Day 3: Staring Into the Sky

Acts 1:9-11 :

When he had said these things, as they were looking, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight. While they were looking steadfastly into the sky as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white clothing, who also said, “You men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who was received up from you into the sky will come back in the same way as you saw him going into the sky.”

As I mentioned in the study in Luke, it is pretty clear that Jesus didn’t go up into outer space. In this passage, Dr. Luke makes it even more clear by saying “a cloud received him out of their site.” The ones dressed in white (which I am assuming are angels) give us more information through what they told the people that day. They said that Jesus is to come back to the earth “in the same way” as He went up. I believe this is why God did it this way.

Some people have chosen to believe that Jesus isn’t going to return physically to the earth. It is clear from this passage that God intended for us to expect Jesus to return back to the earth in the exact way since He went to the trouble of ascending this way and providing the angelic testimony.

Just as the disciples were not to keep looking up into the sky, so we should be occupying our time while on earth with what Jesus commanded of us, remembering that He will return someday.

I believe that the Bible teaches that there will be a rapture of the church that is separate from this return to earth the angels spoke about here. Jesus, in the book of John, had already mentioned that He was going away to prepare a place in His Father’s house for the disciples, and that He would return to get them. Paul tells us that Christians will “meet the Lord in the air” whereas this is talking about a time when Jesus went up from earth into a cloud. The opposite of this would not be for everyone to meet Him in the air, but that He would come out of a cloud back to earth.

The simple truth is that none of the people who were living there that day would be seeing Jesus return from the cloud. This must have been spoken for the benefit of those who will read this at the time of the end, and that time isn’t yet, so we should be busy doing what God wants us to do rather than simply staring into the sky waiting for His return.