The Names of God: YHWH Sabaoth

This post is part of the series The Names of God.

Isaiah 6:1–7 (ESV)
1 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.
2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.
5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar.
7 And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

In Isaiah 6, the prophet Isaiah sees a vision of God seated on his throne. It is one of the most glorious descriptions of God in the entire Bible. Isaiah is overwhelmed at the sight and calls out, “Woe is me!” The vision of God is awesome and gives us a small glimpse of the Lord’s majesty. Isaiah calls God “the LORD of hosts” (i.e. YHWH Sabaoth). Many translations have this as the LORD Almighty.

The name LORD of hosts speaks of God as a leader of an army made up of the angels of heaven. It speaks of his power and authority. Martin Luther, when he wrote the great hymn A Mighty Fortress Is Our God had this imagery in mind as he described the battle between the Lord and Satan. Luther wrote:

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He
The Lord Sabaoth His name, from age to age the same
And He must win the battle

God is the LORD of hosts. He is the Almighty. He is awesome and powerful. And he will win the battle.


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