The Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, two early statements of faith, are striking in their brevity and simplicity. They were both formulated in the days when the early church was attempting to systematize their faith in efforts to identify and curb heresy. They we’re striving to distill Christianity down to its most basic and essential tenants. Is it surprising to see the assertion “He ascended into heaven…” in the middle of these spartan statements? How is the Ascension of our Lord a sine qua non of the Christian faith? Our song of the month, See the Conqueror by Jenny & Tyler, exults in this oft-neglected event.
“He Ascended into Heaven…”
It may be that you’ve never given much thought to the importance of Jesus’ Ascension. Perhaps it seems like an awkward but needed transition between the Resurrection and the Return. As we’ve seen however, the early church gave this event a prime place in their confessions. The Heidelberg Catechism expounds on this phrase from the creeds.
Q. How does Christ’s ascension to heaven benefit us?
A. First, he is our advocate in heaven in the presence of his Father.1
Second, we have our own flesh in heaven as a sure pledge that Christ our head will also take us, his members, up to himself.2
Third, he sends his Spirit to us on earth as a corresponding pledge.3 By the Spirit’s power we seek not earthly things but the things above, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand.4
1 Rom. 8:34; 1 John 2:1
2 John 14:2; 17:24; Eph. 2:4-6
3 John 14:16; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; 5:5
4 Col. 3:1-4
Read through the supporting Scripture passages above, and then consider the lyrics of the song below.
Song of the Ascension: See the Conqueror
See the Conqueror mounts in triumph
See the King in royal state
Riding on the clouds His chariot
To his heavenly palace gate
Hark the choirs of angel voices
Joyful alleluias sing
And the portals high are lifted
to receive their heavenly King.
Who is this that comes in glory
with the trump of jubilee?
Lord of battles, God of armies,
He has gained the victory!
He who on the cross did suffer!
He who from the grave arose!
He has vanquished sin and satan!
He by death has spoiled his foes!
They raced to the tomb, angels stood by
Mary was weeping for the empty inside
For the sins of the world, for the sake of His bride
He went to His death, and behold, He’s alive!
He’s alive! O He’s alive!
Thou hast raised our human nature
In the clouds to God’s right hand
There we sit in heavenly places
There with Thee in glory stand
Jesus reigns adorned by angels
Man with God is on the throne
Mighty Lord in Thine ascension
We by faith behold our own!
We by faith behold our own!
See the Conqueror – Jenny & Tyler – Open Your Doors – Copyright 2011 One Eyed Cat Music (BMI)
Verse Lyrics by Christopher Wordsworth (1807-1885), 1862.
Bridge Lyrics by Jennifer Somers (BMI), Tyler Somers (BMI), and Mitch Dane (ASCAP)
Music by Jennifer Somers (BMI), Tyler Somers (BMI), and Mitch Dane (ASCAP)