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Who's Harold? No, "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!"

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"Hark! The Herald Angel's Sing!"

This special hymn was written around 1739 by Charles Wesley. Wesley was a brilliant hymn writer who had a theological richness about his songs. This Christmas classic is no exception. Here’s an explanation of the first 3 verses of the song.

FIRST VERSE
The song opens with an invitation to listen (“hark”) to the sound of the angels singing, which is a reference to Luke 2:13-14. In this passage the angels, at the news of Jesus’ birth, come as a multitude “praising God saying, ’ Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased’.” The peace Jesus brought is between God and man. Man’s sin separated him from God. Through Jesus, the impossible happened, God and sinners reconciled. As we listen to the angels we are invited to join them in worshiping God (“all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies”), because the Messiah (Christ = the deliverer) has been born in Bethlehem!

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 the angelic host proclaim,
"Christ is born in Bethlehem!"
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new born King!"

SECOND VERSE
The theology of the second verse is astounding! The song calls Jesus the “everlasting Lord." The Bible teaches that Jesus truly is God, while at the same time man. The word "incarnate" means "in the flesh" (”veiled in flesh”). God came in the flesh to be truly God and truly man! Jesus is “incarnate deity" who walked and dwelt with other people. When people were with Jesus, they were with God. This points to John 1:1 which says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The “Word" here is referring to Jesus as we see in v.14, "And the Word became flesh (i.e. incarnate) and dwelt among us.” For this reason he is called “Emmanuel”, because that is a Hebrew word meaning “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23).

Christ, by highest heaven adored;
Christ, the everlasting Lord;
late in time behold him come,
offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
hail the incarnate Deity,
pleased with us in man to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new born King!"

THIRD VERSE
The final verse of this song speaks of what Jesus, the God-man, came to do beginning with a reference to Malachi 4:2, which says, “for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings.” The “sun of righteousness" in this metaphor refers to the Messiah who will bring justice against the wicked and heal the righteous. This is what Jesus has come to do. He came to bring light to replace darkness, life to replace death, healing to replace the power of sin through his death and resurrection (compare with Luke 1:78-79). The song says that Jesus was “born to give us second birth.” In John 3:3 Jesus teaches about mans need to be born again. To surrender you’re your life to Jesus is to experience a “new birth.” You die to your old self and live a new life as a follower of Jesus. The song also talks about eternal life when it says that Jesus was “born that man no more may die, born to raise us from the earth.” Because Jesus raised from the dead, he will, in the last day, raise those who believe in him. Praise God for this “heaven-born Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6)!

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
born that man no more may die,
born to raise us from the earth,
born to give us second birth.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new born King!"

Let’s join the angels in worshiping Jesus, “Glory to the new born King!”

1 Comment

Most people are familiar with this song Therefore people are more open to hearing and recalling the meaning from scripture associated with this song It connect worship song and God's Wordf from the scriptures. This is a powerful combination

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