God the great I am

BIBLE STUDY: Our God, the Great I AM

What does God mean when He calls Himself “I Am”?  To learn more about this topic and many others, please join us each week for Wednesday Night Bible Study at West Angeles’ North Campus Sanctuary.  Our latest Bible Study discussion is presented by Elder William Hampton.  Read PART I his discussion of the “7 Designations of God” below.

INTRODUCTION

What are the seven designations of God written by John?  They are:

“I AM the bread of life…” John 6:48

“I AM the light of the world…” John 8:12

“I AM the door of the sheep…” John 10:7

“I AM the good Shepherd…” John 10:11

“I AM the resurrection and the life…” John 11:2

“I AM the way, the truth, and the life…”John 14:6

“I AM the true vine…” John 15:1

In the seven designations of God, God is referred to as “I AM”.  Exodus 3:13-14 is the first time we are aware of God calling Himself “I AM”.  Moses asks God “who shall I say sent me”; Moses said unto God:

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?” 14 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.’ ”(NKJV)

Revealing His divine name declares His character and His attributes, reinforcing that the issue is not who Moses is, but who is with him. We can translate that into our modern day and time and say “Not who we are but who we know.”  

BEHIND THE MEANING OF THE NAME

The name is related to the Hebrew verb meaning “to be,” and so implies the absolute existence of God.  The phrase “to be” was derived from the imperfect tense of the verb “to be”, and was understood to mean “He who is”  or He who will be”. This is the explanation given in Exodus 3:10. When God Himself speaks, He uses the first person, and the name becomes “I am  or “I will be.” It denotes, then, existence; yet it is understood as expressing active and self-manifesting existence. [The latter became the common name of God in post-Mosaic times, and also became the special personal designation of God].  Therefore, we can see that God designated a name for Himself.  

The word designation is defined as, “definite indication; a descriptive title or name.”  As one can see from the definition, there is no discrepancy or fault in our God; God is a provider of everything.

THE FIRST DESIGNATION: THE BREAD OF LIFE

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

 48I am that bread of life.

 49Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness and are dead.

 50This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.

 51I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world – John 6:48

In this particular passage, we find an unmistakable parallel to God’s covenant name, Yahweh, by which He revealed Himself to Moses in Exodus 3:14, “ I AM WHO I AM.” Jesus makes the pronouncement “ I am the bread of life” three times (V,35, 48,51).  He is the “real” heavenly bread, the true life-sustaining power: anything else, regardless of its religious significance in past or present, is an inadequate substitute. 

In order for our physical bodies to maintain life, we need food.  Our spiritual bodies must also have the Word of God to sustain us. Just as the body is in need of food to make it strong and to prevent us from dying,  the Spirit man must have spiritual Bread in order to resist the enemy.

JOIN US for Part II of “Our God, the Great I Am” on westa.org. Coming soon!

Photo by Aperture Vintage for Unsplash.