Amen

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 8
A strong assertion of affirmation and assent. The first time we read of its use was when a woman was supposed to have been unfaithful to her husband and was made to drink the bitter water. The priest pronounced a curse upon her if she had been guilty, and the woman had to answer Amen, Amen (Num. 5:2222And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen. (Numbers 5:22)). So when the priest upon mount Ebal rehearsed the various curses, it was appended to each “And all the people shall say, Amen” (Deut. 27:14-2614And the Levites shall speak, and say unto all the men of Israel with a loud voice, 15Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen. 16Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen. 17Cursed be he that removeth his neighbor's landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen. 18Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way. And all the people shall say, Amen. 19Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen. 20Cursed be he that lieth with his father's wife; because he uncovereth his father's skirt. And all the people shall say, Amen. 21Cursed be he that lieth with any manner of beast. And all the people shall say, Amen. 22Cursed be he that lieth with his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen. 23Cursed be he that lieth with his mother in law. And all the people shall say, Amen. 24Cursed be he that smiteth his neighbor secretly. And all the people shall say, Amen. 25Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person. And all the people shall say, Amen. 26Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen. (Deuteronomy 27:14‑26)).
In one instance the exclamation does not signify more than “may it be.” Hananiah prophesied falsely that within two full years all the vessels of the Lord’s house would be returned from Babylon; Jeremiah said “Amen, the Lord do so”; though he knew it was a false prophecy he could well hope that such a thing might be (Jer. 28:66Even the prophet Jeremiah said, Amen: the Lord do so: the Lord perform thy words which thou hast prophesied, to bring again the vessels of the Lord's house, and all that is carried away captive, from Babylon into this place. (Jeremiah 28:6)).
The Hebrew word is always translated “Amen,” except twice in Isaiah 65:1616That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes. (Isaiah 65:16), where it is rendered “truth.” “He who blesseth himself in the earth, shall bless himself in the God of “truth”; and he that sweareth in the earth, shall swear by the God of ‘truth.’” And in Jeremiah 11:55That I may perform the oath which I have sworn unto your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as it is this day. Then answered I, and said, So be it, O Lord. (Jeremiah 11:5), where it is translated “So be it,” God declared that He would perform the oath that He had sworn, and the prophet answered, “So be it, O Lord.” A cognate Hebrew word signifies “to believe”; it is used in Genesis 15:66And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness. (Genesis 15:6).
In the New Testament it is often added to the ascription of praise and to benedictions, as in Hebrews 13:21, 2521Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:21)
25Grace be with you all. Amen. <<Written to the Hebrews from Italy, by Timothy.>> (Hebrews 13:25)
. (As a response see 1 Cor. 14:1616Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? (1 Corinthians 14:16); Rev. 5:1414And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever. (Revelation 5:14); Rev. 7:1212Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 7:12); Rev. 22:2020He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22:20)). There is another way in which the word is used, as in 2 Cor. 1:2020For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. (2 Corinthians 1:20), “Whatever promises of God [there are], in him is the yea [the confirmation] and in him the Amen [the verification] for glory to God by us.” And that Christ is the verification of all the promises is so true that He Himself is called “the Amen.” “These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God” (Rev. 3:1414And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; (Revelation 3:14)). As there are responses in heaven, as seen in some of the above texts, so there should be responses on earth in the assemblies of the saints, and not simply a hearing of prayer and praise. It is the word constantly used by the Lord, and translated “verily.”