“BEAUTIFUL”

Wayne S. Walker

“And have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the
Lamb” (Rev. 7.14)

     INTRO.:  A song which draws language from the book of Revelation to
describe the beauty and glory of heaven is “Beautiful” (#261 in “Hymns
for Worship Revised”).  The text was written and the tune was composed
both by Barney Elliot Warren (1867-1951).  Born in New York and raised in
Michigan, he left home at 18 to be a singer in the travelling
evangelistic band of Daniel S. Warner (1842-1895).  Warner is regarded as
the founder of the Church of God (Anderson, IN).  Together, they began
producing hymns with Warner writing the words and Warren composing the
melodies.

     After Warren left the Warner band to study music, he returned to
full-time evangelistic work where he would serve as minister with a small
congregation for a while, build it up, and then leave to go into another
community.  However, after his marriage in 1890 he settled down and
except for one year spent in West Liberty, OH, he and his wife spent the
rest of their years in Springfield, OH.  Also, he continued writing
hymns, producing both words and music, and edited a dozen or more
songbooks.  

     One spring morning in 1896, he lost himself in meditation on the
beauties of nature and began thinking about how much more beautiful the
eternal home must be.  Within 30 minutes, he had produced both words and
music for this song.  Its first appearance was in the 1897 “Songs of the
Evening Light,” although he apparently sold the copyright to J. A. Lee in
1911.  About 1935, after preaching for more than 50 years, his heart and
nerves grew so bad that he had to quit his active ministry, and at the
age of 84 he died in Springfield.

     The song uses several figures of speech to help us appreciate the
beauty of heaven.

I. The beginning stanza says that heaven will be a beautiful home
 A. In addition to our wearing the beautiful robes of white, heaven will
be a beautiful land of light where there shall come no night: Rev.
21.22-25
 B. Also, in heaven we shall wear a beautiful crown: 2 Tim. 4.8
 C. And in this home we shall dwell in mansions fair: Jn. 14.1-3 (the
word translated “mansion” simply means a dwelling place; the idea is not
necessarily a big, palatial estate, but simply an eternal home in which
the redeemed can dwell with God)

II. The next stanza says that heaven will be a beautiful place of rest
 A. When we get to this place of rest, we shall be God’s in eternity
because He has promised us eternal life: 1 Jn. 2.25
 B. In addition, in this place of rest we shall be free from this world
with its toil and care: 1 Jn. 2.15-17, Rev. 14.13
 C. Furthermore, we shall be able to share in heavenly joys when we cross
over there: Rev. 22.1-5

III. The last stanza says that heaven will be a beautiful land of peace
 A. This land of peace is on high, over in yonder sky, because that is
where Jesus went: Acts 1.9-11
 B. This land of peace will also be where we can count our treasures:
Matt. 6.19-20
 C. Finally, in this land of peace we shall never die nor sorrow again:
Rev. 21.1-4

CONCL.:  The chorus expresses the desire of every child of God to go to
this home of rest and peace.  Of course, everyone undoubtedly wants to go
to heaven and everyone can, but, unfortunately, not everyone will (Matt.
7.13-14).  The reason is that there is something that we must do to go,
and the sad truth is that not everyone is willing to do the will of the
Father to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 7.21-23).  However, all who
obey the gospel and remain faithful have the hope of a home in that land
that is eternally “Beautiful.”

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