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The Ascension of Jesus (anglicized from the Vulgate Latin : ascensio Iesu, lit. 'ascent of Jesus') is the Christian teaching that Christ physically departed from Earth by rising into Heaven, in the presence of eleven of his apostles. According to the New Testament narrative, the Ascension occurred forty days after the resurrection. In the Christian tradition, reflected in the major Christian creeds and confessional statements, God exalted Jesus after his death, raising him from the dead and taking him to Heaven, where Jesus took his seat at the right hand of God.
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.
Immediately upon being resurrected by God from death, Jesus left the tomb and walked to the Galilee district, to prove himself by sight and touch the truth of the Gospel to his family and neighbors, that he is alive by the hand of God. The ascension of Jesus is told in Luke–Acts, a single work from the same anonymous author.
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.
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 forty 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, an 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 a major feast day 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 Eastern Orthodox tradition has a slightly different calendar up to a month later than in the Western tradition. The feast was retained at the Protestant Reformation. It continues to be observed in Lutheran, Anglican, Methodist, and most Reformed churches. Most other Protestant churches do not celebrate it as they do not adhere to 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.
Adoptionism, also called dynamic monarchianism, is an early Christian nontrinitarian theological doctrine, which holds that Jesus was adopted as the Son of God at his baptism, his resurrection, or his ascension.
The Gospel according to Mark, also called the Gospel of Mark, or simply Mark, is the second of the four canonical gospels and of the three synoptic Gospels. It tells of the ministry of Jesus from his baptism by John the Baptist to his death, burial, and the discovery of his empty tomb. There is no miraculous birth or doctrine of divine pre-existence, nor, in the original ending, any post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. It portrays Jesus as a heroic man of action, and credits him with being an exorcist, a healer, and a miracle worker. He is also called the Son of God, but keeps his messianic nature secret, with even his disciples failing to understand him.
The Gospel according to Luke, also called the Gospel of Luke, or simply Luke, tells of the origins, birth, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. Together with the Acts of the Apostles, it makes up a two-volume work which scholars call Luke–Acts; together they account for 27.5% of the New Testament.
The Gospel according to Matthew, also called the Gospel of Matthew, or simply Matthew, is the first book of the New Testament and one of the three synoptic Gospels. It tells how Israel's Messiah, Jesus, comes to his people and forms a community of disciples, of how he taught the people through such events as the Sermon on the Mount and its Beatitudes, and how Israel becomes divided and how Jesus condemns this hostile Israel. This culminates in his departure from the Temple and his execution. At this point the whole people reject Jesus, and on his resurrection he instead sends the disciples to the gentiles.
Gospel originally meant the Christian message, but in the 2nd century it came to be used also for the books in which the message was set out; in this sense a gospel can be defined as a loose-knit, episodic narrative of the words and deeds of Jesus of Nazareth, culminating in his trial and death and concluding with various reports of his post-resurrection appearances.
Matthew the Apostle, also known as Saint Matthew and possibly as Levi, was, according to the New Testament, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. According to Christian traditions, he was also one of the four Evangelists as author of the Gospel of Matthew, and thus is also known as Matthew the Evangelist, a claim rejected by the majority of modern biblical scholars, though the "traditional authorship still has its defenders."
The Resurrection of Jesus, is the Christian belief that God raised Jesus on the third day after his crucifixion, starting – or restoring – his exalted life as Christ and Lord. According to the New Testament writings he was firstborn from the dead, ushering in the Kingdom of God. He appeared to his disciples, calling the apostles to the Great Commission of proclaiming the Gospel of eternal salvation through his death and resurrection, and ascended to Heaven.
The empty tomb is the Christian tradition that women coming to the tomb of Jesus on the third day after his crucifixion found it empty. The story is found in all four gospels, but beyond this basic outline they agree on little. However, the whole death, burial, and resurrection narrative predates the gospels and Paul's letters via oral traditions. The gospel authors' usage of standard literary, historical, and biographical compositional practices of their day along with their use of multiple sources account for much of the differences, which were usually over peripheral details. Mark's Gospel, in its original ending, the women who discover the tomb flee, telling no one, after meeting a young man who he tells them that Jesus will meet the disciples in Galilee; Matthew introduces guards and a curious doublet whereby the women are told twice, by angels and then by Jesus, that he will meet the disciples in Galilee; Luke changes Mark's one "young man" to two, adds Peter's inspection of the tomb, and deletes the promise that Jesus would meet his disciples in Galilee; John reduces the women to the solitary Mary Magdalene and introduces the "beloved disciple" who visits the tomb with Peter and is the first to understand its significance.
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.
In the New Testament, the Transfiguration of Jesus is an event where 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.
In Christianity, Jesus is the Son of God and in many mainstream Christian denominations he is God the Son, the second Person in the Trinity. He is believed to be the Jewish messiah who is prophesied in the Hebrew Bible, which is called the Old Testament in Christianity. It is believed that through his Crucifixion and subsequent Resurrection, God offered humans salvation and eternal life, that Jesus died to atone for sin to make humanity right with God.
Jewish Christians were the followers of a Jewish religious sect that emerged in Judea during the late Second Temple period. The Nazarene Jews integrated the belief of Jesus as the prophesied Messiah and his teachings into the Jewish faith, including the observance of the Jewish law. The name may derive from the city of Nazareth, or from prophecies in Isaiah and elsewhere where the verb occurs as a descriptive plural noun, or from both. Jewish Christianity is the foundation of Early Christianity, which later developed into Christianity. Christianity started with Jewish eschatological expectations, and it developed into the worship of a deified Jesus after his earthly ministry, his crucifixion, and the post-crucifixion experiences of his followers. Modern scholarship is engaged in an ongoing debate as to the proper designation for Jesus' first followers. Many see the term Jewish Christians as anachronistic given that there is no consensus on the date of the birth of Christianity. Some modern scholars have suggested the designations "Jewish believers in Jesus" or "Jewish followers of Jesus" as better reflecting the original context.
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, prophecy, resurrection and ascension. Other parts of the New Testament – such as the Pauline epistles which were likely written within 20 to 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, 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 baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist is a major event in the life of Jesus which is described in three of the gospels: Matthew, Mark and Luke. It is considered to have taken place at Al-Maghtas, also called Bethany Beyond the Jordan, today located in Jordan.
The post-resurrection appearances of Jesus in the canonical gospels are reported to have occurred after Jesus' death, burial and resurrection, but prior to his ascension. Among these sources, most scholars believe the First Epistle to the Corinthians was written first. Most Christians point to the appearances as evidence of his bodily resurrection and identity as Messiah, seated in Heaven on the right hand of God. Others, including Liberal Christians, interpret these accounts as visionary experiences.
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 and is thus also known as the Apostolic Age.
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.
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.