This transcript is taken from a Stand in the Gap Today program originally aired on Dec. 19, 2023.  To listen to the program, please click HERE.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Well, hello, friends. This is Jamie Mitchell, director of Church Culture at the American Pastors Network. Welcome to the first of two very special Christmas editions of Stand in the Gap Today. Even though a lot of Christmas decorations were already up around Halloween, nothing indicates that we are really celebrating the season like singing our favorite carols in church. I hope that your church has started enjoying this Advent season singing some traditional hymns and celebrating when God came to Earth.

On this program and one other that we’ve planned, our Stand in the Gap hosts are going to join me, and we want to discuss some of our favorite Christmas carols. Our program today is entitled More Than a Song: The Spiritual Significance of Christmas Carols. First up is Pastor Steve Harrelson, one of our newest members of the team. Welcome, Steve, to today’s program.

Steve Harrelson:               Merry Christmas, Jamie. It’s an honor to be here today. I just have to clear something with you because I’m a little bit nervous. You’re not going to ask me to sing today, are you?

Jamie Mitchell:                 No, I will not, Steve. That was on the waiver that everybody had to sign. I had to promise no singing.

Steve Harrelson:               Good.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Hey, Steve, let’s get this thing started today and discuss one of the season’s stalwart songs, Joy to the World. Why did you select this carol as the one that you wanted to talk about when you’re on the program today?

Steve Harrelson:               Excellent question. Jamie, if you’re anything like me, then sometimes in your Christian life you have those moments where it’s almost like an epiphany, those times where some great truth or realization hits you. I chose this carol to talk about because I’ll never forget what happened a few years after I became a Christ follower, and I truly began to think about the words to the songs that we sang in church. We were singing this carol, Joy to the World. It’s the church I was saved in. As I read the words in the hymn book, I thought to myself, “I think somebody messed up here. Why are we singing this song at Christmas?” So I’ll never forget that day. This song has been such an encouragement to me but for different reasons.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Steve, interesting enough, that’s one of the things I wanted to talk to you about because this song, interesting, is really not about Christmas, but it touches on an important theological truth that we talk a lot about here on Stand in the Gap. So, Steve, what is that truth that this song communicates?

Steve Harrelson:               Jamie, this song is actually about the second coming of Christ. As I began to sing, I was envisioning Jesus when he puts down his enemies, at the end of the tribulation when he’s crowned king, I thought, “Man, this song would really fit in perfect at that occasion.” Because Joy to the World, it’s not based on Luke 2. It’s actually based on Psalm 98. It’s a song about the second coming of the Messiah.

Now, the writer was Isaac Watts. We all know him from our hymn books. He basically paraphrased the psalm. But with Joy to the World, the music actually came from another well-known believer. His name was George Frideric Handel. Most of us have heard of Handel’s Messiah. So Isaac Watts wrote the words. Most of the music is based off of different parts of Handel’s Messiah. But the interesting thing is that the writer and the composer never got together on this. It was actually pieced together by someone in England. So virtually all of the music came from that great masterpiece, the Messiah.

But then there’s a third aspect to the story. Another man named Lowell Mason, who’s actually from Boston, he took the text and he took the music and he made his own arrangement of it. That is the form that we know as Joy to the World that we sing here in America. But the song, as we sing it here, is virtually unknown in Europe.

Jamie Mitchell:                 It just doesn’t announce the second coming of Christ, but what will happen to us when we finally are with him. The third verse declares this powerful truth. “No more let sin and sorrow grow, no thorns infest the ground; He comes to make his blessings flow, far as the curse is found, far as the curse is found, far as, far as the curse is found.” Steve, can you hardly wait for that day when the Lord returns and our earthly sorrows and sins are done away? Why do you think that this carol is so applicable to the church today?

Steve Harrelson:               Good question. Jamie, first of all, I can’t wait, and the coming of the Lord could be today. The stanza actually that you just quoted was the third stanza, and it’s a direct reference to Genesis 3:17, whenever God cursed Adam because of original sin. But Jesus, whenever he comes again, in large part, during the Millennial Reign, he’s going to restore paradise-like conditions. He’s going to remove sin and the presence of sin altogether during the eternal state.

But the part that I think that is so applicable today is actually found in the first stanza. “Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let Earth receive her King! Let every heart prepare Him room, and heaven and nature sing.” We all are aware, and we talk about this a lot, of the darkness of our times, but all of us need to prepare him room. I love what Oswald Chambers said. He said, and I quote, “Just as our Lord came into humanity, into human history from the outside, so he must come into me from the outside.” Then he goes on to ask, “Have you allowed your personal human life to become a Bethlehem for the Son of God?”

So the question is, for those in our listening audience, have you received Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, the baby who was born to live a perfect life, to die on the cross, to rise again from the grave so that we could be justified? And as Christians, have we prepared our hearts, our lives to be at Bethlehem for the son of God? Excellent questions for today.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Oh, Steve, that is so good. Friends, why do we make much about Christmas? It’s because it is the hinge event of all history. As Steve mentioned, the first mentioning of Christmas takes place in the garden with Adam and Eve after they sinned and God makes a promise to them, and the promise is Christmas is coming. Then all of those years, those generations, decade after decade, Israel’s waiting, and then Jesus comes at Christmas, that first coming, that first night of joy. But then he dies, he goes to heaven, and we as believers are waiting for the second Christmas. We’re waiting for that second coming, that second advent when he appears. Steve, the days are dark, and it seems like the world is unhinged. Yet, even in the chaos, we sing Joy to the World because of the promise that, just as he came once at Christmas, he will come again. He will rapture us to heaven. Thank you, my friend.

When we return another host, another carol. We’re trying to help you prepare for Christmas here on Stand in the Gap Today. Come back and join with us for this special Christmas edition. Well, welcome back friends. We are taking a look at some of the great Christmas carols with our Stand in the Gap host today. Pastor Steve Harrelson was in our first segment. It’s so good to have another one of our team members and the co-host of Stand in the Gap TV program, Isaac Crockett. Isaac, Merry Christmas to you, my friend. Is the Crockett family getting ready for the season?

Isaac Crockett:                  Well, Merry Christmas, Jamie. Yes, I think so. We really love, I think most families do, Christmas. But when you have children, our kids are getting older, but our youngest is eight, it really makes it special. Since the beginning of Advent time with the Advent calendar and things, the kids look forward to opening up their calendar and the next little chocolate treat or whatever that they get, but along with that, talking about what that first coming of Jesus was.

Reminding our kids throughout this time, through the 25th and even beyond the 25th a little bit, that just as the people in Jesus’ day, before he was born, were supposed to be looking for the Christ, the Mašíaḥ, and they didn’t realize it would be God incarnate and all these things that Jesus was, but they were supposed to be looking, and many of them just were, I don’t know, taking it for granted, we need to be looking for the next advent of Christ, the second advent of Jesus, the second coming of Jesus Christ. I really am looking forward to that, and I love teaching that to the kids.

But part of the way we do that for Christmas and Advent, all of this, is the beautiful, beautiful hymns that we have around Christmas time that we get to sing this time of year, which I love, and I love hearing my kids play it. My wife is a very accomplished musician, a pianist, especially her on the piano, and one of my kids does violin and guitar and different things and singing. It makes it super exciting around our house.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Well, thank you, Isaac, giving us that update. You mentioned the hymns and songs of Christmas are so important. The carol that you’ve chosen to talk about today has been labeled by Dr. John MacArthur, who’s a great musician in his own right and one of my mentors, he calls this the most theologically significant Christmas carol ever written, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. Why did you choose this, Isaac, and why do you think he gave it that distinction?

Isaac Crockett:                  Well, I think the first thing that I gravitated towards with Hark! The Herald Angels Sings as a child was the music, just the melody alone, which wasn’t original. That was a century later with the great classical pianist and composer, Felix Mendelssohn. That was some music from him. But then as I got older and even now, Charles Wesley’s words, the text, like you said, quoting from MacArthur, so theologically significant. It’s significant, but it’s in a way that’s so understandable. Even as a child, you start to understand many of this. But as I’ve grown older, it’s a powerful song. In my mind, I still remember my dad when he was alive just singing this at the top of his lungs and the excitement it brought.

And it is. It’s just a very powerful, poignant song about the incarnation and the significance of it, starting with Luke 2, but really showing us justification through Jesus Christ and that union we have to God and giving glory to God and reminding us, just as the angels, the messengers of God brought forth the glory, we should be giving glory to God for what he has done. So I think that MacArthur is exactly right when he says how theologically significant this is. He being such a theologian and a musician, it doesn’t surprise me at all that he would gravitate towards this beautiful and theologically deep, sound doctrinal piece of writing.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Isaac, you mentioned something about your dad really singing out. I have noticed at church these last couple of weeks, I’ve noticed that people sing louder at Christmas. I think part of that is the familiarity of the music. We know the words, we know the melody, we know all that. But there is something that it provides a spiritual enthusiasm like never before. In this carol, that is true. Each of the stanzas of Hark! The Herald is so rich, but it’s the second verse that I usually tear up as I sing it. He writes it this way: “Christ, my highest heaven adorned, Christ, the everlasting Lord, late in time behold him come, offering of the Virgin’s womb: veiled in flesh the Godhead see; hail thy incarnate Deity, pleased with us in flesh to dwell, Jesus, our Immanuel.” Isaac, what does this carol speak to you, mean to you? What significance would you have to share with our listening audience as we look at this hymn and as they probably will sing it over the next few days?

Isaac Crockett:                  Yeah, there’s so many things. Jamie, we could spend a lot more time going through all these different doctrines that Charles Wesley put into this. It’s interesting, though, even just looking at the history of this song, Charles Wesley would do a lot with his brother, John Wesley, when it came to the music. They both wrote a lot of poetry, a lot of music. Then their friend, George Whitefield, who they sometimes had theological discussions with, he would also help. You’ve had some great musicians on this program before, Jamie. Sam and I have gotten to interview different songwriters, like Keith Getty. Many of these songwriters, they’ll do the bulk of a song, but they’ll have other people that help them with it. The same thing happened with Charles Wesley.

When he wrote this song, and I love the verses with “Hark! The Herald,” it tells you right from the outset, this is a song that we can sing out on. But Charles actually wrote it, “Hark! How all the Welkin,” or heaven, “rings, Glory to the King of Kings,” which I love that. I love that sound of it. But George Whitefield look at it, and he and John Wesley, they’re looking at it, and they say, “I think we need to tweak this a little bit, Charles.” So George Whitefield changed it to “Hark! The herald angels sing, Glory to the Newborn King.” And that’s what really stuck. It still sticks with us today.

My goal, as we sing these things, is to be messengers of what Christ has done. Our life should be a living testimony saying, “Hark! I have a message from God. He has changed my life. Look at what he has done. Look at what he is doing.” Just as the angels pointed the shepherds to “Glory to the Newborn King,” we should be pointing “Glory to the King of Kings.”

I know we don’t have much time, but a few years ago when COVID was still going on, it was a nasty winter day. There was this little guy under an overpass looking for a ride, and I have a bad habit of picking up hitchhikers. I’ve gotten rides from strangers, and I give strangers rides. I pick this little guy up, and I’m praying, this little gentleman, elderly gentleman there had a hard time, that I would have a chance to witness to him. He and I start having this conversation and he’s kind of getting kind of clunky. He’s worried. He’s about to say something to me or ask me something. He says to me, “Sir, I want to thank you for this ride,” he says, “but I want to tell you about my Jesus,” and he starts witnessing to me, and it was hilarious.

His name was Harold. I came home and I told my family. I said, “He was kind of a herald angel. He was a messenger of God, giving glory to God even though I was giving him a ride.” He and I had a wonderful time for the next 45 minutes or an hour of just praising God and talking about what God had done in our lives from different spheres, different things going on in our lives, but both of us could give glory to the King of Kings.

Jamie, that’s what I love about all these Christmas carols that we’re talking about today. But this one in particular, it gives glory to God. That’s the goal for all of us all the time, but especially in the Christmas season is to be giving glory to God through everything we do and everything we say and to remember Jesus Christ coming to be born of the Virgin Mary, to have this miraculous conception without Joseph and to go through all this, it was to get our attention, to show us that there’s the God of the impossible. This song shows us that God the impossible, the impossible is saving us, and we give glory to that King of Kings, the Newborn King, Jesus Christ, who is the King of Kings.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Well, the other element of this song is the centrality of Jesus Christ. As you sing Hark! The Herald maybe at your Christmas Eve service, just look at the titles of Jesus woven into this. He is the King. He is the Christ, the Everlasting Lord, the Son of Righteousness, the Prince of Peace. He is Immanuel. The centrality of Jesus Christ, that’s the beauty of Christmas, friends, for sure. Each year, we can raise up the preeminence, the centerpiece of Jesus Christ in our faith.

Isaac, thank you for reminding us that Christmas is not a fluffy holiday to experience, but a theologically deep subject that annually we get to reflect upon and recall all that occurred in the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Friends, that’s our hope for you. I would be remiss, even in a program like this, saying to you that if you are facing this Christmas without Christ, this would be the time to come to him. We don’t do that often on this program, but giving you that offer to receive and pray, to receive Jesus Christ, acknowledge your sin, acknowledge your desperate need for this Jesus who came in the flesh and died on your behalf and give your life to Christ. If you’re already a believer, maybe this Christmas, the hearkening is to come back to Christ. We pray that this Christmas will make a huge difference in your life.

When we return, Pastor Gary Dull calls us to gather in worship of this baby King Jesus. We’re focusing on the carols of Christmas, Joy to the World, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. Join back here in a few moments as we continue this special Christmas edition of Stand in the Gap Today. Well, welcome back. We’ve had the newest member of our team, Pastor Steve Harrelson. We’ve had the youngest host in Isaac Crockett. Now the longest serving host, and well, dare I say, without getting in too much trouble, the elder statesman of our hosting team, Pastor Gary Dull. Merry Christmas, my friend. What a joy to have you share today on a topic that I guess that you’ve preached a lot about over the decades of pastoral ministry, and that is Christmas. Welcome to the program, Gary.

Gary Dull:                           Well, thank you, Jamie, and certainly, it’s a delight to be here. But I don’t know about that introduction, elder statesman? Decades of pastoral ministry? My oh my, brother, I’m not sure what we can expect out of this segment. But God is good, and I’m thankful for his faithfulness coming down through the years.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Well, Gary, we just embrace our age. That’s what we do. Age is a number not an attitude. We still have a lot of life in us. Gary, I keep saying that each of these carols that we sing is a favorite. I know that can’t be true, but the carol that you chose certainly one is that I really wait for, we sang it this past week, O Come, All Ye Faithful. When I asked you to pick a song, you didn’t hesitate. So what is so meaningful about this carol to you?

Gary Dull:                           Well, Jamie, I love this song. It’s been one of my favorite Christmas carols down through the years. I think that the reason is is because I refer to this as an anthem that is calling true believers to worship Jesus Christ. During the Christmas season, I think that sometimes we, even as believers, get involved in the secular aspect of it. There’s so much going on out in the media and, of course, out in the community and various things happening.

I said to my congregation this past Sunday, Jamie, that so often many people will get involved in the Christmas season and they never even think about Jesus Christ because it’s such a secular holiday today in the hearts and the minds of many people. In all reality, Christmas is a holiday for Christians to celebrate. That word, Christmas, we often say means Christ’s Mass. But in a real literal way, it means a service of worship unto Jesus Christ. So it’s during this time of the year that as Christians, we should not get caught up in all of the secularization of the year and get involved with all of the symbols that are really anti-Christ, but rather, we should be focusing everything that we say and do and think and all of our activities around the Lord Jesus Christ.

The reason why I love this song, O Come, All Ye Faithful, is simply because of the fact, as I said, it’s an anthem that calls true believers together to worship the Lord. You look at that chorus, it says, “O come, let us adore Him; O come, let us adore Him; O come, let us adore Him,” who? “Christ, the Lord!” Jamie, you talk about decades of pastoral ministry. As of February the 3rd, I will be in the pastoral ministry for 50 years. I know you can’t believe that by looking at me, but nevertheless, that’s the truth. I think that down through these past 50 years of my personal pastoral ministry, O Come, All Ye Faithful has been the first Christmas carol that I’ve selected to sing in our congregation as we approach the Christmas season to remind us that Jesus Christ is the reason for this season and we must come together to worship him. Let’s do that. Let’s not get involved in the secularization of the season, but let’s keep Christ in the very center. This song helps us to do that. It’s a call to worship.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Yeah, it’s the bell we ring when we start the Advent season. Gary, as I was looking at this carol getting ready for today, I learned something about the carol writer, John Francis Wade. He was a Jacobite, a Scotsman, I kind of relate to that, a Scotsman, though, who was revolting against the Catholic Church that had seized political power in Britain. Some believe that he used this carol to rally believers, to rise up and to rally the troops.

Today, our hearts are rallied as we sing these words. Listen, “Sing, choirs of angels; sing in exultation; sing, all ye citizens of heaven above! Glory to God, all glory in the highest. Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning; Jesus, to Thee be all glory given! Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing! Come, let us adore Him.” Gary, as we sing this carol, what do you hope happens in the hearts of God’s people as you lead your congregation? As we know many congregations will be singing this, what do we want to see rise up in their hearts?

Gary Dull:                           Well, again, going back to the concept, it’s my desire for my congregation, as well as for every congregation and every believer during this time of the year, to truly exalt and worship the Lord Jesus. That’s a tremendous pattern to follow. Jamie, as we read down through Luke Chapter 2, we find that after the angels announced the birth of the Christ child, it says in Verse 13 of Luke Chapter 2, “And suddenly there was, with the angel, a multitude of heavenly hosts praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest and on Earth, peace, goodwill toward men.'” What did the angels do? Well, they sang unto the Lord. They spoke unto the Lord and said, “Glory to God in the highest.” You drop down to the 20th verse of that same chapter, Luke Chapter 2, it says, “And the shepherds returned.” What did they do? “Glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen as it was told unto them.”

So we see that the angels that announced the birth of the Christ child and the shepherds who observed the birth of the Christ child went right to the heart of it. They didn’t say, “Well, look how sweet he looks and look how nice he is and look at this surrounding atmosphere in which he is here in the cave and in that nature.” No. What did they do? They went right to the heart of it all and glorified God and worshiped God at the birth of the Christ child. And that is my prayer. That is my hope that during this time of the year, as Christians, we would keep Jesus Christ in the center focus of all that that we do. Again, listen to the first verse of that particular song. “O come, all ye faithful,” talking to believers, those who know Jesus Christ as Savior, “Be joyful and triumphant, Come all ye, O come to Bethlehem!” Of course, that’s the focus on what took place there in Bethlehem. Then, “Come and behold Him, born the King of angels.”

My prayer, my desire for those of us here at the American Pastors Network, for every congregation across this nation, for every born-again believer around the world is that during this time of the year, we will put off the sidelines of the secularism that we see in this time of the year and that we will focus on Jesus Christ, “Christ the Lord. O come let us adore him.” That’s my prayer for every believer during this time of the year, Jamie.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Gary, one of the things I recognized early on, I’ve told this story, is that after about four or five years of preaching on Christmas, I got to a place where I didn’t want to preach on it anymore. I was tired of the star, the manger, the shepherds, the wise men, and I started to say to myself, “It seems like there’s nothing new under the sun.” God really convicted me, and I realized that God coming to Earth is a big deal. As a pastor, I preach about a lot of things in a given year. I got 52 weeks of preaching. But I know that during this Advent season, I can focus the attention of our congregations, of God’s people on the person, the work, the miraculous coming of God to the Earth, and our people need that, Gary, don’t they? They need an infusion of who Jesus is every year.

Gary Dull:                           Absolutely. Jamie, I agree with you. After preaching on Christmas for so many years, I kept thinking, in fact, I said to my wife, more than once, “Everybody knows the account. Everybody knows what Luke and Matthew say. What else can I share that is something that I’ve never shared before?” But it all goes back to emphasizing who Christ is and what God the Father did through the Lord Jesus.

I think a pattern to follow is found in the book of Philippians Chapter 2. We know what it says in Verses 5-8, that the Lord Jesus Christ humbled himself and took upon himself the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men. That’s talking about his earthly ministry. But how did God the Father respond to that? What did he do after that? Verse 9 says, of Philippians 2, “Wherefore God also have highly exalted Him, Christ, and given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” So we would say, how was it that God the Father responded to the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ? He exalted him and lifted him up. May we do the same.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Yes. Yeah, there’s one word in that carol, Gary, over and over: Adore, adore. May we worship, honor, exalt the Lord Jesus. May we adore him this Christmas. Hey, we’ve got one last segment. We’re going to be joined by our president, Sam Rohrer. We’re going to look at a majestic carol of Christmas on this special edition, a Christmas edition of Stand in the Gap Today. Well, welcome back to this final segment of this first of two very special programs. Another will air in just a few days. We’re talking with a number of our hosts and discussing our favorite Christmas carols. In this last segment, we want to hear from our president and the senior host of Stand in the Gap Today, Sam Rohrer. Sam, Christmas at the Rohrer house must be quite an event with all those kids and grandkids. What will you do on Christmas Day?

Sam Rohrer:                      Actually, because we have so many children and grandchildren, 17 grandchildren now, we actually get together on the Saturday before this year. So we will have a much smaller actual Christmas Day, but kind of stretching out the Christmas attitude and focus more during the month. That’s how we’re probably going to be approaching it this year in our household.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Well, Sam, we’ve looked at Joy to the World, Hark! The Herald Angels, O Come, All Ye Faithful. Our final carol to consider today is what I would call the legend of Christmas music, George Frideric Handel’s the Hallelujah Chorus. Can you give us some historical background on this beautiful, beautiful anthem?

Sam Rohrer:                      Yeah, Jamie. For most places and most as they would look at songs, I found a common theme that seems to come up for many of them. They say, for instance, like this one where someone said, quote, “It’s the most powerful piece of music ever written. Though its words are sparse, its meaning is monumental.” I would agree with that.

The Hallelujah Chorus is a piece, and that’s what a lot of people don’t know, it’s a piece, it’s the ending of the second segment of a broader work called The Messiah. The Messiah is in three parts. The first part is the Christmas section, where it talks about the coming of Christ, some of the prophecy leading up to Christ, and then the birth of the Messiah.

The second segment is called the Redemption Story. It’s about the crucifixion and the resurrection and what comes forth. It’s in that section that the Hallelujah Chorus is actually the final refrain. Then there’s a third part that’s entitled The Resurrection and Future Reign of Christ on Heaven and Earth. Now, those are the titles of them, three Sections of the Messiah. It’s all about the Messiah, the Son of God, Yeshua in three parts. Jamie, I tell you, it’s a long selection. Most people probably have never heard the entire presentation of the entire Messiah. It’s a lengthy piece. Now we’re looking today at this one piece called the Hallelujah Chorus. Again, sparse, not real long, but really powerful in its content.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Sam, this debuted in the spring holiday season of the mid-1700s. Again, like you just mentioned, that Hallelujah Chorus really is looking at the whole life of Christ but that reflective aspect of his coming. It’s fitting that this song is sung when Jesus came to the world to die for the world, the conquered death, the grave, which is really the reason why he came. He was born to die. But there’s another element of this song, Sam, probably many of our people, many people have been in a room when this song is being sung at a cantata or a Christmas concert, and then somebody, as if it’s a wave at a baseball game, someone stands up and everyone begins to stand. What is the historical significance of people standing during this song?

Sam Rohrer:                      It goes all the way back… It goes back to when the presentation was made, this song. There was an individual, his last name was Jennens. He was a businessman. He had written some words where he took and he condensed the totality of his study of Scripture about the Messiah and came down to a core selection of words. He wanted to take and use that to spread the Gospel, propagation of the Gospel. But he had no musical ability. He contacted Handel to write the music, and out of that came this whole work called the Messiah, the Christmas section, the Redemption Story, the Resurrection and Future Reign of Christ.

When that was ultimately performed, it was performed in front of a large congregation, a large audience. But there was one very, very notable person that all those who were there knew. It was King George II. He was listening. When they got to this section of the Messiah, to the Hallelujah Chorus, he was so moved. I think everybody knows that’s why this section that is so powerful, it almost is like you can’t sit in your seat. You just feel like something’s got to happen. Well, the king did do something. He stood to his seat when that selection was presented. Everybody looked around, history says, and said, “Wow, well, if the king is going to give so much attention and he’s so moved, we ought to stand up, too.” That became the template for what has now happened. Now hundreds of years later, people still rise to their feet out of respect for the God of Heaven, the Hallelujah Chorus. That’s where it came from. It had a start like everything does, and I am glad that that is one tradition that has continued.

Jamie Mitchell:                 As we come to the end of another year of ministry, of broadcasting, of TV, radio, we’ve had such a spectacular year here at the American Pastors Network. I know we talk a lot about political things, governmental things, the Constitution, we talk about Israel, prophecy, apologetics. I talk a lot when I’m on here about ministry, pastoral ministry. But again, I think it’s important to hear from you as the president and founder of APN. At the end of the day, we want people leaping to their feet because of Jesus Christ. He’s the centerpiece of why we do what we do. Isn’t that correct?

Sam Rohrer:                      Yes, Jamie, absolutely. It fits in perfectly what you’re just saying there with what we emphasize throughout all of our ministry, this program, the TV program, all of the programs, and that is this. It’s the communication of what we term a biblical worldview of life. What is that? It’s that God Almighty created. Sin came into this world, there was a fall, but then there was a redemption through Jesus Christ, and there will ultimately be a full redemption then at the end when those who trust in Christ will ultimately be with him forever. That is the mantra. That’s the large picture of what the Bible is all about. That is the big picture, God’s plan of redemption.

So in this point in our life, we look back to creation. We look back to the first coming of Christ. We’re sitting here very close prophetically to the end of the age and the return of Jesus Christ in his second coming. The Messiah, and of which the Hallelujah Chorus is buried kind of right in the middle of it, it is all about the magnificence of this entire big story, which ultimately, Jamie, every person ever will bow before Jesus Christ now as King. He came as a shepherd, as a sacrifice. He’s now going to come back as King, and they will confess that he is Jesus Christ to the glory of God the Father. That is, that is why the Hallelujah Chorus is so powerful because he is King of Kings and Lord of Lord.

Jamie Mitchell:                 Amen, amen. Thank you, Sam. Thank you to the rest of our hosts for sharing the story behind some of these great Christmas songs. Thank you again for listening to Stand in the Gap Today. Just like King George was moved with the idea of Christ who came, who died for us, we pray that you’ll leap to your feet this season and rejoice in Christ.