Meaning of Amen

by finnrot 14 Replies latest jw friends

  • finnrot

    When I was a kid my dad told me that when you said "Amen" at the end of your prayer, that it meant "Praise to Jehovah". I was listening to Howard Stern this morning and they were discussing the death of the Pope, and they mentioned that his last word was "Amen". Robin(the woman that does the news on the Howard Stern radio show) asked them what they thought that "Amen" meant. I thought to myself that I knew the answer, it meant "Praise to Jehovah", nobody on the show could guess the right answer, but I thought I knew the correct answer, "Praise to Jehovah", but I thought they would change the answer to "Praise to God". After all, they are worldly. Turns out that I was completely wrong. Robin said that the correct answer was, "Let it be so". So apparently the correct answer is, "Let it be so". Kinda funny, just like captain Picard used to say on Star Trek. Whenever he had a command, he used to say, "Let it be so" lol. I was raised a Witness during the '60's and the '70's. Did anyone else hear that Amen meant the same thing that I was raised to take for a fact? By the way, I left the Jehoovers after 1975 came and went. Anyone that stayed after that date is a complete dolt. Sorry. -fin

  • diamondblue1974

    i was taught that it was meant let it be so....or something like that...hallelujah was praise be to god.


  • mrsjones5

    I believed Picard used to say "Make it so".

    Wanting and believing that the meaning of "Amen" has anything to do with jehovah doesn't make it so.

  • Amen, a Biblical Hebrew word (אמן) meaning "so be it" or "truly" has been generally adopted in Christian worship as a concluding formula for prayers and hymns.
  • Josie

  • Utopian_Raindrops
  • Utopian_Raindrops

    AMEN (print this article)

    By : Louis Ginzberg

    Liturgical Amen.
    Desiderative and Responsive Amen.
    Amen in the New Testament.

    A word used at the conclusion of a prayer, or in other connections, to express affirmation, approval, or desire. It is derived from the Old Testament Hebrew, and is perhaps the most widely known word in human speech; being familiar to Jews, Christians, and Mohammedans. It occurs thirteen times in the Masoretic text of the Old Testament, and in the Septuagint in three additional passages (Jer. iii. 19, xv. 11, Isa. xxv. 1). From these passages it is possible to trace in part the gradual development of Amen from an adjective (or, according to Barth, "Die Nominalbildung in den Semitischen Sprachen," 5c, 7b, a noun, meaning "firmness," "certainty") into an indeclinable interjection.

    The primitive use of Amen is in I Kings, i. 36, where also it serves to introduce an affirmative answer. This introductory Amen occurs also in Jer. xxviii. 6; but in another passage (xi. 5) Jeremiah shows familiarity with the detached Amen . The detached Amen is that use of the Amen in which the expected answer is omitted and left to be inferred from the context. Num. v. 22 (in which Amen is repeated twice), Deut. xxvii. 15 et seq., and Neh. v. 13, show that the detached Amen was employed in solemn oaths for which the brief Amen was more effective than a whole sentence.

    Liturgical Amen .

    Similar to the detached Amen is the use of the Amen in Neh. viii. 6, I Chron. xvi. 36, and Ps. cvi. 48, from which it is learned that during the Persian epoch Amen was the responsory of the people to the doxology of the priests and the Levites. Too little is known, however, of the Temple worship of that period to make it possible to determine whether, as Graetz holds, Amen and Amen Halleluiah were the only responsories used. The passages in Psalms parallel to that cited above (xli. 14, lxxii. 18-19, lxxxix. 53) make it apparent that the responsory was longer; and there exists a reliable tradition (Tosef., Ber. vii. 22; Ta'anit, i. 11, 16b; Yer. Ber. 14c, end; Soṭah, 40b) that at a period not far removed from the oldest Pharisaic traditions Amen was not generally employed in the Temple liturgy. The opposite view of Graetz in his attempt to distort the evident meaning of the text in this Tosefta is disproved by Sifre, Deut. xxxii. 3, 306, which clearly shows that in ancient times the usual responsive formula in the synagogue and the Temple was: "Blessed be the name of the glory of his kingdom for ever and ever" (b) and the Midrash (Eccl. R. on ix. 14, 15) attaches to the blessing, a remnant of the Temple liturgy.

    Since the rabbis paid strict regard to precise arrangement of prayer-formulas, naturally the use of Amen in the liturgy was rigorously determined by them. The Amen as a responsory of the people is already spoken of by the rabbis, but it is to be noted that Amen was only the responsory to the reader's doxology b. It is here recorded that in the great synagogue of Alexandria the attendant, at the conclusion of the reader's doxology, signaled the congregation with a flag to respond Amen ). Of equal importance with this doxology was the priestly blessing, to each verse of which the congregation responded Amen (Mishnah Soṭah, vii. 3). As expressly stated in a Baraita (Ber. 45a), the use of Amen at the conclusion of a prayer, mentioned in Tobit, viii. 8, must have been very common among Jews in ancient times. Still, the Christian custom of concluding every prayer with Amen seems to have brought this use of Amen into bad repute among the Jews (Ber. l.c.); and it was decided in Babylonia, about 400, that only at grace after meals the third benediction (originally the last) should conclude with Amen (Ber. l.c.), while in Palestine (Yer. Ber. v. 4) Amen was used at the end of the last doxology. In the Middle Ages the Spanish ritual followed the Palestinian custom; the German and Polish Jews conforming to the Babylonian usage (compare "ShulḦan 'Aruk," § 1, 136, end, and the commentaries thereon).

    Desiderative and Responsive Amen .

    The use of Amen in response to the expression of a good wish can be traced back to the first century of the Christian era (Ket. 66b); whence is derived the medieval custom of suffixing an Amen to every possible expression of a desire. Especially favorite phrases are a); for, according to the rabbis, every doxology must be responded to with an Amen .

    The meaning of Amen is discussed by Rabbis Eliezer ben Hyrcanus and Simon ben YoḦai. The former, a younger contemporary of the Apostles, says: "When the dwellers of Gehenna chant their Amen at the very time that the holy name of God is praised by the congregations . . . the doors of hell yield and angels carry them in white robes into paradise on the last day" (Eliyahu Zuṭṭa xx.). That this utterance is not a later invention, is proved by the kindred sayings of Simon ben YoḦai (Shab. 119b, Midr. Tehil., xxxi. 22). A poetical account of the power of Amen is given in Yalḳ. ii. 296 to Isa. xxvi. 2, in which the final release from hell is described as follows:

    "After God shall have publicly revealed the new Messianic Torah, Zerubbabel will recite the Ḳaddish. His voice will be heard throughout the world, so that all dwellers upon earth, as well as Jewish sinners and righteous heathens in hell, will exclaim, 'Amen!' Moved to pity by this Amen from the dwellers of hell, God will bid the angels Michael and Gabriel release them from hell and place them in paradise; which command the angels will forthwith proceed to carry out."

    A similar Haggadah occurs in Siddur R. Amram (13b, foot), which is referred to by Hogg ("Jew. Quart. Rev." ix. 17). The legend regarding a pious Jew who once neglected to answer Amen to the doxology, recounted by Jaffe in his introduction to "Lebush," i., belongs to the Middle Ages.

    Amen in the New Testament.

    As the Amen was widely employed in the Jewish liturgy in the time of Jesus and the New Testament authors, Amen occurs extensively in the New Testament. But the use of almost one half the number of Amen s found therein (fifty-two out of one hundred and nineteen) is peculiar to the New Testament writings, having no parallel in Hebrew (see however, Dalman, "Worte Jesu," p. 186); for, as is never the case in Hebrew, the Amen is sometimes found at the beginning of a sentence without reference to what precedes. The explanation of Delitzsch that this Amen is an erroneous form of the Aramaic a), while in the New Testament, Amen expresses certainty. Another peculiarity is the use of ὁ Aμην in Rev. iii. 14 as a designation of Jesus. The attempted explanation of this use from II Cor. i. 20 is altogether unsatisfactory.

    The primitive Christian Church borrowed the Amen , as it did most of its liturgy, from the Jewish synagogue. Of especial interest is the following passage of Paul (I Cor. xiv. 16), "When thou shalt bless with the spirit (ad similitudinem c?lestis tonitrui Amen reboat" ("Commentarius ad Galatas," preface to book ii.) that the Church had adopted from the Synagogue even the practise of enunciating the "Amen with the full power"?of the voice (Shab. 119b).

    In accordance with the less public character of Mohammedan worship, Amen is very little used among the followers of Islam. Still it is universally employed by them after every recital of the first sura, the so-called Surat al-fatiḦa.
    Bibliography : Ber. i. 11-19;

    Blau , Rev. Ét. Juives , xxxi. 179-201 ;
    Brunner , De Voce Amen , Helmstadt, 1678 ;
    Dalman , Die Worte Jesu , pp. 185-187 ;
    Delitzsch , Zeitschrift für Lutherische Theologie , 1856 , pp. 422 et seq.;
    Grätz , in Monatsschrift , 1872 , pp. 481-496 ;
    Hogg , Jew. Quart. Rev. ix. 1-23 ;
    J. Caro , ShulḦan 'Aruk , i. § 54, 2; § 56, 2; § 129, 6-10; § 215;
    Lane , Arabic-English Lexicon , s.v.;
    Baidawi and Zamakt Shari on first sura;
    Maimonides , Yad ha-Ḥazaḳah , i. , Tefillah , viii. 9, ix. 1-4 ;
    Nestle , Expository Times , January, 1897 , pp. 190 et seq.;
    Ps. lxii. et seq., xci. et seq.;
    Weber , De Voce Amen , Jena, 1734 ;
    Wernsdorf , De Amen Liturgica ;
    Wolf , Curæ Phil. in N. T. on Matt. vi. 13 , and I Cor. xiv. 16 . L.
  • BrendaCloutier

    I was taught that Amen ment "so be it", so Star Trek isn't far off the mark

    Sioux indian prayers are ended with "all my relations" a request for blessings and acknowledgement of our relationship and connection with everything and everyone.

  • Narkissos

    Slightly off-topic (again):

    I find amusing how the Gospels, especially Matthew, have Jesus repeating "Amen (= truly) I tell you" (5:18 etc.) side by side with "Let your word be 'Yes, Yes' or 'No, No'; anything more than this comes from the evil one." (5.37)

    A comparable verbal inconsistency is having Jesus say "if you say, 'You fool,' (môros) you will be liable to the hell of fire" (5:22) and then (to the "Pharisees"): "You blind fools (môroi)!" (23:17)

  • love11

    I always thought it meant that you were in agreement with what was said in the prayer.

  • Bas

    I heard that when the pope's heart stopped he said "amen" with his last breath and died


  • Valis

    "Thanks gawd that prayer is over!"

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