Hark! the herald angels sing

Here’s one of THE great Christmas Hymns – ‘Hark! the herald angels sing’ and so should we!. Or if you prefer one of THE great Incarnational Hymns by Charles Wesley (18 December 1707 – 29 March 1788). I’ve included below each stanza the verses from the Bible so we can see just how full of Scripture and theology this Hymn is. It’s no wonder they are great teaching aids. I’m using the King James version of the Bible for its poetic beauty. The actual text of the hymn has many variations so I apologise if the one below is a little different from the particular version you are most familiar with. As we sing this Hymn I trust we will not just admire the skill of the composer, or be lost in familiarity, but be amazed at the incredible condescension of the Lord of Glory as He comes to redeem lost sinners. Late in time behold Him come!

1 Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new-born King:
Peace on earth, and mercy mild;
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King.”

Stanza. 1 = Luke 2:14, 2 Cor. 5:19

Luke 2:14 ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’

2 Corinthians 5:19 ‘To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.’

2 Christ, by highest heav’n adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come,
Offspring of the Virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
Jesus our Immanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King.”

Stanza. 2 = Gal. 4:4, John 1:14

Galatians 4:4 ‘But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,’

John 1:14  ‘And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.’

3 Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King.”

Stanza. 3 = Isa. 9:6, Mal. 4:2, Phil. 2:7-8, 1 Pet. 1:3

Isaiah 9:6 ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.’

Malachi 4:2 ‘But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.’

Philippians 2:7 ‘But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:’
Philippians 2:8 ‘And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.’

1 Peter 1:3 ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,’

(Thanks to the Hymnary.org web-site for information on the hymn. Specifically HERE.)

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