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.

Sukkot & Simchat Torah

The Feast of Sukkot or ‘Tabernacles’ is the seventh and final feast spoken of in Leviticus 23 and is known by several names[1], including: Hag Hasuccot (“Feast of Tabernacles” or “Booths”; Lev 23:34), Hag Adonai (“Feast of the Lord” Lev 23:39), Hag Haasiph (“Feast of the Ingathering” Ex 23:16), Hag (“Feast” I Kg. 8:2), Zman Simchateinu (“the season of our rejoicing” a rabbinic name), Yom Hashvii Shel Aravah (“the seventh day of the willow”),  Hoshana Rabba (“save us in the highest”) Shmini Atzeret (“the eighth day of the assembly” Lev 23:36)[2], Simchat Torah (“the rejoicing of the Law”). In biblical practice Sukkot was a seven day feast that was celebrated by the building of booths (Heb. succah) or tabernacles to commemorate the forty years of Wilderness Wanderings.

Simchat Torah is a rabbinic term for the eighth day based on Numbers 29:35-38. It is called Simchat Torah because the cycle of the reading of the Law both ends and begins again in the synagogue on this occasion. In the synagogue service, there is a recitation from the Mosaic Law on a regular basis: every Sabbath and also on special holy days. The Mosaic Law has been divided into fifty-two parts so that the entire Mosaic Law is read within one year’s time. On this occasion, the eighth day of the Feast of Succoth or Tabernacles, they finish reading Deuteronomy and immediately begin to read the first several verses of Genesis.

Simchat Torah 2012 begins Monday evening (Oct 8) and ends Tuesday evening (Oct 9).

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

[2] Technically, it is considered an independent holiday from the Feast of Tabernacles, but it comes immediately afterward and is thus always connected with the Feast. It is this eighth day that marks the end of all the festivities and observances of the Feast of Tabernacles, although the laws of the Feast of Tabernacles do not apply to it.

The Deity of the Messiah

The Incarnation resulted in One who was both man and God.[1] In the last post it was shown that He was a real man, that He had real humanity. The Incarnation did not mean that He gave up any portion of His deity. It was not a lessening of deity, but it was perfect deity taking hold of and adding to Himself a human nature. There are seven evidences of His deity.

First, Jesus had all the divine names. There are seven examples of His divine names. He is called God (Jn. 1:1; 20:28; Heb. 1:8); the Son of God (Mat. 16:16), as well as the Son of Man; Lord (Mat. 22:43‑45; Acts 9:17); the Alpha and the Omega, an expression meaning “the beginning and the end” (Rev. 1:8); the first and the last (Rev. 1:17); the image (Col. 1:15). The Greek word for image means “prototype,” the image in its revealed reality; He is the visible manifestation of the invisible God. And the last divine name is: the very image (Heb. 1:3); He is the exact impress of the divine nature.

Secondly, He has all the attributes of deity. There are ten attributes that prove His deity. First, He has the attribute of eternality (Mic. 5:2; Jn. 1:1;8:58; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:11). Secondly, He has the attribute of immutability; He is unchangeable (Heb. 1:10‑12; 13:8). Thirdly, He has the attribute of self‑existence (Jn. 1:1‑3;5:26). Fourthly, He is life (Jn. 1:4; 14:6; Acts 3:15). Fifthly, He has the fullness of the Godhead (Col. 2:9); everything that was true of God the Father and of the God the Holy Spirit is also true of the Son. Sixth, He has the attribute of holiness (Heb. 7:26). Seventh, He has attribute of sovereignty; He is the sovereign God (Mat. 28:18; Jn. 5:27; 17:2; Acts 2:36; I Cor. 12:3; Phil. 2:9‑10; Col. 1:18; I Pet. 3:22; Rev. 19:16). Eighth, He has the attribute of omnipotence; He is all‑powerful (Lk. 8:25; Jn. 10:18; I Cor. 15:25, 28; Phil. 3:21; Col. 1:16‑17; I Tim. 1:12; Heb. 1:3;7:25; Jude 24, Rev. 1:8). Ninth, He has the attribute of omniscience; He is all‑knowing (Mat. 11:27; Jn. 1:48; 2:25; 10:15; 13:1, 11; 16:30; 18:4; 19:28; I Cor. 4:5; Col. 2:3; Rev. 2:23). While in His humanity He had limited knowledge, in His deity He is all-knowing. Tenth, He has attribute of omnipresence; He is also everywhere (Mat. 18:20; 28:20; Jn. 3:13;14:18, 20, 23). Thus, He has all the attributes of deity.

Thirdly, He does the works that only God can do. There are six examples of His works. First, He did the work of creation (Jn. 1:3, 10; I Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:3, 10). Secondly, He does the work of the preservation of the Creation (Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3). Thirdly, He has the power to forgive sins (Mat. 9:2, 6; Lk. 5:24; 7:47‑48). Fourthly, He is the One who sends the Holy Spirit, something only God can do (Jn. 15:26). Fifth, He is going to raise the dead, both the righteous and unrighteous (Jn. 6:40). Sixth, He is the One who will execute the final judgments (Mat. 25:31‑46; Jn. 5:22‑27; Acts 17:31; II Cor. 5:10; II Tim. 4:1). He does the works of God, which proves His deity.

Fourthly, His deity is seen in that worship was ascribed to Him (Mat. 14:33; Jn. 9:38;20:28; Phil. 2:10; Heb. 1:6).

Fifth, His deity is seen in that He is the One who gives immortality (Jn. 5:28‑29; 6:39‑40; 17:2; Phil. 3:21).

Sixth, His deity is seen in His association with the Trinity. First, He is associated with God the Father (Jn. 10:30;14:23). Secondly, He is associated with both the Father and the Holy Spirit (Mat. 28:19; II Cor. 13:14).

And seventh, His deity is seen in His own divine claims. He made four such divine claims. First, He claimed to enjoy the closest possible relationship to God so that to know the Messiah is to know God (Jn. 8:19; 14:7); to see the Messiah was to see God (Jn. 12:45; 14:9); to receive Him was to receive God (Mk. 9:37); to honor Him was to honor God (Jn. 5:23). He said: I and the Father are one (Jn. 10:30). Secondly, He claimed to be the object of saving faith (Mat. 11:28; Jn. 3:36; 14:1; 17:3). Thirdly, He claimed absolute dominion over His followers, something which only God has the right to expect (Mat. 10:37‑39). Fourthly, He claimed sovereignty over the laws and institutions of God: He claimed to be the Lord of the Temple (Mat. 12:6); lord of the Sabbath (Mat. 12:8); Lord of the Kingdom of God (Mat. 16:19); and sovereignty over the New Covenant (Mat. 26:28). The fact that Yeshua made these divine claims means one of three things: either He was a deceiver or He was self‑deceived or He truly was who He claimed to be. Those who know Him, know Him to indeed be the One He claimed to be: their Messiah, their Savior, and their God.

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

The Old Testament Requirements for Kingship

Following on our last post, we might still ask, “Why is there a need for Matthew’s genealogy of Joseph at all?” Everyone agrees that Joseph was not the real father of Jesus. Let’s look at the Old Testament for further detail.[1]

After the division of the kingdom at the death of Solomon, there were two basic requirements for kingship, one pertinent to the Throne of Judah in Jerusalem and the to he Throne of Israel in Samaria.

Judah

No one was allowed to sit on David’s Throne unless he was a member of the House of David.

Israel

No one was able to sit on Samaria’s throne unless he had divine appointment through prophetic sanction. Anyone who attempted to rule without prophetic sanction was assassinated (I Kg. 11:26‑39; 15:28‑30; 16:1‑4, 11‑15; 21:21‑29; II Kg. 9:6‑10; 10:29‑31; 15:8‑12).

The Question Resolved

With this background, the question of the Messiah’s right to the Throne of David can be resolved vis-à-vis the two genealogies.

Matthew 1:1‑17: Davidic Descent & The Line of Joseph in Matthew’s Genealogy

Matthew’s genealogy traces the line of Joseph, the stepfather of the Messiah. In verses 2‑6, the line is traced from Abraham and continues down to David and Solomon. In verses 7‑11 the line is traced to Jechoniah, who was one of the last kings before the Babylonian Captivity. It is the person of Jechoniah that is significant in dealing with the genealogy of Matthew because of the special curse pronounced on him in Jeremiah 22:24‑30. In verse 30, the content of this curse was that no descendant of Jechoniah would have any right to the Throne of David. In the genealogy of Matthew, it should be noted that Joseph was a direct descendant of Jechoniah (Mat. 1:16). So, if Yeshua had been the son of Joseph, this would have disqualified Him from sitting upon David’s Throne.

The point of Matthew’s genealogy, then, is to show why Jesus could not be king if He had been Joseph’s son. For this reason, Matthew starts out with the genealogy, and then proceeds with the account of the Virgin Birth, which is the way out of the Jechoniah problem from Matthew’s viewpoint.

Luke 3:23‑38: The Line of Mary in Luke’s Genealogy:

Luke’s genealogy traces the line of Mary and portrays how Jesus could claim the Throne of David. Luke begins his genealogy in the reverse order of Matthew’s, going from the present back into the past. The line is traced until it returns to the family of David in verses 31‑32. However, the son of David involved in this genealogy is not Solomon but Nathan. The important point here is that Mary was a member of the House of David totally apart from Jechoniah. Since Jesus was truly Mary’s son He, too, was a member of the House of David, totally apart from the curse of Jechoniah. In the days of Jeremiah, there was the added requirement for kingship that one had to be a member of the House of David apart from Jechoniah (Jer. 22:24‑30). Zedekiah, who reigned after Jechoniah, was not the son of Jechoniah. In the case of Yeshua, He was a member of the House of David through Mary, totally apart from Jechoniah. In this manner, He fulfilled the first Old Testament requirement for kingship.

Divine Appointment

Furthermore, although there were a number of other descendants of David who could claim equality with Yeshua to the Throne of David, only Jesus was divinely appointed as such (Luke 1:30‑33).

Thus, unlike the purpose of Matthew’s genealogy, Luke’s genealogy shows why Jesus could be king.

There are three further lines of reasoning to suggest that Luke’s account records Mary’s genealogy.

1)     The Talmud refers to Mary as the daughter of Heli. Mary was recognized to be the daughter of Heli as mentioned in Luke 3:23.

2)     The absence of Mary’s name is quite in keeping with Jewish practices on genealogies, and it was not unusual for a son‑in‑law to be listed in his wife’s genealogy.

3)     Matthew is clearly writing from the viewpoint of Joseph – with Mary in a passive role – and in Luke’s Gospel, Joseph is the one who plays the passive role.

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

JESUS’ RIGHT TO DAVID’S THRONE

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.

THE PURPOSE OF THE GENEALOGIES

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 NEED FOR THE GENEALOGIES

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.