Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Cry of Destiny

“To This End Was I Born, For This Cause Came I Into The World.”

And they took Jesus and led him away to be crucified. And about the ninth hour he cried out. This hour had been coming since the dawn of paradise and the fall of man. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was nailed to the cross to shed his blood for the sins of all mankind. “My God, my God, for this purpose was I kept.” And it was finished. Your redemption and mine. For this purpose he came into the world.

One of my favorite verses is from Romans where God promises that nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Such promises like “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee”, or “I give them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my Fathers hand.” This leaves no room for doubt that we are safe and protected for eternity and nothing that we or anyone else could say or do would cause God to ever forsake us. All this because of what Jesus Christ did for us.
Now every year around Easter time we hear stories related around the period of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Inevitably, whether on television, radio, or in a church service, someone expounds on the famous verse from Matt. 27:46 and Mark 15:34 : “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” This version of Jesus’ last words before dying on the cross is translated in the form of a question. And unfortunately, this has misled well-meaning people into formulating a theory to find the answer, that over time becomes tradition and eventually is taught and accepted as the truth of God’s Word. Commonly what follows is the traditional teaching that at that moment, while hanging on the cross, Jesus became sin and God cannot stand sin so He had to abandon His only begotten Son. What they fail to mention are the very next and last words that Jesus uttered and then cried out, “It is finished. Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit,” and having said this he gave up his last breath. (John 16:32)
The reason why this verse is so popular is because it stands out in contrast to all the other verses regarding the same subject. It contradicts the promises of God and suggests the possibility of a condition upon which God would break His promise and abandon his child. Yet, year after year this contradictory explanation is taught with great sincerity but devoid of any Biblical authority.
This is the constant challenge we as believers are continuously confronted with: Do we follow what tradition teaches us or do we seek to understand and know what the word of God really says? (Matt. 15:3)
In order to determine truth from error there are two fundamental Biblical principles to rightly dividing the word:
∑ The apparent unclear verse must be understood in the light of the many clear verses regarding the same subject.
∑ Most apparent contradictions are either due to translation or our understanding relative to the Biblical times and customs.
If we combine these basic principles with some common sense and logic we can remove the conflict that hinder our believing. First, we will look at the many clear verses regarding the same subject.

John 16:32
Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: an yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.

Jesus was speaking of his crucifixion that he would not be left alone because God would not leave him as do the others.

John 10:30
I and my Father are one.

John 10:38
though ye believe not me, believe the works; that ye may know and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him

2 Corin. 5:19
God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them…

John 14:10,11
Beleivest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake

Jesus was continuously imploring his disciples to know and believe of his unity and indivisibility with God his Father. Not question or doubt. Jesus would never have misled his disciples into believing these scriptures revealed by God only to have their faith and trust shattered at the final hour of his life. Bye crying out “My God, my God, why hath thou forsaken me?” would only have discouraged them and left them feeling even more hopeless as they stood by watching in horror and disbelief.

John 11:41.42
Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.

The same holds true at his suffering on the cross for those who were standing by watching and listening.

John 17:21-23

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them: that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

How could the world and the disciples know beyond a shadow of doubt that God sent him and loved them if Jesus is shouting to God as the world watches and hears his dying words about God forsaking him? This is shameful how we’ve allowed the cloak of tradition to trick us out of God’s finest hour!

Luke 23:47

Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying certainly this was a righteous man.

After the centurion saw and heard what was done he glorified God. He would not have glorified God if Jesus had cried out that God had forsaken him. The following should dispel any truth to the forsaken theology.

John 8:26-29

he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him. They understood not that he spake to them of the Father. Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

As Jesus is foretelling, he declares the Father will not leave him alone because he always did the things that pleased God. Was he not pleasing God when he took on the sins of the world?

Heb 2:9

But we see Jesus, who was…crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

John 10:17

Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of the Father.

2 Corin 5:21

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Romans 8:3

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.

Nothing mentioned so far that God couldn’t handle. It pleased God. In truth, God had no pleasure in previous sacrifices for sins, but the offering of the body of Jesus Christ was accepted by God once and for all.

Heb 10:1-10

For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those whose approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. Therefore when he came into the world, he said: Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you have prepared for me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you had no pleasure. Then I said, “Behold I have come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do your will O God.” Previously, saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings for sin you did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), then he said “Behold, I have come to do your will O God.” He takes away the first that he may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

So far in these scriptures we have not found any forsaken theology nor deviation disrupting the harmony of God’s word regarding this subject. What we find is the promise of God’s never ending love and faithfulness. For it is through His love [agape: unconditional, unlimited love via the spirit] that renders us inseparable from our Lord and Saviour and God our Father.

John 17:26

And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

Romans says you cannot separate or be forsaken by this love [agape].

Rom 8:35-39

Who shall separate us from the love [agape] of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved [agapeo] us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things to come, nor any other creature [creation] shall be able to separate us from the love [agape] of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing shall separate including sin. Shall not God who reveals this promise to us do the same for His ‘First begotten among many brethren.’ Agape bears all and endures all things according to 1 Corinthians 13. Including the sin laid on Jesus when they slaughtered the lamb of God, who became sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

What a savior! He stayed on that cross because he loved us. And he loved us because " God so loved the world"...that He dreamed a plan to save us...that He gave us His only begotten son..." that believers would never be separated from God..." that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Now that we have seen how many clear verses cast light regarding the same subject ( in Matt27;46 and Mark 15:34), this passage of scripture now becomes an apparent contradiction. Notice I use the word apparent. That is because there are no contradictions in the original " God breathed word" (2 Tim 3:16). " For holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter1:21). God is perfect therefore his word must be perfect and the words which make up the word must be perfect also. To paraphrase these two verses: There were many writers inspired by God but only one author. The author, who is God, told them what to write by revelation. The writers would have written using words from a language and vocabulary with which that were familiar, but the words they wrote were words that God told them to write. This explains the difference in the gospel narrative. Matthew was versed in scripture and noted the fulfillment of sayings brought to pass. *1

Therefore , with God as the author, we would expect to find that passages in the scripture dealing with the same subject may augment and complement each other but never be contradictory or inharmonious. One record may give certain details regarding a subject or and event, while another record dealing with the same subject or event may supply added details such as time or place.

This brings us to the translation, the next principle and method of understanding the apparently unclear verse. There are variations among many translations of the Bible. This is where human error , imperfections and private interpretation disrupt the symmetry of the original inspired word of God. That's why it may be necessary to consult the manuscripts, printed texts, and various translations of the scriptures as well as concordances, dictionaries, and other resources.

Matt 27:36
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying , Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Mark 15:34
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Eli, Eli, lama sabachtani? Leaving in the foreign language should have caught our attention from the beginning. Why did the translators leave those foreign words in the verse? I have asked teachers and clergy this same question after they have taught on or quoted from this passage. None of them could answer. This is a deviation from normal KJ translation and is rare to find in the New Testament.*2 The reason why these foreign words appear is because the translators were uncertain of their meaning and proper translation. These are not Greek words, they are Aramaic. Jesus spoke Aramaic. Some scholars believe the Gospels were originally written in Aramaic.*3 In the King James Version they let the Aramaic words remain then added what they concluded what the English translation might be.

To begin with, there is no Aramaic word as lama, but there is the word lmna. Lmna is a declaration "for this purpose" or " for this reason." The root of sabachthani is shbk or shbq. The root word shbk means to spare, to leave, to reserve or keep remaining. In Romans the word reserved is from the root word shbk which is cited from 1 Kings 19:18.

Rom 11:4
But what say the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image Baal.

1 Kings 19:18

Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

Here it is translated "reserved" in the New Testament and "left" in the Old. This same shbk is translated "remaining" in the following scriptures:

2 Kings 10:11

So Jehu slew all that remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his great men, and his kinfolks, and his priests, until he left him none remaining.

Deut 3:3

So the Lord our God delivered into our hands Og also, the king of Bashan, and all his people: and we smote him until none was left remaining.

Joshua 10:33

Then Horam king og Gezer came to help Lachish; and Joshua smote him and his people, until he had left him none remaining.

Going back to that place and time where God's only begotten Son was dying on the cross he cried out " My God, My God, for this purpose was I left remaining;" *4" For this purpose was I kept." According to noted Aramaic scholar George M. Lamsa from his major work "Holy Bible from the Ancient Eastern Text" this verse reads" My God, my God, for this I was spared!" Truthfully, this is what Eastern Bibles read from the Peshitta text.

Now we have the word of God in alignment and harmony and not man's tradition. We don't have to create a theology to account for the error in the translation of the western Biblical version. When Jesus Christ spoke these words of triumph he glorified God. And God was right there with him as you or I would be if our son lay dying. God never forsook him. It was man who forsook him!

Isaiah 53:2-9

For he shall grow up before him a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form or comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows : yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him: and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray: we have everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed , and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opens not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had no violence , neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin , he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

In the end it was man who abandoned him. It was man who turned away from him, not God! Isaiah said it was men who despised and rejected him , and we hid our faces from him when he was smitten and beaten and personified the ugliness of our sin. Yet It Pleased The Lord! He endured the unbearable suffering because he loved us and God was with him.

" To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world..." (John 18:37)

What a God! What a savior! For God laid on his Son the iniquity of us all that We might become the righteousness of God. He who knew no sin, the lamb of God, became sin for us. He could've saved himself at any time but chose to save us for all eternity. Jesus knew his mission of atonement from the scriptures which were written of him. But the magnitude of the glory of what God envisioned for us was not fully revealed until the agony of the cross. He gave up his life because God revealed to him his purpose and calling of God for all mankind...when He made his soul an offering for sin... Jesus saw the glorious future...he SAW HIS SEED...the Justified Many!!

"My God, my God, this was my destiny!" *5

  1. The verse, Matt 27:46, was not noted by Matthew as fulfilling any prophecy of scripture as were the other verses and events in the same chapter that were noted. Citing Psalm 22 as a reference is from the Bible publishers and not inspired of God.
  2. There are other examples where the translators have allowed the Aramaic words to remain; Matt 5:22, Mark 5:41, 1 Corin 16:22.
  3. " In the first century, Jesus and his earliest followers certainly spoke Aramaic for the most part, although they also knew Hebrew. Therefore the Gospel message was first preached an the Aramaic for the Jews of Palestine. Modern scholarship tells us that the originals of the four Gospels and other parts of the New Testament were written in Greek; this is disputed by the Church of the East and by some noted western scholars." George M. Lamsa. Preface from Holy Bible from the Ancient Eastern Text; Harper Collins.
  4. Wherefore have you left me? is broken down thus: " Wherefore" implies destiny. "Sh'wik-thani" is the only correct transliteration, and it means "left me" in the sense of the purpose for which Jesus was left on the cross. It absolutely does not meam "foresaken" in this usage. Translators notes from Matt 27:46 at Victor N. Alexander.
  5. Amplified Aramaic

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