Simon Foster – Yahweh – I WILL BE

Ex 3

This is the setting, the C of I are about to come out of Egypt and Moses is preparing for this.

7. And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;

8. And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey;

11. And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?

12. And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.

Moses then asks the question

13. And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?

14. 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.

15. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

The issue under debate is the phrase I AM THAT I AM

Compared this passage with other passages and this has been helpful.

We should be alerted to what we see here. Why is this phrase capitalised? – It’s unusual! – What’s going on?

There are three offerings of the tenses.

We’re used to the capitalisation highlighting that Yahweh is being used. This doesn’t differentiate between Yahweh or Yah.

The KJV translators are doing something extra rather than just translating the words.

Lets consider other translations.

x3 in v 14 – I AM that I AM, say unto C of I that I AM

It is inconsistent! – Look at v12

12. And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.

Here there is no capitalisation…

28 times, I WILL, and 24 of these God says I WILL BE. There is many links with the idea of “sending”

Can translate this back in to v 14 and see how the I WILL BE fits here. Based on volume, we can opt for the future tense.

This now all has to fit into what we see in Ex 3.

Moses has had his position queried after he killed the Egyptian.

14. And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known.

We’re at the start of the C of I being delivered, Moses is fearful. God says I WILL BE with you.

God tells Moses to answer the people with I WILL BE. Need to think in terms of manifestation.

God is manifested in Moses. God will be who he will be, in this case he is Moses, delivering his people through him.

Isa 19 speaks of the same pattern.

20. And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them.

Speaking of a time in the future with Jesus’ work. There are many parallels between Moses and Christ. In the NT, God is manifest in a son.

Mat 1

21. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his nameJESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

22. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

23. Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

What a wonderful thing. Much more to add to these passages.

John Adey added

Picking up on where you finished with Jesus’ name.

The saving aspect of Jesus’ name. Where is says Yahweh will save, this is combined to make Jesus’ name. LIke with Joshua.

Ecc 3

1. To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

Here, these are opposites.

The contrasts are important for positioning and meaning.

The contrasts in Ecc are what was against what will be.

Is God’s statement I AM or I WILL BE? Ecc provides a test for this.

If we go to Joshua we can see various aspects of this here.

Josh 1

5. There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Here we have a contrast.

As I was with Moses – So I will be with thee.

Moses is being succeeded. Joshua is being empowered with the same statement. The I WILL BE WITH THEE is the same as Ex 3 v 12

The I WILL BE WITH THEE with Moses is now complete and is in the past. The I WILL BE was played out in the life of Moses.

He hasn’t said I AM WITH THEE. He didn’t say this to Moses.

1 Cor 15

10. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

On the Damascus road, he was changed. Paul is rehearsing some of this, it was by the grace of God. He is making a statement about what he is.

The act of Christ, in his current circumstance with the grace of God being with him.

God’s grace has come to be with me.

God’s I WILL BE has been given to him with the grace of God, so he is what he is.

Paul like Jesus, can say I AM the true vine. The grace is in Paul.

2 Sam 7

14. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:

15. But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.

One of the things which God is going to be is a father.

Heb 1

1. God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

2. Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

3. Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image ofhis person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

4. Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

5. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

The name isn’t I AM. He has put a verb in his name, it is the verb “to be”. Otherwise it would be like the phrase I AM the God of Abraham… Everything is centred in his son. I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son.


A few words about the word in the middle.

In the upper case convention is translated “that”

Some people use the word WHO, which implies an individual as being referenced.

It’s actually the word WHICH. It doesn’t necessarily imply a reference to an individual.

Ex 3 it’s been used a number of times.

7. And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;

Some accompanies this to let us know what is being referred to. Here it is “my people”.

5. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. (Which you standing upon him, ground of holiness, he) it’s been translated “whereon”

It’s not referring to a person, it’s referring to the ground, a place, the ground of holiness.

The thing it is referencing is preceded, the place on which Moses was standing on at the time.

9. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. (Which the Egyptians, pressing them)

Which is a better translation than WHO. Which covers both aspects.

I WILL BE – *SOMETHING* – (here it is in the object position), this then has spawned much questioning of what it means – It’s not I WILL BE HIM. It’s normally I WILL BE “quick” or something like this. It’s the object of the verb.

Gen 2

2. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

And he finished elohim in day the seventh his work which he did, and he ceased in day the seventh

from all his work which he had done. And he blessed elohim day the seventh and he

hallowed him, for in him he ceased from all his work which he created elohim to do.

“which he did” is an example of how the text has directed our attention to the thing which is the work. The which is referring to the work. Just like the examples in Ex 3.

Ex 3

14. 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 which is being used here, but it has been done here. It is something used as a reference to the people. The people in Egypt.

We think of the doctrine of fanerosis, this is about the purpose of God to call out a people to his name. This is evident in this expression, a reference to something as to what he will be.

The people of God are still in Egypt. In this sense, it’s not hard to make the connection with our understanding of God manifestation.

Yahweh will be with Joshua, but he will BE Joshua.

Jesus inherited the name from his father. The inheritance is at the centre of our hope and by which we are saved.

The passage isn’t hard, but people don’t understand how God will be manifested in his people, that he wants us to be like him and like his son.

We know we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.


Gen 31

First use of “I WILL BE”

1. And he heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father’s; and of that which was our father’s hath he gotten all this glory.

2. And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before.

3. And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.

5. And said unto them, I see your father’s countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me.

The context is that Jacob has been serving for his daughters.

v2 – Not with you. There is then a contrast with Yahweh being with you, we see this with v5.

There is a contrast of fathers in v5. In the past, God has been beside him, in the future, God is making a promise that he will be with ye.

In the end there is a covenant. Laban is left behind. A prefiguring of the exodus. There has been suffering and now he is on the way back to the promised land, the land of the God of his father.

55. And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them: and Laban departed, and returned unto his place.

Gen 32

1. And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.

God has already been with him, but he will be with him on this journey he is going to make.