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On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood

 

The Great "I Am!"

February 10, 2013

Now about the dead rising — have you not read in the book of Moses, in the account of the bush, how God said to him, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken! (Mark 12:26,27, NIV)

Two of the most popular current books relate the stories of after-death experiences. A 5-year-old boy talks about his after-death experience in heaven, and a neurosurgeon relates his journey in the afterlife. It’s important that we compare their testimonies with Scripture, as there are elements in their stories that bear scrutiny.

However, we do have the testimony of Jesus, and He can absolutely be relied upon. Why? Because He came from heaven and knows exactly what life there is like. Jesus affirmed, “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven — the Son of man” (John 3:13).

On the Tuesday before His death and resurrection, Jesus was asked a question by the Sadducees about the woman who had married in succession seven brothers, each of whom died. Pity the poor woman! The Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection, asked Jesus whose wife she would be in the afterlife.
Key to Jesus’ answer is the fact He is very aware of their belief system. Their theology did not accept or believe in the resurrection or the existence of angels. They accepted only the validity of the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch, and held that belief in the resurrection or angels was a later addition beyond the revelation of God to Moses.

Jesus flatly told them they were in error because they did not know their own Scriptures.

He took their own Scriptures to illustrate the error of their thinking. Moses lived hundreds of years after Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; yet God says to Moses: “I AM the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” (see Exodus 3:6,14). Jesus was saying that the present-tense “I AM” applies to both God and the patriarchs.
God would be God even if God said, “I was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” How so? Because God would still be speaking after those men were gone. God’s existence goes on while theirs does not. Had Jesus used that phrase, “I was,” it would mean that these three were no more. They could be spoken of as in the past tense.

Let’s reflect for a moment on how that applies to us. The “I AM” should be internalized by us. If He is the God of the “I WAS,” we are left without His presence today. If He is the God of the “I SHALL BE,” the result is the same. But, He is the God of the “I AM.” As His follower, you may even feel at times that He is not with you, but the reality is “I AM.” God is present with you this and every moment.

Jesus flatly told the Sadducees they were badly mistaken. The “I AM” means that when Abraham, Isaac and Jacob passed from this life God did not switch to “I WAS.” He remains eternal, and they remain eternal.

When your body lies in the ground, you do not cease to exist. God continues to not only be the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob — but your God as well.

A prayer of Response

Lord Jesus, I place my confidence in You that, whether I live or die, You are always with me. You will never forsake me in time or eternity.

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

Previous Years


2013 On Your Mark

2012 On Your Mark

2011 On Your Mark

2010 On Your Mark

2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark


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