The Case for the Ascension of Christ

ascension-jesus

Dislaimer: The following is a paper submitted by Pastor Brian Chilton to Liberty University. This paper has been scanned and admitted through “Safe Assign” and will be detected by any and all accredited universities and colleges. No part of this paper may be copied and pasted into another paper without giving credit to the author. Failure to do so may, and most likely will, cause the student to be charged with plagiarism by his/her respected school. Charges of plagiarism can result in academic probation and/or expulsion.

Introduction

Luke records a spectacular event towards the conclusion of his gospel and beginning of the book of Acts. That event is the ascension of Christ Jesus. The event holds that Jesus “left them and was taken up into heaven” (Luke 24:51). Should the ascension of Christ be viewed as a necessary event based on a true historical event or should the event be viewed as an ecclesiastical invention? As the paper will show, some hold that the event is purely imaginary. Others hold that the ascension is a real event in space-time history. The paper will show that the ascension of Christ was a true and necessary event in church history. First the views concerning the ascension of Christ will be presented. Then, the paper will defend the ascension of Christ as a true and necessary event by arguing for the historical necessity of the ascension of Christ, the theological necessity of the ascension of Christ, and the eschatological necessity of the ascension of Christ.

 

Views Concerning the Ascension of Christ

            This section will seek to examine two primary views pertaining to the ascension of Christ. The secular view sees the ascension as an ecclesiastical invention formulated to present Jesus in a supernatural fashion. The evangelical view sees the ascension as a true event accurately recorded in the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts.

 The Secular View of the Ascension of Christ

The assault on the miraculous in the Bible has come in no small part by the acceptance of a skeptical worldview, termed in this paper as the secular view. David Hume and Benedict Spinoza are greatly responsible for influencing the modern culture towards skepticism. As Geisler writes, “Spinoza was rationalistic, and Hume was empirical. Differences notwithstanding, they shared the conclusion that it is unreasonable to believe in miracles. For Spinoza, miracles are actually impossible; for Hume, they are merely incredible.”[1] Such skepticism has pervaded the culture. For many, as Farneti points out, “…secularization is the overcoming of a previous condition in which religion controlled and dominated public life.”[2] For those like Daniel Dennett, the miraculous would not be possible due to the skeptic’s case-making against the existence of God. Farneti writes, “Dennett in particular mistakes the ‘sacred’ with ‘God,’ and his natural history of religion, which is meant to build a case against the existence of God…”[3] The secularist bases their research upon a materialist assumption that God does not exist and that miracles are not possible. Since the ascension teems with miraculous connotations, it would be rejected as an impossibility by the secularist.

The religious have been influenced by secularism. Rudolf Bultmann’s advocacy of the “demythologization” of the Bible (extracting any connotations of the miraculous from the Bible) has left an impression even among the religious. Geisler writes, “…Bultmann did not even open for consideration the assumption that the biblical picture of miracles is impossible. Such a view could no longer be held seriously.”[4] Kreeft and Tacelli demonstrate that some seek to take a middle ground, neither claiming that miracles are impossible nor claiming that the events of the Bible are historical “by interpreting the Gospel as myth—neither literally true nor literally false, but spiritually or symbolically true.”[5] Therefore, such a view could not evaluate the evidence of the ascension of Christ unbiasedly and neither could the materialist due to the presuppositions that exist against the miraculous. Since the ascension of Christ is a miraculous event, the secularist view is ill-equipped to fairly treat the issue of the ascension as a necessary historical event. However, there is a second approach which is more feasible.

 The Evangelical View of the Ascension of Christ

What this paper will term the evangelical view is shared among those who may not necessarily be considered evangelical in the sense of denominational affiliation. In fact, some Roman Catholics may fit this viewpoint. The term evangelical view is used in this paper to refer to those scholars and laymen alike that accept, or are open to, the ascension of Christ narrative as a historical event, despite the fact that such an event involves connotations of the miraculous. As Anthony Kelly writes, “The revelatory impact of the ascension cannot be separated from its occurrence as an event. Something happened; and when something of great significance happens, it possesses a singular and expanding impact.”[6] It was argued that those in the secularist camp could not view the ascension of Christ without a materialist and/or naturalist assumption. Therefore, those that fit the evangelical viewpoint, in the sense used in this paper, are able to evaluate the ascension better than those in the secularist camp. It is the evangelical viewpoint that is endorsed in this paper.

 

The Historical Necessity

            This section will evaluate evidence supporting the ascension as a historical event. Due to the ascension’s relationship to the resurrection of Christ, some of the arguments supporting the resurrection are also used to support the ascension. Walter Kasper writes, “People today will consider something historically true and real, if it is demonstrated to be historically credible and at least basically capable of objective verification.”[7] Can one know if the ascension is, as Kasper suggests, “credible” and “capable of objective verification”? Alistair Wilson correctly assesses that “Jesus was taken bodily. The various resurrection accounts by Luke emphasize Jesus’ bodily presence among his followers.”[8] Therefore, it must be demonstrated that Jesus resurrected bodily before the ascension can be presented as a historical event. In order to demonstrate the resurrection/ascension as a credible and verifiable historical event, it will be necessary to evaluate the internal evidence for the New Testament traditions belonging to or based upon eyewitness testimony and it will be necessary to examine the external evidence for the resurrection/ascension as historical events.

 Internal Evidence

Can the information contained within the New Testament be trusted? The internal evidence for the New Testament is strong. The New Testament presents Jesus and the events surrounding Him in a timeframe that fits history. Evans writes, “When the Gospels tell us things that cohere with what we know of Jesus’ historical circumstances and principal features of his life and ministry, it is reasonable to believe that we are on solid ground.”[9] In addition, Evans demonstrates that there are embarrassing features which are presented in the New Testament. These features would not be presented unless they were, in fact, true. For example, Evans writes,

‘Embarrassing’ sayings and actions are those that are known to reach back to the ministry of Jesus, and therefore, like it or not, they cannot be deleted from the Jesus data bank…The story as we have it preserved in Matthew and Luke gives historians confidence that it faithfully and accurately reports the exchange between John and Jesus and is not a later Christian fiction.[10]

There are, indeed, embarrassing details in the resurrection/ascension story. First, the fact that Mary Magdalene was the first to meet Jesus after the resurrection is embarrassing due to the fact that women were not highly esteemed in the time that the Gospels were written (John 20:11-18). Second, Matthew states that even after Jesus appeared to the disciples after His resurrection that “they worshipped him; but some doubted” (Matthew 28:17). If one were to present a myth, it is doubtful that the presenter would claim to have doubted what was being presented unless it was true.

Also, some texts within the New Testament date to the earliest times of the church. Within the text of the New Testament, ancient creeds and hymns are found. Interestingly enough, particular creeds mention Jesus’ ascension into heaven. Gary Habermas writes, “Two examples of such early creeds were mentioned earlier with regard to the life of Jesus. In 1 Timothy 3:16, it is proclaimed that, after his incarnation, Jesus was ‘taken up in glory.’ In Philippians 2:6ff, it is related that after Jesus humbled himself as a man, he was highly exalted and is to be worshipped by all persons (2:9-11)[11].”[12] The fact that these creeds date early in the life of the church show that the ascension was not a late legendary development, but that it is early enough to have been based upon eyewitness testimony. Not only are there internal reasons for holding to the resurrection/ascension stories, there are external reasons as well.

 External Evidence

There are reasons to believe that the information given in the New Testament comes from eyewitness testimony. William Lane Craig provides examples of early documents which attribute the Gospels to eyewitness testimony,

The extra-biblical testimony unanimously attributes the Gospels to their traditional authors,…testimony from the Epistle of Barnabas, the Epistle of Clement, the Shepherd of Hermas, all the way up to Eusebius in A.D. 315….Theophilus, Hippolytus, Origen, Quadratus, Irenaeus, Melito, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Dionysius, Tertullian, Cyprian, Tatian, Caius, Athanasius, Cyril…..Even Christianity’s opponents conceded this: Celsus, Porphyry, Emperor Julian.[13]

The most ardent skeptic must ignore a mountain of resources in order to claim that the Gospel traditions were based upon non-eyewitness testimony. It is suspected that if the resurrection/ascension stories did not include miraculous elements that no serious scholar would ever deny their authenticity. Even still, there is a realm of agreement with serious scholars on the life of Christ including a minimal agreement in that some mysterious action occurred on the first Easter Sunday.

Most serious scholars agree on five core essentials of the life of Christ. Gary Habermas and Michael Licona call these the “minimal facts approach.” Habermas and Licona write,

The ‘minimal facts approach’ considers only those historical data that are so strongly attested that virtually all scholars who study the subject grant them as facts, even the majority of non-believing scholars…We have seen that (1) Jesus died to crucifixion…(2) the original disciples sincerely believed that Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to them…(3) We have credible testimony from one enemy of Christianity and (4) one skeptic, both of whom converted to Christianity based on their beliefs that the risen Jesus has appeared to them…Moreover, (5) the tomb was empty, a fact totally consistent with a resurrection.[14]

When even the skeptic admits that the early Christians witnessed something mysterious that first Easter morning, it can be agreed that there exist compelling reasons for holding to the resurrection as a historical reality. If the resurrection is a historical reality, as the internal and external evidence suggests, then the ascension is totally compatible as a true historical event. It could be argued that since the risen Jesus is not still walking on planet earth (although Jesus’ risen state is much different than Jesus’ pre-resurrection state), then something like an ascension event must have transpired. Not only is there a historical necessity for the ascension of Christ, there is also a theological necessity.

 

The Theological Necessity

            It could be argued by the secularist that since Luke wrote most extensively about the ascension that the story was a Lukan invention. However, there are other non-Lukan references that record the ascension as a historical reality. This section will identify those non-Lukan passages of Scripture and demonstrate the theological necessity of the ascension of Christ.

 Paul’s Reference to the Ascension

Paul addresses the ascension of Christ in several places. Nathan Brasfield writes,

In Paul’s letters, the most vivid reflection on Christ’s ascension is Eph 4:8–10. Paul applies a portion of the coronation in Psa 68 to describe Christ reigning over the church and distributing gifts to the body. In a style similar to John, Paul also directly connects Christ’s descent with His ascension (ἀναβαίνω, anabainō): “for above all the heavens.” Paul says that through this ascension, Christ becomes omnipresent—He “fills all things.” For Paul, Christ abides in heaven (Eph 6:9; see Phil 1:23) from where He will return (Phil 3:20; 1 Thess 1:10; 4:16–17; 2 Thess 1:7; 1 Cor 11:26).[15]

Quoting Psalm 68:18, Paul writes that Jesus “ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people” (Ephesians 2:8). While eschatological implications will be addressed in the next section, it should be noted that Paul shows a link between Christ’s resurrection and ascension with the inheritance of God’s people in the world to come. N. T. Wright suggests that “Ephesians 1.3-14 is, among other things, a retelling of the exodus story. This leads Paul to a celebration, in prayer, of the present position of the church as it awaits this full inheritance (1.15-23).”[16] It is the resurrection and ascension of Christ that brings forth the assurance of this inheritance. Therefore, the ascension is a theological necessity. If Jesus were still walking the face of the earth without having entered into the heavenly dimension, the assurance of the saints’ inheritance would not be confident. Now that Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father, the inheritance of the saints is a certainty.

 John’s Reference to the Ascension

John is another Gospel writer that refers to the ascension. Mark could be included, however the authenticity of the ascension reference in Mark is debated (Mark 16:19). Contrasted with Luke’s reference to the ascension, John’s reference to the ascension is not found in a narrative, but in a teaching. Jesus is quoted as saying, “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man” (John 3:13). The identification with the ‘Son of Man’ draws implications from the ‘Son of Man’ figure in Daniel 7:13-14. Marie Farrell demonstrates that “New Testament passages written with post-resurrection faith and well after the Ascension and Pentecost, frequently drew upon the figure of the ‘Son of Man’…found in the Book of Daniel in order to establish that the ministry of Jesus revealed his divine origins and power.”[17] While this writer believes that John accurately recorded Jesus’ teaching, it is understood that the ascension event would have impressed the teaching upon the mind of the evangelist. The ascension event would have clearly connected Jesus the Messiah with the ‘Son of Man’ in Daniel 7. Joseph Fitzmeyer asserts that the relation of Johannine reference to the ascension is so strong that “it would be a transit from cross to glory without an allusion to the resurrection. Even though the final redaction of the Johannine Gospel postdates the Synoptic Gospels, it clearly contains many early Christian traditional affirmations which have developed independently of the Synoptic tradition.”[18] This reference in John serves to provide another reference outside of Luke that refers to the ascension of Christ. Also, the ascension event is presented as a theological necessity as it implies the divine nature of the Messiah.

 The Writer of Hebrews’ Reference to the Ascension

The identity of the writer of Hebrews remains a mystery. Some accept that Paul was the writer. However, the identity of the author greatly remains a matter of speculation. David Allen suggests “that Luke wrote Hebrews from Rome after the death of Paul and before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Scriptural evidence for this thesis can be adduced upon a correlation of the statements made in the Pastoral Epistles with the text of Hebrews.”[19] If this is the case, then the reference to the ascension in Hebrews cannot be examined as an extra-Lukan reference. However, it should be noted that any speculation pertaining to the identity of the writer of Hebrews is just that: speculation. Although Allen makes a strong case for Lukan authorship for Hebrews, it is far from conclusive. Therefore, any reference to the ascension of Christ must be treated as an extra-Lukan source.

A reference is made to the ascension of Christ in stating that after Christ provided purification for humanity’s sins, that “he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven” (Hebrews 1:3). Although the atonement does not necessarily dictate that the ascension must occur, it only follows that the ascension would take place due in part to the divine nature of Jesus. The fact that Jesus ascended into heaven after the atonement for sins demonstrates Jesus’ ultimate office as high priest. Because Jesus is the high priest, individuals can now “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence” (Hebrews 4:16). Therefore, Jesus’ priesthood would indicate the ascension’s necessity.

 Peter’s Reference to the Ascension

Simon Peter also addresses the ascension in his writings. Even if one does not ascribe to Petrine authorship of 1 and 2 Peter as does this writer, the skeptic can still appreciate the notion that these letters represent a different source for the ascension’s authenticity. In 1 Peter, two references allude to the ascension of Christ. Peter indicates of Jesus that God “raised him from the dead and glorified him…” (1 Peter 1:21). Later in the book, the author states that one is saved “by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand…” (1 Peter 3:21b-22). While the term “glorified” would naturally seem to indicate the ascension, the second reference removes all doubt. Thomas R. Schreiner states,

Peter picked up again the word “has gone” (poreutheis), emphasizing Jesus’ ascension after his resurrection. The same term in v. 19, I argued, also refers to Jesus’ triumph over demonic powers after his death and resurrection. The emphasis here is on Jesus’ entrance into heaven and rule at God’s right hand. The reference to the right hand recalls Ps 110:1, where David’s Lord sits at Yahweh’s right hand and rules. [20]

1 Peter indicates that the Messiah was victorious and that the resurrection and ascension verified the Messiah’s authority over all other entities. Craig Keener would agree with this assessment of 1 Peter 3:22 in that “the evil powers behind the rulers who persecuted Christians had been subdued, and the final outcome was not in question.”[21] Therefore, the ascension becomes a theological necessity in establishing the authority of Christ. In this regard, the ascension delivers a great deal of hope and encouragement for the Christian who may have been overwhelmed by the pressures and persecutions brought forth by their faith. As J. I. Packer writes, “So the message of the Ascension story is: “Jesus the Savior reigns!”[22] The ascension is naturally understood if one accepts Jesus’ divine reign. It becomes a given that a king would assume his throne. The ascension would be such an event.

This section has focused upon the Scriptural references that demonstrate the theological necessity of the ascension of Christ being a real event. Needless to say, the theology built around the ascension of Christ would be moot if the ascension had in fact not taken place. Another reason exists for the ascension of Christ being a necessary and authentic event; the eschatological necessity.

 

The Eschatological Necessity

            The end time views held by the early church supports the belief that Jesus had ascended. This section will evaluate some of the references of Christ’s return as it relates to the assumption that Christ had already ascended. The paper will examine John 14 as it relates to the preparation of a heavenly home, which seems to refer to the ascension; 1 Corinthians 15:20ff , and the return of Christ references in 1 Thessalonians and Revelation 22; and finally the paper will examine an early Christian hymn recorded in Philippians 2:9ff.

John 14:3

Jesus said, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3). Granted that Jesus lived, Jesus died, and Jesus rose again with an eternal body, it must be asked as Wilson does, “where is Jesus now? Simply, he is in heaven…”[23] Jesus promised that an ascension to heaven would be made in order to secure that believers would have a place prepared for them in heaven. While different interpretations exist as to the precise meaning of John 14:3, most relate the text with the parousia such as Gundry who also considers that, as Borchert suggests, “the passage highlights the coming of the Spirit as encompassed within the idea of the coming of Jesus.”[24] When it comes to eschatology, Christ must have ascended in order to prepare the place for believers and in order to come back to receive them.

1 Corinthians 15:20-23

Paul shows that in Jesus “all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him” (1 Corinthians 15:22b-23). The term “firstfruits” is the key in understanding this passage. Wright suggests that “Paul explains both that his resurrection is the beginning of a larger harvest and how that harvest will be accomplished.”[25] Farrell also states that “‘First fruits’, of course, are not the fully ripened harvest, but they do give the promise and pledge of the whole…Harvest imagery expresses well the joyful hope that we hold for our personal destiny and the destiny of the created universe.”[26] If resurrection was understood as Wright suggests in that resurrection was “a way of describing something everyone knew did not happen: the idea that death could be reversed, undone, could (as it were) work backwards,”[27] then it could be argued that the ascension was assumed. Christ who had defeated death was not currently present on earth, with the exception of being present in the Holy Spirit. Therefore, if Christ was to bring forth a resurrection, was the first fruits of that resurrection, and was understood as reversing death, the absence of Christ’s physical presence dictates that Christ must have entered another dimension of existence. That would necessitate the ascension event.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and Revelation 22:20

The return of Christ necessitates Christ’s ascension. When Paul addresses the return of Christ, Paul states that “the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command…” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). The descent down to receive the church necessitates that Christ must have first gone up. The participation of an ascension event for the church is presented as the church “will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:17a). Such an event would have only made sense to the readers if there existed an understanding of Christ’s own ascension. Wright states that “These references to Jesus returning imply that Jesus presently exercises a heavenly reign from which he returns to earth, and while, in most cases, there is no clear indication of how he came to be there we cannot have the return of Jesus without the ascension.”[28] The belief that Christ would return is entrenched in the New Testament so much that the last verses of the New Testament ends with the promise. Jesus states “Yes, I am coming soon” (Revelation 22:20a) to which John responds “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20b). Concerning Revelation 22:20, Paige Patterson writes, “There follows a prayer voiced heavenward, ‘Come, Lord Jesus.’ John’s heart is ready, and he is eager for the return of Christ.”[29] Therefore, if one views the method of Jesus’ return as presented by the New Testament writers, the ascension of Jesus is assumed.

Philippians 2:9-10

The final Scripture that will be evaluated in this paper is based upon an early hymn. The hymn is found in Philippians 2. For the purposes of this paper, only two verses will be examined. Paul records the hymn as saying, “…God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Philippians 2:9-10). Brasfield states that Paul “cites material commonly considered to be early hymns about Christ, which may refer to the ascension. In Philippians 2:9, after describing Christ’s humbleness to death on a cross, the hymn declares that God “highly exalted” (ὑπερυψόω, hyperypsoō) Him.”[30] There are a couple of important points that can be made concerning Philippians 2:9-10. First, the fact that this is an early hymn and addresses the ascension, from the mention of Jesus’ glorification, demonstrates that the ascension event is not based upon later legendary development rather upon the testimony of the earliest Christians. Second, as it relates to this section, the ascension of Christ is important in developing an understanding of the victory of Christ. Because Christ ascended and is seated at the right hand of God, Christ has assured the final victory identified in Revelation 20.

 

Conclusion

Should the ascension of Christ be viewed as a necessary event based on a true historical event or should the event be viewed as an ecclesiastical invention? This paper has argued for the evangelical view in that the ascension was a real event and not the product of myth or legend. It has been shown that the evidences provided for the ascension of Christ is associated with the defenses provided for the resurrection of Christ. Internal and external evidences suggest that the New Testament record is authentic and trustworthy. Due to multiple documents suggesting that Jesus resurrected and ascended verifies, at the least, that a commonly known event was presupposed. The paper also presented theological and eschatological doctrines from several biblical passages that demonstrate the necessity of an ascension event. If the ascension of Christ did not take place, the passages listed in this paper would hold little or, as in some cases, no applicable value. Since the church was built upon a spectacular event in the resurrection of Christ, it should not be a huge surprise that an ascension event would follow. The details of the ascension will most certainly be debated. Did Jesus enter a different dimension? Was a three-tiered cosmology implied as suggested by liberal theologians? These questions deserve further research. However, whatever happened with the ascension can be debated because the ascension was a necessarily true event.

 

Bibliography

 All Scripture, unless otherwise noted, comes from The New International Version. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011.

Allen, David L. Hebrews, The New American Commentary. Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2010.

Borchert, Gerald L. John 12–21, Vol. 25B. The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002.

Brasfield, Nathan. “Ascension of Christ.” The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Edited by John D. Barry and Lazarus Wentz. Bellingham: Lexham Press, 2012.

Craig, William Lane. Knowing the Truth About the Resurrection. Ann Arbor: Servant, 1988. In Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli. Handbook of Christian Apologetics: Hundreds of Answers to Crucial Questions. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 1994.

Cullman, Oscar. The Earliest Christian Confessions. Translated by J.K.S. Reid. London: Lutterworth, 1949. In Gary Habermas, The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidences for the Life of Christ. Joplin: College Press, 1996.

Evans, Craig A. Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels. Downers Grove: IVP, 2006.

Farneti, Roberto. “A Political Theology of the Empty Tomb: Christianity and the Return of the Sacred.” Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory 55, 116 (June 2008): 22-44. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost. Accessed January 25, 2014.

Farrell, Marie T. “Christ in Glory: The Ascension of Jesus.” Compass 46, 4 (Summer 2012). Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost. Accessed January 30, 2014.

Fitzmyer, Joseph A. “The ascension of Christ and Pentecost.” Theological Studies 45, 3 (September 1984): 409-440. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost. Accessed January 30, 2014.

Geisler, Norman L. The Big Book of Christian Apologetics: An A to Z Guide. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012.

_______________.  Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1999.

Habermas, Gary R., and Michael R. Licona. The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2004.

Habermas, Gary R. The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ. Joplin: College Press, 1996.

Kasper, Walter. Jesus the Christ, New Edition. New York: T&T Clark, 2011.

Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 1993.

Kelly, Anthony. “The Ascension: Recollecting the Experience.” Australian E-Journal of Theology 20, 2 (August 2013): 81-93. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost. Accessed January 25, 2014.

Kreeft, Peter, and Ronald K. Tacelli. Handbook of Christian Apologetics: Hundreds of Answers to Crucial Questions. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 1994.

Packer, J. I. Growing in Christ. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1994.

Patterson, Paige. Revelation, vol. 39, The New American Commentary. Edited by E. Ray Clendenen. Nashville: B&H, 2012.

Schreiner, Thomas R. 1, 2 Peter, Jude, vol. 37, The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003.

Wilson, Alistair. “Christ Ascended for Us—’The Ascension: What is it and why does it matter?’.” Evangel (2007): 48-51. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost. Accessed January 25, 2014.

Wright, N. T. The Resurrection of the Son of God. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2003.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

[1]Norman L. Geisler, “Hume, David,” Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1999), 342.

[2] Roberto Farneti, “A Political Theology of the Empty Tomb: Christianity and the Return of the Sacred,” Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory 55, 116 (June 2008): 25.

[3] Ibid, 26.

[4] Norman L. Geisler, “Miracles, Myth and,” In The Big Book of Christian Apologetics: An A to Z Guide (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012), 350.

[5]Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics: Hundreds of Answers to Crucial Questions (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 1994), 188.

[6]Anthony Kelly, “The Ascension: Recollecting the Experience,” Australian E-Journal of Theology 20, 2 (August 2013): 85.

[7]Walter Kasper, Jesus the Christ, New Edition (New York: T&T Clark, 2011), 118.

[8] Alistair Wilson, “Christ Ascended for Us—’The Ascension: What is it and why does it matter?’,” Evangel (2007): 50.

[9]Craig Evans, Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels (Downers Grove, IVP, 2006), 48.

[10] Ibid, 49.

[11] Oscar Cullman, The Earliest Christian Confessions, trans. J.K.S. Reid (London: Lutterworth, 1949),55,57-62; in Gary Habermas, The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidences for the Life of Christ (Joplin: College Press, 1996), 151.

 [12] Gary Habermas, The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidences for the Life of Christ (Joplin: College Press, 1996), 151.

[13] William Lane Craig, Knowing the Truth About the Resurrection (Ann Arbor: Servant, 1988), 194; in Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics: Hundreds of Answers to Crucial Questions (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 1994), 194.

[14] Gary R. Habermas and Michael R. Licona, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2004), 149.

[15] Nathan Brasfield, “Ascension of Christ,” The Lexham Bible Dictionary, ed. John D. Barry and Lazarus Wentz (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012), Logos Bible Software.

[16] N. T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2003), 236.

[17] Marie T. Farrell, “Christ in Glory: The Ascension of Jesus,” Compass 46, 4 (Summer 2012): 30.

[18] Joseph A. Fitzmyer, “The ascension of Christ and Pentecost,” Theological Studies 45, 3 (September 1984): 412.

[19] David L. Allen, Hebrews, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2010), 48.

[20] Thomas R. Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, vol. 37, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003), 197.

[21] Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove: IVP, 1993), 718.

[22] J. I. Packer, Growing in Christ (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1994), 64.

[23] Wilson, 50.

[24] Gerald L. Borchert, John 12–21, vol. 25B, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002), 106.

[25]N. T. Wright, 334.

[26] Farnell, 33.

[27] N. T. Wright, 33.

[28]Wilson, 49.

[29] Paige Patterson, Revelation, vol. 39, The New American Commentary, ed. E. Ray Clendenen (Nashville, TN: B&H, 2012), 385–386.

[30] Brasfield, Logos Bible Software.

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