Question 65. Why do Messianic believers prefer not to use the term “Christian”?

The term “Christian” is found only three times in the New Testament and always in the mouths of the critics, not the believers themselves. Within the New Testament, the believers never used that term of themselves. The terms “Christian” and “Messianic” really mean the same thing, but the former is from a Greek source and the latter from a Hebrew source. The Greek, Christianos (Christian), is equivalent to the Hebrew, Meshichi (Messianic).

Today, the term “Christian” carries a lot of negative baggage for Jewish people because of what has been done to them throughout history in the name of “Christ,” and so the Jewish believers prefer to call themselves Messianics rather than Christians.

The most common New Testament term for believers was “saints,” but because that now carries a lot of Catholic baggage, most believers do not refer to themselves that way.


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Learn more about Ariel Ministries and enjoy our many online resources. To make this and other resources available, Ariel Ministries relies upon donations from people like you. If you feel the Lord Messiah would have you be a part of this ministry through a financial gift, please go to Ariel Ministries Giving. Thank you!

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

Question 62. Yeshua said in John 14:2, “In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” Could the expression “mansions” refer to other religions?

In John 14:2, the Messiah was addressing His disciples, letting them know that He would soon be leaving them to go back to where He came from. He came from heaven and therefore was now going to return to heaven. He promised that while in heaven, He would be building “mansions” for them. Once these mansions are ready, He would come back to fetch them to where He was then going. This is a special promise of the Messiah to believers that someday He will come for them to take them into heaven. This would apply to those who have accepted Him as the Messiah, and it would be totally inapplicable for any other religion.

The term “mansion” is not a good rendering of the Greek word since it has a meaning in English that doesn’t convey the meaning in Greek. The word simply applies to dwelling places within a larger area. These places will be private chambers for the individual believers.

So, if you are a believer in that you believe that the Messiah died for your sins, was buried, and was resurrected from the dead, and if you trust the gospel message as fact alone plus nothing else, then you are born again, and you will someday have one of these special places of your own in heaven.

You can find more about this and other teachings of Yeshua in the book Yeshua – The Life of the Messiah from a Messianic Jewish Perspective available in the Ariel Store


Learn more about Ariel Ministries and enjoy our many online resources. To make this and other resources available, Ariel Ministries relies upon donations from people like you. If you feel the Lord Messiah would have you be a part of this ministry through a financial gift, please go to Ariel Ministries Giving. Thank you!

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

Question 59. In our congregation, there is a couple who lives together outside of marriage. The man and the woman are not members of the congregation. Does the Bible say that believers must become members of a church?

The issue of church membership is not dealt with in the Scriptures for one simple reason: In the days when the Scriptures were written, there were not multiple churches in one city. There was just one local church per city, and any believer living in that city was automatically a member of that local church under the authority of the elders of that city. Hence, there was no need for church membership.

In light of what has happened since then, church membership has become an important issue. The believer is committed to a specific local body if he is willing to be supportive of the body both financially and in the use of his spiritual gifts, but also be in subjection to the leadership of that local body.

Obviously church discipline cannot be imposed upon nonmembers, which is why church membership is vital. Anytime there is a moral issue that would bring disrepute upon the local church, church discipline needs to be imposed. Those who are members are held to a higher standard. If a member goes into sin, church discipline should be imposed, especially if it is a moral issue.

The couple you mentioned who are living together outside of marriage but are not members of the congregation, cannot be disciplined by your church at this point. But their immoral lifestyle should definitely be dealt with.


Learn more about Ariel Ministries and enjoy our many online resources. To make this and other resources available, Ariel Ministries relies upon donations from people like you. If you feel the Lord Messiah would have you be a part of this ministry through a financial gift, please go to Ariel Ministries Giving. Thank you!

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

 

Question 58. Don’t rabbis cover their heads when they pray, yet Paul says men should not cover their heads when praying?

Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered, dishonors his head. (I Cor. 11:4)

Your observation is correct that Jewish people do cover their heads not just when they pray, but during the whole synagogue service. Orthodox Jews even cover their heads throughout the day. This shows that Paul’s instructions in I Corinthians 11:2-16 are not coming from his Jewish/rabbinic background, but that he is laying down other rules and regulations for believers of the body of the Messiah. So, if you take the passage literally (as I do), the men should have their heads uncovered, whereas the women should have their heads covered. When I speak in my own Messianic congregation where I am a member, I do not cover my head. My wife, on the other hand, does cover her head when she attends any church meeting, since we both take the text very literally.


Learn more about Ariel Ministries and enjoy our many online resources. To make this and other resources available, Ariel Ministries relies upon donations from people like you. If you feel the Lord Messiah would have you be a part of this ministry through a financial gift, please go to Ariel Ministries Giving. Thank you!

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

 

Question 56. In Colossians 1:18, Jesus is said to have “first place in everything.” Wouldn’t being first place in everything include being the first to have a glorified human body? If so, into what state were Enoch and Elijah translated when they were taken into heaven? How does this transition differ from physical death?

He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have the first place in everything. (Col. 1:18; NASB)

The emphasis in Colossians 1:18 is on Messiah’s preexistence and preeminence in dealing with all the created order. He precedes everything, and He is also the One who holds the universe together. He is essentially the One whom scientists unknowingly refer to as “atomic glue.”

Even if we relate Messiah’s being “first place in everything” to His glorified body, there is a difference between the nature of His resurrected body as over against what happened with Enoch and Elijah, as there is a difference between the resurrected body and the translated body. Both end up being glorified, but the resurrected body is given to the person who died and rose again and therefore passed from mortality to immortality and was glorified. Yeshua was the first one to receive that kind of glorified body. He has therefore a glorified resurrected body.

The concept of translation, on the other hand, is when a living body passes from mortality to immortality without undergoing physical death and by translation is also glorified. Both Enoch and Elijah have this kind of translated body. All saints who are alive at the time of the rapture will also not be resurrected, but will be translated and therefore also glorified.


Click here to learn more about Ariel Ministries and to enjoy our many online resources. To make this and other resources available, Ariel Ministries relies upon donations from people like you. If you feel the Lord Messiah would have you be a part of this ministry through a financial gift, please click Thank you!

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

Question 55: When God made the covenant with David, why was there no blood sacrifice as in the Abrahamic covenant? Aren’t all the biblical covenants “blood covenants”?

There are various types of covenants in Scripture, including a shoe covenant (Ruth 4:7), a salt covenant (Num. 18:19), and a blood covenant. The last example is the most solemn type of covenant.

Often, covenants were sealed by a covenant meal. That was true when the covenantal partners were people. An example is found in Genesis 26:30, where Isaac and Abimelech entered into a mutual covenant and the terms were sealed by a covenant meal. The principle also held true when the covenantal partners were God and men. This can be seen in Exodus 24, where, after establishing the Mosaic covenant, God shared a meal with the elders of Israel.

The various types of covenants had different elements. For example, a blood covenant always required the shedding of blood. The Abrahamic covenant is an example of such a covenant. Since there are different types of covenants, not every single element has to be true of every single covenant. For example, the principle of exchange was not always true for every covenant. It was certainly true with the salt and shoe covenants, but not with the blood covenant. Therefore, since not all the elements have to be present for each covenant, the lack of mention of these elements in the Bible may simply mean that they were not necessary. For example, the Adamic and Edenic covenants are covenants although they do not have all the elements of the other biblical covenants.

While all covenants contain certain promises and provisions, not all promises of God were put in the terms of a covenant. There are covenantal promises, but there are also promises which are not covenants. Many promises of God are not expressed as being a covenantal arrangement. For example, God promised the second coming and the Messianic kingdom. When He did so, there was no formal agreement, and no response was expected from the recipients of the promises. Yet, even without a covenantal arrangement, God will keep these promises.

Covenantal promises are always part of a legal arrangement. Therefore, the eight covenants make up all legal arrangements between God and the covenanted one.
In both cases, of course, God will fulfill both the promise and the covenant, but the covenant by nature is more solemn. Hence, in Hebrews 6:13, the author emphasizes both the promise and the oath.

You can find additional teaching about the nature of covenants, in Volume 1 of our Come and See series, titled The Word of God: Its Nature and Content, found in the Ariel Store.


Click here to learn more about Ariel Ministries and to enjoy our many online resources. To make this and other resources available, Ariel Ministries relies upon donations from people like you. If you feel the Lord Messiah would have you be a part of this ministry through a financial gift, please click Thank you!

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

Question 54: Why did God almost kill Moses when he was on the way back to Egypt to deliver the Israelites (Exodus 4:24-26)?

Exodus 4:24-26 fits well into the overall picture of the Abrahamic covenant. From Exodus 2:23-25, you will notice that the basis for the Exodus was God’s promises to Abraham in the Abrahamic covenant. On the basis of this covenant, Israel would be rescued out of Egypt. Then, in Exodus 3-4, God calls Moses to deliver Israel out of Egypt. By the time we get to the segment in question, Moses was finally being obedient in heading for Egypt with his wife and sons (Ex. 4:20).

Moses was married to a Midianite woman, and the Midianites did not practice circumcision. In Exodus 4:24-26, only one son was circumcised, which would indicate that when the first son was born, Moses had him circumcised, but his wife may not have liked what she saw. Therefore, when the second son was born, Moses failed to circumcise him, which was in disobedience to the Abrahamic covenant as detailed in Genesis 17. The failure to circumcise could be punishable by death. Now, the question arises: If God was going to save Israel on the basis of the Abrahamic covenant, how could He use someone who was clearly being disobedient to that covenant? Hence, God struck Moses with a very debilitating sickness of some kind that brought him close to death and made him too weak to move. His wife recognized what the situation was. Realizing that to save her husband’s life she would have to be the one to circumcise that second son, since Moses could not do so, she took a flint and performed the circumcision. By so doing, she saved the life of her husband, yet, she was not happy with what she had to do and kept calling Moses “a bloody bridegroom.”

Because of her negativism over the act of circumcision, the wife and sons were sent back to Midian and did not travel with Moses to Egypt. Therefore, they failed to see all of the supernatural works that God performed during the time of the Exodus. When the Jewish people finally arrived at Mount Sinai, Moses’ father-in-law had to bring his wife and sons to Moses at Mount Sinai. Moses’ failure to obey the sign of God’s promises to Abraham brought discord and sadness to the lives of his entire family.


Click here to learn more about Ariel Ministries and to enjoy our many online resources. To make this and other resources available, Ariel Ministries relies upon donations from people like you. If you feel the Lord Messiah would have you be a part of this ministry through a financial gift, please click Thank you!

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

Question 53: Is the term “Jews” a title just for the two tribes of Benjamin and Judah? Are the other ten still the “lost tribes” of the house of Israel?

The concept of the ten lost tribes of Israel is actually a myth, and they were never lost. This is quite clear historically. When the northern kingdom went into Assyrian captivity, they were settled in specific cities in Assyria. When Babylon conquered the Assyrian empire, all ten tribes fell under the Babylonian sovereignty. Babylon also conquered Judah, thus subduing the remaining two tribes. So all twelve tribes were under the same sovereign authority of Babylonia.

When the Medo-Persian empire conquered Babylonia, all twelve tribes fell under Medo-Persian authority. The Persians allowed the Jews to return to their home country, and most members of all twelve tribes did indeed return to the Land. However, other members of all twelve tribes stayed where they were.

Luke 2 refers to Anna as being “of the tribe of Asher,” one of the so called “ten lost tribes.” Quite obviously, Anna was not lost. James addressed his epistle “to the twelve tribes of the Dispersion.” He did not need to look for the “lost tribes” in order to deliver the letter to them.

By later New Testament times, personal identification by once distinguishable tribal names became less prominent. Thus, Paul called himself a Hebrew, and he also called himself an Israelite. In Philippians 3:5, he identified himself as a Benjaminite, but he also called himself a Jew, which became a generic term for the members of all the tribes of Israel. So, all those who call themselves Jews today can come from any of the twelve tribes of Israel and not just two.


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

Where is Paradise?

The Greek word for Paradise is ‘paradeisos’, which means “a royal park” or “a garden.” It is a New Testament term only, and it is found in three passages.

The first is Luke 23:43, where Jesus/Yeshua said to the crucified thief: “Today, you will be with me in Paradise.”

The second passage is 2 Corinthians 12:4, which states that the apostle Paul was caught up into Paradise.

The third passage is Revelation 2:7, which speaks of the future: the tree of life will be in the Paradise of God.

Paradise describes the abode of the righteous ones, no matter where that abode may be at any point in time. In Luke 23:43, it is the same as Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:22) because, at that point, all the righteous ones went down to the righteous side of Hades, known as Abraham’s bosom. Until the death of Jesus/Yeshua, Paradise was in Abraham’s bosom.

According to 2 Corinthians 12:4, Paradise today is in Heaven. At the Ascension of Jesus/Yeshua, Abraham’s bosom was emptied. Believers no longer descend down to Abraham’s bosom but now go directly into Heaven. Today the believer’s abode is Heaven, and so Paradise is now in Heaven.

Revelation 2:7, speaks of the future when Paradise will be in the New Jerusalem, which means that the abode of Paradise will change again. As the New Jerusalem on the new Earth will be the abode of all believers after the 1000-year Messianic Kingdom, even so, Paradise is going to be in the New Jerusalem.

To summarise, from Adam until the Ascension of Yeshua the Messiah, Paradise was in Abraham’s bosom. From the Ascension of the Messiah until the end of the Messianic Kingdom, Paradise is in Heaven. Then after the Millennial Kingdom and for all eternity, Paradise will be in the New Jerusalem on the new Earth.

Reasons and/or Purposes for Israel’s Election

While Israel was chosen on the basis of God’s love, there was purpose and reason to Israel’s election.

A key purpose is stated at the outset of God’s revelation at Mount Sinai in Exodus 19:6:

‘… and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.’

Israel’s status as a holy nation was based on her election. A purpose of the election was for Israel to be a kingdom of priests. While Israel had a priestly tribe, the Tribe of Levi, the nation as a whole was also to be a priesthood. The historical function of a priest was to represent man to God. The Tribe of Levi represented Israel before God; and Israel was to represent the Gentile nations before God. This was perhaps the primary purpose of Israel’s national election and all other reasons are subservient to this one.

A second reason was to be the recipient of God’s revelation and to record it. For this reason, Israel received the Law of Moses (Deut. 4:5-8; 6:6-9; Rom. 3:1-2).

A third reason was to propagate the doctrine of the One God in Isaiah 43:10-12:
Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am Jehovah; and besides me there is no saviour. I have declared, and I have saved, and I have showed; and there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and I am God. In this passage, Israel was chosen to proclaim to the Gentile nations two things: first, that Jehovah, the God of Israel, is the only God; and, second, He is the only Savior and all who seek salvation must find it in Him.

A fourth reason was to produce the Messiah (Rom. 9:5; Heb. 2:16-17; 7:13-14).”

Excerpt From: Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum. “Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology.”Also in ePub (iPad) and Mobi (Kindle) formats.