Before The Throne of God Above was the best-known hymn written by Charitie Lees Bancroft in 1863. Originally titled ‘The Advocate’, it has since become a worldwide favourite for its lyrics that draw heavily from Scripture and revolve around the perfect security that we, as believers, find in our Lord Jesus Christ, who ever intercedes for us.
Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect Plea
A great High Priest whose name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me
My name is graven on His hands
My name is written on His heart
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart
Hebrews 4 talks about the great High Priest who, in every respect, has been tempted like us, yet was without sin. This gives us the confidence to draw near to Him, to the throne of grace, so that we may find mercy in time of need. Jesus will always live and plead for those who draw near to Him, because He truly understands our human experiences and temptations. But you know what gives us more assurance? The fact that we’re graven on God’s hands (Isaiah 49:16) — not chalked or painted, but graven — and written on His heart. That’s forever! How it makes the heart soar to know that God will not ever forget us. What greater assurance of permanence. No man, no law — nothing has the power to command us to depart from Him!
When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upwards I look and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the Just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
Too often, we doubt if God has forgiven our sins, even though we know He’s forgiven us. That’s Satan, trying to use despair as a device to discourage us and lead us into a paralysing sense of hopelessness. When that happens, the songwriter reminds us the best place to look is above, where the Son of Man sits at the right hand of the Father (Romans 8:34). There is no guilt or condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1), because He’s our Advocate who not only pleads our case, but has also paid the penalty for our sin once and for all. Our record of debt and sin was permanently cancelled when He was nailed to the cross. The Just God has now pardoned us and there can be no room for despair when He is by our side.
Behold Him there, the risen Lamb
My perfect spotless Righteousness
The great unchangeable I Am
The King of glory and of grace
One with Himself, I cannot die
My soul is purchased by His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ, my Saviour and my God
Praise the One, risen Son of God
In a world where we keep hearing that change is inevitable, it is a great comfort for us to know that our Lord is unchangeable. We are assured of this truth in Malachi 3:6, which says: “For I am the LORD, I change not.” We were not ransomed with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious, spotless, sinless blood of a Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today and forever.
When we enter into a relationship with the risen Lamb, we’re dead to this life, and our real life begins, hid with Christ in God. We’re safely locked away in His care, where nothing can separate us from His love, we have forgiveness in Him, we are sanctified by Him and we have an eternal future. It’s indeed a moment of ‘Alleluia’ when we think and wait for that blessed hope, to live with Christ, our Saviour and our God, forevermore.
(Video credits: Guitar and male vocals – Joseph Mohan; female vocals – Sonya Mohan)
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