Hymn - “He Lives”
February 23, 2023
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
“Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, Lift up your voice and sing”
“He Lives” was written by Alfred Henry Ackley (1887-1960). He wrote more than 1,500 hymns and songs, and this is his most popular. He grew up in the home of a Methodist pastor and learned to play the piano and cello and perhaps other instruments. He pastored Presbyterian churches in Pennsylvania and California. He conducted some meetings for the evangelist Billy Sunday. He had an honorary Doctor of Sacred Music degree from John Brown University of Siloam Springs, Arkansas.

He wrote “He Lives” in 1932 after two encounters with unbelief. The first was a conversation with a young Jewish student who asked, “Why should I worship a dead Jew?” A few days later, early on Easter Sunday, Ackley heard a liberal New York preacher on the radio saying, “You know, it really doesn’t matter to me if Christ be risen or not. His body could have turned to dust long ago in some Palestinian tomb. But what’s important is that His truth goes marching on.” Ackley shouted, “It’s a lie. He lives! I tell you, He is NOT dead, but lives here and now! Jesus Christ is more alive today than ever before. I can prove it by my own experience, as well as the testimony of countless thousands.” After preaching multiple times on Easter Sunday at his church in Escondido, California, on the subject of Christ’s resurrection, he returned home. But he couldn’t remove from his mind the unbelieving attacks on Christ’s resurrection. He was stirred in his soul to do something. Challenged by his wife to write a song about it, he was inspired by the angel’s words from Mark 16, “He is risen; he is not here.” He wrote the words and the tune to “He Lives” that day. (Information cited from DianaLeaghMatthews.com and Enjoying the Journey.org.)

“He Lives” was first published in
Triumphant Service Songs in 1933. For 90 years, Ackley’s hymn has stirred and encouraged and challenged God’s saints.

I serve a risen Savior, He’s in the world today; I know that He is living, Whatever men may say; I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer, And just the time I need Him He’s always near

Chorus He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and talks with me Along life’s narrow way. He lives, He lives, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know He lives: He lives within my heart.

In all the world around me, I see His loving care, And tho my heart grows weary I never will despair; I know that He is leading thru all the stormy blast, The day of His appearing will come at last

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, Lift up your voice and sing Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King! The hope of all who seek Him, The help of all who find, None other is so loving, So good and kind.

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