Why has thou forsaken me?

The English word “forsaken” as defined in the Webster dictionary means:To abandon, desert, leave, maroon, quit, strand.
These synonyms have connotations that may not reflect the context of the writer. So, to know what the writer really meant, one has to look at the original word from which it was translated to English.

In Mark 15:34,”…My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
The word “forsaken” was from the Hebrew word: “ἐγκαταλείπω/enkataleípō”
Verb eng-kat-al-i’-po
from (1722) and (2641)
from and ; to leave behind in some place, i.e. (in a good sense) let remain over, or (in a bad sense) to desert:–forsake, leave.

From the preceding, it does not appear to make any difference whether one accepts the “good or bad sense” connotation as both meant “to leave”. Since God is “good”, the reason had to be for good, From the story of crucifixion, Jesus was indeed “left” to die. Towards the end of his life, he had to utter those words which must be very important. What was the message he wanted to convey as to why the Father “left” him? That message had to be the essence of why he expressed those words before he died.

From what we know now, it appears to be related to the reason why he had to die. And in a nutshell, one can conclude it to be;
1. For remission of sin. Since Adam sinned and therefore the sin of the mankind was counted to that sin at the garden of Eden, the consequence of death from that sin has to be fulfilled. And, there is no one who could fulfill that punishment except Jesus. A perfect Passover Lamb, the Creator/Logos had to die. This was why YHVH Elohim, a spirit-composed body that is immortal, had to incarnate to man-Jesus, a mortal-body, for him to die. The only reason for his death is substitutionary for our “eternal death”.

2. For mankind to be saved. We are not saved by his death. Rather, according to Paul, we are “saved by his life” Notice, though, that while the immediate effect of Jesus’ death “reconciles” us back to God (2 Cor. 5:15-21; Col. 1:19-20; Heb. 9:19-22), we still need to “be saved by his life”(Rom. 5:10), i.e., Jesus has to be resurrected to life and “go away” to claim the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father in heaven to be sent to us (John 16:7), for a purpose that leads to actual salvation. Without the Holy Spirit in-dwelling in us, we will not be able to express the “fruits of the spirit” summarized as love of God and love for “neighbors”. The Holy Spirit was given to us because of the “faith of Jesus” in the Father to fulfill this promise. This is the “righteousness of God”, based and initiated by faith. With this “love” that no one can provide but God by grace, a gift, we will then be “one” with Jesus and God the Father. “He who overcomes will be given eternal life”(Rev. 2:7).

In summary, the Father “left/forsook” Jesus to die for good reasons.

Why did Jesus call the Father “my God”?

The crux of the question lies on what one understands about the word “God”. This English word is a translation of the Hebrew word “elohim” and the Greek word “theos”.

The original word, has no capital letter. Moreover, the original Hebrew word “elohim” translated to English word “god” is “generic” and not proprietary nor specific. The generic term Elohim refers to the true “God” (2507x), as well as to “gods,” “goddesses,” and things divine or mighty. In total, it occurs 2602 times in the Hebrew bible (Tanach). The word is used for: the true God, false gods, supernatural spirits (angels), and human leaders, viz., kings, judges. The word “god” is used for individual false gods and one goddess — such as Dagon, Chemosh, Baal, Ashtoreth — (1 Sam 5:7; 1 Kgs 11:33; 18:24; 1 Kgs 11:5).

How then can one be certain about what the writer means? Looking at the context and usage, the writer actually identifies which one is referred to, specifically. Read the following:

Gen. 2:4 “… in the day that the LORD God (YHVH Elohim) made the earth and the heavens,”. The generic word “elohim” in Genesis 1 has been further specifically identified as “YHVH Elohim” or “Lord God” in Genesis 2.

“I am YHVH your Elohim . . . you shall have no other elohim in my presence” (Ex. 20:2-3). The translator started with capital letter “E” for “Elohim” and small letter “g” for “other elohim” rendered “other gods” to indicate “false gods” instead of “other God”? Also, “GOD of gods” or literally, “ELOHIM of elohim” (Deut 10:17; Ps 136:2) refer to the supreme or true god. Moreover, YHVH is translated in the Old Testament as “LORD” in English as in the New Testament: Rev. 19:16 “On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords”.(NIV). Rightly so, as the Creator God, the YHVH ELOHIM is also the LOGOS in John 1:1 that incarnated to man-Jesus (anthropos-Jesus, according to Paul).

Ps. 136:2 Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever.(NIV)

He is “one” (echad) as in Deut. 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one” (SHEMA doctrine of the Jews). This is the true God to be worshipped and not any of the various “false gods” referred to at that time. In the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible (the Septuagint), where elohim refers to the true God, the singular theos is used.
Genesis 1:1 Hebrew — “In the beginning, Elohim created the heavens and the earth.”
Genesis 1:1 Greek — “In the beginning, Theos made the heavens and the earth”.

Human Elohim/elohim:
Ex. 7:1 “And the LORD(YHVH) said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god (elohim) to Pharaoh:…”. Moses is elohim to pharaoh because he stands as God’s representative in the court of Egypt

Ex. 4:16 “And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of Elohim (God)”. . Moses is also elohim to his brother Aaron (Exod 4:16), i.e. in God’s place of authority.

The shoftim (governor-judges) of ancient Israel are “elohim”, because they dispense God’s judgments, as in:
“Then his master [adonim] shall bring him to the judges” [elohim]. (Exod 21:6)
“The owner of the house shall appear before the judges” [elohim]. (Ex. 22:8)
“He whom the judges [elohim] condemn shall pay double to his neighbor”. Ex. 22::9)
“You shall not curse the judge [elohim], nor curse a ruler [nasi] of your people.” (Ex. 22::28)

Most importantly, Jesus himself called those Jews “don’t you know that you are gods?”(Ps. 82:6 and John 10:34-35).

The New Testament (which is in the same Koiné Greek as the Septuagint) is specific as to which “god” is referred to. It does not have different words for or spellings of “God”. That is, no singular or plural forms of “theos”. When the NT quotes passages from the Hebrew Bible or the Greek Septuagint that contain the word “God,” it always has the singular noun.

Typically, the word theos distinguishes the Father from Yeshua, his son, as in:
“There is one God, the Father . . . and one Lord, Yeshua Messiah” (1 Cor 8:6). “There is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Messiah Yeshua” (1 Tim 2:5). The “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” or “God of our fathers” is the Father of Yeshua they have in mind (Acts 3:13; 5:30).

A few times, Yeshua is called “God” (John 1:1; 20:28; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1, etc.). But these verses must be viewed within the overall patterns and message of the New Testament in which Yeshua, as God’s Son, Lord, and Messiah, is the Father’s representative embodiment. He is “God” because he is God’s image (Col 1:15; 1 Cor 11:7). And God’s “image” is his Son (as it was on a smaller scale with Adam: Gen 1:26; Luke 3:38, “Adam, the son of God”; 1 Cor 11:7

Had this concept of “god” been understood by Athanasius and Arius, could there have been unity instead of a split of the Christian Church in the 4th century?

Did God create heaven and earth in 6 literal 24 hr-day?

No, to Gen 1:1. Also, “no” to “literal 24 hours” but “yes” to literal “sunset-to-sunset” in Gen 1:2 and onwards. How so?

Reconciling scientific data with what has been biblical understanding is challenging.

On one hand, the omnipotence of Creator God should not be doubted. He can do anything, even in “one day”, except that in wisdom the Gen. Narrative was “6 days and rested on the 7 th day”.

On the other hand, how could one “ignore” dating the “universe” millions of years? To others, that may require “cognitive estrangement to promote suspension of disbelief”.

The argument using 2 Peter 3:8 “A day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day” does not apply as Genesis was very precise, as to “literal day” as in, “And the evening and the morning were the first day”(Gen 1:5).

Could this controversy be resolved by re-analyzing popular concept of Gen 1:1 and 1:2?
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was(hayah) without form (tohuw), and void(bohuw); and darkness(choshek) was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters”(mayim).

Common teaching of these 2 verses was that from “tohuw and bohuw”, heavens and earth were created. Meaning that God started “creating from and with” tohuw and bohuw” already existing. Really? Meaning, God did not create “from nothing”?

This concept does not harmonize with this fact: “By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see “did not” come from anything that can be seen”(Heb 11:3 NLT).

Yes, the Creator Logos can easily say the “word” and things were created. The truth is, He did not need anything to create something. Meaning, that the Creator did not start with “bohuw and tohuw”, not with “choshek” that described something already existing prior to creation.

Also, notice from creation, it started with “good”, not with chaos or destruction. Instead, I Tim 4:4 “For everything God created (or started) is good,…,”

Going through my “memory bank”, there was nothing created that was “originally bad”. But, from the literal “first day through…”, celestial bodies (heavenly) like sun, moon, stars and earth were taught to have started from “waste, ruin, wicked or destruction”. Yet with living things, like plants, animals and man they started and declared from creation as “very good”(mod towb).

Going back to the original Hebrew, and getting the context of Gen 1:1 & 1:2, we can have English translation of “hayah” as “has become”;”tohuw” as “lie wasted”; “bohuw” as “undistinguishable ruin” and “choshek” as “destruction”. The Septuagint and August Dillman translation of the original Hebrew has this rendering.

Contextually and taking translations in consideration, Gen.1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” means they were “very good” when it started “from nothing”. This could be millions of years ago as far as to human concept of time. In fact, the creation was originally “very good” that the angels who were already created, “sang together…and shouted for joy”(Job 38:7). Even Satan(bad) originally was Lucifer(good).

Then, something happened between verses 1 & 2, that resulted in Gen 1:2 “And the earth has become (hayah) wasted (tohuw), and indistinguishable ruin(bohuw); and destruction(choshek) was upon the face of the deep”. Because of celestial upheaval, the sun, moon, stars and earth that were already created “good” became “ruin, chaotic” and “darkness” prevailed. After that “destruction”, was “cleansing” in v-2 that started on the literal “first day” as in “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters(mayim or waste)”. The Spirit of God “cleanse the waste”. The living things like plants, animals, humans were actually created on “literal” “sunset-to-sunset” days, as “very good”.

This pattern of creation was also shown in the creation of man as originally “very good”, then because of sin became “marred clay” which was “re-conformed” (renewed, restored) by the Potter (Jer.18:4; Heb 2:6; Ps.8:4) into the “likeness of Christ (Rom 8:29) to bring many sons to glory” (Heb 2:10).

Trees in the garden of Eden

As for me, the narrative in the garden of Eden about the tree of life and the tree of good and evil summarizes the basic foundation of the plan of God, from the beginning, and revealed what actually is the “gospel of the kingdom of God”.

Notice that Adam & Eve had a choice, viz., to “eat all in the garden including the fruit of the tree of life that will make them immortal but not that of the tree of good and evil, also in the midst of the garden, that will make them “like us”, but when eaten they “will surely die”(Gen 2:9, 16; 3:3-5).

As important as that forbidden fruit was, more disturbing was why Adam & Eve chose and prioritized that one, regardless, and risked the consequence of death by so doing? Why not the tree of life that would have made them immortal and be spirits like the angels and then afterwards the “wisdom fruit”? Obviously, God planned us to be “immortal” but not like the angels because the world to come will “not be subject to angels”(Heb 2:5).

In contrast, to the “immortal fruit”, “eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil” would make them “like Elohim”; so they wrongly thought and prioritized. They believed this lie from Satan that, even by violating that command “not to eat” the forbidden fruit, they would not die and continue to live in the garden of Eden so they can afterwards eat the ” fruit of the tree of life”. Hence, prioritizing “wisdom”, the “knowledge of good and evil” over “tree of life”.

Elohim, being the omnipotent, omniscient and Creator/Word of all, their “desire” was understandable. But the action they took to be “like Elohim” was misplaced. God practically was saying, ” this is not the way to be like me”. The Serpent hoodwinked them into believing a lie that appealed to their “desire”.

Notice the plan of God in the creation narrative:
1. He created the non-living, like the planets (universe), then,
2. He created the living, like the plants and animals and different species within their “own kind” (principle of Genetics established); the plant kingdom and animal kingdom.

Much like darkness (non-living), the Word/Creator then said, “let there be light”. Darkness then light, non-living then life. After creating living plants and animals, the Word/Creator said, let us make man in “our image”, i.e. in the image of the Creator Elohim/YHVH, “like us”, not in the image of angels nor the “animal kingdom”.

Notice that YHVH was not creating spirit-beings, like angels. They were already created way before any other living creation. Nor was he creating a “human kingdom” or another animal kingdom.

History shows that all “human kingdoms” failed from 1st Adam, Tower of Babel, Babylonian and its succession of kingdoms, Israel under Saul, etc. Even towards the “ten toes” (Daniel 2:19-45). His plan was for man to be like him (Elohim), a new creation, a “kingdom of God”, not a human kingdom, much different and above angelic beings or “angelic species”. This is the “gospel of the kingdom of God”.

In retrospect, the Serpent wanted Adam & Eve to die as he wanted the man Jesus also to die, not knowing that by Jesus dying, death has no longer a “hold on him” and by extension on us, as in, “death where is thy sting”(I Cor 15:55-56). He lied, being the father of liars (John 8:44), tempted Adam & Eve that they would not “surely die” (Gen 3:4-5) and raised up the ante that they will be “like Elohim knowing good and evil” by eating the forbidden fruit. The temptation by the Serpent (without him realizing it) actually, was acting out and aligned with the plan of YHVH, although violating the strategy for achieving this goal. Remember, Satan is an Adversary, very astute, cunning and manipulative but nonetheless wrong and opposite to God’s strategic plan. Satan did not fully understand the depth and breadth of God’s plan. True, “little knowledge is dangerous”.

In summary, the timetable for humans to be “like him” required the incarnation of YHVH to the man-Jesus who came “from above”, a “temple not made by hands”. This was not “of works” of Adam or any man; it is a gift of God by grace, an expression of love. Adam was indeed forbidden to do this on his own as he was a man “from the ground”(Gen 2:7), not “from above” as Jesus was. This man-Jesus was initially created below angelic beings (Heb 2:1-10; Ps 8:3-9; ) but subsequently became higher than them when “declared to be Son of God by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom 1:4). The strategy is for Jesus to die for the sin of mankind, as Passover substitute for mankind to reconcile us to God, be resurrected to life, as in “we shall be saved by his life”(Rom 5:10), so that the Spirit could be sent to dwell in us for our development into His body, to be “one” as in, “we shall be like him”(I John 3:2), our Elder Brother in this family of God. After he realized being “Son of God”, he will then ” bring many sons to glory” (Heb 2:10).

The kingdom of God is more than a government of God, more than a place. It is in fact more than a plant kingdom, an animal kingdom, and angelic species. Great destiny and gift for mankind to be in the class of “Elohim” with Jesus and the Father. Let us therefore thank our Elder Brother Jesus and our God the Father.

Do Christians have to follow the Ten Commandments?

The short answer is a resounding Yes!. But why we have to, for what and how?

It was established by Paul that even those who are not Jews follow the Law (Rom 2:14). Even now, there are non-Christians who believe and love their own God and their neighbors. Their “righteousness” however, is not the “righteousness of God” which is reflected through the Holy Spirit as “fruits of the Spirit”. These are the same people who will be rejected by Christ for their “own good works” (Matt 7:21-23) because they were not “works of the Holy Spirit” that God acknowledges. It is God who chooses what he likes and requires, what is acceptable to him, in spite of how good the works are. Remember Abel and Cain? God chose Abel’s offering because it was “by faith”(Gen 4:3-5; Heb 11:4) not Cain’s. The rest of the Bible shows examples of the precept that God alone chooses what is to his liking, no matter what we think.

To start with, everything about our salvation, i.e. becoming a “new creation” members/body of the “kingdom of God”, was done not by you or me but by Jesus, the Messiah, the Logos of John 1 and the Creator Elohim in Genesis 1 & 2. It was all a gift by grace and out of love of the Father as in John 3:16. He is the “righteousness of the Law fulfilled in us” (Rom.8:4). The death of man-Jesus (the Creator God) was substitutionary to pay the penalty of human’s sin, for mankind to be reconciled to the Father. The goal of his death is reconciliation, nothing more. Had he not been resurrected by the Father, Jesus could have died eternally and we are still “dead in sin” (I Cor 15:17). But, because of the Father’s promise of resurrection and the “faith of Jesus” in him, he was made alive. Having been resurrected to life, we “shall be saved by his life”(Rom 5:10).

Notice, the phrase “shall be saved”, meaning future, not yet, or in the process of salvation. But, how are we going to “be saved by his life”, his resurrected life? Remember Jn 16:7; 15:26; 14:16? He was resurrected for this very purpose, i.e., for the promised Holy Spirit to be sent and dwell in us, for us to “be endowed” with power , starting at Pentecost (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4; Gal 3:14). We received this Holy Spirit not by (our) works of the law but by “faith of Jesus” (Gal 3:2).

Why do we need the Holy Spirit? As circumcision is a “sign”, the Holy Spirit serves as a “seal” to identify us being in the “body of Christ” (Jn 6:7; 2Cor.1:21-22; 5:5; Eph 1:13-14; 4:30. Aside from that, we need “spirit-power” as the “flesh is weak”, (Matt 26:41). We need the Holy Spirit of power to be used by us to express the “fruits of the Spirit” (Gal.5:22-23). The Holy Spirit gives us “cognition” as to which way to go or do, “conviction” to follow Jesus'(YHVH ELOHIM’s) Law, and “affection” for him and whatever is “good”, giving us the “mind of Christ” (I Cor 2:16).

That said, according to Paul, “the Law is holy” (Rom 7:12, v-14,v-23); nothing wrong with the Law and the Covenant. What was wrong was us, the flesh-nature that we have, that is “weak”. Remember that in Genesis, YHVH made “man (from dust) after his image”, and in the future to be “like him’. But that “clay” was flesh and “weak” so Adam could not be “like him” by his “own works”. It has to be by the “faith of Jesus” that got us to be gifted with the Holy Spirit.

Adam, not knowing his “weakness”, did not “listen and follow” God, so he sinned and was banished from the “garden of Eden”. Adam was separated from God and needs to be “reconciled”. Having been reconciled by Christ’s death, we are now “being saved by his life through the function and power of the Holy Spirit” given to us as promised, to (bring many sons to glory” (Heb 2:10). Therefore, with the power of the Holy Spirit, follow the Ten Commandments as part of our process of “sanctification” (I Cor 6:11; Rom 8:9-11; 15:15-16; 2 Cor 1:21-22; Eph 1:13-14; 2 Thes 2:13; itus 3:4-7; I Pet 1:1-2; 2:9-12; John 17:17; Rom 6:19-22; 8:5-14; Gal 5:16-24; I Pet 2:11; Rom 2:6-7).

With “eyes to see, let him see; ears to hear, let him hear” the truth. 

Mary, surrogate mother of Jesus?

What Gabriel said about the Spirit was how Mary conceived. Aside from that, Mary’s “motherhood” was similar to “surrogacy”. Meaning that, nothing in the “human composition” of Jesus, did an “egg” from Mary or “sperm” from Joseph or anyone, contribute to his being. Remember, he was not of this earth; he was “from above” (Jn 8:23). He was the incarnate YHVH ELOHIM Creator of Gen 1 & 2, the Logos in John 1.

Did Jesus refuse to be “called good”?

In Mark 10:18 Did Jesus actually “refuse to be called good”? What actually was his answer and why? Let us see the testimony of the gospel writers.

Mk. 10:17-29″ And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had † great possessions. And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible. Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s.”
See also Matt. 19:16-22 .

And for the context, please notice the emphasis of the question on “man” Mk. 10:17,”what shall ( I ) do that ( I ) may inherit eternal life?
Also, this trust in what “man” can do was reiterated in Luke 18:9-30, in v-9, “And he spake this parable unto certain which (trusted in themselves) that they were righteous, and despised others…”.
Moreover, in Mk 10:28-29, even when Peter and the disciples claimed that they (humans) left material things for the sake of Jesus and the gospel, He categorically denied that claim. Not so much as the disciples did not forsake material things for Jesus. But what they did, self-sacrifice as those were, would not be the “requisite to have eternal life”.

All the preceding statements attest to the focus of Jesus’ answer. It was to emphasize that “eternal life” is impossible for man (even rich man or apostles they maybe) to achieve on his own. That the “righteousness of God” is not anchored on a human; it is a gift of God and by grace. He was even giving a parallel regarding how ridiculous (and easier) it is for the “camel go through the eye of a needle”. And Jesus knowing that those around him saw him as a “man”, he therefore had to deflect and redirect to a “default answer”, that no man, yes “none is good but God”. Even Jesus, as a man that they see, can not do it. He was there to honor God, his Father.

It is clear that, Jesus did not “actually refuse to be called good”. Rather, he answered the question with wisdom, emphasis and direction on God the Father who is good and who is the only one who can give “eternal life”. There was nothing in the narrative that states or should be assumed that Jesus denied his deity, nor his divinity. He is the Logos in John 1:1, The Lord God/Creator God/YHVH ELOHIM in Genesis who incarnated into man-Jesus, the “same yesterday, today and forever”(Heb.13:8)… and that is a fact.