Blog Archive

Monday, July 13, 2009

YHWH Sabaoth / YHWH of Hosts

For July, each post examines an Old Testament name of God.

YHWH Sabaoth / YHWH of Hosts (also: Lord Almighty)
pronounced: "yahd hay vahv hay tsa-va-OTH"

Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you... Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD's, and He will give you into our hands."
~ 1 Samuel 17:45-47 (NKJV)

Sabaoth literally means "armies." It can refer to human armies, but as a name of God it refers specifically to the armies of warrior angels.

The effeminate male, female, and cherub-like images most common in our culture characterize angels as gentle and even harmless beings. The Bible depicts angels as mighty messengers and fierce warriors of the highest order, as well as unusual beast-like creatures, none of them feminine. Their formidable appearance may be deduced from the first words they typically speak: "Do not be afraid."

YHWH Sabaoth names the Lord as Commander of both good and evil angelic beings, all of whom must obey Him. Satan himself was subject to the Lord when he sought to torment Job. When David battled Goliath, he did not claim victory with a sling and stone, but testified to using as his weapon "the name of LORD [YHWH] of hosts." In defeating the giant with whom King Saul declined to do battle, David obtained in the spiritual realms the throne of Israel he would wait perhaps twenty years to sit upon. Likewise Jesus defeated the devil at the cross, but still waits for the earthly throne which is already His.

The spiritual realms are also the place of our warfare. It is no accident that although YHWH Sabaoth is a name with military connotations, it is used exclusively by prophets or those who prophesied. Old Testament prophets glimpsed the spiritual warfare spoken of more clearly in the New Testament. The beloved prophet who composed no less than half the Psalms, King David, was also the Bible's mightiest warrior.

The battle we wage against the devil belongs to YHWH Sabaoth—who goes before us in battle, directs us to effectively wage spiritual warfare, and guarantees us final victory.

Words and music by Jamie Owens-Collins
In heavenly armour we'll enter the land
The battle belongs to the Lord
No weapon that's fashioned against us shall stand
The battle belongs to the Lord
The power of darkness comes in like a flood
The battle belongs to the Lord
He's raised up a standard, the power of His blood
The battle belongs to the Lord
When your enemy presses in hard do not fear
The battle belongs to the Lord
Take courage my friend, your redemption is near
The battle belongs to the Lord
We sing glory and honor
Power and strength to the Lord
We sing glory and honor
Power and strength to the Lord

Feedback appreciated! Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.


  1. At times when I'm disheartened about the world and all the horrific stuff that goes on here I'm comforted to know He will have his victory here too someday soon.

    I loved how you described the angels as formidable. It paints a great and trustworthy image.
    ~ Wendy

  2. I love this post, bless you.

  3. Wendy, re: "victory someday soon," I'll mention that my firstborn's middle name is Victoria, because my expectation is for us to see that victory in her lifetime. (Her first name, Michaelle, means "who is like God?")

    Denise, I'm excited to see the victory the Lord brings to pass in your life with each passing day.


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