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He the Pearly Gates Will Open
Titus 3:4
PEARLY GATES  |  Hymn History  |  Bible Passage
Author: Frederick A. Blom, 1867-1927
Trans. By Nathaniel Carlson, 1879-1957
Musician: Elsie Ahlwen, b. 1905

  Play MP3 • Click to listen to the music for this hymn.

Love divine, so great and wondrous,
Deep and mighty, pure, sublime;
Coming from the heart of Jesus—
Just the same thro' tests of time.

Refrain:
He the pearly gates will open,
So that I may enter in;
For He purchased my redemption
And forgave me all my sin.

Like a sparrow hunted, frightened,
Weak and helpless— such was I;
Wounded, fallen, yet He healed me—
He will heed the sinner's cry.

Love divine, so great and wondrous!
All my sins He then forgave;
I will sing His praise forever,
For His blood, His pow'r to save.

In life's eventide, at twilight,
At His door I'll knock and wait;
By the precious love of Jesus
I shall enter heaven's gate.



HYMN HISTORY:

In the book Hymns and Hymn Stories, Cliff Barrows relates the following story:

In preparation for a series of crusade services in Scandinavia in 1955, we were looking for something in simple Swedish to sing. Someone suggested Hah skall oppna parleporten, in translation, He The Pearly Gates Will Open. Bocause the song is a 'natural' duet, Bev Shea graciously asked me to sing it with him. It is one of the two or three songs we sing together on rare occasions, and we have repeated it for the Danes in Copenhagen and for the American Swedes in places like Rockford, Illinois and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Elsie Ahlwen, composer of this lovely tune, came to America form Sweden and became a student at the Moody Bible Institute. After graduation she began to work among the Swedish immigrants in Chicago, and later became a full-time evangelist. The words of this refrain had been known to her for a long time, and she often sang it to her own melody in evangelistic services throughout the country. It came to be the theme song of Elsie Ahlwen's ministry.

During a meeting in Chicago, Miss Ahlwen was approached by an old man who gave her the words for the stanzas. They had been written by Fred Blom, a former Christian worker in Sweden. Blom had come to New York early in this century, and, through circumstances that are not quite dear, had fallen into sin and was sent to prison. It was there, sick in soul and body, that he found Christ anew. The song was his expression of joy because Cod had 'healed his backsliding' and forgiven all his sin.

In keeping with the immigrant background of the song, it must be noted that the original was in the Swedish tongue. Not until the time of a great revival in Duluth, Minnesota was this hymn first translated into English. He The Pearly Gates Will Open has now been rendered in more than a dozen languages.

The hymn's message is very simple. Because of the love of God expressed in Christ our sins are forgiven, our lives are changed and we anticipate a joyful entrance into heaven. It is said that Fred Blom died in the custody of the law. While the gates of prison did not open for him, he knew that heaven's pearly gates would be swung wide by his Redeemer.

Elsie Ahlwen's personal testimony voices the same assurance. She had married Daniel A. Sundeen, a businessman, and they had continued a ministry together while raising their family. In 1962, they visited Chicago once again and sang Pearly Gates for their many friends. Shortly after Mr. Sundeen took sick and died within a week. Mrs. Sundeen wrote these words, 'It is difficult to see beyond the bend in the wad where your loved one disappeared. But how good it is to know that, when my Lord calls me, the Pearly Gates will open not because of my worthiness but because He purchased my salvation.'

Love divine, so great and wondrous,
Deep and mighty, pure, sublime,
Coming from the heart of Jesus
Just the same through tests of time.

He the pearly gates will open,
So that I may enter in;
For He purchased my redemption
And forgave me all my sin,


BIBLE PASSAGE:

4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,



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