The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Hymns from Satan: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

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Each year when Christmas rolls around, Christians break out a special collection of worship songs which center around the theme of Christ’s birth. And while marveling over the revelation that we have another Creator besides the magnificent Yahweh is quite appropriate, many of the songs we sing at Christmastime are quite insulting to both Christ and Yahweh. The famous hymn O Come, O Come, Emmanuel is a classic example of this. It’s time that we Christians recognize that this song is utterly absurd, nonsensical, and very insulting to our glorious Lords. To help you understand why you should not be singing this rot to God at the end of every year, we’re going to go through the lyrics of this song line by line.

Now when it comes to old hymns, you’ll find that the number and order of verses vary from hymnbook to hymnbook. To cover this hymn well, we’re going to go through seven lyric stanzas. Modernized versions of old hymns usually strip away many of the less common stanzas and boil songs down to just a couple of verses plus the refrain. But no matter how much trimming you do to O Come, the song simply doesn’t work.

[1] O come, O come, Emmanuel / And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here / Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel / Shall come to thee, O Israel.

This is the most famous verse of this song, and you might as well just slap Yahweh in the face if you’re going to sing such rot as a Christian. The trouble starts with the name Emmanuel. Emmanuel means “God with us” and Jesus walking about in human form literally was “God with us.” But we aren’t calling Christ Emmanuel because it has such an appropriate meaning. We get this name from Isaiah 7:14—a verse which is famously promoted as a Messianic passage even though it has nothing to do with Christ (see The Real Immanuel).

“Therefore Yahweh Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)

This is the prophet Isaiah talking to a snarky spiritual rebel named Ahaz. Ahaz rules the southern kingdom of Israel, which is called the kingdom of Judah. Ahaz is a punk. Ahaz seriously annoys Yahweh, and it’s because he’s just ticked Yahweh off that this whole Immanuel prophecy is even being given. Try reading Isaiah 7-8 sometime and you’ll discover why the Gospel writer Matthew was such a dingdong to associate this verse with Christ (see Messianic Passages According to Matthew). In real life, Immanuel was a son of the prophet Isaiah. He lived and died around 700 years before Christ was ever born. He was a prophetic sign of certain future military events in Israel—some good, and some bad. Baby Immanuel served as a prophetic timetable. Yahweh said that by the time the boy reached a certain age, the specific military events He spoke of would have occurred. So the point is this: Immanuel was a sign of war. He had nothing to do with a Messiah. He had nothing to do with saving Israel.

The people who lived in Isaiah’s day understood who Immanuel was. They knew when the kid was born, they watched him grow up, and they probably lost all interest in him once the events he was associated with actually happened. The point is this: no one was waiting for Immanuel to come prior to the birth of Christ, because Immanuel had already come and gone 700 years before Mary and Joseph were making their way to Bethlehem. So to sing “O come, O come, Emmanuel,” is just, well, stupid. Jesus is not Immanuel. None of the Jews in Jesus’ time were waiting for Immanuel, nor did they associate the prophecy of Immanuel with a rescuing of captive Israel.

It is very insulting to Yahweh when we totally ignore what He actually said about Immanuel and act like we can just put words in His mouth. Yahweh wasn’t talking about Christ anywhere in Isaiah 7-8. For us to say He was is quite disrespectful. We Christians really need to get off this trip of acting like Yahweh never said anything of value until He started talking about Christ. This rumor we spread that “Christ is on every page of the Old Testament” is utterly untrue. Yahweh has said plenty of things which had nothing to do with Christ, and anytime any one of our Gods speak, Their messages should be treated with the utmost respect. The fact that this hymn keeps insisting that Yahweh was referring to Christ when He spoke of Immanuel is utterly insulting to Yahweh. You need to get off the Immanuel trip and stop trusting in the Church’s interpretation of Old Testament prophecies. Since Yahweh is the only God talking in the Old Testament, clearly He is the One you need to be looking to for understanding when you’re reading about things He said.

Okay, so associating Christ with Immanuel is insulting to Yahweh. And since it’s never acceptable to insult Yahweh, this whole hymn needs to be chucked into the wastebasket before we’ve even gotten through the first verse. But now let’s deal with this absurdity about Israel.

[1] O come, O come, Emmanuel / And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here / Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel / Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Notice the description about Israel being in lonely exile. What on earth is this about? For starters, the Israelites weren’t even in exile during the time that the real Immanuel child was born. Yahweh destroyed Israel in two chunks: first the north, then the south. Both times He used human armies to sack capital cities and haul off thousands of Jews to foreign lands where they were forced to stay. This exiling of Jews was a form of Divine discipline. Yahweh explains this over and over again in the Old Testament prophetic books. First He keeps telling the Jews in the northern kingdom: “Stop defying Me or I’ll banish you from the land.” He says this countless times through countless prophets. The Jews refuse to repent so He finally mows down a bunch of the little twerps and then exiles the rest. Then He starts the whole painful pattern over again with the Jews in the south. The point is this: before the revelation of Christ, the exiling of Jews was always a form of Divine discipline which the Jews brought on their own heads by refusing to respect Yahweh. Since the ancient Jews were fiercely patriotic and extremely entitled, it just killed them to be ousted from the patch of land which they considered to be their property. And by the way, Yahweh always taught that the Promised Land was His property, not the Jews’, and that they were simply His tenants who He could oust at any time. In Leviticus 25:23, He tells the Jews:

“The land must not be sold without a way of getting it back. That is because it belongs to Me. You are only outsiders who rent My land.” (Lev. 25:23)

But of course the Jews blew this off and decided that they were the rightful owners of the land, and many still feel this way today. It irked them to no end to see icky non-Jews polluting their holy land, and because they felt this way, exiling them was a good way to spank them. But because Yahweh is so incredibly gracious, He gives us humans many chances to get back into a good place with Him. In the Old Testament, He made it quite clear to Israel that if she wanted to stop being miserable, all she had to do was start respecting Him again. This is what Yahweh actually taught, but notice how this hymn once again blows off what Yahweh taught and claims that the coming of Christ—not respect for Yahweh—is the real solution to Israel’s problems. It’s like Yahweh has been completely shoved aside. Even though He is the One who exiled Israel in the first place, she ignores Him and essentially tries to go around Him by looking for a second savior: the famed Immanuel.

It’s Immanuel who you’re calling on to save Israel when you sing this song. You’re declaring that Yahweh’s Messiah can come and save Israel from a mess that mean old Yahweh put her into. Notice how all of your sympathy is on Israel’s side. She’s the poor captive who “mourns in lonely exile.” Huh. And how exactly did she get in exile again? Was this some freak accident? No, it was a purposeful act of discipline by a God who was fed up with being defied. Yahweh put up with centuries of flak from the Jews before He finally drove their snarky behinds out of the land. As a Christian, you’re supposed to be on Yahweh’s side, not on the side of those who spit in His face. So where do you get off singing about poor exiled Israel as if she’s suffering some cruel fate?

Yahweh says He is a Sovereign King who is the source of both the good and the bad. He says He has good reasons for what He does. He says He is gracious. But apparently, you think Yahweh was some unreasonable Ogre for punishing the Jews just because they were mocking His Authority, stuffing His Temple full of demonic idols, spewing out endless false prophecies in His Name, and breaking every rule He gave them. Are you seeing the problem? As a Christian, it is utterly inappropriate for you to stand around singing about poor Israel. The moment you use the word “exile,” you are referring to events which Yahweh discusses at length in the Old Testament. If you have a problem with the Israelites being exiled, then you have a problem with Yahweh being treated with respect: it’s a package deal because Yahweh Himself bound these two concepts together. So no, there’s no “poor Israel, she’s so lonely.” In real life, the ancient Jews still refused to repent of their rebellion even after Yahweh drove them out of their land. And even when He later brought them back and helped them rebuild their homes and His Temple, they still found pleasure in spitting in His face. Read Malachi sometime: the last prophetic book of the Old Testament. There you’ll find Yahweh fuming over the fact that Jewish priests were publicly griping about what a chore it was to serve Yahweh while they sacrificed the garbage of their flock to Him in the Temple. Diseased, crippled animals being brought to God—do you really think this is acceptable behavior for people who have been graciously restored to a land they don’t deserve to be in? Whose side are you on, anyway?

[1] O come, O come, Emmanuel / And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here / Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel / Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Notice how Israel is described as having to mourn in exile until Christ comes. In other words, Yahweh is useless. He can’t be counted on, because He’s abandoned His people. Now Israel’s only hope is Yahweh’s Son. Are you hearing how irreverent this is? Yahweh never abandons any of us. He’s always with us. He’s always taking care of us and watching over us whether we’re respecting Him or not. To suggest that Israel needs Christ to come and rescue her from a trial which Yahweh is intentionally inflicting her is to suggest that Christ is opposed to the will of Yahweh. Now there’s a laugh. We won’t see the day that Christ acts like mortals are more important to Him than His own Peer. Christ promotes Yahweh. He doesn’t insult Yahweh by acting like He’s being unreasonable to demand respect from His own creatures. We Christians are the ones who mouth off like this because so many of us have completely lost our grip on reverence. Our Gods come first. If someone’s getting spanked for disrespecting Them, then that someone needs to get their act together and repent. Our Gods are gracious. They are slow to anger and swift to forgive. How dare we imply otherwise by singing this rot about poor Israel desperately waiting for Christ to save her from something Yahweh has done.

[2] O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free / Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save / And give them victory o’er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel / Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Wow, what a terrible verse. We’re no longer content to keep taking potshots at Yahweh—now we’re bashing on all three of our glorious Creators by suggesting that some fleck of a demon has managed to shove Them off Their thrones. This song is trying to speak from the perspective of the Old Covenant—it’s describing an anticipation of Christ before Christ has been revealed. Well, if Satan has established some kind of tyranny then what on earth happened to Yahweh? Yahweh says He’s a Sovereign Ruler. Today we Christians know that we have three Sovereign Rulers: Yahweh, Jesus, and the magnificent Holy Spirit. Yet clearly we’re elevating Satan as superior to all three of our Gods if we’re going to sing about God’s followers being helplessly oppressed by mighty Satan before the coming of Christ. And don’t miss the imbalance of power we’re implying here. Christ can free the world from Satan’s grasp, but apparently Yahweh just doesn’t have the chops for such a strenuous feat. Satan’s vast ego is really coming through in this verse.

It’s always a pip when Christians start singing about Christ saving us from Hell. Once again, we’re insulting Yahweh by suggesting that salvation was never available to anyone before the revelation of Christ. Who are we kidding? Yahweh speaks of salvation and damnation plenty of times in the Old Testament. And let’s not lose sight of the fact that Christ is a Co-Creator of Hell. Hell isn’t some whoops that suddenly came into existence, nor is it a kingdom ruled by mighty Satan. Both Hell and Heaven were created by our Gods for the ultimate purpose of glorifying Themselves. No, Christ really didn’t come to save us all from Hell. Read the Gospel books and you’ll find that Christ is constantly threatening to cast people into Hell if they don’t do some serious submitting to His Authority. Under the New Covenant, salvation will only be granted to those who reverentially submit to all three of our glorious Lords. So don’t be calling on Jesus to save the world like He’s some kind of Superman. That’s disrespectful. Our Gods make it quite clear that if we end up in Hell, it will be due to our own refusal to submit to Their Authority. Christ most certainly will not save us if we refuse to meet our Gods’ requirements for salvation, and for you to talk as if people have no responsibility in the salvation matter is beyond obnoxious.

This business about having victory over the grave is just a regurgitation of Paul—that blasphemous idiot who talked like Christ was nothing more than Yahweh’s temporary human Assistant (see The Great Offense of Paul: Rejecting the Divinity of Christ). The ancient Jews clung to ridiculous notions about the body and the soul. The grave was where the body went, whereas Hades or Sheol was where the soul resided. Well, we’ve had 2,000 years to figure out how silly the Jews were being so it’s time to stop recycling their nonsensical references to victories over the grave. Graves are where we bury our bodies after physical death. Is God ever going to fix it so we can all stop physically dying on this earth? Of course He isn’t, so asking Him to give you “victory over the grave” is inappropriate. You’re going to die, but physical death has never been the end of any human’s existence. We are spiritual beings, and as soon as God separates us from these physical shells, He transfers us to another eternal dimension where we continue to live. So what on earth are you asking Him for victory over? And why are you acting like physical death marks some end to the life of your soul when you know better?

[3] O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer / Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night / And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel / Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Once again, we grossly insult Yahweh by talking like no one had any reason to smile until Christ showed up. Wow. And there we go again freaking out about death and acting like Christ is somehow going to change the fact that we will die in this world. No, He really isn’t. We’re still going to die, and if that scares us, we need to do more listening to God and less obsessing over the erroneous theories of the ancient Jews.

[4] O come, Thou Key of David, come, / And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high, / And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel / Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Apparently no one could get into Heaven until Christ showed up. You know, because mean old Yahweh never saved anyone. All those lengthy descriptions He gives of Heaven in the Old Testament prophetic books were just, well, irrelevant. And notice that second line, where we ask Christ to “make safe the way that leads on high and close the path to misery.” In other words, we’re asking Christ to make Heaven our only eternal option. Wow. We haven’t heard a single mention of repentance or reverence in this song. It’s more like we’ve got this entitled attitude that Christ owes us all some free pass to Heaven regardless of how we treated Him. We’re calling on Him to come save poor ‘lil Israel who that jerk Yahweh is persecuting for no reason. We’re telling Him to overthrow that bad ole devil who has somehow found a way to become more powerful than the Ones who are sustaining his very existence. And now we’re making it quite clear that we humans don’t approve of the whole Hell thing, so Christ ought to permanently close that “path to misery.” Let’s just take the Hell option entirely off the table, because our Gods are totally out of line to demand that we submit to Them as the Supreme Authorities that They are. Are you seeing why our Gods have a problem with you singing this snarky little hymn? Heaven really isn’t “our” home. Being admitted into Heaven is a gift which we do not deserve. And no, there really isn’t some highway to Heaven that’s lined with dangerous muggers who Christ needs to get rid of for us so that we can safely help ourselves to those eternal rewards. Where did we get such ridiculous imagery? Oh, that’s right, from Satan, who likes to portray himself as oppressing humanity, reigning over Hell, and effectively blocking God’s efforts to save people.

[5] O come, O come, Thou Lord of might, / Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,
In ancient times did’st give the Law, / In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel / Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Christ is not Yahweh, and Yahweh is the One who gave Moses the Law from Mt. Sinai (see Know Your Bible Lesson 5: God is Holy). It’s so obnoxious of us to call on Yahweh to “come” when He’s already with us. And while we hearken back to Yahweh demonstrating how awesome He is and scaring the wits out of the Jews, we have been fearlessly bashing on Him for the first four stanzas of this hymn as if we consider His great power and wrath to be some kind of joke. Wow.

[6] O come, O Bright and Morning Star, / and bring us comfort from afar!
Dispel the shadows of the night / and turn our darkness into light.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel / Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Once again we describe life as being devoid of all joy back when we were stuck with downer Yahweh. Oh, if only Christ would show up and turn the sun back on.

[7] O come, O King of nations, bind / in one the hearts of all mankind.
Bid all our sad divisions cease / and be yourself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel / Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Here we’re asking Christ to create world peace. Really?? It’s like we’ve never read one word of our Bibles. Christ is the One who said:

“Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword. I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Your enemies will be right in your own household!” (Matt. 10:34-36)

So according to Christ, He came to increase the division and strife among humans, not to bring peace. But here in this obnoxious hymn that we sing to Christ, we say “Bid all our sad divisions cease.” Well, if we’re not going to listen to anything Yahweh says, why would we listen to Christ? In this snarky little hymn, we exalt Satan, command Christ, and make Yahweh out to be the worst thing that ever happened to poor Israel. Does this sound worshipful to you? Clearly this is one Christmas hymn which needs to be deleted from your collection. Honoring your Makers is supposed to be your first priority in life and there’s nothing God-honoring about the satanic rot we find in this hymn.

FURTHER READING:
Worship Songs from Satan: Awake My Soul
Worship Songs from Satan: Lord Reign in Me
Worship Songs from Satan: Create in Me a Clean Heart
Worship Songs from Satan: Fall Afresh

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