Question 16: Do the four horseman of the Apocalypse have names?

Answer:  The four horsemen of the Apocalypse do not have names, and their description in the book of Revelation pertains to the nature of their judgments rather than to their personal names.

The first rider, who comes forth conquering and to conquer, represents the Antichrist. He will be a world leader during the tribulation. The second rider brings on a world war because he is a assigned “to take peace from the earth.” The third horseman brings on a worldwide famine. The fourth horseman is assigned to destroy 25% of the world’s population in four different ways: by the sword (death by slaughter), by famine (death by hunger), by pestilence (death by disease), and by wild beasts (death by being hunted by wild animals).

For more details, please see my book, The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events.

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

Question 15: In I Timothy 1:4, Paul is instructing Timothy not to pay attention to “endless genealogies.” Does that make it a scripturally forbidden practice for believers to compile family trees or genealogies?

Answer:

I Timothy 1:4 says:

4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. (ESV)

The practice referred to in I Timothy 1:4 was prevalent among Greeks, who usually traced genealogies for two reasons: to try to show superiority in family origin and/or to try to trace the lineage to one of the Greek gods or goddesses. It is this kind of genealogy that is forbidden by I Timothy 1:4. To compile a genealogy as a matter of family history would not be a problem. God Himself recorded many genealogies in His own Word, so He cannot be against keeping track of one’s family history in this way.

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

Question 14: Did the wise men know what the Messiah was going to do?

Answer: We cannot be sure how much the wise men knew about the Messiah. What we do know is that they brought three gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Mt. 2:11). These were the kind of gifts given to kings, but in the Hebrew Scriptures, the elements also have symbolic significance. Gold is the symbol of kingship (e.g., I Kgs. 10:10); Yeshua is the King. Frankincense is the symbol of deity (e.g., Lev. 2:2); Yeshua is God. Myrrh is the symbol of death and sacrifice (e.g., Ex. 30:23); Yeshua is the final sacrifice for sin. Whether the wise men actually understood the symbolic meaning of these three things we do not know because the gifts were commonly given to kings. So it is clear that the wise men understood Yeshua to be the king of the Jews. In light of the fact that the information they had probably came from the book of Daniel, they also would have recognized that He was destined to die (Daniel 9:24-27), but beyond that, we cannot tell.

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

Question 13: Does Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza fulfill any of the prophecies?

Answer:  The withdrawal from Gaza is not dealt with prophetically. It is not a specific fulfillment of a specific prophecy. What it does bear out is the basic principle in Scripture concerning Israel and the land. This principle teaches that two covenants must be held in balance. The Abrahamic Covenant teaches that ownership of the land is unconditional. This means Israel always belongs to the Jewish people, whether they happen to be living in the land or not. However, the Land Covenant of Deuteronomy 29-30 teaches that enjoyment of the land is always conditioned on obedience. For that reason, even in biblical times, the Jewish people never lived in all of the promised land. As we read the Old Testament from Joshua to II Chronicles 36, we will notice that in different periods of history, the Jewish people would sometimes inhabit more of the land and sometimes less. The borders were the widest under David and Solomon, but even then, the Jewish people did not possess all of the land. When they came back from the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities, they inhabited much smaller areas of the land than before, and finally, they lost even that during the dispersion under Rome. Since 1948, we can see the same principle repeating itself: Sometimes, the Jewish people inhabit more of the promised land and sometimes less. Israel will never have all of the land until the Jews become a believing people, and only then will Messiah return. He will then give them all of the land that had been promised to them millennia before. Until then, the basic principle will continue: sometimes more, sometimes less. In light of the Gaza Strip withdrawal, they have less. Again, this is not fulfilling any specific prophecy, but it does fulfill the basic principle discussed above. The land the Jewish people do inhabit will be under constant attack and in constant turmoil, as has been true since 1948. It is this very aspect that will ultimately lead Israel to make a covenant with the Antichrist, which will in turn trigger the tribulation.

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

Question 12: Does God hear the prayers of unbelievers?

Answer:  Yes. God hears the prayers of unbelievers. This should be obvious. God is omnipresent. Therefore, He obviously hears the prayers of anyone.

The real question is: Does He answer the prayers of those who do not believe in the Messiah? The one prayer He will always answer is the prayer for forgiveness and for salvation. If a person only believes in God but rejects the Messiahship of Yeshua, no other type of prayer is answered because the person does not have the relationship with the Lord that results in prayers being answered. Once a person becomes a believer in the Messiah, all other types of prayers are answered.

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

Question 11: Are children obligated to care for their parents when they are unable to take care of themselves?

Answer:  Children do have an obligation to take care of their parents when they become too infirm, either physically or mentally, to take care of themselves.

I have to emphasize the phrase “too infirm” because I have seen many cases where elderly parents had the ability to take care of themselves just fine, but took advantage of their children and demanded that they take care of many matters they could have handled themselves. Hence, it must be clearly established that the need is real.

If a need for care has indeed been determined, there is more than one option on how to deal with this. One option is to have the parent come live with the children. Sometimes that works just fine, but sometimes it does not and causes tension in the home and in the marriage. Because a mate’s primary responsibility is to the spouse and not to the parent, other options have to be looked at. One such option would be to provide care for the ailing parent by either hiring a visiting nurse or by finding a nursing home.

Yes, the children have a responsibility to their parents, but there is more than one option as to how that responsibility should be fulfilled.

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

Question 10: Was Luke a Jew or a Gentile?

18Answer:  There are several reasons to accept the Jewishness of Luke rather than assume he was a Gentile.

First, Romans 3:1-2 clearly teaches the oracles of God were committed to the Jews alone. This includes the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. Hence, Luke must have been a Jew.

Second, in both of his writings, Luke used a lot of Hebraisms. This means, for example, that rather than using a normal Greek word order, he used a Hebrew word order, which was common among Greek speaking Jews but not among Greek speaking Gentiles.

Third, Luke knew and used various Jewish nuances. For example, whenever he wrote about someone going to Jerusalem, he always pointed out that it was a matter of “going up.” Whenever he wrote about someone leaving Jerusalem, it was a matter of “going down.” Indeed, among Jews, one always goes up to Jerusalem and one always comes down from Jerusalem. Another example is found in Acts 27, where Luke mentioned “the fast” without bothering to explain the term. A Jew would know it to mean the fast for the Day of Atonement. Hence, Luke wrote as a Jew would write.

These are just some of the reasons I hold to the Jewishness of Luke.

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

Question 9: What is the “great star” of Revelation 8:10-11?

Revelation 8:10-11 says:

10 The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. 11 The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the water, because it had been made bitter. (ESV)

Answer: Whenever the word “star” is used symbolically in the Scriptures, it always symbolizes an angel. The context determines whether it is a good angel or a fallen angel. The “great star” of Revelation 8 is a fallen angel. This can be seen in the fact that he fell from heaven and that his name is Wormwood. God uses this fallen angel to poison the waters, resulting in many deaths during the judgments of the tribulation.

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

Question 8: Is the Shechinah glory in the holy of holies of the Millennial Temple God the Father (Ez. 43)?

Answer:  The Shechinah glory is the visible manifestation of the presence of God, and it might be either the Father, the Son, or the Spirit or could also be the whole Triune God, depending on the context. Ezekiel 43 does not specify which member of the Godhead it is or whether it is all three. However, based upon other ways the Shechinah manifested itself in connection with the holy of holies of the Tabernacle and the Temple, it may indicate that Ezekiel 43 speaks about the visible manifestation of the Holy Spirit returning to Israel during the messianic kingdom.

 

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

Question 7: Did synagogue and/or church councils determine which books were inspired and to be included in the Bible? If so, how?

Answer: No synagogue council or church council ever determined per se what books were inspired and what books were not inspired. They simply recognized what books were considered inspired, but these books were already viewed as being inspired by believers long before any church council officially recognized them. Hence, the purpose of the synagogue and church councils was to evaluate and ultimately reject books that were not accepted by the body of believers.

For example, shortly after Moses finished his fifth book, he passed away. Joshua and the body of believers that followed his generation immediately accepted his five books as being inspired by God.

The inspiration of subsequent books was also recognized immediately, which is why there are historical books quoting the prophets and the prophets quoting each other. There is Jeremiah quoting Micah, Daniel recognizing the book of Jeremiah, etc.

Therefore, long before there was ever an official Old Testament canon, the truly inspired books were recognized and circulated as such. So while the Council of Yavneh declared the books of the Old Testament as we now have them as official Scripture, they were already recognized as such for centuries. Furthermore, it was understood that Malachi was the last of the prophets and that the next prophet would be Elijah, announcing the arrival of the Messiah. It should be noted that the books of the Apocrypha were never recognized by the Jewish people as being inspired, and although they were available in the first century B.C. and in first century A.D., they were used for historical purposes in the same way that Josephus would later be used. Hence, they were never recognized as being inspired Scripture.

The New Testament followed the same format. The Scriptures the New Testament recognized were the 39 books of the Old Testament. Not only that, the New Testament also refers to the same three divisions of the Hebrew Scriptures the Jewish people still use today: the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings (or Psalms, which is the first book of the Writings). So while the Apocrypha found in the Catholic Bible were already available in the first century, the New Testament does not treat them as Scripture and does not quote from them.

As for the inspiration of the New Testament, the principle we discussed in regards to the Hebrew Scriptures is also true for the New Testament: The books were recognized to be inspired when they were first written. For example, Peter, in spite of his differences with Paul, referred to the writings of the apostle as being Scripture. By the time the last apostle died, the 27 books included in the New Testament today were the ones recognized by the church at large as being inspired. All other books, such as the Apocrypha, were sometimes recognized by different parts of the church, but they were not recognized by the church as a whole. Therefore, the church councils finally met for the purpose of rejecting these other writings. So, whatever God had indeed inspired was recognized by the body of believers, and that was not true with other books written at that point of time.

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