My thanks to Miko for his comment! I really do appreciate it! I know for a lot of readers this is stuff they’ve known about for awhile, which is why sometimes I have a hard time deciding what to blog on. There are things I think “everyone knows that,” but I have to take time sometimes to realize that it could be not everyone does. I am also reminded that Luther said we need to preach the gospel to each other every day, and that, I believe would include reminding us of the glorious truth of Trinitarianism.
We’re moving ahead to Exodus. A little over 400 years has passed and Israel who we left last time has had his descendants develop into a nation and that nation is exceedingly numerous. All those people are also being slave labor for the Egyptians. A man named Moses who grew up in Pharaoh’s household has been on the run having murdered an Egyptian. While shepherding a flock, a bush catches on fire near him and yet, it is not consumed. (Note this so many skeptics: Even if they didn’t have Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion in those days, they could also recognize scientific anomalies like bushes on fire that aren’t consumed, virgin births, and resurrections.)
Also to be noted is who appeared to him in that blazing fire in the middle of the bush. It’s the Angel of the Lord again. However, when we get to verse 4, the term “angel” becomes absent and again, we are immediately hearing about “The LORD.”
The LORD calls out to Moses and tells him to take his shoes off for he’s on holy ground. In verse 6, the LORD declares who he is:
Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
Let’s look at the end of this first. Moses hides his face because he’s afraid to look at God. Obviously, this must be some visible manifestation and who do we know of that’s in the bush but the Angel of the Lord?
Now we come to how he identifies himself. I find something amazing about this. Let’s think about all the things he could have said.
“I am the God who created the heavens and the earth.”
“I am the God who created you.”
“I am the God who flooded the world.”
“I am the God who enabled Sarah to become pregnant in her old age.”
“I am the God who rained down fire on Sodom and Gomorrah.”
Instead, he identifies himself by the covenant. In speaking of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, I believe he is telling not just that he was their God, but he was the one who made a covenant with each of them and is now saying that he is about to fulfill that covenant. Moses would have known about the promise to redeem Israel.
Keep in mind though this was the verse Jesus used to refute the Sadducees in that by saying he was their God, he was treating them as if they had existence on some level. He is not the God of the dead but the God of the living.
Interestingly, after the LORD reveals his plan, Moses answers but it says that Moses answered to God. The words are used interchangably. When the LORD speaks of the covenants, we find that the name YHWH is used. When it comes to his power to fulfill the covenant, it’s Elohim used, which is the word for God. This is probably not a hard and fast rule, but it seems to hold true.
At this point, we have God saying who it is who is sending. He is to be identified as “I AM.”
We often think of this as being God’s name. A name in the ancient mindset was more than just a collection of letters put together. We often will look through a baby book today and come up with a name we think is cute.
For the ancients, a name was the way your identity was established. This is why names were often given by God in the Bible to people. This is why he changed their names also. He was giving them identity and changing their identity.
In this sense, we cannot really say God has a name as we think of it. Who would give it to him? Did he go from having a name to not having a name if it gave it to himself? However, we can speak of him as always having a nature and this name describes that nature. This is a God of pure actuality. He is in the fullest sense of the term.
And in the fullest sense of the term, he is going to bring about his covenant in a Trinitarian style.