For forty days after His Resurrection, the Lord appeared to the apostles and spoke to them about the Kingdom of God, and then led them to the Mount of Olives and said: you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Then Jesus raised His hands and blessed them. And when he blessed them, he began to move away from them and ascend into heaven (Luke 24:50-51). Finally a cloud took Him out of their sight. And when they looked at the sky, during His ascension, suddenly two men in white clothes appeared to them and said: Men of Galilee! Why are you standing and looking at the sky? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him going into heaven (Acts 1:9-11).
By heaven, Christians understand in this case that spiritual world in which God has dwelled from eternity and about which it is difficult to tell anything in ordinary human language: the eye has not seen, the ear has not heard, and what God has prepared for those who love Him has not entered the heart of man. (1 Cor 2:9).
One of the most important tenets of the Christian faith is that Jesus Christ is both God and man. As God, He was always present in this heavenly world, and as a man, He entered it on the day of the Ascension. Since then, the Savior has been on the throne on high with a human soul and body. With the same body, John Chrysostom emphasizes, which God once created from the dust of the earth and about which he said when he expelled Adam from paradise: you are dust and to dust you will return (Genesis 3:19). Having lived his life absolutely holy and completely subordinating His human will to the Divine, Christ corrected the sin of Adam (the Church calls Him the “new Adam”) and made man worthy to ascend to a height unimaginable even for angels.
Paradoxically, having ascended to heaven, Christ became much closer to each of us. When He walked on earth, He could only communicate with those who were close to Him. But from the moment of the Ascension, He is again as a man, and not just as God! – abides in eternity and at any point in space we can feel Him, so the words of the Apostle Paul become completely understandable: the Lord is near (Phil 4:5).
The Ascension of Christ opens up the prospect of entering this eternity for us too. From the Apostle Paul we know that on the day of the Second Coming of the Savior we will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Obviously, “something similar to what happened… with the Lord Himself on the Mount of Olives will happen to us,” concluded Archbishop of Kherson Innocent (Borisov). And Saint Nicholas of Serbia (Velimirović) likened the ascended Christ to “an eagle that makes the way for its eaglets,” or “a swallow that flies ahead, showing the way to the flock.”

Troparion to the Ascension of the Lord, tone 4

O Christ God, You have ascended in Glory, / granting joy to Your disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit. / Through the blessing they were assured / that You are the Son of God, / the Redeemer of the world!

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