Monday, March 31, 2008
ANSWER: Remember, the inspired Bible is what we have in the Hebrew and Greek text, not the English. This is why I spent years studying both languages so I could know for sure what I know! This is refreshing to find someone who understands some of the issues of translations, various Hebrew and Greek texts, and knows that we can have human errors in our versions. I commend you! This is why I spent about thirteen years in college and graduate schools in order to thoroughly learn the Bible, theology, and the biblical languages. Most pastors today do not go through that discipline and so they don't know beans about Scripture, nor how to solve issues like this!
Now to the passage and my Hebrew translation:
The Rabbis write: "He bears our burden. He carries for us, even the God who is our salvation. Or, more simply, 'God is our salvation.'" (Soncino)
The great Hebrew scholar H. C. Leupold writes: "The reason assigned for such a blessing [back to God] is that He who is so mighty stoops so far down as to 'bear us up,' and thus He well merits the description 'the God of our salvation.'" The Hebrew linguist Murphy adds: "'From day to day,' in perpetuity. The God, the Mighty One (Adonai). He bears for us. Our salvation is a burden which it needs a God to bear. Well may we say, 'Blessed be God who bears it.'" E. W. Hengstenberg translates the last part of the verse simply: "God is our help."
My translation, confirmed by great scholars, makes sense in the light of the verse that follows (v. 20). In Hebrew it reads: "The God (Elohim) is to us God (El) who causes salvation." "Salvation" is in the Hiphil Participle (causative, active) verb form. The Participle shows that it is His nature, His characteristic, to be delivering and bringing about salvation!
Actually, the word "salvation" (Ya'Shav) is in the plural. He brings about deliverances, salvations. He causes them to be! The Rabbis write: "The plural, as in 94:5, indicates many and decisive acts of salvation."
I hope this helps. Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Friday, March 28, 2008
It was stated by one Rabbi that only in the South were the Jews afforded such an opportunity to be completely equal. To show respect, General Robert E. Lee allowed Jewish soldiers when possible to celebrate all holy days. Unfortunately, Generals Grant and Sherman issued anti-Jewish orders.
One of the most respected officers for the South was General Abraham Myers, an 1832 West Point graduate and classmate of Lee. The city of Fort Myers was named after him. Another Jew, Major Adolph Proskauer of Mobile, Alabama, was wounded several times. One officer said of him: "I can see him now as he nobly carried himself at Gettysburg, standing coolly and calmly at the head of the 12th Alabama amid a perfect rain of bullets, shot, and shell. He was the personification of intrepid gallantry and imperturbable courage."
From North Carolina, six brothers from the Cohen family fought in the 40th Infantry. The first Confederate Jew killed in the war was Albert Lurie Moses of Charlotte. All-Jewish companies were formed from about six Confederate cities.
Many Jews became renowned after the war. Moses Jacob Ezekiel became a world famous sculptor. Judah Benjamin was the first Jewish senator and later declined a seat on the Supreme Court. He was educated at Yale. During the conflict he became the Confederacy attorney general. Physician Simon Baruch from Germany, became the surgeon general of the South. He received his medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia. If a band struck up "Dixie," Dr. Baruch would jump up and give the Rebel yell! He let loose the yell even in the Metropolitan Opera House! His son Bernard became one of the most successful financiers of the twentieth century. He became an adviser to presidents from World War I to World War II and became a confidant of President Franklin Roosevelt.
Today there is very little left of the "Jewish South." Most do not know of the contribution that large community played during those troubled times.
Dr. Mal Couch
Do we now believe we can consider morality and religion optional without suffering civil and social repercussions, despite the warning of our Founding Fathers, such as John Adams, [that] "Our Constitution was made for only a moral and [Christian] people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other"?
If Psalm 33:12 says, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord," then what will be the state of blessedness for the nation that abandons God and His moral code of conduct?
Dr. Mal Couch
ANSWER: Oh, heavens no! The Bible makes it clear there is consciousness after death, both for the lost and the saved. The story of the death of the rich man and the beggar in Luke 16:19-31 is a case in point. The rich man is in Hades in torment but the poor believing beggar is at peace in Abraham's bosom. Both are fully aware of their surroundings and conscious of what is happening to them.
"Sleep" is a metaphor for death for the believer. From the human perspective the physical body looks as if it is simply asleep. However, the soul and spirit of the saint is with the Lord while the lost is conscious and existing in torment, waiting for the final judgment.
Other passages verify the conscious state of the believer after death. Paul writes "while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:6b), and that in either state, before or after death, we are "to be pleasing to Him" (v. 9). Paul was also transported to glory, to Paradise, and saw in a vision revelations, and "heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak" (12:1-4). While the apostle did not die, he was in glory and seeing things that were beyond the normal physical realm.
When the church is raptured Paul makes it clear he will present us to the Lord Jesus Christ, in His presence, at His coming (1 Thess. 2:19), and that we may be established before we die, or before the rapture takes place, so that we will be unblamable when we come "before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints" (3:13). All of these verses make it clear there is life after death and we are not simply in a soul sleep state!
And of course there are many, many passages in Revelation that show the saints in glory worshiping before the throne of God and before Christ the Lamb! So the idea of "soul sleep" will just not fly!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Dr. Mal Couch
The Scripture in 1 Thessalonians most clearly shows a distinction between the Rapture and the second coming judgment of the Lord when He returns to earth to reign and rule. Chapter four verses 13-18 describes the Rapture, while chapter five verses 1-11 describes the Day of the Lord, the unleashing of His wrath upon the earth, and the culmination of His literal coming to the earth as the son of David and Israel's Messiah!
1 Thessalonians 4:13
WE WOULD NOT HAVE YOU (ou thelomen) "I am not presently going to have you ignorant about this subject." Paul draws attention to a subject by using his standard phrase "we would not have " Alford describes this as "Paul's common formula of transition to the imparting of weighty information." And that will be a more full revelation about the miracle of the taking away of the church before the terrible seven year tribulation begins.
HAVE YOU CONTINUE IN IGNORANCE, BROTHERS. This is a Present Tense and expresses the right-now and on-going condition of being ignorant (unknowing). By saying "brothers" Paul shows both his affection and his identification with those to whom he is writing. He wants his readers to understand that as believers they all stand together in anticipation of the Lord's coming for the church. This is not about His coming down upon the earth to reign in Jerusalem. That will be the later millennial reign of one thousand years after the seven year tribulation.
CONCERNING THE ONES BEING PUT TO SLEEP. Those asleep are believers in Christ who have died. Their bodies were placed in the grave but their souls and spirits went home to heaven, to glory. The Passive Voice in Greek shows that they were not putting themselves to sleep but rather they were being put to sleep (by the Lord)! This is a common expression to denote physical death.
"Sleep" is a metaphor for the temporary condition of Christians who now await the future bodily resurrection (Gaebelein, The Expositor's Bible Commentary) Apparently there was concern on the part of the Thessalonians that in some way this physical death would prevent the believers who had already died from experiencing the fullness of the Lord's return.
THAT YOU MIGHT NOT GRIEVE AS ALSO THE REST, THE ONES IN NO WAY RIGHT NOW HAVING HOPE. "That you might not be made to grieve." (Present Passive Subjunctive) Paul tells believers that, if they grieve, it is because they allow grief to overtake them, thereby acting as the unsaved who look upon death as final destruction. (Calvin, Commentary) Paul is correcting this erroneous thinking. He tells Christians of the blessed assurance of resurrection glory with the Lord Jesus Christ. This church was plainly distressed at the thought of separation from their departed brethren and had partially lost sight of the elements of the Christian hopereunion with them and fellowship with the Lord. (Vincent, Word Studies)
1 Thessalonians 4:14
FOR IF WE ARE BELIEVING RIGHT NOW. This statement is a substantiation of the idea set forth in the preceding verse. It assumes that the death and resurrection of Christ is true. There is no doubt! Unbelief does injury to Christ by holding Him to be something less than He is. (Calvin) Paul uses the Conditional if (ei) here in a grammatical twist because he thinks his statement is far beyond any controversy.
THAT JESUS DIED AND HE STOOD UP. Paul proves his use of the Condition (ei) in stating a fact that has already been accomplished. The verbs DIED and STOOD UP are both in the Aorist Tense. This is the tense most often used to identify an action as having been accomplished in the past with emphasis on the fact that it is firmly established. Jesus died and the on-going result is that He did not stay dead! He stood up or rose up with the on-going result beingHe is presently alive!
Jesus died while bearing all the sins and guilt of humanity. Because there is no longer dread in death for Him, there is no long dread in death for His own; for them it is simply sleep!
LIKEWISE ALSO, THE ONES WHO WERE PUT TO SLEEP THROUGH JESUS, THE GOD WILL LEAD TOGETHER WITH HIM. Jesus is the connecting link for those that sleep and their resurrection. The ones who were put to sleep (Passive Voice), God will through Jesus lead them to be together with Him. This verse is crucial to all believers and their understanding of the relationship between themselves and Jesus Christ. All who are IN Jesus (Positionally) have the assurance of overcoming death and living with Him in a resurrected body; it is a finished transaction!
The body, because of the fact that it is judged for sin, must "sleep" for a time until Christ comes to give all believers a new, sin-free "new" body that is eternal. Verses 16-17 address the calling forth of the old body to be changed into a resurrection body that is fit for heaven, and then later for the kingdom of God here on earth. Scripture calls the believer a "fellow heir with Christ" (Rom. 8:16-17), and as such, God the Father will do for him what He has done for His Son. God promises all believers that He will LEAD, BRING them to Himself through (by means of) His Son (Rom. 6:5).
1 Thessalonians 4:15
FOR THIS I AM SAYING TO YOU BY WORD (LOGOS, AUTHORITY) FROM THE LORD. Paul bypasses his own authority in this matter and states that it is by the Lord's authority that he is speaking. There are no clues here as to when Paul received this revelation from the Lord. Yet Scripture tells us that there were even many things that Jesus said and did that were not written down (John 21:25). But more than likely Christ did not say much more about the Rapture, however, after His ascension, and when He came to Paul, He did in a revelatory way give more details of this doctrine specifically to the apostle.
THAT WE THE ONES LIVING. This is one of the verses, among many, that show the dispensationalists and pre-tribulational rapturists are absolutely correct and that others who deny this doctrine cannot read their Bible very well! "The Living" (zao) is a Present Active Participle. "Those living right now may experience the event of the Rapture!" This proves the doctrine of the eminency of the Rapture. It could have happened to Paul because he uses the collective pronoun "we" in the passage, and it could have come upon all the living saints at any moment.
The anti-dispensationalists, like Hank Hanegraaff, have the right to be wrong. Someday they will learn the truth of the Bible first-hand!
Remember, they do not deny the doctrine of the Rapture textually but from some psycho agenda deep in their soul. They just "hate" dispensationalists, and, they simply do not like the doctrine of the Rapture!
THE ONES HAVING BEEN LEFT UNTIL THE COMING OF THE LORD. All the believers still alive when this happens will be called alongside the Lord when He comes. "Who have been left" is in Greek a Present Passive Participle and it identifies the condition of these believers (being Paul then and us today) being in a state of waiting. The Present Action goes on until the limit of the designation by the preposition eis/unto or until. The Passive Voice indicates this event is not under the believer's jurisdiction. The time is appointed by God the Father.
IN NO WAY SHOULD WE PRECEDE (OR GO BEFORE) THE ONES WHO HAVE BEEN PUT TO SLEEP. The force of the double negative ou me is an extra emphatic THIS WILL NOT BE! Those who have gone before will be instantly given a new resurrected body within a split second before we are transformed and receive ours! This is for church saints only, for those IN CHRIST, IN JESUS. This is not said of Old Testament or of tribulation saints. They will have been saved by Christ's sacrifice but the church age, the dispensation of the church, is something unique. And the Rapture is only concerning the church. It is the getting out of the way the believers IN CHRIST just before the horrible Wrath of God falls upon the world!
1 Thessalonians 4:16
BECAUSE THE LORD HIMSELF BY COMMAND. The Conjunction because is used to strengthen the more general declaration given in the previous verse. (Vincent) The Lord Himself is going to attend to the reunion of the living and dead saints. It will be accomplished by His command. The use of the Pronoun Himself confirms that "He will He Himself" come and summon us before Him. (Alford) The root word for command means He orders, He is Commander to His troops. Here it could be considered a loud authoritative cry uttered in the thick of great excitement by One who has the authority and the right to exercise that authority. Christ is coming as Conqueror. (Reinecker, Robertson)
WITH THE VOICE OF THE ARCHANGEL AND WITH TRUMPET OF GOD. An article is used with Archangel but not with trumpet. The Archangel commands the host of the angelic world. Does this mean that Christ will come with this kind of authority or does the verse mean that it is the Archangel Gabriel himself who announces the arrival of Christ to take His own home? There is more than one trumpet in Scripture. Some wrongly try to associate the trumpet here with certain ones in the book of Revelation. Those trumpets have nothing to do with the church. And besides, most are war trumpets calling for more wrath to fall upon the earth. The trumpet here in Thessalonians is a harvest trumpet calling the workers, the servants, home from the field.
WILL DESCEND FROM HEAVEN. Now Christ comes down from heavento reign and rule? No. His feet do not touch the earth, instead He takes the resurrected home into the sky as well as the living who are instantly transformed and follow them into glory. THIS IS NOT HIS SECOND COMING!
Then THE DEAD IN CHRIST will themselves rise up first. This is the Church saints who souls and spirits are in heaven, not Israel! Those in the body of Christ who come down from heaven with Him to received their new bodies!
1 Thessalonians 4:17
WE, THE ONES REMAINING. Again, the living saints will follow behind those who have been resurrected.
THE SAME TIME, TOGETHER WITH THEM. The dead in Christ will rise up, the living in Christ will join them. Some foolish interpreters have two Raptures, one for those who are more holy, and then others who will come after they have been purged during the tribulation. But this is a one-time event that includes all the saints at once not in a two-step process!
SHALL BE SNATCHED INTO THE CLOUDS INTO THE MEETING PLACE OF THE LORD IN THE AIR. The Latin word Rapturo is used in the English to translate the Greek word harpazo. This word means to jerk, snatch away, as a thief would snatch suddenly a purse. The thought is a sudden swoop by a force that cannot be opposed. (Morris)
Believers are going to meet the Lord which implies He is not calling them to Himself but that He is coming to meet them in an appointed place in the air. The word "meeting" had a technical meaning in the Hellenistic world in relation to the visits of dignitaries.
Dispensationalists are smart. We understand the difference between up and down! We go UP to meet Him in the clouds. After the tribulation He comes DOWN to reign on the earth!
THUS TOGETHER WE SHALL OURSELVES BE TOGETHER WITH THE LORD. This is a blessed but simple idea. All church saints now will be gathered before Him in their eternal new bodies. We are gathered into heaven until the time of the seven year wrath is over. We then return will Him to co-reign though the nation of Israel will be the key people during the millennial kingdom.
1 Thessalonians 4:18
LIKEWISE BE COMFORTING ONE ANOTHER BY THE WORDS, THESE. This takes us back to the concerns expressed by the Thessalonian believers who wondered about the souls of their departed loved ones. And, they wanted to understand the order of the resurrection for those departed. When would they be raised?
Many argue the doctrine of the Rapture is not a practical truth, but just the opposite. It should bring comfort to all who wonder about the future. Almost all the Rapture passages end with a practical application such as this verse.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
ANSWER: I think so. The verse reads: “Where there is no guidance, the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.”
This certainly sounds like one of the parties in our American politics. Even secular commentators are asking, “Where is the experience and the wisdom in our modern politicians?” I would ask another question, what is wrong with the constituency and the people who are voting in that they do not see through the light weight candidates, who have no experience, and who simply tout a liberal agenda?
Merrill Unger writes in his OT commentary: “Where is ‘wise council,’ i.e. in the sense of ‘leadership’ to steer the ship of state. God’s punishment on a sinful state is to give it leaders devoid of wisdom (15:22; Isa. 3:4). Compare the case of Rehoboam, whose kingdom suffered tragic loss because of neglect of good counsel (I Kings 12:13-17).”
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Monday, March 24, 2008
If it happens in California, in time, it will come to your state! California has a new law signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, SB 777. It is called the California Student Civil Rights Act that requires nondiscrimination against sexual orientation. This means there can be no unfavorable teaching about homosexuality, bisexuality, gender identity and any and every other form of sexual expression, according to columnist Cal Thomas in the March 10, 2008 edition of The Washington Times.
A California pastor, Ron Gleason notes that the words "mommy" and "daddy" will no longer be allowed in the schools. Kids will be taught that right is only what is "right for them." He adds, "This is an indoctrination of children as young as pre-kindergarten to accept as normal and morally acceptable homosexuality and other sexually deviant lifestyles." This will completely reverse 2,000 years of Christian moral teaching on human sexuality, family, and marriage.
Gleason adds, "If you're going to send your kids to Caesar, you're going to get Romans back." He notes that he has found it difficult to start a fire under conservative Christians because apathy is like wet underbrush. The government schools want to shape a child's mind in ways that reflect a mostly liberal, humanistic worldview. "Traditional values" are gone! This all has wide implications for a child's understanding of economics, foreign policy, American history, and purpose of government. It is creating a socialistic, atheistic, and anti-Christian nation.
In my opinion, there is no turning back. We are already into the apostasy. Judgment is on the way! Thomas closes his commentary with this excellent observation:
The tragedy is that too many conservative Christian, Republican parents who want their children to have a different worldview - their own - willing [are] participating in the destruction of their children's minds by turning them over to a way of thinking that is antithetical to their beliefs. Parents who worship at conservative churches on Sunday willingly send their children to schools five days a week where what they are taught undermines what they learned in church and at home. They would never think of taking their kids to a church that teaches doctrines opposed to their beliefs, but they don't give a second thought to doing the same thing by sending them to government schools. It makes no sense.
One problem with what Thomas says is that more and more Evangelical churches are capitulating and going quiet in regard to the sins of the culture. The pastors have gotten large doses of secular psychology in their colleges and are infecting their own sheep with the lies of "self-esteem" and entitlement. And too, many are into The Emerging Church philosophy that is a mixture of mysticism, Replacement Theology, Progressive Dispensationalism, warmed over liberalism, and of course, secular psychology. Again, in my opinion, there is no turning back.
Dr. Mal Couch
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Not knowing history, many today do not realize it but in 1898 Africa was temporarily saved from radical Islam by the Nile battle of Omdurman. This city was on the banks of the Nile River some distance from the sixth cataract inland on that great body of water.
In 1884 General Cyrus Gordon, the great Christian and Bible reading British General, was slain on the steps of his headquarters at Khartoum. Thousands of frenzied Muslim dervishes stormed his building. He stood before the Muslims defiant knowing that as a believer in Christ he would die a martyr's death at their hands. This revived fanatical group of Muslims wanted to conquer Africa and the entire world for Allah.
The leader of the dervishes was the Mahdi, the Muslim "messiah" who was a charismatic prophet that would conquer the world either by submission or by the sword. Everyone must submit to him and Allah. But Christian England stood in the way. (Many orthodox Muslims today are looking for the "savior," the Mahdi who will be the conqueror of the world for Allah!)
In 1898 by cool and calculated planning the English began to assemble a large army to avenge the blood of General Gordon. General Horatio Herbert Kitchener knew that the Muslim army had its headquarters on the bank of the Nile in the city of Omdurman just across from Khartoum. His army would be large and well equipped with Sudanese and Egyptian soldiers and other Africans who agreed with the British that this may be one of the final opportunities to stop the Muslims from slaughtering so many Africans and placing so many others under the sword blade of forced conversion. Conversion by the sword was their practice! (It is true however, that the Muslims let many survive if they made no disparaging remarks about Islam. But if they converted to Islam, or were born into the faith, and then left it, they could die!)
This large army set out from Cairo. A railroad was constructed southward as far as possible to take up troops and supplies. And five new river gunboats were sailed or "dragged" up the Nile to lay siege against Omdurman when the time was right and the attack begun. The Grenadier Guards, kilted Highlanders, and the 21st Lancers made the journey up river. The new Muslim leader, the Khalifa, was waiting with thousands of dervish troops in the city.
The British opened up the battle by a bombardment of canon fire from the gunboats. 5,000 African troops of the elite Camel Corps charged the dervishes. The battle was a clash of modern British weapons, but also of spears and swords. Towards the climax came the last great cavalry charge in history. The 21st Lancers charged into the dervish troops five men deep to bring about a terrible slaughter that would be used providentially to stop the inroads being made by fanatical Islam. A future world leader survived that terrible cavalry charge. A young office by the name of Winston Churchill, weighed in on his horse with pistol blazing. Many of the enemy fell in front of him.
As all oriental potentates, the Khalifa, rode on a donkey among his troops before the attack telling them that the Mahdi and the Prophet Mohammed came to him during the night promising them victory and a quick rise to paradise if they died. He added that the legions of hell would tear to shreds the spirits of the defeated Christian infidels. But victory would be theirs, paradise would be theirs, their fame would live forever. Though the masses of Muslim dervishes had heard this before they lurched forward onto the field of battle to defeat Christianity.
Thousands and thousands of the dervish forces perished in about two days time. Only a small number of the British and their allies died. At least for awhile, Islam would be blunted, at least the fanatical branch that was bent on making converts by the sword. And for some years afterward English missionaries would be free and continue to work in Africa with some semblance of safety.
Dr. Mal Couch
Thursday, March 20, 2008
What use does such a passage as this have in the modern world? Only the briefest of notes must suffice here. It is clear that this law (the Mosaic) was given for the kingdom of God in national form (Israel), that this kingdom was intended to be a theocracy, and that this theocracy was in the ancient Near East. First, for Christians, the kingdom of God is no longer a national entity, else the NT is a meaningless document. Rather, the kingdom now extends over all national boundaries to embrace all who accept the Lordship of Christ. Second, the kingdom as such is still a theocracy, but the successor to Israel is the church, not a national entity (Gal. 6:16; 1 Pet. 2:9-10). No nation has the automatic right to assume these rules of war for itself as if it was the successor to Israel’s mission. Third, the modern world, which has enough forces to annihilate the planet many times over, is very different from the ancient Near East, with its limited possibilities for human destruction. (p. 500) (Bold Mine)
This paragraph is so skewed with false assumptions and leaps of poor logic that it is not worthy to be answered. It shows what the amil and allegorical guys do not know about sound and solid interpretation. This is Kingdom Now and Replacement Theology at its worst! A mind that reads this that does not possess correct discernment abilities will walk away terribly confused and left in spiritual darkness. Be careful what you read and what you agree to! --Dr. Mal Couch
ANSWER Judgment from Babylon was impending and about to fall on the Southern Kingdom Judah. As God spoke through Jeremiah He moves from discussing the judgment coming upon Israel, to the judgment that will fall on the nations surrounding her, to the far distant judgment that will come someday upon the entire world. There is a progression that leads to and climaxes in the final seven year tribulation and the coming wrath of Godthe day of the Lord!
By the way, those churches buying into the Emerging Church philosophy, are almost to a congregation, no longer hearing the doctrines of the rapture of the church and the coming seven year tribulation period. The foolish and ignorant pastors put their people into the KINGDOM NOW and do not know what to do with the rapture and the tribulation issues. But back to Jeremiah 25:
Through the long march of history, beginning in Jeremiah's time, there are prophesied at least three stages of the coming wrath.
- Wrath falling upon Jerusalem and Judah (v. 18).
- Wrath falling upon the nations relatively near Israel (vv. 19-26).
- Wrath someday coming upon "all the inhabitants of the earth" (vv. 29-33).
(2) Then His wrath would move out further to the surrounding nations: Egypt, Uz, the Philistines, Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, Ashdod, Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, Sidon, Dedan, Tema, Buz, Arabia, Zimri, Elam, Media (vv. 19-26). These nations brought terror against Israel. They were idolatrous and pagan in their morality. They would suffer a judgment from God.
(3) Then as well, there will be A TRIBULATION judgment that would fall upon "all the kingdoms of the earth which are upon the face of the ground" (v. 26). All the nations someday will "Drink, be drunk, vomit, fall, and rise no more because of the sword which I will send among you" (v. 27).
This last wrathful judgment in this chapter is given more space than the other two phases. Jeremiah reviews God's plan for sending wrath. He says it will start with the Lord's "work of calamity and punishment on Israel (who will not escape His punishment)," and, "I will summon a sword (Prophetic future) against all the inhabitants of the earth" (v. 29).
God will start with tribulation coming on those of "His fold" (v. 30a) and finally bring forth His wrathful judgment against "all the inhabitants of the earth" (v. 30b). Further, "A clamor will come (prophetic future) to the end of the earth, because the Lord has a controversy with the nations. He will enter into judgment with ALL FLESH " (v. 31).
Evil will spread across the earth by rapid communications, from nation to nation. As the world will be teeming with a massive population sin and rebellion will spread like a disease from nation to nation. While there has always been sin, it will somehow now in the end times be amplified and dispersed in larger doses than ever before!
"Behold, evil will go forth from nation to nation, and a GREAT STORM will be stirred up from the remotest PARTS OF THE EARTH. And those slain by the Lord ON THAT DAY (THE DAY OF THE LORDThe Tribulation) shall be from one end of the earth to the other." (vv. 32-33)
After this terrible tribulation that will be world-wide, God will restore the Jewish people both spiritually and geographically. Their re-gathering will be a universal event!
"'And I will be found by you (Israel),' declares the Lord, 'and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,' declares the Lord, 'and I will bring you back to the place (the holy land) from where I sent you into exile.'" (29:14)
On Jeremiah 25, Unger rightly says:
"The predicted fall of Babylon furnishes the basis for the prophecy of the end-time destruction of Babylon (Rev. 17-18), the overthrow of the satanic world system (Zech. 13:2; Rev. 20:1-3) at Christ's second advent (19:11-21), and the establishment of the Kingdom over regathered and restored Israel (Rom. 11:26; Rev. 20:4-6). It will include the judgment of all the nations. The ultimate scope of this prophecy finds fulfillment in the Tribulation, which has its vortex in Jerusalem and is preeminently 'the time of Jacob's trouble' (Jer. 30:5-7)." (Unger, Commentary)
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Wilson was raised in a Godly Presbyterian home, as was many of our nations Presidents of years past. He had been President of Princeton University before become the leader of the United States.
Wilson believed in the absolute sovereignty of God. He believed God had chosen him to lead this country. After winning the election he told his campaign chairman: "Whether you did little or much, remember God ordained that I should be the next President of the United States. Neither you nor any mortal or mortals could have prevented it." When he realized that his inauguration was to fall on a Sunday, he broke precedent and agreed to be sworn in on "the Lord’s Day." It seemed like a perfect omen to him!
Wilson grew up in a household that honored God. There were the evening and morning prayers, and the prayers at every meal. Wilson was faithful to Sunday school, two Sunday services, and group Bible study, readings, and singing of hymns. Prayer to him and his family was the linchpin of human existence. When he took office he said:
I do not feel exuberant or cheerful. I feel exceedingly solemn. I have no inclination to jump up and crack my heels together. A weight of seriousness and responsibility seems to be pressing down upon me. I feel more like kneeling down and praying for strength to do what is expected of me.
He also once said: "God is the source of strength to every man and only by prayer can he keep himself close to the Father. I believe in Divine Providence. If I did not I would go crazy."
After World War I, Wilson tried to get adopted his Fourteen Points that would be the basis of the League of Nations. America was not interested though Europe listened. However the President of France critically said of Wilson: "He thinks he is another Jesus Christ come upon the earth to reform men."
The U. S. Senate failed to ratify his Fourteen Points and shortly after, Wilson had a serious stroke that virtually ended his presidency. He died in 1924. Wilson believed that America was "the chosen elect of God," and he was their leader, standing firm as a beacon for freedom and Christian principles the world over.
Kilmer was one of America’s most promising young poets. Born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, he showed a passion for writing while attending Rutgers College and Columbia University. At the age of twenty-six he produced his most famous poem, "Trees." This became one of the most quoted verse among schoolchildren in the first half of the twentieth century.
I think that I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
Knowing of Kilmer’s life, most Evangelicals believe he was definitely born again, though he and his wife became Catholics. When America went to war in 1917, Kilmer believed he had to sign up. He was assigned to the famous and distinguished Fighting Sixty-Ninth Division.
While in France he penned his last literary work, a poem entitled "Prayer of a Soldier in France." Volunteering to scout behind enemy lines to find a German machine-gun nest, Kilmer was killed instantly by a single sniper’s bullet. In his last letter home he wrote:
"Pray that I may love God more. To love Him more passionately, more constantly, without distractions."
Kilmer died at the age of thirty-one. After the war, the training facility in New Jersey where he trained, was named "Camp Kilmer."
Born of a black Baptist preacher in rural Georgia, Dorsey was inspired by the music of the blues, music that was full of soul, anguish, and emotion. Always attracted to easy money he lived a hard life with the roughest of crowds.
In the 1920s however he had a life-changing experience. After a musical engagement he went home after becoming terribly ill. He lost weight and his mother and wife Nettie went through their savings trying to help. But the doctors had given up. His pastor had no mercy on him and told him he had to get right with God. Dorsey cried out: “Lord, I am ready to do your work!” In a few days a miracle had happened and he was on the mend. He and his wife continually prayed and soon he was on the road to perform his music for the Lord in churches.
While performing at a church in St. Louis he was told Nettie had died while giving birth to their first child. Dorsey later wrote that he slumped down in a chair and cried and cried. He arrived home in time to be told that a few hours previously the baby had died. He admitted later that he came closer to rejecting God than at anytime. “God I set out to serve you and this is my reward?”
Fighting through grieve he placed his wife and the baby in the same casket. “I felt God had done me an injustice. I didn’t want to serve the Lord or write more gospel songs.” But something happened! He sat down and suddenly it came to him: “Precious Lord, Take My Hand!” Within a short time he had written one of the most touching hymns of grief and comfort ever penned!
Precious Lord, taken my hand.
Lead me on. Let me stand.
I am tired. I am weak. I am worn.
Through the storm, through the night,
Lead me on to the light.
Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.
When my way grows drear,
Precious Lord, linger near.
When my life is almost gone,
Hear my cry, hear my call,
Hold my hand, lest I fall;
Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home!
The hymn somehow dispelled much of the grief and Dorsey “knew that He had other work for me to do.” Despite the song’s intense spirituality, many people accused Dorsey of secularizing hymns of praise effectively bringing the speakeasy into houses of worship.
“Precious Lord” became one of Dorsey’s most popular songs along with “Peace in the Valley” and “If You See My Savior.” Dorsey was instrumental in starting the first African-American publishing companies dedicated solely for publishing religious music. Mahalia Jackson made
“Precious Lord” her signature song after meeting Dorsey.
Monday, March 17, 2008
ANSWER: You are referring to this comment by Pate: "Zechariah's partial judgment (the judgment of muteness) was a prophetic sign to Israel, a picture of both Israel's present rejection of, and future restoration to, God."
This is making what happened to Zechariah a metaphor, an analogy. When such illustrations are found in Scripture there are some indicators that that is what is happening in the passage. Such is not the case here. This is a real, historic happening with no signs of being such a type. The story from start to finish is about the miracle of the birth of John to older parents, and the fact that they were going to bring forth the herald, the one who would be the forerunner of the Messiah.
The people who witnessed Zechariah's muteness, and then the restoring of his voice, were believers who saw what that sign was all about. They rejoiced when Zechariah, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, told them what was about to happen, and what did indeed happenthe birth of the herald and of the Messiah!
Pate has some strange views. I would trust other dispensational and Evangelical commentaries over what he writes.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
ANSWER: As far as I know he is a Progressive Dispensationalist who is not very discerning. But of course, he has the right to be wrong. The quote you are referring to is: The coming of the Spirit on John the Baptist "represented a transitional period; he lived in the overlap of the Old Testament era and the messianic kingdom."
No, Pate is dead wrong! John presented the King. Israel rejected the King and their Kingdom, and we went into the period of the postponement of that Kingdom. We are now in the dispensation of grace not the kingdom!
Pate is implying that the church somehow is the messianic kingdom, and of course this is stupid and wrong. John presented the King who would inaugurate the Kingdom if the Jews as a nation repented, which they did not!
Progressives believe that we are now in some form of the messianic kingdom, but of course they may say, the millennial stage will come later. Some used to say that Christ is now on the throne of David, heading up the millennial kingdom, in heaven. They use Psalm 110:1 to poorly try to prove that. But guess what?
Some recently repented and recanted that sorry view. They realized they were wrong! They should have formulated their views better! The truth is, Christ is seated on His Father's throne until the Father subdues His enemies and then puts His Son on the Davidic throne in Zion (Jerusalem).
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Jeremiah 25-28 is a powerful passage, a sketch, an outline even, of Bible prophecy.
Jeremiah 29-30: We're coming to a day in America where you and I can resist, we can bellyache and shake our fist at what's going on in the culture ... but is there anything we can do?
Also, they want to revive the Fairness Doctrine that would force Christian media to give equal time over against Christian talk-shows, or force them to put on the air a counter program such as a Muslim broadcast.
Once the Bible has been severed from the culture Satan will have a free reign on our society. The full impact of the apostasy is not far away!
Dr. Mal Couch
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Many Greek scholars, both futurists and nonfuturists, agree that the idea of tachos (shortly) here has to do with swiftness of execution when the prophetic events begin to take place. Tachus ("shortly") "is a relative term to be judged in the light of II Peter 3:8 according to God's clock, not ours. And yet undoubtedly the hopes of the early Christians looked for a speedy return of the Lord Jesus." The much-respected author and teacher Joseph Seiss translates the phrase, "that which must come to pass speedily." Alford argues that it is wrong for critics of the Scriptures to press en tachei "to furnishing a guide to the interpretation of the prophecy of Revelation" and he criticizes those who try to create a false argument and scenario for preterism with such prophetic schemes."En tachei is translated by Lange "in swift succession," who adds that other scholars "correctly interpret it as referring to the rapidity of the course of the events prophesied." Swete argues that "near fulfillment" is really in view and the Ritchie Commentary agrees: "This [en tachei] phrase, which if literally translated would be 'in brief (time),' is used seven times in the NT the primary thought is not so much the proximity of the event, but the absolute certainty of the event and the rapidity of action are involved here. Whatever seeming delay there is, action is certain and it will be swift."
ANSWER: The issue of law-keeping continues to raise its ugly head as it did in the apostolic times. People just want to do something to help God along in salvation, or, in the sanctification process in the daily Christian life. But the Lord is not interested!
While keeping the law and doing sacrifices was commanded in the OT, still what God really wanted was the heart of a person. The fact that the Jews failed in law-keeping proved their helplessness which would in time drive them to repentance, let them see their moral failures, and cause them to wait for the coming of Christ who would bring finality to the issue of sin.
The sacrificial system was the central component to the law. And on that God said in Isaiah 1:11: "'What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?' says the Lord. 'I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed cattle. And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs, or goats.'" And the Lord adds in Hosea 6:6: "For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings."
At the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15, Peter reminded the apostles and the elders listening to him that salvation is by faith and that they, nor the fathers of Israel, could keep the law - especially for salvation! "Our fathers were not able to bear" the law (v. 10), thus "we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they (the Gentiles) are also" saved (v. 11). The law was a yoke around their necks (v. 10).
Read also Romans 3:19-31; Galatians 3:22-29; 4:4-5.
In the Philippian epistle, after Paul had rehearsed his life of piety before he was saved, and after saying he had lived blameless in law-keeping (Phil. 3:6), he concludes concerning his new life: "That I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith" (vv. 8b-9).
Finally, the apostle makes it clear that we are neither saved nor sanctified in the Christian life by law-keeping but by faith alone (Gal. 3:1-5).
The "law thing" will never end until people quite inserting the flesh into the Christian life. We are saved by faith, and, we are to walk by faith!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Monday, March 10, 2008
No one promoted the virtues of the spiritual life and of physical vigor more than President Theodore Roosevelt. As a boy Theodore had been sickly with terrible bouts of asthma. To overcome it he went on a regimen of strenuous exercise. By this he seemed to have won out against this terrible disease. Because of his physical victory, he became an active outdoorsman. He wrote in his autobiography that he did not want to see young Christian men with "shoulders that slope like a champagne bottle."
Born to a Dutch Reformed father and a Presbyterian mother in 1858, Theodore grew up in a strong Christian household. The family attended Sunday school regularly and they co-hosted an ongoing weekly prayer meeting with their friends and neighbors. The favorite song for the family was "Shall We Gather at the River?" Roosevelt's father and a wealthy and close family friend, William Dodge, helped start the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) in New York City.
To help promote the spiritual growth of the country Roosevelt's father hosted a series of prayer breakfasts for the great evangelist Dwight L. Moody. Many believe that Moody's style of preaching was watched closely by the younger Roosevelt who imitated it in his political speeches. There is no doubt about the salvation and spiritual life of President Roosevelt but he did some things that may have blunted the truth of the Bible in American society. While he often called for days of prayer for the nation, he did not want the saying "In God We Trust" put on the country's coins. However he was overruled by Congress who wanted this motto on all coinage.
When the Titantic struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic on the night of Sunday April 14, 1912, there was a lot of panic and contradictions as hundreds drowned in the icy waters. While some survivors gave contradictory accounts of that horrible event, one of the most vivid descriptions of the liner's last moments entered into the permanent folklore of the tragedy.
As the ship sank, the seven-man orchestra on board continued to play to the end in order to calm the passengers. Finally, when it was clear that all hope was lost, the orchestra began to play the familiar hymn know by all, Nearer, My God to Thee.
Though the words of the piece had been written by Unitarian Sarah Adams in 1841, the song had been adopted by all Protestant groups because of its orthodox message. The words of the song were said to be recited by dying President McKinley several times during the last hours of his life. "Nearer, My God to Thee" had become a mainstay in churches across America. After the sinking of the Titantic, the hymn gained a special significance for future generations, joined forever, as it were, to one of history's greatest disasters. During both World Wars, the hymn was often sung for inspiration on ships crossing the ocean with young men headed for combat.
Most often forgotten is the fact that this was the maiden voyage for the ship, and it was claimed to be "unsinkable." When the White Star Line liner left Belfast headed for America, it is said that 100,000 people lined the shores to watch it pass into the ocean. What irony that the ship was the epitome of human engineering and technology but it would be most remembered in such a tragic way by a song that spiritually placed frail humans in the hands of a sovereign God!
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!
E'en though it be a cross
That raiseth me;
Still all my song shall be,
Nearer, my God to Thee,
Nearer, to Thee!
The Salvation Army began to reach out to the down-and-out with the gospel on the streets of our fast growing industrial cities following the Civil War. One member of the Army who left a mark beyond the inner city was George Bennard. His work on the streets of American cities inspired him to compose a hymn that without a doubt became the most popular gospel song written in the twentieth century. With its publication in 1913, "The Old Rugged Cross" became an instant classic.
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross
And exchange it some day for a crown.
"The Old Rugged Cross" soon became the unofficial anthem for the outreach for the Army with the gospel in both America and Britain. Bennard would be shocked today to see how the Army has changed. It is now simply a charitable institution where the gospel is muddied and put on the back burner in its work. During the '08 Super Bowl half-time performance, the Army sponsored the most obscene musical group one could imagine gyrating on a stage before millions of television viewers. As so many Christian institutions the Army is shifting to the left and forgetting its original purposeof saving lost souls for Christ!
Friday, March 7, 2008
in the prophetic literature of the Bible. And when we recall that the Apostle John, in the Book of Revelation, apparently used 360-day years in his calculations (cf. Rev. 11:2-3; 12:6, 14; 13:5), it is likely that he was walking in step with Daniel. With a 360-day year, the end of the sixty-ninth week, after which the Messiah will be cut off, is the year 33 A.D. (Paul Benware)
Dr. Mal Couch
The apostle Paul warns of the coming apostasy that would tumble onto our world before the rapture of the church. He writes:
Notice that Paul uses the definite article THE before Faith! Belief in the God of the Scriptures and faith in Christ will have virtually disappeared. Not completely, of course, but to a large extent. People will be fooled in that there will always be a form of religion but the truth of Scripture will be lost and buried. This happens just before the rapture of the church, followed by the beginning of the terrible wrath of God, the tribulation, that touches the entire world.
To my amazement I found Christ saying almost the same thing as Paul when He speaks about the disappearance of THE FAITH. The Lord's reference has to do with the end of the tribulation just prior to the dramatic coming of Christ from glory to reign on earth in the millennial kingdom. He said: "When the Son of Man comes will He find THE FAITH on the earth?" (Luke 18:8). The question demands a negative answer: No, He will not find it upon the earth! Of course there will be some at the end of the tribulation, a remnant left, of both Jews and Gentiles but the vast majority will be unbelievers and those who mock the truth.
Though Luke 18:9 begins a new thought, it is interesting to note that Christ points out that even in His day, the unbelievers are those who "trusted in themselves that they were righteous." There is no accident that this statement follows verse 8. Humanism will replace biblical truth and will supplant the knowledge of THE FAITH.
What is also profound is that back in 1 Timothy 4, where Paul is discussing the issue of the prophesied apostasy, he points out in a continuing paragraph that even today, in our times, as good servants of Christ Jesus we are presently to be "nourished on the words of THE FAITH and of sound doctrine which you have been following" (v. 6).
In the present Emerging Church scene, there is a galloping away from the teaching of the Word of God exegetically, verse by verse, from the pulpit. Evangelicals are becoming more and more ignorant of doctrine and biblical truth. Yet it is our mandate from the apostle that sound (healthy) doctrine (didache) is supposed to be taught. I find it interesting that many of the classical dispensationalists I know are holding tightly to exegesis in order to explain the Word of God to the sheep. Unfortunately, not all, because it is so easy for sincere believers to be brainwashed by the thoughts of the culture and drift from the moorings of the Bible.
I urge everyone reading this article to purchase Roger Oakland's book Faith Undone. The book is right on as to what is happening in our day!
Dr. Mal Couch
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
ANSWER: Even most of the old amil and covenant guys who know Greek know better. The passage should read, as is translated in the NAS, "the kingdom of God is in your midst." The kingdom was there because the King had arrived! But it is important to look first at verse 20 to get the full scope of what Christ is talking about. He said, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed." "Signs" (semeion) had to do with some kind of "signal" in order to give a warning or fanfare of something coming. In my Luke commentary I write about these two verses:
"Signs to be observed" (Luke 17:20) is the verb parateresis, meaning "in a way that can be observed [be external signs]," with "critical observation," Jesus described His coming: "Just as the lightning when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day" (v. 24). No distinct precursor will take place when the kingdom comes. It will suddenly arrive on the scene!
"For behold the kingdom of God is in your midst" (v. 21). In every reference to the arrival, or the coming of the kingdom in the Gospels, the verb is in the perfect tense. In Luke the NASB translates 10:9, 11 correctly: "The kingdom of God has come near to you." It has arrived but it has not been inaugurated. "It has been on its way, and it has arrived, but it has in no way begun!"
In 17:21 Jesus continues this thought and told the Pharisees, "It [the kingdom] is existing in your midst, but it certainly has not started!" When kingdom of God (and kingdom of heaven) is mentioned, it is accompanied by a perfect tense, meaning the kingdom has come up to the moment but it has not been inaugurated. The kingdom itself will not come with signs (Greek, semeion) to be observed.
This lends itself to the fact that the kingdom, the millennial reign of the Messiah, has been postponed and temporarily set aside, but not permanently canceled or done away with. It will come at the end of the terrible tribulation period!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
ANSWER: Good question. We normally say that the dispensation of grace began at Pentecost that replaced the dispensation of the Law but there is an interesting verse in Luke 16, where Christ is speaking, that has an interesting twist.
Speaking to the Pharisees the Lord said, "The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John [the Baptist]; since then the gospel of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it" (v. 16).
There are several important things to note: A new message began with the preaching of repentance by John the Baptist. It either replaced or overshadowed the dispensation of the Law. It was the "good news" about the millennial kingdom because the King was then in the presence of the Jews. We know for an absolute fact that the gospel of "the kingdom of God" is not directly about personal salvation (though only those who trust Christ when the kingdom begins will enter it as its citizens), and is certainly not the message concerning the coming of the church age. All of Jewish history tells us "the gospel of the kingdom" is about the Davidic reign of the Messiah. In this sense the kingdom was presented to the Jews but was rejected.
Notice carefully the rest of the verse. Chiding the legalistic and Pharisaic Jews the Lord added, "and everyone is forcing his way into it." This tells us the Jews hearing John the Baptist, and then Christ, were attempting to become citizens of the millennial kingdom simply by the fact that they were Jews. Though the kingdom when it arrives will be geographical and literal, they ignored the spiritual nature of that kingdom and the fact they must accept Jesus as Israel's Messiah in order to enter it! This also tells us that the kingdom of God is certainly not the church because at that time, the Jews were rushing to force themselves into it and the church had not even been launched at that time! (Again, we dispensationalists are correct and the covenant guys who cannot seem to understand the Bible are wrong!)
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
- "God made a covenant of works with the first human being." Where in the world does the Bible say that? Even the covenant guys, Charles Hodge and Louis Berkhof, say the covenant of works is IMPLIED in the Bible but admit it's not EXPLICIT. If it was not explicit and was only implied how did Adam know about this covenant? He was only told to obey what God said, and of course, he did not!
- "Since Adam's failure to comply with the covenant of works he would plunge the world into eternal death." Adam disobeyed what God said; there is no indication he was failing to comply with a so-called covenant of works that even the covenant guys admit is not in Scripture!
- "God made a covenant of grace wherein He would send a new Adam to satisfy the covenant of works." Now I am starting to throw up! Where does the Bible say all of that? Of course Christ will be the new faithful Adam but the rest of what this little devotional says on a supposed covenant of works and covenant of grace is not biblical!
- Now here comes the ultimate STUPIDITY: "Jesus is the new Israel!" Can you believe it?
Thank God for biblical dispensationalism that sticks to the Bible! I don't just throw different ideas into a mixing bowl and stir it all up. I logically and carefully study the Bible in its context, line upon line! Unfortunately, the people reading the above points will think those statements are scriptural and that they are true.
THEY ARE NOT!
Dr. Mal Couch
ANSWER: You observed carefully. The problem with this view is that it is not discerning the difference between POSITIONAL and EXPERIENTIAL truth. Positionally, in God's divine mind all of my sins have been forgiven and I'm a child of God forever. But in my Christian walk, in my experience in time, and in regard to my fellowship with Him, I need to confess my sins in order to restore fellowship.
This is exactly what happens in the relationship between parent and child. The child is forever a member of his birth family. The birth certificate is filed in the courthouse and is forever recorded and made permanent. But the daily relationship is another matter. The child may sin against his parents. What restores that fellowship? The verbal confession of doing wrong. "I'm sorry, Dad!"
Lack of confession does not mean loss of salvation but a loss of fellowship. John makes this clear in the introduction to his epistle. He says "We proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us, and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ" (1 John 1:3). He adds, "I am writing that your joy may be made complete" (v. 4). And, if we walk in darkness (and are sinning) and say we have fellowship with Him we are lying" (v. 6). Also, in the Christian walk, if we say we have no sin "we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (v. 8).
I have always wondered what George's agenda is on this subject. There is an agenda and a payoff in his mind. What is it?
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Monday, March 3, 2008
The Third Great Awakening was very different from the previous two. With the backdrop of the Industrial Revolution, massive immigration by Europeans, and cities bulging at the seams, the emphasis shifted from personal to social sins. The ills of modern society—crime and other sins—were erupting rapidly.
On the one hand, there were the sins that had been targeted by the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union—drinking, gambling, and prostitution. On the other, there were the sins of human neglect. Given the disease, squalor, and hunger of the day, male babies born in 1900 could expect to live an average of 49 years!
Out of this setting one very simple question for the spiritually reform-minded to ask themselves was “What would Jesus do?” A Congregationalist minister, the Reverend Charles Sheldon from Topeka, Kansas, wrote a best-selling book in 1896 entitled In His Steps. During his lifetime the book had the second largest circulation of any book outside of the Bible. It became one of the most published books of all time, translated into more than two dozen languages. In it he wrote:
What do you Christians mean by following the steps of Jesus? Where are the words of sympathy for the downtrodden? What do you mean when you sing, “I’ll go with Him all the way?” It seems to me there’s an awful lot of trouble in the world that somehow wouldn’t exist if all people who sing such songs went and live them out.
Many of the hymns and prayers adopted by the academies became a vital part of the tradition of the larger armed services as well. A case in point was “Eternal Father,” chosen by the United States Navel Academy at Annapolis as its official hymn and in turn adopted by the U.S. Navy.
The words had been written by William Whiting, an Englishman, for a young man about to embark for America on the eve of the Civil War. With a tune composed by the Reverend John Bacchus Dykes, a prolific composer and Anglican pastor from Cambridge University, “Eternal Father” is one of the most hauntingly beautiful hymns ever written:
Eternal Father, Strong to Save
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bid’st the mighty Ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea.
O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe’er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee,
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.
“Eternal Father” was played at the funerals of President Franklin Roosevelt, a former Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and President John F. Kennedy who had been in the Navy in World War II.
At the turn of the last century many colleges and universities developed their own hymns and prayers. The students were often required to memorize them. At the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, founded on the banks of the Hudson River in 1802 by Jefferson, prayer had always played a part in the lives of the cadets. “God of Our Fathers” known to many as the “National Hymn” when it was composed for the country’s centennial celebration, was adopted for the academy as its own.
By 1920 the Reverend Clayton Wheat, the head chaplain and chairman of the academy’s English department, had written a prayer for cadets that he hoped would have staying power and meaning, as though it would “come naturally from the lips of the young men” going out to serve their country.
The hymn was approved by West Point’s Commandant Douglas MacArthur and it became a prayer that future army men would learn by heart and take with them into battle fields overseas. It was often recited as the last words of dying soldiers.
O God, our Father, Thou Searcher of men’s hearts,
help us to draw near to Thee in sincerity and truth.
Make us to choose the harder right instead of the
easier wrong, and never to be content with a half truth
when the whole truth can be won.
All of which we ask in the name of our great Friend
and Master of men.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
All you need to do is write to Grace Chapel or send an email to Jamie Utter (see below).
This is a small ministry and therefore cannot fill large orders. Mostly they send Bibles to individuals or small quantities to churches. Most of them go to Ukraine and the surrounding countries.
Grace Chapel sends mostly: Bibles, New Testaments, the Gospel of John, and gospel tracts, from one to ten at a time.
To help provide Free Bibles to Russia, please email or write to:
utter [at] integrity [dot]com
126 Airport Road
Shamokin, PA 17872 USA
This has begun to happen. There is a winding down of His dealings with the Gentiles and an acceleration of His work with the Jews who have been restored to the Promised Land.
The core of this Luke 21 section is also found in Matthew 24. Together they form what we call The Olivet Discourse. But embedded in 21:12-24 in the Luke passage Jesus speaks of the "days of vengeance" (v. 22) that have to do with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in A.D. 70. The "times of the Gentiles" then probably begin at that time and will end when the Lord returns, puts down the antichrist, and establishes His millennial rule. In verse 24 is the only place where Christ mentions the times of the Gentiles. In other words, when Jerusalem was destroyed in A.D. 70, God began to dramatically move the gospel to the world and began also to cease temporarily His work with the Jewish people as a nation. But that work with Israel will be restored fully when Christ returns.
THE WINDING DOWN
I believe that God has progressively and slowly begun the winding down of His work with the Gentile nations. And, He has slowly begun His divine activity with the Jewish people in the Holy Land in preparation for the coming worldwide tribulation that will lead to the end of the times of the Gentiles!
Even though at the present time the Jews have completely re-occupied the city of Jerusalem, it still will be overrun again during the seven-year tribulation period. Luke 21:24 is the important verse we are discussing. The text reads:
Some believe The Times of the Gentiles began before AD 70, say around the time of the Babylonian Captivity and the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem in 586 BC. However I believe The Times is a technical phrase that would actually begin in AD 70 when Titus destroyed the city and the temple and took 100,000 young Jewish men and women into captivity into Egypt to work the salt mines as slaves.
And they will fall be the edge of the sword and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times (seasons, kairos) of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
In the context of Luke 21, Christ is speaking about that AD 70 event that would arrive in less than forty years from the time He was speaking. The Luke 21 passage is the Olivet Discourse which is also repeated in Matthew 24-25 with one exception. In Matthew Christ hardly mentions the coming Roman destruction in AD 70. But here in Luke 21 He begins speaking to His disciples about it in a parenthesis section: verses 12-24.
This destruction coming against Jerusalem in AD 70 the Lord calls the desolation (v. 20), the vengeance (v. 22), the great distress, the wrath (v. 23), the trampling down (v. 24). He actually talks about the wrath coming, the seven year tribulation, in verses 8-11 and 24-36. When Christ mentioned about the temple torn down stone by stone someday, the disciples had asked, when? The Lord answered their question though it is not recorded in Matthew but is in the context of the same discussion in Luke 21:12-24: "When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies," then the "desolation" on the city is near (Luke 21:20).
THE END OF THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES
Thus, this period will begin in AD 70 and will end at the close of the tribulation when the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ returns to earth. The city of Jerusalem will then be liberated and He will enter the city to establish His millennial throne.
The closing of the times of the Gentiles is spelled out in Zechariah 12. Jerusalem then will become "a cup" of wrath upon all the nations who come against it and the Holy Land (v. 2), and the city will be a "heavy stone" against "all the nations of the earth who will be gathered against it" (v. 3). The Lord will strike the hostile armies with madness (v. 4) and He will strengthen the resolve of the inhabitants of Jerusalem when the enemies, the nations, are coming against the city (v. 5). The Lord will save Judah (v. 7), defend Jerusalem (v. 8) and "will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem" (v. 9).
God's Spirit will be poured out on the house of David "and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem" and "they will look on Me (the Lord, the Messiah) whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born" (v. 10).
We know that the times of the Gentiles will not end until the end of the tribulation, not only from Zechariah 12 but from many other passages that show that the city of Jerusalem and the temple area will be desecrated. In the city of Jerusalem, and at the temple site, half way through the tribulation the antichrist will "exalt and magnify himself above every god, and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods" (Dan. 11:36) and will "magnify himself above all" (v. 37). The apostle Paul refers to these verses in 2 Thessalonians 2:4. He wrote: The antichrist is he "who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God."
These things are confirmed in Revelation 11. There it is mentioned that the beast (the antichrist) will make his move against the Lord's two special witnesses at the mid point in the tribulation (v. 3) who he slays in the city of Jerusalem. Their dead bodies will be seen by the whole world for three days (vv. 9-11). The city is still under the times of the Gentiles and is wallowing in the sins of the world. The city is called "the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified" (v. 8). But the Jews of the city will be judgedthose who are not trusting in God and His salvation provision in Christ. A great earthquake will take place with a tenth of the city destroyed and seven thousand people killed. But apparently this event brings on conviction by those left who it seems repent of their ways and come to Christ. "The rest (after the earthquake) were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven" (v. 13).
THE LATTER DAYS
There are many passages that speak of the end times, especially in the Old Testament. Moss warned even the new generation about to enter the Holy Land that Israel would be scattered for their sins but be re-gathered and blessed in a future day. He said, "the Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you shall be left few in number among the nations, where the Lord shall drive you" (Deut. 4:27), "But in the distress [when] all these things come upon you, in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and listen to His voice" (vv. 29-30).
Jeremiah spoke often of this restoration in the latter days. He wrote about the Jews becoming again "My people, and I will be your God" (Jer. 30:22). Verses 23-24 speak of the coming tribulation: "Behold, the tempest of the Lord! Wrath will go forth, a sweeping tempest; it will burst on the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of the Lord will not turn back, until He has performed, and until He has accomplished the intent of His heart; in the latter days you will understand this" (Bold mine)
Ezekiel also predicts this coming restoration of the Jews back to the land. He writes:
Nebuchadnezzar was given the plan for the Gentile nations and how the great world powers would end. Through Daniel the king's dream was interpreted and explained. Daniel said:
After many days you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but its people were brought out from the nations, and they will be living securely, all of them. (Ezek. 38:8)
The nations will be finally subdued by the coming messianic reign of the Son of God. The rulers of the earth, "those kings," will be put down and God's kingdom will be exalted worldwide. "And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left to another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever" (Dan. 2:44; bold mine).
There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days. (Dan. 2:28)
The present nations of the earth are storing up wrath for the final days. The Gentile powers will be subdued with all their rebellion against God, His Son, and the truth of His Word. We are moving closer to the end of the times of the Gentiles!
The church is not the kingdom - it is failing and will apostasize before the seven year tribulation begins. The tribulation and wrath will follow and then the Davidic kingdom, the millennial reign of Christ, will bring peace to the earth.
Daniel says the heavenly court will pass judgment on the antichrist and his revived Roman Empire, the last great world Gentile rule. And the antichrist's "dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever" (Dan. 7:26). And then "the sovereignty, the dominion, and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him" (v. 27).