Daniel, Luke, and the Ascension of Christ

Ascension and Ecclesia

Douglas Farrow has a nice comparison of Daniel 7’s apocalyptic images and Luke’s two-fold emphasis on the ascension of Christ (Luke 24 and Acts 1-2).  See Ascension and Ecclesia (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1999), 24-6.

“Daniel and Luke-Acts are clearly engaged in telling one and the same story, about the same great journey of God’s elect, with an eye deliberately fixed on that journey’s end.  Peter’s sermon in Acts 2…rings out the triumphant note sounded already by Christ during his trial: ‘from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.’ That is Daniel’s note, of course.”

“What Daniel envisioned from above, therefore, Luke is now able to chronicle from below….  Jesus’ ascension has actually been witnessed by the disciples, with their craning necks.  News of his coronation in heaven (still hidden from view) has reached earth in the pandemonium of Pentecost.  His universal authority is already becoming manifest through the power of the gospel in every place and people.”

Back to Peter’s sermon: “What we are offered is a sermon on the ascension of the risen Jesus to the throne, that is, to Israel’s throne and the throne of the Presence from which the Spirit goes forth.” 

In sum, Daniel and Luke write about the same event from a different period of time and a different “location,” as it were.  Daniel wrote pre-ascension, Luke wrote post-ascension, but they both write about the same thing.  Daniel writes “from above” (apocalyptic) while Luke writes “from below” (narrative). 

In the rest of the book, Farrow explains how important the ascension is for the church; he well answers the question, “Where is Jesus now?”


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