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Now Let All the Heavens Adore Thee

Our Story So Far:
  • ~500 BC: Isaiah refers to Jerusalem/Zion as the "Bride of God".
  • 63 BC: Roman conquest of Jerusalem
  • 70 AD: Roman legions destroy the Temple following an unsuccessful rebellion;
    the Jewish diaspora (dispersion) begins.
  • 85-90 AD: Gospel of Matthew written, containing the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins, in which Jesus warns his disciples to "keep awake" even though "the bridegroom is delayed"
  • 1517: Martin Luther posts his 95 Theses, beginning the Protestant Reformation.
  • 1599: Lutheran pastor Philipp Nicolai publishes Freu­den­spie­gel des ewig­en Leb­ens (Joy­ous Mir­ror of Eter­nal Life), which contains the Advent hymn "Wachet auf", ruft uns die Stimme ("Wake up," the voice calls us)
  • 1618-1648: Thirty Years' War
  • 1645: Andreas Hammerschmidt makes extensive use of the God/Soul musical dialogue.
  • 1731: Bach composes the cantata Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme for the 27th Sunday after Trinity.
    • This is often (but not always) the last Sunday of the church year.
    • The last movement of the cantata is a straightforward harmonization of the hymn's third verse.
    • Gloria refers to the angels' song in Luke 2:14 (the translation may read "...good will among men."
    • The description of New Jerusalem (the "wife of the Lamb") is from Revelation 21:9-14.
    • In dulci jubilo ("In sweet rejoicing") is a German Christmas carol from ~1328, sung in English as
      "Good Christian 'Friends' Rejoice".
German text Literal translation
Gloria sei dir gesungen
Mit Menschen- und englischen Zungen,
Mit Harfen und mit Zimbeln schon.
Von zwölf Perlen sind die Pforten,
An deiner Stadt sind wir Konsorten
Der Engel hoch um deinen Thron.
Kein Aug hat je gespürt,
Kein Ohr hat je gehört
Solche Freude.
Des sind wir froh, Io, io!
Ewig in dulci jubilo.
Gloria to Thee be sung
with human and with angels' tongues,
with harps and even cymbals too.
The gates are made of twelve pearls,
in Thy city we consort
with angels high around Thy throne.
No eye has e'er perceived,
no ear has ever heard
such joy.
So we are glad, hurrah, hurrah!
forever in sweet rejoicing.
Winkworth (1858) translation
Now let all the heavens adore Thee,
And saints and angels sing before Thee,
With harp and cymbal’s clearest tone;
Of one pearl each shining portal,
Where we are with the choir immortal
Of angels round Thy dazzling throne;
Nor eye hath seen, nor ear
hath yet attained to hear
What there is ours;
But we rejoice and sing to Thee
Our hymn of joy eternally.
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