I. JEHOVAH GOD IN ETERNITY—THE CREATOR
As we have said, the general subject of these messages is the all-inclusiveness and unlimitedness of Christ. The first message is on what He is, that is, on His person. We have already covered what He is in three aspects—God, man, and the Redeemer. First, we will look at the aspect of Christ’s being God; this is an aspect in eternity. What is eternity? Eternity is the eternity past which cannot be traced in time, a past which is without beginning, without measure, and without limit. Therefore, in eternity, that is, in eternity past, in the infinity before time, Christ was Jehovah God. He was God, whose name was Jehovah. This God is the source of all things in the universe. He is the Creator, and all things were created by Him. When He created, He did not make something out of existing materials. Rather, He created something out of nothing; that is, He created all things out of nothing. Hence, He is the Creator, the source, of all things.
This Creator is God. The Hebrew word for God is Elohim. The word Elohim, a compound noun made up of two words, means “the faithful, mighty One.” He is the mighty One with power. Moreover, He is the mighty One who keeps His promise. Elohim God is the faithful, mighty One, whose name is Jehovah.
A. The Self-existing and Ever-existing Jehovah—the Eternal Great I Am
The title Jehovah is also a Hebrew word which is basically the same as the verb to be. The name Jehovah simply means “to be.” What does this mean? This means that this faithful, mighty One is the One who is. In the universe, only He is, and all the rest are not. The phrase “to be” equals “to exist.” He exists; hence, He is. If He did not exist, He would not be. The name Jehovah is “to be,” and this “to be” is without beginning or ending. Hence, the Chinese version of the Bible renders this name as “He who is self-existing and ever-existing.” To be self-existent is to be without beginning, and to be ever-existing is to be without ending. His being, His existence, is without beginning and without ending. This Creator is self-existing and ever-existing.
A wooden podium exists and has being, but we cannot guarantee that it will be here in forty or fifty years’ time; it will not continue to exist here forever. After fifty years, we cannot say where it will be. In other words, soon it will no longer be or exist. Someone may have a lovely cat at home, but it can live at most for a little over ten years; after that, it will not be or exist. Therefore, its name cannot be “To be.” It is the same with us human beings. Our human life span is the limit of our existence. If our life span is one hundred years, then we will exist for one hundred years. We can celebrate the new year only one hundred times, not one hundred and one. After one hundred years, we will not exist and be no more. Hence, our name cannot be called “Jehovah”; we can only be called “Not-Jehovah.” The name Jehovah means “To be,” but our name is “Not to be.” Jehovah means to exist, but our name is “Non-existence.” The name Jehovah means to be present, but our name is “Not present.”
The Chinese version of Revelation 1:4 speaks of Him who exists now, who existed in the past, and who will exist in the future. In Hebrew, Jehovah means He was, He is, and He is to be. That is why He is trustworthy. He is not only the faithful, mighty One but also the ever-existing, mighty One. Therefore, the Lord Jesus told the Pharisees in John 8:24, “Unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins.” Who can save us? Only “I Am” can save us. Who is “I Am”? “I Am” is Jehovah. In the name Jesus, Je- is the simplified form of Jehovah and -sus means Savior. The name Jesus means Jehovah the Savior. The One who is self-existing, ever-existing, without beginning, without ending, ever-living, ever-being, and ever-present has come to be our Savior. This is the meaning of the name Jesus.
Then, we may ask Him, “Lord, You said that You are, but what are You?” The Lord would say, “I am whatever you want, and I am whatever you lack. What do you want? Do you want life? Good, I am life.” We may say, “Lord, I want salvation,” and He would say, “That is right. I am salvation.” A brother may say, “Lord, I cannot love my wife.” The Lord would say, “That is wonderful! I am love.” Then the sisters may say, “Not only can the husbands not love, but we, the wives, also cannot submit. Lord, Your Bible tells us to submit. What shall we do? Therefore, we want submission.” The Lord would say, “I am submission.” The young people may say, “It is such a hardship for us students to study. I want to pass the entrance examination into a good school. Therefore, I need wisdom.” The Lord would say, “That is wonderful! My name is Jehovah. I am your wisdom and intelligence.”
We thank the Lord that He is! In John 8, the Lord mentioned three times that He is “I Am” (vv. 24, 28, 58). In verse 24 He says, “Unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins,” and in verse 28 He says, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am.” The Lord seemed to be saying, “The day that you lift Me up on the cross to kill Me, you will be happy because you will think that you have won the victory by terminating Me. Little do you know that I always am; I can never be terminated! When you kill Me, apparently I am dead, but actually I am alive. By killing Me, you give Me an opportunity to live. Eventually, I will live and come out of Hades and the grave.” This is what the Lord meant when He spoke this word in John 8. On the day the Jews crucified the Lord Jesus, they would know that this Jesus is Jehovah, the I Am who is self-existing and ever-existing.
Among the Jews, at least Saul of Tarsus was one who was like this. The Jews had already killed the Lord Jesus, yet Saul still continued to destroy the church and persecute the believers of Jesus. However, on his way to Damascus, the Jesus whom he persecuted appeared to him from heaven and said to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 9:4). Saul was shocked, and he must have thought, “I persecuted Stephen, but when did I persecute someone who is from heaven?” Therefore, he asked, “Who are You, Lord?” The Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you persecute” (v. 5). Only then did Saul realize that this Jesus was Jehovah, the I Am whom his fathers worshipped. That is why, in effect, the Lord said, “After you have crucified Me, you will know that I am. If you do not kill Me, you will not know that I am the I Am. I cannot be killed. The more you kill Me, the more I live. Your killing Me will instead result in My coming to live in you.” In the end, we can only bow our head in worship and say, “Lord Jesus, now I know that You are. You really are.” We thank and praise the Lord for this.
(The All-Inclusiveness and Unlimitedness of Christ, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)