The Ascending Jesus

Text: “No one has ascended into heaven except him who descended from heaven, the Son of Man” (John 3:13).

(In saying, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things) (Eph. 4:9-10).

Jesus procreated as his Father’s seed (cf. Heb. 7:10). Just as the first Adam, who was fashioned in the earth (Gen. 2:7; 3:19,23), was sown in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:8,15), the womb of the race, to gestate (cf. Ps. 139:13-16, Eph. 4:9), so Jesus, the second Adam, who stemmed from heaven, was sown in the womb of Mary (Luke 1:35) to gestate in his turn. (In procreation, while Adam as the image of God typified God as father, 1 Cor. 11:7, Eve (woman) who stemmed from Adam, Gen. 2:21-23, cf. 1 Cor. 11:12, typified the earth as mother, Gen. 3:20.)

Born a baby knowing nothing (Isa. 7:14f.; Dt. 1:39) in an animal stable (Luke 2:7,12,16, cf. Adam who was created along with the animals in Genesis 2).

Circumcised on the eighth day (Luke 2:21).

Kept the commandment at the end of his infancy and/or the beginning of his childhood (cf. Prov. 1:8; 4:1-6; 6:20).

A slave (Gal. 4:1f.) in Egypt (Mt. 2:13-15) under the covenant with Noah who was the first child of the race. As the first consistent worker (Gen. 5:29) Noah had brought to an end (Gen. 8:21f.; Isa. 54:9f.) the curse on the desolate, that is, largely uninhabited and untilled, ground (Gen. 3:17-19). In contrast with Adam, he was conspicuously obedient (Gen. 6:22; 7:1,5,9,16). (*1. On the curse on the ground, see my Cosmic Curse?; Supplement to ‘Cosmic Curse?’; Observations on The Curse; Understanding the Curse; The Relationship between Genesis 3:15-19 and Romans 8:18-25)

On his return, as an adolescent Jesus became a son of the commandment (bar mitzvah) under Moses (cf. Luke 2:40-52).

Kept the law to his Father’s satisfaction and so was baptised (Mt. 3:13-17) by the Spirit (Lev. 18:5, cf. Mt. 19:17-21). In this way his spiritual adolescence was brought to an end.

Regeneration to prepare for the kingdom of God (John 3:5f.)

Regenerate life empowered by the Spirit (John 1:32; 3:34; 6:27; Acts 4:27; 10:38) to fulfil all righteousness (Mt. 3:15, cf. 19:21) which was impossible under the law (Heb. 7:11,18f.; 8:7).

Death to atone for his people’s sins. By spilling his blood he established the Christian covenant (Luke 22:20, cf. Heb. 9:22) thereby enabling the regeneration of sinful believers.

Resurrection. Death defeated (Acts 2:24; 1 Cor.15:55).

Manifested as victor to his disciples (Luke 24:39; John 20:26-29; Acts 1:22, cf. 13:31).

Final teaching (Luke 24:44-49, cf. Rev. 1:1f. which is an apocalyptic repetition of earlier teaching).

Ascension transformation a natural necessity (Luke 24:51, cf. 1 Cor. 15:50-53). Corruption overcome (Acts 13:34-37). (See my Two ‘Natural’ Necessities.)

Seated at his Father’s right hand and crowned as the Righteous One (Acts 3:14; 7:52; 1 John 2:1) in the Kingdom of God/Heaven where righteousness dwells (2 Pet. 3:13).

Since it was Jesus, the Son of Man, who ascended into heaven (John 3:13a; 6:62), it was he, the man, who became the mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5).


“He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory” (1 Tim. 3:16).


So Jesus uniquely fulfilled the purpose of God by ascending from ground to glory (Eph. 4:9f.) as man’s pioneer (Heb. 2:9; 6:20; 12:1f.). Believers follow in his steps to be with him forever (John 12:26; 14:3,19; 17:24; Rev. 3:21). It helps to clarify the picture if we note that while the Jewish high priest could enter the earthly Holy of Holies only once a year and re-emerge to repeat his performance the next year (Heb. 9:7-10), Jesus the Christian high priest after the order of Melchizedek broke through the curtain of his flesh (Heb. 6:19f.; 10:19f.) once for all (Heb. 7:26-28) thereby gaining entrance into the presence of God forever (Heb. 9:11f.; 10:12f.).


See also my

Covenant Theology in Brief

Jesus The Perfected Man – The Epitome of Creation and Evolution

Jesus the Epitome of Evolution (Perfection)


The Ascent of Man

The Ascending Adam



See further The Human Development of Jesus by B.B.Warfield in Shorter Writings Vol. 1, Nutley, 1970.