The melody of the song, Hallelujah, by Leonard Cohen is beautiful with a touch of sadness. I understand why people love to listen to it. Though the original lyrics are not Biblical, many professing Christians have adopted the Leonard Cohen song and claimed it for Christ and/or tried to Christianize it with new lyrics. But this is not just some worldly song that we change the lyrics to and make it all better. This it why I wrestle with this. . .
The truth is, Leonard professes disdain for God – a God he knows deserves his honor. If I have come to this conclusion after listening to him speak and hearing him address God – or call Him out – in so many songs. In fact, this songs speaks to the fallen nature of man but he refuses to humble himself before the Almighty God. Instead, he brings this distant God down to mans’ level and in the end he hails to Him, “Hallelujah” – but it is not for praise. This an expression of his frustration God has taken what he thinks is mans’ – or even his own – rightful place of honor.
This is the song of Cain. You can read the story of Cain in the Bible (Gen 4). He brought an offering to God – an offering he thought God should accept because it was the work of his own hands. He refused to bring the sacrifice God required. God rejected Cain’s offering because God does not honor intentions; He demands obedience. This song of Hallelujah is Leonard’s offering to God – the work of his own hands, if you will. Like Cain, he refused to bring God the obedience He requires.
Without repentance, man is captive within the cycle of vanity – or the fleetingness and worthlessness of life, as described by Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon said God made man to follow after wisdom but man followed after short-cuts and schemes instead (Ecc 7:29). We live our lives building our petty empires and kingdoms only to find death waiting for us in the end. Solomon called this vanity.
God deserves our praise – and this is the whole duty of man, as Solomon put it (Ecc 12:13). Paul wrote, whether we do so now or not, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Christ Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Php 2:10). What say you, will you repent of your sin and follow Christ now or will you bring God down to your own level and require Him to receive you the way you are – only to meet your destruction as did Cain?
Man is seeking but he is not seeking after God. The Bible tells us no one seeks after God (Isa 53:6; Rom 3:11). Leonard Cohen demonstrates this with his song – further evidence of mans’ freewill held captive by sin. Jesus Christ said no one comes to Him unless the Father draw him (Joh 6:44). If the Father is drawing you, today is the day of salvation (2Co 6:2). The natural man will resist God and rely upon his own reason and logic. Jesus talked about the wisdom of what man can see and reason and He said, “If the light within you is darkness [the world’s wisdom], how great is that darkness.” [Mat 6:23].
Leonard Cohen is often in my prayers that he might receive Christ and humble himself before Him.
What about you, my friend?
How To Be Saved – As Explained By Christ
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” [Joh 5:24]. The steps are 1) listen to Christ – translation: to listen is to obey the words of Christ and follow Him (see also John chapter 15); and 2) believe in the Father who sent Him – translation: to believe is to do what the Father requires, namely to receive the Son (Joh 5:23; 6:29; see also 1Jo 3:23). Jesus said a man is condemned who will not believe in the name of the only Son of God. Whoever loves the Son will obey His commandments (Joh 14:23). Whoever does not obey Him will not see life (Joh 3:18, 36).
Christ warned of the judgment to come, when everyone in the tombs will come out to be judged. Those who believe will go to eternal life and those who refuse will go to eternal damnation (Joh 5:28-29; see also Dan 12:2). Your good works will not save you nor can you save yourself by bringing God down to your level – reason and logic will not defend you. Christ will judge and His judgment is just because He seeks the will of the Father (Joh 5:30).
This is Christ’s call to repentance.
Take notice: there is a warning but there is no altar call.
So do not wait (2Co 6:2; Heb 3:7-11).
Original Lyrics to Hallelujah (by Leonard Cohen)
(Additional verses and lyrics are in the live version embedded)
Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah
Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah
You say I took the name in vain
I don’t even know the name
But if I did, well really, what’s it to you?
There’s a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah
I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah