More Information
ISBN: 9781783683475
Imprint: Langham Academic
Format: Paperback
Dimensions (mm): 229 x 152 x 17
Publication Date: 31/10/2017
Pages: 312
Series: Studies in New Testament
Language: English

Heaven and Earth in Luke-Acts


Dr Ming Gao delves into the much-overlooked heaven motif in Luke-Acts in this critical study of a central element in Christian belief. Focusing on several key passages from the biblical canon, Gao analyzes them in their Jewish, Greco-Roman and broader literary contexts to enhance our comprehension of the meaning of “heaven” and its significance for our worldview. Heaven is not simply a static place where God dwells or a symbol of his power, but is a dynamic arena that impacts the earthly realm. Dr Gao also elucidates how heaven, as well as being part of reality, acts as a concept that points to the arrival of God’s eschatological kingdom on earth. This book will enhance efforts to understand “heaven,” which is often viewed as an unfathomable mystery by so many Christians.

Author Bios

Ming Gao

MING GAO is an associate Professor of New Testament and Teaching Pastor in China. He gained his PhD in New Testament from Trinity International University, Deerfield, Illinois, USA, and has an MDiv and a ThM from Singapore Bible College. Prior to his theological studies he had an eleven-year career in medicine.


In this insightful study, Dr Gao situates the heaven motif within the theological landscape of Lukan writings and provides a strong argument for a dynamic reading of this motif as a symbol of the unfolding of cosmic warfare at the dawn of God’s eschatological kingdom on earth. Those who are interested in the theology of Luke will find this volume a helpful dialogue partner, and those who are interested in the power of the Lukan message for the contemporary reader will not be disappointed with it.

David W. Pao, PhD
Professor of New Testament and Chair of the New Testament Department,
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Dr Gao insightfully illumines how the concept of “heaven and earth” is integral to the storyline of Luke-Acts, from Christ’s birth to his ascension. While doing so, he forces you to observe how what transpires in the heavens has ramifications on earth. I have been enriched by this impressive study, and I am delighted to know that many others will be through its publication.

Andrew T. Abernethy, PhD
Associate Professor of Old Testament,
Wheaton College

Table of Contents

  1. Abstract
  2. Acknowledgments
  3. Abbreviations
  4. Chapter 1
    1. Introduction
      1. Heaven Language in Luke-Acts
      2. Literature Review
      3. Thesis Statement
      4. Methodology
  5. Chapter 2
    1. The Invasion of the Heavenly Glory on Earth – Luke 2:14
      1. Introduction
      2. Narrative Analysis of the Infancy Narrative
      3. Structural Analysis of Luke 2:8–20
      4. The Heavenly Hymn: Luke 2:14
        1. Textual Issue
        2. A Study of “Highest” (ὕψιστος)
        3. Who/What Is This Heavenly Glory?
        4. Heaven and Peace in Luke 2:14
        5. Summary
      1. The Heaven Motif and the Peace Motif
        1. Peace Motif in Recent Lukan Scholarship
        2. The Term Peace (εἰρήνη) in Luke-Acts
        3. “Peace” (εἰρήνη) in Luke 2:14
        4. The Relationship between the Heaven Motif and the Peace Motif
        5. Summary
      1. The Outworking of the Heaven Motif by the Peace Motif in
        1. Luke-Acts
        2. Heavenly Glory Manifested by Peace in the Ministry of Jesus
        3. Heavenly Glory Presented by Peace in the Mission of the Disciples
        4. Heavenly Glory Manifested in the Ecclesial Dimension
      2. Conclusion
  6. Chapter 3
    1. The Victory of God in Heaven and Its Impact on Earth – The Fall of Satan From Heaven in Luke 10:18
      1. Introduction
      2. The Fall of Satan in Luke 10:18
        1. Views on the Vision of Satan’s Fall
        2. The Victory of God in Heaven
        3. The Agent of the Victory of God
        4. The Victory of God over Satan in Heaven and Its Impact on Earth
        5. Summary
      3. Exorcisms in Luke
        1. Exorcisms
        2. The Theological Significance of Exorcisms: Luke 11:14–23
        3. Individual Exorcism Narrative
        4. Summary
      4. Conclusion
  7. Chapter 4
    1. The Ascension of Jesus – Luke 24:50–53 and Acts 1:9–11
      1. Introduction
      2. The Ascension of Jesus
        1. Scholarship on the Ascension of Jesus
        2. Double Accounts, One Event (Luke 24:50–53 and Acts 1:9–11)
        3. Literary Function
        4. Ascension and Resurrection
        5. Luke’s Theological Concerns
      3. Ascension and Exaltation of Jesus
        1. Εἰς Τὸν Οὐρανὸν
        2. “At the Right Hand of God”
        3. Summary
      4. The Cosmic Lord
        1. The Cosmic God/Lord
        2. Visions from Heaven: The Inclusion of the Gentiles
        3. Cosmic Lordship of Christ: Anti-Idol Polemic
      5. Conclusion
  8. Chapter 5
    1. Heaven Must Receive Jesus Until the Restoration of All – Acts 3:21
      1. Introduction
      2. Acts 3:21
        1. Temporal Markers in Acts 3:17–26
        2. Temporal Phrases
        3. The First and Second Comings of Jesus in Acts 3:17–26
        4. Acts 3:21
        5. Summary
      3. Luke 17:22–37
        1. Temporal Markers
        2. The Context of Luke 17:22–37
        3. Summary
      4. Luke 21:25–28
        1. Temporal Markers
        2. Summary
      5. Acts 2:17–21
        1. Temporal Markers
        2. The Last Days – Inaugurated
        3. Summary
      6. Conclusion
        1. Excursus: Lukan Eschatology
        2. Review of Scholarship
        3. Conclusion
  9. Chapter 6
    1. Summary and Conclusion
      1. Summary
      2. Conclusion
      3. Implications for the Study of the Lukan Ecclesiology
      4. Implications for the Study of Luke-Acts
      5. Implications for Evangelization
      6. Implications for the Persecuted Church
      7. Implication for Contextualization
      8. Areas for Further Research
  10. Bibliography