“When He Cometh”

"And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels" (Mal. 3:17)

     INTRO.: A song which teaches us that the Lord will finally make up His jewels at the second coming of Christ is "When He Cometh." The text was written by William Orcutt Cushing (1823-1902). It is dated 1856 and was produced for the youngsters in his Sunday school. Cushing also produced such well known hymn texts as "Beautiful Valley of Eden," "Hiding In Thee," "I Will Follow Jesus," "There’ll Be No Dark Valley," and "Under His Wings." The tune (Jewels or Jewel Song) for "When He Cometh" was composed by George Frederick Root (1820-1895). Said to have been adapted from a popular post-Civil War secular melody called "Johnny Schmoker," it is dated 1866. Root also provided tunes for Isaac Watts’s "There Is a Land of Pure Delight," David Nelson’s "My Days are Gliding Swiftly By," and C. H. Wooston’s "Jesus Loves the Little Children." Also he did both words and melodies for "Come to the Savior" and "Why Do You Wait?"

     The song "When He Cometh" became well known through its appearance in Sacred Songs and Solos, 1903 edition, compiled by Ira David Sankey. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, it appeared in the 1921 Great Songs of the Church (No. 1, words only) and the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 both edited by E. L. Jorgenson; the 1935 Christian Hymns (No. 1), the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2 and the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 all edited by L. O. Sanderson; the 1952 Hymns of Praise and Devotion edited by Will W. Slater; the 1965 Great Christian Hymnal No. 2 edited by Tillit S. Teddlie; and the 1978 Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard (but not in the 1983 revised edition). Today it may be found in the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise edited by Alton H. Howard.

     The song reminds us that someday Jesus will come for His own.

I. Stanza 1 tells us that He will come
"When He cometh, when He cometh To make up His jewels;
All His jewels, precious jewels, His loved and His own!"
 A. Jesus has promised us that He will come again: Jn. 14:3
 B. He will come to make up His jewels; according to the statement in the book of Malachi upon which this song is based, the "jewels" seem to refer to God’s people, just as Paul considered the brethren in Philippi as his joy and crown: Phil. 4:1
 C. Therefore, the song figuratively pictures the saved as jewels in the Lord’s crown: Rev. 19:12

II. Stanza 2 tells us what He will do when He comes
"He will gather, He will gather The gems for His kingdom,
All the pure ones, all the bright ones, His loved and His own."
 A. When He comes, He will gather His people out of the world: Matt. 13:39-43
 B. While Christians are now part of God’s kingdom on earth, which is the church, at the end of time they will be gathered into His everlasting kingdom in heaven: 2 Pet. 1:11
 C. But this will be true only of those who are pure in heart, for only they shall see God: Matt. 5:8

III. Stanza 3 tells us whom He will gather when He comes
"Little children, little children Who love their Redeemer
Are the jewels, precious jewels, His loved and His own."
 A. Certainly, little children, sinless and innocent, like whom those in the kingdom of heaven must become, will be among that number, but it will also include all those who have indeed become as little children upon their obedience to the gospel and salvation from sin: Matt. 18:1-4
 B. These are the ones who truly love the Lord with all their heart, soul, and mind: Matt. 22:37-38
 C. Therefore, they can look to Christ as their Redeemer: Eph. 1:7

     CONCL.: The chorus emphasizes the hope of those who are made His jewels.
"Like the stars of the morning, His bright crown adorning,
They shall shine in their beauty, Bright gems for His crown."
Yes, as long as we remain in this world, we must labor to serve and please God in this life. However, at the same time, we are to set our affections on things above and not on this earth (Col. 3:2). Therefore, we continually look for, prepare for, and hope for that time "When He Cometh."

2 thoughts on ““When He Cometh”

  1. Thanks so much for expounding on the story behind this favorite. I especially like that you provided the Scriptures relating to the lyrics.


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