Genesis 21:33 “Then Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there called on the name of Yahweh, the Everlasting God (El Olam).”
Like El Elyon and Yahweh, El Olam is more than a name of God. It is used to carry a part of God’s nature and describe a element of Who He is. He is Everlasting God.
Firstly this carries the eternal presence of God. In other words, God has always existed and will always exist. Psalm 93:2 says, “Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting.” Psalm 90:2 agrees; “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” You can’t find a time when God wasn’t there!
Second, El Olam brings out the eternal plan of God. Not only was God there before time began, but His wisdom and His plans were completely in place before the creation of the world! According to Proverbs 8, God’s wisdom is as everlasting as God Himself. “Yahweh possessed me [wisdom] at the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I [wisdom] have been established from everlasting, from the beginning, before there was ever an earth.”
God’s eternal plan was stated most clearly in Revelation 13:8, “ All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” As God was still forming the earth, He knew every person that would ever live. He knew every sin we would ever commit, from Adam’s first sin to that little lie you told this morning. So from before the beginning of creation, God had already planned out Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. His plan of redemption is everlasting!
His plan for you is everlasting too. Psalm 139:16 declares, “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” God had every single one of your days written in His book before you were even a twinkle in your parents eye. He has a perfect plan for you. He also knew about all the times you wouldn’t continue in His plan - and He planned for those too! In Romans 11, while Paul was writing about God’s plan for His people, he concluded with this: “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” When you think about all of God’s plans for us, and all the times we mess those plans up, and yet God still plans for us messing up those plans.....what else can you say?
Finally, along with God’s eternal nature and everlasting plans, El Olam also carries the idea of God’s unchangeableness. If you could go back to eternity past, God would be exactly the same as He is now. No matter how far into eternity future we go, He will never be any different. God never changes.
Too many Christians have the mindset that there are two different Gods in the Bible - one in the Old Testament, and one in the New. But God made it very clear, “I am Yahweh, I do not change.” Do you know where in the Bible God said that? In Malachi 3, as a way to close the Old Testament! As we move from the Old to the New, we see that reminder that God isn’t going to change from Malachi 4 to Matthew 1.
God will still split seas if that’s what it takes to get His kids to the place where He planned for them to be. God will still rain bread from the sky if that’s what it takes to provide for His people when they’re believing for their need to be met. He still heals the sick. He still raises the dead. He still does miracles. If we’re not seeing these things in our life, it isn’t because God stopped doing them - He doesn’t change!
Something else that never changes is His love for us. He loved us when we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). He doesn’t love us any more now that we are saved. And if we ever turn our back on Him, He will never love us less! Nothing in this entire universe will ever pull us away from His love or chase His love away from us (Romans 8:31-39).
Isaiah 26:4 tells us what our logical reaction to this unchanging God should be: “Trust in the Lord forever, for in YAH, the Lord, is everlasting strength.” Because God is eternal and because He never changes, He is the only one Who deserves our trust. When He says something in His Word, our response should always be faith. Why? Because He has never changed!
Hebrews 13:8 sums this up the meaning behind El Olam perfectly. God’s everlasting duration, eternal plan, and unchanging nature is all found in this single verse: “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever.”