"COME, YE FAITHFUL, RAISE THE ANTHEM"
"Unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God" (1 Tim. 1.17)
INTRO.: A song which speaks of the Christian’s responsibility to praise the King eternal, immortal, and invisible, who is the only wise God is "Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Anthem." The original text was written by Job Hupton, who was born in 1762 at a small village near Burton-on-Trent, England. Brought up to work at a forge, he was converted through the preaching of John Bradford, one of Lady Selena Huntington’s ministers, at Walsall, and began to preach himself. After a few months at Trevecca College, he was also employed by Lady Huntington as an itinerant evangelist, but in 1794 he became minister of the Baptist Church at Claxton in Norfolk, where he spent many years. Writing under such signatures as "Ebenezer," "Eliakim," and J. H–n," he produced a great deal of both prose and verse, much of it appearing in The Gospel Magazine. Of his 22 hymns, only three survived, and only "Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Anthem," which was first published beginning, "Come, ye saints, and raise the anthem" in The Gospel Magazine of Sept., 1805, is still found today.
In 1843, Hupton collected and published his prose writings as The Truth as It Is in Jesus, and he died on Oct. 19, 1849. In 1861, his Hymns and Spiritual Poems were printed with a brief memoir by D.Sedgwick. The text of this particular hymn was rewritten by John Mason Neale (1818-1866). This altered version was first published in the 1863 Christian Remembrancer. The tune (Unser Herrscher, Neander, Ephesus, or Magdaberg) was composed by Joachim Neander (1650-1680). It is usually dated 1680 and was originally published with the chorale "Unser herrscher, unser Konig" ("Our Ruler, Our King"), probably in his Alpha and Omega Glaub-und Liebensubung which came out the year of his death. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of the Christ, the song (with only two stanzas) appeared in the 1397 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 edited by E. L. Jorgenson; and the 1965 Great Christian Hymnal No. 2 edited by Tillit S. Teddlie.
The hymn encourages us to praise the divine one who is our King and God.
I. Stanza 1 identifies Christ as the Word Incarnate
"Come, ye faithful, raise the anthem, Cleave the sky with shouts of praise;
Sing to Him who found the ransom, Ancient of eternal days,
King eternal, Word Incarnate, Whom the heaven of heaven obeys."
A. We should be filled with praise to the Lord just as the Israelites were when they came through the Red Sea: Exo. 15.1
B. Our praise should be directed to Him who gave His life as a ransom for us: Matt. 20.28
C. He is the Word who was with God but became flesh for us: Jn. 1.1, 14
II. Stanza 2 identifies Christ as the Sacrifice of Calvary
"Ere He raised the lofty mountains, Formed the seas, or built the sky,
Love eternal, free, and boundless, Moved the Lord of Life to die,
Foreordained the Prince of Princes For the throne of Calvary."
A. This same one was the Creator of the mountains, seas, and sky: Col. 1.16
B. Yet, His loved moved Him to die for our sins: 1 Cor. 15.1-3
C. This sacrifice of Calvary was foreordained even before the foundation of the world: 1 Pet. 1.18-21
III. Stanza 3 identifies Christ as our Redeemr
"There, for us and our redemption, See Him all His life blood pour!
There He wins our full salvation, Dies that we may die no more;
Then, arising, lives forever, Reigning where He was before."
A. Because He died for us, we can have redemption through His blood: Eph. 1.7
B. As a result of this salvation from sin through His death, we have the hope that we shall die no more: Jn. 8.51
C. Not only did our Redeemer die, but He also arose again to live forever: Mk. 16.9
IV. Stanza 4 identifies Christ as the Victor in the strife
"High on yon celestial mountains Stands His sapphire throne, all bright,
Midst unending alleluias Bursting from the sons of light;
Zion’s people tell His praises, Victor in the hardwon fight."
A. Now, Jesus is seated on His throne at the right hand of God: Rev. 3.21
B. There, He sits amidst unending alleluias: Rev. 5.12
C. He is worthy of this praise because He is the victor who prevailed: Rev. 5.5
V. Stanza 5 identifies Christ as the King of celestial day
"Bring your harps, and bring your incense, Sweep the string and pour the lay;
Let the earth proclaim His wonders, King of that celestial day.
He the Lamb once slain is worthy, Who was dead and lives for aye."
A. The harps and incense are symbolic of the praise and prayers that are due the Lord: Rev. 5.8
B. As the one who sits upon the throne, Jesus is King of celestial day: Rev. 19.16
C. He is the Lamb who was once slain but now lives forever: Rev. 1.18
VI. Stanza 6 identifies Christ as One with the Father and the Spirit
"Laud and honor to the Father, Laud and honor to the Son,
Laud and honor to the Spirit, Ever Three and ever One,
Consubstantial, co-eternal, While unending ages run."
A. Laud and honor are due both the Father on the throne and His Son who is the Lamb: Rev. 5.13
B. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are Three in One: Matt. 28.19
C. The fact that they are One means they are consubstantial and co-eternal in nature: Jn. 17.21
CONCL.: Thankfully, not all the German chorale tunes were slow, ponderous, minor-key melodies. This song is a happy combination of victorious lyrics with a joyful melody that expresses glorious praise to our Lord. Unfortunately, because it has not been in many of our books, very few members of the body of Christ are familiar with it. However, when we consider what the Lord has done for us and the victory that He makes possible to us, we should certainly exhort all Christians to join in our praise, telling them, "Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Anthem."