Ellen G. White, who the Adventist Church believes was divinely inspired and that she corrects inaccurate interpretations of scripture, bizarrely claimed that Jesus ascended to the Father immediately after His resurrection to hear from the lips of the Father that His sacrifice was actually accepted. He then returned to earth for 40 days to then ascend again after commissioning His disciples (Matthew 28:16-20).
The verse used to support this is John 20:17 with the claim being that because Jesus told Mary not to cling to Him, it meant He had to hear from the Father that His sacrifice was accepted first and he had to ascend to the Father quickly in order to find that out, then He could come back and receive homage.
This is a twisting of the text, though. Mary was clinging to the risen LORD in her disbelief that He was there before her. In that excitement, she clung onto Him. Meaning, she grabbed onto Him and held him in place. But he explains to her He still has a mission and timeline to follow, His ascension and return to heaven to take His rightful throne, so she needed to let go and go find the disciples and let them know what she had seen (John 20:17-18). He was on a divine timeline and He couldn’t fulfill that with her clinging to Him.
Jesus was not saying He was going to quickly ascend to heaven to hear if his sacrifice was accepted, to then return to earth for 40 days, and ascend again a second time. This would mean that Jesus’s return is actually his third coming, not the second coming (which is supposed to be a staple in the SDA movement). His second coming would have been his return from hearing his sacrifice was accepted.
Jesus did not have to hear “from the Father’s own lips” that His sacrifice was accepted. Romans 1:4 says Jesus was declared to be the Son of God with power by His resurrection from the dead. If Jesus had remained in the tomb, it would have meant that He didn’t die for our sins—He died for His own sins. But the fact that God raised Jesus from the dead proved that His gift was acceptable in the presence of God. The resurrection itself was the demonstration that His sacrifice was accepted.
Jesus himself foretold that He would resurrect himself (John 2:18-19; John 10:14-18) showing He is in complete union with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus did not need to learn this information when He knows all things (John 16:29-31; John 21:17; 1 John 3:20). This is insight into how Ellen G. White had a very truncated, false view of the nature of Jesus Christ and His divinity.
Furthermore, Hebrews 9:12 is clear that Jesus entered into Heaven one time after incarnating and, upon doing so, He presented Himself before the Father and sat down on His throne to rule and reign with all authority. He will remain there until all of His enemies are made His footstool (Acts 2:34–35; Hebrews 1:13; Psalm 110:1; 1 Corinthians 15:25; Hebrews 10:13). He did not enter heaven, leave, and then ascend again to re-enter heaven.
Ellen G. White claimed that “whatever contradicts God’s Word, we can be sure proceeds from Satan”, that her writings never contradict God’s Word, and bear the test of investigation. We’ll let you connect the dots.