One needs to be very careful you don’t write off certain Biblical Truths because they do not fit into your theology or doctrinal persuasion. Near to the commencement of my journey with the Lord Jesus I came across a book written by the late Billy Graham called … “I believe in angels.” I though it strange that he would write such a book, yet after some reflection I realized that angels do not fit into the theology of certain people, especially those who came out of beliefs where angels had an abnormally high profile such as those coming out of Roman Catholicism, the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints … and those who refuse to believe that God does the miraculous. He needed to write that book. Remember that the Book of Acts is all about God building His Kingdom … our text continues:
Ac 1:10 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.”
1) Sky gazing. The apostles were dumb founded. Jesus ascended into the atmosphere defying the Law of Gravity and soon they could not see Him any more … yet they kept looking. I think that one of man’s greatest achievements is the aero plane. It takes off like a bird and lands like a bird and flies at amazing speeds. Often when outside I would gaze up into the skies to find the aero plane that creates the noise I hear. You can only watch for a short time because soon it is totally out of sight. On a day where clouds are present it gets blocked off and out of sight. In a way that is what happened with the apostles as they looked at Jesus rising upwards and soon could not see Him anymore.
2) The appearance of two men.
(1) Who were they? Luke does not say they were angels, but the very context of their sudden appearance, knowledge of Jesus and where He was going to and that He would return indicates that these two men were angels.
(2) Where did they come from? This might seem like a silly question, but an important one. Angels come from God whose abode is heaven. When Jesus was not found in the tomb on that Sunday we call Resurrection Sunday, we find:
Mt 28:1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.
Luke says … two men dressed in white. White mostly represents the dazzling holiness of God. Another sign that these were angels.
(3) How is it that they appeared so suddenly? Remember God is the God of the miraculous. We don’t know how far away heaven is, though we do know it is outside of this creation. As suddenly as Jesus departed, so sudden was the angels’ arrival.
3) Stop sky gazing. Let’s face it … if we saw someone rise upwards, unaided towards heaven, defying the Law of Gravity, we too would keep looking to see whether we could see where the person went … even if a cloud hid that person from sight. The first things these angels said after acknowledging where they were from was … why do you stand here looking into the sky? Subtly, they prove themselves angels as they know these men, although from Galilee were on the Mount of Olives in Bethany. It seems as though these angels were saying to the apostles that they were busy with a fruitless exercise sky gazing. What they needed to do was fulfil Jesus’ command by going to Jerusalem … not sky gazing! As one commentator said: “The past is past, the future is in front of you.” They needed to know this and the same applies to us. We need to move on. The longer we gaze into the past, the longer we will struggle to see the future God has installed for us that is right in front of us.
4) The angels affirm where Jesus has gone. This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven. Jesus said He was going to His Father and now the angels agree that this is where He has gone … heaven. He is back home doing what He was before His incarnation.
5) Jesus will return … will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.
(1) As the clouds hid Jesus as He ascended so He will return. This verse promises Jesus’ Second Coming. The hope of the Church is Jesus coming back to collect His Bride! If this were not so, there would be little meaning or purpose to persevere in holiness, striving for practical righteousness.
(2) Jesus’ visible return.
Rev 1:7 Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.
This verse complements what Luke quoted the angels saying. We have already said this is the miraculous … or supernatural. However, every eye shall see Him … even His enemies … and there will be mourning “because of Him”.
(3) When Jesus returns every soul born will appear before Him to see and witness and appreciate His Majestic Glory as the Messiah King mentioned in Genesis 3:15. But there is more!
(i) Jesus’ return signals the great and terrible Day of Judgment. His enemies, those who pierced Him and all who rejected and persecuted Him and His people, as well as all His people will not just see Him but appear before Him as He executes His role and function as Judge of all the earth!
(ii) The underestimated reality of this dramatic Day. Many people refuse to think of death and eternity because they don’t want to believe in a real hell. Whether they believe or not will not remove hell. It is and is for all classed as the wicked because of the range of treatment given to Jesus and His Gospel. The horrific reality of eternal punishment is a dreadful picture.
(iii) For all the saints a promised eternity with Jesus is insight. They will be judged and found not guilty because they are dressed in Jesus’ righteousness. It’s not whether they have been sinning … no, they are saved sinners and because they love and trust Jesus’ blood sacrifice and are part of the Kingdom, they shall be ushered into Heavenly Glory … the New Garden … the paradise of God where God dwells. Then the end of the world as we know it will occur … read 2 Peter 3 for a vivid picture of the end.
O Lord, we rejoice as we anticipate Your return so that we might be with You in Your glory forever. Whilst we wait, save many souls for Your Kingdom. Amen.