As we saw in the previous blog, when the Angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in the burning bush and commissioned him to deliver His people from Egypt, Moses asked Him: “When they ask me what your name is, what shall I say to them?” In the Lord’s response He identified Himself as the eternally self-existent One:
“And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (Ex 3:14)
From this point forward, we see God referring to Himself numerous times as the I AM (Deut 32:39; Isa 41:4; 43:10; 43:13; 46:4; 48:12; 52:6). What is especially significant to the subject we will be considering in this blog is that in the LXX or Septuagint, which was the Greek Old Testament being used during the time of Christ, the identical Greek term I AM (Gr. ἐγώ εἰμι, ego eimí) that is used to refer to God, is also used in the New Testament when referring to Christ as the I AM. For example, in Isaiah 41:4 the Septuagint reads:
“I, the Lord, am the first; and the last; I AM (Gr. ἐγώ εἰμι, ego eimí).” (Isa 41:4)
When the glorified Christ appeared to John the Revelator, He identified Himself in the same manner saying:
“Do not be afraid; I AM (ἐγώ εἰμι, ego eimí) the First and the Last.” (Rev 1:17)
Jesus on many occasions used His divine I AM title, sometimes with a predicate and other times without any antecedent or predicate. I would like to first consider these absolute, stand-alone I AM statements, since they so clearly affirm His deity.
The construction “I am” (ἐγώ εἰμι, ego eimí), is never used as a stand-alone statement by anyone else in the New Testament but Jesus. All others either have an antecedent or a predicate, and ego is often separated from eimí or they appear in reverse order. These are the examples I found:
Acts 10:21 “I am he whom you seek. (ἐγώ εἰμι ὃν ζητεῖτε, ego eimí hon zeteite)” (Peter).
Acts 21:39 “I am a man like you. (ἐγὼ ἄνθρωπος μέν εἰμι, ego anthropos men eimí).”
Acts 22:3 “I am indeed a Jew. (ἐγώ μὲν εἰμι ἀνὴρ ᾿Ιουδαῖος, ego men eimí aner Judaios).”
Acts 23:6 “I am a Pharisee. (ἐγὼ Φαρισαῖός εἰμι, ego Pharisaios eimí).”
1Cor 1:12 “I am of Paul. (ἐγὼ μέν εἰμι Παύλου, ego men eimí Paulou).”
1Tim 1:15 “sinners, of whom I am chief. (ὧν πρῶτός εἰμι ἐγώ, on protos eimí ego).”
None of these occurrences of ego eimí are absolute stand-alone statements as those made by Jesus. They all complete the phrase by stating who they are. Nowhere does “I am” stand alone in normal conversation, since it wouldn’t be a complete phrase without a predicate. There is only one example where ego eimí stands alone, and that is where the man born blind simply responded saying, “I am,” when the questioning crowd asked, “Is this not he who sat and begged?” (Jn 9:8-9). In this one instance the stand-alone response “I am” was a complete response because he simply responded to their question. We commonly reply in this manner. If someone were to ask you, “are you the one,” your most common response would be to simply say, “I am.”
Absolute stand-alone I AM statements of Jesus
“Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I AM He (ἐγώ εἰμι, ego eimí), you will die in your sins.” (Jn 8:24)
“…if you do not believe that I AM, you shall die in your sins.” (Jn 8:24 MKJV)
Here the Greek text does not say: “if you do not believe that I am He,” but simply “I AM.” For a Greek reader of that day who was unfamiliar with the divine title, His statement would have caused one to question, “I am who?” However, an informed Jew would have recalled Yahweh’s declaration in Deuteronomy 32:39 where He says: “Behold that I AM (ἐγώ εἰμι, ego eimí) and there is no god besides Me.” They would have reasoned, “Jesus claims to be the Savior, yet God said: “I, even I am Yahweh, and besides me there is no Savior” (Isa 43:11). Jesus was saying to the Pharisees who rejected Him as their Messiah, “unless you believe that I AM – i.e., that I Myself am Yahweh your only Savior, you will die in your sins.”
“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.’ 57 Then the Jews said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?’ 58 Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM (ego eimí).’ 59 Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.” (Jn 8:56-59)
If the Jews were uncertain as to His claim to deity in verse 24, all doubt in their minds would have been removed when He made His second stand-alone “I AM” declaration here in verse 58. That is why they took up stones to stone Him. When Jesus said that Abraham rejoiced to see His day, they responded saying, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” His response was an unmistakable claim to deity. He said: “before Abraham was, I AM (ego eimí).” Jesus wasn’t simply saying that He existed prior to Abraham. If that were the case, He would have said something like: “before Abraham came to be, I was” or “I existed before Abraham.” He literally says: “before Abraham became, I AM,” referring to His eternal self-existence. It refers us back to other I AM declarations in the Old Testament like Isaiah 43:10 where it says in the LXX Greek text:
“You are My witnesses,’ says the LORD, ‘And My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I AM (ἐγώ εἰμι, ego eimí). Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me.” (Isa 43:10)
His declaration, “Before Abraham was, I AM,” reminds us of Psalms 90:1 which says: “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You ARE God,” rather than saying “You were God.”
Jesus literally said “before Abraham became (gínomai) I AM.” This complements John 1 where it literally says:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made (gínomai, “became”) through Him, and without Him nothing was made (gínomai, “became”) that was made (gínomai, “became”).” (Jn 1:1-3)
To say that He is before anything became, means that He Himself never became – He is the eternal I AM out of whom all things became or came into existence that exist (cf. Col 1:16-17; Heb 1:2,10-12).
“Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I AM He (ἐγώ εἰμι, ego eimí).” (Jn 13:19 NKJV)
“I'm telling you this now, before it happens, so that when it does happen, you may believe that I AM.” (Jn 13:19 ISV)
Concerning Christ’s betrayal and crucifixion, He told His disciples what would occur before it happened, so that when it occurred, they would know that He was the I AM. This is reminiscent of what Yahweh said in Isaiah. He declared:
“I AM (LXX ἐγώ εἰμι, ego eimí) God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.” (Isa 46:8-10)
In John 13:19 we see Jesus identifying Himself with the same stand-alone declaration, I AM. Some translators, failing to recognize that Jesus was using His divine title, have tried to help the authors of Scripture by adding predicates such as “I am He,” I am the one” or “I am the Messiah.” However, there is nothing in the context which justifies such additions to the text. The translations more faithful to the text, such as that of the Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest, The Expanded New Testament, the Literal Standard Version, the Concordant Literal Version, the International Standard Version and others , all leave it as “I AM,” since it is a stand-alone declaration of Christ’s eternal self-existence. The Latin Vulgate, as well as Modern Greek, Spanish and French translations also translate it simply as “I AM.”
John 6:20, cf. Matt 14:27; Mk 6:50
“So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid. 20 But He said to them, ‘It is I (ἐγώ εἰμι· μὴ φοβεῖσθε); do not be afraid.’” (Jn 6:19-20 NKJV)
…But He said to them, I AM! Do not be afraid. (Jn 6:20 MKJV)
On this occasion, Jesus identified Himself as I AM and immediately calmed the storm. On an earlier occasion, when they were caught in a storm, Jesus was asleep in the bow and the disciples awakened Him. He simply rebuked the wind and the sea, and they obeyed Him. The disciples realized at this point that Jesus was more than a mere man. It says that they marveled saying: “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” (Matt 8:27). As Hebrews, they knew that only God has power over the wind and the waves, as the Psalmist says of Him: “You who still the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves” (Sal 65:7). The second time He outright declared His divinity, saying, “I AM, do not fear.”
“Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am He (ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ λαλῶν σοι, “I AM the one speaking to you”).’” (Jn 4:26 NKJV)
“Jesus said to her, I AM! the One speaking to you.” (Jn 4:26 LITV)
The wording here is almost identical to Isaiah 52:6 in the LXX where Yahweh identifies Himself as the One speaking to His people:
My people will know My name, and they will know that ‘I Am He’ is speaking to them (LXX ἐγώ εἰμι αὐτὸς ὁ λαλῶν).” (Isa 52:6 ERV)
Jesus made this declaration in John 4:26 to the Samaritan woman at the well when she said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming who is called Christ.” When Jesus responded with the declaration, “I AM,” the woman immediately left her waterpot at the well and ran to the city, where she told the men of the city all the things Jesus had said to her. They all went out to the well where Jesus was, and after listening to Him for themselves they said:
“Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” (Jn 4:42)
After listening to Him they knew that Jesus was indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world. We already saw in the previous blogs that “the Christ” is Yahweh Himself, and that there is no savior besides Him (Isa 43:11; Hosea 13:4; Isa 45:21). Significantly, the Samaritans recognized something about Jesus that many fail to see in our day – they understood that He was INDEED the Christ, the Savior of the world, and not merely potentially the world’s Savior or Savior of the elect of this age only.
“Then Judas, having received a band and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 Then Jesus, knowing all things that were coming upon Him, went out and said to them, Whom do you seek? 5 They answered Him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus said to them, I AM (ego eimí)! And Judas who betrayed Him also stood with them. 6 Then as soon as He had said to them, I AM (ego eimí)they went backward and fell to the ground. 7 Then He asked them again, Whom do you seek? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. 8 Jesus answered, I have told you that I AM (ego eimí). Therefore if you seek Me, let these go away.’” (Jn 18:3-8 MKJV)
When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, He asked them who they were looking for. When they said “Jesus of Nazareth,” Jesus responded with the divine title, I AM, and the soldiers all fell to the ground powerless (Jn 18:4-5). Just one glimpse of His veiled glory was enough to demonstrate what Jesus had previously said concerning His own life in John 10:18, “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.”
There are other instances in which Jesus used the divine title I AM as a stand-alone declaration, but for space I will limit myself to these. They are grammatically incongruent as they appear in Greek unless one recognizes them as being the divine title, I AM.
Eight I AM Declarations with a Predicate
I would like to briefly consider eight exclusive I AM declarations made by Jesus using a predicate.
1. I AM the Bread of Life (John 6:35)
Jesus had just fed 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two small fish. The multitudes followed Him in hopes of receiving more bread, but Jesus said to them: “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you.” Seeing that their expectation was still to merely receive physical bread from Him, He said to them:
“I AM the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” (Jn 6:35)
In saying, “I AM the bread of life,” He revealed to Them that He was the only true source of unending abundant life, and that those who receive Him will never hunger nor thirst. Only God could make such a claim.
2. I AM the Light of the World (John 8:12)
“I AM the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (Jn 8:12)
Jesus did not merely claim to be a lesser light, but THE Light. In John 1 the Apostle not only said that Jesus was God (Jn 1:1), but he also said of Him that He was the one TRUE Light which gives light to every man coming into the world (Jn 1:9). John also said that God is light (1Jn 1:5). Therefore, Jesus, who is the true Light is also God. We are also said to be the light of the world, but our light is a derived light. We are light only because the one true Light is our light.
3. I AM the Door (John 10:9)
“I AM the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” (Jn 10:9)
Jesus Christ is the only door through which man may be saved, entering into the fold. Jesus said that all others were thieves and robbers (Jn 10:8). There is no other Savior besides Jehovah (Isa 43:11). There is no other name by which we may be saved except for the name of Jesus which means “Jehovah saves” (Acts 4:12).
4. I AM the Good Shepherd (John 10:11)
“I AM the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (Jn 10:11)
There are many shepherds who care for literal sheep, and there are many under-shepherds pastoring God’s people, but there is only One who is THE Shepherd and that is Jesus or Jehovah, as David says: “The Lord (Yahweh) is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (Ps 23:1)
5. I AM the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25)
“I AM the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (Jn 11:25)
No mere created being or angel, no matter how exalted, would have ever claimed to himself be the resurrection and the life. God is the only source of life. Therefore, when Jesus referred to Himself as the Resurrection and the Life, preceded by the divine title I AM, it is clear that He is affirming His full deity.
6. I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6)
“I AM the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (Jn 14:6)
This verse brings to mind an old Maranatha song I loved to sing years ago which said: “You are the Way, without you there’s no going; You are the Truth, without You there’s no knowing; You are the Life, now and eternally.” There have been many who claimed to know the way to the Father, but He alone can say, “I AM the Way.” Many have claimed to possess the truth, but He Himself IS the Truth. Therefore, when Jesus said in John 8:32, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,” He was speaking of us knowing Him who alone is THE Truth. Again, as we saw in John 11:25, when He says that He IS the Life, He is declaring that He Himself is the I AM, the only source of life.
7. I AM the True Vine (John 15:1)
“I AM the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” (Jn 15:1)
As the Vine, He is our only source of life and fruitfulness. In John 15:5 He says, “I AM the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” When we finally come to the close of the ages, God will be all in all, because all in heaven and on earth will have been reunited in Christ, the True Vine (1Cor 15:28; Eph 1:10).
8. I AM the Alpha and the Omega, I AM the First and the Last (Revelation 1:8,17)
To me it is wonderful to see how the Bible begins by saying, “In the beginning God,” or as John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word…and the Word was God,” and ends with Jesus declaring in Revelation 22:13: “I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” The eternal, self-existent I AM, Jesus Christ, not only was in the beginning, but He Himself IS the Beginning. Before all things He IS, and by Him all things consist (Col 1:17).
Here also we see Jesus identifying Himself as the same Yahweh Elohim who spoke in Isaiah, saying:
“Listen to Me, O Jacob, and Israel, My called: I AM (ego eimí) He, I am the First, I AM (ego eimí) also the Last.” (Isa 48:12)
When we compare the wording in the Greek LXX with the wording of the New Testament passages, it becomes clear that they are both speaking of Yahweh who is also the Christ, Emanuel or “God with us.” Jesus said:
“I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End," says the Lord, "who is and who was and who is to come, THE ALMIGHTY...Do not be afraid; I AM the First and the Last.” (Rev 1:8,17; cf. Gen 17:1)
How many Almighties can there be? Only One. How many can be the First? Only One. How many can be the Last? Again, the obvious answer is only One. Therefore, Jesus and Yahweh are the same God Almighty. Jesus is indeed distinct from the Father and the Holy Spirit, and yet they are not three Gods but one. Therefore, God is triune as to His being. For that reason, the Church has historically believed in the Trinity.
Combining what we have here seen concerning the many I AM declarations made by Jesus, and all of the quotes from the Old Testament identifying Yahweh as Jesus in the New Testament which we saw in the blog “Jesus is the Yahweh Elohim of the Old Testament,” as well as what we saw in the previous blog “The Christophanies of the Old Testament,” demonstrating that the Angel of the Lord was both Yahweh Himself and yet also the preincarnate Christ, to me, the weight of evidence for the deity of Christ in Scripture becomes incontrovertible. Since all who deny the full deity of Christ also deny the Trinity, that will be the subject of the next and final blog of this series.
 Other translations I found which render ego eimí as “I AM” are: the Latin Vulgate, the Modern King James Version, the English Majority Text Version, the Easy to Read Version, the Good News Bible, the World English Bible, the Passion Translation, A Faithful Version, and the Literal Translation of the Holy Bible.