One of the questions that came in Sunday during the teaching but didn’t get addressed in the gathering was this: “Is it possible that, although the Scriptures present the ascension as a single event, Jesus went back and forth often between that time and the final ascension?”
Succinctly, no. At least not if we take the Scriptures at face value. Luke records he was appearing to many during these 40 days, which settles the issue of what he was dong on the earth prior to his ascension. Furthermore, there is not a single textual reference to any other type of ascension after his resurrection but still before the one described in Acts 1. So we need not wonder if there was some kind of heaven-earth travel Jesus engaged in during his 40 days after the resurrection. Once he was raised from the dead and left the tomb, Scripture presents a Jesus that was physically on the earth providing “many infallible proofs” that he truly was the resurrected Christ up until he ascended back to the Father.
Interestingly, the answer to this question is in the question — “…the Scriptures present…” We must be careful, when wondering what happened, not to wander into territory that either adds or subtracts from the clear and plain meaning of the text and context. This is why I find the word “possible” quite interesting. Could Jesus go back and forth? Sure! After all, he was Jesus! He had just risen from the dead after preaching freedom to the captives, so to say Jesus ‘couldn’t’ do something (like go back and forth between heaven and earth) seems like we’re restricting him, making him less than entirely awesome and all-powerful.
But did he go back and forth? No. The Bible in no way presents any textual evidence of this kind of action, and actually presents material to suggest the opposite. This doesn’t lower him or demean him, leaving us wondering what he didn’t or couldn’t do; it simply helps us know him and love him for what he did do — die once as our sacrifice, rise once as our victor, and ascend once as our King.