(its origin, meaning and significance)
The word hallelujah (pronounced halleluYah) is the most ancient of all words of praise. It is used both on earth and in heaven to worship the Almighty. (Rev. 19:1-6) What are the origin, meaning and significance of this word?
It is a pure Hebrew word and yet is found in almost every language under the sun. The first part, "hallelu-", means, "praise". And the last part, "-Jah" (pronounced YaH) is the name of the one being praised.
YaH is the personal name of the Creator. It is found in the Bible in Its original language over 6,800 times. We also find It In the names of many men of the Bible such as Elijah (EliYaHu) which means, "my Mighty One is YaH", Jeremiah, Obadiah, Isaiah, Zechariah, etc.
YaH is the basic or short form of the divine name. The full form of the Heavenly Father's name is YaHWeH. This name may be found in the Hebrew Scriptures, large Bible concordances, encyclopaedias and dictionaries, in many current writings of history and archaeology, etc.
Until recent years it was thought that this name was to be pronounced as "Jehovah". But, as the Encyclopaedia Britannica explains, "Jehovah" is "an erroneous form of the divine name, of which the true form is Yahweh". All up to date dictionaries show the same. And we should not profane the divine name by using an erroneous or corrupted form. This wrong form came about when certain Bible translators mistakenly used the vowel sounds of the Hebrew word for master (Adonai) and mixed them with the Hebrew letters that form the divine name. The interesting part is how or why this happened.
Originally the name YaHWeH was known and used in the whole earth when all men knew YaHWeH. Then, after most of the world went into idolatry, YaHWeH made himself known again by name to certain men such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Gen. 12:8, 26:25, 28:13) and later unto Moses (Ex. 3:15; 34:5). Thus His name was revealed unto the Hebrew people who were instructed to use it. And for centuries it was freely used.
But the religious leaders began to say it was too sacred to be spoken. They told the people to just say or read Adonai (Lord) when they came across the divine name in the reading of the Scriptures. Because of this, when vowel marks were later added to the Hebrew language, the vowel marks for Adonai were used with the letters of the divine name instead of those that actually belonged there. This was to remind the people to say "Adonai" and not the name. As a result, in later years when translators sought to translate the Scriptures into other languages, they mixed the vowel sounds for Adonai with the letters of the divine name and came up with "Jehovah".
Some translations still have "Jehovah" throughout the Old Testament. However, most modern translations follow the King James Version and substitute "the LORD" and "GOD" (in all capitals) for the name of "Yahweh". One such translation (Goodspeed's version) says this in the preface: "in this translation we have followed the orthodox Jewish tradition and substituted 'the LORD' for the name 'Yahweh'... Anyone, therefore, who desires to retain the flavor of the original text has but to read 'Yahweh' wherever he sees LORD or GOD."
Now, some may ask what the importance of all this is. To me it seems strange that anyone should question the importance of their Creator's name, especially if they know Him as their Heavenly Father. And the Bible itself does not leave us in doubt as to whether or not the name of YaH, or YaHWeH, is important for us to know and use. When the true name is put back in the places where the translators have substituted the words "the LORD", the reading of the Bible makes it very clear that we should know and love the name of YaHWeH. Here are just a few examples:
Mal. 1:11-"For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the gentiles . . ." Psa. 113:3-"From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same Yahweh's name is to be praised." Zech. 14:9-"And Yahweh shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Yahweh, and His name one." Joel 2:32a-"And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the name of Yahweh shall be delivered" (saved). Ex. 20:7- "Thou shalt not take the name of Yahweh thy Almighty One in vain, for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain." (To say it is unimportant or a vain thing is certainly one form of taking it in vain.) Mal. 3:16-"Then they that feared Yahweh spake often one to another: and Yahweh hearkened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared Yahweh, and that thought upon His name."
The one verse in the King James translation, which does bring this name over into English In the form "JAH" (pronounced YAH as in hallelujah) is by itself enough for the obedient soul to see his responsibility to use this name. That verse is Psalms 68:4, which in the King James reads, "Sing unto God, sing praises to His name: Extol Him ... by His name JAH, and rejoice before him." So it is very clear that the name of YaHWeH is meant to be known and used by His people.
There is also a direct connection between the name of the Almighty and the name of His Son, our Savior. In Psalms 72:17, in the well known World Publishing Co. edition of the King James translation, the center reference gives the original Hebrew to read as follows: "His name shall be as a Son to continue His Father's name forever: and men shall be blessed in him; all nations shall call Him blessed." This is clearly a prophecy concerning the Savior. And of course a son always bears his father's or family name. The Savior himself said, "I have come in my Father's name..." (Jn. 5:43). And Eph. 3:14-16 shows that the Father's name is upon "the whole family in heaven and earth".
Bible scholars know that our Savior was not known by the name "Jesus". The fact that many have come to accept the person of the Savior while knowing only the name "Jesus" does not make that His actual name. He was born a Hebrew as prophesied in lsa. 9:7, Micah 5:2, and elsewhere. Yet "Jesus" is not Hebrew. It is In fact derived from the Greek name "Iesous" which is found In the Greek translations and copies of the original New Testament which are remaining today. According to the famous Liddel and Scott Greek Lexicon, Iesous Is the Ionic form of the name "Iaso" (the Greek goddess of healing). (See under the word "Iaso", Ninth Ed., 1958, pg. 816.)
But be that as it may, the important thing is not what is not His name, but what is His name. As all Bible scholars know, it is in fact the same as Joshua the successor of Moses. In the King James translation in Heb. 4:8 and Acts 7:45 the name "Jesus" is used when speaking of "Joshua". This shows that "Jesus" (which comes from Iesous) is being substituted for the Hebrew name "Joshua". If the "J" in Joshua is pronounced as in original English, and as accords with Hebrew which has no "J" sound, we have the correct pronunciation of the Savior's true name. But to write it as "Yoshua" does not make the pronunciation clear and does not show the connection it has with His Father's name. Therefore, the best way to write his name in present day English is "Yahshua".
Originally Joshua was called Hoshua, or Oshea, meaning "salvation" or "deliverance". But Moses added the divine name and called him Yahoshua, meaning "salvation of YaH" or "YaH-salvation". (Num. 13:16) Later the "o" sound dropped away in usage and the name became shortened to Yahshua. (An exact letter for letter transliteration of this later form would be "Y'shua". The "Y" represents the name "Yah", and evidence of its ancient pronunciation indicates the "ah" sound for the unwritten vowel between the "Y" and "shua". Thus it would still be sounded as "Yahshua" - with the accent on the "shu".)
So our Savior's name is Yahshua. His name contains the divine, family name, "YaH". He truly came in His Father's name as He Himself said, and "His name shall be as a Son to continue His Father's name forever." (Jn. 5:43, Psa. 72:17) He alone is the "Salvation of Yah". Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)
This is not to deny that those who in the past have been unwillingly ignorant of His true name have found salvation in the person of the Savior. After all, the significance of any name is that it denotes a certain person. Many have therefore accepted the person of the Savior while being ignorant of His true name, but in heaven it is recorded that they are saved by the blood of Yahshua the Messiah. The reason this can be so is that YaH is the Father of grace and mercy. Therefore he looks not on the outward appearance, but on the intention of the heart. (I Sam. 16:7) Yet He is also full of justice and truth. So His past mercy in no way justifies willing continuance in ignorance. To use the words of Acts 17:30, "The times of this ignorance YaH winked at". When any truth is restored that men's traditions have hidden, it then becomes the responsibility of His true people to walk in that truth regardless of the cost. "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." (James 4:17)
Keeping in mind that the word "LORD" is a substitute and not the true name, and that the word "baal" is translated "lord", read these verses: Jer. 23:26, 27-"How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? . . which think to cause my people to forget my name ... as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal." (That is, for "Lord") Hosea 2:16,17-"And it shall be at that day saith Yahweh, thou shalt call me Ishi" (my husband) "and shalt call me no more Baali" (my Lord) "For I will take away the names of Baalim" (Lords) "out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name." Baal (Lord) was the name of the chief Canaanite god and (as Bel) a chief god of Babylon.
According to Rom. 10:13,14, Acts 2:21, and Acts 22:16 "Whosoever shall call upon the name of Yahweh shall be delivered" or "saved" is fulfilled by calling on the name of Yahshua the Messiah which contains the Father's name, the family name YAH. You may already know the Savior. If so we urge you to now start calling upon Him by His true name and ask Yah to "take the names of Baalim" (Lords) "out of" your "mouth". If you are yet in your sins, having never really accepted the Savior, put your trust in Him who died for our sins. He is now living at the Father's right hand and will also soon return to set up His kingdom on earth. You too can become a child of the Most High YaHWeH and an heir of eternal life. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, and He that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of the Almighty abideth on him." (John 3:36)
This eternal life has been made possible by the shedding of His life's blood as an atonement for our sins. But you must personally accept Him as the sacrifice for your sins and as the King of your life. For "as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of YaH, even to them that believe on His name." (Jn. 1:12)
How then do you receive Him and put your trust in His name? "Repent, and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Yahshua Messiah for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38 (The Holy Spirit is His indwelling invisible presence and power in your life and body) (See also Acts 8:12,16,35,36; 10:43,48; 16:31-33; 19:4,5; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; Titus 3:5; Heb. 10:22; 1 Pet. 3:21; Mk. 16:16)
If you desire prayer, further information, spiritual counsel, or baptism in the Sacred Name, please to not hesitate to contact us. Life is very short and uncertain. And time is fast running out. Obey His word today! Then you will be truly able to say,