FaithI AM Series

I AM: The Lord of Hosts

Commander of the Army of the Lord

In the previous installment of this series, we explored John’s declaration that Jesus is the light of men, the true light, along with the significance of John the Baptist.  For this installment, we’ll compare Old and New Testament scriptures to confirm Jesus’ role as Lord of Hosts, Commander of the army of the Lord.  We’ll also reveal what Jesus meant when He said, “Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man” (Matthew 24:30).

To confirm Jesus’ role as Lord of Hosts we’ll need to review three heavenly visitations.  The first is Moses’ conversation with The LORD at the burning bush.

And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed.    And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.”    When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”    Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”    And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

Exodus 3:2-6 (ESV – emphasis mone)

In the first part of this passage, the angel of the LORD appeared to Moses as a flame of fire, but we also see it is clearly God speaking to Moses.  The Hebrew word interpreted as angel in this passage is מַלְאָךְ‎ (Mal’ak), which is also interpreted as messenger elsewhere in scripture (i.e. 1 Samuel 23:27).  So we don’t have to speculate, it’s the LORD (Jehovah) Who is clearly described as an angel or messenger of God speaking to Moses.  In fact, once Moses realized Who it was, he hid his face because he was afraid to look at God.

Notice the Lord’s command to Moses: “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”  That leads us to the second heavenly visitation: Joshua and the Commander of the army of the LORD.

When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?”    And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?”    And the commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

Joshua 5:13-15 (ESV – emphasis mine)

The imagery presented here is the same as the angel of the Lord with a drawn sword confronting Balaam in Numbers 22.  Now, notice the command given to Joshua: “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.”  This is no ordinary man claiming to be the commander of the army of the Lord.  He’s the same messenger of the Lord – the Lord Himself – Who spoke to Moses from the burning bush.

As further confirmation, let’s contrast Joshua’s response to his visitation to the apostle John’s response to the angel sent by Jesus.

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”    Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Revelation 19:9-10 (ESV – emphasis mine)

When Joshua fell on his face in worship, he was not chastised, but when John fell down to worship, the angel immediately said, “You must not do that…Worship God.”  Why?  John was attempting to worship an angel, but Joshua was worshipping at the feet of God!

Now, let’s return to Revelation 19 to see how Jesus is described by John in his vision.

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.    His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself.    He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.  And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.  From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.  On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

Revelation 19:11-16 (ESV – emphasis mine)

Just as he did in his gospel, John describes Jesus as the Word of God, but this time He is coming as a righteous judge Who makes war, treading the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.  Who makes war?  A commander or a King.  Jesus is both.  That is why the armies of heaven were following him.  Armies follow their commander into battle.

The armies of heaven are the heavenly host, so with this new description, we can also attribute the title Lord of Hosts to Jesus, The Lord (Jehovah) God Almighty, The Word, Who is, was, and is to come.

To place John’s description of Jesus in proper perspective, it’s important to circle back to the depiction of Jesus as the righteous judge from earlier in the chapter.

After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

Revelation 19:1-2 (ESV – emphasis mine)

In conjunction with John’s description of God’s righteous judgments, we must also consider Jesus’ own declaration of judgment:

“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.

John 5:30 (ESV)

There is no conflict between these passages.  Jesus is the righteous judge, delivering His father’s justice.  Jesus acting as the righteous judge is the same as when He spoke on the Father’s behalf in the Old Testament.  The Father instructed His Son to create and Jesus spoke the world into existence, as we covered in the third installment of this series.

As an exclamation mark on that point, let’s continue with Revelation 19.

Once more they cried out, “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”  And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!”  And from the throne came a voice saying, “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great.”

Revelation 19:3-5 (ESV – emphasis mine)

For many, this passage may appear to be referring to God the Father sitting on the throne, but from the remainder of the context of Revelation 19-22, it’s clearly referring to Jesus sitting on the throne granted to Him by the Father.  More evidence that it’s Jesus sitting on the throne is found in Revelation 11.

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”  And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.  The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”

Revelation 11:15-18 (ESV – emphasis mine)

In both passages, the twenty-four elders are bowing in worship to Jesus, the King, sitting on His eternal throne.  And, in both passages, there’s an odd declaration associated with Jesus’ servants, the prophets and saints: Those who fear Your name; those who fear Him.  Where are we instructed to fear the name of Jesus in the New Testament?

Jesus taught that we should fear the one who can condemn an individual to hell.

“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. 5  But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!

Luke 12:4-5 (ESV)

And, we know the early church received instruction regarding the fear of the Lord.

So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.

Acts 9:31 (ESV)

 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Philippians 2:12-13 (ESV)

But, we also know that we were not given a spirit of fear to indwell us, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV).

The concept of fearing the name of the Lord is specifically an Old Testament concept.  We aren’t instructed to fear the name of Jesus.  The Israelites were instructed to fear the name Jehovah (YHWY – יהוה).

“If you are not careful to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, the LORD your God…”

Deuteronomy 28:58 (ESV)

Now, if we dig even deeper into Revelation 11:18, we find the prophets of the Old Testament and the saints of the New Testament are both viewed as Jesus’ servants.  Why, because He is Messiah in the New Testament and Jehovah in the Old Testament.

Let’s go even deeper…  With the direct link between Jesus and fearing the name of the Lord, let’s turn our attention to the sign of the Son of Man and the ark of His covenant.

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

Revelation 11:19 (ESV – emphasis mine)

This passage from Revelation 11 is a continuation from the passage we reviewed earlier talking about Jesus taking His throne and rewarding His servants.  Now, compare it to Jesus’ description of His second coming.

For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.

Matthew 24:27-28 (ESV – emphasis mine)

Notice the familiar reference to lightning and then the odd insertion of vultures and corpses.  I’m not going to go too deep down the rabbit hole here since we’re going to cover more of these passages when we delve into the Day of the Lord, but this passage mirrors the description given by Ezekiel concerning the battle of Gog and Magog.

“As for you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD: Speak to the birds of every sort and to all beasts of the field, ‘Assemble and come, gather from all around to the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you, a great sacrificial feast on the mountains of Israel, and you shall eat flesh and drink blood.

Ezekiel 39:17 (ESV)

Now, back to Jesus’ description of His second coming…

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Matthew 24:29-31 (ESV – emphasis mine)

We know from 1 Corinthians that the trumpet blast that gathers Jesus’ elect is the last trumpet, just as Revelation 11 depicts Jesus taking His throne when the seventh and final trumpet is blown.

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (ESV – emphasis mine)

All these scriptures are describing the same event, the Day of the Lord – Jesus’ second coming, when He defeats His enemies and takes His throne as King of kings and Lord of lords.  It all happens at the final trumpet when the temple of God is opened and the ark of His covenant can be seen, which is also the sign of the Son of Man.

Now, let’s explore a few key scriptures that connect Jesus, Messiah, as Jehovah, the true messenger of the covenant.

“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. 2  But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. 3  He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD.

Malachi 3:1-3 (ESV – emphasis mine)

In the previous installment of this study, we already discovered the messenger being sent to “prepare the way before me” was John the Baptist.  Keep in mind, the Lord (Jehovah, the Lord of hosts) is the one speaking to through His prophet Malachi, and we just covered how the prophets are described as servants of Jesus from Revelation 11.  And, it is the Lord who will be coming to His temple, as we also covered in the previous installment.  Now, look at Nehemiah’s declaration concerning Jehovah God, and how it fits within the greater context of what we have already studied concerning Jesus and His role in creation.

You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.  You are the LORD, the God who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and gave him the name Abraham. … You came down on Mount Sinai and spoke with them from heaven and gave them right rules and true laws, good statutes and commandments, and you made known to them your holy Sabbath and commanded them commandments and statutes and a law by Moses your servant.

Nehemiah 9:6-7, 13-14 (ESV – emphasis mine)

Now, let’s return to Malachi 3 and 4.

“Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts.  “For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.  From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’

Malachi 3:5-7 (ESV – emphasis mine)

“For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.  But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.  And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the LORD of hosts.  Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.

Malachi 4:1-4 (ESV – emphasis mine)

These passages confirm it’s the Lord of hosts who should be feared, does not change, and is coming in judgment, but we already know it’s Jesus who brings the judgment of the father.

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

Revelation 22:12-13 (ESV)

All these passages taken together paint a very convincing picture that Jesus is the Lord of Host.  Jesus is Jehovah, the image/representation of God the Father, in the Old Testament.  He is the one who gave Moses the law.  He is the One Who revealed Himself to Moses on the mountainside.  Neither He nor His covenants have changed.  They were simply elevated by His death and resurrection.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Hebrews 13:8 (ESV)

Please stay tuned for the next installment as we explore even more confirmation of Jesus as both Messiah in the New Testament and Jehovah in the Old, specifically as it pertains to the Day of the Lord.

For an even deeper plunge into these scriptures (and others), you can also watch the entire video for this installment (below) or listen to the podcast on SoundCloud.

 

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