I have been reading through James White's book, The Forgotten Trinity. In one chapter, titled "I Am He, White points out the obvious parallelism of the "I am He" statements found in the Gospel of John related to similar statements found in Isaiah. After pointing out the obvious intention of John to connect theses words of Jesus with those of the prophet Isaiah and that one would be hard-pressed not to see these connections, he makes the following statement:
Lest one should find it hard to believe that John would identify the carpenter from Galilee as Yahweh himself, it might be pointed out that he did just that in John 12:39-41 by quoting from Isaiah's temple vision of Yahweh in Isaiah 6 and then concluding by saying, "These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory and he spoke about Him." The only "Him" in the context is Jesus; hence, for John, Isaiah, when he saw Yahweh on His throne was in reality seeing the Lord Jesus
I have always been amazed at John 1:11, "He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him." referring to the Jews rejecting Jesus as their Messiah and, in light of John's clear intention of presenting Jesus as Yahweh, their God. What is even more amazing is that when Isaiah 6 is read in Jewish synagogues today, those confessing Jews are still rejecting the very one they are reading about in the text.
It is clear to see why John's very next statement following this one in John 1:11, is that those who receive and believe Him are only able to do this because they are born of God. Without the new birth, no one could believe.
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13)White goes on to point out Jesus statement in John 8:24: “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He , you will die in your sins.” He makes the following remarks on this verse:
Jesus here gives us the context and object of saving faith - real faith is that which focuses on the real Jesus. A faith that demands a change in Jesus before a commitment is made is not real faith at all. The Jews standing around Him during this conversation most assuredly would not have denied that He is a man - but that was not sufficient for faith. Some had only recently proclaimed Him as Messiah - but that was not sufficient for faith. Some might hail Him as a prophet or a miracle worker, blessed by God - but that was not sufficient for faith. Some today say He was a great moral teacher and philosopher - but that is not sufficient for faith. Some call Him "a god" or a great angel - but that is not sufficient for faith. No, Jesus himself laid down the line. Unless one believes Him for who He says He is - the ego eimi - one will die in one's sins. There is no salvation in a false Christ. If we are to be united with Christ to have eternal life, then we must be united with the true Christ, not a false representation. It is out of love that Christ uttered John 8:24. We would do well to heed His words.
Indeed, salvation is only found in the true Christ that John presents as Yahweh of the Old Testament. This only goes to show the importance of all believers understanding the biblical doctrines of the deity of Christ and the Trinity. For many, calling themselves "Christians" today, deny these foundational doctrines, teaching and believing in a false Christ that will not save them from their sins.