Last Sunday we sang a very popular hymn, “Before the Throne of God Above” and many think that this hymn is a modern hymn or even a contemporary song. You may be surprised to know this hymn was written in 1863 and is over a century and a half old!
What we love about this hymn is its deep theology and the beautiful melody that goes with it. But let me share about the background of this worship song.
Charitie Lees Bancroft (1841–1923), a lady from Ireland penned this hymn, and the original title was The Advocate. She was the daughter of the Rev. Sidney Smith, D.D., Rector of Drumragh, County Tyrone, Ireland. Her hymn was published in The Baptist Hymn and Tune Book, for Public Worship in 1871, and was also included in Charles Spurgeon’s Our Own Hymn Book in 1884. In the 1870s, “Before the Throne of God Above” was very popular, but in the following years its popularity diminishes, until 1970 when it came back to some hymnals and was sung to the tune of the hymn “Sweet Hour of Prayer.”
The melody that we enjoy singing now came from Sovereign Grace Worship in 1997, composed by Vikki Cook and was made popular by Kristyn Getty.
This hymn is based on Hebrews 4:14–16, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
When you read or sing this powerful hymn remember these themes:
- Christ is our intercessor and advocate before the Father.
- There is no guilt or condemnation for those who are in Christ.
- Jesus is the perfect propitiation for our sins and will keep us until the end.
In His service,