Seven Active Names: 4.6 El Olam (אל עולם) Everlasting God

We have already seen the power of the eternal God – I Am Who I Am; Yaweh, the Eternal One, always existing. We have seen how El Elohim emphasises God as the Creator, and how Yaweh-Tsuri sees Him as the Rock – eternal and steadfast. These aspects were brought together by Jesus Himself.

‘Very truly I tell you,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’ (John 8:58)

At first (even allowing for translations from Aramaic or Greek) it looks odd. My grandfather (now dead) was born with Queen Victoria as his monarch, and she had been queen before he was even born. But she, too, is now dead. So this is narrated as “before my grandfather was born, Queen Victoria was queen.” However, God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) has always existed, currently exists and always will exist. So, grammatically the correct narration is to say, “Before Abraham was [born and existed], I am [because I existed before Abraham was born, during his life and continue to exist after his death].”

Victoria defined her era. My Grandfather was a Victorian (albeit by 3 months!). Literally, for the duration of the Victorian era, Victoria was queen. Similarly, everything (before time started and after time ceases) was, is and will be, the era of God.

There must be an easier way to set out this nature of God! There is, and it is found in the name El Olam – “Everlasting God.”

El Olam is God through the ages; everlasting. We are always in God’s era. He created time, then created us and placed us within time. His agelessness is seen when Abraham and Abimelek had been in dispute and agreed a treaty over a well that Abraham had dug. The treaty was to last for ever and the mutual trust was to be as though the treaty had always existed – everything is and always has been, under God’s control:

Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the LORD, El Olam [the Eternal God]. (Genesis 21:33)

And El Olam is God through the generations. My Grandfather was ‘Victorian’ for his first three months; everyone who ever was and ever will be is and remains “God-ian.”

There is rather a good summary of all this in one sentence:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever. (Hebrews 13:8)

God is everlasting; He is free of time. Yet (through Jesus) He constrained Himself in time in order to be with us and rescue us.

Lord, you have been our dwelling-place throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are El Olam. (Psalm 90:1-2)

[from Timothy Pitt]

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