25 Names of Christ: I AM

President Russel M. Nelson has spoken at length and on numerous occasions about the names and titles of Jesus Christ and their history and meaning. In 1992, he gave a speech at BYU titled ‘Jesus the Christ–Our Master and More’ in which he provides the following insights into the names ‘Jehovah’ and ‘I AM’:

“Jesus was Jehovah. This sacred title is recorded only four times in the King James version of the Holy Bible (see Exodus 6:3; Psalms 83:18; Isaiah 12:2; 26:4). The use of this holy name is also confirmed in modern scripture (see Moroni 10:34; D&C 109:68; 110:3; 128:9). Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word hayah, which means “to be” or “to exist.” A form of the word hayah in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament was translated into English as “I AM” (Exodus 3:14). Remarkably, I AM was used by Jehovah as a name for himself (for example, see D&C 29:1; 38:1; 39:1). Listen to this intriguing dialogue from the Old Testament. Moses had just received a divine appointment that he did not seek—a commission to lead the children of Israel out of bondage. The scene takes place atop Mount Sinai:

Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt

And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?

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.

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. [Exodus 3:11, 13–15]

Later, in his mortal ministry, Jesus occasionally repeated this name. Do you remember his terse response to tormenting questioners? Note the double meaning in his reply:

The high priest asked him, . . . Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?

And Jesus said, I am. [Mark 14:61–62]

He was declaring both his lineage and his name.

Another instance occurred when Jesus was taunted about his acquaintanceship with Abraham:

Then said the Jews unto him, . . . hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. [John 8:57–58]

Jehovah —the Great I AM, God of the Old Testament—clearly identified himself when the resurrected Jesus personally appeared in his glory to the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple on April 3, 1836. I quote from their written testimony:

We saw the Lord standing upon the breast-work of the pulpit, before us; and under his feet was a paved work of pure gold, in color like amber.

His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:

I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain. [D&C 110:2–4; emphasis added; see also D&C 76:23]

Jesus fulfilled his responsibility as Jehovah, “the Great I AM,” with eternal consequence.”


Russel M. Nelson–Jesus the Christ, Our Master and More, 1992



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