Key Words: Hallelujah!
Key Words: Hallelujah
Revelation 19:1–6 - After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; 19:2 BECAUSE HIS JUDGMENTS ARE TRUE AND RIGHTEOUS; for He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and HE HAS AVENGED THE BLOOD OF HIS BOND-SERVANTS ON HER." 19:3 And a second time they said, "Hallelujah! HER SMOKE RISES UP FOREVER AND EVER." 19:4 And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne saying, "Amen. Hallelujah!" 19:5 And a voice came from the throne, saying, "Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great." 19:6 Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.
Last week we began this series on Key Words - the words we use in worship, in sacred actions and responses. We say words like "Amen," and "Hallelujah" and "Glory" and "Holy" throughout worship and in our reading of Scripture. Last week we saw that Amen was originally a Hebrew word which meant "to be firm," but has come to be a one word affirmation, "let it be so." But the earliest uses of the word are to confirm the words of a covenant (Num. 5:22, Deut 27:15). In the fulness of time the final affirmation of God’s covenant promises were in the person of Jesus (2Co. 1:20). God’s "Amen" cost Him the life of His Son.
The word for this week is "Hallelujah." "Hallel" in Hebrew means "joyous praise," "to boast in God," or "to act madly or foolishly." The "Jah" or "Yah" part of the word is the first two letters of the covenant name of God, "Yahweh" or "Jehovah" (YHWH). Therefore, "Hallelujah" is a command for the congregation to give "joyous praise" to the Covenant Lord. It is used 24 times in the Hebrew OT, most often translated "Praise the Lord!" and is transliterated as "alleluia" four times in the NT. It’s important in the Psalms and there is a group of Psalms that are marked by the word, "Hallelujah." They are in three groups: 104-106; 111-113; 146-150. The most intense use of the word comes in the last sequence of Psalms (146-150). It is interesting that "Hallelujah" is found in only one passage in the NT. It is the climactic portion of the book of Revelation 19 (19:1, 3, 4, 6) which signals, after many cataclysmic events (seals broken and bowls of wrath poured out, beasts and monsters...) that the Lamb of God has conquered. When we say it, we should say it with the confidence of all of heaven. "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns!" (Rev. 19:6).
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more