“Hallelujah, We Shall Rise”

"For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (1 Cor. 15:52)

     INTRO.: A hymn which emphasizes that when the Lord returns and the trumpet shall sound, the dead shall be raised is "Hallelujah, We Shall Rise" (#645 in Hymns for Worship Revised). The text of stanzas 1 through 3 was written and the tune (We Shall Rise) was composed both by John Edmond Thomas, who was born in Calhoun County, AR, on Dec. 6, 1860. Some time after that, the Thomases must have left Arkansas for Texas, because in 1874, the family moved from a farm in Texas back to Arkansas. Later that same year, his father died, leaving him as the oldest son to support the family. Even though he had his hands full, he found time to begin attending a vocal school at age seventeen under T. A. Bridges. Later, he also studied under Horatio R. Palmer, author of "Yield Not to Temptation," and George A. Goodrich. A Baptist, Thomas became a singing teacher, hymn composer, songbook compiler, and music publisher for over 44 years. Beginning a full time music career in 1890, he helped to organize the Trio Music Company in Waco, TX, along with John M. Greer and Franklin Lycurgus Eiland, to print hymnbooks. Living in Ft. Worth, TX, he later founded the Quartet Music Co. and served as its president. A couple of his well used songbooks were New Hosannas, edited with Newton Allphin in 1921, and Requested Songs New and Old, edited with James W. Ferrill in 1932.

     The author of several widely used textbooks on music theory, including the Analytical Theory of Music, Thomas produced a number of songs which were found in some older books used among churches of Christ, such as "I Am So Glad Salvation’s Free." Probably his best known song, "Hallelujah, We Shall Rise" was first published in 1904. Many books credit all four stanzas to Thomas, but some older books say that the text of stanza 4 was written by Robert E. Winsett (1876-1952). It was apparently first included with the song around 1932, when the copyright was renewed by Thomas. Later the copyright was owned by the National Music Company. Thomas’s death occurred in Ft. Worth on Apr. 30, 1946. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the song appeared in the 1959 Majestic Hymnal No. 2 and the 1978 Hymns of Praise both edited by Reuel Lemmons; and the 1952 Hymns of Praise and Devotion edited by Will W. Slater. 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 1977 Special Sacred Selections edited by Ellis J. Crum; and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; in addition to Hymns for Worship and the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat.

     The song encourages us to look forward to that future time when the dead in Christ shall rise.

I. Stanza 1 mentions the trump of God
“In the resurrection morning When the trump of God shall sound,
We shall rise, (Hallelujah!), we shall rise!
Then the saints will come rejoicing And no tears will e’er be found;
We shall rise, (Hallelujah!), we shall rise!”
 A. When Jesus comes, the trump of God will sound: 1 Thess. 4:16
 B. At that time the saints will come forth rejoicing: Jn. 5:28-29
 C. And they will be taken to a place where no tears will be found: Rev. 21:1-4

II. Stanza 2 mentions the meeting with loved ones
In the resurrection morning, What a meeting it will be;
We shall rise, (Hallelujah!), we shall rise!
When our fathers and our mothers, And our loved ones we shall see,
We shall rise, (Hallelujah!), we shall rise!”
[Even in Special Sacred Selections, Ellis J. Crum changed the third line to
“When our Father and our Savior And the saved ones we shall see;”
In Sacred Songs for the Church editor William D. Jeffcoat changed it to
“Then the ransomed of all ages Clothed in splendor we shall see.”)
 A. There will certainly be a meeting because many will come from east and west to sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven: Matt. 8:11
 B. If our fathers and our mothers have been faithful to the Lord, we can expect to see them because they will be told to enter the joy of the Lord: Matt. 25:21
 C. If our loved ones have obeyed God’s commandments, we can expect to see them because they will have the right to enter the eternal city: Rev. 22:14

III. Stanza 3 mentions seeing the blessed Savior
“In the resurrection morning, Blessed thought it is to me,
We shall rise, (Hallelujah!), we shall rise!
I shall see my blessed Savior, Who so freely died for me;
We shall rise, (Hallelujah!), we shall rise!”
 A. It should be a blessed thought that Jesus is coming again: Acts 1:11
 B. The hope of those who are now children of God is that when He comes we shall see Him as He is: 1 Jn. 3:1-3
 C. The reason why we long to see Him is that He is the one who so freely died for us: Rom. 5:8

IV. Stanza 4 mentions meeting Christ in the air to be carried to glory
“In the resurrection morning, We shall meet Him in the air;
We shall rise, (Hallelujah!), we shall rise!
And be carried up to glory, To our home so bright and fair;
We shall rise, (Hallelujah!), we shall rise!”
 A. When the Lord raises the dead those who are alive will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air: 1 Thess. 4:17
 B. Then the righteous shall be carried up to glory where Jesus Himself was received: 1 Tim. 3:16
 C. And they shall receive the home so bright and fair that Jesus went to prepare: Jn. 14:1-3

     CONCL.: The chorus expresses the joy and gladness that the righteous will experience at that time.
We shall rise, (Hallelujah!), We shall rise! (Amen!)
We shall rise (Hallelujah!), In the resurrection morning,
When death’s prison bars are broken,
We shall rise (Hallelujah!), we shall rise!”
We do not know what the future here on earth will hold for us. However, we know that the ultimate future for God’s people is the final resurrection unto life eternal with God in heaven. Therefore, we can eagerly anticipate with great joy that time when “Hallelujah, We Shall Rise.”


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