I always thought it was the best explicit proof of Jesus claiming the divine I AM WHO I AM from Exodus, but this made me doubt a little. Why didn't he include "ho on" like he did on the book of Revelation in passages like 1:17,18 ?

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    Can you please cite the passages you are referring to, including the Greek? IE: the passage from Exodus and the passage from Revelation? What passages are you referring to? Also, please mention the translation you are citing. Thanks.
    – Ruminator
    Nov 11, 2017 at 3:54
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    The authors of the Revelation and G.John are almost certainly not the same person.
    – user2910
    Nov 12, 2017 at 19:25
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    @MarkEdward What are some reasons you think so, out of curiosity? Nov 18, 2017 at 23:16
  • Note the accepted answer has a straight-up factual blunder in it. See my comment there. Nov 4, 2022 at 18:18

7 Answers 7


There are three different appellations in Exodus 3:14-15:

  • "Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh", variously translated as "I am that I am", "I am who I am", "I will be what I will be": And God said to Moses, "Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh" (Exodus 3:14a, JPS Tanakh), or I AM THAT I AM (KJV) ...

  • "Ehyeh", translated as "I am" or "I will be": He continued, "Thus shall you say to the Israelites, 'Ehyeh sent me to you'" (Exodus 3:14b, JPS Tanakh), or I AM hath sent me unto you (KJV)

  • "YHVH": And God said further to Moses, "Thus shall you speak to the Israelites: The LORD, the God of your fathers ... has sent me to you (Exodus 3:15, JPS Tanakh)

The Greek Septuagint, which is the version of the Old Testament which the New Testament generally follows, renders these three names as:

  • Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh: Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν

  • Ehyeh: Ἐγώ εἰμι

  • YHVH: Κύριος

Thus either ego eimi ho on or ego eimi would have been recognized as the Divine Name in Greek. We see this in John 18:4-6, as well as the passage you cite:

"Whom seek ye?" They answered Him, "Jesus the Nazaraean." Jesus saith to them, "I am" [Ἐγώ εἰμι] ... Then when He said to them, "I am," they went backward and fell to the ground

Almost every English translation of this passage inserts the word "he" after "I am", but it is actually not in the Greek text (the above translation is from The Orthodox New Testament). The Greek is accurately translating what would have been an utterance of the Divine Name, Ehyeh, by Jesus.

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    So why didn't the Pharisees get their undies in a bunch when the man born blind claimed to be Almighty God?: Westcott and Hort / [NA27 variants] ἄλλοι ἔλεγον ὅτι Οὗτός ἐστιν· ἄλλοι ἔλεγον Οὐχί, ἀλλὰ ὅμοιος αὐτῷ ἐστίν. ἐκεῖνος ἔλεγεν ὅτι Ἐγώ εἰμι. John 9:9 Or Paul? But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 1 Cor 15:10
    – Ruminator
    Nov 11, 2017 at 3:59
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    In the LXX it is ho on that is repeated a second time at Exodus 3:14 as a (shortened?) form of the Divine Name, not ego eimi. Thus, ho on is capable of standing alone in such capacity, not ego eimi. Bagster's translation renders these designations as "I am THE BEING" and "THE BEING" respectively.
    – Pilgrim
    Nov 11, 2017 at 20:52
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    @Ruminator Of the use in John 9:9 Catrin H. Williams says: “Since this declaration clearly forms a response to a question posed by the man’s neighbors, and consequently possess an antecedent, it cannot be defined as a self-contained declaration.” ”I Am He” Mohr Seibeck p 255. That is why the Pharisees did not get upset. In 1 Corinthians 15:10 Paul writes εἰμι ὅ εἰμι not ”ἐγὼ εἰμί” (as Jesus did in John 8:58). Clearly they are not the same. In fact since Paul deliberately avoids making the claim Jesus made, the case for John 8:58 is stronger, not lessened as you suggest. Nov 12, 2017 at 15:02
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    @Ruminator You seem to be ignoring the complete response "Before Abraham was..." which is not found in the man who was once blind. The pericope in John 9 is given to refute the very claim you are making. The man who is no longer blind is self identifying with the man who had been blind. IOW the man who is (now) different must establish he is the same man. In reality they are not the same: one was blind, one can see. This issue is one of denying the miracle by denying the identity of the man who is in fact different from his original state (born blind). He is not the same. Nov 12, 2017 at 15:51
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    John 18:4-6 claim about "I am" phrase is blatantly wrong and fiction. If I am phrase represented divine name then nobody else could utter such a common linguistic phrase, which they did. It has no special connotation. Most answers on this topic on this site are full of baseless claims, fictional conjectures.
    – Michael16
    Nov 5, 2022 at 9:48

Why didn't John use "ego eimi ho on" in John 8:58 like he did in Revelation for the divine name?

Because Jesus is not the God of the Old testament as Acts 3:13 shows.

Acts 3:13 ASV The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Servant Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied before the face of Pilate, when he had determined to release him.

Acts 3:13 shows that Jesus is not the God of the OT patriarchs. If ego eimi is understood by Jews or Christians as declaring one's Godhood, would they apply it to themselves, like the blind man in John 9:9?

John 9:9 ASV Others said, It is he: others said, No, but he is like him. He said, I am he

When Jesus said "ego eimi" in John 6:20 why is it that none of his disciples considered that to mean that Jesus was claiming to be God?

John 6:20 ASV But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid.

The assumption that John's Jesus' "ego eimi" is referring to the words in Exodus 3:14 is not true.

Consider, if ego eimi was a Greek way of saying God's name "Yahweh." Did Jesus say "Before Abraham was, YHWH." in John 8:58?

OP asked why didn't he(John) include "ho on" like he did on the book of Revelation in passages like 1:17,18?

Because the ego eimi used by Jesus in the book of John is not the same as the "ho on" ("The Being, The One Who Is"), the Greek of the LXX reads "ego eimi ho on", which is translated into English as ‘I am he (the one) who is’ or ‘I am the being.’ In the LXX, the ego eimi is not what carries the idea of eternal self-existence, it is the ho on.. Jesus did not say "ego eimi ho on" in John 8:58. as what is shown on the LXX.

The appearance of "ho on" Revelation 1:4;8, 4:8, 11:17and 16:5 are all applied to God and not to Jesus.

Exodus 3:14 should be read from the context of the whole passage. The answer to the question of what is God's name is not in Exodus 3:14. The answer is in Exodus 3:15:

God said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘YHWH (not ehyeh), the God of your fathers… has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation. `

The capitalization of I am in John 8:58 by some bible translations is a deliberate violation of the grammatical rules of capitalization in order to prove a theology. One can simply look at other translations and compare.

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    +1 Note that the 'ego eimi' at 8:58 is the third 'ego eimi' Jesus uses in John 8. The first 2 are usually unproblematically translated as 'I am he', which refers to being the Christ (or perhaps the Light, the title He claims to kick off the back and forth). Could it possibly be He's just claiming 'I am he' again here? Gosh, no, that would be way too straightforward. Nov 4, 2022 at 18:23

Always keep in mind that Jesus was speaking Aramaic to the Pharisees and the Torah was originally in Hebrew.

In John 8:58, Jesus is quoted as saying “Before Abraham was, I am”. Some Christians use this verse as evidence to claim Jesus said he is God. This is because in Exodus 3:13-14, When Moses ask God “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you." But is Jesus' "I am" the same "I AM" God is said to have told Moses? The answer is "No." Jesus is not saying he is God in John 8:58 and we can prove that by analyzing the words used in John 8:58 with the words used in Exodus 3:14, via the Aramaic and Hebrew transliterations of both verses.

In the Syriac-Aramaic Bible called the Peshitta, in John 8:58, Jesus' “I am” is transliterated as "ANI” which literally means the first person singular “I am.” For example, in Aramaic, "ANI ISHO" means "I am Jesus."

In Exodus 3:14 of the Torah, also known also known as the Pentateuch, when God is said to have told Moses “I AM" God does not say "ANI". The word God use is the verb "HAYAH" which means "TO BE."

In John 8:58, "I am" in the original language spoken by Jesus is "ANI (Strong's H589) - First Person Singular.

In Exodus 3:14, "I AM" in the original language spoken by God is "HAYAH (Strong's H1961) - Verb

Jesus is not saying he's God. The true meaning was lost in translation.


In this context the action expressed by the Greek verb ei·miʹ started “before Abraham came into existence” and was still in progress. It is therefore properly translated “I have been” rather than “I am,” and a number of ancient and modern translations use wording similar to “I have been.” In fact, at Joh 14:9, the same form of the Greek verb ei·miʹ is used to render Jesus’ words: “Even after I have been with you men for such a long time, Philip, have you not come to know me?” Most translations use a similar wording, showing that depending on context there is no valid grammatical objection to rendering ei·miʹ as “have been.” (Other examples of rendering a present tense Greek verb using a present perfect tense verb are found at Lu 2:48; 13:7; 15:29; Joh 1:9; 5:6; 15:27; Ac 15:21; 2Co 12:19; 1Jo 3:8.) Also, Jesus’ reasoning recorded at Joh 8:54, 55 shows that he was not trying to portray himself as being the same person as his Father.

  • W/hat does "Joh" stand for? Is it John?
    – Jay
    Oct 10, 2018 at 2:06
  • εἰμι means "I am." Arguably the challenge is how to express in English what is clear in Greek. For example, the reference you give in John 14:9 depends on translation. Literal translations express the present, "Jesus saith to him, `So long time am I with you, and thou hast not known me, Philip? he who hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how dost thou say, Shew to us the Father?" YLT and similar is the DLNT. Jan 12, 2020 at 16:33

Yes, amen. If you simply look one bible hub for John 8:58 and compare it to John 9:9, you can see the bias of the translators.

They apply THE ONE after ego eimi when it comes to the blind man, making it I am THE ONE...but they don't do the same when it comes to Jesus

John 8:58 can also be translated as Before Abraham was, I am THE ONE

Jesus is the one who was foretold long before Abraham was born and the one they were expecting and looking for

I am he. I am the One. I am that person...etc....

To try and make Jesus in to YAHWEH from this verse is just embarassing.

Furthermore, in Exodus 3:14 in the KJV, the translators made SURE to retain the capitalization of the hebrew (There were no lower case letters in the hebrew or greek manuscripts), yet when Jesus says I am in the KJV, it is in lowercase. Did they forget to make God's name uppercase in John 8:58? Who would have made this collosial error? So, the same translators who made sure to retain the capitalization in Exodus 3:14, went out of their way to make Gods name lowercase in John 8:58? NO.

The simple fact of the matter is that the translators had no idea of even suggesting that Jesus was trying to claim he was the God of Abraham from this verse. The trinity is increasingly perverse and now you will see John 8:58 in the NKJV uppercase I AM. The Trinity shows its lies and deception very easily if you pay attention and study and it tricks those poor individuals who simply go by translation and who haven't done their own research


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    +1 Also worth noting the 'ego eimi' at 8:59 is the 3rd use of 'ego eimi' by Jesus in John 8. The first 2 most translators don't have a problem translating as 'I am he' or 'I am the one'. Gosh, wouldn't it make sense that the 3rd is also doing the same thing? Nov 4, 2022 at 18:48

I'm of the opinion that John 8:58 is not an allusion to Exodus 3:14 but rather to Psalm 91 in the Greek:

Is John 8:58 an allusion to Psalm 90:2 LXX?

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    +1 At least this is better than the Ex. claims. But why go this far afield? It's the 3rd 'ego eimi' in John 8. How about Jesus is just saying "I am the Christ"? Nov 4, 2022 at 18:51
  • With all due respect, it seems to me that that is much farther afield! Also, in my experience, everything in the NT is, by design, best understood through intertextuality with the OT. I am tempted to take your concern as an expression of "JW Not Invented Here Syndrome." Are you, by chance, a JW proffering the official JW take on the passage?
    – Ruminator
    Nov 4, 2022 at 19:07
  • Wouldn't "I am the Christ" also be intertextual, and in particular linking that to the vision of Abraham from the OT? Nope, not a JW, but they are basically the contemporary equivalent of early church logo theorists IMO. Nov 4, 2022 at 19:16
  • Where in Ex 4 do you see "I am the Christ"? Are you saying that is what the Messenger/Angel of the LORD meant with I AM (Hebrew)? 'ego eimi o wn? (Greek)?
    – Ruminator
    Nov 4, 2022 at 21:55
  • Ex. 4? Do you mean Ex. 3? No, I'm saying it doesn't have to do with Ex. 3. It has to do with the vision given to Abraham, which is what Jesus is talking about just before John 8:58. Nov 4, 2022 at 22:01

Already in Septuagint the Hebraic "you are God" is translated as simply "you are", when the verb "to be" is detached from its functioning as a copula between "you" and "God", but simply bears an existential import, which is a laying of a stress on God's special and unique sort of being, to wit, the unbegan and unending being. For instance: Psalm 93:2: ἕτοιμος ὁ θρόνος σου ἀπὸ τότε, ἀπὸ τοῦ αἰῶνος σὺ εἶ. "From eternity you are", i.e. you exist.

However, more important for the John 8:58 passage is the Psalm 89:2: "πρὸ τοῦ ὄρη γενηθῆναι καὶ πλασθῆναι τὴν γῆν καὶ τὴν οἰκουμένην, καὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ αἰῶνος καὶ ἕως τοῦ αἰῶνος σὺ εἶ." "Before the mountain were brought about and the earth and wold was formed, from eternity to eternity - you are", which is directly referred to by the Lord Jesus Christ in John 8:58, who uses the same highlighted verb: πρὶν Ἀβραὰμ γενέσθαι ἐγὼ εἰμί, thus either identifying Himself with the subject of the Psalm's sentence, or stating that His existence is just as unbegan and eternal as that of the Psalm's subject - God. In both cases He claims His divinity.

This is well understood by Jews who immediately take stones to kill Him for this, what they assumed to be, blasphemy. They are quite frank and outspoken about the reason, making no mistake in how they interpret the self-claim of the Lord: “We are not stoning you for any good work, but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God" (John 10:33).

Those who deny the Lord Jesus Christ's divinity are spiritual heirs of those Jews - the crucifiers of the Lord as of a 'blasphemer', for there is a clear binary opposition: since Christ is clearly and unequivocally claiming His own divinity, which is perfectly well understood by Jews, then either He lies and is a blasphemer, or His claim is true and worship is due to Him as to God. Tertium non datur.

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