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  • Writer's pictureDerek Allen

Biblical Christmas Hymns: Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Hark the Herald Angels Sing is one of the most theologically rich, biblically saturated songs ever written. Ironically, the only unbiblical statement is reflected in the title--the Bible does not say the angels sang to the shepherds. They simply "said" (Luke 2:10, 13) Charles Wesley, the author of the poem, which later became the hymn, originally used another phrase as the opening line, but it was changed to the current wording by George Whitfield and has been published as such in hymnbooks since then.

The list will help you trace the biblical origins of almost every word of the song, and I hope you find it useful in your personal worship and your family and church celebrations of Christmas. I really enjoyed researching and compiling the list. Note: the list is comprehensive but far from exhaustive.

Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Charles Wesley, George Whitfield

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

Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!”

“You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” John 1:49

“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself.” 2 Corinthians 5:18

Joyful, all ye nations rise, Join the triumph of the skies;

With the angelic host proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy! Psalm 47:1

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

Christ, by highest Heaven adored; Christ the everlasting Lord; Late in time, behold Him come, Offspring of a virgin’s womb.

"And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, 'To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!'” Revelation 5:17

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman. Galatians 4:4

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; Hail the incarnate Deity,

Pleased with us in flesh to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known John 1:14, 18

“They shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us)” Matthew 1:23, quoting Isaiah 7:14

Hail the heavenly Prince of Peace! Hail the Sun of Righteousness! Light and life to all He brings, Risen with healing in His wings.

“His name shall be called . . . Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

"For you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings." Malachi 4:2

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.

“I entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:1

“Behold, your king comes to you . . . humble” Zechariah 9:9

“Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself.” Philippians 2:5-7

“Father, glorify me . . . with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” John 17:4

“Everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” John 11:26

“God raised us up with Jesus.” Ephesians 2:6

“For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable.” 1 Corinthians 15:52

“According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope.” 1 Peter 1:3

Come, Desire of nations, come, Fix in us Thy humble home; Rise, the woman’s conquering Seed, Bruise in us the serpent’s head.

“The desire of all nations shall come.” Haggai 2:7 KJV

“He emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:7-8

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15

“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” Romans 16:20

Now display Thy saving power, Ruined nature now restore; Now in mystic union join Thine to ours, and ours to Thine.

“On that day it shall be said . . . The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save.’” Zephaniah 3:16-17

“Creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” Romans 8:21

“He who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.” 1 Corinthians 6:17

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface, Stamp Thine image in its place: Second Adam from above, Reinstate us in Thy love.

“In Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:22

“The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit . . . The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven . . . Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven." 1 Corinthians 15:45, 47, 49

Let us Thee, though lost, regain, Thee, the Life, the inner man: Oh, to all Thyself impart, Formed in each believing heart.

“In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ it shall be said to them, ‘Children of the living God.’” Hosea 1:10

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” John 14:6

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Ephesians 3:17

“The Lord is my chosen portion.” Psalm 16:5

“My little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!” Galatians 4:19

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