I Know That My Redeemer Liveth -Jessie B. Pounds


For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth (Job 19:25).

The poem for this hymn of Job’s declaration was written in 1893 for an Easter cantata, “Hope’s Messenger,” by Jessie B. Pound. Job’s words had also inspired other hymn writers in the 18th century, including Charles Wesley and Samuel Medley, and Handel, in his “Messiah” in 1741, quoted these words in a soprano solo. In the 19th century, H. A. Merrill wrote yet another hymn affirming Job’s hope.

Jessie was born in Ohio in 1861. Not being a healthy child, she was taught at home. When she was 15, she began to write verses for newspapers and religious publications. Her writing was well-suited for hymns, and J. H. Fillmore used her verses in a book he published. So began a career of writing and editing hymns and gospel songs that lasted for more than 30 years. She authored nine books, the texts for 50 cantatas and operettas, and almost four hundred hymns. Two of her hymns included "Anywhere With Jesus" and "The Way of the Cross Leads Home."

As with many of Pounds’ poems, the music for “I Know That My Redeemer Liveth” was written by James H. Fillmore. It was published as a congregational hymn in “The Praise Hymnal” in 1896. The first stanza proclaims that Christ the Redeemer lives and reigns in heaven, giving eternal life to the believer.  And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son (1 John 5:11). The second stanza emphasizes the fact that God’s promises are unfailing. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away (Matt. 24:35). The last line of the stanza expresses the assurance that the believer can take comfort in knowing that...when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is (1 John 3:2). The last stanza is a reminder that Christ is preparing a mansion for those who trust in Him and that He will come for them. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also (John 14:2-3).

Job anticipated Christ’s coming to earth, and with confidence, he proclaimed, “I know!” He hadn’t seen, yet he believed. What a challenge for believers on this side of the cross to obey Christ’s command to declare to all the world that they know that their Redeemer lives!

I know that my Redeemer liveth,
And on the earth again shall stand;
I know eternal life he giveth,
That grace and pow’r are in his hand.
I know, I know that Jesus liveth,
And on the earth again shall stand.
I know, I know that life he giveth,
That grace and pow’r are in his hand.
I know his promise never faileth,
The word he speaks, it can not die;
Though cruel death my flesh assaileth,
Yet I shall see him by and by.
I know my mansion he prepareth,
That where he is there I may be;
O wondrous thought, for me he careth,
And he at last will come for me.


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