The ascension story tells us that after the resurrection and forty days following when he remained on earth, the Christ rose physically up into the air and was taken into heaven. This event is recorded in Luke and Acts, books written by the same author.
Entering heaven alive (sometimes called "ascension", "assumption", or "translation") is a belief held in several religions. Since death is the normal end to a person's life on earth and the beginning of afterlife, entering heaven without dying first is considered exceptional and usually a sign of a deity's special recognition of the individual's special uniqueness.
In Judaism, the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) records that Elijah and Enoch both ascended into heaven. According to post-biblical Jewish Midrash, six other people were taken up into heaven while they were still alive.
Some of the other religions that have stories of people being transported bodily from earth before death are: Hellenism, Hinduism, Islam, Zoroastrianism, and New Age religions.
Also, some Catholics believe Mary, the mother of Jesus, was taken bodily up to heaven.
There are even examples in fiction, particularly in the writings of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, where characters ascend to heaven.
Rather than looking at the ascension of Christ as a historical event and debating whether or not it actually occurred as described, I have endeavored in my painting to present it's symbolic message which applies to us personally and to our understanding of our world today.
The ascension is clearly a statement of Jesus's attainment of supreme enlightenment -- something which all of us should strive to attain.
The Bible records that Jesus told his disciples that all who follow him will be able to do the very same works (achieve the same understanding) as he had and do even greater things. (John 14:12)
The unfolding geometric forms in this painting resemble the opening of the petals of a flower, and these symbolize Jesus's opening to us the truth about God. He has unfolded, so to speak, the knowledge of our place within the Kingdom of God. We only have to study his teachings in order to achieve a true understanding of our relationship with God and with others.
In the end, the ascension tells us that Christ was glorified and exalted. It informs everyone that Christ’s earthly ministry had ended and was complete.
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