Is Jesus God?

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Is Jesus the God of the Old Testament? Did he ever use one of the names of God to refer to himself?

Your question about is Jesus God has been debated for countless years in Bible circles. The short answer is that (almost) all statements in the Old or New Testament attributed to Deity are from him!

Jesus is a member of the Godhead Who came in human form to this earth. After dying for our sins and resurrected, he took his rightful place at the right hand of God, the Father. Jesus now possesses the same kind of existence he had before the creation of the world.

The Name

Moses, in the book of Exodus, asked Elohim what His name was so that he (Moses) could tell the children of Israel who sent him to free them (see Exodus 3:13 - 14). The response received (from the Being who became Jesus) was that his name was "I AM WHO I AM." The King James Version Bible renders the phrase 'I AM THAT I AM' and Young's Literal Translation translates the Hebrew 'I AM THAT WHICH I AM.'

Jesus' Last Supper
Last Supper
Andrea Del Castagno, 1447

The Hebrew word translated as "I AM" is hayah (Strong's Concordance Number #H1961) and means "to exist" or "to have being." It can also mean, "I will be what I will be." Used in the context of Exodus 3:14 it also signifies an eternal, timeless existence. As it is used in Genesis 1 it signifies "to come into existence" when spoken by God. For example, when he said, "Let there be light" (Genesis 1:3) light appeared in the universe.

Jesus used the same name given to Moses (I AM) to refer to his OWN eternal existence. The severe action the Jews wanted to take after they heard what Jesus had to say leaves little doubt they knew he was referring to the Being who spoke to Moses.

"I (Jesus) am telling you the truth . . . Before Abraham was born, I AM!" Then they picked up stones to throw at him (in order to stone him for what they perceived was blasphemy) . . ." (John 8:58 - 59).

The Greek words translated as "I AM" in reference God in verse 58 come from the words ego (Strong's #G1473), first person in Greek, just as we use "I," and eimi (Strong's #G1510), which is a very emphatic statement of existence. In the context of this verse, it is virtually identical to the Hebrew hayah. Since Jesus was speaking either Hebrew or Aramaic, hayah was the word actually spoken by him rather than the Greek in which the New Testament was written.

There is one other instance where Jesus uses the term "I AM," a clear reference to Himself as the God of the Old Testament. It is a rather enigmatic reference but it does explain an otherwise puzzling phenomenon described by one of the gospels. He uses this term when, while waiting in the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas arrives with a bunch of people in order to have him arrested.

"Whom are you seeking?" They answered Him, "Jesus the Nazarean." Jesus said to them, "I AM." And Judas, who was betraying Him, was also standing with them. But when He said to them, "I AM," they went backward and fell to the ground. (John 18:4 - 6, HBFV)

The above translation of the words of Jesus renders verses 5 and 6 correctly. The confusing part is that if you use the King James Bible translation, you will notice that the word "he" is added to the phrase "I am he." The word "he" is in italics (or brackets), which indicates that the word was added by the KJV translators. Its addition, even though it was not in the Greek text from which the English text comes, it is an attempt to clarify the meaning of the passage.

The declaration of "I AM" explains why the soldiers fell backwards. They fell because the same Creator who spoke to Moses spoke the words to them! So, is Jesus God? Yes He is!

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