Forty days after His resurrection Jesus
made His triumphant return to heaven.
At an elevated place on the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:12) the apostles witnessed the extraordinary, supernatural sight of Jesus being “carried up into heaven” (Luke 4:51). They saw Jesus rising bodily from the Earth to disappear from human view as “a cloud received Him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9).
According to Holy Scripture and as confessed in the three ecumenical Christian creeds (Apostles, Nicene, Athanasian), at Jesus’ ascension He “sat down at the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19).
According to Holy Scripture and as confessed in the three ecumenical Christian creeds (Apostles, Nicene, Athanasian), at Jesus’ ascension He “sat down at the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19). Having completed His earthly mission of vanquishing sin, death, and the devil for us, Jesus assumed His exalted position of power, might, and dominion to rule over everything and everyone for the sake of His Church of believers (Ephesians 1:20-22).
This wonderful, governing oversight of the Savior that serves for our spiritual and eternal good includes His preparing a place for His believers in heaven so that where He is, there they may be also (John 14:3).
But where is heaven? We picture heaven as being “upward” because Jesus went upward into the sky. But the sky is not the heaven where God dwells with the angels and the souls of departed believers. That’s just the atmosphere through which the clouds float (Job 38:37), out of which rain and snow descend (Isaiah 55:10), and in which birds fly around (Job 35:11). Another “heaven” is outer space which contains the countless stars and constellations (Isaiah 13:10).
The heaven into which Jesus ascended and where He sat down at the right hand of God the Father is to be found neither in Earth’s atmosphere nor in outer space; in other words, heaven is not part of our finite universe (so man will never be able to use a space probe to discover the place where Jesus and all His believers are).
Where then is our heavenly home? The heaven into which Jesus ascended is not in space at all, but in a spirit realm invisible to
Now, when Jesus descends bodily to our planet on Judgment Day (Acts 1:11) for everyone to see (Revelation 2:7), the Lord is going to bring about a glorious change in regard to the heavenly realm and the believers’ existence there. After this present Earth and the heavens above have been burned up with a fervent heat, the Lord will bring forth a new Earth and new heavens (2 Peter 3:10-13; Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; Revelation 21:1).
What will it be like to live on this new Earth? Having been raised with glorified and perfected bodies on Judgment Day (Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:43-53), believers will live in a heavenly realm which has none of the sin-caused problems found in this present world. They will dwell in the presence of God where there are pleasures forevermore (Revelation 21:1-7). This new and perfected Earth will be the believers’ heavenly home throughout all eternity.
Praise be to the crucified, risen, and ascended Lord Jesus who through His work of redemption has made it possible for us to look forward to this new heavenly world yet to come!