December 11, 2016

The People Said, “Amen” – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, From everlasting even to everlasting. And let all the people say, ‘Amen.’” (Psalm 106:48)

From time to time a gospel preacher will hear a voice from the audience…“Amen!” Unfortunately, some may find such an expression out of place. We need to understand this is a scriptural practice.

The original Hebrew term (אָמֵן), translated “Amen,” means:

“…firm, secure…2. to be lasting, continue, be dependable, be faithful” 3…understanding, official agreement” Theological Word Book Of The Old Testament

The Greek term translated “Amen,” is “ἀμήν,” defined:

  1. strong affirmation of what is stated…a. as expression of faith let it be so, truly,…” Greek English Lexicon Of The Old Testament (BDAG).

Let’s consider Biblical examples of the use of this term. The translation, “Amen,” occurs 23 times in the Old Testament, 29 in the New Testament.

We find it often in the Old Testament, expressing agreement on the part of the children of God, when curses, the expression of judgment, is expressed. Deuteronomy chapter 27 express the curses that would come on those who disobeyed God’s law. The people gathered on Mt. Gerizim heard the law read, then spoke across the valley to those on Mt Ebal. Twelve times the consequence of disobedience of a particular law was pronounced. Twelve times the people responded, “Amen.”

Imagine the impact of such conduct when last example in this sequence was read: “‘Cursed is he who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’” (Deuteronomy 27:26)

When Jerusalem’s wall restoration was being delayed Nehemiah rebuked the people for their covetousness. He threatened God’s judgment on them if they did not repent.

“I also shook out the front of my garment and said, “Thus may God shake out every man from his house and from his possessions who does not fulfill this promise; even thus may he be shaken out and emptied.” And all the assembly said, “Amen!” And they praised the LORD. Then the people did according to this promise.” (Nehemiah 5:13)

The effect of discipline can be easily dissipated by a very few who follow their feelings and conclude that God’s pronouncements are uncalled for. The rebuked sinner soaks up the sympathy, which in turn, reinforces rebellion. The full force of what God is trying to accomplish is brought to bear on the disobedient, only when “all the assembly” sanctions, “Amen!”

Educators understand the positive impact of audience participation. Simply standing in front of an audience and telling them what they should know, is a relatively poor way to produce learning. Education students are often required to participate in elaborate experiments to demonstrate the higher percentage learning that takes place when the audience is involved, rather than simply sitting and listening. (Yes, they prefer sitting, but they learn more when they do something.)

If we follow biblical precedent, therefore, whenever God’s Word is read to a congregation, either in denunciation of sin or thanksgiving for blessing, or simply in praising the Lord for His eternal goodness, it is appropriate for the people to respond with a heartfelt “Amen!”

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris




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