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5. Death of the Word

The Word of God got vilified and crucified

5. Death of the Word

What world is having a hard time understanding

The Bible teaches that YESHUA was crucified at 9am and died at 3pm. But between noon and 3 p.m., for 3 hours, darkness covered the whole earth while he was still dying on the cross. Then YESHUA cried out: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

The Question of Abandonment on the Cross?

According to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, YESHUA's last words on the cross were: 

  • Matthew 27:46; Marc 15:34 "About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

  • Luke 23:46 "Then Jesus called out in a loud voice, “Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit.” 

  • John 19:28-30 "“I am thirsty ... He said, “It is finished."

For centuries, this declaration of abandonment has caused great religious debate. Scholars and theologians disagree with the illogicality of this verse, for it calls into question the omniscience of YAHWEH as well as the divinity of YESHUA. How could God abandon God?

Here are the main reasons for the controversy:

Reason 1 - Disagreement over translation

As mentioned by the prophets, “what was originally said in one language no longer has the same power once it has been translated into another language.” Martin Luther's first Bible, including the New Testament, was published in Hebrew in the 2nd century. And in this first version, we read in Matthew:

  • Matthew 27:46 "Eli eli lama azabtani" Azabthani means to abandon what is undesirable.

In the Syriac version (an Aramaic dialect) written around 200 AD, we read in Mark and Matthew,

  • Mark 15:34 "Elahi elahi, lamna shabaktani"

  • Matthew 27:46 "Eli eli, lamna shabaktani"

And in the Jewish Targum (Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible), we read as below. Note that the word Shebaqthani is the Aramaic form of the word “šəḇaqtan” based on the verb šbq (šəḇaq / šāḇaq) which means “to allow, permit, keep or give up for a specific purpose.

  • Matthew 27:46 "Eli Eli Methul Ma Shebaqthani"

  • Psalm 22:1 "Eli elahi metul ma shabaktani"

  • Mark 15:34 "Elōhi, Elōhi, lemā shebhaqthānī"

All these different variations on YESHUA's words are a source of disagreement among scholars. According to the texts, YESHUA came from Galilee in northern Israel, where they spoke Northern Aramaic. Whereas the scribes and witnesses to the crucifixion came from Judea in southern Israel, where they spoke southern Aramaic. The accent and use of words were slightly different from one region to another. This means it's quite possible that YESHUA's words were distorted by the scribes and witnesses, for while He was on the cross, He certainly didn't utter His words in one way to the author of the book of Matthew and in another way to the author of the book of Mark.

Reason 2 - Disagreement over interpretation

In the Hebrew version of Matthew 27:46 we read: “Eli Eli Lama Azabtani”.

  • Lama means: why

  • Azab means: to abandon, forsake or depart from

  • Thani means: you do this to me

In the Syriac version of Matthew 27:46 we read: “Eli Eli Lamna Shabaktani”.

  • Shabach (zāḇaḥ - Strong H2076) is the equivalent word to the Hebrew word Azab (āzaḇ - Strong H5800) and means: sacrifice or offering

In the Roman transliteration (the Greek version) of Matthew 27:46 we read: “Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani”

  • Note that in the English Roman transliteration, the H just after the S has been removed. So instead of Shabakthani, we read Sabachthani. Now, the word “Sabachthani” is neither Hebrew nor Aramaic. As a result, scholars claim that the Roman-English transliteration is inaccurate. What's more, the fact that the translators used the Hebrew word “Lama” instead of the Aramaic word “Lema”, is evidence that the Roman/Greek scribes, not having understood the meaning of this phrase, did not translate it, but rather combined both the Hebrew and the Aramaic, then transliterated it into Greek. Indeed, it is highly unlikely that Jesus began speaking in Hebrew (Eli, Eli, lama...) and then borrowed a foreign word (...Sabachthani).

If YESHUA had really meant that YAHWEH had simply abandoned or forsaken Him, He would have rather used the Aramaic word “taa tani” which means to abandon someone undesirable, or “nashatani” which means to forsake.

Reason 3 - Didn't Jesus foresee what would happen on the cross?

The questioning of the abandonment is extremely problematic because it reduces ELOHIM's promise of Redemption to a random act. For, the dilemma being that if YESHUA was abandoned on the cross on account of the sins imputed unto Him, and if He questioned such abandonment, there are 2 implications.

  • Didn't YAHWEH the Omniscient foresee what would happen on the cross? ELOHIM is All-Knowing, and YESHUA's sacrificial death was foretold from the foundation of the world, and a part of His plan.

  • Didn't YESHUA anticipate that abandonment would be the inevitable effect of His sacrifice? Didn't He anticipate what would happen? If the prophets of old did not fear their physical death, we would expect YESHUA to celebrate this abandonment, and not to be astonished or question the effect that led to His victory

A group of Oxford scholars have discovered an ancient tribe in northern Iraq where the old Galilean dialect is still spoken, and they have learned that “Lema Shebaqthani” means “This is why I was kept or this is my destiny”. Thus They are convinced that YESHUA's words may have been, “My God My God, this is why I was kept for it was my destiny.” Which then leads him to triumphantly utter the words “It is finished!"

Does this mean we should not rely entirely on the Roman Bible?

No, rather it means that before engaging in biblical debates, it's important to pray for discernment and study the Hebrew texts in order to better understand the Scriptures.

We will not go into further detail. But on the basis of logic and reason, we will try to understand the meaning of this statement according to what is written in the Roman Bible. If YESHUA's death was not a random act, and if ELOHIM is not in contradiction with his own decrees, then there must necessarily be a logical reason for the feeling of abandonment as the Bible teaches us.

But why did He utter these words if He was God?

If we are right that it is ontologically impossible for the Word of ELOHIM to die physically, then the only logical explanation is that on Mount Golgotha a sovereign separation took place between the heavenly Word of the Most High and His human flesh.

Before continuing, it's important to keep these 3 facts in mind:

  1. ELOHIM is an indivisible triune entity. YAHWEH The Father (the thinking head), YESHUA The Son (The Word made flesh) and RUACH The Holy Spirit (His presence that makes it a reality).

  2. YESHUA's death had already been foretold.

  3. It is ontologically impossible for The Word of God to die.

The Bible teaches that when The Word of ELOHIM entered Creation in the person of YESHUA, it was the true light that enlightens men to the righteous path. The term “light” is not limited to light in the physical sense, but also alludes to what is true in the intellectual sense, and holy spiritually.

  • Psalm 36:9 "For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light."

  • 1 John 1:7 "But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin."

  • 1 John 1:5 "And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you: God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.."

  • John 1:9 "The true Light who gives light to every man was coming into the world."

And, as previously mentioned, YESHUA had a human nature added to His divine essence, so that He would not be something different from the rest of humanity, and be able to offer Himself as a sacrificial substitute for our sins.

  • Hebrews 2:17 "For this reason He had to be made like His brothers in every way, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, in order to make atonement for the sins of the people."

If YESHUA was the Word that enlightens mankind, why is it that before He felt this sense of abandonment, there was darkness as He lay dying on the cross, and not after His death?

YESHUA was crucified at 9am and died at 3pm. Yet between noon and 3 p.m., for 3 hours, darkness covered the whole earth while He was still agonizing on the cross. 

  • Mark 15:33 "From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land."

If it's true that it's ontologically impossible for the Word of ELOHIM to die physically, then the only logical explanation is that on Mount Golgotha a sovereign separation took place between the heavenly Word of the Most High and his human flesh. Indeed, YESHUA's heavenly essence had to leave his holy human body (temple), in order to allow that body to die physically. This could justify the feeling of abandonment and estrangement. If you read Psalm 22 carefully, which illustrates how YESHUA felt at the moment of His death, you'll notice that He no longer spoke of His oneness with the Father, but pleaded not to be estranged from His divine essence, which He had been imbued with all His life,

Psalms 22:1-19

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? why are you so far from helping me?, and from the words of my groaning? ... But you are holy, O you that inhabit the praises of Israel... But you are he that took me out of the womb: you did make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts. I was cast upon you from birth: you are my God from my mother's womb. Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round about. They gaped on me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my body. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue clings to my jaws; and you have brought me to the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me. I can count all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots for my clothing. But be not far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste you to help me."

Here, it's important to understand that the body or temple of Christ did indeed experience unprecedented suffering during all these events, and this in order to validate the imputation of Adam's sin.

  • Romans 5:19 "For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous."

Through the person of YESHUA, YAHWEH empowered His Word to exist on its own, and to speak for itself as its own authority. The Word is in YAHWEH, It comes from Him, It is God and It has the authority to judge men.

  • John 5: 26-27 "For as the Father has life in Himself, so also He gave to the Son to have life in Himself. And He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man."

  • John 5:21-22 "For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom He wishes. Furthermore, the Father judges no one, but has assigned all judgment to the Son."

  • Matthew 28:18 "Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.."

  • John 18:37 "Jesus answered. “For this reason I was born and have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to My voice."

  • Isaiah 45:23 "By Myself I have sworn; truth has gone out from My mouth, a word that will not be revoked: Every knee will bow before Me, every tongue will swear allegiance."

To take away YESHUA's divinity is to render YAHWEH's Word meaningless. To doubt YESHUA is to doubt The Word of God. To reject YESHUA is to reject The Word of God. To mock YESHUA is to mock The Word of God.

Give it some thought ...

May the Holy Spirit guide you in the understanding of this message.

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