Inseparability of ''I AM WHO I AM' (self-existING and everlasting)
In Exodus 3:14, God told 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.’” In the Hebrew Scriptures, God uses two repeated verbs – אֶֽהְיֶה (’eh·yeh - I AM) to introduce Himself and joins the repeated verb with אֲשֶׁר (’ă·šer - who, that). Therefore, the literal English translation is “I AM WHO I AM” (אֶֽהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶֽהְיֶה). In the second part of the same verse, God refers to Himself as “I AM” אֶֽהְיֶה – a single verb.
Whether it is the repeated “I AM” for emphasis or a single “I AM,” God’s intent was to proclaim His self-existing and everlasting nature. In the Septuagint, the Greek Bible used during the time of Jesus and Paul, the same expression is rendered ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν (Ego eimi o un), which literally means “I, I am, the one who is” (cf. Rev 1:8). When the Lord Jesus was on earth, He was also the true God in heaven in spiritual terms. Hence, He used ἐγώ εἰμι （Greek: Ego eimi - I, I am) to reveal the uniqueness of His spiritual existence (cf. Jn 8:24, 28, 58).
Although the Union Version of the Chinese Bible translates the self-revelation of God, “I, I am,” into “self-existing and everlasting,” the term cannot be divided because it refers to only one condition. The true meaning of “self-existing and everlasting” is actually “I am, I am.” Readers of the Chinese Bible may thus make the mistake of dividing the whole term of “I am, I am” into two conditions—“self-existing” and “everlasting.” After separating this characteristic that belongs to God alone, some may go even further and apply human reasoning to conclude that God is self-existing and everlasting, while Satan is self-existing but not everlasting.
In order to see the truth behind God's proclamation of “I am, I am,” we need to return to the original Hebrew text. In this way, we will see that the two “I am” are inseparable. We cannot claim that God is “I am” and “I am,” while Satan is “I am” but not “I am.” Moreover, God proclaimed in the same verse that He is the self-existing and everlasting one who does not require the emphasis of a repeated verb—the “I AM.”
[To be continued…]