Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh

Yahweh's answer to Moses upon being asked for his name in Exodus 3:14

Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh (אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה) is an epithet of God in the Bible. It occurs in Exodus 3:14 and is usually translated as "I Am that I Am". The word אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה (ehyé, "I am") is a form of the verb הָיָה‎ (hayá, "to be"), another form of which, יהי (yehi, "let there be"), occurs in the Genesis phrase יְהִי אוֹר‎ (yehi 'or, "let there be light").

Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh written with Hebrew letters.






Jewish prayer emphasizing the word יהי (yehi, "let there be").
  • I am is the word. All you can say is I am, but you don't need to add anything, not this or that. I am. In the Old Testament, God is asked, "Who are you?" And that's perhaps the most profound sentence in the Old Testament, "I am that I am", where God defines Him-, Her- or Itself as the I am, as the essence identity of all forms. … Another beautiful statement that points to all this is: "Be still and know that I am God."
  • Many misunderstandings and false beliefs about Christ will clear if you realize that there is no past or future in Christ. To say that Christ was or will be is a contradiction in terms. Jesus was. He was a man who lived two thousand years ago and realized divine presence, his true nature. And so he said: "Before Abraham was, I am." He did not say: "I already existed before Abraham was born." That would have meant that he was still within the dimension of time and form identity. The words I am used in a sentence that starts in the past tense indicate a radical shift, a discontinuity in the temporal dimension. … And what is God's self-definition in the Bible? Did God say, "I have always been, and I always will be?" Of course not. That would have given reality to past and future. God said: "I am that I am." No time here, just presence.
  • I AM is the self-definition of the absolute, the foundation on which everything rests. I AM is the first cause-substance. I AM is the self-definition of God.

    I AM hath sent me unto you.
    Be still and know that I AM God.

    I AM is a feeling of permanent awareness. The very center of consciousness is the feeling of I AM. I may forget who I am, where I am, what I am, but I cannot forget that I AM. The awareness of being remains, regardless of the degree of forgetfulness of who, where, and what I am.

    • Neville Goddard: The Power of Awareness, p. 2
  • Moses has the Being of beings say, "I am he who is." … "I am, therefore something exists," seems to us a more primal and simple basis for experimental philosophy. Ego sum qui sum: that is God's first revelation in man and of man in the world, and it is also the first axiom of occult philosophy. אהיה אשר אהיה. Being is being. Thus the principle behind this philosophy is what is, and there is nothing hypothetical or uncertain about it.
    • Eliphas Lévi: The Doctrine and Ritual of High Magic, pp. 27–29
  • "The Law Is." In this Aphorism the word "is" denotes "present, actual existence." It is as strong a term denoting actual existence as the English language supplies. … The word "Is" has the significance of the word "Am" in the following quotation from Exodus, iii. 14, in the Hebrew Sacred Books: "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." This then is the sense in which the Arcane Aphorism employs the term "is"—in the sense of Absolute Existence.
  • As an existential concept the I AM is neither deified nor undeified, neither actual nor potential, neither personal nor impersonal, neither static nor dynamic. No qualification can be applied to the Infinite except to state that the I AM is.
  • The Father in heaven had sought to reveal himself to Moses, but he could proceed no further than to cause it to be said, "I AM." And when pressed for further revelation of himself, it was only disclosed, "I AM that I AM."
  • Oneness is simply the idea God is. And in His Being, He encompasses all things. No mind holds anything but Him. We say "God is", and then we cease to speak, for in that knowledge words are meaningless.
  • When Moses asks his name and credentials, Yahweh replies with a pun which, as we shall see, would exercise monotheists for centuries. Instead of revealing his name directly, he answers: "I Am Who I Am (Ehyeh asher ehyeh)." What did he mean? He certainly did not mean, as later philosophers would assert, that he was self-subsistent Being. Hebrew did not have such a metaphysical dimension at this stage and it would be nearly 2000 years before it acquired one. God seems to have meant something rather more direct. Ehyeh asher ehyeh is a Hebrew idiom to express a deliberate vagueness. When the Bible uses a phrase like: "they went where they went", it means: "I haven't the faintest idea where they went". So when Moses asks who he is, God replies in effect: "Never you mind who I am!" or "Mind your own business!" There was to be no discussion of God's nature and certainly no attempt to manipulate him as pagans sometimes did when they recited the names of their gods. Yahweh is the Unconditioned One: I shall be that which I shall be. He will be exactly as he chooses and will make no guarantees. He simply promised that he would participate in the history of his people.


  • God: [whispering] Moses …

    Moses: Here I am.

    God: Take the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you stand is holy ground.

    Moses: Who are You?

    God: I Am that I Am.

    Moses: I don't understand.

    God: I am the God of your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

See also

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