Acts 1:11 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 1:11, NIV: Men of Galilee,' they said, 'why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.'

Acts 1:11, ESV: and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Acts 1:11, KJV: Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

Acts 1:11, NASB: and they said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.'

Acts 1:11, NLT: 'Men of Galilee,' they said, 'why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!'

Acts 1:11, CSB: They said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen him going into heaven."

What does Acts 1:11 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The disciples are staring off into the sky, watching the spot where clouds took Jesus away, when two men in white robes break their stupor (Acts 1:10). Jesus' role as a physically-visible member of the Trinity working on earth is over; it is time for the Holy Spirit (John 16:7), but He still has a role. Specifically, He will honor Stephen (Acts 7:56) and confront Saul/Paul (Acts 9:5).

But Jesus will return, and the men, presumed to be angels, tell His disciples that His coming will be much like His leaving. In the end times, before the tribulation begins, "the Lord [Jesus] himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:16–17). At the end of the tribulation, when Jesus comes to destroy the Antichrist and his army and set up His millennial kingdom, Jesus will again come with the clouds (Revelation 1:7). In the past, God used clouds to shield His people from His glory (Exodus 19:9, 16–18; 1 Kings 8:10–11). In the future, when Jesus returns, "he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen" (Revelation 1:7).

Jesus did not go into outer space, in the way we think of the region beyond earth's atmosphere. Heaven is from the Greek root word ouranos. It gives the idea of being above or lifted. That Jesus was taken into the sky acts as a metaphor for His ascendance to the spiritual realm where God exists. In other applications, "heaven" means the new earth where God-followers will live in eternity (Revelation 21—22) or outer space (Genesis 22:17).

The angels call the disciples "men of Galilee" because the eleven remaining, like Jesus, were from the district of Galilee (Mark 1:16–20; 2:13–14; John 1:43–45; 21:2). When the Holy Spirit comes upon them and they start preaching the gospel in all different languages, the people will be stunned to hear the accent of one of the most insignificant districts in the whole Roman Empire (Acts 2:7–8).