The Hebrew language does not have the word Hallelujah. In Hebrew, there are two words: HALLEL and YAH. Hallel is translated praise, and yah is the abbreviation for the name Yaveh, or Jehovah. They united the two words in Greek, and we have today the word hallelujah. In the New Testament, it only occurs in the book of Revelation 19:1-2,4. When we sing hallelujah, we are saying PRAISE BE TO JEHOVAH.
We will now check the meaning of the word PRAISE. To praise means to agree or approve of something. If anyone does a good deed, this is worthy of praise. Charity is praiseworthy. Obedience is praiseworthy. Selflessness is praiseworthy. To praise is also to applaud.
Let us consider praise in relation to God. When the Father, because of the love He had for men, sent His Son to save them, not to condemn them, we can sing Hallelabba. Hallelabba means PRAISE BE TO THE FATHER (John 3:16-17). When the apostle Paul reveals that the Father wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:3-4), this is worthy of praise, and we sing Hallelabba (Praise be to the Father). If Jehovah was the Father of Jesus, we could sing Hallelujah (Praise be to Jehovah).
When a young man addressed Jesus saying, “Teacher, what good thing…?” Jesus answered him,“Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One that is good” (Matt. 19:16-17). If Jesus did only what is good: healed, delivered, fed and forgave everyone, He did it because He is good, but He says that the goodness of the Father is infinitely superior. That is the reason why God is love (1 John 4:7-8). Love does no wrong to anyone (Rom. 13:10). “Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; Love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:4-7). In the epistle of James, we read, “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is n o variation, or shifting shadow” (James 1:17). Nothing comes from God, the Father, to men that may be evil. So Jesus said, “Or what man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he shall ask for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” (Matt. 7:9-11). In the book of Numbers, the people of Jehovah cried out against Moses and against Jehovah, asking for bread, and Jehovah sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit them, and many people died (Num. 21:4-7). Trusting in the word of Jesus, which said that if we ask for bread the Father will not give us a serpent, and comparing it with the instance in the desert, when the people asked for bread and were given death through those serpents, it is not difficult to conclude that it was not the Father who sent those serpents. Jehovah is the god of the serpents. More than a thousand years after Moses, the people of Israel sinned, and the prophet Jeremiah spoke, sent by Jehovah: “For behold, I am sending serpents against you, adders, for which there is no charm, and they will bite you,’ declares Jehovah” (Jer. 8:17). With Moses, in the desert, as with Jeremiah, we can sing hallelujah, praise be to Jehovah, but we could never sing Hallelabba, praise be to the Father, for the Father declared by the mouth of Jesus that He does not send serpents instead of bread.
Israel is the people of Jehovah, and for this reason it was saved from the Egyptian captivity by the hand of Moses. They were about two million whom Jehovah delivered and afterwards killed in the desert, as we read in Jude: “Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that Jehovah, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe” (Jude 5). The entire story is related in Num. 14. To save and destroy in the end causes us to say hallelujah, and not hallelabba, for this was not a work of a father, but of a destroyer. When the prophet Amos say, “Does a bird fall into a trap on the ground when there is no bait in it? Does a trap spring up from the earth when it captures nothing at all? If a trumpet is blown in the city will not the people tremble? IF A CALAMITY OCCURS IN A CITY HAS NOT JEHOVAH DONE IT?” (Amos 3:5-6). Jehovah receives the responsibility of all the evils that may happen in a city, leaving nothing to the demons. Whoever wishes to praise Jehovah for this, can say hallelujah, but cannot say hallelabba,for no evil comes from the Father. It is obvious that singing hallelujah means praising the plagues of Jehovah; it means to agree and to applaud the plague of flies that he sent, not only to Egypt, but to this day, where they plague our homes. Sing hallelujah (Praise be to Jehovah) for the pestilences. “Jehovah will smite you with consumption and with fever and with inflammation and with fiery heat and with the sword and with blight and with mildew, and they shall pursue you until you perish” —HALLELUJAH! (Deut. 28:22). “Jehovah will smite you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors and with the scab and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed. Jehovah will smite you with madness and with blindness and with bewilderment of heart” (Deut. 28:27-28). —HALLELUJAH!“And your carcasses shall be food to all birds of the sky and to the beasts of the earth, and there shall be no one to frighten them away” (Deut. 28:26)— HALLELUJAH! Whoever sings hallelujah approves of and praises all these evils. “Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, while your eyes shall look on and yearn for them continually” (Deut. 28:32). Hallelujah! Jehovah says that he engendered all these evils. “Behold, I am fashioning calamity against you and devising a plan against you” (Jer. 18:11). —HALLELUJAH! “‘For I have set My face against this city for harm and not for good,’ declares Jehovah” (Jer. 21:10). —HALLELUJAH! “Behold, I am watching over them for harm and not for good” (Jer. 44:27). —HALLELUJAH! Jehovah does not think about doing good, but just evil, and he watches over it to see if the details were all fulfilled. —HALLELUJAH! Moses declares that Jehovah has pleasure in doing evil (Deut. 28:63). —HALLELUJAH! Nevertheless, when the Father delivers His Son Jesus to die on the cross and deliver us from the curses of Jehovah, we can sing HALLELABBA! (Praise be to the Father) (2 Cor. 5:19; Gal. 3:13). “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us.” When the Father, in Christ, reconciles all the enemies to Himself, we sing HALLELABBA! (Praise be to the Father). Jehovah would mercilessly destroy the enemies (Mic. 5:9; Nah. 1:2). When Jesus says, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matt. 19:14), He said it because Jehovah took pleasure in killing little children when their parents sinned (Is. 14:1). This is a matter of spiritual discernment, either to sing hallelujah to evil, or to sing hallelabba to good. Amen.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira