The Brooklyn & Brooklyn Citizen December 1, 1914


Our Lord's Ascension Into The Heavens Had Been Spectacular, But His Second Coming Will Be Quiet and None Know Except His Faithful.


The forty days which followed our Lord's resurrection were sufficient for the Divine purpose. The disciples had lost their first bewilderment created by the crucifixion of the One whom they had supposed was about to take the Throne to rule Israel and the world. We can see the wisdom of the Divine method of communicating the facts to the disciples. They were not alarmed, as they would have been if Jesus had appeared to them in a light above the brightness of the sun, as He afterward appeared to Saul of Tarsus. Gradually they learned that their Lord was no longer dead, but alive, and that He was no longer a human being, but now a spirit being, and, like the angels, could go and come as the wing, appearing and disappearing at pleasure.

It was a slow lesson. After the three appearances of the first day, they looked for Him each day until the following Sabbath, when the fourth appearance, or manifestation, was made. This delay only whetted their appetite, their craving for knowledge respecting Him. Meantime they could, and did, think over all the things which Jesus had said to them during His earthly ministry. They perceived wherein they had mistaken a Heavenly Kingdom for an earthly one or at least mistook the time of the establishment of Messiah's Kingdom.

Our lesson today relates especially to the ascension of Jesus. This took place near Jerusalem at Bethany. Apparently He met with His followers in the Holy City. He led them out to Bethany, explaining the things that would be to their advantage to know the things they would need to be thoroughly convinced of before His departure, and before they would have sufficient faith to be prepared for the blessings He had yet to send. [HGL632] St. Luke, who also wrote the Book of Acts, tells us that the essence of Jesus' teaching during the forty days related to the Kingdom of God. still they understood not; it was not possible for them to fully understand until they would receive the begetting of the Holy Spirit. It was toward that point, therefore, that Jesus directed their attention, saying that they should not depart from Jerusalem nor engage in any work of preaching, but wait for the promise of the Father, of which He had told them. He explained that John the Baptist had indeed used water baptism, but that all His followers should receive a superior baptism and qualification the baptism of the Holy Spirit, at Pentecost.

The disciples considered Jesus to be the Messiah, and thought the Father's time had come for giving Him the Kingdom. But they had been witnesses that the Kingdom of Heaven had suffered violence at the hands of the rulers, that the rightful Heir to the Throne had been slain. But He had risen from the dead, and they now inquired whether it would be at this time that the Master's Kingdom would be established. The Answer'was significant: "It is not for you to know the times and seasons which the Father hath kept in His own power."

The Master had already intimated that at the appointed time His disciples would know the times and seasons, but it was not due for them to understand those things then. They must wait. The development of patience would do them good, strengthening their faith and their character.

Our Lord's ascension was spectacular to His Church. Of the world He had said, "Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more." They did not see Him during the forty days. He showed Himself to none except His faithful, consecrated ones. The ocular demonstrations so helpful to them culminated with a visible ascension of the Lord into the air in the body in which He had just been with them. Because they were not yet spirit-begotten, they doubtless needed just such a manifestation to help their faith, to lead them to understand that they would see the Master no more until He would come with power and great glory to assemble all His saints to Himself and to bless the world.

Our Golden Text reminds us that Jesus spoke of His ascension beforehand. The ascending up where He was before should not, however, be understood merely to signify a return to a previous place, but rather to a previous condition a spirit condition, which the Master had left to be made flesh, that He might ransom the world.

As Jesus disappeared from His disciples in the clouds, we assume that the body in which He had just appeared was dissolved, or dematerialized. The use of it was merely to help establish the faith of the disciples and as a means of instruction. After Jesus disappeared, angels materialized and addressed them, saying, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye here gazing up into the heavens? 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." This statement has led some to believe that at His

Second Advent Jesus will appear in the flesh; but to our understanding they labor under a grave misapprehension. The world is to see Jesus no more, and the Church will see Him only with the eye of faith, until they experience their "change" in the end of this Age.

The angels laid stress upon the manner of the going, which agrees with what the Bible tells us respecting our Lord's Second Coming. He went quietly, secretly, unknown to the world. He is to return as a thief in the night. None will know of His return except those whose eyes are opened to see the signs of the presence of the Son of Man. These will be His loyal, saintly few. So Jesus explained, that at His Second Coming it would be for a time as it was in the days of Noah mankind would be eating drinking, planting, marrying, and know not of His presence.

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