The purpose of this article is to answer two questions.
1. What were Jesus' last words on the cross?
2. Who actually spoke those words?
To answer both of those questions and shed some light upon what Jesus really said and what he meant, let's look at the Aramaic text and consult two expert translators of Ancient Aramaic, Dr. George Lamsa and Dr. Rocco Errico. "Why should we concern ourselves with Aramaic when we have the King James Bible, written in English?" you may ask.
The answer is that Jesus spoke Aramaic. Aramaic is an Eastern Language full of idioms and figures of speech. Many passages in the King James Bible that seem confusing and contradictory are just poor translations of Aramaic. For instance, in Luke 14:26 Jesus says, "If any man come to me, and hate not his father and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."
Is this the same Jesus who taught love and tolerance? Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:44 (KJV) "But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray or them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."
The problem is that when the King James Bible was written the translator missed the intended meaning of one word in that verse and that changed the whole meaning of the verse. It is the Aramaic word, "sna". It is a word with 5 meanings. Just as there are words in English with multiple meanings, there are words in Aramaic with multiple meanings.
While one of the meanings of the word, "sna" is "hate" or "detest", it also means, "to stand straight," to "Put out a candle or light, " a "threshing floor," and "to set to one's side." (according to Dr. Errico in his book, "Let There be Light, the Seven Keys")
Considering Jesus' other quotes regarding love and forgiveness it is easy to see that he was using the last meaning of the word, "to put to one's side." In other words, in order to follow Jesus, one had to be ready to leave his or her family behind. Jesus was a radical religious leader who was at odds with the powerful Pharisees, during dangerous times. He knew some mothers and fathers would try to discourage their sons and daughters from following him so he made it clear that as much as his followers might love their parents, there might come a time when they would have to choose between their loved ones and Jesus.
Seeing how one word with multiple meanings can cause so much confusion, is it any wonder that Jesus' last words on the cross, a time of great fear, confusion, and anguish for his followers, would present such an opportunity for misquoting and misunderstanding?
We must also remember that Jesus was a good Jew who kept the law of Moses. At that time, when a pious Jew was dying, he or she would often recite the 22nd Psalm, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?" Therefore, many people believe that is what Jesus said as he was dying on the cross.
According to the gospel of Mathew, including all the Greek gospels, Jesus cried out in his own native Aramaic tongue, "Eli, Eli, l'mana Sabachtani?" Notice that it is phrased as a question and the gospels kept it in the original Aramaic.
If these words are considered as a question, then it appears Jesus is doubting why he is suffering and questioning the Father. According to Dr. Errico, this phrase could also be considered a declaration by Jesus. He believes it was a cry of victory by Jesus who realized that God's plan was being carried out exactly as intended.
Jesus may actually have said "El', el', l'mana shwaqthani," meaning "O God, O God To what a purpose you have kept me!"
According to Dr. Lamsa, in the Lamsa Bible Translation, the verse is "At about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with aloud voice and said, "Eli, Eli, l'mana Shabakthani," meaning, "My God, My God, for this I was spared!" Dr. Lamsa actually footnoted the last part of this to indicate it means, "For this was my destiny!"
Once again, most of the confusion is over one word with multiple meanings, the Aramaic word 'shawaqthani." This word, found in Psalm 22, means, "Let me live," or "spare me," not forsake me. Dr. Lamsa was a native to Assyria and spoke Aramaic fluently as well as understanding the customs of Easterners. The phrase "l'mana shawaqthani" is used by people of that region to confirm one's own destiny. The root word, "shawaq," that is found Romans 11:4 may mean "to keep" or, as in Matt: 6:12, "to forgive."
Taken in the context of the rest of Jesus' teachings, it is my belief that he was indeed saying, in so many words, "This is what I have lived for and this is my destiny."
Which brings us to our second question, "Who actually spoke those words?" I know it was Jesus of Nazareth hanging on the cross, but Jesus himself told us that the things he did were actually done by the "Father" through Jesus.
In my book, "Your Loved Ones, Your Self; Finding and Raising the Family Within," I present the evidence , both scientific and religious, of the three parts of human consciousness, the subconscious, or lower self, the conscious mind, or middle self, and the Higher Self, or Loved Ones. I call them Loved Ones because our own Higher Self has two parts or natures, on paternal and the other maternal. We are a projection of their love and they are our connection to the inscrutable God.
The Essenes were a nature loving sect that lived in Jesus' time. They called themselves, "The children of light." The many references to light and the Father by Jesus and his disciples indicates that they were influenced by the teachings of the Essenes. The Essenes in turn were influenced by Huna, an ancient religion that spread from Africa throughout the East and finally as far as the islands of the Pacific where it is practiced to this day. In Huna we find a model for the 3 parts of consciousness I mentioned above.
Evidence of this belief in a paternal Higher Self that is above us and creates using light can be found in James 1;27, "Every good and perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
It seems that Jesus and his disciples recognized the Higher Consciousness in each of us and spoke of God and the Father In James 1:27 there is a clear reference to God and the Father. "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this..." This is a clear distinction between God and a Higher Being referred to as, "the Father."
Jesus himself drew the distinction when he is quoted in John 20:17, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and to your Father: and to my God, and to your God." (The King James Bible and the Aramaic translation are in agreement on this critical verse).
A more complete and thorough explanation of this can be found in, "Your Loved Ones, Your Self; Finding and Raising the Family Within," Infinity Publishing 2007.
Our Loved Ones, our Higher Self, project themselves into this world as human beings. Each of us has a Father in heaven, in other words, a Higher Self within. We have a purpose in life chosen by our Higher Self. As the physical body of the man Jesus was dying, the exultant cry of his Higher Self, his Father who had worked through him throughout his life, cried out in exultation, letting the world know that it had accomplished its mission, through its son, Jesus. That is the answer to who spoke Jesus' last words on the cross. It was the Father, his own Higher Consciousness. It is the same Higher Consciousness that each of us share and that is a part of an inscrutable creator. We can communicate with that Higher Self and it is our link to God. On that level we have some understanding of God.
But just as Jesus taught us the lesson of vicarious atonement, he also taught us, as in the Lord's Prayer, to pray and talk to our Father, the one in heaven, the one who is with God and a part of that realm, but not God. Through that Higher Self we may each approach and connect with an inscrutable creator and that is what Jesus last words demonstrated. His Higher Consciousness, his Father, was speaking not only to this world, but also to God.
Wil Langford, R. Hy. offers his guided meditations for relaxation and exploring the self. at http://9best.info/guided_meditation.html
His guided meditations for relaxation and happiness have helped many people to find happiness and change their lives for the better.
He is an expert on human consciousness and the author of Parts Consciousness Therapy. http://yourlovedonesyourself.com as explained in his book, "Your Loved Ones, Your Self; Finding and Raising the Family Within."Slow Market Home Pricing Advice