hayah: to be, become, come to pass, exist
Original Word: הָיָה
Part of Speech: verb
Phonetic Spelling: (haw-yah)
Short Definition: to be, to exist
Let’s look at the reference in the Blue Letter Bible,
(Strong’s Definitions Legend)
הָיָה hâyâh, haw-yaw; a primitive root (compare H1933); to exist, i.e. be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary):—beacon, altogether, be(-come), accomplished, committed, like), break, cause, come (to pass), do, faint, fall, follow, happen, have, last, pertain, quit (one-) self, require, use.
Thinking about the verb הָיָה (hayah) and the translation as ‘to exist’. God first exists. In Genesis, God exists before anything was created, “In the beginning God”. This sets the definition of all, first God, then all else.
A way to think about this is that God first exists, then all else exists because He exists. Nothing exists apart from Him. We can see this in other places in scripture.
(John 1:3) All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
(Colossians 1:16) For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.
In the Hebraic mind there is no question of ‘Does God exist?’. In the Hebraic mind it is assumed that God exists because He is the one who caused all to exist. It is a fundamental truth that all else is built upon.
Exodus 3:14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”
וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים אֶל־מֹשֶׁה אֶֽהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶֽהְיֶה
This literally translates to the following…
וַיֹּאמֶר – And He Said
אֱלֹהִים – The Mighty One
אֶל – To
מֹשֶׁה – Moses
אֶֽהְיֶה – I Will Be
אֲשֶׁר – That
אֶֽהְיֶה – I Will Be
The אֶֽהְיֶה (eh-he-yeh), is the imperfect conjugation of the verb or the future tense of the verb. The א (aleph) indicates ‘I will’ and is the first-person singular of the verb. In Hebraic or Biblical thought there was no present, only past and future. A way of thinking about this is to say that once it is present, it is no longer future and so it is in the past. Much different from western culture.
Using the future tense of the verb, God is saying ‘He will become that which He will become’. If we think about that in light of the Messiah, we can see a hint that it has been God’s intention to reveal Himself as He sees fit to. That there are no restraints on who He chooses to become. He is God, therefore there are no boundaries.
If we take the story of Exodus and who that the statement was for (the Hebrews in captivity), this ‘I will be’ gives us a clue that God was saying that He will do whatever He has to do to free his people. This can be seen in both the plagues, and the parting of the Red Sea. All of which had never been seen in the earth.