The Cry of Triumph

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?

Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

In studying and understanding Jesus Christ's cry of triumph it is important to remember certain basic keys to Biblical research.

  1. The difficult verse must be understood in light of the many clear verses.
  2. The words used in a verse must be in harmony with the rest of the verse as well as all the Scripture relating to the same subject.

Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34 are verses in the Word that stick out like a sore thumb. These two verses as translated in the King James version of the Bible indicate a "cry of defeat" and as such have mislead readers for centuries.

At the time indicated in these verses Jesus Christ had gone through nearly 40 hours of interrogation, mockery, beatings, and sufferings without a complaint. Yet now it would appear that he, with a loud voice, was accusing God of deserting him. The erroneous belief that God forsook Jesus has been explained by the rational that "Jesus became sin, and God cannot stand sin, therefore He left him to die alone." This idea contradicts every other related Scripture in the Word of God.

In purpose God and Jesus Christ were totally united. Would a loving father forsake an obedient son in hour of need? God indeed was with Christ as he was dying on the tree.

Matthew 26:53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions [72,000] of angels?

God would have given Jesus 72,000 angels if he would have asked. He could have walked out of the situation at any time. If Jesus Christ always did those things that pleased God, if he always did God's will, then he must have been doing God's will when he was dying on the tree.

Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34 should have attracted our attention because of the foreign words left in the verse by the translators. These words, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani, are not Greek words - they are Aramaic words. Aramaic is called Hebrew in the King James version because it was the language spoken by the Hebrew people. Aramaic and Hebrew are closely related languages. The language that Jesus spoke was Aramaic. These Aramaic words show up in the King James version because the original Greek translators were not certain of their meaning. The Greek translators left the Aramaic words in the text and then added in Greek what they thought the words might mean. Later the King James translators translated the Greek words and left the Aramaic as they found them in the Greek text. There are other examples in the New Testament where Aramaic words are found left in the text.

Romans 11:4 But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.

The word reserved in Romans 11:4 is from the root shbq. The Hebrew counterpart to this Aramaic word is found in I Kings 19:18 which is being quoted in Romans 11:4. In all of its uses it has the meaning of to keep, to reserve, or to have left over. It never means to forsake.

"Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice and said, Eli, Eli, lemana shabakthani! My God, my God, for this I was spared! This was my destiny."

Quoted from the Holy Bible From Ancient Eastern Manuscripts by George M. Lamsa.

Dr. Lamsa translated Matthew 27:46 from the Aramaic Peshitta text to express its literal meaning. It was a cry of triumph! Jesus Christ was dying on the tree for your sins and mine. In his last hours he cried with a loud voice:

"My God, my God, for this purpose I was spared. This was my destiny!"

The use of the Aramaic word lmana makes this declaration a question. As a question it is the figure of speech - erotesis - which is a rhetorical question asked for effect rather than for an answer. The proper translation would then read:

"My God, my God, What was the purpose for which I was spared?"

"What was my destiny?" To die for mankind!

II Kings 7:3 contains another example of the figure of speech erotesis. Four leprous men at the entering of the gate of the city asked: "Why sit we here until we die?" The question was not asked for an answer but rather for effect. It means literally: "There is no sense of our sitting around here until we die!" Erotesis - (rhetorical questions) - are used to emphasize the literal truth. By using this figure Jesus Christ put extra emphasis on his cry of triumph: THIS WAS MY DESTINY!

As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country. Proverbs 25:25

Cortright Fellowship
© Copyright March 1997 Michael Cortright