Question 36: Is Islam mentioned prophetically in the Bible, and is the Antichrist a Muslim?

Answer: The Bible does not treat Islam as a religion, and it only deals with Arabs as an ethnic group. It does contain quite a bit of revelation about the future of the Arab people, but it does not connect them with specific empires. Neither does it treat the religion of Islam prophetically.

 As to Antichrist’s ethnic identity, Daniel 9:26-27 clearly teaches that the Antichrist will be of the same group of people who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. It is a historical fact that the Romans were responsible for the destruction of the city in A.D. 70. Therefore, the Antichrist has to be a Gentile of Roman origin.

Furthermore, Israel will sign a covenant with the Antichrist which guarantees military security. It is not so much a peace covenant as it is often referred to, but simply a covenant that gives Israel military security according to Isaiah 28:14-22. What should be obvious to anybody who knows history is that Jews would never make a covenant with a Muslim guaranteeing Israel’s military security and therefore disarm.

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.

What is the meaning of the ‘Triumphal Entry’ or ‘Palm Sunday’?

The Triumphal Entry occurred on what is known today among many as ‘Palm Sunday.’ Normally, the Triumphal Entry is interpreted to represent the time when Yeshua (Jesus) came and officially offered Himself as the King of the Jews and as Israel’s Messiah. But that is not the best interpretation of the actual significance of the Triumphal Entry, because Yeshua had already been offering Himself as the Messiah and the King of the Jews for the previous three and one-half years. Israel had already rejected the Messiahship of Jesus about a year and one- half earlier (Mat. 12:22-45). At that point, Yeshua said that the generation of His day was guilty of committing the “unpardonable sin”; therefore, they were under the judgment that would come in the year A.D. 70. Furthermore, the Kingdom offer was then rescinded, to be re-offered to a later Jewish generation: the generation of the Great Tribulation. The Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem was not for the purpose of officially offering Himself as the King; there was a different purpose.

THE SETTING ASIDE OF THE LAMB OF GOD

The Triumphal Entry took place in the context of the Passover. The significance of this particular Passover was that this was the Passover when Yeshua knew that the final atonement for sin would be made, by virtue of His death (Lk. 22:14).

The date when this event occurred, insofar as the Jewish calendar is concerned, was the tenth of the Jewish month of Nisan. According to Exodus 12:3-6, it was on the tenth day of the month of Nisan that the lamb was to be set aside. Between the tenth and the fourteenth of the month, the lamb was to be inspected and tested to be sure that it was without spot and without blemish (Ex. 12:5). Beginning on the evening of the fourteenth of Nisan, the Passover occurred. So the Triumphal Entry was not the time that Jesus was offering Himself as the King, that was nothing new, but rather, this was the day of the setting aside of the Lamb of God. What happened over the next several days was the testing of the Lamb to prove that the Lamb of God was without blemish and without spot (I Pet. 1:19).

John 11:55 and 12:1, 9-11 state that Yeshua arrived in the town of Bethany, which by then had become a suburb of Jerusalem. He arrived six days before the passover, which would make it the eighth day of Nisan. This was the regular Jewish custom during the Passover feast. Those who would come to Jerusalem for the observance of the Feast of the Passover would arrive in the Jerusalem vicinity on the eighth of Nisan. Yeshua was keeping with that pattern. Two days later was the tenth of Nisan, the day of the Triumphal Entry, the day of the setting aside of the Lamb of God. Again, the purpose of the Triumphal Entry was not to offer Himself as the King or to re-offer the Kingdom. These things had been rejected and, for that generation, the rejection was terminal. There would be no re-offer of the Kingdom until the Great Tribulation. What happened on this day was that the Passover Lamb of God was set aside for a period of testing to prove that He was indeed without blemish and without spot.

The Gospel accounts detail what happened. Between Bethany and Jerusalem there was a town called Bethphage. As Jesus left Bethany and was passing by the town of Bethphage, He sent His disciples to fetch a colt. Mark 11:2 states that they would find “a colt tied, whereon no man ever yet sat.” They were to take this colt to Yeshua because this would be the colt on which He would ride into Jerusalem. A miracle takes place here which few people notice. The Gospels of Mark and Luke clearly state that this was a colt “upon which no one had ever sat.” Normally, if one rides a colt upon which no one has ever sat, the colt would buck because it has not yet been broken. In this case, the colt did not buck, showing Jesus’ authority as the Messiah and as the Creator over the animal kingdom. In verse 3, Yeshua told His disciples that if anyone objected to their taking this colt, all they needed to say was “The Lord has need of him” and the colt would be immediately released, with no further objections raised. The colt was brought to Yeshua, and He rode into Jerusalem in fulfillment of a messianic prophecy found in Zechariah 9:9, which states that the Messiah would ride into Jerusalem upon just such a colt. Matthew 21:4-5 emphasized this as being the fulfillment of that prophecy.

Just as He was riding the colt into Jerusalem, suddenly the buzzing of rumors began to spread that Jesus was coming, riding in as the Messianic King of the Jews. The Jewish people responded; and their response was something significant. John 12:12-13 states: On the morrow a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took the branches of the palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried out, Hosanna: Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.

Mark 11:8-10 states: And many spread their garments upon the way; and others branches, which they had cut from the fields. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, Hosanna; Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord: Blessed is the kingdom that comes, the kingdom of our father David: Hosanna in the highest.

Matthew 21:8-9 reads: And the most part of the multitude spread their garments in the way; and others cut branches from the trees, and spread them in the way. And the multitudes that went before him, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

Luke 19:37-38 reads: And as he was now drawing nigh, even at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works which they had seen; saying, Blessed is the King that comes in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.

The four Gospel accounts together give a full description of the responses of the multitudes. They responded in several ways. First, they cut off palm branches and laid them before the feet of the colt upon which Yeshua was riding. Secondly, they cried out Hosanna in Hebrew, Hoshanah. Thirdly, they said, Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord. Normally, these are not actions that are performed during the Passover, rather, they are performed during the Feast of Tabernacles. The response of the multitudes showed that they were expecting the Feast of Tabernacles to be fulfilled on this occasion. According to Zechariah 14:16-21, the Feast of Tabernacles is to be fulfilled by means of the Messianic Kingdom. The declaration, Hosanna, and the actions of the multitudes showed that they were expecting the Kingdom to be set up on that occasion in fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles.

However, they did not yet realize that Jesus was not coming to fulfill the Feast of Tabernacles, rather, He was coming to fulfill the Passover. The Passover was not to be fulfilled by the establishment of the Kingdom, but by the death of the Messiah. The multitudes misinterpreted the purpose of His riding into Jerusalem on that occasion.

Furthermore, one of the greetings they applied to Yeshua was, Blessed is he that comes in the name of Jehovah, which comes from Psalm 118:26, a messianic psalm of the Old Testament. From a Jewish frame of reference, that particular phrase is an official Messianic greeting. The rabbis taught that, when the Messiah comes, He must be greeted with these words. When the people applied these words to Jesus, they were proclaiming Him, by the thousands, to be the Messiah of Israel.

But while the masses were proclaiming Him to be the Messiah, the Pharisees did not go along with them. The Pharisaic response is recorded in John 12:19:The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Behold how ye prevail nothing; lo, the world is gone after him.

Luke 19:39-40 adds: And some of the Pharisees from the multitude said unto him, Teacher, rebuke your disciples. And he answered and said, I tell you that, if these shall hold their peace, the stones will cry out.
To the Pharisees’ objections, Yeshua responded that there must be a testimony to the fact that the Messiah had come. If the multitude had been silent, the stones would have cried out the very same lines.

That Jesus was not riding into Jerusalem to offer Himself as the King with the Kingdom is made clear by what happens next. In the context of the many Hosannas and greetings of Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord, in the context of many proclamations of His Messiahship, the words of Yeshua remained words of judgment. Luke 19:41-44 states: And when he drew nigh, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, If you had known in this day, even you, the things which belong unto peace! but now they are hid from your eyes. For the days shall come upon you, when your enemies shall cast up a bank about you, and compass you round, and keep you in on every side, and shall dash you to the ground, and your children within you; and they shall not leave in you one stone upon another; because you knew not the time of your visitation.

If Jesus had simply offered the Kingdom as He rode into Jerusalem on that day of the Triumphal Entry, He would have been accepted as the Messiah by the multitudes right then and there! He was being proclaimed as the Messiah by thousands upon thousands of Jews. It cannot be claimed that this was a minority, because Matthew 21:8 states that it was true for the most part of the multitude. The objectors were the leaders, but the masses were proclaiming His messiahship. If Yeshua was offering Himself once again as the King and re-offering the Kingdom, they were accepting it. However, that was not the purpose of the Triumphal Entry. For no amount of Hosannas and Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord could change what had already occurred a year-and-a-half earlier. The unpardonable sin had already been committed by this generation. They had already rejected His Messiahship on the grounds of demon possession; and because that sin was exactly what He said it was, unpardonable, under no circumstances could the judgment now be removed. Otherwise, the unpardonable would have become pardonable, negating the very words of Jesus. In spite of the many Hosannas, in spite of the many messianic proclamations, because the rejection had already occurred and the unpardonable sin had already been committed, the words of Yeshua were words of judgment.

Jesus once again reiterated that Jerusalem was destined for destruction. The Temple was to be torn down until not one stone stood upon another. The reason for this is at the end of verse 44, “because you knew not the time of your visitation.” Because Jerusalem had not recognized at the proper time that the Messiah had come, the judgment was still going to occur. The time of your visitation, which they did not know, was in Matthew 12. After a manifold testimony of His Messiahship, after Yeshua proved Himself by many miracles, signs, and wonders, after they heard Him teach and preach and proclaim for the past year and a half, they had rejected Him. Thus, they did not know the time of their visitation. Because of this, they were still under judgment.

Again, the purpose of the Triumphal Entry was not to offer the Kingdom, but the purpose was to set aside the Lamb of God in preparation for the Passover sacrifice. Mark 11:11 states that He went on and entered into Jerusalem. Greater details of what happened once He entered the city are given in Matthew 21:10-11: And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, Who is this? And the multitudes said, This is the prophet, Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.

The whole city understood the significance of what was happening. But, once again, the chief priests, the Sadducees, and the scribes, the Pharisees, objected in Matthew 21:15-16: But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children that were crying in the temple and saying, Hosanna to the son of David; they were moved with indignation, and said unto him, Hear you what these are saying? And Jesus said unto them, Yea: did ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings you have perfected praise?

When the Pharisees objected to the worship Yeshua received, His response was to let them know that the Messiah had these things coming to Him. Jesus’ acceptance of the praise and worship showed that He accepted their claims that He was the Messiah. At that point, Yeshua left Jerusalem and returned to Bethany (v. 17).

On that day, the tenth of Nisan, the Lamb of God was set aside. From the tenth until the fourteenth, this Lamb would be tested to show that He was indeed without blemish and without spot and then He would be offered as the Passover Lamb to take away the sin of the world.

For more on the Triumphal Entry click here.

Question 35: Did Yeshua die spiritually on the cross?

Answer:   Yes, Yeshua did die spiritually on the cross.

By “spiritual death” we mean separation from God the Father. This would be a natural result of the wrath of God. For the second three hours on the cross, during the time of darkness, Yeshua suffered the wrath of God for our sins; and for those three hours, He was separated from God the Father. In that sense, He was spiritually dead for those three hours.

At the end of the three hours, He cried out: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” This is the only time He addressed God by the term “My God.” He called Him “Father” 170 times and “My Father” 21 times. The only time He called Him “My God” is at the end of the three hours of suffering God’s wrath because at this point He no longer had a paternal relationship, but a judicial relationship.

The cry is also a quotation of Psalm 22:1, which, in context, is a cry for help. After having been separated from His Father for three hours, He cried for help, and this cry was answered in that Yeshua was resurrected spiritually before He died physically. His final statement from the cross, just before His physical death, was, “Father, into your hands I commend My spirit.” The fact that He calls Him “Father” again shows that the paternal relationship had been restored so that before He died physically, He was already resurrected spiritually. Again, He both died spiritually and was resurrected spiritually before He died physically.

Because He was spiritually alive when He died physically, He did not descend into hell, but into Abraham’s bosom or paradise. When He spoke to the thief who has been crucified next to Him, He said, “Today, you will be with Me in paradise,” showing that Yeshua did not go to hell, but to paradise.

Yeshua’s spiritual death and resurrection before His physical death shows that He suffered the wrath of God while He was on the cross and not thereafter. Hence, His spiritual death does not bring into question His perfect redemption on the cross.

 

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 34: Once saved, are we always saved?

Answer:  We should keep in mind that salvation is strictly by grace alone through faith alone in the Messiah alone. Just as you cannot be saved by works, you cannot lose your salvation by works either. If it is possible to lose salvation on the basis of works, then salvation was on the basis of works to begin with, which contradicts all Scripture.

Upon salvation, one is regenerated. This means the believer receives eternal life at the moment he comes to faith. The Bible does not teach that we receive eternal life once we die as believers, but we already have eternal life the moment we believe. If it is possible to lose salvation, it was not eternal to begin with. The fact is there is nothing a person can do that would cause him to lose his salvation any more than there is nothing he can do that will cause him to earn salvation.

For details on this, see MBS 102 Eternal Security, available from 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.

Jews and Gentiles …Distinctions or no Distinctions in Messiah?

‘There Is No Difference Between Jews and Gentiles’:

There are some teachings out there that try to make all believing Jews into non-Jews, usually by employing out of context one or more of three passages having a phrase to the effect that there is neither Jew nor Greek. But a careful study of the very same passages in their context will show that the distinction between Jews and Gentiles is erased only in certain areas and not in all. Furthermore, a study of the text in the light of related passages clearly indicates that in other areas the distinction is still very much in effect, even within the body of believers.

The Passages Used.

The first of the three passages used is I Corinthians 12:12-13.

For as the body is one, and has many members; and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Messiah. For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all made to drink of one Spirit.

The clear teaching of this passage is that entrance into the Body is by Spirit baptism. This is the only way and it is true for all, Jew and Gentile. There is no difference. This is all that can be deduced from this passage and no more.

The second passage is Galatians 3:28:

There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be no male and female; for ye all are one man in MessiahYeshua/Jesus.

The context of this passage deals with the matter of justification by faith. This is the only way anyone can be justified, whether Jew or Gentile. So in justification there is no distinction between the two. That alone can be deduced from this passage and no more.

The third passage is Colossians 3:11:

Where there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondman, freeman; but Messiah is all, and in all.

Again the context is the key to understanding this passage. Verses 5-11 are concerned with putting off the old nature and putting on the new nature. This is the true and only way toward maturity and spirituality for any believer, Jew or Gentile. Again, no more than that can be deduced from this passage.
The conclusion we are drawing is obvious. In the areas of justification, membership in the Body, and growth toward maturity, the procedure is the same for Jew and Gentile without distinction. However, this does not mean that in every area the distinctions are forever erased between the two.

The Evidence for Distinctions.

As stated earlier, the study of these very same passages in the light of related passages will show that instead of teaching against all distinctions, the reverse is true. When critics of the Messianic Jewish distinction refer to these three passages, often only the “Jew and Greek” statement is cited and the rest is ignored. My homiletics teacher used this technique. But these verses not only state that there is no difference between Jews and Greeks, but they further state that there is no difference between bond and free, male and female. Yet the custom is often to avoid quoting the latter portion for reasons which will become apparent as we proceed. Now let us consider what the Bible has to say about the two latter groups and see if indeed the three passages teach that all distinctions are erased.

Bond and Free: 

There are five passages dealing with the bond and the free – Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22 – 4:1; I Timothy 6:1-2; Titus 2:9-10; I Peter 2:18.

In all these passages, the believing slave is to be in subjection to his master, even when the master is himself a believer. The believing master is never commanded to release his believing slaves, which would be the practical outcome if all distinctions have indeed been erased. But the believing freeman is still a freeman and the believing slave is still a slave. How then are these passages consistent with the three verses cited earlier? Consistency is no problem. As far as membership in the Body, justification, and spirituality are concerned, the way is the same for the freeman and the slave. But once in the Body, these distinctions still exist.

Male and Female:

Seven passages of Scripture clearly show that all distinctions between male and female certainly have not been erased. Subjection is the keynote to them all, as seen in position and function.

I Corinthians 11:3-10 points out that the woman should keep her head covered in the assembly:

In I Corinthians 14:34-35, women are forbidden to speak in the church. This is to the extent that if a woman has any questions at all, she is to seek answers from her husband at home.

Ephesians 5:22-25 points out the key idea of subjection:

In Colossians 3:18-19 we again have the idea of subjection. The husband is admonished to love his wife as the means of subjecting her.

In I Timothy 2:11-12, women are forbidden to teach men, for in so doing they are exercising authority and overstepping their place of subjection.

In Titus 2:1, 3-5, the teaching of younger women to be in subjection to their own husbands is part of sound doctrine, and violation results in the word of God being blasphemed:

First Peter 3:1 and 7 again point to subjection.

Now if all distinctions between male and female are erased, there would be no need for all these separate rules and injunctions. Do these passages then contradict the others which indicate no distinction between the male and female? Obviously not. Again, in the areas of membership in the Body of Messiah, justification, and spiritual maturity, the formula is the same for both. There is not one way of salvation for the man and another for the woman. Spiritual maturity does not have separate systems, one for the male and another for the female. Both have entered the Body in the same way. But once in the Body, the man is still a man, and the woman is still a woman, and they differ in position and function. Even if one believes that some of these laws do not apply today, it does not change the fact that the author clearly shows that distinctions between males and females still exist.

Conclusion:

The Bible does not say that all distinctions between Jew and Gentile are erased when they believe. While it is very true that the way of salvation is the same for both, this does not mean that all other distinctions have been eradicated as well, anymore than all distinctions between bond and free and male and female have ceased to exist. The way of salvation, Body membership, and spiritual maturity are the same for both Jews and Gentiles. But in other areas distinctions remain.

Excerpt from: Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum The Remnant of Israel – Also in iBooks (iPad) and Kindle

Missions – To the Jew First

Evangelizing the Jewish People:

The first aspect of the Church’s responsibility is in the realm of evangelism: the Church is responsible to proclaim the gospel to the Jew first.

1. The Principle of Evangelism – Romans 1:16

For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

This verse gives the principle of evangelism: whenever the gospel goes out, in whatever means it goes out, it is to go out to the Jew first. There is only one verb that controls the last two clauses, the verb is. It is in the Greek present tense, which emphasizes continuous action. This means that the gospel is continuously God’s power to save, and so it is continuously to the Jew first. If one tries to reinterpret this verse, like so many have, as simply to mean that “the gospel was to the Jew first, but it is no longer,” the verse would then have to mean that “the gospel used to be God’s power to save, but it is no longer.” If the gospel is always God’s power to save, then it is always to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

2. The Principle Applies to All

This principle applies regardless of the method of evangelism, whether it is person to person, door to door, radio, TV, mass evangelism, whatever. This principle applies regardless of specific individual calling. It applies to both active evangelism, when one is doing the work of an evangelist, and to passive evangelism, when one is supporting those who are doing the work of evangelism. Either way, the gospel is to the Jew first.

Some have said, “It is one thing for missionaries of Ariel Ministries to follow this principle, because they are doing the work of full time Jewish evangelism, but does this principle really apply to someone who was called to go elsewhere; such as China, Japan, the American Indian, Taiwan, Africa, Australia, New Zealand? Does it really apply in these cases?”

Paul answers this very issue in Romans 11:13-14:

But I speak to you that are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I glorify my ministry; if by any means I may provoke to jealousy them that are my flesh, and may save some of them.

Here, Paul points to himself as one who was not called to go to Jews. His calling was to be the apostle of the Gentiles, while Peter was the apostle of the Jews. And yet, while Paul’s calling was to be to the Gentiles, he never forgot the principle of Romans 1:16. Everywhere he went, he went to the Jew first.

3. The Principle at Work

Paul’s actions in the Book of Acts shows this very principle at work, beginning in Acts 13:2-3:

And as they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

It was in Acts 9 that Paul received his commission to be the apostle of the Gentiles, but only as of chapter 13 is he sent out by the Chuch of Antioch to do just that. Now the apostle of the Gentiles goes out to the Gentiles, but his procedure is always to the Jew first.

Act 13:5 states: And when they were at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews.

Verse 14 states: But they, passing through from Perga, came to Antioch of Pisidia; and they went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.

Acts 14:1: And it came to pass in Iconium that they entered together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude both of Jews and of Greeks believed.

Acts 16:12-13a: and from thence to Philippi, which is a city of Macedonia, the first of the district, a Roman colony: and we were in this city tarrying certain days. And on the sabbath day we went forth without the gate by a river side, where we supposed there was a place of prayer.

Because this was a Sabbath prayer meeting, it means that it was a Jewish prayer meeting. Paul came to Philippi, but the Jewish community in Philippi was too small to have a synagogue, and he could not go immediately to the synagogue to proclaim the gospel. When there were not enough Jews in a community to finance a synagogue, the Jewish rule was that they were to have their prayer meeting on the Sabbath by a body of water. Paul waited until the Sabbath day, went to a place where he knew the Jews would gather, and fulfilled the commission to proclaim the gospel to the Jew first.

Another instance of showing the principle of Romans 1:16 at work is found in Acts 17:1-2: Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: and Paul, as his custom was, went in unto them, and for three sabbath days reasoned with them from the Scriptures.

Again in Acts 17:10: And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Beroea: who when they were come thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.

And in Acts 17:16-17a: Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he beheld the city full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with Jews and the devout persons.

When Paul came into Athens and saw the city given over to idolatry, his spirit was provoked to preach to those who worshipped the idols. However, it was not the Jews who worshipped these idols, because, by then, idolatry had ceased to be a Jewish problem. It was the Gentiles of Athens who worshipped these idols, and he was provoked to preach to these Gentiles. But the principle of Romans 1:16 had to stand, so he went to the synagogue first in verse 17, and then he went on to the Gentile Greeks in verse 18.

Acts 18:1, 4 states: After these things he departed from Athens, and came to Corinth …  And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded Jews and Greeks.

Verse 19 states: And they came to Ephesus, and he left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.

Acts 19:1, 8 states: And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper country came to Ephesus … And he entered into the synagogue, and spoke boldly for the space of three months, reasoning and persuading as to the things concerning the kingdom of God.

Finally, in Acts 28:17: And it came to pass, that after three days he called together those that were the chief of the Jews.

Because Paul was a prisoner when he came to Rome, he could not go to the synagogue. So to fulfill Romans 1:16, he called the Jewish people to himself in order to proclaim the gospel to the Jew first.

Conclusion:

Romans 1:16 is the principle; Romans 11:13-14 teaches that the principle applies to all; and the Book of Acts shows the principle and action at work. The gospel is always to go to the Jew first, both in active evangelism, when one is doing the work of an evangelist as these Acts passages show, but also in passive evangelism, when one is supporting those who are doing the work of evangelism.

Excerpt from The Church and the Jews – PDF and MP3

For a fuller exposition see The Remnant of Israel – Also in iBooks (iPad) and Kindle

Question 33: Does James 5:16 teach that we are to confess our sins to each other?

James 5:16 says:

16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.  (NASB)

 

Answer:  Concerning the meaning of James 5:16, this verse is not teaching, by way of a blanket instruction, that we should be confessing all our sins to one another. Rather, the verse should be kept in context, which begins with verse 14. Here, James is talking about a specific type of illness—an illness that was the result of divine discipline for a specific sin. When a believer realizes he is being physically disciplined with sickness because of a specific sin, he is then to call for the elders of his church and confess the sin to them, as confession also shows repentance. The elders, in turn, are to anoint him with oil and pray for him. In those specific situations, the healing is guaranteed.

The confessing of sins in verse 16, within this context, is the confessing of the sin that brought on the divine discipline and it is to the elders of the church. So, kept within the context, we are not encouraged to confess our sins to everybody. The general principle is I John 1:9, which teaches that we are to confess our sins to God alone. James 5:16 speaks about a special case, applicable only in the context of sin that led to divine discipline.

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.

Discovering Your Spiritual Gift

Spiritual Gifts:

Spiritual gifts are ‘God-given abilities for service’, they are to be used in love for the edification of the Body of Messiah.

They are sovereignly bestowed and given to EVERY believer at the moment of salvation.

Every believer has at least one spiritual gift, if not more. But all believers do not have the same gift and the one same gift is not given to every believer.

A spiritual gift is not an office, or a talent, it is not a specific age-group ministry and it is not an indication of one’s spirituality. It is a specific ability given to a believer by God.

We are accountable to use our gifts wisely among the Body of Messiah.

How do I discover my spiritual gift or gifts?

There are three principles in discovering one’s spiritual gift.

1. Knowing What the Gifts Are:

The first principle is to know what the spiritual gifts are. Altogether, there are nineteen gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is important to know what the gifts are, so that one does not seek gifts, which do not exist. A good thing to do is to make a list of the nineteen gifts of the Holy Spirit.

2. Being Actively Involved in a Local Body:

A second principle in discovering a spiritual gift is based on the purpose of the gifts: for the building up of the body. The second principle is to be actively involved in a local body. One of the reasons why believers are responsible to become part of a local body and to be in subjection to the spiritual authorities of that body is because it is by means of the local body that believers can discover what their spiritual gifts are. By being involved in a local body, other believers will discern which gift or gifts the individual has and ask him to function in it. In this way, one can discover his spiritual gift.

3. Discovering Other Gifts:

The third principle is discovering other gifts in addition to ones, which a believer already knows he has. Frequently, believers have more than one gift. No believer has all the gifts but a believer will often have more than one. The way someone can discover other gifts is by being faithful in using the gifts he knows he has. For example, in Acts 6, Philip was recognized to have the gift of serving and was asked to take the office of a deacon. Because he was faithful in performing the office of a deacon and using his gift of serving, God showed him another gift, the gift of evangelism and he went to Samaria to evangelize the Samaritans (Acts 8).

For more see Gifts of the Holy Spirit, also in MP3.

Question 32: Does Isaiah 53:5 teach that physical healing is part of the atonement?

Isaiah 53:5 says:

But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed. (NASB)

 

Answer: No, it does not. Physical healing is not part of the atonement. The whole emphasis of Isaiah 53 in context is spiritual healing from sin, not physical healing.

With spiritual healing being the purpose of the atonement, the moment one is saved, he is spiritually healed and receives salvation and eternal life. If physical healing were achieved by the atonement, then the moment the person is saved, all his physical infirmities would be removed and he would never suffer physical infirmity again. Furthermore, he would not even suffer physical death. The reason so few people are recipients of this blessing is simply because physical healing is not part of the atonement in this life.

Ultimately, the atonement does include the redemption of the body, but that comes only with the resurrection from the dead or the translation at the time of the rapture. Only then will the body no longer be subject to physical infirmities of any kind. Until the redemption of the body at the time of the resurrection, only spiritual healing is guaranteed.

For more details on Isaiah 53. see MBS 11 The Suffering Messiah of Isaiah 53.

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

True Wisdom – James 3:17-18

’17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without variance, without hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for them that make peace.’

True wisdom is the result of a tamed tongue. In verse 17, the evidences of true heavenly wisdom are given: But the wisdom that is from above. But makes a contrast. It is followed by the list of seven characteristics of true wisdom.

He begins by stating: is first pure. By ranking it first, pure becomes primary and fundamental. As an inner quality of wisdom, pure is the most important. All the other descriptive terms are external to a man’s heart. To be pure signifies it is undefiled and clean. As a word used of Jesus in I John 3:3, it is free from all of the characteristics of false wisdom. Then, a list of external characteristics follows. Note how then ensues logically, reasonably from the internal purity.

The second characteristic is: peaceable, which promotes peace and tries to heal divisions but not at the expense of purity.

The third characteristic is: gentle. The Greek denotes “gentle;” “considerate;” “forbearing;” “courteous;” “reasonable;” “kindly.” It is a disposition that does not insist upon its own rights; it pertains to that which regards the feelings of others, carrying the concept of equity and fairness.

The fourth characteristic is: easy to be entreated or approached. This is a Greek word placed only in this verse and nowhere else. Outside the New Testament, it was used of someone who submitted to military discipline. In this situation, it conveys openness to reason; willingness to yield; to be easily persuaded. Conversely, it opposes being stubborn and unyielding.

The fifth characteristic is: full of mercy, yielding compassion, pity, kind actions, and helpful deeds. As a result, good fruits are produced on behalf of the needy. This reference is to kind actions and helpful deeds. Good modifies fruits meaning beneficial. The word fruits is plural because it results in a variety of good works.

The sixth characteristic is: without variance, without partiality and prejudice. This Greek word appears only here in verse 17 and nowhere else in the New Testament. It denotes “to be undivided,” without division or discord, and it reinforces consistency in contrast to the uncontrolled tongue, which was described in earlier verses as inconsistent.

The seventh characteristic is: without hypocrisy; sincere, genuine, and free from all pretense.

Because of these seven characteristics of true wisdom, in verse 18 Jacob/James declares the results of true wisdom: And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for them that make peace. The phrase fruit of righteousness allows for two possible interpretations. It might be appositional, meaning fruit that consists of righteousness. Or, it might be subjective, meaning fruit that righteousness produces. It is sown in peace; producing peace. It is for them that make peace, or the peacemakers. The fruit of righteousness is sown by peacemakers who enjoy the results of their work. Righteousness cannot be produced when conditions are full of strife, jealousy, and selfishness, which are the products of false wisdom. However, verses 17-18 contain the consequences of wisdom from above that are the counterpart to the results of bad wisdom of verse 16.

Excerpt From: Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum. “The Messianic Jewish Epistles.”

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