It is important to maintain the previous discussion regarding who Jesus is in His relationship to the Father in union, His relationship to humanity which is also in union where all the benefits bestowed on Him are also bestowed on all who are united to Him as the foundation for the next point in our discussion. This is very important in Christian discussion. There has to be a Christological basis for everything we have to say about God. Jesus Christ was paving the way for a new way of being for all humanity from the moment He came into the world to His very last breath on the Cross, into His death and through to the resurrection. We are now moving to the ascension which is the continuing work of Jesus Christ. In this event, Jesus is brought to the right hand of the Father.
The ascension has enormous cultic significance and is used in royal and priestly ceremonies. The Old Testament hold enormous significance for such an event. It is so important to bring the Old Testament significance of the ascension into the New Testament. When Jesus is spoken of as having risen from the dead and has ascended to the right hand of God to the Hebrew and the wider community, it holds enormous significance to the audience who hears this bold claim. Anabaino eludes to the King ascending to His throne where Yahweh is enthroned as the King of all revealed as He is supposed to be revealed. He is the Royal Priest, the Offering and the Prayer to God all wrapped up in One Person. To the ordinary modern hearer of the ascension, it has little impact. In the ancient world it was a witness to a cataclysmic event of apocalyptic proportions.
We have the sacrifice on the Cross happening within the temple of God (Jesus Christ) who is in the very presence of God (the Father) carried out by the Priest (Jesus Christ) who is also the Offering. Thus Jesus is taken down to the very depths of the darkness of the sinful, warped, depravity of humanity where He ascends to the Cross which according to Torrance is the very beginning of Jesus’ ascension the Father. Anabaino (or ascension) concerns itself with the Jesus Christ as the Royal King Priest to the right hand of God. As Jesus enters the Holiest of Holies He is seated upon the mercy seat where divine mercy and peace are dispensed.
The ascension of Jesus Christ is His exaltation to Power and Glory by means of the Cross. He was thrown to the ground as was customary of those who are deemed defeated. He was whipped and beaten and then taken to the Cross and He begins His ascension to power and glory. It was however in complete union with our humanity and as Jesus was taken to the Right Hand of God, He brought humanity with Him and from this place He dispensed the Spirit of Christ on the Day of Pentecost.
We now explore the three-fold office of Jesus Christ beginning with Christ as King. Our King and our Lord is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the only one to have ventured through the corridor of death and back out again. No other king and no other lord has every done anything like what this Man has done. No other king and no other lord has allowed His constituents to have their way with Him submitting to all the horrors of torture and the manner of excruciating death process as with the crucifixion. All the weapons of the dark and depraved humanity were hurled against the Son of Humanity to bring about what was suppose to be the end of Jesus Christ. Death itself was suppose to be the conquerer of all. The King and Lord took on what we were with the loving intention of exchanging it for what He is and bestowing us with all His benefits. Jesus Christ is Lord of all heaven and earth and everything that is contained in it. Because He lives all things contained in Him was given new life in a new creation. There is a new order of things that is tied to the very Being of Jesus Christ, God of God one with the Being of the One God. With this power, He sits on His throne as the Human Being who stands in place for all Human Beings. He directs all things from His mercy seat enacting nothing but His loving kindness and loving goodwill.
He is the Royal Priest of God. His words and acts contradicted the manner in which the priests and the scribes of the day had misrepresented their duty towards God as well as the true nature of God to those in the Jewish community. Time and time again throughout history, prophets were sent to bring Israel back to the truth if the Torah. However time and time again, the priest and the scribes manipulated the Torah to their own advantage. When Jesus came among His own, He directly challenged the priests and the scribes of the day without there realising they were indeed face to face with the Lord of glory. His words and His acts were showing God in His true nature as the one who heals and forgives and fellowshipped with outcast sinners shaming those who were failing to do the same.
The bottom line is this: The only way an apostle of God and a priest of God to fully carry all that was required by God is for Him to be truly Godlike in all that He said and did. The Old Testament liturgical practices were the sign and the shadow of what was to come. The True Light casts His shadow on the history of Israel showing them what who the whole of their history was pointing to. Instead of the mediatorial process happening between the High Priest of Israel and God in the Holiest of Holies, both of these are happening at the same time in the one Human Being Jesus Christ. The High Priest of the Old Testament was also the apostle of God. Here in Jesus Christ we have the Apostle-Priest in the One Person. God becomes incarnate in solidarity with sinners. Eternity has invaded time and space. Eternity which cannot be destroyed. Jesus Christ came to us as the Eternal High Priest and fulfils all that is required of Him for our sake as the Human Being who represents all human beings. There are two operations of the atonement which are happening at the same time. Firstly, the true High Priest arises out of the community of sinful humanity totally dark and confused about the truth of God. Secondly, the Apostle of God who brings the Word of God to humanity and is the response of humanity to God in the One Person. Unlike all the other Aaronic priests before Him, the work and word of Jesus Christ is not symbolic as He is the King who also carries out the liturgical duties of those who serve Him. This is the final power of the ascended Jesus Christ whose eternity has eternalised this act once and for all in a perfect way all for our sakes. Therefore the way to the throne room of grace and mercy are forever open. There is nothing that can stand between the eternal establishment of the love of God in Jesus Christ towards all humanity.