If you go to Google and type in the word “hallelujah” you will get 29,100,000 returns. That is a very strange phenomenon for a word that is not in the Bible one single time. Yep, that's right; it's not in there. And yet there are almost thirty million mentions of it on the Internet. If you are a Christian, you are probably doubting that it is not in the Bible. So go see for yourself. The first time we even see the two Hebrew words that make up that saying is in Psalm 104:34:
“Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the LORD, O my soul. Praise ye the LORD.”
Those two words that comprise the saying praise the Lord are where we get the saying Hallelujah. But if it isn't in the Bible, where did we get it? And why do so many Christians say it? That answer comes from the New Testament. When John was taking his tour of heaven in the book of Revelation, he heard people saying that word. In fact, lots of people. And he wrote that book in Greek, so the word we see four times in Chapter 19 is “Alleluia”.
Think on that for a minute. While John was in heaven, he saw the multitudes of people saying “praise the Lord” in Hebrew. Now it is possible that everybody in heaven will be speaking Dutch or Spanish, and only occasionally shout out a Hebrew phrase. But I tend to believe that Hebrew will be the predominant language with which we will all praise God. And yet another point of our Hebrew language of the future comes from Revelation 15. Here's what John saw:
“And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: “ Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested.” Revelation 15:2-4 NKJ
This song of Moses is taken from Exodus 15. And in Deuteronomy 31 he taught it to the next generation:
“So that very day Moses wrote down the words of the song and taught it to the Israelites.” Deuteronomy 31:22 NLV
Guess what language Moses spoke? Hebrew. Guess what language his song is sung in? Hebrew. Guess what language we will probably be speaking in the New Jerusalem according to what John saw? Hebrew. Maybe it is time to get some Rosetta Stone software and get a jump on the crowds.
Also note that the two times that phrasing for hallelujah is used is in relation to the vanquishing of the enemy. In Psalm 104 the sinners and wicked are no more. In Revelation the term is offered up only after the antichrist, false prophet, and wicked are removed from the game. Pretty sweet deal, right? After God takes care of those who are against us, it is only natural for us to bless Him with our thanks and praises.
Although not in the Bible, here is the best secular song with that word in it. So many people have covered that Leonard Cohen song; from country and folk musicians, to rockers like Jon Bon Jovi. It might be because it's great. Or maybe because they have this small part of their spirit that has hope and is already reaching out to the One who made them and inhabits their praises. Either way, God is good all the time. And it is a good thing to praise Him. Here is the version by the great John Cale from the Velvet Underground.