Chapel of the Ascension, Israel

Chapel of the Ascension, Israel

Ascension Day is celebrated on the 40th day after Easter, which this year was on Thursday, May 30.  As you know, it's the day that is recorded in Acts 1, when Jesus leaves for heaven on a cloud.

Clouds seem to carry some importance in the Bible. Here's a quick rundown of some of the ways they act as both agent and testimony. 

We see one in the promise given to Noah in Genesis. 9:14, in the guidance of the Israelites as the Lord goes before them in the pillar of cloud (Ex. 13:21), and in the song of David as he is delivered from Saul and sings, "He rode on a cherub and flew; he was seen on the wings of the wind. He made darkness around him his canopy, thick clouds, a gathering of water" (2 Sam. 22:11-12; Ps. 18:11). 

In Job, we are confronted with questions: Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds? Do you know the balancings of the clouds? Who can number the clouds by wisdom? (36:39; 37:16; 38:37).  The answer humbles us into realizing our smallness compared to the immensity and intricacies of God's creation. In Psalms 104:3, we are told that God makes the clouds his chariot, and in Jeremiah we see that "he comes up like clouds and his chariots are like the whirlwind" (4:13). In Daniel, clouds usher in the son of man (7:13), and Nahum says that the clouds are the dust of God's feet (1:3).

When we get to the Gospels, Acts and Revelation, it's no wonder that Jesus' going and coming again is by way of the clouds - "a cloud took him out of sight” (Acts 1:9); "you will see the Son of Man coming with the clouds” (Mark 14:62); and, "he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him (Rev. 1:7). 

And we know that one day we, "will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord" (I Thess. 4:17), and what a glorious day that will be.

Written by a member of our church staff