Question: What Happened in Heaven on the Day Christ Rose from the Dead?
Answer: Many people are probably aware of the scenes of the resurrection associated with the tomb and the disciples. A mighty, radiant angel sits upon the rolled away stone. The Roman guards cower as dead men. Mary sees her Lord. And, under various circumstances Christ appears to the faithful. However, have you considered the wonderful events that occurred in Heaven?
First, I will establish that Christ did indeed ascend to heaven soon after His resurrection. In John 20:17 we find that while Mary is overjoyed at the sight of her Lord, Christ tells her not to cling to Him because He has not yet ascended to His Father. Yet later, as described in Matthew 28:6-9 and Luke 24:36-42, Jesus freely allows His disciples to hold and handle Him. Several days later John 20:27 tells us that Thomas also was given the opportunity to freely hold upon Christ. Jesus referred to this, as given in John 16:16-22, as being gone a little while specifically because He would go to see the Father in Heaven. Is there a place in the Bible that describes this scene?
Consider Revelation 4 and 5. These chapters begin by describing Heaven just prior to the crucifixion. We see the Father sitting alone upon His throne. Those present include the 24 elders, whom I believe are representatives from other worlds. The four living creatures are present and a symbol representative of the Holy Spirit. Notably absent are Christ and the multitudinous angelic host of Heaven as described in other places in the Bible such as Daniel 7:9-10. The heavenly scene is similar to the descriptions given in Ezekiel 1 and Isaiah 6. The beginning of Revelation 5 tells us there is no one found worthy to open the sealed scroll resting in the hand of the Father. Christ at this point has not yet conquered.
But then, Christ appears. He is the slain Lamb and Revelation 5:11 indicates the host of angels have come with Him. What was said when Christ and the angels entered into heaven? I believe that is given in Psalm 24:7-10.
Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in… (Psalm 24:7-10)
This is an awesome scene. The sacrifice of Christ has been accepted before the Father and Heaven rejoices. Christ is worthy to open the scroll! The Bible does not state exactly what is in the scroll of so great importance, however I believe there is a clue in Hebrews 9:16-17.
For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives (Hebrews 9:16-17).
Not only is there rejoicing. Revelation 12:10-13 tells us that because of the salvation brought by the cross of Christ the accuser of the brethren, Satan, has been cast down. Lucifer has had access to the courts of heaven, as seen in Job 1, but at this point his access is forever removed. Because of his new situation and terrible failure the accuser now goes forth as a lion to persecute the faithful, 1 Peter 5:8. Henceforth we see the tribulation of the church of Christ as recorded in the book of Acts.
In summary, Heaven has been anxiously awaiting the victory of Christ on the cross. The Father, the four living creatures, the Holy Spirit and the representatives from other worlds are present. Finally, Christ arrives attended with a multitude of angels joyously crying for the gates of Heaven to open. Christ presents Himself before the Father as the sacrifice that will henceforth plead for our salvation. The Father accepts the offering of Christ and gives to Him the scroll, this deed to humanity’s salvation. Lucifer is once and for all time cast out of Heaven. The cheers and praise shake the very foundations of Heaven. But, in the midst of this awesome glory, Christ has not forgotten those for whom He died. He leaves this scene of unimaginable bliss once more to give instruction and encouragement to His fledgling church.