1 Corinthians 15:10: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.
Paul here more accurately quotes Yahweh and says "I am what I am"..no one would think he's Yahweh for doing so.
The apostles used the Septuagint and in it at Exodus 3:14 where Yahweh says:
14 And God spoke to Moses, saying, I am THE BEING; and he said, Thus shall ye say to the children of Israel, THE BEING has sent me to you.
So Yahweh says EGO EIMI HO ON.The ego eimi wasn't his title but simply a phrase,namely *I am,* that introduced what he actually was,HO ON,aka "the being."In other words,in no way,shape,or form was Jesus quoting Exodus.Jesus didn't say "Ego eimi ho on."Or even "ho on",which would have been the title trinitarians are looking for here.Yahweh saying *I am ho on* would be like me saying I am a woman.If someone later said "I am" would you think they were quoting me with such a common phrase that people use many times a day as an introduction to what they are?Of course not!Yet that's similar to what trinitarians are doing here in John.It's nonsensical.
Often times in the bible when someone says "I am" when identifying himself,the bible translators will insert "he" right afterward to let you know who the person is saying he is.This is done because our modern English language doesn't function identically to the ancient biblical languages.For example,examine:
John 4:25 The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things." 26 Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am HE."
To quote Greg Deuble from "They never told me THIS in Church" p.183
"You will notice that in most bibles the word *he* is in italics.This means that the translators have correctly supplied a word in English that is not in the Greek but that nevertheless makes the intended sense quite clear.Here Jesus says to the woman--in the context of her question about the Messiah--that he IS the Messiah,the Christ."I who speak to you am he."In the Greek it reads "ego eimi."Jesus simply says I am he,the Messiah.Definitely not "I AM is the one speaking to you!"
So Jesus is often identifying himself as the Messiah,not the Godman,not the second person of a triune Greek substance,not Michael the Archangel,not some OT figure named "Wisdom" or "Word,"but simply the Messiah,the Lamb come to save the world,slain before it was founded,(Rev 13:8)decreed long long ago,foreordained before the world was even made.Now manifest(1 John 1:2) for our salvation and his inheritance and God's glory!
In John 9,the blind man who Jesus heals says "ego eimi!" when people dispute whether he is the one Jesus healed.The translators translate "ego eimi" as "I am the one."..So where's the consistency?I'm perceiving interpretive abuse here,inconsistency and bias to be sure.Basically trinitarian translators have no problem making sense of the Greek language when interpreting it into English except in John 8:58 where they can abuse the passage and try and make it say what it doesn't with capitalization and absurd inference.Absurd because "ho on" isn't even there!And even if it were,Jesus says his words weren't even his own!
In fact let's play a little game I like to call "instances where it is appropriate to render "ego eimi"(aka I am) as something else!"Observe the following:
Luke 19:22:Thou knewest that I was (ego eimi!) an austere man(KJV)
2 Corinthains 12:11:I am (ego eimi) become a fool in glorifying,ye have compelled me(other translations use I have for ego eimi,which sounds better,as it would have in John 8:58 as well)
John 14:9:Have I been (ego eimi!) so long time with you and yet hast thou not known me?(KJV)
Yet the NWT renders ego eimi as "I have been" in John 8:58 and are called blasphemers for doing so.Interesting.Hypocritical of Christians to call that an abomination when their own translations take such liberty elsewhere where it wouldn't threaten any tradition.
There are many more examples of this..just making a point.
Keep in mind when reading the bible that capitalization is added by men.It's not in the original Greek.So don't be misled by capitalization of words like "spirit","word" or "I am."
Why would they want to kill him if he wasn't claiming deity?To quote Patrick Navas from his book "Divine Truth or human Tradition?" very loosely,as some of it is put in my own words.:
"The Jewish reaction came at the end or climax of an increasing sense of hostility toward Jesus BASED ON PREVIOUS exchanges.In verse 21 he told them they'd die in their sin & that their father was the devil,the father of the lie.He also said "you are NOT of God" and they told him he was possessed by a demon!Clearly demonstrating their increasingly aggressive & hostile disposition up to that point..In vs. 55 Jesus called them liars and said "you do not know the father...I know him..If I said I didn't I would be a liar like you but I do know him and I keep HIS word."Also,in Luke 4:14-30 ,the people of the synagogue tried to kill Jesus by throwing him down a mountain for what might have been an even lesser offense.He said he wouldn't perform anymore healing among the synagogue of Nazareth and that he would direct his attention to others.The crowd was enraged and attempted to kill him."
Patrick them goes on to express his belief that this proves Jesus literally preexisted,which I no longer believe,while not being dogmatic about my new belief.But Navas also says:
"He pronounced seniority over Abraham so by standards of Jewish society he has greater authority than Abraham.NO ONE Listening at the time would've picked up on a divine self identification in the mere expression "I am!"
Did Jesus have to literally preexist as a spirit creature as Yah's first creation before he could have preeminence over Abraham?No.For he was the promised Messiah!,slain before the foundation of the world,God's greatest prophecy and plan of salvation,the savior of mankind,the Son of Man in Daniel given a kingdom and the world,king and Lord of all,the fulfillment of all things in whom we consist!And THAT is why he's of higher rank than and of more importance and grander significance than their father Abraham.The Jews knew very well he was identifying himself as the Messiah and with that revelation,on top of his having already condemned and flagrantly insulted them,was the last straw to be sure!
IF the Jews did think Jesus was saying he was older in literal preexistence,imo,it would simply mean they misunderstood him just like they had so many times before.Like they did when they thought he said Abraham saw him and he saw Abraham when all he had actually said was that Abraham had rejoiced to see his day!How did Abraham do this?By meeting a spirit creature named "Word" and "Wisdom" ,or perhaps "Michael" or "Angel of Yah" in the OT?I don't think so.Here's how Abraham rejoiced at the prospect of seeing his day:
Hebrews 11:10:For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
So Abraham,with eyes of faith,saw Jesus's coming day when the New Jerusalem blesses the earth and Jesus rules it.It's not that he literally met a spirit creature that would be reincarnated as his Messiah before this.
He BECAME for us God's word and wisdom by fulfilling God's wise plans and revealing God to the world as God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself.
Now this is supposed to be one of the best trinity "proofs".They can all be refuted.My favorite method is after reading the whole bible,determining what the GREAT MAJORITY of texts suggest or proclaim and THEN taking those that SEEM ambiguous and interpreting those in the light of biblical HARMONY,context,reason and of course,in prayer.
It makes perfect sense to me that God filling Christ full of the wonderful knowledge of the all the plans God had for him from the beginning would compel Christ to say things like:Before Abraham existed,I am he(the one Abraham rejoiced to see the day of,aka the Messiah!)" and "glorify me with the glory I had with you before the world was even made..."etc...He's been with God from the beginning to be sure!Can you imagine being filled with the knowledge God had you in his heart and mind from the beginning for the specifics Jesus was decreed for,ie to save the world ,inherit a kingdom,sustain a new creation,as heir,king,and Lord?Talk about inspiring!
Colossians 1:26: the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.
So what was Jesus before he was revealed to the saints?A mystery hidden for ages!Not revealed till he was born in the flesh.
1 Cor 2:7:we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.
So Jesus was the "secret and hidden wisdom of God decreed before the ages for our glory"...simple enough.
Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
And how did he love him?
1 Peter 1:20 (NASB)
For he was foreknown before [pro] the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you.
Yah loving Christ this long would be like a mother who didn't have a child yet ,but knowing everything about her child long before he was conceived or born and having that intimacy with the knowledge of him constantly in her heart,mind,and soul.Knowing the gifts she couldn't wait to give the child.The accomplishments and obedience her child would produce.etc.Truly a remarkable and poignant thought in my opinion!Christ was with Yah in heart,mind,and spirit in this way before he even made the world!
Now I will present to you 3 brief summaries of the basics of what Jesus in John 8:58 is really communicating.First,mine from an email I sent to someone who had asked me a question about the text in question:
Jews were inquiring of Jesus this:
53 You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died, are you? Also, the
prophets died. Who do you claim to be?"
Jesus then proceeded to explain to them who he was,God's foreordained decreed
Messiah who Abraham rejoiced just in PROSPECT to have seen his day!I know he's
claiming a foreordination here because he's talking about a FUTURE day Abraham
rejoiced to see as opposed to a meeting of him in a preexistent state of
being.The Jews THEN misunderstood and ASSUMED he meant he'd seen Abraham..And
naturally,they're mistaken because all he said was that Abraham through eyes of
faith had seen him!Then Jesus continues explaining who he is by declaring how he
existed before Abraham even was as the planned Messiah.He was still trying to
answer their questions from before that they'd misunderstood his answers on.They
just weren't getting him.
Now for one from a friend in another email:
One must always remember, that it wasn't only Jesus' statement in
verse 58, that upset his listeners.
Jesus gave a series of rebukes and censures from verse 12 onwards.
Verse 58 was the "last straw".
However, what is the context of Jesus' answer?
John 8:53 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead?
and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?
The Pharisees' questions were asking:
Are you greater than our father Abraham? Who do you make yourself out to be?
Jesus never said that Abraham saw him or that he saw Abraham!
By Jesus asserting that Abraham rejoiced to see my (Messianic) day,
Jesus is again, claiming to be the Messiah.
And the Messiah was foreordained by GOD (1 Peter 1.20) long before Abraham.
By implying that he is the Messiah (by saying that "I am he - ego eimi;
cp. John 4.25-26, 8.24),
Jesus is indeed greater than Abraham and all the prophets.
The Pharisees couldn't take anymore!! So they wanted to stone him.
And finally Greg Deuble summarizes things quite nicely and in my opinion competently.He says on page 185 of his book:
"The conclusion is inevitable.Jesus' claim "Before Abraham was born,I am he" is the straightforward claim he is the long promised one,the Messiah,the One in question.Jesus is the savior in God's promise even before Abraham was born.In each of the other examples cited(with the blind man etc.) ,the translators supply the word "he" to the phrase "I am."Why not be consistent here in John 8:58 as well?The only reason not to is because of traditional bias.What Jesus said is this:"Before Abraham was born,I am he,"meaning,I am the Messiah that Abraham looked forward to.This is a very reasonable statement from one who thinks that God had the Messiah in mind from the beginning."
And we need no inference for that notion,as we have explicit scriptural statements that prove He did.