tell them “I AM” has sent you.” (Exodus 3:14). Now here in John 8:58, Jesus takes that name upon himself. And the Jews understood that. That’s why they take up stones to stone him. Up to this point they were humoring him. Making fun of him. Accusing him of being demon possessed, accusing him of being crazy, but when Jesus utters these simple words, all that stops. They understand him completely. The fact that they now pick up stones signifies their comprehension of his claim, and now they are going to stone him for blasphemy.
While we recognize that pre-existence does not automatically mean eternality we do know that eternality does automatically mean pre-existence. In John 8: 58, Jesus skips all the possible misconceptions and goes right to eternality. If he is eternal He is divine; he is God. That is what Jesus claims in this verse.
The translators of the New World Translation mistranslate this verse. They say, “Jesus said to them: ‘Most truly I say to you Before Abraham came into existence I have been.” Dr. Norman Geisler, perhaps the foremost Biblical scholar of our day, comments on this “Greek scholars agree that the Watchtower Society has no justification for translating “ego eimi” in John 8:58 as “I have been” (a translation that masks its connection to Exodus 3: 14 where God reveals his name to be “I Am”). The Watchtower Society once attempted to classify the Greek word “eimi” as a prefect indefinite tense to justify this translation — but Greek scholars have responded by pointing out that there is no such thing as a perfect indefinite tense in the Greek,” [Geisler, Nor- man L., and Ron Rhoades, “When Cultists Ask,” (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI 1997 p. 173 )].
I repeat again, faith in the deity of Christ is necessary to being a Christian it is not an option. Belief in Christ’s deity is an essential part of the New Testament gospel of Christ.