This classic hymn was written in 1864 by William Walsham How.

Often hymns both old and new speak of going to heaven when you die as though heaven is our final home. There is real comfort in knowing that when we die we enter the presence of King Jesus but we should think that paradise is our final home. Scripture tells us something far different. It speaks of our life being a seed that, when planted in the ground, waits patiently for the day when it will rise again. What springs forth isn’t the same thing that went in the ground and yet it really does spring forth. It goes into the ground a kernel and rises a beautiful plant. What rises is totally unlike the seed and yet totally connected with the kernel that came before it. One cannot have the beautiful plant without the death and burial of the seed. In this analogy those who have gone to be with Jesus are the kernel in the ground. Their spirits are in the presence of Christ and to them just as Paul promise it is gain. But they too are looking forward to the day when their own natural body will, just like that kernel, rise out of the ground and be resurrected and glorified. This coincides with the Return of Christ and with His return heaven and earth will be united and the gospel will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. This hymn beautifully encapsulates this eschatological glory. The tune and recording were done by Joe Stout and the pictures are many different saints who have gone on to Paradise and are resting with Jesus until Jesus comes again, the resurrection occurs, and the last enemy is defeated, death itself. Alleluia!

The song is discussed in greater detail during this episode of the Anno Domini Podcast: