The Purpose of Israel’s Stumbling – Romans 11:11-15

Here again Paul raises a question to be refuted: I say then. The question is: Did they stumble that they might fall? (v.11a). Was Israel’s stumbling which he spoke of back in 9:30-33 for the purpose of Israel’s falling? Was the purpose so that God could reject and cast off His people? (Paul is looking at the majority that did stumble.) The Greek word that Paul used for fall refers to “a complete and irrevocable fall.” So was the stumbling of Israel for the purpose that Israel would irrevocably fall and never rise again? Paul then gave the answer: God forbid! May it never be! In the light of God’s faithfulness, this is unthinkable. They have stumbled, but it was not for the purpose of falling irrevocably. God planned for Israel to stumble for the purpose of Gentile salvation; for the purpose of Gentile salvation, Israel stumbled. But Gentile salvation is subservient to Jewish salvation.

Having said this, in verses 11b-15 Paul points out that since Israel’s stumbling was for the purpose of Gentile salvation, which is the riches of the world or the riches of the Gentiles, this fact should lead to some key lessons. Paul then spelled out the purpose of Gentile salvation (vv.11b-14): to provoke Jews to jealousy (v.11b). This is a reference to Deuteronomy 32:21, already cited back in 10:19. Gentile salvation is, therefore, for the purpose of provoking the Jews to jealousy. Why is God saving Gentiles today? To provoke the Jews to jealousy. The Greek word Paul used means “to come alongside someone and to cause him to boil or seeth with jealousy.” The reason God saved the Gentiles was so that a believing Gentile would come alongside an unbelieving Jewish person and cause the Jewish person to become jealous because of what that Gentile believer had and become a believer in the Messiah also.

Verse 12 presents a contrast between partial and fullness. Concerning the partial, there is now a reduction of the nation to a remnant of believers today, but in the future, there will be a national salvation of the nation as a whole and this will be their “fullness.” The first lesson to learn about Israel’s stumbling is that Israel did not stumble for an irrevocable fall. The reason for Israel’s stumbling was that salvation could now go out to the Gentiles. Now that salvation has gone out to the Gentiles, the purpose of Gentile salvation is to provoke the Jews to jealousy to bring them to salvation (vv.13-14). The purpose of Israel’s stumbling was Gentile salvation, and the purpose for Gentile salvation is Jewish salvation. That is the methodology by which God has chosen to work.

There is a second lesson to be learned (v.15): all of this will result in blessings for Israel. Paul states that if the stumbling and casting away of Israel meant the reconciliation of the Gentile world, then the receiving of Israel would mean life from the dead. This is the statement of Israel’s place in God’s blessing. The unbelief of Israel was directed toward the restoration of faith; the fall of Israel was directed toward their reclamation. The fulness here refers to Israel’s complete restoration. If by the fall of Israel the Gentiles received the gospel, how much more will the Gentiles be blessed by Israel’s return. It is an argument from the lesser to the greater. If the Gentiles have received this much blessing by virtue of Israel’s stumbling, just think how much more blessing the Gentiles will have when Israel is saved. This will lead to the second coming and the establishment of the kingdom. This is why Paul labored so hard among the Gentiles (vv.13-14). In this way, even more Jews will be provoked to jealousy and believe, and this, in turn, will mean even more blessings for the Gentiles (v.15).

The point Paul makes is that it was God’s plan for Israel to reject the Messiahship of Jesus so that for awhile the gospel would go out to the Gentiles, during which time they were to provoke Jews to jealousy until eventually all Israel is saved. Paul builds upon Isaiah 49:1-13 where Isaiah taught the same thing: that the Messiah would come to Israel, Israel would reject Him, and the Messiah would then, for awhile, become the light to the Gentiles; but eventually Israel will return to Him and be restored. Paul does not say anything new here; he just points out the way Isaiah 49 is being fulfilled in this day.

 

Excerpt from Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology

For more on Romans click here

What is the meaning of the ‘Triumphal Entry’ or ‘Palm Sunday’?

The Triumphal Entry occurred on what is known today among many as ‘Palm Sunday.’ Normally, the Triumphal Entry is interpreted to represent the time when Yeshua (Jesus) came and officially offered Himself as the King of the Jews and as Israel’s Messiah. But that is not the best interpretation of the actual significance of the Triumphal Entry, because Yeshua had already been offering Himself as the Messiah and the King of the Jews for the previous three and one-half years. Israel had already rejected the Messiahship of Jesus about a year and one- half earlier (Mat. 12:22-45). At that point, Yeshua said that the generation of His day was guilty of committing the “unpardonable sin”; therefore, they were under the judgment that would come in the year A.D. 70. Furthermore, the Kingdom offer was then rescinded, to be re-offered to a later Jewish generation: the generation of the Great Tribulation. The Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem was not for the purpose of officially offering Himself as the King; there was a different purpose.

THE SETTING ASIDE OF THE LAMB OF GOD

The Triumphal Entry took place in the context of the Passover. The significance of this particular Passover was that this was the Passover when Yeshua knew that the final atonement for sin would be made, by virtue of His death (Lk. 22:14).

The date when this event occurred, insofar as the Jewish calendar is concerned, was the tenth of the Jewish month of Nisan. According to Exodus 12:3-6, it was on the tenth day of the month of Nisan that the lamb was to be set aside. Between the tenth and the fourteenth of the month, the lamb was to be inspected and tested to be sure that it was without spot and without blemish (Ex. 12:5). Beginning on the evening of the fourteenth of Nisan, the Passover occurred. So the Triumphal Entry was not the time that Jesus was offering Himself as the King, that was nothing new, but rather, this was the day of the setting aside of the Lamb of God. What happened over the next several days was the testing of the Lamb to prove that the Lamb of God was without blemish and without spot (I Pet. 1:19).

John 11:55 and 12:1, 9-11 state that Yeshua arrived in the town of Bethany, which by then had become a suburb of Jerusalem. He arrived six days before the passover, which would make it the eighth day of Nisan. This was the regular Jewish custom during the Passover feast. Those who would come to Jerusalem for the observance of the Feast of the Passover would arrive in the Jerusalem vicinity on the eighth of Nisan. Yeshua was keeping with that pattern. Two days later was the tenth of Nisan, the day of the Triumphal Entry, the day of the setting aside of the Lamb of God. Again, the purpose of the Triumphal Entry was not to offer Himself as the King or to re-offer the Kingdom. These things had been rejected and, for that generation, the rejection was terminal. There would be no re-offer of the Kingdom until the Great Tribulation. What happened on this day was that the Passover Lamb of God was set aside for a period of testing to prove that He was indeed without blemish and without spot.

The Gospel accounts detail what happened. Between Bethany and Jerusalem there was a town called Bethphage. As Jesus left Bethany and was passing by the town of Bethphage, He sent His disciples to fetch a colt. Mark 11:2 states that they would find “a colt tied, whereon no man ever yet sat.” They were to take this colt to Yeshua because this would be the colt on which He would ride into Jerusalem. A miracle takes place here which few people notice. The Gospels of Mark and Luke clearly state that this was a colt “upon which no one had ever sat.” Normally, if one rides a colt upon which no one has ever sat, the colt would buck because it has not yet been broken. In this case, the colt did not buck, showing Jesus’ authority as the Messiah and as the Creator over the animal kingdom. In verse 3, Yeshua told His disciples that if anyone objected to their taking this colt, all they needed to say was “The Lord has need of him” and the colt would be immediately released, with no further objections raised. The colt was brought to Yeshua, and He rode into Jerusalem in fulfillment of a messianic prophecy found in Zechariah 9:9, which states that the Messiah would ride into Jerusalem upon just such a colt. Matthew 21:4-5 emphasized this as being the fulfillment of that prophecy.

Just as He was riding the colt into Jerusalem, suddenly the buzzing of rumors began to spread that Jesus was coming, riding in as the Messianic King of the Jews. The Jewish people responded; and their response was something significant. John 12:12-13 states: On the morrow a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took the branches of the palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried out, Hosanna: Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.

Mark 11:8-10 states: And many spread their garments upon the way; and others branches, which they had cut from the fields. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, Hosanna; Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord: Blessed is the kingdom that comes, the kingdom of our father David: Hosanna in the highest.

Matthew 21:8-9 reads: And the most part of the multitude spread their garments in the way; and others cut branches from the trees, and spread them in the way. And the multitudes that went before him, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

Luke 19:37-38 reads: And as he was now drawing nigh, even at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works which they had seen; saying, Blessed is the King that comes in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.

The four Gospel accounts together give a full description of the responses of the multitudes. They responded in several ways. First, they cut off palm branches and laid them before the feet of the colt upon which Yeshua was riding. Secondly, they cried out Hosanna in Hebrew, Hoshanah. Thirdly, they said, Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord. Normally, these are not actions that are performed during the Passover, rather, they are performed during the Feast of Tabernacles. The response of the multitudes showed that they were expecting the Feast of Tabernacles to be fulfilled on this occasion. According to Zechariah 14:16-21, the Feast of Tabernacles is to be fulfilled by means of the Messianic Kingdom. The declaration, Hosanna, and the actions of the multitudes showed that they were expecting the Kingdom to be set up on that occasion in fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles.

However, they did not yet realize that Jesus was not coming to fulfill the Feast of Tabernacles, rather, He was coming to fulfill the Passover. The Passover was not to be fulfilled by the establishment of the Kingdom, but by the death of the Messiah. The multitudes misinterpreted the purpose of His riding into Jerusalem on that occasion.

Furthermore, one of the greetings they applied to Yeshua was, Blessed is he that comes in the name of Jehovah, which comes from Psalm 118:26, a messianic psalm of the Old Testament. From a Jewish frame of reference, that particular phrase is an official Messianic greeting. The rabbis taught that, when the Messiah comes, He must be greeted with these words. When the people applied these words to Jesus, they were proclaiming Him, by the thousands, to be the Messiah of Israel.

But while the masses were proclaiming Him to be the Messiah, the Pharisees did not go along with them. The Pharisaic response is recorded in John 12:19:The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Behold how ye prevail nothing; lo, the world is gone after him.

Luke 19:39-40 adds: And some of the Pharisees from the multitude said unto him, Teacher, rebuke your disciples. And he answered and said, I tell you that, if these shall hold their peace, the stones will cry out.
To the Pharisees’ objections, Yeshua responded that there must be a testimony to the fact that the Messiah had come. If the multitude had been silent, the stones would have cried out the very same lines.

That Jesus was not riding into Jerusalem to offer Himself as the King with the Kingdom is made clear by what happens next. In the context of the many Hosannas and greetings of Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord, in the context of many proclamations of His Messiahship, the words of Yeshua remained words of judgment. Luke 19:41-44 states: And when he drew nigh, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, If you had known in this day, even you, the things which belong unto peace! but now they are hid from your eyes. For the days shall come upon you, when your enemies shall cast up a bank about you, and compass you round, and keep you in on every side, and shall dash you to the ground, and your children within you; and they shall not leave in you one stone upon another; because you knew not the time of your visitation.

If Jesus had simply offered the Kingdom as He rode into Jerusalem on that day of the Triumphal Entry, He would have been accepted as the Messiah by the multitudes right then and there! He was being proclaimed as the Messiah by thousands upon thousands of Jews. It cannot be claimed that this was a minority, because Matthew 21:8 states that it was true for the most part of the multitude. The objectors were the leaders, but the masses were proclaiming His messiahship. If Yeshua was offering Himself once again as the King and re-offering the Kingdom, they were accepting it. However, that was not the purpose of the Triumphal Entry. For no amount of Hosannas and Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord could change what had already occurred a year-and-a-half earlier. The unpardonable sin had already been committed by this generation. They had already rejected His Messiahship on the grounds of demon possession; and because that sin was exactly what He said it was, unpardonable, under no circumstances could the judgment now be removed. Otherwise, the unpardonable would have become pardonable, negating the very words of Jesus. In spite of the many Hosannas, in spite of the many messianic proclamations, because the rejection had already occurred and the unpardonable sin had already been committed, the words of Yeshua were words of judgment.

Jesus once again reiterated that Jerusalem was destined for destruction. The Temple was to be torn down until not one stone stood upon another. The reason for this is at the end of verse 44, “because you knew not the time of your visitation.” Because Jerusalem had not recognized at the proper time that the Messiah had come, the judgment was still going to occur. The time of your visitation, which they did not know, was in Matthew 12. After a manifold testimony of His Messiahship, after Yeshua proved Himself by many miracles, signs, and wonders, after they heard Him teach and preach and proclaim for the past year and a half, they had rejected Him. Thus, they did not know the time of their visitation. Because of this, they were still under judgment.

Again, the purpose of the Triumphal Entry was not to offer the Kingdom, but the purpose was to set aside the Lamb of God in preparation for the Passover sacrifice. Mark 11:11 states that He went on and entered into Jerusalem. Greater details of what happened once He entered the city are given in Matthew 21:10-11: And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, Who is this? And the multitudes said, This is the prophet, Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.

The whole city understood the significance of what was happening. But, once again, the chief priests, the Sadducees, and the scribes, the Pharisees, objected in Matthew 21:15-16: But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children that were crying in the temple and saying, Hosanna to the son of David; they were moved with indignation, and said unto him, Hear you what these are saying? And Jesus said unto them, Yea: did ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings you have perfected praise?

When the Pharisees objected to the worship Yeshua received, His response was to let them know that the Messiah had these things coming to Him. Jesus’ acceptance of the praise and worship showed that He accepted their claims that He was the Messiah. At that point, Yeshua left Jerusalem and returned to Bethany (v. 17).

On that day, the tenth of Nisan, the Lamb of God was set aside. From the tenth until the fourteenth, this Lamb would be tested to show that He was indeed without blemish and without spot and then He would be offered as the Passover Lamb to take away the sin of the world.

For more on the Triumphal Entry click here.

Jews and Gentiles …Distinctions or no Distinctions in Messiah?

‘There Is No Difference Between Jews and Gentiles’:

There are some teachings out there that try to make all believing Jews into non-Jews, usually by employing out of context one or more of three passages having a phrase to the effect that there is neither Jew nor Greek. But a careful study of the very same passages in their context will show that the distinction between Jews and Gentiles is erased only in certain areas and not in all. Furthermore, a study of the text in the light of related passages clearly indicates that in other areas the distinction is still very much in effect, even within the body of believers.

The Passages Used.

The first of the three passages used is I Corinthians 12:12-13.

For as the body is one, and has many members; and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Messiah. For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all made to drink of one Spirit.

The clear teaching of this passage is that entrance into the Body is by Spirit baptism. This is the only way and it is true for all, Jew and Gentile. There is no difference. This is all that can be deduced from this passage and no more.

The second passage is Galatians 3:28:

There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be no male and female; for ye all are one man in MessiahYeshua/Jesus.

The context of this passage deals with the matter of justification by faith. This is the only way anyone can be justified, whether Jew or Gentile. So in justification there is no distinction between the two. That alone can be deduced from this passage and no more.

The third passage is Colossians 3:11:

Where there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondman, freeman; but Messiah is all, and in all.

Again the context is the key to understanding this passage. Verses 5-11 are concerned with putting off the old nature and putting on the new nature. This is the true and only way toward maturity and spirituality for any believer, Jew or Gentile. Again, no more than that can be deduced from this passage.
The conclusion we are drawing is obvious. In the areas of justification, membership in the Body, and growth toward maturity, the procedure is the same for Jew and Gentile without distinction. However, this does not mean that in every area the distinctions are forever erased between the two.

The Evidence for Distinctions.

As stated earlier, the study of these very same passages in the light of related passages will show that instead of teaching against all distinctions, the reverse is true. When critics of the Messianic Jewish distinction refer to these three passages, often only the “Jew and Greek” statement is cited and the rest is ignored. My homiletics teacher used this technique. But these verses not only state that there is no difference between Jews and Greeks, but they further state that there is no difference between bond and free, male and female. Yet the custom is often to avoid quoting the latter portion for reasons which will become apparent as we proceed. Now let us consider what the Bible has to say about the two latter groups and see if indeed the three passages teach that all distinctions are erased.

Bond and Free: 

There are five passages dealing with the bond and the free – Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22 – 4:1; I Timothy 6:1-2; Titus 2:9-10; I Peter 2:18.

In all these passages, the believing slave is to be in subjection to his master, even when the master is himself a believer. The believing master is never commanded to release his believing slaves, which would be the practical outcome if all distinctions have indeed been erased. But the believing freeman is still a freeman and the believing slave is still a slave. How then are these passages consistent with the three verses cited earlier? Consistency is no problem. As far as membership in the Body, justification, and spirituality are concerned, the way is the same for the freeman and the slave. But once in the Body, these distinctions still exist.

Male and Female:

Seven passages of Scripture clearly show that all distinctions between male and female certainly have not been erased. Subjection is the keynote to them all, as seen in position and function.

I Corinthians 11:3-10 points out that the woman should keep her head covered in the assembly:

In I Corinthians 14:34-35, women are forbidden to speak in the church. This is to the extent that if a woman has any questions at all, she is to seek answers from her husband at home.

Ephesians 5:22-25 points out the key idea of subjection:

In Colossians 3:18-19 we again have the idea of subjection. The husband is admonished to love his wife as the means of subjecting her.

In I Timothy 2:11-12, women are forbidden to teach men, for in so doing they are exercising authority and overstepping their place of subjection.

In Titus 2:1, 3-5, the teaching of younger women to be in subjection to their own husbands is part of sound doctrine, and violation results in the word of God being blasphemed:

First Peter 3:1 and 7 again point to subjection.

Now if all distinctions between male and female are erased, there would be no need for all these separate rules and injunctions. Do these passages then contradict the others which indicate no distinction between the male and female? Obviously not. Again, in the areas of membership in the Body of Messiah, justification, and spiritual maturity, the formula is the same for both. There is not one way of salvation for the man and another for the woman. Spiritual maturity does not have separate systems, one for the male and another for the female. Both have entered the Body in the same way. But once in the Body, the man is still a man, and the woman is still a woman, and they differ in position and function. Even if one believes that some of these laws do not apply today, it does not change the fact that the author clearly shows that distinctions between males and females still exist.

Conclusion:

The Bible does not say that all distinctions between Jew and Gentile are erased when they believe. While it is very true that the way of salvation is the same for both, this does not mean that all other distinctions have been eradicated as well, anymore than all distinctions between bond and free and male and female have ceased to exist. The way of salvation, Body membership, and spiritual maturity are the same for both Jews and Gentiles. But in other areas distinctions remain.

Excerpt from: Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum The Remnant of Israel – Also in iBooks (iPad) and Kindle

Discovering Your Spiritual Gift

Spiritual Gifts:

Spiritual gifts are ‘God-given abilities for service’, they are to be used in love for the edification of the Body of Messiah.

They are sovereignly bestowed and given to EVERY believer at the moment of salvation.

Every believer has at least one spiritual gift, if not more. But all believers do not have the same gift and the one same gift is not given to every believer.

A spiritual gift is not an office, or a talent, it is not a specific age-group ministry and it is not an indication of one’s spirituality. It is a specific ability given to a believer by God.

We are accountable to use our gifts wisely among the Body of Messiah.

How do I discover my spiritual gift or gifts?

There are three principles in discovering one’s spiritual gift.

1. Knowing What the Gifts Are:

The first principle is to know what the spiritual gifts are. Altogether, there are nineteen gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is important to know what the gifts are, so that one does not seek gifts, which do not exist. A good thing to do is to make a list of the nineteen gifts of the Holy Spirit.

2. Being Actively Involved in a Local Body:

A second principle in discovering a spiritual gift is based on the purpose of the gifts: for the building up of the body. The second principle is to be actively involved in a local body. One of the reasons why believers are responsible to become part of a local body and to be in subjection to the spiritual authorities of that body is because it is by means of the local body that believers can discover what their spiritual gifts are. By being involved in a local body, other believers will discern which gift or gifts the individual has and ask him to function in it. In this way, one can discover his spiritual gift.

3. Discovering Other Gifts:

The third principle is discovering other gifts in addition to ones, which a believer already knows he has. Frequently, believers have more than one gift. No believer has all the gifts but a believer will often have more than one. The way someone can discover other gifts is by being faithful in using the gifts he knows he has. For example, in Acts 6, Philip was recognized to have the gift of serving and was asked to take the office of a deacon. Because he was faithful in performing the office of a deacon and using his gift of serving, God showed him another gift, the gift of evangelism and he went to Samaria to evangelize the Samaritans (Acts 8).

For more see Gifts of the Holy Spirit, also in MP3.

The Deity of the Messiah

The Incarnation resulted in One who was both man and God.[1] In the last post it was shown that He was a real man, that He had real humanity. The Incarnation did not mean that He gave up any portion of His deity. It was not a lessening of deity, but it was perfect deity taking hold of and adding to Himself a human nature. There are seven evidences of His deity.

First, Jesus had all the divine names. There are seven examples of His divine names. He is called God (Jn. 1:1; 20:28; Heb. 1:8); the Son of God (Mat. 16:16), as well as the Son of Man; Lord (Mat. 22:43‑45; Acts 9:17); the Alpha and the Omega, an expression meaning “the beginning and the end” (Rev. 1:8); the first and the last (Rev. 1:17); the image (Col. 1:15). The Greek word for image means “prototype,” the image in its revealed reality; He is the visible manifestation of the invisible God. And the last divine name is: the very image (Heb. 1:3); He is the exact impress of the divine nature.

Secondly, He has all the attributes of deity. There are ten attributes that prove His deity. First, He has the attribute of eternality (Mic. 5:2; Jn. 1:1;8:58; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:11). Secondly, He has the attribute of immutability; He is unchangeable (Heb. 1:10‑12; 13:8). Thirdly, He has the attribute of self‑existence (Jn. 1:1‑3;5:26). Fourthly, He is life (Jn. 1:4; 14:6; Acts 3:15). Fifthly, He has the fullness of the Godhead (Col. 2:9); everything that was true of God the Father and of the God the Holy Spirit is also true of the Son. Sixth, He has the attribute of holiness (Heb. 7:26). Seventh, He has attribute of sovereignty; He is the sovereign God (Mat. 28:18; Jn. 5:27; 17:2; Acts 2:36; I Cor. 12:3; Phil. 2:9‑10; Col. 1:18; I Pet. 3:22; Rev. 19:16). Eighth, He has the attribute of omnipotence; He is all‑powerful (Lk. 8:25; Jn. 10:18; I Cor. 15:25, 28; Phil. 3:21; Col. 1:16‑17; I Tim. 1:12; Heb. 1:3;7:25; Jude 24, Rev. 1:8). Ninth, He has the attribute of omniscience; He is all‑knowing (Mat. 11:27; Jn. 1:48; 2:25; 10:15; 13:1, 11; 16:30; 18:4; 19:28; I Cor. 4:5; Col. 2:3; Rev. 2:23). While in His humanity He had limited knowledge, in His deity He is all-knowing. Tenth, He has attribute of omnipresence; He is also everywhere (Mat. 18:20; 28:20; Jn. 3:13;14:18, 20, 23). Thus, He has all the attributes of deity.

Thirdly, He does the works that only God can do. There are six examples of His works. First, He did the work of creation (Jn. 1:3, 10; I Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:3, 10). Secondly, He does the work of the preservation of the Creation (Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3). Thirdly, He has the power to forgive sins (Mat. 9:2, 6; Lk. 5:24; 7:47‑48). Fourthly, He is the One who sends the Holy Spirit, something only God can do (Jn. 15:26). Fifth, He is going to raise the dead, both the righteous and unrighteous (Jn. 6:40). Sixth, He is the One who will execute the final judgments (Mat. 25:31‑46; Jn. 5:22‑27; Acts 17:31; II Cor. 5:10; II Tim. 4:1). He does the works of God, which proves His deity.

Fourthly, His deity is seen in that worship was ascribed to Him (Mat. 14:33; Jn. 9:38;20:28; Phil. 2:10; Heb. 1:6).

Fifth, His deity is seen in that He is the One who gives immortality (Jn. 5:28‑29; 6:39‑40; 17:2; Phil. 3:21).

Sixth, His deity is seen in His association with the Trinity. First, He is associated with God the Father (Jn. 10:30;14:23). Secondly, He is associated with both the Father and the Holy Spirit (Mat. 28:19; II Cor. 13:14).

And seventh, His deity is seen in His own divine claims. He made four such divine claims. First, He claimed to enjoy the closest possible relationship to God so that to know the Messiah is to know God (Jn. 8:19; 14:7); to see the Messiah was to see God (Jn. 12:45; 14:9); to receive Him was to receive God (Mk. 9:37); to honor Him was to honor God (Jn. 5:23). He said: I and the Father are one (Jn. 10:30). Secondly, He claimed to be the object of saving faith (Mat. 11:28; Jn. 3:36; 14:1; 17:3). Thirdly, He claimed absolute dominion over His followers, something which only God has the right to expect (Mat. 10:37‑39). Fourthly, He claimed sovereignty over the laws and institutions of God: He claimed to be the Lord of the Temple (Mat. 12:6); lord of the Sabbath (Mat. 12:8); Lord of the Kingdom of God (Mat. 16:19); and sovereignty over the New Covenant (Mat. 26:28). The fact that Yeshua made these divine claims means one of three things: either He was a deceiver or He was self‑deceived or He truly was who He claimed to be. Those who know Him, know Him to indeed be the One He claimed to be: their Messiah, their Savior, and their God.

[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 3

Another area of passages that people use to try to show that one can lose his salvation are Scriptures that speak of mere reformation or outward profession, but not of real salvation.[1]

One such passage is Matthew 7:22‑23. Notice what Yeshua says to those people who even did miracles in His name. Jesus does not say, “I used to know you, but you lost your salvation, so I don’t know you any longer.” Rather, He says: I never knew you. Miracles are possible in the name of a counterfeit Yeshua, because Satan can duplicate many of the miracles of Jesus. Just because these people claimed to have done things in the name of Yeshua does not necessarily make it true. They had outward profession, but Jesus said: I never knew you, and that clearly means they were never saved to begin with.

Another passage that people like to use is Matthew 13:1‑8, which deals with the parable of the four types of soils and four different types of responses. It should be noted that this is a parable and the purpose of a parable is to illustrate a point. One cannot develop doctrine from the parables themselves. In any case, He never once said that those who believed lost their salvation. He pointed out that there are some who believe but are never rooted in the Word of God, so they will never mature. Others believe, but the cares of the world keep them from maturing, so they remain baby believers and lose out on rewards. But in this parable, there is no statement about losing one’s salvation.

Another passage often used is Luke 11:24‑26. “Is this passage speaking of someone who became a believer and then lost his salvation?” People who use this passage do so by claiming that, when the demon left, it meant that the person was saved. The demon’s return showed that he then lost his salvation. But the mere removal of demons is not salvation. A person can have a demon cast out of him, but that does not mean he is automatically saved. He is not saved until he exercises faith. It is entirely possible that a demon can come out of a person without that person himself exercising saving faith. So the removal of a demon does not equal salvation. And in this case, the demon was not even cast out; the demon simply left on his own volition. Of his own free will, he went looking for a better place to live. When he was not able to find one, he came back to the man in whom he was living earlier. But the person himself was never saved to begin with, and mere removal of a demon does not equal salvation.

Another passage that fits into this category is I Corinthians 15:1‑4, where Paul deals with the issue of the gospel and salvation. This passage does not say that the Corinthians were lost. He simply tells the Corinthians that he wants them to know the content of faith, which saves. He is saying that if they truly believe this gospel, then by this gospel they are saved. If they believed something else, then they believed in vain and they do not have salvation. Throughout the Book of I Corinthians, he treats them as truly saved people and, in this passage, he spells out the content of the gospel to let them know clearly, what it is that saved them. It is not their works, nor their gifts, nor their actions, but believing the simple content of the gospel. Paul simply wanted to clarify for them the content of the gospel that saves.

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

ARAB STATES IN PROPHECY: THE ANIMOSITY CONTINUES

The hatred and animosities of Ishmael and Esau toward the Jews were instilled in their descendants.[1] There has been a continuous, perpetual hatred of the descendants of Esau and Ishmael against the Jews that is characterized especially by the Ishmaelites, descendants of Ishmael, and the Edomites, descendants of Esau. An example that shows how early the descendants had this animosity is found in Numbers 20:14‑21.

By the time this passage takes place, it would appear that the tables were indeed reversed; it would appear that the Arabs had all the blessings and the Jews had all the curses. The descendants of Esau had established their nation in the mountains ofMt.Seir; they had king after king and had become a strong and mighty people. But Jacob and his descendants went intoEgyptand eventually became slaves of the Egyptians. NowIsraelhad been rescued and was moving toward her inheritance¾theLandofCanaan. The shortest route to their homeland would be to go by way of thelandofEdom. Again, the Edomites are the descendants of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob. A request had to be issued, and this is found in Numbers 20:14‑21:

From Kadesh Moses then sent messengers to the king of Edom: “Thus your brother Israel has said, ‘You know all the hardship that has befallen us; that our fathers went down to Egypt, and we stayed in Egypt a long time, and the Egyptians treated us and our fathers badly. ‘But when we cried out to the LORD, He heard our voice and sent an angel and brought us out from Egypt; now behold, we are at Kadesh, a town on the edge of your territory. ‘Please let us pass through your land. We will not pass through field or through vineyard; we will not even drink water from a well. We will go along the king’s highway, not turning to the right or left, until we pass through your territory.'” Edom, however, said to him, “You shall not pass through us, or I will come out with the sword against you.” Again, the sons of Israel said to him, “We will go up by the highway, and if I and my livestock do drink any of your water, then I will pay its price. Let me only pass through on my feet, nothing else.” But he said, “You shall not pass through.” And Edom came out against him with a heavy force and with a strong hand. Thus Edom refused to allow Israel to pass through his territory; so Israel turned away from him.

A simple request is made on the basis of the blood relationship between these two nations. When Moses writes his letter, he says: Thus says your brother Israel. Although this is a simple request only to pass through without doing any damage to the territory, the answer of the Edomites is “no.” Although about four hundred years had passed by this time, the perpetual animosity that had begun with Esau had been instilled in Esau’s descendants against the Jews. To make sure the Jews do not cross their country, the Edomites come out with their army to their border to force the Jews to take a much longer route to their own homeland, even though the Edomites had already settled in theirs.

In the Book of Judges, we often read of Ishmaelites, Edomites, and other descendants of these two men inflicting damage upon Israel. Even afterIsraelsettled in her own Land, we find the animosity still there.

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

What has the Church Received from the Jews? Part 2, The Savior

A second thing that the Church has received from the Jews is the Savior, for Yeshua was a Jew.[1] The Jewishness of the Savior is brought out several times in Scripture. For example, in John 4:9, the Samaritan woman clearly recognized Him to be a Jew, and later in Rom 9:5, after stating that the Scriptures are of the Jews (v. 4), Paul adds of whom is Christ as concerning the flesh. Hebrews 7:14 states: For it is evident that our Lord has sprung out of Judah, meaning He was a member of the Tribe of Judah, and Gal 4:1-7 states that Jesus was born “under the law” in order to redeem Jews that were under the law and so that both Jews and Gentiles might receive the adoption of sons.

Another passage concerning the importance of the Jewishness of Yeshua is Hebrews 2:14‑17. The emphasis in this passage is to show why Jesus had to come as a human being and, more specifically, as a Jewish human being. It distinguishes, first of all, between fallen angels and fallen men. Verse 16 points out that God did not choose to provide salvation for angels and, for that reason, Yeshua never took on “angelanity.” He never became an angel to become a substitutionary atonement for other angels. God provided salvation only for humanity, and so God became human. But because there was a special connection with the work of redemption in connection to Israel under the Law, verse 16 points out that He did not come as just any man; He came specifically as a member of the seed of Abraham. He came as a Jew.

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

Death and the Work of the Messiah

Death and the Work of the Messiah

Yesterday we began a discussion about the biblical view/meaning of death.[1] Today we shall look at death with respect to the work of the Messiah. Two things need to be discussed: the two types of resurrections, and the kind of death that Yeshua (Jesus) died.

The Two Types of Resurrections

When the Bible speaks of resurrection from the dead, one must distinguish between two types of resurrections.

1.  Restoration Back to Physical Life

The first type is only a restoration back to natural physical life. What this means is that later the person will die again physically. This restoration-type resurrection occurred twice in the Old Testament (2 Kg. 4:32‑37, 13:20‑21) and at least four times in the New Testament (Mat. 9:18‑26; Mk. 5:21‑24, 35‑43; Lk. 8:40‑42, 49‑56; Lk. 7:11‑17; Jn. 11:1‑44; Mat. 27:52‑53). In all of these resurrections, each person died again later.

2.  True Resurrection Life

The second type of resurrection from the dead is the type that means resurrection life, in which one is no longer subject to death (Rom. 6:9). True resurrection life means a person is no longer capable of dying physically, because there was a change in the nature of the body that has been resurrected. So far, Jesus is the only one who has been resurrected in this way. That is why Yeshua is called the firstfruits of the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:23; Col. 1:15, 18; Rev. 1:5). Critics have often felt that this statement is contradictory, for how could Jesus be called the firstfruits of the resurrection since there were others who had been resurrected before Him. But all the others who were resurrected before Yeshua underwent the first type of resurrection, which was merely a restoration back to natural life

The Kinds of Deaths the Messiah Died

What kind of death/s did Yeshua the Messiah die? Two types (see yesterday’s study):

1. Spiritual Death

First, He died a spiritual death. During the second three hours upon the cross when the whole world was enveloped in darkness, those three hours of darkness marked the three hours in which He was separated from God the Father. At that point, the sins of the world were placed upon Yeshua the Messiah, and at that point, God the Father turned away. There was a separation between the Father and the Son, Jesus the perfect man. For three hours, Yeshua was spiritually dead.

We must remember that the Messiah was the God-Man, meaning that He was only one Person, but with two distinct natures: divine and human. As for His divine nature, there was never any separation between the Father and the Son; that is, there was always an unending, uninterrupted fellowship with God the Father. However, as for His human nature, there was a three-hour separation as Jesus died spiritually on the cross. It must be emphasized that this was a separation in His humanity, not in His deity.

2. Physical Death

At the end of those three hours, He cried: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Yeshua died spiritually and was resurrected spiritually (Matt 27:45‑46; Mark 15:33‑34; Luke 23:44) before He died physically (Matt 27:50; Mark 15:37; Luke 23:46; John 19:30).

Jesus died two types of death on the cross. First of all, He died a spiritual death; and, secondly, a physical death. It is the physical death that was necessary for the Atonement. The spiritual death was not necessary for the Atonement, but it was necessary for Him to become a sympathetic High Priest (Heb. 2:17‑18). Because of the kind of deaths that Yeshua died on the cross, He changed the whole nature of death for the believer.


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