The Name of the Father, “I Am That I Am” . . .

Question:  The name of the Father, “I Am That I Am” uses words of everyday language.  Isn’t it blasphemous to use these words for anything other than addressing Divinity?  

Answer: This is a good question.  Because the third commandment states that we are not to take the name of Yahuwah in vain, it is an issue that has confused some.  When you discover that the Holy Name itself uses parts of every day speech, how do you not take the name in vain?  How could you cut such vital words out of every day speech? 

Every language has some way of stating verbs of being.  In English, we say the verb “to be”  uses these forms:  is, was, were, shall be, shall have been, will be, will have been, etc., etc., etc.  All of these are variations of the verb “to be” and it is these verbs of being that comprise the holy name.

However, avoiding the use of verbs-of-being, specifically, I AM, simply because they are integral to the divine name is to miss the entire point.  Yahuwah deliberately chose common words that are used in everyday speech so that our sin-darkened minds could have a way to identify with the huge concepts He was trying to communicate.

The Father, in His loving concern for mankind, wanted everyone to understand that He was in the past, He had always been; He is in the present, every moment, everywhere; He will always be in the future.   He can just as accurately call Himself, I WAS and I WILL BE and even I SHALL HAVE ALWAYS BEEN, etc.  This concept is conveyed in Scripture by stating that He WAS, He IS and He IS TO COME. 

By using the phrase, “I Am,” He teaches that with the addition of other words He is everything that we could ever need Him to be.  His name becomes “I AM thy Helper,”  “I AM thy Leader,” “I AM thy Help,” “I AM thy Healing,” “I AM thy Husband,” “I AM thy Provider,” etc.  The Hebrews understood well the privilege of adding qualifying descriptions to the root name, I AM.  There are 360 names in Scripture of this kind of combination.  These beautiful name combinations let us know that the Father is everything we need Him to be.

The most important part of the human response is to exercise faith in His continual, everywhere Presence.  To inspire faith in the hearts of His children, He gives us as His name, “I Am That I Am.”  This name, Yahuwah, is an expression not only of His eternal existence (past and future), but it is also His promise to be with us every moment of every day being exactly what we need Him to be.

It is not sacrilegious to use the phrase “I am” or to otherwise use those words in every day speech, as in “I am going to the store.”  In such instances, these words are not being used as a name for deity.

Many people get confused, thinking that the use of the name of our heavenly Father should be so special that His name should not be translated into common, every day words, or used in any combination in every day talk.  They fear that this common usage is blasphemous because it is also the name of the heavenly Father.  Why would Elohim give Himself a name that is part of our everyday language?

In the beginning, when mankind sinned, the Father and the Son limited themselves in their communication with Adam and Eve and their descendents in order to also limit Satan’s access.  They limited themselves to the use of words.  The words the Father chose to name Himself were meant to also describe His character and His relationship to His creatures.  His name was to make clear His presence, His love, His eternal existence in ways that humankind could understand.  When He stated that His name was “I Am That I Am” He was stressing eternal self-existence and eternal presence.

In the emergency that sin made, the Father appealed to the mind of man by giving Himself names that man could understand.  When Moses was at the burning bush, he already knew the name “Yahuwah.”  It had been used since man left the garden.   It is in this context that Moses asked Yahuwah “What shall I tell the children of Israel when they ask me what is Your name?”  The answer given was not “I Am That I Am.”  Interestingly enough, the answer was “Hayah!  Hayah!”  That word is “Be!  Be!”  It was not “I Am That Be” or “Be That Be.”  It was simply the imperative command “Be!” 

All of the verb forms contain imperative commands.  A person can say, “Please give me some help,” or he can shout ”Help!”  A mother can say, “Please come to me,” or she can say very firmly, “Come.”  The imperative form, the command form of  I AM, is the word “Be!”  The children of Israel needed Hayah in order to have faith in Yahuwah’s ability to deliver them.  Perhaps that was the name that Moses shouted out at the top of his voice when he held his rod out over the Red Sea: “BE divided!”  Perhaps that was the name that Moses called when he struck the rock, “Water, BE!” and water came forth.  In all of the experiences of the children of Israel, they needed this new, deeper understanding of the divine name which was an imperative command, a form of “ I AM.” 

Now, at the end of time, we also need a deeper understanding of this powerful name we are repeatedly urged to call upon.  We need to know that these common words, used in every day speech, can be a powerful command that Yahuwah fulfills when used in prayer.

All of this does not mean that less care should be taken when using the sacred name.  In my opinion, the word “yahoo,” which is both the name of an Internet server, as well as a derogatory term for an uncouth, uneducated person, should be avoided as it is part of the divine name.

The Bible also indicates that we are not to call any man Rabbi, Master or Reverend Father.  When you talk to a Catholic priest do you refer to him as Father Smith or Your Reverend Holiness?  The Bible forbids calling common men by these names that indicate one-man is greater than another. 

However, the Bible does not say that you should not call your human father, by the title of “father” even though it is also a title of love showing the relationship between us and our Creator.  To avoid calling your human father by the word misses the entire point.  The Savior Himself taught the use of that title in the prayer He gave to the disciples.  Both Yahuwah and Yahushua wanted the Source of all light and love to be linked in our minds with tender, nurturing, strong, loving and protective care.  Thus, we are invited to address Yahuwah as “Father.”  This, in turn, makes Yahushua our heavenly Brother.  We use these words in common application to fathers and brothers here on earth, but we are also invited to address our heavenly Father with an endearing term that indicates our relationship as a child to Him.

The use of the word “I am” or “be” in common, everyday English is not blasphemous or in any way wrong.  We enter into relationship with divinity when in prayer we appeal for help to the power of the Name or we recognize the immediacy of the name, Yahuwah, and feel the heart of love as Elohim stands behind the names that He gave us in common words. Words taken from everyday language give understanding of the desired relationship with the Majesty of Heaven. 

Rather than in any way lessening our use of these words, let us use them as names in full confidence that our heavenly Father invites us to understand our relationship to Him through those names which He has given for Himself.

The Heavenly Father asked for human hands to make Him a house, a sanctuary so He could live on earth with His people.  The Heavenly Father prepared a human body, weakened by 4000 years of sin, for His Son to live within so we could know how divinity would act.  The Heavenly Father chose our common words to name Himself that through those words we could, by understanding, come close to Him.