The Blessed People of God

“Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.” —Psalm 89:15

THE PEOPLE WHO know the joyful sound are blessed because they walk in the light of God’s countenance. Conversely, it is also true that those who walk in the light of God’s countenance know the joyful sound. The ‘joyful sound’ is the great theme-song of divine love centered in Jesus Christ—the Redeemer and Savior of the world. This is why the angel, when announcing the birth of Jesus, declared that he was bringing “glad tidings of great joy,” which eventually would be heard by all people.

While this joyful sound of God’s plan of salvation for a lost and dying world is ultimately to reach all people, the “due time” for it to be “testified” to all has not yet come. (I Tim. 2:3-6) Up to the present time, only a select few have enjoyed the great blessing of hearing and understanding the joyful sound of truth pertaining to the divine plan of the ages.

Jesus said to his disciples that the prophets and just men of the past desired to understand, but were denied this joy. He said, “It is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,” and added, “Blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.”—Matt. 13:11-17

It is clear that in Jesus’ day his immediate disciples were the ‘blessed’ people of God. Divine favor was shown to them in that they were given to know the mysteries of the kingdom, the joyful sound, the glad tidings of the kingdom. The light of God’s countenance (Num. 6:24-26) was upon them, the evidence being the fact that they heard and appreciated the message then due to be understood by the blessed people of God. The expression, ‘mysteries of the kingdom’, suggests what constitutes the joyful sound. Aside from the fundamental truth that Jesus gave himself a ransom for all, the ‘kingdom’ is one of the most prominent themes of the Bible. And there are ‘mysteries’ associated with this theme. The promises of the Old Testament assure us of the glorious majesty of Christ’s kingdom. They tell us of its power and glory—its universality. They assure us of the peace it will bring to the nations, and the health and life which it will give to all the willing and obedient.

While the mysteries of this coming world government are set forth in the Old Testament, their meaning was not revealed until the coming of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Every faithful Israelite knew that God had promised to send a great king to set up a kingdom, but they did not know that the Lord would select from the world—both from Jews and Gentiles—a little company of people who would reign with the promised Messiah.

Nor did the righteous men of old understand that the promised kingdom would have two phases. They did not know that there would be a heavenly phase in which Jesus and his followers would be the spiritual kings and priests. Nor did they fully understand that there would be an earthly phase in which the Ancient Worthies—those who in past ages served God faithfully through times of favor and disfavor—would be the “princes” and representatives of the divine Christ.—Ps. 45:16

Millions since Jesus’ day have professed to believe in the kingdom promised in the Bible, but they have not understood the ‘mysteries’ of this kingdom. Many of these have believed and taught that the kingdom is merely a holy influence in the hearts and lives of individuals. They have not known that the kingdom of Christ was to be a powerful government that would rule all nations inflexibly as with a “rod of iron.” (Ps. 2:9; Rev. 2:27) Nor have they known that in this kingdom there would be both rulers and those over which they ruled—both kings and subjects of the kings.

Nor have any except those to whom the mysteries of the kingdom have been revealed understood that during the rulership of Christ’s kingdom the sick would be given health and the dead restored to life. The vast majority even of those who have professed to accept the Bible as the inspired Word of God, have refused to believe the testimony of this oracle of God that the “wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23) They have insisted that ‘there is no death’.

Those not believing in the reality of death have not been able to understand the glorious feature of the divine plan concerning the resurrection of the dead. This dominant melody of divine love in the joyful sound of the Gospel has been lost to their ears. The God whom they have worshiped has been a god of torment, and not of love.

But David wrote concerning those who know the joyful sound, saying that unto their God “belong the issues from death.” (Ps. 68:20) Yes, only the true God of the Bible has promised to restore the dead to life. The ‘issues from death’ belong to him exclusively. And although he caused all his prophets to testify concerning this glorious restitution purpose, few have understood and believed, and these only because the light of God’s countenance has shone upon them and they have been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom.


In revealing the joyful sound to those whom he calls to be his ‘blessed’ people, the Lord usually first makes known the hope of restitution for the world. For a time those who hear this wonderful message of love for the dying world visualize themselves enjoying the blessings of restitution. But in the Lord’s providence, as the mysteries of the kingdom continue to open up to them, they realize that the Lord is calling them to something higher and even more wonderful than restitution

They learn of the “high calling,” the “heavenly calling.” (Phil. 3:14; Heb. 3:1) At the same time they learn about the “narrow way” of sacrifice, and that the “prize of the high calling” can be won only by faithfulness in laying down one’s life in sacrifice. They hear Jesus, through one of his parables, admonishing them to “count the cost.”—Luke 14:28

With many, the first reaction to this realization of the high calling is that they are not good enough. They think of their weakness and their imperfections, and conclude that they could never qualify for such a high position in God’s arrangements. They are right in this conclusion. No member of the sin-cursed and dying race is good enough to be worthy of exaltation to “glory and honor and immortality.” (Rom. 2:7) To think of one’s self as worthy of the high calling would indicate a condition of pride which itself would make one unworthy. It is only because the Lord’s love has made provisions to cover our imperfections that we could possibly entertain this superlative hope.

Speaking further of the “blessed people who know the joyful sound,” the psalmist wrote, “In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted.” (Ps. 89:16) Here is the answer to all who, in hearing the call, say they are ‘not good enough’ to accept it. The Lord has offered exaltation from the human to the divine nature, and he has made this possible through the righteousness provided in Christ. No one will be exalted to the right hand of God to live and reign with Christ except through Christ’s righteousness provided to us through his ransom sacrifice.


While the merit of Christ is graciously provided by our Heavenly Father to cover inherited imperfections, there are certain characteristics which those called to be God’s blessed people must possess and develop in order to continue walking in the light of his countenance. A number of these were mentioned by Jesus in his sermon on the mount, and are commonly referred to as the Beatitudes. These are presented in Matthew 5:3-12.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” said Jesus. To be ‘poor in spirit’ means to realize one’s need of God and the riches he alone can provide. It is this quality which causes the called ones to say they are not good enough. From the standpoint of worldly values a person may be wealthy, yet realize his need of that which money cannot buy, which is the favor and blessing of God. On the other hand, one may be poverty-stricken from a material standpoint, yet be proud, haughty, and self-sufficient. No one in this attitude could receive and appreciate the blessings of the Lord.

“Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted,” Jesus continued. Literally speaking, this has not been true. Throughout the age millions have mourned who have not been comforted. This does not refer to mourning in the ordinary sense. We find a clue to the meaning of this Beatitude by noting the life and example of Jesus. Jesus was a genuine mourner within the meaning of this Beatitude. In Isaiah 53:3 we read concerning Jesus that he was a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”

The grief and sorrow of Jesus were not due to his own hardships, but because of his sympathy for others. In verse 4 of this chapter Isaiah wrote further concerning Jesus, “He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” Jesus not only died for the sins of both the church and the world, but he suffered and died compassionately. His heart of sympathy went out to the suffering people around him. He was genuinely touched with a feeling of their infirmities. (Heb. 4:15) Thus Jesus was one who ‘mourned’.

And Jesus was comforted in his mourning because he used every opportunity which came to him to pour out blessings upon the needy, and to tell them of the glorious time coming when he would wipe away their tears, bring an end to sickness and to death. How Jesus’ loving heart must have rejoiced to see the blind receive their sight; the lame walk; the lepers cleansed; and the evil spirits flee from those whom they had possessed! What joy it must have given Jesus to proclaim the good news of the kingdom, when all the sick and disabled would be healed, and all the brokenhearted brought life and joy. Jesus’ sorrow was deep when Lazarus died. How he must have been comforted by saying to Martha, “Thy brother shall rise again.”—John 11:23

It is in this sense that all the blessed people of God must also be genuine mourners. We are called to joint-heirship in the Messianic kingdom which is to bless all the families of the earth. It is essential, therefore, to have the desire to participate in this work of blessing. And this desire must be more than a profession of words. We must, be, even now, genuinely sympathetic toward the suffering world of mankind. This sympathy, this mourning, must be so sincere and deep-rooted that we will gladly lay down our lives doing what we can even now to bring comfort and joy to any who will receive our message.

And there is no better way of doing this than by proclaiming the glad tidings of the kingdom. We cannot, as Jesus did, heal the sick or raise the dead. But we can assure all who will listen that the time is near when all the sick will be healed and all the dead will be restored to life. If our mourning leads us to do this, we will experience more joy from our own knowledge of the truth than could otherwise be possible. We will, indeed, be comforted.

The third Beatitude reads, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” To be “meek” is to be teachable. We cannot be among the blessed people of God unless we are teachable. We cannot hear and appreciate the joyful sound of the truth unless we are willing to lay aside our own notions and theories and allow ourselves to be taught of God through his Word.

Those who are thus meek, or teachable, will inherit the earth. This does not mean that the earth will be their everlasting home. God has promised that the knowledge of his glory shall fill the whole earth. This promise will be fulfilled during the thousand years of Christ’s kingdom. The called of God during the present age who are meek, and because they are teachable and learn to know God, will share with Jesus in the work of teaching all mankind concerning the true God. This will be part of their blessed inheritance.

Jesus continued, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” To be hungry and thirsty is to have a genuine desire for food and drink. These expressions, therefore, describe a sincere and genuine longing to know and to do God’s will. To ‘hunger and thirst after righteousness’ means more than to read the Bible in the spirit of curiosity, or to find proof for some fanciful theory of our own. It means that in our individual study and in our fellowship with the brethren, our whole desire will be to know God’s will and plan, and to make the proper application of the truth in our own lives.

If we do hunger and thirst after righteousness we will be ‘filled’. The study of God’s Word will be a wonderfully satisfying and rewarding experience. We will find ourselves rejoicing more and more as we receive evidence that the light of the Lord’s countenance is shining upon us. The joyful sound of the truth will, day by day become increasingly joyful. Yes, blessed indeed will be the indwelling of divine grace in our hearts and lives.

Jesus continued: “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” The quality of mercy is essential for all the people of God. It is so important, that the forgiveness of our own trespasses by the Heavenly Father is made dependent upon it. In teaching his disciples to pray, Jesus included this principle of mercy, “Forgive us our debts [trespasses] as we forgive our debtors [those who trespass against us].”—Matt. 6:12,14,15

The sixth Beatitude reads, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Heart purity may be thought of in contrast with mere outward professions of purity. Jesus illustrated this when he said, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.”—Matt. 23:25

Those who are pure in heart, Jesus said, shall ‘see God’. This has both a present and a future fulfillment. The pure in heart are blessed even now with a ‘vision’ of God. Isaiah saw the Lord “high and lifted up.” (Isa. 6:1) Through the joyful sound of the truth we also see the Lord in this exalted manner. We see his wisdom, justice, love, and power. These glorious attributes of Jehovah’s character combine to reveal his glory, and through the truth we thus behold the glory of the Lord. Truly this is a wonderful blessing.

And then, if we are faithful to the terms of our consecration, in the first resurrection we will be exalted to the divine nature and see God face to face. This is a blessing so rich and so wonderful that our finite minds cannot comprehend it. It is one of the invisible aspects of our future inheritance which can be seen now only by the eye of faith.

“Blessed are the peacemakers,” said Jesus, “for they shall be called the children of God.” The blessed people of God are called to be “ministers of reconciliation.” (II Cor. 5:18) Through their ministry of the truth, those to whom the Lord gives a hearing ear are led to repentance and consecration. Through their faith they attain “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 5:1) But in order to be peacemakers from this standpoint, it is essential that we be faithful witnesses of the truth. It means that we cannot selfishly keep the truth to ourselves. It means that, like Jesus we will be able to say, “I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou knowest. I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.”—Ps. 40:9,10

“O Lord, thou knowest,” said Jesus in the words of David to his Heavenly Father. Our Heavenly Father also knows how faithful we are as ministers of reconciliation. Looking deep into our hearts, does he see there a genuine yearning to make known his lovingkindness? Does our Heavenly Father see that we are doing all we can to preach righteousness—to proclaim his truth? Is the peace with God and the peace of God, which the joyful sound of the truth has brought into our own lives, impelling us to lay down our lives as peacemakers? If so, we will have this blessed witness that we are the children of God.

The final Beatitude reads: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” It is through “much tribulation that we enter into the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22) Just as Jesus was persecuted because of his faithfulness in proclaiming the Gospel of the kingdom, so his footstep followers will be also. To be persecuted for righteousness’ sake does not imply God’s disfavor, but the reverse.

Those who let their light shine will incur the disfavor of the world, but they will be blessed by God. They will be blessed in this life through the realization that they are walking in the light of God’s countenance, and in the first resurrection they will be exalted to live and reign with Christ in the kingdom of heaven.

All for All

The Beatitudes are not descriptive of blessings to be enjoyed by eight different groups of those who hear the joyful sound. The thought is that all the people of God are entitled to all these blessings. But in order to be so, it is essential to meet all the qualifications attached to the Beatitudes. Only those who attain and maintain all these righteous qualities of heart and mind can expect to be among the blessed people of God.

All the blessed people of God must be poor in spirit. All of them must be sympathetic mourners as they witness the suffering and sorrow with which they are surrounded. All must be meek—teachable—like little children. All must genuinely hunger and thirst after righteousness. None can be of the blessed people of God without possessing the quality of mercy. They must all be pure in heart. All are called to be ministers of reconciliation, peacemakers, and in this ministry they will radiate peace and goodwill. But there will be degrees of persecution, because all who are faithful light-bearers will experience the ill-will and scorn of the world.

Just so all of God’s blessed people in this age will inherit the kingdom of heaven. All will be comforted as they endeavor to comfort others. All shall inherit the earth and be filled with righteousness. Likewise all will obtain mercy and see God. And how wonderful to have the assurance that the blessed people of God are in reality the children of God. What greater blessing could we enjoy than to have received the Spirit of sonship and be able to look up to the great Creator of the universe and say, “Abba Father”!


In Psalm 68:19 we read, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.” The benefits, or blessings, of the Lord are indeed heaped upon his people. It would be impossible to enumerate all of them, for they are more than can be numbered. Among these blessings are forgiveness; guidance; strength; the privilege of prayer; fellowship with the Lord and with his people; and the daily shedding abroad of the love of God in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us.

Think of the benefits of being able, through prayer, to enter into the presence of our loving Heavenly Father and to commune with him! We confess our sins and ask his forgiveness. We tell him our sorrows and our joys. We acknowledge our weakness and ask for strength to help. We lack wisdom—and we ask him to supply our lack, knowing that he will give it to us liberally. We ask for a larger indwelling of the Holy Spirit, assured by Jesus that he will not give us a “stone.”—Luke 11:11

Dispensational Blessings

In Luke 12:37,42 we read Jesus’ promise that at the time of his return and second presence a special blessing would come to the Lord’s people: “Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching,” Jesus said. Then he added. “Verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.”

The particular blessing promised here is that when Jesus returned he would personally serve the watchers with meat in due season. Jesus used meat to symbolize the spiritual, nourishing qualities of the truth. This was to be meat, or truth, suitable for the special time in which it would be served—‘meat in due season’. Since Jesus’ promise pertains to the time of his return and the establishment of his kingdom, the special truth then due and needful for the Lord’s people would be the plan of God pertaining to the closing work of the Gospel Age, and the kingdom work of the new age, the Millennial Age.

Through the Prophet Daniel, the Lord gives us a similar promise to the one made by Jesus. In Daniel 12:12 we read, “Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.” This is a prophecy pertaining to the time when our Lord would return. This prophecy also emphasizes, as Jesus did, that a great ‘blessing’ would reach the Lord’s people at that time. This is a blessing which belongs particularly to the blessed people of God at the end of the Gospel Age.

We believe that we are now living in the end of that age and the time of our Lord’s Second Presence. One of the strong evidences of this is the rich feast of truth, the ‘meat in due season’, which has been served to the watchers, the blessed people of God. It is not a different message. To change the figure of speech, it is simply that the joyful sound has become more melodious, more clear and bell-like, and has been given increased overtones of assurance and joy that have made it seem like a “new song.”—Rev. 14:3

Jesus foretold in considerable detail just how this meat in due season would reach the Lord’s people. When he made the promise, Peter said to him, “Speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?” Jesus replied, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his Lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?” (Luke 12:41,42) The thought here seems clear that Jesus would be the one to serve the special meat in due season when he returned. This promise has now been fulfilled in the experiences of ‘the blessed people of God’. Jesus has brought to the household the glorious and harmonious truths of the divine plan, particularly those dispensational truths pertaining to the end of the age. Our returned Lord has supplied us with truths pertaining to the harvest time. We now understand clearly the messianic kingdom hope set forth in the prophecies of the Bible.

We have learned that while there is a high calling for the church, the vast majority are to be blessed with “restitution.” And we rejoice to realize that this glorious doctrine of restitution was spoken “by the mouth of all God’s holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:21) Yes, rich has been the feast of truth that has come to the Lord’s people in this end of the age. Without doubt, this blessing has come in fulfillment of Jesus’ promise, and of the prophecy of Daniel. And we today rejoice in this additional benefit that is now so richly enjoyed by the blessed people of God.

The Crowning Blessing

The greatest of all the blessings enjoyed by the blessed people of God is their glorification in the “first resurrection.” Then they will be ushered into the presence of their loving Heavenly Father, and will sit on the throne as jointheirs with Jesus in his kingdom. This blessing of exaltation to the divine nature, and all that is made possible thereby, comes to each one of the faithful during the harvest period, as they finish their course in death.

Concerning this we read in Revelation 14:13, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.” The expression, ‘dead which die’, refers to those who are ‘dead’ symbolically, and whose lives are hid with Christ in God. These are being planted together in the likeness of Jesus’ death. These are now reckoned dead, but in order to live and reign with Christ they must prove faithful even unto actual death. They must die in the Lord.

But how blessed it is to realize that the end of the way of sacrifice will mean the end of wearisome labor, but not the end of joyful service for the Lord. If faithful unto death, we shall rest from our labors, but our work will continue. How blessed it is to realize that we are now living in the time of the divine plan when this is true!

Concerning the resurrection of the saints in general, we read, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Rev. 20:6) Thus the blessings which began when the Lord opened the ears of our understanding to hear the joyful sound will reach their glorious fruition, their superlative degree, when we are exalted to be with Christ in the ruling heavenly phase of his kingdom.

Even this unspeakable joy will be enhanced by the privilege of sharing with Jesus in dispensing blessings to all the families of the earth. It is for this blessed joy to come that the Lord is now preparing his people. Walking in the light of his countenance now, they are being prepared to reveal that light to the whole world during the thousand years of their reign with Christ. By their future ministry the knowledge of the Lord will be caused to fill the whole earth as the waters cover the sea. Then all who believe and obey will become the blessed people of God also.

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |