“Lord, Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor”


“Jesus Christ, who is…the first begotten of the dead…and washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Revelation 1:5)

     INTRO.:  A hymn which is designed to remind us that Jesus Christ, who is the first begotten from the dead, washed us from our sins in His own blood is “Lord, Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor.”  The text was written by George Hugh Bourne who was born on Nov. 8, 1840, at St. Paul’s Cray in Kent, England.  The son of R. B. Bourne, a minister, he was educated at Eton, and at Christ Church, Oxford, graduating with a BA in 1863.  That same year he became a minister and began serving as Assistant Curate of Sandford-on-Thames from 1863 to 1865).  After receiving his BCL in 1866, he served as Head Master of St. Andrew’s Chardstock from 1866 to 1874, during which time he received his DCL in 1871, and then from 1874 to 1885 as Warden of that school, which was transferred to St. Edmund’s, Salisbury in 1886.   In 1874 he had his Seven Post Communion Hymns, which included this hymn, published privately. 

     In addition, Bourne was Chaplain to the Bishop of Bloemfontein from 1879 to 1898, Subdean of Salisbury Cathedral from 1887 to 1901, was made and Treasurer and Prebendary of Salisbury Cathedral in 1901.  He died on Dec. 1, 1925, at St. Edmund’s College, in Salisbury, England.  Several tunes have been used with Bourne’s text.  One (Bryn Calfaria) was composed by William Owen in 1852.  Another (Kingley Vale) was composed by Hugh P. Allen (1869-1946).  Still another (St. Helen) was composed by George C. Martin (1844-1916).  Yet another (Hyfrydol) was composed by Rowland H. Pritchard around 1830 and has been used with a number of hymns, most notably William C. Dix’s “Alleluia! Sing to Jesus.”  Another tune (St. Hilda Barnby) that can be used with “Lord, Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor” was composed in 1861 by Joseph Barnby (1838-1896).

     The hymn gives homage to Jesus Christ as our sacrificial and risen Lord.

I. Stanza 1 acknowledges Jesus as the Lord who rose from the dead

“Lord, enthroned in heavenly splendor,

First begotten from the dead,

Thou alone, our strong Defender,

Now lift up Thy people’s head.

Here our humblest homage pay we,

Here in loving reverence bow;

Here for faith’s discernment pray we,

Lest we fail to know Thee now.”

 A. Jesus Christ is our Lord who is now enthroned in heavenly splendor: Heb. 8:1

 B. He occupies this position because He is the first begotten or firstborn from the dead: Col. 1:18

 C. Also He is our strong Defender who will keep His people from the hour of temptation: Rev. 3:10

II. Stanza 2 discusses Jesus’s life from His birth to His death

“Though the lowliest form doth veil Thee

As of old in Bethlehem,

Here as there Thine angels hail Thee,

Branch and Flower of Jesse’s stem.

Paschal Lamb, Thine offering finished

Once for all when Thou wast slain,

In its fullness undiminished

Shall forevermore remain.”

 A. Jesus was born in Bethlehem: Matt. 2:1

 B. In life He was the branch of Jesse’s stem, as prophesied in the Old Testament: Isa. 11:1

 C. In addition, He was the Paschal Lamb who was offered for our redemption: 1 Pet. 1:18-19

III. Stanza 3 identifies Jesus as our great High Priest and Intercessor

“Great High Priest of our profession,

Through the veil Thou wentest in,

By Thy mighty intercession,

Grace and peace for us to win.

Life imparting heavenly Manna,

Smitten Rock with streaming side,

Heaven and earth with loud hosanna

Worship Thee, the Lamb who died.”

 A. Jesus is the great High Priest of our profession: Heb. 3:1

 B. As such, He entered into the veil for us: Heb. 6:19-20

 C. There He ever lives to make intercession for His people: Heb. 7:25

     CONCL.:  The purpose of the Lord’s supper is to remember Christ’s death.  We often sing a song to prepare our minds for partaking of the supper.  Such songs do not always have to be sad and sorrowful accounts of His death, though there is certainly nothing wrong with this kind of song.  On occasion, they can be triumphant acclamations that by His death He overcame sin and brought us salvation, along with many other wonderful spiritual blessings.  Thus, it is good to remember that because He died for us Jesus is the “Lord, Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor.”


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