Question 39: If the Jews in ancient times believed that God indeed had a son who was also divine, how did they harmonize this belief with their strict monotheistic doctrine? Since they did not believe in at least two Gods, was the son somewhat lesser in divinity than the Father?

Answer: In dealing with the Jews of biblical times, yes, they knew God had a son and that this son was divine. However, they never slipped into believing in more than one God. From passages such as Genesis 19:24, which speaks of one Jehovah on earth and the other Jehovah in heaven, they understood that there was more than one personality within the Godhead. Isaiah 42:1, 48:16, 61:1, and 63:7-14 even mention three personalities. So, Jews always held to only one God, but those who knew the Scriptures would know there was more than just one personality within the Godhead.

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

Question 38: Is the book of Enoch Scripture?

Answer: No, the book of Enoch is not Scripture, and it would not be part of the Bible.

The book of Enoch was one of many texts written anywhere from 200 B.C. to A.D. 300 and classified as pseudepigrapha. They are called that because they all claim to have been written by certain Old Testament characters but were not written by them. In Greek, pseudo means “false” and epigraphein means “to inscribe.” Put together, the term “pseudepigrapha” therefore means “to write falsely.”

The book of Enoch was written in Greek, not in Hebrew. The real Enoch would not have known Greek. If it was viewed as Scripture, it would have been canonized in the Hebrew Scriptures. However, the Jews never viewed the book of Enoch as Scripture. It may be of value to see how some segments of the Jewish people were thinking about life, but the same may be said about the books of Maccabees. While they are valuable for the study of the history of the intertestamental period, they are not inspired books.

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

Question 37: Who was Melchizedek? Was he really the preincarnate Messiah?

Answer: Melchizedek was a believing Jebusite during the days of Abraham, and he happened to be both king and priest of Jerusalem. Because he was both king and priest, he became a type of the Messiah. However, he was not the preincarnate Messiah since theophanies merely appeared and gave their message and then disappeared and did not hold any type of permanent office like being priest and king. Furthermore, Hebrews 7:3 specifies that he was but made like unto the Son of God (emphasis added), meaning he was not the Son of God.

Furthermore, Hebrews 5:1 clearly specifies that only a true human being could become a priest. The second person of the Godhead did not become human until the incarnation in the womb of Mary.

So, Melchizedek was a king and priest and a type of the Messiah, but not the Messiah Himself.

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

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.

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.

 

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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.

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.

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

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.

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

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

From these four references, one can make four deductions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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.