Mark 12:26 American Standard Version

But as touching the dead, that they are raised; have ye not read in the book of Moses, in the place concerning the Bush, how God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?

John 8:58 American Standard Version

Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was born, I am.

  • In John 8:58 "I Am" is the sacred name God gave to Moses. When Jesus said He was God, invoking the sacred name, it made them mad. In Mark 12:26, He's not using this name. Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 5:38
  • 1
    @KeenanDiggs. If, as you say "In John 8:58 "I Am" is the sacred name God gave to Moses. When Jesus said He was God, invoking the sacred name, it made them mad.", why did Jesus not say "I said to Moses" but instead said "But regarding the fact that the dead rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? Mark 12:26. It may be better to expand your comment to show the contrast and why Jesus' use of "I am" does not always mean he is " using this name" Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 8:21
  • 1
    Useful comment, in response, Alex. Your Q gets my vote too. Commented Apr 23, 2023 at 22:31

4 Answers 4


The context indicates that there is no correlation or contrast - egó and egó eimi merely being the first person singular.

Me, myself, I.

The translation in Mark 12:26 of egó or "I" into "I am" is not precluded by the context. However, it is not strictly necessary or indicated. Some translations note this.

I [am] the God of Abraham, and God of Isaac, and God of Jacob ...

Mark 12:26 Rotherham

Various forms of the AKJV have "am" italicized for this reason.

In Mark - egó - and the parallel account in Matthew (22:31-32) - egó eimi - Jesus references a declaration made by god, (at Exodus 3:6 and echoed at verse 15), establishing his authority regarding a commission given to Moses. This context made clear through Jesus prefatory interrogative :

... Have ye not read in the book of Moses, at the Bush, how God spake unto him, saying––I [am] ...

Mark 12:26 Rotherham

From the account in Moses :

And he said––I, am the God of thy father, God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob.

Exodus 3:6 Rotherham

An analog found elsewhere in Moses :

And he said, The sound of thee, heard I in the garden,––and I was afraid, for, naked, was I, so I hid myself.

Genesis 3:10 Rotherham

In both instances, וַיֹּ֕אמֶר being "he said" but more pertinently, "I" from אָנֹ֖כִי - the first person singular.

Me, myself, I.

It is not until later, when the declaration is repeated, that the divine name is included in the declaration :

And God said yet further unto Moses––Thus, shalt thou say unto the sons of Israel, Yahweh, God of your fathers, God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you. This, is my name to times age–abiding, And, this, my memorial to generation after generation.

Exodus 3:15 Rotherham

This of course resulting from the divine name being declared at the previous verse :

And God said unto Moses, I Will Become whatsoever I please. And he said––Thus, shalt thou say to the sons of Israel, I Will Become hath sent me unto you.

Exodus 3:14 Rotherham

At the verse Jesus quotes, the divine name had not yet been declared.

This is understood in Mark and Matthew by the use of egó and egó eimi respectively. This is the Greek rendering of the אָנֹ֖כִי of Exodus verse 6 - the first person singular pronoun.

The Greek text for verses 6 and 15 being :

egō eimi ho theos ho patros ...
verse 6 LXX

kyrios ho theos ho paterōn ...
verse 15 LXX

If Jesus had intended to refer to the divine name, rather than stating egó or egó eimi - simply "I [am]", we would be seeing κύριος (kyrios) or "lord".

Regardless, the context is clear, from the prefatory interrogative. Jesus is quoting a statement - made some 1500 years before his birth, by god, to the man Moses.

... have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him ...

Mark 12:26 NIV

A more pertinent correlation with the declaration in John 8, is with a similar declaration made elsewhere in John, to the "Samaritan woman", likewise concerning the promise of messiah, in this case appealing to Jacob :

The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

John 4:25-26 NIV

Jesus' declaration here - egó eimi - or "I am he" - a declaration to be messiah, is the same expression recorded of Jesus in John 8:58 variously rendered "I am".

This promise of a messiah or a deliverer, was given not only to Abraham in a figure in Genesis 22 and elsewhere, which promise is the subject of the conversation with the Samaritan woman, but also given before Abraham, to Adam and Eve in the garden.

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

Genesis 3:15 NIV

This victory over serpent thinking, by a descendant of the woman, being echoed in a type elsewhere ...

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up ...

John 3:14 NIV

This promise covenanted with blood :

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.

Genesis 3:21 NIV

The "garments of skin" required an animal sacrifice, hence Jesus referred to as ...

... the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.

Revelation 13:8 NIV

This promise or idea or logos being the subject of the opening passage of John.

First the promise of a redeemer - the idea or "logos", given in the garden, given afterward again, to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, then the manifestation of the spirit of Elijah in John, who declares himself to not be the christ, then the manifestation or fulfillment of the promise in Jesus.

... God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.

Galatians 3:18 NIV

... Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.

Hebrews 11:9 NIV

This logos and progression summarized thusly:

He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before (πρῶτός) me.

John 1:15 NIV

[ Proclaimed publicly at John 1:27, Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8 ]

πρῶτός in a hierarchical sense, not chronological obviously.

“Anyone who wants to be first (πρῶτος) must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

Mark 9:35 NIV

... whoever wants to be first (πρῶτος) must be slave of all.

Mark 10:44 NIV

A proclamation by John, echoing Jesus declarations to the Samaritan woman, that he is the expected messiah, called christ, and to the Jews that he is the subject of the promises to Abraham and others prior. On both occasions responding in the affirmative - egó eimi ... I am [him].

But with precious blood, as of a lamb, unblemished and unspotted, of an Anointed One,––

Foreknown, indeed, before the foundation of the world, but made manifest at a last stage of the times ...

1 Peter 1:19-20 Rotherham

On the morrow, he beholdeth Jesus, coming unto him, and saith––See! the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world.

This, is he, of whom, I, said––After me, cometh a man, who, before me, hath advanced, because, my Chief, was he.

John 1:29-30 Rotherham

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  • Another "gem" from you! Is there no end? You are going to have me looking up every thing you've written, but I'm not sure I have the time. Now you have 81 votes. Hope others can appreciate you, as I'd like for you to stick around. Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 2:04

In the Bible story of the Burning Bush, the supernatural tribal-national supreme deity of Israel and Judaism self-identified himself to Moses and boasted, saying:

וַיֹּאמֶר אָנֹכִי אֱלֹהֵי אָבִיךָ ("I the God of your father"; note the absence of the verb "am," which first appeared at a later date in the LXX (εἰμι, eimi), and in much later English language Bible versions; cp. Tanakh, LXX, and KJV at EXO 3:4-6). Mark 12:26 is a quote of EXO 3:6.

In John 8:58, Jesus is said (by seemingly every Judaism-influenced Christian theologian and Bible commentator) to have explicitly stated that he is God. I argue that Jesus was not the God of the Jews seen in the OT because, when seen in the light of other "I am" claims made by Jesus in the NT, it's probable that Jesus was interrupted―cut off in mid-sentence―before he could finish whatever he was trying to say to some angry Jews who had earlier believed in what he said and did, but who turned on and wanted to stone Jesus for blasphemy (cp., e.g., John 6:35-41, 8:12, 31-57, 9:5, 10:7, 11, 14, 11:25, 14:6, and 15:1, 5).

  • 2
    My comment was not appropriate and was rude to boot. I've deleted it. What my concern was the apparent confusion of "explicitly" and the example of an inferred allusion to Ex 3:14. It is because there is nothing explicit, there is an endless passionate pursuit for things that "imply" what the dogma says is gospel.
    – Ruminator
    Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 23:08
  • 1
    TY. I also deleted my earlier response. To clarify: my short phrase "explicitly stated" was parenthetically pointed to Christian theologians and commentators who "(... seemingly ... have explicitly stated that he [Jesus] is God.)" My claim stands that "Jesus was not the God of the Jews seen in the OT" as might be inferred from any comparison of the ambiguous EXO 3:14 to the cited "I am" statements expressly stated by Jesus in the NT. Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 19:22
  • "am" is missing in Mark 12:26, you are correct. Thank you for pointing that out. In John 8:58, Jesus is merely pointing out that he himself, as "the Word" (separate from the Almighty), was in existence before Abraham. It's an upvote from me. Commented Apr 23, 2023 at 22:52
  • I tried to edit the above comment but was too late. In Mark 12:26, God is clearly referring to Himself. Commented Apr 23, 2023 at 23:01
  • Can you back up your claim that Jesus was 'probably interrupted '? Commented Jan 13 at 12:58

There is a significant difference between the "I am" statements of Mark 12:26 and John 8:58 for the following reasons:

Mark 12:26 John 8:58
"I am" is predicated and says "I am the God of ..." "I am" is unpredicated. Jesus simply claims to be the "I am" of the OT - see appendix below
Jesus is quoting an OT passage about God Jesus is making a claim about Himself
Jesus is quoting a passage that God said in the OT Jesus is making a claim about Himself personally

Thus, Jesus is speaking about God in Mark 12:26, and speaking Himself in John 8:58. This is consistent with similar declaration about being the "I Am" earlier in the same chapter:

  • John 8:24 - That is why I told you that you would die in your sins. For unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins.”
  • John 8:28 - So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am, and that I do nothing on My own, but speak exactly what the Father has taught Me.

Following Jesus' declaration to be the "I am", the Jews immediately recognized the significance of His statement and "picked up stones to throw at Him".

Jesus claimed this a number of times:

  • John 6:20 - Now He says to them, "I am; Fear not."
  • John 13:19 - I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it comes to pass, you will believe that I am.

APPENDIX - LXX occurrences of "I AM"

In the LXX, there are a number of places where YHWH claims to be the "I am" (ego eimi) of Gen 3:14-16.

  • Deut 32:39 - Behold, behold that I Am, and there is no god beside me: I kill, and I will make to live: I will smite, and I will heal; and there is none who shall deliver out of my hands.
  • Isa 41:4 - Who has wrought and done these things? he has called it who called it from the generations of old; I God, the first and to [all] futurity, I AM.
  • Isa 45:19 - I have not spoken in secret, nor in a dark place of the earth: I said not to the seed of Jacob, Seek vanity: I Am. I am the Lord, speaking righteousness, and proclaiming truth.
  • Isa 46:4 - I Am; and until ye shall have grown old, I am [he]: I bear you, I have made, and I will relieve, I will take up and save you.
  • Isa 51:12 - I AM. I am the One that comforts thee: consider who you are, that you were afraid of mortal man, and of the son of man, who are withered as grass.

Mark 12:26

And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? (ESV)
περὶ δὲ τῶν νεκρῶν ὅτι ἐγείρονται οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε ἐν τῇ βίβλῳ Μωϋσέως ἐπὶ τοῦ βάτου πῶς εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ θεὸς λέγων ἐγὼ ὁ θεὸς Ἀβραὰμ καὶ ὁ θεὸς Ἰσαὰκ καὶ ὁ θεὸς Ἰακώβ

The phrase I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob Jesus cites is found in Exodus:

And he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraam, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and Moses turned away his face, for he was afraid to gaze at God.
(LXX-Exodus 3:6)
καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ θεὸς τοῦ πατρός σου θεὸς Αβρααμ καὶ θεὸς Ισαακ καὶ θεὸς Ιακωβ ἀπέστρεψεν δὲ Μωυσῆς τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ εὐλαβεῖτο γὰρ κατεμβλέψαι ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ

It is important to recognize what Jesus actually said and not how an English translation makes sense of His speech. Jesus said, "ἐγὼ ὁ θεὸς Ἀβραὰμ καὶ ὁ θεὸς Ἰσαὰκ καὶ ὁ θεὸς Ἰακώβ" literally, "I the God Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob" not "I am..."

Here are differences between what Jesus said and LXX text of Exodus:

  • Jesus omits εἰμι to preserve a literal word-for-word understanding of the Hebrew phrase אנכי אלהי. As Hebrew lacks a present tense form of the verb to be God self-identified by saying "anoki elohe" that is, "I God..." not "I am God..."
  • Jesus omits the first part of the self-identification where God identifies Himself as "the God of your Father" likely referring to Amram.
  • Jesus changed the grammar of the LXX text which used the T-S-K-S construction (also called Sharp's Rule). LXX: I the God of your father and God of Abraham and God of Isaac and God of Jacob. Jesus: I the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.

Based upon these changes, it is fair to say Jesus is not quoting from the LXX. Rather, He is responding to the Sadducees by giving His understanding of the Hebrew text:

And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. (ESV)

Within the context of responding to the Sadducees' lack of belief in the resurrection, Jesus' omission of the first identifier of your father is a "real time" application of what God said to Moses ...He is not God of the dead, but of the living... (Mark 12:27). Either Amram was not dead when God spoke to Moses at the burning bush, or Jesus is simplifying His argument by focusing on the three Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That is, when pointing out the mistaken interpretation of Scripture with respect to resurrection, Jesus skips Amram and mentions those who are unquestionably dead, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

In comparing the LXX and Hebrew, Jesus' use of Scripture with respect to answering the Sadducees is consistent with how it must be done if Jesus was the one who spoke to Moses. Since He said אנכי אלהי to Moses, He tells the Sadducees God said "ἐγὼ ὁ θεὸς." That is, by omitting εἰμι, He correctly told the Sadducees what He said to Moses. By omitting τοῦ πατρός σου He is skipping over Amram to make the point He was the God of the three Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

John 8:58

Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” (ESV)
εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἰησοῦς ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν πρὶν Ἀβραὰμ γενέσθαι ἐγὼ εἰμί

There is much debate over the meaning of what Jesus said. Regardless of the meaning of the words with respect to Abraham, Jesus using the verb εἰμί when speaking is how God would self-identify himself when speaking to the Jews. That is, since He is speaking to them in Greek He must say ἐγὼ εἰμί. Had been speaking to them in Hebrew, He would not have used εἰμί.

There is a contrast. In John Jesus said ἐγὼ εἰμί; in Mark He omitted εἰμί and said ἐγὼ ὁ θεὸς. The use and omission of εἰμί is what is expected when the actual events are narrated. God actually said אנכי אלהי, ἐγὼ ὁ θεὸς when speaking to Moses, not ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ θεὸς as the LXX states.

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