Nov 26, 2021

The God of the Bible is a God of revelation, a God who delights to make Himself known so that we can enter into relationship with Him.

One of His great, personal revelations took place in a remote wilderness area. An old man was tending sheep in this barren land, when his eye was suddenly drawn to an unusual sight, a bush that burned but was not consumed by the flame. As he approached the bush to investigate this unusual phenomenon, a voice called to him from the bush, “Moses! Moses!” Moses humbly replied, “Here I am.” And the LORD told Moses, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5). The LORD identified Himself as the God of his father, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He had heard the cries of His people who were being persecuted in Egypt and was now calling Moses to be His representative to go the most powerful monarch of that day with the command that Pharaoh let God’s people go.

Moses recognised that the Israelites would want to know who had authorised Moses for this seemingly impossible mission. God’s answer seems strange to us:

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.”

Exodus 3:14

This unusual name, “I AM”, is the root from which the more familiar name Jehovah or Yahweh is derived. Yahweh is the personal name of God, and speaks of Him as the self-existent One, the One who exists outside of the limitations of time and inhabits eternity, the One whose essence is unchanging. Later, God would explain to Moses that He had revealed Himself to Abraham as God Almighty, but that Abraham had not known God as Yahweh (Exodus 6:2-8). Since we do read of the name Yahweh in God’s dealings with Abraham, we realise that there was a new sense in which God was revealing Himself to Moses and the Israelites by this name. God had made promises and entered into covenant relationship with Abraham, but Abraham had not seen those promises fulfilled. Now God was going to reveal Himself not only as the covenant-making God but as the covenant-keeping God. So when we come across either the name “LORD” (all caps in most Bible translations) or “I am”, we should recall that the God of the Bible is both the self-existent one and the one who makes and keeps covenants with His people.

The book of Exodus records how God brought the Israelites out of Egypt “with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm” (Deuteronomy 26:8), and as a result, not only the Israelites but even the enemies of Israel came to know God as the LORD (Exodus 6:7; 7:5). And when God gave to the Israelites the Ten Commandments, He taught them that this name LORD was a sacred name that was not to be used carelessly or unthinkingly. It was a lesson they were sometimes slow to learn, but eventually came to reverence that holy Name so much that they would not even say the sacred name Yahweh, lest they broke God’s command.

That is why the Jewish people were so scandalised when Jesus claimed that holy Name for Himself! The Apostle John records that when Jesus claimed that God was His Father, the Jews sought to kill Him because they knew He was claiming equality with God (John 5:18). Later, Jesus would tell these self-righteous, religious Jews that they didn’t know His Father (John 8:19). Of course, they knew intellectually who God was, but they did not have a living relationship with God, and certainly didn’t know God intimately as their Father. As they debated these matters with Jesus, they claimed first that Abraham was their father (John 8:39). Jesus responded that if Abraham was their father, they would do the works of Abraham. Then they claimed that God was their Father (John 8:41). But Jesus said, “If God were your Father, you would love Me” (v. 42), and clearly, they did not love Jesus! However, Jesus insisted that He knows the Father and demonstrates it by keeping His Word (v. 55), that is, by obedience to the Father’s will.

However, the final straw in this interaction with these men was when Jesus made what they considered not only an outrageous claim, but a blasphemous one. Jesus claimed not only to have existed before their father Abraham; He claimed to be “I AM”!

Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM”.

John 8:58

This despised carpenter from Nazareth was claiming for Himself that sacred Name of Yahweh, “I AM”. He was claiming not just to be a god, but claiming to be Yahweh, the self-existent One, the One who exists outside of time, the One whose essence is unchanging, the One who enters into covenant relationship with people.

There are some who say that Jesus never claimed to be God; that it was only centuries later that followers of Christ invented these claims. But the Apostle John, who recorded this claim by the Lord Jesus, was the one who leaned on the breast of Jesus at the Last Supper, who saw Jesus transfigured on the mountain top, who witnessed the death of Christ, who met with the risen Christ, and who witnessed the ascension of Christ. John was utterly convinced that this was no empty claim. And that is why John began his gospel with those incredible words:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:1

Notice that this verse identifies Jesus as God but also distinguishes Jesus from God, thus laying the foundation for the doctrine of the triunity of God. For more information on the Trinitarian nature of the God of the Bible, see the article on “The Word” and “Why Christians Believe in the Trinity.”


By admin