The good people at Christian Focus Publishers (CFP) kindly invited me to preview and endorse Tim Chester and Jonny Woodrow’s, The Ascension: Humanity in the Presence of God (96 pp.; also available through WTS Bookstore). Here is the endorsement (with my name misspelled on the Amazon page):
Tim Chester and Jonny Woodrow pull back the curtains of the true temple to disclose the glories of the ongoing work of the Savior on our behalf. They powerfully reveal the Ascension as fulfillment of what all of Redemptive History foreshadows—that the Lord’s own will enter his presence only through the work of the one who can go up into the very clouds of God Almighty. Along the way the seasoned churchmen teach us how to read the two Testaments with great Biblical-theological insight. Meditation upon this exposition of Christ’s “going up” will strengthen all aspects of our private and corporate worship, prayer, evangelism, of public kingdom living and of Gospel preaching. Chester and Woodrow have given us a gift that will lift our eyes from this temporal horizon to the steppes of eternal joys of our High Priest in heaven.
From the book, please consider this passage on the question of the Ascension within the flow of Redemptive History:
Near where we live is the parish church of St Mary and St Martin in the village of Blyth, Nottinghamshire. Along the south side is a series of four stained-glass windows which date from around 1300. Each of the four windows consists of three pairs of stories. In each case the lower image is a story from the Old Testament while the image above depicts a New Testament story that fulfills the promise implicit in the Old Testament story. This is a medieval biblical theology in coloured glass.
Many of the pairings are predictable. Naaman being cleansed of leprosy in the River Jordan is paired with Jesus healing the leper in Mark 1. Isaac carrying wood up Mount Moriah is paired with Jesus carrying the cross. The Passover meal is paired with Jesus being stripped for crucifixion.
Two panes relate to the ascension. One shows Mary Magdalene grasping hold of the Risen Christ with Jesus saying, ‘Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended’ (John 20:17). The second shows the ascension itself. Which Old Testament stories would you choose to match these New Testament fulfillments?
In the windows of St Mary and St Martin’s the scene underneath Jesus saying to Mary, ‘Touch me not for I am not yet ascended’ is Abel’s acceptable sacrifice (Gen. 4:4) and underneath the ascension itself is a picture of Abraham meeting the priest-king Melchizedek (Gen. 14:18). As we shall see, the medieval craftsmen who made these windows rightly identified the ascension as the fulfillment of all that sacrifice and priesthood represented in the Old Testament. (13-14)
I will not give away the riches of the presentation. I encourage you to get it and read it for yourself and those you serve.
I am grateful to have met Willie and Kate Mackenzie of CFP at TGC13. I enjoyed my time of fellowship with them.