Our Lord’s Ascension is an absolutely essential component of His total dispensation in working our salvation. The Incarnation (His Nativity), even His Resurrection are not “complete” without and until our Lord returns “to the place where He was before.” (hymnology of the Feast from Vespers)
The Holy Fathers write about this day and relate exactly these ideas as they teach that the angelic powers were amazed at the Lord’s Nativity in seeing God become man, but on this day those same powers are again amazed at seeing a Man return to heaven as God.
Within that hymnology we hear amazing words. “The Father receives into His bosom He Who is eternally with Him.” It continues with concepts difficult for us to comprehend. “O Lord, Who humbled Yourself for the sake of mankind, and ascended to the place from which You could not be parted, send down the Most Holy Spirit to illumine our souls!” Finally these words: “It is not possible to separate You from the bosom of the Father, O Lord, yet You walked with us as a man. Today You ascended in glory from the Mount of Olives, and in Your compassion raised fallen mankind, seating it with the Father. The bodiless hosts were overcome with awe. Trembling, they glorified Your love for mankind. With them we on earth glorify Your condescension to us, and Your ascension from us.”
In the Old Testament readings for the Feast is the Prophecy of Zechariah, which also needs to be studied and embraced by us:
“Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, and your spoil will be divided in your midst. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives will be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south. And in that day it shall be that living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and half of them toward the western sea; in both summer and winter it shall occur. And the Lord shall be King over all the earth….”
This is a prophecy of the Lord’s return. We heard of this, too, in the Epistle for the day, which taught us from the mouths of the angels present at His Ascension:
“Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, Who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.” In short, the Lord’s return will be to that same spot from which He left on this Feast!
An interesting side note for those who say that Scripture cannot be taken as truth nor as historically accurate.
Years ago (in 1964), the Sheraton Hotel Corporation was researching a potential site for a hotel near the Mount of Olives. They needed to do an environmental impact study to enable construction to begin. When the study was done, they found a major fault running through the Mount of Olives, and had to stop their plans for a hotel at the site.
Christ is Ascended! In Glory!!!!