The Story Behind The Song – All Hail The Power Of Jesus Name

The hymn, “All Hail The Power of Jesus Name”, is often called “The National Anthem of Christendom” . The lyrics were written by Edward Perronet. Edward was a missionary to India and the hymn first appeared in the November 1779 issue of the Gospel Magazine published by the writer of “Rock of Ages”, Augustus Toplady. The lyrics to “All Hail” has been translated into almost every (if not every) language in which Christianity is known.

The lyrics of this hymn, originally eight verses, were written by Edward Perronet in 1779. The original title was “On the Resurrection, the Lord is King”. The first verse was originally published in the Gospel Magazine in November 1779 anonymously. All eight verses were published in the April 1780 issue and were accompanied by an acrostic poem that spelled out Edward Perronet. Edward Perronet was ordained into the Anglican Church but eventually deferred to the evangelical movement of John and Charles Wesley. He was in many meetings with John Wesley and even though he was a great preacher in his own right, He would never preach in the presence of John Wesley. “Wesley was not one to take no for an answer and one day in the middle of a meeting he [John Wesley] simply announced to the large crowd that Brother Perronet will now speak. Thinking quickly, Perronet declared, ‘I will now deliver the greatest sermon ever preached on earth’ (you can imagine he got everyone’s attention) he then read the Sermon on the Mount, and sat down.” This was the kind of man that Edward Perronet was, he preferred his brother before himself. Though the Lyrics were written by Edward Perronet, there was no music, no tune written for this hymn. Congregations would choose a tune that would fit the meter of the hymn and sing it to that tune. The first music that was applied to the lyrics was a song written by William Shrubsole called “Miles Lane”. In 1838 James Ellor penned a tune he called “Diadem” and used the lyrics. The verse
Oh that, with yonder sacred throng, we at his feet may fall,
Join in the everlasting song, and crown Him Lord of all.
Join in the everlasting song, and crown Him Lord of all!

was written in 1787 by John Rippon.

Before we briefly examine some of the doctrinal content of this great hymn, let me relay two stories of this great hymn. “One of the most dramatic instances of its use was found in the experience of the Rev. E. P. Scott in India” Scott was greatly burdened for a very barbarous tribe that his friends had strongly advised him to avoid. He journeyed to where they were putting his trust in God to protect him. Before he reached their tribe he was accosted and surrounded by them. He had no weapon of offense or defense with him, he had only his violin. He closed his eyes and began to play and sing “All Hail The Power of Jesus Name” fully anticipating that he would open his eyes in Heaven. After a few minutes he opened his eyes to steal a look and much to his surprise they had dropped their spears and were looking at him in awe and curiosity. Later, after welcoming him in, he shared with them the glorious story of the Gospel and led many of them to the Lord.

I also heard the story of an Elderly woman who was nearing death. Her family was gathered around her bed and they heard her whispering “bring… bring.” They immediately thought she was thirsty and brought her some water. She just shook her head and simply said “bring… bring.” One of the family members remembered seeing her shout and wave a handkerchief in her younger years and they brought that to her and she still shook her head and said “bring… bring.” Still not knowing what she wanted they brought her Bible to her and laid it at her bed and the Old woman still shook her head and said “bring… bring.” Exasperated they looked at her and asked, “what is it you want us to bring?” With her last bit of strength she pushed herself up in the bed and raised her hands and with her dying breath she sang “Bring forth the Royal Diadem and Crown Him Lord of All!”

As we examine “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name” the opening line is the perfect place to start, the power of Jesus Name. Acts 4:12 declares “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” There is power in the name of Jesus to Save, this is in fact, the only way to be saved, to call upon the name of the Lord. The word name in Acts 4:12 is the Greek word onoma and it is used to denote the person himself. Albert Barnes describes it “As we would say, there is no one who can save but Jesus Christ.”

The name of Jesus also has power to Secure. The Bible says in I Timothy 2:5 that Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man. The word “mediator” is the Greek word mesitēs (pronounced mes-ee’-tace) and it means a go between a reconciler, one who intervenes. It is through Jesus, not Mary that we have an advocate, a mediator.

There is power in the name of Jesus to sustain us. It is Jesus that saves us and Jesus that keeps us saved. I am reminded of the story of D.L. Moody who boarded a train. The conductor of the train was a devout Mormon. The conductor spent the evening and on up into the night trying to convert Moody to Mormonism. After a lengthy discussion, Mr. Moody told the conductor, “there is only two letters difference between my religion and yours, you spell yours D-O, Do, I spell my D-O-N-E, Done.”

There is power in the name of Jesus to succor us as declared in Hebrews 2:18. The word succour is the Greek word boētheō and it means to help, to bring aid. It is comforting to know that Jesus is standing ready to run to our aid when we call for him.

The doctrinal content of the original eight verses written by Edward Perronet is Eschatological, the final day when “every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” Thank God there will come a day when “every tribe and every tongue” will fall prostrate before Him. Albert Barnes said “To bow the knee” is an act expressing homage, submission, or adoration. It means that every person shall acknowledge him as God, and admit his right to universal dominion. God is all powerful, he is all knowing, and he is all present, this is the omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence of God. He is the creator of the universe and everything in the universe. As such, he deserves all glory and honor. This world at this time does not recognize God as the one and only God, but there will come a day when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess. Philippians 2:10 says that every knee should bow, but Romans 14:11 says that every knee shall bow. This will no doubt occur at the White Throne Judgment described in Revelation 20:11

The word diadem, is actually found in Scriptures four times, Job 29:14, Isaiah 28:5 and 62:3 and Ezekiel 21:26 and there are 3 different Hebrew words used in these passages. All of three of these words have basically the same meaning, a crown, the royal attire of the head which the king wore daily or the headdress of the high priest. It also has reference to the wreathen crown that was given to the winners of sporting events. This is a far cry from the caricature of a royal crown that was platted out of thorns. This phrase no doubt has reference to Revelation 4, when the four and twenty elders are falling down before the Lamb and casting their crowns, their diadems at his feet. These crowns that you see in Revelation 4 are different than the crowns that you see in Revelation 19:12. The crowns in Revelation 4 are stephanos which is the badge of royalty, the prize in the public games, but the crown in Revelation 19:12 is diadēma, this is the royal crown, the crown of kings, and Jesus is wearing many crowns because he is the King of kings.

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