Monday, June 30, 2008
ANSWER: The core of all truth is spiritual and it comes from the Bible. God's Word is truth itself and the Lord says He is the Way and the Truth and that men must come to God through Him (John 14:6). He is also the Light of the world, and without Him, as clearly revealed in Scripture, the world gropes in spiritual darkness (9:5). The Way and the Light are being further erased from our culture. The Bible is being rapidly buried from sight, and thus Christ is being forgotten! There is no return in my view; and, we are sinking further into the apostasy of the church. This is impacting every aspect of life: political, social, domestic, educationally, and of course morally and spiritually!
The Lord has made Himself available to the lost but they must come to Him by way of Truth (Psa. 145:18). Truth comes only through the Lord (146:6). He keeps or maintains the standard of Truth personally. His truth is reflected only in Scripture!
Human beings cannot claim glory nor do they know what truth is apart from revelation! Glory belongs to Him and His name. He alone reflects true mercy and truth (115:1). A good synonym for truth is reality. We cannot know reality, what is true and right, apart from divine knowledge given only in the Bible.
We human beings will fade away because we are like grass (Isa. 40:8). "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever."
We are seeing the death of truth in the American culture. We are seeing it in choice of our elected officials by people who do not understand reality. Few are able to discern today. The judges and leaders are blind and the people do not know the difference.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
|Dr. Couch, a well known Bible teacher whom you know says he sees no problem with cremation. What do you say?|
ANSWER: Even in far ancient times the Hindus of India were cremating their dead. Cremation has pagan origins. On the other hand, the Bible pictures the body being respected even in death, if possible. When Sarah died in Hebron, Abraham bargained with the sons of Heth for a burial place. He purchased a cave at Machpelah (Gen. 23:19) for her burial and the site became a family burial plot for several generations.
He told the sons of Heth "give me a burial site among you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight" (v. 4). They replied "bury your dead in the choicest of our graves; none of us will refuse you his grave for burying your dead" (v. 6). Even they understood the importance of burial and respected Abraham's wish. The place of Sarah's burial was to be an honored place. It was by the city gates for all to see, facing Hebron (v. 19). All the way up to the NT proper burial was the accepted method for laying the righteous to rest.
Christ was given a most prominent burial site—the tomb of a wealthy man located near the outer walls of Jerusalem.
While there is no command against cremation there are some important principles to note in the Bible, both in the OT and in the NT. The body is to be respected. It would only be right in my opinion to follow the continual example throughout Scripture.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Sunday, June 29, 2008
|Dr. Couch, I do not see many premillennialists writing about the history of Bible interpretation, but I see a lot of the covenant advocates doing this. Can you help?|
I can see you have not purchased some of my books that really deal with this issue nor have you read some that have already been written by others. To be quite frank I find it just the opposite. I know none in the allegorical camp who can really hold a candle to their view from a historical point and make any sense.
There are three books that you need:
Reading my Dictionary no one could be foolishly tempted again to believe in allegorical, fuzzy, non-literal interpretation. I have all of the interpretation volumes by the allegorical guys. None of them are consistent with their own principles and views. They have to fudge somewhere along the line, and of course they do that when it comes to "trying" to interpret biblical prophecy. I really don't see how they can live with themselves and look themselves in the mirror in the morning! They really are intellectually dishonest!
What I still do not understand is why most people do not see through their inconsistent theories. I really believe deep down many people do not like the idea of a Jewish kingdom that is yet to come. They are anti-Semitic at heart!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Saturday, June 28, 2008
|Dr. Couch, was Luke a Jew or a Gentile?|
ANSWER: Harrison in his excellent volume on the introduction to the NT books says that without a doubt he was a Gentile. Though he gives circumstantial evidence, the evidence seems clearly to point that way, though we may not be able to be overly dogmatic on the issue.
After he had made a list of "circumcised" fellow workers, Paul in Colossians 4:14 includes Luke who seems to be in that same list. Luke, the author of Acts, says in 1:19 that the Jews mentioned the "field of blood" near Jerusalem "in their own language." Luke seems to have been free of persecution that was put upon Christian Jews. He must have been seen in a different light by the Gentile antagonists of the gospel. This would possibly show that Luke was a Gentile. Luke is so Hellenistic in his language and thought forms that more than likely he was a Greek.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Friday, June 27, 2008
|Dr. Couch, I read somewhere that you said there was a connection between rejection of the gospel and evolution. Would you explain that?|
ANSWER: While the idea of evolution is not in the context of Acts 14:15-17, I believe a connection can be made. For example Paul said to the crowds at Lystra that God sent the gospel in order that the pagan world might turn from their vain idolatry to "a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them." The gospel will lead men to the sovereign Lord who created all things. This means there is no room for the godless teaching of chance-evolution.
In the past God permitted the nations to go their way in their disbelief and false theologies (v. 16). "Permitted" (aeo) is in the Aorist Tense and should be translated "to leave alone," "to let go." The Lord left men to follow their own sinful tendencies and inclinations. The root idea of "way" is road. They were left to travel their own roads to destruction without the knowledge of the gospel.
However, He left a witness, i.e. He did them good and gave them the rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, even satisfying their hearts with food and gladness (v. 17). Yet men spurn the blessings of nature. They refuse to believe the benefits of this world come from Him. It all materialized by natural, evolutionary processes, and man with his own strength and ingenuity is now somehow responsible for it all. God is left out of creation and even the sustaining of the natural world.
Because the world is more adamant about the rejection of the gospel than ever before, I believe we are now in the apostasy. God's anger is building and the end will soon be near.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
|Dr. Couch, I know of some Bible teachers who believe in what they call the "hidden Bible codes." Is this heresy? |
ANSWER: I know some of these brothers personally and I think it is unfortunate that they take this view. The problem is God has revealed to us His revelations in full without any hidden messages or methods needed to find out what the truth is. This means that some people are "in" on secret truth and some are "out" in knowing what God has revealed. This makes them special and gives them an "up" on the rest of us.
If God is giving us His truth why would He then give a secret code in order to unlock what He has to say? It does not make sense! The book of Acts says the Bereans searched the Scriptures daily in order to confirm the truth of the gospel (Acts 17:11). They used inductive reasoning and searching and did not employ some secret key to try to understand the Word of God. Paul says the Thessalonians "received from us the word of God's message, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God" (1 Thess. 2:13). Again, no secret code was needed.
Some people like to be sensationalists and mystics in interpreting the Bible. Don't fall for it. God spoke to us in plain language!
Is the "code" view heresy? No, maybe not, but it is certainly wrong and terribly misleading!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Thursday, June 26, 2008
|Dr. Couch, is the church under the Sabbath?|
ANSWER: No it is not. The early church met on the first day of the week which was Sunday. "And on the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, …" (Acts 20:7). Nine of the ten commandments are moral and spiritual in nature. They are eternal principles that reflect eternal values. They are repeated (but not as the Ten Commandments as a law system) throughout the NT. The Sabbath, while extremely important to the OT economy, is not repeated as an imperative for the NT church age and dispensation. We are not under the Sabbath commandment. Since it is a day of body and spiritual rest, we have transferred those qualities to Sunday, and there is nothing wrong in doing that. But as a heavy moral imperative, we are not under the law, any part of it, including the Sabbath.
It is important to add however, we are not now antinomian. We have the law of Christ, to love one another, and we have all of the moral commands stated in the NT epistles that are incumbent for believers to live by today.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Dr. Couch, the book of Revelation does not mention the making of the seven year covenant with the antichrist. Or does it?
ANSWER: The book of Revelation does not have to mention the making of the seven year covenant (Dan. 9:27). It is assumed because the book is clearly dealing with the Prince, the Beast, the antichrist, and that covenant is there by the reference to the half-life of the covenant. For example, 11:2 says, "the temple (the rebuilt one standing at the time of the tribulation) … has been given over to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months (or three and a half years)." It is stated again by days in 11:3: "twelve hundred and sixty days" and in 12:6: "one thousand two hundred and sixty days." This is repeated in 13:5.
This ties in with the desecration of the temple as spoken of by Christ in Matthew 24:15: "the Abomination of desolation which was spoke of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (the temple)." And it ties in with what Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4: "The man of lawlessness … who takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God." This would connect with what Daniel says in 9:27: "the Prince (the antichrist) will make a firm covenant with the man for one week (seven years) and in the middle of the week (3 and ½ years) he will put an end to sacrifice."
Three and a half years is also mentioned in Revelation 12:14 as "times and time and half a time." This is directly quoted from Daniel 7:25 and 12:7. Daniel 12 closes the book of Daniel and speaks of the distress coming upon the Jews, God's people (v. 1). At the end of "a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they (the enemy) finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed."
In conclusion Revelation focuses down on the final 3 ½ years of the tribulation and quotes directly time passages in Daniel to prove that these events are the same. One does not have to have a seven year covenant mentioned in Revelation in order to make the obvious connection.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
The key word here is "boast." Waltke points out that the word can mean "excessive exaggeration," "spontaneous" or volunteered bragging. In the vernacular we might say one who speaks as a loud mouth about what he is going to do tomorrow. The Rabbis point out:
Lawson adds, "In God we live and move and have our being; but we too often forget this important truth, and speak, act, and think, as if we live and move and had our being in ourselves. We boast of what we will do, or of what we shall enjoy at the distance of days, and months, and years. This presumption is forbidden in this and many places of Scripture."
Unger points out that "bring forth" is an expression of child bearing. We do not know what will be birthed for us tomorrow! On "boast" he says, "Do not flatter yourself about tomorrow or brag about it." You do not know God's plans for your life the next day!
Friday, June 20, 2008
Psalm 1 emphasizes God's law while Psalm 2 focuses on prophecy. The people in Psalm 1 delight in the law, but the people in Psalm 2 defy the law. Psalm 1 begins with a beatitude and Psalm 2 ends with a beatitude. Psalm 1 is never quoted in the New Testament, while Psalm 2 is quoted or alluded to at least eighteen times, more than any single psalm. (See Matt. 3:17; 7:23; 17:5; Mark 1:11; 9:7; Luke 3:22; 9:35; John 1:49; Acts 4:25-26; 13:33; Phil. 2:12; Heb. 1:2, 5; 5:5; Rev. 2:26-27; 11:18; 12:5; 19:15). It is a Messianic psalm, along with 8, 16, 22, 23, 40, 41, 45, 68, 69, 102, 110, and 118. The test for a Messianic psalm is that it is quoted in the New Testament as referring to Jesus (Luke 24:27, 44). But this is also a royal psalm, referring to the coronation of a Jewish king and the rebellion of some vassal nations that hoped to gain their freedom (Warren Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary – Wisdom And Poetry, p. 88).
I. The Conspiracy of the Nations
Why do nations rage, And people continually devise vanity? [The] kings of [the] earth take their stand, And ruling, they counsel together Against [the] Lord and against His anointed. Let us intensely pull off their bonds, And let us cast away their ropes. (Psalm 2:1-3)
1a. Why do nations rage? The Psalmist, is dumbfounded! Why indeed, do the nations rage (ragash, "band together with evil intent," "to conspire or plot")? Though the word ragash is only used here in the whole of the Old Testament, the word implies a violent "commotion," "a loud noise." The word is related to the Aramaic regash of Daniel 6:6, where the governors and satraps after conspiring against Daniel rushed in to king Darius and said "King Darius, live forever!" "The psalmist here sees the nations in violent agitation or commotion, as if under high excitement, engaged in accomplishing some purpose - rushing on to secure something, or to prevent something. The image of a mob, or of a tumultuous unregulated assemblage, would probably convey the idea of the psalmist." (Albert Barnes, Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible)
This psalm is prophecy. David is the psalmist and as the ancient Jewish rabbis say, He is writing about King Messiah! Later rabbis claim the psalm is about David (A. Cohen, The Soncino Books of the Bible – The Psalms, p. 2). The Book of Acts relates this verse to the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 4:25). "This applied to the rejection of the perfect Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, by man at His first advent (Acts 4:25-26), a hostility that has continued throughout this present age and will find its climax at the second advent." (Merrill Unger, Unger's Commentary on the Old Testament, p. 750)
Notice what Isaiah has to say about this day:
The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the LORD of hosts mustereth the host of the battle. They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the LORD, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land. Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man's heart shall melt: And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames. Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. (Isa. 13:4-9)
1b. [A]nd people devise vanity. The Hebrew word for people here means "people groups" (cf. Gen. 25:23), and the literary agent used points the people groups back to the nations, encompassing the whole of the earth. Why is it that they devise empty (riyk, "vain," "empty," "senseless") schemes? Why is it that the nations continually think up, or plot vain acts?
2a. [The] kings of [the] earth take their stand. The intensity of the situation is at its height as the Hebrew intensive form is used. Literally, "[The] kings of [the] earth intensely set themselves." They set themselves against the Lord. First the people of the earth devise schemes against God, then the kings of the earth lead in that attack against God.
2b. And ruling, they counsel together. The Hebrew yacad means "to found," "fix," and hence are seen together forming a common foundation whose goal is aligning themselves together in the most powerful coalition possible. The kings together collectively as in the days of Babel (Gen. 11).
2c. Against [the] Lord and against His anointed. The whole of the leaders and hence the whole of the earth are together aligned in opposition against the Lord YHWH and His Messiah! This is similar to the events of the earth before the confusing of languages in the days of Nimrod and his kingdom and the events leading up to the great tower of Babel. The whole earth was working together against God. This event, however, is future and sees different nation groups gather together against the Messiah "the Anointed," which is translated in the Greek as Christos or "the Christ." In Old Testament times, the one who had been anointed to a task had been given all power and authority to perform that task to completion. Kings, for example, were anointed but in a technical sense, "the reigning king of Israel in OT times was referred to as the Messiah. After the promise to David (2 Sam 7:13) 'anointed' came to mean the royal line of David (Ps 2:2; 18:50; 84:9; 89:38, 51; 132:10, 17)" (Merrill Tenney, ged. ed., The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Vol. 1, p. 172). However, in the sense of a coming deliverer the term 'Messiah' is exclusively used of Christ and can be seen by His work with both His first and second advents. His work on the cross was something only He could do, however, most times the Messiah is mentioned it refers to a future time when His will rescue Israel and restore the earth; again, only something that the Messiah can accomplish and that is the message of the psalmist. In essence, David says, Why do the nations enter into a hopeless conspiracy? How is it that the kings of the earth think they can succeed in their rebellion against God!
It is important to note the theological significance of the phrase "against the Lord and His Anointed." Verses one and two are quoted by Peter and John as they were released by the Sanhedrin. The Jewish authorities wanted to hear what the sect was up to. There interrogation would result in a life or death ruling. Peter and John praise God saying "Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the Lord and against His Christ. For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done." They do not say the events of Acts four fulfill Psalm two, they are praising God for their release, since it was not time for them to die, so Peter and John recognized Jesus as the true Anointed. They recognized God as sovereign and the rulers of the earth as having no power over the things that God was about to do in building His Church! In a general sense, God has anointed people in every generation to perform His will. Whether the anointed of God be the prophets of the OT, priests, kings, or in a special sense David, but this Anointed One is greater than David (see Table 1).
Table 1. Comparison of David and Christ
| Anointed of God || |
2 Sam 12:7
| Luke 4:18, Acts 4:27; 10:38; cf Rev. 19:13-16|
| Ps 2:6 || King || |
2 Sam 12:7
| Zech 9:9; John 12:13; 1 Tim 6:25; John 19:19-21; Rev. 1:5; 17:14; 19:16|
| of Zion || |
2 Sam 5:7
| Isa 2:3; 24:23|
| Ps. 2:7 || My Son || |
| Isa. 7:14; Matt 1:21; Mark 1:1; John 20:31|
| Begotten || |
| John 1:14, 18; 3:16; 18; Acts 13:33; Heb 1:5; 5:5; 1 John 4:9|
| Ps. 2:8 || Given the nations || |
| Micah 4:2, 7|
| Ends of the earth || |
| Micah 4:13|
| Break the nations || |
| Isa. 52:2; Jer 51:20|
3a. Let us intensely pull off their bonds. Again the rulers rage is seen in the tone of their voice as the intensive cohortative is used; Let us [the nations] pull off their [the Lord and His Anointed] bonds. "They express in plain language their evil intent to break (snap) the bonds and throw off the yoke of the Lord and His Christ over them and over the earth, which they are demonically deluded into thinking belongs to them. When all the while the earth and its inhabitants belong to Him, both by creation (24:1; 100:3; 139:13-14) and by redemption (Eph. 1:13-14; Rev. 5:7-9)" (Unger, p. 750).
3b. And let us cast away their ropes. In this phrase their arrogance is seen in the use of the causative cohortative verb; "Let us make their ropes hurl." As if their combined effort will make them strong enough to over throw the powers of heaven. This is a Satanic deception of the world order.
II. God's Mockery of the Nation's Conspiracy
He who sits in [the] heavens will laugh. [The] Lord will mock against it. Then He will speak to them in His anger, And He will intensely disturb them with His anger. And I, I set My king upon My holy mountain Zion. (Psalm 2:4-6)
4a. He who sits in [the] heavens will laugh. A clear distinction is made by the psalmist concerning God who sits or dwells in the heavens above, and the kings of the earth whose dwelling place is some man made building. The place of the judgment seat of God is heaven, meaning that God's authority and sovereign reign is over the whole of the earth and the things of heaven. God sits on the throne of heaven. The rulers sit on their thrones on the earth, but no matter what they do, they can never reach the authority, nor overpass the authority of the ruler of heaven. In fact the participle "He who sits" suggests a proper occupation, namely, He alone is the one who rules from the heavens. And the picture here is that He is looking down, amused. "He laughs at the defiant ones, for between them and Him there is an infinite distance." (Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament)
4b. [The] Lord will mock against it [the vanity]. Most translate the singular pronoun as a plural "them," but this pronoun points back to the masculine singular "vanity." The prophet Isaiah speaks wisely as he says, "All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity" (Isa. 140:17). In a theological sense, the word vanity is related to the word depravity. At the core of all mankind is vanity (Ps. 39:5, 11), that is, man by himself is vanity (Ps. 94:11). Fundamentally, what is not of God is vanity. There is a day, however, when man will devise no more vanity as the prophet Ezekiel says, "Therefore you shall see no more vanity, nor divine divinations: for I will deliver my people out of your hand: and you shall know that I am the LORD." (Ezek. 13:23)
5a. Then He will speak to them in His anger. The particle adverb 'az translated "then," has the meaning "next in time," and suggests He will at some point in time stop waiting, being slow to anger, and start speaking in anger. Notice when He does finally speak to the nations, He will do so, as some translate, in wrath. The word for anger used here is the Hebrew 'aph which has "breathing hard through the nostrils" as its root meaning. The picture is one who is fiercely angry, so "wrath" is often used and fits well as the Lord will come back during the great and terrible Day of the Lord (Joel 2:31) and deal with the nations in His wrath!
5b. And He will intensely disturb them with His anger. The proud kings of the earth will be struck with terror as the day of the Lord reaches its height. In the Hebrew when the author wants to convey an emotional event, the intensive verb is used. Here the kings are at the height of emotion, that is, terror! This may be equated with Revelation 16:1, "Then I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, 'Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.'" Then the angels begin to pour out the bowls of wrath upon all the earth and her inhabitants. By the end of chapter 18, Babylon is destroyed, "And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all" (Rev. 18:21).
6. And I, I set My king upon My holy mountain Zion. The psalmist turns to the first person. So as not to mistake whom the author is. The emphatic is used, "and I, I set my king." The contrast between the terror of the kings and the peace which is brought in by the establishment of the new King is striking. This speaks of the events of Revelation 19,
And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. (Rev. 19:11-16)
Zion "is the fortified mound between the Kidron and the Tyropean valleys that David captured from the Jebusites (2Sam 5:7). Subsequently, it became known as the city of David. With the building of the temple to the north, that hill later became known as Mount Zion. Zion may even refer specifically to the temple vicinity or more generally to Jerusalem itself; sometimes it includes the entire nation, the covenant community itself (Isa 1:27; Psa 97:8). "Zion" appears frequently in Psa and Lam. It seldom refers to the political capital of Judah, but much more often stands for the city of God in the new age" (TWOT).
There is no mistaking when this psalm is referring to. The use of the word Zion places the psalm in the last days when the Lord will dwell in Zion! That glorious city where the Lord will reign on His throne on earth in Israel!
III. The Son's Final Victory
I will intensely recount [the] statute, [The] Lord said to me, You [are] My Son, This day I have begotten you. Ask of me and I will make [the] nations Your inheritance, And [the] ends of [the] earth Your possession. You will break them with a rod of iron, You will intensely break them as a vessel of [the] potter. (Psalm 2:7-9)
7a. I will intensely recount [the] statute. A time is coming when the Lord will recount ("count," "recount," "relate") this section of Scripture that is viewed as a statute or decree. The root meaning is "something prescribed," something "cut out," or "made law." The decree has three parts; (1) the eternal Sonship of God the Son; (2) the subjugation of the nations; and (3) the inheritance and possession as ruler of the whole earth. This is a prophecy that is yet to be fulfilled. Someday the nations will be given to the Lord and He will rule with a rod of iron! That day will have its fulfillment in the Messianic Millennial Kingdom.
7b. [The] Lord said to me, You [are] My Son, This day I have begotten you. The decree of the eternal Sonship of God has several points. First that Jesus Christ is called; (1) the Son of God; (2) the Son of Man; and (3) the Son of David. Though the term "son of" is used in the sense of how families are built up, whether by birth or adoption, the term "son of" is also a Jewish idiom ascribing to the son the characteristics or attributes of that something. For example, "sons of valor" means those possessing courage. In general sons "followed by a genitive denoting virtue, vice, or condition of life; it denotes a man who has that virtue or vice, or who has been brought up in that condition." (H.W.F. Gesenius, Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament, p. 126) So the many associations in Scripture, "the branch is a son with respect to the tree, Ps. lxxx.15; the scholar with respect to his master (sons of prophets), an arrow with respect to the bow or quiver, Job xli.28; corn with respect to threshing-floor, Isa. xxi,10…" (William Wilson, Wilson's Old Testament Word Studies, p.404)
1. Christ as the Son of God
When Jesus Christ (The Savior, The Anointed One) is called the Son of God it means He has the characteristics of and is of the same essence as God. It means He has a unique relationship with God, and indeed has all rights to an inheritance. This is identified in Scripture by the testimony of the Old Testament that the Son of God would be the Messiah (Ps. 2; Isa. 7:14-15; & etc) and have the right to be the eternal King over the whole earth (Ps. 2; 2 Sam. 7:14; & etc). This is also identified in the New Testament by the fact that Jesus calls Himself the Son (John 10:36-38). The Jewish authorities understood the full implication of the title as they sought to kill Him for saying "God was His Father, making Himself equal (isos, "equal in quantity or quality") with God" (John 5:18). In this sense He claimed to be of the same essence as God. The fact that the Son is called God is clear in Hebrews 1:8-10.
There was never a time when Christ was not the Son of God. For example Isaiah refers to the Son as "the everlasting Father,"
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. (Isa. 9:6-7)
That Jesus is the unique Son of God is declared (a) in the fact of His unique virgin birth – the incarnation which is a requirement for the Messiah (Isa. 7:14-15; 9:6; Heb. 1:5,6; Luke 1:35; John 1:14; - though it is not that He was birthed that He is called the Son, but rather that the anointed of God came in the flesh. His lineage is the Son of David and son of Mary. It is a fact that the Son is "given," not born!); (b) His baptism of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:13-17); His works (John 10:36-38); His transfiguration (Matt. 17:5); His death (Rom. 5:10; 8:32; Gal. 2:20; 1Jn. 1:7; 4:10); His resurrection (Acts 13:33-35); and His much anticipated Kingship (Ps. 2:7-8; John 1:49; 11:27).
To say Christ is the Son of God is to say He is equal with God. Some of the things that only God can perform are associated with the Son. For example, the Son (a) is equal with the Father (John 5:18); (b) has life within Himself (John 5:26); (c) possesses the power to raise the dead (John 5:25); (d) gives life (John 5:21) and eternal life (John 10:10); (e) He sets men free from slavery to sin (John 8:36); (f) receives honor equal with the Father (John 5:23); (g) the object of faith (John 6:40); (h) object of prayer and worship (John 14:13, 14; Heb. 1:6); (i) power to answer prayer (John 14:13); and (j) executes all judgment (John 5:22).
2. Jesus as the Son of Man
The term Son of Man with reference to Jesus Christ refers to His humanity. It defines His relationship to mankind. This is Christ's most used designation for Himself. Dr. Chafer writes, "The statement, 'The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us' (John 1:14), indicates the beginning of an eternal reality in Christ. What is true about His incarnation is equally true of His association with His people, since they, being in Him, can never be separated from Him" (Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology,Vol. 3, p. 32). The term relates Adam to Christ's work on the cross as He was able to represent mankind in His death bringing redemption to mankind (Rom. 5).
Other times Jesus used the phrase Son of Man to emphasize the authority of His claims and declarations: His power to save in Luke 19:10, 'For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost'; His future resurrection as a sign, 'For just as Jonah became a sign to the Nivevites, so shall the Son of Man be to this generation' (Luke 11:20); and for His glorious judgment … (Luke 9:26) (Dictionary of Premillennial Theology).
Though Christ's work in His death, burial, resurrection and ascension is a dominant theme of the Son of Man, it is the Son of Man's second coming and kingdom reign that one finds in both Old and New Testaments.
And Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matt. 19:28).
3. The Son of David
The term the Son of David is used specifically of the promised King that would reign in Israel forever. The term is related to the Abrahamic covenant (Gen. 12:1-3; 13:14-17; 15:1-21; 17:1-21; 22:15-18) which is declared to David in 2 Samuel 7:4-17. God promises to establish David's kingdom, house, and throne forever. So Jesus Christ is called the Son of David and will rule from David's throne. This covenant will find fulfillment in Christ. Dr. Chafer notes, "Like the term Messiah, the designation Son of David is wholly Jewish in its import. As Christ is Lord and Head over the Church, so He is King and Messiah over Israel. Later, indeed, He will be King of kings, but that supreme authority will be exercised from the Davidic throne and in connection with His immediate relation to Israel." (Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, Vol. 3, p. 33)
7c. This day I have begotten you. The term begotten relates to the public declaration of the Sonship of Christ. That Christ is called the Son and refers to His Father is observed many places in Scripture. The terms "begotten," "only begotten of the Father," and "first-born" are terms that are used with reference to Christ. The Hebrew yalad has at its root meaning "to bear," "to bring forth," hence, the translation begotten. The idea is that God will in some prescribed future day (definite day – "the day") say to the Son "today I have brought you forth" to take possession of the nations. The term "only-begotten of the Father," and "only-begotten Son" (John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9) is the Greek word monogenes which is a compound that means "single of its kind," or literally, "alone (without a companion)-existing one."
John the apostle describes the glory radiated by the unique Son of God – no one else radiated the glory of the Father (John 1:14); moreover, the Son "explained" the Father – no one but the unique Son could explain the Father. It was the unique Son whom God sent into the world; eternal life was provided only through the unique Son of God (John 3:16). In examining the passages it is evident that only-begotten does not suggest a coming into existence, but rather it expresses the uniqueness of the person. Christ was unique as the Son of God, sent by the Father from heaven. (Paul Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology, p. 203)
The term first-born as used of Christ means priority and preeminence. The Greek word is prototokos a compound of protos meaning first in time, place or rank; and tikto meaning to bring forth, bear. Dr. Enns writes:
In its Old Testament culture the predominant emphasis was on the status of the oldest son. He enjoyed the double portion on the inheritance (Deut. 21:17), preferential treatment (Gen. 49:33), and the respect of others (Gen. 37:22). Figuratively, the word denotes priority or supremacy (Ex. 4:22; Jer. 31:9) and is used of Christ. In Colossians 1:18 where Christ is referred to as first-born the meaning is clear: as first-born, Christ is Head of the church and preeminent in everything. In Hebrews 1:6 the supremacy of Christ as the first-born is seen in that angels worship Him. Only God is worshiped. Psalm 89:27 is perhaps one of the clearest explanations of the term first-born. This is an example od synthetic poetry in Hebrew in which the second line explains the first. In this Messianic Psalm God affirms that Messiah will be the first-born, that is, the highest of the kings of the earth. First-born is explained as ruling over the kings of the entire earth.
When God says, "today I have brought you forth" means there will be a future day when the Son of Man, the Son of David will find fulfillment as the King of kings receives His inheritance.
8a. Ask of me and I will make [the] nations Your inheritance. David wrote in Psalm 22:
All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations will worship before You (Psalm 22:27).
The expectation that the nations will be given to the Lord has been acknowledged throughout the ages. The Lord is given (1) people who are elect of God (Gen 35:12; Ex. 32:13; ); (2) the land of Israel (Gen 25:12; 48:4; Ex. 6:8; 32:13; Lev 20:24; Ps 105:11; Ez 11:17 ); and (3) all the nations of the earth (Gen. 26:3, Isa 49:8).
The expectation of the inheritance is rooted in the legal aspect that the Lord is the Son. The special relationship of the "only begotten Son," has the legal connotation that Jesus is the only one legally able to inherit the earth and all that is in it.
8b. And [the] ends of [the] earth Your possession. The possession of the earth is the Lord's. This possession is in reference to the Millennial Kingdom when He will dwell on the earth with the covenant people who will possess the land for eternity and "I [God] will be their [Israel's] God," as promised in the Abrahamic covenant (Gen.17:8).
9a. You will break them with a rod of iron. The Lord will break them [the nations] with a rod of iron. The Hebrew word used here for break is not dush ("to bruise, "crush by treading") or daka' ("to break into small pieces"), or halam ("to strike as with a hammer"), or even naphats ("to dash," "to break and shatter"), but ra'a' meaning, "to be bad," "be evil," but has as a secondary meaning "to break," "to shatter," "to make good for nothing." The idea is that the Lord will bring evil upon them as they brought evil upon His covenant people Israel (Isa. 13:11; 31:2; 47:11 & etc). He will bring them to nothing. The rod of iron used to break them is the king's scepter. The Messiah will rule with a rod of iron (Rev. 2:27).
And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. (Rev. 2:26-27; cf. 12:5)
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. (Rev 19:11-18)
9b. You will intensely break them as a vessel of [the] potter. The Lord will intensely break them as the emotion of His anger is put to motion. The nations are viewed as vessels of a potter. The potter never knows for certain how the piece will turn out until it is fired. The vessel might look perfect, but once placed in the kiln any manner of catastrophe might occur which makes the vessel useless, so the potter would naphats ("shatter," "break," "beat in pieces"). So it is with the Lord, He will shatter the nations.
IV. Obey the Son
So now, kings, be wise, Be instructed, judges of [the] earth, Serve the Lord in fear and rejoice in trembling, Kiss [the] son, lest he be angry, And you be destroyed [of the] way, When his anger will burn as a little [while], Blessed [are] all that seek refuge in Him. (Psalm 2:10-12)
10a. So now, kings, be wise, Be instructed, judges of [the] earth. The kings of the earth are commanded in the strongest sense (Hebrew Hifil imperative) to be wise (sakal, "to be prudent," "wisely understand," "prosper"). This is a continuous call for the nations to consider their dealing with God's covenant people Israel. The nations are "caused to be wise" in the Messianic Kingdom. This is a literal future event described by Isaiah:
And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it (Isa. 2:2).
The book of Psalms speaks of the future kingdom worship by the nations,
And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider (sakal) of his doing (Psalm 64:9).
Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him (Psalm 72:11).
All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name (Psalm 86:9).
Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shall inherit all nations (Psalm 82:8).
The judges of the earth are commanded to be instructed ("disciplined," "corrected," "chastised"). The passive means they must submit to being instructed or corrected. Those who are in the position of judging are supposed to execute judgment. The word for judges here is a participle "those who judge, govern, or punish." The idea is probably that those who ruling as kings and those who act in the position of executing judgment are the same people, and hence need to be circumspect, pondering what the Lord has corrected they on.
11a. Serve the Lord in fear and rejoice in trembling. That something that the rulers of the earth should ponder is the fact of who the Lord really is. He is the sovereign that brings kings in and takes kings out. The Lord is the creator and sustainer of the universe. The One who provides the rain and the harvest. The One who provides salvation to the sinner by the substatutionary sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ. The Lord is His name and there is no other. So the nations are commanded to serve as subjects to the Lord and to work in fear. As Dr. Ross says, "'Serve,' 'rejoice,' 'fear,' and 'trembling' describe the religious responses of the righteous in worship. They are to lead lives of submission, not rebellion; lives characterized by fear and trembling, not arrogance; lives filled with exultation, not the gloom of oppression." (Allen Ross, in John Walvoord & Roy Zuck gen. ed., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 792)
12a. Kiss [the] Son, lest He be angry. The kings are commanded to intensely kiss ("to put together," "kiss," "to handle," "be equipped with") the Son of God. The word for son used here is the Aramaic word bar not the Hebrew word ben. The address is to the gentile nations and the idea is to be submissive to the Lord. The command is for the gentile nations to pay homage to the Son, the Messiah (cf 1 Kg. 19:18; Hos. 13:2). Note however, the translation might better be rendered "put together [who the] son [is], lest He be angry."
12b. And you be destroyed [of the] way, When His anger burns as a little [while]. The result of not acknowledging the Lord as who He is leads to destruction of one's way ("way," "road," "direction," "manner," and fig., "of course of life," "of moral character"). The idea is that the kings of the earth are going their own way, which is not the way of the Lord and if they continue on that course, they will be destroyed both in the sense of loss of their way of life as sovereign kings in sovereign land (i.e. physical life), and spiritual life.
The term "as a little" is not that His anger will burn a little (quality), but, little in reference to time. His anger will be "like a little," "within a little," that is, "a short [time]." Compared to the long duration of the nations continued hostility towards Israel and the Lord, the Lord's period will be short.
The timing of their destruction is given as "when His anger burns a little [while]." This is associated with the "Day of the Lord," a time when all the nations will be placed under the Lord's feet. This period will see the destruction of all the nations and the establishment of the Davidic Kingdom with the Lord as the Son of David reigning on the throne of David and the nations coming to pay homage to the Lord.
12b. Blessed [are] all that seek refuge in Him. The final phrase is one of encouragement to all the seek refuge ("seek refuge," "flee for protection," "to put trust in [God]," "confide or hope in [God]") in God. This promise is an ongoing one throughout the Scriptures and links the idea of those who submit to the Lord are taking refuge in Him and will be saved from the great and terrible day of the Lord. Those that seek refuge in Him will enter the Millennial Kingdom rest where the nations will be at peace, and everyone can go up to the mountain of the Lord to praise Him and be taught from the Lord Himself.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
It is a fact that Obama has one of the most liberal voting records of any in our present Congress. World (June 14) reported that he said "We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change we seek!"
Human Events (June 18) says Obama claims to be a committed Christian. "I'm rooted in Christian tradition" he proclaims but then says "I believe there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are [all] connected as a people."
He thinks that "all people of faith—Christians, Jews, Muslims, animists, everyone—know the same God!" (His words) On his own salvation he says "I don't presume to have knowledge of what happens after I die. When I tuck in my daughters at night and I feel like I've been a good father to them, and I see that I am transferring values that I got from my mother and that they're kind people and that they're honest people, and they're curious people, that's a little piece of heaven." (What in the world does that mean!)
He then seemed to clearly deny evangelizing the lost. He said "There's the belief, certainly in some quarters, that if people haven't embraced Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, they're going to hell." He said this with an attitude of denial.
Obama may be wanting to appear as a Christian but by the above words it is certainly doubtful if he is.
This election year God may be giving to America, and the world, the leaders we deserve. Evil grows like weeds, especially in this land. If our prosperity disappears it will be the work of a God who is fed up with our ways. Isaiah writes, "Scarcely have the crops of the people been planted. Scarcely have they been sow, Scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, but He merely blows on them, and they wither. And the storm carries them away like stubble" (Isa. 40:24).
The psalmist quotes the Lord: "When I select an appointed time, it is I who judge with equity. … I say to the boastful, 'Do not boast,' and to the wicked, … 'Do not speak with insolent pride'" (Psa. 75:2-5). "But God is the Judge; He puts down one, and exalts another" (v. 7).
The Lord adds a warning: "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance" (33:12).
After my first year of taking graduate Hebrew I taught an adult Sunday school class the great verses of Psalm 11. The words from the Hebrew text really touched my heart! Many of the verses are applicable for us today as a wayward people. "If the foundations (of righteousness) are destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (v. 3). God's "eyes look, behold, His eyelids test (scrutinize carefully) the sons of men. The Lord puts to the test the righteous and the wicked" (vv. 4-5). What is really within them? "Upon the wicked He will rain snares; fire and brimstone and burning wind will be the portion of their cup. For the Lord is righteous; He loves righteousness; the upright will see His face (someday)" (vv. 6-7). –Dr. Mal Couch
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
ANSWER: It is a stupid view that says the kingdom has begun and finds its present expression in the church, though the PDs add, there is yet to come also an earthly millennial reign of Christ on earth. It is a compromise position to make the Covenant guys happy, and maybe cause them to like dispensationalism a little more. Finding "common ground" is part of the whole movement toward modernity. It is a form of liberalism that is afraid to be dogmatic and correct. "We just don't want to offend!"
It does not matter schmatz to me what the false Covenant guys think. They are wrong from the get-go to say the church has replaced Israel, and that the promises to the Jews have been transferred to the church. In my opinion this view is heresy and denies the literal coming of my Lord to reign and rule on earth as promised Him!
While it is true the church will be in the kingdom, still the church is not presently fulfilling the kingdom nor is it the key kingdom people. It is true however we will have some authority during that millennial period on earth. Christ promised in the future (not presently) believers will be granted (Future Tense) "to set down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne" (Rev. 3:21).
John further says in Revelation that (in the future, not presently) Christ will grant that church believers will exercise like-authority with Him in the kingdom! We will even be given judgmental rights over the nations (Rev. 2:26-27).
But no verse says the church is now fulfilling some sort of kingdom reign in this present age. Christ ratified the New Covenant, which is to be fulfilled by Israel in the kingdom when the Jews accept Christ by the work of the Spirit. Presently however, the church benefits from it by the salvation it provides, but nowhere does it say we fulfill the New Covenant. It was not promised or made first and foremost for the church but for Israel! (See Luke 22:42; Acts 2; 2 Cor. 3:1-6). But again, we are not now in the kingdom itself.
The PDs, allegorical and Covenant guys, have the right to be wrong, and sure enough, they are!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
ANSWER: Traditionally, Bible churches focuses on the verse by verse exegesis of the Word of God from the pulpit. Simply put, that means a clear explanation of the Bible. It means, "Let the Bible speak for itself." As with many denominational congregations some Baptist churches may have a Baptist agenda rather than simply letting the Scriptures speak!
Many independent Baptist churches, especially in the South, may be dispensational, premillennial, and hold to the scriptural teaching of the rapture of the church. But this is certainly not true of all of them. Few Baptist churches have elder leadership, which is called for from Scripture. They only have deacon boards. (I don't understand this. I don't know how they avoid the elder requirement! You need to get my book from me: "Biblical Theology of the Church" [Kregel])
Some Baptists argue, "Well, the pastor is our elder!" Wrong! They miss the fact that every time elders are mentioned they are seen as "plural". Some Baptists still think the Baptist church was founded by John the Baptist. Some hold to closed communion for their congregation only. Neither view is biblical! Some teach that baptism is tied only to the local church. This too is not biblical otherwise the Ethiopian servant could not have been baptized.
Many Bible churches are now moving into the Emerging Church format and no longer exegete the Scriptures. They do not see (as they used to) the "teaching" (not preaching) of the Scriptures as their main task. They did in my day, and that is what I continue to do at the Clifton Bible Church in Clifton, TX. They are slipping to the left with hot rock music, plays, skits, devotional messages, moving women into key positions, etc. The pastors see themselves as coaches, facilitators, group leaders, but no longer as strong and determined exegetes of God's Word.
I just heard about a "big" seminary leader in a school in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area who was attending a Bible church that is rapidly moving into the Emerging Church direction. When asked about it he answered, "Well, we're just celebrating Jesus!" What in the world does that mean? The word "celebrate" is an idea created by liberal churches. This shows you how he is being influenced in the wrong direction.
I no longer trust a church simply because it says it is a Bible church. They now are few and far between. The newer ones are products of our independent seminaries, of which almost all of them have moved to the left!
We are now into the apostasy of the church. It will only grow worse! The apostasy becomes full blown just prior to the rapture of true believers to be with the Lord, before the terrible seven year tribulation strikes the earth.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Monday, June 16, 2008
The Hebrew word for "plans" should better be translated preparations. Man has an intellect and thinks and ponders on issues. But the final "utterance" that comes forth from the tongue is a sovereign directive from the Lord. Lawson adds: "God fashions the hearts of men, and makes their tongues to speak what He please. … Caiaphas was made to speak a noble truth when he designed only to suggest a politic counsel; and Pilate had not power to pronounce the condemning sentence against our Lord till it was given him from above."
Unger adds: "Whatever man intends, that which actually takes place is God's decision. 'From thee is the arrow but from God the guidance.'"
Saturday, June 14, 2008
ANSWER: I would leave that church. I am finding that many pastors are lulling the people to sleep. They want to give only the positive. They need to discuss the issue with the Lord. HE is the One who gave us the revelations of what is yet to come. One pastor said recently "I don't want to give all that prophetic teaching, the doom and gloom, to my congregation. I want to give them only hope!" The backdrop of hope is the truth about what is going to happen that is bad. But too, all prophecy is not doom and gloom. It is about the blessed hope, the return of Christ for the church, and the blessedness of the kingdom following the end of the tribulation.
There are dozens if not hundreds of verses our people need to hear about God's future judgment upon the world in the tribulation. The tribulation is about His wrath upon a disobedient world. Isaiah writes in 13:11-13:
And in 26:21:
What could get more plain as is in Jeremiah 25:30-32?
" A clamor has come to the end of the earth, because the Lord has a controversy with the nations. He is entering into judgment with all flesh; as for the wicked, He has given them to the sword," declares the Lord.
Thus says the Lord of host, "Behold, evil is going forth from nation to nations, and a great storm is being stirred up from the remotest parts of the earth."
On these terrible verses in Jeremiah 25 Unger writes:
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Friday, June 13, 2008
ANSWER: They are claiming that we are now in a certain aspect of the kingdom, the millennial kingdom! I am going to give a full biblical study and treatment to that subject on my August Gathering Storm monthly CD. The only way you can hear it is by the yearly subscription of $30. I am going to answer the question: "Are we now into the prophesied apostasy of the church?" on the September Gathering Storm. A subscription to the Gathering Storm of $30 will assure you get the full biblical answers to these important questions.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Thursday, June 12, 2008
ANSWER: This is actually an issue of Jesus using a bad example to teach a good lesson. The Lord was not lauding the manager's dishonesty, but the fact that "he had acted shrewdly" in preparing for his future financial well-being. Jesus distinguishes between the "sons of this age" and "the sons of light." The "sons of this age" are concerned only with the wealth that they can gather to themselves in this world. The "sons of light" are urged to prepare in such a way as to receive "true riches" (v. 11) at a later time, specifically in the future kingdom economy.
This is possibly the main point that Jesus is teaching His disciples, to utilize earthly "wealth of unrighteousness" in such a way that it would ensure "true riches" that we are to be storing up in heaven. According to Ryrie, verse 9 teaches that "we should use money (wisely, never dishonestly) to help win people so that they will welcome us in heaven" (Ryrie Study Bible, note on Luke 16:9). The wise use of wealth in this life is to receive its ultimate repayment because it has been used to lead others to believe the truth of the gospel message.
Thanks for asking!
- Dr. Steve Spurlin
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
ANSWER: Genesis 17:4-5 reads: "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you. And you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. … I will make you the father of a multitude of nations." Paul quotes this in Romans 4:18: "[Abraham] believed in order that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, 'So shall you descendants (seed) be.'" In the last part of the verse Paul is quoting Genesis 15:5.
The argument is that since the Gentiles are Abraham's children spiritually speaking, they too inherit the land promises. But that will not fly!
The Gentiles get in on the "blessing" aspect of the Abraham Covenant as shown in Genesis 12:3: "And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." But the land is not promised to the church or to Gentiles. First of all, this covenant is God's covenant ("My covenant," 17:4) made with Abraham and his descendants (physical seed, v. 7). Gentiles get in on the blessing aspect of the Abrahamic Covenant by faith not by being of the physical seed of Abraham. Paul writes "Also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all" (Rom. 4:16b). "Be sure that it is those who are of the faith who are sons of Abraham" (Gal. 3:7). "Those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer" (v. 9). And, "In Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith" (v. 14).
The land promises come only to the physical descendants of Abraham. The Lord said this to Abraham five times in Genesis 17:6-10. The after you in these verses is a reference to his physical progeny or descendants through the flesh. And that has to do with Isaac and not with Ishmael as said to Abraham: With Sarah's son, "you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, for his descendants after him" (v. 19).
- "I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants (seed) after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you" (v. 7).
- "I will give to you and to your descendants after you the land of your sojourning, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God" (v. 8).
- "This is My covenant, which you shall keep between Me and you and your descendants after you; every male among you shall be circumcised" (v. 10).
Gentiles nor the church receive the land promises. End of discussion!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
ANSWER: You can't. There is no way that you and I can see what is in the heart and mind of any other person. We have a hard enough time correctly knowing and dealing with our own. Jesus taught that we can tell a false prophet by his fruit (Matt. 7:15-20). James taught that to say that you have faith and do not have works proves that your faith is dead (Jam. 2:17). If we take that principle and apply it to those who claim to be Christians, we may have some idea of whether a person is saved or not, though we cannot know with 100% assurance.
On the other hand, your friend also cannot be at peace with his salvation "experience" because he is not living in obedience to the commandments of Jesus Christ. The Apostle John wrote concerning this in 1 John. In 1:6, John states that "if we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth." John had already taught that in God "there is no darkness at all." Your friend is walking in darkness. That is he is not living in obedience to the commandments of Jesus Christ. Therefore, he is not in fellowship with the Father and he cannot truly be at peace in his mind.
In chapter 2:3, John teaches that the way that we have assurance that we are saved is found in our desire and attempt to keep His commandments. We will not do it perfectly in this life (1:8-9), but we should progress day-by-day in spiritual maturity.
The point is each of us as individuals can have assurance of our personal salvation. However, apart from someone having outward fruit "proving" their salvation we cannot know for certain that he/she is a true Christian. The best we can do is pray for that one.
I have one little correction to what I've said. I have found if I ask someone to tell me what it takes to be a Christian, I find what they believe about salvation. They get the point and then answer: "Yes, I have done that," or "No, I have not."
Thanks for asking!
- Dr. Steve Spurlin
Monday, June 9, 2008
As I listened to the Emergent Church discussion, I believe that what is driving the younger generation is simply the philosophy of evolution. This philosophy looks forward to change and is the belief that something better will come along. Evolution was the seed in the 1890's that led to the "modern religion" movement in Christian churches which in turn caused the rise of fundamentalism as a response because of truth. Since evolution is rampant in public schools [and accepted by many so-called Christian churches] I'm not surpised by the . In fact, it is to be expected. Every 20 years a new generation comes along to challenge the church. In the 60's it was the charismatic (holy rollers as we called them), in the 80's it was the seeker sensitives or "contemporary church" and now it is the emergents. Who will it be in the 20's? There is really nothing new under the sun.
Beginning of wisdom [is to] fear the Ever Existing One. While "fear" could sometimes be softened to "be held in honor," the overwhelming thought is to be afraid of God. This could also have the thought of "to shudder," "to be in awe," or "to hold in deference." This does not mean one goes about in constant dread but it does imply that humans should not play games with the Lord. He hears, sees, and knows everything about us. It is foolish to think we can get away with anything in His world.
"Wisdom" can best be thought of as "applied knowledge." It is the application of living and doing what we know is right. To do less can bring a chastening and judgment.
Knowledge (day-at) is the common word for knowing but it can also carry the thought: "to have insight about." This brings "understanding." The Holy One (kedesh-em) here is in a plural form and is better translated as "the All-holy One." The Rabbinical commentaries point out that this is a plural of God's greatness and majesty.
Waltke adds "Upon encountering the Holy One, one is filled with both fear and trust and this gives expression to that awe by submitting to the [morals] entailed in the purity of the Holy One." Today the younger generation has no fear of adults or of God. They are islands unto themselves. Destruction will come like a flood to this younger, rebellious age.
The use of the plural with "the All-holy One" underscores God's "otherness," the sphere of His sacredness, separated from the mundane, the common, and the profane, Walker further notes. Such wisdom in regard to God will certainly lead one to salvation and trust in Him for redemption. Lawson points out: "He who knows God in truth is possessed of a never-ending life (cf. John 17:3; Phil. 3:8)."
Sunday, June 8, 2008
ANSWER: Cornelius was "saved" in OT terminology, though he nor his family had yet heard of Christ. Many true believers may never have heard of the salvation in Christ but they were godly and righteous in the way of the OT. Cornelius was one in the transition from OT thinking to the message concerning Christ. We will see him and others from the OT economy in glory! Acts 10:22 says of Cornelius: "He was a centurion, a righteous and God-fearing man well spoken of by the entire nation of the Jews, was divinely directed by a holy angel to send for you (Peter) to come to his house and hear a message from you."
Because he had seen the angel (v. 30), Cornelius assumed that Peter was another angel from God and fell before him thinking he was other worldly! (vv. 25-26).
Peter makes it clear that Cornelius' prayers were heard and answered (vv. 31-32). Because of Cornelius' spirituality and Peter's message, everyone who heard the message were baptized by the Holy Spirit. While I believe Cornelius was already saved (in OT terms) he too received the Spirit.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Johnson's fundamental ties to Judaism and Israel sprang from a profound emotional impulse that was not directly noticed in his first term in office as President. It started in his childhood roots. He absorbed from the Bible a deep understanding and love for the Jewish people. Raised in a pious Christian family, he always felt the Jews had a tie to the land of Israel that was special and important. His family was a "Bible Believing People" who loved both the Old and New Testaments and who looked for the return of the Jews back to the Land.
The teaching Johnson received as a young man included the teaching of Christ, the Apostles, but also the leaders of the Old Testament, Moses and all the prophets. The Jews, the "People of the Book," would someday be re-gathered in the Land of Israel and the Second Coming of Christ would follow.
In a family album, Johnson's grandfather had written: "Take care of the Jews, God's chosen people. Consider them your friends and help them any way you can." After his grandfather's death, Johnson's aunt took over his position and kept the family faith together. She often pounded on the fact of the importance of helping the Jews. She would sometimes say in the hearing of young Lyndon, "If Israel is attacked the end of the world is near!" After he had become President, Johnson in speaking to Jewish groups would often tell them of his "Jewish" heritage. Before a B'nai B'rith meeting he said:
He added: "Our society is illuminated by the spiritual insights of the Hebrew prophets. America and Israel have a common love of human freedom and they have a common faith in a democratic way of life." Hosting Prime Minister Levi Eshkol at his Texas ranch, he quoted by memory Ezekiel 37:26 and said:
In 1938 Johnson had just been elected to the House of Representatives from Texas. Hitler had also annexed Austria to Germany. Those who were thinking knew this was bad for the Jews of both countries. Hitler could now have his way in persecuting the Jewish citizens. About the same time, a Jewish businessman who had supported Johnson financially for election came to his office and told him he was planning a trip to Palestine. On the way, he was planning to travel through Germany and Poland. Johnson urged him to get as many Jews out as he could. He said: "They're all going to be killed, get as many Jewish people as possible out of both countries."
Johnson moved quickly. He gave his friend, James Novy, immigration forms and phoned the U.S. consul in Warsaw and asked for full cooperation in signing the forms. Four of Novy's relatives were able to escape before the iron door closed. Thousands and millions were trapped and most died in the concentration camps during the war years.
Johnson went further. Many ships were sailing up and down the Mexican and Texas coasts with boatloads of Jews trying to escape from Hitler. Johnson behind closed doors brought many into the country through Galveston in what was secretly called "Operation Texas." Over five hundred Jewish refugees were saved. In 1963 a new synagogue was being dedicated in Austin with the Johnson's attending as special guests of honor. Four hundred of the five hundred were there and were called "Johnson refugees." Novy explained his gratitude: "We can't ever thank him enough for all those Jews he got out of Germany during the days of Hitler." Lady Bird Johnson later wrote: "Person after person plucked at my sleeve and said: 'I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for him. He helped get me out."
There is a strange footnote to the story of Johnson's friend Novy. During the war, 1942, he was sent on a secret mission to Europe. When he returned he was given a Purple Heart medal that is given only to military personnel wounded in combat. What the mission was all about was never revealed by Novy or Johnson.
While Johnson was President it was talked about that the Israelis were attempting to make an atomic weapon. Johnson never confronted Israel about this as some wanted him to. He refused to put any obstacle in the way of them doing so. He knew they needed it as they were surrounded by so many Arab nations who wanted the demise of the Jewish State! When Kennedy was President he allowed defensive Hawk surface-to-air missiles to be sold to Israel but not offensive weapons. That "secretly" changed when Johnson became President, no matter what Congress said.
God put President Johnson in place for His work at just the right time. Within a few years the Six Day War broke out. It was touch and go for Israel! But Johnson made sure the Jews were well armed for that conflict and others to come! He was driven to help the Jews by his biblical premillennial faith in what the Bible said about prophecy and the nation of Israel!
Friday, June 6, 2008
I believe without question we are now in the first stages of world globalism in which the entire population of earth, and all its governments, are coming together whereby we are being set up for the end times. The poor covenant guys have had it all wrong for so long. They do not see an end times scenario as the dispensationalists do who are able to read the Word of God in all its clarity.
Global warming nuts, including a lot of Christians, need to read Psalm 104 that tells us plainly that the world belongs to the Lord and He is the one who feeds the animals and mankind. When He hides His face there is drought and the animals die (v. 29). By His Spirit the animals of the world are created and when He sends the Spirit forth He renews the "face of the ground" (v. 30). In other words, He is in charge of His creation not man!
Having said all of this there is good evidence that the issue of global warming is really a political issue driven by Satan to hasten the one world government leading to the final days of the tribulation. Summit's magazine The Journal (May 2008) has some excellent information on the subject.
The Communist Party USA says that global warming is the result of the evil of "greedy capitalistic pigs." The 2000 Humanist Manifesto says, "Global warming is probably on the increase, in part as a consequence of atmospheric carbon-dioxide emissions." Note the word "probably."
An expert on polar bears says that of the thirteen populations of Canada, eleven are stable or increasing in number. The current population of 20,000-25,000 bears are now four or five times greater than fifty years ago.
Many scientists who are in the know, point out that we're really now in a cooling trend. The sun has gone quiet. A cooling trend is under way. South America has had the worst winter in fifty years. Alaska as well just finished one of the worst cold spells in a couple of decades. The Arctic ice cap that we heard all about melting last summer is now frozen up.
We know that in the soon coming tribulation there will be natural phenomenon coming upon the earth—famine, atmospheric terror. And no doubt we are leading up to it. But the ones presently so concerned are using God's nature to foster a new world order with the plan to control the entire globe. This will lead right to the dictatorship of the antichrist!
--Dr. Mal Couch
ANSWER: That statement was not original with Hagee. It has been an old belief of the Jews in Israel for sixty years. I had Jews tell me that on many of my trips to Israel. "God used Hitler to drive us back to the Land."
I am fed up with us being so weak in resolve that we back down from truth when the world squawks or yells when we say something that it does not like. God is using the evil of men as He pleases. He is the author of His own history. He is not impotent or passive. He brings the storms for judgment and uses men as He wishes to get things accomplished for His purposes. If you do not believe such sovereignty passages I suggest you read Job 12:13-25.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Thursday, June 5, 2008
ANSWER: Feminist driven women today will drag out the story of Deborah from the book of Judges to try to prove that they should be pastor(ettes) and leader(ettes), but that argument will not fly. While it was true that there was a dearth of men who were spiritually qualified, the fact of her taking the role of a judge is an exception in Scripture and not the norm.
She was not a military leader as some try to claim. Barak was her general who led the armies in combat. He was a bit weak kneed in that he wanted her to go with him for spiritual support to fight and defeat Sisera (Judges 4:7-9).
The rule is that male leadership is meant to guide the churches, but I see more and more Bible schools and seminaries having conferences to train women in "leadership." Our military schools claim they are training women to be military leaders, but the elephant in the living room that no one speaks about, is that women cannot really lead men. It takes men to lead men! The Pentagon lies to us and tells us they are not putting women in combat positions but the reality is they are! Women are trained as jet fighter pilots, etc. I heard one misguided military girl say, "I feel it is my duty to defend my country!" Wrong! It is her duty to raise godly children and make a wonderful warm home for family spiritual training. It is the duty of the men to defend both home and hearth!
In Scripture, young men are told to "be subject to your elders" (1 Pet. 5:5). Young men are wild horses and need the firm guidance of older men as roll models and as those who exercise their authority in reigning in the waywardness of the young.
As long as the churches follow the dictates of the culture and what is politically correct, spiritual failure will only increase in the life of the Evangelical community.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
ANSWER: Everything is happening that I was teaching some forty years or more ago. Dispensationalists certainly do not know the timetable of the rapture or the tribulation but we can look clearly at the Bible and see patterns being formed that are there in Scripture. We are now in the period of the dress rehearsal, the prelude, the forming of the storm clouds that will soon overshadow the world and bring on the tribulation, the terrible wrath of God.
But of course, the church will not be here. It will be raptured away before the wrath comes. See 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:1-9.
Note how the world is interlinked together more than ever before. And everything is aiming at the Middle East and Israel. The economic and energy crisis will at some point bring the world to the brink in which the people of earth will all together seek earnestly for a strong man to get them out of the mess.
America could fall much quicker than we can imagine. And selfishness and greed will be the catalyst. The average American family owes over $15,000 in credit care debt. One woman interviewed, owes over $80,000 and pays $600 each month on interest. There is no way the country will get out of that mess. Trillions of dollars are now owed on credit cards. In some places food costs have risen some 80%.
The Word of God gives the full scope of doctrine, including the larger picture of history. We would be smart to pay attention!
Look for the announcement for the completion of my detailed study on CDs from the Greek text of the book of Revelation. A FREE study on CDs will be given away also for those who purchase it with a donation—the book of John!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
ANSWER: Wrong! The Bible makes it clear that there are saints in different dispensations but they are not all balled up together into one big lump. In the OT there is a family of words that come from the Hebrew word kah-dohsh that can be translated "holy," "saint," "sanctified." In all cases when applied to people it would be to the Jewish people, though maybe there would be an instance or two in which it would apply to some faithful Gentile. But that Gentile would be living in OT times and the reference would certainly not be about the church, the spiritual body of Christ.
In Daniel 7, "saint" is used seven times with the reference to the citizens of the coming messianic kingdom. Our poor Covenant theological guys would see kingdom as the church but of course they would be wrong, as usual! In 7:18 it says the saints "will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come." And in verse 22, the same thing is said. Now it would not make sense to say the saints "take possession of the church"! The Covenant guys are not very good observers. They bring their theology to the verses instead of allowing the verses to create their theology!
In verse 25 it says that the antichrist (the other horn who comes out of the ten) "will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One." This happens in the tribulation and the church saints have already been raptured. So this is not referencing church saints, however, could it be referring to Jewish and Gentile saints during that seven year period of wrath? If so, we would simply label them together as "tribulation saints."
Yet, more than likely, saints here are Jewish believers. This is what Daniel would have in mind in the context in chapter 7 of Daniel. But too, note that verse 25 says the antichrist will "wear down the saints of the Most High." This fits perfectly with Revelation 12 where it is stated that Satan pursues the woman, who in John's illustration, is the nation of Israel which gives birth to the "child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron" (v. 5). It is said further that Satan goes off to make war with the woman "and with her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus" (v. 17). This Revelation 12 scenario fits perfectly with Daniel's reference to the "saints" whom the antichrist attempts to pursue and wear down, destroy.
On Daniel 7 and the reference to "saints," Unger writes: "The ultimate outcome, reflected in the fifth Kingdom (the Millennium), will be that 'the saints of the Most High' (vv. 22, 25, 27), that is, the saved Jewish remnant that will pass through the Great Tribulation shall take (receive) 'the kingdom', according to the covenants and promises made to Israel in connection with it."
In summary, there are (1) OT saints, (2) church saints, (3) tribulation saints (whether Jew or Gentile). OT saints nor the tribulation saints are seen as being in the church, the spiritual body of Christ. The body of Christ is a unique entity of both Jew and Gentile, which has a special place and a special mission in this dispensation.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Monday, June 2, 2008
"LOOKING FOR THE BLESSED HOPE"
In Titus 2:11-15 Paul digresses from his instructions to Titus regarding how the church should mature in sound doctrine and explains how the grace of God now has appeared to bring salvation to all (v. 11). In verse 12 the apostle shows the power of instruction, how it is to create life changes within the believer.
The apostle Paul then gives a powerful anthem to the tremendous truth of the "blessed hope" (v. 13). He not only says "we" are looking (including himself) for His appearance but he says the One we are waiting for is our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus!
Below are the proofs that this is a rapture passage.
Free Greek Translation:
[We are] excitedly expecting, continually, the joyous prospect, even the glorious appearance of our great God, even [our] Savior, Christ Jesus!
EXCITEDLY EXPECTING. This is a compound verb from pros/before and dexomai/take, receive. The New Testament usage is "take up, receive, welcome, wait for, expect." (Arndt & Gingrich) Liddell & Scott adds, "receive favorable, to admit to, receive hospitably, expecting, to wait for." Vincent comments: "Primarily, to receive to one's self, admit, accept." This "looking" then is "an ongoing process of greatly anticipating and welcoming to one's self the appearing of Christ for the church believers at that very time Paul is writing." This makes this a rapture passage. Paul was anticipating and longing for the coming of Christ right at that time!
This "looking" is a Present Active Participle. With the Present tense Alford, an amillennialist (who saw the truth), rightly notes: "This expectation being an abiding state and posture." In other words, we should all be continually anticipating that He could come even today! Nicoll adds: "As already stated, describes the glad expectancy which is the ruling and prevailing thought in the lives of men looking for their Lord's return."
THE BLESSED HOPE. (makaria elpis) Or better, "the JOYOUS anticipation." Paul wanted Christ to come at that time. This is a happy thought for all church believers. Of course, he did not know God's timetable, nor do we today. The rapture of the church is imminent and possible at any time!
The Granville Sharp rule is at work here. The passage better reads: "the joyous anticipation, that is, the glorious appearance." Vincent agrees and writes: "The kai (and) is explanatory, introducing the definition of the character of the thing hope for. Looking for the object of hope, even the appearing, etc." D. Edmond Hiebert adds: "The Greek connects 'the blessed hope and glorious appearing' under one article, suggesting that the reference is to one even viewed from two aspects." A. T. Robertson agrees.
OUR GREAT GOD AND SAVIOR, CHRIST JESUS. The Granville Sharp rule is in place here also. It should read: "the great God even Savior, Christ Jesus."
Conclusion: In the Popular Bible Prophecy Commentary (Harvest House) I wrote:
Since the church is told to look in such anticipation, we can conclude that the rapture is in view here because it could happen at any time for those who were then alive. This expectation is not for the second coming, when Christ will arrive to reign on earth as the son of David over His kingdom.
The Greek text has only one article and the full sentence should read "the blessed hope, the joyous anticipation, that is, the glorious appearing!" This implies that the reference is to "one event" viewed from two aspects. The One appearing is "our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus" (verse 13). God here does not refer to the heavenly Father, for He is Spirit and no one has seen Him. It is about the second person in the Trinity, the Son of God! The article "the" is before "great God," but the article is omitted before "Savior." Thus, the Great God, even the Savior, Christ Jesus!