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.

Question 41: If the Apostle Paul taught “one baptism” (Eph. 4:5), why would one believe in water baptism and baptism with the Holy Spirit?

Ephesians 4:5 says:

one Lord, one faith, one baptism, (NASB)

Answer: This question seems to fail to distinguish between the spiritual realm and the physical realm.

In Ephesians 4:4-6, Paul lists everything in the spiritual realm, including, for example, “one body.” According to Colossians 1:18, the one body is the church. This is referring to the one universal church comprised of all believers starting in Acts 2 to whenever the rapture occurs. But in the physical realm, there are a lot of local bodies, and the word “church” is used in the plural in a good number of passages. So yes, there is only one universal church, but there are many visible local churches. The Scriptures use the Greek form for the plural of “church” because there are many individual churches, such as the seven churches of Asia in Revelation 1.

The same explanation applies to “one baptism.” Here, Paul is referring to Spirit baptism, which, according to I Corinthians 12:13, automatically happens to every believer the moment he or she comes to faith. Every believer is baptized by the Spirit into the one body. Hence, Spirit baptism happens in the spiritual realm. As far as physical water baptism is concerned, it takes place in the physical realm. It was commanded by Yeshua and practiced by the apostles. This form of baptism does not violate the issue of “one baptism” for there is only one Spirit baptism. However, there are other baptisms, including water baptism. The reason I believe in both water baptism and baptism with the Holy Spirit is because both are taught and distinguished in Scripture, and that is my final authority.

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 40: What do the terms “testing the spirits” and “discernment of the spirits” mean?

Answer: The term “testing the spirits” comes from I John 4:1, which says: Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world. There are certain tests that can be applied to see if something is of the Lord or of a demon (I Jn. 4:2‑3; I Cor. 12:3; I Jn. 5:6‑7).

The gift of discernment of spirits (I Cor. 12:10) is the God-given ability of some to recognize immediately whether something is demonic or not. For those who do not have that spiritual gift, they are responsible to test the spirits by asking specific questions to determine whether something is demonic or not.

For details on this, see MBS082 Demonology, available from Ariel Ministries.

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

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.

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.

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

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.