Who Shall Ascend?

“The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.”
—Psalm 25:14

THE LORD’S PEOPLE ARE neither perplexed nor distressed by the current global turmoil. They know that the present circumstances are the long-prophesied events that indicate the closing years of this present Gospel Age, and the soon deliverance of the saints. Looking to the present day, the Lord Jesus said to his apostles, “Then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matt. 24:21) He also said, “When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”—Luke 21:28

With this in mind, the children of God continually search their hearts for any indication to succumb to the delusions that so beset the world and dishonor God. As they await their deliverance, they earnestly heed the loving admonition of the Apostle Peter—“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.”—II Pet. 3:17


The psalmist asked, “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?” (Ps. 24:3) He then went on to answer his own question. “He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.”—vss. 4,5

The ‘hill of the Lord’ here referred to by the psalmist is where one receives the blessing of salvation during this Gospel Age. It is the holy place of which Isaiah spoke concerning the dwelling place of God. “Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” (Isa. 57:15) ‘Place’ often means ‘condition’ in the Scriptures, and does not refer to a literal location but to a state of being. The wonderful blessing of understanding God’s secrets will be conferred only upon those who have figuratively ascended unto him in the condition of full consecration, and faith in the precious blood of Christ wherein they have received justification. They continue to demonstrate contrition and humility by the evidence of having ‘clean hands and a pure heart,’ which expresses the conditions under which God will confer eternal life upon those whom he calls and chooses during this Gospel Age.


The world has not had faith in God, but has placed its faith in the promises of governmental leaders, superior military power, and religious fantasies. However, it is becoming increasingly aware that it has been betrayed by those very devices, and thus begins to ponder the consequences of that betrayal. Luke wrote, “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” (Luke 21:26) Mankind has a growing doubt and fear concerning the events that are taking place throughout the world during these closing years of the present Gospel Age, and look forward with great alarm concerning the things that are coming upon society.

The process of liberation from mankind’s condemnation to sin and death will be completed under the administration of Christ’s future kingdom of truth and righteousness. Then the world will be methodically instructed of God’s righteous ways. The instruction to which they must give heed may be characterized as being of the same nature as that to which the nation of Israel had historically failed to attend, and of which the Prophet Isaiah wrote, “Precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: … Yet they would not hear.”—Isa. 28:10,12


Having received the highest order of life—the Divine nature—after having given his life in sacrifice, the Lord Jesus during this Gospel Age offers that same grand prospect to those who are willing to follow him into the likeness of his death. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) The world is not presently interested in following Jesus’ steps since they will certainly lead to suffering and death. Thus, only a relative few are so invited during this age, working no disadvantage to the world.

No one embarks upon this path but by their own will. Those who would tread this path are called and chosen of God. Jesus affirms, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:44) “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”—I Pet. 2:9

Christ’s spirit of sacrifice is the example to which the called and chosen of God aspire to follow. “Even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” (vs. 21) “If we [the called and chosen] have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.”—Rom. 6:5


As the nature of Christ’s death was sacrificial, so the deaths of his disciples are also to be of the same condition, as the Apostle Paul emphasizes, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.”—II Cor. 4:8-11

The nature of Christ’s resurrection was to the Divine nature. Christ’s faithful followers are also promised a resurrection to that same spiritual condition. “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”—II Pet. 1:3,4


Christ’s faithful disciples enter the grave as fleshly beings. At their resurrection, they will receive a heavenly spirit body. “It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” (I Cor 15:44) “As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” (vs. 49) These sons of God are promised that they will see Jesus in his resurrected heavenly body, and that they will have bodies of the same nature. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”—I John 3:2

That the church is to be like Jesus is affirmed by the Apostle Paul, when he says, “Our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” (Phil. 3:20,21) Christ Jesus is now of the same Divine nature and appearance as his Heavenly Father. “Who [the Son] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.” (Col. 1:15) The prospect of resurrection to that same Divine state of being is yet being offered to those who are invited to become the sons of God during this present Gospel Age.

This wonderful prospect is summarized by the revelator who wrote, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Rev. 2:10) The promise of life from the dead on any plane of existence is indeed wonderful, but the prospect of being raised from the tomb and fashioned in the likeness of Christ Jesus, who is now the express image of God, is nearly beyond the capacity of our human minds to grasp. It is to this calling that the gospel of John alluded, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”—John 5:24


The attainment of Divine immortality for any is dependent upon their hearing, understanding and believing God’s promises of life from the dead through Christ. From the Divine perspective, he who believes and who is fully committed to follow in Christ’s footsteps, as John has said, has ‘passed from death unto life.’ They are no longer considered dead in the flesh, condemned in Adam, but are seen as alive through the Holy Spirit of God. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”—II Cor. 5:17

We read further, “They that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”—Rom. 8:8-10


The Apostle Paul characterizes the true disciple of Christ as one who, from the first moment of his consecration until the moment of his last breath, remains convinced and determined that the promises of God in Christ are true. “We are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.” (Heb. 3:14) Christ’s people are to have faith that is similar to that of Abraham, who did not stagger at the promise of an heir in his old age. Paul explained, “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.”—Rom 4:20,21

Those who have such faith during this Gospel Age High Calling in Christ Jesus will not stagger at the marvelous prospect of resurrection to the Divine nature, that is neither beyond the ability or everlasting will of God to confer upon his faithful people. The true disciple must hold his confidence to the very end of his Christian course. This is stated emphatically by the Lord in the Gospel of John, “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”—John 6:28,29

Let us therefore continue to rejoice in the age-long promise of our loving Heavenly Father concerning those whom he has called and chosen to ascend to a position alongside our dear Lord and Savior, for the blessing of all the families of the earth to be testified in due time. ‘Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.’

Dawn Bible Students Association
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