Question 66. Why do Orthodox Jews rock their heads and upper bodies when praying?

The nodding of the head and rocking of the upper body while praying is called davening, from the Yiddish word daven, meaning “to pray.” Jewish people pray through prayer books, and at certain points in their prayers, they begin to daven. This is based on Psalm 35:10, which states, “With all my bones I will praise you.” By moving in this way, Orthodox Jews believe all their bones are moving while they are praising the Lord. Biblically, however, praise does not come in the movement of the body, but from what we believe in our hearts. What we do in the external world is motivated by what is in our hearts.


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Learn more about Ariel Ministries and enjoy our many online resources. To make this and other resources available, Ariel Ministries relies upon donations from people like you. If you feel the Lord Messiah would have you be a part of this ministry through a financial gift, please go to Ariel Ministries Giving. Thank you!

Arnold Answers with founder and director of Ariel Ministries, Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum.

Question 65. Why do Messianic believers prefer not to use the term “Christian”?

The term “Christian” is found only three times in the New Testament and always in the mouths of the critics, not the believers themselves. Within the New Testament, the believers never used that term of themselves. The terms “Christian” and “Messianic” really mean the same thing, but the former is from a Greek source and the latter from a Hebrew source. The Greek, Christianos (Christian), is equivalent to the Hebrew, Meshichi (Messianic).

Today, the term “Christian” carries a lot of negative baggage for Jewish people because of what has been done to them throughout history in the name of “Christ,” and so the Jewish believers prefer to call themselves Messianics rather than Christians.

The most common New Testament term for believers was “saints,” but because that now carries a lot of Catholic baggage, most believers do not refer to themselves that way.


Have more questions? Send them to questions@ariel.org

Learn more about Ariel Ministries and enjoy our many online resources. To make this and other resources available, Ariel Ministries relies upon donations from people like you. If you feel the Lord Messiah would have you be a part of this ministry through a financial gift, please go to Ariel Ministries Giving. Thank you!

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

Question 64. I have a question about the tribulation time. Once the church is raptured, it is the end of the church age and I believe the end of the age of grace. At this time, the focus of God will revert back to His people and nation, Israel. What happens to Gentiles? Can they be saved, or do they have to become Jewish converts? I know they will be judged on how they treated the Jews during this time. Since the church is complete and gone, what do they do? I know there will be 144,000 Jewish evangelists who are going to preach the Messiah, but their message can’t be the gospel. So, to what will people get converted? How and whom will they worship?

While the rapture will end the church age, it will not end the dispensation of grace. The tribulation is still a part of the dispensation of grace. The previous dispensations ended in judgment, and the tribulation is the judgment at the end of the dispensation of grace.
We read of many Gentiles becoming believers during the tribulation. Of course, they will not be a part of the body of the Messiah, meaning the church. However, they will be among the sheep Gentiles at the judgment of the Gentiles in the 75-day interval after the tribulation. At this judgment, it will be determined who will or will not enter the Messianic kingdom.

Even after the rapture, the gospel message will remain the same, and people must believe that Yeshua died for their sins, was buried, and rose again. This is the message people must trust for their salvation even after the church has been taken up into heaven (I Cor. 15:1-4). In addition to the gospel, they will also be receiving the “gospel of the kingdom.” This message says that the Messianic kingdom will be set up once Israel becomes a believing nation.

So yes, both Jews and Gentiles will be saved after the rapture, but they will not be part of the church, meaning the body of the Messiah. They will simply be in the category of post-rapture saints.


Have more questions? Send them to questions@ariel.org

Learn more about Ariel Ministries and enjoy our many online resources. To make this and other resources available, Ariel Ministries relies upon donations from people like you. If you feel the Lord Messiah would have you be a part of this ministry through a financial gift, please go to Ariel Ministries Giving. Thank you!

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

Question 63. I have a friend who has been a believer for many years. She recently found out that there is some Jewish heritage in her mother’s family tree. She has since been fellowshipping with a Messianic congregation. She has just posted on her Facebook page that starting this year, she will be “going under Torah” and wanted all her friends and family to know. Should I be concerned? Is this what the early church had to deal with when the Scriptures speak of “Judaizers”? Biblically speaking, is she in any danger?

To answer your question, yes, you need to be concerned about your friend. She is falling into the heresy of “Galatianism,” and she has connected herself with the wrong segments of the Messianic movement. Those who claim to be Torah observant are in many ways continually breaking the Torah since they do not look at the details of what the Torah really says, and yes, that is what the early church had to contend with in the group known as the Judaizers.

A good book that addresses this issue is titled The Remnant of Israel, published by Ariel Ministries. It deals with various struggles of Messianic Jews and those who find a Jewish ancestor. There is even a chapter on the role of the Mosaic Law that might be very helpful to your friend if she is willing to deal with the text seriously and not be influenced by the associations she has gotten herself connected with.


Learn more about Ariel Ministries and enjoy our many online resources. To make this and other resources available, Ariel Ministries relies upon donations from people like you. If you feel the Lord Messiah would have you be a part of this ministry through a financial gift, please go to Ariel Ministries Giving. Thank you!

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

Question 62. Yeshua said in John 14:2, “In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” Could the expression “mansions” refer to other religions?

In John 14:2, the Messiah was addressing His disciples, letting them know that He would soon be leaving them to go back to where He came from. He came from heaven and therefore was now going to return to heaven. He promised that while in heaven, He would be building “mansions” for them. Once these mansions are ready, He would come back to fetch them to where He was then going. This is a special promise of the Messiah to believers that someday He will come for them to take them into heaven. This would apply to those who have accepted Him as the Messiah, and it would be totally inapplicable for any other religion.

The term “mansion” is not a good rendering of the Greek word since it has a meaning in English that doesn’t convey the meaning in Greek. The word simply applies to dwelling places within a larger area. These places will be private chambers for the individual believers.

So, if you are a believer in that you believe that the Messiah died for your sins, was buried, and was resurrected from the dead, and if you trust the gospel message as fact alone plus nothing else, then you are born again, and you will someday have one of these special places of your own in heaven.

You can find more about this and other teachings of Yeshua in the book Yeshua – The Life of the Messiah from a Messianic Jewish Perspective available in the Ariel Store


Learn more about Ariel Ministries and enjoy our many online resources. To make this and other resources available, Ariel Ministries relies upon donations from people like you. If you feel the Lord Messiah would have you be a part of this ministry through a financial gift, please go to Ariel Ministries Giving. Thank you!

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

Question 61. In II Thessalonians 2:2, the King James Bible says “day of Christ,” but the NASB says “day of the Lord.” Is there a difference between the two phrases? Some are teaching that the “day of Christ” is the rapture. I know the Old Testament says the “day of the Lord” is the tribulation. Please help me know and understand if both phrases mean the same thing.

As to your question about II Thessalonians 2:2, the King James Version rendering of the verse using “day of Christ” is inaccurate. Most other versions have correctly rendered it as “day of the Lord.” The “day of Christ” is the rapture, but the “day of the Lord” is a reference to, and the most common name in both testaments for, the seven-year period known as the tribulation.

So, Paul is comforting the Thessalonian believers in that they do not need to be disturbed by any reports that claim the “day of the Lord” (i.e., the tribulation) has come. He says that cannot happen until other things happen first. One of these things is in verse 3 and translated in many English versions as the falling away. However, the Greek word simply means “departure.” This could refer to a moral departure, but it can also refer to a physical departure. From the overall context of this passage, we identify this “departure” as the physical departure of the church from the earth. Further evidence of this identification is based upon the fact that Paul earlier wrote I Thessalonians to the same group of believers and told them that while the body of Messiah (the church) will participate in the rapture (I Thess. 4:13-18), it will not participate in the “day of the Lord” (I Thess. 5:1-11). Therefore, we believe that the best way to interpret II Thessalonians 2:2 is that it refers to the “day of the Lord,” that is, the tribulation.


Learn more about Ariel Ministries and enjoy our many online resources. To make this and other resources available, Ariel Ministries relies upon donations from people like you. If you feel the Lord Messiah would have you be a part of this ministry through a financial gift, please go to Ariel Ministries Giving. Thank you!

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

Question 60. Was it the Catholic Church that produced the New Testament canon?

It would be incorrect to say that the Catholic Church produced the New Testament. Historically, the Catholic Church as an organized unit came much later. The Church Fathers could not be classed as Catholic, though the Catholics claim them (especially Augustine), but so do the Eastern Orthodox churches and even many Protestants, especially those of the Calvinistic persuasion. The New Testaments as we have it today was already accepted by the body of believers well before there was such a thing as the Catholic Church.

The basic fact is that as the books of Scripture were written by men inspired by God, they were immediately recognized as being canonical by the body of believers. That is true for both testaments.

For example, regarding the Old Testament, it is clear that when five books of Moses were completed, they were recognized as authoritative Scripture by contemporaries and by succeeding generations. Joshua, the successor of Moses, speaks of the writings of Moses as being authoritative and therefore to be obeyed. Also, Jeremiah and Daniel were contemporaries, and Daniel 9:1-3 clearly shows that he recognized the writing of Jeremiah to be Scripture and authoritative.

The same principle applies to the New Testament: The books written either by the apostles or by apostolic legates were recognized to be Scripture immediately upon being written. In II Peter 3:16, Peter equates the writings of Paul to be Scripture.

It was not the Council of Yavneh (sometimes referred to as Jamnia) that determined what the Hebrew canon was going to be. The council generally recognized which books were inspired, but did not determine the inspiration of those books. The same thing is true with the New Testament. Church councils recognized the books that were inspired, but did not determine the inspiration. These church councils came before there was a Catholic church. The Catholic Church as an organized entity came well after the Council of Nicea.

The view expressed here is generally the Protestant position on the canon of the New Testament.


Learn more about Ariel Ministries and enjoy our many online resources. To make this and other resources available, Ariel Ministries relies upon donations from people like you. If you feel the Lord Messiah would have you be a part of this ministry through a financial gift, please go to Ariel Ministries Giving. Thank you!

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

Question 59. In our congregation, there is a couple who lives together outside of marriage. The man and the woman are not members of the congregation. Does the Bible say that believers must become members of a church?

The issue of church membership is not dealt with in the Scriptures for one simple reason: In the days when the Scriptures were written, there were not multiple churches in one city. There was just one local church per city, and any believer living in that city was automatically a member of that local church under the authority of the elders of that city. Hence, there was no need for church membership.

In light of what has happened since then, church membership has become an important issue. The believer is committed to a specific local body if he is willing to be supportive of the body both financially and in the use of his spiritual gifts, but also be in subjection to the leadership of that local body.

Obviously church discipline cannot be imposed upon nonmembers, which is why church membership is vital. Anytime there is a moral issue that would bring disrepute upon the local church, church discipline needs to be imposed. Those who are members are held to a higher standard. If a member goes into sin, church discipline should be imposed, especially if it is a moral issue.

The couple you mentioned who are living together outside of marriage but are not members of the congregation, cannot be disciplined by your church at this point. But their immoral lifestyle should definitely be dealt with.


Learn more about Ariel Ministries and enjoy our many online resources. To make this and other resources available, Ariel Ministries relies upon donations from people like you. If you feel the Lord Messiah would have you be a part of this ministry through a financial gift, please go to Ariel Ministries Giving. Thank you!

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

 

Question 58. Don’t rabbis cover their heads when they pray, yet Paul says men should not cover their heads when praying?

Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered, dishonors his head. (I Cor. 11:4)

Your observation is correct that Jewish people do cover their heads not just when they pray, but during the whole synagogue service. Orthodox Jews even cover their heads throughout the day. This shows that Paul’s instructions in I Corinthians 11:2-16 are not coming from his Jewish/rabbinic background, but that he is laying down other rules and regulations for believers of the body of the Messiah. So, if you take the passage literally (as I do), the men should have their heads uncovered, whereas the women should have their heads covered. When I speak in my own Messianic congregation where I am a member, I do not cover my head. My wife, on the other hand, does cover her head when she attends any church meeting, since we both take the text very literally.


Learn more about Ariel Ministries and enjoy our many online resources. To make this and other resources available, Ariel Ministries relies upon donations from people like you. If you feel the Lord Messiah would have you be a part of this ministry through a financial gift, please go to Ariel Ministries Giving. Thank you!

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

 

Question 57: If Christ died on Friday afternoon before sundown and rose on Sunday before dawn, how could he say in Matthew 12:40 he would be “three days and three nights” in the grave.

In Jewish reckoning, part of a day accounts for the whole day, all twenty-four hours of it, both the day and the night of it.  Actually, the Gospels have three statements that appear contradictory in Gentile reckoning of time but not in Jewish reckoning of time.  Sometimes Jesus said He would rise “on the third day”.  Sometimes He said He would rise “after three days”.  Jesus also used the expression “three days and three nights”.  All three statements are in the same Gospel so it is not merely a variation among the Gospel writers.  These would be contradictory expressions in Gentile reckoning of time but not in Jewish reckoning where part of the day counts for the whole day.  He did rise “on the third day” because Friday before sundown was the first day, Saturday was the second day, and Saturday evening when three stars became visible was the beginning of the third day, Sunday.  Because part of Sunday counts as all of Sunday, He also rose “after three days”.  And the phrase “three days and three nights” refers to any period of time that touches three days, because part of a day counts for the whole day, both the daylight and night time of it.  For example in Esther 4:16, Esther tells the people to fast for three days and three nights and after these three days of fasting she will then go see the king.  Left to itself that might imply that a three full twenty-four hour fast, and on the fourth day she will see the king.  However, in Esther 5:1, it is on the third day that she goes to see the king and there is no way to squeeze three twenty-four hour periods from that passage, nor is it necessary in light of Jewish reckoning.


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