John 8:58 “Jesus said … Before Abraham was, I AM”
It is being claimed regarding John 8:58 that “I AM” used by Jesus “was the name God used for Himself when talking to Moses (Exodus 3:14) and this is why the Jews wanted Jesus dead … because He made Himself equal with God. ” The purpose is to make the claim that Jesus is a person of triune God. Actually, there is nothing here, or anywhere else in the Bible, about God existing as three separate and distinct persons. Such an idea has to be added to, and read into, what Jesus said.
Was Jesus in John 8:58 quoting from Exodus 3:14? The name in Exodus 3:14 by which Yahweh spoke of himself in its full form is usually transliterated as “EHYEH ASHER EHYEH”. Its short form, which also appears in Exodus 3:14 is simply EHYEH. Was Jesus saying in John 8:58 that his name is EHYEH? Actually, no. The expression in Greek that Jesus used is often transliterated as EGO EIMI. Did Jesus say that this was his name? No, there is no discussion concerning Jesus’ name in John 8:58 nor anywhere in the context. Rather, the discussion is concerning the age of Jesus.
Jesus expressly shows that he is not the only true God who sent him in John 17:1,3. Since there is only one true God, then Jesus, being sent by the only true God, is not the only true God. The only true God who sent Jesus is the One who identified Himself as EHYEH ASHER EHYEH in Exodus 3:14,15.
- Exodus 3:14 – God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM [EHYEH ASHER EHYEH],” and he said, “You shall tell the children of Israel this: “I AM [EHYEH] has sent me to you.”
Exodus 3:15 – God said moreover to Moses, “You shall tell the children of Israel this, ‘Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and this is my memorial to all generations.
EHYEH and YAHWEH are simply two different forms of the same name.
The only true God, by means of his Holy Spirit through the Scriptures, reveals that it is Himself, Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who sent Jesus, and who anointed Jesus, and whom Jesus worshiped and prayed to as his God. — Deuteronomy 18:15-19; Matthew 4:4 (Deuteronomy 8:3; Luke 4:4); Matthew 4:7 (Deuteronomy 6:16); Matthew 4:10 (Exodus 20:3-5; 34:14; Deuteronomy 6:13,14; 10:20; Luke 4:8); Matthew 22:29-40; Matthew 26:42; Matthew 27:46; Mark 10:6 (Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:7,20-23); Mark 14:36; 15:34; Luke 22:42; John 4:3; 5:30; 6:38; 17:1,3; 20:17; Romans 15:6; 2 Corinthians 1:3; 11:31; Ephesians 1:3,17; Hebrews 1:9; 10:7; 1 Peter 1:3; Revelation 2:7; 3:2,12.
So was Jesus claiming to be his God in John 8:58? Is there any link between John 8:58 and Exodus 3:14? Only as can be seen by the way the translators and others would make such a link. Of course, Jesus did not say, as did the only true God in Exodus 3:14, that his name is EHYEH, nor was he speaking about his name at all, but rather he was talking about his existence before Abraham.
Could it be that Jesus was quoting the Greek Septuagint Version (LXX) of Exodus 3:14 when he says EGO EIMI in John 8:58? Hardly, since in the Greek Septuagint Version, the short name of EHYEH is rendered as HO OHN, not EGO EIMI. The full form is rendered as a sentence: EGO EIMI HO OHN, which means “I am the being”. Thus the Septuagint gives EGO EIMI a predicate, but the short form is simply HO OHN, “The Being”. So if Jesus quoted the LXX, he would have used HO OHN, not EGO EIMI, which, of course, in context would have made no sense at all. Further, if he were quoting the LXX from the long form EGO EIMI HO OHN, then he left the subject and verb “I am” without a predicate, which indicates further that he was not quoting the LXX.
Actually, in the Greek, a present tense can be used in a past setting to denote a continuous condition. In English such is often expressed in some form of the past tense, as in the case of John 8:58: “I was”, or “I have been”, etc. (See John 14:8,9) So, what Jesus was saying is very simple: “I have/had been existing since before Abraham was.”
For more information concerning John 8:58, and “I am” in other scriptures, go to:
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