Hallelujah an exhortation to “praise” has a special meaning to a worshiper. This particular album of praise is so special to me as well. I have had to meditate on the word and these are some of my findings about the word.
Hallelujah is an English interjection derived from a Hebrew phrase meaning “praise God” or “praise the Lord.” The alternate spelling alleluia is taken from the Latin form of the original Hebrew. For both Jews and Christians, the term is often used as a joyful expression of praise and thanksgiving to God.
Hallelujah is a transliteration of the Hebrew word הַלְּלוּיָהּ (Modern halleluya, Tiberian halləlûyāh), which is composed of two elements: הַלְּלוּ (second-person imperative masculine plural form of the Hebrew verb hallal: an exhortation to “praise” addressed to several people) and יָהּ (Yah).
In the Bible: The Hebrew word is used several times in the Old Testament book of Psalms. In fact, Psalms 104-150 are frequently referred to as the Hallel Psalms or Praise Songs, due to their frequent repetition of hallelujah. The first part of the word, “hallelu” is an imperative verb, instructing hearers to praise. The last syllable, “jah,” is considered a shortened form of the name of God, often referred to as the Lord, Yahweh, Jehovah or the tetragrammaton.
Hallelujah appears four times in the NIV and NASB (Revelation 19:1-6), and is translated “alleluia” in the King James Version. In modern parlance, both words mean “praise the Lord” or “praise Jehovah,” phrases which appear over 50 times in the Old Testament and once in the New Testament. It is interesting to note, however, that in none of the places where “praise the Lord” or “praise Jehovah” appear are they a translation of the Hebrew hallelujah.
In Worship: Worship services, prayers and hymns of many Christian traditions have used this word for centuries. Evangelical churches often shout Hallelujah during services as a sign of approval or thanksgiving. This is often followed by phrases such as “amen” or “praise God!”
Related Terms: Words that are often used along with hallelujah in Christian worship include amen, kyrie eleison, hosanna, maranatha, and Abba. Amen is used to assert agreement with something or to confirm something, while kyrie eleison is used to invoke God to listen to a prayer or to help the worshipers. Hosanna can also be used in this way, but it can also be used as an expression of praise. Maranatha is said when a person wants to emphasize the return of the Lord’s return to earth, or to ask him to come quickly, and Abba, the Hebrew word for father, is used as an alternative name for God.
What, then, is so special about the word hallelujah that it is only used in Revelation 19? The scene in this passage opens in heaven where a great multitude has gathered before the throne in the immediate presence of God Himself, after the final overthrow of the enemies of the church and the triumph of the gospel. In such circumstances, it was fitting that all heaven should render praise and that a song of thanksgiving should be uttered in which all holy beings could unite. Reasons for this glorious outpouring of praise are God’s righteous victory over His enemies (vv. 1-3), His sovereignty (vv. 4-6), and His eternal communion with His people (v. 7). The sound of the outpouring of praise and worship is so overwhelming that the apostle John can only describe it as the roar of rushing waters and loud peals of thunder.
So great is the rejoicing by God’s people at the wedding feast of the Bridegroom (Christ) and the bride (the true church) that hallelujah is the only word grand enough to express it. Handel’s version of the great chorus in heaven, as glorious as that music is, is only a feeble foreshadowing of the magnificence that will be expressed by the heavenly chorus as we sing “Hallelujah, for the Lord God omnipotent reigns!”