Cover image: “Christ’s Triumphal Entry Into Jerusalem,” By Harry Anderson.

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President Nelson announced the “Hosanna Shout” for the Sunday Morning April 5 session of General Conference 2020.

What Does Hosanna Mean?

Hosanna is a beautiful Hebrew word that is formed from two other Hebrew words. The hosa portion of the word means “to save” and is actually in the command form meaning “save!” Na means “please!” So the express meaning of hosanna is “please save!” or “please save us!”

How Does Hosanna Teach Us About Jesus?

What I love about this word is that the Hebrew name hosa is the foundational word for these names:

  • Joshua
  • Josh
  • Hosea
  • Hoshea
  • Elisha
  • Elishua
  • Isaiah

And, most significantly, JESUS!

So when in joy we shout hosanna we are actually shouting “Jesus please!” or “Jesus please save us!”

What is the Hosanna Shout?

The Hosanna Shout is a joyous, celebratory experience where we express our love and gratitude to Jesus for His acts of saving. Temples are some of the greatest symbols in our modern day of Jesus’s power to save. At the dedication of each temple the congregation is invited to wave a white handkerchief—a symbol of purity and a way of getting God’s attention for what we are saying—and say in a joyous voice “Hosanna!”

This hearkens back to ancient Biblical times. The Hosanna Shout was performed at the holy festival of tabernacles. This was the time each fall when the Israelites would erect temporary huts to remind them of when their ancestors wandered for 40 years in the Sinai wilderness after Egyptian bondage. At the conclusion of the holiday, everyone would shout “Hosanna!” to remind themselves that it was Jehovah (Jesus of the Old Testament) who had saved them and brought them into peace and prosperity in the Promised Land.

Significantly for us, Sunday April 5 is Palm Sunday, the day that commemorates Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. He came into Jerusalem as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, a few days before His crucifixion. As He entered in, the people of Jerusalem shouted Him praise and laid out palm fronds.

Hosanna Is a Shout to Remember Jesus

As we participate in the Hosanna Shout, may we remember that like the ancient Israelites, Jesus saves us from our wandering in the wilderness. As we wave our hands or our handkerchiefs may we remember that Jesus is the King who has come to us.

And when we shout Hosanna may we remember that it is Jesus that saves!