John 5:26 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) 26 For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself;

John 5:26 NA27 ὥσπερ γὰρ ὁ πατὴρ ἔχει ζωὴν ἐν ἑαυτῷ, οὕτως καὶ τῷ υἱῷ ἔδωκεν ζωὴν ἔχειν ἐν ἑαυτῷ·

Revelation 1:17-18 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he placed his right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I was dead, and see, I am alive forever and ever; and I have the keys of Death and of Hades.

Revelation 1:17-18 NA27

17Καὶ ὅτε εἶδον αὐτόν, ἔπεσα πρὸς τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ ὡς νεκρός· καὶ ἔθηκεν τὴν δεξιὰν αὐτοῦ ἐπ' ἐμὲ λέγων Μὴ φοβοῦ· ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ πρῶτος καὶ ὁ ἔσχατος, 18καὶ ὁ ζῶν καὶ ἐγενόμην νεκρὸς καὶ ἰδοὺ ζῶν εἰμὶ εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων καὶ ἔχω τὰς κλεῖς τοῦ θανάτου καὶ τοῦ ᾅδου.

The Father's ''life in himself'' (ζωὴν ἐν ἑαυτῷ) was pointed out by some commentaries that it was referring to the Father as the living One and as the Divine nature inherent to the Tetragrammaton.

The life denoted by the aforesaid ζήσουσιν, seeing the subjects of it were dead, must be something which is in process of being imparted to them,—a life which comes from the Son, the quickener. But He could not impart it if He had not in Himself a divine and independent fountain of life, like the Father, which the Father, the absolutely living One (John 6:57) (Meyer's NT Commentary).

so hath he given to the Son] Better, so gave He also to the Son. Comp. ‘the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father’ (John 6:57). The Father is the absolutely living One, the Fount of all Life. The Messiah, however, imparts life to all who believe; which He could not do unless He had in Himself a fountain of life; and this the Father gave Him when He sent Him into the world. The Eternal Generation of the Son from the Father is not here in question; it is the Father’s communication of Divine attributes to the Incarnate Word that is meant. (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)

For even as the Father hath life in himself - the sublime assumption of the self-existence and eternal being of the Father, the absolute Possessor of life per se, the Source ultimate and efficient of all that is connoted by life, the eternal Fountain of life (Pulpit Commentary)

Those who understand it as to the Divine nature, say, that this phrase, hath life in himself, is expressive of the name Jehovah*; and that Christ is proved to be the true Jehovah by what is here said, that he hath life in himself. But they distinguish betwixt having life from or by himself, and having life in himself; the text saith, it is given to Christ to have life in himself. But there are other interpreters, who seem better to understand it of Christ as Mediator, to whom it is given to have life in himself, to communicate to his creatures; and think it is well interpreted by John 1:4, In him was life, and the life was the light of men. (Matthew Poole's Commentary).

Was ζωὴν ἐν ἑαυτῷ in John 5:26 related to the sacred name and the ὁ ζῶν in Revelation 1:17?


  1. The connect the relation of the Father and the Son in John 5:26 being expressed in Revelation 1:18. The Father's life quite naturally refers to his eternal existence as the ''ego eimi ho on'' (''the Self-Existent One'') of Exodus 3:14. The Son was given 'life in himself' which means that the Son has a life that's related to the Tetragrammaton too.

3 Answers 3


The OP has (correctly) linked two titles that the NT gives Jesus, namely, "first and last" (Rev 1:17, 18, 22:13) and "I Am", along with the idea that Jesus is the source of life. Let me take these in series by using simple Hebrew parallelism.

"First and Last" Jesus title of "First and Last" in Rev 1:17, 18 and 22:13 is a direct quote from two OT sources:

  • Isa 41:4, Who has performed and done this, calling the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he. Here, Jehovah is directly linked with the title, "First and Last" and thus declares Jesus to be such, and by simple extension, Jehovah as well. Significantly, in the LXX, the last part of Isa 44:6 is rendered ἐγώ εἰμι = "I Am". Therefore, Jesus is linked, again, to the title "I Am" by using the title "First and Last".
  • Isa 44:6, Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: 'I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.' Here Jehovah claims to be the First and Last and to be the One true God. Thus, Jesus is the same - the One true God and is thus the LORD = Jehovah.

Source of Life

The topic of Jesus as the source of life is best illustrated by references to His resurrection, specifically, who did it, and is a perfect example of “Cafeteria Theology” in the hands of some. That is, some argue, vehemently, on the explicit basis of some texts that Jesus was raised by the Father, or, the Holy Spirit, or He raised Himself. (The most strident arguments for the Father raising Jesus come from Arians who use it as a basis for Jesus’ inferiority or non-divinity.) What are the Biblical facts?

  • Acts 2:24, 3:15, 4:10, 5:30, 10:40, 13:30, 17:31, Rom 4:24, 1 Cor 15:15, Col 2:20, Heb 13:20, 1 Peter 1:3, 1 Thess 1:10 simply say that “God” raised Jesus without specifying any specific member of the Godhead
  • Rom 6:4, Gal 1:1, Eph 1:17-20 say that the Father raised Jesus from the dead.
  • John 2:19-21 and 10:17, 18 both say that Jesus resurrected Himself
  • Rom 8:11 says that the Holy Spirit raised Jesus

Such a comparison shows the traps of proof-text theology and cafeteria theology. The safest conclusion here is that the entire Godhead (the Trinity in true unity) acted to raise Jesus. Thus, the above comparison is an indirect evidence of the Trinity itself, and the divinity of Jesus.

"I AM"

In the Old Testament, Jehovah’s self-proclaimed title of “I AM” is given special prominence in Ex 3:13-15. While we are told “I Am” was to be God’s name forever, there is no record in the Bible of it ever being used again (in Hebrew) unless we admit the grammatical connection between “I am” and the “Tetragrammaton” YHWH, commonly translated, “Jehovah”, “Yahweh”, “LORD”, or even “Eternal” in Moffatt’s version. However, the unpredicated phrase, “ego eimi” (= I am), occurs in the LXX in a number places (Deut 32:39, Isa 41:4, 43:10, 13, 25, 45:19, 46:4, 48:12, 51:12, 52:6) and always refers the One and Only Great Jehovah God Almighty.

“I am” in the Greek (NT) is, “ego eimi”. The verb, “eimi” occurs 2462 times in the New Testament in various forms, but in only about 67 of these cases is the first person nominative pronoun, “ego” used with it. Generally, the complete form, “ego eimi” only occurs when some emphasis is required.

This present continuous verb, “to be”, is the most common in almost all languages and has several syntactical functions in Greek (eg, see John 1:1 ):

  • Existence, “I am.”, ie, unpredicated (see below).
  • Identification, eg, Luke 1:19, “I am Gabriel”; John 9:9, “I am [that one]”; John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd”.
  • Relationship, eg, Acts 18:10, “I am with you”.
  • Predication, eg, Acts 22:3, “I am Jewish”.

The New Testament shows an interesting and (somewhat) unexpected pattern in the use of the Greek phrase, “ego eimi”, “I am”.

The exact phrase “ego eimi” occurs 48 times in the New Testament. It also occurs 11 times as “eimi ego” which has a very similar but still different construction and all are relational or predicative. It occurs in a few other forms such as “ego gar eimi”, “ego men eimi”, “ego ouk eimi” (I am not), etc, a total of 67 times (one or two are disputed). Of the 48 cases of the exact phrase “ego eimi”, “I am”, just 15 have the syntactical form existence as opposed to identification, relationship or predication. All are listed below (my translation) unless preceded by “not”, eg, Matt 26:22, 25, plus one exception to be noted.

  • Matt 14:27, Mark 6:50 – “Be encouraged. I am.” [To the frightened disciples in the boat.]
  • Mark 13:6, Luke 21:8 – “Many will come in my name saying, ‘I am’”.
  • Mark 14:62, Luke 22:70 – “Jesus replied, ‘I am’”. [He was then accused of blasphemy by the Jews and condemned.]
  • John 4:26 – “Then Jesus said, ‘I am.’” [To the Samaritan woman at the well. There is a reasonable case for this being identification, but that is a matter of taste.]
  • John 6:20 – “But then [Jesus] said to them, ‘I am. Fear not.’” [To the frightened disciples in the boat.]
  • John 8:24 – “If you do not trust/believe that I am, you will die in your sins.”
  • John 8:28 – “When you will lift up the Son of Man, then you will trust/know that I am.”
  • John 8:58 – “Truly, truly, I say to you; before Abraham existed, I am.” [The Jews then tried to stone Him for blasphemy.]
  • John 9:9 – “Some were saying that, ‘this is [that one]’, and others were saying ‘no, it is like him.’ But he was saying, ‘I am [that one].’” (This instance is clearly identification rather than existence.)
  • John 13:19 – “From now [on] I tell you before the occurrence, that you may believe when it occurs that, I am.”
  • John 18: 5, 6, 8 – “He said to them, ‘I am.’ …Therefore, when He told them, ‘I am’, they fell backward to the ground.” [This occurred when the Jews tried to arrest Jesus in the garden. It could be reasonably argued that this is a case of identification. However, the fact that the arresting mob fell backward suggests that much more is intended here.]

It is interesting that, according to Mark 13:6 and Luke 21:8, one of the distinguishing characteristics of false christs is their claim to be “I AM”. Unfortunately, there has been a historical parade of charlatans making such false claims.

Thus, with the obvious and rather trivial exception of John 9:9 (and self-exclusory Mark 13:6 and Luke 21:8), all of the “I am” existence statements in the New Testament, including the 7 in John, were spoken exclusively by Jesus, and all were either the basis for absolute trust/belief and reassurance in Jesus, or were a clear declaration of His claim to be the “I AM.”

For completeness, In the seven predicated “I am …” statements in the Gospel of John, Jesus declared Himself the source of (eternal) life, thus effectively claiming divinity.

  1. “I am” the Bread of Life (John 6:35-51)

  2. “I am” the Light of the world (John 8:12)

  3. “I am” the Door of the sheep (John 10:7-9)

  4. “I am” the Good Shepherd (John 10: 11-14) – see above for OT source.

  5. "I am” the Resurrection & Life (John 11:25)

  6. “I am” the Way, Truth & Life (John 14:6)

  7. “I am” the Vine (John 15:1-5)


By all of these measures, the NT has gone to extreme lengths to establish that Jesus is God is the fullest sense and is also Jehovah. To the above material we could also add (to left as an exercise for the reader) Jesus' other titles taken from YHWH's OT unique titles such as, "creator", "Saviour", Glory, etc.


The source of God’s redeeming grace is another evidence of Jesus’ divinity, as pointed out W E Vine (Expository Dictionary of NT Words). A simple comparison of 2 Cor 1:12, Gal 1:6, Rom 5:15, 2 Thess 1:12 shows that grace proceeds both from God the Father and Jesus. In John 1:14 Jesus is described as “full of grace and truth.”


The name of God which primarily connotes ‘’existence’’ wasn’t that far from the expression ‘life’’ as the words equally relate to ‘’existence’’ although the latter carries more meaning because life not only refers existence but to being alive per se.

The first part of the Divine Name in Exodus 3:14 LXX (''ego eimi ho on'') ''Ego eimi'' refers to Yahweh who is "always existing" (''Ho On''). Isaiah 48:12 (LXX) seems to speak of the same thing using different words ("I am..."I live forever" ἐγώ εἰμι πρῶτος καὶ ἐγώ εἰμι εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα Isaiah 48:12 LXX).

Isaiah 48:12 Brenton Septuagint Translation Hear me, O Jacob, and Israel whom I call; I am the first, and I endure for ever.

The evidence seems to suggest that these two were synonymous ('the Living,' 'the Being') even in the Septuagint and thus, it could explain another facet of the Tetragrammaton. This could exactly be what's happening in Revelation 1:17-18. The author paraphrased the divine name.

Revelation 1:17-18 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he placed his right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I was dead, and see, I am alive forever and ever; and I have the keys of Death and of Hades.

Revelation 1:17-18 (NA27)

Καὶ ὅτε εἶδον αὐτόν, ἔπεσα πρὸς τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ ὡς νεκρός· καὶ ἔθηκεν τὴν δεξιὰν αὐτοῦ ἐπ' ἐμὲ λέγων Μὴ φοβοῦ· ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ πρῶτος καὶ ὁ ἔσχατος, καὶ ὁ ζῶν καὶ ἐγενόμην νεκρὸς καὶ ἰδοὺ ζῶν εἰμὶ εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων καὶ ἔχω τὰς κλεῖς τοῦ θανάτου καὶ τοῦ ᾅδου. The evidence seems to indicate that Father has life in his name He gave the Son to have life in his name too. The Son also raised himself from the dead because the Father raised him through his name. (John 2:18 and 10:18 )

Actually, in Revelation the author had an another way of putting the divine name into different words. He actually used all of the definition of the divine name in Hebrew!

The passage of Revelation which explicitely translates YHWH according to the first meaning above is the praise by the four living creatures, which corresponds to the praise by the seraphim in Isaiah's vision:

Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, "Holy, Holy, Holy, YHWH Sabaoth; the whole earth is full of His glory." (Is 6:2-3)

And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and they did not have rest day and night, saying: "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, He Who Was and He Who Is and He Who Is to come (ho ēn kai ho ōn kai ho erchomenos)." (Rev 4:8)

Thus, this passage of Revelation expands the exegetic non-literal translation in the Septuagint of the full Name of God in Ex 3:14, "Ego eimi ho ōn" = "I Am He Who Is", including the three meanings of the Hebrew imperfect form. (Tetragrammaton originally יהיה (yihayah) (3PersMascSing 'exist, be') and subsequently the nominal form (יהוה) (the Being)?, Johannes, February 03 2018).

The Jewish encyclopedia refers to the divine also as having the sense of ''to live''.

In appearance, Yhwh is the third person singular imperfect "ḳal" of the verb ("to be"), meaning, therefore, "He is," or "He will be," or, perhaps, "He lives," the root idea of the word being,probably, "to blow," "to breathe," and hence, "to live." (NAMES OF GOD. By: Executive Committee of the Editorial Board., J. F. McLaughlin, Judah David Eisenstein, 1906).

Based on this knowledge, we interpret the life in himself of the Father refers to his divine name in Exodus 3:14 (LXX).

John 5:26 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) 26 For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself;

John 5:26 NA27 ὥσπερ γὰρ ὁ πατὴρ ἔχει ζωὴν ἐν ἑαυτῷ, οὕτως καὶ τῷ υἱῷ ἔδωκεν ζωὴν ἔχειν ἐν ἑαυτῷ·

Further support for this was the way the gospel of John explicitly spoke of attaining eternal life via the Name of the Lord which forms an inclusio in the gospel.

John 1:12-13 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

John 20:31 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe[a] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

In John 10:18, Jesus said that he has authority to ‘’take/receive’’ to receive life after he died.

John 10:18 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”

If that's the case, how does this dead man have any authority, while dead, to receive life? This make any sense because death in the New Testament teaches that death was a separation of the spirit of man and the body that decays and dies (1 Cor 2:11, 2 Cor 4:16). Jesus the Messiah, the Only One who was ''God-bodily'' (Greek: theotetos somatikos, Colossians 2:9) will raise us from the dead by his own power, as Philippians 3:20-21 said. As to how exactly that would occur/happen.

  • John 5;24-28 said that Jesus himself will raise the dead from their tombs via his own voice. Very similar to how Jesus raised Lazarus (John 11:38-34). Jesus was raised by God the Father via Divine Power which came from the Name of Yahweh which was the Name also of Jesus. That was how Jesus raised himself from the dead, via the same powerful Name which he and God the Father equally possess and that was also the power that will raise peoples from the dead (cf. John 1:12-13, 2:19, 2:19, 5:26, 10:18, Phil 2:9-11, 3:20-21).

John 8:58 was quite clear that he claimed to be Yahweh. John 14:9-11 also tells us that he's equal with God the Father as possessor of the divine name from which he is able to do all things.

John 14:9–10 (NRSV) 8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

The same motif of power that comes from the Name of Jesus was very present in the book of the Acts of the Apostles. The book even ascribed the power to the person of Jesus himself!

  • Acts 2:22 tells us that God did miracles through ‘Jesus’. Luke didn't write that God did his miracles through ‘his power’ but through ‘Jesus’ . He considered Jesus himself to be the power of God. The reason is found in the name which belongs to Jesus. Acts 4:7 shows that the ‘name’ which heals is associated with ‘power’. Acts 2:21 and Acts 2:38 actually equated the name of Jesus with the name of Yahweh. That’s why only the name of Jesus has power to save according to Acts 4:12! Acts 4:7 shows that the name which heals is associated with power! The apostles healed the sick and performed exorcisms not by their own power, but by the power of Jesus. The apostles did not attributed the power to God, but to Jesus (Acts 3:6, 3:16, 4:7–12, 16:18, 22:16). The book of Acts is very consistent. Both God and the apostles attributed the power to perform miracles to the person of Jesus and in his name alone!

Acts 2:22 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) 22 “You that are Israelites,[a] listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know — Acts 4:7–12 (NRSV) 7 When they had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9 if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. 12 There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.”

Acts 3:6 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,[a] stand up and walk.”

Acts 3:16 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) 16 And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong, whom you see and know; and the faith that is through Jesus[a] has given him this perfect health in the presence of all of you. Acts 16:18 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) 18 She kept doing this for many days. But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.


  • The Old Testament shows that no one else received sacrifice except Yahweh. That differentiates Yahweh from any other being.

  • Sacrifice is a very strong evidence for "worship" at the highest order. And in other heathen religions, sacrifice is only offered to a god by priests. So, in the ancient world, priests always always offer sacrifice to a god(s)/God, never to any human.

  • Post-70 A.D., the Jews and Christians are equally offering (bloodless) sacrifice (worship) to Yahweh.

  • However, Christians are offering sacrifices to both God and Christ. In Revelation 14:4 , 20:6 this is very very evident.

  • Revelation 14:4, 20:6, priests offer sacrifices to both God and Jesus. Sacrifice in the Old Testament is exclusively offered to a god, never to a man. Israel obviously offers sacrifices to Yahweh alone. Thus, here Jesus is shown to be co-equal with God the Father in the strictest sense.

  • 1
    "Life in himself" is something the Father gave him (εδωκεν). You also conflate "eternal life" with an existence that had no beginning or end as in Ps 90:2. The connection between existence and life is too weak to make this connections. BDAG also identifies the life the Father gave Jesus with the life that came to be in the Word at John 1. That is a much more direct connection from the same book that should not be ignored
    – user33125
    May 3, 2020 at 22:28
  • 2
    @ThomasPearne You conflate what the BDAG says about life (2a and 2b). The entry regarding John 5:26 is to Christ, not the Word. It is specifically referring to transcendent life believers have in Christ hence the primary reference to 1 John 5:20 in the entry. The entry about John 1:4 is a somewhat different nuance, which is obvious since it is under the next section. May 4, 2020 at 0:51
  • @RevelationLad I disagree, and the place to have that discussion is hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/q/44607/33125
    – user33125
    May 4, 2020 at 1:04
  • 1
    @ThomasPearne Here you say "BDAG also identifies the life the Father gave Jesus with the life that came to be in the Word at John 1." That statement conflates and misapplies the entry from the BDAG which speaks to the transcendent life for the believer. May 4, 2020 at 6:01
  • @RevelationLad The place for that discussion is hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/q/44607/33125. You just mangled the BDAG entry and don't dare put that into an answer, do you?
    – user33125
    May 4, 2020 at 15:07

He is the first to be resurrected to immortal life and the last one that YHWH resurrected personally. Colossians 1:18.

The first chapter and first verse of the book of Revelation already reveals that Jesus is not God. Revelation 1:1 says “the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him”. God is differentiated from Jesus. The God of Jesus Christ gave Jesus Christ this revelation.

In Revelation 1:5-6 Jesus Christ is “the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.” Jesus “loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father…”

The Father is Jesus Christ’s God in the Book of Revelation, just as other scriptures testify many times (e.g., John 20:17, Rom. 15:6, 2 Cor. 1:3, 11:31, Eph 1:3, 17, 1 Pet. 1:3). Jesus told the Sardis church that their works were not perfect in the site of his God (3:2). Four times in one verse (3:12) Jesus referred to “my God”. This is the resurrected, glorified Jesus Christ speaking who is at the right hand of God. Jesus Christ has a God.

In other words, not only is Jesus Christ distinguished from the Father in the Book of Revelation, he is also distinguished from God.

The Book of Revelation clearly distinguishes between the Almighty God, “Him who sits on the throne” (Revelation 4) and “the Lamb standing, as though it had been slain” (Revelation 5). The two are never confused. The Lamb is not God (who sits on the throne), God is not the Lamb.

  • That’s one way to look at it if you overlook certain texts. Jesus says He was before Creation John17:5 and that he had a glory. Nothing except God existed prior to Creation, not heaven/s not the angels in heaven for where would they be if there is no heaven to contain them? He claims therefore to be God. Hence this detail must factor into the reading of said texts. Jesus is God in a glorified body. Jesus can dwell in the heart of every believer hence He can be both on the throne with the Father and stand as the Lamb receiving the scroll from God. Even if you don’t ascribe to this view it fits. Oct 2, 2020 at 14:13

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