About 10 years ago now a good friend of mine, J-P Aranzulla, got me excited about the Ascension of Jesus and its significance. When Jesus ascended and went into heaven, he was fulfilling the role of Aaron and the High Priests of Israel. He put it like this. If you imagine a model of the temple with its Holy Place and Most Holy Place separated by a curtain, and the High Priest who (alone) entered the Most Holy Place to make atonement for the sins of the people, by offering the blood from the sacrifice. Then in your mind’s eye, take the model and lift it 90 degrees so that the Most Holy Place is up in the air… then imagine Jesus moving upwards into the air and disappearing behind a cloud. The picture becomes very clear. The curtain in the temple is the barrier that separates sinful man from the eternal dwelling-place of God. Jesus has now entered, bearing his own blood to atone for our sins. And there he intercedes for us today.
John Calvin neatly describes him going through “a fold in space”.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest for ever, in the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 6:19-20)