Each year in Christmas week I come to our weekly Bible Study at the Greeley Place Retirement Home with a little bag of blessings for each of our 12 students (mostly in their 80s and 90s) and a chance to sing some worship songs and read the story in Luke chapter 2. So this year I was thumbing through the church hymnal I grew up with and the Holy Spirit greatly surprised and awakened me with fresh revelation regarding some of the old carols most of us sang from our youth. Words that had never jumped off the hymnal page before suddenly exploded in powerful Messianic visions!
I don't know if it's possible that the authors and composers of these old hymns had an understanding of the "double layer of prophecy" in the first coming and second coming of Christ; but if they didn't, then some of these carols simply carry a powerful anointing that travels through the ages, from a celebration of Jesus' first coming as a child, to a glorious foreshadow of His coming a second time as a Messianic King, a Ruler of the world!
Matthew 25:6 prophesies of the Return of Jesus: “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
And we sing this carol, written in 1810:
It came upon a midnight clear, that glorious song of old
From angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold
Peace on the earth, good will to men, from heaven's all gracious King
The world in solemn stillness lay to hear the angels sing
Yet with the woes of sin and strife the world has suffered long
Beneath the heavenly hymn have rolled two thousand years of wrong
and warring mankind hears not the tidings which they bring
O hush the noise and cease your strife and hear the angels sing!
For lo the days are hastening on, by prophets seen of old
when with the ever-circling years shall come the time foretold
when peace shall over all the earth its ancient splendors fling
and all the world give back the song which now the angels sing
This carol speaks of a midnight when angels are summoned to the earth. It looks BACK over two thousand years of sin and war and calls to a people - even of our present generation! - to hush the noise and cease the strife and listen for the angels' song. It acknowledges that a time well in the future will see the ancient prophecies fulfilled when peace finally covers the earth - and we know this will ONLY happen when the Sar Shalom, the Prince of Peace, returns!
I was so overcome by the Messianic words of this hymn that I began searching excitedly through other carols to see if there were similar prophecies. Here are more stanzas I found that could only be referring to a future KING who will come a second time!
Joy to the world, the Lord is come; let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room and heaven and nature sing!
No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found
He rules the world with truth and grace and makes the nations prove
the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love!
WHEN does Yeshua/Jesus come to rule the world as King? When does He deal with the curse of Satan and sin? When does He confront the nations with the Glory of His righteousness, the wonders of His love? Of course, He does this work at the Cross -- but He comes to rule the world at His establishment of His Millennial Kingdom! This carol too is Messianic prophecy! I became breathless at this revelation of these powerful songs that we had all but thrown out, replacing them with Here Comes Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Set aside the tunes of these powerful old carols and just read the words. I pray you will be as blessed as I am, as we begin to spend more time looking UP at the clouds, expecting to hear the blast of the Trumpet and yearning to see the Cloud Rider who is yet COMING on a midnight clear! O let us hush the noise and cease the strife and hear the angels sing.
Kelly Ferrari Mills