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Jesus Christ Claims to be Yahweh - John 8:23-25

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by SavedByGrace, Apr 18, 2024.

  1. SavedByGrace

    SavedByGrace Well-Known Member

    Sep 14, 2020
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    “And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins for if you do not believe that I am, you will die in your sins. Then they said to Him, Who are You? And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning” (John 8:23-25)

    Jesus is here responding to the Pharisees, who had asked Him, “where is your Father?” (verse 19). Jesus replies, “Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also” (19). Jesus goes on to tell the Pharisees, that He is “not of this world”, but “from above”, which is “from heaven” (see, John 3:13 [KJV], 31; 6:62). For Jesus to have Come from heaven, can only mean that He is not a “human Person”, and can only refer to His Deity, as no human can ever say what Jesus does. Earlier, in chapter 5, when Jesus heals the man who could not walk for 38 years, on the Sabbath Day. The Jews were trying to murder Jesus, for what He had done. Jesus’ response is, “ho pater mou heōs arti ergazetai kagō ergazomai” (verse 17), literally, “My Father keeps on working at present and I am also working”. To justify what He was doing, by working on the Sabbath Day, which these Jews understood as breaking the Law of God, Jesus answers them, that His Father is also actively Working with Him (so the Greek tense, ergazetai, ergazomai). So, if He was breaking the Law by healing on the Sabbath Day, so was God the Father, breaking the Law, as He is also Working with Jesus. In John 14:10, Jesus says, “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 authority, but the Father who dwells in Me does (poiei, active present) His works”. Whatever Jesus did, His Father also did WITH Him. Jesus’ response in 5:17, enraged the Jews even more, “This is why the Jews began trying all the more to kill Him: Not only was He breaking the Sabbath, but He was even calling God His own Father (patera idion, Uniquely), making Himself equal with God” (verse 18). Jesus’ words and action are clear to the Jews, and the correctly understood Him as, “ison heauton poiōn tōi theōi”, where the Greek, “ison (equal)” denotes, “to claim for one's self the nature, rank, authority, which belong to God, Jn. v. 18” (J H Thayer, Greek Lexicon, p.307. Thayer was a Unitarian, who denied the Deity of Jesus Christ).

    In chapter 8:24, Jesus says to the Pharisees, that they “will die in your sins for if you do not believe that I am (egō eimi)”. To which the Jews respond, “Who are You”? (verse 25). To which question, Jesus replies, “tēn archēn hoti kai lalō humin”. The words spoken here by Jesus, are not, as some suppose, to be, as a question to the Pharisees, where, “tēn archēn”, is to be understood as an adverb, “altogether, absolutely,’ or ‘first of all,’ or ‘from the first’”; and is translated by some, “How is it that I even speak to you at all?, which is absurd, as Jesus continues to speak to them. Rather, “tēn archēn”, here is as a substantive, which is a declaration, “the Beginning just what I have been telling you”. “tēn archēn” clarifies what Jesus says in the previous verse, “egō eimi”, “I am The Beginning”, which is a clear reference to His Deity. In Hebrews 3:14, the Greek, “tēn archēn”, clearly has this meaning, “if we hold fast the beginning (tēn archēn) of our assurance firm until the end” (NASB, KJV, NKJV, ASV, RV, WEB, YLT, etc). Which is also so translated in some English Versions, in Genesis 41:21 “as at the beginning” (KJV, NKJV, ESV, RV, WEB), where the Greek Old Testament (LXX) has, “tēn archēn”. In Revelation 22:13, Jesus says of Himself, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end (hē archē kai to telos)”, which is what Psalm 90:2 says, “Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God”.

    It is clear from the context of John 8:24, that Jesus means by “egō eimi”, that “I AM YHWH”. Those who did not believe, that Jesus Christ is “YHWH”, would remain in, and die in their sins, as they would be denying that He is Almighty God, which the Scriptures Testify to. This is made more clear, from the end of this same chapter in John, where Jesus again responds to the Jews, who in verse 53, say to Jesus, “Are you greater than our father, Abraham, who died? The prophets died. Who do you make yourself out to be?” In verse 25 we had, “who are you?”, and here again, “Who do you make yourself out to be?” Are you “greater” than Abraham, and the other Prophets in the Old Testament? In verse 56, Jesus makes bold statement, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day. He saw it, and was glad”. Which refers to the Visit of Yahweh to Abraham and Sarah, in Genesis 18, where it is clear that Yahweh was literally on earth with them, and they SAW Jesus Christ in His pre-Incarnate Person. In verse 57 we read, “The Jews therefore said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?”. In other words, you are not even 50 years old, and you are claiming to have “seen Abraham”. To which Jesus replies, “Jesus said to them, “Most certainly, I tell you, before Abraham came into existence, I AM”. The Greek here is very important, “prin Abraam genesthai egō eimi”, which is literally, “before Abraham came into existence (genesthai), I AM”, which is the timeless present, “eimi”.

    In verse 59 we are told, “At that, they picked up stones to throw at Him. But Jesus was hidden and went out of the temple complex”. The Jews wanted to stone Jesus to death, as they tried to in John chapter 5, because, like there, they clearly understood Jesus as making a direct claim to be YHWH. The Jews in the first century, used the LXX Old Testament, and knew exactly what Jesus says in verse 58, and His contrast to the coming into existence of Abraham. In Exodus chapter 3, where “The Messenger (One sent) of Yahweh”, appears to Moses in the Burning Bush, and says that He is God, and Yahweh, says to Moses who asks Him of His Name, “Ehyeh ’ăsher ’ehyeh”, which is best translated as, “I am Who I am”, that is, The Eternal, Ever-Present God. The Hebrew verb, “’ehyeh”, is the root for the Name, “Yᵉhôvâh”. The Jewish LXX reads here, “egō eimi ho on”, “I am the Eternal One”, which is what Jesus says of Himself in Revelation 1:18, “ho zōn”, Present active articular participle of zaō, “The Ever-Living One”.

    For those who don’t have a bias against the Bible’s clear Teaching on the absolute Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, that He is as much as GOD as the Father and Holy Spirit, accepting the words of Jesus in John 8:24, 25, 58, as His own Testimony to Who He is, should not be a problem. This Great Truth can only be grasped by the Holy Spirit opening our eyes.
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