And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;…
The cloud that enveloped our Saviour still shrouds His expected presence on the throne of judgment. It is a purposed obscurity, a wise and merciful denial of knowledge. In this matter it is His gracious will to be the perpetual subject of watchfulness, expectation, fear, desire, but no more. To cherish anticipation He has permitted gleams of light to cross the darkness; to baffle presumption He has made them only gleams. He has harmonised with consummate skill every part of His revelation to produce this general result — now speaking as if a few seasons more were to herald the new heaven and the new earth, now as if His days were as thousands of years; at one moment whispering into the ear of His disciple, at another retreating into the depth of infinite ages. It is His purpose thus to live in our faith and hope, remote yet near, pledged to no moment, possible at any; worshipped not with the consternation of a near, nor the indifference of a distant certainty, but with the anxious vigilance that awaits a contingency ever at hand. This, the deep devotion of watchfulness, humility, and awe, He who knows us best knows to be the fittest posture for our spirits; therefore does He preserve the salutary suspense which ensures it, and therefore will He determine His advent to no definite day in the calender of eternity. And yet this uncertainty is abused to security; and exactly as the invisibility of the Creator, which is His perfection, produces the miserable creed of the atheist, the obscurity that veils the hour of judgment, though meant in merciful warning, persuades the ungodly heart that none is ever to arrive.
(W. Archer Butler, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
WEB: While they were looking steadfastly into the sky as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white clothing,