After the Great Commission on a mountain in Galilee, the disciples proceeded back to the Jerusalem area where Jesus led them to the village of Bethany on the Mount of Olives, blessed them, and then “ascended” up into heaven (Mark 16:19; Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:9-12; cf. John 6:62). The Greek word used for ascension, anaphero, meaning “bringing up or bringing back,” carries the implication that Jesus was returning to heaven where he came from (Liddell et al., A Greek-English Lexicon, 125; Ephesians 4:8-10; 1 Timothy 3:16). While pagans in the Roman Empire might make an initial connection of the ascension of Jesus to heaven as apotheosis (making divine) of a mortal, after reading the Gospels it would be clearly seen that Jesus was Divine from the beginning, and not a human made into a god, or a ruler deified after death, clearly distinguishing Him from various mythological stories or proclamations of the Imperial Senate (Liddell et al., A Greek-English Lexicon, 199; Polybius, Histories; Plutarch, Numa). According to additional information from the narrative in Acts, the ascension occurred 40 days after the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 1:3). This period of 40 days, which is found many times throughout the Gospels connected to Jesus and throughout the entire Bible connected to works of God, designates a Divine association.
The writings of Luke, found in the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, designate the location of the ascension of Jesus as around the area of Bethany on the Mount of Olives (Luke 24:50; Acts 1:12). Even prior to the building of commemorative churches by Constantine in the 4th century AD, Christians had designated a place on the Mount of Olives near Bethany as the site of the ascension. After Helena was shown the various sites associated with Jesus around the Jerusalem area, the Basilica of Eleona was built on the Mount of Olives over a cave, at the location where Christians had placed Jesus teaching His disciples just before the ascension (Anonymous, Itinerarium Burdigalense; Eusebius, Life of Constantine). The location was also noted on the Mount of Olives by the Christian pilgrim Egeria after her 4th century visit (Egeria, Itinerarium Egeriae). Today, the Church of the Pater Noster is built upon this site. Sometime after 370 AD, another nearby church was financed by Poimenia to commemorate the ascension (Davies, “The Peregrinatio Egeriae and the Ascension”). Today, after destructions and rebuilds, only a small octagonal edicule remains called the Chapel of the Ascension. Although the exact location of the ascension is tentative, as probably only the 11 Disciples would have been able to point it out, the Basilica of Eleona has the more ancient tradition, suggesting that to be the more likely approximate location.
According to writings of the Apostles such as John, Paul, Peter, and the writer of Hebrews, after Jesus ascended into heaven, He sat at the right hand of the throne of God, now intercedes for Christians, and has prepared a place for believers in heaven (John 14:2; Romans 8:34; 2 Corinthians 5:1; Hebrews 4:14-6, 10:12; 1 Peter 3:22; 1 John 2:1; Revelation 3:21).