Archive for January, 2015

Understanding John 8:58 (“I am”)

Here goes an amateur bible study of one of the greatest verses in the New Testament (if not the greatest one).

58: Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

The secret to this passage is that “I am” is half of God’s name in the Old Testament.  “I am” is God’s name in Hebrew.  When Moses asked God what his name was, he said it was “I am that I am,” or in other words “I am the one who is.”  God says to call Him “I am.”

In verse 58, when Jesus said that he lived before Abraham and that “I am,” he is claiming to be not only the Son of God, but god himself.

I love latter-day revelation how it tells us that “I am” of the Old Testament is really Jesus Christ.  Sometimes, “I am” is translated as “Jehovah.”  Because it’s some European method of saying “Yahweh,” which is how you say “I am” in Hebrew.  Ancient Jews thought it was a sin to think or write all the letters that make up the word “Yahweh,” or “I am.”  For it is God’s name.  The God who Jesus would call “Father.”  Our Heavenly Father.  They thought it was outrageous when Jesus claimed to be the Eternal Father that Isaiah prophesied he would be.  Perhaps the Jews had forgotten that scripture.  Latter-day Saints are uniquely Christians in believing that the Heavenly Father of the Jews was really Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  I think it makes us extra Christian to believe that Jesus was greater than other religions would have you believe.  The beginning of John’s Gospel claims that everything that was created was created by Jesus.  And the 58th verse of the 8th chapter drives home this idea that Jehovah is Jesus.  Why won’t other religions accept this biblical truth?

Read just a few verses back and you’ll hear Jesus claim that Abraham was joyous of the day of Jesus.  He could see this future Messiah in the days of the Old Testament.  Perhaps Abraham knew that Jehovah was the Messiah.

At the end of verse 58, Jesus is claiming that He existed as God before Abraham was even born.  Did Abraham know that the Messiah came before him even though he would be born as a human after him.  Did he know that the Messiah was the Firstborn spirit child of God?  The one who helped him create the heavens and the earth?  I testify to you that just like our Heavenly Father is literally the father of our souls, Jesus, the Son of God, is our spirit brother as we are all children of God.  We should love him like one loves their eldest brother.  And, ultimately, as much as one loves their dad.

John 8:58.  Beautiful verse if you understand “I am.”  It confirms so many Gospel truths revealed in latter days.

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Going back to school (sort of)

I registered for financial aid through my old private school, Carrington College, but wanted to find out if the community colleges I used to go to would still accept all my old credits from 10 years ago.  So I didn’t automatically sign on for the Associate’s Degree from Carrington.  Even though I did earn a certificate from them in Medical Billing and Coding.  I got straight A’s.

Turns out the community colleges will accept all my credits but Carrington only accepts some of them.  However, they do accept my credits from Medical Billing and Coding whereas the community colleges do not.

Anyway, it was a lot cheaper to sign up for a semester at Mesa Community College than all the money Carrington was requiring up front to pay for the Associate’s Degree.

I decided I wanted to get an Associate’s Degree in Business from Chandler-Gilbert Community College.

But my previous failed classes and withdrawls from when I was a dumb kid 10 years ago are flagging my financial aid.  I have to appeal in writing and by submitting an application to get them to accept my financial aid award that Carrington was willing to accept in a multiplied amount.  I have nothing but A’s with the private school.  I think it’s because I’m Republican.

So, unfortunately, I’m not technically going back to school.

But there’s always Institute classes which are free!  The problem is that it is geared for singles of ages 18-30.  I’m an older single of 31 years.  So I have to get a bishop’s letter to be able to apply.  Had I been accepted to MCC I would’ve been automatically eligible.  But my financial aid woes require this supplication to my priesthood leader.

Even if I don’t get the letter by next week, when registration for Institute closes, I will still have a chance to talk to the principal of the school to explain why I would like to take classes there.

For those who don’t know, Institute is a religious school that the Mormons put next to a college.  It’s like seminary but for those who have already graduated from high school.  Seminary is a religious school put next to high schools.  I think this is a good fruit of the LDS Church.  It shows how much they value religious education.  What other church does that?

Most of the classes cover a half or more of a book of Scripture.  I want to study The Book of Acts onward in the New Testament, the first half of the Book of Mormon, and the second half of the Doctrine and Covenants.  This would be 3 classes, though.  And I’m not even sure if they’re going to let me take even one class.

But if they do, I will sort of be going back to school.  Religious school that is.  Church-operated education.  Allowed to thrive in a free state.  Though not providing education of the state as opposed to the church.

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