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Acts 1:6-14 – Look! Up in the air! It’s a bird, a plane, a …?

Updated: Feb 4, 2021

This reading is the selection to be read on the Seventh Sunday of Easter. It will next be read aloud in catholic-based churches on Sunday, May 24, 2020. This reading from the first chapter of Acts begins at verse six. Prior to that, Theophilus (a.k.a Luke) wrote of Jesus staying with the disciples for forty days, proving he was alive, not dead or a ghost, using the Greek word “zōnta,” which is the present active participle masculine nominative plural for of “zaó.” While Jesus appeared suddenly, without opening the door to the upper room on Pentecost evening and allowed Thomas to place his fingers in the nail wounds, proving it was him and he was alive, breathing air and eating broiled fish, the forty days with his disciples does not mean Jesus did tricks for his disciples to prove to him he was alive. The use of “living” is opposed to “being dead,” which is what a soul trapped in a mortal body of flesh is. It is a guarantee that the body will die, releasing the soul to a recycling back to the realm of dead matter, not being able to become “alive” in God’s kingdom. Thus, Jesus spent forty days “and  spoke about the kingdom of God,” with “and” being the Greek word “kai” that signals “speaking about the kingdom of God” is most important. Because Jesus proved “life” could come to a body of flesh that had died, it certainly could join with a body still functioning.  As such, Theophilus wrote that Jesus gave “instructions through the Holy Spirit.” This means that the Holy Spirit was within Jesus, giving him life that meant he could not die (even in a body that had died); but more importantly, Jesus spent forty days teaching his chosen disciples how to live as condemned mortals so God would give them the same everlasting life within bodies of dead matter, via the Holy Spirit. In verses four and five, Luke wrote: “On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” That instruction was not stated to have been given at a specific time, but the Greek word “synalizomenos” is translated as if stating “while he was eating with them.”  A better translations means, “being assembled together.” This means the instruction was given once, at a time when all were together (and that might have been during the time of a meal). It says the whole group was in Jerusalem, which was where the Pentecost festival would take place; but, Jesus gave no indication when baptism by the Holy Spirit would take place. Here, it is important to recall how Matthew ended his Gospel, where he wrote a synopsis of the time Jesus spent with the disciples after his resurrection. Matthew wrote, “[Jesus said to them]: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20) This is important, based on this reading in Acts. Also important to remember is the beginning of Matthew’s twenty-fourth chapter, which recalled the day when Jesus told them about the eventual destruction of Herod’s Temple. This event happened the week prior to the Passover Festival, after Jesus had found no inspectors as to his worthiness to be deemed an unflawed Paschal lamb. Jesus and his disciples went to the Mount of Olives, when Matthew wrote this conversation took place: “Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” (Matthew 24:1-2) “As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:1-3) In Matthew 28:20 and in Matthew 24:3 is the use of terminology that is “the end of the age.” The Greek word “aiōnos” is translated as “age,” but this is a term that can simply mean “a space of time.” (Strong’s definition) The way most people read that and understand it is as “a cycle (of time), especially of the present age as contrasted with the future age, and of one of a series of ages stretching to infinity.” An “age” is actually an astronomical reference, which equates to roughly 2,200 years, based on a wobble in the earth’s axial rotation, which slightly changes the zodiac backdrop on the first day of spring. A complete rotation takes roughly 36,000 years, or twelve ages. It is important to know that in the minds of the disciples of Jesus, their questions, “when will this happen: your coming and the end of the age?” is not relative to anything more than one about a “space in time” that simple minds could grasp. To the disciples, “the end of the age” meant the end of Judaism ruling the lives of the children of Israel. To them, that end would be symbolized by the destruction of their magnificent building of worship in Jerusalem. Therefore, when Matthew concluded his last chapter in his Gospel with Jesus giving his disciples comforting words, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age,” it was a statement of the disciples being chosen to begin Christianity (in the truest sense).

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Now, in this (in verse 9), we are told two things: 1.) “Jesus was lifted up,” from the one-word statement “epērthē”; and, 2.) “a cloud hid him from the eyes of them” [a literal translation]. It is important to grasp that Christians recognize this as the Ascension, whereby the word “ascension” is defined generally as “the act of rising to an important position or a higher level.” This event took place in two stages, the first of which simply says that Jesus became elevated. To better see what happened, one can jump forward in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, to chapter two and see how Theopilus wrote, “Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd.” There the word written is “epēren,” which comes from the same root infinitive verb “epairó,” meaning “to raise, lift up.” Certainly, when reading chapter two, most Christians think Peter yelled or made his voice louder, by raising it. Instead, Peter’s voice was “raised,” in the same sense that “Jesus was raised” before his disciples. Then, once Jesus was lifted up Spiritually [not going in any direction marked by human compasses], his form then “was hidden from their eyes by a cloud.” Here, the Greek word “nephelē” is read in the same way the one-word statement “epērthē” is, as literal, rather that spiritually. This means our brains are trained to hear the word “cloud” and automatically think of a cloud in the sky, just like we read Peter’s voice was raised and think that means he talked loudly. The deeper way of understanding this second phase is as meaning “Jesus disappeared from their view as if a cloud surrounded him.”  This means “a cloud” is a way of saying “a fog” or “a mist that prevented vision.” To grasp this best, return to the day the Passover had ended and Jesus suddenly appeared in the room where the disciples hid, behind a locked door. John wrote, “ēlthen ho Iēsous,” which says “came he Jesus.” John did not write that Jesus slowly appeared from a cloud, as if he drifted down or walked through a wall like a ghost. Jesus was not there, but then Jesus was there. This means Jesus was in the upper room, where he “came” or “arrived” or “appeared,” based on viable translations of the Greek. It means his body of flesh had been “hid from the eyes of them,” just like his body of flesh then was again “hid from their eyes.” This means the “cloud” is not material or worldly (like molecules of water vapor, as form in the sky) but ethereal, as in Spiritual. This becomes exactly how Jesus explained [as read last week in John 14], “The world cannot accept him [the Spirit of truth], because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:17) It is no different than when a strange pilgrim walked with Mary and Cleopas to Emmaus, or when Mary Magdalene saw Jesus and though he was a gardener. Jesus was there both times, but unseen and unrecognized.  Thus, the world (of those still without God’s help) “neither sees him nor knows him.” Knowledge of Jesus as the Christ means “he lives with you  and  (from “kai”) will be in you.” By grasping that Jesus did not float away into the sky as the disciples watched [like we believe Elijah left and Elisha watched], we then can understand how “suddenly two men in white robes stood by them.” This can now be seen as “two men in white robes” were already there, but the eyes of the disciples could not see them either.

This is no different than when Peter, James, and John [the brothers of Zebedee] saw Jesus standing with two ghostly white figures, somehow known to be Moses and Elijah. (Matthew 17:3)  It is also just like when the shepherds in the field had a frightening appearance before them.  We are told, “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God.” (Luke 2:13) That angel and the host of heaven just “appeared to them.” This, in my mind, makes realizing that this event took place on the forty-ninth day after the Passover counting of the omer began. The count begins on 16 Nisan, so forty-nine days after would make the known date be 5 Sivan. The Festival of Weeks is called Shavuot in Hebrew, and (according to Wikipedia) Shavuot is always going to be “between May 15 and June 14.” During that time span (astrologically speaking) is when (yearly) the sun’s placement in the sign Gemini (between May 20 and June 20, generally). The stars that make up that constellation are part of “the host of heaven.” That zodiac sign represents two men: Castor and Pollux. Two men in white robes appeared just as Jesus had disappeared; but they came suddenly “while [Jesus] was going and [the disciples] were gazing up toward heaven.” The translation of the Greek word “atenizontes” as “gazing,” when the word also means “looking intently” or “directing [their eyes] steadily” “into the heaven” (from the Greek word “ouranos”) says the disciples were “star gazing.”

The Magi were stargazers and the Jews knew astrology as a tool of divining Yahweh.

While giving the impression that Jesus disappeared as he slowly rose in the sky in a cloud, verse [10] comes after Jesus disappeared from view, with it introduced by a capitalized “Kai,” showing the importance of this statement that literally says, “as intently looking they were into the visible stars as his departure made.”  One can get the impression that some use of astrology might have been employed by the disciples, in an attempt to figure out the “signs” and get an idea when Jesus might reappear. It should be recalled that in Luke’s Gospel, relative to the Sunday morning after Passover ended, the women went to the tomb when Jesus was buried.  When they arrived and found the tomb opened and no corpse in it, Luke wrote, “While [the women] were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.”

That certainly gives the impression of angels, which could also describe Castor and Pollux (had it been them), but the words spoken to the women, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” are similar to those spoken to the disciples, “Why do you stand here looking into the sky?” The symbolism of Gemini is “dualism,” where one was mortal and one was immortal.  It then makes sense that they would present their questions in a dualistic manner: Why look for life in death?; and, Why look to the sky when on earth? By seeing this appearance of angels in this way, the two men in white robes said (in a question), “Jesus never left, so don’t waste your time trying to figure out where he can be seen.” The two men in white then said, “This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”  That needs to be broken down for best understanding. There are three segments of words stated. The first places focus on “this Jesus.” Without any other words to interfere with one’s though processes, the angels were actually saying “We speak for this Jesus.” After having asked why they look up in the sky for answers as to when Jesus will return,” they said “this is how easily Jesus can return.” “This Jesus” who you look for is here now, just unseen. The next segment of words, following the name “Jesus,” says separately, “the one having been taken up from you into the spiritual heaven,” which can mean Jesus was in Spiritual form, where “having been taken up”(from the Greek “analēmphtheis”) is not a statement about being elevated, as was “epērthē.”  The effectual meaning is Jesus did not command himself to disappear, he was “picked up” or “carried off” by God the ruler of “heaven.” Still, relative to the myth of the Gemini twins, the death of Castor so saddening Pollux that he begged Zeus to intervene, such that both were immortalized in the stars together. They both were “carried off” and placed in the “heaven.”

They are holding hands!

This means the angels spoke of this disappearance as an act of God, which is beyond the comprehension of mortal human beings. The third segment of words then says, “thus will come back in the same way you have seen [Jesus] go into heaven.” Again, that says what Jesus had said before he left: “Wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but not after many days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” The angels said it was not up to Jesus when he would return.  God took him from their view and God would place him back when the time was right. When this reading from Acts ends by saying, “All these [male disciples] were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers,” the important thing to grasp is not only men and not only lead disciples would be “baptized with the Holy Spirit.” All who are “constantly devoting themselves to prayer” and obeying the Laws [maintaining only “a sabbath day’s journey” on a Shabbat and staying in Jerusalem as told] would receive the Holy Spirit from God and be reborn as His Son. This is the reading that takes the natural place in the lectionary of an Old Testament reading. It should be noted that it is during the Easter season that the Acts of the Apostles are read as a substitute for the Old Testament readings, because the Old Testament reading support the prophecies of Jesus to come, as stated in the Gospels and Epistles. The Acts are read because the Easter seasons (A, B, and C) are when disciples should be preparing themselves to be filled with the Holy Spirit and be reborn as Jesus Christ. Christianity depends on this renewal of the good fruit of the vine. Easter represents when all the prophecies of Jesus’ coming have been reached, with the next step being new ministries of Jesus, as his “witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Most Christians shutter when someone speaks of astrology. They fear a tool when they should only fear God, love Him with all their hearts, souls, and minds. They cannot fathom that God set the stars to guide men by and is therefore the “inventor” of astrology. As a tool, its use is where danger can come, with that use is in the hands of people who fear living only to serve God.  Evil users seek some external ‘inside skinny’ rather than letting God speak to them within. The concept of the “elohim” leads some Christians to hate all who see many gods as having to have been created by God, or they would not exist. Castor and Pollux are not myth when we understand their essence as well as we understand the essence of such words as “love” and “faith.”  The fallen angels are the “elohim” who take delight in leading mankind away from God, rather than to Him. The angels dressed in white robes  are the “elohim” that are messengers of God, who answer our prayers.  The mere mention of Castor and Pollux, from pagan mythologies, seem to those not “baptized with the Holy Spirit” as an evil statement, while they welcome the concept of angels in white robes. Why cannot the two be the same, at least in principle? All arguments against acceptance of Scripture as meaningful, with logical supporting evidence, while pandering some mambo jambo [gibberish] of meaningless catch phrases, where explanations of meaning leave one asking for explanations of the explanations, only serves the purpose of keeping disciples ignorant and wanting. The point of the Easter season is to have new disciples stand up [be raised spiritually] and let God flow through them as He did on Pentecost. Any priest, pastor, minister or preacher who gives a two-bit sermon about Pollyanna needs to be confronted with their lack of Apostlehood, for not spreading the Holy Spirit so others can rise and become ministers of the Word. Please, if you have a church that you go to and this reading is not addressed properly, print this out and schedule a conference with that leader and ask him or her to explain to you where this analysis is wrong. Let the leaders know that they have become as meaningless as Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes, who are blind as bats as to the meaning of God’s Word when Jesus lived.  The same conditions have returned, with mortal men and women pretending to be Saints.  This needs to end. Do that and get back with me, please. Amen

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