Question 51: Which calendar is correct: the Christian calendar or the Jewish calendar? Which calendar should believers in Yeshua follow?

Answer: Neither the Christian (Gregorian) calendar nor the Jewish calendar is correct.

The Gregorian calendar was based upon an attempt to include Yeshua’s birth year in the counting of time. However, without having all the historical facts at the time that this was done, there was a discrepancy. Today, it is possible to pinpoint with a fair amount of accuracy the actual year Messiah was born by correlating Luke’s account with Matthew’s and other historical sources from this period (especially Josephus). Four basic clues will be considered.

The first clue concerns the year Herod died, which was the year 4 B.C. The Gospel accounts clearly state that when Yeshua was born, Herod the Great was alive. This means the Messiah was born before the year 4 B.C.

The second clue pertains to the decree that was issued in the days of Quirinius, or more precisely, around the year 8 or 7 B.C. Luke’s point is that the Messiah was born after Quirinius ordered the census. The first two clues combined give a three- to four-year parameter, indicating that Yeshua was born somewhere between 8 and 4 B.C.

The date can be narrowed down even further. Ac­cording to Josephus, Herod left Jerusalem for Jericho in the year 5 B.C., which is where he spent the last year of his life. He died in Jericho, never again to return to Jerusalem. Matthew stated that when the wise men met with Herod, he was still in Jerusalem (Mt. 2:7, 16). We can therefore de­duce from Josephus’ writings and the Gospel account that they would have arrived in Jerusalem in or before the year 5 B.C. This serves as the third clue.

The last clue concerns Yeshua’s age. When the wise men met King Herod in or before the year 5 B.C., the Messiah was already about two years old (Mt. 2:16). Putting all these clues together, we can conclude that Yeshua was born sometime between the years of 7 and 6 B.C. Hence, the Christian calendar is off by approximately seven years. For example, the year 2000 had already occurred between 1993 and 1994.

While the Christian calendar revolves around the year Yeshua was born, the Jewish calendar is tied to the year Adam was created. The present Jewish calendar is based upon a calendar put together by rabbis in the second century A.D., and they, too, did not have all of the history and details necessary to be accurate. The result is that the Jewish calendar is off by approximately 250 years.

Hence, both calendars are not 100% accurate, but it is too late to do anything about this now. However, it is recognized by scholars and historians that both calendars are inaccurate.

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

Question 50: Can you tell me the location of the land called “Eden”? I know God planted a garden in Eden (Gen. 2:8).

Genesis 2:8 says:

The Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. (NASB)

Answer: Based upon the geography that is given in Genesis and what is known today, Eden was somewhere in the Mesopotamian region. This would put it in the modern-day nation of Iraq.

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

Question 49: Can a divorced man become an elder?

Answer: If a person was divorced as a believer, it would permanently disqualify him from being an elder since it shows that he does not fulfill the requirements of an elder as listed in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1.

Certainly, his repentance will bring about forgiveness and restoration of fellowship with God, but it also shows he did not rule his own house well. It is this element that would disqualify him from serving as an elder. However, he could certainly have ministries in other capacities, but not in a ruling position of a local church.

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

Question 48: Was Joseph wrong or did he sin in the way he treated his brothers in Genesis 37-50?

Answer: There is no indication in the text that Joseph sinned in the way he treated his brothers. In fact, the whole purpose of that scenario was to test the brothers to see if they had changed in their attitude toward each other and toward the other son of Rachel, whom the father now favored since he assumed that Joseph was dead.

So, during the feast when Joseph gave Benjamin a double portion, his brothers “were merry with him.” Their reaction showed that they were no longer jealous of any favoritism towards the other son of Rachel. Furthermore, they were not willing to leave Benjamin in Egypt. Judah even offered to become the replacement prisoner for the sake of Benjamin and for the love of the father. All of these actions showed that they had developed a strong sense of family loyalty, and that Benjamin would not be abandoned in the way that Joseph had been abandoned.

I think it was a valid test, and the Bible does not condemn Joseph for his actions.

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

Question 47: What are your thoughts on whether God currently speaks to us through dreams?

Answer: If you look through the biblical record, God did at times speak through dreams to both believers (e.g. Daniel) and unbelievers (e.g. Abimelech, Nebuchadnezzar). However, you will note that these instances were few, and they always included a specific message that was just as accurate as direct fulfilled prophecy.

God no longer gives direct prophecy now that we have His entire Word. People who claim to receive direct messages from God are often simply faking it. It was never the biblical pattern for God to reveal new truth in dreams. It was rare in biblical times and would be even rarer today if God so chooses.

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

Question 46: Why did God give the law instead of just sending Yeshua to redeem humanity after Adam sinned?

Answer: The answer is simple: It was the choice God made.

Obviously, God had multiple options as to how He could have handled both the angelic and human sin, and He chose the one He put into effect and waited for the “fullness of time” before sending His Son (Galatians 4:1-7). He did so without telling us why. Hence, there is no other answer we can give except what God has chosen to reveal to us in His Word.

Galatians 4:1-7 says:

Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. (NASB)

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

Question 45: Some believe that they will be united again with a deceased husband or wife in heaven. Is this true?

Answer: The key passage for answering your question is Matthew 22:22-33. In a discussion with the Sadducees, Yeshua points out that in heaven there is neither marriage nor giving in marriage. Thus, all of us who go to heaven will no longer be married to whom we were married on earth.

That does not mean there will be no recognition, and we will certainly know to whom we were married here on earth. However, those who are husband and wife on this earth will not be husband and wife in heaven.

From our perspective, this may seem sad, but we will not be sad in heaven since we will see everything from God’s perspective. It should also be noted that there will be no mothers-in-law in heaven either.

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

Question 44: Genesis 1:20 says that God created the fowl out of the water, but in Genesis 2:19 it says He formed them from the ground. I have a suspicion the answer lies in a proper understanding of the Hebrew language. Can you address this?

Genesis 1:20 says:

20 Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.” (NASB)

Genesis 2:19 says:

19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. (NASB)

Answer: If you look at Genesis 1:20, it does not say that the birds of the heavens came out of the water: And God said, Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. The verse should be understood as two separate statements. Concerning the waters, God instructed them to swarm with living creatures. Thus, what was created in that statement were all creatures that live in water (not only the sea world creatures).

The second statement pertains to the avian world. God simply said, “…let birds fly above the earth.” He created the birds with the ability to fly over the waters, but they were not created from the waters.

Genesis 2:19 explains where the birds came from: they were created from the ground, the same as the animals and Adam as well.

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

Question 43: How can Yeshua be the Firstfruits of the resurrection since people were raised from the dead before Him (e.g., Matthew 27:52)?

Matthew 27:52 says:

52 The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the [a]saints who had fallen asleep were raised; (NASB)

Answer: Keep in mind, there are two categories of resurrection. There is the resurrection that is merely a restoration back to natural life, and all of those resurrected in this category died again later. That would have been true of those who were resurrected by Elijah and Elisha and people like Lazarus, whom Yeshua raised from the dead during His ministry. The same principle applies to those resurrected in Matthew 27:52. Saints were resurrected and came to Jerusalem, but they all died again later.

The second type of resurrection is resurrection to immortality, where corruption puts on incorruption and mortality puts on immortality (I Cor. 15:53-55). Those resurrected in this category cannot die again. Yeshua, so far, is the only one who has been resurrected in this manner.

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

Question 42: John was proclaiming repentance and baptism to the Jews. What were they supposed to be repenting of?

Answer: The word “repentance” means “to change one’s mind.” In essence, John the Baptist was calling upon the Jewish people to repent or change their minds about which Judaism they were going to follow: pharisaic Judaism or biblical Judaism.

Those who were willing to make the commitment and follow biblical Judaism would undergo water baptism to show their new identification with John’s kingdom message. This message was based upon biblical Judaism, the only Judaism that would qualify the people for Messiah’s kingdom.

 

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