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Jesus Ascends to Heaven

I wrote[a] the former[b] account,[c] Theophilus,[d] about all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up to heaven,[e] after he had given orders[f] by[g] the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. To the same apostles[h] also, after his suffering,[i] he presented himself alive with many convincing proofs. He was seen by them over a forty-day period[j] and spoke about matters concerning the kingdom of God.[k] While he was with them,[l] he declared,[m] “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait there[n] for what my[o] Father promised,[p] which you heard about from me.[q] For[r] John baptized with water, but you[s] will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

So when they had gathered together, they began to ask him,[t] “Lord, is this the time when you are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He told them, “You are not permitted to know[u] the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts[v] of the earth.” After[w] he had said this, while they were watching, he was lifted up and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 As[x] they were still staring into the sky while he was going, suddenly[y] two men in white clothing stood near them 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here[z] looking up into the sky? This same Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven[aa] will come back in the same way you saw him go into heaven.”

A Replacement for Judas is Chosen

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mountain[ab] called the Mount of Olives[ac] (which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey[ad] away). 13 When[ae] they had entered Jerusalem,[af] they went to the upstairs room where they were staying. Peter[ag] and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James were there.[ah] 14 All these continued together in prayer with one mind, together with the women, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.[ai] 15 In those days[aj] Peter stood up among the believers[ak] (a gathering of about 120 people) and said, 16 “Brothers,[al] the scripture had to be fulfilled that the Holy Spirit foretold through[am] David concerning Judas—who became the guide for those who arrested Jesus— 17 for he was counted as one of us and received a share in this ministry.”[an] 18 (Now this man Judas[ao] acquired a field with the reward of his unjust deed,[ap] and falling headfirst[aq] he burst open in the middle and all his intestines[ar] gushed out. 19 This[as] became known to all who lived in Jerusalem, so that in their own language[at] they called that field[au] Hakeldama, that is, “Field of Blood.”) 20 “For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘Let his house become deserted,[av] and let there be no one to live in it,’[aw] and ‘Let another take his position of responsibility.’[ax] 21 Thus one of the men[ay] who have accompanied us during all the time the Lord Jesus associated with[az] us, 22 beginning from his baptism by John until the day he[ba] was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness of his resurrection together with us.” 23 So they[bb] proposed two candidates:[bc] Joseph called Barsabbas (also called Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed,[bd] “Lord, you know the hearts of all. Show us which one of these two you have chosen 25 to assume the task[be] of this service[bf] and apostleship from which Judas turned aside[bg] to go to his own place.”[bh] 26 Then[bi] they cast lots for them, and the one chosen was Matthias;[bj] so he was counted with the eleven apostles.[bk]


  1. Acts 1:1 tn Or “produced,” Grk “made.”
  2. Acts 1:1 tn Or “first.” The translation “former” is preferred because “first” could imply to the modern English reader that the author means that his previous account was the first one to be written down. The Greek term πρῶτος (prōtos) does not necessarily mean “first” in an absolute sense, but can refer to the first in a set or series. That is what is intended here—the first account (known as the Gospel of Luke) as compared to the second one (known as Acts).
  3. Acts 1:1 tn The Greek word λόγος (logos) is sometimes translated “book” (NRSV, NIV) or “treatise” (KJV). A formal, systematic treatment of a subject is implied, but the word “book” may be too specific and slightly misleading to the modern reader, so “account” has been The former account refers to the Gospel of Luke, which was “volume one” of the two-volume work Luke-Acts.
  4. Acts 1:1 tn Grk “O Theophilus,” but the usage of the vocative in Acts with (ō) is unemphatic, following more the classical idiom (see ExSyn 69).
  5. Acts 1:2 tn The words “to heaven” are not in the Greek text, but are supplied from v. 11. Several modern translations (NIV, NRSV) supply the words “to heaven” after “taken up” to specify the destination explicitly mentioned later in 1:11.
  6. Acts 1:2 tn Or “commands.” Although some modern translations render ἐντειλάμενος (enteilamenos) as “instructions” (NIV, NRSV), the word implies authority or official sanction (G. Schrenk, TDNT 2:545), so that a word like “orders” conveys the idea more effectively. The action of the temporal participle is antecedent (prior) to the action of the verb it modifies (“taken up”).
  7. Acts 1:2 tn Or “through.”
  8. Acts 1:3 tn Grk “to them”; the referent (the apostles) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  9. Acts 1:3 sn After his suffering is a reference to Jesus’ crucifixion and the abuse which preceded it.
  10. Acts 1:3 tn Grk “during forty days.” The phrase “over a forty-day period” is used rather than “during forty days” because (as the other NT accounts of Jesus’ appearances make clear) Jesus was not continually visible to the apostles during the forty days, but appeared to them on various occasions.
  11. Acts 1:3 sn The kingdom of God is a major theme of Jesus’ teaching. The nature of the kingdom of God in the NT and in Jesus’ teaching has long been debated by interpreters and scholars, with discussion primarily centering around the nature of the kingdom (earthly, heavenly, or both) and the kingdom’s arrival (present, future, or both). An additional major issue concerns the relationship between the kingdom of God and the person and work of Jesus himself. See Luke 6:20; 11:20; 17:20-21.
  12. Acts 1:4 tn Or “While he was assembling with them,” or “while he was sharing a meal with them.” There are three basic options for translating the verb συναλίζω (sunalizō): (1) “Eat (salt) with, share a meal with”; (2) “bring together, assemble”; (3) “spend the night with, stay with” (see BDAG 964 s.v.). The difficulty with the first option is that it does not fit the context, and this meaning is not found elsewhere. The second option is difficult because of the singular number and the present tense. The third option is based on a spelling variation of συναυλιζόμενος (sunaulizomenos), which some minuscules actually read here. The difference in meaning between (2) and (3) is not great, but (3) seems to fit the context somewhat better here.
  13. Acts 1:4 tn Grk “ordered them”; the command “Do not leave” is not in Greek but is an indirect quotation in the original (see note at end of the verse for explanation).
  14. Acts 1:4 tn The word “there” is not in the Greek text (direct objects in Greek were frequently omitted when clear from the context).
  15. Acts 1:4 tn Grk “the,” with the article used as a possessive pronoun (ExSyn 215).
  16. Acts 1:4 tn Grk “for the promise of the Father.” Jesus is referring to the promised gift of the Holy Spirit (see the following verse).
  17. Acts 1:4 tn Grk “While he was with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for ‘what my Father promised, which you heard about from me.’” This verse moves from indirect to direct discourse. This abrupt change is very awkward, so the entire quotation has been rendered as direct discourse in the translation.
  18. Acts 1:5 tn In the Greek text v. 5 is a continuation of the previous sentence, which is long and complicated. In keeping with the tendency of contemporary English to use shorter sentences, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
  19. Acts 1:5 tn The pronoun is plural in Greek.
  20. Acts 1:6 tn Grk “they began to ask him, saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated. The imperfect tense of the Greek verb ἠρώτων (ērōtōn) has been translated as an ingressive imperfect.
  21. Acts 1:7 tn Grk “It is not for you to know.”
  22. Acts 1:8 tn Or “to the ends.”
  23. Acts 1:9 tn Grk “And after.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.
  24. Acts 1:10 tn Grk “And as.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.
  25. Acts 1:10 tn Grk “behold.”
  26. Acts 1:11 tn The word “here” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context, but must be supplied for the modern English reader.
  27. Acts 1:11 tc Codex Bezae (D) and several other witnesses lack the words εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν (eis ton ouranon, “into heaven”) here, most likely by way of accidental deletion. In any event, it is hardly correct to suppose that the Western text has intentionally suppressed references to the ascension of Christ here, for the phrase is solidly attested in the final clause of the Or “into the sky.” The Greek word οὐρανός (ouranos) may be translated “sky” (vv. 10, 11a) or “heaven” (twice in v. 11b) depending on the context.
  28. Acts 1:12 tn Or “from the hill.” The Greek term ὄρος (oros) refers to a relatively high elevation of land in contrast with βουνός (bounos, “hill”).
  29. Acts 1:12 sn The Mount of Olives is the traditional name for this mountain, also called Olivet. The Mount of Olives is really a ridge running north to south about 1.8 mi (3 km) long, east of Jerusalem across the Kidron Valley. Its central elevation is about 100 ft (30 m) higher than Jerusalem. It was named for the large number of olive trees which grew on it.
  30. Acts 1:12 sn The phrase a Sabbath day’s journey refers to the distance the rabbis permitted a person to travel on the Sabbath without breaking the Sabbath, specified in tractate Sotah 5:3 of the Mishnah as 2,000 cubits (a cubit was about 18 inches). In this case the distance was about half a mile (1 km).
  31. Acts 1:13 tn Grk “And when.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.
  32. Acts 1:13 tn The word “Jerusalem” is not in the Greek text but is implied (direct objects were often omitted when clear from the context).
  33. Acts 1:13 sn In the various lists of the twelve, Peter (also called Simon) is always mentioned first (see also Matt 10:1-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:13-16) and the first four are always the same, though not in the same order after Peter.
  34. Acts 1:13 tn The words “were there” are not in the Greek text, but are implied.
  35. Acts 1:14 sn Jesus’ brothers are mentioned in Matt 13:55 and John 7:3.
  36. Acts 1:15 tn Grk “And in those days.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.
  37. Acts 1:15 tn Or “brethren” (but the term includes both male and female believers present in this gathering, as indicated by those named in vv. 13-14).
  38. Acts 1:16 tn Grk “Men brothers.” In light of the compound phrase ἄνδρες ἀδελφοί (andres adelphoi, “Men brothers”) Peter’s words are best understood as directly addressed to the males present, possibly referring specifically to the twelve (really ten at this point—eleven minus the speaker, Peter) mentioned by name in v. 13.
  39. Acts 1:16 tn Grk “foretold by the mouth of.”
  40. Acts 1:17 tn Or “and was chosen to have a share in this ministry.” The term λαγχάνω (lanchanō) here and in 2 Pet 1:1 can be understood as referring to the process of divine choice and thus be translated, “was chosen to have.”
  41. Acts 1:18 tn The referent of “this man” (Judas) was specified in the translation for clarity.
  42. Acts 1:18 tn Traditionally, “with the reward of his wickedness.”
  43. Acts 1:18 tn Traditionally, “falling headlong.”
  44. Acts 1:18 tn Or “all his bowels.”
  45. Acts 1:19 tn Grk “And this.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.
  46. Acts 1:19 sn Their own language refers to Aramaic, the primary language spoken in Palestine in Jesus’ day.
  47. Acts 1:19 tn Grk “that field was called.” The passive voice has been converted to active in the translation in keeping with contemporary English style.
  48. Acts 1:20 tn Or “uninhabited” or “empty.”
  49. Acts 1:20 sn A quotation from Ps 69:25.
  50. Acts 1:20 tn Or “Let another take his office.”sn A quotation from Ps 109:8.
  51. Acts 1:21 tn The Greek term here is ἀνήρ (anēr), which only exceptionally is used in a generic sense of both males and females. In this context, where a successor to Judas is being chosen, only men were under consideration in the original historical context.
  52. Acts 1:21 tn Grk “the Lord Jesus went in and out among us.” According to BDAG 294 s.v. εἰσέρχομαι 1.b.β, “ἐν παντὶ χρόνῳ ᾧ εἰσῆλθεν καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ἐφ᾿ ἡμᾶς went in and out among us = associated with us Ac 1:21.”
  53. Acts 1:22 tn Here the pronoun “he” refers to Jesus.
  54. Acts 1:23 tc Codex Bezae (D) and other Western witnesses have “he proposed,” referring to Peter, thus emphasizing his role above the other apostles. The Western text displays a conscious pattern of elevating Peter in Acts, and thus the singular verb here is a palpably motivated reading.
  55. Acts 1:23 tn Grk “So they proposed two.” The word “candidates” was supplied in the text for clarity.
  56. Acts 1:24 tn Grk “And praying, they said.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.
  57. Acts 1:25 tn Grk “to take the place.”
  58. Acts 1:25 tn Or “of this ministry.”
  59. Acts 1:25 tn Or “the task of this service and apostleship which Judas ceased to perform.”
  60. Acts 1:25 sn To go to his own place. This may well be a euphemism for Judas’ judged fate. He separated himself from them, and thus separated he would remain.
  61. Acts 1:26 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the continuity with the preceding verse. Greek style often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” but English style does not.
  62. Acts 1:26 tn Grk “and the lot fell on Matthias.”
  63. Acts 1:26 tn Or “he was counted as one of the apostles along with the eleven.”