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The Ascension of Jesus (anglicized from the Vulgate Latin Acts 1:9-11 section title: Ascensio Iesu) is the physical departure of Christ from Earth into the presence of God in Heaven.In the Christian tradition, reflected in the major Christian creeds and confessional statements, God exalted Jesus after his death, raising Him as first of the dead, and taking Him to Heaven, where Jesus took his seat at the right hand of God. In modern times a literal reading of the ascension-accounts has become problematic, as its cosmology is incompatible with the modern, scientific worldview.
In Christian art, the ascending Jesus is often shown blessing an earthly group below him, signifying the entire Church.The Feast of the Ascension is celebrated on the 40th day of Easter, always a Thursday; the Orthodox tradition has a different calendar up to a month later than in the Western tradition, and while the Anglican communion continues to observe the feast, many Protestant churches have abandoned the observance.
In Islam, Jesus was neither crucified nor raised from the dead, and according to the Qur’an, he was rather saved by God and raised to Heaven.
Luke-Acts, a single work from the same anonymous author, provides the only narrative account of the ascension.Luke chapter 24 tells how Jesus leads the eleven disciples to Bethany, a village on the Mount of Olives, where he instructs them to remain in Jerusalem until the coming of the Holy Spirit: "And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy." (The corresponding scene in Matthew chapter 28 ends abruptly with the Great Commission, with no mention of an ascension.) The biblical narrative in Chapter 1 of the Acts of the Apostles takes place 40 days after the resurrection. Acts 1 describes a meal at which Jesus commands the disciples to await the coming of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is taken up from the disciples in their sight, a cloud hides him from view, and two men in white appear to tell them that he will return "in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." Luke and Acts appear to describe the same event, but present quite different chronologies, Luke placing it on the same day as the resurrection and Acts forty days afterwards; various proposals have been put forward to resolve the contradiction, but the question remains open.
The Gospel of John has three references to ascension in Jesus' own words: "No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the son of man" ( John 3:13 ); "What if you (the disciples) were to see the son of man ascending where he was before?" ( John 6:62 ); and to Mary Magdalene after his resurrection, "Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to my father..." (John 20:17). In the first and second Jesus is claiming to be the apocalyptic "one like a son of man" of Daniel 7; the last has mystified commentators – why should Mary be prohibited from touching the risen but not yet ascended Christ, while Thomas is later invited to do so?
Various epistles (Romans 8:34, Ephesians 1:19–20, Colossians 3:1, Philippians 2:9–11, 1 Timothy 3:16, and 1 Peter 3:21–22) also refer to an ascension, seeming, like Luke-Acts and John, to equate it with the post-resurrection "exaltation" of Jesus to the right hand of God.There is a broad consensus among scholars that the brief ascension account in the Gospel of Mark (Mark 16:19) is a later addition to the original version of that gospel.
In Christian theology, the death, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus are the most important events, and a foundation of the Christian faith. Psalms 110:1 played an essential role in this interpretation of Jesus' death and the resurrection appearances: "The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool." It provided an interpretative frame for Jesus' followers to make sense of his death and the resurrection appearances.The early followers of Jesus believed that God had vindicated Jesus after his death, as reflected in the stories about his resurrection, ascension, and exaltation. The early followers of Jesus soon believed that Jesus was raised as first of the dead, taken into Heaven, and exaltated, taking the seat at the right hand of God in Heaven, as stated in the Apostles' Creed: "He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty."
Ascension stories were fairly common around the time of Jesus and the gospel-authors,signifying the deification of a noteworthy person (usually a Roman Emperor), and in Judaism as an indication of divine approval. Another function of heavenly ascent was as a mode of divine revelation reflected in Greco-Roman, early Jewish, and early Christian literary sources, in which particular individuals with prophetic or revelatory gifts are thought to have experienced a heavenly journey during which they learned cosmic and divine secrets.
Figures familiar to Jews would have included Enoch (from the Book of Genesis and a popular non-Biblical work called 1 Enoch); the 5th-century sage Ezra; Baruch the companion of the prophet Jeremiah (from a work called 2 Baruch, in which Baruch is promised he will ascend to heaven after 40 days); Levi the ancestor of priests; the Teacher of Righteousness from the Qumran community; the prophet Elijah (from 2 Kings); Moses, who was 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 the 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 (Hercules); and others.
The cosmology of the author of Luke-Acts reflects the beliefs of his age,which envisioned a three-part cosmos with the heavens above, a flat Earth centered on Jerusalem in the middle, and the underworld below. Heaven was separated from the Earth by the firmament, the visible sky, a solid inverted bowl where God's palace sat on pillars in the celestial sea. Humans looking up from Earth saw the floor of Heaven, made of clear blue lapis-lazuli (Exodus 24:9-10), as was God's throne (Ezekiel 1:26). According to Dunn, "the typical mind-set and worldview of the time conditioned what was actually seen and how the recording of such seeings was conceptualized," and "departure into heaven could only be conceived in terms of 'being taken up ', a literal ascension."
In modern times, a literal reading of the ascension-stories has become problematic, due to the differences between the pre-scientific cosmology of the times of Jesus, and the scientific worldview that leaves no place for a Heaven above us.Theologian James Dunn describes the ascension as at best a puzzle and at worst an embarrassment for an age that no longer conceives of a physical Heaven located above the Earth. Similarly, in the words of McGill University's Douglas Farrow, in modern times the Ascension is seen less as the climax of the mystery of Christ than as "something of an embarrassment in the age of the telescope and the space probe," an "idea [that] conjures up an outdated cosmology."
Yet, according to Dunn, a sole focus on this disparity is beside the real importance of Jesus' ascension, namely the resurrection and subsequent exaltation of Jesus.Farrow notes that, already in the third century, the ascension-story was read by Origen in a mystical way, as an "ascension of the mind rather than of the body," representing one of two basic ascension theologies. The real problem is the fact that Jesus is both present and absent, an ambiguity which points to a "something more" to which the eucharist gives entry.
The Feast of the Ascension is one of the ecumenical (i.e., universally celebrated) feasts of the Christian liturgical year, along with the Passion, Easter, Pentecost, and Christmas. Ascension Day is traditionally celebrated on the sixth Thursday after Easter Sunday, the fortieth day from Easter day, although some Roman Catholic provinces have moved the observance to the following Sunday to facilitate the obligation to attend Mass. Saint Jerome held that it was of Apostolic origin, but in fact the ascension was originally part of Pentecost (the coming of the Holy Spirit), and developed as a separate celebration only slowly from the late 4th century onward. In the Catholic tradition it begins with a three-day "rogation" to ask for God's mercy, and the feast itself includes a procession of torches and banners symbolising Christ's journey to the Mount of Olives and entry into Heaven, the extinguishing of the Paschal candle, and an all-night vigil; white is the liturgical colour. The orthodox tradition has a slightly different calendar up to a month later than in the Western tradition; the Anglican communion continues to observe the feast, but most Protestant churches have abandoned the traditional Christian calendar of feasts.
The ascension has been a frequent subject in Christian art.By the 6th century, the iconography of the ascension had been established and by the 9th century, ascension scenes were being depicted on domes of churches. The Rabbula Gospels (c. 586) include some of the earliest images of the ascension. Many ascension scenes have two parts, an upper (Heavenly) part and a lower (earthly) part. The ascending Christ may be carrying a resurrection banner or make a sign of benediction with his right hand. The blessing gesture by Christ with his right hand is directed towards the earthly group below him and signifies that he is blessing the entire Church. In the left hand, he may be holding a Gospel or a scroll, signifying teaching and preaching.
The Eastern Orthodox portrayal of the ascension is a major metaphor for the mystical nature of the Church. ..."In many Eastern icons the Virgin Mary is placed at the center of the scene in the earthly part of the depiction, with her hands raised towards Heaven, often accompanied by various Apostles. The upwards-looking depiction of the earthly group matches the Eastern liturgy on the Feast of the Ascension: "Come, let us rise and turn our eyes and thoughts high
The traditional site of the ascension is Mount Olivet (the "Mount of Olives"), on which the village of Bethany sits. Before the conversion of Constantine in 312 AD, early Christians honored the ascension of Christ in a cave on the Mount, and by 384 the ascension was venerated on the present site, uphill from the cave.[ citation needed ]
Around the year 390 a wealthy Roman woman named Poimenia financed construction of the original church called "Eleona Basilica" (elaion in Greek means "olive garden", from elaia "olive tree", and has an oft-mentioned similarity to eleos meaning "mercy"). This church was destroyed by Sassanid Persians in 614. It was subsequently rebuilt, destroyed, and rebuilt again by the Crusaders. This final church was later destroyed by Muslims, leaving only a 12×12 meter octagonal structure (called a martyrium—"memorial"—or "Edicule") that remains to this day.[ citation needed ] The site was ultimately acquired by two emissaries of Saladin in the year 1198 and has remained in the possession of the Islamic Waqf of Jerusalem ever since. The Russian Orthodox Church also maintains a convent of the ascension on the top of the Mount of Olives.
The Acts of the Apostles, often referred to simply as Acts, or formally the Book of Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; it tells of the founding of the Christian church and the spread of its message to the Roman Empire.
The Gospel According to Mark is one of the four canonical gospels and one of the three synoptic gospels. It tells of the ministry of Jesus from his baptism by John the Baptist to his death and burial and the discovery of the empty tomb – there is no genealogy of Jesus or birth narrative, nor, in the original ending at chapter 16, any post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. It portrays Jesus as a heroic man of action, an exorcist, a healer, and a miracle worker. Jesus is also the Son of God, but he keeps his identity secret, concealing it in parables so that even most of the disciples fail to understand. All this is in keeping with prophecy, which foretold the fate of the messiah as suffering servant. The gospel ends, in its original version, with the discovery of the empty tomb, a promise to meet again in Galilee, and an unheeded instruction to spread the good news of the resurrection.
The Gospel According to Luke, also called the Gospel of Luke, or simply Luke, is the third of the four canonical Gospels. It tells of the origins, birth, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel According to Matthew is the first book of the New Testament and one of the three synoptic gospels. It tells how Israel's Messiah, rejected and executed in Israel, pronounces judgement on Israel and its leaders and becomes the salvation of the gentiles. The gospel reflects the struggles and conflicts between the evangelist's community and the other Jews, particularly with its sharp criticism of the scribes and Pharisees: prior to the Crucifixion they are referred to as Israelites, the honorific title of God's chosen people; after it, they are called simply "Ioudaioi", a sign that through their rejection of the Christ the "Kingdom of Heaven" has been taken away from them and given instead to the church.
Gospel originally meant the Christian message itself, but in the 2nd century it came to be used for the books in which the message was set out. The four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John comprise the first four books of the New Testament of the Bible and were probably written between AD 66 and 110. All four were anonymous, almost certainly none were by eyewitnesses, and all are the end-products of long oral and written transmission. They are a subset of the genre of ancient biography, but ancient biographies should not be confused with modern ones, and often included propaganda and kerygma (preaching); yet while there is no guarantee that the events which they describe are historically accurate, in the quest for the historical Jesus, scholars believe that it is possible to differentiate Jesus' own views from those of his later followers. Many non-canonical gospels were also written, all later than the four canonical gospels, and like them advocating the particular theological views of their various authors.
Matthew the Apostle, also known as Saint Matthew and as Levi, was, according to the New Testament, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. According to Christian tradition, he was also one of the four Evangelists and thus is also known as Matthew the Evangelist.
The resurrection of Jesus, or anastasis is the Christian belief that God raised Jesus after his crucifixion as first of the dead, starting his exalted life as Christ and Lord. In Christian theology, the death and resurrection of Jesus are the most important events, a foundation of the Christian faith, and commemorated by Easter. His resurrection is the guarantee that all the Christian dead will be resurrected at Christ's second coming. For the Christian tradition, the bodily resurrection was the restoration to life of a transformed body powered by spirit, as described by Paul and the Gospels, that led to the establishment of Christianity.
The nativity of Jesus, nativity of Christ, birth of Christ or birth of Jesus is described in the Biblical gospels of Luke and Matthew. The two accounts agree that Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, his mother Mary was betrothed to a man named Joseph, who was descended from King David and was not his biological father, and that his birth was caused by divine intervention.
The transfiguration of Jesus is a story told in the New Testament when Jesus is transfigured and becomes radiant in glory upon a mountain. The Synoptic Gospels describe it, and the Second Epistle of Peter also refers to it. It has also been hypothesized that the first chapter of the Gospel of John alludes to it John 1:14).
In Christianity, Jesus is believed to be the Son of God and in many mainstream Christian denominations, he is also believed to be the second Person in the Trinity. Christians believe that through his crucifixion and subsequent resurrection, God offered humans salvation and eternal life. He is believed to be the Jewish messiah who is prophesied in the Hebrew Bible, which is called the Old Testament in Christianity. These teachings emphasize that as the Lamb of God, Jesus chose to suffer on the cross at Calvary as a sign of his obedience to the will of God, as an "agent and servant of God". Jesus died to atone for sin to make humanity right with God. Jesus' choice positions him as a man of obedience, in contrast to Adam's disobedience.
Jesus, also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ, was a first-century Jewish preacher and religious leader. He is the central figure of Christianity. Most Christians believe he is the incarnation of God the Son and the awaited Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament.
The life of Jesus in the New Testament is primarily outlined in the four canonical gospels, which includes his genealogy and nativity, public ministry, passion, resurrection and ascension. Other parts of the New Testament – such as the Pauline epistles which were likely written within 20–30 years of each other, and which include references to key episodes in Jesus' life, such as the Last Supper, and the Acts of the Apostles, (1:1–11) which includes more references to the Ascension episode than the canonical gospels - also expound upon the life of Jesus. In addition to these biblical texts, there are extra-biblical texts that Christians believe make reference to certain events in the life of Jesus, such as Josephus on Jesus and Tacitus on Christ.
The Feast of the Ascension of Jesus Christ, also called Ascension Day, Ascension Thursday, or sometimes Holy Thursday, commemorates the Christian belief of the bodily Ascension of Jesus into heaven. It is one of the ecumenical feasts of Christian churches, ranking with the feasts of the Passion, of Easter, and Pentecost. Ascension Day is traditionally celebrated on a Thursday, the fortieth day of Easter, although some Christian denominations have moved the observance to the following Sunday. In the Catholic Church in the United States, the day of observance varies by ecclesiastical province.
The baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist is a major event in the life of Jesus described in three of the gospels: Matthew, Mark and Luke. It is considered to have taken place at Al-Maghtas, located in Jordan.
The post-resurrection appearances of Jesus are the earthly appearances of Jesus to his followers after his death and burial. Believers point to them as evidence of his resurrection and identity as Messiah, seated in heaven on the right hand of God.
Christianity in the 1st century covers the formative history of Christianity, from the start of the ministry of Jesus to the death of the last of the Twelve Apostles.
The historical reliability of the Gospels refers to the reliability and historic character of the four New Testament gospels as historical documents. While all four canonical gospels contain some sayings and events which may meet one or more of the five criteria for historical reliability, the assessment and evaluation of these elements is a matter of ongoing debate. Almost all scholars of antiquity agree that a human Jesus existed, but scholars differ on the historicity of specific episodes described in the Biblical accounts of Jesus, and the only two events subject to "almost universal assent" are that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and was crucified by the order of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate. Elements whose historical authenticity is disputed include the two accounts of the Nativity of Jesus, the miraculous events including the resurrection, and certain details about the crucifixion.
The Ascension of Jesus to Heaven as stated in the New Testament has been a frequent subject in Christian art, as well as a theme in theological writings. However, the Ascension of Jesus is not the only depiction of ascension and other figures, such as Saint John, have been separately depicted as ascending to Heaven.
The historicity and origin of the resurrection of Jesus has been the subject of historical research and debate, as well as a topic of discussion among theologians. The accounts of the Gospels, including the empty tomb and the appearances of the risen Jesus to his followers, have been interpreted and analyzed in diverse ways, and have been seen variously as historical accounts of a literal event, as accurate accounts of visionary experiences, as non-literal eschatological parables, and as fabrications of early Christian writers, among various other interpretations. It has been suggested, for example, that Jesus did not die on the cross, that the empty tomb was the result of Jesus' body having been stolen, or, as was common with Roman crucifixions, that Jesus was never entombed.
Acts 1 is the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. The book containing this chapter is anonymous but early Christian tradition affirmed that Luke composed this book as well as the Gospel of Luke. This chapter functions as a transition from the "former account" with a narrative prelude, repeated record of the ascension of Jesus Christ with more detail and the meeting of Jesus' followers, until before Pentecost.