Why Hast Thou Forsaken me?

(Matthew 27:46)

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?

The Trinitarian Question

Some questions are answered in the same way that others   are   answered.   This   is   one   of   those   questions. Trinitarians will bring up this argument when they are trying to show that the Father and the Son are two separate and j distinct persons of the triune Godhead. The problem is that | they use this same position for so many scriptures that one answer will always suffice the question that is being asked; namely, the dual nature of Jesus Christ. Let’s take a closer look.

Jesus said “My God my God why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mt. 27:46; Mk. 15:34) This took place as He was dying on the cross upon the hill called Calvary. It is one of the seven things recorded in the bible that Jesus said while He was on the cross.

What we are reading is the story of how Jesus is being put to death, after being brutally punished, for the sins of the entire world. It never gets old to think about the wonderful mercy that Christ displayed for us even while we were yet sinners.

While He was hanging on the cross as He drew near to His sacrificial death, with the weight of the world’s sin upon Him, He looked up and said these words “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani”. These words were interpreted as “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” The question that is then brought to oneness people is “who was Jesus talking to?” If Jesus is God, who was it that He was crying out to?

Their stance is obvious. It is that this shows Jesus talking to the Father, showing that there are 2 separate entities or persons in the Godhead. How then will the “Jesus Only’s” figure this one out?

The Trinitarian Dilemma

When someone raises this question concerning this statement that Jesus made on the cross, they should be prepared to answer some questions themselves; a lot of questions. Not questions about the bible, but about the doctrine that for centuries has been believed on without biblical backing. The doctrine of the trinity finds no support biblically and usually puts its proponents into a position of answering more questions then they ask.

Where Is The Holy Ghost?

For starters, where is the Holy Ghost? Why when showing distinction between persons of the Godhead does the Holy Ghost never seem to be part of the equation? Why is there never a conversation in scripture between the Father and the Holy Ghost? We always see a distinction between the Father and the Son, but never with the Holy Ghost. The reason is simple. The Father is the Holy Ghost! Saying Holy Ghost is the same as saying Holy Spirit. We know that God is a Spirit (Jn. 4:24) and that there is only one Spirit (Ep. 4:4). We know that the Father is holy (Lv. 11:44) so we must assume that the Father is the one Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost. This is why we never see the Father and Holy Spirit communicate with one another, because there is no “one another” at all. It is the same Spirit. There is only one (Eph. 4:4).

This, in and of itself, is proof that the trinity is false, but I will entertain the question anyway, for the sake of the reader.

Who Is Jesus’ Talking To?

Let me be very clear about this next dilemma. Oneness; people believe that Jesus was talking to the Father when He made the statement in question. What I am about to present is only to show the falseness and biblical contradiction of the doctrine of the trinity, not to question who Jesus was talking to.

The trinitarians assume (so do oneness people) that Jesus made this statement to the Father. When the bible declares the Father to be God, it does so rightly, but just to be clear about the definition of the trinity, the word ‘God’ does not automatically mean ‘Father’. This story does not say that Jesus said “Father, Father, why hast thou forsaken me”, but rather “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me”. Biblically speaking there isn’t much of a difference, but when it comes to the dogmatically defined trinity these are two very different statements.

According to the definition of the trinity given to us by the early church fathers at the council of Nicea and in the Athanasius Creed when we use the term ‘God’ we are talking about a triune God who is three in essence. The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost would make up who God is. Three persons. So when Jesus looked up and said “My God, my God…” we must assume (if we are using trinitarian understanding) that He is talking to all three members. He didn’t say Father, He said God. That, by their standard, is three persons Jesus must have been talking to. Was Jesus talking to Himself? Did Jesus forsake Jesus? And we are accused of sounding ridiculous?

When will they learn that they cannot use these standards of doctrine when it is convenient for their stance and throw them aside when it becomes a burden for them?

Co-existence

The next problem the trinitarians find themselves trying to work out is their traditional and essential doctrine of co-existence. This doctrine says that each member of the Godhead is eternally co-existent, meaning that the three exist together, without separation, for all eternity.

If this is true concerning the trinity then we have to ask a major question. How can the Father, who is eternally co­existent with the Son, possibly forsake Him, therefore separating the two? This presents a problem for them on a number of levels. According to this doctrine, wherever the Son is so is the Father. Wherever the Father is, so is the Holy Ghost. Three separate and distinct persons yet they are all eternally together. They cannot be separated. Jesus said that

the Father forsook Him. If this is talking about a true forsaking where God left Jesus, co-existence goes out the window because they cannot co- exist and forsake each other at the same time? The Father’s forsaking of the Son is not consistent with the co-existence of the trinity. Either they are together or they are not together, but it cannot be both.

This is another case of having to choose to believe the bible or the teaching of the trinitarians. It usually bodes well for those who choose the bible.

Forsaken?

Some people teach that the Spirit of God left the body of Jesus while He was on the cross at the point of his death. They say that this is because sin came upon Him and that God cannot come in contact with sin. Therefore, in that last moment of Jesus’ life, when sin came upon him completely and He cried out asking God why He had forsaken Him, the Spirit of God physically departed from the body of Jesus because He cannot touch sin.

The problem that I have with this teaching is that the very thing that made Jesus God was that the Spirit of God dwelt in Him, bodily (Col. 2:9). It is this heavenly infusion that is the core foundation of the fact that Jesus is God in the first place. If God forsook Jesus and left Him hanging there empty, void of the Spirit that was once so pleased to dwell in Him, was Jesus still God on the cross? How could He be? The very thing that made Him God is that the Spirit of God dwells in Him. If the spirit of God no longer dwelt in Him did He surrender His position as the second person of the Godhead for those three days? Does that mean that it was not actually God that made this sacrifice? This would make void any further need to discuss whether or not Jesus is a second person of God or not; now He is not even God at all. This is blasphemy.

So Was Jesus Forsaken?

This action was not as much a physical forsaking as much as it was an emotional abandonment. In everything that Jesus ever went through the Father was there to help. In everything that Jesus ever dealt with the Father was there to comfort Him. In Jesus’ darkest hour of prayer, the Father met Him in the garden. In His wilderness temptation, the angels ministered unto Him at the Father’s beckon call. Now, all of a sudden, in Jesus’ hardest trial, the Father could not help Him. The Father could not do anything for Jesus because it was His destiny to carry the burden of sin. Why wouldn’t Jesus feel forsaken at this moment?

To say that God cannot come in physical contact with sin does not make sense. God is in you and I, and we still sin. We are not perfect; so if God cannot come in contact with sin does God leave us every time we sin? “…Lo, I am with you ALWAY (always), even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Mt. 28:20). “…I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5). Every time you sin does God leave you? Paul said that evil (sin) was always present with him (Rm. 7:21). He even said that sin dwelt in him (Rm. 7:17). Does that mean we don’t have God with us because we have a sin nature? Wasn’t the purpose of this sacrifice to reunite us to Him, rather than to still be separated from us (2 Cor. 5:19)?

God has no problem physically touching sin. God is omnipresent; God is everywhere even in hell according to David (Ps. 139:8). If God is everywhere, surely He has come into physical contact with sin somewhere.

God’s Holy Nature

What then are people talking about when they say that God cannot come in contact with sin? It is His moral excellence. It is His holy nature that cannot endorse, or come into a union, with sin. God will never unify with sin and evil. God has to physically make contact with sin every day because God is omnipresent. Surely He dwells somewhere where sin exists? What He will not do is mingle with it. When Jesus cried out “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me”, it was not that the Father left him physically alone (Jn. 8:29), as much as it was that the Father allowed Him, for the first time, to go through something by Himself. God allowed Him for the first time to feel what it was like to exist without the intervention of the Spirit. Did the Spirit of God literally leave him? No, but for the first time the Spirit of God, because of Jesus’ destiny to save mankind from sin, had to allow Jesus to feel the full sting of death (1 Cor. 15:55). He had to literally be the bearer of man’s sin, without the help of the Father, because He was literally taking man’s place; under the curse of sin, apart from God.

I don’t know about you, but when I’ve done something wrong I feel terrible about it. If I am under some sin, it feels terrible. I would feel terrible about it. I have God inside of me yet would sometimes even question God about why He let it happen to me? That is what sin makes you feel; each is the action of all; the action of all is the action of each. The divine action is essentially one.

dark, alone and separated from God. Now, imagine having to go through that type of experience for sins you did not commit. Imagine going through it not only for one person’s sin, but for the trespasses of entire world from Adam until the very last person that would ever exist. Having the Father inside of you and knowing it, while the weight of sin literally crushes you, yet the Father does nothing about it. Wouldn’t you feel forsaken? Wouldn’t you feel like your father turned his back on you?

Did God physically leave Jesus on the cross alone? No. It was not that at all. It was that Jesus Christ for the first time felt what it was like to do something as a human without His Father helping him, and in that moment, He felt forsaken. Jesus did not get left as a mere human on a cross. He had the Spirit of God still within Him.

Scriptures declares that it was the Spirit of God that raised Jesus from the dead (Rm. 8:11), but Jesus said He would raise His own person from the dead (Jn. 2:19). When He said that if they were to “destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” the bible says that He “spake of the temple of his body” (Jn. 2:19-21). So, who raised Jesus from the dead, the Father or the Son? We know that it was not two different persons doing two distinct actions.

Jesus could never have made this claim had He not been God manifest in the flesh. This was Jesus speaking as God. This shows us that the Father could not have departed from the body of His Son Jesus, because that would mean two distinct persons raised Christ from the dead. Jesus said He would raise His own person from the dead because He knew that the Father would not leave Him; could not leave Him because the Father is His Spirit nature. It was His own Spirit; therefore He could never be alive without it. It is the essence of who He is.

It was only at the point when Jesus died that the Spirit of the Father came out of His body; a dead body. When Jesus said “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” the bible tells us that Jesus “gave up the ghost”, meaning He died (Lk. 23:46). That is when the Spirit of God left the body of Jesus Christ, not when He asked the Father why He was left forsaken.

At that point Jesus had a feeling of forsakenness like He had never felt before because of the heaviness of sin that was upon Him as He carried out His destiny. Jesus was never left alone by the Father. The Father promised that He would never leave us, nor forsake us. That promise included every person, even His own Son (Heb. 13:5).

Unity of Divine Essence

This great understanding does not coincide with the belief in a triune God. The trinitarians hold another doctrine close to their hearts called the unity of the divine essence. This doctrine says that whatever the Father wills, the Son and the Holy Spirit also will. Since they are one, whatever the Father wills, the Son and the Holy Spirit will also. Whatever the Father does, the Son and Holy Spirit do also. There is no will and no action of God the Father which is not at the same time the will and action of God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. You see the unity here? Every action of God is the action of the Three. No one person of the trinity acts independently of or in isolation from the others. The action of each is the action of all; the action of all is the action of each. The divine action is essentially one.

If this is the case then why was Jesus asking inquisitively why the Father was turning His back on Him? I mean, they make no decisions without each other, right? If their minds or wills are in one accord at all times then Jesus would have had no need to ask the Father why He was forsaking Him. It would have been one action being made by the whole Godhead team, including the Son.

Conclusion

So to answer the question of this scripture showing two persons, the answer is no. This does not show two persons of the Godhead. This does show, however, the struggle of Jesus’ humanity as He was forfeiting His life for the sake of mankind. It shows that this was real, flesh humanity that died for our sins. It is a beautiful picture of the dual nature of Christ and that in his humanity, Jesus submitted to the will of the Father to redeem mankind in its helpless state.

I don’t know why anyone would ever want to change this into two persons. It is perfect the way it is. The humble submission of Jesus to the Father’s plan; how incredible! He knew that the Father was in Him and would be with Him forever. He was not forsaken by the Father literally, physically; He was forsaken of him in His emotion and strength. Reading this story, one can almost hear the Father’s heart cry; “I am here with you, and I am always going to be inside of you, but right now I have to let you go through this because you have to fulfill your destiny. I have to let you suffer and feel what this is like, because this is how man will feel for all eternity without me. I have to let this crush you. I have to literally let this kill you because through this, you are going to save the world.” The agony that He allowed His own flesh to feel was excruciating. I imagine it was hard, but He never gave up and came off of the cross. He did that for us. How amazing? What a beautiful picture of God going the distance to reconcile our relationship with Him. I don’t see why anyone would want to have it any other way.

Scripture References

Mark 15:34

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

John 4:24

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Ephesians 4:4

There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are catted in one hope of your calling;

Leviticus 11:44

For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Colossians 2:9

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Hebrews 13:5

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Romans 7:21

I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with
me.

Romans 7:17

Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

2 Corinthians 5:19

To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

Psalms 139:8

If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

John 8:29

And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

I Corinthians 15:55

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? Romans 8:11

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

John 2:19-21

Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body.

Luke 23:46

And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

Published by

Dr. Larry L Yates

Dr. Larry L Yates is a Minister, Author and Bible Teacher with Doctorates in Theology, Religion, and Ministry. He is President of Mineola Bible Institute as well as a member of the Board of the International Apostolic University-London, in the UK. He is the author of numerous books on apostolic theology, prayer, and healing.

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