Question 49: Can a divorced man become an elder?

Answer: If a person was divorced as a believer, it would permanently disqualify him from being an elder since it shows that he does not fulfill the requirements of an elder as listed in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1.

Certainly, his repentance will bring about forgiveness and restoration of fellowship with God, but it also shows he did not rule his own house well. It is this element that would disqualify him from serving as an elder. However, he could certainly have ministries in other capacities, but not in a ruling position of a local church.

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Arnold Answers is a bi-weekly Q & A with founder and director of Ariel Ministries, Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum.

Reasons and/or Purposes for Israel’s Election

While Israel was chosen on the basis of God’s love, there was purpose and reason to Israel’s election.

A key purpose is stated at the outset of God’s revelation at Mount Sinai in Exodus 19:6:

‘… and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.’

Israel’s status as a holy nation was based on her election. A purpose of the election was for Israel to be a kingdom of priests. While Israel had a priestly tribe, the Tribe of Levi, the nation as a whole was also to be a priesthood. The historical function of a priest was to represent man to God. The Tribe of Levi represented Israel before God; and Israel was to represent the Gentile nations before God. This was perhaps the primary purpose of Israel’s national election and all other reasons are subservient to this one.

A second reason was to be the recipient of God’s revelation and to record it. For this reason, Israel received the Law of Moses (Deut. 4:5-8; 6:6-9; Rom. 3:1-2).

A third reason was to propagate the doctrine of the One God in Isaiah 43:10-12:
Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, 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 Jehovah; and besides me there is no saviour. I have declared, and I have saved, and I have showed; and there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and I am God. In this passage, Israel was chosen to proclaim to the Gentile nations two things: first, that Jehovah, the God of Israel, is the only God; and, second, He is the only Savior and all who seek salvation must find it in Him.

A fourth reason was to produce the Messiah (Rom. 9:5; Heb. 2:16-17; 7:13-14).”

Excerpt From: Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum. “Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology.”Also in ePub (iPad) and Mobi (Kindle) formats.

Question 48: Was Joseph wrong or did he sin in the way he treated his brothers in Genesis 37-50?

Answer: There is no indication in the text that Joseph sinned in the way he treated his brothers. In fact, the whole purpose of that scenario was to test the brothers to see if they had changed in their attitude toward each other and toward the other son of Rachel, whom the father now favored since he assumed that Joseph was dead.

So, during the feast when Joseph gave Benjamin a double portion, his brothers “were merry with him.” Their reaction showed that they were no longer jealous of any favoritism towards the other son of Rachel. Furthermore, they were not willing to leave Benjamin in Egypt. Judah even offered to become the replacement prisoner for the sake of Benjamin and for the love of the father. All of these actions showed that they had developed a strong sense of family loyalty, and that Benjamin would not be abandoned in the way that Joseph had been abandoned.

I think it was a valid test, and the Bible does not condemn Joseph for his actions.

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Question 47: What are your thoughts on whether God currently speaks to us through dreams?

Answer: If you look through the biblical record, God did at times speak through dreams to both believers (e.g. Daniel) and unbelievers (e.g. Abimelech, Nebuchadnezzar). However, you will note that these instances were few, and they always included a specific message that was just as accurate as direct fulfilled prophecy.

God no longer gives direct prophecy now that we have His entire Word. People who claim to receive direct messages from God are often simply faking it. It was never the biblical pattern for God to reveal new truth in dreams. It was rare in biblical times and would be even rarer today if God so chooses.

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Arnold Answers is a bi-weekly Q & A with founder and director of Ariel Ministries, Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum.

Question 46: Why did God give the law instead of just sending Yeshua to redeem humanity after Adam sinned?

Answer: The answer is simple: It was the choice God made.

Obviously, God had multiple options as to how He could have handled both the angelic and human sin, and He chose the one He put into effect and waited for the “fullness of time” before sending His Son (Galatians 4:1-7). He did so without telling us why. Hence, there is no other answer we can give except what God has chosen to reveal to us in His Word.

Galatians 4:1-7 says:

Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. (NASB)

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Arnold Answers is a bi-weekly Q & A with founder and director of Ariel Ministries, Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum.

The Land Covenant: Deuteronomy 29:1 – 30:20

Introduction:

Although this covenant is within the fifth book of Moses, Deuteronomy 29:1 clearly shows that the Land Covenant is distinct from the Mosaic Covenant:

‘These are the words of the covenant which Jehovah commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which he made with them in Horeb.’

A. The Participants in the Covenant:

This covenant was made between God and Israel, the same two parties as the Mosaic Covenant.

B. The Provisions of the Covenant:

Eight provisions can be gleaned from this passage.

First, Moses spoke prophetically of Israel’s coming disobedience to the Mosaic Law and her subsequent scattering over the entire world Deuteronomy 29:2-30:1. All remaining provisions speak of various facets of Israel’s final restoration.

Secondly, Israel will repent in Deut. 30:2: ‘… and shall return unto Jehovah your God, to all that I command you this day, you and your children, with all your heart, and with all your soul; …’

Thirdly, the Messiah will return in verse 3a: ‘… that then Jehovah your God will turn your captivity, …’

Fourthly, Israel will be regathered in verses 3b-4: ‘… and have compassion upon you, and will return and gather you from all the peoples, whither Jehovah your God has scattered you. If any of your outcasts be in the uttermost parts of heaven, from thence will Jehovah your God gather you: …’

Fifth, Israel will possess the Promised Land in verse 5: ‘… and Jehovah your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and he will do you good, and multiply you above your fathers.’

Sixth, Israel will be regenerated in verse 6: ‘And Jehovah your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love Jehovah your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live.’

Seventh, the enemies of Israel will be judged in verse 7: ‘And Jehovah your God will put all these curses upon your enemies, and on them that hate you, that persecuted you.’

Eighth, Israel will receive full blessing; specifically, the blessings of the Messianic Age in verses 8-20.

C. The Importance of the Covenant:

The special importance of the Land Covenant is that it reaffirms the title deed to the Land as belonging to Israel. Although she would prove unfaithful and disobedient, the right to the Land would never be taken from her. Furthermore, it shows that the conditional Mosaic Covenant did not lay aside the unconditional Abrahamic Covenant. It might be taken by some that the Mosaic Covenant displaced the Abrahamic Covenant, but the Land Covenant shows that this is not true. The Land Covenant is an enlargement of the original Abrahamic Covenant. It amplifies the Land aspect and emphasizes the promise of the Land to God’s earthly Jewish people in spite of their unbelief. The Abrahamic Covenant teaches that ownership of the Land is unconditional while the Land Covenant teaches that the enjoyment of the Land is conditioned on obedience.

D. The Confirmation of the Covenant: Ezekiel 16:1-63:

The Land Covenant received its confirmation centuries later in Ezekiel 16:1-63. In this very important passage concerning God’s relationship to Israel, God recounts His love of Israel in her infancy in verses 1-7. Later, in verses 8-14 Israel was chosen by God and became related to Jehovah by marriage and hence became the Wife of Jehovah. However, Israel played the harlot and was guilty of spiritual adultery by means of idolatry in verses 15-34; therefore, it was necessary to punish her by means of dispersion in verses 35-52. This dispersion is not final, for there would be a future restoration on the basis of the Land Covenant in verses 53-63. They were guilty of violating the Mosaic Covenant in verses 53-59, but God will remember the covenant made with Israel in her youth in verse 60a and will establish an everlasting covenant, the New Covenant in verse 60b and this will result in Israel’s national salvation in verses 61-63.

E. The Status of the Covenant:

The Land Covenant, being an unconditional covenant, is still very much in effect.

Taken from ‘The Word of God: Its Nature and Content’ – For the following versions of this book please click on Paperback; ePub (for iPad) and Mobi (for Kindle)

Question 45: Some believe that they will be united again with a deceased husband or wife in heaven. Is this true?

Answer: The key passage for answering your question is Matthew 22:22-33. In a discussion with the Sadducees, Yeshua points out that in heaven there is neither marriage nor giving in marriage. Thus, all of us who go to heaven will no longer be married to whom we were married on earth.

That does not mean there will be no recognition, and we will certainly know to whom we were married here on earth. However, those who are husband and wife on this earth will not be husband and wife in heaven.

From our perspective, this may seem sad, but we will not be sad in heaven since we will see everything from God’s perspective. It should also be noted that there will be no mothers-in-law in heaven either.

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Question 44: Genesis 1:20 says that God created the fowl out of the water, but in Genesis 2:19 it says He formed them from the ground. I have a suspicion the answer lies in a proper understanding of the Hebrew language. Can you address this?

Genesis 1:20 says:

20 Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.” (NASB)

Genesis 2:19 says:

19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. (NASB)

Answer: If you look at Genesis 1:20, it does not say that the birds of the heavens came out of the water: And God said, Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. The verse should be understood as two separate statements. Concerning the waters, God instructed them to swarm with living creatures. Thus, what was created in that statement were all creatures that live in water (not only the sea world creatures).

The second statement pertains to the avian world. God simply said, “…let birds fly above the earth.” He created the birds with the ability to fly over the waters, but they were not created from the waters.

Genesis 2:19 explains where the birds came from: they were created from the ground, the same as the animals and Adam as well.

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Arnold Answers is a bi-weekly Q & A with founder and director of Ariel Ministries, Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum.

Question 43: How can Yeshua be the Firstfruits of the resurrection since people were raised from the dead before Him (e.g., Matthew 27:52)?

Matthew 27:52 says:

52 The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the [a]saints who had fallen asleep were raised; (NASB)

Answer: Keep in mind, there are two categories of resurrection. There is the resurrection that is merely a restoration back to natural life, and all of those resurrected in this category died again later. That would have been true of those who were resurrected by Elijah and Elisha and people like Lazarus, whom Yeshua raised from the dead during His ministry. The same principle applies to those resurrected in Matthew 27:52. Saints were resurrected and came to Jerusalem, but they all died again later.

The second type of resurrection is resurrection to immortality, where corruption puts on incorruption and mortality puts on immortality (I Cor. 15:53-55). Those resurrected in this category cannot die again. Yeshua, so far, is the only one who has been resurrected in this manner.

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Arnold Answers is a bi-weekly Q & A with founder and director of Ariel Ministries, Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum.

Question 42: John was proclaiming repentance and baptism to the Jews. What were they supposed to be repenting of?

Answer: The word “repentance” means “to change one’s mind.” In essence, John the Baptist was calling upon the Jewish people to repent or change their minds about which Judaism they were going to follow: pharisaic Judaism or biblical Judaism.

Those who were willing to make the commitment and follow biblical Judaism would undergo water baptism to show their new identification with John’s kingdom message. This message was based upon biblical Judaism, the only Judaism that would qualify the people for Messiah’s kingdom.

 

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Arnold Answers is a bi-weekly Q & A with founder and director of Ariel Ministries, Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum.