JESUS CHRIST IS GOD (part 21)
3) John 10:9: ‘I AM the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture’.
“The next ‘I AM’ saying of Jesus is found within a number of ‘figures of speech’ (see Jn. 10:6), which consists of some prominent metaphors. For example, ‘sheepfold’ (Jn. 10:1), ‘shepherd’ (Jn. 10:2), ‘porter’ (Jn. 10:3), ‘door’ (Jn. 10:3). The door is the entry into a house.
“A shepherd has to be constantly vigilant to keep the safety of his sheep. In biblical times they would lay themselves down in front of the only way in or out of the sheep pen to guard the flock. Jesus begins his discourse by saying in John 10:1: ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber’. They must come through the shepherd who guards the doorway to enter the pen.
“The wilderness tabernacle had all the tribes of Israel camped around it (see Num. 1:1; 1 Chron. 21:29; 2 Chron. 1:3; Acts 7:44). When it was erected it had only one way in – through the Tribe of Judah. JESUS IS OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH! In Matthew 1:1–6 and Luke 3:31–34 of the New Testament, Jesus is described as a member of the tribe of Judah by lineage. Revelation 5:5 also mentions an apocalyptic vision of the Lion of the tribe of Judah: ‘And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the Book, and to loose the seven seals thereof’. This too is what Jesus meant by being the door.
“When a common Israelite approached the tabernacle in the wilderness he found that a wall of white linen around the entire tabernacle area formed a barrier against him all the way around for 300 cubits (450 feet) except one stretch of 20 cubits (30 feet) that was different. It was known as The Entrance Gate. It was not formed of white linen but was multi-colored in woven white, blue, purple and red and the curtains hung on four strong pillars. The entrance gate clearly marked out the one way by which a sinner could gain access to the court of God's house.
“This 30 foot gate was the entrance. Once an Israelite entered the gate into the outer court with his sacrifice he was standing on ‘holy ground’. The entrance gate was 20 cubits (30 feet). It was a curtain or screen made of richly woven material: Ex 27:16: ‘And for the gate of the court shall be an hanging of twenty cubits, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needlework: and their pillars shall be four, and their sockets four’. There were no cherubim represented on this outdoor screen. Cherubim were only seen within the Holy Place.
“This screen with its blend of white, blue, purple and scarlet was identical to that hanging at the entrance to the tabernacle building. But it was very different from the white linen fence, which went around the entire courtyard. Think of the beauty that would meet the eye of the Israelite as he approached the gate of the Tabernacle. The bright rays of the sun would be shining upon the four colors of the gate.
“This was the one and only way by which men and women could draw near to God. It was the single entrance to the entire tabernacle. There was no other way in. Whether he is a priest going to carry out his duties or a repentant sinner seeking forgiveness, a man had to enter by that one way.” The Lord Jesus Christ declares: “…I AM THE WAY…” (Jn. 14:6).
“No one could enter by any other way except this gate. Any Israelite approaching the Tabernacle leading his sacrifice and desiring atonement knew that there was no way to reach the bronze altar but through the gate that faced east. ‘And on the east side toward the rising of the sun shall they of the standard of the camp of Judah pitch throughout their armies: and Nahshon the son of Amminadab shall be captain of the children of Judah’ (Num. 2:3). The Gate was always open, never barred, with no one to forbid a person who wanted to worship God.
“Jesus revealed Himself as the only entrance to God: ‘Jesus saith unto him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me’ (Jn. 14:6). The eastern gate pointed to Him. Every other possible way has been barred by the Righteousness of God, but because of the blood of Christ the chosen of God have a way of approach. The tribe of Judah camped outside the eastern gate, the kingly tribe, and the tribe that means praise. Jesus sits as King with everything under Him. He is Malach Yahweh (The Lord our King). The worship of countless hosts will be unto Him for eternity. The beautiful gate reveals how beautiful Jesus is to behold. He is the altogether lovely One. In Him there are no flaws. He is perfect in character. If we could see His face we would see a look of love that would give us strength forever.
“Thus in answer to our question, we see that Jesus is saying He Himself, and no other, is the means by which the sheep may enter into the promised fullness of life.” Salvation is exclusively through the Righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Anyone believing that salvation can come through one’s own personal righteousness, one’s own efforts at obedience, denies Jesus’ own words when He said: “…I am the Way…no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (Jn. 14:6). Jesus is the Light, He is the Shepherd, He is the Door, He is the Way, His Righteousness is the only righteousness that saves, and He is revealed in the only Gospel of God. “‘ I am the Door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep’ (Jn. 10:9-11). To be ‘saved’, means having ‘eternal life’. As the other I AM sayings, this one also emphasizes the Deity of the Lord Jesus.
4) John 10:11: ‘I AM the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep'.
“The next I AM saying of Jesus is found in the same discourse of Him being the door. In John chapter 10 verse 1, Jesus speaks of ‘the shepherd’. He now adds an adjective to the word shepherd, and makes the claim ‘I AM the good Shepherd’. Here again Jesus is contrasting Himself with the religious leaders, whom He is speaking too, who are not good shepherds, or as they are called in the passage, ‘an hireling’, (vv.12,13). He is referring to the Pharisees, as hirelings, in verse 13, for the hired hand is not caring for the sheep: ‘The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep’.
“In using the phrase ‘the good Shepherd’, Jesus is speaking of His intrinsic goodness, His moral nature and beauty. In His using the term ‘shepherd’, He is speaking of His position over the people. He is the Shepherd of His sheep, He is the one who protects, leads, guides and nourishes the sheep. In turn, the sheep are utterly defenseless and totally dependent upon the Shepherd. It is hard not to see an allusion to Psalm 23, where David stated ‘the LORD is my Shepherd’, who protects, leads, guides and nourishes His sheep. Jesus is also referring to His mission. On at least three occasions, He spoke of ‘laying down’ His life for the sheep (see Jn. 10:15,17,18). In John 10:14, Jesus refers to the sheep as ‘…My sheep’.
“The Shepherd, who protects the sheep, protects them to the point of death. The good Shepherd is also the sacrificial ‘Lamb of God’ (see Jn. 1:29,35), Who willingly lays down His life for the sheep. The death of Jesus was appointed for salvation not just for the ‘lost sheep of the house of Israel’ (see Matt. 15:24) that He was to lay down His life, but also for His ‘other sheep’ which He had—the Gentiles, ‘And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and One Shepherd’ (Jn. 10:16 cf. Jn. 11:51,52).
“The shepherd of the Old Testament is found to be both a leader and a companion to his sheep (see 1Sam. 17:34-37, David protecting his sheep. He knows his flock and is gentle with them (see Prov. 27:23; Mt.11:28) — carries them in his arms (see Isa 40:11) — rescues them from danger (see Amos 3:12). ‘All we like sheep have gone astray…’ (Isa. 53:6). The shepherd seeks after the lost sheep until He finds them (see Ezek. 34:12; Luke 15:4-7).
“He is making one flock, united and watched over by one Shepherd (see Jn. 10:16). How can the death of one man be the redemption of so many, unless He is more than a man.
“Christ is called ‘the Good Shepherd’ (see Jn. 10:11,14), ‘the Chief Shepherd’ (see 1 Pet. 5:4), ‘that Great Shepherd of the sheep’ (see Heb. 13:20).
“It was Jesus of Whom it is written in Matthew 9:36: ‘But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd’. He was the one Who opened the gate to allow the sheep to go in and out, and the wolves would have to get by Him guarding the flock (see Jn. 10:3,4).
“Micah 5:2 not only tells us where Jesus will be born, but who He is ‘But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting’. Here it is spoken of the Messiah. The Targum expresses this verse as follows: ‘out of thee shall come forth before Me the Messiah, that He may exercise dominion over Israel’. (The targumim (singular Targum) were spoken paraphrases, explanations and expansions of the Jewish scriptures that a rabbi would give in the common language of the listeners, which was then often Aramaic).
“Here Jesus refers to Himself as the Shepherd Whom people are to follow In John 12:26 the Lord Jesus says: ‘If any man serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall also My servant be: if any man serve Me, him will My Father honour’. Jesus makes it clear that those who follow God will follow Him. John 10:26-30: ‘But ye believe not, because ye are not of My sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father's hand. I and My Father are one’.
“Notice that the sheep belong to Jesus, they hear His voice, they are in His hands and the Father’s, and He gives them eternal life. If one does not follow Jesus, it is because they are not of His sheep.” They have not been given the gift of Faith to believe in God’s unique Gospel, they have not been made alive, they have not been born of His Word, they have not been born again, they are not saved.
“There is only one Shepherd from the Old Testament continuing in the New Testament: ‘And I will set up one Shepherd over them, and He shall feed them, even My servant David; He shall feed them, and He shall be their shepherd’ (Ezek.34:23 cf. Zech. 11:4-14; 13:7); Christ declared He was the fulfilment of these prophecies: ‘All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them… I am the good shepherd: the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep… I am the good Shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of mine’ (Jn.10:8,11,14).
“It is the Son Who is to guide and lead one to green pastures and still waters: ‘I am the good Shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine. As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and one Shepherd’ (Jn. 10:14-16); ‘For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes’ (Rev. 7:17).
5) John 11:25: Jesus said to her, ‘…I AM the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live’.
“This is the hope of mankind, not to die permanently but to live again. This ‘I AM’ statement was made to Martha, whose brother Lazarus had recently died. Jesus purposely postponed getting to Lazarus until the fourth day (see Jn. 11:4,6). When Jesus told her that Lazarus would rise again she understood this as ‘…the resurrection at the last day’ (Jn. 11:24). It is at this point that Jesus makes this astonishing claim: ‘Jesus said unto her, I AM the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?’ (Jn. 11:25-26). This claim was proven by Jesus’ raising of Lazarus from the dead, ‘And when He thus had spoken, He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth…’ (Jn. 11:43,44). The apostle John said in his Prologue that Jesus, (the Word), ‘was life’ (see Jn. 1:4). But Jesus is not simply stating that He imparts life, but that He Himself IS ‘the resurrection, and the life’ (see Jn. 11:25,26 cf. Jn. 14:6). Jesus being the resurrection means that even if death finds one first it will not be final, or permanent.
“John 2:19-21: ‘Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt Thou rear it up in three days? But He spake of the temple of His body’.
“John 10:17,18: ‘Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again. No man taketh 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. This commandment have I received of My Father’. Jesus is telling us that He will raise His own dead body up again. It is one thing to raise others who are dead, it is another thing to raise oneself from the dead when they are dead.” No normal man could ever perform such a miracle. Surely, this alone is powerful and Scripturally irrefutable evidence of the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Jesus’ claim to be ‘the resurrection’ shows us that He has power over death, even His own, which no man or prophet could ever rightly claim. Every human life ends with death, and we cannot change. John writes about Jesus a man called ‘Lord’ Who can, and does, have control over life and death: ‘I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of Hell and of death’ (Rev. 1:18). Jesus has such power that even death must release its grip at His command. This cannot be said of any other man, but can only be spoken of someone who is more than just a man, but Divine, and Jesus clearly proved what He said.
6) Jesus said to him, ‘I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me’ (Jn. 14:6).
“This verse is associated with the previous statement ‘…I AM the Resurrection and the Life…’ It is being explained to those who have committed to following Jesus. This encompasses many of the other statements He made, it is a three in one statement. On the eve before the Lord Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus participated in the Passover, the Lord's Supper, and announces His approaching departure (see Jn. 13:33,36; 14:2,3). Jesus tells His disciples ‘And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know’ (Jn. 14:4). Thomas is puzzled and responds, ‘Thomas saith unto Him, Lord, we know not whither Thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me’ (Jn. 14:5,6). Jesus is explaining three distinct things about Himself. 1) He is ‘the Way’; 2) He is ‘the Truth’, and 3) He is ‘the Life’. All are facets of the one true God and His grace for His people to be reconciled.
“Jesus refers to going to His Father’s house and says if you want to follow Me, ‘I AM the Way’, that Way to the Father is only through Me. The Way of salvation leads to the Father. The Lord Jesus Christ is not one of many ways to God that we can choose, but He is THE ONLY WAY. This claim eliminates all others and asserts Christ’s 'uniqueness'. There are no other ways of approaching God, but by Jesus Christ.” There is no other righteousness that one can successfully approach God with, but by the pure Righteousness of His only begotten Son Jesus. “Jesus’ substitution, His atoning death for His people is the ONLY way. The first act after Jesus died was to make the Way into the temple open showing that the new covenant is established. Now it is only through His atoning death that sinners are reconciled to God.
“Second, Jesus is ‘the truth’. This speaks of absolute assurance and reliability in all that He says and does. Whatever the Father gave Him to say and do, He did perfectly, all that He has said and done can be trusted in, not simply because He tells the truth, but because HE IS THE TRUTH! Jesus is the truth incarnate (see Jn. 1:1,14). The complete revelation of God is found in Jesus and He is properly called God (see Jn. 1:1,18; 20:28). The Lord Jesus is God's revelation, His ‘Word’, made flesh (see Jn. 1:14).
“Third, Jesus states that He is ‘the life’ meaning that He is able to give life even to those who died, ‘…I AM the resurrection and the life…’ (Jn. 11:25); Jesus prays: 'As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him'. Jesus is saying that He is self-existent like the Father. Jesus is the life and the Source of life to others (see Jn. 3:16). ‘For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will’ (Jn. 5:21). This claim is an exclusive position for Jesus. He is the one way to God, He is thoroughly reliable, and He stands in a relation to truth that no one else does”, for He IS the Truth!
“When Jesus used the ‘I AM’ construction by itself, or attached to an Old Testament example, He was indicating His Divinity.” ‘I AM’ means ‘I AM the self-existent One. “John is communicating this in various manners to show who the Messiah is from the Old Testament background.
“7) John 15:1 ‘I AM the true vine, and My Father is the Husbandman’. Now we come to the final I AM statement that was given in the upper room discourse. Jesus declares twice that He is ‘the Vine’ (see Jn. 15:1,5). On the first occasion the Lord Jesus links Himself with the Father, when He says ‘I AM the true Vine, and My Father is the Husbandman’ (gardener, or, vinedresser (Jn. 15:1). On the second occasion Jesus links Himself with the believer, when He declares, ‘I AM the Vine, ye are the branches…’ (Jn. 15:5), and explains how His chosen will bear fruit because of the indwelling of the Saviour in those who believe and reside in Him ‘…He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing’ (Jn. 15:5).
“In the Old Testament the vine which was planted is God’s vineyard (symbol of Israel). Psalm 80:8,9: ‘Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: Thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land’. Several verses on, the Psalmist says: ‘Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from Heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; And the vineyard which Thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that Thou madest strong for Thyself’ (Psa. 80:14,15). Verse 17 identifies the branch as a certain individual, ‘Let Thy hand be upon the man of Thy right hand, upon the Son of man Whom Thou madest strong for Thyself’. The vineyard is Israel, the Branch is Christ. ‘And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The Branch; and He shall grow up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of the Lord: Even He shall build the temple of the Lord; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between Them both’ ( Zech. 6:12,13).
“But the vine '…is burned with fire…' (Psa. 80:16) symbolizing judgment. The nation Israel has failed in God's calling on being 'a light for the Gentiles', to bring God's salvation '…unto the end of the earth...’ (see Isa. 49:6), so after Jesus leaves He puts this mission to individuals that follow Him, being lights in this world as He being the true light leaves. The vine has been judged because of its disobedience, in contrast, Jesus is 'the true Vine' (Jn. 15:1), the obedient Son who fulfills the purpose of Israel’s calling, the world would be reached, ‘And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed’ (Gen. 12:2,3). ‘And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed’ (Gal. 3:8).
“The elect of God are sent into the world as representatives of Jesus, to carry the Gospel until He returns. Jesus' saying, ‘I AM the Vine, ye are the branches…’ (Jn. 15:5) in New Testament teaching has a two-fold meaning. First, to exhibit qualities of Christian character reflected of the one we abide in (see Matt. 3:8; 7:20; Rom. 6:22; Gal. 5:22). Second, to bless the world and bring fruit into His Kingdom.
“John 15:5: ‘I am the Vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.
“John 15:16: ‘Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain…'
“Col 1:10: ‘That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God’. The transformation of the believer into Christ-like character takes place by the work of the indwelling Spirit of Christ (see Rom. 8:9). This I AM saying, like the others, indicates Jesus’ Deity, for only God can indwell all the people.
“Conclusion of the Scripture:
“Jesus explained, ‘And the Father Himself, which hath sent Me, hath borne witness of Me. Ye have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His shape’ (Jn.5:37 cf. 1 Jn. 5:10,11) Jesus gives the source of His commission, which is from the Father personally. It is the Fathers voice and form they have not seen, yet Christ has stated ‘No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him’ (Jn. 1:18), perfectly revealed His nature to mankind.
“John 14:1: ‘…ye believe in God, believe also in Me’.
“John 14:9: ‘…He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father…’
“John 12:44,45: ‘Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on Me, believeth not on Me, but on Him that sent Me. And he that seeth Me seeth Him that sent Me’.
“Christ is called the exact image of the invisible Father (see Heb.1:1-3), He is the voice that the people heard, He is the one they saw living in front of them. Jesus said: ‘Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me’ (Jn. 5:39). Are we to believe that the Scriptures testify of only a human being, and not God Himself? In the end of the discourse Jesus says ‘…had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me; for he wrote of Me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe My words?’ (Jn. 5:46,47). When did Moses write of Jesus? Deut.18:15-19: ‘The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him ye shall hearken; According to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. (the congregation of Israel is here represented speaking as if a single person). And the Lord said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto My words which He shall speak in My name, I will require it of him’ (cf. Jn. 12:49).
“Jesus claims to be the Prophet Moses spoke of. Notice that it says they did not want to hear the voice of the Lord anymore or see His glory in Horeb. Then God says He will put His words in a future Prophet’s mouth if they do not listen to His words, then God will require it of him. This very thing Jesus said of Himself in John 8:23-30: ‘And He said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I AM He, ye shall die in your sins’ (Jn. 8:23,24).
“Back in the Book of Exodus, Moses asked God what His name is. ‘And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you’ (Ex. 3:14). I AM, meaning the self-existent One. This I AM in the Hebrew is the name of God, (YHWH) where we get ‘Yahweh’. The Hebrew of Exodus 3:14 is ‘hayah asher hayah. ‘I am that I Am’.
“Ego eimi is the LXX translation of Exodus 3:14. Ego eimi is applied to ‘the one Who is I AM’, in fact where we find ‘I am’, the LXX (Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament) it states ‘ego eimi’. Jesus in the New Testament uses all the examples to show Who He is. The I AM sayings are with a predicate, the Greek words 'ego eimi' used by John are distinct and are applied only to Jesus. “…I AM the bread of life…’ (Jn. 6:35); ‘I AM the light of the world…’ (Jn. 8:12); ‘I AM the good Shepherd…’ (Jn. 10:11); ‘I AM the Door…’ (Jn. 10:9); ‘I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life…’ (Jn. 14:6); ‘…I AM the resurrection, and the Life…’ (Jn. 11:25); ‘I AM the true Vine…’ (Jn. 15:5). These last two ‘I AM’ statements (without the predicate) are explicit and have the intent of revealing His Personhood to His hearers.
“John 8:23,24: ‘And He said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I AM from above: ye are of this world; I AM not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I AM He, ye shall die in your sins’. ‘Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am He’ (Jn. 13:19). When we read all this in context we now understand that Jesus is identifying that He came from Heaven to earth, He is not just a man, and twice repeats about their dying in sin if they do not believe He is the I AM from above.
“The phrase ‘egoo’ (Gr.:1455) ‘eimi’ (Gr.:1491 Strong’s concordance) occurs three times here (see Jn. 8:24,28,58) and also in John 13:19. Jesus claims absolute Divine being as in John 8:58.
“It is evident that Jesus was declaring His Deity, even to the point that it became sinful if any refused to believe Him. For no normal man finds his origin in Heaven. John has previously stated that the Jews tried to kill Jesus, for the same reason, ‘Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God’ (Jn. 5:18). ‘I am one that beareth witness of Myself, and the Father that sent Me beareth witness of Me’ (Jn. 8:18). ‘Then said they unto Him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning’ (Jn. 8:25).” “…meaning, either of this discourse, as that He was the Light of the world, and which He continued to assert; or of His being had before the sanhedrim, when He affirmed that God was His Father, and by many strong arguments proved His Divine Sonship; or of His ministry, when by miracles, as well as doctrines, He made it to appear that He was He that was to come, the true Messiah; or Who spake from the beginning to Moses, saying, I am that I am, hath sent thee, and to the church, and Jewish fathers in the wilderness; and Who is that word that was from the beginning with God; and Who is called the beginning, the first cause of all things, and of the creation of God; and some think this is intended here.”
“To make the point again in His conversation, ‘Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM’ (Jn. 8:58). Jesus is here saying ‘Yahweh is My name’. He is not saying that He existed from or before Abrahams time. Jesus has made a definitive statement that before Abraham came into existence or was born, He (Jesus) was there. ‘I have existed before all ages, before anything was created’. It speaks of an eternal existence without respect to time of which only God can exist. Psalm 90:2: ‘From everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God’.
“Jesus is saying in John 8:58, ‘Before Abraham was brought into being, I exist. The statement, therefore, is not that Christ came into existence before Abraham did-as Arians affirm is the meaning: IT IS THAT HE NEVER CAME INTO BEING AT ALL, but existed before Abraham had a being; which, of course, was as much as to say that He existed before all creation, or from eternity, as in John 1:1, ‘In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’. Hence, Abraham ‘came into being’, or ‘was born’ genesthai (Gr.:1086). Jesus' life was from and to eternity. Hence, the formula for ‘absolute, timeless’ existence, ‘I AM’ ‘egoo’ (Gr.:1455) eimi (Gr.:1491).” Jesus is called the "I AM" for He is God the self-existent One.
“I AM ‘egoo’ (Gr.:1455) ‘eimi’ (Gr.:1491). Undoubtedly here Jesus claims eternal existence with the absolute phrase used of God. The contrast between genesthai (Gr:1086) (entrance into existence of Abraham) and ‘eimi’ (Gr. 1491) (timeless being) is complete.
“In light of all the above evidence, we can only come to the conclusion that the ‘I AM’ statements of Jesus were intentional, communicating what His hearers were familiar with from Old Testament teachings and practices to prove the Deity of Jesus the Christ to those who could hear His spiritual speech.
“Jesus said: ‘For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many’ (Mk. 13:6). (I am He, ‘He’ is not in the original.) Jesus adds, ‘…Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by’ (Lk. 21:8,9). Before the real I AM returns He warns many will impersonate Him. ‘For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many’ (Matt. 24:5). If one puts all these warning statements together we learn several things. First that Jesus is taking the name God gave Moses and applying it to Himself. Second, that to claim to be Christ is the same as claiming to be I AM, God. I AM is His name forever (Heb. Hayah ashur hayah, Gr. ego eimei; In Exodus 3:14,15: ‘And God said to Moses, ‘I Am That I Am: and He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, the Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is My name for ever, and this is My memorial unto all generations’.”
We have supplied the reader with more than enough evidence to convince anyone who has been given eyes to see, that Jesus Christ is indeed not only the Son of God, but also God the Son. We have provided copious Scriptures which prove beyond a shadow of a doubt the undeniable veracity of the fact that God is a Godhead, that He is a Tri-Unity, a Trinity. Not a trinity of Gods, but a Trinitarian God: a God Who exists as three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The sheer volume of Scripture which speak of the Triune God and the Deity of His Son, not to mention the content of those Scriptures, is more than enough to convince any man, that Scripture, the Word of God, testifies to the Godhead including the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Such an enormous collection of Scriptures sets an impossible task for those who believe not in the Trinity of God and the Deity of Christ of denying the veracity of each and every single verse from Scripture that testifies to God being a Trinity, and the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Clearly, those who do not believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is God, as well as those who deny that the only true God is a Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are lost. They do not know God, and, therefore, it cannot be He in Whom they are trusting. However, let it be said that simply because a person does believe ‘Jesus’ is God, and that ‘God’ is a Trinity, does not necessarily mean they are a saved person.
Is it enough to believe in the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Trinity to be saved? No. The Scriptures show clearly that one must believe the Gospel of God in order to Scripturally show that one is saved, that one is believing in THE Lord Jesus Christ, and that one’s trust is in The Father and The Holy Spirit of Whom the Scriptures speak. The truth is only found in the Gospel of God, for the Gospel is God’s power unto salvation (Rom 1:16,17). Those who do not abide in the doctrines of the Gospel, claim that their ‘God’, their ‘Jesus’ is the only true God, but the doctrines in which they trust have lied to them by presenting to them a jesus who is not THE Jesus of the Bible, but a mere counterfeit. Is the jesus you believe is God, really the true Jesus of the Bible, or is he just a counterfeit? How can a man know the true from the false? How can he accurately and correctly distinguish the true from the false? Jesus shows how simple the answer is to these questions: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned". To “Believe the Gospel” is to believe in the truth of God and about God. It is to believe in Him and no other as God. It is to believe that only He can save, the way He saves, and that He, as well as His means to salvation, is only revealed in and by His Gospel.
What is the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Ask that question to anyone who claims to be a Christian, and you will receive a wide ranging set of answers. Many will even tell you that no one knows what the Gospel is. But if no one knows what the Gospel is, how can anyone rightly lay claim to be a believer in the only God that Gospel reveals, in the only God Who reveals Himself only in and through His only Gospel. Proof of the existence of God is all around us, but exactly who the true God is can only be revealed by His only Gospel and the faith which He gives to all His people in order that they see, understand and believe Who God truly is. Without the Gospel, and without the faith given by God, no one could ever know the truth of Who He is, what He has done and for whom He has done it. Without the Gospel, no one would or could know who the true God is, and what He has done to save His people from their sins. The link between believing the GOSPEL, BELIEVING and being SAVED, is transparently clear and completely inextricable: “…I am not ashamed of the GOSPEL of Christ: for it is the power of God unto SALVATION to every one that BELIEVETH… the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are SAVED it is the power of God” (Rom. 1:16 &1 Cor. 1:18).
What are the truths, the doctrines which must be believed in order to show evidence that one is truly saved? That one is truly and savingly believing in the one, true, and only God Who saves only one Way: HIS WAY. What is the truth, and where is it revealed? Surely the truth is not merely what a person thinks it is, or believes it to be. The truth of God is what God says it is, and not what a person thinks or believes it to be. Saved people trust in God’s Words, and not in their interpretation of what He has said. It is not the individual who says what he believes the truth to be that makes what he believes truth, for the Truth is God’s, and can, therefore, only be what God reveals it to be.
The following is a brief presentation of the doctrines which make up the Gospel of God, which uniquely give all the glory to God for the salvation of His people.
The Gospel, or Doctrine, of Christ is fundamentally as follows: Man is dead in sins (see Eph. 2:1,5), without Christ, without God, and without hope in the world (see Eph. 2:12). This is due to man’s disobedience toward God in the Garden of Eden. God told Adam “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:17). Subsequent to their sin, Adam and Eve “… heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the Garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the Garden (Gen. 3:8). This reveals the fact that after the Fall there was nothing left in man for God, no desire that would cause him to seek the true God, but only an antipathy, a deep-seated feeling of aversion, toward Him, and a fear of Him, not based on respect or reverence, but a fear due to guilt and of punishment at having sinned against Him, as the following Scriptures testify: “…there is none that seeketh after God” (Rom. 3:11); “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked…” (Jer. 17:9); “…the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart…” (Eccl. 9:3); “…there is not a just man upon earth, which doeth good, and sinneth not” (Eccl. 7:20 cf. 2 Chron. 6: 36); “…the carnal mind is enmity against God…” (Rom. 8:7). “The Greek word translated ‘enmity’ is ‘echthra’. It means ‘hostility’. It is translated incorrectly in the NASV and NIV as ‘is hostile’. No, ‘echthra’ is not ‘is hostile’, but rather, ‘hostility’ or ‘enmity’, ‘enemy’, ‘hatred’. The mind of fallen man is not merely hostile to God; it is hostility itself! The carnal mind is hostility against God!” Man’s natural, sinful and lost condition is so anti-God, so filled with detestation of, and animosity toward, the true God, that in His summary of such a deplorable creature, the Lord Jesus concluded: “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him…” and, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing…” and, “…Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father” (Jn. 6:44,63,65). “…Except a man be born again; he cannot see the Kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:3); “…flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God…” (1 Cor. 15:50 cf. 1 Pet. 1:23). The people of God are described by the apostle Paul, as: "...we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh" (Phil. 3:3 cf. Phil. 3:9). There is nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, that a man can do that can get him to God, for it is God Who must come to the man.
When asked who can be saved, the Lord Jesus replied “…with men this is IMPOSSIBLE; but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26). If all things, including salvation, are only possible with God, then nothing, including salvation, is possible without Him. In other words without God man has no hope of salvation. Clearly, salvation cannot be the result of what a man does, thinks, feels or wants, for it emanates from God, because of God. Salvation is only by the will, mercy and grace of Almighty God. No man can procure it, by will, works or effort of any kind, for no man, by nature, knows the true God, and, therefore, no man, by nature, seeks the true God. Salvation is a gift from God because of God. Salvation is by grace. Salvation is “by grace through faith without works”. Salvation is something which comes either from man, which Christ has declared can never be, or by God, Whom Christ has declared is the only way. When man was without sin, he sinned, so what makes anyone think that now that man is a prolific sinner he can do anything to get back to God. Man’s not being able to attain salvation is at once a declaration that nothing within the scope of man’s abilities, capabilities, thoughts or religions can in any way be used to gain, or maintain, his salvation. That is why salvation is only possible with God, and must be something which is 100% according to the grace of God for Him to rightfully receive all the glory for salvation. This is in accord with the teaching just mentioned, that a man without God, and without the Gospel of God, is without any hope of salvation. Man, if left to himself, has no hope of eternal salvation, of everlasting life. The true horror of man’s existence is, if left to himself, he never can, or ever will come to the true God. It takes the will, love, mercy and grace of God to make a man alive to Him.
A man who seeks to do in order to establish a righteousness of his own in the hope that he can somehow appease the one he believes to be God, and gain his forgiveness, is a man who is alone, without the true God, and, therefore, hopelessly helpless in the world. Such a man does not know the Gospel, he does not know God, and he does not know the Way to God. “As it is written, There is none Righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10-12 cf. Psa. 10:4). The world cannot receive the Spirit of truth “…because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him…” (Jn. 14:17). “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God” (1 Cor. 2:11,12). “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God…neither can he know them…” (1 Cor. 2:14 cf. 1 Cor. 1:18,23). Man is spiritually destitute! By nature, mankind is devoid of all spiritual life. Consequently, far from being that which facilitates the salvation of a man, his every thought, every action and every gospel is consistent with that which impedes his salvation by catering to man’s natural aversion to the true God’s Gospel of salvation by grace alone.
The Bible says “…verily every man at his BEST state is altogether vanity” (Psa. 39:5 cf. Psa. 39:11; 94:11). It is God Who makes alive, purely by His Sovereign will, grace and mercy (see Rom. 4:17). Man can do nothing. The fact that man can do nothing, in no way impedes God’s ability to save those He has chosen before the foundation of the world. Salvation is of, and from the Lord. God owns salvation and He gives salvation to whomsoever He wills. The apostle Paul, addressing believers wrote: “But God Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved;)” (Eph. 2:4,5; cf. Col. 2:13,14). “...OF HIM are ye in Christ Jesus...” (1 Cor. 1:30). It is BY GOD that a man is in Christ Jesus, and it is by Christ Jesus the Lord that His people believe in God: “Who BY HIM do believe in God…” (1 Pet. 1:21 cf. Jn. 6:29; Acts 18:27; 1 Cor. 8:6). God does not grant the gift of faith so that people may have a mere potential to believe, but the granting of this precious gift is to ensure they WILL believe, and ONLY believe, His unique Gospel which declares salvation to be by God and grace alone. God has chosen people from among every nation to be His people, His very own elected children (see Jn. 11:51,52; Rev. 5:9), and they all receive the same “…faith of God’s elect…” (Titus 1:1 cf. 2 Cor. 4:13), to believe the same Gospel that every believer is separated unto (see Rom. 1:1). They all obtain “…like precious faith…through the Righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1:1 cf. Titus 1:4; Phil. 1:5) to believe the only Gospel which is “…the power of God unto salvation…” (Rom. 1:16). God did this according to His Own Counsel. He did not confer with man, nor was the giving of the gift of faith based on any man’s ‘good deeds’. “Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being His counsellor hath taught Him? With whom took He counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of judgment, and taught Him knowledge, and shewed to Him the way of understanding?” (Isa. 40:13,14 cf. 1 Cor. 2:16; Job 33:12,13). “Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself” (Eph. 1:9).
“The Gospel is sent when and where God has determined within Himself it shall go; and persons are called by it according to His purpose and grace” (see Eph. 1:11,12; Jn. 3:5-8). God choosing those whom He would bless, before the foundation of the world, based on grace alone, is proof positive that man is dead in sins, and cannot come to God by will, or works. Salvation is by grace and mercy alone because there is no other way! God says, “…I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy” (Rom. 9:15,16 cf. Ex. 33:19). The word runneth in Romans 9:15, means “strenuous effort”. “…election, which is what the apostle Paul is discoursing of, is ‘not of him that willeth’, ‘nor of him that runneth’: that is, it is not owing to the will or works of men, to the desires, inclinations, and affections of their minds, or to the actions of their lives; these are not the motives, conditions, or causes of this act: ‘but of God that sheweth mercy’; in a free Sovereign way and manner, which He is not obliged to by anything the creature wills or works; God is at full liberty, notwithstanding whatever they will or do, to give His grace and mercy, when, where, and to whom He pleases; and therefore to give it to some, and deny it to others, can never be accounted an act of injustice, since God is not bound to give it to any.” If salvation is only by grace and mercy then it cannot be by works, and, if salvation is by works then there is no need for grace and mercy. “…if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work” (Rom. 11:6). Works implies here is something you can do, while grace and mercy state clearly there is nothing you can do. Works implies reward, grace and mercy are a gift. GIFTS DO NOT COME AS A REWARD, BUT BY AN ACT OF LOVE. Mercy is the only hope for the guilty. When mercy is required there can be no reward for anything done, for the need for mercy is a proclamation that nothing can be done! Man is so steeped in sin and sinfulness that when he does ask for mercy he cannot but think that his asking will in some way be rewarded. Mercy does not come as a reward, or after anything which a man has done. Mercy comes only according to the will of the One Who provides it, and God provides it not in accord with anything or anyone, but Himself, by His predetermined will before He even made the world.