Longing for His Appearing – and Singing About It

Whatever you believe about the timing of the return of Christ, orthodox Christians all agree on one thing: Jesus is coming back.

Scripture tells us that when Jesus finally returns, all wrongs will be made right, the unrighteous will be judged, and those who have trusted in Christ will enter into the immediate presence of God in the new heavens and new earth. God promises that there will be no more sin, no more tears, no more death, and no more pain (2Thess. 2:8; Phil. 3:20-21; Rev. 21:4). And “when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

With those kinds of promises, you’d expect that we’d be thinking about the return of Christ a lot more often than we do. But we don’t. We get caught up in the details of life, weighed down by the effects of sin, and distracted by the empty promises of the world. We think more about the stock market than the second coming. We anticipate a new season of 24 or American Idol more than the return of Christ. We act as though Jesus coming back is far enough away that it shouldn’t seriously affect our lives now. And we’re the poorer for it.

In 2 Tim. 4:8, Paul says that Christians are those who “have loved his appearing.” He tells Titus that we are “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” And Peter says that we should be setting our hope “fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

One of the ways we do that is by singing about Christ’s return. Just recently, I received an email from a worship leader asking for songs that referenced the return of Christ. Here’s a list a group of my friends and I came up with.

CONTEMPORARY SONGS (more or less)
Because of You
(Paul Oakley) – celebrative song about what it will be like in heaven and the fact that it will all be made possible by Jesus. “No more pain, no more sadness, no more suffering, no more tears, no more sin…”
Beautiful Savior (Stuart Townend) – “I long to be where the praise is never ending.”
Hallelujah, We Will Sing (Tommy Walker) – joyful 6/8 song celebrating Christ’s return. “On that white horse He’ll ride, With blazing eyes of fire, He’ll judge and make things right, Turn all the dark to light”
Soon (Brooke Fraser) – Beautiful song. “Soon and very soon my King is coming, robed in righteousness and crowned with love”
Sing to the King (Billy Foote) – Rejoicing in Christ’s final victory over Satan. “Sing to the King who is coming to reign”
Hail to the King (Larry Hampton) – We eagerly await the coming of the day…
Soon and Very Soon (old spiritual)
Heaven is our Home (Kathryn Scott) – “No more sin and no more shame, we are going where the streets are made of gold.”
Almighty (Paul Baloche) – “You will judge the nations, You’ll reward Your servants, both the great and small.” I reviewed this song in a previous post.
O For That Day (Ryan Foglesong) – “O for that day when our journey is ended, all of our hope found in heaven’s reward.” John Martin of Enfield is generously giving the MP3 of this song away, as well as the lead sheet. You can also download the guitar chart in E.
There is a Day (Phatfish) –  Powerful song describing Christ’s return, filled with Scripture. “We will meet him in the air and then we will be like him.” I could do without the “oh yeah…”
How Long (Stuart Townend) – One of the most powerful songs of intercession that I’m aware of. “But I know a day is coming when the deaf will hear his voice, when the blind will see their Savior and the lame will leap for joy.”
I Will Rise (Chris Tomlin) – Simple tune, powerful words that focus on our  union with Christ in his resurrection. “I will rise when he calls my name, no more sorrow, no more pain.”
Great Day of the Lord (Andy Melvin) – “On the great day of the Lord when the dead in Christ shall rise, and the sun and moon will be replaced by the light in Jesus’ eyes.”
There is a Higher Throne (Keith and Kristyn Getty) – Stately hymn that lifts our eyes to see the unchanging throne of God. “Before the Son we’ll stand, made faultless through the Lamb; believing hearts find promised grace, salvation comes.”
The Day of the Lord (Joe Romeo) – Excellent song about the return of Christ. “All of creation is eagerly waiting for God’s family to be unveiled.”

SOVEREIGN GRACE SONGS
Lord Jesus, Come (Adam Sacks) – “Oh Lord, hurry the day when our faith shall be sight.”
In A Little While (Mark Altrogge) – “And we will see your face with our own eyes.”
Hail the Risen King – (Stephen Altrogge) – Upbeat celebration of the risen King who is returning. “You’re coming, returning for those whose hearts are yearning…”
He is Jesus (Stephen Altrogge) – A 3/4 anthem that celebrates the glories of Christ. “There’s a glorious Lord returning and all will bow to Him alone.”
Worthy (Dave Brown) – “The multitude you bought with Your blood will gather before Your throne and humbly proclaim, ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain forevermore.”
God Over All (Devon Kauflin) – “And on that day when you come back to claim your own…”
I Will Glory in My Redeemer (Steve & Vikki Cook) – “When he calls me it will be paradise his face forever to behold.”
Glorious and Mighty (Todd Twining, Joel Sczebel, Bob Kauflin) – “Majesty, we’ll sing with creation when You come again in the clouds.”
Prepared a Place (Doug Plank) –  “Father in the moment when Your Son shall split the skies, and myriads of angels acclaim him with their cries, by grace I will be able to join the jubilee…”

HYMNS
Come Thou Fount – “On that day when free from sinning I shall see thy lovely face…” (chart available here)
It Is Well – “And Lord haste the day when our faith shall  be sight…”
My Hope is Built – “When he shall come with trumpet sound…”
How Great Thou Art – “When Christ shall come with shouts of acclamation…”
Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending (Wesley/Cennick) – can also be sung to the tune of “Regent Square”)
I Stand Amazed in the Presence – “When with the ransomed in glory his face I at last shall see…”

I know I’m just scratching the surface here. Let us know what songs you’ve used to help your church treasure and anticipate the return of our glorious Savior.

UPDATE: I’ve added to the list above to include many of the suggestions in the comments section.

,

40 Responses to Longing for His Appearing – and Singing About It

  1. Marc January 21, 2010 at 12:34 PM #

    We Will Dance – David Ruis

  2. John Gardner January 21, 2010 at 12:47 PM #

    We introduced “I Will Glory in My Redeemer” to our congregation this past Sunday. What a tremendous hymn! Our church loves to sing of the anticipation of Christ’s return. Many thanks to Sovereign Grace Ministries for providing great new content to celebrate the timeless Truths of Scripture!

  3. Evers January 21, 2010 at 1:49 PM #

    “O for That Day” from Enfield is a rousing song dwelling on the glories of heaven and Christ’s ultimate victory, originally introduced at the Resolved 2008 conference (whose website is down for the next couple of weeks for rebuild: http://www.resolved.org/)

    Amazon MP3 link: http://www.amazon.com/O-For-That-Day/dp/B001AUM2GO

    • Bob Kauflin January 21, 2010 at 3:14 PM #

      Evers, Thanks for thinking of O For That Day. GREAT song!

  4. St. Mark of the desert. January 21, 2010 at 1:59 PM #

    Check out this version of Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending:

    Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending

  5. Kyle January 21, 2010 at 2:23 PM #

    I suppose we could include the most recently mentioned one on Worship Matters – Paul Baloche’s “Almighty,” from “Glorious.”

    • Bob Kauflin January 21, 2010 at 3:17 PM #

      Kyle, thanks for making it clear that sometimes only a portion of my brain works. Almighty is a great song.

  6. Martin Walker January 21, 2010 at 2:30 PM #

    “There is a day” by Phatfish, brilliant. You can see the video at http://www.fishtankcreatives.com.

  7. Steph VG January 21, 2010 at 3:38 PM #

    “I Cannot Tell” by Ken Bible (to the tune of “Danny Boy”) – http://www.lnwhymns.com/products/hymns/20.htm What joy to my heart to remember these truths!

  8. west January 21, 2010 at 3:58 PM #

    I’m with Martin. I mentioned There Is A Day a few posts back when we were talking about singing “oh yeah” and stuff like that. This song is unequivocal. Thick with Scripture. It always does my soul good to hear it.

  9. Michael Bleecker January 21, 2010 at 4:17 PM #

    Bob- thanks for this great post. I love the songs you chose to include and I love singing them.

    Here are a couple that our church has loved singing:

    “Glorious Day”. This is a hymn originally entitled “One Day” that I rewrote. It’s the Gospel in its entirety: The birth, life, death, resurrection and return of Christ. We have loved this song over the years.
    See and hear it here: http://fm.thevillagechurch.net/blog/worship/

    “You Hold Me Now” by Hillsong. This has been an amazing anthem at The Village.
    See and hear it here:

  10. Cheryl Sheahan January 21, 2010 at 6:39 PM #

    Thanks, Bob, this is SOO uplifting…

    also from Enfield from Resolved 2008, FINALLY HOME

    hallelujah, we will sing on that that day, hallelujah bless your name, we will bow at your throne singing hallelujah, we are finally home…

  11. Chris Anderson January 21, 2010 at 7:23 PM #

    Pardon the self-link, but the first of the modern hymns listed at our ChurchWorksMedia.com site (link below) is “Come Quickly, Lord,” a hymn that longs for our Lord’s appearing and through it (a) the reversal of the curse, (b) the end of our battle with the flesh, and most importantly (c) our eternal fellowship and praise of the Lamb. Perhaps it (and others there) will be a blessing to you. :)

    http://www.churchworksmedia.com/hymns/

  12. Thomas Campbell January 21, 2010 at 7:42 PM #

    Another one I thought of is by Robin Mark – Days of Elijah – “Behold He comes, riding on the clouds”

    • Dalisay Dwinells November 14, 2015 at 10:11 PM #

      So what is Sovereign Grace’s position on Days of Elijah, Bob?

      • Bob Kauflin November 16, 2015 at 3:01 PM #

        Dalisay, Sovereign Grace Music doesn’t have an “official” position on Days of Elijah or any song, for that matter! The lyrics seem to need a bit of explanation for someone singing them to understand what’s going on, though.

  13. Gary Ware January 21, 2010 at 9:15 PM #

    See Him Coming by Mark Peterson is very singable with great lyrics.
    Behold The Lamb Of God by Nicki Chiswell.
    Both from EMU Music Australia.
    When The Trumpet Of The Lord Shall Sound by J.M. Black.
    Sing We The King Who Is Coming To Reign by c. Sylvester Horne.

  14. Jamie Brown January 21, 2010 at 9:38 PM #

    A few:

    “How Long?” by Stuart Townend (“But I know a day is coming when the deaf will hear his voice, when the blind will see their Savior and the lame will leap for joy…”

    “From the Squalor” by Stuart Townend (“then the skies will part as the trumpet sounds / hope of heaven or the fear of hell”)

    “Creation Sings” by Stuart Townend and Keith and Kristyn Getty (“Creation longs for his return / when Christ shall reign upon the earth…”)

    “There is a Higher Throne” by Keith and Kristyn Getty — although this one is more about heaven in general that Jesus’ return specifically

    “Glorious and Mighty” Sovereign Grace (“Majesty, we’ll sing with creation / when you come again in the clouds…”)

  15. Brandon Swanner January 21, 2010 at 9:45 PM #

    Great resource! Outside of the back of a hymnal there is little resource for someone looking for a song via doctrinal emphasis. Thanks….

  16. Roy Chang January 22, 2010 at 4:37 AM #

    There Is A Hope by Stuart Townend and Mark Edwards

    There is a hope that stands the test of time,
    That lifts my eyes beyond the beckoning grave,
    To see the matchless beauty of a day divine
    When I behold His face!
    When sufferings cease and sorrows die,
    and every longing satisfied,
    then joy unspeakable will flood my soul,
    For I am truly home.

  17. Phil VanderWeide January 22, 2010 at 8:59 AM #

    Very good list…
    Promised Land by Fee: “This life is filled with woes and with sorrow/ and tragedies untold /
    but my Jesus offers hope for tomorrow /
    Heaven is my home”

    Better Is One Day by Matt Redman (indirectly): “One thing I ask/ and I would seek/ to see Your beauty/ to find you in the place Your glory dwells…”

    Crown Him with Many Crowns: “Now lives in realms of light/ where saints and angels sing/
    Their songs before Him day and night/ their God, Redeemer, King”

    I Know That My Redeeemer Lives: “He lives my mansion to prepare/ He lives to bring me safely there”

    I Will Rise by Chris Tomlin: “I will rise when he calls my name/ no more sorrow, no more pain…”

    It is Not Death to Die: (everywhere :) )

    There can never be enough songs about our true home!

    P.S. By the way, I’m also a lyrics operator at Covenant Fellowship, Dave Brown’s church, and I believe “Worthy” goes… if I’m not mistaken “The multitude you bought with your blood will gather/ to bow before Your throne and proclaim/ worthy is the Lamb who was slain forevermore.” Same point though.

  18. Ben Miller January 22, 2010 at 9:07 AM #

    I’m with Michael Bleecker on this one. We’ve been using their version of Glorious day and it has been really powerful. It’s a great way to connect Jesus as he was in history to his work for us now and his soon-coming return.

    Also, Hillsong’s “He is Lord” is a beautiful song also well-received by our congregation. This ties the resurrection to our hope of the second coming with a jubilant yet simple bridge “And now let the earth resound with praise for our Savior God he reigns, he is high and lifted up. Arise for the King of Glory waits, he is coming back again, he is coming back again!”

  19. Cheryl Curran January 22, 2010 at 10:28 AM #

    Love all the contributions and song ideas. These songs embody our hope to see our Saviour.
    Thanks for this sight, Bob!

  20. N. Adam Johnson January 22, 2010 at 10:47 AM #

    Bob,

    Thank you for this post. Our youth praise band just learned and introduced to our youth group an updated version of “Beams of Heaven” by Charles Tindley, with a melody by Chris Miner. http://www.igracemusic.com/hymnbook/lead/beamsofheaven-REAL.pdf

    We added a chorus adapted from the original hymn and reworked the words in verse 3 which are both posted below.

    Verse 3:
    Harder yet may be the fight,
    right may often yield to might;
    Wickedness a while may reign;
    Satan’s cause may seem to gain.
    But there’s a God that rules above,
    with hand of power and heart of love,
    And Jesus Christ will fight my battle,
    I shall have peace someday,
    I shall have peace someday.

    Chorus (after verse 3 only):
    I don’t know how long it will be,
    nor what the future holds for me,
    But this I know: Jesus leads me,
    I shall get home someday.

  21. Scott Burdett January 22, 2010 at 11:10 AM #

    One of my favorite and a favorite at our church is “Higher Throne” by the Gettys—

    There is a higher throne
    Than all this world has known,
    Where faithful ones from ev’ry tongue
    Will one day come.
    Before the Son we’ll stand,
    Made faultless through the Lamb;
    Believing hearts find promised grace—
    Salvation comes.

    REFRAIN
    Hear heaven’s voices sing;
    Their thund’rous anthem rings
    Through em’rald courts and sapphire skies.
    Their praises rise.
    All glory, wisdom, pow’r,
    Strength, thanks, and honor are
    To God our King, who reigns on high
    Forevermore.

    And there we’ll find our home,
    Our life before the throne;
    We’ll honor Him in perfect song
    Where we belong.
    He’ll wipe each tear-stained eye
    As thirst and hunger die.
    The Lamb becomes our Shepherd King;
    We’ll reign with Him.

    “There Is a Higher Throne”
    Words and Music by Keith & Kristyn Getty
    Copyright © 2003 Thankyou Music

  22. Steve January 22, 2010 at 11:43 AM #

    O What a Day, by Carrie E Beck & Gisele Brown. Gisele wrote the chorus to the original song Face to Face with Christ, My Savior, by Carrie E Beck.

    Beautiful song, full of truth & glorious anticipation.

    Face to face with Christ my Savior
    Face to face what will it be?
    When with rapture I behold Him
    He who died for me
    Only faintly now I see Him
    With the darkened veil between
    But a blessed day is coming
    When His glory shall be seen!

    Chorus
    Oh what a day that will be
    When I look upon my Savior’s face
    Oh what a day that will be
    When I look into the eyes
    Of the very One who died
    In my place
    Oh to see His face

  23. Dan Lerro January 22, 2010 at 1:36 PM #

    “What a Savior” has really served our people in this area.

  24. Chris Tolbert January 22, 2010 at 2:47 PM #

    Man of Sorrows, What a Name! by Philip Bliss

    When He comes, our glorious King,
    All His ransomed home to bring,
    Then anew His song we’ll sing:
    Hallelujah! What a Savior!

  25. Selena January 23, 2010 at 3:30 AM #

    The last two verses of William Y. Fullerton’s hymn “I cannot tell how He whom angels worship” (1929) to Londonderry Air
    ….

    I cannot tell how he will win the nations,
    how he will claim his earthly heritage,
    how satisfy the needs and aspirations
    of east and west, of sinner and of sage.
    But this I know, all flesh shall see his glory,
    and he shall reap the harvest he has sown,
    and some glad day his sun shall shine in splendor
    when he the Savior, Savior of the world, is known.

    I cannot tell how all the lands shall worship,
    when, at his bidding, every storm is stilled,
    or who can say how great the jubilation
    when every heart with perfect love is filled.
    But this I know, the skies will thrill with rapture,
    and myriad, myriad human voices sing,
    and earth to heaven, and heaven to earth, will answer:
    ‘At last the Savior, Savior of the world, is King!’

  26. Kenneth Ross January 23, 2010 at 8:03 AM #

    From Scotland……

    McCheyne’s poem ‘I am a Debtor’ gives us the following beautiful hymn:

    When this passing world is done,
    When has sunk yon glaring sun,
    When I stand with Christ on high,
    Looking o’er life’s history;
    Then, Lord, shall I fully know –
    Not till then – how much I owe.

    When I stand before the throne,
    Dressed in beauty not my own,
    When I see thee as thou art,
    Love thee with unsinning heart;
    Then, Lord, shall I fully know –
    Not till then – how much I owe.

    When the praise of heav’n I hear,
    Loud as thunder to the ear,
    Loud as many water’s noise,
    Sweet as harp’s melodious voice;
    Then, Lord, shall I fully know –
    Not till then – how much I owe.

    Chosen not for good in me,
    Wakened up from wrath to flee,
    Hidden in the Saviour’s side,
    By the Spirit sanctified;
    Teach me, Lord, on earth to show,
    By my love, how much I owe.

    Indelible Grace Music also have set new music to a hymn crafted from the writings of Samuel Rutherford, giving us the hymn ‘The sands of time are sinking’.

    The verse beginning ‘With mercy and with judgement’ (not recorded by iGrace (IIRC)) is to appear on my tombstone – my wife says I better set some money aside for the stone! I’ve placed it before the iGrace version.

    With mercy and with judgment
    My web of time He wove,
    And aye the dews of sorrow
    Were lustred with His love.
    I’ll bless the hand that guided,
    I’ll bless the heart that plann’d,
    When throned where glory dwelleth
    In Immanuel’s land.

    and now as it is often sung…

    The Sands of Time Are Sinking

    1. The sands of time are sinking,
    The dawn of heaven breaks;
    The summer morn I’ve sighed for –
    The fair, sweet morn awakes:
    Dark, dark had been the midnight
    But dayspring is at hand,
    And glory, glory dwelleth
    In Emmanuel’s land.

    2. The king there in His beauty,
    Without a veil is seen:
    It were a well-spent journey,
    Though seven deaths lay between:
    The Lamb with His fair army,
    Doth on Mount Zion stand,
    And glory, glory dwelleth
    In Emmanuel’s land

    3. O Christ, He is the fountain,
    The deep, sweet well of love!
    The streams on earth I’ve tasted
    More deep I’ll drink above:
    There to an ocean fullness
    His mercy doth expand,
    And glory, glory dwelleth
    In Emmanuel’s land.

    4. The bride eyes not her garment,
    But her dear Bridegroom’s face;
    I will not gaze at glory
    But on my King of grace.
    Not at the crown He giveth
    But on His pierced hand;
    The Lamb is all the glory
    Of Emmanuel’s land.

    5. O I am my Beloved’s
    And my Beloved is mine!
    He brings a poor vile sinner
    Into His house of wine
    I stand upon His merit –
    I know no other stand,
    Not e’en where glory dwelleth
    In Emmanuel’s land.

    Lot seemed satisfied to sit at Sodom’s gate….. may we be those who live by faith…

    “For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.”

    Hebrews 11 v. 10

  27. Jamie Mason January 23, 2010 at 8:27 AM #

    If you get a chance, check out “Days of Elijah” Great up-tempo song that our folks dearly love. One guy (who says doesn’t particularly “get” singing, says he would love it if we sang it every week.

    “Behold he comes
    riding on the clouds,
    shining like the sun,
    at the trumpet’s call.
    Lift your voice,
    it’s the year of Jubilee,
    and out of Zion’s hill salvation comes.”

  28. susan hart January 23, 2010 at 10:04 AM #

    one of the newer ones is already one of our favorites: “Prepared a Place“.

  29. Hayden Norris January 23, 2010 at 2:56 PM #

    I agree with Michael. We sing ‘O Glorious Day’ and it always rouses me to preach in thinking of the lyrics. I also like “The Revelation Song”.

    Keep up the good work with Sovereign Grace Bob. We sing lots of Sovereign Grace stuff as well and I think my favorite is “Name Above All Names”.

  30. Andrew Gosden January 24, 2010 at 4:55 PM #

    We’ve used There is a Day from phatfish (absolutely fantastic), and also many of the Getty/Townend songs mentioned.

    But one I don’t think I saw mentioned which we have used a LOT is “O my soul, arise and bless you maker” by Stuart Townend. The last verse is:

    Then one day I’ll see Him as He sees me,
    Face to face, the Lover and the loved;
    No more words, the longing will be over:
    There with my precious Jesus.

    There is a sample at http://www.stuarttownend.co.uk/shop (keep scrolling down until you get to Personal Worship / Say the Word CD Set)

  31. Liza Philip January 26, 2010 at 9:46 PM #

    A modern hymn that my husband & I wrote about heaven is called There is a Place.

    We have free downloads of the song available at philipmusic.com. (You’ll see it under the Free Downloads section)

    There is a place no eye has seen

    There is a place no eye has seen
    Where our home has always been
    Earthly trials cannot compare
    With the weight of glory there

    There is a song no ear has heard
    Soars like thunder to the Word
    Angels sing, Alleluia
    Saints and kings bow down in awe

    There is a love no mind has known
    Nailed to a cross to save His own
    Hail through all the universe
    Christ has broken Eden’s curse

    There is a day now drawing near
    On glorious clouds, He shall appear
    Joy of every longing heart
    We will see the face of God

    There is a place no eye has seen

    ©2006 Abe & Liza Philip

  32. Doug A April 8, 2010 at 1:01 PM #

    In addition to the ones mentioned, we also use “The Song of the Lamb” from Maranatha’s Praise Band.

    re: “There is a Day”… the “oh yeah” does not bother me. It feels like a modern “Amen” – a heartfelt agreement with what was just said. In fact, you could sing “A-men” there (“let it be so”, or as Jesus used it, “truly, truly” or as at the end of Romans 11:36 – an affirmation of truth).

    Great blog and great resources!

  33. Steve December 4, 2010 at 9:22 AM #

    Joy to the World was written as a song about Christ’s triumphant return, not Christmas. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joy_to_the_World

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