My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me?
Much is written and discussed about what Jesus has done for us at the time of His suffering leading up to, and including, His death on the cross. I’ve often thought, when we focus ultimately on the cross, that maybe we are overlooking the Lord’s greatest sacrifice of all.
God the Father and Jesus were together, as one, throughout His earthly ministry. Speaking of the disciples and of all Christians, Jesus said to the Father:
“Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom Thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are… Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved Me (John 17: 11-23).”
At this time the Father was in Jesus and Jesus was in the Father.
Jesus went to Gethsemane and prayed: “…being in agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground,” and still, the Father was in Jesus and Jesus was in the Father (Luke 22:14).
When Pilate scourged and beat Jesus, the Father was in Jesus and Jesus was in the Father.
When Pilate’s soldiers “clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head, And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews! And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him. And when they had mocked him” still: the Father was in Jesus and Jesus was in the Father (Mar 15:18-20).
When His hands and feet were nailed to the cross, where He hung suffering and tortured, the Father was still in Jesus and Jesus was in the Father.
As He was dying on the cross saying: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” the Father was in Jesus and Jesus was in the Father.
But, after this, something happened, something profound:
“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? (Mat 27:46).”
For the first time, since He was baptized by John the Baptist, the Father was NOT in Jesus and Jesus was NOT in the Father! It is then that “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, [that He] yielded up the ghost (Mat 27:50).” Jesus died without the presence of God the Father! The greatest sacrifice that Jesus made was to be separated from His Father. Giving up the ghost, He died and descended into hell:
“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? (Eph 4:7-9)”
“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison… Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh... Who shall give account to Him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit (1Pe 4:1-6 & 3:18-19).”
“For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Mat 12:40).”
“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth... ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that He should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him… Because Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption... let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his [David’s] loins, according to the flesh, He would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that His soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption (Acts 2:22-31).”
From this we understand that God the Father departed from Jesus and allowed Him to descend into hell… which, I believe, was the most excruciating part of our Lord’s suffering... namely: being separated from the Father!
How long was Jesus in hell and when did He and the Father become one again? In other words: When did the Father return to be in Jesus and Jesus return to be in the Father? I believe the Bible answers this for us but before I share those scriptures I want to address a question that many people raise at this point: “If Jesus descended into hell then why did He tell the thief on the cross “To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”?:
“And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom (Luk 23:39-42).
So when does Jesus come into His Kingdom? Revelation 11:15 says it plain:
"And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever."
So the thief asked the Lord to bless him at such time that Jesus takes over the "the kingdoms of this world." I believe the sounding of the Seventh Trump also marks the start of the 1000 Year Millennium. The same trump also marks the last-day resurrection/rapture of the saints:
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at THE LAST TRUMP: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we [which are alive] shall be changed (1Cr 15:51-52).”
“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [precede] them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words (1Th 4:15-18).”
This final 1000 Year Millennium of peace and rest is the last of 7 millenniums. The first of the 7 began when Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden. We (in 2011) are just now finishing the 6th Millennium of the 7. One set of seven (of these millenniums) constitute One Week of Seven Days unto the Lord:
"But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day (2Pet 3:8)."
The thief wanted to be included in the coming resurrection which is set to start at the sounding of the 7th Trump, which begins the 7th Day (The Sabbath) of God’s week. As mentioned above, this 1000-year Sabbath Day is commonly known as “The Thousand Year Millennium”. Jesus answered the thief:
"And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43)."
In the Greek "To day" means "this (very) day." Instead of having to spend the next 2000 years in hell (the time between Christ's 1st Coming and His 2nd coming constitutes 2000 years... or 2 of God's days), the thief, because of his faith in Christ, is now allowed to go straight to paradise while awaiting the final Day (God's Sabbath Day of 1000 years marked by the final Trumpet spoken of by Paul...see above). Paradise is where the dead-in-Christ go to await the coming resurrection. Hell is where those go who reject Christ. There they await their coming resurrection:
“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (John 5:28-29)”
The prophet Daniel was told about “The Great Tribulation,” where his people would be delivered. And then he was told:
“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt (Dan 12:2).”
Many think this "day" Jesus speaks of (to the thief on the cross) is the same 24-hour period when Jesus and the thief both died on their crosses. I think, as explained above, it is the 1000 year "day" that Jesus speaks of. The 24-hour theory makes no sense because Jesus did not go to paradise when He died... He went to hell!
Earlier we asked: “How long was Jesus in hell and when did He and the Father become one again?” In other words: When did the Father return to be in Jesus and Jesus return to be in the Father?
“And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: And they shall kill Him, and the third day He shall be raised again (Mat 17:22-23).”
“For as Jonas [Jonah] was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Mat 12:40).”
“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 (Mat 20:18-19).
And so the prophecies were fulfilled:
“…that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures (1Cr 15:3-4)”
So we see that Jesus was resurrected on “the third day” but the scriptures indicate that He and the Father still had not yet become one again and that Jesus had still not returned to be in the Father and with the Father... Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus after His resurrection:
“Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God (John 20:17).”
For some reason Jesus could not be touched until after such time He was reunited (“ascended”) unto His Father. This ascending process happened on “the same day.” Just a few verses later we are shown that Jesus was one with the Father and could be touched:
“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when He had so said, he shewed unto them His hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you. And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. (John 20:19-24).”
Thomas (aka: “doubting Thomas”) did not believe that Jesus had been resurrected. He said he would need to physically touch the Lord’s scars before he would believe. Later Jesus appeared to him. It is plain that Jesus had by now “ascended to” and was one with the Father and Thomas was permitted to touch the Lord:
“Then saith He to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed (John 20:27-29).”
Jesus has conquered the grave and hell! He descended into hell and, after 3 days, was resurrected therefrom and ascended to our Father in Heaven. No matter how low any of us may fall, we have a Redeemer whose mercy endures forever:
“O give thanks unto the LORD; for HE IS GOOD: because His mercy endureth for ever (Psalm 118:1).”
“Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel (Isa 41:14).”
Posted by Clark Callear