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For nearly 2,000 years, psalmists have savored the anticipation of King Jesus in all His royal majesty. While a dozen stirring hymns have captured this, contemporary praise songs often lack the command the almost military authority such a noble moment merits. A notable exception is Dave Moody's "All Hail King Jesus".
"All Hail King Jesus", with its simple, processional feel, is a royal welcome for Him Who is enthroned upon our praises. The song addresses Jesus by five Scriptural titles; it layers them one upon another, like multiple crowns. The chorus closes with a simple pledge to worship Him and reign with Him forever.
Dave Moody's musical life was greatly shaped by his older brother Doug, under whom he studied piano. He also assisted in his brother's music ministry duties at Glad Tidings Church in Vancouver, BC, eventually joining him in teaching piano.
One Wednesday afternoon in January 1977, the younger Moody was playing piano and worshiping the Lord before he was to begin teaching. "I suddenly realized that the Lord had given me a new song," Moody recalls. "It only took about five minutes for the song to come together, and it burned in my spirit for the rest of the week."
Moody, then 28 years old, was enthusiastic about the new anthem and was excited to introduce it to the church the following Sunday morning. At the appropriate time in the service, he began to play and sing the piece, sure the congregation would be moved by it. Without the benefit of an overhead or slide, though, the song seemed to die somewhere between the microphone and the first row.
"I remember being so disappointed," Moody said. "I thought the song had flopped!" The pastor then encouraged him to lead the song once again. This time the response was quite different.
"I opened my eyes to see a congregation of about 800 people all on their knees, worshiping the Lord as they sang, "All Hail King Jesus," he recalls. "It was an experience I shall never forget!" God was using a new-born song to usher a congregation into the presence of His Son.
Moody has made no effort to promote the piece, but the lips of worshipers have nevertheless carried it throughout the world. Reports have come back to him of "All Hail" being sung in Israel, Hungary, Russia and elsewhere. "All Hail King Jesus" became the title song of Hosanna Integrity's third recording. The piece has since appeared in more songbooks, hymnals, recordings, arrangements and musicals than its writer can remember. Moody hopes "All Hail" has helped people move beyond singing about Jesus, into the realm of worshiping the Lord Himself.
A rarely-heard verse to the song precedes the famous chorus, which is presented here as originally written:
"There is coming a day
When time shall be no more
And the clouds shall be rolled back as a scroll
Then the Lord shall appear in all His glory
With ten million saints singing love's sweet story...
All hail, King Jesus!
All hail, Emmanuel!
King of Kings, Lord of Lords. Bright Morning Star!
And throughout eternity I'm going to praise Him
And forevermore I will reign with Him!"
Songwriting has not been a major focus of Moody's life. Having written 25 or 30 songs over the years, none have approached the broad appeal of "All Hail King Jesus".
Today, Moody serves as Associate Pastor at Fairwood Assembly of God in Renton, Washington. He and his wife, Karen, have been married for many years; their two children are both married and involved in the thriving worship ministry at Fairwood.
This article was written by Phil Christensen. He is the Worship Pastor at Chapel of the Hills Community Church in Sandy, Oregon.
The lyrics, the chord chart, lead and hymn sheet can be viewed, printed and downloaded in CCLI's SongSelect.