Ascension of Jesus

The Ascension of Jesus by anglicized from the Vulgate Latin of Ascensio Iesu Acts which is the departure of Christ from Earth into the presence of God. The familiar narrative in Acts takes place 40 days after the Resurrection. Jesus worked in the company of the disciples and addressed sight after warning them to remain in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit arrives and he ascends a cloud hides him from the view of them. And two men in white to tell that he will return “in the same way that he go to heaven.” In the time of  Ascension of Jesus, Heavenly scents were fairly common in the time of Jesus that signifying divine approval or the deification of an exceptional man. In the Christian tradition, reflected in the major Christian creeds and confessional statements, the ascension is connected with the exultation of Jesus, meaning that through his ascension Jesus took his seat at the right hand of God says He ascended into heaven and seated at the right hand of God.” The Feast of the Ascension celebrated on Easter’s 40th Day, always a Thursday and it is the Orthodox tradition has a different calendar in the Western tradition up to a month later than, and while the Anglican Communion continues to observe the feast, most Protestant churches have abandoned it.

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;
and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem
and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.”

Ascension of Jesus
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Ascension of Jesus

And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.
And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes,
and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven?
This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

History of Ascension of Jesus

The world of Ascension of Jesus is a three-part of the universe with the Heavens, a flat earth centered on Jerusalem in the middle, and the underworld below. Heaven separated from the land by the firmament, the visible sky, a solid inverted bowl where God‘s throne sat “on the vaulted roof of earth.” Humans looking up from earth saw the heaven, made of clear blue lapis-lazuli, as was God’s throne in Ascension of Jesus. Heavenly scents were fairly common in the time of Jesus, signifying the means a prophet could attain access to divine secrets, or the deification of an exceptional man. Figures familiar to Jews that included Enoch is from the Book of Genesis and a favorite non-Biblical work called Enoch, the 5th-century sage Ezra, Baruch the companion of the prophet Jeremiah also from work called 2 Baruch, in which Baruch promised he would ascend to heaven after 40 days.

Ascension of Jesus
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Ascension of Jesus

He rose from the ground gradually, observed by many enthusiastic onlookers. As the disciples strained to catch the last glimpse of Jesus, a cloud hid Him from their view, and two angels appeared and promised Christ’s return “in just the same way that you have watched Him go.” Levi, the ancestor of priests, is the Teacher of Righteousness from the community of Qumran, like Elijah and Moses, who deified on entering heaven, and the children of Job, who according to the Testament of Job ascended heaven following their resurrection from the dead. Non-Jewish readers would have been familiar with the case of emperor Augustus, whose ascent was witnessed by Senators, Romulus the founder of Rome, who, like Jesus, was taken to heaven in a cloud, the Greek hero Heracles, and many others.

How to Celebrate the Ascension of Jesus

The feast always observed with an All-night vigil. The day before is the Apodosis by leave-taking of Easter that is the last day of the Feast of Easter. Before the Vigil, the Paschal hours said for the last time, and the Paschal greeting exchanged. During the Polyeleos at Matins, the Epitaphios, which was placed on the altar on Holy Saturday either at Matins or the Midnight Office, depending on local custom is taken from the altar and carried in procession around the church. It is put then in the place reserved for it.  Ascension has an Afterfeast of eight days. The Sunday after Ascension of Jesus is the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea. This council formulated the Nicene Creed up to the words, “Jesus ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father; and shall come again, with glory, to judge the living and the dead. The Kingdom shall have no end.”

Ascension of Jesus
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Ascension of Jesus

The Afterfeast expires on the following Friday, the Friday before Pentecost. The next day is appropriately a Saturday of the Dead in general commemoration of all faithful departed. The Eastern Orthodox Church uses a different method of calculating the Easter date, so the Eastern Orthodox church celebration of Ascension will be after the western observance either one week or five weeks later. The earliest date for the feast is May 13, and the latest possible date is June 16. Some of the Oriental Orthodox Churches, however, observe Ascension on the same date as the Western Churches.

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