“I Am” Or “I Was”?
This article covers the answer to the question: “I Am” or “I Was”?
Some people claim Jesus is God and use (John 8:58 ) to support their views;
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”
These people then link the Verse (Exodus 3:14 ) to try to justify that Jesus is God;
” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.  This is what you are to say to the Israelites: `I AM has sent me to you.'”
Now by Jesus Saying “I am” identically as God said “I Am” in Exodus 3, people assume Jesus is identifying himself as God.
If we objectively research the history of this verse, we will see that the Older and more authentic Bibles actually reveal that in John 8:58, Jesus does not say “I am” but in reality says “I -was-”
In later centuries, translators manipulated the translation to try to elevate the status of Jesus.
The Greek Septuagint Version, which is the one the Apostles quoted from in the first century, renders Exodus 3:14 as ” ego’ eimi’ ho Ohn’,” which translates “I am the Being”. The Greek words at John 8:58 “ego eimi” show the use of the verb “eimi” in the historical present because Jesus was talking about himself in relation to Abraham’s past.
That is why some translations render it differently.
An American Translation reads. “I existed before Abraham was born!”,
Moffat, “I have existed before Abraham was born”,
Sacred Bible, “Before Abraham existed, I was existing”,
In the New Testament, “Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you, I existed before Abraham was born!”,
The Four Gospels According to the Sinaitic Palimpsest, “He said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I have been.”,
In the Twentieth Century New Testament, “Believe me ‘Jesus replied, ‘before Abraham was born I was already what I am.”,
In the Modern New Testament, “Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Before Abraham was born, I was.”,
In the Syriac New Testament, “Jesus said to them: Verily, verily, I say to you, That before Abraham existed, I was.”
Jesus knew he existed before the world was made, but this doesn’t prove he was God Almighty. (John 17:5) Many angels also existed before the world was created. (Job 38:7).
In Exodus 3:14 God was using this as a title and name to be used against the Egyptians. A Bible scholar Dr. J.H. Hertz said that in the phrase ‘I am that I am’ the main emphasis is on the active manifestation of God’s Divine existence. He said that God was about to show himself on behalf of his people in a great and wonderful way. He said that “I will be what I will be” is also an approved rendering.
The footnote to the NASB Bible agrees and says, “1.14 Or I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE”
When Jesus used the phrase he was not using it as a name or title. He was only explaining his pre-human existence.
Thus in harmony with the above, the NWT correctly translates that verse as:
“Jesus said to them: “Most truly I say to YOU, Before Abraham came into existence, I have been.””