“16Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ASCENDED to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ASCENDING to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.'”(John 20:16-17).
After Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, he was first seen by Mary Magdalene. She ran to Him, but He told her not to cling (touch) to Him, for He had not yet ASCENDED to His Father. That ASCENSION would not occur until forty days later. He told her to go to the disciples and tell them that He would be ASCENDING to the Father.
“8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, HE IVAS TAKEN UP, AND A CLOUD RECEIVED HIM OUT OF THEIR SIGHT. 10And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven AS HE WENT UP, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was TAKEN UP FROM YOU INTO HEAVEN, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:8-11).
Before Christ ASCENDED to the Father, He appeared in Jerusalem and was seen by many different groups of people. They knew that He was alive and had resurrected from the grave. He spent forty days speaking with His apostles and telling them things about the Kingdom of God. He led His apostles out as far as Bethany and while He spoke He was taken up and ASCENDED to the Father. (Luke 24:50-53).
He promised His disciples that they would receive the Holy Spirit after His ASCENSION. He told them that they were to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. They watched as He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. While they looked steadfastly toward heaven two angels told them that Jesus would come again in like manner (in the clouds) as they saw Him taken up. This was a reference to His second coming Parousia, which occurred in AD 66-70, in that generation. (Heb. 9:28).
Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians in c.AD 63 and said that Christ had descended into Hades, preaching to the faithful believing saints there, assuring them that He was alive. He brought them up forty days later at His ASCENSION. He left them in the outer courts of heaven, while He ascended on up to the Holy of Holies to complete the Yom Kippur atonement in the heavenly temple.
“8 Therefore He says: ‘When He ASCENDED on high, HE LED CAPTIVITY CAPTIVE, and gave gifts to men.’ 9(Now this, ‘He ASCENDED’ –what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10He who descended is also the One who ASCENDED far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)” (Eph. 4:8-10).
See also related “Topic Studies & Terms”:
For a more in-depth study see the related full “Study Series” (available upon request if not hyperlinked):