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  • Writer's pictureGODVERSITY

The Great I AM

If I say "I am," I say what is not true of me. I must say "I am something — I am a woman, I am bad, or I am good, or I am an American, I am a doctor, I am a soldier, I am a teacher." — and then I shall say what is true of me. But God alone can say "I AM" without saying anything more.

And why?

Because God alone is. Everybody and everything else in the world becomes: but God is. We are all becoming something from our birth to our death — changing continually and becoming something different from what we were a minute before; first of all we were created and made, and so became men; and since that we have been every moment changing, becoming older, becoming wiser, or alas! foolisher; becoming stronger or weaker; becoming better or worse. Even our bodies arc changing and becoming different day by day. But God never changes or becomes anything different from what He is now. What He is, that He was, and ever will be.

The gospel of John records the words of Jesus making this proclamation:

Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:5)

This proclamation made the Jews furious. A reference to the book of Exodus helps in understanding this:

Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO 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, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The LORD 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 My memorial to all generations.’“ (Exodus 3:13-16)

So, we can see by reading the above passage that God claimed the name, “I Am” in His conversation with Moses, and then Jesus referrers to Himself as “I Am” when speaking to the religious leaders of Israel.

The “I Am” passage provided to Moses is not well understood because there is not a subject provided that would answer the question: I Am what? Jesus made a number of “I Am” statements in His ministry but up until the preceding passage they all had a subject. For example, the following “I Am” statements have already been presented in various posts on our site:

I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life
I Am the Door to the Sheepfold
I Am the Good Shepherd
I Am the Bread of Life
I Am the Light of the World
I Am the Resurrection and the Life
I Am the True Vine
I Am the Alpha and the Omega
I Am the Root and Offspring of David
I Am the Morning Star

The Morning Star Rising on the First Day

But what does, “I Am” mean if such a definitional statement is missing? Certainly the words that came from the Father to Moses are not simply a statement of existence but rather a statement of all inclusiveness. I Am all of the things identified in the list above. I Am every good thing that you ever needed, everything you could possibly imagine, and even more because I Am God.

Therefore, in speaking the same words as the Father spoke to Moses; Jesus clearly communicated His identity to the scribes and Pharisees. But this was not the only time that Jesus proclaimed Himself to be God. For example, Jesus was more direct in claiming to be the Father in the following statement:

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:9)



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