Why Stand Ye Gazing Up Into Heaven? #4

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

“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 1:10,11 KJV).

Why did the angels ask the Apostles, Why stand ye gazing up into heaven?”

Today’s Scripture declares the 12 Apostles looked “stedfastly” toward Heaven. They were not merely watching Christ Jesus ascend. Rather, they continued to look up. It was an intense gaze, not casual observation. Perhaps they even looked up long after He was out of sight. In spite of His instructions not to look for His return until they saw certain events (Luke 21:25-28), they looked up for Him to reappear immediately to “restore again the kingdom to Israel” (Acts 1:6). As we ask someone doing wrong, “Hey, what are you doing?,” to cause him or her to realize misconduct, so the angels asked the Apostles, Why stand ye gazing up into heaven?”

Jesus told Israel’s believing remnant—particularly His 12 apostles—they were not to look up for His Second Coming (for them) until they saw specific phenomena. Contrariwise, when describing Christ coming for us (the Church His Body), Scripture says nothing about preceding signs. For example, see 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 1 Corinthians 15:51-55, Philippians 3:20, Titus 2:13, and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2. There will be no warning signs concerning this coming (for the Body of Christ). In contrast to Israel anticipating the Second Coming, we should be looking for the Rapture to occur at any time. Only in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, do we find this doctrine of the Body of Christ being caught up from Earth into Heaven. Us searching for the Rapture elsewhere in Scripture will introduce unanswerable confusion.

A thoughtful and prayerful consideration of the Bible reveals two future comings of Christ Jesus. To force all verses about “Christ’s coming” to apply to one event is dangerous. We must not combine what God has separated; we must not mixed what God told us to “rightly divide” (2 Timothy 2:15). These two future comings of Christ are separate!

Why Stand Ye Gazing Up Into Heaven? #3

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

“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 1:10,11 KJV).

Why did the angels ask the Apostles, Why stand ye gazing up into heaven?”

Several weeks earlier, just before His crucifixion, Jesus had told His Apostles: “[25] And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; [26] Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. [27] And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. [28] And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke chapter 21). Believing Israel was not to look up until they saw certain signs. Those signs were absent in Acts chapter 1; therefore, Israel was not to be looking up in Acts chapter 1! The angels asked the Apostles why they were looking up to prompt them to remember Jesus’ words.

Furthermore, Jesus had told them to wait for the Holy Spirit who would come days later: “[5] For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence…. [8] 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.” They were not to be looking up as though Jesus would return right there in Acts chapter 1 because He was not coming back at that time.

God’s Word told Israel not to look up for Christ’s return until certain events transpired. Let us compare and contrast this with His Word to us concerning Christ’s return….

Why Stand Ye Gazing Up Into Heaven? #2

Monday, October 3, 2016

“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 1:10,11 KJV).

Why did the angels ask the Apostles, Why stand ye gazing up into heaven?”

Acts begins with Jesus spending 40 days with His Apostles during His resurrection and ascension. Verse 3 says He spoke of “the things pertaining to the kingdom of God”—see Matthew chapter 28, Mark chapter 16, Luke chapter 24, John chapter 21, and Acts chapter 1. Before ascending into heaven from the Mount of Olives, Jesus told them they should not leave Jerusalem. Verses 4 and 5: “…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.”

The Apostles, having heard Him talk about the kingdom of God those last 40 days, ask Him in verse 6, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” Notice again.” The only kingdom Israel ever had was a literal, physical, earthly kingdom—its apex with Kings David and Solomon. Rather than rebuke them—“No, I am talking about a spiritual kingdom in the hearts of men, not a literal earthly kingdom. I am about to start the spiritual Body of Christ” (what people assume Jesus said)—Jesus simply told them in verses 7 and 8: “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.” The time-schedule of that coming literal, physical, visible, earthly kingdom is withheld from these Apostles.

Yet, they start looking up as the Lord Jesus Christ goes into heaven (today’s Scripture). They have not been mindful of His instructions to them….

Why Stand Ye Gazing Up Into Heaven? #1

Sunday, October 2, 2016

“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 1:10,11 KJV).

Why did the angels ask the Apostles, Why stand ye gazing up into heaven?”

The Book of Acts begins: “[1] The former treatise have I made [that is, the Bible Book of Luke], O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, [2] 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: [3] 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: [4] 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. [5] For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”

“[6] When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? [7] 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. [8] 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. [9] And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.”

The Apostles are stunned when the resurrected Lord Jesus, physically and visibly, suddenly soars upward into the sky! As they watch Him ascending, two angels appear and ask them, “Why stand ye gazing up into heaven?” Should they have been looking into heaven? (No!)

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The King, the Donkey, and the Horse #3

Friday, July 26, 2013

“…[T]he sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:11 KJV).

The King appeared once, and He shall return….

Five centuries after the prophet Zechariah wrote, Israel’s Messiah-King (Jesus) rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, fulfilling Zechariah 9:9. However, Israel cried out, “We have no king but Caesar!” (John 19:15). Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected the third day, but Israel still refused Him. He went back into heaven as an exile, rejected of His own people. As the book of Acts progresses, we learn that Israel is content in unbelief, refusing to listen to Jesus Christ’s apostles and prophets in early Acts (who urge their brethren to accept Him so that they can avoid His wrath when He returns).

Remember, the prophet Zechariah also wrote: “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south” (Zechariah 14:1-4).

Jesus Christ came to earth the first time riding on a donkey, a gesture of peace toward Israel. Israel refused Him. After His death, burial, and resurrection, He ascended into heaven, where even today He waits until the time when He is to come back. He will return to earth on a horse, bringing salvation to Israel’s believing remnant, but declaring war on all of His (unbelieving) enemies. The “glory” of today’s Scripture must be fulfilled….

Unfathomable Distances, Unsearchable Speeds #3

Thursday, June 6, 2013

“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself (Philippians 3:20,21 KJV).

The vastness of space is mindboggling; today’s Scripture is equally mind-blowing….

After spending 40 days with His disciples post-resurrection, teaching them and being seen of them, the Lord Jesus can ascend into heaven to sit down at His Father’s right hand, thereby fulfilling Psalm 110:1. Notice Acts 1:9,10: “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;” Luke 24:51 affirms: “And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.”

Jesus Christ utters His final statements to His disciples, and then something thrilling happens. As they are watching Him, His feet suddenly begin to float away from the earth’s surface! He soars upward, as a rocket or space shuttle would depart from its launch pad! His disciples stand there amazed as He travels up, up, up!

An angelic escort carries Him off, literally, physically, visibly… and then, He vanishes completely, en route to the third heaven. The distance and speed the angels and our Lord Jesus Christ are now traveling are incomprehensible, but they are bringing Him across the universe and out of it. They arrive in the third heaven, and Jesus Christ then sits at His Father’s right hand, where He sits even today in the Dispensation of Grace (Colossians 3:1).

When no one else wants to trust Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, Father God will send Him back to planet earth, to take home His people, the Church the Body of Christ. As the Dispensation of Grace winds down, Jesus Christ will cross the universe again. While standing in earth’s atmosphere, He will call up the Christians, who will also reach mindboggling speeds….

The Spirit of God and the Word of God #3

Thursday, March 21, 2013

“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:13 KJV).

As today’s Scripture demonstrates, the Spirit of God never operates apart from the Word of God.

For approximately three years, the Lord Jesus Christ ministered throughout the land of Israel. After the Jews had crucified Him, and after He resurrected, another prophecy needed fulfillment—His ascension to His Father’s right hand (Psalm 110:1). Once He ascended, His apostles and disciples were to continue His work on earth by leading all of unbelieving Israel to trust Him as Messiah. These Jewish believers were just ordinary people, weak and fallible. How could they execute the work that Jesus Christ had started?

The Lord Jesus promised: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he [a Person, not a force!] 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” (John 14:16,17).

Jesus Christ asked His Father to send the Holy Spirit on this “little flock” of Jewish believers, thereby equipping them to carry on His ministry in His absence. The Holy Ghost—“the Spirit of truth”—would testify of Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost would speak to unbelieving Israel via the believing Jews “bearing witness” (John 15:26,27). Christ explains: “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:… when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth… He shall glorify me” (John 16:7-14).

When the Holy Spirit was poured out on believing Israel in Acts chapter 2, they were then able to preach God’s Word as Jesus Christ had done earlier….