In Acts 1:10-11 we read;
10And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven”.
What is so important to us in question by the statement of Moses and Elijah, is to whom the statement was addressed; “YE MEN OF GALILEE”.
This address was strictly to the followers (disciples) of Jesus then.
Firstly, they were called the Nazarenes, since Jesus was from Nazareth. Then when He moved His ministry to Galilee, they were called Galileans, and finally in Acts 11, they were now tagged Christians. Just like you have the camps of the Pharisees and the Sadducees etc.
So then, the primary audience of this address was the first century disciples of Jesus and this is very important as it relates to the issue of ‘coming in like manner’.
Why? Because if He must come in like manner the way we project it, then certainly only His disciples then to whom it was addressed to should see Him, for you and I were not there when this promise was made.
IN LIKE MANNER.
Now hear this! “…this same Jesus… shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
This truly has nothing to do with a human being called Jesus floating back from the empty sky above.
The Greek word used for MANNER is TROPOS, which means the pattern, mode, style, manner or way, and not the Greek word for “Bodily Form or Shape” which is MORPHE.
Luke, used TROPOS instead of MORPHE.
So, we are looking at the ‘way’, style, mode or pattern Christ departed, as He entered into the cloud. That ought also to be the way or manner with which He must come back. Therefore, the passage is not talking about His physical (morphe) shape but the way He left.
So, what was the manner of Christ ascension? It is that His ascension was not a movement witnessed by many people, but the few chosen apostles, His faithful followers in order that they might bear witness of the ascension (Acts 1:1-3). This is why the address is to “ye men of Galilee” (Acts 1:11), because that was how the disciples (followers) of Jesus were called then. Therefore, on the day of Pentecost, the question was “…are not all these which speak Galileans? (Acts 2:7), for it was in Antioch that His disciples were finally called Christians (Acts 11:26) like we said earlier on.
You can observe that, even when He arose from the grave after His crucifixion, He appeared ONLY to His chosen ones, and not to everybody. See Acts 10:
“39And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: 40Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; 41NOT TO ALL THE PEOPLE, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. 42And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead”. Compare Acts. 13:31.
Again, 1 Corinthians 15, Paul said;
“4And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve 6After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8And last of all he was seen of me (Paul) also, as of one born out of due time”
This then is what is meant by the manner of His ascension, and of course that ought to be the manner of His coming as well even as they saw Him go.
Consider this also,
Since the manner of His ascension was that ONLY His disciples witnessed, heard, and saw Him go, therefore “…UNTO THEM (only) THAT LOOK FOR HIM, SHALL HE APPEAR THE SECOND TIME WITHOUT SIN UNTO SALVATION” (Hebrew 9:28).
In summary, the address of Moses and Elijah was to only the disciples of Jesus called Galileans then.
He never floated away in the sky above but in A CLOUD, God’s invisible vehicle of expression so you don’t expect him to come from the sky for everybody to see Him. That will violate the manner of His ascension, which was supposed to be the manner of His coming. In line with His manner of going, which was witnessed by only His disciples who saw Him go, only His disciples saw Him when He rose from the grave and walked the earth for Forty Days.
It’s important we stick to what the word says instead of reading our preconceived thoughts and belief into the scriptures.
This therefore has nothing to do with the rapture as we have commonly believed as being caught up in the clouds to whisk us away in the air.
So, how would every eye see Him? you may ask as stated in Revelation 1:7, “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen”
This will be our next discussion, stay with me.