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Lowell Brueckner

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Seeking the King of the Kingdom, chapter six



So the Jews said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.’ Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.” John 8:57-59


The words of Jesus, “I AM”, have the same significance that the writer of Hebrews gave to us, when he wrote, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever”. The only one who does not change is God. The Jews understood well what He was saying and for that reason they wanted to stone Him. To them, His declaration was blasphemy, because He was proclaiming himself to be God. To suggest that He existed before Abraham, after saying “before Abraham was born”, simple correct grammar would demand the same tense from the following state-of-being verb. He should have said, “I was”. However, truth demanded that He say “I am”, because that means that He exists in eternity, where there is no past or future. He was declaring Himself to be eternal.

Even when He walked on earth, He inhabited eternity. Jesus said something similar to Nicodemus, when He presented Himself as “the Son of man which is in heaven” (Jn. 3:13, KJV). He was not only stating that He exists in eternity, but that He is omnipresent. Both declarations are found in the Gospel of John, which is the Gospel that presents Jesus as the divine Son of God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn. 1:1). This is the way that John begins his Gospel, speaking of Jesus, the Word.

If Jesus does not change, as the writer of Hebrews proposes, then there has not been and will not be a time, in which He was not or will not be exactly what He is today. There was not and will not be a time, when He was or will be less than He is today. He does not improve or decrease in the passage of time. He was never another being, man or angel, who became God.


In “God Made the Country”, I write about Moses and the burning bush. Moses was transformed by the experience, after God had prepared him over 40 long years in the desert. I do not want to repeat that part of the story here. What I would like to do, precisely, is to point to the one, who presented Himself to Moses in the bush and how He responded to the question that Moses put to Him, “They may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?”

Throughout this book, we are observing people in different situations of need and how God, the Son, was revealed to them. We are learning that these experiences marked a permanent change in their lives. The reason we are doing this is because we want to see faith arise in our hearts, knowing that, what God did for them, He will do for us today. Jesus is the same and His eternal nature will not permit Him to ignore us, when we are found in similar circumstances as others in the past. He must treat us the same way.

We go to the book of Exodus, chapter 3: “Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. The angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush.” The Angel of the Lord drew Moses and he came near to Him. Who could not be attracted? It was impossible to ignore such magnetism. The common bush represented Moses and the fire was the glory of God. He, who baptizes in the Holy Spirit and fire, empowered Moses there and he became a liberator.

What the children of Israel needed, as slaves in Egypt, was a tremendous demonstration of supernatural power that could only come from God Almighty. To humiliate the most important country in the world, which enjoyed a glory without equal among the nations of its day, demanded more power than any existing army could supply. Totally controlled under its dominance was a people, which numbered at least two million, and toiled under an insufferable slavery. However, the Angel of the Lord was about to intervene and liberate them, utilizing a lone man, who, besides having a speech difficulty, was armed with nothing more than a shepherd’s staff.

When there is no evidence of human potential, as certainly was the case with Moses, we can see God’s glory in a purer form. The accounts of the unleashing of His power in Egypt were told to the farthest regions, without any doubt as to who was the Author of those astounding deeds. The story continued to be proclaimed many centuries later.

Moses had doubts, when the Angel of the Lord called him to liberate His people. As someone said, Moses did not need a better self-concept, but a better concept of the God, who had called him. It is what we need today. He was afraid of being rejected by the leaders of his people, as he had been 40 years before. He was uncertain as to how he should present to them the God, who was sending him.

Here is how the Angel of the Lord responded: “I AM WHO I AM” (vs.14). It was the best possible answer that could be given. It does not depend on whether man honors Him or not. It does not matter, if the whole human race rebels and abandons Him. It does not diminish His glory at all, if we are ignorant of His personality or if we lack mental capabilities to understand Him. The Lord will continue to be the same. Whatever faulty concept we may have of Him will not change Him. Our inadequate understanding takes nothing away from Him. In the book of Revelation, John saw one who was called Faithful and True, The Word of God. Beyond that, “He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself (Rev. 19:12). Not only among men, but among all the creation of angels, living creatures, seraphim and cherubim, there is not a being, who can fully comprehend Him and, much less, define Him. Nevertheless, He continues to be who He is.

Even though we cannot understand the smallest percentage of His character and glory, far beyond our limitations, we can take pleasure in Him. For this reason, the writers of the New Testament wrote of knowing the love of Christ that passes all understanding (Eph. 3:19), of rejoicing with joy unspeakable and full of glory (1 Pt. 1:8), and to be kept by the peace of God, that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7). These are His attributes, which we cannot capture with our finite, limited thoughts. He is who He is.

I AM WHO I AM is not limited in any situation. He is sufficient and we need nothing besides. For this reason, the Psalmist wrote time and again of trusting only in Him. To liberate a nation of two million slaves is not complicated for Him. To subject Pharaoh and his world-power government does not challenge His capabilities. To divide the Red Sea is well inside his possibilities. To supply food and drink in a desert for millions of people does not diminish his provisions. What the church has forgotten in this 21st century is that Christ is all that we need. We are idolaters, who follow many other gods of our own creation. “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God?” (Jam. 4:4) We ought to consider ourselves adulterers, when we convert into lovers of things that provide earthly security.

The message of Moses to Israel did not have to do with something, but with Someone. The Angel of the Lord said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.” The message to the Christian church is not basically one of counsel, commandments, teachings, principles, responsibilities and duties. He continued to say to Moses, “This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations (vs.15). Equally today, we must proclaim His name to this generation. In this name Israel and Moses triumphed. They found Him to be totally faithful to His character.


The Gospel of John relates that Jesus Christ openly revealed who He was to the nation of Jews and, in those first verses, the entire world can read and know also. As we have mentioned, in the first verse John proclaims that Jesus is the eternal Word of God, who is God. In the third verse, he says that by Him, the world was created and in verse nine he states that He is the source of light, through whom men can be enlightened. Afterwards Jesus declared, “I AM the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life” (Jn. 8:12). The Light caused His disciples to see the things of God, the things of heaven, and the eternal things that the human eye cannot see. Without His light, no one has any idea who man is, where he is and what is happening. Only He can enlighten a human being.

In chapter 6, verse 35, He says, “I AM the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” He teaches that He is the basis of life and the principal element in life. To depend on Him is not some activity that we practice, in order to keep a kind of equilibrium between spiritual life, physical life, emotions and intellect, but it is basic to our existence. Just as each one must eat in order to live, He teaches us that those, who do not eat and drink of Him, have no life whatsoever (ver. 53). No one can live without Him.

In chapter 10, verse 9, Jesus gives us an allegory of a shepherd and his sheep. He declares, “I AM the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” The one who seeks salvation will not find it in a religion or in a philosophy. Neither can he find it through another human being, simply because there are not two entrances. The door is unique and anyone who offers another entrance, completely or in part, to that which has to do with God and eternity, is a thief and a robber (vs.8, 10). The door is the person, Jesus Christ. He offers a life of liberty, which does not need continual protection among a flock of companions, always on hand to offer help, but he can emerge into the open pasturelands to find spiritual food, personally led by the Shepherd. You see, Jesus also said, “I AM the good shepherd” (vs.11). He knows each sheep personally and each one individually knows Him. He calls His sheep by name and they are led by Him through the pastures of this world and finally through the gates of Glory. None who have Him as a shepherd will be lost before he reaches his destination (vs.28).

“I AM the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die” (11:25-26). Jesus Christ is able to free us from death; in fact, for the believer there is no death. He that has eternal life, when separated from his body, passes immediately and consciously into the presence of God. Even the decayed flesh that turns again to dust will be revived by the one who is the resurrection. His voice brings life and one day, He will call bodies from their graves.

In one sentence, in chapter 14, verse 6, Jesus proclaims to be everything needed to arrive at the Father’s house: “I AM the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” How can a human being find a sure way to arrive at a happy destiny? What does he have to know to be able to walk in this way? Where will he get the ability to live this life successfully through to the end? All this is found, not in a religious teaching, but in a glorious person. Anyone who desires to find the sure way must follow Him. Anyone who wants to know what he must know needs to follow Him. Anyone, who recognizes that in himself he does not have the ability to do what is required of him and needs an infusion of new life, must follow Him. He that trusts in Him will never be disappointed. But be very careful for any other offers, because no individual or religion can guarantee the same. Know that whoever else pretends to answer the important questions of this life and beyond this life for you is nothing less than a thief, who has come to steal, to kill and to destroy.


Also in the book of Revelation in verse three, John wrote more about who Jesus declared Himself to be: “I am the Alfa and the Omega, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (1:8). “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last” (1:11-KJV). And finally in 22:13: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” The first verse includes the following words: “Who is and who was and who is to come”, which has the same significance exactly as we have seen in Hebrews 13:8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” In fact, everything we see here has that meaning. If He is the beginning and the end, then we take it for granted that He is everything in between.

In order to capture this better, we will consider these expressions and what Jesus meant to say, when in these three occasions, he declared Himself to be the alpha (the letter “A”) and the omega (the letter “Z”) of the Greek alphabet, which is the original language of the New Testament. It is a more precise way to express who the Word of God is. In his Gospel, John chose the Greek word, logos, which translates “the word”, John meaning, the Word of God, as the best way to define the person that he wanted to present. Think of the person of Jesus as “perfect to the smallest detail” of all that can express deity. You cannot find one letter that can express it better. “In Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col. 2:9). He that would add or take away from the revelation that God has given us of His Son, who is the Word, (but more exactly the Alpha and Omega) will suffer severe consequences.  
There was nothing before Him and there will be nothing afterwards. He covers the whole alphabet of God – the first letter, the last and everything between. “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things” (Rom. 11:36). In conclusion, He is everything and we are complete in Him.

Between the first and the last of God’s eternal plans, everything that lies between belongs to Him and He will not trust it to the care of any man. He originated the plan before the foundation of the world and He will finally reap the harvest of all that He has planted. He will be actively involved in every detail that takes place in its development. If there is anything that I find disgusting, it is to see the arrogance of a mere human being (myself included, if need be), who thinks that he knows how to carry out and develop the divine purposes. A person, in each step that he takes and in each word that he pronounces, must be led by the light of heaven and be entirely dependent on Jesus. He never learns “how to function”.

To protect man from a state of independence, God does not give him a pattern or a method. He knows that if He does so, that person will rapidly and faithfully follow the method, instead of the Person who gave it. He wants us to be dependent, moment by moment, upon his direction and presence. For this same reason, God did not reveal the destination to Abraham, when He called him, nor did He show it to Philip, when he ordered him to go to the desert. “I know, O LORD, that a man’s way is not in himself, nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23). If you and I do not know how to order our steps, one by one, surely God will not entrust us with a long-distance route. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps. 119:105). He is the one who must guide our feet in each step.

Jesus is the Almighty (1:8) and He lets us know that we need no other power, but His. How we insult Him, when we confide in our own strength! Study the Scripture to see how God was provoked to jealousy by a people who, in the hour of need, confided in other nations, especially in Egypt. What is lacking in divine ability to cause us to resort to other sources? This is the argument that He put before His people, time after time, through the prophets. 

I AM WHO I AM, the same yesterday and today and forever. Whether we benefit from Him or not, He still is. If we rejoice in Him or not, He still is. “Before Abraham was, I AM” he said. In the days of His flesh, with the plain clothing of a carpenter, with the customs and accent of a Galilean, with the simplicity of a Nazarene, came the one who inhabits eternity, the unchangeable Son of God. He has not changed, nor can he change.

The one who surrenders to Him can enjoy the same provision that Old Testament saints, who trusted in Him, enjoyed, in addition to the apostles and disciples in the New. Jesus Christ is the bread of life, the light of the world, the door, the good shepherd, the way, the truth and the life, the resurrection, the Alpha and the Omega. He is the God who sees of Hagar and Jake DeShazer, the God of Bethel of Jacob and Nathanael, the God who provides for Abraham, Isaac and the adulteress, the Wonderful One of Samson and Timothy, THE I AM WHO I AM of Moses and the apostle John. Yes, He is a reality for the 21st century, as well. Where are the needy individuals, who make their choice to depend entirely on the I AM, the Almighty, for all that they need?


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