In verse 6, it is clear that the apostles still do not understand what the Lord’s kingdom is all about, as they ask Jesus if he would “at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” Jesus doesn’t rebuke or correct them, but gives them an answer that applies to the way things really are: “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.” He then tells them that after they receive power from the Holy Spirit they will be “my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
It was at this point, Luke says, that Jesus was lifted up and a cloud took Him out of their sight. Verse 10 says that they were gazing into heaven watching. “Into heaven” simply means “upward,” and F. F. Bruce made a particularly important observation:
“We need not be alarmed by suggestions that the ascension story is bound up with a pre-Copernican conception of the universe, and that the former is therefore as obsolete as the latter. Anyone appearing to leave the earth’s surface must appear to spectators to be ascending” (F. F. Bruce, “The New Testament Documents: Are they Reliable?” William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1959).
This is so true. We do not know where heaven is in relation to our finite universe, and that is not something we will likely ever know in our earthly lives. The two men that we find standing with them, asking what the apostles are looking at, are obviously angels; and their dress confirms it from other accounts (Matthew 28:3, John 20:12).
(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.