Looked steadfastly - Keeping their eyes intensely fixed on their ascending Lord; continuing to look even after he had ascended above the region of the inferior clouds.
Two men stood by them - Doubtless, angels in human shape.
In white apparel - As emblematical of their purity, happiness, and glory.
Looked stedfastly - They fixed their eyes, or gazed intently toward heaven. Luke 4:20, “and the eyes of all them in the synagogue were fastened (Greek: the same word as here) on him.” It denotes the intense gaze when we are deeply interested, and wish to see clearly and distinctly. They were amazed and confounded; what had occurred was unlocked for; for they had just been inquiring whether he would not, at that time, restore the kingdom to Israel. With this mingled amazement, disappointment, and curiosity, and with an earnest desire to catch the last glimpse of their beloved master, they naturally continued to gaze on the distant clouds where he had mysteriously disappeared from their view. Never was a scene more impressive, grand, and solemn than this.
Toward heaven - Toward the distant clouds or sky which had received him.
As he went up - Literally, upon him going up; that is, they gazed on him as he ascended, and doubtless they continued to gaze after he had disappeared from their view.
Two men - From the raiment of these “men,” and the nature of their message, it seems clear that they were angelic beings, who were sent to meet and comfort the disciples on this occasion. They appeared in human form, and Luke describes them as they appeared. Angels are not infrequently called people. Luke 24:4, “two men stood by them in shining garments,” etc. Compare John 20:12; Matthew 28:5. As two angels are mentioned only as addressing the apostles after the resurrection of Jesus John 20:12; Luke 24:4, it is no unnatural supposition that these were the same who had been designated to the honorable office of bearing witness to his resurrection, and of giving them all the information about that resurrection, and of his ascension, which their circumstances needed.
In white apparel - Angels are commonly represented as clothed in white. See the John 20:12 note; Matthew 28:3 note; Mark 16:5 note. It is an emblem of purity; and the worshippers of heaven are represented as clothed in this manner. Revelation 3:4, “they shall walk with me in white”; Revelation 3:5, “He that overcometh shall be clothed in white raiment”; Revelation 4:4; Revelation 7:9, Revelation 7:13-14.
The disciples not only saw the Lord ascend, but they had the testimony of the angels that He had gone to occupy His Father's throne in heaven.... The brightness of the heavenly escort, and the opening of the glorious gates of God to welcome Him, were not to be discerned by mortal eyes. Had the track of Christ to heaven been revealed to the disciples in all its inexpressible glory, they could not have endured the sight.... AG 49.3Read in context »
The time had come for Christ to ascend to His Father's throne. As a divine conqueror He was about to return with the trophies of victory to the heavenly courts. Before His death He had declared to His Father, “I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.” John 17:4. After His resurrection He tarried on earth for a season, that His disciples might become familiar with Him in His risen and glorified body. Now He was ready for the leave-taking. He had authenticated the fact that He was a living Saviour. His disciples need no longer associate Him with the tomb. They could think of Him as glorified before the heavenly universe. DA 829.1Read in context »
Such faith may be represented by the eleventh hour laborers who receive as much reward as do those who have labored for many hours. The thief asked in faith, in penitence, in contrition. He asked in earnestness, as if he fully realized that Jesus could save him if He would. And the hope in his voice was mingled with anguish as he realized that if He did not, he would be lost, eternally lost. He cast his helpless, dying soul and body on Jesus Christ (Manuscript 52, 1897). 5BC 1125.1Read in context »
Christ longed to be in a position where He could accomplish the most important work by few and simple means. The plan of redemption is comprehensive; but its parts are few, and each part depends on the others, while all work together with the utmost simplicity and in entire harmony. Christ is represented by the Holy Spirit; and when this Spirit is appreciated, when those controlled by the Spirit communicate to others the energy with which they are imbued, an invisible chord is touched which electrifies the whole. Would that we could all understand how boundless are the divine resources (The Watchman, November 28, 1905). 6BC 1053.1
The Holy Spirit Gives Divine Authority—Jesus says, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me.” It is the union of the Holy Spirit and the testimony of the living witness that is to warn the world. The worker for God is the agent through which the heavenly communication is given, and the Holy Spirit gives divine authority to the word of truth (The Review and Herald, April 4, 1893). 6BC 1053.2Read in context »