Did God say His name was 
"I Am"?

 

 

As far back as I can remember, I heard in Sunday-school, church services, and Bible studies that one of God's names is "I Am". This assumption has been driven home over and over again in Biblical documentaries and even popular movies... like The Ten Commandments. The belief that one of God's names is "I Am" is firmly entrenched in both Judaism and Christianity. The average Christian and Jew doesn't realize that there is only one place in the Bible where it appears that YHWH called Himself "I Am".  It is in the scene of Moses and the burning bush. God told Moses to take off his shoes, and then He introduced Himself to Moses.

Then Moses said, "I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn." So when YHWH saw that he turned aside to look, He called to him from the midst of the bush and said, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am." Then He said, "Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground." Moreover He said, "I am the God of your fathers-the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.  Exodus 3:3-6

 God then tells Moses that He wants him to go to Egypt and bring His people out of bondage. Then Moses speaks and says,

"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.'" Exodus 3:13,14 

When someone is trying to prove that "I Am" is one of God's names, they seldom (if ever) continue reading the text. God goes on to say these words,

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 3:15

A little later in the same scene, God says these words,

"that they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you." Exodus 4:5

Nowhere else in this scene does God ever call Himself, "I Am". In fact, nowhere else in the Bible is God referred to as I Am. Moses never does record that he went to the children of Israel and said, "I Am has sent me to you". But over and over again it is recorded that others referred to God as, "the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." The notion that God had called Himself I Am is the product of a simple misunderstanding that has become a kind of superstitious part of the collective Christian (as well as Jewish) soul... similar to the way the name "Jesus" has become a part of the Christian soul. (If you are not aware of how far off this is, please see the article; How the name Yahshua became Jesus.) What YHWH meant when He appeared to have called Himself I Am is this amplified version of the conversation:

Then Moss 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! We've already determined that I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." And He said , "And this that We've determined is what you shall say to the children of Israel... concerning Who I am that has 'sent me to you'."  ..."Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: 'YHWH 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." 

No, I Am never was one of God's names. God could not have been more specific or emphatic about how He wanted to be known to Israel.

 

 

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