What does “Lord of Sabaoth” mean?


by Shawn Brasseaux

The expression “the Lord of Sabaoth” appears twice in our King James Bible—Romans 9:29 and James 5:4. What does it mean? Why do we not search God’s Word and let it tell us?

First and foremost, please be careful to note this is not to be confused with the Sabbath day! This has nothing to do with the title “the Lord of the Sabbath” as in Matthew 12:8, Mark 2:28, Luke 6:5, and Luke 13:15. We are talking here about “the Lord of Sabaoth.” As we will see, that word “Sabaoth” is a term of profound significance in the end-times.

We read in Romans 9:29: “And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.” Interestingly enough, if we search the Scriptures to find what “Esaias” (the Greek form of “Isaiah”) wrote, we will learn the meaning of “the Lord of Sabaoth.” Isaiah 1:9 says: “Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.”

The Holy Spirit through Paul took the Hebrew Old Testament book of Isaiah and translated it into Greek in the New Testament book of Romans. We find the meaning of “the Lord of sabaoth by simply reading what Isaiah wrote: “the LORD of hosts.” Actually, sabaoth is the English transliteration of the Greek word (sabaoth) that is derived from the Hebrew word tsaba, the word the Prophet Isaiah used in his book and which the King James translators rendered “hosts.”

The term Sabaoth is Hebrew for “hosts,” specifically the “host of heaven.” The title “JEHOVAH Sabaoth” or “LORD Sabaoth” occurs about 300 times in the “Old Testament” Scriptures as “the LORD of hosts.” Strong’s Greek Dictionary defines Sabaoth (transliterated from Hebrew) as: “Pronounced sab-ah-owth.’ of Hebrew origin (H6635 in feminine plural); armies; sabaoth (i.e. tsebaoth), a military epithet of God:—sabaoth.

“JEHOVAH Sabaoth” (“The LORD of hosts”) is talking about JEHOVAH God with respect to judgment. He is the leader of the angelic armies (“hosts of heaven”). The book of Hebrews (2:10) calls Jesus Christ “the captain of [Israel’s] salvation”—a military term, a commander.

Just when judgment was going to fall on unbelieving Israel in early Acts, God interrupted prophecy and started our mystery program. When God ends our mystery program, He will resume the prophetic program where it stopped when mystery started. There will be the time of Jacob’s trouble, Daniel’s 70th week, the seven-year Tribulation, concluding with Jesus Christ’s Second Coming with fiery judgment. The armies of heaven follow Him (Revelation 19:14; cf. Matthew 16:27, Matthew 25:31, Mark 8:38, Luke 9:26, and 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

Romans chapter 9 is spoken of in context of this. A remnant (“seed”) of Israel will survive that judgment of Daniel’s 70th week and the Second Coming; otherwise, Israel will be completely wiped out like Sodom and Gomorrah. There must be surviving (living) Jews who can enter God’s earthly kingdom Jesus Christ is coming to establish.

Let us read verses 25-29 of Romans chapter 9: “[25] As he saith also in Osee [Hosea], I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. [26] And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God. [27] Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: [28] For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth. [29] And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.”

James chapter 5 uses the term “the Lord of Sabaoth” to warn the wicked who are oppressing the believing (poor): “[1] Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. [2] Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. [3] Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. [4] Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. [5] Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. [6] Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you. [7] Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. [8] Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. [9] Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.”


The title “the LORD of Sabaoth” means “the LORD of hosts.” It is a title of JEHOVAH God’s military might, His strength to fight and win battles. The LORD is commander of the angelic soldiers as well as the armies of Israel (“the LORD of hosts” is defined in 1 Samuel 17:45 as “the God of the armies of Israel”). Romans 9:25-29 and James 5:1-9 anticipate the day when Jesus will return to Earth in wrath, His Second Coming, to defeat and destroy the wicked, all unbelieving Jews and Gentiles.

Also see:
» Why do the wicked prosper?
» Who will accompany Jesus at His Second Coming?
» What does 2 Peter 3:8 mean?