The ascent of Jesus into heaven (Acts 1: 2–11; a shorter version is in Luke 24: 50–3). There are two OT stories and also Ps. 110 which form the background of the accounts. When Enoch had attained 365 years, he ‘walked with God’; then he was no more, because God took him (Gen. 5: 24); the prophet Elijah was taken to heaven by a whirlwind (2 Kgs. 2: 11). Ascension stories (e.g. of Heracles) also circulated in the pagan Hellenistic world. The character of Jesus' appearances after Easter as recorded by Luke have a more ‘solid’ ‘corporeal’ and evidential nature than elsewhere in the NT, even though the risen body could pass through doors. It was necessary for Luke to explain that the appearances would cease and be replaced by the presence in the Church of the Holy Spirit, and his solution was to use the OT notion of ascension after forty days (cf. Elijah's journey of forty days and nights to Horeb the Mount of God, 1 Kgs. 19: 8) to signify the termination of resurrection appearances and the completion of Jesus' work of redemption and his ascendancy in a Messianic kingdom over all things.

Traditionally, the Ascension has been regarded as a physical elevation and many famous pictures, e.g. by Tintoretto in Venice, show Jesus moving upwards in a cloud, even leaving behind a footprint on the ground. However, given the OT background the Ascension should be regarded as Luke's way of expressing his understanding of the completion of one era and the inauguration of another, that of the Church, which at Pentecost would shortly be endowed with the Holy Spirit which the heavenly Christ would send for the completion of his mission (John 20: 21). Although the Ascension has often been understood in the past in a literal way, there is a valid symbolical interpretation, for the spatial metaphor of height expresses the idea of transcendence.