top of page

Alleged Sources for the Incarnation, part 13.

Updated: Aug 30, 2022

Alleged Sources for the Incarnation, part 13. A synopsis of John’s writings regarding his own Christological “data points,” or fundamental “anchors” which tell of Jesus’ status and authority…is not complete without a commentary on “I Am Theology.” Mainstreamers consider Jn 8:58 to be a claim of absolute deity, by his statement, “I AM,” as a direct parallel to the known Ex 3 account, of God revealing his Tetragram name to Moses. A more complete and scholarly article was presented by Renzo Roberson here on this site. His scope and specific knowledge of different views are evident, and much more so than what I could present. Oddly enough I tend to see the issue here, from a juxtaposition of the view of James White, a trinitarian. A commentary on HIS view became my own adventure and investigation. He first mentions the “ego eimi” verses WITH a predication specified. Because there are 7 verses in his view, and 10 verses in my view with NO explicit predication listed in tandem with “I am.” For instance, “I am the Bread of Life” would have a predication, and the Septuagint translation of Ex 3 has “ego eimi ho on,” or…”tell them ‘the Being’ sent you.” (To Moses, Ex 3:14): 13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?

14 And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am (Septuagint: the Being) hath sent me unto you. Note the KJV does not have a predication, and actually in the Hebrew there is a repeat of the identification, as in…I am (becoming) or I shall become, what I am becoming or what I shall become. (Indefinite tense). The Septuagint then, has a built-in interpretation of the literal Hebrew, as…I am the Being. Slight difference, but indicative actually of the Septuagint view. (Since the Jews of Jesus' day were COGNIZANT of the Septuagint translation, this would naturally be an 'obscuring' data point, in view of the mainstream interpretation). Overall, my consideration is that there is a mystery here stated, in the etymological consideration of this name. It did not OBVIATE the semantic force of the previous name given to Abraham, El Shaddai. For me, this old name had a meaning something like, The Succorer. The new name given to Moses has a mysteriously (open-ended) stated predication in Ex 3. This was…the SACRED name of God, and this name had an open end in the sense that…it did not allude to an object or living thing in creation at all in the specific sense. Call this mysterious or mystical. Yes, I believe there is a sense of that. But...instead of this open end of...I will be WHAT I WILL BE being open to...ANYTHING at all, instead I believe that God was saying in essence, that His face unto us WILL BE at our Judgement, either merciful or not merciful. The VARIANCE or OPEN-END then, has to do with a pleased "face" unto us, or a not-pleased face. Thus God is stating this what HE decides; a man can please Him or not. Man in fact cannot predetermine his destiny or salvation, according to whether he, in outline, conformed to the "do-nots" of the Ten Commands. And I will expound on this no further because it goes beyond the strict subject of Jesus' Christology (status and authority). In fact the Jews would take this sense of the sacredness of the Name to its own conclusion, and hesitate to extremis – even in pronouncing this name out-loud. By Jesus’ time, only the high priest could do so, on Passover, a single day, and Jesus was never testified as reciting this name either. In contrast, usual “I am” statements even in John’s gospel HAVE a predication. We identify with something, allude ourselves and align ourselves with another concept, which is usually specified even if non-literal, figurative or metaphorical. Others including Jesus did the same thing. James White says it this way: The specific phrase ego eimi occurs twenty four times in the Gospel of John. Seventeen of these times it is followed by a clear predicate. 1 Some of these instances would be John 6:35, “I am the living bread” (ego eimi ho artos tes zoes) or John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd” (ego eimi ho poimen ho kalos). So then, 71% of the time in John, the predication is specific to another term, said explicitly even if in a metaphorical or figurative semantic. The examples of “ego eimi” WITHOUT a specific predication specified then, are crucial in interpretation then, of Jn 8:58. Because White considers THAT VERSE to be a direct allusion to Jesus’ own claim of absolute deity. But…not only that verse, Jn 8:58, but so too the OTHER ones, especially in this chapter 8, which has THREE “ego eimi” verses without an explicit predication. White lists these as 7 only because these are his own PET VERSES which ALL claim absolute deity. Given the above usages, we are left with seven usages that have been described as “absolute”. 3 These would be John 8:24, 8:28, 8:58, 13:19, 18:5, 18:6, and 18:8. It is these seven passages that make up the bulk of the discussion concerning the use of ego eimi by John. For the sake of accurate examination, the transliterations of these phrases are provided below:

  • John 8:24: ean gar me pistuesete hoti ego eimi

  • John 8:28: tote gnosesthe hoti ego eimi

  • John 8:58: prin Abraam genethai ego eimi

  • John 13:19: hina pisteusete hotan genetai ego eimi

  • John 18:5: legei autois Ego eimi

  • John 18:6: hos oun eipen autois Ego eimi

  • John 18:8: eipon humin hoti ego eimi

Thus James White is being more consistent to the linguistic nuances, still retaining his mainstream ideal, that YES, Jesus is claiming GodHOOD, by the “I AM” statement. Note that this view however DIVERGES from the KJV scholar’s view (the 47 translators and scholars compiling the KJV in 1611). Verses 24 and 28 have “he” inserted as the predication, since according to them, THESE have the implicit predication “he” instead. But, the KOINE does not supply the pronoun, “he.” 24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. 28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. So then we can easily see how White is trying to be more consistent, but ALSO that there is another interpretive option which immediately becomes possible. That inSTEAD, the Jn 8:58 verse DOES HAVE an implied predication, not said specifically, but still MEANT. 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Should be: 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am [he]. What difference does this make? The difference is…now the “he” has to be determined, what that is. Is it…GOD? Or…something else? Messiah? Prophet of prophets, Lord of lords, King of kings, etc? So specifically, what is true then? Where White is INconsistent, is contained in, the three instances he calls, “unclear:” Three times the usage does not fall into a clear category – these would be 4:26, 6:20, and 9:9. In 4:26 Jesus says to the woman at the well, “I am, the one speaking to you” (ego eimi, ho lalon soi) which is strangely reminiscent of the LXX rendering of Isaiah 52:6 (ego eimi autos ho lalon). In 6:20 it seems to be a rather straight-forward self-identification to the frightened disciples in the boat. 2 And in 9:9 we find the man who had been healed of his blindness insisting that he was indeed the man of whom they spoke. This last instance is similar to the sayings as Jesus utters them, in that the phrase comes at the end of the clause and looks elsewhere for its predicate. White’s gloss then, is because contextually Jesus could not be telling the Samaritan woman, “I am [God].” To the disciples in the boat on the Sea of Galilee, “I am God.” And the blind man healed was CERTAINLY not saying in response to those who asked if he was the one healed, “I am God.” These three instances actually DEMEAN the possibility that…8:58 says this, as per KJV extraction. In other words, the KJV FOCUSES upon a single verse saying this IMPROBABLY, and White tries to LESSEN this odd extraction of verse by claiming SEVEN verses are claiming the “I am” fallacy. Including the other two in chapter eight. The problem is, the probability has now SHIFTED toward a central theme of John altogether, that Jesus is something else OTHER THAN God Almighty. That ALL THREE instances in chapter 8 are speaking of…something MORE THAN a mere prophet, but LESS than God Himself. And I would refer the reader here to chapter 6, whereby Jesus is attempting to explain the import of his own clear, but open-ended statement, “I am the living bread.” 16 And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea,

17 And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them.

18 And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew.

19 So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid.

20 But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid.

(Here the “unclear” example of White, an ego eimi statement without a predication specified). 21 Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.

22 The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone;

23 (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:)

24 When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus.

25 And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?

26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.

27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?

31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.

32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.

33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.

35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.

37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.

42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?

43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.

44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.

47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

48 I am that bread of life.

49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.

51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?

53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.

58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

59 These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.

60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?

61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?

62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?

63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.

65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

Data points: 1) The Jews were seeking to see signs and miracles, but Jesus said these were given by God the Father, both to Moses AND TO HIMSELF. 2) Jesus is calling himself the SUSTENANCE of the spiritual man. Does this mean…God? Was…the manna from heaven, God HIMself? No, does not follow. 3) For “works vs. faith” advocates…the “work” was…to believe upon Jesus Christ. This means, to mentally affirm Jesus only, or…does faith itself, including belief include a holistic and Judaic-centered ideal? The LINKING to works itself tells the JEWISH story, that for the Jew, action and the attitude preceding that action…are directly linked. 4) Being SENT by the Father implies an absolute subordination TO the Father. Living BY the Father means the same thing. Being SEALED by the Father, ditto. 5) For “free will advocates,” this verse is…Calvinistic? 44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Whatever it is…it must be contended with. Please read Preexistence, Jewish Encyclopedia. As Jesus was planned and predetermined, so too is MUCH of our reality, and the condition of the condition we are in. This too, means that Jesus was…planned, and then…created and made. So…is the HE then…the Bread of Life from chapter 6? Yeahuh, that is…IF we consider all of these descriptor terms for Jesus…binding and cohesively speaking of…someone LESSER than YHWH but MORE than…a “mere” prophet. Please consider that for 400 years before the arrival of Messiah, no major prophet was among the people. What OTHER terms can be holistically combined in context of John’s writings? Wayell, chapter 6 supplies in its own conclusion: 67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. Please also consider the synoptics, regarding this event in chpt 6. At the time, the disciples CERTAINLY did not know...Jesus was God. Mat 8: 27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him! Mk 4: 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? Luk 8: 25 And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.

Back to Jn 6, Christ, and Son of the Living God, are parallel terms also cohesive, to…the Shaliach Prophet of all prophets in Judaism. ELOHIM both on the earth and, glorified in heaven.

In conclusion, at the very least, the reader hopefully has grasped the complexity of the “I AM,” theology position. The Septuagint interpretation obscured such a position for the Jew of Jesus’ day, AT LEAST. As well as…the different NUANCES which “ego eimi” statements had, with or without an explicit predication, especially in the gospel of John itself. And in order to further narrow the field of thought here, even in the chapter 8 of John, itself. The KJV interprets the first TWO instances, with an implied “he?” But…NOT v. 58? Repeating three times overall, the same concept, is normally done for emphasis, but is the authorial intent not then compromised, if the meaning of the same terminology...changes? Why in the world is not 8:58 having the same "he" implied?

14 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page