear that a chariot of fire and horses of fire divided them asunder and that Elijah was taken up into heaven in a whirlwind. Oh how absolutely incredible this truly is when you take the time to think about it for there is not a doubt in my mind that this is a powerful portent and symbol of what took place on the mount of Olivet—and not only what took place on the mount called Olivet but also what would take place in the upper room in the city of Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. I firmly believe that what we find in the Old Testament book of Second Kings must needs be recognized and understood in direct relation to that which is found in the first and second chapters of the New Testament book of Acts for within these two chapters we find the narrative of the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ as well as the coming of the Holy Spirit.

 

If you turn and direct your attention to the final chapters of the New Testament gospels which were written by John Mark and the physician Luke you will find the account of the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ and His being set down at the right hand of God. What’s more is that if you read the opening verses of the first chapter of the New Testament book of Acts you will find and read words concerning the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ and additional commentary which was not provided in the previous gospel narratives. Oh the more I think about and consider this the more I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth that there is something truly powerful about those who were not only willing to tarry in the city of Jerusalem but also those who were willing to journey with Jesus unto the mount called Olivet. Scripture is entirely and altogether unclear whether or not those who walked with and followed the Lord Jesus unto the mount of Olivet knew what would take place on that day and that Jesus would ascend from among them there at the mount of Olivet before being removed out of their sight by a cloud. I am absolutely convinced there is something truly powerful and unique about those who were willing to walk with and follow Jesus unto the mount called Olivet for it would be there upon the mount where they would like Elisha witnessed Elijah be taken up into heaven would witness the Lord Jesus Christ be taken up into heaven. What’s more is that just as Elisha was promised he would receive a double portion of the spirit which was upon Elijah if he witnessed his being taken up from. Him so also were those who walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ promised that they would receive the Holy Spirit. There were countless times when the Lord Jesus Christ promised unto them that He would send the gift of the Father which was the person of the Holy Spirit.

 

When we come to the narrative of the apostles and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ being present with Him there at the mount called Olivet there is not a doubt in my mind that they were brought into a similar situation as that which Elisha had been brought at the Jordan River together with Elisha. It would be there at the Jordan River where Elisha would not only witness Elijah be taken up from him unto heaven and would not only pick up the mantle which was upon Elijah and had fallen to the earth, but also where he would receive a double portion of the spirit which was present within and upon Elijah. This is something we have great need to pay attention to for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth that although the apostles and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ would not on the day Jesus ascended unto the right hand of the Father receive the promise of the Holy Spirit as Jesus had declared unto them, however it would be ten days later when those who witnessed Jesus ascend unto the right hand of the Father would receive and experience the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit. It would be forty days after Jesus was raised from death to life He would ascend unto heaven and would essentially be taken up and taken away from the apostles and those who had walked with and followed Him. Oh with this being said I can’t help but see a tremendous significance in the apostles and those who walked with and followed Jesus being present at the mount called Olivet when the Lord Jesus was taken up from them in direct connection and relation to their receiving the Holy Spirit just ten days later. I can’t help but see a strong and powerful link and connection between the apostles and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ witnessing and beholding His ascension unto the right hand of the Father and then ten days later in the upper room in Jerusalem receive that which Jesus had promised unto them.

 

Considering all of this we must indeed turn and direct our attention to the words found in the final chapters of the New Testament gospels written by John Mark and Luke as well as the words which were written by Luke in the book of Acts. It is the words presented here in each of these books where we read of the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ and how He was indeed taken up and carried into heaven from this earth and away from them. It would be there at the mount called Olivet where the Lord Jesus Christ would indeed be taken up unto heaven and would be taken away from among His apostles and followers as they stood there watching and beholding the event as it unfolded. Oh I can’t help but wonder if much like Elisha watched and beheld as Elijah was taken and carried up into heaven by a whirlwind in a chariot of fire so also the apostles and followers of the Lord Jesus also watched and witnessed the Lord Jesus ascend unto heaven and be taken from them. Just as Jesus had promised and declared unto them that He would ascend unto the right hand of the Father which was in heaven so He would indeed fulfill those words and would be taken up and return unto the Father from whom He had come. Oh we must needs recognize and understand that when the time grew closer for Jesus to depart from this earth and return unto the Father He began teaching and preparing His apostles for that departure. The disciples had already been taught and prepared for the fact that Jesus would be betrayed, that Jesus would suffer many things at the behest of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of the people, that Jesus would be mocked, scourged and ridiculed by the Gentiles before being crucified and raised to life on the third day and now they were being prepared for that which came after the suffering, that which came after the death, and that which came after the resurrection. In addition to Jesus teaching and preparing them for His suffering, death and resurrection He also prepared them for His ascension unto the right hand of the Father although they did and could not truly understand what that would look like. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the New Testament gospel narratives written by John Mark and Luke as well as in the book of Acts:

 

Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen” (Mark 16:14-20).

 

And he led them out as far as Bethany and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen” (Luke 24:50-53).

 

The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: and, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:1-11).

 

With each of these passages we find a specific account of the ascension, the taking up and the taking away so to speak of the Lord Jesus Christ from this earth and from the apostles and His followers. It would be there at the mount called Olivet where the Lord Jesus would bless His apostles and followers and where He would be taken up into heaven before a cloud received Him out of their sight. Oh I am convinced there is something truly unique and powerful about what took place there at the mount of Olivet for just as Elisha had stood upon the earth and witnessed Elijah be taken up into heaven by a whirlwind so also would the apostles and followers of the Lord Jesus witness their Master Jesus of Nazareth be taken up into heaven before being removed from their sight by a cloud. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for there is something truly captivating in the journey to the mount called Olivet and that which took place there. I am absolutely and completely convinced that what took place there on the mount of Olivet was more than simply their witnessing the Lord Jesus Christ ascend unto the right hand of the Father but also them witnessing the manner in which the Lord Jesus would return and come again. Within the first chapter of the New Testament book of Acts we not only encounter the promise of Jesus coming again unto them in the person of the Holy Spirit but we also encounter the promise of Jesus coming again and returning in the same manner in which they saw Him ascend unto heaven and be taken away from them. It would be there upon the mount called Olivet the Lord Jesus would indeed be taken up into heaven from among them here upon the earth and would be received by the Father no more to be seen of them until the time arrived when He would come in the glory of His Father with all the holy angels to gather together those who do believe and who have believed and called upon His name.

 

I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in the final chapters of the New Testament gospels written by John Mark and Luke as well as the words which are written in the first chapter of the New Testament book of Acts and I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth that there was something truly necessary and profound about the apostles and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ being present with Him at the mount called Olivet when He was taken up from among them and received by the Father in heaven. What’s more is I am absolutely convinced there was something truly profound about Jesus’ appearing unto those two men who were traveling along the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus and expounding unto them those things concerning Himself beginning with Moses and continuing through the prophets. Once Jesus had arrived at Emmaus with these two men whom he had walked with and expounded the Scriptures concerning Himself that they would ask and entreat Him to abide with them since the day was far spent. There at Emmaus in the house where these men abode Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it unto them and it would be in the breaking of bread their eyes were opened and they would realize and recognize that it was the Lord who had appeared unto and walked with them. Immediately after their eyes were opened the Lord Jesus would be removed from their midst and they would speak one to another about their hearts burning within them as He expounded the Scriptures unto them those things concerning Himself. Directly following this these two men would rise from that place in Emmaus and would return unto the city of Jerusalem where they would declare unto the apostles and those gathered together with them that they had indeed seen the Lord and that He had risen from the dead as He said He would.

 

I firmly believe that the Lord Jesus Christ deliberately and intentionally appeared unto these two men who were traveling along that road from Jerusalem unto Emmaus for He not only desired to expound unto them those things in the Scripture pertaining to Himself but also desired to reveal and make Himself known unto them in the breaking of bread. I can’t help but get the strong sense that the Lord Jesus Christ deliberately and intentionally appeared unto these two men as they were traveling and journeying from Jerusalem that He might not only reveal and show Himself alive but might confirm the word which the women had already spoken and declared unto them—namely, that they had indeed seen the Lord and that He had been raised from death to life. I believe the Lord Jesus Christ appeared unto and walked with these men that He might ultimately return them unto the city of Jerusalem and restore them unto fellowship together with the apostles and brethren who were still present within the city. There is not a doubt in my mind that the Lord Jesus Christ sought to appear unto these men that he might make Himself known through the expounding of Scripture and through the breaking of bread that they might purpose within themselves to return unto Jerusalem. What’s more is I am convinced and would dare say that the Lord Jesus sought to restored these men unto the apostles and the brethren and return them unto Jerusalem that they might see Him together with apostles and the others as well as be present with them at the mount called Olivet when He would ascend unto the right hand of the Father. Oh I am absolutely convinced that just as it was necessary for Elisha to be present with and witness Elijah when he was taken up into heaven by a whirlwind and removed from his sight and presence so also was it necessary for the apostles and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ to witness and behold the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ and His being removed from their sight.

 

I sit here today thinking about and considering the narrative surrounding the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ and how absolutely critical it was for the apostles and followers of His to be present with Him at the mount called Olivet. There is not a doubt in my mind when reading the words which are found in this particular narrative that the apostles and brethren were present with Jesus at the mount called Olivet that they might witness and behold—not only His ascension and His being taken up into heaven from among them but also witness a powerful symbol of how He would return and come again. The disciples had already been told and promised by the Lord Jesus that he would indeed depart from them and that where He was going they could not yet go with Him. Jesus had promised unto the apostles that He would depart unto the right hand of the Father but that He would not leave them as orphans and would not leave them comfortless. Moreover the Lord Jesus promised and declared unto them that He would come again unto them and that not only would He come unto them but so also would He and the Father come unto them. Within chapters fourteen through sixteen of the New Testament gospel narrative written we find the Lord Jesus Christ declaring unto the disciples that He was going to depart from them and return unto His Father who was in heaven but He also declared that He would come unto them. What we must needs recognize concerning Jesus’ coming again was that there would be the initial coming unto them which would be manifested in the arrival of the Holy Spirit while there would be the second coming for them which would be manifested in the glory of His Father together with the angels. I have previously written that I do not believe that when Jesus comes again with all his holy angels and in the glory of His Father that this is indeed His second coming for if you read the words recorded in the fourteenth chapter of the gospel written by the apostle John you will find Jesus declaring that He would come again unto them—this time in the person of the Holy Spirit. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words written and recorded in chapters fourteen through sixteen of the New Testament gospel written by the apostle John:

 

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and recive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know” (John 14:1-4).

 

Verily, verily I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it” (John 14:12-15).

 

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you” (John 14:16-20).

 

If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23).

 

These things have have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I” (John 14:25-28).

 

But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning” (John 15:26-27).

 

But not I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (John 16:5-11).

 

I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father” (John 16:12-16).

 

Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father” (John 16:24-28).

 

Each of these passages of Scripture not only speak to the reality that the Lord Jesus Christ would depart from this world and return unto His Father who was in heaven but they also speak of His coming again unto them as well as His coming again for them. Moreover what you find within these passages of Scripture is a powerful declaration concerning the promise of the Holy Spirit whom Jesus would send from the right hand of the Father in His name. Jesus would indeed depart from this world and would return unto the right hand of His Father who was in heaven and yet not many days hence He would send unto them another Comforter—one who would abide with them forever. It is incredibly important that we recognize this for I would dare say that just as Elisha needed to witness and behold Elijah be taken up into heaven that he might receive a double portion of the spirit that was upon him so also would the apostles and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ need to be present at the mount called Olivet that they might witness Jesus being taken up from them and taken into heaven. Those who would witness the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven and those who would witness His being taken up and removed from their sight would be those who would return from the mount called Olivet which was about a sabbath’s day journey and would tarry together in one accord in one place giving themselves to prayer and supplication. It would be those who witnessed and beheld Jesus ascend unto the right hand of the Father who would not only receive the promise of the Father which Jesus would send in His name but would be the firstfruits of those who would receive the indwelling of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit. Oh I am absolutely and completely convinced that we have a great need to recognize and pay attention to this for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and powerful truth concerning the witness of the ascension and the experience of the arrival.

 

THE WITNESS OF THE ASCENSION AND THE EXPERIENCE OF THE ARRIVAL! Oh the more I consider the words found in the first and second chapters of the New Testament book of Acts the more I am brought face to face with the fact that it was absolutely and entirely necessary for the apostles and followers of Jesus Christ to be present at the mount called Olivet for it would be there at the mount called Olivet where they would not only receive further instruction concerning tarrying in Jerusalem until they be endowed with power from on high but it would also be there at the mount where they would witness the ascension and taking up of the Lord Jesus Christ. There at the mount called Olivet the apostles and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ would indeed witness and behold the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ and would also learn of the two men clothed in white apparel who appeared unto them that in the same manner in which the Lord had ascended into heaven so also would He return and come again. Oh in the upper room after supper had ended Jesus did in fact declare unto the apostles that He would not only come unto them but that He would come again that where He dwelt and where He was there they might also be. I have previously written that when Jesus came the first time He came in flesh and blood having taken upon Himself the seed of Abraham and the seed of Adam. When Jesus would come again the second time He would take upon Himself the form of the person of the Holy Spirit that He might dwell within His spiritual body which was the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Jesus would come the first time in the flesh that He might dwell with us while He would come the second time in the Spirit that He might dwell within us. Jesus would again a third time in the glory of His Father together with His holy angels that he might gather us together that where He and the Father are there we might also be.

There is something truly remarkable about the words which are presented in the first chapter of the New Testament book of Acts for within the book of Acts we encounter the truth that those who would be present in the upper room and experience the manifestation and arrival of the Holy Spirit would have undoubtedly been those who witnessed and beheld the ascension of Jesus unto the right hand of the Father. There is not a doubt in my mind that what we find in the New Testament book of Acts is not only a similar experience to what Elisha had when he witnessed his master Elijah be taken up into heaven from the earth but it is also a powerful portent of events which would take place just ten days hence. I am absolutely convinced that what we find in the first and opening chapter of the New Testament book of Acts is a strong and powerful picture of those who were willing to be with Jesus at the mount called Olivet when He ascended unto the right hand of the Father would also be those who were willing to tarry in the city of Jerusalem and wait until they be endowed with power from on high. We must needs recognize and acknowledge what is present before us in this passage of Scripture for those who were present with Jesus at the mount called Olivet would be those who would also witness and behold the manifestation of the Holy Spirit as was evidenced on the day of Pentecost and recorded by Luke in the second chapter of this book of Acts. In the first chapter of this New Testament book we find the apostles and followers of Jesus witnessing the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ while in the second chapter we find them experiencing the arrival of the Holy Spirit. It would be in the first chapter of the New Testament book of Acts the apostles and followers of Jesus would experience the ascension of Jesus as He was taken up into heaven from among them and it would be this particular experience that would position and prepare them for the arrival of the Holy Spirit.

 

We know from Scripture that the main command and instruction given unto the apostles and followers of Jesus was to abide and tarry in Jerusalem until they be endowed with power from on High. There is absolutely no mention of them needing to witness and behold Him as He ascended unto the Father which was in heaven, however, I can’t help but get the strong and powerful sense that there was a direct link between their witnessing the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ ascend unto the right hand of the Father and their experiencing the arrival of the Holy Spirit. The apostles and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ would indeed witness Jesus as He ascended unto heaven and was taken from among them and that experience would position them for one they would experience just ten days hence. I am convinced that just as Elisha witnessed and beheld the taking up of Elijah unto heaven so also did the apostles and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ witness and behold His ascension and taking up into heaven and unto the Father. How absolutely incredible it is to think and consider the tremendous truth that those who were present with Jesus on the mount called Olivet would indeed experience the arrival and manifestation of the Holy Spirit. This is absolutely necessary to call and draw our attention to the awesome and powerful truth surrounding being present with the Lord Jesus at the mount called Olivet and witnessing His ascension unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven. There is not a doubt in my mind that each of those who witnessed and beheld Jesus’ being taken up into heaven were present in the upper room and just like Elisha who received a double portion of the spirit that was upon Elijah so also would they receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. I firmly believe that those who were present with Jesus at the mount called Olivet would not only watch Him be taken up into heaven and unto the right hand of the Father but would also pick up and receive His mantle which was given unto them ten days hence. I can’t help but see the day of Pentecost as a wonderful and powerful picture of the apostles and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ picking up the mantle which He would give unto them.

 

THE MANTLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT! As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I can’t help but view the events which took place in the second chapter of the New Testament book of Acts as a wonderful and powerful picture of the apostles and early followers of the Lord Jesus Christ being given the mantle that was upon Him. It was on the day of Pentecost we read of there being a sound as of a mighty rushing wind and how the whole room where they were being filled with cloven tongues of fire as they rested upon each of them. Upon each of those whom these cloven tongues of fire rested they would speak in other tongues which we would later learn were the tongues of the nations, peoples and lands round about Judaea, Galilee and Samaria. It was Jesus Himself who declared that they would be His witnesses unto Jerusalem, unto Judaea, unto Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth and on the day of Pentecost we would see the beginning of this being manifested in the hearts and lives of the disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is truly something worth noting that what was experienced on the day of Pentecost was not only picking up the mantle which Jesus would give unto them but also receiving a double portion of the Spirit which was upon Him. It would be Jesus Himself who would declare that greater works than these would His disciples and followers do because He went unto His Father who was in heaven. It is necessary for us to realize that Jesus wasn’t speaking about doing works which were greater in measure or greater in nature than those which He did but rather greater in number. That which Jesus was speaking of was greater works in number for the works which He did were only performed in one place at one time by one person. When, however, His apostles and His Church were endowed with power from on high and received the person, presence and power of the Holy Spirit they would do greater works in number for the body of Christ was no longer confined to one place at one time nor even within the confines of a specific lifetime.

 

If there is one thing we must needs recognize is that when Jesus declared that we would do greater works than these He was declaring that His apostles, His followers, the early Church and the Church throughout history would be engaged in the same works which He had engaged in while He walked upon the earth. The apostles and the spiritual body of Christ would indeed do greater works than the Lord Jesus did because it was possible for them to be in different places at different times working the works of God. The final verse of the New Testament gospel written by Mark declared that the apostles and followers of Christ were preaching the gospel and how they worked the works of Christ as Christ not only worked together with them but also confirmed the preaching through works. Oh there is something to be said about the day of Pentecost and the arrival of the Holy Spirit for the Holy Spirit wasn’t simply for the apostles nor even for the early Church. This would be evidenced and manifested through the release of the Holy Spirit unto the Gentiles for later on in the book of Acts and in the history of the early church you will see the Holy Spirit being manifested unto the Gentiles as well. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for there is something truly awesome and powerful about the day of Pentecost and how it would set in motion the events that would take place in the days to come—not only in the works which would be done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ but also in the manifestation of the Holy Spirit unto the Gentiles. What a truly awesome and powerful truth it is to know that although we weren’t present when Jesus ascended unto the right hand of the Father as well as witnessed and beheld His being taken up into heaven followed by the arrival of the Holy Spirit we have indeed experienced the manifestation of the Holy Spirit and might very well be the generation that witnesses and beholds the Lord Jesus Christ return and come back again in the same manner in which He ascended.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s