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And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was departing, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them; and they also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9–11)

The Lord Jesus Christ was about to depart for heaven to return to His former glory (cf. John 17:1–6). Before doing that, He left the apostles with a final, dramatic moment which provided powerful motivation for carrying on His work. To their amazement, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight (cf. vv. 2, 11, 22). Jesus, in His glorious resurrection body, left this world for the realm of heaven to take His place on the throne at God’s right hand. Back on the Mount of Olives (Luke 24:50), the shocked apostles were gazing intently into the sky while He was departing. To their further consternation, angels, described as two men in white clothing, suddenly appeared and stood beside them. Such angelic appearances were not unusual (Gen. 18:2; Josh. 5:13–15; Mark 16:5). Two of them confirm the promise of Christ’s return as true (cf. John 8:17). These angels asked the bewildered apostles, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky?” They are called men of Galilee since all the apostles (With the exception of the dead traitor Judas) were from that region. The angels’ question, “why do you stand looking into the sky?” indicates more than curiosity at the miracle. The word translated looking indicates a long gaze, in this case a transfixed look as if losing someone. The question, then, is a mild rebuke to the apostles. They were not losing Jesus, as they feared. Maybe some of them remembered the vision of Ezekiel, who saw the glory of God depart to heaven from Israel (Ezek. 10:18–19) and feared it was happening again...

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