Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hymns & Hymn Writers: Heaven by David R. Kenney

This hymn is entitled “Heaven”, but some hymnbooks use as a title “There’ll Be No Shadows In Heaven”.  Sometimes songs have official titles, but other times the first line of the song is used as the title.  The mind’s memory can be powerful.  According to the statistics compiled by, this was John T. Cook’s most popular song.  According to V. E. Howard’s hymnal, the song was copyrighted in 1946 by Stamps Quartet Music Company and appeared in their hymnal Perfect Peace.  The words and music are both from John T. Cook.

Stamps-Baxter Music Company was a joint venture by Virgil Oliver Stamps and J. R. Baxter, Jr. beginning in 1924.  Frank Stamps, Virgil Stamps’ brother, formed the first Stamps Quartet soon afterwards.  After Virgil Stamps died, Frank Stamps left the company to form a rival company Stamps Quartet Music Company in 1945.  Even though J. R. Baxter, Jr. made Frank Stamps Vice President, there was separation for one cause or another.  Stamps-Baxter Music Company would persevere until it would eventually come under the ownership of Zondervan.   This song was published by Frank Stamps’ organization, the rival to Stamps-Baxter Music Company.

John T. Cook (?), Lyricist & Composer

John T. Cook edited the hymnal Heaven’s Echo and Golden Harvest in 1963 which was published by the Stamps Quartet Music Company.  He also published Greater Love and Joy Bells in 1965, also published by Stamps Quartet Music Company. 

No other biographical information is available on John T. Cook, but research continues.


The Greek word for heaven is ouranos.  The term refers to the sky, atmosphere, universe, and the habitation of God.  The context of the term determines which meaning for “heaven” is in view.  We know the reality of a place called heaven, distinguished from these other definitions of heaven, because of Jesus who prepared the way for us to heaven—“No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven” (John 3:13, NKJV.)  Jesus stated that God lives in heaven--“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, NKJV.)  Heaven is the place that Jesus taught for us to place our treasures, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21, NKJV.)  Those who are Christians can be confident their names are written in heaven—“Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20, NKJV.)  Our reward is waiting for us in heaven—“Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, for in like manner their fathers did to the prophets” (Luke 6:23, NKJV.) 

Heaven is a place of light, not darkness.  Hell is the place of darkness—“And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:30, NKJV.)  The sounds of hell are dreadful!  There will certainly be a separation between the righteous and unrighteous based on Jesus Christ’s standards and judgment.  The occupants of hell will not be the sort we will want to have company with in eternity!  There will be great joy and great sorrow when that Day arrives! 

While we may not understand all that is involved in this statement, it certainly is wonderful:  “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4, NKJV.)   Wonderful—no more death, no more sorrow, no more crying, no more pain!  The tense of the verb “will wipe” is future indicative active in the Greek.  Does it mean that there will be no more tears in heaven, or does it mean that our tears will be wiped away by the Lord in heaven?  Certainly the causes for future tears will have been removed.  How is God going to accomplish this?  I do not know, but I do know I do not want to miss it!  Tom Winter Butterfield (1903-1994) sometimes closed his sermons with this pleading—“Brethren, let’s go to heaven!  But let’s ALL go!”



V. E. Howard, Editor, and Broadus E. Smith, Associate Editor, Church Gospel Songs & Hymns, Texarkana, TX:  Central Printers & Publishers, 1983.

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