Class Notes: 4/21/2010
Jesus' Resurrection was followed by his Ascension and Session
In the context of the Resurrection Sunday or Easter holiday we have been reviewing the doctrine related to our Lord's resurrection that is recorded in Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1-6; and John 20:1;
When we ran out of time last time we had seen that the evidence for the resurrection overwhelmed anything the skeptics were able to present in opposition to it. The complete lack of evidence for any possible alternative leaves the account of the resurrection of Christ the only reasonable explanation.
If it were not that it was a supernatural event and so central to Christian doctrine, it would not even be questioned.
When the evidence for the empty tomb is added to the many other arguments for a bodily resurrection of Christ, it forms additional proof of the veracity of the entire record.
There would have been no motive for the disciples to steal the body in the first place, and if the enemies of Christ had taken the body it would have been to their interest to have produced it when the accounts of the resurrection began to be circulated.
But there is no evidence, that the enemies of Christ made any effort to try to find the supposedly stolen body of Christ. The empty tomb therefore remains a silent witness to the fact of the resurrection.
The accounts given in the Gospels show that that the witnesses to the resurrection of Christ found it hard believe that he had actually been resurrected. It was only after overwhelming proof was presented that they finally accept His resurrection as fact.
The record shows that his disciples demanded tangible evidence such as what Thomas required when he finally saw Jesus. The disciples clearly did not expect him to be raised from the dead and initially couldn't believe it even though it was in the prophecy and he had himself plainly told them that it would happen.
Once they had become convinced that Christ had actually been raised from the dead, no amount of persecution could make them waver in their testimony. They repeatedly showed a willingness to die rather than give up their belief in TLJC.
One of the more impressive arguments for truth of the resurrection of Christ was the contrast in the disciples' behavior before and after the resurrection. Scripture indicates that the disciples before the resurrection were totally disheartened and without hope, they were meeting in fear in hidden places, and were dismayed at the death of Christ.
There is no indication in any of descriptions of the disciples prior to the resurrection that they thought there was any real hope that Christ would be restored to them in resurrection.
Once they were convinced, however, the disciples became fearless in their testimony, as is shown in the case of Peter in Acts 2:14-41; where he made a public testimony to the fact of the resurrection and challenged his hearers to consider the evidence that was presented resulting in three thousand believers being added to the church. Acts 2:41;
The despondent attitude they exhibited before the resurrection of Christ that was followed by the courage and confidence they exhibited after they became convinced of his resurrection follow a pattern that is to be expected and there is no indication that they would have accepted the fact of the resurrection without the solid proof that was provided by his appearances following his resurrection.
In addition to the empirical evidence, the disciples were given supernatural power for the communication of the Gospel. The book of Acts records the evidence of the power of God the Holy Spirit in the ministry of the apostles.
They were transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit that took up residence them on the Day of Pentecost and the Gospel was subsequently authenticated by miracles, by the divine judgment of Ananias and Sapphira, by the supernatural appearance of Christ to Saul, and numerous other events where the supernatural power of God was clearly evident.
The events recorded in the book of Acts would not have been possible apart from the resurrection of Christ from the dead. The transforming power of Christ that has been witnessed by believers through the ages cannot be explained apart from the resurrection of Christ.
The events recorded in book of Acts, therefore become a confirmation of the doctrine of resurrection. The Day of Pentecost that occurred exactly fifty days after Christ's resurrection was when Peter spoke to the thousands that gathered to hear because of the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in those who had remained there after his ascension as Christ has commanded. Acts 1:4;
Those who listened to Peter speak had unrestricted access to the garden where the tomb was located, and most likely some of them had personally investigated the reports of the resurrection of Christ since it was the main topic of discussion in Jerusalem
When Peter said that Jesus had been resurrected, no one in the crowd contradicted him and the record clearly indicates that instead of rejecting his claim three thousand people, who were in a position to personally know the facts, believed that Jesus Christ had actually been raised from the dead.
It is evident that Peter's confident assertion that Christ actually arose in fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of David, as recorded in Psa 16:10-11; came not only from his own personal conviction that these were the facts, but also from his confidence that there was no one who could contradict him.
The events of Pentecost cannot be explained apart from the reality that Jesus was raised from the dead.
The church that was launched on that Day of Pentecost is established in the belief in the resurrection of Christ. The power of the early church can only be explained on the basis that Christ actually arose from the dead.
In the years since, millions of believers have been transformed by faith in Jesus Christ as their risen Savior and Lord.
If the resurrection is a myth, there is no adequate explanation for the power of the early church in its witness and the willingness of Christians to die as martyrs rather than renounce their Christian beliefs.
The continuation of the church through the centuries, in spite of ignorance, unbelief, and erosion of doctrine, is difficult to explain apart from the basis for its establishment in the historic resurrection of Christ.
Those who investigate the facts concerning the resurrection of Christ that are contained in the Scripture have abundant evidence for the establishment of their faith in Jesus Christ as their God and Savior.
The resurrection, ascension and session of Jesus Christ divide the two Christological dispensations of the Hypostatic Union and the Church
Both the ascension and session of Christ occurred in His resurrection body. His was the first resurrection in all of history.
Since we have discussed the doctrine of the resurrection we will now take a brief look at the doctrines of ascension and session.
The ascension is that doctrine of Christology pertaining to the transfer of our Lord's true humanity from planet earth to the third heaven in a resurrection body.
The session is that doctrine of Christology pertaining to the glorification of our Lord's humanity at the right hand of the Father.
These definitions presume the understanding of the doctrine of the Hypostatic Union that we have studied previously.
These doctrines are closely related to and based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. If Christ remained on earth, He would have a limited glory, but when He went to the third heaven He became superior to all creation, with unlimited glory.
After his resurrection, the true humanity of our Lord remained on earth for forty days before His ascension. During this period of time he demonstrated some of the capabilities of the resurrection body to his disciples.
The ascension and session of Christ are based in ability of the resurrection body to be able to travel horizontally on the earth and vertically into heaven at unlimited speed, and to be capable of unlimited travel in space.
During His forty days on the earth after his resurrection our Lord traveled on the earth as well as moving through closed doors.
The ascension of Christ demonstrates the vertical travel of the resurrection body when he moved with ease through the atmosphere of the earth, through the galaxies of the stellar universe, and the billions and billions of light years in an instant, and entered into the third heaven.
Upon arrival in the third heaven, our Lord was seated at the right hand of God the Father in what is known as the doctrine of the Session. Then He received His third royal patent and the title "King of kings, Lord of lords, the Bright Morning Star."
Because His third royalty had no accompanying royal family, the Church Age was inserted into history for the calling out of a third royal family.
This is why this doctrine of ascension and session is the link between the resurrection of Christ and the way of life for believers during the Church Age.
A new royal family and a new royalty had to be created to accompany this new third royalty of Jesus Christ. This new royal family is an entirely new royalty had to be an entirely new category of spiritual species. 2Cor 5:17;
The dispensation of Israel was therefore interrupted seven years before it was completed. The Day of Pentecost is the day the royal family began with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It was on that first day of the Church Age when the omnipotence of God the Father and of God the Holy Spirit was made available to every believer universally.
Only TLJC in hypostatic union had possessed this power previously. This is why the spiritual life of the humanity of TLJC in hypostatic union is the only precedence for the spiritual life of church age believers.
The chronology of events was the resurrection, forty days on the earth, his ascension ten days before the Church Age began, and his session at the right hand of the Father.
We know the number of days so exactly, because the resurrection occurred on the day the sheaf of the First Fruits was presented on the first day of the week that that came during the Passover feast. Lev 23:11;
The Feast of Pentecost that launched the church age would occur fifty days later. Lev 23:15-16;
On day forty, our Lord ascended into heaven, and He told his disciples that the baptism of the Spirit and the beginning of the Church Age would occur ten days later.
Both the ascension and session of Christ were accomplished in His resurrection body. Though coequal and coeternal with God in his deity, it was the true humanity of Christ in his resurrection body that was seated at the right hand of the Father.
The historical account of these events is recorded in Acts 1:9-11;
"And after He had said these things (the announcement of Church Age, Acts 1:5, 8;, He was lifted up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid Him out of their sight.
v10 And as they were gazing intently up in the sky as He was going, behold two men (angels) dressed in white stood beside them.
v11 And they also said, `Men of Galilee, why do you stand staring into the sky? This Jesus who has been taken from you into heaven will come in the same way as you have seen Him go into heaven.'"
While the angels were still talking our Lord was already in the third heaven. He traveled billions and billions of light years in just a few seconds.
After His ascension, His session fulfilled the prophecy of Psa 110:1. "The Lord (God the Father) said to my Lord (God the Son), `Sit down at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.'"
Jesus Christ had to be seated to resolve the angelic conflict. His was the strategic victory of the angelic conflict. Remember that His deity is omnipresent, imminent and transcendent so it was His humanity that was seated at the right hand of the Father.
This was the climax of the strategic victory of Christ in the angelic conflict and the prophecy is quoted several times in the New Testament, Matt 22:44; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42-43; Acts 2:34-35; Heb 1:13, Heb 10:13;
The strategic victory of our Lord in Hypostatic Union is what made his ascension and session possible. The resurrection, ascension, and the session are all fulfilled by the true humanity of Jesus Christ.
Just as only the humanity of Christ could provide our salvation by receiving the imputation and judgment for our sins in His own body on the cross, so only the humanity of Christ could be resurrected, ascend, and be seated at the right hand of God the Father.
The humanity of Jesus Christ in Hypostatic Union is now exalted and glorified at the right hand of the Father where and he is now in session as ruler over all things.
Acts 2:33; "Therefore, (Jesus Christ) having been exalted to the right hand of God."
Acts 5:31; "He is the one whom God has exalted at His right hand as prince and Savior."
Phil 2:9; "Therefore also, God has highly exalted Him and given Him a title which is above every title, that at the title of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of the Father."
The strategic victory of Jesus Christ in Hypostatic Union that is demonstrated by his resurrection and ascension results in the award of His third royal title "King of kings, Lord of lords, Bright Morning Star." The royal family associated with that victory is in the process of being completed is composed of every Church Age believer.
He is presently waiting for the completion the Church as his royal family that will occur in timing of God the Father with the exit resurrection of the church and then God's plan will advance and destruction of his enemies will completed.
The fact that the resurrection, ascension and session is based on his strategic victory of our Lord in the angelic conflict is the subject of chapters 1 and 2 of Hebrews.
Heb 1:3; "Who being the radiance (or the flashing forth) of His glory and the exact image of His (God the Father's) essence, He also sustains all things by the verbal expression of His power, having Himself accomplished purification for sins, He was caused to sit down on the right hand of the Majesty in highest places."
During the entire period of the Hypostatic Union on earth, from the time he was a baby in the cradle to the resurrection, ascension, and session, our Lord was still holding the universe together by the Word of His power.
Heb 1:13; "But to which of the angels did He say at any time, `Sit down at My right hand until I appoint your enemies a footstool for your feet?'"
God the Father never said this to any angel, he only said it to TLJC. It is very significant that God the Father said this to the humanity of Christ in a resurrection body.
This means that although we are now presently inferior to angels in our unglorified human bodies on the earth, in the future in resurrection bodies we will be totally superior to angels. This was established with our Lord's session
1Pet 3:22; "Who (Jesus Christ) is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven after angels and authorities and powers had been subordinated to Him."
With the resurrection of Jesus Christ, all angelic creatures including fallen angels, are subordinated to his glorified humanity.
In His deity, Jesus Christ is the creator of angels. In His humanity, He was made lower than angels, Heb 2:7. But now in His resurrection, He is higher than angels in His glorified humanity.
Some day in our resurrection body, we will share that same privilege experientially, however since we are in union with Christ, we are already positionally higher than angels. But we must wait for our resurrection body to be made experientially higher than angels.
Eph 1:22, "And He (God the Father) has subordinated all (angelic creatures) under His feet. Furthermore, He appointed Him (Jesus Christ) ruler over all things to the Church."
This establishes another connection between the two Christological dispensations.
The Church Age was a mystery age because church age believers have almost infinitely more than any of the Old Testament, Tribulational, or Millennial believers.
Because of our union with TLJC we have unique things that have never existed before and will never exist again after the Exit Resurrection of the Church.
Israel had rejected Jesus Christ as their Messiah and King resulting in the messianic kingdom being postponed until the Second Advent of Christ.
In the meantime, the power that God deployed during the Hypostatic Union has been extended into the Church Age for use by his Royal Family.
During the Church Age, there are no Jewish client nations to God. The next Jewish client nation will not exist until the Second Advent of Christ.
We live in the times of the Gentiles. Only a Gentile nation can be a client nation to God. At the present time, although in decline, the United States of America is the Gentile client nation to God.
So the ascension and session of Jesus Christ form the link between the Hypostatic Union and the Church Age.
The resurrection, ascension and session demonstrate the efficacy of Christ's Sacrifice on the Cross.
Heb 10:12; "But this One (Jesus Christ in contrast to the Old Testament sacrifices), when He had offered one unique sacrifice as a substitute for our sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God."
The work of Jesus Christ on the cross is efficacious. He received the imputation of our sins and God the Father judged them in him thereby resolving the issue of all sin forever.
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