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 ?

  • 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
  • 2
    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

2 Answers 2


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.

  • 1
    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
  • @RevelationLad Jesus was clearly answering a direct question. And Ἐγώ is unnecessary in Koine. The man born blind used it identically to how Jesus used it in John 18 so your "Greek principles" are ad hoc and used with convenience.
    – Ruminator
    Nov 12, 2017 at 15:11
  • @Ruminator πρὶν Ἀβραὰμ γενέσθαι ἐγὼ εἰμί "Before Abraham was I am" is not using the phrase identically as the blind man. The response of the people make it clear they understood the claim Jesus made; just as the Pharisees understood the claim the beggar was making. Also I note you continue to float your theory that Paul makes the same claim in 1 Corinthians 15 despite the clear difference: you appear to be applying the Greek on an ad hoc basis suited to your theological beliefs, not what the actual text reads. Nov 12, 2017 at 15:25

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

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