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Acts 28: The Back Story
Part VII: Father and Child
Father's come with a multitude of attitudes and a variety of issues. Some are very permissive like King David with his sons, and it cost the sons dearly. Other are absentee fathers, either physically or spiritually, like Timothy's. Isaac was a father who picked a favorite and in so doing did no favor for Esau. Saul was an abusive and domineering father which simply translated into his selfishness. Eli abdicated his responsibilities as a father and the children paid the price of his neglect. 

Jarius was a caring and loving father that understood where to go to receive help in time of need. Jehonadab stood for God before his children, giving them an example that they could follow and respect. Joseph accepted his responsibility before God Almighty to raise and teach God's only begotten son. Abraham lived as a father who walked with and believed God.

The best father to child relationship will impart godly virtues and godly wisdom. The best child to father relationship will learn obedience to Truth and walk forth in godliness. 

God's Word gives us many examples of the father-child relationship, some are good examples and some are not. We are also given one perfect example of the father-child relationship, that being the relationship between Jesus Christ and his Heavenly Father. 

It is from this relationship that God's children of today are to see and learn that they can trust and have confidence in their Heavenly Father's ability to care for their every need. It is from this relationship that God's children of today are to see and learn of their Heavenly Father's unending and unwavering love and commitment toward them. It is from this relationship that God's children of today are to see and learn that their Heavenly Father will never harm them or abandon them to walk alone in this world.

It is all the more heart breaking then to hear what Christianity has taught concerning the actions of God when His only begotten son was carrying out His will by hanging on the cross. This doctrine of abandonment has presented to God's children not only a wrong view of their Heavenly Father but also a devilish mindset that produces the wrong way of believing.

Matthew 27:46
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

We have been taught that God forsook His only begotten son because he became sin and sin cannot be in the presence of God. We have been taught a lie from the lips of ignorant men that desire to follow the denominational party line rather than work the words of God. 

I know those words sound harsh and unyielding, they are intended to be just that! When we simply find ways to rationalize what some fool taught centuries ago because our denomination has held to this line of tradition, stern words are required to wake us up.

As workmen of God's Word, we never work or study a teaching. If a teaching motivates us to study, then we are to study the subject in God's Word, not the teaching. It is God's Word that is Truth. A teaching, at best, will only contain part of the Truth.

If God abandoned Jesus Christ in his time of agony and overwhelming pain, then how can we trust God to stand with us when we are attacked by the world? If God walked out, even for a split second, on the only person who totally and completely obeyed His every word, what happens to me who has been less than obedient on more than a few occasions?

The rationalization that Jesus became sin and therefore God left because He can't stand sin demonstrates complete ignorance of God's Word and God's heart.

2 Corinthians 5:21
For he (God) hath made him (Jesus Christ) to be sin (a sin offering) for us, who (Jesus Christ) knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

God did not make Jesus Christ to be sin, Jesus Christ was our sin offering. The sin offering never became sin, they were the offerings for sin. But in order to make God leave His son, we have twisted and perverted the words of God to make them fit our theology.

The phrase "to be sin" is the figure of speech metonymy of subject whereby sin is put for sin-offering. The same figure of speech is used in Genesis 4:7 in reference to Cain and the sin offering.

Acts 2:22-23
Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

Jesus Christ, the perfect man who lived a completely sinless life, was hanging on that cross by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God. Jesus had spoken to God just days earlier, in the garden, and asked his Father if there was a plan B. God told him there was only one way to redeem mankind from the bondage of the Devil and Jesus was carrying out that plan as he hung on the cross.

Then how does someone have the audacity to say that God walked away and left Jesus to face his most challenging moments in life, alone? No moment in the life of Jesus Christ was harder or more difficult then when he approached the ninth hour of that day when he was hanging on the cross. Facing the crowds that wanted to kill him, standing nose to nose with the Pharisees and the Sanhedrin, being spiritually confronted by devil spirits on a daily basis, trusting the words of God as he faced the Devil himself in the wilderness; pale in comparison to those final minutes of the life of Jesus Christ. Jesus was exhausted, he was drained, he was in intense pain, and he still needed to make sure he had not missed one jot or title from the Word of God. Yet Bible teachers want us to believe that God chose those moments to take a break from His son because He couldn't stand to be in the presence of His sin burdened son!

How then can I trust God to stand with me, a consummate sinner, who is probably in trouble because once again I have failed to believe and obey God? I am a sinner, and only by God's grace and mercy can I stand before Him in righteousness. But Jesus Christ earned his way into the presence of God for he lived a completely sinless life.

Romans 14:23
And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith (pistis - the right way of believing) is sin.

The right way of believing, although different in each administration, is always what is required by God. For Jesus Christ the right way of believing was to confirm the promises made unto the fathers, to fulfill the entire Law of Moses, to obey every word of God that pertained to him. Hanging on that cross was addressed only to Jesus Christ and to no other. Jesus was sinless all the way through the point of giving up his spirit and declaring "It is finished."

Christianity likes to speak of the omnipresence of God. Consider that for a few moments. 

If God is truly omnipresent, then how does He manage to leave His only begotten son? If God is truly omnipresent, then how is He out of the presence of sin or evil?

Psalm 139:7-12
Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

Religion desires all men to suspend their ability to think and reason as religion weaves their doctrines of confusion and insanity. What man has entangled, God has made plain.

To understand what takes place in Matthew 27 we need to go back to the book of Psalms and gain an understanding of what David is saying when he wrote, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me." Only when we know what Psalm 22 is speaking of will we be able to understand what Jesus Christ is saying from the cross.

Psalm 22:1
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?

Psalm 22 is a Messianic Psalm. By that I mean it is speaking of things that will happen specifically to the Messiah when he comes. But each prophetic psalm has its roots in an actual event that takes place in real life. Something is going on in David's life to cause this Psalm to be written.

There is no doubt that David is in great distress as he writes these words. But a question arises as to when David would have had occasion to feel so forsaken?

The only two times David could have experienced such despair was when he was on the run from King Saul, or when he was running from his own son Absalom. The answer is in verse 20.

Psalm 22:20
Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.

The Hebrew word yachiyd is translated "my darling" in this verse. Tyndale handles this Hebrew word in this verse as "only begotten son."

Judges 11:34
And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.

"His only child" is the Hebrew word yachiyd. Therefore Psalm 22 is written by David when he was running from his son Absalom. The account of Absalom's rebellion against David is recorded in 2 Samuel 15-18. In reading the account of Absalom's revolt it is easily seen that David is now old and tired. Rather than fight his son, David chooses to run away.

Psalm 22:1
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?

As David approached the end of his days, his son Absalom rebelled. But why would he think God had forsaken him?

The Hebrew word for forsaken is azab and it means "to forsake, to leave, to abandon". Let's consider some of the other times David used this same word in his Psalms.

Psalm 9:10
And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

Psalm 27:10
When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.

Psalm 37:25
 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

Psalm 37:28
For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.

Psalm 94:14
For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.

God does not forsake His people, His children, and David knew this when he was writing the 22nd Psalm. So what is David then saying, who or what is forsaking him?

Psalm 22:1
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?

The word translated "God" is the Hebrew word "el" and has mostly been translated accurately as God. But God is not the only meaning of the word "el." El is also translated power, and mighty, and might, and strong. The correct translation is determined from the context.

Genesis 31:29
It is in the power (translated from el) of my hand to do you hurt: but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.

Power is the correct translation here, it is not a reference to God.

Psalm 52:1
Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty (translated from the word el) man? the goodness of God endureth continually.

Again, this is not a reference to God.

Ezekiel 32:21
The strong (translated from the word el) among the mighty shall speak to him out of the midst of hell with them that help him: they are gone down, they lie uncircumcised, slain by the sword.

Some theologian will read this and say, yes these verses use the word "el" but the majority of times it should be translated God. To that I will whole heartedly agree. But studying God's Word isn't about majority rules, it's about learning and accurately seeing what God is communicating.

If I asked you to give me a definition for the word ball, what would you say?

Dictionary.com defines ball as, "a spherical or approximately spherical body or shape." Oxford Dictionary defines ball as, "a solid or hollow sphere or ovoid, especially one that is kicked, thrown, or hit in a game."

Most people would agree with that definition. However, that definition is completely wrong when the word ball is placed in a different context.

For example: Your boss gives you a specific assignment and says, "Take the ball and run with it." Does the definition fit this context? While attending the Inaugural Ball of President Somebody, John was thrilled to dance with the First Lady. How does this context work with the definition? After returning from the park the two boys were asked by their mother how their day went, they responded, "We had a ball."

Context means everything. First, each word must fit within its immediate context. Then it must also fit within the remoter context.

From the more remote context we know that David is fully aware that God does not forsake His people. From the immediate context we see that David is old, he is tired, his strength has left him, "My strength, my strength, has forsaken me" is the more accurate understanding of what Psalm 22:1 is declaring. 

"Has forsaken me" is the figure of speech erotesis. It is the asking of a question but not asking for an answer, therefore it can be handled in its translation as making a statement. So rather than saying, why hast thou forsaken me, it could be translated, it has forsaken me. The words "why hast thou" are not in the text, they were added by a translator to make the one doing the forsaking God. 

In David's situation his strength was gone, it had forsaken him. In Jesus Christ's situation he could feel his life draining out of him, he knew his time was at hand, his strength was gone.

Psalm 22:16-17
For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.

Mark 15:25
And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.

The third hour correlates to nine in the morning our time. Jesus Christ was arrested Monday evening while in the garden of Gethsemane. He is put on the cross Wednesday morning at nine in the morning. In between he has endured forty hours of brutal, sadistic punishment at the hands of men who fought hand to hand combat for a living. He has been beaten so badly that Isaiah describes him as beyond human recognition. This is the man they nailed to a stake that Wednesday morning. 

The cross was not a T-shaped object but a stake straight up and down. He was nailed through the wrists with his arms stretched out over his head and his feet nailed just above the ankle. In this position it was almost impossible to breath, the rib cage would be completely visible (you can tell my bones from Psalm 22:17) and pulled taut against the lungs, compressing them. In order to breath a person would have to pull up on the nails in the wrists and push up on the nails in the ankles causing extreme pain, just to relax the rib cage and free the lungs to take one breath of air.

They offered him a pain killer right after nailing him to the stake but he refused.

Matthew 27:34
They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.

He endured the pain, he endured the ridicule and vicious taunts of the people. His day was going to be cruelly long as the Passover lamb was not sacrificed until three in the afternoon. He would hang on that stake for six long hours.

Psalm 22:6-8
But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.

While David was running away from his son, he encountered relatives of King Saul.

2 Samuel 16:5-8
And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came. And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial: The LORD hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the LORD hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man.

The kingdom lined up behind Absalom, David's end seemed to be at hand. Absalom desired to kill his father.

Matthew 27:39-43
And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.

Where are the thousands he had fed? Where are those he healed; the lame who walked, the blind who saw, the lepers who were cleansed? What happened to all those who cried Hosanna when he entered Jerusalem just a short time ago? 

Psalm 22:14-15
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.

The life of Jesus is draining away; he is poured out like water; all of his joints are dislocated by the crucifixion yet he must still push up and pull up on the nails to breath; he can feel his organs shutting down; his tongue is stuck in his mouth because it has no moisture; he is on the verge of death. 

Matthew 27:46
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

It is just before three on Wednesday afternoon when Jesus utters the cry from Psalm 22. He is tired, he can feel the life draining out of him, he is personally out of strength but his time is not yet, he needs to hold on just a little bit longer.

His mind would be working, scriptures running through his mind, is everything accomplished, is there anything else I need to do? He is going through the 22nd Psalm in his mind, like David he is relying upon God to see him through.

Psalm 22:4-5
Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.

Jesus knows he can trust God to deliver him. Deliver him from what? From the grave, from death.

Hebrews 12:2
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith (pistis - the accomplished believing of Jesus Christ); who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

What was the joy that was set before him? The resurrection from the dead was set before him, he knew, he trusted God would deliver him. Psalm 16 would have entered his mind.

Psalm 16:10
For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 

So Jesus cried with a loud voice "My strength, my strength has forsaken me". 

Jesus knows the 22nd Psalm details his death and crucifixion. He sees there is only one thing left to do according to the 22nd Psalm but before he allows his life to end, he concludes his ministry the way he began his ministry.

Luke 4:16-21
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

He opens his ministry with, "this day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." He ends with crying out the beginning of the 22nd Psalm and in essence saying, "this day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." He doesn't quote the whole Psalm, the pain of breathing wouldn't allow for such a declaration. Speaking at that point would have been incredibly painful and more than a little challenging. His life is ending, it is almost three o'clock, time for the Passover sacrifice. 

We learned when Lazarus was raised from the dead that Jesus was fully aware he didn't need to speak out loud to be heard by God.

John 11:41-42
Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.

Jesus cried out loud from the cross for the people who were standing there, so that they could know the 22nd Psalm had been fulfilled. Jesus never would have even considered that God would forsake or leave him.

Then following the words of Psalm 69 Jesus declared, "I thirst." After they had given him to drink he concludes Psalm 22 and proclaims, "It is finished."

John 19:28-30
After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

Where was God while Jesus was hanging on that stake? He was right there with His beloved son. 

John 8:28-29
Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

Where was God when Jesus was doing the will of God by hanging on that stake? 

Now you know the answer to that question. He was standing right there with His beloved son.

But now you ask the question, what does all of this have to do with what I have been teaching concerning the back story of Acts 28?

The answer is relatively simple, God does not forsake nor leave His children. God will never abandon anyone that is in His family.

I have heard ministers of God speak of how God has turned His back on His children when they have failed to obey Him. This is a completely erroneous thought pattern for any child of God to entertain. To teach such a thing must break God's heart. 

Acts 26:22
Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:

It wasn't Paul's excellent planning, nor his logistical skills, nor his bravado that had brought him to the place that he was preparing to leave for Rome. Paul functioned as an apostle but he was simply a child of God in the Body of Christ. He was a man of like passions as you and me. From the moment Paul drew his first breath as a newborn, through the moment Paul became a child of God, even until the moment Paul drew his last breath, God was ever present in his life.

Acts 20:3
And there abode three months. And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia.

Trouble awaited Paul throughout this entire journey and even when Paul didn't listen, God was right there with him.

These Jews weren't waiting to present Paul with the Theologian of the Year award! They were trying to take Paul's life. That's how the adversary deals with people who speak the Truth and disrupt the flow of his lies and deceit.

The Jews from Asia tried to kill Paul when he was in the Temple. The High Priest ordered Paul hit when he was before the Sanhedrin, then the Roman soldiers had to take Paul away from the Sanhedrin by force before they killed him.

Acts 23:12-15
And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy. And they came to the chief priests and elders, and said, We have bound ourselves under a great curse, that we will eat nothing until we have slain Paul. Now therefore ye with the council signify to the chief captain that he bring him down unto you to morrow, as though ye would enquire something more perfectly concerning him: and we, or ever he come near, are ready to kill him.

Forty men put themselves under a covenant with the sole purpose being to kill Paul. Then they entered into a conspiracy with the religious rulers of Israel to deceive the Romans to once again bring Paul before the Sanhedrin so that these forty men could ambush and kill Paul. Forty men, plus the Sanhedrin, the ruling seventy, have set it in their hearts to kill a man simply because he refused to believe what they believed.

Christianity allows others to speak, even when it is against God. The world does not believe in such freedom because the adversary understands that the right way of believing comes from hearing the words of God. The adversary is afraid people will hear and believe, so he always moves to silence the children of God. 

What's the name of the course a Rabbi takes that covers conspiracy and murder? Which part of Rabbinical training handles lying and deceit? What's the name of the course in our modern day seminaries that handles the promotion of lies concerning the character of God? What is this course that would teach you to say, with a straight face and with all sincerity, that God abandoned His only begotten son as he hung on the cross?

How is it that what a denomination thinks, meaning doctrinal tenets, has become more important than the words of God?

God didn't leave Jesus Christ and God never left Paul! Paul wasn't perfect like Jesus Christ. He made mistakes, he missed revelation, he agreed to a false unity with James and his Heavenly Father still stood with him to provide comfort, encouragement, and help with every step Paul took, even when those steps were in error.

If those forty men were serious about their commitment, then they starved to death. For they choose to stand against the Family of God. They should have heeded the words of Gamaliel.

Acts 27:20
And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.

When Paul was sailing to Rome they encountered a tremendous storm, so that all on the ship lost hope of living; all that is except Paul. Again, let me remind you, Paul is on this ship, under arrest, because he didn't listen to God to stay away from Jerusalem. Where is his condemnation, where is his mea culpa?

Acts 27:21
But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss.

This time Paul did listen to God but the Romans failed to listen to Paul. We are imperfect humans and make spiritual mistakes regularly. God knew that before He created His gift of holy spirit within us, making us His children.

When any adult becomes a parent that adult has no idea how the child will turn out. Some parents never would have become a parent if they had known before hand how the child would turn out. But God knows the end before the beginning and He still creates holy spirit within.

Romans 8:38-39
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

That covers the whole gambit of anything and everything we will do or will happen to us. Still nothing will separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

The word "separate" is the Greek word chorizo. According to Blue Letter Bible Lexicon means, "to separate, divide, part, put asunder, to separate one's self from, to depart." We can walk away from the rightly divided Word of God but we can never walk away from God. He is omnipresent and whether we stand with God or the world, once a person has become His child, that person and God are inseparable.

The Romans didn't listen to Paul when he said it wasn't a good time for them to set sail but they were still blessed because Paul and God were inseparable.

Acts 27:22-25
And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.

The people who knew about sailing had lost all hope of living but Paul tells them to be of "good cheer." The children of God look at the things which are unseen, we don't focus on the temporal. Our mistakes are temporal! Stop looking at your mistakes and stay focused on God!

God sent an angel to hang out with Paul and remind him that he is going to Rome to stand before Caesar. Where was God when His son was hanging on the cross? Where was God when His son was in a sinking ship? Where is God when all has gone wrong in your life? He is in you and with you.

Right believing is knowing that the power and presence of God is in you and with you in every situation.