Battle 'Hymn' of the Republic, I say NOT!
Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory aka "Battle Hymn of the Republic",
A Hymn No Christian Should Sing - Ever -
Wait, what??? I've sung that song all my life! I like it, what's wrong with singing it?
Sing it if you will... but not in the House of God! There is no worship of God or Jesus in it. It is blasphemous! What is a Battle Hymn? Battle is combat, a hostile encounter between opposing military forces. A Hymn is words bound to music that are sung to honor and thank God for His goodness, love, forgiveness, His mercy and His faithfulness in holding us in His hands. Christians sing hymns to God and pray we can stay out of battles. This arrogant, bloodletting war chant was heard in the Union camps in the War Between the States.
The author of the verses Mrs. Julie Ward Howe was NOT a Bible-believing Christian. As a Unitarian, she did not believe in the Trinity or the deity of Christ. She believed that Christ was merely a great teacher with no higher claim to preeminence in wisdom, goodness and power than any other man."
She believed that personal experience, conscience and reason should be the final authorities in religion, not the Bible. Mrs. Howe and her husband Dr. Howe joined the Unitarian "Church of the Disciples", pastored by the well known Unitarian transcendentalist James Freeman Clark. She even preached occasionally in Unitarian pulpits.
Mrs. Howe was a radical abolitionist and although she was devoted to the anti-slavery movement, her own words reveal her to be a hypocrite on the subject of race. Julia Ward Howe wrote the "ideal negro" would be one "refined by white culture, elevated by white blood." She also wrote, "the negro among Negroes, is coarse, grinning, flat-footed, thick-skulled creature....” Mrs. Howe also supported the extreme abolitionist beliefs of the infamous John Brown. You may remember him from your history classes, his raid on the Harper's Ferry arsenal to secure weapons to arm slaves in Virginia for revolt. He was tried and hanged for murder, slave insurrection, and TREASON against the state.
He was glorified in the song about John Brown's body which lies a moldering in the grave. Howe used the tune of John Brown's Body for her irreverent verses of the Battle Hymn song. Mrs. Howe at the invitation of Abe Lincoln visited Union Army Camps and heard them singing John Brown's Body and wrote the Battle Hymn to further glorify John Brown. Ignorance of history is no sin, and can easily be remedied with a computer and a search engine or a trip to the library.
Christian congregations sing this song, feeling very patriotic, without knowing what the song means, why it was written, or anything about Julia Howe. But despite its author’s use of biblical phrasing, the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” is not about Christ “marching” against sin and the Church being “victorious” over evil.
Mrs. Howe misused the text of Isaiah to praise God's destruction of her Own Personal Enemies. Read the first six verses of Isaiah Chapter 63. Who comes with blood stained garments? GOD ! Whose blood? The Pagans who have tried to destroy God's chosen people, the Israelites , the children of Abraham.
Mrs. Howe's words :
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.
Mrs. Howe applied the apocalyptic judgment of the Revelation (14:17-20 & 19:15) to the Confederate nation. She pictured the Union army not only as that instrument which would cause Southern blood to flow out upon the earth, but also the Union army as the very expression of His Word (sword) itself. The Transcendentalist-Unitarians believed that the evil in man could be rooted out by governmental action. In her mind, the South was evil and was thus deserving of judgment of the most extreme nature—its own Armageddon.
Howe never saw the coming of the Lord, no one has, all she saw was Yankee soldiers and equating it with the coming of the Lord is blasphemous.
Lightning is sometimes associated with the judgment of God (Psalm 18:14, 144:6; Revelation 8:5, 11:19, 16:18). The "terrible swift sword" is a reference to Christ's sword (Revelation 1:16, 2:12, 2:16, 19:15, 19:21).
God's truth is not marching on, it is "fallen in the street" (Isaiah 59:14). And the Union Army marching is certainly not God's truth personified, not when the Bible reserves that honor for Jesus Christ (John 14:6).
“ I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
"As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
Since God is marching on."
This verse is so blasphemous that it is not included in Christian hymnals that contain the "Battle Hymn." Perhaps if it was then Christians would have their eyes opened as to the true nature of this "hymn." The "burnished rows of steel" refer to the polished Union cannons. Taking God’s promise of deliverance from Genesis 3:15, she applied it not to Christ, but to the Yankee soldier who would receive God’s grace by killing Southerners. This is not the "gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24). This was certainly a different gospel; the kind of which the Apostle Paul said, "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:8). And what grace is this: Punish the evil Southerners and I will give you grace?
This concept of grace is foreign to the New Testament. Jesus Christ crushing the serpent with his heel is a perversion of Genesis 3:15 where the Lord says to the serpent: "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." And in the New Testament, when the Apostle Paul said that "the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly" (Romans 16:20), he was not referring to anything that was to take place during the War Between the States. And God certainly was not "marching on" under the figure of the Union Army.
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat:
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.
Howe's reference to a trumpet instead of a bugle has biblical overtones. A trumpet figures prominently in references to the end times (Matthew 24:31; 1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16, Revelation 1:10, 4:1, 8:13, 9:14). The judgment seat is a reference to the judgment seat of Christ, mentioned twice by the Apostle Paul (Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10). God has not yet sifted out the hearts of Christians at this judgment, nor yet the hearts of anyone else at the "great white throne" judgment (Revelation 20:11—13). One thing is for sure, Christians had better be swift to answer the Lord at the Judgment when asked why they sang such a blasphemous song.
Here are some more of the verses written by that heretic:
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me:
As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.
Christ was not born "in the beauty of the lilies." He was laid in a manger (Luke 2:7), not in a garden. The "glory in His bosom" is certainly scriptural, and is a reference to the account of Christ's transfiguration before his disciples where "his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light" (Matthew 17:2). But HE was the one who was transfigured, not us. The glory of Christ transfiguring "you and me" is pure universalism as advocated by Unitarians.
The third line in this verse is one of the most egregious in the whole "hymn." Not only does the phrase "as he died to make men holy" also smack of universalism, equating the Atonement of the Son of God with the death of Yankee soldiers supposedly dying to "make men free," it is the height of blasphemy. Christ died to redeem us~
This phrase also shows us that there are other reasons besides biblical ones for not singing the "Battle Hymn," for, theological questions aside, the Union soldiers didn't "die to make men free." This is the great myth of the War Between the States, and would be news to Abraham Lincoln since he maintained that freeing the slaves was not what his war was about. In an August 22, 1862, letter to Horace Greeley, the editor of the New York Tribune, Lincoln explained:
My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union. Mrs. Howe's eschatology (Eschatology is the study of what the Bible says is going to happen in the end times.) is not the eschatology of the Bible. Mrs. Howe was nothing less than an early and ardent proponent of liberation theology, WHICH Simply put, liberation theology is a movement that attempts to interpret Scripture through the plight of the poor. True followers of Jesus, according to liberation theology, must work toward a just society, bring about social and political change, and align themselves with the working class. Sin is social. Salvation is freedom from structures of oppression. Redemption is by warfare. Judgment is now.
Battle Hymn has nothing to do with God or Christianity. It is not a Christian hymn. It does not belong in a Christian hymnal. It should not be sung in any Christian church — Northern or Southern. It should not be on the lips of any Christian — Yankee or Southerner. It is bogus history and faulty theology. For much too long Christians have sung this "hymn" with religious fervor while remaining in ignorance as to its history and theology. For much too long preachers, elders and song leaders have included this "hymn" in church services without stopping to consider whether it is an appropriate song for a Christian worship service. Disparaging the singing of this song has nothing to do with being a Confederate sympathizer, or being unpatriotic or anti-Lincoln, but it has everything to do with exercising biblical discernment. It is a disgrace that the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" even appears in a Christian hymnal alongside of such great hymns of the faith as: "Blessed Redeemer," "All Hail the Power of Jesus Name," "The Way of the Cross Leads Home," "That Beautiful Name," and "O Worship the King."
No Christian church would intentionally sing a song of praise to Satan’s doctrines, nor would any preacher or elder lead their congregation into rebellion against true biblical doctrine. Yet by ignorance, is has been done on a regular basis in the American church. The “Battle Hymn of the Republic” is apostasy. It promotes hatred and vengeful destruction. It has no place in a worship service.
Traditions are hard to break, and especially religious ones, but the singing of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" is one that must go. It is not a Christian hymn at all but blasphemy. As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.
Bibliography: (Excerpts from the following):
From Godly Inspiration To Human Desecration: An Analysis of the Battle Hymn of the Republic By Rev. Father Alister C. Anderson Chaplain (Colonel) U. S. Army (Ret)
The Battle Hymn Refuted by David O. Jones Southern - Heritage News & Views
The Battle Hymn of the Republic - What It Really Means by Michael Dan Jones - Southern Sentinel
The Truth About "Battle Hymn of the Republic" by Kenneth J. Morgan, May- 2008 Southern –Partisan
Blasphemy in Song - Battle Hymn of the Republic by Laurence M. Vance July 4, 2006
Understanding “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” By Howard Ray White on Jul 18, 2014