The Amen in Revelation 3:14
For Mike and David van Niekerk
When Jesus refers to himself as the Amen, we immediately remember 2 Corinthians 1:20, where it is said all the promises of God are Yes and Amen in Christ Jesus. Jesus is God’s Amen, as understood in the sense of ‘it is assured’. This is the simple meaning of the Bible’s word that Jesus is the Amen in Revelation 3:14. He is the assurance of everything God has promised.
In addition to this reading, scholarship has found another interpretation in keeping with the suggestive flexibility of the Bible’s approach to words, and its tendency to echo words, weaving them like threads into the whole. The Hebrew Bible is a book of cross-references, this part echoing that, so that the whole is a complex of intertwining and related words and meanings, each shedding light on the other. It is also characteristic of the Bible’s flexibility that words can have more than one meaning, and resonate with other senses as they echo other words in the Book.
Some scholars say that the word Amen in our passage can also be read as a deliberate echo of the Old Testament word ommān, which means ‘master craftsman’, ‘artist’ and is found not only in Song of Songs 7:2 but also in Proverbs 8:20, as some read it, for example in the NIV, where the word refers to the role of Wisdom in Creation.
In both occurrences of the word ommān the work of creation is in view, the crafting of the Beloved’s legs in the Song, and the creation of the Universe in Proverbs. In the reading of Revelation 3:14 suggested here, Jesus is referring to himself by a name that not only means ‘the Fulfilment of God’s promises’ but also ‘the Craftsman of creation’.