The Sacred Name
God’s people did not learn mono-theism from philosophical speculation, but from living with and reflecting on the God who revealed himself as “He Who Is.”
We recall that Moses, at the burning bush, asked two questions with respect to identity. The first question was mi , anoki—“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?” The Voice from the bush, instead of answering Moses’ question, promised instead to be with him, ’ehjeh ‘immak.
Moses, by way of response, asks further, “Well, who are you?” And the Voice answered, , ’ehjeh , ’ashen , ’ehjeh—“I Am Who Am.” He is YHWH, “He Who Is,” “the Lord,” and he went on to identify himself as the God, the El, of the patriarchs, though they did not invoke him by this sacred Name.
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Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor emeritus of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois, and the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Out of Step with God: Orthodox Christian Reflections on the Book of Numbers (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2019).
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