Going From Exodus 3:14 to Jehovah! Part II

(Comment: Please read Part I below before Part II)

“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”

The Substance of Jehovah

What’s in the name of Jehovah? The most noted Jewish commentator of the Middle Ages, Moses Maimonides, said in regards to the name Jehovah: “All the names of God which occur in Scripture are derived from His works except one, and that is Jehovah; and this is called the plain name, because it teaches plainly and unequivocally of the substance of God.” How does the name Jehovah teach us “the substance of God?” Adam Clarke noted that The Targum of Jonathan, and the Jerusalem Targum paraphrase the words “I Am That I Am” as, “He who spoke, and the world was; who spoke, and all things existed.” G. Campbell Morgan wrote, “The name was explained as revealing the fact of God’s ability to become to His people whatever their need demanded.” This connects with Nathan Stone’s observations in his book, “The Names of God.” He points out that the English words “I Am That I Am” in the Hebrew literally means, “I will be what I will be” and often the words can be used in the sense, “I will be with thee.[1]”

The verse, Exodus 3:14, is the first time in history we read of God revealing by Himself the true nature and significance of the name Jehovah. And though Jehovah is used before Exodus 3 on many occasions, the essence of it’s meaning was never revealed until here in verse 14 to Moses. In this passage we discover the whole revelation of His redeeming mercies as the Self-Existent One. We are revealed who Jehovah is and what that name is all about! He is the ever-living Jehovah—“I Will Be What I Will Be.” No one else will name Him, or title Him, or give Him some finite definition. He alone will define who He is by Himself using the name that He alone gives. People can try to rename Him, or give Him another name, but it’s Jehovah that names Himself Jehovah. And the definition of Jehovah, in the simplest of forms, is that He is the “Being beyond description.” That’s why Maimonides writes the name “Jehovah reveals the substance of God!” In context, the whole purpose of Exodus 3:14 is for the redemption and salvation of God’s people. When Jehovah reveals Himself declaring, “I will be what I will be,” He is saying I the self-existing One who becomes whatever is necessary to redeem My people.

Think about it, the Creator-God, Elohim; and Master-God, Adonai, is the Redeemer and Savior-God, Jehovah! The truth is in the decree, “I will become whatever necessary to redeem My people.” If Israel needed an army, He became a warrior and triumphed gloriously. If the Hebrews needed a shepherd to guide them, He became pillar by day and fire by night. If the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob needed comfort, He became a father to His people with everlasting arms—the list goes on-and-on. And what does the “I Am That I Am” mean to mankind? He will become whatever people need for redemption and salvation! In doing so He became flesh and took the name Jesus to be the Savior of humanity—Jehovah-Jesus!

So that the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit is Jehovah God the redeemer—three distinct persons in One Redeemer God! To be clear, Jesus is not the Father; He’s Jehovah God just like the Father and the Spirit are—all one God! That’s why Jesus is Jehovah—I will become what my people need. “I Am That I Am” means He needed to become flesh for redemption and salvation. So, Exodus 3:14 has a very practical meaning for us today. This is the essence, the substance of His name and who Jehovah–Jesus is—Emmanuel, Jehovah with us!

J. Robert Hanson

[1] Nathan Stone, The Name of God, Copyright, 1944, by The Moody Bible Institute Of Chicago.

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