The Ascension and Glorification of the Lord
Mikhael Boushra, Dr., Ottawa, Canada [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF GLORIFICATION
It should not come to us as a surprise that the Old Testament abounds with references to the significance of the Lord's glorification, much as the New Testament itself does. The truth of His Son's glory had been on God's mind before time began.
A. The eternal counsels of God planned it
'Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began', Acts 3. 21. It was God's plan before time began that, when blindness in part is happened to Israel, their rejected Messiah must be received in glory, until the day when that nation shall have recognized Him, whom they have pierced, and have repented of their national sin. In prophetic language, unmistakably Messianic, the prophet Hosea writes 'I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their afflictions they will seek me early', Hos. 5. 15. The invitation to the nation to repent comes in chapter 6, verses 1 and 2.
B. Christ's own righteousness demanded it
When this wicked world rejected and despised God's own Son, and finally hung Him on a cross, God's answer to this, in light of Christ's own perfect righteousness, was to justify Him by raising Him from the dead and to glorify Him. 'Justified in the Spirit . . . received up into glory', 1 Tim. 3. 16. In the Lord's own words, 'of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more', John 16. 10.
C. It fulfilled ALL things written of Him Luke 24. 44.
- In type: On the Day of Atonement, the high priest had to enter into the holiest of all, not without blood. So Christ entered into the greater and more perfect tabernacle by His own blood, Heb. 9. 11-12.
- The prophets: Isaiah writes 'Behold my servant , he shall be exalted, and extolled, and be very high’, Isa. 52. 13. Clearly a three step intimation of His resurrection, ascension and exaltation to the right hand of God.
- The Psalms: Peter, on the day of the Pentecost, referring to Psalm 110 verse 1, says of the Lord, 'Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted . . . for he (David) saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool', Acts 2. 33-35.
D. His own words predicted it
- To the offended false disciples the Lord said: 'Does this offend you? What if you see the Son man ascend where he was before?' John 6. 61- 62.
- To the unbelieving Jews: 'Yet a little while am I with you, and I go to him that sent me', John 7. 33.
- To His own in the upper room: 'I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world, again I leave the world and go to the Father', John 16. 28.
- To Mary at the tomb: 'I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God', John 20. 17.
THE RESULTS OF HIS GLORIFICATION
A. For Him:
It was the vindication of His claims of messiahship and of deity, ‘Therefore, let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ', Acts 3. 36.
B. For His people:
- The ascended Head of the church is the source of all the spiritual gifts, ‘for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ', Eph. 2. 12.
- The coming of the Holy Spirit was dependent on the glorification of the Saviour, John 7. 37; 16. 17. We are all cognisant of the blessings of His coming - the formation of the new body, the church, His indwelling of the believers, the administration of the spiritual gifts, and His showing us the things of Christ.
- The Lord's constant presence and help for His people was the result of His glorification: He is in their midst, Matt. 18. 20, He is with all of His people, not only available to a small group of followers, Matt. 28. 20, and He works with His people, Mark 16. 19-20.
- He is the forerunner of His people where He has entered into that within the veil, to be followed by them later, Heb. 6. 19-20.
THE PRACTICAL INFLUENCE OF HIS GLORIFICATION
To set our eyes on the Man in glory should be our happy occupation in life here. To have our lives transformed and our minds renewed to more Christlikeness is achieved to the measure of our occupation with Him, where He now sits. As of old, in the case of the prophet Elisha, the condition for his receiving a double portion of Elijah's spirit, was that he should see his ascending master. So in our case, a realization of the truth of Christ in glory, should cause us to seek those things that are above, 'where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God', Col. 3. 1. Such a vision should detach our affections from things that are on earth. Like Stephen, who having seen the heavenly vision of the Son of man, asked for the forgiveness of his executioners, just as had his Saviour. Fixing our eyes on the glory of the Lord, with faces not veiled by the cares and ambitions of this earthly life, we are changed 'into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord', 2 Cor. 3. 18.
Fill all my vision, Saviour divine,
Till with thy glory my spirit shall shine.
Fill all my vision that all may see,
Christ only, always, living in me.
May it be so in our lives, for His glory.
AUTHOR PROFILE: Dr. BOUSHRA MIKHAEL is a recently retired surgeon and is commended as a full-time worker by the Rideauview assembly in Ottowa, Canada. Converted in Egypt he spent some years in the U.K. before going to Canada.