About Ariel Ministries

Ariel Ministries exists to evangelise Jewish people and to disciple both Jewish and Gentile believers through intensive Bible teaching from a Jewish perspective.

Question 70. How can you say that the Abrahamic Covenant teaches that ownership of the land is unconditional, and that the Land Covenant teaches the enjoyment of the land is conditional? Aren’t these statements contradictory?

Question: You state that “The Abrahamic Covenant teaches that ownership of the land is unconditional, while the Land Covenant teaches that the enjoyment of the land is conditional upon obedience.” You also state that, “The Land Covenant, being an unconditional covenant, is still very much in effect.” Aren’t you making contradictory statements?


Answer: There is no contradiction in the comments you quoted. The Abrahamic Covenant is what gave the land of Israel to the Jewish people, and based upon this covenant, actual ownership of the land is unconditional.

The Mosaic Covenant made it clear that if Israel fell into disobedience, they could lose the enjoyment of the land either by exile or by dispersion, but they would not lose the right of ownership of the land.

Deuteronomy 29, which speaks of the Land Covenant, points out that there would be a worldwide dispersion of the Jewish people because they would reject “the prophet like unto Moses.” Being dispersed from the land, they would not be enjoying the land. However, Deuteronomy 30 shows that ownership is still unconditional, and when Israel finally experiences her national salvation, God will then bring all Jewish people back to the land.

So, the Land Covenant is still very much in effect insofar as the ownership of the land always belongs to Israel, regardless of whether the Jewish people are in the land or not. Yet, their enjoyment of the land is conditional upon obedience. Therefore, when one day Israel undergoes her national salvation, the Jewish people will all be brought back to the Promised Land.


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 partner in this ministry through financial support, please go to Ariel Ministries Giving. Thank you!

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

Question 69. What is your view on Christmas?

Miriam (Mary) gave birth to her first son sometime between the years 7 and 6 B.C., but there is not enough information available to reveal when during that year the Messiah was born. The early church itself was divided as to the exact date of Yeshua’s birth. By the time of Augustine (A.D. 354-430), the Western church had agreed on the December date, which had been introduced a few decades earlier by Constantine and which corresponded to the ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia. The Eastern church fixed both the birthday and the arrival of the magi on January 6th. Especially in Messianic Jewish circles, there have been attempts to prove that Yeshua was born on a Jewish holy day, with Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, being the most popular option. These attempts tend to be emotional reactions to the concept of Christmas Day, and the arguments used are often spurious. The Gospel writers are quick to connect Yeshua with the Jewish festivals. Whatever Yeshua may have said or done on a Jewish festival is freely reported. However, the birth narratives by Matthew and Luke do not mention or even imply that the birth occurred during a feast day. Certainly Matthew, who wrote to a Jewish audience, would have made such a connection if it actually happened. The very fact that neither he nor Luke make such a reference shows that the Messiah was born on an ordinary day, somewhere between 7 and 6 B.C., but the exact date cannot be known.

Now as far as observing Christmas, I personally choose not to do so and choose to focus on the actual holy days mentioned in Scripture. However, I would have no objection to observing Christmas, whether it is celebrated on December 25th or on January 6th. There are those who have the freedom to observe the holiday, and there are others who do not wish to do it. They, too, have the freedom to do what they want. Decisions like these are part of the things that believers should leave to each other since we are free in the Messiah.


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 partner in this ministry through financial support, please go to Ariel Ministries Giving. Thank you!

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

Question 68. What are the names of the first three stars normally seen in Israel at nightfall that would signify the beginning and ending of the Jewish day?

As far as I know, there are no specific names given to the first three stars which become visible on the horizon at nightfall. The important thing in Jewish thinking is that once three stars are visible, it is clear that the sun has set and a new day has begun.


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 partner in this ministry through financial support, please go to Ariel Ministries Giving. Thank you!

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

Question 67. Is it possible that a believer may need special deliverance from generational curses?

Today’s question, from a reader in Africa, is a question that many “Western” Christians are puzzled about as well.

“I would like to understand an area I feel has a huge impact on believers of an African origin. I am not sure if other cultures are faced with the same. We have instances where a believer is said to have generational curses from their ancestry or issues of avenging spirits that ‘follow them,’ usually bringing misfortune and bad luck. We have many religious and sect leaders teaching that a Christian would need deliverance from such spirits. From a biblical standpoint, does this doctrine have any merit?”

When the Bible talks about a “generational curse,” the context is Israel. Because the Jewish people had a covenantal relationship with the God of Israel, the sins of one generation could be experienced as divine discipline in subsequent generations. However, the principle of this “generational curse” does not apply to New Testament saints, not even Jewish ones. When the Messiah died on the cross, He died for all sins—past, present, and future. The kind of salvation we now have entails regeneration, which means that the new believer has complete salvation and can therefore not suffer any kind of generational curse.

Today “generational curse” is being taught by many who claim to be apostles and prophets, but they are false apostles and false prophets who do not make a distinction between Israel’s covenantal relationship with God and a believer’s covenantal relationship to the Messiah, nor do they understand the true nature of what salvation does. Those false teachers can be safely ignored and must be condemned.


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 partner in this ministry through financial support, please go to Ariel Ministries Giving. Thank you!

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

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.


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

PURIM: THE FEAST OF LOTS (ESTHER 9:17-32)

. . . because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur, that is the lot, to consume them, and to destroy them; . . . Esther 9:24

Today, there are nine major feasts or holy seasons of Israel. Seven of these were inaugurated by Moses in Leviticus 23.[1] Of the two which were inaugurated after the Mosaic feasts, one is Channukah, the Feast of the Dedication or the Feast of Lights; and the other is the Feast of Purim, a feast inaugurated in the Book of Esther.

THE NAMES OF THE FEAST

By far the most common name today is Purim, and this is the biblical name according to Esther 9:26. Purim is the plural form of the singular word Pur meaning “lot,” so Purim means “lots.” Purim is the Feast of Lots, and the reason this name was given is spelled out in Esther 9:24: because Haman had cast Pur, the lot, to destroy the Jews (Esth. 3:7; 9:24). Of course he did not succeed and now the feast celebrates the fact that God delivered his people from this threat. The Nazis banned Purim observances. Hitler, on January 31, 1944, said that if the Nazis went down in defeat, the Jews would celebrate a second triumphal Purim. How right he was! On October 16, 1946, ten Nazis were hung in Nuremberg like the ten sons of Haman. One of them was Julius Streicher, who said as he was hung, “Purim, 1946.”

Other names for this day include: “Mordecai’s Day” (II Maccabees 15:36; Esth. 9:20‑21), since Mordecai actually inaugurated this feast, and Id El Sukar, which is Arabic, meaning “the sweet festival.”[2]

PURIM IN THE SCRIPTURE

Esther 9:17-32 is the only passage that actually deals with this feast. From this passage we can deduce a total of eight observations and conclusions.

  1. Outside the capital city of Shushan, the first observance took place on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar.
  2. In Shushan, the first observance took place on the fifteenth day of Adar.
  3. This set the stage for a differential in later Jewish observances. To this day, in villages and unwalled towns, the Jews celebrate this feast on the fourteenth day of the month, but inside walled cities, they celebrate it on the fifteenth day of the month of Adar.
  4. There are five elements in observing the Feast of Purim. First, this was to be a time of feasting in place of fasting, which would have been the case had the Jews been slaughtered. Secondly, it was to be a day of gladness, in place of being a day of sorrow, which would have been the case if the Jews were slaughtered. Thirdly, it was to be a good day in place of a day of mourning, which would have been the case if Haman’s plot had succeeded. Fourthly, it was to be a day of giving portions one to another in place of their own possessions becoming a spoil. For, in order to motivate people to kill Jews, Haman said that those who killed the Jews would then have the right to take over their possessions, thus the Jews would then have had their possessions taken away. And, fifth, it was to be a day of giving gifts to the poor, in contrast to having nothing to give had Haman’s plot succeeded.
  5. The name for the feast was based on Haman’s actions: he cast the Pur, or he cast the lot, to determine on which day he would try to destroy the Jews.
  6. The Feast of Purim is observed because of Haman’s failure.
  7. The first observance of the Feast of Purim was purely spontaneous as a sign of relief because they had rest from their enemies.
  8. The practice of the yearly observance was initiated by Mordecai. It was his letters that encouraged the Jews to do so, and it was given the status of law by Queen Esther. The Jewish people then made a commitment to keep it yearly.

THE MESSIANIC IMPLICATIONS

Although the Feast of Purim contains no direct reference to the Messianic Person or Messianic Program, it does have something to teach about the Messianic People, the Jewish people. The Messianic Person is Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazareth. The Messianic Program is to bring in the Messianic or Millennial Kingdom.

The Book of Esther is a good example of a principle found in the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:3): him that curses you will I curse.

This principle of the Abrahamic Covenant teaches that those who curse the Jews will be cursed by God. The principle of the Abrahamic Covenant contains a promise of Jewish survival throughout the Times of the Gentiles. Both the Law and the Prophets emphasize the fact that the Jews will survive, regardless of how bad it may get for them during the Times of the Gentiles-that is a biblical guarantee.

The key thing about the Messianic People as taught in the Book of Esther is an example of God’s use of providence to secure the survival of Israel in the Dispersion. The one thing about the Book of Esther that is not true of any other book of the Bible is that God’s name is found nowhere in this book. This makes the Book of Esther unique from all other books. There is no mention of God, no reference to God, and no prayer to God whatsoever. In fact, the author of this book is deliberately going well out of his way to avoid mentioning God. For example, there is one situation in the book where Mordecai, the real hero of the book, is arguing with Esther to do something to help the Jews out of a dangerous predicament.

Mordecai’s words to Esther are in Esther 4:14:

For if you altogether hold your peace at this time, then will relief and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place, . . .

The two words, another place, is as close as this book will come to any possible reference to God. It is very obvious that the author of this book is deliberately going well out of his way to avoid mentioning God. But, if that is true, why is this book in the Scriptures? Although God is not mentioned in the Book of Esther, God is working. However, God is not working in just any old way, He is working in a perfect way. He is working on the basis of the Abrahamic Covenant, especially upon the one principle in that covenant: him that curses you will I curse.

Furthermore, we did need at least one example in Scripture that shows how God works by means of providence, rather than by means of direct intervention. Since throughout most of human history, God chooses to work providentially rather than by means of direct intervention, this book is a great example of how that system works.

The Book of Esther shows God’s use of providence to secure the survival of Israel during the period of the Dispersion. While great segments of the Jews may be killed, as it was with the Holocaust, God has guaranteed that the Jews as a people and as a nation will survive. And so it will be until Israel’s national salvation and the return of the Messiah. With Israel’s national salvation and with His return; there will be no further threat to Jewish survival whatsoever.

For a thorough discussion of Purim in Judaism, continue reading here.

Happy Purim!!



[1] This post is a modified version of Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s original Messianic Bible Study. The full version may be obtained here.

[2] This name was given by the Arabs of Jerusalem during the Turkish period (1517‑1917). It became the Jewish custom inJerusalem to give sugar candies to Moslem authorities on this day, thus, the Arabs began calling this feast the “Sweet Festival.”

HOW THE NEW TESTAMENT QUOTES THE OLD TESTAMENT

Anyone who has read through the New Testament soon realizes that it frequently quotes the Old Testament and quotes it in various ways.[1] This is especially true with the Gospels. Sometimes, because the context of the Old Testament quotation does not seem to fit the New Testament context, it appears that the New Testament takes too much liberty with the Old Testament. Rabbinic writings frequently quoted the Old Testament in a variety of ways, and the Jewish writers of the New Testament followed the same procedure. The rabbis gave the four ways of quotation the title of pardes, which stood for pshat, remez, drash, and sod. The New Testament quotes the Old Testament in the same four ways as the rabbis did. This will be a study to see just how the New Testament does quote the Old Testament.

By way of introduction, it should be pointed out that, in the context of the Old Testament, there were four different types of messianic prophecy and four categories of quotations in the New Testament.

THE FOUR TYPES OF MESSIANIC PROPHECY IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
There are four types of messianic prophecy in the Old Testament, including: messianic prophecy dealing only with the First Coming of the Messiah (e.g. Deuteronomy 18:15 19), messianic prophecy dealing strictly with His Second Coming and nothing else (e.g. Isaiah 2:1 4), messianic prophecy that blends the two Comings of the one Messiah into a single picture (e.g. ; Isaiah 9:5 7),[2] and messianic prophecy that gives the entire redemptive career of the Messiah, which includes four elements: His First Coming, the interval between the First and Second Comings, the Second Coming, and the Messianic Kingdom (e.g. Ps 110).

THE FOUR CATEGORIES OF QUOTATIONS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
The New Testament quotes the Old Testament, but it quotes it in four different ways or categories. Every Old Testament quotation found within the New Testament will always fit into one of these four categories. In this study, Matthew 2 will be used as a base, simply because this one chapter has all four categories of quotations.[3]

Literal Prophecy Plus Literal Fulfillment: Pshat
The first category is known as “literal prophecy plus literal fulfillment,” reflecting the rabbinic pshat, which refers to the simple meaning of the text. The example of this first category is found in Matthew 2:5 6.

This passage in the New Testament quotes Micah 5:2, the context of which is dealing with the birth of the Messiah. The literal meaning of Micah 5:2 is that when the Messiah is born, He will be born in the town of Bethlehem in the region of Judah and nowhere else; not the Bethlehem of Galilee or any other town in Judah.

In the New Testament, there is a literal fulfillment of that literal prophecy. When Yeshua (Jesus) was born as the Messiah, He was born in the town of Bethlehem, and no other town in the tribal region of Judah. Furthermore, He was born in Bethlehem of Judah, not Bethlehem of Galilee. This was a literal fulfillment of Micah 5:2. Hence, literal prophecy plus literal fulfillment. The prophecy makes only one point. When it is fulfilled in the New Testament in a perfect way, the New Testament quotes the Old Testament.

Literal Plus Typical: Remez
The second category of quotations can be labeled “literal plus typical.” In rabbinic theology it was known are remez or “hint.” An example of this category is found in Matthew 2:15.

This verse quotes Hosea 11:1. In the context of Hosea 11:1, the prophet is speaking of the Exodus, a literal historical event, not a prophecy. The background to Hosea 11:1 is Exodus 4:22 23. Israel as a nation is the son of God: Israel is my son, my first born. When God brought Israel out of Egypt, it is pictured by Hosea 11:1 as God bringing His son out of the land of Egypt. That is the literal meaning of Hosea 11:1; it is an historical verse dealing with an historical event, the Exodus.

However, the literal Old Testament event becomes a type of a New Testament event. Now there is an ideal Son of God, the individual Son of God, the Messianic Son of God, the Messiah Himself. When Yeshua was brought out of the land of Egypt as a babe, God was again bringing His Son out of Egypt. This is a type and anti-type. The type was Israel, the national son coming out of Egypt. The anti-type is the Messianic Son of God also coming out of Egypt.

Literal Plus Application: Drash
The third category is “literal plus application,” correlating with the rabbinic drash. The example of this category is Matthew 2:17 18.

This time, Matthew quoted Jeremiah 31:15. The context of Jeremiah 31:15 speaks about the Babylonian Captivity, which was neither historical nor prophetic, but a current event of Jeremiah’s own time. As the captivity was starting, the picture is that the Babylonians gathered all the young Jewish men together at a meeting point where they would then begin marching these young sons away to Babylon. On the way, they went by the town of Ramah near where Rachel was buried. In the Old Testament, Rachel became the symbol of Jewish motherhood. As the young Jewish men were being taken away into captivity, Jewish mothers began weeping for sons they would never see again. Jeremiah pictured this as Rachel weeping for her children; And she would not be comforted, because they are not. Rachel weeping symbolized Jewish mothers weeping because their sons were being taken away from them. They were weeping for sons they would never see again. That is the literal meaning of Jeremiah 31:15: Jewish mothers weeping for sons they would never see again.

That verse is quoted in the New Testament because of one point of similarity. It is not a literal fulfillment nor a full-scale typology, but simply an application because of some point of similarity. In this case, the one point of similarity was Jewish mothers weeping for sons they would never see again because Herod had slaughtered all the males of Bethlehem from the age of two years old and under. Therefore, because of one point of similarity, the New Testament quotes the Old Testament as an application only.

English idiomatic expressions do the same thing. For example, take the saying, “He met his Waterloo.” What does that mean? It does not mean that the man went to Waterloo in Belgium and got defeated in a battle. However, it does go back to an historical event. That historical event had to do with Napoleon, who had ambitions to build an empire, and those rising ambitions finally collapsed at the Battle of Waterloo, when he was defeated by enemy forces. Because of one point of similaritydefeat of an ambitionthat figure is used of a man who is rising to power because of ambition, then suddenly something happens and his whole kingdom collapses. “He met his Waterloo.” Not that he went to Belgium and fought a war; rather, his ambitions were suddenly wiped out because of a climactic event in his life. By the same usage, the New Testament, because of one point of similarity, will often quote the Old Testament.

Summation: Sod
The fourth category is “summation” or “summary.” The meaning of sod is “secret” or “mystery” or “something unknown.” The example of the fourth category is found in Matthew 2:23.

The supposed specific quotation is: he should be called a Nazarene. Try as one may, one will never find a single prophecy that states: he should be called a Nazarene. Some have tried to connect this somehow with Isaiah 11:1, but that connection is tenuous. Verse 23 uses the plural term prophets, not a single prophet.

The fourth category is a summary of Old Testament teaching, not a direct quotation from the Old Testament. The clue is when the word “prophet” is used in the plural, as it is used here. In the first three categories, the word “prophet” is used, in most cases, in the singular. In the fourth category, it is used in the plural: spoken through the prophets. Rather than quoting, the author is summarizing what the prophets said. In this case, the prophets said that he should be called a Nazarene.

What was a Nazarene? A Nazarene was someone who was despised and rejected (John 1:45 46).

Nathanael’s question, Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? is reflecting the negative viewpoint people had of Nazarenes. The prophets predicted that the Messiah would be a despised and rejected individual, and this is encapsulated by the term “Nazarene.” In those days, calling someone a Nazarene meant he was despised and rejected. The Messiah would be a despised and rejected individual. That is a summation, not a quotation.

CONCLUSION

Every New Testament quotation of the Old Testament will fit into one of these four categories. The procedure is not simply “to interpret the Old by the New” as Covenant Theology insists. The procedure is first to see what the original quotation means in its own context. Once the context is determined, then it can also be determined in which of the four categories the quotation belongs. There is no need to conclude that the New Testament changes or reinterprets the Old Testament. Even preachers today make applications of biblical historical or prophetic texts to the modern situation without implying that that was the intent of the original author.

NOTES

1. This post is a modified version of Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s original Messianic Bible Study. The full version may be obtained here.
2. In other words, the prophecy contains a prophecy of the First Coming and a prophecy of the Second Coming, but there is nothing in the text itself to indicate that there is a gap of time between the First and Second Comings.
3. The titles of these four categories come from David L. Cooper’s Messiah: His Historical Appearance (Los Angeles, Biblical Research Society, 1958), but they reflect four rabbinic usages.

Ezekiel 37:15‑28

Chapter 37 of Ezekiel is a highly symbolic chapter.[1] In verses 1‑14, Ezekiel deals with the symbol of the dry bones, which pictures Israel as a regathered nation in a state of unbelief. Verses 15-28 deals with the sign of the two sticks, which pictures the reunification of the divided kingdom. The historical background to this passage is found in I Kings 12 and II Chronicles 10.

Ezekiel 37:15‑17

In verse 15, the word of Jehovah comes to Ezekiel and a new prophecy is announced in verse 16. Ezekiel’s instructions are twofold: first, he is to take one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions. The phrase the children of Israel included the tribes that were allied with Judah: Benjamin and Simeon. Here, the words his companions refer to Judah’s companions. The first stick represents the Kingdom of Judah. Next, Ezekiel is instructed to take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions. The phrase the stick of Ephraim refers to the most prominent son of Joseph, who fathered the Tribe of Ephraim, the most prominent tribe of the northern kingdom. The phrase all the house of Israel refers to the other nine tribes that were allies with Ephraim; these are his companions. The second stick represents the Kingdom of Israel. The actual joining of the sticks is in verse 17. When Ezekiel joins the two sticks together, they appear to be one in his hand.

Ezekiel 37:18‑20

Ezekiel’s actions caused the people to ask for an explanation of this symbolic act in verse 18. The question raised in the minds of Ezekiel’s people, the Jewish people, was “Will you not show us what you mean by these things?” This shows that there has been a change of attitude toward Ezekiel on the part of the people. Instead of poking fun at him or simply ignoring him, he is now taken quite seriously when he performs this symbolic act with the two sticks. Ezekiel answers that God declares: Behold, I, meaning that God Himself will bring Judah and Israel together so that they will once again be one nation. God then explains how they shall be one in my hand. Note that the expression in my hand means God’s hand; it is God who is going to bring this about, not Ezekiel.

     Ezekiel 37:21‑23

The application of the sign is specifically to the people of Israel and Ezekiel emphasizes three things. (1) God will re-gather the Jewish people, (2) the people will be re-unified (cp. 1 Chron 17:21), and (3) God promises a future cleansing from idols, detestable things, and transgressions.

Ezekiel 37:24

Two of David’s offices are revealed in this verse: king and shepherd. The first office is that of a king. In the governmental system of the Messianic or Millennial Kingdom, Jesus will rule as King over the whole world. Under Him, there will be two branches of government: the Gentile branch and the Jewish branch. The Gentile branch of government will be comprised of the Church saints and Tribulation saints, who are destined to co‑reign with the Messiah over the Gentile nations. The resurrected David is destined to co‑reign with Jesus over the Jewish branch. From the viewpoint of the Messiah, David is His servant; but from the viewpoint of Israel, David will be their king. The second office of David is that of a shepherd. As a shepherd, he will guide Israel and he will feed Israel. Never again will Israel have a leader who will lead them astray. Under David’s leadership and shepherding as king, the Jewish nation will walk in the ordinances of God and they will observe God’s statutes in the Millennial Kingdom.

Ezekiel 37:25

Ezekiel brings out two thoughts in this verse, God will give them the Land of Israel; and secondly, they will occupy the Land for generations. The word they refers to the first generation that enters the Kingdom. The phrase their children, and their children’s children refers to the succeeding generations who are born in the Kingdom. The Hebrew word used here for for ever is ad olam, which means “until an age,” not “an eternity.” There is no classical Hebrew word that actually means “eternity.” The closest that Hebrew can come to that concept would be an expression like “without end.” That is, in fact, how God is described. Although the word for ever is very often found in English translations, the Hebrew word is either le olam, which means “unto an age,” or ad olam, which means “until an age.” In other words, once they are brought into the Land, they will continually possess the Land throughout the Kingdom Age. At no point during the thousand years of the Kingdom will they be dispossessed of the Land or scattered out of the Land again. Whereas earlier he was called king and shepherd, now he is called prince. From the viewpoint of Israel, he will be their king; but from the viewpoint of the Messiah, he will be a prince, because He will be under authority of King Messiah. He will be their prince for ever, but again, the Hebrew word used here is ad olam, which means “until an age.” In other words, this will be David’s office throughout the Messianic Kingdom; he will not be deposed from this position whatsoever.

Ezekiel 37:26‑28

The Millennial Temple will be built in the Millennial Kingdom and will be the Fourth Temple spoken of in Scripture. Ezekiel later details this Millennial Temple that God will erect in the Messianic Kingdom in chapters 40‑48. The basis of the Millennial Temple will be the New Covenant, a covenant of peace and it is an everlasting covenant (Jeremiah 31:31‑34).

Ezekiel makes three points. (1) God Himself will place them in the Land; not only will they have the right of possession, they will actually be dwelling in the Land, (2) Once they have settled, God will multiply them; there will be an increase of the Jewish population, (3) God will set His sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.

In this relationship, God states: My tabernacle also shall be with them. The Hebrew word used here for tabernacle means “My Presence‑dwelling” or “My Shechinah Glory.” In verse 26, the emphasis on the word sanctuary was on the holiness of the Fourth Temple, but in this verse, the emphasis on the word tabernacle is that the new Temple will be the dwelling place of the Shechinah Glory. When will the nations, meaning “the Gentiles,” know that Jehovah is the One who sanctifies Israel? God’s answer is: when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore. The Gentile nations will recognize that this restoration and reunification of Israel, with God’s Temple in the midst of them, means that Israel’s God is indeed the only true God. Ezekiel’s vision of the two sticks concludes with the promise that God will set up His dwelling‑place in the midst of the children of Israel.

[1] This post is a modified version of Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s original Messianic Bible Study. The full version may be obtained here.

Habakkuk

This post offers a few insights about the Book of Habakkuk.[1]

The theme of the Book of Habakkuk is: The just shall live by faith. The name Habakkuk comes from a Hebrew root, meaning, “to embrace.” When writing his name, the last consonant is doubled, thus intensifying the meaning. The name Habakkuk, then, means “full embrace.” Outside of that, nothing else is known about him or his family. There is a Jewish tradition that says Habakkuk was the son of the Shunammite woman. This is based on II Kings 4:16, where Elisha tells the Shunammite woman that she will “embrace a son.” Since the name Habakkuk means “full embrace,” this Jewish tradition claims that Habakkuk was the son of the Shunammite woman. But that is purely traditional and there is no real historical validity to that particular claim.

When the Book of Habakkuk was written can be determined with a fair degree of accuracy from certain statements made within this particular book. For example, it is obvious from Habakkuk 1:1‑5 that Babylonhad not yet risen to empire status, since the appearance of Babylonis prophesied as being a work of God at which Israelwill wonder with great wonder. So the book was obviously written before Babylonbecame a major power. This also means that the book was written before the fall of Nineveh, which occurred in 612 B.C. Ninevehwas destroyed by the Babylonians, so by then, the rise of Babylonto empire status would no longer have been a surprise. Therefore, the Book of Habakkuk must have been written before 612 B.C. It would also appear that the book was written some time after 640 B.C., because the rise of Babylonwas a work that would be done within their lifetime. Habakkuk used the term your days in verse 5, which would put it roughly about 640 B.C. Another clue comes from the superscription in Habakkuk 3:19. Based upon that superscription, the indication is that the book was written at a time when the Levitical priesthood was in full session and operating correctly. The best time to put the writing of the Book of Habakkuk would be during the reign of Josiah, and that fits all of the facts. So the book was written some time between 640‑622 B.C., and more likely during the latter reign of Josiah, after he had thoroughly cleansed theTemple, probably between 630‑622 B.C.

It is obvious from the context that Habakkuk was a prophet living in Judah, since Israel, the northern kingdom, was no longer in existence by then. Based on the superscription of Habakkuk 3:19, it would appear that he was also living in the City ofJerusalem. The locale, then, was definitelyJudah, and most likelyJerusalem.

The historical setting was the time of the reign of good King Josiah. It was a time of great outward prosperity, but the people themselves were inwardly corrupt. Although Josiah’s own heart was right, as far as the people were concerned, much of his reformation was merely external conformity, rather than internal conformity. On the international scene, the Assyrians were no longer an immediate threat toJudah, but they were still a strong power in the days of Habakkuk.

The Book of Habakkuk makes four major points. First, the fact of divine discipline: at some point, God will discipline sin. Secondly, sin is self‑destructive: sin carries within itself the seeds of its own destruction. Thirdly, the just shall live by faith. And fourthly, all injustices will be rectified by the Second Coming of the Messiah.

The uniqueness of the Book of Habakkuk is threefold. First, Habakkuk did not prophesy to the nation or to the people as other prophets did, but he spoke to God alone. Secondly, he was not concerned with delivering a message, but the content of his burden is solving a problem. Thirdly, he imparted God’s message, not by prophetic discourse as other prophets did; rather, he imparted God’s message as it came to him through dialogue with God, then he recorded it.

As far as exposition is concerned, the book is divided into three main units. The first unit is the introduction in verse 1; the second unit is comprised of chapters 1:2‑2:20, which deal with the burden of Habakkuk; the third unit is chapter 3, which contains the prayer of Habakkuk.

In the New Testament, Habakkuk is quoted four times. Habakkuk 1:5 is quoted in Acts 13:41. Habakkuk 2:4 is quoted twice in the New Testament: in Romans 1:17 and in Galatians 3:11. It is significant that this verse is quoted by these two particular New Testament books, because it is Habakkuk 2:4 that teaches the theme of the book: the just shall live by faith. In these two books written by Paul, the apostle was particularly concerned with the issue of living by faith. Salvation by faith, justification by faith, sanctification by faith, glorification by faith—the entire life of the believer is a life of faith. Also Habakkuk 2:3‑4 is quoted is in Hebrews 10:37‑38.


[1] This post is a modified version of Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s original Messianic Bible Study. The full version may be obtained here.