(Kersten, Heidelberg Catechism, Vol.1. part 19) Of the Ascension of Christ Lord's Day 18 Psalter No.230 St. 1, 2,3 Read Ephesians 4:1-16 Psalter No. 318 St. 3,5,6 Psalter No. 418 St. 2 Psalter No. 259 St. 4 Beloved, Often in Scripture the Lord Jesus is called "a stone" upon Whom His elect church rests immovably, yea, of Whom it receives life. Thus Jacob already prophesied in his blessing of Joseph, with an eye upon Him, "From thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel." "Behold," saith the Lord God, "I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation." (Isa. 28:16). The entire structure of His church rests upon Him, because He has satisfied the justice of God, has crushed Satan's head and has robbed sin of its power. He arose from the grave as a conqueror, and triumphs eternally at His Father's right hand. How then could His church ever be moved? The gates of hell shall not prevail against the church. All the attributes of God were involved in the laying of this "Stone" in time. Already in eternity He was laid in the Covenant which the Father made with Him and in Him with all the elect. When therefore He was laid in time as the One born of the virgin Mary, not only the eye of the Father rested upon Him so that all that had been determined would be accomplished, but the Spirit rested upon Him without measure. "For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes"; that means the Holy Spirit in all its fulness shall rest upon Him. Indeed He is not only the rock which stands immovable, but also the rock that works, as Moses spoke in Deut. 32:4, "He is the Rock, His work is perfect." When Israel in the wilderness found no water, the Rock worked and water flowed forth from Him, so that the people could drink. Was that rock not a type of Christ? He carries His church and is its firm foundation; He alone. "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." Whoever builds upon another foundation is as the foolish builder, who built his house upon the sand: and when the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, it fell, and great was the fall of it. But the house of the wise builder, who built his house upon a rock, withstood all the storms. Thus God's people shall be saved that build by faith upon that Rock, Christ; upon the stone that was rejected by the builders, but has become the headstone of the corner. Only by faith that the Holy Spirit works in the hearts of His people are they built upon the Rock Christ, and they receive rest in Him. That working Rock also causes them to receive living water out of Him continually, so that they may drink with joy from the wells of salvation. The rock was not only laid in eternity and brought forth in time, but after He had completed His work as the surety He was laid in eternity as the ever working Rock. He brought His people into heaven. He not only quieted God's wrath, disarmed the law of its curse, but, having risen from the dead, He also ascended to heaven. Then His people were also set in heaven with Him, and were restored into God's favour and communion. How very significant then is the ascension of Christ when He brought our human nature, soul and body, into heaven. In Adam, the covenant-head of us all, all men have banished themselves from heaven, have locked heaven forever, but Christ has reopened heaven for His people. In Him they obtain in this life free access by faith; they taste in Christ the first fruits of heavenly bliss; and one day they shall be taken up to heaven, to dwell in communion with God forever, and to bring all adoration and honour to Him that sits upon the throne and to the Lamb, as He is worthy to receive it to all eternity. We must now discuss further the ascension of Christ, according to the explanation given us in the eighteenth Lord's Day of the Heidelberg Catechism. Lord's Day 18 Q. 46: How dost thou understand these words, "He ascended into heaven"? A. That Christ, in sight of His disciples, was taken up from earth into heaven; and that He continues there for our interest until He comes again to judge the quick and the dead. Q. 47: Is not Christ then with us even to the end of the world, as He has promised? A. Christ is very man and very God; with respect to His human nature, He is no more on earth; but with respect to His Godhead, majesty, grace and spirit, He is at no time absent from us. Q. 48: But if His human nature is not present wherever His Godhead is, are not then these two natures in Christ separates from one another? A. Not at all, for since the Godhead is illimitable and omnipresent, it must necessarily follow that the same is beyond the limits of the human nature He assumed, and remains personally united to it. Q. 49: Of what advantage to us is Christ's ascension into heaven? A. First, that He is our advocate in the presence of His Father in heaven; secondly, that we have our flesh in heaven as a sure pledge that He, as the head, will also take up to Himself, us, His members; thirdly, that He sends us His Spirit as an earnest, by whose power we "seek the things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God, and not things on earth." We must now speak of the ascension of Christ as the instructor teaches us I. what is meant by that ascension; II. which promises are fulfilled by that ascension; III. how the union of the two natures was continued by this ascension; IV. what advantage the ascension gives for God's people. After His resurrection the Lord tarried upon the earth for forty days, showing Himself alive unto His disciples by many infallible proofs and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. Those forty days were as a period of transition. Before His death the Lord had walked with His disciples almost continuously; soon He would be with them no more according to the body. Although He would remain with them much more than bodily, namely with His grace, majesty and Spirit, yet the transition was big and hard for them. The Lord, however, during His stay of forty days not only thoroughly convinced them of His resurrection, but also prepared them for His departure. His stay with them was therefore not as before. He did not walk openly among the Jews, but came, and that intermittently, to His disciples, now here and then there, then to leave them again, and soon to depart from them bodily until the great day of days. That departure was for their salvation and great joy. The ascension of Christ is that comforting ascent to the heaven of heavens, in which He was glorified with the glory which He had before the world was, and at the same time His people were glorified in Him. In His ascension the Lord Jesus brought our own human nature, our soul and our body into heaven, and thus healed the breach made by sin, so that the Apostle cries out, "He made us sit with Him in heavenly places." By His ascension the Mediator is seated at the right hand of the Majesty in the highest heavens, to be a prophet, a priest and a king for His people, and that His people might have a free access to the Father by Him. That ascension prepared a place for the Holy Spirit, that Comforter that would remain, that would never depart from His church, that was promised to the disciples. and cheerfully expected by them. Oh, what a wonderful thing it was for the disciples that Jesus ascended from earth to heaven before their eyes. For the Lord ascended to heaven visibly; He wanted them to see Him taking possession of that glory. They had not been witnesses of His resurrection. No human eye saw the resurrection, but the ascension, Christ performed before the eyes of His disciples. He Himself led them out to Bethany and blessed them. "And it came to pass while He blessed them, He was parted from them." While blessing them, He left them, and was taken up higher and higher, with His disciples gazing after Him until a cloud received Him out of their eyes. Bodily He was no more with them, nor would He be seen of them anymore "after the flesh", until that day when He shall stand bodily, as He ascended, upon the clouds, to judge the quick and the dead, and when every eye shall see Him; the eyes of His people, and also - how terrible! - the eye of those that pierced Him. He had gone away from His disciples. What a change His ascension brought about for them, a change which actually began with His resurrection, and which weaned them from His bodily presence, so that they would learn to walk by faith and not by sight. The disciples had been so set upon His bodily presence. Even in His appearance to Mary at the sepulcher that was seen, when the Lord had to say to her, "Touch me not." No more would it be as before Christ's suffering and death. Soon He would part from them, never to walk with them again physically. He must ascend unto His Father. What a change in the life of His disciples! Yet they were privileged to experience that change with gladness. "They worshipped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy." It was so very different for them than when the Lord parted from them to die. Then they could not bear the parting, then they were all offended in Him, because they had no eye for the necessity of Christ's sacrifice, the sacrifice that had everlasting value. They had imagined the way would be so very different. But now the light had dawned in them. Now they have learned to know their Lord in the power of His death and His resurrection; now their soul is prepared for the coming of the Holy Spirit, and they are able to miss the Lord's bodily presence. Oh, blessed change! Our soul needs heavenly instruction to understand it. For, as the disciples did, so God's people seek too much to find rest in that sensible communion with the Lord Jesus. It certainly is a precious time, that first time, in which we may feel so much that the Lord is near. But how little we then understand of Christ's mediatorial work, of the demanding justice of the Father, that could find satisfaction only in the death of the Lord. What little light of faith there is with all the enjoyment of love. What deep ways we must go to be taken away from all things so that our soul may rest in Christ alone. We must lose our life and enter into death. Oh, how very precious Emmanuel then becomes to us; He who was made to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him, Who redeemed us to God by His blood. He also arose to ransom us from the power of the grave. He was glorified in order to bring His people back into communion with the Father, and in order that they should glory in Him as the fairest among the children of men and know Him as the fountain of life, and expect of Him alone all their salvation. Now He may leave us. Our soul does still long for that former life, for in learning to know that humiliation and exaltation there was also so indescribably full, an outpouring of the love of Christ and the experience of His nearness. All that gave us such rest; that way of experience by which the Lord led us made us feel such a firmness in our heart, and such a resting upon what God did in us, as proof for us, that He also became our Savior. Yet in tasting of the love of God in Christ, we were resting more than we realized upon the grace in us, upon our experience, upon our tasting of God's love and favour, than in the God of our salvation. Then the Lord Jesus said, "It is expedient for you that I go away." We could not agree to that. Go away? Oh, that He would remain with us! But He went. First He still came from time to time, and then He took us out to the Mount of Olives, and showed us His entrance into glory. Yes, then we could agree. Then we saw Him ascend, to understand that His being at God's right hand is more. Oh, the full streams of salvation that flow out of Christ! He departed, not to give His people over to themselves, but to dwell in them by His Holy Spirit, and to enter into the third heaven and to be there for their good. Salvation is in Him, in Him alone, in Him completely and immovably firm. With the abundance of Thy house We shall be satisfied, From rivers of unfailing joy Our thirst shall be supplied. From earth Christ was lifted up to heaven before the eyes of His disciples, from the Mount of Olives to the third heaven, to the throne of God. "We have a great High Priest that is passed into the heavens." "He is ascended up far above all heavens." How could Luther speak of the omnipresent body of Christ! Is it not stated expressly that Christ sits at the right hand of God, did not the angels, that stood by them when the cloud closed heaven before their eyes, testify clearly "This Jesus is taken up from you into heaven?" How could Luther erase the line between the Creator and the creature? You see, Luther was human, and he erred in the matter of the ascension. For Christ with soul and body ascended to heaven, and is there for the good of His people, until He returns to judge the quick and the dead. The ascension of the Lord was more than Enoch's and Elijah's going up to heaven. By His ascension Christ unlocked the closed heavens for His people. His ascension is the beginning of eternal glory for which He prepares His people. "Behold," said He, "I go to prepare a place for you." He is there for the good of His people until He returns. "For one day He shall come Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things," Peter said, in accordance with what the angels had said. He is coming again. When that shall happen no one knows but the Father alone. Any-one who wants to determine the time of His return will certainly be mistaken, and delves profanely into the secrets of God. Scripture tells us nothing of the time of that return, but it speaks much of the fact, and Christ did command His disciples to preach and "to testify that it is He which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead." (Acts 10) Then the last of the elect shall have been brought in, the last sheaf shall have been gathered into the barn; then, all unexpectedly, in the midst of the pouring out of dreadful wickedness the Lord shall come surrounded by His thousand times thousand angels. It will be a terrible day for all the wicked, but a day of eternal glory for all God's elect. Yet the Lord, when He ascended into heaven, did not break the promise that He would remain with His people to the end, but confirmed it, as we shall now hear in the second place. II Until the great day of judgment comes, Christ remains in heaven at His Father's right hand, and is not on earth, neither will He come on earth bodily, not even for a thousand years. We do not believe in a millennium. Christ is and remains in heaven until the great day of judgment. Is not Christ then with us even to the end of the world, as He has promised? How must we understand it that Jesus promised His disciples as He led them out of Jerusalem, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world," and when He had scarcely said this, He departed, never to return to earth again? How can these two statements be reconciled: "I am with you" and "I ascend unto My Father"? The disciples needed the Lord's presence. They would go and preach the gospel to every creature; they had to travel a road of severe trials, so severe that they could not travel alone; they awaited what Christ Himself had told them, that they would be brought before kings and rulers. That would not be so bad if the Lord were with them. It was their strength and comfort and liberty: "I am with you." Does Christ now break His promise? Is He then not with His people as He promised? No, it cannot be that the Lord would break His promise. "My plighted word I will not break, nor change the promise that I spake." He promised and He remains with His people. But His presence is no more bodily. "Christ is very man and very God. With respect to His human nature, He is no more on earth, but with respect to His Godhead, majesty, grace and spirit, He is at no time absent from us." That is just where Luther erred that he would have Christ to be present bodily; he sought comfort for the people in the bodily presence, while on the contrary the comfort lies in the spiritual presence. The great reformer then came to the doctrine that when Christ ascended His body became omnipresent, just as His Godhead is. Thus according to Luther, Christ's human nature is not in the third heaven and only there, but His human nature is wherever the Godhead is, omnipresent. Luther denies the ascension of Christ. This error led to the error of consubstantiation, the bodily presence of Christ with the elements in the Lord's Supper. That Lutherans doctrine of the omnipresence of Christ's body is entirely contrary to Scripture, and testifies of a lack of understanding of the rich comfort of Christ's spiritual presence with His people. That spiritual presence is more than the bodily presence. Therefore it was expedient that He departed. This was evident in the lives of the disciples and of the whole church of God. When the Lord was on earth with His disciples and sojourned with them for three years, He not only gave them to know Him as the Son of God, which He truly was, but He also gave them so many evidences of His love, that they could not leave Him. Although large numbers left Him because His doctrine was too hard, they testified, "To whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life." Yet they lacked too much the appropriation by faith of their precious and blessed Mediator. Still it is often so with those who are no strangers of the Lord. The enjoyments of love are often stronger than the exercises of faith. Therefore it happens, although the Lord never departs from His people, there can be such a feeling of being forsaken that the power of faith does not break through to trust in Him Who ascended to heaven, and yet with respect to His Godhead, majesty, grace and Spirit is never absent from the church He has bought so dearly. He Himself has said, "I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Herein lies a fountain of comfort for God's people, and if the light of the Spirit shines upon it, that the Lord Jesus did ascend to heaven according to His human nature with soul and body, and will fulfill His promise to His people surely and in every need, then virtue goes out from Him to make God's children hope in Him in the greatest darkness and adversities. Help has been laid upon One that is mighty to save. God's people are not left alone in the world; the Lord has not ascended into heaven to leave His people to themselves. He took them with Him and as the omnipresent One He remains with them. He not only made atonement for their guilt, and justified them in His resurrection, but also brought them back into communion with His Father. That is the great significance of the ascension of Christ, and they who may appropriate this by faith may cry out by the Spirit of adoption, "Abba, Father." The ascension, visibly, truly, and locally, had to follow the resurrection from the dead. Therefore the human nature of the Lord is in heaven, where the throne of God is, and the holy angels, and the redeemed. It is there only, confined to one place. His Godhead is omnipresent, in heaven and also outside of heaven - everywhere. His human nature is hence only in heaven and not everywhere where His Godhead is. Thus it is written in Acts 3:21: "Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began." Now however the question arises which the instructor answers in the third place, "But if His human nature is not present wherever His Godhead is, are not then these two natures in Christ separated from one another?" On the contrary III by the ascension of Christ the union of the two natures is perpetuated. There is no question of separating the two natures. "Not at all," says our Catechism. That would have destroyed His entire work of redemption. The two natures of Christ are most closely united, so that He who has two natures is one Person, the Second Person in the Godhead; the Son of God. Because of that close union of the Divine and human nature it follows that the Son of God suffered, died, arose, ascended to heaven and sits at the right hand of God, in our flesh and blood. It is that fact that gave everlasting value and virtue to the atoning and redeeming work which He undertook for the salvation of lost sinners. If you separate the two natures of Christ, you attack the entire work of salvation wrought by Him. Those two natures cannot be separated, even in death they remain united, neither were they separated by the ascension. Some make that objection, but it is not so. "For since the Godhead is illimitable and omnipresent, it must necessarily follow that the same is beyond the limits of the human nature He assumed, and yet is nevertheless in this human nature, and remains personally united to it." It was already thus in the manger. The assumed human nature was not omnipresent; it lay there in deepest disdain, but was also united with the omnipresent Divine Person. What was born of Mary is the Son of God. Hence from birth the human nature was not everywhere where the Godhead is, and still there was an inseparable union in one single person. We have one Mediator, and that one Mediator has two natures: the human nature, like unto us in all things, sin excepted, and limited to one place, and the divine nature, filling heaven and earth. Thus it was before, thus it was in, and thus it was after the ascension. The Godhead is not only there where the human nature is, but also apart from it, everywhere, and still it is also in that human nature, entirely and perfectly, and personally united to it. According to His human nature, Christ is not on earth any more: "Now I am no more in the world." But with respect to His Godhead, majesty, grace and Spirit, He is, and He is at no time absent from us. Thus His promise is fulfilled, "I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." With respect to His Godhead He remains with us, "The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool." (Isa. 66:1). "Am I a God at hand, and not a God afar off?" That divine presence is full of majesty and grace. How beautifully that was foreshadowed in Israel, as the Lord loved Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Upon Zion's mountain Jehovah's majesty shone so clearly that the poet sang, "Forth from Thy holy dwelling Thy awful glories shine." In that majesty the people rejoiced with adoration and with trembling. That majesty lies upon the grace of God in Christ. The ministry of grace is also full of majesty. That causes God's people to fear humbly, and to be filled with and speak of the grace of God with holy reverence. Let us not speak lightly of grace, it is full of God's majesty. But that majesty is also without terror. Christ is with His people with His grace, with His pardoning; reconciling and comforting grace. Day by day, also after having received grace we make ourselves worthy of rejection, but the grace with which Christ remains with His people covers the iniquity and purifies their hearts. That grace is the inexhaustible fountain for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; thereby we have access to God's sanctuary and liberty of heart. That grace of Christ is the rod and staff of comfort. With respect to His Godhead, majesty, grace and Spirit, the Lord is never absent from us. He sent that Spirit as an abiding Comforter: "I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth." Oh, how wonderful it is, the fact that Christ the Lord remains with us, gives us strength to run the race that is set before us. Sometimes such dark clouds hang over the ways God's children must travel, they are sometimes so distressed. "If it had not been the Lord Who was on our side, when men rose up against us, then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us, then the waters had overwhelmed us." How David complained that when God hid His face he was troubled. When the light of God shines over our tents we cannot imagine that such times of darkness, of desertion, of the power of sin, and of being unreconciled to God's dealings can come. Oh, if then the Lord Jesus had not remained with us, we would have perished, if then He had not crowned His own work, it would have failed. When Satan desired to sift the disciples as wheat, the Lord said, "I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not." In that intercession God's church lies safe, and one little evidence of the Lord's nearness is enough to make us lift up our head and to walk in liberty. If only He would speak to our soul, "I am thy salvation." Also now in the deepest darkness, in the sense of the most grievous desertion and in all the tumult of hell, the Lord is near His own. However deep their way, He is never absent from them. With Him Paul and Silas could not only endure imprisonment, but could even rise above the pain of the stripes laid upon them and sing praises unto God. The Lord was with Peter, opening the prison doors for him, and leading him past the guards in answer to the prayer sent up by the church through the Spirit of prayer. Through the strength of Christ, Stephen while dying could pray for his enemies. John, the exile on Patmos, found his banishment sweet because of the presence of the Godhead, majesty, grace and Spirit of Christ. And is a way of sickness, unemployment, poverty, persecution or what it may be, ever too hard for God's people to tread when the Lord is with them? Even in death the Lord will not forsake His people. "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil." He Who swallows up death in victory has caused His people to experience His presence so powerfully (have you not known such deathbeds?), although their life had been full of conflicts and cares, yet an abundant entrance into the eternal kingdom was prepared for them. Oh, some of them departed from us singing, and encouraging those left behind; for the comfort of the presence of Christ was so great that the terror of death had to flee. No, the Lord is not with us any more with respect to His human nature, nor is that necessary any more; but with respect to His Godhead, majesty, grace and Spirit, He is never absent from us. Oh, how profitable the ascension is for the church of God. Her songs of praise were sung to Him of old and, before we close, we will sing with her Psalter No. 418, St. 2: "God has gone on high, With a joyful cry; Hosts with trumpet sound Make His praise abound; Sing ye praise to God, Tell His fame abroad, Take a psalm and shout, Let His praise ring out, Lift your voice and sing Glory to our King He is Lord of earth, Magnify His worth." There remains for us to notice, in the fourth place, the advantage that the ascension gives to God's people. IV "Of what advantage to us is Christ's ascension into heaven?" asks the 49th question. Then the answer gives us three points: 1. that He is our Advocate in the presence of His Father in heaven; 2. that we have our flesh in heaven as a sure pledge; 3. that He sends us His Spirit as an earnest. That advantage is only for God's people, for those who in eternity were given to Christ by the Father. Oh, I cannot repeat it often enough that the mediatorial work of Christ both in the state of His humiliation and in the state of His exaltation is only for the benefit of His elect. Do not let this frighten you, for the Lord Jesus took His own out of the deep state of death and glorifies them in heaven. If they arrive there through Him only by grace, then every fig leaf is taken away from every one that is still living in the day of grace. Oh it should impel us day and night to seek salvation in Him alone Who has opened heaven for lost sinners. May God sanctify the truth to your hearts and cause you to understand that we have closed heaven by our sins and are walking to hell, so that we driven by our need may seek that only Mediator, Who is sitting at the right hand of the Father, and be reconciled to God by Him and be restored into His fellowship. How terrible it would be to die soon and then to find heaven locked forever. May the Lord bless His Word to your souls and open your eyes to see the advantage of the ascension of Christ for His people. He is their Advocate. Pleading upon His finished mediatorial work, He demands of the Father all that they need in time and all that they shall one day need to make their salvation complete. He could not be that Advocate had He remained on earth. "For," says the Apostle in Hebrews 8: 4, "if He were on earth He should not be a priest." In heaven God's elect have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the Righteous. Did not the High Priest enter the Holy of Holies to pray there after he had offered a sacrifice in the Court outside? And did not that ceremony point to Christ Who offered the sacrifice outside on Calvary, and then entered the sanctuary not made with hands, that is heaven, to be the Intercessor and Advocate for His people? There in heaven He presents His sacrifice to the Father as an everlasting offering to take away all the sins of His people; there in heaven He bears the needs of His church. "For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities: but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." In all points. He wept at the grave of Lazarus; He was wearied; He was hungry and thirsty; He was very sorrowful; He can sympathize with His people when they must wear clothes of mourning; He understands their complaint when they pour out their mourning soul before Him. He knows the weariness that comes upon the church and when the way becomes too much for them, He is able and willing to strengthen them. He strengtheneth His people. He gives the needy food and drink, and comforts those that are heavy of heart. He is the sympathetic High Priest; their Advocate in heaven, so that by Him the Father's unchangeable love is declared to them and is poured out in their souls. Indeed, since He has brought our flesh into heaven, it is certain that His people shall arrive there. He has rent the heavens, those heavens were barred by sin, barred forever for all of Adam's posterity. Not one of them would ever enter life. But, lo, Christ assumed the human nature and brought that nature, our soul and our body, into heaven. He the Head of the Church is in heaven, and now the body, that is His church, shall certainly follow. That is the advantage of the ascension of Christ, "that we have our flesh in heaven as a sure pledge that He, as the Head, will also take up to Himself, us, His members." "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." His entrance into the sanctuary is a sure pledge of the salvation of the church, her signet, her bracelets and her staff. How shall our soul lift itself up to Him Who ascended into heaven; how shall we on earth have communion with Him Who is at God's right hand? Oh, no, not in our own strength; that is impossible, but He sends us His Spirit as an earnest, by whose power we "seek the things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God, and not things on earth." He promised that He would not leave them comfortless, and He fulfilled it on Pentecost. He gave His Spirit to dwell in them. And that Spirit which dwells in their hearts lifts up their souls to seek the things that are above. We are of the earth earthy. Of ourselves we seek the things on earth. Yet that shall never satisfy us. Oh, how the life of God's children suffers from being earthly minded! How the fine gold has become dim. In our materialistic age the church has also become too worldly. God's people live too low, their life should be above, where Christ is. When they may lift themselves up they are in their natural sphere. The dust of the world chokes them. How unutterably wonderful it must have been, not only for the angels, but especially for the saints already in heaven, when they saw their Lord and King enter victoriously and take place at the Father's right hand. Then the heavens rejoiced and the trumpets sounded; angels and saints greeted Him full of heavenly joy. Thus, oh, purchased people, your soul, too, shall see Him and bring in perfect joy, glory and honour to Him Who went to prepare your place for you. The ascension of your Lord is a pledge of your entrance into the heaven of heavens to partake forever of that salvation which no eye has seen, no ear has heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, namely, that which God has prepared to those that fear Him. Amen. (continued in part 20...) ---------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: krhc1-19.txt .