O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (Veni Emmanuel)

Text: Latin 12th Century, translations done by many people

Tune: Veni Emmanuel 13th Century

Here is the YouTube recording: https://youtu.be/MyLWOz9k1AY

1 O come, O come, Immanuel,

and ransom captive Israel

that mourns in lonely exile here

until the Son of God appear.


Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel

shall come to you, O Israel.

2 O come, O Wisdom from on high,

who ordered all things mightily;

to us the path of knowledge show

and teach us in its ways to go. Refrain

3 O come, O come, great Lord of might,

who to your tribes on Sinai’s height

in ancient times did give the law

in cloud and majesty and awe. Refrain

4 O come, O Branch of Jesse’s stem,

unto your own and rescue them!

From depths of hell your people save,

and give them victory o’er the grave. Refrain

5 O come, O Key of David, come

and open wide our heavenly home.

Make safe for us the heavenward road

and bar the way to death’s abode. Refrain

6 O come, O Bright and Morning Star,

and bring us comfort from afar!

Dispel the shadows of the night

and turn our darkness into light. Refrain

7 O come, O King of nations, bind

in one the hearts of all mankind.

Bid all our sad divisions cease

and be yourself our King of Peace. Refrain

This ancient hymn is brimming with a crystal clear declaration of the source of our hope in its unequivocal description of Jesus. Each of these descriptive names traces from ancient times how even these seven names of Jesus reflect the promises made and kept between God and Israel and ourselves.

1 O come, Immanuel

“Immanuel” is a Hebrew word meaning “God with us” It is he who ransoms captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appears. God had promised Abraham he would be the father of a great nation.  And when that nation was sent into exile due to its sin, God, Immanuel never left them and in time led them back to the Promised Land.

2 Wisdom from on high

The world sees the Christ and crucifixion as foolishness. But God, who ordered all things mightily, in whom all Wisdom resides has come to show us the path to righteousness.

3 Lord of might

El Shaddai, is the giver of the law on the heights of Sinai; coming in a cloud, in majesty, and in awe. Seeing his face would be our immediate undoing and only Moses could see the back of his hand as he passed before him.

4 Branch of Jesse.

Jesse, the father of King David who was pleasing to God, not in his perfection but in his desire to serve the Lord Almighty. From the line of David, our savior came to save us from the depths of hell and to give us victory over the grave.

5 Key of David.

From David came the Key which would open wide our heavenly home. Make safe for us the heavenward road and bar the way to death’s abode.

6 Bright and Morning Star.

The morning star marks the fresh beginning, the renewal of the day. It chases away the terrors of the night and bring us comfort from afar! It dispels the shadows of the night and turn our darkness into light.

7 King of Nations.

One day we will be united into one nation under the rule of the King of Peace. He will heal our divisions and heal the hearts of all of mankind.

Set here, in a metrical Gregorian chant, the church has sung these truths for nearly a millennium. We do not sing of our feelings, which has become common since in the mid-19th century, but rather we sing of the truths which mark the boundaries of our faith. The names Immanuel, God is with us, and El Shaddai, The Lord Almighty, declare the Lord, the creator of the universe is here, now, with us, walking beside us. This is a God who knows the number of hairs on your head, who knit you together in your mother’s womb; He is an intimate and loving God. God has made many promises to us, and we can trust those promises for this is the God of David, the son of Jesse.  The gates of Heaven are open and the light of the morning star will drive all darkness away. And in the end, this rod of Jesse, son of David, will be the King of all nations and the King of Peace.

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