Three promises

The Letter of Paul to the Ephesians is a curious book in the Bible. Most of the time Paul is preaching the crucifixion. Christ has died for our sins and we are made right with God. In Ephesians, he looks at the ascension of Jesus. Jesus has been raised from the dead and we are raised in him. But as these thoughts develop they become about the resurrection and ascension of Jesus.

The east window at Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield.
The East Window at Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield, shows the Ascension of Jesus in the upper panels.

The promise of the Holy Spirit

He [Jesus] ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Acts 1:4-5 ESVUK

The first promise we have is that we will get the promise of the Father, which is the Holy Spirit. I have a post for Pentecost coming up where I will say more of this. It could be said that the sending of the Holy Spirit is one event with the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension and we now live in the end times between that and the return of Jesus.

The promise that Jesus will return

And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 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 1:10-11

Clouds have an important place in the Bible. Clouds are seen as a good thing because they bring rain and in an arid country rain is an excellent thing. Clouds are a sign of blessing ever since the rainbow was set in the clouds as a sign of hope for Noah after the flood, and the cloud of God’s presence that led the Israelites through the desert. Clouds are a sign of hope and a sign of God’s presence.

The promise that Jesus is praying for us

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

What is it that Jesus praying for us? I cannot say, but it will be consistent with Jesus’ prayer in John chapter 17 where after praying for himself and for his disciples (vv. 1-5 and 6-19) he prays for those who will follow after the disciples. His prayer is that we should be one. I do not believe that this oneness is a sort of uniformity where we are all to believe the same thing, he did not leave us a dogma, and he did not leave us systematic theology, but he did give us the Holy Spirit and he prayed in verse 24 that we shall see his glory.

My prayer is that we shall all see the clouds of hope and through them see Jesus there.

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