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


One question that is often raised is, “Because Jesus was only the son of Mary and not the real son of Joseph, does He have the right to sit on David’s Throne?”[1] Related to this is the issue of the genealogies found in Matthew 1:1‑17 and Luke 3:23‑38:

a)     If Jesus had been the son of only Mary, why was it necessary to give Joseph’s genealogy?

b)     How would someone know that Luke’s genealogy is that of Mary if she is not named in it, but Joseph is?

These are questions that need to be answered satisfactorily in order to provide a basis for understanding why Yeshua could claim the Throne of David.


Of the four Gospels, only two record the events of the birth and early life of Yeshua: Matthew and Luke. For this reason, it is only natural that these two would bother recording a genealogy. While both Matthew and Luke give the story of the birth of Jesus, they tell the story from two different perspectives: Matthew tells the story from Joseph’s perspective and Luke tells the story from Mary’s perspective. Moreover, the purpose of Joseph’s genealogy in the Book of Matthew is set forth to show that if Jesus truly had been the son of Joseph, He could not be king. In the Book of Luke, the purpose of the genealogy of Mary is to show why He could claim the Throne of David.


The question still arises, “Why is there a need for these two genealogies, especially when Yeshua was not the real son of Joseph?” Whereas one popular explanation suggests that Matthew’s Gospel gives the “royal” line and Luke’s Gospel the “real” line, this post will show that the opposite is true.

In his genealogy, Matthew breaks with Jewish tradition in two ways: he skips names, and he mentions the names of four different women: Tamar, the wife of Judah, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba. Why does he mention these four when there are so many other prominent Jewish women he could have mentioned in the genealogy of Yeshua? One thing that the four women had in common was that they were all Gentiles. By naming these four women and no others, Matthew was pointing out that one of the purposes of the coming of Yeshua was not only to save the lost sheep of the House of Israel, but also that Gentiles would benefit from His coming. Three of these women were guilty of specific sexual sins: one was guilty of adultery, another of prostitution, and another of incest. With this, Matthew begins pointing toward the purpose of the coming of the Messiah – to save sinners.

While Matthew breaks with Jewish tradition in these two ways, Luke, however, follows strict Jewish law, procedure, and custom: he does not skip names, and he does not mention the names of any women.

Next time we will explore the Old Testament requirements for kingship.

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

Truths About the Incarnation: Part 6

Part of the humanity of Jesus involved His humiliation.[1] There is a biblical doctrine that theologians call “The Humiliation of the Messiah.” His humiliation is seen in twelve different ways.

First, His humiliation included the Incarnation itself. The fact that God had to become a man was a “stepping‑down,” a humiliation (Gal. 4:4; Phil. 2:6‑7; Heb. 2:14).

Secondly, His humiliation is seen in that He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh. He looked like a sinful human being. This, too, is part of His humiliation (Rom. 8:3; Phil. 2:7).

Thirdly, His humiliation is seen in that He was born in a lowly condition. To make matters worse, He was not born into a wealthy family, but into a family that was poverty-stricken. Matthew 2:23states that of all the places to be raised, He was raised in one of the most denigrated towns: Nazareth. Because He was raised in Nazareth, He was called a Nazarene, and that was not considered a favorable title. It was not a title of respect. Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? was a popular saying. It was a city of disrepute. Furthermore, Matthew 8:20 states that He had no wealth of His own. Luke 2:7 says He was born in a stable and laid in a manger. Luke 2:22‑24 teaches that He was born into a family that was so poverty-stricken, that the only offering the parents could afford to give was two turtledoves, a sign of their economic destitution. II Corinthians 8:9 states that, by means of the Incarnation, he became poor.

Fourthly, His humiliation is seen in that He was born under the law (Gal. 4:4). He had to subject Himself to a Law that He Himself had originated. That, too, was part of the humiliation of Jesus.

Fifth, His humiliation is seen in that He had to be in submission to the limitations of humanity. This is the doctrine of The Kenosis, meaning “The Emptying.” This is the point of Philippians 2:5‑11. It means that, while He did not lose any of His divine attributes, He did have limited use of them. This limited use of His divine attributes was also part of His humiliation.

Sixth, His humiliation is seen in that He had to undergo all the miseries of life discussed earlier under the heading “The Humanity of the Messiah,” and this, too, was a mark of His humiliation (Jn. 7:5; Heb. 4:15; 12:3).

Seventh, His humiliation is seen in that He became a servant and ministered as a servant. This is illustrated in John 13:1‑11 when He washed the disciples’ feet. It is also stated as a doctrine in Philippians 2:7.

Eighth, His humiliation is seen in that He bore man’s sins; He had to carry man’s sins. And that was humiliating for One who was absolutely holy and sinless (II Cor. 5:21; I Pet. 2:24).

Ninth, His humiliation is seen in that He endured the curse of the death on the cross. Of all the ways He could have been executed, the most ignoble execution, the most humiliating way to die was by hanging on a tree. This was considered by Jewish culture and custom to be the most degrading death of all. So, this, too, was a part of His humiliation (Gal. 3:13; Heb. 12:2).

Tenth, His humiliation is seen in His death. The very fact that the God‑Man, the Holy and Sinless One, had to undergo death was a part of His humiliation (Phil. 2:8).

Eleventh, His humiliation is seen in His burial. The fact that He had to be buried like every other man was a sign of His humiliation (Mat. 27:59‑60; Acts 13:34‑35; I Cor. 15:4). The humiliation of His burial is seen further in that none of those who were close to Yeshua throughout His life and ministry were involved in the burial. They kept their distance. Jesus was buried by two men who, up until then, were secret, distant believers: Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus.

And twelfth, His humiliation is seen in His descent into Sheol or Hades. He, too, had to descend to that temporary place of confinement for the saints (Acts 2:27, 31; Eph. 4:9; I Pet. 3:18‑19).

These are the twelve points that clearly teach the concept of the humiliation of the Messiah, very much a part of His humanity, which, in turn, is part of the concept of the Incarnation.

As believers look at all these things to which Yeshua submitted Himself, as they look at all these points of His humiliation, they should not miss the opportunity to remind themselves exactly why He did all this. The reason was so that He could become their Substitute. He lived as a man and died as a man, but He died a substitutionary death for man’s sins. As believers undergo the sufferings of human life, as they undergo deprivation or humiliation, they should always have this picture in their minds: that they have not suffered anything nor will ever suffer anything that is anywhere near comparable to the sufferings of Yeshua the Messiah. If this is kept in mind, they will see what a great thing He did, and will understand that He did it for them. Believers should always be grateful that He was willing to be humiliated in order to provide salvation and power for living in this life. When they suffer, let them not react against God. Let them remember that when they suffer, they are co‑suffering with Him. The Bible promises that if they suffer with Him, they shall also be glorified with Him.

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

Truths About the Incarnation: Part 5

The Incarnation resulted in a Being who was both God and man: Jesus was very man and very God.[1] What are some of the evidences that Yeshua was truly human, that He was a real man and did not merely have an appearance of man? There are ten ways to show that Yeshua was indeed a real man.

First, His humanity is seen in that He had all the essentials of human nature: body, soul, and spirit. First, He had a real body (Mat. 26:12, 26, 28; Lk. 2:21; 24:39; Jn. 2:21; Heb. 2:14, 10:5, 10). Secondly, He had a soul (Mat. 26:38; Jn. 12:27; Acts 2:27). Thirdly, He had a human spirit (Mk. 2:8;8:12; Lk. 23:46; Jn. 11:33;13:21). Jesus clearly had all the essentials of human nature.

Secondly, His humanity is seen in that He had a real human birth. Again, it is not His birth that was miraculous, but it was His conception that was miraculous. His birth was like that of any other human being (Mat. 1:18‑2:12; Lk. 1:26‑38; 2:1‑20). This is stated as a doctrine in Galatians 4:4 where Paul wrote that Jesus was born of a woman.

Thirdly, His humanity is seen in that He had a human ancestry, being of the ancestry of Abraham  and David (Mat. 1:1;Rom. 1:3).

Fourthly, His humanity is seen in that He had human names. He is called Jesus or Joshua, a common human name of that day. He was called the Son of Man eighty‑two times, a title that emphasizes His humanity.

Fifth, His humanity is seen in that He was actually called a man by others. John the Baptist called Him a man in John 1:30; the multitudes called Him a man in John 10:33; Peter called Him a man in Acts 2:22; and Paul called Him a man in Acts 13:38; Romans 5:15; I Corinthians 15:21, 47; Philippians 2:8; and I Timothy 2:5.

Sixth, His humanity is seen in that He called Himself a man in John 8:40.

Seventh, His humanity is seen in that He was subject to all the laws of human development (Lk. 2:40, 52). Like every other human being, He developed in four areas: mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially.

Eighth, His humanity is seen in that He was subject to all human experiences: He was hungry (Mat. 4:2;21:18); He was thirsty (Jn. 19:28); He was weary (Jn. 4:6); He was sleepy (Mat. 8:24). He was subject to all human emotions: love (Mk. 10:21); compassion (Mat. 9:36); anger and grief, which He demonstrated in weeping and shedding tears (Mk. 3:5; Jn. 11:35; Heb. 5:7). Furthermore, He agonized (Lk. 22:44); He was troubled (Jn. 12:27); He was tested (Heb. 2:18;4:15); He needed to pray (Mat. 14:23; Mk. 1:35; Lk. 6:12). These are all evidences of His humanity.

Ninth, in His humanity, He had limited knowledge; there were things He did not know. Two examples of this limited knowledge are Mark 13:32 and John 11:34.

And tenth, His humanity is evidenced in the fact that He died (Jn. 19:30, 34; Heb. 2:14; 5:8).

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

Truths About the Incarnation: Part 4

In His humanity, what kind of character did the God‑Man have?[1] The Incarnation produced seven characteristics in Jesus.

First, He was absolutely holy (Lk. 1:35; Jn. 8:46;14:30; Acts 2:27;3:14;4:27; Heb. 7:26).

Secondly, He was sinless (II Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; I Pet. 2:22; I Jn. 3:5).

Thirdly, He had genuine love. Because He was both God and man, He could love in a divine way and also in a human way. In either case, it was a real and genuine love that He expressed (Mk. 10:21; Jn. 13:1;14:31; 19:25‑27; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 3:19;5:25).

Fourthly, He was truly humble (II Cor. 8:9; Phil. 2:5‑8).

Fifth, He was truly meek (Mat. 11:29; II Cor. 10:1).

Sixth, He lived a life of prayer (Mat. 14:23; Mk. 1:35; Lk. 6:12;22:44; Jn. 17:1‑26; Heb. 5:7).

Seventh, He was an incessant worker (Jn. 5:17; 9:4). However, He was not a “workaholic,” for He knew when to step aside and rest. He knew when to withdraw from the masses, and He knew when to go into the deserts for a time of rest and prayer.

These are the seven characteristics of Yeshua which resulted from the Incarnation. As previously mentioned, one of the purposes of the Incarnation was to set an example for living. These seven characteristics do exactly that and they should be imitated by believers in their day‑to‑day spiritual lives.

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

Truths About the Incarnation: Part 3

What are the reasons or purposes for the Incarnation?[1] There are twelve specific reasons why the Incarnation occurred.

First, the Incarnation was conditioned by human sin. Luke 19:10 states:

For the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost.

A more extended passage that states this as a reason for the Incarnation is John 3:13‑21. The purpose of the Incarnation was to save sinners. In order to pay the penalty for sin, Yeshua had to be made “like unto” or “in the likeness of” sinful flesh. He was not made sinful, but in outward appearance, He looked like any other man. It was necessary for Him to be made in the likeness of sinful flesh, because He came for the purpose of dying for sinners. The Incarnation was conditioned by human sin in that human sin necessitated the Incarnation. As Hebrews 2:14 states, it was necessary for Him to become a sharer in flesh and blood in order to deal with the issue of sin.

Secondly, the Incarnation was to reveal God to man concerning the truths of the Father (Mat. 11:27; Jn. 1:18; 14:9). He came for the purpose of revealing the Father, according to John 1:18:

No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.

He came to reveal the Father; therefore, in His sermons and discourses, He revealed the nature of the Father. In John 14:8‑9, when one of His own disciples eventually asked Jesus: Show us the Father, He answered: If you have seen me, you have seen the Father. Everything that is true of the nature of the Father is true of the Son.

Thirdly, the Incarnation was to provide believers with an example for living (I Pet. 2:21; I Jn. 2:6). In His humanity, Yeshua lived a lifestyle that the believer should imitate. This includes not only during the good times, but also in bad times. Not only is His strength to be their example, but also His sufferings are to be their example. He underwent a suffering in a meek manner and, they too, should undergo their suffering in the same way. He became a man to provide an example for living.

Fourthly, the Incarnation was to provide a sacrifice for sin (Heb. 2:9; 10:1‑10; I Jn. 3:5). He came as the Incarnate Man to provide a sacrifice for sin. While animal sacrifices were allowed temporarily, all they could ever do was cover the sins of the Old Testament saints; they could never take away the sins of the Old Testament saints. The removal of sin required better blood than animal blood. The better blood was human blood, but it had to be sinless human blood. This ruled out every human being that had existed since the fall of Adam with one exception, and that was the God‑Man, Yeshua. As a result of the Incarnation, He became a man. Being in the form of a man, He had human blood and, therefore, better blood than animal blood. Jesus had sinless human blood; for that reason, He was able to become the sacrifice for sin.

Fifth, the Incarnation was to destroy the works of the Devil; to render his works inoperative (Jn. 12:31;16:11; Col. 2:15; Heb. 2:14; I Jn. 3:8). Of these five passages, perhaps the clearest statement of this fact is Hebrews 2:14:

Since then the children are sharers in flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same; that through death he might bring to nought him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; . . .

Sixth, the Incarnation was to enable Yeshua to be a merciful High Priest. This is especially stressed in the Book of Hebrews (Heb. 2:17‑18; 5:1‑2; 8:1; 9:11‑12, 14). Hebrews 2:17‑18 follows the statement on the Incarnation in verse 14, and then states that it made Him a merciful and faithful high priest. The Hebrews 5 passage emphasizes that for one to be a genuine priest, he had to be human. Thus, if Jesus had not become a real man, He could not have been a high priest. By becoming a man, by becoming Incarnate, He could become, and continues to be, the High Priest of believers. This also enables Him to offer sacrifices, as only priests could do. He was able to offer a better sacrifice¾His own blood¾not animal blood.

Seventh, the Incarnation was to fulfill the Davidic Covenant. The Davidic Covenant promised that a Descendent of David would sit upon David’s throne forever. It was necessary for Yeshua to become a real man through the Virgin Mary, because she was a member of the House of David, therefore, Jesus was a member of the House of David. Because He is both God and man, He now lives forever, and He will rule upon David’s throne forever (Lk. 1:31‑33, 68‑70).

Eighth, the Incarnation was to confirm the promises of God (Rom. 15:8‑9) that were predicted in the Old Testament. In order for these prophecies to be fulfilled, the Incarnation was necessary.

Ninth, the Incarnation provided for Yeshua the Messiah to become highly exalted (Phil. 2:9‑11). The exaltation could come only by means of suffering. God, as God only, is incapable of suffering. But when God the Son became a man, He then became capable of suffering. He certainly did suffer; He suffered humiliation and much more. As a result, He became highly exalted. This, too, was the purpose of the Incarnation.

Tenth, the Incarnation was to restore dominion over the earth to man (Heb. 2:5‑9). It was to man that God gave dominion over the earth. But man lost it when Satan caused him to fall; Satan usurped the authority over the earth which had been given to man (Jn. 12:31;14:30;16:11; II Cor. 4:4; I Jn. 5:19). The Messiah defeated Satan; now, as a man, He must restore man’s dominion over the earth, which He will do in the Kingdom.

Eleventh, the Incarnation was to bring many sons to glory (Heb. 2:10‑11). This, too, required the Incarnation.

And twelfth, the Incarnation was to deliver believers from the fear of death (Heb. 2:15). This, too, was accomplished through the Incarnation.

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

Truths About the Incarnation: Part 2

In light of our last post, we may ask: “What is the means of the Incarnation?” “How did God become a man?” The means of the Incarnation involved three things.[1]

First, the Incarnation involved the Holy Spirit (Lk. 1:35). When Mary asked how conception was possible because she was a virgin, the angel answered that the Holy Spirit would overshadow her and bring about a miraculous conception. The Generator of the Incarnation was the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit came upon Mary, and the power of the Most High overshadowed her. The Spirit worked to beget or conceive the humanity of the Messiah. He was always God, so deity did not need to be generated; only His humanity needed to be generated. Deity partook of Mary’s humanity but, at the same time, precluded Mary’s sin‑nature. By means of the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit with the power of the Most High, the Holy Spirit generated the humanity of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah. The Holy Spirit generated the conception. The product, according to Luke 1:35, was to be two things: first, holy; and, secondly, the Son of God, the God‑Man.

Secondly, the Incarnation involved the Virgin Mary. Her virginity was affirmed by two of the four Gospels (Mat. 1:18, 22‑23; Lk. 1:27, 34). The conception was supernatural. Because Mary was a virgin, it was necessary that there be a supernatural conception. People often speak of the miracle of the Virgin Birth, but, technically, it was not the actual birth that was the miracle; Yeshua was born just like any other baby. It was not the birth that was miraculous, but the conception. The female egg was that of Mary, so Jesus was the real son of Mary, but there was a total absence of the male sperm. Therefore, Yeshua did not have a natural father, and that is why the conception required the generating power of the Holy Spirit. On one hand, the Holy Spirit was the means, but on the other hand, the Virgin Mary was a means as well.

Thirdly, the Incarnation involved the Virgin Birth that produced the Incarnate Man. This was predicted in Genesis 3:15and Isaiah 7:14and finally came into fulfillment in Matthew 1:16.

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

Truths About the Incarnation: Part 1

The term “Incarnation” comes from a Latin word that means “in flesh.”[1] It means that God took on human nature. Because it was God the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity, who became incarnate or in flesh, it is probably more correct and proper to say that it was the Logos or the Word that became flesh, rather than saying that God became a man, though both statements are actually true. The Incarnation means that suddenly there were two natures in one Person. The two natures were always distinct and never mixed within the one Person.

The most extended passage is John 1:1‑14. Notice that in the beginning the Word was with God (v. 1b), the Word was God (v. 1c) – God the Son – and the Word became flesh (v. 14). The Word that was in the beginning with God, that was God, at a certain point in human history took on flesh, became man, and that was the Incarnation.

Two key phrases concerning the Incarnation are found in Romans 1:3-4: according to the flesh (v. 3) and according to the spirit of holiness (v. 4). This is the Incarnation. He became man according to the flesh. It was accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit; therefore, it was according to the Spirit as well.

In Phil 2:6-8 we see that “One” always existed in the form of God (v. 6); for all eternity past, He existed in the form of God, because He was the Second Person of the Trinity, God the Son. Secondly, He that existed in the form of God for all eternity, at some point in human history, was made into the likeness of men (v. 7). That is the statement of the Incarnation: He was made into the likeness of sinful men. The use of the term likeness does not mean He was not really a man. The term likeness emphasizes the similarity to sinful men in that, by mere observation, He did not look any different than any other human being. Except, in His case, He did not commit a single sin. He was an absolutely real human being, a real man, but not a sinful man. Thirdly, He was found in fashion as a man (v. 8).

Two other passages are worth mentioning here. In 1 Tim 3:16 Jesus was manifested in the flesh and in Heb 2:14 Jesus partook of flesh and blood, both references to the Incarnation.

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

Eternal Security: Problem Passages, Part 3

Another area of passages that people use to try to show that one can lose his salvation are Scriptures that speak of mere reformation or outward profession, but not of real salvation.[1]

One such passage is Matthew 7:22‑23. Notice what Yeshua says to those people who even did miracles in His name. Jesus does not say, “I used to know you, but you lost your salvation, so I don’t know you any longer.” Rather, He says: I never knew you. Miracles are possible in the name of a counterfeit Yeshua, because Satan can duplicate many of the miracles of Jesus. Just because these people claimed to have done things in the name of Yeshua does not necessarily make it true. They had outward profession, but Jesus said: I never knew you, and that clearly means they were never saved to begin with.

Another passage that people like to use is Matthew 13:1‑8, which deals with the parable of the four types of soils and four different types of responses. It should be noted that this is a parable and the purpose of a parable is to illustrate a point. One cannot develop doctrine from the parables themselves. In any case, He never once said that those who believed lost their salvation. He pointed out that there are some who believe but are never rooted in the Word of God, so they will never mature. Others believe, but the cares of the world keep them from maturing, so they remain baby believers and lose out on rewards. But in this parable, there is no statement about losing one’s salvation.

Another passage often used is Luke 11:24‑26. “Is this passage speaking of someone who became a believer and then lost his salvation?” People who use this passage do so by claiming that, when the demon left, it meant that the person was saved. The demon’s return showed that he then lost his salvation. But the mere removal of demons is not salvation. A person can have a demon cast out of him, but that does not mean he is automatically saved. He is not saved until he exercises faith. It is entirely possible that a demon can come out of a person without that person himself exercising saving faith. So the removal of a demon does not equal salvation. And in this case, the demon was not even cast out; the demon simply left on his own volition. Of his own free will, he went looking for a better place to live. When he was not able to find one, he came back to the man in whom he was living earlier. But the person himself was never saved to begin with, and mere removal of a demon does not equal salvation.

Another passage that fits into this category is I Corinthians 15:1‑4, where Paul deals with the issue of the gospel and salvation. This passage does not say that the Corinthians were lost. He simply tells the Corinthians that he wants them to know the content of faith, which saves. He is saying that if they truly believe this gospel, then by this gospel they are saved. If they believed something else, then they believed in vain and they do not have salvation. Throughout the Book of I Corinthians, he treats them as truly saved people and, in this passage, he spells out the content of the gospel to let them know clearly, what it is that saved them. It is not their works, nor their gifts, nor their actions, but believing the simple content of the gospel. Paul simply wanted to clarify for them the content of the gospel that saves.

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

Eternal Security: Problem Passages, part 2

Another area of passages some people use to show that one can lose salvation are those that actually speak of false teachers who were never saved to begin with.[1]

Some people use Matthew 7:15 to show that a person can lose his salvation if that person disguises himself in sheep’s clothing. But Yeshua was not dealing with people who were believers who became false teachers; rather, he was dealing with people who were never saved to begin with. They never were “sheep,” but were always “wolves” pretending to be sheep.

Acts 20:29‑30 is also a message dealing with false teachers, either false teachers who may enter in from outside or false teachers who may arise from the inside. However, in neither case were these people saved to begin with. Both are distinguished from the disciples, who are believers.

Romans 16:17‑18 speaks of false teachers who corrupt the church, but it does not say that these false teachers are people who were saved and then lost their salvation.

2 Corinthians 11:13‑15 is a passage that speaks of false teachers and not people who lost their salvation. Verse 13 states that these are false apostles, and in verse 15, they are called Satan’s ministers, not the Messiah’s ministers. Furthermore, it never states that they were apostles of Christ, only that they fashioned themselves to sound like and seem like apostles of Christ. Verse 15 does not state that they “used to be ministers of righteousness,” but that they tried to fashion themselves as ministers of righteousness.

1 Timothy 4:1‑2 deals with the issue of false teachers who were not saved to begin with. This is the area of apostasy. The basic meaning of apostasy is “to fall away from the faith that one professed to have, but never really had.” It has to do with people who made a show of faith, claiming to be believers but then, little by little, gave in to seducing, demonic spirits and teaching of false doctrines.

2 Peter 2:1‑22, particularly verses 19‑22, deals with people who are false teachers and who were never saved to begin with. Verse 1 clearly talks of false teachers coming into the body with destructive heresies, denying even the Master that bought them. Furthermore, Peter said that these were bondservants of corruption (v. 19); they were never the Messiah’s bondservants, who later lost their salvation. These are people who knew the way of righteousness (v. 21); they had a clear knowledge of the truth and were not ignorant of the gospel. But, having rejected the gospel, they then went on a teaching campaign to deny the truths concerning Jesus the Messiah.

1 John 2:19 actually speaks of people who were part of the local body as far as membership was concerned, but were themselves never really saved. Because, as John points out, if they were really saved, they would have continued with us. He did not say, “They used to really be one of us, but lost their salvation and then went out from us.”

Jude 3‑19 speaks of the same group of people: people who knew what the truth was, knew the content of the gospel, but rejected it and then began actively teaching against the doctrine of the Messiah.

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

Eternal Security: Problem Passages, part 1

There are many so-called “problem” passages on the issue of eternal security that various groups use certain to try to prove that it is possible to lose one’s salvation. We shall deal with these briefly below in multiple parts.[1]

Some passages of Scripture have been “dispensationally misapplied.” Take for example these two passages in Ezekiel. People often use this passage to show that it is possible to lose salvation. However, these passages are not dealing with the individual’s salvation in the Age of Grace, but are dealing with Israel as a nation at some other period of time.

These passages are not actually speaking of the spiritual salvation of individuals. Rather, they concern Israel as a nation under the Mosaic Law, individual accountability, physical life and physical death.

Another passage that has been dispensationally misapplied is Matthew 18:21‑35, in which Yeshua dealt with the issue of forgiving the brother and told the story about the unforgiving steward. He then made the point that if a believer does not forgive others, then he should not expect to be forgiven himself (v. 35). However, in this context the issue is not salvation forgiveness; instead, it is family forgiveness. Salvation forgiveness is the means by which one enters into God’s family, and the only way of receiving salvation forgiveness is by grace through faith apart from works. But once one is in the family, sin in the believer’s life; such as, holding a grudge against a brother, can cause a breakup in the relationship within the family of God. And it can break one’s fellowship with God the Father. The way a believer receives family forgiveness of sins is by means of confession (I Jn. 1:9). The point of this Matthew account is that confessing sins is not going to gain family forgiveness if the confessor is not willing to forgive people who have wronged him or offended him.

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