Understanding the meaning of the Great "I AM" in our Passover

When the Moses encounters God at the burning bush. God summons him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, but Moses is reluctant. ‘Who am I,’ he asks, ‘to be worthy of such a task?’ God reassures him, and then Moses asks, ‘Who are you? When the Israelites ask, who has sent you, what shall I say?’ God replies in a cryptic three-word Hebrew phrase, “Ehyeh Asher Ahyeh “(Exod. 3:14). It is fascinating to see how Christian Bibles translate this clause. The King James Version reads it as ‘I am that I am.’ Recent translations are variants of the same idea.
Here are some examples:
I am who I am.
I am what I am.
I am—that is who I am.
These are all mistranslations, and the error is ancient. In Greek, the Hebrew “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” became ego eimi ho on, and in Latin, ego sum qui sum: ‘I am he who is.’
Saint Augustine in the Confessions writes: ‘Because He is the "IS," that is to say, God is being itself, ipsum esse, in its most absolute and full sense.’ Centuries later, Saint Aquinas explains that it means God is ‘true being, that is being that is eternal, immutable, simple, self-sufficient, and the cause and principle of every creature’. And so, it continued in German philosophy. God became Hegel’s ‘concrete universal’, Schelling’s ‘transcendental ego’, Gilson’s ‘God-is-Being’ and Heidegger’s ‘onto-theology.’ etc. etc.
According to Rabbinic Scholars, the mistake of all these translations is obvious to the merest beginner in Hebrew. The phrase in Exodus 3:14 means, ‘I will be what I will be.’ The verb does not use the present tense. Elsewhere, the Bible does use "I am" in the present tense. In the Ten Commandments, for example, the first verse reads, ‘I AM the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.’ Here the present tense (‘I am’) is used. But then, that verse does not speak of God’s name. It speaks of His deeds. Here in Exodus 3:14, however, Moses asked God for His name. God might have replied, as did the angel who wrestled with Jacob, with a rhetorical question, ‘Why do you ask for my name?’, implying that the very question is out of order. There are things human beings cannot know, mysteries they cannot fathom, matters that transcend the reach of human understanding. But that is not what God says in Exodus 3:14. He does answer Moses’ question, but enigmatically, in a phrase that needs decoding. God tells Moses to say to the Israelites, ‘I will be” sent me to you.’
It is as if God had said, ‘My name is the FUTURE TENSE. If you seek to understand me, first you will have to understand the nature and significance of the "future tense." ‘I am that I am’ is a translation of Exodus 3:14 that owes everything to the philosophical tradition of ancient Greece and nothing to do with the thought of ancient Israel. The God of pure being, first cause, prime mover, necessary existence, is the god of the philosophers, not the God of the prophets of the Hebrew Bible.
What, then, is the meaning of ‘I will be what I will be’? The name itself never recurs in the Hebrew Bible, but there is a later echo, in the great scene in which God appears to Moses on the mountain after the sin of the Golden Calf, in which he says, ‘I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion’ (Exod. 33:19). What this means is that God cannot be predicted or controlled. He cannot be confined to categories or known in advance. He is telling Moses, ‘You cannot know how I will appear until I appear; how I will act until I act. My mercy, my compassion, my strategic interventions into history, cannot be controlled or foretold. I will be what, when and how I choose to be. I am the God of the radically unknowable future, the God of surprises. You will know me when you see me, but not before.’ To be sure, in onesense, the future is connected to the past and the present. God keeps His promises tin ALL time (Hebrews 13:8).
So, when the Lord tells us that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), and Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8)…He is repeating what he said to Moses in Exodus 3:14…“Ehyeh Asher Ahyeh “ ( ‘I will be what I will be’)…This is an essential element of Judeo-Christian faith. But this very fact reveals the difference between predictability on the one hand and faithfulness on the other. People sometimes think faithfulness and predictability are synonymous. Objects fall, gas expands, particles combine: these things are predictable. But people freely honor obligations they have undertaken because they are faithful. That is the difference God never fails to teach Moses and the prophets in the Bible. God’s name tells us that He is not an entity knowable by philosophy or science, deducible from the past. God awaits us in the unknown and unknowable future as BOTH unpredictable and also VERY faithful. So, have faith! Keep moving forward into your future trusting His will and doing His will like Moses...He is already there waiting for you in the future...so, have no fear!  God keeps His promises in the future in ways we CANNOT predict. We just need to TRUST the Great I AM. 

Happy Passover (and Easter) to you!
Adapted from "Future Tense" by Jonathan Sacks. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.