Video of this message is also available on YouTube: The Lord Jesus Christ Says Farewell – Acts 1:9-14
The “things” the Lord spoke that day (v.9) have been called The Great Commission, for they were His last words on earth (1:8). But He continued to speak through the 12 at Pentecost, and later though Paul. So red letter Bibles should have those words in red too! But Peter’s words were to the Jews (Acts 2:14,22,36) while Paul’s are to us (Rom. 11:13).
The “cloud” that received the Lord (1:9) wasn’t a rain cloud. Clouds are sometimes clouds of men (Heb.11:4—12:1) or of angels (Dan. 7:13). The Lord was always surrounded by angels (Lu. 2:13,14; Ps. 91:11; Mt. 26:52,53), and He would need an angelic escort to rise to heaven through the “air” of Satan’s domain (Eph. 2:2).
His ascension was typified when Elisha saw Elijah ascend and got a double portion of his spirit (II Ki. 2:9-11), enabling him to work twice as many miracles as Elijah. The apostles saw the Lord ascend and worked “greater” miracles than He did (John 14:12 cf. Acts 5:15,16). That’s how you know modern healers don’t have the same Spirit Peter had!
They weren’t expecting the Lord to rise (Lu. 24:50-53), so naturally kept gazing “stedfastly” after Him (1:10). But God sent two angels to tell them not to (v.11), for the Lord had told them certain signs had to appear before they should be looking up (Lu. 21:20-28). So they were making a dispensational error by looking up prematurely.
But here we have a dispensational difference, for no angel will ever tell you to quit looking up, for no signs have to appear before the Lord can come for us. So Paul tells us to be “looking” for Him (Tit. 2:13).
When the angels said the Lord would return for Israel “in like manner” as He ascended (1:11), that tells you He will return suddenly (Mal. 3:1; Mt. 24:44), and with a cloud of angels. Revelation 1:7 says He’ll come with clouds and everyone will see Him, but it’s never cloudy with rain clouds over all the earth! Psalm 104:3 says He makes His clouds a chariot, and Psalm 18:10 says that chariot will be a cherub. Matthew 24:30,31 says He’ll come with power and great glory. Rain clouds can display His power and glory with thunder and lightning, but clouds of angels can do it better. And Matthew 25:31 says He’ll come with angels.
Acts 1:12 says the Lord left from the mount of Olives, and He’ll return in like manner (Zech. 14:4). It also says the apostles returned to Jerusalem, since that’s where the Lord told them to start their witness (Acts 1:8). Bible teachers who think the Lord gave the Great Commission to us know we shouldn’t start in Jerusalem, so they make Jerusalem “your home town.” But the apostles were from Galilee (1:11), Jerusalem wasn’t their home town!
What’s “a sabbath day’s journey” (Acts 1:12)? The distance Jews believed they could walk before it would be considered breaking the sabbath of rest. How far was it? The 12 were near Bethany when the Lord ascended (Lu. 24:50), “about fifteen furlongs” from Jerusalem (Jo. 11:18), or 1.875 miles.
Isn’t it wonderful how the Bible explains itself?
The “upper room” (1:13) might be where they ate the last supper (Lu. 22:7-12), which might have been Mark’s house, since he spoke of them coming that night (Mark 14:15-17).
Acts 1:13 mentions the 12 apostles, minus Judas, but there were also faithful “women” there (1:14), probably the ones who stuck with the Lord when the apostles forsook Him (Mark 15:40,41). Notice Mary was praying with them, they weren’t praying to her, as Rome says we should do. She was a sinner who needed a Savior just like anyone else (Lu. 1:46,47). In addition, the mention of the Lord’s “brethren” being there (1:14) shows Mary wasn’t a perpetual virgin as Rome also teaches.
We’re told they were praying, but we’re not told what they were praying for. Our Pentecostal friends say they were praying for the Spirit to come, but the Lord told them to “wait” for Him (Acts 1:3-5) not pray for Him. The “tarrying” meetings they have, praying for the Spirit, will never produce the power the Spirit gave the disciples back then, for God never promised that kind of power to us Gentiles.