Alan Jackson’s “When We All Get To Heaven” will absolutely make your heart rejoice.
Does it get any better than this country superstar singing gospel music? In addition to his thirteenth studio album, Precious Memories, Alan Jackson gave a modern makeover to the classic gospel song “When We All Get To Heaven.”
He released Precious Memories back in 2006, and it solely contained traditional gospel songs. The album reached No. 1 not only on the Billboard’s Christian Albums chart but as well as on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart.
Along with “When We All Get To Heaven,” the album included the classics “What A Friend We Have In Jesus,” “Softly and Tenderly,” “How Great Thou Art,” “I’ll Fly Away,” “Blessed Assurance,” and “Are You Washed In the Blood,” among other gospel favorites.
Precious Memories was originally recorded as Jackson’s Christmas gift for his mother, and a handful of copies were then shared with close friends. Encouraged by family and friends, Jackson agreed to make the music available to fans. Seven years later, in 2013, Jackson revisited the list of his favorite hymns he had compiled for the first album, and Jackson decided to release Precious Memories Volume II.
A Gospel Song That Uniquely Captured The Revival Spirit In The Late 19th Century
“When We All Get to Heaven” was written in 1898 by poet Eliza Hewitt while musician Emily D. Wilson composed its melody. The two talented women gave us a gospel song that uniquely captured the revival spirit of the late nineteenth century in an American way.
Hewitt and Wilson became acquainted at Methodist camp meetings at Ocean Grove, New Jersey. The meetings at the end of the nineteenth century at Ocean Grove were under less primitive conditions. They were still rustic with simple huts, cottages replacing tents, and were more domesticated.
Carlton Young described the setting under which Hewitt composed this song:
“At Ocean Grove, the author and composer viscerally, visually, and audibly experienced the thrilling, though carefully staged, anticipation of Paul’s promise to members of the Thessalonian congregation,” she said. “These first-century Christians, like the Ocean Grovers after days of hearing perdition preached, had an elevated anxiety about their status at Christ’s imminent return.”
“Sing the wondrous love of Jesus. Sing his mercy and his grace. In the mansions bright and blessed, He’ll prepare for us a place. When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be. When we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory,” the song goes.
The popular Christian hymn was first included in the 1898 Pentecostal Praises, a compilation by a noted gospel song composer William J. Kirkpatrick and a choir director at camp meetings for decades, Henry L. Gilmour.
The Song Is Filled With Biblical Allusions
The verses of “When We All Get to Heaven” are actually replete with biblical allusions.
For instance, on its first verse where the phrase “In the mansions bright and blessed, He’ll prepare for us a place” can be found, is believed to be a rephrasing of John 14:2 that says, “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.”
The second verse, on the other hand, references “the pearly gates” and “streets of gold,” which are images clearly drawn from Revelation 21:21 that says, “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.”
Tune in below for Alan Jackson’s performance of “When We All Get to Heaven.”