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Matthew 27:46

About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" (which means "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?").

In what sense did God forsake His son?

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  • 1
    Jesus does not say that the Father forsook him. He says 'My God'. It is necessary to see that God is both the God of Jesus, as to his humanity - and also (simultaneously) the Father of the Son, in a relationship of Deity. Herein - in this difference - is the answer to the true question : How could God forsake Jesus of Nazareth during his crucifixion ?
    – Nigel J
    Jun 20 at 9:16
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The key to understanding Matt 27:46 is found in Ps 5:4 -

For You are not a God who delights in wickedness; no evil can dwell with You.

At the moment Jesus cried out, " ... why have you forsaken me?" he had become "sin for us" as per 2 Cor 5:21 -

God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

This is known, in technical "theology-speak" as "Christ's imputed sin" via the great divine exchange. We see this referenced several times in Scripture as:

  • Heb 9:28 - so also Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await Him. [That is, at the cross, Jesus was sent to "bear sins of many".]
  • Isa 53: 4, 5, 12 - Surely He took on our infirmities and carried our sorrows; yet we considered Him stricken by God, struck down and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. ... because He has poured out His life unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors. Yet He bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.
  • Gal 3:13, Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. For it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.

That is, Jesus was treated as we deserve so that we can be treated as He deserved.

Thus, Jesus' "becoming sin" means that God (as per Ps 5:4 quoted above) turned His face away. The wicked who do not accept Jesus' atonement on their behalf do not have this benefit and thus a frightened by the presence of God, unlike the righteous who are delighted. Note the difference between the two groups as described when Jesus returns:

  • Righteous: Isa 25:9 - In that day they will say, "Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation."
  • Wicked: Rev 6:15-17 - Then the kings of the earth, the nobles, the commanders, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and free man hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And they said to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of Their wrath has come, and who is able to withstand it?”

As the bearer of sin, Christ felt what every unsaved sinner would experience without the grace and atonement of Christ - separation from the Father.

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  • @ Dottard : Psalm 5:4 Says about God, “No one bad may reside for any time with you.” Why, then, did God allow Satan to remain in heaven for millenniums and even to come into His presence on occasion?​ Jesus’ cry of agony may have brought to his listeners’ minds the many things prophesied about him in the rest of Ps 22​—that he would be mocked, derided, and attacked in his hands and feet and that his garments would be divided by lot.​—Ps 22:6-8, 16, 18. I did not downvote. Sep 8 at 9:19
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I don't believe Jesus Christ was forsaken at all, He felt forsaken. On that cross Jesus quoted Psalm 22, specifically verse 1 which is referenced at Matthew 27:46.

Although the words of this Psalm were indeed prophetic of Christ's future crucifixion, it is important to note that David's immediate reason for writing them was to describe his own feelings of forsakeness while he was being hunted down and persecuted by King Saul.

Just to highlight some of David's words. Vs7, "All who see me sneer at me. Vs12, Many bulls surround me." Vs14, I am poured out like water; And all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It is melted within me." Vs15, "My tongue clings to my jaws." Vs16, "For the dogs have surrounded me." They pierced my hands and feet." Vs18, "They divide my garments."

Verse 19, "But Thou O Lord, be not far off; O Thou my help hasten to my assistance. Vs21, "Save me from the lion's mouth; And from the horns of the wild oxen Thou dost answer me." David now begins to praise the Lord. Vs22, I will tell of Thy name to my brethren." VS24, "For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; NEITHER HAS HE HIDDEN HIS FACE FROM HIM." But when he cried to Him for help, He heard."

How many of us have been in situations of "peril" crying out to God thinking He is not there and has abandoned us? I know I have when I was in Vietnam in 1968, it was absolutely horrible most of the time.

What did Jesus say at John 16:32? "Behold, the hour is coming and has already come; for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone, and yet I AM NOT ALONE, BECAUSE THE FATHER IS WITH ME." 2 Corinthians 5:19, "namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation."

And yes, I to was taught the idea that God the Father could not look upon sin, and He turned His back on His Son. I believe it's based on 2 Corinthians 5:21. "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." This means that God the Father treated the sinless Son as though He were a sinner.

Romans 8:3, "For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemmned sin in the flesh." Finally, there is one more view point on this issue. That is that Jesus on that cross is saying to His Father, "Why did you forsake to this cross?" It's a rhetorical question.

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  • It's a rhetorical question. Yeah, sure, about to die on the cross, pierced hands and feet, Jesus had the leasure for a "rhetorical question" ... Jun 20 at 8:20
  • I question the veracity of your opening statements in view of the fact that the sun was darkened for 3 hours as evidence of God turning away.
    – Dottard
    Jun 20 at 12:18
  • I believe you are spot on! Most people do not keep reading in the psalm; context, context, context! This psalm is like others that go from lament to praise for I believe that they model the truth of humanity and deity within the person of Messiah. In His humanity, of course it would feel like He was forsaken but as the psalm goes on the psalmist understands the character of His God and asserts that no way has He turned His face away. Just because Jesus audibly quotes verse 1 does not mean He didn't pray verse 24. Good answer! +1
    – alb
    Jun 20 at 13:26
  • @Dottard Your entitled to your opinion and I'm entitled to mine. I found the following article to be informative. Please let me know what you think. easyenglish.bible/bible-study/jesus-life/…
    – Mr. Bond
    Jun 20 at 18:46
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Matthew 27:46

About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" (which means "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?").

In what sense did the Father forsake Son?

By saying those words Jesus was fulfilling the prophecy Psalm 22:1 "My God, my God, why have You forsaken."NASB. Secondly, Jesus' words made it clear that God was not keeping a protective hedge around his son. And that his Father had released him fully into the hands of his enemies so that he could be tested to the limit

Job 1:10 NET

10 Have you not made a hedge around him and his household and all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his livestock have increased in the land.

Jesus cry "My God, MY God", calling out loud to his Heavenly Father, acknowledging him as his God, Jesus fulfilled, Psalm 21: 1-6. 16,18 Please Read :

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalms%2022%20%3A1-6%2C%2016%2C18&version=NASB,ESV,AMP

Jesus’ cry of agony may have brought to his listeners’ minds the many things prophesied about him in the rest of Ps 22​—that he would be mocked, derided, and attacked in his hands and feet and that his garments would be divided by lot.​—

Did Jesus’ words “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” indicate a lack of faith on his part? No. While we cannot be sure of Jesus’ motives for saying this, his words may indicate that Jesus recognized that God had taken His protection away so that His Son’s integrity could be fully tested. It is also possible that Jesus said this because he wanted to fulfill what Psalm 22:1 foretold regarding him.​

Footnotes Amplified Bible, Paslm 22

Psalm 22:1 This psalm may have been prayed by Jesus when He was on the cross. It begins with, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” and ends with a thought of finality. The psalm is quoted in Matt 27:46; Mark 15:34; and alluded to in Matt 27:35, 39, 43 and John 19:23, 24, 28 as being fulfilled at Christ’s crucifixion.

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He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears ...

Of course Jesus felt abandoned on the cross, of course he cried and shed tears, just as we read! Only eisegesis, warped theology and peculiar prejudice prevent some from seeing what we plainly read.

If we denied that Jesus suffered, not only physically, but also mentally, we would simply deny that he was truly man.

Otherwise, inevitably, we transform Incarnation itself in some kind of "sacred representation", of "comedy", "pedagogical action" by God towards Humanity, without any true sharing of "human condition", in spite of every well-meaning apologetic effort. We have to confront the apparent notion of "cruelty" in God the Father, even towards His Beloved Son.

This apparent "cruelty" is the true key to understanding the Sacrifice of the Cross. We must think of Jesus who, as reads the Letter to the Hebrews, "Although he was a son, he learned [emathen] obedience through the things he suffered [epathen]" (Heb 5:8), who at Gethsemane prays that He be spared the bitter cup (but only "if it is still possible"), who reminds one of those with him at the Gethsemane (probably Peter) that he could ask the Father to send 12 legions of angels to free Him, but "How then would the scriptures that say it must happen this way be fulfilled?” (Matt 26:53-54). Jesus who in the supreme moment does not resort to His relationship with God the Father in any form other than obedience. Who affirms His Regality only by means of His Word. Who knows well the precariousness and unreliability of every human solidarity, even from one’s most trusted friends. Who finally, so His humanity can manifest itself in the fullness of its limits, is and feels totally abandoned by God to death, and like every human being faces the supreme moment with that fear of the unknown that every human being must experience and that God Father, abandoning Him totally to death, interrupting the intimacy with which He has always supported Him, lets Him taste in all its horror.

This is the Jesus who, "approved by God”, is resurrected by God. He has defied death and He has conquered it not because, inasmuch as Son of God, He could only win, but because, "first of the resurrected" God has put Him as a Guide of Humanity until the final Victory. Jesus has received from God, His Father, a mission to accomplish. He has gradually understood it and freely accepted it, up to the Sacrifice of His Life. We must think that Jesus could have failed, but that he endured to the end, for our Love.

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This statement was taken directly from the first verse of Davids Psalm 22 which acts as a prophetic foretelling of Christ crucification - and resurrection

22:1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Its important that you understand Jesus is quoting from scripture when he makes this statement and the statement shouldn't be understood on its own but rather in the full context of the total message of Psalm 22 which he is referencing. It is basically him "pointing" to the scripture which prophesises what is happening

The Psalm starts out from a state of persecution, total overwhelming pain and a cry out to God as to why he has allowed this. The exact point Jesus is when he says this. From this perspective you could say God has "temporarily forsaken" him - to allow his being given over into torment and death. But this was a requirement for his Messianic mission - that he be tortured and die to take on the consequence of sin - and one he took on willingly but God did have to release protection around him in order for it to take place. Jesus is calling out from this point when his torture and punishment has reached its climax in order to point towards the prophetic Psalm 22.

The next lines of the Psalm then goes on to specifically list out the things that subsequently happen to Jesus. His torture, the piercing of his hands and feet to fix him to the cross, the casting of lots for his clothes and finally his death.

13 Roaring lions that tear their prey open their mouths wide against me. 14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me. 15 My mouth[d] is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. 16 Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce[e] my hands and my feet. 17 All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. 18 They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.

But the Psalm then transitions from his torture, torment and death on the cross - to his resurection and exhaultation stating that even though Jesus dies God has not hidden his face from him but has heard his cries and exhaulted him to the highest place. It goes on to list how all of the ends will bow before him and praise him and he will be exhaulted and have dominon over all nations. That everyone who dies - and goes down into the dust will have to kneel before him.

24 For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. 25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you[f] I will fulfill my vows. 26 The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the Lord will praise him— may your hearts live forever! 27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, 28 for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations. 29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him— those who cannot keep themselves alive. 30 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. 31 They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!

The last line of the Psalm is "He has done it". But I think Jesus said it best ..... it is finished.

In conclusion this statement said by Jesus on the cross should essentially be understood as him pointing to the totality of Psalm 22 which explains exactly what it is he has done through the cross and why he has done it not simply him saying God had forsaken him.

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  • Well said - however you might add something to specifically answer the Q for the sake of clarity. And Welcome! +1
    – steveowen
    Jun 21 at 11:33
  • How does this answer the question?
    – Dottard
    Jun 21 at 21:37
  • Its explcitly stated in the third paragraph. God had to temporarily forsake Jesus to allow him to die as part of the messianic mission. Its important though to highlight Jesus statement was not primarily about that. Jesus was quoting a very specific prophetic scripture - this is the first line from that scripture. You need to understand the totality of that scripture to actually understand what he was pointing too through the statement. Its like someone quoting the first line to a poem - and you getting fixated on one line not realizing he wants you to read and understand the whole thing.
    – xmarshallx
    Jun 23 at 16:27
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He didn't.

In this answer, the terms 'Father' and 'God' refer to the same entity - meaning Jesus' Father and God are one and the same.

Some believe Jesus was forsaken by his Father while on the cross. Indeed he felt many things that brought deep pain and anguish in the lead up to the cross. Hard as it was to 'take the cup of suffering', he finally did so because he trusted in his Father - no other reason. Him being forsaken by his Father is completely untrue. When we understand what Jesus was talking about when he quoted scripture, we can understand why he said this.

Jesus was quoting the beginning of Ps 22. He knew that all the Jews knew these Psalms well - perfectly!

Much of the Psalm points to what Jesus experienced.

A disgrace of mankind and despised by the people. All who see me deride me;

You have been my God from my mother’s womb

I am poured out like water, My heart is like wax; It is melted within me. My strength is dried up like a piece of pottery, And my tongue clings to my jaws; And You lay me in the dust of death. They pierced my hands and my feet. They divide my garments among them, And they cast lots for my clothing.

For the kingdom is the LORD’S And He rules over the nations. All the prosperous of the earth will eat and worship, All those who go down to the dust will kneel before Him, Even he who cannot keep his soul alive.

They will come and will declare His righteousness To a people who will be born, that He has performed it.

What we don't see in our bibles is the better rendition of the last phrase.

Only the Amplified seems to show it as follows,

"They will come and declare His righteousness To a people yet to be born—that He has done it [and that it is finished]."

Thus, Jesus had recalled Psalm 22 with the 1st line - and then finished with the last line. Everything in between was relevant to the suffering of men - but specifically Jesus, who suffered for all to bring about a hope and trust in the future of God's creation. The hearers knew these words - entire psalms word for word. He was drawing their attention to this prophetic psalm about him and that it was coming true before their eyes.

Jesus' time on the cross and his death was the culmination of the baby conceived in and born of Mary. Why would the Father abandon or forsake His beloved son - His very word become flesh, at the climax and most glorifying moment? The son whom he loved and the son who obviously loved Him - unto death!

We might think this is possible if Jesus 'became sin' as some passages show.

2 Cor 5:21 For him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf

'hamartia' (sin) can be translated as ‘sin’ or ‘sin offering’

This is an error to pick one verse which could be translated another way. There are numerous passages showing Jesus to be a sin offering. Of course he was an offering FOR sin - for ALL sin. God doesn't need Jesus to take on sin himself - just the penalty of sin. His death in place of all ours.

1 John 3:5 And you know that He appeared, so that He might take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.

Rom 8:3 God sent His son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering

Heb 9:28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him

Just as every offering, every sacrifice was to cover the sins committed - and so, Jesus covered the sins of all for all time.

Jesus' total dependence on his Father and God is seen in his prayer noted in Heb 5:7-8

During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.

Some say that the Father turned His face away - from the lyrics of "How Deep the Father’s Love". Ps 22:24 dispels this myth. Talk about context!

He has not hidden His face from him, but has attended to his cry for help.

When we understand Jesus, the man sent to be the offering for all creation, who struggled desperately with this onerous role but was ably supported by His God and Father - who raised him to be at His right hand and made him heir of all that He (God) had made and gave him authority over all things in heaven and earth.

No God didn't forsake Jesus in any sense from the moment he was conceived to his final breath. This was the moment when God's plan reached it's zenith - He couldn't have been more pleased with His amazing son.

Copied in part from https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/56291/john-1227-vs-luke-2242-contradiction/56304?r=SearchResults&s=1|8.7296#56304

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The words from Matthew 27 (v 46) reveal the depth of Jesus’ suffering that went well beyond just physical pain, excruciating though that must have been. They express what would otherwise have remained hidden - the spiritual suffering that Jesus experienced interiorly, his sense of being forsaken by God or cut off from God’s presence.

This is the hour when Jesus walked in darkness.

Who is among you, fearing Jehovah, Hearkening to the voice of His servant, That hath walked in dark places, And there is no brightness for him? (Is 50:10 YLT)

He sacrificed the life that is in himself, which is his light, to pay the ransom for our sins.

In him was life, and the life was the Light of mankind. –Jn 1:4

“I am the Light of the world; the one who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” –Jn 8:12

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45

No one took it away from him; he himself laid it down.

”For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it back. 18 No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own.” –Jn 10:17-18

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  • Perhaps, seemingly, possibility are not helpful. Please use scripture not supposition and guesses.
    – steveowen
    Jun 21 at 5:43
  • @user48152 Thank you for reminding me to trust in the words of Scripture rather than rely on my own understanding.
    – Nhi
    Jun 22 at 13:42
  • “He sacrificed the light that is in himself” is not of scripture. It was the light in him that made him the Lamb. He who IS light, cannot become not light.
    – steveowen
    Jun 22 at 21:32
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Jesus was not Forsaken – however, there are many contradictions. Many mention that he was heard by God and saved. I will not mention what has already been mentioned but refer you to some passages that contradict the above answers.

“Who in the days of his flesh, having offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and having been heard for his godly fear." (Hebrews 5:7)

Father, I thank thee that thou heardest me. And I knew that thou hearest me always." (John 11:41-42).

Psalm 20:6 6Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed; He answers him from His holy heaven with the saving power of His right hand. “O you who lift me up from the gates of death” (Psalms 9:13)

"When evil-doers came upon me to eat up my flesh, Even mine adversaries and my foes, they stumbled and fell… For in the day of trouble he will keep me secretly in his pavilion: In the covert of his tabernacle will he hide me." (Psalms 27:2-5)

Psalm 21:2 - You have given him his heart’s desire, And have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah

Psalms 34:20 & 22 - 20He protects all his bones; not one of them will be broken 22 - The LORD will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

John 19:36 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken

PSALM 91:10-16 no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. 14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him My salvation.”

Psalm 91:7-9 7 Though a thousand fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, near you it shall not come. 8 You need simply watch; the punishment of the wicked you will see. 9 Because you have the LORD for your refuge and have made the Most High your stronghold,

Matthew 4:5-7 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” (reference to Psalms 91)

John 13:17-18 (reference to Psalms 41) "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, 'He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me."

Psalm 41:9-13 9 Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me. 10 But may you have mercy on me, LORD; raise me up, that I may repay them. 11 I know that you are pleased with me, for my enemy does not triumph over me. 12 Because of my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever. 13 Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen.

Psalm 116:16 16 Truly I am your servant, LORD; I serve you just as my mother did; you have freed me from my chains.

Luke 4:10-12 10 for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee, to guard thee: 11 and, On their hands they shall bear thee up, Lest haply thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Luke 24:39 - "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have".

Jonah (prayed and was alive) - 7 When my life was fainting away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple.

Deuteronomy 21:22-23 22 If someone guilty of a capital offense is put to death and their body is exposed on a pole, 23 you must not leave the body hanging on the pole overnight. Be sure to bury it that same day, because anyone who is hung on a pole is under God’s curse. You must not desecrate the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.

Added:

John 11:41-42 - 41) Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42) And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.”

Luke 22:44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

Isaiah 53:10 he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days

Isaiah 53:9 (Contemporary English Version) 9 'He wasn't dishonest or violent, but he was buried in a tomb of cruel and rich people.' He was not buried but placed in a Tomb & by himself.

Isaiah 53:7 states that "he did not open his mouth" YET "Eloi Eloi lama sabachtani!"

arguably some issues with the prophecies.

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  • @user48152 the passages refer to Jesus and if he was forsaken - they imply that he was not forsaken and was heard by God and saved which contradicts many of those passages referred to in the other answers. Jun 21 at 13:30

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