“This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
A flesh and bone body was laid in the tomb, and it was a resurrected flesh and bone body that Thomas touched (see John 20:26-29). He touched His hands and put his hand in His side. This was truly a man—glorified—who ascended to the Father! Jesus did not vaporize before them; He was lifted in a cloud until He was out of sight. What an awesome sight it had to have been: Jesus glowing—radiant with glory—face heavenward—slowly lifted above them. The apostles had to have fallen on their knees!
They saw the whole advent with their eyes fixed on Him: “While they looked steadfastly toward heaven” (Acts 1:10). They did not blink an eye and He was gone! It is true that we will be changed in the twinkling of an eye: “We shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). Paul is talking about our bodily change when we are “caught up together with [the resurrected dead] in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). He will come quickly, suddenly, and we will be changed bodily in a moment.
The writer of the book of Hebrews suggests God’s people will see the day approaching: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together . . . but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25). “But we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him” (Revelation 1:7). “And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads” (Revelation 22:4). Stephen, “being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55). Stephen is a type of those living in the last days—“full of the Holy Ghost”—who will be given open eyes and an open heaven. We will see Jesus coming in glory with all the holy angels and we will see the train of His glory!
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon