A strange silence has pervaded the theological world with regard to the Ascension. Few books published in the twentieth century have been energetically concerned with the subject. This is perplexing in view of the fact that all the New Testament theologians either explicitly hold or presuppose belief in the Ascension, and that this belief was universal in the early Church. And it is the more lamentable because of the richness of the doctrine itself. It may be that a pseudo-scientific spirit has quenched its discussion in this century; at any rate, it is to be hoped that the Ascension will once again assume its position of centrality.


A glance at some of the relevant Scripture passages will reveal something of the richness of the doctrine, and the importance attached to it by the New Testament writers. In Philippians 2:9–11 Paul says, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name … that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” As J. G. Davies has effectively demonstrated, hupsoo, which is translated “exalted,” must refer to the Ascension; it is never used in the New Testament of the Resurrection. Thus it was by his Ascension that Jesus was marked out to be Lord, as by his Resurrection he was marked out to be Son of God in power (Rom. 1:4). By the Resurrection Jesus is seen to be Victor over death and corruption. By the Ascension he is seen to be Lord, with all power in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18). As sin was shown to be subject to him by his sinless life; as death was shown to be subject to him by his Resurrection; so all things in heaven and earth are shown to be subject ...

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