"NO TEARS IN HEAVEN"
"And God shall wipe away all tears…and there shall be no more…crying…" (Rev. 21.4)
INTRO.: A song which reminds us that God shall wipe away all tears in the after awhile is "No Tears In Heaven" (#214 in Hymns for Worship Revised, and #403 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written and the tune (No Tears) was composed both by Robert Sterling Arnold, who was born one of five children to Millard Franklin and Rowena Victoria (Lawrence) Arnold at Coleman, TX, on Jan. 26, 1905. While attending the public schools of Coleman, Silver Valley, and Brownwood, he became interested in music and began singing at age sixteen or seventeen. At about the same time, he attended music normals sponsored by the Central Normal Music School of Little Rock, AR, and studied under many outstanding teachers, including Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Carr, L. A. Gordon, Dr. J. B. Herbert, Sam S. Lash, John McClung, Will M. Ramsey, Frank White, and William W Combs, the noted music instructor for both the Vaughan Music Company and the Stamps-Baxter Music Company. At the age of eighteen, Robert began singing tenor in various quartets and doing radio work. Among his singing jobs in the late 1920s and early 1930s were stints with the Carr Quartet, the Central Quartet and the J. C. Penney-sponsored Overall Quartet, a group that sported overalls, complete with white shirt and black bow tie, in each of their concerts. In 1928 Robert married Cora Angie McDonald, whom he had met in 1926 at a gospel singing at Veribest, near San Angelo, TX.
The Arnolds lived in Fort Worth, where he had a studio and taught piano and voice for about twenty-four years, Kennedale, and Jefferson, TX, returning to Coleman in 1975, where they were members of the Elm St. Church of Christ. "No Tears in Heaven" was produced in 1935. It was originally copyrighted by the Stamps-Baxter Music Company and first published in their "Harbor Bells No. 4". After being a partner with Albert E. Brumley and W. Oliver Cooper in the Hartford National Company, Arnold, along with Cora and several other gospel music loving families, organized the National Music Company was at Fort Worth, TX, in 1937. Their first publication was entitled Echoes of Heaven. For a number of years, they published two books each year, had two quartets which had a weekly radio program, and later carried on a daily program over KFJZ in Ft. Worth. The company also held a school, the National School of Music, each summer for many years and published The National Music News each month. During World War II, situations arose which caused members of the company to leave for other work. In 1945, the Arnolds bought all the interest from other members, but later that year sold 49% of the company to three other families. However, the following year they bought back all interest and became sole owners and operators of the company until his death. Through the 1940s and 1950s, Arnold managed and sang as a member of the National Quartet.
All this time, Arnold continued to teach local singing schools as well. In fact, he taught at least one singing school in each year since 1924 at the age of 19 until his death at the age of 98. His extensive travels resulted in teaching about 300 shape note singing schools. Arnold spent his entire life promoting the expansion of Southern Gospel Music. One of his major contributions to gospel music was in perpetuating shape-note singing schools and publishing annual convention books. The National Music Company published approximately sixty class and convention books, a hymnbook, sheet music, and several special books, including a book of Arnold’s songs entitled Robert S. Arnold Writes. A noted songwriter, Arnold is credited with more than 400 songs, the best known of which is probably "No Tears in Heaven." In addition to its popularity at shape note singing conventions and inclusion in Stamps-Baxter’s popular Heavenly Highway Hymns, "No Tears in Heaven" has been recorded by gospel quarters and artists such as Buck Owens, Skeeter Davis and Red Foley. The National Music Company renewed the copyright to the hymn in 1963. Some of other popular songs Arnold, who was inducted into the Texas Gospel Music Hall of Fame on September 14, 1985, include "Did You Repent, Fully Repent?", "Have You Thought, Really Thought?", "If I Could But Just Take One Soul To Heaven," and "I Want to Get Right." Cora died in 1988, and Robert died in Coleman County at age 98 on February 8, 2003, with burial in the Silver Valley Cemetery. Two years after his death, he was inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, "No Tears in Heaven" appeared in the 1938/1944 (New) Wonderful Songs edited by Thomas S. Cobb; the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater; and the 1978 Hymns of Praise edited by Reuel Lemmons. Today it may be found in the 1971 Songs of the Church, the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed., and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise all edited by Alton H. Howard; the 1978/1983 (Church) Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; and the 1999 Into His Hands edited by Leland R. Fleming; in addition to Hymns for Worship, Sacred Selections, and the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat. Before his death, I contacted the author asking permission to reprint the words in a book that I was preparing about the hymns which we sing. He wrote back, "If not to be sold, you have my permission." So the words are reprinted by permission.
This song talks about some of the things that make heaven a place for which we long.
I. From stanza 1, we find that there will be no tears in heaven
"No tears in heaven, no sorrows given, All will be glory in that land.
There’ll be no sadness; all will be gladness, When we shall join that happy band."
A. Heaven is the eternal dwelling place of God where the living hope of the Christian is reserved: 1 Pet. 1.3-5
B. It is a place of glory, into which Jesus was received up when He ascended: 1 Tim. 3.16
C. God has promised those who overcome that He will wipe away every tear from their eyes: Rev. 7.14-17
II. From stanza 2, we find that in heaven we shall be with our Savior
"Glory is waiting, waiting up yonder, Where we shall spend an endless day;
There with our Savior, we’ll be forever, Where no more sorrow can dismay."
A. The same glory into which Jesus was received is the hope that we have in Him: Col. 1.27
B. When we obtain it, we shall spend an endless day because we shall receive eternal life: 1 Jn. 2.25
C. But one of the greatest blessings in heaven will be to dwell forever in the presence of our Savior, the Lamb: Rev. 22.1-5
III. From stanza 3, we find that in heaven all things shall be made new
"Some morning yonder, we’ll cease to ponder O’er things this life has brought to view;
All will be clearer, loved ones be dearer, In heaven where all will be made new."
A. The dawn of eternity in the presence of the Savior is likened unto the breaking of day in the morning: Ps. 30.5
B. At that time, those whom we have loved in Christ will be even dearer. Ellis Crum, in Sacred Selections, changed the word "loved" to "saved,"and Shepard and Stevens followed this change in Hymns for Worship (as did Alton Howard in his books). I assume that Crum made the change to avoid the possibility of seeming to teach that people can expect to see their unsaved loved ones or relatives in heaven. However, the change leaves the impression that Christians have no right to expect to see any loved ones there. Through the years when I have sung songs with wording such as this, I have naturally assumed, based on Biblical teaching, that the loved ones whom I hope to see are those who died in the Lord. It is interesting that when I wrote brother Arnold about obtaining permission to use the words, I quoted from Hymns for Worship which uses the word "saved." Brother Arnold circled it and drew a line to his handwritten note, "Should be loved." The Bible certainly teaches that faithful Christians can expect to be reunited with those Christ whom they have loved and who have gone on before: 1 Thess. 4.13-17
C. In addition to this joyful expectation, the fact is that all the things of this life that bring tears, death, sorrow, crying, and pain will be absent from heaven because God will make all things new: Rev. 21.5-8
CONCL.: The chorus reiterates the basic theme that no tears will be found in heaven.
"No tears (in heaven fair), no tears, no tears up there, Sorrw and pain will all have flown;
No tears (in heaven fair), no tears, no tears up there, No tears in heaven will be known."
While this song has no great doctrinal thought nor words of specific praise, it is a sweet song about hour heavenly hope. When we face problems in life, may we always remember and be encouraged by the fact that there will be "No Tears in Heaven."
NOTE: Words and music copyright 1935 by Stamps-Baxter Music Co.; renewed 1963 by Robert S. Arnold, National Music Co.; assigned 2002 to Martha Ham