In Acts 1:9, Jesus is described as being ‘lifted up’ and covered by a cloud. If this reference to a cloud is an example of temple imagery, itself calling to mind the clouded divine presence in Israel’s holy of holies (Lev 16:2, 13), then what we have here in Acts is an account of Jesus ascending into God’s presence – that is, Jesus the high priest entering God’s presence to make atonement and to intercede on behalf of those whom he represents. Also, when the ‘two men’ (Acts 1:10) tell the apostles that Jesus ‘will come in the same way as [they] saw him go into heaven’ (Acts 1:11), the complementing idea is that Jesus is the high priest emerging from the holy of holies having made atonement and now ready to pronounce that what was unclean is now made clean.
But if it is legitimate to read Acts 1:9-11 through the lens of the Levitical purification offering (Lev 4) and the Day of Atonement rites (Lev 16), is it also legitimate to suppose that given the concern in Acts for the universal proclamation of the gospel message, there must also be a sense in which Jesus is promised to return pronouncing that the whole world has been purified? If so, then I suggest that a hope for universal salvation underlies the whole evangelistic enterprise described throughout Acts.