©2012 Dr. Irene Bonney Faulkes DD
The command for the church of Jesus Christ regarding giving of thanks and of praise, can be found in Colossians 2:16 and 17. It reads, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him".
If every believer obeys these verses, there will be a dramatic change in our attitude towards meetings. We will give more importance to the Word of God and less to signs, wonders and prophecies. We will read it, particularly the Epistles and store it in our hearts.
We will use hymns that are inspired by the Holy Spirit to the writers with a pure portrayal of the gospel and of the word of God. They will not be based on sentiment or on only emotional experiences. They will be from the Word of God. They will be from the Spirit and they will include singing praise in the Spirit of God from the spirit of the worshipper. This will be in other tongues and/or with Holy Spirit given words in singing.
Our thanks and praises will be to God the Father and not to the "Jehovah" or "Jah" as He revealed Himself in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, He has revealed Himself to us as "the Father". We worship the Father.
This worship and thanks must be in the name of the Lord Jesus. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus Christ. The Jehovah of the Old Testament, to whom Hallelujahs were raised on occasions of victory after a battle, is "the Father" of the New Testament. This is so despite the fact that the Jehovah of the Old Testament, who revealed Himself always in manifestation as the Angel of the Covenant, one example in Exodus 23:20-23, is the Jehovah of the New Testament. Another example is in Exodus 3:2,4,5, where the Angel of the Lord, the eternal Son of God, appeared as God. The Tamil Bible is translated wrongly when it says, "God appeared in the guise of an angel".
In Isaiah 45:23,24 regarding every knee bowing before Him, it is Jehovah (printed LORD throughout the English Old Testament instead of Yhwh, or Jehovah) who speaks. When Paul in Ephesians 3:14 writes, he says "I kneel before the Father". It is always the Father in the New Testament. This must be one reason why there are no Hallelujahs until the saints are in their resurrected bodies in heaven, in Revelation 19. Apparently praise and worship is to the Father through Jesus Christ and never to God as Jehovah or Jah, as in "Hallelu-jah".
Let us consider the way we worship and praise the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ. Or are we to be careless and disobedient to these commands? "Hallelujah" means "Praise to Jehovah" and is a Hebrew word. It is not a heavenly word. We need to think deeply about these matters.
When reading the above verses of Colossians we should also meditate on Ephesians 5:18-20. We are to do those things and first and foremost, we should be filled with the Spirit. The Greek Tense is Present Continuous. It means "be being" filled with the Spirit. To be filled with the Spirit always includes much speaking in other tongues. It does not mention that we shake or have powerful bodily movements. The Holy Spirit came on Jesus as a gentle dove.
World-wide, we see a church having "fallen away" from the truths of the Word of God into man-made ways and ideas. Are we to follow this "falling away"?
In relation to praise as taught in the Old Testament, we should note that praise taught in the New Testament is somewhat different. We are New Testament believers! 1 Corinthians 14, that with chapters 12 and 13 sets out the norm for church services, shows this in verses 15 and 16. "I will sing praise with the spirit, but I sill sing praise with the mind also. Otherwise, if you say a blessing with the spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say the 'Amen' to your thanksgiving?"
It is obvious that praise was commonly given "with the spirit", which means "in other tongues". This practice was common and it was never forbidden. Rather, it was taught that in certain instances, we should "praise with the mind also", which means "with words from the Holy Spirit in our own language". The three chapters, 12, 13 and 14 are about "spirituals", 1 Corinthians 12:1.
There are those who think that if you do not say "Hallelujah" now you will not go to heaven. The only reason we will ever go to heaven is that firstly, Jesus died for our sins on the cross and rose again. Secondly, that we believe this and confess with our mouths that He is our Lord. In other words, we believe the gospel and forsake all else. Thirdly, we must endure to the end to be finally saved. If we fall away from the truth of the gospel, it will mean we do not reach heaven.
People can go to heaven, even if they have never said one "Hallelujah" during their lifetime. They can be baptized in the Spirit without saying one "Hallelujah". Also, people can be healed in their bodies without opening their mouths to say "Hallelujah".
Three thousand were born again on the Day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2. There is no mention that any one of them said "Hallelujah". They will be in heaven. The one hundred and twenty on that Day in the upper room, were filled with the Holy Spirit and the Bible does not record they were ever saying "Hallelujah". When Jesus healed all the sick people not one of them said "Hallelujah". In the book of Acts, there is no mention that any miracles or healings were done with any saying of "Hallelujah".
The New Testament shows how the church under the gospel should operate, particularly the Epistles.
The first recorded words of praise from the four gospels in the beginning of the New Testament are from the song of Mary after the Angel announced the good news to her that the Son of God would be born of her. This is found in Luke 1:46-55. In particular, she said, “My soul praises the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour ...for the Mighty One has done great things for me …holy is his name”.
Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess, one day, that “Jesus Christ is Lord of all”. That is for the future. It does not happen now. There is no evidence in the New Testament that unbelievers or indeed believers, ever “knelt” in their meetings. The point of this verse is that one day Jesus Christ will be so exalted that He will be recognized as Lord or Jehovah. Now, we know Him as Lord and God. Then everyone will know Him as Lord or Jehovah. On the Day of Pentecost, the one hundred and twenty believers were “sitting”, Acts 2:2. The coming of the Holy Spirit and the manner in which He filled them, was a most blessed and exceptionally great experience for them. This shows that posture was not important in this age. It was the heart that had to yield obedience.
Today, as we preach the gospel, we must call upon every person to accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour and to confess Him as Lord. We are not to preach anything else. The need of the sinner is to come to Jesus Christ. There is salvation in no other Name, not even in the great Name of Jehovah (the God of the Old Testament and the Father of the New). The Name stands for the Person. In usage in the Old Testament it is God, the Father or the Person of the Triune God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
No man can come to the Father except by Jesus Christ. The importance lies in calling upon the Name of Jesus. Through that Name we find the Father. The Jehovah of the Old Testament is revealed in the Jehovah of the New Testament, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Jehovah of the New Testament.
Nowhere, not even in the Gospels, does any person, including Jesus, use the name of “Jehovah”. The Name now to be used is “Jesus” as evidenced by 1 Corinthians 1:2, “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”. The Name is “Jesus”, Matthew 1:21, “You are to name Him Jesus” and Acts 3:13, “Jesus, whom you handed over”; verse 16, “And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong”; 4:11,12, “This Jesus is the stone… There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved”.
As “Hallelujah” means “Praise to Jehovah”, why is there such a determined effort to repeat thousands of “Hallelujahs” in the Pentecostal meetings?
1 Corinthians 1:9 reads, “God,… has called you into fellowship with His son Jesus Christ, our Lord…”. We do have fellowship with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. As this verse says God the Father has called us into fellowship with Jesus Christ who is our Lord. In fellowshipping with Jesus Christ we should be using His Name in prayer and praise. Hallelujah is not exactly praise to Jesus Christ right now. It is far better to emphasise the Lord Jesus Christ in our meetings. Our fellowship is to be with Him. We call upon His Name, Jesus. We praise the Name of Jesus. We offer worship and praise to the Lord Jesus. We honour the Lord Jesus Christ by appropriate words which to not particularly include hallelujah. In honouring Jesus Christ we honour the Father. Jesus said, “He who honours Me, honours the Father”. Then we can say our fellowship is with Jesus Christ, our Lord, as God has called us to have. In honouring Jesus Christ we honour the Father and also have fellowship with Him as we can in other ways.
While staying in Madurai a neighbour came to meetings in the house. She said to me, “Your words touched my heart.” She had borrowed an English Bible from us. She thought it was wonderful. She then believed on the Lord Jesus Christ in prayer. She said to me, “I rang my village. I told them you were Australian and about the meetings”. They said to her, “They would be the ‘Hallelujah’ people”. When I heard that, I thought, “What an indictment of the Pentecostal movement!” Nowhere in the New Testament is the body of believers called “the Hallelujah people”.
Instead, they were mentioned as “teaching the people and proclaiming that in Jesus there is the resurrection of the dead”, Acts 4:2. They were recognized as “companions of Jesus”, Acts 4:13. Their testimony was not of Jehovah, as the present day “Jehovah’s Witnesses” declare. We know them to be a Sect and full of error.
In Acts 4:33, “With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus” and that should be our testimony today. It is to Jesus Christ. They were “ordered not to speak in the name of Jesus”, Acts 5:40. These believers were not known for their “Hallelujahs” but for their preaching in the “name of Jesus”. What has happened to the present-day church? Why is it different?
Saul, before his conversion, in Acts 9:2, went and asked for letters in case he could find any “who belonged to the Way”. Believers were known as people who “belonged to the Way”. The Way is Jesus, the Way is the truth of the gospel and the Way is about Jesus dying on the cross and being raised from the dead. Why are not unbelievers calling those who believe, people who “belong to the Way?”
In Acts 12:24, “the word of God continued to advance and gain adherents”. Even the Bible gives importance to something other than the saying of “Hallelujahs” by which present-day Pentecostals in India are known. As far as I know it is the case only in India. The disciples in Acts 11:26 were first called “Christians” in Antioch. “Christian” means “Christ’s one”. Today, whether a person is actually “Christ’s one” or not, if he adheres to a church or follows Christendom he is labelled, wrongly, “Christian”. However, for those who are truly born again, why can we not be known as those who really belong to Christ? Peter in 1 Peter 4:16, mentions the word “Christian”, “Yet if any of you suffers as a Christian, do not consider it a disgrace, but glorify God because you bear this name.”
Should it not be the case, that the unconverted, recognize us as being associated with the wonderful name of “Jesus” rather than “the Hallelujah people”? It is the name of “Jesus” that is exalted throughout the whole of the New Testament.
Paul in Acts 28:31, for two whole years is said to have “proclaimed the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ”. He would have been known to be that kind of believer. See verse 23.
In Romans 1:8, their “faith was proclaimed throughout the world”. That would mean their acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Saviour and their belief in all that the gospel is. He concludes Romans in 16:25 with the importance of his “gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ”. Why are the Pentecostals of India not known by their proclamation of Jesus Christ, instead of their calling out of “Hallelujahs”?
In 1 Corinthians 1:2, Paul speaks of “all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours”. Why is it that in India the unbelievers do not get the idea that the Pentecostals are “those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” instead of calling of “Hallelujahs”, which is calling on “Jehovah”? Jesus said, “No man comes to the Father (or Jehovah if you wish), except through me” – and His name is “Jesus”.
In 2 Peter 5:18, believers are commanded to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. TO HIM BE THE GLORY BOTH NOW AND TO THE DAY OF ETERNITY. Amen”. We are to give the glory to Jesus now and “to the day of eternity” which is when we will be in heaven. The unbelievers should be hearing us exalting the Lord Jesus Christ. Evidently, they are not – contrary to the words inspired by the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures.
“Hallelujah” is not mentioned in the Gospels, the book of Acts, or in any Epistle sent by the different writers to various people and churches. It is found only at the end of the book of Revelation. Then it occurs two or three times. All this is in view of the fact that it occurs many times in the Old Testament.
The occurrences in the Old Testament with the lack of usage in the New Testament must be significant. The Holy Spirit of Christ is the Author of both the Old and New Testaments. What He causes to be written or not written has great relevance and meaning.
The word “Hallelujah” or “Allelujah” means “Praise Jehovah”: Hall (Hail) - El (The Strong One, the Creator) - Jah (Jehovah), meaning “Hail to God, the Creator and to Jehovah”.
See Psalm 104 that says, “Bless Jehovah, O my soul” and then expounds the greatness of God as Creator. Other praise songs are Psalm 105, showing His greatness to Israel, Psalm 106 praise Jehovah for His mighty doings as well as Psalm 111, 112, etc.
The Name “Jehovah” means “the Self-Existent or Eternal One”, Exodus 6:3; Psalm 83:18; Isaiah 12:2; 26:4.
“Hallelujah” is mentioned in the Old Testament in Psalm 104:35; 105:45; 106:1,48; 111:1; 112:1; 113:1,9; 115:13; 116:19; 117:2; 135:1,21; 146:1,10; 147:1,20; 148:1,14; 149:1,9; 150:1,6. That is not many times. It is noticeable that in every one of those Psalms there is mention of victory over their enemies.
The Talmud and the Midrash call attention to the fact that it is connected with the overthrow of the wicked. This is stated in Dakes’ Bible (which Bible I personally do not recommend. Scholars say that NRSV is the most correct translation.). Dakes also says correctly that the first mention in the New Testament of “Hallelujah” is also connected with the overthrow of the enemies of God and of the wicked. That is in Revelation 19:1,2. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. That will then be accomplished when the church is finally in heaven with redeemed bodies. 1 Corinthians 15:6, “The last enemy that will be abolished is death”, and 1 Corinthians 15:54, “Then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’.”
We may well ask, “Why is the praise word, ‘Hallelujah’, obvious in the New Testament by its absence, and then by its use in the final chapters only?”
The New Testament is about the New Covenant God made with Jesus Christ on our behalf. It heralds the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It reveals redemption through His Blood, and atonement for sin by His death on the Cross. It pronounces that Jesus Christ is the Mediator of the New Covenant. It shows Him now in heaven, interceding for His people. Then it glorifies Him as the Head of the Church, He by whom the worlds were created, who gave Himself for our sins to bring us to God and who is Himself, God and worthy to be praised.
In Acts 4:16 Peter clearly shows that there is salvation in no other name, other than in the Name of Jesus. Romans 10:9,13 says, “If you confess with your mouth that ’Jesus is Lord’, …you will be saved”, and “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”. The angel said to Joseph in Matthew 1:21, “You are to give Him the name Jesus”.
In the Old Testament, this name “Jesus” was unknown as the name to be given to the Saviour of the world. God did give an insight into that certainty in several scriptures whose meanings were closed to the Israelites. According to a converted Jew, there are several verses that talk about "Jesus" very clearly. Such are: Isaiah 12:2, original Hebrew, "Behold, the Mighty One is my Yeshua (Yesha or Yeheshua)", meaning "Jesus", in His pre-incarnation existence. In Isaiah 62:11, "Jehovah has proclaimed 'See your salvation (Yesha, Jesus)' comes".
Again, "Jesus" is mentioned. In Psalm 91:11, the Psalmist says "For Jah (Jehovah) is my strength and my song. He also is become my salvation, (Yesha Jesus)". In Zechariah 3:3 "Joshua (Yeshua, or Jehovah is salvation, Jesus)"; here He is to bear our sin. Habbakuk 3:13, "You came forth with Yesha, with your anointed One." Here, God the Father brings salvation in a coming forth "with Yesha, or Jesus". Notice in this verse, "You crushed the head of the wicked (Satan)", as prophesied in Genesis 3:16.
In Genesis 49:18, Jacob prays, "I wait for your Yesha, O Jehovah". The Father God, the Eternal One, is going to "send" His Jesus to mankind. Notice that God the Eternal One is not coming as Jesus, because that One God is Three Persons. In Deuteronomy 33:19 there are "people saved by Jehovah" but He does this by sending "His Yesha".
This Great Eternal One is known by several names, joined to Jehovah. They revealed His nature in its different aspects.
Nevertheless, those Names did not bring salvation at that point. The salvation was to come in the form of a Person, the Eternal Son, who was called "Jesus" and is "Immanuel", "God with us".
Therefore, the Name to be exalted for us under the New Covenant, is not “Jehovah”, but rather, “Jesus”, which means “Jehovah is salvation”. Salvation is found in “Jesus”.
This being the case, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, we cry “Jesus is Lord”, 1 Corinthians 12:3, rather than “Hallelujah”, which literally means “Praise to Jehovah”. Jesus Himself said, “No one can come to the Father, but by Me”. Saying “Hallelujah” often would appear to be eliminating the necessity of offering prayer or praise through the Name of Jesus.
Matthew’s Gospel, is specifically written to the Jews, who were familiar with the Name of Jehovah, although they used it sparingly. They were used to the “Hallelujahs” of the Psalms. Yet Jesus gave a different revelation to them and to us. He Himself came as the Jehovah and all the Names connected to that wonderful Name, i.e. Yhwh. He came as “the Messenger of the Covenant”, as “the Lord” or “Jehovah”, Malachi 3:1, “See, I will send My messenger, who will prepare the way before Me. Then the Lord (Jehovah) whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; the messenger of the will come, says the Lord (Jehovah) Almighty”.
”The Lord” is Jehovah coming to His temple and the Person who came is the Son, Jesus Christ. He came into the temple of His Body, John 1:14.
Matthew shows He has come. He came with a new revelation of Jehovah. He did not call Him Jehovah. He called Him, “Father”. To those listening, He was revealed as “the Father” not as “Jehovah”, Matthew 5:16,45,48; 6:1,4,6,8,9,14,18,26,32; 11:25,27; 18:10,19,35. Should we not be shouting praises to “Our Father” as Paul did in Ephesians 1:16,17, “I have not stopped giving thanks for you , remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father …”. All the Hallelujahs hides this wonderful revelation Jesus gave throughout Matthew to us, about “our Father”.
He spoke of the Father in John 14:2, 6, “No one comes to the Father, but by Me (not to Jehovah)”, 9 “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father”. The revelation of God is as Father to us. Also John 14:10,11,12,13,14,16,20,21,23, “My Father will show Himself to you”. He shows Himself as Father, not particularly as Jehovah. Also John 14:26,28,31; 15:1,8,9,15,16,23,24,26; 16:3,10,15,17,23,26-28,; 17:21.
The Holy Spirit, Romans 8:16, shows us “You received the spirit of sonship and by Him you cry, ‘Abba, Father” and Galatians 4:6 reads, “God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father’”.
In John 17:6, Jesus prays, “I have revealed You (Your Name) to those whom you have given me’. The Name revealed was not the Nomen Tetragrammaton, which is Yhwh, Jehovah, or the Lord as revealed in the Old Testament. The character and nature of God were revealed through Christ. It could be said the Name of Christ who revealed God the Father, revealed Him. The Name is “Jesus” or “Jehovah saves”.
In John 17:21, Jesus prays, “That they all may be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may the also be in us”. This shows the vital importance of recognizing God as “the Father”. To the Father be our glory and praise through Jesus Christ. The use of “in us” shows that there is not “Jesus only” but that God, although One, is more than one Person. Here, it is God the Father and God the Son, Jesus Christ.
This revelation of the Father that Jesus Christ has given to us should be highly regarded. Of course, there are times when we do give honour to God in three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. One case of this is found in the hymn, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty … God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity”.
I have been told that the extraordinary usage of “Hallelujahs” and “praise the Lord” in Indian Pentecostal churches came from the Ceylon Pentecostals, who think they are “the ones”. No one can think such a thing. If wrong in that, could they be right in their usage of “Hallelujah” and “Praise the Lord? It is basically legalism that is never from God but is from man and from Satan. The usage of “Hallelujah” did not begin in the early church of the first two or three centuries. It began in the liturgy of the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches much later on, according to what one can find in older books. Those churches to this day follow Old Testament ideas of incense, priestly orders and priestly garments.
The Apostle Paul often had to contend with the human desire in churches to revert to Old Testament ways and ideas. He had to deal with Judaizers in the books of Romans, Corinthians, Galatians and Colossians. The book of Hebrews was written to correct many erroneous ideas that went back to the Old Testament. To this day, churches and believers are prone to follow those errors in principle.
Hebrews 8:5 shows clearly that “They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven” and in verse 6, “But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one”. Verse 13 declares “By calling this covenant new, he has made the first one obsolete, and what is obsolete and ageing will soon disappear”.
Receiving anything from God is not through the use of “Hallelujah” or “Praise the Lord”. We receive because of the grace of God and according to His Word. In John 14:13, “Whatever you ask in my name (Jesus), I will do it”, and in 14:26, regarding the Holy Spirit, Jesus said “Whom the Father will send in my name”. Prayer and the sending of the Holy Spirit are to be in the Name of Jesus, and not in the name of Jehovah. Jehovah’s name is embodied in “Hallelujah”, and excludes the actual Name of Jesus.
The Spirit was given when Jesus was glorified, John 7:39. In John 15:26 it is stated clearly that the Holy Spirit would testify about Jesus, and not about Jehovah. Jehovah, the great “I Am”, Exodus 3:14, revealed Himself as the Angel of the Lord, the eternal Son, in every appearance of the Lord, or Jehovah throughout the Old Testament. He appeared to us in the gospel age in the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ, John 8:58.
In the book of Acts, the apostles used the expression "In the Name of Jesus" for salvation, healing, miracles and water baptism. For them this expression meant the whole content of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. In using that term they meant that it covered everything Jesus represented. The whole content of salvation revealed in Jesus is covered by his name, Acts 2:17-21; 4:12; 9:14; Romans 10:13; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 6:11. Believing in the name of Jesus is to believe in His mission, to obey God's command, 1 John 2:12, John 3:18. It is through that Name we receive the gift of the Spirit, Acts 2:38. A believer's whole life is dominated by the name of Jesus, Colossians 3:17, "Do all in the Name of Jesus".
In the Old Testament, this name was unknown as becoming the name to be given to the Saviour of the world. Then the Name exalted was “Yhwh”, or in English, “Jehovah”. It means; Jeho´vah (I am; the eternal living one). The Scripture name of the supreme Being, is usually interpreted as being the self-derived One Who has permanent existence.
The Jews scrupulously avoided every mention of this name of God, Jehovah, substituting in its stead one or other of the words with whose proper vowel-points it may happen to be written. This custom, which had its origin in reverence, was founded upon an erroneous rendering of Leviticus 24:16, from which it was inferred that the mere utterance of the name constituted a capital offence. According to Jewish tradition, it was pronounced but once a year, by the high priest on the day of atonement when he entered the holy of holies; but on this point there is some doubt. We ask crowds of unbelievers to use the name in “Hallelujah”, which basically means they use the name of Jehovah in vain. “God will not hold him guiltless, who uses His Name in vain”.
That unspeakable and awesome Name is now used as the Name of "Jesus", that means "Jehovah is salvation". The Jews considered the Name “Jehovah” so great and mysterious as not to be written. For us under the New Testament, the Name given us to be used, is “Jesus”. This human name with its heavenly meaning that He is Immanuel, "God with us" is to be spoken. The Name of God for us frequently to use now has come within the reach of every one who will believe. All praise, glory and worship to "Jesus".
When Moses received his commission to be the deliverer of Israel, the Almighty, who appeared in the burning bush as the Angel of the Lord, communicated to him the name which he should give as the credentials of his mission: “And God said unto Moses, I am that I am, and he said, Thus you shall say unto the children of Israel, I am has sent me to you”, Exodus 3:14-16. This passage is intended to indicate the meaning of Jehovah, as understood by the Hebrews.
While “Elohim”, another name for God, exhibits God displayed in his power as the creator and governor of the physical universe, the name “Jehovah” designates his nature as He stands in relation to man, as the only Almighty, true, personal, holy Being. “God is Spirit” not “a Spirit” as in KJV, John 4:24 and “the father of spirits,” Numbers 16:22, who revealed Himself to His people, made a covenant with them, and became their lawgiver, and to whom all honor and worship are due.
In Philippians 2:9-11 "God has highly exalted Him and given Him the name that is above every name, that at (in) the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow". That Name in the future to be given to him is Jehovah as the glorified Lord. This will occur after the “last enemy, death” has been put away. The church will be in heaven then and all will know and worship Him as the great Jehovah.
The name “Jehovah” is inferred in Philippians 2:9-11 as being the Name given to Jesus when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. "Lord" in the New Testament is equivalent to "Jehovah", even though it is not stated as such.
The Spirit was given when Jesus was glorified, John 7:39. In John 15:26 it is stated clearly that the Holy Spirit would testify about Jesus, and not about Jehovah. Jehovah, the great "I Am”, Exodus 3:14, appeared in the Person of the Angel of the Lord, the Eternal Son. This is called a theophany. “The great “I Am” came to earth in the Person of the Son, Jesus Christ, John 8:58. Therefore the Holy Spirit will always cause us to honour and glorify the Lord Jesus. He will not cause us to worship with praises to Jehovah, or with “Hallelujahs”. He has put praise within us but often we use that praise in our own human way and not with the way the Holy Spirit would decide. We need to meditate deeply about these thoughts, particularly if they are new to us.
There are words of praise and worship scattered throughout the Epistles of the New Testament. Paul at the close of his letter to the Romans, 16:27, worships with the expression, “to the only wise God be glory for ever through Jesus Christ! Amen”. This is praise to the only Wise God, but it is through Jesus Christ.
Again, his praise in Ephesians 3:20 reads, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen”. “Amen “ means, “I agree”, “Let it be”.
Paul in Romans 11:33-36 gives a Doxology. He applauds the wisdom, knowledge, judgments and paths of God. His mind is not known by anyone and none has been His counsellor, or given to Him to be repaid. He states from and through Him and to Him are all things. Then He finishes with "To Him be the glory forever! Amen". (No Hallelujahs). At the close of his letter to the Romans, 16:27, he worships with “to the only wise God be glory for ever through Jesus Christ! Amen”. This is praise to the only Wise God, but it is through Jesus Christ. A similar thing occurs in Ephesians 3:20.
In Philippians 4:19,20 he says, “And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now to God even our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen." We praise the Father through the Son.
There is no mention of “Jehovah” in the New Testament until the very end. There is no record that even Jesus used the word “Hallelujah” or any of the apostles. The use of “Jehovah” is non-existent. The wonderful Name of the Jehovah of the New Testament is ‘JESUS’. Therefore, why are we using “Hallelujah” so consistently in our churches, evangelistic campaigns, seeking after answers to prayer, healing or the baptism in the Spirit and why is “Hallelujah” made so prominent a cry? Are “Hallelujahs“ as necessary as Pentecostals imply? Saying “Hallelujah” will never bring salvation. The Name of Jesus brings salvation, Acts 4:12. “There is salvation in no one else for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved”.
In December, 2001, we stayed in an area of Madurai. Across the road was a Hindu who prayed for hours to his gods. Every now and then we all heard him say clearly, “Hallelujah”. Obviously, to him it was a mantra to a god added to the ones he worshipped. To hear such a thing was proof enough that the common and loud use of thousands of “Hallelujahs” in Pentecostal churches and in campaigns is condemnatory.
I feel that the reason for the common use of Hallelujahs so widespread in India in particular, are due to the following reasons.
“Hallelujah” is an old Pentecostal form that occurred in the early days of Pentecost. I recollect this from childhood, where faith was absent to a large degree together with a misunderstanding of God’s ways of the Spirit.
Remember those early Pentecostals in the main, had come out of denominational churches, such as Methodist, Holiness, Anglican, and others. The Lord had opened their eyes to the truth of the baptism of the Holy Spirit but they had no idea how to receive. They laboured in prayer, they discarded jewellery, beautiful clothing, gold (including gold watches), so-called worldly vanities, position in life and even careers. This was because of their eager desire for the new experience. To my knowledge, they did not do much fasting.
Those who came out of the Holiness churches in U.S.A. wrongly thought that holiness was something shown by the kind of clothes worn, the lack of adornment (these both concerning women and not men) and that with men it concerned smoking. They failed to see that holiness deserving blessings from God is a state and condition that believers are in only through faith in Christ Jesus, Romans 5:1,2, “Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand.” Holiness of life is the inward working of the sanctifying Spirit continually. It is expressed outwardly in the fruits of the Spirit, as the person walks in the Spirit.
The only thing God requires in clothing is modesty and that obtained at a moderate cost. Concern about requirements of culture or religion are carnal and not what a believer should be following. Jesus said in Luke 12:22,23,30 that we are not to be worrying about clothing, whether we can obtain it or what it is like. Our bodies are more important than concern about clothing as they are the temples of the Holy Ghost. It is worldly to be over concerned about the clothing we ourselves or other believers wear. The Bible does not tell us what colour to wear, what style or how we should do our hair or whether to use moustaches, beards or not.
To follow such things is to be carnal, worldly and often lacking love. It often shows itself in lack of love to other believers when criticism of their clothing, hairdos, jewellery and moustaches is made. The kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Wearing what we think is right clothing will not commend us to God. The discarding of our gold is of no value in God's eyes, unless we possess it excessively and are more concerned with it that anything else. If believers are forced to discard gold etc. the same should apply to houses, education, expensive saris and motor cars all of which can be the objects of worship, covetousness and worldly behaviour.
The infilling of the Spirit is meant to produce, among other things, holiness in life’s attitudes, motives, relationships and lack of worldliness (which is conforming to the world’s system). This holiness is spelt out as fruit of the Spirit, according to Galatians 5:19-21.
The old timers and I myself, “tarried” for the Baptism, saying “Hallelujah”. “Hallelujah” was thought to be the word that would open heaven for them. Many received, eventually, and many used “Hallelujah” to get them in the “right way to receive”. The only right scriptural way to receive, is through faith and/or the supernatural operation of the Gifts of the Spirit in the person ministering. See Galatians 3:14, 2, “might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith”, “Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the Law or by faith?” The person merely has to receive by faith and not work at saying “Hallelujah”.
When Pastors and leaders call forth responses of scores of “Hallelujahs” in the one service in India reminds one of the Mantras said by Hindus in their worship or words called forth in school by the teacher. One must remember, of course, that Asian children from age three learn their lessons out loud and are thus very vocal. In the West, we learn without speaking and often pray silently. However, the saying of “Hallelujah” can never be thought as a magic word. It should never be used mechanically or as a carry-over from the Mantras said by the Hindus.
Mantras are oft repeated, Hindi or Tamil phrases that are meant to bring communication to their gods. From the Mosques, all and sundry hear the Arabic repetitions five times a day, of “Allah Akbar”, regarding their god, who is certainly not the same god as the God of the Jews and the Christians.
Even as Hindus and heathen, together with the Moslems, love to have repetitive expressions so the Pentecostals use them in a similar way, the Old Testament expression of “Hallelujah” in particular. Less often, they use “Praise the Lord”. We believers do not need repetitive words in our worship. We need to be delivered from that Pentecostal tradition in India that appears to ape the heathen and Moslems.
Ephesians 5:18,19 and Colossians 3:16 show us what we should be doing in our meetings. “Be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (songs given by the Holy Spirit and probably messages from the Holy Spirit)” and “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom”. “Be filled” is present continuous tense in Greek and Paul was saying, “Be being (continually) filled with the Spirit”, that always majors on speaking in other tongues. This is according to the emphasis he places on it in 1 Corinthians 14:2,15,18. Should we not take notice of these instructions from Paul who emphasized in Galatians 1:6-9 the importance of the New Testament gospel?
The calling out of “Hallelujah” three times at the end of each meeting goes back to the calling out of “Victory” three times to the Hindu gods at the end of a Temple service. It is noteworthy that the C.S.I. and other churches have enough knowledge not to do such a thing. They are wiser than the Pentecostals in this! The Bible says, “Forgetting those things that are behind”, Philippians 3:13. All are to forget every heathen way. Paul was glad in Philippians 1:15-18 that many “proclaimed Christ” for whatever reason. Why are Pentecostals proclaiming “Praise to Jehovah” instead of proclaiming Christ?
It could be the case that many Pentecostals in their abundant use of “Hallelujah” are dealing with the true God as an idol of their own making. Our heavenly Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ does not require us to offer up repetitious “Hallelujahs”. Therefore to do so is to do it to an idol of one’s own imagination, and not the True God.
Believers in Jesus Christ must be delivered from the habits of heathendom that many times remain in their minds even from childhood repetitious Mantras. This deliverance comes with a repentance or a turning from such ways, and a receiving of a renewed mind to be worked out in this according to Romans 12:1,2. This will happen as they allow the Word of God and the Spirit to make changes in them. Note 1 Corinthians 2:16, “That we have the mind of Christ”.
All believers, including Pentecostals who have this tradition, have been “redeemed from the useless ways handed down by their fathers or their ancestors, with the precious Blood of Christ”, 1 Peter 1:18.
In the early days of Pentecost, even to this day in many places, the prevalent idea omits that clear instruction of the Word of God, as found in Galatians 3:1-6, that they receive the Spirit, not by works of the law (any kind of works or any kind of law) but by faith.
There have been many preachers in the Pentecostal churches who have been educated only a little in government schools. Added to this, they did not read widely and they lacked many times, a theological training. While preaching, they would come to an end of thought and not know what to say.
Therefore, they would merely add, “Hallelujah”, as it filled the gap. Its usage is adhered to by many preachers to this day in some countries but not in the Western world. Now there, they all have had good secular education and thought and words flow, some preachers and song leaders being more articulate than others. However, unfortunately, the lack of knowledge of the Word of God is very apparent.
Pastors who are often eager to see people blessed, substitute the word “Hallelujah” as a means to get people involved, instead of showing them the Bible way and God’s way to become involved enough to touch God through Jesus Christ for themselves.
When seeking the baptism in the Spirit, many have thought that saying “Hallelujah” would give ease to the occurrence of a “tongue change”, in other words, “Hallelujah” would become tongues. I have seen this often over the years. It is a hindrance to the flow of the Spirit in the person. It stops him from having liberty in speaking in other tongues. I have to say that the saying of “Hallelujah” causes people to keep on trying to say it when the Holy Spirit is filling them so that they speak in tongues. The result is they do not come through to a clear tongue language easily. The tongue then indistinctly says “Hallelujah” while it remains garbled with the new words in new tongues. The person should be speaking a clear new language.
The saying of “Hallelujah” in order to receive something from God is works and not faith. Nevertheless, our hearts and lips should be full of praise and to our God, through Jesus Christ.
Preachers who have gone out from the West to other countries to hold large campaigns, and/or their interpreters, I feel, have been largely responsible for inciting crowds of unbelievers and believers (often numbering up to hundreds of thousands) for the mass cry of “Hallelujah”. What their reasons were, I do not know. However, those reasons were obviously not based on the Scriptures. Did the Lord Jesus, Paul or Peter, James or John ever ask a crowd to yell “Hallelujah”?
These assemblies of people are generally in the open and are attended by vast numbers of unbelievers. It is hypocritical to ask these unbelievers to even attempt to say “Hallelujah”, meaning “Praise to Jehovah”, when they do not believe in Him as God. Moreover, they have thus far refused to come to Him through the only Way, who is Jesus Christ. We have even heard a Sikh Political figure shout “Hallelujah” from the platform. They are being encouraged to use the name of Jehovah in vain and are breaking that Commandment, one of the ten God gave Moses.
It is therefore grave error to call upon such kinds of gatherings to shout out “Hallelujah”. Their great need is not to call out with mass exuberance or “rally cry”, but to listen attentively to the gospel and be saved. The gospel is the “power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith”, Romans 1:16.
This habit should be discouraged and should be stopped. Their shouts are not heard by the Lord as the only way He will ever listen to them is if they come through Jesus Christ, and not directly to God Himself. We praise God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Sinners must call upon the Name of Jesus to be saved. Generally it is the children who yell out enthusiastic “Hallelujahs”. The adults generally remain silent unless forced to call it out. Nobody in a meeting should be “forced” to do or say anything. Noticeably, the Pastors sitting in a row on the platforms never call out “Hallelujah”!
There is a lack of scriptural foundation for any of the above practises. God, however, has met the hunger of many hearts, despite wrong ways. Jesus Himself said, “They who hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled”, Matthew 5:6.
Unfortunately, these traits have followed down through to the Pentecostal churches in India, until now, which is about the fifth generation.
In believers' meetings, the Spirit of God would seek to move in such a way that the Gifts of the Spirit operate, the Word is preached inspired by Him and the believers themselves enter into Holy Spirit inspired prayer, praise and worship. Singing hymns and choruses with loud music quite often is not praise or worship. The Bible worship as Jesus said in John 4:24, is "They who worship the Father must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth" and He said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me", John 14:6.
The frequent and incessant of “Hallelujahs” and “Praise the Lords”, as demanded, is a definite hindrance to the exercise o the Gifts of the Spirit listed in 1 Corinthians 12:6-9. All believers should be encouraged to take part in being used by the Spirit to manifest His Gifts, particularly prophecy, tongues and interpretation. Also, songs in the Spirit should be believed for. The rush to fill the time in the meetings with leader’s and believer’s excited words and actions, will leave no opportunity for the Holy Spirit’s manifestation of the Gifts in that particular meeting.
Rather than teach the newcomers into the meetings to say “Hallelujah” over and over a few times (like parrots), it is by far much better to teach them to quietly listen to the preaching. Then when prayers are offered in Tamil or Malayalam, they should be taught to sometimes say, “Amen”. That is what the Bible in 1 Corinthians 14:16 says to do. It does not tell us to say “Hallelujah”.
They should be taught to sometimes speak quietly in other tongues while someone is praying for the whole group. Another thing they can be taught is to quietly wait on the Holy Spirit to inspire each one to offer whatever words He puts into their spirits - such as “I love you Jesus” or “Glory to Him” or “Glory to Jesus” or “Wonderful Jesus” or “Amens”. The parrot-like saying of “Hallelujahs” and “Stotrums (praise the Lord)” is too much like the Mantras and the sayings of the heathen. This is forbidden by the Lord Jesus, in Matthew 6:7 “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words”.
If a congregation in the early days of fire-drenched experience is taught to repeat over and over “Hallelujah” or “Stotrum” it eventually always becomes repetitive, mechanical and not pleasing to the Lord as the years go by. We hear this all over India. It sounds like a Mantra.
Please, in the Name of Jesus, leave the bondage of your traditions. We are redeemed by the Blood of Christ from the traditions handed down to us, 1 Peter 1:18. Be obedient to the Lord. Let Jesus be Lord instead of your traditions, of culture, custom, Orthodoxy or Pentecostalism. With our hearts, our innermost beings, we are to commune with Him.
We do not call up the “Holy Spirit”. The heathen call up spirits or demons all over the world, often by using musical instruments as drums, didgeridoos, or even flutes. We are not heathen. We have been taken out of that darkness into the light of Christ. Let us act like children of the light and not like children of darkness.
However, the wide-spread use of “Hallelujahs” in large Pentecostal Evangelistic crusades appear to be so common that the habit may remain. We should all take note that when the believers are in their own church meeting they are not in such a crusade. The practices used in Crusades are not the same as what the Bible commands for believers’ meetings, particularly in 1 Corinthians 12-14.
If there is a love of having “Hallelujahs” in Crusades to stir people to respond, sobeit. Habits are hard to change. Personally, we will not join in with those "Hallelujahs". The strange thing all over India is that it is mainly the children, some adults and not Pastors sitting on the platform who join in with the "Hallelujahs". Different races have different emotions and responses. We should be in the Spirit and not in the soul or carnal nature. But let us remember that in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven”, “a time to keep silence and a time to speak”. The church Sunday morning service, the prayer meetings and other activities in the church are different “matters under heaven” and have “a time to keep silence and a time to speak”.
Some say that preachers who invite their congregations to call out “Hallelujah “ every now and then during their sermons do so to “keep the people awake”. In Australia, levity, joking, flippancy, stupidity even and smart talk are used – contrary to Ephesians 5:4. If they are not awake and attentive, such action will never alter a crowd’s response to preaching, whether by attention or acceptance. May I suggest that the preacher needs to preach in a more interesting, scriptural and anointed way to hold attention! As a matter of fact, such interspersing calls of “Hallelujah” can only have the effect of causing preacher and people to lose the thread of thought. We are not there to excite the crowd or entertain them, despite modern and western ideas that such should be the case. If we are preaching in the power of the Holy Spirit, the crowd will always listen attentively. Often, they will sit there not moving and with eyes glued on the speaker, despite the necessity of translation from English into the Indian language.
The calling out of “Hallelujah” in meetings so that all the people will then shout “Hallelujah” sounds just like a rallying call that is used by men going into battle. We are not there to go into a spiritual battle. We are in the meeting because the battle was won by Jesus Christ on our behalf on the cross of Calvary.
It almost becomes a programmed response that must be admitted, many seem to enjoy. We should understand that Pentecostalism is not saying “Hallelujah”. It is doing what the believers did on the Day of Pentecost. It is speaking in tongues. To be Pentecostal is to pray in other tongues.
We should be “calling on the Name of Jesus”. This is what Paul remarked in one of his letters, “with those in every place (church) who call upon His name (the name of Jesus)”.
It is made clear in 1 Corinthians 1:2 what the call or shout of the believers was. It says, “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours”. As the angel told Joseph before the baby was born “His name shall be called ‘Jesus’.” Let us use that wonderful name of “Jesus” often.
Many of the saints (Ephesians 1:1, “called to be saints”) in all the churches of the New Testament had come out of heathendom. They were expected to mature in Christ. They were Spirit filled and their churches followed the Spirit. Believers today from similar backgrounds are well able to follow the Spirit. The Holy Spirit Himself will inspire them in their worship, if they are so taught.
Very often the saying of “Hallelujahs” by people and churches keeps them out of the fullness of the Spirit and the mighty anointing and operation of the Spirit in their meetings. Where, one may ask, are the continuing manifestations of the Spirit, as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11? I have even known those who have sought the baptism up to sixty years, without success, often say “Hallelujah”, and mean it, but they could not speak in tongues. I laid hands on such a pentecostal from Ceylon Pentecostal Mission. After sixty years he spoke in tongues.
Many think “Hallelujah” is a heavenly word. It is not so, as it is an earthly word, coming from the Hebrew language. Worship now must be in the Spirit, John 4:24, and it cannot be said that the mere mentions of “Hallelujahs” fulfils such a requirement by the Lord.
Some would say that because in heaven, Revelation 19:1 “Hallelujah” is said, it is a heavenly word. That is not so. Consider the praise mentioned in Revelation 5:9,10. In the English Bible, it is “They sing a new song, ‘You are worthy … for you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men from . You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God”. This is in heaven. Does that make it heavenly language? In the Tamil Bible it is in Tamil, in Kerala, Malayalam and it is used as the mother tongue in every different nation’s language used in their Bible. These words of heaven are not “heavenly” but “earthly”. In the same way, “Hallelujah” is not “heavenly” but “earthly”.
When believers (mainly in the Pentecostal churches here) mechanically repeat "Hallelujah” over and over, it is valueless. Jesus said in Matthew 6:7, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him”.
In other words, He commands us not to pray in a manner that sounds like the Mantras of the heathen. There is always a tendency for those who were heathen, to bring into their Christian living the habits of their past paganism. Thus we can have the repetitive repetition of “Hallelujah” so often heard. That mechanical repetition does not go to the Lord. He looks at the heart.
We all are to receive by faith, and not by works or prayers. We receive as we pray in faith.
Many times the repetitive “Hallelujahs” leave the believers and meeting so taken up with the “Hallelujahs” that most fail to acknowledge the personal, vital, knowledgeable Presence of Jesus Who wants to touch and speak to each one individually and collectively. They miss the moving of the Spirit of Jesus and the deep things He would like to do for them. It is far more important to have Jesus Christ communing with them and they with Him than to be saying “Hallelujah”. He said, “Where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of you”.
One spiritual worship is to be that found in Romans 12:1, “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God which is your spiritual worship”. To obey that is far more God’s requirement at worship than mere repetitive “Hallelujahs”. Most times the “Hallelujahs” or “Praise the Lord” fail to show forth the wonderful, mighty, awesome and gracious Presence of the Holy Spirit as He would move and operate according to His will.
We are also, “Through Jesus to continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips that confess his name (the name of Jesus)”, Hebrews 13:16. As Ephesians 5:18-20 exhorts us to “Be filled with the Spirit... speaking... with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (of the Spirit)... always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”.
From all of the above, we note that the Name “Jesus” is to be exalted, worshipped, prayed in and praised.
Let us refuse to follow traditions, customs and habits but rather to obey and follow the Word of God.
According to 1 Corinthians 14:16, believers in meetings should be saying many “Amens”, as the Scripture says, “say Amen’ to your (another believer's) thanksgiving”. We are to hear what the Spirit says to the churches, and not our traditions. The great words of praise in Revelation 1:5,6 as stated by John are such as we should be using - “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father - to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen”.
The Spirit within us is to well up within us into wonderful words of praise and thanksgiving. It is the Spirit who should be leading us in meetings and not calls to yell out “Hallelujah” or “Praise the Lord”.
As “Hallelujah” means “Praise to Jehovah”, Whom we now speak of as “The Father Who is in Heaven”, it does not seem to be appropriate to be using this term of praise scores of times in a meeting. In John 5:22,23 says that “The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, so that all may honour the Son just as they honour the Father. Anyone who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent him”.
Jesus Christ the Son is to be honoured, adored and worshipped as much as if not more than the Father. Therefore, Pentecostals should be shouting praises to Jesus rather than to Jehovah. We now know Jehovah as the Father. We pray to “Our Father” and not to Jehovah.
The desire to express themselves to God in services in India, in worship, praise and prayer is most commendable and wonderful. What a pity that at least half their shouts do not say “Praise to Jesus” as well as “Praise to Jehovah (Hallelujah)”. What a tragedy that they know little of the manifestations of the Spirit and the Gifts of the Spirit in their meetings. Added to praise should be worship in the Spirit, according to John 4:24. Such worship is very rare indeed.
There is such a thing as a religious spirit. This occurs often in churches and replaces the Spirit of God with human efforts and ways. A religious spirit in a meeting will stubbornly refuse to yield to the moving of the Spirit of God and believers will yield to a sense of religious singing or praying. In Acts 17:23, 24, the apostle Paul in Athens, said to the people, “I observe that you are very religious in all respects. For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god’.” The Amplified English versions adds to “very religious”, “very reverent to demons”. A religious spirit has as its source in the human soul that is carnal and earthly. James 3:15 reveals to believers that there can be demonic influence amongst them. It says, “This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic”.
Once in New Zealand there was a church that had received the teaching of Witness Lee, ex-worker with Watchman Nee. His teaching was that in meetings, believers would arise one by one and confess “Jesus is Lord”. We heard one pastor’s wife, who before this had always been silent in meetings, making this confession. To our horror, she said in a high-pitched voice, the tone of a Chinese, “Jesus is Lord”. Pastors who heard recognised it as a religious spirit that these people were allowing.
Often when we hear “Hallelujahs” or “Praise the Lords” here as people are introduced to us, we can only think in a similar way to those Pastors above. It sounds often to us like a religious spirit, that believers have succumbed to in their greetings of “Praise the Lord”, repeatedly said with an enforced manner. Sometimes it seems as if they are trying to force us to respond with “Praise the Lord”. This is not the Spirit of God. It is done with a sense of traditionally following the prescribed Pentecostal religious way.
Pentecostals and indeed all believers, are to “walk in the Spirit” and not in any other kind of spirit.
Throughout the Epistles and all the way through the book of the Acts, it is Jesus Christ Himself who is the central Figure.
In the New Testament, the revelation is clear that we are to call upon the Name of Jesus for salvation, pray to the Father in the Name of Jesus, heal the sick in the name of Jesus, raise the dead and cast out devils in the Name of Jesus. We are to approach the throne of grace only through Jesus. Jesus Christ is the Way, the only Way to God the Father. Jesus taught His disciples to pray to “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name”, as in Matthew 6:9.
The Jehovah of the Old Testament to us is now our Father in heaven and we are His children. This is further disclosed in 1 John 3:1, in the words, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”
There will come a time when it is very appropriate to shout “Hallelujah”, “Praise to Jehovah” That will be the time revealed in the book of Revelation, chapter 19. This will be at the end of the world, after the world’s system has fallen down, disclosed in Revelation 17 and 18.
Then, according to 1 Corinthians 15:22-27, after the second coming and the resurrection of the dead in Christ, “The end will come, when he (Christ) hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death”.
A great historical event will take place, as found verses 27 and 28, “Now when it says that ‘everything’ has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all”.
Revelation 19 shows the scene in heaven when this takes place. The wedding of the Lamb has come, verse 7, and the saints in their purity are given to Christ, the Bride-groom. This is after death is vanquished for ever, the resurrection of the saints has occurred and they have been translated to heaven.
This is when the Kingdom of Christ has been handed over to the Father, according to 1 Corinthians 15. It is most appropriate then for all the saints (not unbelievers) to be shouting, “Hallelujah”. This first use of “Hallelujah” in the New Testament occurs in Revelation 19:2,3, where the multitude in heaven shouts, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God’. These “Hallelujahs” are shouted at the judgments of God. Those judgements of God have not yet taken place. Those judgements of God are for the future and then it will be appropriate for the church to shout “Hallelujah”. "The nuptial song shall be one ceaseless Hallelujah". What glory that will be for the Bride of Christ at this the wedding of the Lamb.
“Praise our God, all you his servants”, and in verse 6, “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns”. It is clearly stated that He who reigns over all is God Almighty, and this is said in Corinthians to occur after Christ hands over the Kingdom to the Father. Verse 10 is most explicit. The Angel told John who was one of those who held to the testimony of Jesus, “Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”.
In Philippians 2:9-11, God “gave him the name that is above every name so that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”. The name of Jesus will be declared as Jehovah. The Jehovah of the Old Testament is the Jesus of the New Testament. Now, in this age, the Name to be used is “Jesus”.
Ephesians 1:2 extends grace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Revelation 12:10 refers to “the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Messiah”. In chapter 1:8 there is the declaration, “’I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty”. Chapter 22:12,13,16 make clear that it is Jesus.
In Revelation 19:7, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult, and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself read”. Then all of heaven including the redeemed will give resounding “Hallelujahs” because Jesus will have received His church to Himself and will be magnified as “the Lord our God, the Almighty reigns”. They say “Hallelujah” at the overthrow of the wicked.
The wicked have not yet been overthrown. We live in a world in which the great majority of people are in the class of “the wicked”. Why are we saying so many “Hallelujahs” when they are not yet overthrown? Should we not be praising the Lord Jesus who is given unto us as “Saviour and Redeemer”?
From all of the above, we note that now in the church, the Name “Jesus” is to be exalted, worshipped, prayed in and praised.
Let us refuse to follow traditions, customs and habits but rather to obey and follow the Word of God. No man can come to the Father except through Jesus and not through Hallelujah. Jesus said in John 16:23,26, “”Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you” and “On that day you will ask in My Name”.
According to Hebrews 10:19,20, “we have confidence to enter the sanctuary (in heaven) by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh)”. We are never told that the way into the presence of God is by saying repetitive “Hallelujahs”. It is by the blood of Jesus and in the Name of Jesus. Once in that Presence, so opened for us, we pray, we sing songs of the Spirit, we praise the Lord, we worship Him who died for us and we pray, sing, intercede and worship in other tongues. Another strange thing is that no mention of using musical instruments or congregational singing is made in the New Testament churches. Are we worshipping the music and the pleasure it brings to some, rather than getting into the Spirit? The rock music and contemporary style of music in Western Pentecostal and Charismatic churches is to be condemned as worldly, having a demonic base and an insult to the reverence we should give to the Lord.
According to 1 Corinthians 14:16, believers in meetings should be saying many “Amens”, as the Scripture says, “say Amen’ to your thanksgiving”. We are to hear what the Spirit says to the churches, and not our traditions.
In the Psalms it says that “God dwells in the midst of praise”. The book of Psalms is full of praise. These Psalms were written to be sung by choirs in David’s Tabernacle. Praise belongs to God.
Now under the New Covenant has come a greater revelation and a greater Tabernacle. We are part of the Tabernacle Who came down from heaven to earth and “tabernacled” among us, as in John 1:14. He is the head of the body of many members, as the Scripture says, “For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body though they are many are one body, so also is Christ”, 1 Corinthians 12:12-14. “You are the temple of the living God”, 2 Corinthians 6:16. In 1 Peter 2:9, the Spirit of God says, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light”.
This is a far higher realm than that of David’s Tabernacle, with the Presence of God within us by His Spirit, instead of as formerly, “in the midst of the praises of the musicians.” He dwells now, not in the praises of His Old Covenant people, but in the church of Jesus Christ. This church comprises those who are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and particularly those who are filled with the Holy Ghost. Such are the Temple of the Living God and the dwelling place of God.
In the Church, the Spirit of God is to be the One who moves in and through us, whether in praise, worship (a much higher form of praise, John 4:24), testimony, revelation, the Word of God and the nine gifts of the Spirit according to their operation as set out in 1 Corinthians chapters 12 through 13 (exercising love in their manifestation) and 14.
By the Spirit of God, now in the church instead of as in David’s Tabernacle, we are to proclaim by the Spirit the wonderful works of God. In Philippians 1:20, Paul wants Christ to be “exalted in my body”, which is a kind of praise to the Lord. “To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen”, is a form of praise. “To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen“, are other means of praise. These are at the end of each of the Epistles of Peter. In everything we are to give “Thanks”, i.e. a “Thank you” to the Great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Most of the thousands of “Hallelujahs” said in this country are what is called “learned behaviour”. They come from the mind and the soul. Much is copied and is said because others do so. Often they are said because people are incited or pressed into saying them out loud. We are to offer the sacrifice of praise to God. This sacrifice is through Jesus Christ our High Priest. It is to be always by the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God does not inspire “learned behaviour”. It is to come from the spirit as a result of the Spirit’s working within. It is to be spontaneous and not learned, commanded or as a result of pressure on people.
The Spirit has come to glorify Jesus. Let us be inspired in our spirits by the Holy Spirit to offer words and expressions of praise in our own language and in other languages. Whatever the Holy Spirit inspires us to say from our spirits, is what we should be offering as praise to God. We have been brought into the operation of the Holy Spirit and not into habit, rituals, form or legalism. They generally are from man and if so do not have the Holy Spirit as the Source. Often believers become under bondage perhaps even to Satan if they do not follow the Spirit. Legalism is of the devil, “The elemental spirits of the universe”, Colossians 2:20, were holding many Colossians in bondage. Paul says we have died to them.
Let us also sing prophetic songs of worship, adoration, exhortation and praise to the Lord in the form of songs in the Spirit of God. This can be songs in other tongues by the Spirit and translated into our own tongue through the Spirit in song. It can also be a song inspired by the Holy Spirit and sung in ones own tongue, in private prayer or in the congregation. These are not songs from the hymn book or previously sung.
We should realise the marvel and wonder of the fact that we are now, the temple of the Living God. This is a greater experience and revelation than they enjoyed in David’s time. We are to live in the New Testament order of what God gives us now. We have far more than a Tabernacle of David and choirs singing Psalms to God amongst the Old Testament order of worship. During that time, the people were bringing sacrifices of animals to cover their sins. Now our sins are washed away by the Blood of the atonement made by Jesus Christ. Our consciences have been “cleansed from dead works to serve the Living God”, Hebrews 9:14. Why do we wish to stay under the Old Covenant provisions of worship?
Our God-given order is, as in Ephesians 2:20-22, “You are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Moses, David, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel and all the others), with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. The whole structure is harmoniously bonded together in Him, and is growing in the Lord to become a holy sanctuary for God, and in Him you are all being built together as a home where God lives by His Spirit”.
The cornerstone is the most important part. It is Jesus Christ who has shown us a new way in the New Testament. This is far more glorious than what they enjoyed under David.
We are to be “continually filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs”, Ephesians 5:19,20, “always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God even the Father”. We should obey these two verses, rather than be forever saying (and often mechanically), the usual Pentecostal expressions following our traditions. The psalms and hymns could be parts of the Word of God and spiritual songs could be songs given at that time by the Spirit, to individuals. Note it is "to one another".
The History of the Church for the first 100 years records that the assemblies of the saints observed prayer, singing (with no mention of musical instruments, albeit loud ones), preaching, communion, baptism by immersion and congregational prayer in other tongues and singing in other tongues. We all operate in a manner much lower in spirit than that of that early church.
The great words of praise in Revelation 1:5,6 as stated by John are such as we should be using to and for the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father - to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen”.
We should be worshipping and praising the Lord in other tongues and in the words of our own language from the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 14:15, points this out, “I will pray with the spirit but I will pray with the mind also; I will sing praise with the spirit but I will sing praise with the mind also”.
1 Corinthians 14:22 shows “Tongues, then, are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers”. One translation states Tongues are a warning to unbelievers. Another translation reveals that Tongues are meant to interest the unbelievers. How many unbelievers coming to our churches and meetings hear pure, lengthy, clear, ecstatic and well spoken other tongues? We may well ask ourselves that question. The negative answers should shock us into obedience to the Word of God.
1 Corinthians 11:16-34, through chapters 12, 13 and 14 point the way to how our meetings should be conducted. Most, sadly, fail to understand them, let alone practise them. Awake, O saints! Awake, O church, to your calling in Christ Jesus.
Webster’s English Dictionary in its list of new words added to the present edition, includes words describing the Pentecostals and Charismatics as “clappy-happy”. Is that all that is expressed to the world by such Christians?
A Pentecostal (or Charismatic) according to the Bible, is not one who continually says, “Hallelujah”, claps his hands or jumps and makes a loud noise.
I have been to eleven countries and had fellowship with believers from Africa, a few more countries. The rampant use of "Hallelujah" does not exist in those places. The word is not commonly used.
A Pentecostal is one who is saved through the Name of Jesus, being washed in the Blood of Jesus, baptised in water, living a holy life and particularly one who speaks often in other tongues. He follows the traditions of the Epistles and the ideas of church services set out in 1 Corinthians 11 to 14. That is what the Bible presents. What the Bible shows a believer to be is never one who is forever saying “Hallelujah”.
In the New Testament there are just “saints” who were never called Pentecostals, even though they were Pentecostal as we know it, in life and action. Acts 2:4 being a happening on the Day of Pentecost, has given the name “Pentecostal” to those of like experience, i.e. who speak in other tongues. This is to result in witnessing by all and bringing souls to Jesus Christ. As well the Church is meant to act like they did in the Book of Acts, the Epistles and mainly in 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14.
We are exhorted to give praise to God, not to Jehovah, as in Hallelu-jah (Jehovah). Hebrews 13:12,15 makes this plain. "Jesus also suffered outside the city gate in order to sanctify the people by his own blood." "Through him (Jesus), then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is the fruit of lips that confess his name (Jesus)". Jah in "Hallelu-jah" is not "God" (as a mention) and the name, "Jesus" is not in "Hallelu-jah". "Hallelu-jah" continually, is a "Witness to Jehovah", not Jesus! We are Jesus' Witnesses, not Jehovah Witnesses!
In Galatians 6:14, Paul says, "May I never boast or glory of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ". We must follow him and obey this verse. All the Hallelujahs in India are not boasting in or glorying the cross of Christ. They are ignoring the foundation of our salvation, i.e. the cross of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The Spirit spoke by Paul to the church. As our Lord says in Revelation 2 and 3, "Hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches". He says to boast of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. He never advises or commands us to be saying any "Hallelujah" let alone hundreds in many a service in this country. Again He says to you, "Hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches". Listen and obey.