The Great Eternal One

WE ARE living at a time when long-established values, standards, and beliefs are being questioned and challenged by many people. As a result of the turmoil and unsettled conditions in the world today, some even question whether or not there is a God; and if there is, they question whether or not he is any longer willing, or able, to exercise his power on behalf of the human family. They have lost sight of the fact that God is the eternal One; the One who revealed himself to Moses at the burning bush, when he instructed Moses to go to Pharaoh, “that thou mayest bring forth my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”—Exod. 3:10

Moses, at the time of this experience, was only a shepherd, for he kept the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, at Mount Horeb. This assignment to deliver Israel prompted Moses to ask God a question. He said: “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 unto me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? 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. 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 forever, and this is my memorial [or the name by which I shall be recognized and remembered] unto all generations.”—Exod. 3:13-15

It would appear that by this name God was conveying to Moses, and through Moses to all the children of Israel, a great truth—the truth that there is only one Being in the entire universe who is entitled to be recognized and called by that name, and that he, God, was that particular or specific I AM, the Self-existing One. There is no other one that is entitled to be described in this manner. This was a comprehensive statement, for it included the thought of an eternal existence. It described the one Being who had no beginning; the One whose life could never end!

From Everlasting

In the 90th Psalm, which is reputed to be a prayer of Moses, we find these words: “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” (Ps. 90:2) This is a thought that is difficult for the finite human mind to comprehend. Every material thing with which we are familiar, except perhaps time itself, has had a beginning; and the majority of things about us eventually come to an end of one sort or another. A blade of grass springs forth, it flourishes for a time, and then it withers and passes away. A seed germinates in the ground; a small plant develops, perhaps it grows into a tree and matures through its cycles of life; then it dies, and it is no more.

The Apostle James, philosophizing on life as we know it, says, “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (James 4:14) But not so with the eternal One! Not so with the great I AM! He had no beginning of life, and his life will never end; he will continue to exist forever and forever, throughout all of the countless ages of eternity. Probably it is less difficult to accept the thought of a life, having once started, that will never end, than it is to grasp the statement that there is one Being in the universe who possesses a life that never began! And ye we accept this as being true.

Our Minds Limited

There are many things which we cannot comprehend, due to our limited capacities as humans, which nevertheless our reason tells us are facts. For instance, how does a seed that has lain dormant for many centuries, perhaps in the tomb of one of the ancient Pharaohs, burst forth in all the freshness and beauty of its original nature, when brought into the sunlight and planted under favorable conditions? Nor can we comprehend the mysteries of the universe as we look into the starry heavens, and in that vast expanse above us behold the multitudinous creations of God—the stars, the planets, the millions of heavenly bodies, each held by an invisible but never-failing power in its own particular orbit or relationship with respect to each of the other heavenly bodies.

Our eyes reach out and behold these creations thousands upon thousands and millions upon millions of light years distant. And then, when the limit of our physical vision has been reached, we are able, with the aid of large telescopes, to extend this vision for thousands, and perhaps millions, of light years beyond. And it is probable that, by the use of electronic telescopes, man will be able to push back the frontiers of space unimaginably farther. Then, if we were to stand on the other side of our globe, reaching out just as far in the opposite direction, and then repeat this process from many thousands of other more distant locations, we might perhaps begin to realize in a small measure the vastness of God’s great universe, and of his limitless power.

But where is the end of space? Or does space have no end? Or is there, perhaps, a sort of celestial curtain out there which envelops the entire universe, and beyond which there is no space? And if there is no space beyond, then we would we ask, what is there beyond the end of space?

An item appeared some time ago in one of the news media, which stated that the California Institute of Technology had discovered “four supernovae, or great bursts of light, thought to be exploding stars. … A supernova is characterized by a sudden flare-up that can illuminate an entire galaxy, which is an island of millions of stars.” It went on to say, “The average supernova radiates as much light and energy in one day as the sun does in a hundred million years. The brightness fades away in a few months. The four titanic explosions disclosed in the Palomar photographs occurred so far away, that they could be seen only through powerful telescopes.”

Expanding Galaxies

Our scientists tell us that some of the galaxies or nebulae in the heavens are expanding at the astonishing rate of approximately eight thousand miles per second, during every second of every minute, for every minute of every hour, for every hour of every day, for every day of every week, and for every week of every year; and so on, ad infinitum. How marvelous are his works, and his ways past finding out!

The Prophet Isaiah poses a number of penetrating questions which manifest the greatness of the Self-existing One, the great I AM. He asks, “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighted the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Who hath directed the spirit of the Lord, or being his counselor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. … All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him as less than nothing, and vanity. To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him? … Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?”

The prophet then continues, “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: that bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity. … To whom then will ye liken me, or [to whom] shall I be equal? saith the holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might. … Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.”—Isa. 40:12-31

Heavens Declare God’s Glory

Truly, only “the fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” (Ps. 14:1) For “the heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.” (Ps. 19:1,2) The human mind is bewildered by such a vast display of wisdom and power. But God, the great I AM, is the ruler of his entire universe, and he is thoroughly capable of its management.

As someone has well said, “Think of the memory that never fails; of the judgment that never makes a mistake; of the wisdom that plans for eternity, without the possibility of a single failure, and that times the unerring planning, not only for the present, but also for the ages to come. Consider the power that has created not only the forces of nature, but as the ability to harness and direct every opposing element, and make each of them work together for the accomplishment of his will. Try to understand, as best we can, the tireless vigilance that never ceases, or seeks relief from the never-ending demands of his vast dominion; whose eye never sleeps; whose ear is always open and never closed to the many needs of all his creatures, throughout the broad expanse of his vast universe.” It is small wonder that the psalmist, in considering the unfathomable greatness of our God, was moved to say, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.”—Ps. 139:6

Through the Prophet Isaiah, Jehovah declares: “I am the Lord [or Self-existing One, the great I AM]: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another.” (Isa. 42:8) No being can ever take the place of Jehovah: “Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.” (Isa. 43:10) “I am the Lord and there is none else, there is no God beside me.”—Isa. 45:5

On Mount Horeb

Moses had a very limited manifestation of God’s glory at Mount Sinai, and again as he tended his flock on Mount Horeb at the burning bush. It was here that the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire: “And he said [unto Moses], Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.” (Exod. 3:5,6) It was here at the burning bush that God proclaimed his everlasting name to Moses, the “I AM THAT I AM!

And yet, for all of the glory, and all of the greatness of God, he has not forsaken his human family. We read that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) And the apostle informs us that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8) Thus we learn that God made provision for the redemption of his fallen human family. He made provision for the cancellation of adamic condemnation, and for restoring them to that which was originally lost by the transgression of father Adam.

This is more than any of Adam’s children could have demanded or expected, because “There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Rom. 3:10) And “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23) As sinners, we have nothing which we could justly demand of God.

God Takes Notice

But what assurance have we, then, that Jehovah God, the great I AM, the Self-existing One, with all of his varied interests and responsibilities, the One who counts the nations as but “the small dust of the balance, and as less than nothing”—what assurance have we that he will take notice of you and of me individually? Have we perchance aspired to something for which we have no right to hope? Certainly not! For Jesus himself instructs us to “seek … the kingdom of God … for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”—Luke 12:31,32

God in his great mercy has not only provided for man’s redemption from sin and death, but he has done far more than this! He has extended an invitation to certain ones of the human family to share in his own divine nature; to receive immortality, and the glory thereof; to live on the divine plane, and to be seated with his Son, our Lord Jesus, and at the very right hand of his glory!

Peter tells us that “the God of all grace … hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus.” (I Pet. 5:10) And Paul speaks of this invitation as being “called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”—I Cor. 1:9


Paul knew something of what this fellowship meant. He knew it meant not only a participation with the Lord in his future glory, but that it meant also, before this, a participation or partnership in his sufferings as well—even to the loss of many of his earthly advantages. We recall his words to the Philippian brethren: “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means [any means at all] I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”—Phil. 3:8-11

Jesus assures us in John 16:27, “The Father himself loveth you.” In fact, the Father’s love for those who endeavor to serve him is so great that he has appointed heavenly messengers to watch over them! “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” (Ps. 34:7) “I say unto you … their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 18:10) The Apostle Paul gives us the same assurance. He says, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Heb. 1:14) And the psalmist long before had written that “as the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even forever.”—Ps. 125:2

God’s Angels

When God gave his instructions to Moses regarding the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt he said: “Behold, I send an angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.” (Exod. 23:20) We do not know just how many angels God has appointed to watch over each one of us individually—perhaps only one; perhaps more at times. But if we could be ever mindful of this, how cautious we would be in all of our thoughts, in all of our words, and in all of our actions! We recall Paul’s words to Timothy: “Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”—I Tim. 4:12

Surely we recognize our own unworthiness! We are so weak, we are so imperfect, and so unimportant—and sometimes we become discouraged. But we would do well to remember the words of Paul: “If there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that [which] he hath not.” (II Cor. 8:12) And we should remember, also, that God “knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” For “like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.” (Ps. 103:13,14) Keeping these thoughts in mind, we will then heed Paul’s counsel to “cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, [after you have been tested and tried], ye might receive the promise.”—Heb. 10:35,36

When God spoke to Jacob, as recorded by the Prophet Isaiah, he seems also to have been speaking in a prophetic sense to spiritual Israel: “But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.” (Isa. 41:8) This brings to mind that wonderful statement by Paul that “if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3:29) Continuing with the 9th verse of Isaiah, chapter 41: “Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. … For I the Lord God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” (Isa. 41:9-13) These are the promises of God to his people!

All Nature Speaks

That there is a God, all nature speaks, for “the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and plight unto night showeth knowledge.” (Ps. 19:1,2) Truly, as the psalmist has said, it is only the fool, or one who is void of understanding, that “hath said in his heart, There is no God.” (Ps. 14:1) The works of nature declare his wisdom and the greatness of his mighty power. But to know more fully of his character we must look beyond the forces of nature, to the revelation of nature’s God as given to us in his Word, the Bible.

We know that God is a spirit being, and “they that worship him must worship him in Spirit and in truth. (John 4:24) We know that “God is Light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (I John 1:5) We know that God is love, for “he that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love.” (I John 4:8) And we know that God is true. “He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.”—John 3:33

We know that he changes not. “For I am the Lord, I change not.” (Mal. 3:6) He is “the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17) We know that he shall accomplish his purposes, “for as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”—Isa. 55:10,11

A God of Mercy

We know that our God is a God of mercy and of compassion, and that he is longsuffering. “The Lord God [is] merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” (Exod. 34:6,7) We know that he is unhurried, for compared with man’s time, we are told that “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (II Pet. 3:8) We know that he is untiring. “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.”—Isa. 40:28

We know that he is a God of peace, for Paul so describes him in Hebrews 13:20,21: “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” He is a rewarder of them that seek him. “He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb. 11:6) And we also know that he is a God of vengeance against all unrighteousness. “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.”—Rom. 12:19

God’s Dwelling Place

In regard to his dwelling place, we read that “God … dwelleth not in temples made with hands: neither is worshiped with men’s hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.” (Acts 17:24,25) “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, … to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”—Isa. 57:15

Only from the Word of God are we able to determine the character of God. Truly, to know God is to reverence and to worship him. And if we truly know him, and truly worship him, we are told that “this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou halt sent.” If we truly know God, then we have the promise of God as given to us in Isaiah 33:17: “Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.” “Now, unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”—I Tim. 1:17

Dawn Bible Students Association
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