Declaration of Psalm 22
Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Well, after a few years of listening to multiple sides of this scripture in the Church, the Helper helped reveal something. I’m not going to say “I have the answer! You must get this! This is the truth!” I’m only sharing what the Lord showed me via a prayerful request for Teaching on this scripture. The Lord’s answer was – pay attention to the context.. Huh, imagine that…
I started to study the scripture with many commentaries. The disagreements on the scripture were evident in the commentaries as well. At this time, I was in email communications with a brother on this scripture. I had a response typed up, but as I looked it over, I realized that my response was the same ol’ same ol’ separation. I then prayed and asked God for His help in understanding. He said: look closer at the context. So I backed up and read –
Matthew 27:39-43 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.
I placed myself into the environment. All along, the chief priests, elders, scribes, pharisees, etc. did not believe in Him and were trying to find fault with Jesus time and time again. Also, Jesus continually was shining a light on their wicked ways and their lack of understanding scripture. Thus, I considered this and the whole scope of what was going on – The context.
Now, in the context of the scripture, they reviled (defamed, railed) Him, and were wagging their heads. They were mocking Him. I held onto the remembrance of the mindsets they are in, one of mocking. I did not forget the entire scope of the characters that were involved and what previously transpired between Jesus and the Jews. There is a pattern of how they addressed Jesus, as well as how Jesus responded.
Regardless of how I feel about the priests, elders, scribes, pharisees, etc., because of what they did to Jesus, I know that they revered the scriptures and knew them very well. I have no reason to believe that they would purposely use the Word of God in jest to mock someone. Sure, they were mocking Him because of disbelief in Jesus being the Son of God, but they still believed in God and His Holiness. It would be very uncharacteristic of them to use the Word of God in a mocking manner.
This is what I felt that the Spirit showed me – that they unwittingly used the Word of God during their mocking. Let us not forget who they are speaking to… The Word.
In verses 39-42, they said: save thyself, come down from the cross, you saved others, but cannot save yourself. If you be the King of Israel, come down from the cross and we will believe you. The context is obvious, they are mocking and are not using scripture (as they knew it). Their context of mocking continue into verse 43 –
Matthew 27:43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.
Oh oh! Did you catch this? Here, let me repeat their words again –
Psalms 22:8 He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.
In the midst of their mocking, it appears to me that they were on a roll (vs 39-42) and then unwittingly spoke the Word to the Word in their continuance (vs 43). Jesus obviously recognized it. At this point, it appears to me that Jesus was responding to their initiation of Psalm 22 by making a declaration of Psalm 22 –
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?
Psalms 22:1a My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
I see Jesus making a declaration of Psalm 22 – As if He said, “Yes, Yes. It is I that is written of by the Psalmist.” Most are in agreement that Jesus was referring to Psalm 22 when He spoke those words on the cross. The question is, was Jesus’ response a prayer to God or was it in response to hearing the Word from Psalm 22 by the mockers? They obviously initiated Psalm 22, not Jesus. Let the Word decide for you.. Prophecy and then fulfillment –
Psalms 22:16-18 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
Matthew 27:35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.
What I find very interesting is the very next response from those that stood around. Who is standing around? Well, the scribes, pharisees, chief priests, etc. You see, they knew the Word very well. Put yourself in their shoes. Mocking Jesus, not believing any of this. Then they speak the Word unwittingly, Jesus responds with a declaration of Psalm 22. They very well recognized Psalm 22 when Jesus spoke. They were busted. “Oops”. What would a mocker do in this case while they are in front of many others? What does a hider/deceiver do in such a case? They cover their tracks by redirecting the focus away from Psalm 22 and say something like “He is calling out to Elias” maybe? –
Matthew 27:47-50 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him. Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
So there ya have it. What say you?
Joseph, this is an interesting and parallel way of understanding this verse, and I am beginning to see there are various parallel ways of interpreting many verses. By parallel, I mean something that glides well alongside the verse. It fits well on the wings of the verse.
In the verse, our Substitute is ‘forsaken’ so that we may not be. He was forsaken in the sense that our Jesus no longer felt the presence of his God within him. This caused him the deepest of distresses. Jesus had known the Father from the beginning of the allness, but now Jesus was left behind so to speak, for a time, while on the cross.
While Jesus may have understood this was going to happen before He went to the cross, and also why it would happen, he was now left comfortless on the cross. God, as we know, turned His face from the sin on the cross. Jesus became sin, and God turned away. God forsook Jesus in the sense that their eternal bond was broken. Jesus’ relationship with God was no longer reciprocated by God, or at least for the time it seemed that way.
Jesus was man enough to take the physical pain, at least barely, and he was not mainly referring to being forsaken because of his outward condition. He knew all along that the physical pain would be intense, and this was no suprise to him.
What Jesus did not know while on the cross was why God had turned away from him. Jesus was wondering if there was some small failing on his part. This is why he asks ‘why?’. He simply does not know, and because he had to suffer in the way that man suffers, he was not allowed to understand the reason for God’s absence from him. Besides this, he was also probably getting a little fuzzy on why he had to suffer so much externally. And he was not pleased that most of his disciples were not there for him in his hour of destruction. Jesus had to suffer in the way man suffers, without knowing why, to be our substitute. And he had to entertain the possibility that he may have failed God, just as we know we have not always pleased him.
God, through Jesus, experienced the Agony no other could.
God bless your writings, Mark
Hey brother Mark.. thanks for your response! I love digging into this stuff.
I hear what you’re saying, that is one of the views that I have studied: Jesus became sin, God turned away from Jesus, Jesus no longer felt the presence of God. I am challenged with that view/those words because I cannot find them in scripture. It sounds good, but the scripture doesn’t say it any where.. only men say it. I an very open to such a view if I can be convinced with doctrinal discussions and not with rationalizations.
Here are a couple of my challenges –
If God left Jesus, wouldn’t it make sense that He would have given up the Holy Ghost, and then cried that out? The Holy Ghost was still with Him till the end, vs 50 – Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. If God turned away, He turned away from His Son and the Holy Ghost.. This appears impossible when we consider the Trinity. It would seem a better fit if the scripture said that He gave up the Ghost, felt the lack of God’s presence, and then cried out.
I also am challenged with understanding how He did not know what was happening with the sin laid upon Him (again, none of these words are found in scripture, only from men). On the contrary – Matthew 20:17-19 And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.
If He knew He was going to be crucified and rise 3 days later, knew someone would betray Him, would be lifted up like the serpent in the desert, etc., how could He not understand His sacrifice and the sin? John the Baptist understood this, but Jesus did not? – John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Jesus fully knew God’s will..
I’m very open to further understandings, but only by use of reasoning scripture. If it’s said by men and has no scriptural backing that is discussed, I can’t let it in..
I’m glad others have considered this view. Most of the translations have Jesus yielding up his spirit or the ghost. I wonder if perhaps the same word is used for spirit and ghost because our spirit is what we have while we are alive, and the ghost is what is us when we leave the body? Just guessing. But I see no reason to insert the word ‘Holy’ before spirit or ghost. Jesus gave up his spirit/ghost, in other words his inner being left his body.
We would have to assume that Jesus understood completely why He had to go to the cross…beforehand. However, did He know beforehand that God was going to turn His face away from Him to the point of leaving Him without the Holy Spirit on the cross? Quite probably. It would explain his tears in the garden of Gethsemane, and his sweat being like drops of blood. He knew the test would be total.
What I am proposing is that while Jesus was on the cross, Jesus was not in full fellowship with God, but only because God had turned away from Him. And at this point, Jesus no longer is necessarily remembering what He knew beforehand, because God had taken it from memory. As the wrath of God was laid on Christ, God took the benefits of being the Son of God away from Christ. So, God withheld from Jesus (only while he was on the cross) the understanding of why the Holy Spirit had left Him. And so Jesus basically asks why has the Holy Spirit left me? Have I left something undone? Is something amiss? Jesus was doubting himself perhaps, but not God. This was part of Jesus’ allotment of suffering, having to doubt Himself just as we do.
So it is likely that again, only while on the cross, God had erased from Christ’s mind why he needed to suffer so, at least partly. Jesus quite possibly could have retained some understanding of why this was necessary while on the cross, but because of the physical pains and the loss of the Holy Spirit for the time being, Jesus may have been becoming less sure about why the whole thing was happening. Intense pain had its way of making Jesus (and us) question things without necessarily leading to entertain doubts about God.. You have to understand, that for Jesus to give a complete sacrifice, He had to have doubts about why this process was necessary. If he suffers while knowing why he suffers, it is not a total surrender and sacrifice. God asks us to suffer while we often do not know why we suffer, and Jesus was asked to suffer likewise. For God to ask less than this of Jesus gives us doubts about the greatness of His sacrifice. We are left asking if God made it easier on Jesus in other ways also.
This in no way diminishes your original post concerning this verse…your understanding of this verse does not negate this interpretation, so there is no competition between us so to speak in our viewpoint on this verse.
Keep on the Jesus truck, Mark
good point on the adding of ‘Holy’ to the scripture.. The word is used widely as the Holy Ghost in scripture, but I did a search and see it also refers to man’s spirit. Here is the definition of the word used in Mt 27:50 –
Strong’s Greek Dictionary
4151. πνευμα pneuma
Search for G4151 in KJVSL
πνευμα pneuma pnyoo’-mah
a current of air, i.e. breath (blast) or a breeze; by analogy or figuratively, a spirit, i.e. (human) the rational soul, (by implication) vital principle, mental disposition, etc., or (superhuman) an angel, demon, or (divine) God, Christ’s spirit, the Holy Spirit:—ghost, life, spirit(-ual, -ually), mind.
It can be either or. Regardless, a good discussion. I would really like to tear this down again some day. It’s a good discussion.
Also, I do not have enough knowledge to say this is true or not, but I have heard of this on more than one occasion – the Jews were generally well educated and put a great deal of effort into knowing the Psalms. As instruction, the rabbi would simply recite the first line of a particular Psalm, expecting his students to simply know the rest of it from their studies.
It is very interesting to look at the Psalm in the context of how they were ridiculing Him on the Cross… and then right after they used a verse from Ps 22, Jesus recites the first verse.. Basically saying, “Yep…”
Interesting enough, while doing some reading this morning about Jesus ‘becoming’ sin (not biblical) versus the ‘sin offering’ (scripturally accurate), I came across this –
Psalm 22 is referred to previously in the same passage. The common Jewish way of designating an entire psalm was to refer to the opening lines, since the psalms were not numbered at that time. – I firmly believe that because of the Priests/Pharisees that referred to Ps22 in the midst of their mocking, that Jesus gave out the first verse to designate the Psalm to this moment of time..
Anyways, this surely is interesting stuff.. I believe the view of Ps22 fully lines up with scripture and is obvious without the need of adding words to it for an explanation.. Whereas the other view, many words of men are added – “God turned away from the Son on the cross” <– those words cannot be found in scripture. Jesus "became" my direct sin <– cannot be found in scripture. Through study of the text, He became the sin offering, not the literal sin.. And this view lines up with scripture and the sacrificial system…
I'm a bible believing Christian.. When a single word is added to scripture to explain it, I do not take it in and I stand against it. It is not wise for me to take on the words of men for understanding. If the words of men were explanatory with the source being scripture, showing definitions, and cross referencing with other scripture.. by all means.. My ears open up. Until someone takes such action, I find the words as words of men.. not truth.
I also wanted to expand on Jesus 'becoming sin'. This view is also not scripturally accurate. In the Word, there is a difference between being cleansed of our sins via the blood of a ‘sin offering’ (atonement) versus a sacrifice literally taking our sin and becoming our sin. A view of a sacrifice becoming our sin is contrary to scripture.. Our sin was not transferred from us to Jesus (literally speaking).. He did not become my sin, He cleanses us of our sin by being the sin offering.
I.e. I commit theft. That specific sin, which I have chosen, I am responsible for. It is on my own head. That sin, literally speaking, cannot be pulled out of me.. and placed on someone else as if they were the one who made the choice to sin. See the scriptures at the bottom of this response for proof of such.
Lastly, this verse: 2 Corinthians 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. – it requires study. The words, “..to be sin”, you will see that to be is italicized in many bibles. Those are added words. The true meaning behind this verse is “For He has made Him to be a sin offering for us..”
Isaiah 53:4-6 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 turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
This takes great study of the sacrificial system, atonement, and scripture to fully understand atonement. Christ didn’t become sin, He was the sacrificial Lamb, the offering of blood for MY sin.. As in, the thing that was transferred to him was the penalty for my sin, not my sin directly/literally..
“The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father; neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” Ezekiel 18:20
“The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.” Deuteronomy 24:16
“Far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked. That be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Genesis 18:25
“What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge? As I live, saith the Lord God, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. Behold all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth it shall die…The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father; neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” Ezekiel 18:2-4, 20
“He shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live. As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did all that which is not good among his people, lo, even he shall die for his iniquity. Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live. The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father; neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” Ezekiel 18:17-20
“But he slew not their children, but did as it is written in the law in the book of Moses, where the Lord commanded, saying, The fathers shall not die for the children, neither shall the children die for the fathers, but every man shall die for his own sin.” II Chronicles 25:4
“Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?…Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal? Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.” Ezekiel 18:25, 29-30
“The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Ezekiel 18:4
“I will judge every one according to his ways.” Ezekiel 18:30
First of all I want to say that I believe your interpretation, your original post, reflecting on Psalms 22, is a revelation from God. We always love to get these kinds of understandings, gleaming from God’s word through the spirit.
Joseph, shall we just agree to believe what we shall until God shows us differently? I write also for your readers who may struggle with this verse. If my writings work for them or for you, it is well. If not, then we both have attempted to illuminate the Word, and this is also fine.
I only try to write to make sense of a verse which indicates that Jesus was somehow, in some way, forsaken. Somehow this verse does not need to be taken this way by you. That is fine with me. But is it okay if I interpret it literally, and also accept what I believe is a revelation from God to you?
I am merely trying to take a verse literally and explaining it as best as I may.
Whether Jesus became sin or was simply a sin offering, you know, all of this is complex ground for me, especially when one includes what seemed to have transpired on the cross. Either way, it does not change the analysis. I favor a literal belief that God in some way forsook Jesus, that Jesus knew quite well this was happening to him, and I have to believe Jesus’ analysis of the situation.
If Jesus was simply a sin offering, so be it, but he also seemed to have been forsaken in some way, shape, or form.
Look, what you write, you hope it falls on ears which will hear as the Spirit wills. So also do I. Jesus is Lord either way.
God bless, Mark
I agree, it is for the Lord to reveal to people, but.. wouldn’t it be wise to study to show ourselves approved unto God, workmen that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth?
Having 2 different views is not good for any readers out there.. The door is wide open for someone to grab onto something that isn’t truth. You and I are responsible.. so we should be careful here. But yes, I agree, we surely should not get into strife, debates, etc… but, we should edify one another and the readers by studying and revealing the single truth behind it.
I suggest the same for any readers, to pray on this and do not accept either side until the Spirit of Truth reveals it to you.
I think we would be better off digging into scripture with one another, praying over it, laying ourselves down, and asking the Spirit of Truth to reveal to us.. – John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
That’s what they did in the early Church.. broke bread, prayed, searched the scriptures, etc. And I’m sure one day, a man was prideful and said, “Nope… I’ll just create my own doctrine.” Thus, denominationalism.
Bless you too Mark.. Love ya brother.. May peace, grace, mercy and love be multiplied unto you and yours.
Hi Joseph, a son of the unity of the faith.
Yes, I think also it is better to lean on the Spirit. Love of the Father, Son and the Spirit of Truth is greatly valued by the Lord. From this all things are possible. Mark
Hi again Joseph,
Reading your last comment again I see that you wanted to get into this discussion more… I at first too quickly read your “we should not get into strife, etc.” and assumed it was good (and maybe agreed upon) to close this up.
There are other verses I could bring to bear on this but it only supports my contention indirectly. For me to hash this out more would make it look like I need people to agree with me. If we were all theologians on this site, I might think differently, and pursue more discussion. But I think as it stands we might get into nit picking about this. I do not wish to decide other people’s truths here, rather just to open up possible directions of thinking. Brothers, Mark.