Did God forsake Jesus on the cross?

The Nugget:

Mat 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?

My Comment:

This text of Scripture has been misunderstood and mistranslated in virtually all English Bible translations.

The translations we trust are faulty here, probably because of a built-in but unrecognized doctrinal bias in favor of a very mistaken Penal Satisfaction theory of the Atonement.

The more I study the Greek text with the help of the Lavender Translation and my shelves of Greek grammars, the more I come to see that we are almost hopelessly entangled in doctrinal error based on a tradition that takes us back not to the Bible, but to Anselm, who wrote a volume attempting to answer the question “Why did Christ have to die?”

This systematic error makes it much more difficult to present the Gospel in its fullness here at home and on the mission field.

Case in point:  on a Facebook website discussion in a group called “Christianity and Islam Friendly Debate” a Muslim from Bauchi, Nigeria, posted this question:

“If Jesus died willingly and deliberately for the sins of others, why he prayed to God to escape him from dead?”

In other words, “Why did Jesus pray to God to keep him from dying?” is what I think the poster might have meant. It is hard to tell.

I answered, “Your question is not clear to me. Jesus prayed, ‘If it be possible.’ Jesus prayed ‘if it be thy will.’ If we consider John 10:18 and context and Hebrews 12:1, 2 we find Jesus voluntarily gave Himself for us, and did so with joy.”

In a following comment, the poster asks “How do one imagine that God will cry to another God for help?” with a citation of Mark 15:34 and a reference to Matthew 27:46.

He further comments, “I think no Christian in his sense could believe that his God was crying for help from another God. If you are one of those that believe Jesus as God you better change your mind before you die.”

I commented:  “It would help very much if you understood the New Testament more accurately.”

In reply, the poster said to me, “empty words the Bible says let no one to deceive you with empty words.”

My Response:

In the first place, Saraki Saraki, our usual translations of Matthew 27:46 into English and no doubt into other languages do not properly convey the intended meaning of the original Greek text. Here is a much better translation:
“My God! My God! Why did you leave me in this circumstance?”
The words “did You leave…in this circumstance” translates Egkataleipes, an aorist active indicative from evgkataleipo, egkataleipō. The term is a compound word made up of en (in), kata (down, downwards), and leipō (to leave). So in keeping with its definitive characteristics, the word means to leave in some circumstance.
Noted Greek grammarian Moulton in volume 2, section 118a on page 305 notes this word points “to the plight in which the victim is left.”
The meaning in the context of Matthew 27:46 is that Christ was left in the redemptive role.
The Father did not forsake the Son on the cross. This is a popular heresy that denies the Unity of the Trinity, the Oneness of God at Calvary, and the Immutability of the Godhead.
As generally but wrongly translated, this verse gives support to the penal atonement theory–that Christ was punished in atonement. In order for Christ to be punished, He must be “made sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21, another instance of gross mistranslation, where “made sin” should be translated “take sin”), the basis on which the Father is said to have “forsaken” the Son.
The Father did not forsake the Son as He was dying on the cross, in the very act of reconciling the world to Himself (see 2 Corinthians 5:18, 19).
There is much more to be learned from the Bible about this most important subject, but to keep this comment from being too long I’ll stop here.

Just now, the Muslim responded with a single word:  “lier.”

I replied, “That is hardly an acceptable reply in a discussion or debate. I documented my assertions with citations both from scholarly resources about Greek grammar, citing Moulton, and citations from the Bible itself. If “lier” is your best response, you have lost the debate!

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