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The hymn I Gave My Life For Thee has the following verse (emphasis added):

My Father's house of light,

My glory-circled throne

I left for earthly night,

For wanderings sad and lone

It appears to present the speaker, Jesus, as having a "glory-circled throne" that He left when He came to this world. However, does Jesus instead teach that He won't sit on His throne before the Second Coming (Matt. 19:28; 25:31; Luke 1:32)? Furthermore, don't the Scriptures teach that at present, rather than being on the throne, Jesus is "seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens" (Heb. 8:1, NKJV, emphasis mine; cf. 12:2)? It seems as if He isn't seated on the throne even now but is rather seated next to the throne. (Actually, this isn't entirely accurate. See "Update.")

Am I missing something? Can Jesus be spoken of as having a "glory-circled throne" before His first coming, one that He left behind after coming to earth?

Update: Jesus certainly can be spoken of as being enthroned ever since His ascension: "To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne" (Revelation 3:21, NKJV, emphasis added). But is Jesus spoken of as being enthroned prior to His incarnation?

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    It's a hymn. Hymns are not theological dissertations. Apr 10, 2022 at 0:09
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    @DJClayworth That said, they are designed for "teaching and admonishing" (Col. 3:16, NKJV). It's good for hymns to be consistent with what the Bible teaches, right?
    – The Editor
    Apr 10, 2022 at 0:15
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    I have been careful to verse scripture accurately into poetry for singing and agree with your comment that sung wording should be for teaching and admonishing and thus needs be accurate to the word of God. I can think of no scripture which expresses the above. Such sentiments descend into mere pathos.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 10, 2022 at 10:32
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    @NigelJ Agree in thought with you, Nigel. The Early Church for example chanted the Scriptures almost exclusively. Later hymns were very theologically sound and had much meaning to them. The above hymn is simply modern poetry put to music.
    – Ken Graham
    Apr 10, 2022 at 13:23
  • This hymn is perfectly fine theologically, for both Protestants and Catholics ! Please review the whole 4 stanzas here and my answer. I think it's some 21st century contemporary Christian music that qualify to be said as "mere pathos" and more theologically suspect. As you can see from this list this hymn has made it to various hymnals of various denominations. Jul 12, 2022 at 20:10

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Whoever named the tune for the hymn "KENOSIS" (see bottom right corner here), made a theological opinion that this hymn is about Kenosis, recalling a hymn embedded in Phil 2:6-11, esp. verse 7:

Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity.

Therefore, reading your hymn, Jesus ("I", "me") is speaking to us ("thee", "thou") in the voice of the 2nd person of the Trinity before he was incarnated, sharing the throne of His Father since before the creation of the world. Second stanza:

My Father's house of light, My glory circled throne,
I left, for earthly night, For wand'rings sad and lone;
I left, I left it all for thee, Hast thou left aught for Me?
I left, I left it all for thee, Hast thou left aught for Me?

So in my opinion, this is a perfectly orthodox Trinitarian position. And as you surmised, this is describing God the Son leaving His previous glory by coming to the earth ("for earthly night" referring to the "silent night" of Christmas eve). I think we should not expand the meaning of the hymn to Jesus's ascension and second coming. Rather, the focus of the hymn is our proper response to Jesus (as God the Son) humbling himself on the cross of shame to give us forgiveness and salvation.

In addition, there are many other Bible verses that the lyrics alluded to:

  • "earthly night": Bethlehem night when Jesus was born (Luke 2:8)
  • "wand'rings sad and lone": Matt 8:20, Jesus abandoned alone at the cross by the apostles
  • "precious blood I shed": 1 Pet 19
  • "quickened from the dead": Matt 27:52-53
  • "rescue from hell": Jude 1:23
  • "borne it all for thee": standard phrase in many hymns, related to Ps 147:16-18
  • "rich gifts to thee": Eph 4:7

The hymn text is by Frances Ridley Havergal, a 19th century Anglican. According to Wikipedia

Her religious views and theological bias were distinctly set forth in her poems, and may be described as mildly Calvinistic, without the severe dogmatic tenet of reprobation. The burden of her writings was a free and full salvation, through the Redeemer's merits, for every sinner who will receive it, and her life was devoted to the proclamation of this truth by personal labours, literary efforts, and earnest interest in Foreign Missions.

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  • Thanks for your answer. Philippians 2 and other passages, such as John 17:5, certainly teach that Jesus was glorious before His incarnation, and with that said, it would not be surprising if, therefore, He sat on a throne in His pre-incarnate state. However, does the Bible directly state that He was enthroned/seated on a throne prior to His incarnation rather than just that He was glorious?
    – The Editor
    Jul 13, 2022 at 13:03
  • @TheEditor Clearly OT shows that YHWH sits on His throne in heaven and the earth is His footstool (Isa 66:1, etc.). If we work through mainstream theology, then Jesus is God the Son, who had pre-existence prior to incarnation and who (as second person of the Trinity) is God. So that means Jesus (in his divine nature) was enthroned but when incarnated He gave up his throne (in his human nature). Aug 12, 2022 at 14:08

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