Question 31: Is there a difference between the lake of fire and hell?

Answer:  The term “lake of fire” is found in four passages of Scripture, all of which are in Revelation: The beast and the false prophet are cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20); Satan is thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10); death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14); and the lake of fire is called “the second death” (Rev. 21:8).

From these four references, one can make four deductions:

  1. The lake of fire is the eternal abode of all those who are lost, both angels and men.
  2. The punishment includes both the soul and the body. Both death and Hades are cast into the lake of fire. Death refers to the material part of man, the body; Hades refers to the immaterial part of man, the soul and spirit. The lake of fire is a punishment for both of these.
  3. The lake of fire is associated with fire and brimstone and is the source of torment.
  4. The lake of fire is the same as Gehenna: Gehenna is the proper name, and the lake of fire is a descriptive name.

Although the term “Gehenna” is Greek, the concept originates from two Hebrew words. The first word is Gei, and the second word is Hinnom. Gei Hinnom means “the Valley of Hinnom.” This valley surrounds Jerusalem’s Old City, including Mount Zion, from the west and south, where it meets and merges with the Kidron Valley, the other principal valley at the southeastern corner of the city.

In the Hebrew Scriptures, the Valley of Hinnom was a place where some of the wicked kings of Israel practiced human sacrifice, specifically sacrificing their children by burning them alive. This physical burning of humans is the basis for the New Testament concept of Gehenna. The term describes a part of the unseen world where the bodies and souls of lost humans will experience eternal torment from fire.

Unfortunately, in some of our English Bibles, the word “Gehenna” is translated as “hell,” but Gehenna and hell are not the same place. The root word for “hell” comes from the Proto-Germanic word haljo, which has the connotation of “hiding” or “covering.” Therefore, “hell” literally means “concealed place.” In the Hebrew or Greek Scriptures, there is no one word for the concept of hell. Nevertheless, it is a biblical concept referring to what the Old Testament calls “the unrighteous side of Sheol,” a temporary place of confinement for lost souls. Gehenna is the eternal abode of the lost, both angels and humans. The punishment in Gehenna includes both soul and body. That is why Gehenna must neither be translated as “hell,” nor should it be equated with hell. Hell is a temporary place, and it is for the soul only; but Gehenna is an eternal place, and it includes both the soul and the body. Furthermore, Gehenna is the place of eternal torment and is associated with fire, which is the source of torment.

Summary: Hell is the temporary abode of dead unbelievers where their soul is tormented. After the messianic kingdom, all unbelievers will be resurrected and the soul and body will be reunited. They will then stand in judgment before the great white throne and be cast alive, both soul and body, into the lake of fire, the eternal abode of unsaved humans. The eternal abode will be worse because hell is torment for the soul only, while the lake of fire is torment for both soul and body forever.

If you would like more details on these issues, read MBS 107 ‘The Place of the Dead.’

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

Question 30: How do our sins relate to the judgment seat of Messiah?

Answer:  Romans 8:1 clearly teaches that there is no condemnation for those who are in Messiah Yeshua. Therefore, the clear teaching of Scripture is that our sins will not be brought up at the judgment seat of Messiah since they have been forever washed away by the blood of Yeshua.

Judgment will be based upon the works we have done as believers. We are either building with wood, hay, and stubble, which brings no reward, or we are building with gold, silver, and precious stones, which does bring reward.

While our sins will not be brought up at the judgment seat of Messiah, unconfessed sin and sin that we did not repent of will have an effect in another way: While we are living in sin, we are not building with gold, silver, and precious stones, but with wood, hay, and stubble. The more wood, hay, and stubble we have, the smaller will be our reward, and the more gold, silver, and precious stones we have, the greater will be our reward. At Messiah’s judgement seat, the wood, hay, and stubble will be burned away so that we are thoroughly purged and cleansed. However, this does not increase the gold, silver, and precious stones, and therefore, there will be a lack of reward.

 

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

Question 29: What is the position of Calvinism?

Answer: In short, there are three schools of thought in Calvinism: Hyper-Calvinism, Strict Calvinism, and Moderate Calvinism.

Hyper-Calvinism holds to the five points of Calvinism. Furthermore, it holds to the view that God not only predestined some to salvation, He also predestined everybody else to hell even before they were created.

Strict Calvinism holds to the five points of Calvinism, but does not hold to double predestination. It would therefore teach that predestination applies only to salvation. God predestines some for salvation and passes the rest by. The doctrine then goes on to emphasize that Yeshua died only for the elect and not for anybody else.

Moderate Calvinism only accepts four points of Calvinism and rejects the fifth point, which is limited atonement.  In Moderate Calvinism, we believe that Yeshua died for the whole world and provided salvation for the whole world. However, only the elect will be given the ability to believe.  What keeps unbelievers from believing is their own sin and not a lack of election. Therefore, at the great white throne judgment, no one will be able to claim that his unbelief is based on the fact that salvation was not provided for him. Salvation was provided for him, but his sin kept him from believing.

For more details see Dr. Fruchtenbaum’s book ‘God’s Will and Man’s Will,’ published by Ariel Ministries.

Click here to learn more about Ariel Ministries and to enjoy our many online resources. If you’d like to donate to Ariel Ministries, just  click

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

Question 28: Is capital punishment biblical?

Answer:  The answer is “yes.” It is found in the Noahic covenant of Genesis 9:1-17 (specifically in verses 5-6). This covenant is unconditional, which means that its provisions are still very much in effect today. The covenant mandates capital punishment for one crime only, and that is premeditated murder. Countries that abolish capital punishment for premeditated murder are violating biblical standards. Governments have the authority to add other crimes that would require the death penalty, but as far as the law of God is concerned, only premeditated murder requires the death penalty.

For more information on this topic, see MBS 21 The Eight Covenants of the Bible,’ by Ariel Ministries.  

Click here to learn more about Ariel Ministries and to enjoy our many online resources. If you’d like to donate to Ariel Ministries, just  click

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

Titles of Yeshua the Messiah

1. Lamb of God

This title of the Messiah is found in John 1:29 and 36:

29 On the morrow he sees Yeshua coming unto him, and says, Behold, the Lamb of God, that takes away the sin of the world! … 36 and he looked upon Yeshua as he walked, and said, Behold, the Lamb of God!

By giving Him the title of the Lamb of God, John connected Yeshua with two Old Testament elements: the paschal lamb of Exodus 12 and the Messianic Lamb of Isaiah 53. The title Lamb of God emphasizes that He is the fulfillment of the Feast of Passover and that He will be the final Passover sacrifice.

2. Mediator

There are two aspects to Yeshua’s role as mediator.

First, He is the mediator between God and man (I Tim. 2:5).

Second, He is the mediator of the New Covenant. In Hebrews 8:6, He is called the mediator of a better covenant, and in Hebrews 9:15 and 12:24, He is the mediator of a new covenant.

The point here is that, on one hand, He is the mediator between God and man, so He is functioning as a priest. On the other hand, as the mediator of the New—and better—Covenant, He is functioning as the covenant-sealer or signatory.

3. Intercessor

That Yeshua is our intercessor is brought out in Romans 8:34 and Hebrews 7:25:

Who is he that condemns? It is Messiah Yeshua that died, yea rather, that was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

Wherefore also he is able to save to the uttermost them that draw near unto God through him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them.

Functioning as our intercessor is part of His high priestly ministry in that He intercedes on behalf of the believer before God. The picture is that as mediator, He represents God to man, and as intercessor, He represents man to God.

4. Advocate

The title of Advocate is applied to Yeshua in I John 2:1:

My little children, these things write I unto you that ye may not sin. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Yeshua Messiah the righteous.

The term advocate has the concept of being a lawyer. The reason that believers need Yeshua as their advocate is because of Satan’s title as the accuser of the brethren (Job 1:1-12; 2:4-5; Zech. 3:1-2; Rev. 12:10). Satan still has access to heaven to appear before the very presence of God. He does so for one reason, which is to accuse the brethren. If a believer falls into a state of unconfessed sin, sooner or later Satan will appear before God the Father to accuse that believer. This is the exact reason why believers still need the ministry of Yeshua as an advocate. Whenever Satan has any grounds to accuse a saint, Yeshua can say, “Lay that sin upon my account. I have already paid the penalty for that sin when I died for that person on the cross.”

5. Savior

This particular title emphasizes the Messiah’s work of salvation in that He is the One who saves. As Messiah, He is able to save. By the shedding of His blood, He has provided the basis of salvation. He is viewed as the Savior throughout the New Testament in verses such as Luke 2:11, John 4:42, Acts 5:31, I Timothy 1:1, Titus 2:13, and II Peter 2:20.

Excerpt From: Ariel Ministries. “Messiah Yeshua, Divine Redeemer: Christology From a Messianic Jewish Perspective.”

Question 27: It appears that the church is being drawn out publicly regarding the issue of gay rights, and while many might be reluctant to make a stand, the topic is being discussed from the pulpit. Regarding marriage breakdown, the church, in general, appears less motivated to speak out in public about God’s design and decree. And on the issue of abortion, the church is even quieter still. You have stated that we do not have the right to tell others how they should live but should be prepared to state our views when asked. What about the rights of the unborn?

Answer:  You are quite correct: The church today has become fearful of speaking out publicly on the issues of gay rights, the breakdown of marriage, abortion, and other biblical issues. That is a shame for the church, but it is part of the mark of apostasy in the church today.

Your letter states, “You have stated that we do not have the right to tell others how they should live but should be prepared to state our views when asked.” That is not exactly what I said, nor is that my position. We should clearly and publicly state what the Bible teaches about God’s rule of life for believers today. Furthermore, we should clearly and publicly state what sin is, and we should clearly state publicly that abortion is murder and that the practice of homosexuality is a very grievous sexual sin. The violation of the marriage vow is also a grievous sin. These are all issues the Bible clearly speaks about, and therefore, the church must address them.

However, the church is not a government that can issue laws. We can teach what the rule of life is for those who are members of the body of Messiah, but we cannot force those laws upon the unbelieving world. The only way we can deal with the unbelieving world is to give the gospel, because until they receive the gospel, they have no spiritual authority or power to deal with these sin issues. While we cannot force church law on society, we can and should enforce biblical law with the members of our congregations and churches. When these are violated, the church must follow the rules of church discipline clearly spelled out in Scripture. But again, the rule of church discipline can only be applied to believers who are members of the church and not those in the unbelieving world outside the church.

There are issues to which the Bible does not speak. About these issues, we can hold our own convictions, but we do not have the right to force them on another body of believers. This would include topics such as partaking of wine, dancing, etc. Biblically, these are neutral issues. One is free to practice total abstention and one is free to practice partaking of wine in moderation. Each believer needs to make up his or her own mind.

Click here to learn more about Ariel Ministries and to enjoy our many online resources. If you’d like to donate to Ariel Ministries, just  click

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

Question 26: Is it right to tell someone that Yeshua loves them and that He will heal them even if they do not believe in Him?

Answer:  It is correct to tell an unbeliever that Yeshua loves him because He died for him. However, it would not be correct to tell the unbeliever that Yeshua will heal him. This is a promise we cannot make. In fact, the promise should even not be made to a believer since God chooses not to heal everybody.

Those afflicted with illnesses may be healed, but the healing may not necessarily come from the Lord. Satan can duplicate many things, including healing. If the unbeliever who was healed from an illness refuses to believe, he can just say, “I do not need to believe to be healed.” He has successfully been swayed by Satan not to believe.

It is best to present the gospel to the unbeliever and leave it at that.

Click here to learn more about Ariel Ministries and to enjoy our many online resources. If you’d like to donate to Ariel Ministries, just  click

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

Question 25: Many teachers assert that forgiveness is a unilateral obligation on the part of the believer whether the offender asks forgiveness or not. Do you agree with this position?

01Answer:  If a brother sins against us, the willingness to forgive must always be there. There can also not be any feelings of animosity toward the sinner. However, while Yeshua clearly said that if someone seeks our forgiveness, we must grant it, He did not instruct that we grant something that is not requested. Therefore, we may choose to extend forgiveness to the individual, but we are not obliged to do so until he requests it.

Click here to learn more about Ariel Ministries and to enjoy our many online resources. If you’d like to donate to Ariel Ministries, just  click

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

Question 24: In Acts 12, Herod Agrippa has James beheaded and plans to kill Peter. We know that earlier Stephen was stoned. Isn’t it true that under the law, only the Romans could order an execution? Was Herod acting outside the law?

Answer:  Herod Agrippa was a Roman officer. He was designated as king by the Roman government, and therefore that title is used of him in Acts 12:1. He was viewed as ruling the land as a Roman, not as a Jew. This is comparable to his grandfather’s status: Herod the Great was an Idumean, not a Jew, and he too had been given authority by the Romans to rule the land.

Herod Agrippa was ruling the land in place of any procurators during the period of A.D. 40-44. Just like his grandfather, he had the Roman authority to execute. The fact that he used this authority can be seen in Acts 12.

Click here to learn more about Ariel Ministries and to enjoy our many online resources. If you’d like to donate to Ariel Ministries, just  click

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

Question 23: In I John 5:6, What does it mean that Yeshua came “by water and blood”?

I John 5:6 – This is he that came by water and blood, even Messiah Yeshua; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood.”

Answer:  I do not think that the verse is referring to Yeshua’s baptism and bloodline. I think John was referring to something else he had indicated earlier in his Gospel.

There is a section dealing with Yeshua on the cross that is only recorded in John 19:31-37. John pointed out that when a soldier pierced the Messiah, blood and water gushed from the wound. This is usually a sign of a failed heart where there might be an arterial rupture.

John alone witnessed the event, and he referred to it in I John 5:6. What he was saying in context is that the blood and water gushing from Yeshua’s side was the clear evidence of Messiah’s death, and by means of His death, He provided eternal life. That is also the witness of the Holy Spirit.

Click here to learn more about Ariel Ministries and to enjoy our many online resources. If you’d like to donate to Ariel Ministries, just  click

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