What does Amen mean? For a short explanation, it means,”so be it.”
So be what? Whatever has been declared.
I learned the meaning of this word in fifth grade, quite by accident. Our teacher was out for a few days and no substitute was available, so our principal stepped in and taught our class. Several of us had not done our homework and she jokingly said, if you all don’t get your work done Mrs. Keeney will fire me; to which I suddenly piped up with “Amen!” Now, I did not really know what it meant at the time, I heard it quite often at church and certainly at the end of prayers, but to know its meaning I did not. However, my principal did not find it funny and my loud exclamation was now the subject of a lesson.
She asked me if I knew what that word meant, to which I said, no, not really.
I was then made to get the dictionary and look it up, tell the class its meaning. I was also given a punishment, no recess for my remark. She asked me if I was sorry I had said it, I said yes, (I did not want to be in more trouble,) but I wanted to say no because at that moment of humiliation I wanted her gone. It was a good lesson though, I have never forgotten the meaning.
Amen is used in scripture so many times, too many for me to tell right now. Over one hundred times in the Old Testament. In the Hebrew, it means to take care, to be faithful, reliable, or established, or to believe someone or something. To believe something seems to be the meaning behind several occasions in the OT.
1 Chronicles 16:36 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel From everlasting to everlasting! And all the people said, “Amen!” and praised the Lord.”
Nehemiah 8:6 “And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. Then all the people answered. “Amen, Amen!” while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.”
Isaiah called God “the God of Amen,” in whose name his servants should invoke blessings and take oaths. But Jesus, however, uses “Amen” by saying “amen lego humin,” that is, “truly I say to you.” Where the prophet would say, “thus, says the Lord,” Jesus, would say, “Amen, I say to you.”
It seems that this was another way of Jesus emphasizing his diety when he spoke, not merely to emphasize a point. He had the right to forgive sins, to judge and to heal by his own authority. God was to get the glory for such things, yet Jesus did them all in his name. All these things because He was God incarnate, God in the flesh.
In Hebrews 13:20-21 “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever, Amen”
In this passage, we hear Paul praising God and also asking him to bestow grace on the readers. This passage both declares and pleads and is sealed with “Amen,” “so be it!”
So, in closing be careful how you use the word “Amen.” It is not a flippant word to be tossed around haphazardly. It has serious meaning and should be used carefully. Otherwise, you may find yourself losing your recess like I did. (haha)
I am no authority but wanted to give just a short lesson on this word which I myself have used haphazardly many times. I will leave you with how I want to use it now, in all seriousness. I wish it were today!
Revelation 22:20 ” He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen, Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
And I say: “Amen and Amen!” “So Be It!”