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Psalm 22, Was the Son Separated from The Father?

A person asked the following question:

>   "Eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani?"  If Jesus was never separated, then he
> could not have been forsaken.  Seems to me, Doug, that you've just chosen
> the other horn of an insoluble dilemma.

I think that the solution is that the saying is a brief quotation of the Messianic Psalm (22). Jesus fulfilled the Psalm by dying and it give great details of His death on the cross. There are a number of ways to go at this one. Bob Passantino has one way to try to avoid the dilema. Bob taught that Jesus was simply making a quotation of Psalm 22 by referring to the first verse. I think his approach can be sustained by a careful reading of the complete passage, but I have a different conclusion and set of reasons than Bob does for this.

Let me try a running commentary and let's see if we agree. Verse 24 is the crucial one. The verses are:

Psa 22:1 To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?

The first verse of the Psalm that Jesus was quoting. In some sense He was forsaken. Was this separation also? That's the big question of the day.

Psa 22:2 O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.

Could be a reference to Gethsemany (night), and the cross (day)?

Psa 22:3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

Not true in the case of Jesus, they killed Him. Again it shows that Israel is those who trust in God and not the natural descendents.

Psa 22:4 Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.
Psa 22:5 They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.
Psa 22:6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.

Jesus was (as described above) at his death.

Psa 22:7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
Psa 22:8 He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.

That is what happened when they walked by Him on the cross. They did just that.

Psa 22:9 But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts.
Psa 22:10 I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother's belly.

Incidently, this verse has been taken to mean that David had faith while in the womb. It is used by the infant baptizers to show that infants can have faith. Not my view, but interesting to see where they get that from, not totally without some support.

Psa 22:11 Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.

All of the disciples left him alone. No man to help Him.

Psa 22:12 Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.

The Romans hung Him after the Jews delivered Him to death. Could also refer to the trial.

Psa 22:13 They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.

Could this be an early reference to the Counterfeit Revival? : )

Psa 22:14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.
Psa 22:15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.

Sounds like the event of the crucifixion to me.

Psa 22:16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.

Pierced hands and feet. Sounds like crucifixion again.

Psa 22:17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.

That must've hurt.

Psa 22:18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

They did something very similar to Christ. He could not have made this happen.

Psa 22:19 But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me.

This one says that God is no far from Him even in death on the cross and that Jesus trusted in God to raise Him from the dead.

Psa 22:20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.

He was already dead before the sword came along. The bodies of crucifixion victims were normally thrown to the dogs, but Jesus was buried in a rich mans tomb (by His [probable] relative Joseph of Arimathaea).

Psa 22:21 Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.

Reference to v 13?

Psa 22:22 I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.

Some would interpret this to be the preaching to the souls in prison during the three days. Others would say this is the resurrection appearances to the disciples. Others would say that it is the ascension. I'm not too sure, but think the first one is the least likely.

Psa 22:23 Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.

We should be happy because of His death we have eternal life.

Psa 22:24 For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.

THIS ONE SAYS THAT GOD DID NOT HIDE HIS FACE FROM JESUS, contrary to Chuck Smith, etc. I think that this verse is conclusive and proves that Jesus was not separated from the Father on the cross.

Psa 22:25 My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him.
Psa 22:26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.
Psa 22:27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.
Psa 22:28 For the kingdom is the LORD'S: and he is the governor among the nations.
Psa 22:29 All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul.

This is all the fruit of the death of Christ.

Psa 22:30 A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.
Psa 22:31 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.

I tend to believe that in some sense he was really forsaken, but most definitely NOT in an ontological sense. He was, is and will always be God.

Further, even though the Psalm 22 does say that he felt forsaken, it also knew that He was not forsaken at all. Also, after the saying Jesus said:

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.

If he was separated from the Father, then he could not have cried to Him and given Him His Spirit (in my view). Some limit the time of the separation to a split fraction of a second to try to get around this. Seems like a stretch to me.

Hence, the forsaking can not mean separation, just the fact that God allowed Jesus to really go through with the very real pain of His death.

Isaiah 53 is a parallel passage.

Isa 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Isa 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
Isa 53:5 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.
Isa 53:6 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.
Isa 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
Isa 53:8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
Isa 53:9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
Isa 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
Isa 53:11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
Isa 53:12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

That tells the same story. Verse 10 really show the exact same event in a parallel passage. Nothing about separation, just that God had pleasure in the death as it brought sons to life.

Copyright 1996-2001 - Douglas Gilliland