Mar 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?
After my post of October 3, 2017 on Facebook, another Muslim participant replied with several excellent questions.
The Question Posed:
He asked, “What major difference is there between the translation you have given and the popular translation?
“To forsake means: to leave permanently. So it’s just a choice of words.
“Besides, Jesus most likely spoke Aramaic, and most definitely not Greek. So that makes your argument less effective because it focuses on the Greek.
Adil Abdurahman, you ask some very good questions, and make some most interesting assertions.
Jesus certainly spoke Aramaic, but the linguistic evidence demonstrates forcefully and clearly that He knew Greek and spoke Greek as well.
How do we know this? We know this on the basis of certain figures of speech found in the record of what Jesus said. The figures exist in the Greek text, but are so natural to the flow of thought that it is certain they are not the result of “translation Greek.” This, by the way, is a major argument supporting the fact that Matthew was originally written in Greek, and is not a translation from a previous Aramaic source document. [See Nigel Turner, Grammatical Insights, p. 181; Grammar of N.T. Greek, vol. iv. p. 38]
Therefore, the distinctions maintained in the Greek text of the New Testament are intentional distinctions placed there by the authors of those documents. Certain types of distinctions are very, very regular and so cannot be the result of chance or accident. This is particularly the case with the use of the subjunctive mood in Greek, a feature not usually conveyed in English translations, though it is an exceedingly important matter.
“Forsake” is not at all the same as “left” in the context of Matthew 27:46. “Forsake” is actually a wrong translation, though it is the usual one.
Christ was “left,” but in what sense? He was left “in” the redemptive role. The circumstance in which the Savior was left was the act of Atonement through death by bloodshed. Our Lord was not forsaken, abandoned, separated from the Father–impossible. This would require the absurd impossibility that Jesus dropped out of the Trinity, which cannot be because God is in essence and being One. But He was left in the sense of redemption to do the work of redemption. He was left to “tread the winepress alone.” He was left alone to do what only the Incarnate God-man of hypostatical union could do–left alone but not alone. “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9).
There is not the remotest possibility, therefore, that Christ could have been separated from God–the Trinity. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, though distinct in Person, are the same in nature, and thus have no separate existence! The Trinity were one God even as Christ was upon the cross.
The presumption that God must differ from Himself in order to be able to save–Christ made sin, forsaken by the Father–is blasphemy and unbelief! He is a Savior intrinsically! Immutably! Eternally! In and by Himself Exclusively! Herein the Calvary event is rescued from the absurdities of penal atonement imposed on this text (Matthew 27:46; see Mark 15:34).
The same word, egkatelipen, is used of Demas forsaking Paul (2 Timothy 4:10). Thus Paul was “left,” but in what sense? He was “left in the plight” of desertion. The purpose of the “leaving” declares the difference in meaning; Demas’ purpose was “another love,” requiring a separation; God’s purpose was “redemption,” requiring togetherness and oneness.