Dear Rabbi Erwteman,
I have a question for which I really cannot find anything about, namely: how does Ascension fit in the Jewish Festival cycle? Is Ascension also a fulfillment of a prophecy in the Tanakh or is Ascension completely ‘new’? How should we see this feast within the whole Jewish Bible? And could Psalm 110: 1 also point to Yeshua’s Ascension? Perhaps you have already paid attention to this, and have I overlooked that. I would really appreciate it if you would respond to this.
Gerbrig Arends-Alkema, De Krim
Dear Mrs. Arends-Alkema,
You are asking interesting questions about the phenomenon of what is called the Ascension of Yeshua, see the Book of Acts 1: 9-10. As far as I know, there is no prophecy about the Ascension – unless you consider Psalm 68:18 to this – but the coming of the Son of Man from heaven in the prophecy of Daniel, see Daniel 7:9-13 and then specially verse 13. ‘Ascension’ is not new, if we should say that Moses has been in heaven on the Mount Sinai and that prophets like Isaiah (chapter 6) and Ezekiel (chapter 1) have seen heavenly images. The prophet Elijah also experienced an ascension.
The Jewish Bible pays attention to what is to be seen in heaven, not to the Ascension itself. The invention of this attention is not a Jewish matter. In the fifth century Ascension Day was made a separate feast. During the Middle Ages, the feast was developed as to be the closing end of the “Easter” period. This was symbolized by the extinguishing of the RC Easter candle on Ascension Day, which was later introduced in the Protestant church.
The Organizing of Ascension into something what has to be celebrated originates from the church who has rejected the Torah and has made changes by incorrect motives. Easter means for that church only the resurrection of Yeshua, whereby the Exodus out of Egypt has been cut out, and Pentecost means only the descending of the Spirit whereby the giving of the Torah has been cut out. The attention to Ascension fills something like that artificial hole. On the other hand, anyone who wants to give Ascension Day a moment’s thought by his own sincere motives can do this.
Psalm 110 is certainly not a reference to the ascension of Yeshua. The reason that this is not possible is that within Judaism, it is understood through the words of the prophet Daniel in 7: 9-13, that there is always, forever eternal, someone who stands next to the Throne. In older Jewish prayer books He has been named the Metatron, bearing the name Yeshua! Metatron is a Greek word which is used for this and means: He who stands next to the Throne. Therefore, Yeshua did not need the ascension.
Lion S. Erwteman