Georg Weissel 1642

Translated by: Catherine Winkworth 1855


Macht hoch ie Tur – Praxis
Macht hoch ie Tur – Freylinghausen
Macht hoch ie Tur – Lemke
Veni Emmanuel


  1. Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates,
    Behold the King of glory waits;
    the King of kings is drawing near,
    the Savior of the world is here;
    Life and salvation doth He bring,
    Wherefore rejoice and gladly sing:
    We praise Thee, Father, now!
    Creator, wise art Thou!

    The Lord is just, a Helper tried,
    Mercy is ever at His side,
    his kingly crown is holiness,
    his scepter, pity in distress,
    The end of all our woe He brings;
    Wherefore the earth is glad and sings:
    We praise Thee, Savior, now,
    Mighty in deed art Thou!

    3. Oh blest the land, the city blest,
    where Christ the Ruler is confessed!
    Oh happy hearts and happy homes
    to whom this King in triumph comes!
    The cloudless Sun of joy He is,
    Who bringeth pure delight and bliss:
    O Comforter divine,
    What boundless grace is Thine!

    4. Fling wide the portals of your heart,
    make it a temple set apart
    from earthly use for heaven’s employ,
    adorned with prayer and love and joy;
    So shall your Sovereign enter in,
    And new and nobler life begin:
    To Thee, O God, be praise,
    For word and deed and grace!

    5. Redeemer, come! I open wide
    my heart to thee—here, Lord, abide!
    Let me thy inner presence feel,
    thy grace and love in me reveal,
    Thy Holy Spirit guide us on
    Until our glorious goal is won!
    Eternal praise and fame
    We offer to Thy name.

Georg Weissel, our poet, wrote this hymn during the final years of the Thirty-Years War. The devastation which he lived through has only been matched by the worst months of 1945 during the Second World War. It is estimated that no less than 20% of the German population perished during this conflict and in the southern parts of the country the death rate was 50%. Not only were the losses from direct military conflict massive, the area experienced unrelenting failed harvests and disease. And yet, in the midst of this unimaginable and unending multigenerational suffering some of our most enduring hymns emerged. “Now Thank We All Our God” and “Ah, Holy Jesus, How Have I Offended” also come from this time.

Psalm 24

Of David. A psalm.

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.

Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol
or swear by a false god.[a]

They will receive blessing from the Lord
and vindication from God their Savior.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, God of Jacob.[b][c]

Lift up your heads, you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is he, this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty—
he is the King of glory.

Georg Frederick Handel also used this Psalm in his great oratorio “The Messiah.”

By directly quoting verse 7 of this Psalm, Weissel can move directly to David’s injunction to “Lift up your heads, you gates”, implying all that came before it. So let’s look for a moment back to the first six verses which set up this command. King David starts by declaring that everything in the world is the Lord’s, everything above the sea and beneath the sea is His for He is the founder of all things.

The Gospel of John says as much:  1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

And Isaiah says: “Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”

Yet, we are called to have a clean heart and clean hands to live justly so that we may receive the blessings of God. And those who do, will see the face of God.

That is the text which proceeds the opening line from this hymn. Weissel then proceeds to joyously declare the wonderful news that the Christ, the Redeemer, has arrived.

The King of Kings is at the gate! The Savior is here! After describing God’s holiness and justness, our poet moves from the corporate benefit of obeying God; lands and cities who follow the Lord are surely blest above others, to a call to open the gates of our own hearts to the Lord. We should make our hearts in a temple for the Lord, full of love and prayer.

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Here are some of my favorite Hymnals:

Presbyterian 1955 Hymnbook:

Episcopal 1940 Hymnal: 

Broadman 1940 Hymnal:

Methodist 1939 Hymnal:

Pilgrim 1935 Hymnal:

Now Sings My Soul, New Songs for the Lord by: Linda Bonney Olin:

Choice Hymns of the Faith 1945

Book of Psalms for Singing (1912 Psalter is unavailable)

Hymns Ancient and Modern

Here are my new projects:

Trinity Hymnal 1960

Lutheran 1909 Hymnal

J S Bach Riemenschneider 371 Harmonized Chorales


Dictionary of Hymnology:

American Hymns Old and New