in the NIV, occurs only here in the entire Bible. Other translations have it in the Old
Testament, but all agree that this is its only location in the New
Testament. This passage is the source
of Handel’s famous “Hallelujah Chorus.”
The word itself is a composite one, “Hallel + Jah (short for Jahweh)”
or “Praise the Lord.”
|Who, then, so
praises the Lord?
|• a multitude, at the
beginning and end. Some commentators
see angels in the first and the saints in the second.
|• then the elders and
four living creatures, getting closer to the throne.
|• then a voice from
the throne itself, echoed by the multitude again.
is this: the elders, the voice, the
four living creatures echo the hallelujah;
only the multitude says why.
|Why: There are three categories of why God
should be praised, and it is good for us to examine them:
|• There are his attributes. Aquinas assures us that God is his
attributes, and these attributes are great:
Salvation (for which we should be grateful); glory (in which we should
be awestruck) and power (which is unlimited)
|• There are his judgments. Only God can judge righteously, for only He
|- can see the heart and know the intent
|- is pure and therefore unprejudiced
|- has the wisdom to know the right judgment,
and the power to enforce it.
|• Finally, because he
is omnipotent, and he reigns. It may
not have been clear to all before this -- but it is now.
|Worthy to be
praised: Have you ever noticed
that a goodly part of the Psalms which praise God do so by commanding others
-- even rocks and trees -- to praise Him?
Perhaps this seems odd to us because we have lost the concept that
anything is worthy -- intrinsically -- of praise. We have become like Oscar Wilde’s
cynic: we know the price of everything
-- and the value of nothing.