Alleluia! Christ Is Risen!
And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Revelation 19:6 (KJV).
Can you imagine what happened in heaven when Jesus rose from the dead? We get a glimpse of the way heaven celebrates such occasions when we read Revelation, the last book of the Bible. Chapter nineteen describes fascinating creatures, angels, elders, and multitudes of people thundering forth like a mighty waterfall celebrating God’s triumph over all sin and death at the end of time.
The word they use: Alleluia, also called Hallelujah, means “praise the Lord.” It comes from root words halal meaning “to shine or to praise” and Jah, a shortened form of Jehovah, the Hebrew name for God.
Charles Wesley’s hymn, “Christ, the Lord, Is Risen Today, Alleluia!,” calls on men and angels to say “Alleluia!” as they remember the first Easter. This exuberant hymn written in 1739 “is one of the most popular Easter hymns in the English language.”* Like so many other hymns, it contains the whole gospel message. This one tells especially of the significance of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.
The third stanza describes the futility of trying to keep Jesus in the tomb: rolling a gigantic stone in front of the opening, placing a seal on it and setting up a watch of soldiers.
Vain the stone, the watch, the seal, Alleluia!
Christ hath burst the gates of hell, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!
As it turns out, not even the gates of Hell could forbid Jesus to rise. Stanza four asks, “Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!” Not only did Jesus rise, but we shall rise also. Because He died for us and took our sins as His own, His triumph over death means we shall triumph over death as well when we come to Him in faith. Alleluia!
This Easter as you hear or sing the wonderful old hymns, praise the Lord for giving you victory over death and hell. Will you praise the Lord for giving you victory over death and hell as well? Can you hear an echoing “Alleluia!” from heaven?
Read Matthew 22:31-32 and Exodus 3:1-6. Jesus may have used this passage from Exodus because the Sadducees used the Pentateuch as the basis of their beliefs rather than other Old Testament books. How does Jesus answer their question about life after death? What didn’t the Sadducees know?
In John 5:25-29, what are the two destinations for those who are resurrected after the opening of tombs at the end of time?
Read John 11: 23-44. What extraordinary statement did Jesus make about resurrection in verse 25 just before He raised Lazarus from the dead? What was Martha’s response to his words? What is yours?
Read all 10 stanzas of Wesley’s hymn (including three stanzas by an unknown author) at: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/c/t/ctlrisen.htm
Nancy J. Baker
*According to Cyberhymnal.org.