“adonai Tsvaot” (hebrew Insight)

The Hebrew Adonai Tsvaot (יְהוָ֣ה צְבָא֑וֹת) has been used differently in different contexts. For example, in “A Mighty Fortress is our God” hymn in old, but still comprehensible English, the translator of the original German version in referring to the same idea has:

“Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.”

I once heard in a church service stated that the worshipers have no reason to be confused – the Lord Sabaoth simply refers to the Lord of the Sabbath! (Nothing can be further from the truth of course as we will see momentarily).

In Isaiah 6 we read that the great prophet heard angels call out to each other:  “Holy, Holy, Holy is Adodai Tsvaot!” (קָד֛וֹשׁ קָד֖וֹשׁ יְהוָ֣ה צְבָא֑וֹת)

The last two words make up a phrase “Adonai Tsvaot” – “Lord God Almighty, the Lord of Hosts or Lord Sabbaoth” as it is sometimes translated. The very last word is “tsvaot” (צְבָא֑וֹת). The word “tsava” (צְבָא֑) means “army” and together with the plural feminine ending “ot” (ֹוֹת) we get “of the Armies.” More literal translation, therefore, is “Lord of the Armies”.

Nothing illustrates this use better than the example of Joshua meeting the ultimate Messenger of the LORD in Joshua 5. When Joshua first sow this Great Warrior, he inquired if he was for “them” or for their enemies. The answer he got was – no.

Not letting Joshua wonder too long the Heavenly Warrior added, “for I have come as the Commander of the Army of the LORD.” (לֹ֗א כִּ֛י אֲנִ֥י שַׂר־צְבָֽא־יְהוָ֖ה עַתָּ֣ה בָ֑אתִי).

Israel’s God is not satisfied with assisting Israel’s army (fighting on her side). He will lead Israel into battle Himself.

Joshua immediately understood to whom he was talking. He fell face down and quickly took of his shoes as Moses did before him at the sight of God in the burning bush for the place upon which his feet stood was holy.

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  1. Kat

    Ramon, was your comment to me? My focus was on three words Lord, Sabbath, Rest. I was not challenging whether Jesus is God (highly debated too), but questioning what He is Lord of to determine when He is Lord.

  2. Kat

    gustavo, I trust JESUS with my circumstances (2 Tim 1:12). I see my comment posted in the wrong place. This has been very helpful to improve my vocabulary 🙂 If I understand correctly, Adonai Tsvaot (Jesus) is my Commander when I enter His rest.

  3. Ramon Sanchez

    Web Joshua tales to the warrior in his front, he referís to him as my Lord. In biblical terms, this reference means God. It has been subject of thousands of pages the is due of the understanding of the various writers as who was the personification of God of when was God actually communicating directly. Thus, The Lord, the angel of The Lord,

  4. gustavo vargas angel

    Do not worry, Jesus has dead once , in flesh and blood, but His Spirit lives for ever in us, giving us new hope each day, thence, forget the paganics rites about death and resurrection yearly , that means nothing( excepting money in the bag).

  5. kat

    Perhaps I would use Jesus more in my dialogue if I saw the Festival of the First Fruits, rather than watching Jesus die each year.

    1. Cathy Arvin

      Kat, that is a great idea. Not only in the first fruits but in the Passover. He is in all the feasts. Jesus said to remember him when we do the Passover each year. (Do this in remembrance of Me.” Israel did not have to do anything to get out of Egypt except to put their faith in the blood of the lamb. Afterwards, G-d invites them into a covenant

  6. John Yarde

    What is wrong with Christian worshipping on Sundays. Are Christian obligated to the particles of Jewish festivals and belief system.

    1. Cathy Arvin

      John, read Ephesians chapter 2, Paul says that all believers who are in Christ are now fellow citizens, members of Israel. G-d never changed Sabbath – the church has no right to do so. We are told “If you Love Me Keep my Commandments.” So the Sabbath as well as the rest of the festivals are G-d’s appointed times to meet with Israel, all of Israel!

  7. gustavo vargas angel

    mine too, in this way, I am trying to do the best I understand. If you prefer, send me your personal e-mail, for a larger chat and a better understanding. This is your choice,anyway. Best for you.
    PD.: Daniel has my e-mail, by the way.

  8. gustavo vargas angel

    Shalom Kat, At first, Jesus was introduced to me by the reading of the Bible(however I had hear about, almost as a secret) and there began the wish to know, not much at beggining, some more after the years; Nowadays, HE(I think &expect) rules my whole acts. And like your, my call is in Old Testament as I said before, there is your job to do, and

  9. Kat

    Gustavo Shalom , At first God was not introduced to me by Jesus because the gospel I heard divided me into past and present. I ask Jesus to join me at a place in time- now (forgiveness). I recognized God when I ask Jesus to be the Commander of all of my life.. This would now include my past mindset of keeping the commandments. Adonai Tsvaot

  10. gustavo vargas angel

    …….Kat… of the Lord of all the things, the biggest and smallest, shall be accomplished. After that, you must await. Best for you.