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frequently asked questions

When will the 144,000 who will be evangelizing the world be taken off the earth?

There is no need to assume that the 144,000 Jews will be taken off the earth prior to the end of the Millennium. Since they are sealed for protection, I see them as remaining and surviving on earth throughout the seven years of Tribulation. I suspect that after the worldwide evangelism, which will take place in the first half of the Tribulation, they will migrate to the city of Petra for the second half of the Tribulation. They will be among the Jews who welcome the return of Yeshua at Petra, then enter the Messianic Kingdom with Messiah and have a special role in the Kingdom as spelled out in Revelation 14:1-5. After the Kingdom, with all believers, they will enter into the eternal order.

I know water baptism does not save a person. Yet why does Peter tell the Jews in Acts 2:38 to “repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit?” Those that believe in baptismal regeneration cite this scripture as proof that baptism is what causes your sins to be forgiven. However, it is clear in Acts 10 when Cornelius believes he is instantly baptized by the Holy Spirit and then gets water baptized. Acts 2:41 seems to indicate that only those who believed Peter’s message were baptized. But I would appreciate your Hebrew insight into what you think is happening in Acts 2:38.

Concerning your question about Acts 2:38, it should always be kept in mind that this statement is being made to the same Jewish generation guilty of the unpardonable sin and facing the judgment of A.D. 70. While the coming judgment of A.D. 70 was by now unavoidable, individuals could escape the judgment if they would do two things.

First, they would have to repent, change their mind about Jesus, and that act of repentance would save them spiritually, but by itself would not save them physically.

The second thing they would have to do is undergo water baptism that will separate them from the Jewish generation guilty of the unpardonable sin and therefore, they would escape the judgment of A.D. 70.

This becomes especially evident if you also look in verse 40 where he admonishes them to “save yourselves from this crooked generation”. It is obvious they could not have saved themselves spiritually, because spiritual salvation is a result based upon their faith in Christ. But they could save themselves in another way. He specifies they could save themselves “from this crooked generation” and that is what water baptism will do for them: It will separate them from the generation guilty of the unpardonable sin.

So taken in context, he is dealing here with physical salvation and not spiritual salvation.

In the Book of Ruth, when Naomi and the others returned to Judah, how long was this journey and what road did they take? Was there not danger associated with women traveling alone?

The most direct route from Bethlehem to Moab would have taken them by way of the Jericho Road to just north of the Dead Sea, where they could cross one of the fords of the Jordan, then climb back up to the Hill Country of the Amorites and turn south. This would take them to the tableland of Moab, where the land was productive.

On the average, people traveled about 20 miles a day, so that trip would have taken two to three days.

In that society, women traveling along the roads alone were not in any particular danger and were generally not bothered, as to do so went against the ethics of that day. In fact, in these more primitive times, it was safer for women to travel along the roads than it is today in 20th century America.

Why is it that the people of the Bible have no last names?

Actually, in ancient times, both inside and outside the Bible, no one had last names. The concept of last names is of more recent origin, only beginning around the Middle Ages in Europe. It probably became necessary for more detailed identification for tax purposes, etc. But the general idea of last names is merely a few hundred years old and does not date back to ancient times in any society.

Does the Bible indicate that a person might hide the truth in anger or hostility?

Yes, the basic meaning of Hosea 9:7 is that because of internal iniquity, one’s enmity — or hostility — is very great. A person who is constantly angry is probably using his anger as an outlet for something that is a deeper internal problem of some sin or another, such as bitterness towards someone. It is one thing to be angry and then get over it, and even Paul says, “Be angry, but sin not.” Emotional flare ups happen with everybody, but if one is in a constant attitude of anger and hostility, that is usually a front for a much deeper problem.

Based on Revelation 13:18 and the number of the beast being 666, I’ve heard people claim that the Antichrist is everybody from the Pope to Henry Kissinger to Mikhail Gorbachev to Madonna … you name ’em! How do they figure this, and how can we know the truth?

The Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters, each one having a corresponding numerical value. Therefore, one can find out the number of a name — the number of the beast (Rev. 13:18) — simply by adding the value of each Hebrew letter of a particular name. Obviously, there are many names that total 666. Keep in mind that the person meeting the 666 requirement must also meet the criteria of being a world ruler.

At any rate, I think it is a bit early to speculate on the identity of the Antichrist, as he will not even appear on the scene until after we have a one-world government followed by a ten-nation division, according to the Scriptures. [A much more detailed study of this issue is included in Dr. Fruchtenbaum’s book, The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events]. By the way, none of the names most frequently mentioned in this regard meet the 666 numerical criteria.

Why don’t we accept the Apocrypha? I think perhaps that we Protestants left something out of the Bible.

Concerning the books of the Apocrypha, they were never accepted by the Jewish community, nor by the Church at large, as being inspired. Only later in history did the Catholic Church make them part of the canon, because it helped support the church’s doctrine of purgatory. But it was never part of those Scriptures accepted either by Jews or by the larger believing Church.

Keep in mind that the books of the Apocrypha were already in existence at the time of Jesus. Yet the New Testament never categorized the books of the Apocrypha as “Scripture.” When the New Testament talks about Scripture, it only deals with the same three-fold division as found in the Hebrew Bible: the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. The rabbis never quote from the Apocrypha as divine authority. Moreover, neither Jesus nor any of the Apostles ever quote the Apocrypha as divine authority. In fact, what was considered “Scripture” clearly excluded the Apocrypha from the perspective of both the Jewish community and the Messianic community of the New Testament. While the early Jewish believers saw the writings of the Apostles as “Scripture,” and the Old Testament as “Scripture,” the Apocrypha was never accepted as such.

Furthermore, the Apocrypha makes a lot of contradictory statements and it does not hold up to the historical, archeological, and harmonious scrutiny as do the other books of the Bible. It is not true that “we Protestants left something out.” It is only that the Catholic Church included it, and rather late in the game at that. The Apocrypha, like Josephus and the writings of the Church fathers, is valuable for historical reference and historical backgrounds to the events in Scripture. It includes, of course, the Books of Maccabees — historical but not inspired books that record many of the events that brought about the Feast of Chanukah. But, again, the Apocrypha is no more inspired than Josephus or the Church fathers.

Because the Books of Hebrews, James, First Peter, Second Peter and Jude were written to the Jews, should Gentile believers use the precepts?

As in every book of the Bible, the messianic epistles contain principles that are true universally. For example, the Book of Leviticus, which detailed how the Tabernacle system was to work, was intended only for Israel — specifically, the priesthood. It was intended only for one people (the Jews) and only for a limited period of time (from Moses to Christ). However, there are principles in Leviticus that are universally true. One such principle is that atonement requires the shedding of blood (Leviticus 17:11); this standard always applies. The same thing is true in regard to the various principles found in the messianic epistles, and this is why one must study the context of each verse before deriving any conclusions. The question to be asked is: is the statement or ordinance specifically applicable to one people of a specific period of time, or is it rooted in an eternal principle, one that is always true? Only then can the proper application be made.

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