A Journey To A "Far Country"
A vast number of people, not just Christians alone, are very well aware that Jesus Christ was a real-live human being Who lived nearly 2,000 years ago (I continue to be somewhat amazed at how so many non-Christian Jews who have written to me are often more certain that Jesus the Nazarene existed than many Christian-professing people are!), was crucified (again, something that most Jews and Christians agree is a historical fact), was resurrected (here's where the parting happens between Christians and non-Christian Jews), and ascended into heaven. Millions of Christians also believe that The Return Of Jesus Christ is going to happen some day, as the Bible plainly describes. But what has Jesus Christ been doing in the time since He left? And why did He leave? And why is He coming back?
A Journey To A "Far Country"
Many of Jesus' followers in that time believed that the Kingdom of God would be established then. Jesus explained that it was not yet time:
"He proceeded to tell a parable, because He was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the Kingdom of God was to appear immediately. He said therefore, "A nobleman went into a far country to receive a kingdom and then return" (Luke 19:11-12 RSV)
"And when He had said this, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as He went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, Who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven." Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet [i.e. The Mount Of Olives, which is seen in the photograph], which is near Jerusalem" (Acts 1:9-12 RSV)
Jesus Christ Appeared Before God To Be Crowned As King
The triumphant Messiah (see Could Jesus Have Sinned? and Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani?) went to heaven and appeared before God where He was crowned King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16):
"as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight." (Acts 1:9 RSV)
"and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and He came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom one that shall not be destroyed." (Daniel 7:13-14 RSV)
Serving As Humanity's High Priest While Awaiting The Return
Jesus Christ, as the Messiah, is the fulfillment (see Type and Antitype) of what Aaron and his successors in the Levitical priesthood symbolized while serving in the The Tabernacle In The Wilderness and The Temple in Jerusalem (see also "My Father's House"):
"For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the Presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer Himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the Holy Place yearly with blood not his own; for then He would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, He has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him." (Hebrews 9:24-28 RSV)
"But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God, then to wait until His enemies should be made a stool for His feet." (Hebrews 10:12-13 RSV)
Fact Finder: Why is Jesus Christ coming back?
See Why Is Christ Returning? and What Satan Fears Most
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