Ascension Day last Thursday – how glorious!
It is glorious for many reasons, one reason is that Sweden – the worlds most secular country – actually seems slightly holy in that Ascension Day is a public holiday here… For what it is worth for Sweden…
We were reading the text that Rev. Paul Blackham calls the ‘obvious ascension day reading’, Lev. 16:15-17:
15 “Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it over the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat. 16Thus he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleannesses of the people of Israel and because of their transgressions, all their sins. And so he shall do for the tent of meeting, which dwells with them in the midst of their uncleannesses. 17 No one may be in the tent of meeting from the time he enters to make atonement in the Holy Place until he comes out and has made atonement for himself and for his house and for all the assembly of Israel.
There is an enormous comfort in that fact that the Old Testament is the blueprint for a greater reality; not only can we se how things were fulfilled in the New Testament, but we also know what to expect of things that have not been fulfilled.
Why did Jesus leave the earth? Can we really trust he is coming back?
Yes we can trust that. To start with the angel promised he would (Acts 1:11), but also the OT blueprint foretells it.
Just like Aaron came out of the Tabernacle (representative of heaven) after making atonement for the people at the mercy seat (representative for God’s throne), so Jesus will come back from heaven after having presented himself – the lamb that was slain for our sins – to the Father who sits on the throne.
And therein lies the answer to why he ascended: to complete the work of atonement.
The Cross was site of the sacrifice – the Ascension was when it was brought before the Father.
And every day we are waiting for our great High Priest to re-appear in Glory!