By Karen Holland
Psalm 146:1 Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul.
Revelation 19 Hallelujah!
The word “Hallelujah” is one of the most common praise words found in hymns, praise choruses, and worship songs. What does it really mean?
Used in Psalm 146, we see that Hallelu -Yah is the Hebrew contraction of the Hebrew words meaning, “praise” and the Hebrew name for God, “Yah,” a shortened form of YAHWEH — ‘Praise the LORD’. Further investigation shows the Hebrew word used here for praise is halal. Halal means to make a show, to boast; and thus to be (clamorously) foolish; to rave; to celebrate. So ‘Praise the LORD’ or ‘Hallelu-Yah’ is a call to celebrate with your whole being, the LORD – YAHWEH.
It is also good to think about what the name YAHWEH means. In most translations of the bible YAHWEH is translated to LORD – all capital. YAHWEH has several possible meanings, a few of which are “I am that I am” (Ex 3:14 ) “I will be God for you”, (Gen. 17:7; Ex 6:7; Deut. 7:6 ) and “present to act in salvation. ” (Ex 6:1-8 )
The Incarnation of Jesus Christ brings even more meaning to the name YAHWEH. God not only showed himself present by being on Israel’s side and remembering her cause, He actually became physically present. Jesus was present not merely to empathize with us; he came to accomplish our salvation. The name of the Lord Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua, which means “YAHWEH saves.” And this is exactly what YAHWEH, the Lord God, did for us through the shed blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Jesus intentionally identifies himself with YAHWEH, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I Am!” (John 8:58 ). The significance of Jesus using the phrase “I Am” would not have been lost on his Jewish listeners.
‘HalleluYah!’ not only causes us to look back at all God has done – it also encourages us to look forward to the return of Jesus (Rev 19). The apostle John reveals to us that this word will be used in heaven. He writes, “After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God….’ And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshipped God who was seated on the throne, saying, ‘Amen. Hallelujah!'”
Every time we sing “Hallelujah!” we can be reminded of all God has already done and that He will finish the salvation that He has started. God has demonstrated his saving presence in the past, and He will demonstrate it again when Jesus returns in glory.
Amen. Hallelujah! Psalm 68:4 (KJV) Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.
May each of us sing Hallelu-Yah to the living God with renewed understanding and joy!