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The Apostles’ Creed (Part 16)

It is pretty awesome to fly overseas because of the height you travel at. If the weather is clear you can see the clouds below and often are able to see land in its various formations below. What is better would be a flight in a spaceship. I love to watch these crafts launch with the first stage booster rockets releasing and returning to earth. Then the camera shows the path of the craft going further and further away. Sometimes you see snap shots of the earth from the spacecraft. There have been many exploration crafts to many planets and comments, sent by a variety of countries. Some have probed further into space sending back wonderful pictures for us to see.

There is no doubt that, as Louie Giglio says … “it’s indescribable”.  Creation is so vast that as humans we will never reach its depths. Why does God have a particular fancy and interest in planet earth? Because wherever He could have, He chose planet earth as the most suitable territory with its climate and conditions to place man upon. Man is God’s most precious possession when it comes to creation.

In the Apostles Creed we have cover so many doctrines, yet after the Lord the Lord Jesus completed His Rescue Mission to our earth, He returned to where He came from. We say … “He ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.” Someone called this the “Crown of Christ’s Redemptive Work.” He left heaven, came to earth as the Godman (Incarnation) to substitute for man’s sin and after His Death and Resurrection He needed to return to Heaven. Why did He have to go back to heaven? That was the disciples’ question. After all they expected like the Jewish nation, a Messiah like David who would sit on a throne in Jerusalem, fight all military battles, especially the Roman Empire, sort the economy to provide employment, reduce taxation, provide food and accommodation and peace.

1) Heaven is not part of creation. The vastness of creation is within time, space and matter. God’s abode is outside of this dimension. Sometimes when people read of Jesus (or Stephan) looking “up to heaven”, they become confused. Take any one of these passages:

Mk 7:33 After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34 He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means, “Be opened!”). 35 At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.

Jn 11:41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

Ac 7:54When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

It does not mean that from where they were in the Middle East, that when they looked upwards, heaven was above them. What these texts are saying is that heaven is not on this earth as some propose. Heaven is outside of space … beyond space. It is a dimension that is spiritual without time or matter as we know it. It is “other worldly”, not of this world. Be careful when you read Bible Books like the Book of Revelation and attempt to picture heaven by the images presented there. Those are there to help us understand something of the functioning of heaven, not to say … “this is what heaven looks like”. All we need to know about heaven is that it is where God is and we believers will be there with Him in a place where sin and its effects do not exist. It is totally holy place as is our Lord.

2) Before Jesus returned to heaven, He promised to send believers another Counselor. We will arrive at the place where the Creed deals with the Holy Spirit, but just to say that Jesus promised to send the Spirit so that the children of God (believers) would not be left as orphans.

Jn 14:15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

It is suffice to say here that our Lord would not desert His people when He returned to glory. He would be present by the Holy Spirit.

3) Jesus ascended into heaven in bodily form. This is unheard of. No one can do what happened here without divine help.

Ac 1:9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

The divine help is … “He was taken up” and “a cloud hid Him from their sight.” The two men dressed in white who suddenly appeared and stood next to the disciples were angels. What is important and significant here is … This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven. At this stage we won’t deal with Jesus’ Second Coming, but these angels said that He returned to heaven and will one day return from heaven.

4) Where is Jesus right now?

Heb 1:3 After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

It is easy to get a picture of God the Son sitting at God the Father’s right hand in the Throne Room of heaven. Where that might be true, the “right hand” means the “power seat of authority”. We will return to this subject, but remember, Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is Lord and He reigns.

Lord Jesus, thank You for returning to heaven to be seated on the Throne of Glory from where You reign over us Your People. Amen.

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