Mark 16:19 Commentary - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
19. He was received up into heaven Of this ascension the fullest account of all the Gospels is given in Luk 24:50-52. And as if the ascension belonged less to the Gospel narrative than to the growth of the kingdom of God after that narrative closes, the fullest picture of all is given in Act 1:2-12.
The scene took place (not in Galilee, but) on the Mount of Olives near the verge of Bethany. Our Saviour led them to that spot, and while conversing with them, he lifted up his hand and blessed them. And as he blessed them he began to ascend. And as he ascended, the cloud gathering beneath his feet at once bore him upward and closed him from their sight.
Whither did the person of Jesus ascend? Into heaven. But where is heaven? We know not its locality in the immensity of the universe. Astronomers indeed tell us that there is a centre of our solar system, and that is the sun. But the sun is a member of a larger system, which has its centre or sun.
And this is member of a still grander system revolving around its centre. At last there is a centre of the whole universe. At that centre resides the great MOVER of the whole. There doubtless is the central residence of GOD. To that centre perhaps Jesus departed. At any rate heaven is away from this earth, and away from this earth is up. Wherever heaven is therefore it is up. The language of Scripture, the language of humanity, the language of our childhood, herein is true, and, strictly in accordance with the highest science.
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Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
Daniel D. Whedon (1808-1885) was a prominent university professor, theologian, and author. He served as Professor of Ancient Languages at Wesleyan University in Connecticut; as Professor of Rhetoric at the University of Michigan; and as editor of the Methodist Quarterly Review from 1856 to1884. He authored numerous books including Commentary on the New Testament (New York: Carlton & Porter, 1860); Commentary on the Old Testament (New York: Nelson & Phillips, 1873); What is Arminianism? (Toronto: W. Briggs, 1879); and Essays, Reviews, and Discourses (New York: Phillips & Hunt, 1887).