Hark! the Herald Angels Sing

A Strong Theology in Hark! the Herald Angels Sing

Charles Wesley wrote this hymn as ten four-line stanzas in 1739. George Whitefield made alterations in 1753, changing the first line to “Hark! The herald angels sing.” In 1782, the  refrain was added. Others in the eighteenth-century shortened and modified the words. What we sing today is close to the final version published in 1810.

This hymn exalts Jesus. I love the descriptions used:

  • Christ
  • Newborn King
  • The everlasting Lord
  • Offspring of the virgin’s womb
  • The Godhead veiled in flesh
  • The incarnate Deity
  • As man with men to dwell
  • Jesus
  • Our Emmanuel
  • The heaven-born Prince of Peace
  • The Sun of Righteousness
  • Risen with healing in His wings
  • Desire of nations
  • The woman’s conquering Seed
  • Second Adam from above

What does this hymn speak to you about Christ? Go through the words, looking for what Christ has done for you.

Hark! the Herald Angels Sing

For this Advent Sunday’s video, I’ve chosen a rendition by the popular all-female musical ensemble, Celtic Woman. Here’s a link to one of several of their Christmas albums.



Lyrics of Hark! the Herald Angels Sing (from Hymnary.org)

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn 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 hosts proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Hark, the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

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 the incarnate Deity,
pleased as man with men to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel. [Refrain]

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 we no more may die,
born to raise the sons of earth,
born to give them second birth. [Refrain]

Come, Desire of nations, come,
fix in us Thy humble home;
rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Adam’s likeness now efface,
stamp Thine image in its place;
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love. [Refrain]

Knowing God through Hymns

Starting in 2017, join me once per month in praising God for who He is. For this series, I’m using each of the hymns at the ends of all the 57 chapters of Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology (with a break this month for Advent hymns).Want  to find more hymns from this Sunday hymn series? Click the hymn tag.


Source: I’m sure you’re aware that European cathedrals depicted biblical scenes in their stained glass and sculptures. Today, I chose a photo of the shepherds, sculpted on the Sagrada Família basilica in Barcelona, Spain (still under construction). This picture is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license on Wikimedia Commons.

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.