Annotation: In English modern spiritual movements and lightworkers use the word "ascension" for another process, which is related to the power of Resurrection, as described in the previous chapter.
Just as Jesus Christ began with 40 days seclusion in the desert prior to his teaching activity, he also concluded his visible activity on earth with the 40 days after Easter, in which he appeared to people at various remote places.
After a last meal and conversation "he led them out towards Bethany, raised his hands and blessed them. And it came about, as he blessed them, he departed from them and went up to heaven" (Luke 24, Mark 16). "…He was lifted up more and more and a cloud took him away, in front of their eyes. Two men stood with them in white clothing, who said: "... This Jesus, who has been taken up into heaven will come, as you saw him going up to heaven" (Acts 1). The apostles obviously distinguished very clearly between those 40 days in which Christ was suddenly among them and always disappeared again and the time after that, in which they also felt assembled in his spirit, but without his personal presence.
Christ had already announced that he would be going to the father. Only after the ascension he was said to "sit to the right of the father", therefore with God on a level beyond the humanly attainable "hereafter". A state appears in outlines, where Christ is universally with God. God is: "I am the I Am". He is omnipotent and nevertheless he gives man free rein; he is the living origin of all powers and beings and nevertheless alone; he is outside space and also omnipresent; he is eternal and also a reality concealed in every moment. This does not mean that Christ dissolved himself into nothingness, but rather that he is now everywhere. That bridge between man and God could still be experienced in life by attuning oneself to Christ - "Pray to the father in my name" (John 15,16). That is a reality of its own kind, independent of the respective ideas concerning the events 2000 years ago.
The disciples now became aware of their importance as apostles on earth for Christ. Christ now appeared more strongly within them and through them. It would be incorrect to evaluate this state from an external point of view as if nothing else had happened except that the teacher had disappeared, leaving them to carry on the project alone. If the autonomous role of the ascension is also included here, one could describe it as a universalisation of the work of Christ. A comparison of this would be a hologram, in which each splinter of the picture contains the whole image. Remark: This comparison does not intend to take up that kind of holographic philosophy, according to which man would be like God in any case, with the consequence, that no effort would be necessary to become like him. That would be similar to the kind of redemption idea that forgets that redemption is like a bud that needs to be taken by individual decision and by emulation (going the same path) - as Christ decided consciously for us. A human being is an image of God (Genesis 1:27), however, the personal parts of man, develop(p)ed around it have to become purified. This emulation concerns finally the core of all great steps of Christ (cf. Joh. 14:12). It is possible to "ascend" into higher and higher parts of man, and from there - with finer and finer forces - to adapt deeper and deeper parts down to the physical substance.
In addition to human relationships one also receives the relationships of Christ. Basically, the impulse started by Jesus during his life as a possibility was sealed at the ascension for the use of his disciples and ultimately for everyone. , The possibility of Christ taking shape in man was pointed out in the chapter about the baptism in the Jordan. This means that that which Christ brought or had worked for now has an extended nature compared to the work of human beings. It is anchored in God, not only in a "morphogenetic field" – see "The crucifixion". Another approximation of this would be "God attracts everything towards him".
Today, St. Paul is often known for some of his traditional "rough edges". Although this may be sometimes overemphasized by one-sided interpretations, his visionary experiences are authentic. In his own way, he was able to recognize, like St. John in his Gospel etc. that the role of Christ goes far beyond a role for Judaism and that Judaism was actually chosen as a starting point for the Universal Christ, for his contribution to all people. Understandably, this was a reason for one of the first quarrels among the disciples.
Ecclesiastical statements tend to equate the church with the "Body of Christ", even if the rest of mankind was actually meant in a broad sense. Anthroposophical statements see mankind unambiguously as a body of Christ. Theosophical schools of thought, which do not have an exclusively Christian basis, also see the role of Christ for mankind, even if only that of "The World Teacher".
Modern Christian new revelation networks, especially the "Universal life" - not to be confused with the Universal Life Church - also see a role of Christ today for the non-human living beings; coming to the conclusion that the future fate of the earth will not be placed in man’s hands. However, people who did not cause the problems on earth, but are a part of the "solution", will surely have their role, as mentioned in the Sermon on the Mount.
In fact, whenever anybody has done anything "in Christ", it has also been done for Christ and therefore for the world.
Those who really connect themselves with Christ and the direction of his work - which cannot be arbitrarily modified - would simply not be able to accept many of the theories that were quite usual in churches for many centuries. According to experienced mystics, Christ is not open ('cannot be broached'), neither consciously nor unconsciously, for anything that goes against his teaching.
So, it can be left up to the churches themselves to explain in their own
terminology where they took the strength to make war, to persecute and hate -
and furthermore, most of it was done in the service of secular powers. .
According to experiences generally known in spiritual movements, light may also
stir up dark things that exist. To make oneself the tool of darkness however -
as it often happened in the past - instead of working on these shadows within
oneself and others, makes a mockery of Christian ethical claims.
But still, later reports, e.g. the final document of the European oecumenical board „Peace in justice for the whole of creation" in 1989, shows that attempts are being made to come to terms with past mistakes. The text is available at the Hanover EKD, and elsewhere.
The "Ascension" can also become really significant within the "imitation of Christ". Rosicrucians, for instance, experienced a descent of the cloud from the sky to them in pictures and dreams. A unique or even repeated experience of this kind does not mean, however, that this person has fully realized such a step in life. Initially, it simply means that this quality has begun to take effect within the person concerned.
To feel the meaning of "Ascension", requires a lot of spiritual
development and is therefore not to be confused with a technical transportation
by "UFOs" (unidentified flying objects). In the case of stories handed
down describing various kinds of "taking away" of biblical prophets,
this is not very probable considering the other spiritual possibilities (see the
chapter "The resurrection"). However, this viewpoint is not being used
here to deny the probable existence of these "UFOs"* which, according
to the profusion of international sightings, may be the appearance of partially
extraterrestrial astronauts and that some legends may be referring to similar
phenomena of both positive and negative kinds from the past. They may also have
a role in the future. But the attempts of "Ancient astronaut research"
circles to identify every spiritual rock drawing with rings and so forth with
spaceships is completely excessive and originates from a fantasy limited by our
technical and materialistic civilisation. Even though mankind needs divine aid
of manifold kind, it will have to carry out the saving breakthrough itself in
the end. Through advances in the existence, action and consciousness the people
on earth will be able to survive, find their task and fulfil it. No external
achievement, and no own technical achievement can replace growth into further
stages of consciousness. That attempt, which led to the Challenger shuttle
and their warning accident for instance, is like a distracting and poor copy of
what is really necessary.
Note: from the Catholic church, for example, the theologian Monsignor Corrado Balducci (Vatican) has often voiced a corresponding view. Otherwise, the officials of the various churches often assumed merely a psychic or sociological phenomenon. Nevertheless, in May 2008 the official Vatican newspaper "Osservatore Romano" reported: "The universe consists of billions of galaxies, each of which is made up of hundreds of billions of stars. How can one exclude the possibility that life has also developed somewhere else? We cannot limit the creative freedom of God. If, like Francis of Assisi, we see the creatures of the Earth as our brothers and sisters, why shouldn’t we then also speak of an extra-terrestrial brother? It is possible that other intelligent creatures still live in complete harmony with their creator. "
This does not mean to ignore the fact, however, that technical developments are also necessary, for instance to replace technologies hostile to life such as nuclear energy, other kinds of electromagnetic radiation, "genetic engineering" and other technologies. However, even this can only come about on the basis of a higher consciousness. That growth mentioned in a more comprehensive consciousness in the sense of Christ would, however, have to bean organic growth and not another technical manipulation. No spiritual "technique" can force "salvation". Practices of various kinds are only good for preparations, and need to be put aside again after having served their purpose. Only that which has become one's own really counts in the end. It is quite impossible to "consume" God passively with today's "brain-machines".
Primarily, Christ has been handed down in his special role on earth, but manifestations in other levels of existence and other places in the cosmos are also possible: "The Urantia Book"/ USA, a book which may seem to be a little phantastic, is mentioned only, because it may stimulate imaginations; but his special task on this very dense physical earth is not being questioned; and the books "Analekta" 1 and 2 ("Analekta" only in German, some copies can still be obtained from Mag. Alois Thurner, Staudach 103, A-8230 Hartberg, Austria.)
Theologians have related the Ascension of Jesus in a "cloud" to sections of the Old Testament (2nd Moses 13:21 and 40:34). They handled the subsequent joy of the disciples as a clearly experienced new type of presence of Christ, some of them as something extremely real and others as something subjective.
Extra window: Bible quote
Help: a self-examination for the work with the main text
Is a current or future significance of the ascension to heaven a question that affects my life with God?
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