The Lord’s Prayer (Part 18): Amen

We have come to the last word in the Lord’s prayer.  That word is Amen.

What Does Amen Mean?

Amen means verily, truly, that is the way it is.  The Greek Dictionary of the New Testament defines it as: amen, truly, or indeed. The word comes from the Hebrew language, is used in Greek and from there was transferred into Latin, and from the Latin it found its way into English and German, as well as into most other languages.

In the King James Version the word has been translated from the Hebrew as “So be it.” And I answered and said, “So be it, LORD” (Jeremiah 11:5).  Sometimes it is not translated, but just left as it is: “the prophet Jeremiah said, ‘Amen! The LORD do so’” (Jeremiah 28:6). This gives us insight into what is meant when the word is used at the end of a prayer.  “Amen, the Lord do so,” or “So be it, Lord.” The word also means truly or faithful or certain.

Amen Is One of the Names of God

Since we know what Amen means, we can easily understand why it is one of the names of God. The phrase translated as “one true God” found in Isaiah 65:16 is “Elohei Amen” in Hebrew. Our God is the God Amen or the faithful God or the one true God.

In Revelation we read: “These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God … ‘To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne’” (Revelation 3:14 & 21).

Here Jesus is called Amen. First of all this confirms His deity. Secondly, it emphasizes one of His attributes, namely faithfulness. The Lord is faithful, and true.  And since He is faithful and true so are His words: “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us” (2 Corinthians 1:20). In Christ, the Old Testament prophecies given in the Torah, Psalms, and the Prophets have been fulfilled. Jesus once said: “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18).  Note that the word translated “assuredly” here is “Amen” in the original Greek version. Jesus came to fulfill the law. In everything He did, Jesus was clear in his motive to bring to completion all God ordained. Even in the darkest hours of His life, He said:  “Thy will be done.” No one was Amen, true, faithful, and without sin except Jesus. Now we are to follow in his footsteps in being faithful and true in all that we do.

Abraham Believed God

Amen and the verb aman have the same Hebrew root. As a verb the causative form (hiphil) can be translated as trust, believe, or have assurance in. “Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness” (James 2:23). In Genesis 15:6, we read that Abraham “believed the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” This word “believed” is the causative of aman or amen. So we can say that Abraham caused what God said to be amen for himself. It was certain, he took it as fact. He believed! How about us? Do we read God’s word and say: “Amen”? Do you live out the Word of God and make it Amen in your life?

How else is the word Amen used?

In the New King James Bible the word Amen does not occur in Mark, Luke, or John, except once at the very end, as the last word in each of these gospels.  In the Greek New Testament, the word occurs much more often.  For example, in the gospel of John, Amen occurs 51 times in Greek, but only once in English.  It is noteworthy that except for the Lord’s prayer in Matthew, the prayers of Jesus do not end with Amen.  So prayers do not need to end with the word Amen, although that is our custom.  Nevertheless, it is a good custom.  The letters of Paul, Peter, and Jude all end with ‘Amen.’  However, the letters of James and the third letter of John do not.

Many preachers end their sermons with “Amen.”  Some children then automatically reach for the hymnals. Once when Brother Sonnenberg said “Amen,” using it during his sermon, one of the little fellows thought the sermon was finished.  He was surprised when Brother Sonnenberg kept on preaching.  It is a good habit to affirm the sermon by saying “Amen” to the preacher’s “Amen.”  Also, when someone prays, we have the privilege of following that prayer, and when ‘Amen’ is said we can add our affirmation to the prayer by saying a loud “Amen.”  Of course, for the person praying it is necessary to speak loudly and clearly so that the prayer can be understood and the congregation can say “Amen.”  In another context, Paul says: “If you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say ‘Amen’ at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say?” (1 Corinthians 14:16). When we pray publicly, let us make sure we are understood.

The example of Jesus

In the New Testament, Jesus used the word ‘Amen’ quite often.  It is usually translated as truly, verily or assuredly.  I will list some of these scriptures, leaving the word ‘Amen’ in the verse as it is in the original Greek, instead of using the English translation.

“And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, Amen, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward” (Matthew 10:42).

“Amen, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).

“Amen, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done.” (Matthew 21:21).

“So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Amen, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury” (Mark 12:43).

“And Jesus said to him, ‘Amen, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise’” (Luke 23:43).

Twenty-five times, John uses a double Amen in his version of the gospel.  It is translated as ‘verily, verily’ or ‘most assuredly.’  Here are some of these scriptures:

“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Amen, Amen, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God’” (John 3:3).

“Amen, Amen, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” (John 5:24).

“Amen, Amen, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live” (John 5:25).

“Then Jesus said to them again, “Amen, Amen, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep” (John 10:7).

“Amen, Amen, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me” (John 3:20).

“And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Amen, Amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you” (John 16:23).

So Jesus, who is called ‘Amen’ (Revelation 3:14), often uses the word Amen when He expresses important truths that are Amen. And in order to teach us how to pray, Jesus gave us the Lord’s prayer, which also ends with ‘Amen.’ So be it. Every word in the Lord’s prayer is significant. May the content of the Lord’s prayer be manifested practically in each of our lives. I hope this series has been a blessing to you. Amen.

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