1:10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey.
I need to begin with a disclaimer. I was going to pass by what we're going to talk about today. I prefer to focus in Jesus and try and leave my personal beliefs at the door. Walking through Scripture for me is not about proving my beliefs correct or the views of others wrong. It's about going deeper into the message God wants me to see and hear from His Word. Because of all that I wrestled and was going to pass by but God wouldn't let me. He showed me it's not about my beliefs or others potential issues with them. It's about the Story.
See when Jesus rose up to heaven two angels appeared with a simple message. "This SAME Jesus... will come back in the SAME way you saw Him go."
The very next verse says they returned to Jerusalem which was a Sabbath day's journey from Olivet where Jesus departed.
Big deal right? Actually yes.
In Matthew 24 Jesus describes the signs and events leading to the end of the world. He talks about a lot of things like diseases and earthquakes etc... but there is only one topic He repeats over and over - deception. Specifically false prophets and false Christ's. He even says very clearly and deliberately “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be."
So false beings are going to show up on planet earth, some claiming to be prophets and some claiming to be Christ. Their goal is to deceive. How do you deceive people? By lying. How do you avoid being deceived? By knowing the truth so you can spot a lie from miles away.
Acts 1 gives two clear truths to help prevent deception: SAME Jesus and SAME return as departure. He left into the clouds and He is returning in the clouds. Jesus even described it in greater detail. It will be as visible as lightning flashing across the sky. Later He says "Every eye will see" Him returning.
Any being who claims to be Jesus returned to the earth but you never saw His arrival in the clouds is a liar. Don't go anywhere near the demon. That's what Jesus counseled us.
Now there is one more strong point here that is a bit more subtle. The SAME Jesus is coming back. That means SAME message. If a being claiming to be Jesus shows up and his message is different that the message Jesus had he is a liar and a fraud.
Notice the very next verse in Acts again says after the angels talked to them they returned to Jerusalem which was a SABBATH day's journey. A Sabbath day’s journey was the distance a Jew could travel on the Sabbath without it being considered work. Why are we told such an odd detail? I mean it's after the resurrection. The Sabbath no longer applies to Christians right? Says who? Jesus? The Scriptures tell us Jesus went to the Synagogue every Sabbath as was His custom. The Scriptures tell us He is Lord of the Sabbath. He even rested on the Sabbath in death and then rose on Sunday and went back to work. In Luke we find out He journeyed all the way to Emmaus and back on that first Sunday, far over a Sabbath day's journey. Nowhere does Jesus or any of His disciples/apostles teach or otherwise indicate the end of the Sabbath which God instituted at Creation and Isaiah said we'd still be celebrating in heaven.
However the point I want to make today is not about proving what day of the week is the "right one". It's much deeper than that. And because it's much deeper and critical to the entire Story it needs its own day. See you tomorrow...