I saw this write up: Ascension Day and Astronaut Jesus on another blog and was infuriated enough to write a response, (written below). I almost felt that the author’s original post was written as a joke, but in any case, a response was needed for those who are truly seeking truth on the subject on whether or not God’s ascension to Heaven can be taken literal. My response argues against the claims that Jesus’ ascension to Heaven cannot be taken literal.
Jesus “flew” up to Heaven? Is that what the scripture (Acts 1:9) says? No, the scripture says Jesus was lifted up/taken up. The Greek word there for “taken up” is “epairō.” It is important to note the details in the text and observe that Jesus did not “fly” or propel Himself up, but He was lifted/taken up by another source.
When we/the church are “caught up”(1 Thess. 4:17), that doesn’t mean that we will “fly,” it means we will be seized/snatched/carried off by force.
Hence, Jesus being “lifted,” or the saints being “caught up” is by a force outside ourselves.
I’m not sure we all understand what the blog meant when he wrote “as we all now know, heaven is not ‘up’.” The topic under discussion itself is called “Ascension Day.” Does the word ascension not imply an upward direction? Scripture clearly states that the Heavens are above the Earth (Isaiah 55:9, Psalm 103:11). And, just so we’re clear, NOT EVERYONE will be raptured up unfortunately. And again, WE WILL NOT FLY UP, but we will be “caught up”/seized.
Who is to say that our glorified bodies will need oxygen? God is the one who breaths life into us. (Genesis 2:7)
God created everything in 6 days (Genesis 2:2)!!! That included the Earth, the things under it, and the things above it (heavens). Therefore, ascension to the sky/Heaven by God’s power is not based on the laws of gravity and “light years of travel” through space. God Himself created gravity and all the things that govern creation, but He is not ruled or subject to these laws. He is sovereign OVER them.
Also, the apostle Paul in 2 Cor.12:2 says that he was “caught up” to the third heavens. Does that mean it took him light years to get there? Obviously not since he speaks of that being 14 years earlier.
So, yes, ascension did happen and it happened LITERALLY as the Word describes. However, it did not happen based of the defining laws that govern creation (such as gravity, space and time), but by God who created all and is above all things, including the the laws that govern creation.
So, that is how I make my argument against those who do not beleive that Jesus’ ascension can be taken litterally.
I would also like to make a note that in general, when making claims on Biblical text, one must consider the context (setting, atmosphere, audience, etc) of the scripture passage. If surrounding verses are literal, then most likely, so are the verses in question. One wouldn’t read Chronicles and think it is poetic literature, just as one wouldn’t read Song of Songs and consider it to be historical. That would be silly. So again, always consider the context and that will help give insight in how the text should be interpreted.
Praise and glory be to our Father in Heaven who has blessed us with wisdom, knowledge and faith to believe.