DRAW NEAR THROUGH CHRIST
(Text by Chris Anderson; Tune by James Koerts)
In Eden’s bliss we walked with God
Unhindered by the curse.
Yet we rebelled and were expelled—
Estranged; alone; perverse.
Two mighty cherubs barred the path
To Eden’s holy place;
No more could men, now stained by sin,
Behold our Maker’s face.
Beneath the Law we sought the Lord
Through sacrifice and priest.
One time each year one man, in fear,
Sought God with blood of beast.
Still mighty cherubs blocked the way
So sinners could not pass—
In curtain sewn, on golden throne,
They stopped the rebel fast.
Then Christ appeared to clear the way
To God for sinful man;
Fulfilled the Law without a flaw—
Our Temple, Priest, and Lamb.
Astounded cherubs stepped aside;
Each hid his flaming sword.
With nail and thorn the Veil was torn;
Draw near through Christ the Lord!
In Jesus’ name we boldly come
Before the throne of grace.
With empty hand, in Christ we stand
To seek Almighty’s face
Till saints and cherubs join in awe
Around the Savior’s throne.
With one great voice we will rejoice:
“All praise to Christ alone!”
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(by Chris Anderson)
Because God delights in worship that is biblical, thoughtful and passionate—what we often call intentional—please consider the following overview of the biblical texts and doctrinal themes behind the hymn “Draw Near through Christ”:
The theme of the hymn is access to God, which Scripture often attaches to cherubim, the guardians of divine sanctuaries. The plot line of the Scriptures can be summarized as loss of fellowship with God through the fall and the restoration of that fellowship through the work of Christ. Thus, Genesis 3 through Revelation 20 consists essentially of God’s redemption plan, His reclaiming of Genesis 1-2 innocence and fellowship in Revelation 21-22.
Verse 1 reminds us that immediate access to God was enjoyed in Eden (Genesis 3:8) but lost through the fall. Beyond dying physically and throwing creation under the curse (Genesis 3:8-19), our sin in Adam brought a barrier between sinners and God, symbolized by cherubim keeping sinners out of Eden’s sanctuary (Genesis 3:22-24).
Verse 2 connects the theme of the cherubim outside of Eden with the cherubim that were sewn into the Tabernacle veil and formed on the Mercy Seat in the Most Holy Place (Exodus 26:31-33). Though sinners could seek the Lord through sacrifices and priest, the veil between the Holy Place and God’s unique dwelling place was a perpetual reminder that direct access to God was still prohibited by sin. Only one man could enter the Most Holy Place, and that only one time per year, on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16). The cherubim still kept sinners away from God.
Verse 3 rejoices that access to the Father was finally regained for us by Christ’s atoning death, symbolized by the veil being torn (Matthew 27:50-51). Christ—the ultimate Temple, the ultimate Priest, and the ultimate Sacrifice—opened to us a new and living way of divine fellowship, mediated only by Himself. We are thus invited to “draw near” on the basis of Christ’s saving work (Hebrews 10:19-22). By the rending of the veil, it is as though the cherubim from Eden and the Tabernacle are commanded to step aside, for the problem of sin is removed and we are reconciled to God through Christ.
Verse 4 continues to marvel at our access to God through Christ. We pray in His name (John 14:13), and are thereby granted the same access to the Father that has been enjoyed by the Son throughout eternity. We bring nothing; we claim no merit but our union with Christ (Ephesians 2:18; 3:12; cf. Daniel 9:18). The song concludes with the anticipation of glory, when cherubim who once hindered fallen humanity from access to God will now join with us in singing His praises (Revelation 5:13). All glory to Him!
I’m indebted to Allen P. Ross, whose book Reclaiming the Hope of Glory helped me to “connect the dots” from Eden, to the Tabernacle, to Calvary, and ultimately to the New Jerusalem. I commend it to you.