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“Why hast thou forsaken me?” – Part 3

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This third part (Part 3) in the series on Jesus’ question “…why hast thou forsaken me?” includes replies to questions and comments that I received regarding the initial post in the series (Part 1).  It also includes additional discussion on related topics which are meant to further explore the depth and significance of Jesus’ questioning on the cross and how it relates to each and every one of us.


  • Question 1: Was Jesus most vulnerable when He cried out “…why hast thou forsaken me?” And was this the reason He asked this question?
  • Question 2: Did Jesus actually ask “…why hast thou forsaken me?” or were these words mistranslated in the various version of the Bible available today in the English language?
  • Question 3: Does this questioning by Jesus demonstrate that the Father and Son are two separate beings, not one God?
  • Question 4: Why was Jesus cut off from His Heavenly Father’s presence in our place?
  • Question 5: How are we to understand Jesus’ claim that He would be in the grave three days and three nights when tradition states that He was crucified on a Friday afternoon and was then raised from the dead on a Sunday morning?


Comments on Question 1:  The following was written in reply to an “alternative view” I received in response to the initial post in this series (Part 1), which asserted that Jesus was most vulnerable at the moment He cried out “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”  The second post in this series (Part 2) was also written with the following question in mind:  Was Jesus vulnerable or did He sense that He was vulnerable in that moment when He cried out?  A contrast between Jesus’ dying words to those of Stephen – who was stoned for his faith in his Lord – forms the basis reply to this question in Part 2.  (Note:  The version posted here is a slightly edited/updated version of my reply.)

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I can readily agree that the question “…why hast thou forsaken me?” clearly conveys a sense of abandonment.  However, from my study of the accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion I am not able to see how it also conveys a sense of vulnerability.  As I noted in my post (Part 1), I believe these words reflect the overwhelming agony one experiences in being separated from God in the second death.  The reason I would give for these conclusions is the eyewitness accounts we have of the crucifixion.

Taking Jesus’ question in the context of the available narratives leading up to this moment on the cross and immediately following demonstrates an unconquerable endurance on His part, not that of vulnerability.  Here are some of His words, for example, which bracketed the moment when He cried aloud, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

  • Before: To one of the two thieves crucified with Him, Jesus said “Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23)
  • Afterward: Immediately before death, Jesus prayed, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. And having said thus, he gave up the ghost” (Luke 23)

These two quotes serve as evidence that before and after crying out “…why hast thou forsaken me?” Jesus knew and was confident of where He would be after He died on the cross.  It appears to me, at least, that they also demonstrate His unconquerable confidence in the One who had sent Him and the One to whom He would soon go (John 14).  It was between these two quotes that Jesus evidently experienced something climatic and very excruciating – even more so than all of the physical pain and humiliation He had endured up to this point in going through the process of being executed.  In that moment Jesus communicated a clear sense of being separated from His heavenly Father.  As I understand it, this is when Jesus tasted death for every man by the grace of God (Hebrews 2).

Why conclude that it was at this moment when Jesus tasted death for all people?  Jesus’ physical death did not save any of us from experiencing physical death – barring intervention by God, we all can expect to pass away physically like those who have come before us.  As such, it seems evident that the death Jesus tasted for us was not in reference to His physical death, but in reference to His being spiritually separated from His heavenly Father (Hebrews 9). Said another way, Jesus’ death on the cross was not undertaken to stop our physical death.  Rather, it was to reconcile us unto God so that we might be resurrected and returned to God from the grave (II Corinthians 5, I Corinthians 15, & John 14:6).  This was Jesus’ mission as the mediator between God and man, to satisfy God’s justice so that, by grace and according to His mercy, He might bring us back into God’s presence (I Timothy 2 & I Peter 3).

Early on in His ministry, Jesus had said:

… My meat is to do the will of him who sent me, and to finish his work. (John 4)

For I can of mine own self do nothing; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father who hath sent me. (John 5)

Then, once near death on the cross, John tells us of how Jesus, “knowing all things were now accomplished,” requested a drink and was given something bitter for His thirst (John 18 with Psalm 75 & Hebrews 8).  This drink, I believe, was a physical representation of the spiritual cup Jesus had known He must drink and did (Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22).

After taking the drink given Him, Jesus pronounced “It is finished” and “gave up the ghost” (John 19).  While these words may be viewed solely as words spoken to usher in His physical death, to me at least these words clearly indicate that “all things were now accomplished.”  While His physical death was near, Jesus’ words evidence that a great work had just been finished (prior to dying physical).  He had gone to the cross to partake of that cup by which He tasted spiritual death in our place, and now He had (Hebrews 2).  His partaking from a physical cup of bitterness served as a witness of His partaking from the spiritual cup of suffering – by which He satisfied the demands of divine justice so that He might extend to us the hand of mercy.

Jesus’ promise to the one thief (who asked in sincerity for Jesus to remember him) supports the view that Jesus tasted spiritual death before He died physically (Luke 23 & John 1).  Jesus said they would be in paradise together that same day.  In other words, after dying physically Jesus was confident He would be in paradise and not in a state of extended separation from His heavenly Father.

One may then ask, how is it that Peter wrote that Jesus “went and preached unto the spirits in prison” after describing how Jesus was put to death and quickened by the Spirit to bring us to God (I Peter 3)?  Recall how Jesus testified that He had been anointed by God to “to preach deliverance to the captives” (Luke 4).  Briefly stated, Peter’s reference to Jesus preaching to the spirits in prison (i.e. to the captives) is, of necessity, a reference to the anointing He received to so preach.  In other words, Jesus would not have been spiritually dead (i.e. spiritually separated from His anointing) when preaching to the spirits in prison – whether it was while His body was in the grave or at any other time.

It is also helpful to remember how it had been written of Jesus Christ that it was His soul (body and spirit) that had been made an offering for sin (Isaiah 53).  This, I understand, reveals how Jesus suffered both a physical and a spiritual death on the cross for our redemption – not only for the restoration of our bodies, but for that of our spirits as well.  In so suffering, Jesus fulfilled His Father’s will and was thereby found worthy to bring us back to our heavenly Father according to the mercy and grace of God (Hebrews 7).

There are numerous additional examples of Jesus’ words and the testimonies of others which demonstrate His endurance of the cross to take away the sins and associated suffering of the world.

  • Before:
    1. When Jesus knew His time had come to atone for the sins of the world “he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9) where He knew He “must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and chief priests, and scribes; and be slain, and be raised the third day” (Luke 9). In other words, Jesus went to Jerusalem to be crucified having His eyes wide open and knowing beforehand what would be befall Him there (unlike Paul after Him; see Acts 20).
    2. At the Last Supper, Jesus told His disciples “With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22). As the One anointed by God (Luke 4) to be the Passover Lamb (John 1), Jesus was not dreading this moment in His life and ministry.  Rather, He had looked forward to it in order that He might reconcile God and mankind through putting away the sins of the world (Hebrews 9 & Hebrews 10).
    3. Jesus told Paul that He had instituted the Lord’s Supper the night of His betrayal as the way He had designed for us to remember Him until He returns (I Corinthians 11). In other words, our remembrance of Jesus’ death and suffering – which He anticipated that night – is at the very heart of the way Jesus had prepared for our remembrance of Him as our Savior.  It is something He cherished, and we should too.
    4. Jesus told His disciples at the Last Supper that they would all be scattered and leave Him alone later that night (Mark 14 & Zechariah 13). Jesus knew He would be abandoned by His closest friends and would go through being put on public display to be tried, scourged, mocked, and eventually killed on the cross without them, and all this that He might bring many to salvation (John 12 & Hebrews 2).
    5. Although Jesus suffered publicly, being mocked, beaten, and stripped naked (Matthew 27), yet, “… when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (I Peter 2 & Isaiah 53). In other words, there was no hint of vulnerability in the least throughout His ordeal of being slain for the sins of the world.
  • After:
    1. John, who witnessed Jesus’ death on the cross, wrote these words: “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst” (John 19). After drinking a bitter drink, Jesus said, “It is finished; and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost” (John 19).  As it was in heaven, so now it was on earth.  Combined with Luke’s account, that Jesus declared He had fulfilled His heavenly Father’s will, we see that what Jesus experienced when He cried out “…why hast thou forsaken me?” did not take Him by surprise.  Rather, He was there to do a work, and He finished  Nonetheless, His suffering was so severe that it made even Him cry out in such a manner.
    2. The day that Jesus was raised from the dead, Luke records that He chastened His disciples with these words:

Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!  Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? … And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day; And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  And ye are witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24)

For Jesus’ words not to be words of hypocrisy, Jesus must have believed all that had been caused to be spoken by the prophets before Him.  In other words, Jesus could not have fairly chastised His followers for doubting and withdrawing during this time of trial if He Himself had doubted or failed to believe all that had been planned for Him to accomplish for our salvation during this same time of trial.

Before going to the cross, Jesus had testified that He had the power to lay down His life and to take it up again according to the commandment of His Father in heaven (John 10).  Furthermore, after rising from the dead, Jesus then testified that He was given all power in heaven and in earth (Matthew 28).  Neither physical nor spiritual death had been able to defeat Him or to keep Him held captive (Revelation 1).  This is complete victory with no shades of vulnerability.

To summarize, if Jesus had felt vulnerable, I have not been able to determine that this was indeed the case based on a review of the many eyewitness accounts of His sufferings, death, and resurrection.  The one way I have thought of to make this assertion would be to superimpose how we might feel under similar circumstances.  However, it seems obvious that Jesus held a much different perspective than we could have held.  He came into this world with a much different outlook and purpose than we could have, and He came with a power that no one else had or will ever have (since all things were created by Him and are maintained and sustained by Him and for Him).  Jesus was and is the only one capable enough and caring enough to save each and every one of us from our sins.  None of us could have met the exacting requirements of being sinless and of being completely devoted to His Father’s will to carry out this precious and precise work through which we may now receive a remission of our sins.  None of us have held nor experienced the power Jesus held and holds over death and the grave.  Jesus most assuredly tasted of both physical death and spiritual death, but that did not deter Him from fulfilling His Father’s will and securing the means necessary for our salvation based on the conditions of repentance.  Truly Jesus is worthy of all praise and honor, for He is God’s unspeakable gift to us all.



Comments on Question 2:  Another person asked me to prayerfully consider the teaching of a minister named Tony Alamo on this subject as recorded on the following website.

Here is my reply:

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Based on the news reports of Tony Alamo’s conviction, which I found simply through an Internet search of his name, I am a bit wary of him and his ministry at this point.  Nevertheless, I prayerfully read the study you forwarded to me.

After reading it, I then searched on the internet for supporting evidence of Tony Alamo’s teachings, but was not able to corroborate a number of his statements through other sources.  Here are a few of the sites I visited in my search.

While these sites do not agree in every point among themselves, based on a quick reading of each, none appear to support the Alamo doctrine.  Instead, it appears to me, at least, that they each support the common translation of Matthew 27:46 into English that is found in all of the Bibles I’ve reviewed.  Here is one summary for your consideration.

The superscription Herod caused to be written and placed on the cross of Christ provides us with a reality check regarding how this verse should be read.  According to John, who was present at the crucifixion, this superscription was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek (John 19:20).  While some versions of the Bible use the word “Aramaic” in place of the word “Hebrew” in this verse, most, including the KJV, use the word “Hebrew” as shown in the following links.

The various sources cited above seem to agree for the most part that the form of Hebrew spoken commonly back then was a mixture of languages, which some scholars refer to simply as Aramaic.  In any case, it appears to me at least that John 19:20 helps point to the fact that this matter has not as yet been settled conclusively in terms of which language the majority of people spoke or what inscription Pilot had placed on the cross (Hebrew or Aramaic).

More to the point, it is important to note, I believe, that the translations which use the word “Aramaic” in place of “Hebrew” in John 19:20 still translate Matthew 27:46 in a manner consistent with those Bible versions which use the word “Hebrew” in John 19:20.  That is, they do not translate Matthew 27:46 as Tony Alamo suggests it should read.  (The question for me then becomes, why didn’t those scholars who used the word “Aramaic” in their translation of John 19:20, instead of the word “Hebrew,” also translate Matthew 27:46 in the manner Alamo states it should be interpreted from Aramaic?)  Because they didn’t, Matthew 27:46 in all the available versions of the Bible would appear to represent the original manuscripts consistently and properly.

Thus, my current understanding remains that Jesus did indeed suffer both physically and spiritually for us on the cross for the purpose of meeting the demands of God’s justice regarding punishing sin.

With this in mind, I’d like to encourage you to consider reading the follow-on post on this website considering Jesus’ question on the cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

In this second post (Part 2) on the topic, Stephen’s death (Acts 7) is contrasted with Jesus’ death to highlight the great victory Jesus gained for us over spiritual death so He might bring us back into the presence of our heavenly Father. As with the first (Part 1), it is based both on the scriptures as well as on the witness and encouragement the Lord has given me as I have written each.

Because of this study represented by these two posts (Part 1 & Part 2), I’ve grown even closer to Jesus knowing that He did not simply die a physical death on the cross.  It was much more than that.  He crossed over the spiritual boundary which separated us from God so He could provide the way for us to come back into the presence of our heavenly Father.  Accordingly, I’m assured that Jesus not only gained victory over physical death, but more importantly, He gained an everlasting victory over spiritual death.



Comments on Question 3:  A friend in the LDS church commented that this particular question which Jesus cried out, along with His prayer in the garden, confirms my friend’s belief “that God the Father is real and not a three in one ‘Trinity.”  The following is my reply, which includes references from both the RLDS and LDS versions of the Book of Mormon to confirm the agreement between the two versions of this precious record on this topic.

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You bring up one of those topics for which I am indeed grateful and eternally indebted to our Lord for giving us the Book of Mormon.  As Nephi was told, the records of his people – those which would come forth unto us – would “make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from <the Bible>1 Nephi 3:192-200 RLDS, 1 Nephi 13:40-42 LDS

I am firmly convinced that the true identity of God is one of the key reasons the Book of Mormon was restored to us as stated in its Title Page (Title Page RLDS; Title Page LDS). Below are but a few of the confirming verses that I think of that are plain and precious concerning knowing the true identity of our Savior:

These witnesses are true and consistent with the testimony found in the book of Isaiah, e.g. Isaiah 43:10-12 and Isaiah 45:21,22 (which we are commanded to read: 3 Nephi 10:26-28 RLDS, 3 Nephi 23:1,2 LDS).

Abinadi’s instruction to priesthood in particular has been consistently impressed upon my thoughts over the years in my ministry and service as a member of the Melchisedec priesthood (Mosiah 8:91 RLDS, Mosiah 16:15 LDS).  And I am indeed grateful that Alma heeded Abinadi’s instruction when establishing and regulating the affairs of the first church formed after his peoples’ transgression (Mosiah 9:28-33 RLDS; Mosiah 18:1-35 LDS with 3 Nephi 2:96 RLDS; 3 Nephi 5:12 LDS).  For I continue to receive the witness that priesthood who do not heed this instruction will have their reward with the wicked priesthood who were responsible for Abinadi’s death (see Abinadi’s Admonition: Teach them!).  Hard words, yet I cannot deny the consistent witness of the Lord’s Spirit to me that they are true.

Yet the question remains:  If the witness contained in the Book of Mormon is meant to settle all such matters, why then does God yet manifest Himself to different peoples in different ways as we read of throughout the scriptures, including in this precious record?  Specifically, why does He manifest Himself as the Father, the Son (the Word), and the Holy Ghost?

I have been taught from on high (D&C 43:4 RLDS & D&C 43:15,16 LDS) that He does so because of the three glories He has prepared for the children of men based on the extent to which they love and receive Him as the truth, i.e. to the extent that they love and receive His Spirit of truth (cf. Romans 1:18 & 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 with John 14:1-11 & John 12:47-50).

Here are summary excerpts from a study I’ve prepared on each glory based on what I have been taught from on high about how much of God’s light each person will receive in eternity (this link provides some more related details).  In effect, the amount of light each person inherits will be according to their love of God and His truth (His word) which He offers each of us freely in this life.

  • Telestial glory / the star glory (D&C 76:7l,7v RLDS; D&C 76:98,111,112 LDS):  While they are servants of the Most High, the individuals who receive this night glory for their eternal inheritance remain outside the presence of the Father and the Son forever.  However, so that they might receive a portion of His glory (because He is gracious and kind), the Lord manifests Himself to them via a portion of His Holy Spirit.  He also ministers to them through those in Terrestrial glory and by angels who are called unto this ministry (as outlined in the scriptures cited above).  It is very important to note that the inheritors of Telestial glory abide in the least amount of light and truth of those who receive of the Lord’s glory.  As such, they abide in the least amount of His intelligence (D&C 90:6a RLDS; D&C 93:36,37 LDS).  This includes the wise and learned of the world who did not sufficiently humble themselves before the Lord so that He might heal them (2 Nephi 6:83,84 RLDS; 2 Nephi 9:42 LDS with D&C 85:9b-10c RLDS; D&C 88:38-41 LDS).  One consequence of this limit of light and truth (i.e. intelligence) is that the reality of God to them is not as clear as it is for those who receive the greater portions of His glory in either the Terrestrial and Celestial glories.  To many of the individuals and groups of individual in Telestial glory, God is a distant God.  Noting that there are differences in light among stars, to those who receive the least amount of light among them, His existence may even be questionable.  They simply do not have a clear understanding of God or feel the warmth of His closeness as those who receive the fuller revelation He offers to all through Jesus Christ.  One result of this gradation in light and truth among them is that they hold innumerable views on God because none of them experience the Father and Son on a firsthand basis, only through the ministry and revelation of His Holy Spirit and those assigned to minister to them.  Even if another person could convince them that the other glories hold a greater revelation of God, this level of glory (Telestial glory) is their reality and, as such, they cannot abide a greater knowledge concerning God than they have been willing to receive in this life.
  • Terrestrial glory / the moon glory (D&C 76:6 RLDS; D&C 76:71-80 LDS):  These are they who receive the presence of the Son but do not receive the fullness of the Father.  This, then, is their reality, both in this life and the life to come.  The Father and Son are forever distinct and separate to them, in both time and eternity.  You cannot convince them otherwise because this is what they know and experience in this life and, according to the plan of restoration, in the life to come (Alma 19:64-71 RLDS; Alma 41:2-8 LDS).  Even if a person could convince them that the Father is the Son and the Son is the Father, as stated in a restored portions of the Bible (see Luke 10:23 IV), if Jesus has not revealed this knowledge to them, they simply cannot know it as truth. To those in this night glory it is given to them to rule over the darkness and to minister to those who abide therein, namely the multitudes who abide in the other night glory having lesser light, meaning Telestial glory.  Because both night glories abide in partial darkness, it is understandable that people in Telestial glory prefer their ministers to be from Terrestrial glory or those with a greater portion of light in Telestial glory, but not those from the one day glory, Celestial glory.  The realities of the two night glories are just too different from the day glory, even as different as the night is from the day.  The reason for each of the night glories is simply this:  in the words of Jesus, as a whole men love darkness more than light (John 3:19,20).  Accordingly, the Lord has prepared a place suitable for each person who is not willing to abide in the fullness of His glory – in which there is no darkness at all (I John 1:5).
  • Celestial glory / the sun glory (D&C 76:5 RLDS; D&C 76:50-70 LDS)These are they who receive the fullness of the Father (in the fullness of His light).  Consequently, they understand the words of Jesus when He says I am the Father and the Son (Ether 1:101-108 RLDS, Ether 4:7-12 LDS).  To them it is promised the fullness of His glory (D&C 76:2a-d RLDS; D&C 76:5-10 LDS with D&C 76:5a-r RLDS, D&C 76:50-70 LDS).  Much is written of these in the promises of Jesus Christ found throughout the scriptures.  One of the most impressive to me, at least, is the promise that those who abide in the glory of the sun are one in our Lord according to Jesus’ prayer as found in John 17.  Note how Jesus began His prayer in John 17 by speaking in third person in verse 3 of this chapter:   “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”  This, as I understand it, is the Holy Ghost speaking, for the Holy Ghost bears record of the Father and the Son (D&C 17:5g-h RLDS; D&C 20:27,28 LDS).  Yet this truth speaks to the point that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (these three) are one God who is presently revealed in Jesus Christ (e.g. II Corinthians 6:17,18). Those who abide in the glory of the sun are, therefore, the habitation of God – in whom His fullness dwells.  As Paul has said, God dwells in them (II Corinthians 6:16 with I Corinthians 6:19,20).  They are His city, His habitation, His abode in which He dwells.  This is consistent with the testimony given in the Book of Mormon as well, that God does not dwell in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous (Alma 16:235,236 RLDS; Alma 34:36 LDS).  These, i.e. the righteous, are one in God’s city Zion whom God took unto Himself as His abode forever (Genesis 7:23-28 IV; Moses 7:18-21 LDS).  This testimony also agrees with that given of Jesus recorded in John 14:20-26 and that given by Paul regarding the body of Christ in I Corinthians 12.  So much more could be written and is written about this glory, the glory of the sun.  But the point that I believe is germane here is this: God dwells in the righteous as His habitation.  They are not separate from the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost but one in Him that they might share His glory, because, as it is written, the One true God will not give His glory to another – but He will share it with the righteous by dwelling within them (see Isaiah 48:11 with John 17).  Consequently, those in whom God dwells via His Spirit know of no other God but the One, the infinite and eternal God in whom they dwell and in whom He dwells – a truth which they experience by living according to Jesus’ words, “abide in me and I in you” (John 15:4).  This is the reality and understanding of those who abide fully in the light of God.  It is a condition which differs in light and truth from the two night glories just as the day differs from the night (as described in Why Three Glories, Part 1 and Part 2).

To sum up, God manifests Himself in three different ways to accommodate the three glories He has prepared for all of humanity based on their love of His word, the Truth.

Many simply will not abide in the fullness of His truth.  Therefore, He has prepared kingdoms outside the full revelation of Himself.  In this way He shows Himself to be gracious and good, giving to each and every one of us the desires of our own hearts regarding the love of the truth (His Word).

Yea, and I know that good and evil have come before all men; or he that knoweth not good from evil is blameless; but he that knoweth good and evil, to him it is given according to his desires; whether he desireth good or evil, life or death, joy or remorse of conscience.  (Alma 15:56 RLDS, Alma 29:5 LDS)

Along with the many witnesses of the Book of Mormon, this matter is all summed up for me by the words of Isaiah (see also Isaiah 45:21,22).

Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he; before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no savior. I have declared, and have saved, and I have showed, when there was no strange god among you; therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God. (Isaiah 43:10-12)



Comments on Question 4:  Why exactly was Jesus cut off from His Heavenly Father’s presence in our place as evidenced by Him crying out, “…why hast thou forsaken me?”  This question is answered, in part, by considering why God send’s strong delusions to those who refuse to abide in and/or honor His truth, i.e. His word.  In essence, God has told us plainly that if we keep his commandments, we will prosper in the land.  Otherwise, as He has warned, we will be cut off from His presence (e.g. Psalm 34:16 with Alma 17:44).  That is, we will be cut off from light and truth (D&C 90:6) and will, therefore, inherit darkness rather than light.  Why?  Because to be cut off from the presence of God is to be cut off from light and truth.  For more on this topic, see the post, Why Strong Delusions.



Comments on Question 5:  Another person wrote, reminding me that Passover was observed this year in April, not in March as I indicated in an email I sent out informing people of the post, “…why hast thou forsaken me?”  My reply is below.  Included in my reply is a brief discussion on a topic somewhat related to this series of posts, namely the question of how many days and nights Jesus spent in the grave following being crucified upon the cross.  Jesus testified He would be three days and three nights in the tomb.  Yet tradition tells us that He died on a Friday afternoon and arose two days later on Sunday morning.  Since there is a glaring difference between Jesus’ words and today’s traditions, it is helpful to understand the assumptions that surround the timing of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as observed by many today.  Several articles offer insight in this regard.  One of these is an article written by Eugene Story and can be accessed by selecting <this link>.  Briefly stated, there were two Sabbaths the week Jesus was crucified.  One was the weekly Sabbath.  The other was a high day according to John (John 19:31).  In the words of Eugene Story, there were “two Sabbath days in a row, the Sabbath of the first day of unleavened bread on Friday the 15th of Abib and the normal weekly Sabbath on Saturday.”  This topic is covered a bit more in my reply below.

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Thank you for your reminder about the timing for Passover this year. Interestingly enough, after I emailed out the link to my post I heard someone on the radio say that Passover would be later in April this year.  When I heard that broadcast, my heart sank.  I had just assumed that with all the talk of Easter and of the resurrection on Christian radio back in March that that was when Passover was as well.  But as your note reminded me, these two observances are not always at the same time each year.

It is not the intent of our family or of our congregation to observe Easter.  Rather, it is our desire to worship our risen Lord each year on the anniversary of His death and resurrection according to His calendar and divine appointments.  So I was sad to learn that so many Christians, including me, had observed Passover the weekend of Easter and not on the day appointed by the Lord.

What also made me sad was the wording I used in the email I sent out to let people know I had just posted an article on Jesus’ question on the cross “…why has thou forsaken me?”  You may have noted how I sent that email out shortly after 1 a.m. in the morning.  As such I was very tired.

What I was trying to do in the email was to not mention Easter – as I do not believe any Christian should observe this pagan holiday.  So I chose words I hoped would be something everyone could identify with, and that would not be controversial such that it distracted from the post itself.  So I wrote “…as all Christendom observed the death and resurrection of our Lord…”  I now know that I was wrong in using these words of greetings, since not all Christendom does observe Easter, thankfully … and oh that all would not.

Once I heard the announcement on the radio about Passover being later in April, I truly regretted not thinking out my greetings more carefully before sending the email.  But as I noted above, I was tired and even though I felt a gentle check in my heart regarding that wording, I hurried to send the link to the post out so I could get some rest yet that night.

In writing the post I had truly gained a deeper understanding of the work of Jesus on the cross and what He actually suffered on our behalf so we could be brought into full fellowship with our heavenly Father.  And because I felt a pressing need to share this knowledge with others, I did not want to delay the email any longer. I now hope and pray that the message of the post is not overshadowed by my mix up on the dates regarding when Passover was to be observed this year.  Please forgive me if that was the case.

On the topic of the timing of the death and resurrection of Jesus which you referenced in your email, I read an article recently that has helped me understand the timing of these events much more clearly.  The article was written by a man named Eugene Story and is linked here.

As the author demonstrates in his article, if Jesus had actually died on Friday and rose on Sunday – as has been taught among many Christians over the centuries – then Jesus did not stay the full time in the grave as He said He would … recalling how Jesus said in Matthew 12:20 He would spend three days and three nights in the tomb and be raised on the third day.

What helped clear up this dilemma for me regarding the actual days Jesus spent in the tomb was being reminded that Passover is called a Sabbath by the Lord (see Leviticus 23).  Because the Passover was observed the week Jesus was crucified, there were two Sabbaths that week, the first being the Passover and the second being the weekly Sabbath.

John, the Apostle of Jesus Christ, makes this clear by referencing this first Sabbath in John 19:31 as a “high day,” “special” or “very special,” “especially important” Sabbath – the wording depends upon which version of the Bible one reads (see http://biblehub.com/john/19-31.htm)

In other words, Jesus did not die the day the weekly Sabbath began Friday evening, but rather on the day this “especially important” Sabbath began, that is, on the day which the “a great Sabbath day” of Passover began, which would have been on Thursday in keeping with Jesus’ words.

Unfortunately, I had just taken for granted that the traditional teachings on the timing of the death and resurrection of Jesus were correct, just as I had taken for granted that the Passover this year would occur simultaneously with Easter.  Now that I know otherwise, I have a greater determination to worship our Lord on the correct, appointed days according to His calendar.  Thank you for your respectful and gentle reminder of these holy dates and observances.

According to the grace and mercy of the Lord,

Dwight

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