A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

This day’s blog is my 666th posting of this website. The fact that this post falls near a day called Halloween is sheer coincidence. I am not being superstitious here, nor do I intend to be.

For those of you who do not understand, there is very popular fixation to this number because, according to Rev. 13:11-18, number  666 refers to  “the beast”.

With me, because it is in the Bible and
because God, not Satan, has let it be
known to us about it, I, again, will tremble
not nor have any apprehension concerning
Satan, the prince of darkness grim.

Instead, I look to God and what He has done
with my life and for the lives of His people,
His saints, throughout the ages.

One of the saints God greatly influenced through the work of the Holy Spirit is Martin Luther. God created him and placed him at the precise time in man’s timeline of history in order to continue setting up for the last days before the coming of Christ. In other words, it was no accident that Martin Luther came on to the world’s stage. God indeed is a Mighty and Sovereign God.

Martin Luther was one of a few to publicly protest against the Roman Catholic Church. His protests became tremendously viral to the surrounding communities and ultimately around the Christian world in his day.

Martin Luther was also a composer of hymns. According to William Petersen:

Martin Luther’s grandest hymn is “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”. . .

. . .  It became the battle cry of the Reformation.

. . . Despite his excommunication from the Roman church, Luther came to know the gracious power of God’s sheltering hand.  He faced continual threats to his life and freedom, and times of intense spiritual battle as well.  [1]

Previous reformers who had spoken against the teachings of this Roman church had been persecuted and burned at the stake. But Luther knew that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in danger” (Psalm 46:1).

And so, about thirteen years later (oh, oh, another superstitious number to many), he composed “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” proclaiming loudly and boldly that “the prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him … one little word shall fell him.”

[1] Petersen, William J., and Ardythe E. Petersen. The Complete Book of Hymns. Tyndale House Publishers, 2006.

image

Martin Luther (1483 – 1546)

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (1528/29)
lyrics – Martin Luther
music – Martin Luther
transl. Ger. to Eng. – Frederic H. Hedge (1853)
sung by – Steve Green
genre – Hymn

A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He,
amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe
doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great,
and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

image

Frederic Henry Hedge (1805 – 1890)

Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name,
from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us:
The prince of darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers,
no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Alternate Translation:

A mighty fortress is our God,
a trusty shield and weapon;
He helps us free from every need
that hath us now overtaken.
The old evil foe now means deadly woe;
deep guile and great might
Are his dread arms in fight;
on Earth is not his equal.

With might of ours can naught be done,
soon were our loss effected;
But for us fights the Valiant One,
whom God Himself elected.
Ask ye, who is this?
Jesus Christ it is.
Of Sabbath Lord,
and there’s none other God;
He holds the field forever.

Though devils all the world should fill,
all eager to devour us.
We tremble not, we fear no ill,
they shall not overpower us.
This world’s prince may still scowl
fierce as he will,
He can harm us none, he’s judged;
the deed is done;
One little word can fell him.

The Word they still shall let remain
nor any thanks have for it;
He’s by our side upon the plain
with His good gifts and Spirit.
And take they our life,
goods, fame, child and wife,
Let these all be gone,
they yet have nothing won;
The Kingdom ours remaineth.

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