Please don't be offended by the title of this blog post. It is not intended to be a witty or clever way to gain your attention. Rather, it is a very real question that must be asked in light of the condition of the world under the stewardship of Christians and "the Church". Let me explain.
Any serious student of the Bible knows that names are important; they have meaning and power, and are prophetic. The name Abram means "exalted [or high] father", but God changed his name to Abraham, which means "father of many". The name Daniel contains "el", generic for god, but means "God is my judge", indicating that the God who revealed himself to the Israelites is Daniel's judge. Again, that same God is revealed in the name of Elijah, [containing both "el" and "jah", or "yah", a shortened version of Yahweh], and means "My God is Yahweh".
In the same way, God reveals His character and how He wants to be perceived and experienced through the names He goes by. And He is known by many names in the Bible. But when Moses asked Him [in the burning bush] who he should say sent him to the Israelites, the answer was, "I am has sent you". From that moment a tradition was born that His name was too sacred and divine to be uttered. So YHWH, [or Yahweh, or Jehovah] became the accepted name for God, speaking of His immediacy and His presence. It appears in the Bible over 6500 times according to the Jesus Film Project, an organization founded by Campus for Crusade founder Bill Bright.
I honestly don't know the exact number of names for God in the Bible, but I see over 20, and the ones we are most familiar with include Jehovah [Lord], Adonai, [Lord, Master], El Shaddai [The Lord Almighty] and Jehovah Shalom [The Lord is Peace]. But there is another name that is important to remember and know. It is Jehovah Sabaoth, or The Lord of Hosts. This is the character of God that we most desperately need to recognize in today's world environment.
The word Sabaoth is translated "hosts" or "armies". In its most literal sense, it means “horde.” The name Jehovah Sabaoth designates God as the commander of the armies of the earth, the stars
in the heaven, and invisible heavenly angels. Ultimately, all things,
both seen and unseen, are under His command. Another accepted translation is "The Lord of Armies". This name denotes His universal sovereignty over every army, both
spiritual and earthly. The Lord of Hosts is the king of all heaven and
In 1 Samuel 17:45, David recognized Him .... David said to the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD of Hosts [Jehovah Sabaoth], the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. He appears again in Isaiah 3:15, What do you mean by crushing My people And grinding the face of the poor? Declares the Lord God of hosts, and in Jeremiah 48:1, Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel,
“Woe (judgment is coming) to [the city of] Nebo, for it has been destroyed! Kiriathaim has been shamed, it has been captured; Misgab [the high fortress] has been shamed, broken down and crushed. And Psalm 24:10 provides a clear picture of Jehovah Sabaoth: You ask, “Who is this King of Glory?” He is the Lord of Victory, armed and ready for battle, the Mighty One, the invincible commander of heaven’s hosts! Yes, he is the King of Glory! This is our powerful God!
In all, various Bible scholars note the name Jehovah Sabaoth, the LORD of Hosts, appears approximately 276-295 times in Scripture -- nearly 10 times more than any other name. Author and founder of In Christ's Image Ministry, Francis Frangipane says, "From the sheer number of references alone, we see that 'the Lord of Hosts' [or the God of Armies] is the revelation of the God Most High most frequently demonstrated to mankind in the Bible". Author Dean Briggs states, "Lord Sabaoth paints God in the bold military colors of a divine warrior ... He is a real and present threat to evil expressed in the ascendancy of justice, righteousness, truth and salvation."
Yet many of our Bible translations substitute "Lord Almighty" [NIV, for instance] for "Lord of Hosts [Armies]" and we lose the sense of Him as our Commander in our spiritual battles. The Israelites certainly saw Him this way when He destroyed Pharoah's army at the Red Sea. Elisha's servant certainly understood who He was when the LORD of Hosts opened his eyes and he saw that the mountain was full of "horses and chariots of fire".
Throughout the Bible God reveals Himself as a warrior; a champion who wars on behalf of His people to dethrone other nations and their gods. Jehovah Sabaoth fights to destroy earthly kingdoms and strongholds, and to restore justice for all those under the oppression of the god of this world, Satan. So He fights on behalf of us as a loving God who wages war against our Enemy. His warfare is an expression of His love and His covenant with us.
Yet, if He is the Commander of Heaven's army, and our Commander in our spiritual battles, shouldn't we be fighting alongside Him as Believers, striking fear in the heart of those who serve Satan? After all, we are the living army of God! Shouldn't the kings of this earth dread our prayers to the Lord of Hosts and fear our service to Him? And if we're not, what is the problem?
Can you agree with me that we live in a society of "political correctness"? As followers of Christ, we have made no real impact on the cultural battlefield. We can't even claim we've won the battle in our church buildings! How many denominations won't take a stand against abortion, homosexuality, corruption in politics, or the deterioration of the family unit and marriage? Have we forgotten our Commander's battle cry? Those who put forth Satan's agenda on abortion, sexual perversion, sexual confusion, and all other ungodly strategies have rendered us nearly impotent in the war for righteousness and justice. We don't fight back in the arena of public opinion because we're only supposed to exhibit God's loving traits, isn't that right?
The men of the Old Testament were called "valient men", "valient warriors" and often depicted as "arrayed for battle". Lord Sabaoth told them to go to war! Yet, we of the New Testament covenant somehow think that the God who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow -- the God who never changes -- has somehow changed! No! Jesus came, as God, to increase YHWH's government on the earth. He came to conquer "the works of the devil" on behalf of the powerless. James 5:4 tells us, Listen! Can’t you hear the cries of the laborers over the wages you fraudulently held back from those who worked for you? The cries for justice of those you’ve cheated have reached the ears of the Lord of armies! Jesus came as Lord Sabaoth to wage war on Satan, and to defend those who have no power of their own [no reputation, no rights, and no recourse] in the hope of restoring justice and peace to the earth.
But what is our role? There is a time to stand up and to fight alongside Lord Sabaoth's angelic army to defeat the hordes of Satan's army. Seeking peace from an Enemy who doesn't know the meaning of that word will only lead to slaughter. As author Dean Briggs writes in Ekklesia Rising, "Don't be fooled. The promise of peace will not occur by robbing God's victorious army of its weapons... Lord Sabaoth does not emasculate His people to achieve peace. He empowers them. We must avoid human sentimentality in our conception of God's shalom. Peace is not some gauzy, idealized pacifist notion where everybody mutually agrees to lay down arms. Don't kid yourself. Satan will never have an ounce of restraint, kindness, or due process. He must be forcibly restrained."
Jesus came to restore dominion of the earth back to man, and I can guarantee you Satan won't give it up without a fight! We must realize that we have the full resource of Heaven's army at our disposal. Jesus told us to "Occupy" until He comes. That means we have to be in full battle mode, with our spiritual armor on, and ready to defeat all his weapons of war: tyranny, cruelty, trafficking, murder, pornography, war, famine, and disease. We must listen with an alert spirit for His commands and strategies, and battle plans. It's time we hearken to the voice of Lord Sabaoth! We've abandoned the battlefield for too long, and our nation and the world is paying the price. The prophet Micah tells us "the mountain of the house of the Lord" will be established in the latter days. Lord Sabaoth will reign supreme and we shall never again have to train for war. Until then, we must occupy!
Micah 4:4 Each of them shall sit [in security and peace] under his vine and under his fig tree, with no one to make them afraid, for the mouth of the [omnipotent] Lord of hosts has spoken it.