Archive for the ‘new testament’ Category

Today’s archaeological discovery is related to the previous post of the Pontius Pilate Stone Inscription. Epic Archaeology‘s superb infographics has another graphic for Pontius Pilate’s ring. Here is day five with the Pontius Pilate Ring. Be sure to check out the other infographics at Epic Archaeology.

This ring was found 50 years ago but has just recently been deciphered to bear the inscription of Pontius Pilate’s name, the Roman prefect of the Roman province of Judaea, serving under Emperor Tiberius from AD 26/27 to 36/37 during the time of Jesus.

The ring was found amongst thousands of other artifacts in 1968-69 excavations at Herod’s burial tomb and palace at Herodium. The current director of the Herodium archaeological site Roi Porat ordered the 2,000 year old small copper alloy ring cleaned recently and given a thorough scholarly examination.  What was discovered was the inscription “of Pilatus” on the ring. The ring was originally discovered by  Professor Gideon Forster from the Hebrew University in the late 1960s.

Borschel-Dan reports for The Times of Israel that:

Pilate, a Roman prefect who ruled the Roman province of Judaea from circa 26–36 CE, is mentioned in several accounts in the New Testament, as having ordered the trial and crucifixion of Yeshua, a Second Temple-period radical preacher from the Galilee, more commonly known as Jesus.

Image result for pontius pilate stone

Until know, the only object to bear his name was the Pilate Stone discovered in 1961 at  Caesarea Maritima which is now currently located at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.  The Pilate Stone inscription included the following:

“Pontius Pilatus, Prefect of Judea, has dedicated to the people of Caesarea a temple in honor of Tiberius.”

Hasson goes on the report about the discovery of the inscription on the ring for Haaretz:

The name Pilatus has been linked to that of Roman governor Pontius Pilate, mentioned in the New Testament as Jesus’ executioner. Pilate was the fifth of Roman leaders in Judah, and apparently the most important of them. He ruled in the years 26 to 36, and some say even from the year 19. The name was rare in the Israel of that era, says Professor Danny Schwartz.

“I don’t know of any other Pilatus from the period and the ring shows he was a person of stature and wealth,” Schwartz said.

The Israel Exploration Society published the findings of this inscription discovery in their journal the Israel Exploration Journal Volume 68, Number 2.

Here is a video of the Pontius Pilate Ring:

Resources:

2,000-Year-Old ‘Pilate’ Ring Just Might Have Belonged to Notorious Jesus Judge” by Amanda Borschel-Dan | The Times of Israel, Nov 29, 2018

Ring of Roman Governor Pontius Pilate Who Crucified Jesus Found in Herodion Site in West Bank” by Nir Hasson | Haaretz, Nov 29, 2018

You can check out other archaeological discoveries related to the bible here:

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Edom

A Guide to Internet Archaeology

Ziklag

Clay Seal of King Josiah’s Aide Found

Ring of Pontius Pilate Discovered

Caiaphas Ossuary

The Prophet Isaiah

23 New Testament Figures Confirmed

History Has Gone to the Toilets-The Ancient Latrine of Lachish

Virtual Unwrapping of Levitical Scroll

City of Geza

Philistine Cemetery

Ancient Shopping List Provides Evidence of When Bible Was Written

Hezekiah Bulla

12th Dead Sea Scroll Cave Found!

Bethsaida

53 People in the Old Testament Confirmed Archaeologically

New ESV Archaeology Study Bible

Epic Archaeology‘s superb infographics highlight various archaeological artifacts that relate or even support the biblical narrative. Continuing the “Ten Days of Archaeology” posts featuring some of the infographics Epic Archaeology has produced. Here is day four with the Pontius Pilate Inscription. Be sure to check out the other infographics at Epic Archaeology.

I discussed the recent Pilate ring discovery on a previous blog post, but the Pilate Stone discovery occurred back in 1961 at Caesarea Maritima in Israel. Pilate is mentioned by Philo of Alexandria, Josephus, Tacitus, and in all four gospels: Mark, Luke, Matthew, and John. Pilate presided over the trial of Jesus and condemned Him to crucifixion. This story is found in Matthew 27. Here is a short video with Frank Turek discussing the Pilate Inscription:

The actual stone is housed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. This damaged monument has a partial inscription mentioning Pontius Pilate, the  a prefect (i.e., magistrate, or regional governor) of the Roman province of Judaea from AD 26 to 36. Here is a short video of the actual inscription at the museum:

The partial inscription reads:

[DIS AUGUSTI]S TIBERIÉUM

[…PONTI]US PILATUS

[…PRAEF]ECTUS IUDA[EA]E

[…FECIT D]E[DICAVIT]

The translation from Latin to English for the inscription reads:

To the Divine Augusti [this] Tiberieum…

Pontius Pilate…

prefect of Judea…

has dedicated [this]

Pontius Pilate probably made his headquarters at Caesarea Maritima – the site where the stone was discovered, since that city had replace Jerusalem as the administrative capital and military headquarters of the province in AD 6, Pilate probably travelled to Jerusalem, the central city of the province’s Jewish population, only when necessary such as during Passover.

Here is a great article by the Bible Archaeology Report which summarizes all of the archeology discoveries related to Pontius Pilate.

You can check out other archaeological discoveries related to the bible here:

____________________

Edom

A Guide to Internet Archaeology

Ziklag

Clay Seal of King Josiah’s Aide Found

Ring of Pontius Pilate Discovered

Caiaphas Ossuary

The Prophet Isaiah

23 New Testament Figures Confirmed

History Has Gone to the Toilets-The Ancient Latrine of Lachish

Virtual Unwrapping of Levitical Scroll

City of Geza

Philistine Cemetery

Ancient Shopping List Provides Evidence of When Bible Was Written

Hezekiah Bulla

12th Dead Sea Scroll Cave Found!

Bethsaida

53 People in the Old Testament Confirmed Archaeologically

New ESV Archaeology Study Bible

Epic Archaeology‘s superb infographics highlight various archaeological artifacts that relate or even support the biblical narrative. Continuing the “Ten Days of Archaeology” posts featuring some of the infographics Epic Archaeology has produced. here is day three with the Caiaphas Ossuary. Be sure to check out the other infographics at Epic Archaeology.

Caiaphas Ossuary

An ossuary is a chest or box made to serve as the final resting place of human skeletal remains. Essentially a coffin. Jews in the late 1st century BC and early 1st century AD used ossuaries to keep the bones of the deceased preserved because of the belief that God would use the bones in the resurrection of the dead. Most ossuaries are plane and undecorated, but there is a particular ossuary discovered in Jerusalem in 1990 of particular interest, the Caiaphas Ossuary.

Caiaphas is the high priest mentioned in Mark 14:53-65.  In verses 61-64 we read about this famous exchange between Jesus and the High Priest Caiaphas:

61 But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” 62 And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” 63 And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? 64 You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death.

Was Caiaphas a real person? Apparently so.  Here is a quick video from Frank Turek of Crossexamined.com about this remarkable archaeological discovery of the bone box (i.e., ossuary or coffin) of Caiaphas:

Here is another video from Drive Through History about Caiaphas and the discovery of the ossuary:

The historical Caiaphas can be crosschecked in history by the Jewish historian Jospehus, as mentioned in the video above.

Here is a bulleted point reference to the history, discovery, and significance of Caiaphas and the ossuary:

  • Caiaphas was the Jewish high priest of the Sanhedrin.
  • The primary sources of Caiaphas are the New Testament (Matt 26:3, 57; Luke 3:2; John 11:49; 18:13, 14, 24, 28; Acts 4:6) and Josephus.
  • Caiaphas ossuary discovered in south Jerusalem in November of 1990.
  • An inscription on the side of the ossuary contains the phrase “Joseph, son of Caiaphas.
  • Inside that ossuary where the bones of a man.
  •  Most ossuaries are plain and contain no inscriptions; the Caiaphas ossuary is ornately decorated as would be the case for a high priest such as Caiaphas.

For further information on the Caiaphas Ossuary see:

Ossuary of the High Priest Caiaphas” | Center for Online Jewish Studies

House of Caiaphas Ossuary is Authentic” by Gil Ronen | Israel National News 6/29/2011

You can check out other archaeological discoveries related to the bible here:

____________________

Edom

A Guide to Internet Archaeology

Ziklag

Clay Seal of King Josiah’s Aide Found

Ring of Pontius Pilate Discovered

Caiaphas Ossuary

The Prophet Isaiah

23 New Testament Figures Confirmed

History Has Gone to the Toilets-The Ancient Latrine of Lachish

Virtual Unwrapping of Levitical Scroll

City of Geza

Philistine Cemetery

Ancient Shopping List Provides Evidence of When Bible Was Written

Hezekiah Bulla

12th Dead Sea Scroll Cave Found!

Bethsaida

53 People in the Old Testament Confirmed Archaeologically

New ESV Archaeology Study Bible

Several books are about to hit the stores concerning apologetics this October and November. They look very interesting and worth keeping an eye out for them if your are interested in those topics.

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Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism

In Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism In this volume Elijah Hixson and Peter Gurry, along with a team of New Testament textual critics, offer up-to-date, accurate information on the history and current state of the New Testament text that will serve apologists. It is to be released on November 5 of this year.

Some of the chapter topics include:

  • Myths about Autographs: What They Were and How Long They May Have Survived
  • Dating Myths, Part One: How We Determine the Ages of Manuscripts
  • Dating Myths, Part Two: How Later Manuscripts Can Be BetterMyths about Autographs: What They Were and How Long They May Have Survived
  • Myths About Variants: Why Most Variants Are Insignificant and Why Some Can’t Be Ignored
  • Myths About Early Translations: Their Number, Importance, and Limitations
  • Myths About Modern Translations: Variants, Verdicts, and VersionsMyths about Autographs: What They Were and How Long They May Have Survived

The publisher has designated this book as an intermediate read. So it is not for beginners, but practicing apologists should definitely be picking up a copy to hone their understanding and presentation on the New Testament and textual criticism.

Jesus, Skepticism, & the Problem of History: Criteria and Context in the Study of Christian Origins is described by the publishers:

In recent years, a number of New Testament scholars engaged in academic historical Jesus studies have concluded that such scholarship cannot yield secure and illuminating conclusions about its subject, arguing that the search for a historically “authentic” Jesus has run aground. Jesus, Skepticism, and the Problem of History brings together a stellar lineup of New Testament scholars who contend that historical Jesus scholarship is far from dead. These scholars all find value in using the tools of contemporary historical methods in the study of Jesus and Christian origins. While the skeptical use of criteria to fashion a Jesus contrary to the one portrayed in the Gospels is methodologically unsound and theologically unacceptable, these criteria, properly formulated and applied, yield positive results that support the Gospel accounts and the historical narrative in Acts. This book presents a nuanced and vitally needed alternative to the skeptical extremes of revisionist Jesus scholarship that, on the one hand, uses historical methods to call into question the Jesus of the Gospels and, on the other, denies the possibility of using historical methods to learn about Jesus.

Divided into three parts the book covers the topics of: Part One: The Value of New Testament Historical Studies; Part Two: The Gospels and the Historical Jesus; and Part Three: The Book of Acts and Christian Origins.

Same chapters are:

  • New Testament Textual Criticism and Criteria of Authenticity in Historical Jesus Research by Daniel B. Wallace
  • The Historicity of the Gospel Miracles of Jesus by Craig S. Keener
  • Jesus’ Burial: Archaeology, Authenticity, and History Craig A. Evans and Greg Monette
  • Resurrection, Criteria, and the Demise of Postmodernism Michael R. Licona
  • External Validation of the Chronology in Acts Ben Witherington III
  • along with contributions by Craig L. Blomberg, Robert M. Bowman Jr., J. Ed Komoszewski, Robert K. McIver, Paul R. Eddy, Darrell L. Bock, Paul N. Anderson, Michael F. Bird, Ben Sutton, Larry W. Hurtado, and Nicholas Perring.

A foil to this volume might be Jesus, Criteria, and the Demise of Authenticity edited by Chris Keith and Anthony Le Donne in which it claims that “scholars from different methodological frameworks have expressed discontent with this approach to the historical Jesus. In the past five years, these expressions of discontent have reached a fever pitch.”

A popular volume on apologetics is coming out by Mary Jo Sharp: Why I Still Believe: A Former Atheist’s Reckoning with the Bad Reputation Christians Give a Good God. Sharp is a former atheist from the Pacific Northwest, who thought religion was odd at best. Holding a Masters in Christian Apologetics from Biola she is an assistant professor of apologetics at Houston Baptist University. It will be available November 5th.

Alister McGrath, the prolific writer and theologian of Oxford University is the Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion. Narrative Apologetics: Sharing the Relevance, Joy, and Wonder of the Christian Faith is coming out October 15. Since the Bible is a narrative, McGrath encourages believers to present the truth of Christian not only through systems, arguments, and talking points (methods that appeal to our mind and neglect our imagination and our emotions), but he shows how we can both understand and share our faith through the use of stories.

Dr. Tanya Walker, dean of the Oxford Center for Christian Apologetics declares that this book is a “compelling call to resist a reductionist rationality and to enter into the ‘imaginative embrace’ of the Christian faith.”

Animated Apologetics

Over the past several years there has been a boom in Christian Apologetic animated videos.  While there are plenty of apologetic videos from debates, podcasts, presentations, etc., here I want to focus on just those videos that are of high animated quality, relatively short (under 10 minutes), and are focused on Christian apologetics. Over at Prove the Bible, the whole website is videos (live and animated) all sorted by topic. It is definitely worth a look. You also can check out some YouTube channels dedicated to apologetics (both live and animated) such drcraigvideos, Sean McDowell, Mike Winger, Whaddo You Meme, Cross Examined, and Acts17Apologetics, amongst others.  Here, I have focused solely on animated apologetics videos.  I sorted them by topic.

God

Bible

Jesus

Resurrection

Problem of Evil

Science and Religion

Cults and New Religious Movements

Christian Doctrine

Philosophy of Religion

Social/Ethical Issues

General

The guards at the tomb of Jesus has been either much discussed or ignored in apologetical discourse around the resurrection of Jesus.  For example, here is William Lane Craig answering a question about the guards at the tomb:

 

Dr. Timothy McGrew, professor of philosophy at Western Michigan University,  has a thorough response to the challenge of Matthew’s veracity concerning the resurrection as it pertains to the guards narrative in Matthew 27:62-66.  It is well worth the read as Dr. McGrew picks apart the criticism that Torley provides against the historicity of the guards narrative.  Torley claims that the narrative is unhistorical for three reasons:

  1. It is mentioned only in Matthew’s Gospel, not in the other three.
  2. This account fails to explain why the body could not have been stolen on Friday night.
  3. We are not told why Pilate would agree to the Jewish leaders’ request.
  4. The Jewish rulers would not have made such a request of Pilate, since a gentile employed by a Jew would not be allowed to work on the Sabbath.

McGrew systematically dismantles each of these reasons.  A quick summary of each rebuttal:

  1. Rebuttal: This is an argument from silence; why can’t a single source be adequate for historicity.  As McGrew points out: “Many of the events of antiquity crop up in only one source.”
  2. Rebuttal: This reason is assuming that the request is made on Saturday morning. Again McGrew points out: “it is not even clear from the text that the request was made on Saturday”
  3. Rebuttal: Just because we are not told why something happens, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.  McGrew: “this is a very odd way to object to historical evidence. Many narratives recount events without affording us an explanation for them, and sometimes we are left to guess what that explanation might be. So what?”
  4. Rebuttal: “Nothing in Jewish law as interpreted at the time would prevent them from making such a request.”

McGrew lays out a clear rebuttal to these charges against the guards at the tomb and will also answer other charges against the historicity of the resurrection in future posts at the blog site: What’s Wrong With the World? Definitely worth keeping up with.

Image result for guards at the tomb jesus

Dr. William Lane Craig of Reasonable Faith, Houston Baptist University, and Biola University, has just released his new videos on the resurrection.  Share them on social media:

Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?: The Facts

 

Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?: The Explanation

 

There are some great resources on the evidence for the resurrection in addition to these videos.  Check them out when you get a chance:

Other Resources:

Videos:

1. My Apologetics Quick Guide video:

 

2. Dr. Craig’s lecture at the Southhampton, England “BeThinking” Conference:

 

3. Impact360’s animated video on the resurrection:

 

Articles:

“Jesus’ Resurrection” by William Lane Craig at Reasonablefaith.org

“The Case for Christ’s Resurrection” by Gary Habermas in To Everyone an Answer

The Resurrection of Jesus” by William Lane Craig at Reasonablefaith.org

The Argument from Miracles: A Cumulative Case for the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth” by Timothy and Lydia McGrew

Books:

Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? William Lane Craig (Impact 360 Institute, 2014)

The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach, Michael R. Licona (IVP Academic, 2010)

The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, by Gary R. Habermas and Michael R. Licona (Kregel, 2004)

The Resurrection of God Incarnate, Richard Swinburne (Oxford Univ. Press, 2003)

The Resurrection of the Son of God, N. T. Wright (Fortress Press, 2003)

 

 

The December cover story for National Geographics is on biblical manuscripts and  features comments from Dr. Wallace, the director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM). CSNTM, founded in 2002 by Dr. Wallace, utilize emerging technologies to preserve and study Greek New Testament manuscripts by digitally photographing existing manuscripts.

National Geographics article “Inside the Cloak-and-Dagger Search for Sacred Texts” provides an insider view of the discovery and study of biblical manuscripts. It has some wonderful pictures and a lengthy article on the archaeology, collectors, scholars, and schemers in the world of biblical manuscripts along with the history of bible hunting. It is well worth the time to read this article.  It even discusses the early fragment of Mark that I have previously posted about (and here).

Some other institutions, individuals, and items mentioned in the piece include: Liberty University, Randall Price (archaeologist from Liberty), the Dead Sea Scrolls, Mark Lanier (Houston lawyer and avid collector), Museum of the Bible (the new D. C. museum opened by the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby), Konstantin von Tischendorf (famous 19th century scholar who discovered Codex Sinaiticus), the École Biblique et Archéologique Française, The Institute for New Testament Textual Research in Münster (which keeps the official count of New Testament fragments), Bart Ehrman, the Oxyrhynchus papyrus collection, amongst others.

Some notable quotes from the article:

“And while it’s true that more than 5,500 Greek New Testament manuscripts have been found, close to 95 percent of those copies come from the ninth to the 16th centuries. Only about 125 date back to the second or third centuries, and none to the first.”

“In the case of the New Testament, whose authors wrote in Greek, more than 5,500 Greek manuscripts and fragments have been found—more than any other ancient text. They total as many as 2.6 million pages, Wallace estimates, and like the Oxyrhynchus papyri, most of them have yet to receive scholarly attention.”

“Scholars were thrilled to learn that among them [i.e., the Dead Sea Scrolls] was a nearly complete copy of the Book of Isaiah from the Hebrew Bible. Its content was virtually identical to another copy of Isaiah dated almost a thousand years later.”

” ‘Evangelicals have had a tremendous impact on the market,’ says Jerusalem antiquities seller Lenny Wolfe. ‘The price of anything connected to the lifetime of Christ goes way up.’ “

close-up-of-ring-300x480

A ring found 50 years ago has just recently been deciphered to bear the inscription of Pontius Pilate’s name, the Roman prefect of the Roman province of Judaea, serving under Emperor Tiberius from AD 26/27 to 36/37 during the time of Jesus.

The ring was found amongst thousands of other artifacts in 1968-69 excavations at Herod’s burial tomb and palace at Herodium. The current director of the Herodium archaeological site Roi Porat ordered the 2,000 year old small copper alloy ring cleaned recently and given a thorough scholarly examination.  What was discovered was the inscription “of Pilatus” on the ring. The ring was originally discovered by  Professor Gideon Forster from the Hebrew University in the late 1960s.

Image result for herodiumImage result for herodium on map

Borschel-Dan reports for The Times of Israel that:

Pilate, a Roman prefect who ruled the Roman province of Judaea from circa 26–36 CE, is mentioned in several accounts in the New Testament, as having ordered the trial and crucifixion of Yeshua, a Second Temple-period radical preacher from the Galilee, more commonly known as Jesus.

Image result for pontius pilate stoneUntil know, the only object to bear his name was the Pilate Stone discovered in 1961 at  Caesarea Maritima which is now currently located at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.  The Pilate Stone inscription included the following:

“Pontius Pilatus, Prefect of Judea, has dedicated to the people of Caesarea a temple in honor of Tiberius.”

Hasson goes on the report about the discovery of the inscription on the ring for Haaretz:

The name Pilatus has been linked to that of Roman governor Pontius Pilate, mentioned in the New Testament as Jesus’ executioner. Pilate was the fifth of Roman leaders in Judah, and apparently the most important of them. He ruled in the years 26 to 36, and some say even from the year 19. The name was rare in the Israel of that era, says Professor Danny Schwartz.

“I don’t know of any other Pilatus from the period and the ring shows he was a person of stature and wealth,” Schwartz said.

The Israel Exploration Society published the findings of this inscription discovery in their journal the Israel Exploration Journal Volume 68, Number 2.

Resources:

2,000-Year-Old ‘Pilate’ Ring Just Might Have Belonged to Notorious Jesus Judge” by Amanda Borschel-Dan | The Times of Israel, Nov 29, 2018

Ring of Roman Governor Pontius Pilate Who Crucified Jesus Found in Herodion Site in West Bank” by Nir Hasson | Haaretz, Nov 29, 2018

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Post about other biblical archaeological discoveries from this blog include:

Caiaphas Ossuary

The Prophet Isaiah

23 New Testament Figures Confirmed

History Has Gone to the Toilets-The Ancient Latrine of Lachish

Virtual Unwrapping of Levitical Scroll

City of Geza

Philistine Cemetery

Ancient Shopping List Provides Evidence of When Bible Was Written

Hezekiah Bulla

12th Dead Sea Scroll Cave Found!

Bethsaida

53 People in the Old Testament Confirmed Archaeologically

New ESV Archaeology Study Bible

 

 

 

I am sure you have heard that when Jesus cried out in a loud voice from the cross saying “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:33-34; Matthew 27:45-46) that this was when God the father turned his back on Jesus because as He bore the sins of the world and God could not face Him.  People as notable as William Lane Craig have asserted as much:

 

While I understand the sentiment behind the unbelievable treatment of Jesus, I find the interpretation unwarranted, implausible, and incoherent.

It is Unwarranted

No where in the passages (either Mark or Matthew) do the gospel authors communicate that God turned his back on Jesus because the sin of the world was laid upon Christ.  While this idiosyncratic interpretation is not Un-Biblical (goes against anything the Bible directly states) it seems to be Non-Biblical (the Bible does not say that God turned his back on Jesus at anytime in scripture).  Non-Biblical is not problematic in any orthodox sense (leisure suits are not mentioned in the Bible but they do not violate any Biblical principle), but to state that God turned his back on Jesus is simply not found in the Bible, thus it is Non-Biblical.

It is Implausible

The Protestant Reformers set forth a principle of scriptural interpretation to govern biblical hermeneutics. It is sometimes called the analogy of faith. R. C. Sproul explains:

we are to interpret Scripture according to Scripture. That is, the supreme arbiter in interpreting the meaning of a particular verse in Scripture is the overall teaching of the Bible.

Applying this interpretative principle to this passage, you will not find other scripture stating that God turned his back on Jesus thus resulting in Christ crying out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  If we want a scripture to enlighten our understanding of Mark 15:33-34 and Matthew 27:45-46, we should turn to Psalm 22.  Interestingly, verse 1 of Psalm 22 is the line, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Ironically, Craig provides insight to the despairing cry of Jesus:

This is thought to be the moment at which, so to speak, God the Father turned His back on His Son and allowed him to experience the separation from God that is sinners’ just desert for sin. This seems plausible; but upon reflection second thoughts arise. In the first place, once one realizes that what Jesus is doing here is reciting the words of Psalm 22, which is the prayer of God’s righteous servant in distress, then a very different perspective emerges. Far from showing Jesus’ alienation from God at that point, his praying Psalm 22 seems to show his deep reliance upon God at this bleakest moment of his life. Moreover, a little later he prays, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23.46). Here he addresses God as his Father.

Psalm 22, in a general sense, is a psalm written about a person who is crying out to God to save him from the derision and torture of his enemies, and then thanks God for saving him in the last ten verses. Given the salvation of the person in the latter part of the psalm, it is not a cry of despair, but a cry of help, in which God rescues. God has vindicated Jesus, not abandoned him. As Psalm 22:24 declares “For he has not despised or abhorred the torment of the oppressed. He did not hide his face from him, but listened when he cried to him for help.”

It is Incoherent

Not only is the interpretation of God turning his back on Jesus on the cross unwarranted and implausible, it is incoherent. Given the doctrine of the Trinity, Jesus, who is fully man and fully God, it is metaphysically impossible for there to be a separation in the Trinity.  If God had to turn his face or back away from Jesus (obviously metaphorically speaking) then Jesus would have to turn away from himself, because he is God. It would be metaphysically impossible for there to be a rift in the Trinity.

Apologetic Value of “My God, My God”

One of the values of interpreting Mark 15:33-34 in light of Psalm 22 is apologetics.  I find the most warranted, plausible, and coherent understanding of Jesus’ cry as a declaration to those who are standing at the foot of the cross.  In essence, Jesus is NOT looking UP crying out to God in despair, but looking DOWN to those surrounding him and citing the first line of Psalm 22.  Why is he citing the first line?  Because he is telling the listeners to read that psalm.  David E. Garland in the NIV Application Commentary to the Gospel of Mark states that, “Without chapter and verse divisions in the Hebrew Scriptures, specific passages were cited often by the first verse or key phrases.” It is like when a person sings the first line of a song and everyone knows the song they are singing.

Why is Jesus telling those at the foot of the cross to read Psalm 22?  Because it has prophetic declarations for the coming Messiah.

Verse 16 declares, “For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced by hands and feet.” This is a perfect description of what is happening to Jesus as he cries out “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” David, who wrote the psalm, did not have his hands and feet pierced, but Jesus, hanging on the cross, certainly had.  This is described hundreds of years before Roman crucifixion had even been invented.

Notice verse 17 and 18: “I can count all my bones-they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” Jesus is declaring, read Psalm 22, it is a messianic psalm, I am the fulfilling this prophecy in your presence, so you know that I am the messiah.

Cover artThis is evidence of Jesus being the Christ, the Son of the Living God as Peter pointed out in Mark chapter 8 when Jesus asked, “Who do you say I am?” Jesus is pointing to the evidence that it is true, He is the Christ (the anointed one), the Son of the Living God. Josh and Sean McDowell elaborate in their recent book Evidence That Demands a Verdict: Life Changing Truth for a Skeptical World on the Old Testament prophecies of the messiah fulfilled in Jesus Christ:

The numerous and pervasive instances in the Old Testament of description and detail that correspond to the life of Jesus are like threads in a tapestry that is gradually filled in to reveal him as the Messiah. Put another way, the Old Testament can be compared to a jigsaw puzzle. The numerous pieces remain puzzling until they are assembled enough to fill out the intended picture. In the same way, the Messianic references in the Old Testament remain puzzling until patient study begins to reveal them as a picture of the person of Jesus Christ. The New Testament is thus the decryption key for unlocking the meaning of the Old Testament Scriptures.

The words of Peter recorded by Luke resonate clearly when one contemplates the fulfilled prophecy of Christ: “But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ should suffer, He has thus fulfilled” (Acts 3:18)

Resources on Fulfilled Prophecy:

Videos:

 

 

 

Online Articles:

55 Old Testament Prophecies about Jesus” The Jesus Film Project, Jan 4, 2018