More on the Ascension of Christ

By Samuel M. Frost, Th.M.

We have been plowing through the doctrine of the Ascension of Christ.  First off, we have demonstrated that Jesus “sat down” at the right hand of the Father on the morning of his resurrection.  The common idea, totally understandable, is that Jesus did not ascend to the Father until forty days later after his resurrection.  This has been challenged by a handful of scholars.

The main reason for this is that in Acts 1.1-ff is appears that Jesus did not ascend until that time.  Luke, the author of Acts, wrote that Jesus spoke to his disciples “Until the day in which he was taken up” (1.2).  This was in the space of “forty days” (1.3).  Finally, “he was taken up, and a cloud did receive him up from their sight.”  At this, an angel spoke, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come (erchomai -Greek) in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (1.11).  Thus, the “coming” here is related both to his “going” to heaven (here it also equated with a “coming” to heaven).  Some have placed emphasis on the fact that a “cloud”  is mentioned here, and, therefore, the imagery of the son of man “coming” on a cloud “to heaven” certainly ties in what we have been teaching as of late: Daniel 7.13-14/Psalm 110.

As we have been saying, Daniel 7.13-14 and Psalm 110 are most certainly tied together.  They are fulfilled together.  In fact, Jesus conflates both of these references together when he spoke to Caiaphas: “But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26.64).  In Daniel, the “son of man coming on the clouds of heaven”, and in Psalm 110, “sit at my right hand” are joined together by Matthew to form one stream between the two.  This, for me, is confirmation enough.  Every commentary I have consulted notes the same observation.

As we have noted, for Matthew, Jesus’ coming on the clouds of heaven is the parousia (advent) of the “son of man” to the Ancient of Days.  It is his ascension to heaven.  In Daniel, “power” (exousia) is “given” (didomi) to the son of man.  In Matthew 28.18, “all power (exousia) has been given (didomi) to me in heaven and on earth.”  This is announced to his disciples before the ascension scene of Acts 1.  We have already noted that Daniel used the ‘son of man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with parousia (pareimi – the verb form), as does Matthew 24.  If the scene in Acts is depicting the same imagery (“cloud” “taken up to heaven”), then we have further confirmation of our thesis on that note.

However, does this still mean that Jesus did not ascend until forty days later?  I answer, no.  We have already noted that in John’s Gospel, there is no “ascension” scene, as there is with the other Gospels.  This omission has caused a good deal of ink to be spilled.  For John, though, he has already made mention of the ascension: the morning of his resurrection on the third day.  “Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God'” (John 20.17).  We have noted that the verb, “ascending” (captured here in the English Standard Version) is Present Indicative in Greek.  We would expect a Future Indicative.  Secondly, there is no mention of Jesus waiting forty days until he then ascends.  Rather, in his lengthy discourse from chapters 13-17, Jesus is “going to the Father.”  This would make sense, then, on the morning of his resurrection to say, “I have not yet ascended…but tell them I am ascending…to my Father and your Father.”  In John 6.64, Jesus said, “What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!”  It appears, then, that for John, Jesus ascended the morning of his resurrection.  There was no need, then, to record what Luke does: his final ascension.

This brings me to Hebrews.  It has always puzzled me that only Luke records Jesus appearing/disappearing for forty days.  Yet, if our thesis is correct, this does not mean that he has omitted an earlier reference to his ascension the morning of his resurrection.  “Now that same day…” – the day of his resurrection – Jesus talks to two men on the road of Emmaus (Luke 24.13-ff).  And he says this to them: ” ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!  Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”  The verb in bold is Aorist Infinitive (past tense).  This would be in complete agreement with Matthew 28.18 where Jesus said, “all power has been given to me.”  This equally comports with John.  Jesus ascended, went to the Father, and received all power and glory (in answer to Daniel 7.13-14/Psalm 110).  Finally, forty days later, after a series of appearing and disappearing, he disappears – but not for good.

Now to Hebrews.  Psalm 110, the most often quoted and alluded to psalm in the NT, is sprinkled throughout this letter.  Indeed, the letter opens with it: “when he had made purification of sins,  he sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (1.3).  There is no indication whatsoever that he waited forty days, then sat down.  Rather, “when” he made purification for sins, he sat down.  This is repeated: “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God” (10.12).  The son of man suffered, then entered his glory.  He descended and ascended for forty days until he finally ascended – where “it is necessary that heaven receive him until the times to restore all things” (Acts 3.21).  The word “times” here (chronos) is the same in the question asked at his final ascension: “Are at this time you to restore the kingdom to Israel?”  Jesus answered: “It is not for you to know the times (chronos – plural) and seasons the Father has set” (Acts 1.6,7).  Hence, Peter, in 3.21 notes the ambiguity of when: heaven must receive him (ascension) until the times (chronos) of restoration of all things.  “All things” and restoring the Kingdom to Israel was a fixed idea in Second Temple Judaism (First Century) theology: a new heavens and a new earth for Israel (God’s People made of all Nations by faith).  This answers to Psalm 110: sit at my right hand until I make all your enemies your footstool.  And, further, in that same psalm, “he shall rule in the midst of his enemies.”  The author of Hebrews picks this up: “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet” (10.12,13).  What is he doing now?  Ruling in the midst of his enemies.  Paul wrote, “Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.  The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15.24-26).

As we have noted, in conclusion, is that Jesus’ parousia – his coming on the clouds of heaven – is his ascending to the Father.  It is what he is doing: the son of man comes on the clouds of heaven before the Father.  “For Jesus is not entered into the Holies made with hands, the patterns of the true: but into Heaven itself, that he may appear now in the presence of God for us” (Hebrews 9.24).  This is his parousia before the Father.  He appears before the presence of the Father on the clouds of heaven which have received him, the son of man, in heaven.  And this coming on the clouds of heaven (parousia) is his reign in heaven and earth (“all power has been given to me in heaven and on earth”).  “Behold, he comes with the clouds of heaven” (Revelation 1.7).  The verb there is Present Indicative.  It is descriptive of his current glory in the heavens: he who comes in the clouds of heaven, the son of man.  That John has Daniel 7.13-14 in mind is found in Revelation 1.13, where Jesus is called, “one like to the Son of man” (echoing Daniel 7.13).  Jesus, the son of man coming on the clouds of heaven (where he is), appearing before the Father on our behalf and as our High Priest.  Every eye will see and acknowledge him – for it is appointed unto man once to die.  If you do not know him now, when you die, you will know him then – for you will see him.

What has happened in these things is that our descriptions here have become grouped up into single, future events.  Thus, the coming on the clouds has come to be seen as a wholly future event – a single act.  When Jesus said to Caiaphas and the Jerusalem Court assembled together at his condemnation, that they would “see the son of man at the right hand coming on the clouds” he was not saying “in a few decades, or hundreds or thousands of years from now.”  Rather, when they died, they would see who Jesus Is.  It is Jesus who hold the keys of death and the grave (Revelation 1.18).  He can come personally to you at any moment – like a thief if you are not “eagerly expecting” him.  Eagerly expecting Jesus simply means that one is worshipping Jesus here and now, being filled with the Spirit and renewed daily through prayer, meditation, worship, adoration, and obedience – conforming to His Life.  Such worship causes us to long for His presence!

That there is a final descent of the Lord Jesus is found readily in the NT (most notably, 1 Thessalonians 4.16-ff; and several other places).  But we know not of that time, when heaven and earth shall pass away and be restored by the creative power of God (Genesis 1.1-ff).  However, Jesus can come at any moment.  Revelation 3.20 pictures it as such: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”  The Judge is standing at the door.  My sons and daughter were traveling to Indianapolis last week and noticed on the East Bound side traffic had stopped.  A car and several trucks were mangled.  We found out later that a person died.  My heart immediately thought and hoped that this person was not caught by the One who holds death and the grave in his hands unexpectedly.  That Christ had been invited in to eat and dine.  That this person, upon expiration, saw Him who comes on the clouds of heaven in heaven with praise and worship.  We worship Him, even though we do not see Him – but we know the revelation of His glory: that He is in heavens at the right hand, coming in the clouds of heaven before the Father, ruling in the midst of his enemies, suffering with the world as we suffer as He gathers them out of the world together into himself, making one new man, building stone by stone (people by people) his house until all those he has called and knows from eternity are his.


Author: Samuel M. Frost, Th.D.

Samuel M. Frost has gained the recognition of his family, peers, colleagues, church members, and local community as a teacher and leader.  Samuel was raised in the Foursquare Gospel tradition and continued in the rising Charismatic Movement of the early 1980’s.  While serving in local congregations he was admitted to Liberty Christian College in Pensacola, Florida where he lived on campus for four years earning his Bachelor’s of Theology degree.  It was there under the tutelage of Dr. Dow Robinson (Summer Institutes of Linguistics), and Dr. Frank Longino (Dallas Theological Seminary) that he was motivated to pursue a career in Theology.  Dr. Robinson wrote two books on Linguistics, Workbook on Phonological Analysis (SIL, 1970) and Manuel for Bilingual Dictionaries: Textbook (SIL, 1969).  It was under these teachers’ guidance that Frost entered into his Master’s studies, being granted a scholarship for Greek I and II at Pentecostal Theological Seminary, accredited, in Cleveland, Tennessee (adjunct of Lee University).  Frost completed his study under Dr. French Arrington (The Ministry of Reconciliation, Baker Books, 1980), who used the text of J. Gresham Machen, New Testament Greek for Beginners. Frost studied Hebrew for two years under Dr. Mark Futato (author, Beginning Biblical Hebrew, Eisenbrauns, 2003) and Dr. Bruce K. Waltke (author, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, Eisenbrauns, 1990) at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, Florida. With combined credits from PTS and RTS, Samuel completed his Master of Arts in Christian Studies and Master of Arts in Religion from Whitefield Theological Seminary in Lakeland, Florida under the direct tutelage of Dr. Kenneth G. Talbot, co-author of the well reviewed work, Hyper-Calvinism and Arminianism (Whitefield Media, 2005) with Dr. Gary Crampton (and Foreword by the late, Dr. D. James Kennedy).  Dr. Talbot also oversaw Samuel’s Dissertation, From the First Adam to the Second and Last Adam (2012) earning him the Magister Theologiae (Th.M.) degree.  He also helped put together A Student’s Hebrew Primer for WTS, designed and graded exams for their Hebrew Languages course. Samuel’s studies lead him into an issue in the field of Eschatology where his scholarship and unique approach in Hermeneutics garnered him recognition.  Because of the controversial nature of some of his conclusions, scholars were sharp in their disagreement with him.  Frost’s initial work, Misplaced Hope: The Origins of First and Second Century Eschatology (2002, Second Edition, 2006 Bi-Millennial Publishing), sold over four thousand units.  While arguing for the Reformation understanding of sola Scriptura as defined by the Westminster Confession of Faith, Frost’s book launched a heavily footnoted argument for a total reassessment of the doctrine known as the Second Coming of Christ.  The conclusion was that the events of the war of the Jewish nation against their Roman overlords in 66-70 C.E. formed the New Testament authors’ eschatological outlook, and went no further than their own first century generation; a view otherwise known as “full” or "hyper" Preterism.  Internationally recognized Evangelical author and speaker, Steve Wohlberg remarked, ‘On the “preterist” side today…we have such influential leaders as Gary DeMar, Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., David Chilton, R.C. Sproul, Max King, James Stuart Russell, Samuel M. Frost, and John Noe.  To these scholars…the beast is not on the horizon, he’s dead” (Italics, his)” (End Time Delusions, Destiny Image Publishers, 2004, page 133).  It should be noted that only Noe, King and Frost supported the “full” Preterist position. Thomas Ice and co-author of the best selling Left Behind series, Tim LaHaye, quote Frost’s work, Misplaced Hope, as well in their book, The End Times Controversy: The Second Coming under Attack (Harvest House Publishers, 2003, page 40).  Dr. Jay E. Adams, who single handedly launched “a revolution” in Christian Counseling with his work, Competent to Counsel: An Introduction to Nouthetic Counseling, (1970, Zondervan), also wrote an analysis of Frost’s work in Preterism: Orthodox or Unorthodox? (Ministry Monographs for Modern Times, INS Publishing, 2004).  Adams wrote of Misplaced Hope as a "useful, scholarly work" (p.6 - though he disagreed with the overall thesis).  Dr. Charles E. Hill, Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, wrote of Misplaced Hope that Frost, “attacks the problem of the early church in a much more thoroughgoing way than I have seen” (When Shall These Things Be? A Reformed Response to Hyper Preterism, Ed. Keith Mathison, Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing, 2003, ‘Eschatology in the Wake of Jerusalem’s Fall’ p. 110-ff.).  There were several other works as well that took the scholarship of Frost seriously, like Ergun Caner in The Return of Christ: A Premillennial Perspective, Eds., Steve W. Lemke and David L. Allen (B&H Publishing, 2011). Because of the controversial nature of Frost’s conclusions on these matters, it was difficult to find a denomination within the Church-at-Large to work in terms of pastoral ministry.  That situation changed when Samuel was called by a Bible study group in Saint Petersburg, Florida to found a congregation.  Christ Covenant Church was established in 2002 operating under the principles outlined by Presbyterian historian James Bannerman’s work, The Church of Christ: A Treatise on the Nature, Powers, Ordinances, Discipline, and Government of the Christian Church (Banner of Truth Trust, 1974, original, 1869).  By-Laws and a Constitution were drawn up in the strictest manner for what was considered an “Independent” establishment of a Presbyterian Church, granted that a “call” was received and recognized by Presiding Elders duly ordained from existing and recognized denominations.  Two Elders, one ordained in the Reformed Presbyterian Church (Mike Delores), and another ordained in the Presbyterian Church of America (Dr. Kelly N. Birks, now deceased) tested and reviewed the call, ordaining Samuel on October 20th, 2002, the Twenty Second Sunday after Trinity.  Proper forms were submitted to Tallahassee, Florida with the stamp of a Notary Public Witness.  Christ Covenant Church (CCC) functioned as a local church for five years with a congregation as large as 30 members.  Frost was gaining recognition after Misplaced Hope had been published in January of that year, and conferences were hosted that included debates with another prominent "full" Preterist educator, Don K. Preston.  CCC hosted best-selling authors, Thomas Ice, and Mark Hitchcock from Dallas Theological Seminary; and Dr. James B. Jordan (Westminster Theological Seminary), well-known author/pastor in Reformed theological circles.  Frost was invited for the next several years to speak at over 25 conferences nation-wide, was featured in articles and an appearance on local news in Tampa for one of CCC’s conferences.  The Evangelical Theological Society also invited Samuel to speak at the Philadelphia conference (Frost is currently a Member of ETS as well as Society of Biblical Literature). During this time Samuel had submitted one more book, Exegetical Essays on the Resurrection of the Dead (TruthVoice, 2008; repr. JaDon Publishing, 2010); and co-wrote, House Divided: A Reformed Response to When Shall These Things Be? (Vision International, 2010).  Frost also wrote several Forewords for up and coming authors who were influenced by his teaching materials, as well as cited many times in books, lectures and academic papers.  However, because of certain aspects of Hermeneutics and Frost’s undaunted commitment to scholarship (with always a strong emphasis on the personal nature of devotional living to Christ), several challenges to the "hyper" Preterist view he espoused finally gave way, largely due to the unwavering commitment to Samuel by the Dean of Whitefield Theological Seminary, Dr. Kenneth G. Talbot, who continually challenged him.  In what shocked the "hyper" Preterist world, Samuel announced after the Summer of 2010 that he was in serious error, and departed the movement as a whole, along with Jason Bradfield, now Assistant Pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church, Lakeland, Florida .  Christ Covenant Church had dissolved after 2007 while Samuel continued as a public speaker and writer, largely due to reasons that would unravel Frost’s commitment to "hyper" Preterism as a whole. The documentation of Frost’s departure was published by American Vision’s Founder, Gary DeMar, with a Foreword by Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry.  Why I Left Full Preterism (AV Publishing, 2012) quickly ran through its first run.  The book was later republished under the arm of Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry and is sold today (GoodBirth Ministries Publishing, 2019; though still available in Kindle form from American Vision).  Dr. Gentry also gave mention to Frost in his book, Have We Missed the Second Coming: A Critique of Hyper Preterism (Victorious Hope Publishing, 2016), noting him as "one of the most prominent" teachers within Full Preterism (135).  Dr. Keith Mathison, Professor of Systematic Theology at Reformation Bible College in Sanford, Florida, endorsed the book as well.  Samuel has gone on to write, Daniel: Unplugged (McGahan Publishing House, 2021); The Parousia of the Son of Man (Lulu Publishing, 2019); God: As Bill Wilson Understood Him, A Theological Analysis of Alcoholics Anonymous (Lulu Publishing, 2017).  He is also active as a certified Chaplain with the Henry County Sheriff’s Department, Indiana, and enrolled with ICAADA (Indiana Counselor’s Association on Alcohol and Drug Abuse), and worked directly under Dr. Dennis Greene, Founder of Christian Counseling and Addictions Services, Inc., for a year.  Frost’s passion is in the education of the local church on various issues and occasionally works with Pastor Alan McCraine with the First Presbyterian Church in Lewisville, Indiana, and Bethel Presbyterian Church, Knightstown, Indiana, where he periodically is called upon to give the sermon. Samuel, with his wife, Kimberly, helped to establish Heaven’s Bread Basket food pantry that donates food items to local families in need once a month – a ministry of the Session of First Presbyterian Church, Lewisville, Indiana. Samuel also works part time at Ace Hardware in New Castle, Indiana for several years.  He has a solid, family reputation in the community, and has performed local marriages and funerals.  He also sits on the Board of the Historical Preservation Committee in New Castle. Recently, he has completed his two year quest for a Th.D from Christian Life School of Theology Global, Georgia.

3 thoughts on “More on the Ascension of Christ”

  1. Thanks for the article!

    I agree that thess 4, the famous rapture passage, seems to refer to the resurrection of the dead (thus is linked with 1 Cor 15 pretty heavily).
    But my question was about v.15 “For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,[a] that WE who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.”
    Why does Paul use we ?
    Was he expecting this to happen in his lifetime ?
    Actually this is this kind of words like we, us, etc… that I think make FP so easy to fall into.


    1. Thanks for the response. The Greek there, in ordinary Greek, does not carry with it a “necessary” deduction that “we” means the person using the term must (“must”) have him/herself in mind. It is context (tired answer, but still the truth). “we” (pronoun) is followed by a descriptive participial phrasing, “we – the ones living, the ones who remain” – in other words, participles are descriptive adjectives….who are the “we” – they are “those who are alive at the time, who have not fallen asleep, but who are remaining” – it does not carry with it a mandatory “oh, that MUST mean Paul thought that he himself would NO DOUBT be one of the living at the time”. It MAY have that meaning, but not NECESSARILY. Hope that helps.


      1. Yet you would not say that the 3 previous we are not Paul, Silas and Timothy ?
        v.13, v.15 “we do not want you to be uninformed”, For this we say to you by the word of the Lord
        (I could get how the we in v.14 could be a “we” as you describe that doesn’t necessarily carry general peopoe kinda “we”. ” For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again”

        Liked by 1 person

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