Acts 2:34—Is David in heaven or not?

Problem: Peter seems to imply here that David was not in heaven. He wrote, “David did not ascend into the heavens.” Yet the Bible indicates that David was one of God’s choice servants (Acts 13:22) who obviously went to be with his Lord when he died (cf. Matt. 22:42–46).

Solution: Peter is not speaking of David’s soul here, but of his body. David’s soul is in heaven along with all other believers, but his body is still in the grave (Acts 2:29). Since David’s body has not yet been raised, it is clear that he has not yet “ascended” bodily into heaven either. It is for this same reason that Jesus said to Mary, “I have not yet ascended to My Father” (John 20:17). The day He died, Jesus’ spirit went to be with the Father (see Luke 23:43, 46). So, His spirit had been with the Father, but His body had not yet ascended into heaven when he spoke to Mary. The bodily ascension took place several weeks later (cf. Acts 1:3, 9–10). (See also comments on Eph. 4:9.)

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.