Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Christ as the Divine Amen


More Proofs for the Deity of Christ Pt. 2
By Sam Shamoun


Click on this link to read the first part in the series.


In the book of Revelation, the risen Lord appears to his servant John in order to reveal to him what was (the past), what is (the present), and what shall shortly come to pass (the future).

In one of these appearances, Christ identifies himself as “the Amen” who is the “faithful and true witness”:

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen (ho ‘Amen), the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;” Revelation 3:14

As “the Amen,” Jesus insures that all of God’s promises shall come to pass:

When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay? But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” 2 Corinthians 1:18-20

What makes this title so significant is that it happens to be one of the descriptions of Jehovah God in the Hebrew Bible:

Those who pronounce a blessing in the land will do so by the God called Amen; those who make a solemn pledge in the land will do so by the God called Amen. Past troubles will be forgotten and hidden from my sight. Look! I’m creating a new heaven and a new earth: past events won’t be remembered; they won’t come to mind.” Isaiah 65:16-17 Common English Bible (CEB)

Astonishingly, Isaiah refers to God as the Amen in the context of his creating a new heaven and earth, which happens to be a major theme in the book of Revelation!

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” Revelation 21:1-5

It is therefore obvious that Christ was deliberately ascribing to his own Person the very description which the prophet Isaiah applied to the one true God!

The following NT scholar brings out the significance of this divine ascription to the risen Christ:

(1) The unusual titular use of the term ho amen, “Amen” (only here in the NT), is probably an allusion to the Hebrew text of Isa 65:16 (cf. 25:1), where the name of God is mentioned in connection with the use of both blessings and oaths in the phrases… yitbarek be’lohe amen, literally, “he shall bless by the God of Amen,” and… yishshaba be’lohe amen, literally, “he shall swear by the God of Amen”… This title for God is found only in Isa 65:16, but its connection with blessing and taking oaths probably indicates that both must be confirmed by God himself in order to be valid, or perhaps that God, who is sometimes depicted in the OT as swearing oaths, need not swear by another since he is his own witness (Heb 6:13-17, alluding to Gen 22:11b; see Attridge, Hebrews, 178-82). This notion is treated briefly by Philo (De sacr. 91-92); LCL tr .):

For our conception of an oath is an appeal to God as a witness on some disputed matter. But nothing is uncertain or open to dispute with God. … Truly He needs no witness, for there is no other god to be His peer.

Christologically this title is significant since it attributes to Christ a title associated ONLY with God… (David Aune, Revelation 1-5: 52A (Word Biblical Commentary) [Word Book Publishers, Dallas, TX 1997], p. 255; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Just as astonishing is the fact that the OT even identifies Jehovah as the faithful and true witness!

Then they said to Jeremiah, The Lord be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not even according to all things for the which the Lord thy God shall send thee to us.” Jeremiah 42:5

Thus, by speaking of himself as the Amen who is the faithful and true witness, Jesus is basically claiming to be Jehovah God Almighty (even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit).

Nor are these the only divine titles and/or functions which are ascribed to the Lord Jesus in the book of Revelation.

In speaking to John, the risen Lord identifies himself as the First and the Last, as well as the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End who will comes quickly to repay every individual according to his/her deeds, and who even sent his angel to reveal these things to the churches:

And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, AND WAS DEAD; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Revelation 1:17-18 – cf. 2:8

And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the lastI JESUS HAVE SENT MINE ANGEL to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star… He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, COME, LORD JESUS.” Revelation 22:12-13, 16, 20

Jesus even claims to be the One who searches the minds and hearts of everyone, which is why he is able to give everyone exactly what they deserve:

“And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce MY SERVANTS to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols… and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” Revelation 2:19-19, 23b

Revelation isn’t the only canonical writing where Christ makes such claims:

For the Son of man shall come in the glory of HIS Father with HIS angels; and then HE shall reward every man according to his works.” Matthew 16:27

For the Father judgeth NO MAN, but hath committed ALL judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him… and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.” John 5:22-23, 27

Here Jesus refers to himself as the divine Son of Man and the unique Son of God who judges and repays everyone, being the One whom God commands all men to honor in the exact same way that they honor the Father.

And yet what makes all of this rather remarkable is that it is the LORD God Almighty, who is said to be the First and the Last, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End,

Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last. Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.” Isaiah 48:12-13 – cf. 41:4; 44:6

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8 – cf. 21:6-7

Being the One that searches minds and hearts in order to repay each person for what s/he has earned,

Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.” Isaiah 40:10 – cf. 62:11; Psalm 62:12; Proverbs 24:12

I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17:10 – cf. 11:20; 29:23

And who is also said to have sent his own angel to testify to his servants concerning what is to come!

And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent HIS ANGEL to shew unto HIS SERVANTS the things which must shortly be done. Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” Revelation 22:6-7

The foregoing shows that John lauds Jesus with specific divine predicates all throughout his inspired writing, obviously because he believed that the risen Christ is the divine, unique Son of God who is essentially coequal to God the Father:

“The formula ho protos kai ho eschatos, ‘the first and the last,’ was probably derived from Deutero-Isaiah… The fact that the divine predicate ‘the first and the last’ occurs three times in Deutero-Isaiah suggests its importance in that composition… This formula also occurs in 2:8 and at the conclusion of Revelation 22:13, where it is also applied to Christ and associated with (and mutually interpreted by) two other divine predicates: ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.’ The version of the formula in 22:13 suggests that John has expanded this traditional wording through the addition of ho zon in 1:18, a predicate that functions as a double entendre referring both to a traditional Jewish designation for God and to the triumph of Jesus over death through his resurrection… The phrase ‘I am alive forever’ has close parallels in the phrase ‘the one who lives for ever’ (which occurs four times, 4:9, 10; 10:6; 15:7), a formula applied to God though in 1:18 it is applied to Christ…” (Aune, pp. 101, 103; bold emphasis ours)

Unless noted otherwise, all Scriptural references taken from the Authorized King James Version (AV) of the Holy Bible.

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