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This morning we’re going to finish up our series on Christ in the Psalms.
We spent this Advent Season looking at the Old Testament references to all of the major events in the life of our Savior.
This morning, I want you to see the Ascension of Christ prophesied in the 68th Psalm.
We’ll also look at two other passages in the New Testament.
I’ll explain the significance of the Ascension and then close with a few practical lessons.
/“You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the LORD God may dwell there.”/
(Psalm 68:18, ESV)
/“He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
And when he had said these things, 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.”/
(Acts 1:7–11, ESV)
/“But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”
(In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth?
He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,”/ (Ephesians 4:7–13, ESV)
There is only one verse in the 68th Psalm that is considered Messianic.
It is verse 18.
Many scholars believe that the occasion for the Psalm’s writing may have been David’s conquering the city of Jerusalem (2 Sam.
5:6-8), or moving the ark to Zion (2 Sam. 6).
The Apostle Paul obviously saw in this Psalm a prophecy of the ascension of our Lord to the Father’s right hand where he reigns in power and majesty, constantly interceding on our behalf.
Between Psalm 68:18, Acts 1:7-11, and Ephesians 4:7-13 we can glean four important truths:
* /“You ascended on high ... “/ (Psalm 68:18a, ESV)
* /"He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.
After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,”/ (Hebrews 1:3, ESV)
Jesus’ ascension was his final act in his earthly ministry
#. from this moment on, the Son of God would reign in glory
#. that glory is described in John’s Revelation
* /“I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me.
And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest.
His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.
His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.
In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword.
His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.
Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid.
I am the First and the Last.”/
(Revelation 1:12–17, NIV84)
#. the word ascend in Psalms 68:18 was often used to refer to someone ascending a throne or ascending to a place of authority
#. in Psalm 110 God sets the Messiah at his right hand as king and priest
#. as king to see all his enemies under his feet (v. 1)
#. as priest to serve God and channel God’s grace forever (v.
#. the fact that Jesus Christ is enthroned as sovereign of the universe should be of enormous encouragement to all believers
When generals and kings returned from war, in the old Roman ages, they celebrated their triumphs by riding through the streets of the capital.
Following would be the Roman army, followed by the trophies of war—booty and prisoners.
The populace crowded the windows, filled the streets, thronged the house-tops, and showered down acclamations and garlands of flowers upon the conquering general as he rode along.
#. without being too literal, we may conceive a similar scene that attended our Lord's return to the celestial kingdom
* /“The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands; the Lord has come from Sinai into his sanctuary.
When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train; you received gifts from men, even from the rebellious— that you, O LORD God, might dwell there.”/
(Psalm 68:17–18, NIV84)
#. /The Ascension Established Christ’s Personal Reign as King of Kings/
Jesus went up to the place of power, pictured as a throne at the Father’s right hand
#. in the culture of that day, to sit at the right hand of a ruler, king or emperor was to occupy the position of executive ruler on the monarch’s behalf
#. it represented absolute authority and power and rulership
* /“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”/ (Matthew 28:18, ESV)
* /“that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.”/
(Ephesians 1:20–21, ESV)
* /“For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.”
But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him.”/
(1 Corinthians 15:27, ESV)
Jesus, during His earthly ministry, repeatedly asserted that He would ascend to God, and reign with the Heavenly Father
* /“Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?”/ (John 6:62, ESV)
* /“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”/
(John 14:12, ESV)
* /“I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”/
(John 16:28, ESV)
#. /The Ascension Established Christ’s Spiritual Omnipresence/
#. in his heavenly sanctuary, Jesus is accessible to all who invoke his name, and he is powerful to help them, anywhere in the world
* /“For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.”/
(Hebrews 9:24, ESV)
#. /The Ascension Established Christ’s Heavenly Ministry/
#. the reigning Lord intercedes for his people
* /“Who is to condemn?
Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”/
(Romans 8:34, ESV)
* /"Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”/
(Hebrews 7:25, ESV)
Christ’s heavenly ministry is His constant mediation on our behalf and is based on His shed blood
In His Ascension the Anointed One Ascended His Throne
* /“You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train ... “/
#. in Ephesians 4, the Apostle Paul says it this way: He led captivity captive (v.
#. the Apostle pictures Christ as a victorious general, who delivers those held captive by the enemy, and then leads them in His triumphal victory march
#. 1st—Old Testament saints, who up until Christ’s death and resurrection were in Sheol, in Abraham's Bosom (Lk.
16:22), at His ascension were transferred to Heaven above
#. in this view, Jesus goes to the Paradise side of Sheol, and leads them out of Paradise and into Heaven
#. early Church Fathers and theologians referred to this as The Harrowing of Hell
#. 2nd—in His death Christ defeated sin, defeated death, defeated Satan and his demonic hosts
#. in this view, the captives are not the redeemed, but the enemies of Christ’s kingdom—Satan, Sin, and Death
* /“He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”/
(Colossians 2:15, ESV)
Again, this is a picture here is of a conquering general who, upon his return to the capitol city, parades his troops, the spoils of war, and last—his captured enemies—before cheering citizens.
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