Before Abraham was I am John 8:58 in this article I just want to talk about one of the issues related to John 8:58 and that's essentially the trinitarian claim that Jesus is invoking the divine name and claiming to be God. Jesus is apparently claiming to be the One God of Israel and the God of the Jews. There is really kind three different things that trinitarians claim concerning this passage. One is this issue about invoking the divine name, another one is the pre-existence question and a third one is why did the Jews want to stone Jesus. Lets look at the claim that Jesus was invoking the divine name and we'll deal with those other questions in another article. Basically Trinitarian see the words “ego eimi) at John 8:58 and we are to accept the proposition that Jesus is intentionally invoking the divine name and therefore claiming to be the One God of Israel.
First of all let's just kind of assume for the sake of argument that He was invoking the divine name and see what happens because if you do that you'll see right away that the trinitarian claim goes nowhere. Notice what it says at John 3:34 for He who God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives not the spirit with measure. Jesus is the prophet who God promised to Israel to raise up and He said I will put my words in his mouth. That's why we read statements like this like we have in John 3:34 for He whom God has sent speaks the words of God. Jesus is speaking the words of God for He gives the spirit without measure to Jesus. The father loves the Son so it's very clear that for he who the Father has sent speaks the words of the Father. Throughout the Gospel of John Jesus is saying things like, you know my words are not my own but His who sent me John 14:10 The words that I speak to you I don't speak from myself but from the Father abiding in me. The Father does the works and he says this over and over.
We are to see that the Father had tabernacle in Jesus, the body of Jesus was the tabernacle or the temple of the Father, and he's speaking the words of the Father. Right away when you see that and Jesus says before Abraham was I am, and you want to claim that Jesus is invoking to the divine name. Well if he was and he is the word of the Father, speaking the words of the Father what do you got nothing. If the Father is saying I am through his word, through Jesus mouth, big deal because that's all you got. You see that's the first problem if you're a trinitarian, and that is Jesus is speaking the words of the Father and he's saying these words aren't mine, they're the father's. It all comes back to the prophecy in Deut 18:15 where God says I will raise up a prophet for you and I will put my words in his mouth. I am simply means I am, and you will notice in English how often we use the words I am, I am this I am that.
For the Jews this was everyday language - they use these words all the time. The claim that “I am” mean necessarily the divine name is really kind of a crazy stretch. First of all the Jews intentionally did not want to utter the divine name but now you got the Jews sort of using the divine name “Ego Eimi”if that's what you claim it is, routinely used in everyday speech. John the Baptist said I am not the Christ again “Ego Eimi” so what was he saying there. Yahweh is not the Christ, well look at the problem you got in your hands now. Do you just cherry-pick when you want that “Ego Eimi” to mean the divine name. If you don't well what do you got now nothing you've got nothing but your own foot stamping insistence. In one place“Ego Eimi” means a divine name and in the next place it doesn't. John 9:9 the very next chapter a blind man identifies him with the words “I am” “Ego Eimi” was he invoking the divine name of course not. What do you just cherry-pick when you want “Ego Eimi” to mean a divine name and when you don't.
Trinitarians will say well when Jesus says “Ego Eimi” it's a divine name when somebody else says it's not. Now you got circular reasoning, when Jesus says “Ego Eimi” it means he's God and because Jesus is God when he says “Ego Eimi” it means he's invoking the divine name. They will just arguing around in a big circle sort of affirming their consequent all the time. The fact is that this word, this term “Ego Eimi” is just like it is in English. You and I say I am all the time and because they're speaking a different language they use the word in their language a bit different than we do. Like if we wanted to identify ourselves we'd say “it is me” but in Greek they would just say “I am” when Jesus was walking on the water and they saw him, they were afraid He says don't be afraid “I am” or it's me. That might sound strange to us in English but it wouldn't sound strange to an ancient Greek speaker, that's just how it is in other languages when you come you compare languages you know they don't think exactly the same as we do in English.
That's why when you hear someone learning English someone who spoke a different language they have trouble at first because we think different in English than they did in their language. Especially with prepositions. You notice how the person learning English uses prepositions in a really weird way we'll say for this and they'll say to this. You will wonder why they're doing that, that's just because the way they do it in their language and it would be the same with this word “Ego Eimi.” That's why the blind man is identifying himself with the words “I am” “Ego Eimi” and that's how Jesus identified himself when he was walking on the water I am, don't be afraid I am it's me. Same thing you really have insurmountable problems here if you're claiming that Jesus was intentionally invoking the divine name because it wasn't like a big surprise to a Jew and someone used the words “Ego Eimi.” John used it when he said I'm not the Christ and Jews used this term all the time if they didn't.
Would they have recognized it is there only one place in the Bible, where they ever saw the words “Ego Eimi” and that's it. When Jesus used it well he's invoking the divine name, that's not how it is, it was everyday language it was used by a blind man it was used by Jews all the time. Jews did not want to utter the divine name so you got this real quandary and mess of stuff and really in the end all you really have is wishful thinking. You want Jesus to be invoking the divine name therefore he is that's basically what you got. Do we when we speak in English and we say I am, I am this I am that we hear it all the time every day are people invoking the divine name. Exodus 3:14 Yahweh say “I AM THAT I AM” is that Jesus and John and the blindman are doing of course not it's ridiculous to suggest such a thing. Just because God says I am and we use the words I am are we to assume that when we are using the words I am we're invoking the divine name so then why do you do it, when Jesus uses the words I am. Because you want to and everybody knows it. What did Jesus mean before Abraham was Yahweh? okay that's what you're saying.
It means basically or before Abraham was Yahweh, what do you say of course Yahweh was before Abraham and not only that you have Jesus speaking the words of the Father. Father says “I am” okay so what, so you really come empty-handed with this claim, and you really just got wishful thinking and foot stamping insistence's. To be truthful Christians you just can't have wishful thinking and you read into the text, exegesis. And then go around and talking about how you exegetic all the time when you don't, and you're reading things into the text which aren't there. That's talking out of both sides of your mouth. There's other questions with John 8:58 and I realize that, but we have sort of separate them if they're different and this is one issue this claim that Jesus is intentionally invoking the divine name. Well even if he was you still got nothing the Father tabernacled in Jesus and Jesus is speaking the words of Yahweh, he's the Prophet about who God said I will put my words in his mouth. You really have to think over the things that you're saying. I know how it works in the mindset of a lot of trinitarians because I was a trinitarian and what a lot of Trinitarians do is they lay awake at night dreaming up excuses and rationalizations for their doctrine.
That is not what truth seekers do that is what liars do they lay around and they dream up excuses to try to paint a picture that suits their situation. That's not what you do with the truth. As a truth seeker is someone who wants the truth. You ask yourself what is intended here? what is the truth? that's what I want that's all I want to know period right. THE TRUTH. I would just ask you to carefully consider these things it's everyday language “I am.” I am the Christ I'm a Fisher man, I am going to the store that's how we use it in English and it was pretty much the same in the Greek. That's why John the Baptist is using this word when he says I am not the Christ. or this term “Ego Eimi”not the Christ. Yahweh is not the Christ that is what's he saying. When do you get to drop the term “I Am”when it's the divine name and when do you get to affirm it's a divine name? Whenever it promotes your doctrine you see something wrong there whenever it's convenient for you to say it's a divine name and when it's not convenient for you, you say well no he's not invoking the name there. That's not very honest man please carefully consider these things. God bless you.
Footnote: Comment on video It is amazing that people do not look at the Greek verb (eimi) and its mood and voice..to get the whole picture in English. The verb is in the present indicative and in the active voice. By isolating this verb and its pronoun at the end of the sentence, the active becomes rather passive in English. It is active statement...and the verb requires the active position in the sentence in English. The verb (genesthai) means coming to be and it is in the Aorist infinitive tense.....and should be seen as progressive in time. Therefore in English it should read...."I am before Abraham is to come"....[in the Resurrection] Knowing that the context was 1) Abraham's death and the Resurrection... John 8:52,53....2) the day of Messiah that Abraham looked forward to ...John 8:56.... Lord Jesus is saying in another way "I am the Resurrection and the Life".... while maintaining His humanity that he declared in John 8:40.....just eighteen verses earlier. and we are to even think that suddenly He is claiming to be God himself? The children of the devil were not hearing Lord Jesus right....and many cannot hear Him today. Matt. 20:15 is another verse where the sentence ends in eimi with the active voice...and its position is changed in translation to render it coherent in English.