Ten Thousand Angels
They bound the hands of Jesus in the garden where He prayed;
They led Him thro' the streets in shame.
They spat upon the Savior so pure and free from sin;
They said, "Crucify Him; He's to blame."
He could have called ten thousand angels
To destroy the world and set Him free.
He could have called ten thousand angels,
But He died alone, for you and me.
Upon His precious head they placed a crown of thorns;
They laughed and said, "Behold the King!"
They struck Him and they cursed Him and mocked His holy name
All alone He suffered everything.
When they nailed Him to the cross, His mother stood nearby,
He said, "Woman, behold thy son!"
He cried, "I thirst for water," but they gave Him none to drink.
Then the sinful work of man was done.
To the howling mob He yielded; He did not for mercy cry.
The cross of shame He took alone.
And when He cried, "It's finished," He gave Himself to die;
Salvation's wondrous plan was done.
Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.
And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?
Rarely has a hymn-writer been led to Christ by his own song, but such was the case with Ray Overholt. God literally picked him up out of the darkness and confusion of the nightclubs and brought him into His loving care, using Ray’s own song in an unusual manner.
Ray Overholt was born in Middlevale, Ohio, in 1924. He seemed destined to a career in music from age eleven when his dad gave him his first guitar. He rose to a measure of success, hosting his own television show.
In 1958, at the height of his show-business career, Ray Overholt wrote his now-famous song, Ten Thousand Angels.
The following is his story as he related it—
“I had left my television show ‘Ray’s roundup’ and entered the nightclub scene. I was drinking pretty heavily. I began thinking there must be a better life than the nightclub, show-business whirlwind. I was so intent on changing my lifestyle that I went home and told my wife that I was quitting all of the smoking, drinking and cursing. I wanted to cleanup my own life.”
“One day I thought to myself: I’ve written secular songs, I’d like to write a song about Christ. I opened the Bible, which I knew very little about, and began to read the portion of Scripture that describes Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane telling Peter to put away his sword. I read where Jesus told Peter that He could ask His Father and He would send twelve legions of angels. I didn’t know at the time that would have been more than 72,000 angels.”
“I thought a good title for a song would be He Could Have Called Ten Thousand Angels. I didn’t know what happened during the life of Christ, so I began doing a little research. The more I read about Jesus, the more I admired him for what He had done. I then remembered that He did this all for me."
"I was playing in a nightclub in Battle Creek, Michigan, when the Lord impressed me to write the song. I wrote the first verse and put it in my guitar case. I then gave the club my notice that I was quitting. As I opened my guitar case to put my instrument away, one of the other musicians saw the music written out and he asked, ‘What are you doing there?’ I told him I was writing a song about Jesus. He asked the title and I told him. He said, 'It will never go.’ I asked why? He said, ‘I don’t even like the title.’ But I finished the song and sent it to a publishing house, which reluctantly agreed to publish it."
"Sometime later I found myself singing at a small church. I sang ‘He Could Have Called Ten Thousand Angels.’ Following my singing, the preacher spoke a message that gripped my heart. I knew I needed Christ, so I knelt there and accepted, as my Savior, the One whom I had been singing and writing about."
Ray Overholt became a traveling singer and preacher. He has written a number of other songs, but none so moving as ‘Ten Thousand Angels.’
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The verse that was inspiration for the lyrics of this hymn is
"Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
Jesus was speaking to Peter explaining to him that what was happening was the fulfillment of Scripture and the plan of His Father to redeem mankind.
But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?
The following is a short list of some of scriptures that were fulfilled regarding the death of Jesus Christ on the cross:
His being betrayed by a friend. -
Psalms 41:9; 55:12-14 - Fulfilled - John 13:18,21
His disciples forsaking Him. -
Zechariah 13:7 - Fulfilled - Matthew 26:31,56
His being sold for thirty pieces silver. -
Zechariah 11:12 - Fulfilled - Matthew 26:15
His being spit on and scourged. -
Isaiah 50:6 - Fulfilled - Mark 14:65; John 19:1
His hands and feet being nailed to the cross. -
Psalms 22:16 - Fulfilled - John 19:18; 20:25
His being forsaken by God. -
Psalms 22:1 - Fulfilled - Matthew 27:46
His being mocked. -
Psalms 22:7-8 - Fulfilled - Matthew 27:39-44
Gall and vinegar being given Him to drink. -
Psalms 69:21 - Fulfilled - Matthew 27:34
His garments being parted, and lots cast for His vesture. -
Psalms 22:18 - Fulfilled - Matthew 27:35
That a bone of Him should not be broken. -
Exodus 12:46; Psalms 34:20 - Fulfilled - John 19:33,36
His being pierced. -
Zechariah 12:10 - Fulfilled - John 19:34,37
His being buried with the rich. -
Isaiah 53:9 - Fulfilled - Matthew 27:57-60
His flesh not seeing corruption. -
Psalms 16:10 - Fulfilled - Acts 2:31
His resurrection. -
Psalms 16:10; Isa 26:19 - Fulfilled - Luke 24:6,31,34
His ascension. -
Psalms 68:18 - Fulfilled - Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9
His sitting on the right hand of God. -
Psalms 110:1 - Fulfilled - Hebrews 1:3
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