The “I Am That I Am” of the Holy Scriptures Verses the “I Am” of Eckhart Tolle

Good Morning.

I submit the following Holy scriptures and excerpts from the commentary penned by our own Prolepticlife in his article “You Ain’t I Am” (see Blogroll links) as the apex or corner stone for all other discussion under the Eckhart Tolle topic. Short story – you can’t have it both ways.

There cannot be any area of agreement here between what the scriptures indicate and what Eckhart Tolle indicates, these two premises are in total disagreement with one another, and I would conclude that Eckhart Tolle is acutely aware of this.

In A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle states, “The truth is inseparable from who you are. Yes, you are the Truth. If you look for it elsewhere, you will be deceived every time. The very Being that you are is Truth. Jesus tried to convey that when he said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” These words uttered by Jesus are one of the most powerful and direct pointers to the Truth, if understood correctly. If misinterpreted, however, they become a great obstacle. Jesus speaks of the innermost I Am, the essence identity of every man and woman, every life-form, in fact. He speaks of the life that you are. … (p.71)

One interpretation points towards God, the “I Am that I Am” as the source of our salvation and the other interpretation points towards man and his awareness that he is part of the I Am and therefore his own I Am, i.e. his own salvation.

Consider the following:

Isaiah 14:12-14 “12How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

13For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”


Exodus 3:13-15 “13And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?

14And 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.

15And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, the LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.”


A New Earth: “Can I sense my essential Beingness, the I Am, in the background of my life at all times? To be more accurate, can I sense the I Am that I Am at this moment? Can I sense my essential identity as consciousness itself?” (p. 79)

Proleptic Life – Eckhart Tolle – You Ain’t I Am March 20, 2008

” …we find Jesus in a heated discussion with a group of Jewish religious leaders. The discussion centered around the identity of Jesus. The catalyst for this debate was Jesus’ statement, quoted above, that He is the light of the world. The discussion went down a path in which these Jewish men defended their position by stating they were Abraham’s descendants and therefore were not in need of the freedom that Jesus offered them. In the midst of this discussion Jesus makes the incredible claim that he and Abraham knew each other. The Jews responded with disdain for the idea that Jesus, being less than 50 years old could have known Abraham.

Well, that is when Jesus speaks the most astounding words a human could speak. Words, which if untrue, condemn him as a blasphemer, or at best a crazy man. These were some of the most shocking words that could have been spoken by Jesus. This short sentence was so horrifying to those who heard them, they immediately preceded to try and have him stoned to death.

What did Jesus say that provoked such horror, shock and revulsion? He said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was I AM.”

This statement not only helps us understand the importance of the other “I Am” statements of Jesus, they help us see Jesus own understanding of himself.

So what was it about those two tiny words that provoked such an angry reaction? Those two words were the words which were given to Moses as being the name of God. In the Hebrew the words are akin to the name Jehovah, or Yahweh. When Moses was told by God to return to Egypt and be an instrument of deliverance, Moses asked God what he should say when he was asked who sent him. The Lord’s answer was tell them “I Am” sent you. God said “I Am that I Am.”

This name, unlike some of the other names of God found in the Old Testament, sets God apart as the one and only self-existent Being. He is that which men, nor angels, nor any other created being could be – the self-existent and self-dependent God. This was the name of God any Jew feared to utter or even write.

Yet these were the words that fell from the lips of Jesus. “Before Abraham was, I Am.” Notice what Jesus did not say. He did not say, “before Abraham was, I was.” That would be a better grammatical construction, but it would hide what Jesus was saying about himself. Abraham, a mere mortal man, “was.” He had a beginning and and ending. But Christ says of himself “I Am.” He himself is the eternal, self-existent, self-dependent Yahweh, Jehovah God who spoke to Moses at the burning bush. The Son of God did not begin his existence in the manger of Bethlehem. He has always been. He is eternal God.”

“…When Jesus applied this name to himself the Jews said he blasphemed God. They were right – if it wasn’t true. If Jesus Christ is not God, then he is a blasphemer. The same thing is true of Eckhart Tolle. It is blasphemy to take the name of the self-existent, self-dependent, eternal God and apply it to yourself. But this is exactly what Tolle does. In doing so he tells us clearly what he believes about the nature of God, human nature, who Jesus Christ is, and how salvation should be defined. None of the things he believes on these subjects is what Jesus believed or taught. Jesus calls us to believe in Him – not in ourselves. He says he himself is the truth – not that we are the truth. Eckhart points you to yourself for salvation. God calls us to look away from ourselves and unto Jesus Christ, the risen Lord.”

One cannot adhere to both premises at the same time, they are like two magnets of the same polarity, for they both claim acceptance to the exclusion of the other.The cunningness of deception is that the new awareness of the I Am of oneself moves us away from the I Am of our salvation.


Disciple of Jesus, married to Peggy, with 5 grown up children, 6 grand children, ex-Canadian military and residing in beautiful Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. a.k.a. "Papa"

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Posted in Christian, Eckhart Tolle, New Age, New Testament, Oprah, Religion
3 comments on “The “I Am That I Am” of the Holy Scriptures Verses the “I Am” of Eckhart Tolle
  1. kbonikowsky says:

    My stomach ties in knots when I think of the sweet n’ sour deceit of the New Age Movement being sucked on by the church. Thank you for taking the effort to put a little more of the truth out there.

  2. Wayne Wohler says:

    Does anyone other than myself have some serious questions about the following equating of Jesus with Yahweh or Jehovah in this quote: “He himself is the eternal, self-existent, self-dependent Yahweh, Jehovah God who spoke to Moses at the burning bush. The Son of God did not begin his existence in the manger of Bethlehem. He has always been. He is eternal God.”

    Let’s start with what we know of YHWH or Jehovah (Jehovah is a term which in recent times has been employed to designate the completed concept of Yahweh which finally evolved in the Hebrew experience. But the name Jehovah did not come into use until fifteen hundred years after the time of Jesus) and what clearly are the hazards of “belief” in “conceptual” understandings of what God is. Yahweh was the very “regional” god of the southern Palestinian tribes, who associated this concept of deity with Mount Horeb, the Sinai volcano. He was merely one of the hundreds and thousands of nature gods which held the attention and claimed the worship of the Semite tribes and peoples. In fact, Yahweh was worshipped by more than one hundred separate Arabian tribes as well. The religion of the rank and file of the Hebrew captive slaves was a modified version of the old Yahweh ritual of magic and sacrifice….By the time of the Hebrew encampment about Mount Sinai after the flight from Egypt, Moses had formulated a new enlarged concept of Deity (derived from his former beliefs), which he wisely decided to proclaim to his people as an extended concept of their olden tribal god, Yahwew…Moses made a heroic effort to uplift Yahweh to the dignity of a supreme Deity when he presented him as the “God of truth and without iniquity, just and right in all his ways.”

    So, Moses after his presentation of the tablets of “Yahweh” to his people, giving us the Ten Commandment’s second copy, the Israelites after his death carried the “ark” containing these covenants into battle, conquering Jerico, Ai, Hazor and neighboring towns, brutally killing the people, their livestock and burning the towns. The Bible reports: “There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel…for it was of the Lord to harden their hearts.” Setting up the tent of the “tabernacle” at Shiloh, the Hebrews divided the territory they had conquered. The Bible doesn’t mention that they had just disobeyed the majority of the Ten Commandments by carrying out these vicious acts of genocide. I won’t even bother to remind you of the terrible offense that these poor Canaanites had committed to deserve their obliteration from the earth. I’ll give you a clue- it supposedly was all about the “curse of Ham” by this same deity placed on him and his descendants for viewing his father‘s (Noah) nakedness. How utterly indefensible!

    Who then is this Yahweh character if he actually did “exist” and was not just a false concept of Moses and his precursors ? Is he the same God of love, compassion, tolerance and forgiveness which Jesus refers to as the attributes of the Father? If so, he made a miraculous recovery from a clever and deceitful (“hardening their hearts” to make them determined to commit their own destruction!! How clever is that?) jealous, belligerent, angry genocidal maniac who today would be considered beyond redemption or at the very least a mass murdering psychopath on a par with the crimes of Hitler or Stalin.

    Please tell me how you reconcile Jesus or the Father, which you equate as one in the same, to this greatest of biblical enfant terrible? I have tried to contain my incredulousness at such an identification, but do you see why we have rejected all of this “word” of God stuff? Can you blame us? Who could possibly believe that Yahweh was anything but the worst of man’s false egoic conceptualizations of themselves utterly unconcious and ignorant of their true divine nature and devoid of any spiritual principles. Either that, or some extraterrestrial interloper.

    I will save my concerns about certain inherent contradictions in your article particularly as to your apparent acceptance of reincarnation for Jesus put rejecting it for the rest of us.

  3. Bruce says:

    First off, I would like to apologize for the late “surfacing” of your comment. I have been quite busy for the last three or four days and did not have an opportunity to spend the necessary time required to respond.

    I have to admit that you paint quite the picture. The understanding that you have arrived at is quite different from mine. I will take the liberty of posting some of the background material that I have summarized which addresses in part, some of your more ardent suppositions.

    With regard to the origin and the use of the word Yahweh,I provide the following:

    In Judaism, the name of God is more than a distinguishing title. It represents the Jewish conception of the divine nature, and of the relation of God to the Jewish people. To show the sacredness of the names of God, and as a means of showing respect and reverence for them, the scribes of sacred texts took pause before copying them, and used terms of reverence so as to keep the true name of God concealed. The various names of God in Judaism represent God as he is known, as well as the divine aspects which are attributed to him.

    The name YHWH is often reconstructed as Yahweh, based on a wide range of circumstantial historical and linguistic evidence. Most scholars do not view it as an “accurate” reconstruction in an absolute sense, but as the best possible guess, superior to all other existing versions, and thus the standard convention for scholarly usage. A more fundamental question is whether the name Yahweh originated among the Israelites or was adopted by them from some other people and speech. It appears, therefore, that in the tradition followed by the Israelite historians, the tribes within whose pasture lands the mountain of God stood were worshipers of Yahweh before the time of Moses. The surmise that the name Yahweh belongs to their speech, rather than to that of Israel, is a significant possibility. There is, however, no certain evidence that the Israelites in historical times had any consciousness of the primitive significance of the name.

    Yahweh is a common vocalization of God’s personal name based on the Hebrew tetragrammaton YHWH. Tetragrammaton (from the Greek τετραγράμματον, meaning ‘[word of] four letters’ (tetra “four” + gramma (gen. grammatos) “letter”), refers to יהוה, the name of the God of Israel, written with four letters, as preserved in the Hebrew Masoretic Text where it appears over 6,800 times.
    Yahweh is an English rendition of יהוה, as preserved in the Masoretic Text. Opinions differ as to the most appropriate vowels to be used with the four-letter tetragrammaton. Because of Jewish concerns for avoiding blasphemy, the name was often avoided and replaced with “LORD” (equivalent to the Hebrew Adonai). Also some other names for God used by Christians are Father, Lord, Heavenly Father, or the Holy Trinity.

    By contrast, the translation “Jehovah” was created by adding the vowel points of “Adonai.” Early Christian translators of the Torah did not know that these vowel points only served to remind the reader not to pronounce the divine name, but instead say “Adonai,” so they pronounced the consonants and vowel points together (a grammatical impossibility in Hebrew). They took the letters “IHVH,” from the Latin Vulgate, and the vowels “a-o-a” were inserted into the text rendering IAHOVAH or “Iehovah” in 16th century English, which later became “Jehovah.”

    The original consonantal text of the Hebrew Bible was provided with vowel marks by the Masoretes to assist reading. In places where the consonants of the text to be read (the Qere) differed from the consonants of the written text (the Kethib), they wrote the Qere in the margin as a note showing what was to be read. In such a case the vowels of the Qere were written on the Kethib. For a few very frequent words the marginal note was omitted: this is called Q’re perpetuum.

    All modern denominations of Judaism teach that the four-letter name of God, YHWH, is forbidden to be uttered except by the High Priest in the Temple. Since the Temple in Jerusalem no longer exists, this name is never said in religious rituals by Jews, and the correct pronunciation is disputed. Orthodox and Conservative Jews never pronounce it for any reason. Some religious non-Orthodox Jews are willing to pronounce it, but for educational purposes only, and never in casual conversation or in prayer. Instead of pronouncing YHWH during prayer, Jews say Adonai.

    The first early modern English Bible translators to transcribe God’s name into English did not contact Jewish scholars, and did not know of the Q’re perpetuum custom, but transcribed “יְהֹוָה” into English as they saw it. It therefore became Iehouah in 1530 (Tyndale’s translation of the Pentateuch), Iehovah in 1611, and Jehovah in editions of the King James Bible dated 1670 or so.

    Jesus (Iesus, Yeshua, Joshua, or Yehoshûa) is a Hebraic personal name meaning “Yahweh saves/helps/is salvation”. Christ means “the anointed” in Greek. Khristos is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word Messiah.

    With regard to your statement that reads. “I won’t even bother to remind you of the terrible offense that these poor Canaanites had committed to deserve their obliteration from the earth. I’ll give you a clue- it supposedly was all about the “curse of Ham” by this same deity placed on him and his descendants for viewing his father‘s (Noah) nakedness. How utterly indefensible!”
    I would submit the following:

    Worship of Baal and Asherah

    After Joshua’s generation had died out, “the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals, and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger. They forsook the Lord and served Baal and the Ashtoreths” (Judges 2:11-13).

    Why the seemingly irresistible tendency for the Israelites to worship Baal over Yahweh? Again, archaeology sheds much light on the Canaanite religion and helps us understand the deadly allure the indigenous religious practices held for the Israelites.

    In 1929 excavations began in Ras Shamra (the ancient port town of Ugarit) in northern Lebanon. This work continues. The remains of a palace discovered in the first year of excavation yielded a library containing hundreds of ancient documents that provided a wealth of information about the Canaanite religion. What did these tablets reveal? “The texts show the degrading results of the worship of these deities; with their emphasis on war, sacred prostitution, sensuous love and the consequent social degradation” (The New Bible Dictionary, Tyndale House Publishers, 1982, p. 1230).

    Forbidden worship

    The pagan religion was enticing to the Israelites for two primary reasons. First, it was not as morally demanding as the biblical religion. Second, the Israelites fell victim to a superstitious respect for the gods that supposedly controlled the land of the Canaanites.

    “The Canaanite religion was completely different from the Israelite. So far, no evidence has been found in Canaanite culture of a series of rules of conduct similar to the Ten Commandments . . . It was a great temptation for the Israelite invaders to respect the existing gods of the land which were regarded as being responsible for the country’s fertility. In addition, the worship of these gods was much less demanding than the rigid Israelite laws and rituals. Consequently, many of God’s people yielded to this temptation. The result was a gradual moral decline of the nation” (The Lion Encyclopedia of the Bible, Lion Publishers, 1983, p. 153).

    Recognizing the great danger to fledgling Israel, God insisted that His people destroy every aspect of the degenerate native religion. “According to the doings of the land of Egypt, where you dwelt, you shall not do; and according to the doings of the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you, you shall not do; nor shall you walk in their ordinances. You shall observe my judgments and keep My ordinances, to walk in them: I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 18:3-4).

    “And you shall not let any of your descendants pass through the fire (be sacrificed) to Molech . . . You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination . . . Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants” (verses 21-25).

    Sexual perversion as religion

    The corruption found expression in grotesque cultic sexual practices. “The pagan world of the ancient Near East worshipped and deified sex.” So intertwined were sex and religion that “the term ‘holy ones’ (was used) for its cult prostitutes” (Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary on the Bible, Abingdon Press, 1971, p. 79).

    Although the details are crude, they reveal why biblical proscriptions against the Canaanite perversions are so pervasive. “(A) ritual involved a dramatization of the myth . . . (and) centered in sexual activity since the rainfall attributed to Baal was thought to . . . fertilize and impregnate the earth with life just as he impregnated Asherah, the goddess of fertility, in the myth. Canaanite religion, then, was grossly sensual and even perverse because it required the services of both male and female cultic prostitutes as the principal actors in the drama.

    “Unlike the requirement in Israel, there was no one central sanctuary. Baal could be worshipped wherever there was a place especially visited by the numinous presence of the gods. These places were originally on hills (hence, ‘high place’) but later could be found in valleys or even within the cities and towns” (Eugene
    Merrill, Kingdom of Priests, Baker Book House, 1987, pp. 160-161).

    Infants sacrificed to Molech

    Included in these Canaanite practices was child sacrifice, described in the Bible as having children to “pass through the fire to Molech” (Jeremiah 32:35). The Ras Shamra tablets also mention the god Molech. Some unrighteous kings in Israel instituted the practice of sacrificing infants to Molech. God, through the prophet Jeremiah, denounced this ghastly ritual. “For the children of Judah have done evil in My sight,” and “they have built the high places of Tophet (related to Molech worship) . . . to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into My heart” (Jeremiah 7:30-31).

    In the ancient Phoenician city of Carthage–part of the Canaanite culture–some 20,000 urns containing the remains of sacrificed children were found. The archaeologists at the site apprise us that “the Carthaginian Tophet is the largest of these Phoenician sites and indeed is the largest cemetery of sacrificed humans ever discovered. Child sacrifice took place there almost continuously for a period of nearly 600 years” (Lawrence Stager and Samuel Wolff, Biblical Archaeological Review, January-February 1984, p. 32).

    Kleitarchos, a Greek from the third century B.C., described this sacrifice as the heating up of a bronze statue with outstretched arms. Infants placed into these red-hot arms quickly perished.

    Struggle for a nation’s heart

    Obviously, God did not want the Israelites to destroy their own offspring. When righteous kings such as Josiah ascended the throne, they obeyed God and abolished the practice. “And he defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom (in Jerusalem), that no man might make his son or his daughter pass through the fire to Molech” (2Kings 23:10).

    Some might think the prophets were overly harsh in condemning the Canaanite religion. Yet now, with detailed evidence of Canaanite practices found by archaeologists in this century, it is clear why the prophets were uncompromising.

    “The prophets and chroniclers tended to be thought of as men who, in their zeal for Yahweh and their anger against foreign religions, had probably gone too far,” writes one author. “This objection was leveled at the Bible right up to the present day . . . With us it is accepted as a matter of course that every half civilized community controls the morality of its citizens. But in Canaan in those days the cult of sensuality was regarded as the worship of the gods, men and women prostitutes ranked as ‘sacred’ to the followers of the religion, the rewards for their ‘services’ went into the temple treasuries as ‘offerings for the god.’

    “The last thing the prophets and chroniclers did was to exaggerate. How well founded their harsh words were has only become fully understood since the great discoveries of Ras Shamra . . . What temptation for a simple shepherd folk, what perilous enticement! . . . Without its stern moral law, without its faith in one God, without the commanding figures of its prophets, Israel would never have been able to survive this struggle with the Baals, with the religions of the fertility goddesses, with the Asherim and the high places” (Werner Keller, The Bible as History, Bantam Books, New York, 1980, pp. 286, 289).

    Thus the periodic backsliding of Israel into Baal worship described in the book of Judges is a realistic depiction. The description draws support from the archaeological finds that document the struggle for the soul of Israel. God persevered in sending His messengers to warn His people of the dangers of Baalism. An apt description of this struggle was penned by Nehemiah:

    “And they took strong cities and a rich land, and possessed houses full of all goods, cisterns already dug, vineyards, olive groves, and fruit trees in abundance. So they ate and were filled and grew fat, and delighted themselves in Your great goodness. Nevertheless they were disobedient and rebelled against You, cast Your law behind their backs and killed Your prophets, who testified against them to turn them to Yourself; and they worked great provocations.

    “Therefore You delivered them into the hand of their enemies, who oppressed them; and in the time of their trouble, when they cried to You, You heard from heaven; and according to Your abundant mercies You gave them deliverers (judges) who saved them from the hand of their enemies. But after they had rest, they again did evil before You. Therefore You left them in the hand of their enemies . . . Yet when they returned and cried out to You, You heard from heaven; and many times You delivered them according to Your
    mercies” (Nehemiah 9:25-28).

    “How utterly indefensible!”, I would submit, you might want to rethink or investigate a little further before you make a statement of that magnitude.

    The violence that is displayed to us in the Old Testament is not always easy to understand. Greg Boyd comments on a book written by Peter Craigie, The Problem of War in the Old Testament, as part of a broader discussion on the problem of violence in the Old Testament.

    While it may not address all of the areas of your criticism, it may be helpful in showing you an alternate understanding with regard to violence in the Old Testament.

    You and I have exchanged viewpoints previously Wayne, and as you stated in your response to Will at another blog, “I wish to apologize for my haughty remarks that you duly note and am inclined to agree with you that they “sound” pompous, indeed. Again, my apologies. The only excuse or justification I can offer is that I still have remnants of an ego intact, it resurfaces in fact quite often. The process of disidentification so well articulated by Tolle is not an easy process. Old habits die hard.”

    Obviously Wayne, you are an intelligent individual. What I see in your numerous exchanges (on this and other blogs) is an intellectual contempt for any individual who does not adhere to your enlightened reasoning and unfortunately that contempt comes through in your frequent and ill thought out use of words such as “utterly unconcious and ignorant” or “incredulousness” etc. You are not the only person who possesses intelligence Wayne, there are actually others of us out here, and we do investigate and examine and endeavor to reason. You might want to entertain throwing a little recognition of this fact into your future postings.

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