What does God say about Jesus Christ? "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory" (1 Tim. 3.16).
Christ: the Great “I AM”
Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation, CFP, 59-63, by Watchman Nee
And Moses said unto God, 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 to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM. (Ex. 3.13-14a)
therefore said, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am. (John 8.28a)
From eternity to eternity our God is God. Due to the fact that He is God from eternity to eternity, He is not limited by either time or space. Let us consider for a few moments just how our God is not restricted by time.
“So teach us to number our days,” prayed the psalmist, “that we may get us a heart of wisdom” (Ps. 90.12). If men were truly wise, they would know how to number their own days. But for the Lord, He has no way to number days since He is God from everlasting to everlasting; as Peter observed, “One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3.8). To compute days in such a fashion is beyond the power of us human beings. If we were to count an hour as a week and a week as an hour we would make a mess of many things, since as human beings we cannot avoid being tied to time. God, however, looks at one day as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day! This means that He is not restricted by time, neither is He bound to time. In short, because He is God He transcends time.
In order to know God and to follow the course which is set before us, it is imperative that we see this characteristic of God as transcending time. We cannot measure the Lord by time. Whatever He does transcends it. For this reason, whenever we approach Him to obtain spiritual experience or receive spiritual help, we must learn to be delivered from the concept of time. Since God is the eternal One, we cannot circumscribe Him by such means. Hence all who seek to know Him must be freed from the bondage of the human concept of time.
God Is the “I NOW AM”
Another point of special significance is that God is the God of today, that He is the One who is always now. In other words, with God there is no concept of time. This does not mean, however, that the Lord has no time; it is only meant to indicate that He is not bound by it. We human beings divide time into periods. We say that one period has already passed, another period is yet to come, and still another period is what we call today or now. Whenever we humans think of time, we always think of past, present, and future. But when we come into touch with God, His “time frame” is always now—for He has no past and neither has He a future, because what has passed is still present with Him and what is yet to come is also present with Him! Again let me reiterate that we do not say God has no time: what we are trying to establish here is that time as we know it simply cannot apply to Him. Our time has tenses—both past, present, and future; but God has only the eternal now, an uninterrupted present. With Him there is neither past nor future.
In the Scriptures God has a name known as “Jehovah”—the meaning of which is that God is self-existing, that He is eternal now and forever. But in Revelation chapter 1 He is called “him who is and who was and who is to come” (v.4). This is viewing God from our human viewpoint. To us He appears to be the One who is and who was and who is to come, thus requiring there to be a past, a present, and a future with Him. Yet the Bible mentions these tenses of God only when He is viewed from the perspective of our human understanding. As for the name of God, however, He is known as the Eternal One; for with Him there is no concept of time save that of “now”—and this “now” is eternally so. For example, a father is born before a son. And this “is” is not only true today but also true forever. God is the God of now, He is the God of now from eternity to eternity. And this is forever true.
God himself never changes. What is considered past or future to men is totally inapplicable to Him, for He is eternally the “Now Is”: He has but one period, which is “present.” In the incident of Moses and the burning bush told of in Exodus 3, God revealed the name “I AM THAT I AM” to His servant (v.14). The time for this “I AM” is now. God meant to inform Moses that so far as He himself is concerned, He is the God of Now.
“Without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him” (Heb. 11.6). All who wish to be well-pleasing to God must have faith. What faith must they have? They must believe that He is. “I AM” is an acknowledgment of self-address; “He Is,” on the other hand, is an acknowledgment addressed to Him by others. Men should not believe in God as the God of the future, since He has no future tense; nor should men believe in Him as the God of the past since He likewise has no past tense. How this situation will confuse the wise! For according to men’s way of thinking they cannot help but divide events and circumstances into past, present, and future. But in God’s mind there is neither past nor future.
Why, then, in His word is there mention made of past and future? This is because the word of God is spoken to us men. It i>must sspeak in such terms, other wise our mind could not comprehend or understand. Accordingly, when we say God is “Now Is,.” such a form does not signify time as we know it, rather it refers to the “NOW IS” that is resident in God himself. In His very nature there is neither past nor future, He is simply the God who NOW IS.
There is recorded in the Gospel of John chapter 8 the words of the Lord Jesus which were addressed to many children of Israel: “When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am” (v.28a). The “I AM” here has the same meaning as the “I AM” found in Exodus 3. Jesus did not say “I was” nor did He say “I am to come”; He said “I AM”—that is to say, “I NOW AM.” He thus indicated that He is God, that He is the God of Now. When the Jews disputed Him on this point by saying “Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?”, the Lord answered with these words: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was born, I am” (vv.57,58). Upon hearing this statement the Jews took up stones to cast at Him. And why? Because the “I AM” which the Lord uttered here was precisely the same “I AM” He used in the preceding remark recorded in verse 28. Now the Jews fully understood the import of this “I AM”; and hence they took up stones to cast at Him. On another occasion, at the time when the Jews tried to seize the Lord, they went backward and fell to the ground when He said to them “I am” (John 18.6). For the Lord Jesus is the God “I AM”; and when such a God as this comes forth, men cannot but fall backward to the ground.