Theodore Beza (1519–1605) on how Christ is present with us after his ascension


“We understand that glorification brought immortality to the body of Jesus Christ, besides sovereign glory; but this did by no means change the nature of His true body, a body confined to one certain space and having bounds (Luke 24:39; John 20:25; Acts 1:3). For this reason, He took away into Heaven, from our midst, His human nature, His true body (Acts 1:9-11; 3:21). There He shall remain until He comes to judge the living and the dead.
But, with regard to the efficacy of His Holy Spirit, as to His Divinity, (by which we are made partakers not only of half of Christ, but of all of Him and all His goods, as will be said soon), we acknowledge that He is and shall be with His own until the end of the world (Matt 28:20; John 16:13; Eph. 4:8). This is what Jesus Christ said regarding Himself-, ‘The poor you will have always with you, but Me you will not have always.’ (Matt 26:11); again, after His Ascension, the angels say to the Apostles: ‘Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven shall so come as you saw Him go away into Heaven.’ (Acts 1:11). And St Peter says to the Jews that Heaven must hold Him until the time of the restoration of all things. (Acts 3:21). For the same reason, St Augustine, following Scripture, has well said that it is necessary to guard oneself from stressing the Divinity to the point of coming to deny the truth of the body; the body is in God, but it is not necessary to draw the conclusion that it is everywhere, as God is everywhere.”

– Theodore Beza (1519–1605), The Christian Faith (Confession De Foi Du Chretien), p. 13-14

* Note: This doctrine – that Christ is omnipresent with regard to his Divinity but not with regard to his humanity (i.e. He is present with us through the Spirit) – is central to understanding the differences in the view of the Lord’s Supper between the Reformed (pneumatic presence), Roman Catholics (transubstantiation) and Lutherans (sacramental union).


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