The “I AM has been used to prove that the Divine Being of the Old Testament is the same as Christ of the New Testament.

Is this correct? Or is this misguided?

John 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?

John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM.

Additional view from the OT perspective by Rabbi Tovia Singer. Highly recommended.

“I am that I am” is this the name of God?

First, it’s confusing to prove anything by mixing Greek with Hebrew. Jesus was merely stating that He was present during Abraham’s time rather that His name is “I am.” The phrase “I am” in Greek is “ego eimi.” In fact, when Yeshua spoke to the Jews, he used the phrase “ego eimi” at least twenty times and yet, in only one instance did the Jews seek to stone him (John 8:58).

Jesus said, “I am the bread of life” to a large crowd in John 6:35,48, yet no one opposed him. In verse 41, the Jews murmured because he said, “I am (ego eimi) the bread which came down from heaven.” But in verse 42, the Jews questioned only the phrase, “I came down from heaven” and ignored “ego eimi.” The same is true of verses 51 and 52. Their complaints being that He claims He came down from heaven, not because of the “I am”. Yet they didn’t attempt to stone him.

In John 8:12,18,24, and 28, Jesus used “ego eimi” with the Pharisees present (vs.13) and yet, no attempt at stoning. He again used it four times in John 10:7,9,11 and 14 with no stoning. Jesus said to his disciples,“… that…ye may believe that I am (ego eimi)” in John 13:19 without them batting an eye.

A slight of hand! A pigeon!

In fact, several other individuals beside Jesus used “ego eimi” as well. In Luke 1:19, the angel Gabriel said, “Ego eimi Gabriel.” In John 9:9, the blind man whose sight was restored by Yeshua said, “Ego eimi.” In Acts 10:21, Peter said, “Behold, ego eimi (I am) he whom ye seek.” Obviously, the mere use of “ego eimi” does not equate one to the “I Am” of Exodus 3:14.

Only the claim of being present before Abraham caused the Jews to stone Him. 

Later in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus was answering the question “Whom seek ye?” They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said unto them, “I am He.” John 18:4-5. Jesus didn’t say he was the God of the Old Testament, the God who said he was the Ehyeh that appeared to Moses before the burning bush (Exodus 3:14).

WE (Worldwide English) translation of John 8:58: Jesus answered, `I tell you the truth. I already was before Abraham was born.’ TLB Jesus: “The absolute truth is that I was in existence before Abraham was ever born!” Same with Luke 22:70 where “I am” is just an affirmation of what His accusers were charging Him of in the WE version.

Those who insist that Jesus was the I AM of the Old Testament is just simply MAGIC! A touch of Simon Magus.

Exodus 3:14 The fact that the “I AM THAT I AM” couldn’t be certain of God’s name is that it hasn’t been translated (or untranslated) the same in other primary sources. This means that the “I AM” as translated in the Masoretic Text is of great suspect.

1. Septuagint translated it as “And God spoke to Moses, saying, I am THE BEING; and he said, Thus shall ye say to the children of Israel, THE BEING has sent me to you. — note that the “I am” above wasn’t emphasized, but THE BEING is;

2. Targum: a. Onkelos: And the Lord said unto Mosheh, He who spake, and the world was; who spake, and all things were. And He said, This thou shalt say to the sons of Israel, I AM HE WHO IS, AND WHO WILL BE, hath sent me unto you.

Jerusalem: And the Word of the Lord said to Mosheh, He who spake to the world, Be, and it was; and who will speak to it, Be, and it will be. And he said, Thus shalt thou speak to the sons of Israel, EHEYEH hath sent me unto you

3. Pershitta (Lamsa’s translation): And God said to Moses, I am AHIAH ASHAR HIGH (that is, THE LIVING GOD); and he said, Thus you say to the children of Israel, AHIAH has sent me to you.

4. TANAKH (JPS 1985): And God said to Moses, “Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh.”a He continued, “Thus shall you said to the Israelites, ‘Ehyeh sent me to you.’” fn a Meaning of Hebrew uncertain.

5. Vulgate: God said to Moses: I AM WHO AM. He said: Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel: HE WHO IS, hath sent me to you.

The hard copy of TANAKH (JPS 1985) differs from the JPS 1917 online. JPS seems to change back and forth what Ehyeh meant, indicating indeed they are uncertain of its meaning.

YHVH told Moses He haven’t revealed His name to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Exodus 6:2-3 And God spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the Lord. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but My name Lord I was not known to them.

Further commentary from Adam Clarke on Exodus 3:14

Adam Clarke: I am that I am – אהיה אשר אהיה Eheyeh asher Eheyeh . These words have been variously understood. The Vulgate translates Ego Sum Qui Sum, I am who am. The Septuagint, Εγω ειμι ὁ Ων, I am he who exists. The Syriac, the Persic, and the Chaldee preserve the original words without any gloss. The Arabic paraphrases them, The Eternal, who passes not away; which is the same interpretation given by Abul Farajius, who also preserves the original words, and gives the above as their interpretation. The Targum of Jonathan, and the Jerusalem Targum paraphrase the words thus: “He who spake, and the world was; who spake, and all things existed.” As the original words literally signify, I will be what I will be, some have supposed that God simply designed to inform Moses, that what he had been to his fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, he would be to him and the Israelites; and that he would perform the promises he had made to his fathers, by giving their descendants the promised land. It is difficult to put a meaning on the words; they seem intended to point out the eternity and self-existence of God. Plato, in his Parmenides, where he treats sublimely of the nature of God, says, Ουδ ‘ αρα ονομα εστιν αυτῳ, nothing can express his nature; therefore no name can be attributed to him. See the conclusion of this chapter, Exodus 3:22; (note) and on the word Jehovah, Exodus 34:6; (note), Exodus 34:7; (note).

~ by Joel Huan on June 23, 2022.

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