Yahweh of Hosts
This is a somewhat similar title to the foregoing, except that it depicts the
Elohim in a particular phase of their work. Sometimes it is given in the longer
form Yahweh Elohim of hosts, whilst in other instances we have Elohim of hosts.
The word rendered hosts is sabaoth, which comes from a root meaning to mass,
whether it be an army or servants, but particularly the former. It is defined as
a mass of persons, especially regiments organised for war; and it is constantly
associated with such an idea when it is used in relation to God. Although this
is contrary to the usual ideas of God current in the world, it presents no
difficulty where the Truth is understood. “Yahweh is a man of war; Yahweh is His
name” (Exod. xv. 3). His warfare in the future will be accomplished by His
agents, the Elohim. In the past the angelic hosts have been used by Him in such
ways. They now encamp (as a military host) around them that fear Him, and
deliver them (Psa. xxxiv. 7). One of them described himself as the Captain of
Yahweh’s host (Josh. v. 14). The future will see other, and greater,
illustrations when Yahweh “shall go forth and fight against the nations as when
He fought in the day of battle.”
The first occurrence of this title is 1 Sam. i. 3 and 11 in connection with the birth of Samuel. Although Samuel was to be a prophet his work was that of saving Israel from the hands of the Philistines. Thus it is recorded, “So the Philistines were subdued, and they came no more into the coast of Israel; and the hand of Yahweh was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel (1 Sam. vii. 13). The next reference is in the same book where the Philistines having invaded the land, Israel sent for “the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts ” (chap. iv. 4). The object in view was that they should be victorious in battle; hence the reference to Yahweh of hosts is in full accord with the circumstances. In the days of David, the warrior king, the title is of frequent occurrence. It was used by David in his conflict with Goliath (1 Sam. xvii. 45). It was also used when God made a covenant with him (2 Sam. vii. 8, 1 Chron. xvii. 7). In the Psalms it is Yahweh of hosts who is to deliver Jerusalem (Psa. xxiv). It is Yahweh of hosts who is referred to in association with the time when the heathen shall rage and the kingdoms be moved (Psa. xlvi.). Jerusalem is His city (Psa. xlviii. 8). An interesting illustration of the use of the title is found in the prophecy of Haggai, where it occurs fourteen times in two chapters, five times in the first and nine in the second. The subject matter of the prophecy will explain the frequent usage. “I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations and I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations” (Hag. ii. 6, 7 and 22). It is the work of the saints in the post-resurrectional epoch in the time when the kings of the earth shall make war with the Lamb. Then the saints as the Elohim of hosts in the Yahweh name will constitute “the armies of the heaven” following the Word of God (Rev. xvii. and xix.).
The indications already supplied will enable readers to decide which form of the name and title is used when the addition “of hosts” occurs.