Ellen G. White Writings

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Bible Echo and Signs of the Times

August 1, 1887

The Saviour Glorified

By Mrs. E. G. White

Christ had sojourned in the world for thirty-three years; he had endured its scorn, insult, and mockery; he had been rejected and crucified. Now, when about to ascend to his throne of glory, as he reviews the ingratitude of the people he came to save, will he not withdraw his sympathy and love from them? Will not his affections be centered on that world where he is appreciated, and where sinless angels adore him, and wait to do his bidding?—No; his promise to those loved ones whom he leaves on earth is, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Before his conflict, he had prayed the Father that they might not be taken out of the world, but should be kept from the evil which is in the world.

Jesus led the way to the vicinity of Bethany. He then paused, and they all gathered about him. Beams of light seemed to radiate from his countenance, as he looked with deep love upon his disciples. He upbraided them not for their faults and failures; but words of unutterable tenderness were the last which fell upon their ears from the lips of their Lord. With hands outstretched in blessing them, and as if in assurance of his protecting care, he slowly ascended from among them, drawn heavenward by a power stronger than any earthly attraction. As he passed upward, the awe-struck disciples looked with straining eyes for the last glimpse of their ascending Lord. A cloud of glory received him out of their sight, and at the same moment there floated down to their charmed senses the sweetest and most joyous music from the angel choir.

While their gaze was still riveted upward, voices addressed them which sounded like the music which had just charmed them. They turned, and saw two beings in the form of men; yet their heavenly character was immediately discerned by the disciples, whom they addressed in comforting accents, saying: “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” These angels were of the company that had been waiting in a shining cloud to escort Jesus to his throne; and in sympathy and love for those whom the Saviour had left, they came to remove all uncertainty from their minds, and to give them the assurance that he would come to earth again.

All heaven waited to welcome the Saviour to the celestial courts. As he ascended, he led the way, and the multitude of captives whom he had raised from the dead at the time when he came forth from the tomb, followed him. The heavenly host, with songs of joy and triumph, escort him upward. At the portals of the city of God an innumerable company of angels await his coming.

As they approach the gates of the city, the angels escorting the Majesty of heaven, in triumphant tones address the company at the portals: “Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in!” The waiting angels at the gates of the city inquire in rapturous strains, “Who is this King of Glory?” The escorting angels joyously reply in songs of triumph: “The Lord, strong and mighty! The Lord, mighty in battle! Lift up your heads, O ye gates, even lift them up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in!” Again the waiting angels ask, “Who is this King of Glory!” And the escorting angels respond in melodious strains, “The Lord of hosts! he is the King of Glory!” Then the portals of the city of God are widely opened, and the heavenly train pass in, amid a burst of angelic music. All the heavenly host surround their majestic Commander, as he takes his position upon the throne of the Father.

With the deepest adoration and joy, the hosts of angels bow before him, while the glad shout rings through the courts of heaven: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing!” Songs of triumph mingle with music from angelic harps, till heaven seems to overflow with delightful harmony and inconceivable joy and praise. The Son of God has triumphed over the prince of darkness, and conquered death and the grave. Heaven rings with voices in lofty strains proclaiming: “Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever!”

He is seated by the side of his Father on his throne. The Saviour presents the captives he has rescued from the bonds of death at the price of his own life. His hands place immortal crowns upon their brows; for they are the representatives and samples of those who shall be redeemed by the blood of Christ, from all nations, tongues, and people, and come forth from the dead, when he shall call the just from their graves at his second coming. Then shall they see the marks of Calvary in the glorified body of the Son of God. Their greatest joy will be found in the presence of Him who sitteth on the throne; and the enraptured saints will exclaim, My Beloved is mine and I am his! He is the chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely!

The disciples returned to Jerusalem, not mourning, but full of joy. When last they looked upon their Lord, his countenance shone with heavenly brightness, and he smiled lovingly upon them. Those hands that had so often been stretched forth in the act of blessing the sick and the afflicted, and in rebuking demons,—those hands which had been bruised by the cruel nails,—were mercifully extended, as though in the disciples they embraced the whole world, and called down a blessing upon all the followers of Christ. Beams of light seemed to emanate from those dear hands, and to fall upon the watching, waiting ones.

The most precious fact to the disciples in the ascension of Jesus was that he went from them into heaven in the tangible form of their divine Teacher. The very same Jesus who had walked, and talked, and prayed with them; who had broken bread with them; who had been with them in their boats on the lake; who had sought retirement with them in the groves; and who had that very day toiled with them up the steep ascent of Olivet,—had ascended to heaven in the form of humanity. And the heavenly messengers had assured them that the very same Jesus whom they had seen go up into heaven should come again in like manner as he had ascended. This assurance has ever been, and will be till the close of time, the hope and joy of all true lovers of Christ.

The disciples rejoiced, not that they were deprived of their Master and Teacher, for this was to them a cause for personal mourning rather than joy; but Jesus had assured them that he would send the Comforter, as an equivalent for his visible presence. He had said: “If ye loved me, ye would rejoice because I said, I go unto the Father.” They rejoiced because Jesus had wrought out salvation for man; he had answered the claims of the law, and had become a perfect offering for man; he had ascended to heaven to carry forward the work of atonement begun on earth. He was man's Advocate, his Intercessor with the Father.

When the disciples returned to Jerusalem alone, people looked at them, expecting to see in their faces expressions of sorrow, confusion, and defeat; but they saw there gladness and triumph. They did not wail over disappointed hopes, but were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. The priests and rulers were at a loss to understand this mystery. After the discouraging events connected with the trial, condemnation, and ignominious death of their Master, the disciples were supposed to be defeated and ashamed; but they now came forth with buoyant spirits, and countenances beaming with a joy not born of earth.

They told the wonderful story of Christ's glorious resurrection and ascension to heaven, and many believed their testimony. The disciples had no longer a vague distrust of the future; they knew that Jesus was in heaven; that his sympathies were unchanged; that he was identifying himself with suffering humanity, receiving the prayers of his people; that he was pleading with God the merits of his own precious blood, showing his wounded hands and feet, as a reminder of the price he had paid for his redeemed. They knew that he would come again, escorted by the heavenly host, and they looked upon this event, not as a dreaded calamity, but as an occasion for great joy and longing anticipation. They knew that he would stand again upon the Mount of Olives, while the Hebrew hallelujahs should mingle with Gentile hosannas, and myriads of voices should unite in the glad acclamation: “Crown him Lord of all!” They knew that he had ascended to heaven to prepare mansions for his obedient children, and that he would return and take them unto himself.

With joy the disciples related to their brethren the news of their Lord's ascension. They now felt that they had a Friend at the throne of God, and were eager to prefer their requests to the Father in the name of Jesus. They gathered together in solemn awe and bowed in prayer, repeating to each other the assurance of the Saviour: “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name; ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” During the ten days following the ascension, they, with one accord, devoted the time to prayer and praise, waiting for the descent of the Holy Ghost. They extended the hand of faith higher and higher, with the mighty argument, “It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”

He who considered it not robbery to be equal with God, once trod the earth, bearing our suffering and sorrowing nature, and tempted in all points like as we are; and now he appears in the presence of God as our great High Priest, ready to accept the repentance and to answer the prayers of his people, and, through the merits of his own righteousness, to present them to the Father. He raises his wounded hands to God, and claims their blood-bought pardon. I have graven them on the palms of my hands, he pleads. Those memorial wounds of my humiliation and anguish secure to my church the best gifts of Omnipotence.

What a source of joy to the disciples, to know that they had such a friend in heaven to plead in their behalf! Through the visible ascension of Christ, all their views and contemplations of heaven were changed. Now heaven was connected with the thought of Jesus, whom they had loved and reverenced above all others, with whom they had conversed and journeyed, whom they had handled, even in his resurrected body, who had spoken hope and comfort to their hearts, and who, while the words were upon his lips, had been taken up before their eyes, the tones of his voice coming back to them as the cloudy chariot of angels received him: “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”

Basel, Switzerland.

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