“I AM” is the name that God Almighty chose to reveal to Moses in Exodus 3:14. The name is so holy to the Jews that they leave the vowels out of it so that it is not pronounceable – YHWH. According to the footnote in my NIV, Lord sounds like and may come from the Hebrew for I Am.
My purpose in studying this passage/phrase is to look at the times Jesus said “I AM” in the Book of John. I feel it will add to the miracles that John highlights as proof that Jesus is the Son of God. But this is my background study, and I am glad that I started here. There are several things I saw and want to show you.
First, in Exodus 6:3 God tells Moses He showed Himself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty or El-Shaddai (Genesis 17:1). That is important when you realize that they had no written Word or anyone to teach them about the true God. Joseph and his brothers (so their children) only had oral traditions and possibly dreams and visions to guide them. (It does make you wonder what part Melchizedek played, if any, in their education.) The “few times” that God interacted with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their wives had to be impressive or they would have wandered away. (The reason I said a “few times” is the number of recorded “visits” or “revelations” versus the number of years they lived.)
Names are important in the Bible – some are changed, you can be given a new one (Revelations) and Jesus has one that will not be revealed. I tend to start with the meaning of names (people and places) in my studies, but they can hold a mixed bag of information. Lo Debar is deceptive if you do not study the town, where it was located, and its main source of income. The three Ananias’ in the Book of Acts portray a wide range of characteristics and not all of them fit with the name or at least my paradigms.
Second, is the play on words between Moses and God with the phrase “I am”. I know some of this depends on the translations you read, KJV is slightly different than many others. KJV has Moses using “am I” twice, once in verse 4 (Here am I) and then again in verse 11 with God using “I AM” seven times (the number of completion) in the same conversation. Many other translations have Moses in verse 4 saying, “Here I am.”
The third interesting thing is the change in the word Lord. My Second Edition Zondervan NIV Exhaustive Concordance has two different listings under the word lord. A more common use of the word is first used in Genesis 18:27 while the word rendered Yahweh starts in Genesis 2:4. Then, there are times when the word Adonai and YHWH are together, and you see LORD in the NIV. (This is from the preface in my NIV.) The non-God reference in this concordance is #123 with donay being #151 and Yahweh being #3378 (These are not Strong’s numbers.)
Forth, I suggest using the parallel function on Bible Gateway and see the way different translations handle Exodus 3: 4-15. I paralleled The Names of God Bible, Complete Jewish Bible, Orthodox Jewish Bible, the Revised Standard Version, NIV, and others. Check the footnotes as “I AM” may have other meanings- “I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE” was a common possible version. Verse 12 in the NIV has God saying, “I will be with you” to Moses.
Please check YouTube for Jonathan Chan videos as he has very good revelation into the I AM mystery. Also, check – https://www1.biu.ac.il/indexE.php?id=17636&pt=1&pid=14398&level=0&cPath=43,14206,14373,14398,17636 This is Bar-Ilan University, they have several viewpoints on this topic. I also found https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Am_that_I_Am helpful on the Yahweh and ehyeh connection. In Genesis God revealed Himself to Abraham as God Almighty or El-Shaddai. In Exodus, He added the name of I AM or Yahweh or LORD. I will be showing how Jesus used “I am” in introducing Himself in the Book of John to show Himself as the Son of God.
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