Heb 11:6 “…without faith it is impossible to please [God], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
Ex 3:14-15 “And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO/WHAT I AM’. And He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the Children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Moreover, God said to Moses: ‘YHVH, God of your fathers – the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob – has sent me to you. This is My Name forever, and this is for My remembrance to all generations.’”
The Septuagint of Ex 3:14 translates as: “And God spoke to Moses, saying, ‘I am THE BEING ONE. And He said, ‘Thus shall you say to the Children of Israel, THE BEING ONE has sent me to you.’” (or, The One Being; The Being)
In the New Testament, Yeshua/Jesus is recorded in the gospels at least 11 times as referring to Himself in such a way as to identify with the God who is, by expressing Himself as being “I Am”. For an example: “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was/existed, I AM”. (Jn 8:58)
(Even though the verse in Ex 3:14 was originally written in Hebrew, the Greek translation that we have in the Septuagint was written by Jews about 300 years before Yeshua began His public ministry, doing their best in the fear of God to convey what they could to capture the essence of the meaning. In their understanding, God is self-existent, not “becoming”. So, too, in the New Testament. Yeshua/Jesus was not speaking Greek to His people, but Hebrew (Aramaic at times, but I favor the Hebrew, as being the language of the Jews), yet the writers of the New Testament in the original Greek were Israeli Jews (except for Luke), and inspired by the Holy Spirit to capture and write the truth of what was spoken. The New Testament is as much the written Word of God as is the Old Testament/Tenach. Many of the OT quotes in the NT are taken from the Septuagint.)
I am not a scholar, and can not get into all of the studies that seek to grasp the full meaning and nuance of this great revelation of the one true God regarding HIS NAME– regarding WHO HE IS. I do very much appreciate those scholars who believe in the one-and-only holy triune God, and who also believe what He says and reveals about Himself, wanting to help us better understand the glory and holiness of God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ. The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
The Hebrew word in Ex 3:14 is Ehyeh (אהיה). It has been translated in this context as “I AM”, which also corresponds to the Name above all names, YHVH (however that is properly pronounced). YHVH incorporates the past, present, and future in its uniqueness. YHVH God is self-existent: HE just IS, and will always be! In modern Hebrew ehyeh would be used only in the future tense: I will be. For those who reject the divine inspiration of the understanding of Ex 3:14 being “I AM”, they would translate the verse as God saying, “I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE….I WILL BE sent me to you.” YHVH does say: “I will be (ehyeh) the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.” (Jer 31:1) YHVH even now is the God of Israel, but they, as a nation, do not yet know Him or accept Him for who He is, and for who they are to Him. (Is 43:10-15; 53; Jn 1:10-13) But that day will come! Hallelu-YAH! (Jer 30:4 – 31:1 Eng)
What is true is that GOD IS, and He will be known to be who He already is as He demonstrates Himself to be throughout human and Israel’s history until today and forever. Jesus was born as the promised Messiah, as Lord, as the King of the Jews, as the Son of God; and through His sinless life – His works, His character, His particular signs and wonders – His death on the cross and asking forgiveness for His accusers and murderers, His burial, and His resurrection from among the dead – all these proved Him to be who He already was. He did not become the Son of God or the Messiah, but was already, becoming known as that by His resurrection in power, and through our repentance and faith in the gospel and growing in the knowledge of Him after we are saved. (Mt 2:1-6; Lk 1:35; 2:25-35; 2:10-11; Jn 1:14; Ps 2:7-12; Acts 13:26-33; Rom 1:1-4; Eph 3; Col 1)
Yeshua did not become God’s Son at His birth or at His baptism, but the baptism by John revealed Him, the Lamb of God, to Israel. (Jn 1:29-34; 1Pt 1:19-21; Rev 13:8) What/Who had been hidden in God in eternity, and spoken of in various ways and times through the prophets, became manifested in space and time. Yeshua, the Son of God/Son of Man was sent down from Heaven in an incredibly miraculous way to be our Savior and turn our hearts and lives back to God. A New Covenant cut for Israel, and opened up for the Gentiles! God knew Jeremiah already from before the womb, and Jeremiah became what/who he already was to be. (Jer 1:4-5; Gal 1:15-17) An embryo and fetus are already the person that they will become. We become who we are, but we were already that particular person. No created being can justly declare being “I AM”. That is reserved for the Creator and Redeemer alone, who alone is holy and self-existing. He is who He is. False christs/messiahs may try to claim it (I have even heard some professing believers say it!), but that only proves their deceit. (Mk 13:6; Lk 21:8)
Oh to know Him and be with Him forever, and to worship the Father in spirit and truth! Help me Lord! Amen.
This article originally appeared on Streams in the Negev, June 8, 2022, and reposted with permission.