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 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eternal Security: Problem Passages, part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eternal Security: Problem Passages, part 1

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

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

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

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

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

Eternal Security: Part 4

Another argument for eternal security is based upon the meaning of the word “eternal.”[1] The very meaning of the word “eternal” rules out the possibility of the loss of salvation, because if “eternal” means anything, it means “forever.” If someone could lose his salvation, then it is not eternal, but temporary instead. Involved in our salvation are ten eternal things:

First, there is an eternal plan that God has for our lives (Eph. 3:10‑11).

Second, based upon what the Messiah has done, we now have eternal salvation (Heb. 5:9).

Third, we have eternal redemption (Heb. 9:12).

Fourth, believers have an eternal inheritance (Heb. 9:15).

Fifth, those who have this eternal redemption, inheritance and salvation are destined for eternal glory (II Tim. 2:10; I Pet. 5:10).

Sixth, there is an eternal hope, because we have the guarantee of eternal glory (Titus 3:7; Heb. 6:17‑19).

Seventh, eternal hope, in turn, provides eternal comfort (II Thes. 2:16).

Eighth, God has made an eternal covenant with us, and by virtue of His being the covenant-keeping God, He will keep us saved (Heb. 13:20).

Ninth, we are destined for an eternal kingdom (II Pet. 1:11).

Tenth, we do indeed have eternal life now; we have it presently. It is not something we will receive later upon death, but we have eternal life right now (Jn. 3:14‑16, 36; 6:47; 10:28; Titus 3:7).

It cannot be overemphasized that eternal life must mean what it says: if it is not eternal, if a person could lose it, then it is only temporary life.

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

The Titles of the Messiah

There are a total of twelve different titles given to the Messiah. The first five are general titles relating either to His person or to His work. The remaining seven titles all deal with the aspect of His Sonship.[1]

A.  General Titles

1.  Lamb of God

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

By giving Him the title of the Lamb of God, John connected Yeshua with two Old Testament elements: the pascal 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

The second title of the Messiah is Mediator. There are two aspects of His role as Mediator. First, He is the Mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5). Secondly, 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. This New Covenant is also a better covenant in that it is superior to the Mosaic Covenant.

3.  Intercessor

The third title of the Messiah is Intercessor (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25). Being an 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 fourth title of the Messiah is Advocate (1 Jn. 2:1). The term Advocate has the concept of being a lawyer. The reason that believers need Yeshua as 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, 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, then Jesus 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.” By way of application, believers should live the kind of spiritual lifestyle that will not give Satan any basis for accusations.

5.  Savior

The fifth title of the Messiah is Savior. This particular title emphasizes His work of salvation in that He is the One who saves. As the person of the Messiah, He is able to save; by the shedding of His blood, He has provided the basis of salvation. He is viewed as the Saviourthroughout the New Testament: Luke 2:11; John 4:42; Acts 5:31; Ephesians 5:22; I Timothy 1:1; Titus 2:13; II Peter 1:1, 2:20, 3:2, and 18.

B.  The Sonship Titles of the Messiah

1.  The Son of Abraham

The first Sonship title of the Messiah is the son of Abraham (Mat. 1:1). When Jesus is called the Son of Abraham, it means two things. First, it emphasizes the Jewishness ofYeshua. Second, it emphasizes that he is both under the Abrahamic Covenant and is the One who will fulfill all the blessings and promises of the Abrahamic Covenant that have been made to the Jewish people.

2.  The Son of David

The second title of the Messiah is the son of David (Mat. 1:1). When Yeshua is called the Son of David, it emphasizes two things. First, it emphasizes His royalty by teaching thatYeshua is a King. Second, it emphasizes that, as a direct descendant of David, he is under the Davidic covenant and that He will be the One to finally fulfill it. He will fulfill it when He sits upon David’s throne and rules over Israel from the City of Jerusalem. This relationship of the Messiah as the Son of David to the Davidic Covenant is taught in Isaiah 9:6‑7; Jeremiah 23:5‑6; and Luke 1:30‑33.

3.  The Son of Adam

The third Sonship title of the Messiah is the son of Adam (Lk. 3:38). The title of the Son of Adam emphasizes His humanity; Jesus was a man. It relates the Messiah to the Adamic Covenant as the Last Adam (Rom. 5:12‑21).

4.  The Son of God

The fourth title of the Messiah is the son of God (Lk. 3:38). When He is called the Son of God, it emphasizes the fact that Yeshua Himself is God. The term Son of God in reference to Jesus is used in three different senses in the New Testament. The first is the nativistic sense that emphasizes His human nature as a product of the work of God (Lk. 1:35). Because Mary conceived by the overshadowing work of the Holy Spirit, therefore, thatwhich is begotten shall be called the Son of God. The second usage of the Son of God is as a Messianic title. This was one of the titles of the Messiah in the Old Testament, so it is used as one of His Messianic titles (Mat. 8:29; 14:28‑33; 24:36). The third way that Son of God is used is in its trinitarian sense. In this sense, He is distinguished from the Father and from the Holy Spirit (Mat. 11:27; 16:16; 22:41‑46; Jn. 5:18).

There were two particular occasions when Jesus was declared to be the Son of God. This was not when He became the Son of God; He always was the Son of God for all eternity. But He was declared to be the Son of God on two occasions. The first occasion was at His baptism (Mat. 3:16‑17; Mk. 1:10‑11; Lk. 3:21‑22; Jn. 1:32‑34). The second occasion was at the Transfiguration (Mat. 17:5; Mk. 9:7; Lk. 9:35; II Pet. 1:17). Furthermore, the Bible also points out that He was proven to be the Son of God by means of resurrection. This was prophesied in Psalm 2:7 and fulfilled in Acts 13:32‑33 and Romans 1:3‑4. Jesus is the Son of God, He was declared to be the Son of God by God the Father, and He was proven to be the Son of God by virtue of His Resurrection.

5.  The Son of Man

The fifth title of the Messiah is the Son of Man. This title has four specific emphases. First, it stresses His human nature; He is called the Son of Man to emphasize His humanity (Mk. 2:27‑28; Jn. 5:27; 6:53, 62). Secondly, it emphasizes His sufferings; it speaks of His sufferings in His humanity (Mat. 12:40; 17:22; 20:18‑19, 28). The third emphasis of His title as the Son of Man is unique to the Gospel of John. When John uses the term Son of Man, he uses it to emphasize the superhuman character of the Messiah and His pre‑existence. His superhuman character is emphasized in John 1:51, 3:13-14. The fourth emphasis of this title is in reference to His Second Coming. Prophetically, this is the way the term is used in Daniel 7:13. This is also where the term Son of Man originates, and it is also where the term is given its prophetic meaning. In the New Testament, this is applied to Jesus in Matthew 16:27‑28; Mark 8:38; and 13:26.

6.  The Son of Mary

The sixth Sonship title of the Messiah is the Son of Mary. When He is called the Son of Mary, it emphasizes His human origin, or more specifically, the origin of His humanity in that His humanity came from Mary. Mary was His real mother, and this makes Him a member of the House of David through her.

7.  The Son of Joseph

The seventh and final Sonship title of the Messiah is the Son of Joseph (Jn. 1:45, 6:42). This title emphasizes who His human father was by means of adoption and gives Him legal paternity. It does not give Him natural paternity, because Yeshua did not have a natural father.

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

The Lord’s Supper

An ordinance can be defined as a rite or ritual or practice prescribed by the Messiah to be performed by the Church as an outward sign of the saving truth of the believer’s faith. Rather than seeing the ordinances as conveying grace, as with the sacraments, it is better to see them as visible signs of saving truth.

There are two ordinances of the Church: the Lord’s Supper and baptism. This post will consider the meaning, the Scriptures, the names, the qualifications, the purposes, the practice, the prerequisites, and the dangers of partaking unworthily, of the Lord’s Supper.


There have been four major views of the meaning of the Lord’s Supper in the history of Christianity.

A.  Transubstantiation (Roman Catholicism)

Transubstantiation is the view of Roman Catholicism. This view teaches that the elements—the bread and the wine—are actually changed into the body and the blood of the Messiah by priestly consecration. Thus, whenever the Lord’s Supper is served it is a new offering of the Messiah’s sacrifice by means of Transubstantiation. The bread was made available to all, but until recently, the wine was limited to the priesthood only because of the danger of spilling the real blood of the Messiah.[1] This belief is based on the statement made by Yeshua in Luke 22:19‑20, “This is My body; this is My blood.” Therefore, it is claimed that the bread and the wine become the real body and the real blood of Yeshua (see also John 6:53‑56).

However, this is not the biblical teaching or the meaning of the Lord’s Supper for the following reasons:

  • Yeshua used the present tense when He made the statement, “This is My body; this is My blood,” so He could not have meant that these elements became His real body and His real blood.
  • While He did say, “This is My body” in verse 19, He did not say, “This is My blood” in verse 20. Verse 20 states: This cup is the new covenant in my blood. If Transubstantiation is true, then this statement becomes totally senseless.
  • Jesus did not speak of eating His body and drinking His blood in John 6 in the context of the Communion service. In fact, Yeshua never spoke of the Lord’s Supper nor did He even mention it until the last Passover of His earthly life.
  • Transubstantiation denies the completeness of the Messiah’s sacrifice. The point of the Book of Hebrews is that the Messiah died once and for all, and no sacrifice needs to be repeated.

B.  Consubstantiation (Luther)

Consubstantiation is the Lutheran view. This position admits that the elements themselves, the bread and the wine, do not change as taught by Transubstantiation, however, the body and the blood are physically present in the elements. That is why it is not “trans‑substance” in that the substances change; rather, it is “con‑substance” in that the body and the blood are actually within the substances themselves.

The basis for this view is the same as Transubstantiation. The arguments used by Catholics to teach Transubstantiation are the same as the arguments used by Lutherans to teach Consubstantiation; therefore, the response and refutation would also be the same.

C.  Spiritual Presence (Calvin)

Spiritual Presence was the view of John Calvin and it is the view of the Reformed Church. This view teaches that the body and blood are spiritually present in the elements, but not physically present.

The basis for this teaching is the concept of the Lord’s Supper as a sacrament. A sacrament always conveys a means of grace. So, while those who teach Spiritual Presence say that the elements do not change, nor are the real body and real blood present with the elements, they do teach that the body and blood are spiritually present in the elements. Again, the basis of this view is the concept of a sacrament as a means of grace; because it is a sacrament, it therefore must have the Spiritual Presence.

The refutation of this view is that the Lord’s words do not imply a spiritual presence any more than they imply a physical presence.

D.  A Memorial (Zwingli)

The most obvious biblical view is that the Lord’s Supper is to be observed as a memorial, a remembrance of Jesus. Among the Reformers, this view was held by Zwingli. This is seen in Luke 22:19 and 1 Cor 11:24-26.

…and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. 1 Cor 11:24-26 NASB

Believers show forth the Lord’s death by means of the Lord’s Supper. And by showing forth the Lord’s death till He comes, they are fulfilling the commandment to do this in remembrance of Him. The correct view is that the Lord’s Supper is a memorial to His death.


Five main passages from which the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper is derived are: Matthew 26:26‑29; Mark 14:22‑25; Luke 22:19‑20; 1 Corinthians 10:16‑17; and 11:23‑26.


All together, there are seven different names for this ordinance, but only the first six are biblical:

  • the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 11:20)[2]
  • the Table of the Lord (1 Cor 10:21)[3]
  • the Breaking of Bread (Acts 2:42)[4]
  • the Eucharist (Matthew 26:27, Mark 14:23; Luke 22:17, 19; I Cor 11:24)[5]
  • the Eulogia (1 Cor 10:16)[6]
  • Communion (1 Cor 10:16)[7]
  • Mass. This is the only name that has no biblical support whatsoever. As mentioned earlier, the Mass itself implies a re‑sacrifice.


Normally, three qualifications must be met to qualify as an ordinance. First, it had to be commanded by Jesus. Secondly, it was observed in the Book of Acts. And thirdly, it was expounded upon in the Epistles as to its theological significance. All three of these qualifications were met in the Lord’s Supper. First, it was commanded by Yeshua in Luke 22:19‑20. Secondly, it was practiced in the Book of Acts in Acts 2:42, 46; and 20:7. Thirdly, its theological significance was expounded upon in the Epistles in 1 Corinthians 10:16‑17 and 11:23‑31.


Four purposes can be deduced from the passages that deal with this ordinance.

  • It is a memorial and a remembrance of the life and death of Jesus in Luke 22:19.
  • It announces the basic facts of the gospel in that it proclaims the Lord’s death in 1 Cor 11:26.
  • Because believers are to observe this ordinance until He returns, it quickens an anticipation of the Messiah’s return (1 Cor 11:26).
  • It has the purpose of reminding believers of their oneness with all other believers (1 Cor 10:17).


A.  The Frequency

It is obvious that the practice among members of the early church differed. For example, in Acts 2:46 they seemed to practice it on a daily basis, while in Acts 20:7 they observed it only weekly. There is no specific command that states whether it should be done daily, weekly, or on the first Sunday of the month as many churches practice. Compare 1 Cor 11:26 and Jesus’ words in Luke 22:19b (this do in remembrance of me). The point is: “As often as you do this, do it in remembrance of Yeshua.” In other words, the frequency should be decided by each local congregation.

B.  The Mode

Concerning the mode in which the Lord’s Supper should be practiced, four things should be noted.

  • The Setting – The Lord’s Supper should be practiced when the local body of the church is assembled (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 11:18, 20, 33 and 34). When Yeshua instituted the Lord’s Supper, it was part of a group participation of the Jewish Passover. Consequently, it should be done with the assembled congregation, not privately between a few individuals.
  • The Elements – There are two elements used in the Lord’s Supper. The first element is bread,[8] which represents the body of the Messiah, and the second element should be a red liquid, because it symbolizes the Messiah’s blood.[9]
  • The Order – The elements should be served in the following order: first, the bread, followed by the wine. This is the order that Yeshua used when He instituted the Lord’s Supper.
  • The Participants – The biblical practice is that the believer should partake of both elements, the bread and the wine.


All together, three major prerequisites must be fulfilled before one partakes of the Lord’s Supper, salvation, water baptism, and self-examination.

As noted above, only believers should partake in the Lord’s supper. The second prerequisite, that one should be water‑baptized, is somewhat questionable. In the days of the early church, a person was baptized on the day he believed. But in those days, people knew what baptism meant. Today, with so much confusion concerning baptism, it might be wise to refrain from participation in the Communion service until the new believer has had a chance to be taught what baptism means and what it does not mean. The third prerequisite is self‑examination. While the first restriction is that the Lord’s Supper is served to believers only, another restriction is that it should be served to believers who have examined themselves (1 Cor 11:27-28).[10]


In 1 Cor 11:29-31 there are four dangers of partaking in the Lord’s Supper unworthily. God will discipline those who treat the Lord’s Supper lightly. The dangers in this passage are: (1) chastisement, which is a judgment of discipline in verse 29; (2) physical weakness in verse 30a; (3) illness or sickness also in verse 30a; and (4) physical death in verse 30b.

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

[1] And because of this belief, it was often used as a basis for anti‑Semitic campaigns throughout Jewish history. Jews were accused of sneaking into a church and stealing the bread after it had been consecrated, and nailing it to a tree; and by so doing were re‑crucifying the Messiah. Priests often used this to enrage the mobs to attack the Jewish parts of the town. Many Jews throughout history were killed because of the doctrine of Transubstantiation.

[2] Greek kuriakos (κυριακός), so 1 Cor 11:20. This name is probably a reference to the agape feast that used to precede the Communion service. In the early church period, they first had a supper, and the supper would end with a Communion service, known as the Lord’s Supper. Obviously, when only a small piece of bread and a thimbleful of juice are served, it could hardly be classified as a supper in most churches today.

[3] Greek “of a table of the Lord,” and as such, this may not be a definite reference to Communion.

[4] See Acts 2:42: the breaking of the bread; also Acts 20:7 to break bread.

[5] Greek eucharisteo (εὐχαριστέω) “to give thanks.” This is based on what Yeshua did at His last Passover.

[6] Greek eulogeo (εὐλογέω) “to ask God’s blessing.” See 1 Cor 10:16: The cup of blessing which we bless. There was a cup of wine during the Passover, known as “the cup of blessing.”

[7] Greek koinonia (κοινωνία) “participation in.” It is used of both elements: the body and the blood, the bread and the cup. This is perhaps this author’s favorite name for this service.

[8] It should be unleavened bread, because unleavened bread is a symbol of sinlessness, and the body of Yeshua was a sinless body. Whenever leaven is used symbolically in Scripture, it is always a symbol of sin. God would not permit even the symbol of sin to be in the Jewish home for the Passover.

[9] Most churches in America traditionally use grape juice, but it should be real wine, because that is also what Jesus used at the Passover. A substitute, such as grape juice, should be provided for those who do not feel free to partake of the wine, but the weaker brethren must not be allowed to decide the rules for the body as a whole.

[10] Before a believer allows himself to partake of Communion, he should undergo self‑examination. He should himself ask the question, “Am I walking an orderly spiritual life?” He should ask himself, “Do I discern and appreciate that the bread and the wine represent God’s atonement accomplished for me on the cross?” He should confess all of his known sins. There should be a real sense of honor, a real sense of awe, when participating in the ordinance of Communion.

The Biblical View of Death

The Origin of Death

The Bible addresses three different types of death (physical, spiritual or eternal), each of which originated with the Fall of man.[1] It is considered a penal evil. That is to say, death is a penalty for sin (e.g. Gen 2:16-17, 3:19; Ezek 18:4; Rom 5:12, 6:23; 1 Cor 15:22).

The Meaning of Death

The best way of defining death, biblically speaking, is by the concept of separation. The word “separation” covers every usage of the word “death,” both literal and symbolic. This means that death is not a cessation of existence or even of consciousness. Take for example the rich man and Lazarus (Lk. 16:19‑31). In this passage the rich man, Lazarus, and Abraham are all “dead,” and yet they can carry on a conversation replete with feelings of pain and sorrow.

Physical Death

Physical death is “separation” of the immaterial part of a person from the material part of a person (Eccl. 12:7; Jas. 2:26), not a “cessation” of existence (e.g. nihilism) or of consciousness (e.g. “soul-sleep”). For the believer, however, death is no longer viewed as a punishment, but rather as the means for entering into Heaven. In fact, the Bible describes death as “sleeping” (Mk. 5:39; 1 Thes. 4:13‑14), but “sleep” in these instances refers to the body, not the soul. As an analogy, in physical sleep there is a temporary cessation of physical activity, but not spirit‑soul activity. Likewise, physical death is also a temporary suspension of physical activity, but not spirit/soul or mind/heart activity. The remedy for physical death will be a physical resurrection (Rom. 5:17; 8:23; 1 Cor. 15:22).

Spiritual Death

Spiritual death is separation from God in time (Mat. 8:22; Jn. 5:24; 8:51; Eph. 2:1-5; 5:14; 1 Tim. 5:6; Jas. 5:20). In Gen 2:17 God warned Adam that, on the day that he disobeyed the commandment, he would surely die. Obviously, Adam did not die physically the day he sinned, but he did die spiritually. When Adam and Eve sinned, they died toward God. Their nature had become contrary to God’s nature, because it was fallen. And because it was fallen, it could no longer share the same level of fellowship that it had before the Fall. As a result, all the descendants of Adam are born spiritually dead (1 Cor 2:14). Although the “natural man” may not feel spiritually dead, he is. The remedy for spiritual death is to be made alive or “to be quickened” by faith in the Messiah (Jn. 5:24; Eph. 2:5‑6; Col. 2:13).

Eternal or Second Death

“Eternal” death or the “second death” (Rev 20:14, 21:8) is a separation from God in eternity (Mat. 10:28; 25:41; 2 Thes. 1:9; Jude 13; Rev. 14:11) and it is permanent. This type of death is a result of not believing on the Messiah as one’s Savior (Jn. 3:17‑18; 8:24; Acts 4:12). The place of eternal death or the second death, the place where the separated ones will be for eternity is the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:11‑15; 21:8).

In the next installment, we shall consider death in relation to the work of the Messiah.

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

Messianic Bible Study #2 (Part 3 of 3): The Law of Moses & the Law of Messiah

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. (Rom 8:2, NASB)

The Law of Moses has been abolished and believers are now under a new law.[1] This new law is called the law of Christ in Galatians 6:2 and the law of the Spirit of life in Romans 8:2. The Law of the Messiah contains all the commandments applicable to a New Testament believer. The reason there is so much confusion over the relationship of the Law of Moses and the Law of the Messiah is that there a many overlapping commandments, and many believers have concluded that certain sections of the Mosaic Law have therefore been retained. But it has already been shown that this cannot be the case, and the explanation for the sameness of the commandments is to be found elsewhere.

This explanation can best be understood if it is realized that there are a number of codes in the Bible (e.g.  the Edenic, Adamic, Noahic, Mosaic, and Christian). A new code will always contain some of the same commandments of the previous code, but this does not mean that the previous code is still in effect. While certain commandments of the Adamic Code were also found in the Edenic Code, this did not mean that it was still partially in force. The Edenic Code ceased to function with the fall of man. The same is true when we compare the Law of the Messiah with the Law of Moses. There are many similar commandments. For example, nine of the Ten Commandments are to be found in the Law of the Messiah, but this does not mean that the Law of Moses is still in force.

The Law of Moses has been nullified and believers are now under the Law of the Messiah. There are many different commandments. Under the Law of Moses, one would not be permitted to eat pork, but under the Law of the Messiah, he may. There are many similar commandments, but they are nonetheless in two separate systems. Therefore, if one does not kill or steal, this is not because of the Law of Moses but because of the Law of the Messiah. On the other hand, if one does steal, he is not guilty of breaking the Law of Moses but of breaking the Law of the Messiah.

The biblical basis for this freedom to keep the Law can be seen in the actions of Paul, the greatest exponent of freedom from the Law. His vow in Acts 18:18 is based on Numbers 6:2, 5, 9, and 18. His desire to be in Jerusalem for Pentecost in Acts 20:16 is based on Deuteronomy 16:16. The strongest passage is Acts 21:17‑26, where Paul, the apostle of freedom from the Law, is seen keeping the Law himself.

The believer is free from the Law of Moses, but he is also free to keep parts of it. Thus, if a Jewish believer feels the need to refrain from eating pork, he is free to do so. The same is true for all the other commandments. However, there are two dangers that must be avoided by the messianic believer who volunteers to keep the commandments of the Law of Moses. One danger is the idea that by doing so he is contributing to his own justification and sanctification. This is false and should be avoided. The second danger is in expecting others to keep the same commandments that he had decided to keep. This is equally wrong and borders on legalism. The one who exercises his freedom to keep the Law must recognize and respect another’s freedom not to keep it.

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