Online courses and discussions, plus live Bible studies!

Join the Common Sense Bible Study community!

Is saying “Amen” speaking the name of a false god?

A couple of days ago, I saw someone on Facebook expressing dismay about the word “amen”. Someone had told them or they had read somewhere that “amen” comes from the name of the Egyptian god Amun Ra, and he was feeling very convicted about using it to end every prayer. He wanted to pray in Jesus’ name, not Ra’s!

I do understand, and I have struggled with similar questions. Exodus 23:13 says that we shouldn’t allow the names of pagan gods to touch our lips.

I don’t like using the names of the days of the week because they are named for pagan gods, and, many years ago, I once tried to replace them with “first day”, “second day”, etc. I soon realized that this presented another problem: Nobody understood me, and I spent all my time explaining what I meant by “second day”, instead of just saying “Monday”. If I’m unable to communicate with people, then I won’t be able to function as an effective community member, and God’s Law can’t be kept alone. We need community in order to be faithful to God.

(To be fair, you could lose the word “amen” from your vocabulary without hurting your communication with other people at all, so if it bothers you very much, then, by all means, don’t use it. God certainly won’t be offended by you not saying it.)

Through time and further study, I also came to understand that the concept of “name” in Scripture is much more complex than a mere label we attach to someone. Calling on the name of YHVH or praying in the name of Yeshua (Jesus) doesn’t mean only making the sounds of the spoken names. It means calling on the authority, promises, and reputation–the whole person–represented by the labels.

God doesn’t need labels to refer to himself. He doesn’t need a name to differentiate himself from other gods, like we do to tell John from David. Hence, when Moses asked whom he should say sent him, God told him, “I am the one who is. I am self-existent without reference to anyone or anything else.”

Those spoken and written labels, YHVH and Yeshua, ought to have meaning to us, and the power is in the meaning, not the letters and sounds. The tetragrammaton isn’t a magical incantation that has power or authority over God. When we call on his name, we aren’t just saying Yahweh or Jehovah or Yahuah (or whatever you use), we are calling on the totality of who he is.

I don’t believe that God has a native language that would make any sense to us. Human languages are for humans, not him. We don’t have to speak any particular language in order to communicate with him. He understands them all, because he understands us. He understands us just as well in Mandarin Chinese as he does in Spanish or English, and he knows that someone speaking Mandarin isn’t speaking Spanish..

As we speak, we create audible sounds, and every sound we can make means something in some other language, probably in several. The sound “wee” is a first-person plural pronoun in English, but it means “yes” in French, and it’s also the name of a video game console. I’m sure it has at least a dozen meanings in as many other languages. There is probably a false god out there that goes by the name “We”.

Fortunately, we don’t need to care about that, because when we say that word, we aren’t speaking to or about a false god. Since we’re speaking English, we’re using it as a collective pronoun. If I learned that there really was a god named We (or Wii or Oui or Wee), it would be foolish to eliminate the pronoun, we, from our vocabulary, because nobody would understand us in English anymore.

That’s not a problem, though. Just because there are any number of other languages that have identical sounding words, doesn’t mean we’re speaking the words of any of those languages when we make the same sound. God knows that, when we say “we”, we’re not speaking about or to that false god. He knows we’re speaking English and that we’re not calling on the names of other gods or referring to them in any way.

The same is true of “amen”. There is no actual linguistic connection between the name of an Egyptian god and the Hebrew word “amen”. None, whatsoever. Anyone who says otherwise is trying to pass off an old urban myth as established fact, but age and repetition doesn’t make a lie any more true.

How can I be so certain? God commands people to say “amen” in Numbers 5:22 and Deuteronomy 27:14-26. If anyone would know if the word was connected to an Egyptian deity, God would. Even more significantly, Yeshua called himself “the Amen” in Revelation 3:14!

We aren’t speaking ancient Egyptian when we pray and we aren’t referring to a false god in any conceivable way when we say “amen”. God’s native language isn’t Egyptian, and he won’t be offended if some English or Hebrew words sound like some Egyptian words.

Think about this. Here are just a few words you would have to eliminate from your vocabulary if you want to avoid saying anything that sounds like the name of a false god:

  • Gad
  • pan
  • sheaf
  • tear
  • bill
  • air
  • hell
  • knot
  • nut
  • set
  • shoe
  • an
  • sin

And, of course, the names of the days and some of the months. I’m sure there are many hundreds more.

I hope you can see just how crazy things could get if we seriously tried never to even inadvertently speak the name of a false god.

I really wish we could change the names of our days, which, unlike “amen”, really are connected to the names of pagan gods. I seriously hope Yeshua fixes that when he comes back. In the meantime, I content myself in knowing that I am not referring to Thor, Freya, or Saturn in any meaningful way when I talk about my plans for the week. All days belong to YHVH, and Thursday is just a word.

More importantly, when we use the names of the week days or the months, we aren’t purposefully honoring or calling on any deities, and I think this is the real meaning of God’s instruction on this matter. When God said “don’t speak their names”, he didn’t mean that we must never discuss them in any way, but that we shouldn’t pray to them, swear by them, or curse or bless in their names.

Don’t worry about whether an English or Hebrew word sounds like the name of some obscure pagan god. That’s a distraction that our real enemy throws in your face to keep you from focusing on what’s really important: worshiping the Creator and doing tangibly good things for your neighbors.

Everything that Yeshua (aka Jesus) & the Apostles taught
was based solidly in the Old Testament scriptures.

Come with me as I draw out the connections that are so often missed
in today's church teachings.

Subscribe to American Torah now and you will also get a printable chart
of New Testament passages to read and study with each of the 54 annual
Torah portions. This list isn't just a single, obvious NT passage or just
a couple of verses. I selected numerous Apostolic passages that address key
topics for each parsha.

19 Replies to “Is saying “Amen” speaking the name of a false god?”

  1. This article is very well thought out and written. It treats the subject in an even handed manner and shows that Jay has a firm grasp of Bible concepts. I look forward to future exchanges with him and learning from him and the community!

  2. Every time I read your email/blog I think, Wow, that was so helpful. I often would like to share a link on Twitter to your blog. Is that acceptable? If so how can it be done. Untech-y me has not figured it out.

  3. Excellent…People need to stop obsessing on mans dogma, doctrines and traditions. God already knows what’s in our hearts before we speak it, He knows our intent, well He knows everything! Anyway a very good read.

  4. Hello. Going back to one of the first bibles I could find online, the Geneva Bible 1599, the word is not amen, it is SO BE IT.
    I found it this afternoon and am shocked by the changes. Hope that I could get this fact out for all the ones that really want to do YAHUAH Will. Shalom.

  5. Hi Erika. “Amen” is the original Hebrew word, but “so be it” is a good English translation. All translators face this same dilemma of whether to translate some words into English or only transliterate them into English characters. In this case, “amen” has become a commonly used word that means essentially the same to English speakers as the original Hebrew did, so it can go either way. I’m not sure if it was as common in 1599 or not, so it might have made more sense at the time to translate it instead of transliterating.

  6. People will agree to anything..that’s why many people like the one who wrote this article as well as those who agree lack much understanding. First off, the bible teaches us all that there is power in the name of our redeemer. That word in itself should be enough to cause us to know that we are to get his name right rather than call him whatever false pagan name we want talking about it does not matter. Remember, how great he is by his father. Why should we not acknowledge this fact by the name we should know him by??? God is a title as same as any other God. So when we use the word God we have not set him apart from any other false pagan deities, we have not reverenced him or his mane. Remember by his MAME WE ARE SAVED!!! WHY does the author not acknowledge the importance of this fact? But leading the lost and unthinking to believe that it is okay to call him whatever we feel is okay. The word tells us that we are not to lean to our own understanding but to acknowledge HIM IN ALL OF OUR WAYS AND HE WILL MAKE OUR PATHS STRAIGHT. SAYING AMEN IS TO CALL UPON THE EGYPTIAN PAGAN GOD, AMON RAH. PEOPLE ARE SUMMONING UP DEMONS AND DON’T EVEN HAVE A CLUE.


  7. Hi Marlissa. I recommend reading the article. If a word in one language sounds just like a word in some other language, that doesn’t mean they’re the same word. “Amen” is a Hebrew word, not an Egyptian one.

    I’m happy to consider new evidence, but you’ll have to present some actual new evidence instead of just repeating the same things I already disproved above.

  8. We have been lied to by so many. And as a melanated man, I have to be careful with the word. So not to trash my prayers. Your writings do help.

  9. I read this article all of the comments and the replies to those comments. I was happy to see that there are many individuals who can see past the authors manipulative understanding.
    The idea there is no linguistic connection between the Egyptian deity and the “Hebrew” word amen cannot be further from the truth. Moses was brought up in Pharaoh’s home as his own. Egyptian pharaohs claimed to be direct descendants of their gods. Moses had to have known the name Amun ra. Name was pronounced differently at different times of his worship hence the spelling amen. The author of numbers as well many of the escaping slaves had to have known that. And even if they did not know there are other issues that are not just a coincidence. like for whatever reason the early statues of Moses have him with Ram’s horns. The creation story of the Egyptians is so similar to the Creation story of the Jews. Ra was venerated as the supreme god of the Egyptians so much so that they stopped worshiping many gods and only worshipped him. I could go on but those are enough to raise an eyebrow to say the least.

  10. Honorio honorio, I’m sorry that common sense and actual evidence seems like “manipulative understanding” to you. Let me know when you’ve invented a time machine so we can go back and ask Moses exactly where the word “amen” originated. Until then, I’m going to go along with Moses, David, all the other prophets, and God himself (!) who had no problem using the Hebrew word “amen”.

  11. I don’t mean to be rude, but you are creating a falsehood to match how you want this to be. There is historical evidence and a clear line of events, historical data and changes/spread of language to prove the contrary.
    When you say “Amen” at the end of a prayer, you are essentially casting a spell to a self appointed human deity and creator. He was a tyrant.
    He became wrongly associated with protection and kindness due to his army defending Thebes. His status as a God spread to other countries such as the Greece, where he is seen with horns like a ram. The Ram is used in astronomy and English/latin words are derived from Anon/Amen/Amun, such as ammonia and ammonite in relation to curved structures like a ram’s horns.

    His stays in Egypt changed to the God of the sun Amen-Ra. He was later known as the God of wind as his notoriety spread across continents.

    Old Testament:
    The Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, said: “Behold, I am bringing punishment upon Amon of Thebes, and Pharaoh and Egypt and her gods and her kings, upon Pharaoh and those who trust in him.”

    — Jeremiah 46:25

    New Testament:
    The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going.”
    -John the Gospel

    In Ancient Rome:

    The Romans called the ammonium chloride they collected from deposits near the Temple of Jupiter-Amun in ancient Libya sal ammoniacus (salt of Amun) because of proximity to the nearby temple. Amun is the Latin form of Amen.

    Ammonia, as well as being the chemical, is a genus name in the foraminifera. Foraminfera and ammonites both bear spiral shells resembling a ram’s, and Ammon’s, horns (Greek God altered version of Amen) The regions of the hippocampus in the brain are called the cornu ammonis – literally “Amun’s Horns”, due to the horned appearance of the dark and light bands of cellular layers.

    I don’t wish you any ill will, but I vehemently disagree with your analysis. Sincerely hoping you have a great day.

  12. And this stuff about the wind and ammonia? This level of paranoia is beyond parody. That’s some of the most absurd stuff I’ve ever read.

    I’m not trying to be rude either. Just truthful. In fact, this is the really nice version of what I really think.

  13. He is too non character with his explanations because names do matter and it does matter which names you use to call upon. Read Deuteronomy and it clearly states who the lost tribe is yet, most will let it go over their heads because it doesn’t fit their narrative. These things are simple to understand.

  14. If you decide what the truth is before you read the Bible, it’s easy to twist the scriptures into something that is “simple to understand” yet entirely foreign to the text.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *