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When does the Bible say that
Jesus ascended towards Heaven?

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Date confusion:

There is not a lot of specific information about when and where many biblical events happened:

  • The year, month, day, and location of Jesus' birth are unknown. Many people assume that he was born on DEC-25 of the year 1 BCE in Bethlehem. But most theologians believe he was born between 6 and 4 BCE, based on other references in the Gospels. Internal evidence in the Bible indicates that he was born in the Autumn. Also, archeological studies of Bethlehem in Judea indicate that the area was abandoned during the first centuries BCE and CE. He may have been born in Nazareth or in a different Bethlehem located near Nazareth.

  • The year, month, and day of Jesus' execution by the Roman Army is also unknown. Nobody seems to have recorded the date; if they did, then the date has been lost.

  • Similarly, the year, month, and day when the Bible says that Jesus ascended from Earth towards Heaven is unknown.

To make matters even more confusing, the Bible is ambiguous about the number of days between Jesus' execution and his ascension.

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Bible passages about Jesus' ascension: 1

In chronological order of the dates that Mark, Luke, Acts and John were probably written:

  • Mark 16: This Gospel was probably the first Gospel, written circa 70 CE about four decades after Jesus' execution. It indicates that he appeared to Mary Magdalene on Easter Sunday morning, and ascended to Heaven later the same day in the presence of Mary and the 11 remaining apostles:

    • 16:9: "Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils."
    • 16:14: "Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat. ..."
    • 16:19: "So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God." 1

  • Luke 24: This Gospel was probably written during the 80's CE. It agrees with Mark's account:

    • 24:1: "On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.  They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. ... suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. ... the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; he has risen!"
    • 24:13: "Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem."
    • 24:15: "... Jesus himself came up and walked along with them."
    • 24:50: [Later that day near Jerusalem]: "When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them.
    • 24:51: "While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven."

  • Acts 1: This is a companion book to the Gospel of Luke, also probably also written during the 80's CE. It implies that Jesus' ascension occurred 40 days after his resurrection:

    • 1:3: "... he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God."
    • 1:9 "And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight."

  • Acts: In a later verse of Acts, the author said that Jesus remained on Earth many days after his resurrection:

    • 13:31: "And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people."

  • John: This is generally believed to be the last of the canonical Gospels. It appears to some theologians that it was written my multiple authors near the end of the 1st century CE. It does not contain a passage describing Jesus' actual ascension to Heaven. However it does imply in many passages that such an ascension was to occur. It also says that Jesus was with the disciples for at least eight days after his' resurrection:

    • 20:1: "The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulcher, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulcher.
    • 20:26: "And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst ..."

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References used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. Mark 16 in the King James Bible, Bible Gateway, at: https://www.biblegateway.com/

How you may have arrived here:

Home > Christianity > Christian personalitiesJesus > Ascension > here

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Home > Spirituality > GodJesus > Ascension > here

Home > Christianity > Christian history, belief... > Ascension > here

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Copyright 2018 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance 
Latest update: 2018-AUG-22
Author: B.A. Robinson

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