I believe: He Ascended
I believe... ...Jesus Christ...
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from there He will come to judge the living and the dead.
Where is Jesus right now?
What's he doing?
While Jesus is spiritually with his church ("surely I am with you always" Mt 28:20) he has a physical resurrected body that exists somewhere. Where is it? After all, it's not in the grave because Jesus rose from the dead! So where is that body?
Well, Jesus bodily ascended into heaven! He has gone to rule, rest and wait at the Father's right hand.
Although heaven is a spiritual world beyond our sight (kinda like another dimension), in the language of the Bible it is closely connected with the physical aspects of the world so that the heavens (sky, planets etc) are conceived as the visible aspect of a heaven-beyond where God dwells in unapproachable light. We can have a longer conversation about biblical cosmology some other time, but suffice to say that when Jesus went down into the grave it communicated something, just as when he physically went up as he went up into heaven.
God is above and beyond this earthly plane, and so when Jesus the Son returned to God the Father he was lifted up from the earth.
"...[Jesus] lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him..." (Lk 24:50–52).
So Jesus returned from whence he came - the presence of God the Father. Jesus was God the Son who had been sent to the earth on a mission to redeem God's people. Jesus had lived the prefect life that God's people couldn't live, Jesus had fulfilled all the Old Testament prophesies about the messiah, Jesus made atonement on the cross, he died in our place, went into the grave, and triumphed over death for us as a human. He secured Salvation for God's people.
So Jesus had fulfilled the first stage of the mission, but the next stage wasn't ready to be executed yet. Jesus had made the decisive strike against the enemies of sin, death and Satan, but now the ground war began - taking back all the lost territory.
Jesus sent his disciples out into the world to take back the lost - people who were separated from God's covenant love - by the proclamation of the Victory of Jesus in the Gospel (Matt 28:18-20).
That's where we find ourselves, continuing this effort under Jesus Christ our Commander, to proclaim everywhere and to everybody that Jesus is King and that all may enter into his Kingdom on becoming loyal to Him.
So Jesus is waiting. He is working through his church, but he is waiting. He is fulfilling Psalm 110:
The LORD says to my lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet” (Ps 110:1).
The right hand of God is symbolic for being in the most privileged in honour, glory and power. Jesus really is the Father's right-hand man. Jesus is there waiting for the next stage of history where he will be bodily deployed once more! (Hebrews 10:12–13).
Jesus is preparing to come and retrieve his chosen people (John 14:1–4), but before that happens there's going to be a showdown - the showdown to end all showdowns!
Jesus will judge the world. Everybody. Everybody who ever lived or will live. Jesus will Judge the living and the dead (Acts 10:42, 2 Tim 4:1, 1 Pe 4:5, Rev 20:11–13). God has been incredibly patient with us who have rebelled against God's government over the world, but when Jesus returns it is game over - no more chances to join his team and adopt his programme.
"For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done" (Mt 16:27).
This day, is the fulfilment of the Day of the Lord which is regularly prophesied in the Bible. It is the cataclysmic end of this age of humanity, and begins a new age with the recreation of Earth and Heaven into their perfected states. Where all things are made new and sorrow is gone. God's people are fulling and finally regenerated to eternal life.
"It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Heb 10:31), yet we have hope. Despite the terror that the Day will evoke, we have a strong and perfect plea: Jesus who intercedes for his people. "[Jesus] is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them" Heb 7:25.
"Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" (Ro 8:34–35).
Dear friend, if you belong to Jesus, we take courage knowing that Jesus intercedes for us. Nothing will be able to separate us from God's love. Continue the commission of the Good News proclamation and await the Day when Jesus comes in Glory!
"Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb 12:1–2).