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.

Question 52: Does Psalm 82 verses 1 and 6 teach (as some claim) that because we are the children of God, we are “little gods”?

The verses state:

1 God stands in the congregation of the mighty;
He judges among the gods.
I said, ”You are gods,
And all of you are children of the Most High. (Psalm 82:1,6 NKJV)

The Hebrew word elohim used in verses 1 and 6 is a general term for “god,” and it is used for the true God and also used for idols. It is not a name for God, since God’s name comprises four Hebrew letters that would correspond to the English letters of YHVH.

Elohim is also used of God’s representatives, such as angels; and in the case of John 10:34, quoting Psalm 82:6, it is a reference to the judges of Israel: Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, ye are gods? The judges were the representatives of God, having his delegated authority, and so by personal, direct mission, they did the very works of God. The problem with thinking of ourselves as “little gods” is that it gives the impression of being some kind of deity, which is certainly not the case for human beings.

The Pharisees themselves recognized this non-deity meaning of the word elohim. Jesus made the point in John 10:34 that if they were called “gods,” the very representatives of God, how could it be blasphemy if He claimed to be the Son of God, since He received not a transmitted authority, but the direct, personal command to do the Father’s work?

Jesus’ answer was a typical rabbinic argument, arguing from the lesser to the greater: If the judges could be called elohim, how much more can He be called the Son of God, since He is the Messianic Person.

Another example of this principle is that Moses was considered a god (elohim) to Aaron (Exodus 4:16) and to Pharaoh (Exodus 7:1) because he brought God’s message to these men. So, if Moses as a mere man could be a god to Aaron and Pharaoh, why could not Jesus be God’s Son? He, like Moses, was God’s messenger, having God’s message. The children of Israel listened to Moses, so why should they not listen to the Messiah, who is greater than Moses? They not only had His claims, but His works that proved His claims. Here, again, it is the standard Jewish argument from the lesser to the greater: If Moses or the judges can be called ‘god’, how much more could the Messiah be called the Son of God.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Genesis 2:8 says:

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

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

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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.

Question 49: Can a divorced man become an elder?

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

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Galatians 4:1-7 says:

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

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