Pieper, Francis. Christian Dogmatics: Volume 2. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1968.
“Christ’s Ascension.” (Loc. 7268) “Christ’s Session at God’s Right Hand.” (Loc. 7360)
Pieper contrasts the resurrection to the ascension of Christ. The resurrection took place in private and was followed by numerous appearances of Christ. The ascension, on the other hand, was a public, witnessed event. There have not been further appearances. In Acts 1:9 Jesus rises and a cloud receives him. This was a visible act, as opposed to his disappearance recorded in Luke 24:31 (Pieper 1968, Loc. 7277). According to Mark 16:19 and 1 Peter 3:22 the purpose of the ascension is primarily to fulfill his position of reign and authority (Ibid., Loc. 7285). In the ascension we find Christ, still in his divine and human nature, taking a place of universal dominion, the illocal presence denied by the Reformed theologians (Ibid., Loc. 7305). Pieper discusses Acts 3:21 at some length, focusing on a misreading, “Christ must be received” rather than “Christ must occupy” heaven. His argument, based on the voice of the infinitive verb (Ibid., Loc. 7322), overlooks the fact that the Greek infinitive is a deponent verb and cannot be adequately rendered with a passive. Regardless, the point of the argument is that, according to the test of Scripture, Jesus takes his authority. It is not given to him by heaven.
“The sitting of Christ at the right hand of God designates the unending dominion upon which Christ entered by His ascension” (Ibid., Loc. 7360). Pieper demonstrates from various Scriptures that the right hand of God is used to signify God’s power to accomplish His will (Ibid., Loc. 7364). The Lutheran confessions and theologians continue to affirm that Christ is working in His human and divine natures in heaven.
Pieper cuts off his discussion prior to the second advent of Christ, which he categorizes under eschatology.