On Ascension Day, the 40th day following Easter, Jesus gave his final teachings and rose up into heaven. Christians celebrate the day by putting out the Easter (Paschal) candle, many Catholics and Anglicans have processions with banners and torches and have the church bless their fruits and vegetables.
Western Christians calculate Ascension dates by counting 40 days including Easter Sunday, the earliest possible date for Ascension Day as April 30; the latest possible date as June 3. This year Ascension Day is May 14, 2015.
During that forty-day period before Jesus ascension into heaven the Bible gives accounts of Jesus preaching, teaching and mingling among the apostles and disciples. In the King James Version of the Bible, it tells how Jesus is grooming his disciples to take over his teachings, baptisms and preaching and go throughout the earth spreading the word.
Matthew 28:16-20: Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshiped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Mark 16:19-20, ‘So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.’ According to tradition, Ascension Day was first celebrated in 68 AD; however the first written evidence of the Ascension Day feast occurred in 385 AD.’
The Bible’s account of Jesus’ ascension says, ‘And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen,’ Luke 24:50-53.
The disciples ask Jesus when he will restore the kingdom of Israel, and the Bible says, ‘When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Acts 1:6-11.
Updated: April 9, 2015