Why do We Sing “When We All Get to Heaven” When not All Will?

Why do we sing, “When we all get to heaven,” when we know that not all will get to heaven?

The song that is referenced in this question is in our song book.  It was originally titled, “When we All Get to Heaven” and was written by Eliza E. Hewitt in 1898.  She was a Presbyterian and wrote 1748 songs.  We need to remember that the songs that are in our song book were written by humans and are not inspired of God.  As we think about the lyrics of our songs, we must take this into consideration and evaluate whether we want to use them in our song service.  Having said that, I also believe that we can give the song broad leeway to be interpreted in a context that is scriptural.  That is, we could make just about any song in the song book say something unscriptural if we were to put the lyrics into an unscriptural context.  The opposite is also true.  We can so sing songs as to understand them scripturally if we think about them in a scriptural context.

Having said that, let’s see what the scriptures say about who will be in heaven.  In Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus says, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”  It should be clear from these two passages that a majority of people will not be in heaven, and there are some who will claim to be followers of the Lord who will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

So how can we sing, “When we all get to heaven?”  When I am singing this song, I try to think of a context that would make it scriptural.  I don’t believe that the author had in mind all people who have ever lived.  I don’t believe she even had in mind all people living in a particular country or even city.  I don’t even know that she meant everyone who is in the building.  I believe that “all” here is referring to all of the saved.  Those who have been saved by Jesus have the promise that Jesus is going to work for them as their intercessor.  Romans 8:34 says, “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”  In Hebrews 7:25 we read, “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”  Jesus really wants his disciples to be saved and He is going to do everything He can to save them.  It is of these people that I sing when I think about all of the saved getting to heaven.