|Texas Republican congressman Ron Paul sounds like an informed dispensationalist! Only a dispensationalist who understands what the Bible says about the apostasy, the rapture, and the tribulation, really gets it! Ron Paul has got it! He said recently:|
I have grave concerns about America's future. I have days, growing more frequent all the time, when I'm convinced the time is now upon us that some big events are about to occur, he began. These fast approaching events … will affect all of us. They will not be limited to just some areas of our country. The world economy and political system will share in the chaos about to be unleashed.
Mr. Paul warned of an indeed frightening and an historic event, one that may even be worse than I first thought … now at our doorstep. There are reasons to believe this coming crisis is different and bigger than the world has ever experienced. The financial crisis, still in its early stages, is apparent to everyone: gasoline prices …; skyrocketing education and medical-care costs; the collapse of the housing bubble; the bursting of NASDAQ bubble; stock markets; excessive government debt; and unmanageable personal debt.
Little doubt exists as to whether we'll get stagflation. The question that will soon be asked is: When will the stagflation become an inflationary depression?
I receive almost weekly reports from a knowledgeable economist and a Christian, who says our people, especially our younger people, are in the dark. Their selfishness keeps them from understanding or caring what is taking place in our world. These are not simply economic issues but drastic spiritual issues. All that is happening can not go on much longer, he notes!
I am now working on a major book dealing with the galloping apostasy, globalism, and what all of this means to Christians. I am tracing the events of the last two hundred years that have brought us to this hour. I will be showing how World Wars I & II established the backdrop for what we are now faced with. And, I hope to show the diabolical nature of humanism that will bring upon us the removal of the church from the earth, in preparation for the wrath of God and the seven year tribulation. Look for its publication.
Dr. Mal Couch
Thursday, July 31, 2008
|Dr. Couch, someone told me that 2 Chronicles 20:11 is an important verse because it says that the Land of Promise, the Holy Land, is God's particular possession. Is this true?|
ANSWER: The word is "possession" (ya-rash) which is in the hiphil form which means "to make someone to possess." This is the only place in the OT where the Holy Land is called God's possession. He has given it to the Jews, "Thou hast given us as an inheritance." There are many other indicators that show it is His land but given to Israel. The land does not belong to the Arabs or to the church! It has not been taken away from the Jews. The Jews will someday have their eyes open and call upon the Messiah to save them. They will dwell in the Land in peace when He returns!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
|Dr. Couch, what does Romans 11:9-10 mean when it speaks about the table of the Jews becoming a trap?|
ANSWER: Paul is pronouncing judgment upon the Jewish people for their blindness and rejection of Christ. It is often taken that their table (of blessing and plenty) has turned against them and become a table of punishment. Paul is actually quoting Psalm 69:22-23, and Unger has a most interesting and different take on that passage.
Verses 22-28 deal with the judgment of Israel's Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. They are applied to the temporary setting aside of Israel during this present age (Rom. 11:9-10), but will find full application to all the enemies of Christ and His people (Israel as well as the Gentiles) when their wickedness comes to full fruition under the Antichrist during the Great Tribulation and is ripe for judgment. Then Christ will not assume the character of the suffering Savior, but the character of the avenging Judge, and His people's prayers will reflect His just judgment upon sin and sinners (cf. Gen. 15:16; Lev. 18:24; Luke 18:7-8).
"Their table" represent the Jews' high religious privileges reflected in their sacrificial system (Psalm 23:5). Their "peace" (Psa. 69:22) becomes a trap (which is in the plural in the Hebrew), which Unger believes refers to the sacrificial peace offerings. Perversely rejecting the One and only Sacrifice, the whole Jewish sacrificial system became a trap to ensnare them in ruin. In other words, what was meant to be a blessing to them, the Messiah, became a judgment. Judicial blindness overtook the Jews (Isa. 6:10; Rom. 11:8, 25) and Israel's loins have been shaken in fear and suffering throughout the age (Deut. 28:63-68).
I hope this helps. Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
|Dr. Couch, could Isaiah 3:1-12 be speaking about Israel during the Day of the Lord?|
ANSWER: Yes, in fact the passage is speaking about not only what will come on Israel but upon all the Gentile nations. The full context actually begins in chapter 2 where God tells Isaiah what "will come about in the last days" (v. 2). The passage starts out describing the coming of the Messiah bringing a worldwide peace, at which time "Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war" (v. 4). But before His reign of peace begins there will be a judgment upon the world and upon Israel. "For the Lord of hosts will have a day of reckoning" (v. 12). As mentioned in Revelation 6, men will go into the caves of the rocks" because of the terror of the Lord. "He arises to make the earth tremble" (v. 19). People will hide "Before the terror of the Lord and the splendor of His majesty, when He arises to make the earth tremble" (v. 21).
This of course is the Wrath of God, the Day of the Lord, the seven year Tribulation period!
I believe what God says next about what will be happening with Israel will also be happening among the Gentile nations. Culture and society will be turned upside down. "The capricious children will rule over [the elders], and the people will be oppressed" (3:4-5). "The youth will storm against the elder" (v. 5). Homosexuality will be in openly practiced, as it is now. "The expression of their faces bears witness against them. And they [will] display their sin like Sodom; they will not even conceal it. Woe to them! For they will have brought evil on themselves" (v. 9).
But look what will happen among the women of the world! "Their oppressors are children, and women [will] rule over them. O My people! Those who guide you lead you astray, and confuse the direction of your paths" (v. 12). Because of this, God will bring a harsh judgment upon women (vv. 16-24). He will bring diseases upon them and "He will make their foreheads bare" (v. 17). But because of the terrible things happening to women, because they have destroyed God's natural order of the sexes, they will seek safety in the company of men. "For seven women will take hold of one man in that day, saying, 'We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach'" (4:1).
On 3:12, Unger writes, the reference to women "perhaps means weak, effeminate men, or men dominated by vain women such as those described in verses 16-26, leading them astray and confusing the direction of their paths (9:16; 28:14-15)."
Thanks for asking. And I do indeed believe we are coming into such days, though the rapture of true believers will take place before this terrible period falls in its full strength on the world. [Pastors, please share this with your church.]
Dr. Mal Couch
Monday, July 28, 2008
|The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother (Prov. 29:15).|
The state now dictates how a child can be disciplined even at home. However many do not know it but in many states in the U.S. reasonable corporal punishment is still allowed. In Texas permission is given to properly spank your child as long as it is not excessive. But again, many younger parents do not know this. They are reluctant to spank because in the state government school systems they are told that spanking will ruin the little crumb snatcher's self-esteem! This is of course true, and that is what spanking is for—to humble the child under a higher authority, i.e. the authority and wishes of the parent.
Notice that in this proverb shame comes upon the mother if the child is always delinquent and getting his own way. The Bible teaches that children come into the world as sinners and must be controlled by discipline. Secular psychology in the state schools says the opposite. The government school teachers I know say they cannot even lay their hands on a child who is rebelling or even fighting with another child.
This is molding a new breed and generation that will be the citizens of the apostasy that is coming upon the world. There is no sin and there is no right and wrong. What is right for you is what is right! The schools can no longer teach morality and character. They can not even come close to referring to the God of the Bible. This was all planned many decades ago when the secularists began working their plan to remove the Word of God from the minds of our children. One Godless atheist said, "Well, Johnny may not be able to read because of poor teaching in the schools but he certainly is not believing in the mythology that comes from the Bible!"
Lawson writes, "The rod of correction is of no use without the concurrence of God. Men are naturally corrupt, and those who are left to follow the propensities of nature will be a grief to their fathers, and bring their mothers to shame." The Rabbis note that in the Hebrew the passage is referring to "a child let go, to run wild and unchecked. The rod of reproof refers to both corporal punishment and verbal admonition (13:24)."
Waltke adds that "wisdom protects the mother from blushing embarrassment, and a child whose parents let him run wild does not learn to conform to the divinely established moral order." Many Yuppy and Generation Y Christian parents are conforming their thinking to the culture. Many can be over protective. I saw one parent sit outside the Sunday school class door. She would jump up and run in the classroom if she heard her little spoiled kid cry! She trusted no one but herself in disciplining her little sinner!
In my opinion, we are in deep trouble!
Dr. Mal Couch
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
|I just now turned the television off after listening to Barack Obama speak to tens of thousands of young people in Berlin. Any Evangelical Christian who is a premillennial-dispensationalist realized that history has now taken a specific new direction. Obama said many things that the Bible predicts will be the direction of the Antichrist when he comes.|
Now I am not saying he is the Antichrist but I am saying that we are moving toward the days of a one world government, a one world charismatic leader, with the political agenda described in his speech.
When Obama finished, the commentator who followed up afterwards said, "It does not sound as if he is running for the office of the president of the United States but for the office of the president of Europe."
Most listening probably missed his main point which was really about globalism. The young people in the crowd looked as if they were seeing some infallible god speak. The crowd was mesmerized!
Obama said many things that are correct because God is the Author of history and He is moving a rebellious world to a clear and obvious day of judgment. Leaders who mislead people often speak some bites of truth in their messages. Here are some of the lines that have explosive connotations:
"People of the world, now do your duty." "The 20th century has taught that we share a common destiny. It reveals a world more intertwined than at any time in human history." "We are now global citizens." "As we speak, cars in Boston and factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, shrinking coastlines, and bringing drought to farms from Kansas to Kenya." "The burdens of GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP continue to bind us together." "Partnership is the only way to advance our common humanity." We must tear down the "walls between races and tribes; natives and IMMIGRANTS, Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand [by themselves alone]. These now are the walls we must tear down." "We need a global commitment to progress, to meet the challenges of the 21st century." "We must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably." "WE MUST COME TOGETHER TO SAVE THE PLANET." "This is the moment to stand as one [world people]." "We must give hope to those left behind IN A GLOBALIZED WORLD." "We welcome immigrants from different lands, and shun discrimination against those who don't look like us or worship like we do." "People of Berlin—people OF THE WORLD—this is our moment. This is our time." "Our allegiance has never been to any particular tribe or kingdom." "People of the world—the scale of our challenge is great." "Let us build on our common history, and seize our common destiny." "Our generation must make our mark on history."
This speech was so important that Old Testament expert Dr. Tom McCall, Jewish scholar Jeff Gutterman, and myself are rushing into production a series of CDs on the coming of the Antichrist. This will be an exegesis of 1 & 2 Thessalonians that focuses on the return of Christ and the deception of the coming world dictator. You need to order NOW in order to now be left out in receiving this study!
Remember, a few weeks before Obama said publicly, "We are the ones we have been waiting for!"
Dr. Mal Couch
Friday, July 25, 2008
|It used to be that "Faith-Based" ministries, such as churches, the YMCA and YWCA, and the Salvation Army helped the government in that they carried the load for charity and aid to the poor. But President Bush's government program supposedly was meant to help such charities do the same job.|
But now Barack Obama says he will continue the plan with a revamped version. He will make it his centerpiece for his presidential campaign, but with a twist. That twist will make sure that the "Faith" part is missing. Organizations receiving government funds must keep their mouths shut in regard to the Lord or His Word. Churches buying into such a government plan now in place are already compromising their mission. The carrot is attracting the dumb rabbits!
Obama even got the Bible mixed up a bit with his brochure on the subject. Where the apostle Paul speaks of "faith, hope, and love" Obama changed the wording to "Faith, Hope, and Change." What audacity!
Also his plan will make sure those receiving government help cannot mention anything about faith or religious belief. He also added that the regulation should extend to sexual orientation as well. His policy would force Christian organizations accepting federal grants to hire non-Christians or homosexuals, even if that violates their Christian standards and goals, not to mention what the Bible says on the subject!
After revealing his plan, Obama delivered his major caveat: "If you get a federal grant, you can't use the money to proselytize the people you help, and you can't discriminate against them—or the people you hire—on the basis of their religion."
Many conservative groups are too dumb to look carefully at the fine print. This is actually a blessing from the Lord to keep groups with doctrinal and biblical convictions away from the government enticement. Many did not notice it but many of these "secularized" rules are already in place. It should stay that way! The carrot is actually poisoned! What a brilliant attempt by Satan to bring about spiritual compromise with evil. If God wants us to reach out, it will be done by His power and by His way, not the way of the government!
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Chapter fifty-three is the most quoted chapter of Isaiah in the New Testament (42 times). In second place is chapter forty which speaks of God's salvation of national Israel in the last days. And the third is chapter forty-nine which speaks of the salvation of the gentiles. This fact should not be glossed over to fast since the Suffering Servant is central to both Israel and the Gentiles. The Suffering Servant affects every person who has lived and every one who will live. The Old Testament scholar Harry Bultema writes of this chapter:
"…regardless of how well known and simple it [chapter 53] may be, it nevertheless contains depths which we shall continue to marvel at forever and ever." (Harry Bultema, Commentary on Isaiah (Grand Rapids:Kregel Publications, 1981), p. 505)
These "depths" relate to the legal aspects of Jesus' dealing with the sin issue in His death, burial, and resurrection. Though it is a simple fact that through His death, God dealt with sin reconciling man back to God, the text and the accompanying New Testament usage tell a theological story that is high and lofty.
The Servant of the Lord
The section of Scripture concerning the Suffering Servant covers 52:13-53:12 and concerns the subject of the Messiah ("Anointed") Savior and Ruler (52:7) who will deal with the nations (52:4-5, 10), transform Jerusalem into the righteous city called Zion, and "the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of the Lord" (52:10). It is this last subject that one finds details concerning the Suffering Servant. God must first deal with the subject of the sin of mankind before He deals with the judgment of the nations, and finally to bring His Millennial rule to His holy mountain (52:2).
I. Shock and Exaltation of the Suffering Servant
13 Behold, My Servant will deal prudently; He will be exalted and extolled and be very high, 14 Just as many were astonished at you, His appearance was thus marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men; 15 Thus He will cause to sprinkle many people. Kings will shut their mouths at Him; For what had not been told they will see, And what they had not herd they will consider. (Isa. 52:13-15)
13a. Behold, My Servant will cause to be wise. The Servant will be prudent ("circumspect," "wise," "prosper") as He deals with the subject of sin. The general command to behold is for all mankind as the author addresses "sons of men," "nations," and "kings" which speak of the nations of the world - the Gentile nations. The ruler of this world is the Devil and so the Lord will have victory and prosper in His work on the cross. The conflict of this world goes back to the fall and is spoken of in Genesis 3:15:
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.
This conflict is spoken of many times in the New Testament. For example in Hebrews 2:14:
Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.
Some translate "wise" others "prosper." Either translation is correct, but prosper has the meaning that the Lord will prosper, "have success" in many ways, but it is as a result of His death. He will deal correctly and have success with the sin issue. He will do the same as He deals a fatal blow to the plans of the Devil. He will accomplish what was planned from before the foundation of the world. He will fulfill what was prophesied. He will complete that critical event that prepared the way for His earthly millennial rule, namely, that He will come in the flesh from the line of David and His resurrection provides the model for the resurrection to life.
13b. He will be exalted and extolled and be very high. Because of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord, He will be exalted ("to rise up," be high," "be lofty," "exalted"), extolled ("be lifted," "carried"), and be very high. Dr. Gill writes:
[H]e has been exalted by his Father, by raising him from the dead, and giving him glory; by placing him at his own right hand, and giving him all power in heaven and in earth; by committing all judgment into his hands, that all men may honour him as they do the Father: and he is "extolled" by his people, in his person and offices, by giving him the glory of their salvation, in their hearts, thoughts, and affections, with their mouths and lips; and so he is in his house and ordinances, by his ministers and churches: and is made "very high"; higher than the kings of the earth; higher than the angels of heaven; higher than the heavens themselves. The Jews say of the Messiah, in reference to these words, that he is exalted above Abraham, extolled above Moses, and made higher than the ministering angels; and in another ancient book of theirs it is said, the kingdom of Israel shall be exalted in the days of the Messiah. (John Gill's Exposition on the Entire Bible)
14a. As many were astonished at you. This phrase is placed at the head of the verse for emphasis, as the Lord's work on the cross will stun many. The meaning is "as many people who saw you were stunned ('appalled,' 'awestruck') by your beaten up appearance."
14b. His appearance was thus marred more than any man. His visible appearance was so extremely marred ("disfigured," "corrupted") more than any other man that was seen that it truly stunned those who saw Him.
14c. And His form more than the sons of men. Likewise, His form ("shape," "outline," "figure") was marred more than any other man that ever lived.
15a. Thus He will cause to sprinkle many people. Because of His suffering unto death, He will make clean many nations. The picture is that of the blood of the sacrifice sprinkled on the Ark of the Covenant (mercy seat). Many goy ("nation," "people" - usually non-Hebrew people) will be "made" clean as the strongest Hebrew verb (causative) is used. That is, mankind cannot clean themselves it is the Messiah who makes individuals clean. That which is unclean cannot make itself clean. The Messiah makes individuals clean by His shed blood. In a legal sense it is the declaration of the imputed righteousness of Christ on mankind that one can be called righteous. Man by himself cannot claim self-righteousness. The righteousness man can claim is Jesus'.
15b. Kings will shut their mouths at Him; For what had not been told they will see, And what they had not herd they will consider. The kings of the earth will "close the mouth," be stunned at the presence of the Lord. Dr. Unger writes:
"Many are astonished at His humiliation; so many (not merely men, but) nations (millennial nations) shall He sprinkle expiatorily and cleanse for their role (as nations) in the Davidic-Messianic earthly Kingdom (2 Sam. 7:8-15). Kings (even the great of the millennial earth; Psalm 72:8-11) shall shut their mouths at him (Isa. 49:7, 23). They will be silenced in awe and veneration (Job 29:9-10; Mic. 7:16), so overwhelming will be the impression of the Servant lifted so high from such a low depth of ignominy." (Merrill F. Unger, Unger's Commentary on the Old Testament, p. 1295)
Jesus told the disciples concerning the kingdom of heaven: "But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it" (Matt. 13:16; cf. Rom. 15:16).
II. Humiliation and Sorrow of the Servant
1 Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? 2 And he will grow up before him as a young plant. And as a root from parched ground, No form for him, And no splendor, And we will see him, but not look upon [him], And we will not desire him. 3 He who was despised and rejected of men, A man of sorrow and knowing grief, And as one who hides faces from him, He who was despised and we esteemed him not. (Isa. 53:1-3)
1a. Who has believed our report? In a rhetorical question, the author poses the question but does not expect an answer. Has the Jew believed the prophets declaration? Some have, but the sense is related to the time of Jesus as He faces the Jewish leadership and they reject Him as the Messiah, the Suffering Servant. The Rejection of the Servant of the Lord is prophesied!
1b. And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? Again the prophet asks a rhetorical question. It was to the Jew that the arm of the Lord was revealed! The idiom "arm of the Lord" refers to the sole power of the Lord. This power of the Lord was seen in its greatest sense by His deliverance of the Jew out of Egypt. Does he that practices the Passover remember what the Lord has done for them during their bondage in Egypt or their captivity in Babylon? The answer no! They remember, but value their own strength, their own traditions.
The apostle John quotes this verse as Jesus tells the disciples of His imminent death:
37 But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, 38 that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: "Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?" (John 12:37-38)
2a. And he will grow up before him as a young plant. To grow up like a young plant or shoot is a common figure of speech used even in modern English, but here it also serves as a reference in Scripture to the promised seed, the Son of Jesse – the Messiah, who will come from the line of David and rule the nations (Isa. 11:1; Rom. 15:12). The pronoun "him" refers back to the Lord of verse one. So the Suffering Servant will grow up "before the face" of the Lord. One could say, the Lord Himself oversaw the upbringing of the Promised One.
2b. And as a root from parched ground. The Messiah will "go up," or "ascend" as a young shoot coming out of the ground from a root. The significance of the language is not only that of a normal child that grows up, but moreover, the ongoing picture of the olive tree in Scripture (Cf. Jer. 11:16; Zech 4; Rom. 11) that uniquely identifies Israel. Messiah will grow up like any normal man, but He will also come out of a specific lineage, namely, that of Jesse, and hence, David. This Messiah will be the Son of David. What make this description unusual is the manner or condition in which He enters the world. He will come at a time of dryness in the land. Drought is a condition of judgment from the Lord. When the Lord appeared at His first coming, the chosen nation Israel was in both spiritual and physical drought. The Roman Empire was in control of the land, and the spiritual leaders were relying on tradition instead of the word of the Lord (Matt. 151-6).
2c. No form for him, And no splendor. Just as a fresh shoot grows up and looks like all the other shoots, so there is no form or beautiful shape about Him that sets Him apart from the rest. His physical form is just like that of the rest of the Hebrew men. Nothing special in His appearance and having no splendor or glory about Him. He is, you might say, a common man.
2d. And we will see him, but not look upon [him], and we will not desire him. The nation will visibly see Him, and will walk and talk with Him but they will not identify Him as the Messiah. The Lord will take on the form of man, God taking on flesh, and reason with the leaders of a nation that has spiritually dried up (cf. Matt. 23). The picture being drawn in words is this: The olive tree is in a drought condition, however, a new tender shoot will sprout up out of that drought condition, but the tree will not produce olive fruit. A similar condition of barrenness is described in Isaiah chapter 17, though there, the context is the Great Tribulation where the barrenness of the land is even more extreme. As Matthew 21 through 23 relates the leaders do not desire ("take pleasure in," "desire in") Him.
3a. He who was despised and rejected of men. The magnitude of the leaders value of Jesus is measured by the Hebrew word "despised," which in the passive form used here relates the idea of "worthlessness," or properly, "one who is being despicable, vile." In fact, He is described as being rejected of men. A cast away with the idea of "ceasing," "to stop," "to desist." Man just wants Him to go away! The Servant of the Lord is not wanted by man on earth. The Lord has to choose man, call individuals to Him (John 6:44). The leaders do not respect Him. They do not value Him. They are in spiritual control of the nation and refuse to give up their control. This is similar to the Church today. The Church does not want His return, man is in control and desires and values their buildings, their programs, but does not value His coming! Notice what the Lord says in Matthew 15:8-9, "Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men."
3b. A man of sorrow and knowing grief. The Servant is described as a man of sorrows ("pain" either physical or mental) and one who knows or has experienced grief, the pain of affliction, as one experiences the pain of a disease or sickness. This is physical pain. A picture of what happened to Jesus during His last day on earth. The beating, the exhaustion of carrying His own cross to the last moments of His life.
3c. And as one who hides faces from him. The picture is one of avoidance, of shame that they let such a tragedy happen to a person, but they want the whole episode to go away from their minds. They cannot face the facts associated with the Servant of the Lord who came and died and the great injustice taken against an innocent man.
3d. He who was despised and we esteemed him not. In typical Hebrew literary style Isaiah closes the verse as he started it. In repeating the main point of Jesus being "the one who was despised," regarded as "worthless," or worse, "vile." One who we [the Jews as a whole, or the Jewish leadership] did not esteem ("calculate," "count," or "value") Him.
III. Expiation of the Servant
4 Surely our grief he himself carried, And our sorrows he bore them, And we esteemed him one who has been struck, Struck of God and intensely afflicted. 5 And he had been fatally wounded for our transgressions, He was one intensely broken for our iniquity, [The] chastisement of our peace [was] upon him, And with his wound he has healed us, 6 We all like sheep went astray; We have turned, each one, to his own way, And [the] Lord caused to meet in him the guilt of us all. (Isa. 53:4-6)
4a. Surely our grief he himself carried, and our sorrows he bore them. The emphatic expression "he himself carried" ("bear up," "carry," or "take") relates the fact that:
Christ not only assumed a true human nature, capable of sorrow and grief, but he took all the natural sinless infirmities of it; or his human nature was subject to such, as hunger, thirst, weariness, &c.; and to all the sorrow and pain arising from them; the same sorrows and griefs he was liable to as we are, and therefore called ours and hence he had a sympathy with men under affliction and trouble; and, to show his sympathizing spirit, he healed all sorts of bodily diseases; and also, to show his power, he healed the diseases of the soul, by bearing the sins of his people, and making satisfaction for them. (John Gill's Exposition on the whole Bible)
Matthew quotes this verse in connection with the Lord's healing of the sick and casting out of demons before the cross (Matt. 8:17).
4b. And we esteemed him one who has been struck, struck of God and intensely afflicted. We counted, or calculated Him as being "struck," or "killed" by God. His affliction is described in the intensive making the sense of the affliction severe and though, extreme as it is, the meaning may range from a severe, but recoverable wound, to a fatal blow. Since we know the story, it was indeed a fatal blow.
5a. And he had been fatally wounded for our transgressions, He was one intensely broken for our iniquity. In the first point, He is one who is seen as being intensely wounded (or fatally wounded). The Hebrew word has a range of meanings ("begin," "profane," "defile," "pollute," "wound," "to play the flute or pipe"), but at its core is the idea of "to be pierced, perforated," and hence, "slain," or, "fatally wounded" which fits the context. The New Testament testimony of the Lord's death on the cross relates the full theological significance of this passage. From the testimony of the historical prophecy of the events as the soldiers "pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out" (John 19:34), to the typographical significance of the "Lamb of God" (John 1:29) and the theological meaning of a "just penalty" and propitiation for the crime committed as a "blood atonement" (Rom. 3:25; cf. Col. 1:14; Heb. 9:28; 1Jn 2:2; 4:10; Rev. 1:5).
Though the transgressions were from us, He, Himself paid the price and was fatally wounded. The Hebrew word for transgression is pesha' meaning "to transgress," "a rebellion," and has the meaning to transgress either against an individual, a nation, or against God. The root idea is to be a rebel. This complements His "bruising" or "crushing" that He received because of our "iniquities" or "guilt." It was the punishment due us, but He Himself bore the punishment. The distinction between a transgression (pesha') and an iniquity ('avon) is sometimes hard to make, but in general a transgression is to go beyond or overstep the bounds, or to act in violation of a law, whereas an iniquity is "to pervert" or "twist" what is right, and hence is associated with the word sin (chata') whose basic meaning is to miss the mark. Dr. Gill writes concerning these words:
The Jews sometimes distinguish these three words [iniquity, transgression, & sin]; "iniquity", they say, signifies sins through pride and presumption; "transgression" intends rebellions against God; and "sin", what is committed through error and mistake. (John Gill's Exposition on the whole Bible)
Dr. Wiersbe writes, "The prophet calls it transgression, which means rebellion against God, daring to cross the line that God has drawn (Isa. 53:5, 8). He also calls it iniquity, which refers to the crookedness of our sinful nature (vv. 5-6). In other words, we are sinners by choice and by nature." (Warren Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary – Old Testament Prophets (Colorado Springs: Victor, 2002), p. 61)
5b. [The] chastisement of our peace [was] upon him. Barnes well notes:
Chastisement is a common corrective theme of God's love for His people in both the OT (cf. Job 5:17; Prov. 1:7; 3:11) and the NT (cf. Rom. 5). It serves to correct our thoughts and behavior. The purpose of the chastisement is to train us, to teach us a lesson that we will not soon forget. The level of chastisement is in such a measure as to burn the lesson into our very heart. In the case of our Lord, the chastisement that was due mankind was placed upon Him. And the level of chastisement was extreme even unto death.
5c. And with his wound he has healed us. We are made healthy of our problem by the shedding of His blood. The Hebrew word rapha' means to "heal," make healthful," "physician," and so the NT concept of the Great Physician comes from here (Matt. 9:12; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:31). The fundamental concept is that Jesus, the Lamb of God took away the sin of the world. The great sin issue has been dealt with (a completed act) at the cross of Christ and all who are "saved" are legally acquitted because of the judicial wound that had taken place. It is not that our individual sins are not an issue – they are, but it does mean that the payment for sin has been made at the cross once for all.
Peter speaks concerning the Lord's work on the cross as he says, "and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed" (1 Peter 2:24). In fact, so joyous is Jesus' death as a substitute that His death, burial, and resurrection is given a name - the gospel or good news (1 Cor. 15:1-4).
6a. We all like sheep went astray; We have turned, each one, to his own way. The symbolism of sheep [Israel] going astray, and the Lord who is the Shepherd is an old Jewish concept (Num. 27:17). The idea is that sheep left alone tend to drift away. The influences of the field attract them to dangerous parts. The ideas of the world look attractive and left without a constant influence (the Good Shepherd), the sheep will go astray, get lost in the field and require a rescue. Every one of the sheep of the field will turn his own way without the Shepherd's constant attention to keep them from going astray (cf. Ps. 78:52; 79:13; 95:7; 100:3; Mat. 10:6). This is one of the great passages concerning the doctrine of the total depravity of man. That all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23; cf. 1 Kg. 8:46; Psa. 14:2-3; 53:3; 103:3; 143:2; Prov. 20:9; Eccl. 7:20; Rom. 3:9; 3:19; Gal. 3:22; Jam. 3:2; 1 Jn. 1:8, 10).
6b. And [the] Lord caused to meet in him the guilt of us all. The turning away is seen as a transgression, which is remedied by the guilt that was laid upon Jesus at His death. The Hebrew uses the strongest verb form "the Lord caused to meet our guilt," "to make attack upon our guilt," or "reached the mark of our guilt." It was not His guilt, but our guilt [ie. The guilt of all mankind] that was being addressed. There was purpose and strength in dealing with mankind's sin. The death of our Lord was no small matter to God, likewise, the sin issue was no small matter to deal with. The sin issue of all mankind being laid or transferred from mankind to the Messiah was as intense an event as ever was.
The idea of guilt is a legal term. Going astray is identified as the legal offence and our being in a state of guilt is our condition. However, it is the Lord who takes the consequence of or punishment for our guilt. Most translate "guilt" as "iniquity" here and is the most common translation for this word. But both guilt and punishment would fit the verse justly since the next section deals with unjust treatment inflicted by man.
IV. Submission of the Servant
7 He was oppressed and he was the one who was being afflicted, And he did not open his mouth, He will be brought as a sheep to slaughter, And as a sheep before her shearers was silenced, Yet he will not open his mouth. 8 He was intensely being taken from prison and from justice, And who will explain his period? For he had been cut off from [the] land of [the] living, For [the] transgression of my people [was] [the] strike upon him, 9 And he put his grave [with] the wicked ones, And with the rich in his death, Because he did no violence, And no deceit [was] in his mouth. (Isa. 53:7-9)
7a. He was oppressed and he was the one who was being afflicted. He was oppressed (lit., to press) by His captures and is called "one who is being afflicted," a state of being.
7b. And he did not open his mouth. The silence of the lamb led to slaughter is noted in the New Testament and has the meaning He gave His life freely. As His accusers questioned Him before Pilate, He answered nothing (Matt. 27:11-14; cf. 1 Peter 2:21-24). His accusers questioned Him before the Sanhedrin and Caiaphas, He said nothing except who He was – the I am (Mark 14:60-62). Then again, Jesus said nothing when questioned by Herod (Luke 23:9).
7c. He will be brought as a sheep to slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers was silenced, yet he will not open his mouth. When John the Baptist proclaimed, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29b; cf. Acts 8:32; Rev. 5:6, 9), he referred to the OT teaching of the Suffering Servant who will shed His blood as a sacrifice and central to that typology is the sheep brought to slaughter. Sheep are quite as they get sheared. Jesus was not being sheared, He was being slaughtered. The Lamb was prepared for slaughter, and during the whole preparation time He was like a sheep that is patent and quite, waiting for her shearer to finish the task.
8a. He was intensely being taken from prison and from justice. He was taken from His prison ("restraint," "oppression"), the intensive nature of the action provides a picture of Him being snatched up and taken away. Dr. Unger interprets the intense nature of the act as "He was taken away by a violent death, as lqh is employed in Jer. 15:15; Ezek. 24:16, answering to the words, 'cut off out of the land of the living,' by (through) oppression and by (through) a judicial sentence." (Merrill F. Unger, Unger's Commentary on the Old Testament, p. 1299 ) In other words, He had no proper legal hearing, and was executed with emotional hostility.
8b. And who will explain his period? The interpretation of this phrase has brought much discussion, but the context and flow of this section of scripture make the interpretation simple. The Hebrew dor ("period," "generation," "habitation," "dwelling") is taken in the first sense, meaning "a period of time." And the action is in the intensive, "to put forth," "mediate," "consider," hence, the meaning is "intensely pondering to the point of explaining" what His death means in light of who He claimed to be and what Scripture says concerning Him. The Jewish leadership provided no justice, no discussion of who He is they just wanted His death. Who among the Jewish religious leadership will explained why God had to come in the flesh, live a perfect life under the law, and die as a substitute for mankind? The answer is no one among them will explain His life on earth.
8c. For he had been cut off from [the] land of [the] living. Dr. Unger writes, "the land of the living is the realm of physical life, and to be cut off from it is physical death, which Christ endured as the result of the common legal justice denied Him" (Unger, p. 1299). Simply put, this is the first part of the gospel – that He died. The rest of the gospel will follow with His burial and resurrection. But His substitutionary death and what that means concerning the sin issue and all that means must come first.
8d. For [the] transgression of My people [was] [the] strike upon Him. The transgression of My people [Jews] was placed as a strike (or "mark") upon Him. The meaning here may be a reflection of verse five as the strike resulted in our being healed. Another interpretation may simply be that because of the lack of justice exercised by the Jewish people during His trial, this transgression is seen as a unique transgression of the Jewish people that was likewise transferred to Jesus. They rejected Jesus, but He does not reject them. His promise to the covenant people is His word and there is nothing they can do to nullify the covenant and His word.
9a. And He put His grave [with] the wicked ones, And with the rich in his death. The intention was that He get buried in a common grave with the rest of the criminals who had no special place to be buried, but instead, Joseph a rich man, came forth and buried Him in his tomb which was hewn out of the rock (Matt 27:38; 57-61; John 19:38-42).
Joseph is said to have been wealthy; he must have been prominent to have secured an audience with Palate after his official public hours. When buried, those crucified were normally thrown into common graves; they did not receive an honorable burial in their family tomb. Exceptions were often made when relatives asked for the body, but in the case of treason (as claiming to be the Jewish king would be) an exception would not be made unless the deceased had a prominent advocate. Jesus had a posthumous ally in this man of influence, who was not ashamed to go on record as his follower. (Craig Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary – New Testament (Downers Grove:Intervarsity Press, 1993), p. 128)
9b. Because he did no violence, And no deceit [was] in his mouth. Again His innocence is proclaimed. It is because He did no violence (either ethical or physical wrong), and because no deceit (in the sense of deceiving) was found in Him, He was given a dignified burial place, set apart and guarded. This verse is used by Peter to exhort Christians to live lives as examples of the suffering servant (1 Peter 2:22), and the 144,000 are found with no deceit in their mouths before God (Rev. 14:5).
5. Satisfaction of the Work Done
10 And it pleased [the] Lord to crush him, He caused to be grieved when you set his soul a trespass offering, He will see seed, He will make long [the] days, And [the] pleasure of [the] Lord will succeed in his hand. 11 He will look from [the] trouble of his soul, [and] he will be satisfied, By his knowledge, My righteous servant will cause to justify many, And their punishment he, he bore. 12 Therefore I will intensely share for him among [the] great, And he will intensely divide the booty, Under which he caused to empty out his soul to death, And he was counted with [the] transgressors, And he bore the sin of many, And he made intercession for those who are transgressor. (Isa. 53:10-12)
10a. And it pleased [the] Lord to crush Him. The Lord is the one who crushed Him and He was pleased ("to delight in," "take pleasure in," "desired") in doing it. A just act had been accomplished and it served as a propitiation, a satisfaction to the Lord. This work on the cross is spoken of in the New Testament as a satisification for the sin issue:
[W]hom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed (Rom. 3:25).
And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world (1 John 2:2).
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:10)
10b. He caused to be grieved when you set his soul a trespass offering. The offering caused great pain and grief as the penalty was placed upon Him. The Hebrew word for soul is nephesh and has a wide range of meanings, "soul," "life," "person," "mind," "heart," but has as its core the idea of "a living being." Just as in the fall both the physical and spiritual was affected, so in His death both the physical and spiritual was met with. Dr. Barnes writes:
This word properly means, blame, guilt which one contracts by transgression Gen 26:10; Jer 51:5; also a sacrifice for guilt; a sin-offering; an expiatory sacrifice. It is often rendered 'trespass-offering' Lev 5:19; Lev 7:5; Lev 14:21; Lev 19:21; 1Sa 6:3, 1Sa 6:8, 1Sa 6:17. It is rendered 'guiltiness' Gen 26:10; 'sin' Pro 14:9; 'trespass' Num 5:8. The idea here is, clearly, that he would be made an offering, or a sacrifice for sin; that by which guilt would be expiated and an atonement made. In accordance with this, Paul says 2Co 5:21, that God 'made him to be sin for us' hamartian, that is, a sin-offering; and he is called hilasmos and hilastērion, a propitiatory sacrifice for sins Rom 3:25; 1Jo 2:2; 1Jo 4:10. The idea is, that he was himself innocent, and that he gave up his soul or life in order to make an expiation for sin - as the innocent animal in sacrifice was offered to God as an acknowledgment of guilt. There could be no more explicit declaration that he who is referred to here, did not die as a martyr merely, but that his death had the high purpose of making expiation for the sins of people. (Barnes, note on 53:10)
10c. He will see seed, He will make long [the] days. The Lord will physically see His seed ("offspring", fig. of moral quality – "a practitioner of righteousness"). That is, He will literally see His followers in His resurrected body, and His days will be "caused to be long" or "made long" in His resurrection. He will see all those who believe the gospel of Christ in all generations ordained to come.
10d. And [the] pleasure of [the] Lord will succeed in his hand. The Lord found pleasure, delighted in the finished work of Christ on the cross. The death, burial, and resurrection were all pleasing to the Lord and so the going forth of the gospel of Christ will succeed ("rush," "advance," "prosper") in the Lord's hand. The Lord's hand in the figurative sense meaning "authority," "strength," or "power." The meaning takes a theological legal aspect that makes His death a legal act that served as a just payment to cover the penalty of the great sin issue.
11a. He will look from [the] trouble of his soul, [and] he will be satisfied. It is as though Jesus sees the result of His death as He endures the events of the cross and is satisfied by what that accomplished. His substitutionary work satisfied ("have one's fill of," "have desire satisfied") Him.
11b. By his knowledge, My righteous servant will cause to justify many. It is by the Lord's knowledge ("practical experimental knowledge," "understanding," or "wisdom") that righteousness is imputed for the purpose of justifying (declared to be legally acquitted) the many. That is legal talk. Just as Adam's sin is imputed to mankind (Rom. 5:12-21), man's sin is imputed to Christ (2 Cor. 5:19; 1Peter 2:24), so the righteousness of Christ is imputed (2 Cor. 5:21) to believers. Mankind is not capable of being declared righteous by themselves, but God looks upon the death of Christ and sees the righteousness of Christ and credits man with Christ's righteousness. God looks at man and sees Christ. Christ is the mediator, the legal advocate for mankind, but more, Christ is the legal representative of mankind before God and He was able to do this because He, very God, came in the flesh and took the full punishment due mankind (Rom. 5:14; 1 Cor. 15:22).
There is an interpretative problem here. Isaiah clearly declares that the Servant justifies "many," literally, "for the many," or "for the great number." The declaration is not for "all," (Hebrew kol – "all," "whole") but for many, a limited number. Did Christ die for all or only the elect? Clearly, Christ died for the whole world (John 1:29). This is consistent with the typology of the temple sacrifice where once a year on the Day of Atonement, the high priest entered the holy of holies and sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice upon the mercy seat, making atonement for the whole nation, but was every Jew saved? Of course not. Those who are declared righteous are said to be righteous because of their belief in what God had told them. They are covered because of Christ's death. Just as with the topology of the temple propitiation (the sprinkling of the blood on the mercy seat) Christ's death covered all of mankind but not all mankind is saved. The offer is for all, but no one comes to the Father unless He draws him (John 6:44). The theological significance of these verses is incredible and deep.
11c. And their punishment he, he bore. The conclusion of the concept of substitionary death is presented in this last phrase which stresses the fact that the Servant himself bore the punishment ("guilt," "consequence or punishment for iniquity"). The emphatic "he, he bore," is usually translated "he himself bore." Making it unmistakably emphatic that the Servant bore the punishment due mankind.
12a. Therefore I will intensely share him among [the] great. Therefore (literally, "for thus") introduces a result clause, "for this reason, I will share ("to divide," "apportion," "assign," "distribute") Him among the great ones." There has been two main interpretations presented; (1) that Jesus would have a great number of followers; and (2) that Jesus would be counted among the great of the earth. The second interpretation is more closely aligned with the text as the Hebrew bet prefix "in" or "among" the great has the meaning He is in the same group as the great ones ("mighty," "powerful" ones). Jesus is counted among the great people of the world. In fact, the world does not think much of Him, but God has made Him important independent of what the world says. Time is counted in reference to His walking on the earth by the time marker B.C (Before Christ) and (A.D.) Anno Domini "In the year of the Lord." His followers are numbered in the millions. More Bibles and books concerning Him have been published over the years than any other subject. More schools of higher education and Seminaries whose sole concentration is the study of Christianity have been organized over the years than any other religion including secular universities. There is not a nation on this planet that has not had a missionary go, a church established, a Bible translated, His name proclaimed.
12b. And he will intensely divide the booty. The picture is that of a conquering army that has defeated its foe and it is time to divide the possessions of the city just conquered. Jesus' death on the cross accomplished one of the biggest events of all history. His booty is yet future though as there are things which must still play out before He comes again and reigns as King Jesus. The whole earth will be placed under His foot in the Messianic Kingdom. This phrase points to the future. The rapture's division, His second coming and the and the division that occurs with the resurrections, the Messianic kingdom on earth where He will divide the land and rule, and divisions which occur prior to the new heavens and earth. The picture might be seen by the separation of the sheep form the goats (Mat. 25:32-33).
12c. Under which he caused to pour out his soul to death. The allusion might be made of the priest who pours out the wine of the drink offering where the entire libation is poured out to the Lord at the incineration of the animal on the altar. Christ's soul was made an offering for sin. And as such, this pouring out was a "sweet aroma" to the Lord (Num. 15:3). The drink offering was also used in the priestly system for the purpose of (1) Thank Offering: for unexpected deliverance or blessing already granted; (2) Votive Offering: for blessing or deliverance granted in answer to prayer which had an accompanying vow; and (3) Freewill Offering: to express thankful devotion without regard to specific blessing. (Duane Lindsey in John Walvoord & Roy Zuck gen ed., The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Colorado Springs:Victor Books, 1985), p. 170). The allusion might also be made to the animal's blood being poured out unto death. The blood being the requirement for a just payment as Hebrews notes:
[A]nd not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12)
12d. And he was counted with [the] transgressors. He was counted ("reckoned," "numbered," "appointed") with those who are transgressors. In other words, He was seen as the proper representative of mankind being the Son of Man, legally representing mankind for the crime committed. He was the legal substitute who took the punishment for mankind, the kinsman redeemer. Jesus says this verse is fulfilled in Him (Luke 22:37; cf. Mark 15:27 – in the Majority Text & TR).
12e. And he bore the sin of many. To make things clear, the Lord says, in the emphatic, "he, he bore the sin of many." He Himself carried ("bore," "carried," lifted up") the singular sin (i.e., sin is seen as collective). Romans five describes the theological significance of the verse as Paul writes:
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. 16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. 17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. 18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 19 For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.
Verse 15 tells the story. It was through the transgression of one [Adam] that many [polus: "many," "a great number"] died. God does not see those who are saved as dead, but as alive in Christ. Likewise, the grace ("favor," "loving-kindness," but here meaning, "benefit," or "bounty") of God, given as a gift by God to many. A great number are dead and will stay that way, whereas, a great many benefit by the grace of God. However, verse 18 clearly states that "through one transgression [i.e. Adam's] there resulted condemnation ["damnatory sentence," lit., "down-judge"] to all men [collectively, "mankind"]." However, Paul goes on to state, "through one act of righteousness there resulted justification ["legally acquitted"] of life to all men."
All mankind are declared guilty, but through Christ's substitutionary death, salvation is offered to all mankind. This fact is declared in the following verses:
Again the typology of the Day of Atonement is applied to Christ's death. The sacrifice covers the whole nation (the world with respect to Christ) but, its application is limited to those who are declared righteous.
12f. And he made intercession for those who are transgressor. Christ as the intercessor, the Great High Priest who entered the Holy Place once by His blood, having obtained for us eternal redemption (Heb. 9:12). His office as High Priest included the function of intercessor for us before God (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25) and mediator (1 Tim. 2:5). The intercession performed in this verse points to the legal representation before God the Father concerning the sin issue of each transgressor. At the moment one believes the gospel of Christ, that Christ paid the price for our sins, Christ acts as intercessor, a legal mediator on our behalf. He meets with God the Father on our behalf. He is the personal Savior, the Suffering Servant of God that served as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Dr. Couch, in R. C. Sproul's book The Last Days According to Jesus, he argues that the meeting with Christ in the air (1 Thess. 4:17) is an expression used of a Roman general who returns in triumph to a given city. The general waits outside the city until the people are ready to "meet" him. How do we answer this?
ANSWER: My answer is "So?" The context of the passage is clear no matter how a given word is used in some secular historical narrative. You need to quote all that Sproul writes on this issue in his lightweight book on pages 168-69. I have never seen a Bible teacher so confused and unclear as he is on this subject. To get rid of prophetic fulfillment he suggests that this rapture passage is but "apocalyptic imagery." He quotes several preterists to try to argue that way. He says, "The rapture imagery may have been designed to communicate that the people of Christ would join him in his triumphant return. The rapture imagery may be symbolic in this sense, in terms of what the rapture represents. But the rapture imagery is not symbolic in the sense that the rapture is altogether invisible" (p. 169).
Thus, he teaches an invisible rapture of the church? What in the world did Sproul just say?
What amazes me is that many Bible students do not want the solid grammatical goodies that explain the Bible. They run to a Sproul who is terrible confused. On this meeting I write in my technical Greek commentary (The Hope of Christ's Return, AMG, p. 128) on 1 & 2 Thessalonians:
On 1 Thessalonians 4:17, I further write: "Paul sets forth the results of the miracle of the Rapture. In Greek it reads, 'And so always [pantote] together with the Lord, we shall ourselves be [eimi, present middle indicative].' 'This rapture of the saints (both risen and the living who are changed) is a glorious climax to Paul's argument of consolation. … This is the outcome, to be forever with the Lord.'" (A. T. Robertson)
This is quoting the great grammarian A. T. Robertson who does not hold to the rapture in the same sense as I do, but he still calls 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 a rapture passage. Remember in chapter 5 the apostle tells us the reason for the rapture. The judgment of the Day of the Lord is coming (5:1-4) and the church escapes that terrible period of wrath poured out on the world by the Lord. "For God has not destined us for wrath but for obtaining deliverance through our Lord Jesus Christ" (v. 9).
I keep wondering what is wrong with the anti-rapture people. All of this is so plain and simple. What is their problem? I have come to a conclusion with two answers: (1) they are deep in their souls anti-Semitic because after the rapture comes the tribulation and then the restored Davidic Kingdom, and (2) the anti-rapture people have a fear of what is coming upon the earth. I can find no other reasons why they "protesteth so much" against the plain and obvious teaching of Scripture!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Thursday, July 17, 2008
|Dr. Couch, you really have a great and informative website. I know you've had great experiences and outstanding training from some of the great dispensational giants of the past. What wisdom can you share from studying under those men?|
ANSWER: I have been exceedingly blessed to study under the most Godly and wise dispensational leaders of a past generation. Your question is good because I think that God places us in positions where He wants us to be in order that we may learn from those who have gone before. I've always told my students that we are like links in a chain. Someone has strengthened us and in turn we are to strengthen the generation that comes after us. To your question: What did I learn from them?
1. I learned that when I was sitting under their teaching I did not appreciate what I was getting. It was only later that it dawned on me of the blessings I received.
2. In being taught the dispensational nature of the Scriptures, years later I was able to confirm that what they gave me was correct and right! I received the tools to find out what was correct. I always say dispensationalism is not simply a system. The Word of God IS dispensational!
3. I never believed what a great Bible teacher taught me simply because he said it. I realized that I could look at truth on my own and confirm the rightness of it.
4. I realized that the great Bible teachers of the past were not perfect. I could see years later that on minor details I disagreed with a few things they taught. But minor differences of opinion do not matter. I realized that what I received in the overall scheme of things was absolutely correct.
5. The four areas of knowledge that changed my life were: (1) hermeneutics, (2) heavy and comprehensive systematic theology, (3) Hebrew, and (4) Greek. On both the undergraduate and graduate level I probably received more Greek than anyone you may know. The same can be said of systematic theology. Many of my classmates threw away their language skills when they left seminary. I did not. I continue to study both Hebrew and Greek each week. I am not a fast reader but hopefully I try to be thorough in my translation work. Now none of this blessed exposure made me a genius. (I actually learn slowly!) I really consider myself fortunate and humbled. I feel blessed each day for what I received going through three graduate schools. But the tools were given to me that have made me thoroughly appreciate the Word of God. I see Christ more clearly, and I see the Plan that the Lord is unfolding in the Bible!
I also had in college and various graduate schools large chunks of history and church history. This gave me the ability to compare and contrast what I see happening in the world today and in the life of the church.
We cannot move forward without knowledge, but at the same time, God is not impressed with all that we have learned. He is testing us by faithfulness and obedience.
The men I was blessed with as my instructors did not play the intelligentsia card. They desired to be thorough, yes, but even more importantly, they wanted to be clear as to what the Word was saying.
The greatest concern I now have is for men who are forty years of age and younger. In my opinion, they are not receiving the classical education I was blessed with. They are getting more of philosophy and less and less of systematics and of the biblical language. For so many their courses in theology do not have a dispensational base. But too, they have a different mind-set about the world and the Word of God. I sense a slippage away from revelation. They are not seeing what I see! I see many who look down at classical dispensationalism. They want to be accepted by the covenant theologians. They are not willing to remain "basic" and simple in teaching God's Word. They pride themselves in academia but this does not impress the Lord!
I don't know if what I've written above helps but I trust that it will. I feel sorry for those of you who want more because I believe that solid teaching, as I measure teaching, is quickly slipping away!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
|Dear Dr. Couch, Believe it or not, our church is willing to have what they call SOLD classes they have been teaching all sorts of things in, to have certain ones of us teach a SOLD series on Prophecy. My part is to be on presenting "Pretribulationism". I have a lot of your books, and other materials, but is there a book or materials that might be helpful that you can recommend? I absolutely love your ministry and the CD's you have been sending have blessed my life and encouraged me greatly! I have been sharing them with my friends and grown children.|
(a website reader)
ANSWER: Well, at least you get the chance to present the biblical position! I highly recommend my book, An Introduction to Classical Evangelical Hermeneutics (Kregel). Especially the Appendix section in which you can compare the interpretation of the Amils and the Dispensationalists on given passages of Scripture. But you need to look at the whole book—it's full of goodies to answer the Covenant guys and the Amils. I can send you a copy pronto for just $17 donation to Scofield Ministries. You will find those who do not take the Word of God at face value cannot hold a candle to what it teaches about Bible prophecy.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
|Dr. Couch, should believers listen to secular music, and especially country music?|
ANSWER: I have found that you can start a fist fight among Christians over music, to listen or not to listen to this or that! The problem is we have to be careful falling on one side or another—legalism or license. To me the key word is: discernment, discernment, discernment! There is a lot of good and acceptable music created by the secular world that we can all listen to. And personally, I don't think it is that difficult to discern what is acceptable or not.
Many do not know it but Dr. John F. Walvoord just loved jazz music! Now my taste does not run in that direction but it did for him. And I'm sure he did not listen to "trashy" jazz music. Knowing him, I'm sure he practiced discernment.
I can remember the day when country music was clean. A lot of the songs talked about sin and restitution. Many country pieces spoke about the Lord. And TV country music programs always closed with a hymn. But then the demons were let out of the pit and country music joined other forms of expression and became totally filthy. So there are many pieces of country music, and other types, that are just plain filthy and without a doubt are corrupting those who listen to it.
Television has also hit the bottom. Be prepared for the fall of 2008 for TV to be filled with even more forms of sin. The producers now know that there is no one out in TV land who will stop their march into the open visual expression of dirt.
By the way, Christian TV is getting awful itself. It is moving rapidly into programs that deal with Gnosticism and mysticism. Satan is indeed alive and well in our culture. I believe we are now moving rapidly into the predicted Apostasy spoken of by Paul. He wrote: "For the time will come when they will not endure "healthy' doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate to themselves teachers in accordance to their own lusts; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to lies" (2 Tim. 4:3-4).
I believe we are there!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
|Question: Is God in human form in heaven?|
Answer: God the Father is a Spirit and therefore has no physical body. However, Scripture is clear that God the Son, Jesus Christ will forever be in a perfected, glorified human body. Lewis Sperry Chafer addressed this when he said, "The resurrection accomplished the unveiling of (Jesus') Deity and the glorification of His humanity" (III:16). John in the first chapter of his gospel (v. 14) states that Jesus became flesh. He was human. Then in Revelation 1:13-18 John saw Jesus in His resurrected glorified body, knew who He was, and fell as dead at His feet. Again, in Luke 9:27-31ff we see Jesus declaring that some would not die until they saw Him in His glorified state. Then we see Peter, James and John experiencing that very thing about eight days later. Finally, since Jesus is our Great High Priest and representative before God, we can be sure that He is even now in His glorified human body interceding on our behalf before the Father.
Thanks for asking!
- Dr. Steve Spurlin
Thursday, July 10, 2008
|Dr. Couch, have you noticed that there seems to be more cruelty to animals these days reported in the news?|
ANSWER: Yes, indeed, I have! And most of it is coming from "foreign" cultures coming into this country who virtually torture their animals, especially those to be eaten, such as goats, chickens, etc. It absolutely makes me sick! These people do not come from either a Calvinistic-European or Judeo-Christian culture. They are cruel at heart and lock up their animals in small cages without water or food. And then they slaughter them in their bathtubs, throw out the skin and bones, and make their grounds and yards very unsanitary. While there has always been animal cruelty from pagan minded people, this seems to be growing worse in America because of the invasion of different societies.
Thank the Lord that some cities have inspectors who can even lock up those who are the most cruel.
Proverbs 12:10 says: "A righteous man regards the life of his animal; but (even) the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel." The great Puritan and English writer Joseph Parker writes in his 1891 commentary on this passage: "A righteous man knows the feelings of animals. He gives them credit for feelings; he does not look upon them as merely so much animated matter, but as standing in some relation to himself, but the wicked man becomes so debased as to lose all sense of distinction. His senses into the most utter severity and cruelty of nature."
The Mosaic Law says that one should not be so cruel as to keep the ox from eating the grain that he is grinding for his master. "You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing" (Deut. 25:4). That would be a form of torture and cruelty. And Christ added: "What man shall there be among you, who shall have one sheep and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out?" (Matt. 12:11).
Putting all these verses together we find a pattern of how to property treat one's animals. But there are those who do not know the Scriptures and have cruelty in their hearts.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
|Dr. Couch, does it not seem that the Lord's anger is growing against an evil and sinful world?|
ANSWER: Absolutely! And, in my opinion, we are moving towards the final days so quickly it makes our head swim! Our younger generation of Christians do not see what is happening. You can see it even in their belief system. They may be born again but they are absorbing the attitudes and thought forms of our evil culture. They do not discern where all of this is going. Statistics show that the Y generation of Evangelicals are turning liberal. For example, more and more of them do not think that abortion is so bad, and they are shifting rapidly to the left in their politics. They have little understanding about wisdom, maturity, and experience. They will select leaders who will be blind guides of the blind!
As we dispensationalists and premillennialists knew years ago, that without solid teaching and doctrine, this younger generation would turn against Israel. They are biblically ignorant and like it that way! They are extremely ignorant about biblical prophecy and what the Lord says about the final days. They are spiritually asleep as to where all of this is going!
But back to your question, yes, I believe we're rapidly moving into the final days with evil compounding itself. This will lead us to the judgment of the wrath of God, even though the Lord on a continual basis pours His anger out on the world. Because of sin, God "makes the nations great, then destroys them; He enlarges the nations then leads them astray (America?). He deprives of intelligence the leaders of earth's people, and makes them wander in a pathless waste. They grope in darkness with no light, and He makes them stagger like a drunken man" (Job 12:23-25).
Psalms 7:11 says: "God is a righteous judge, and a God who has indignation [against the world] every day." Even though His mercy is always available in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, that truth, that message, is being more and more ignored and repudiated!
Our evil world does not understand what is coming. In Proverbs 28 we read: "Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand all things" (v. 5). Other verses in this chapter seem to speak of our times. "He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, even his prayer is an abomination" (v. 9). And, "An arrogant man stirs up strife, but he who trusts in the Lord will prosper" (v. 25). In 1 Thessalonians 1:10, the Greek text says that the wrath of God is on its way! And the verse could read that Jesus, IS our Deliverer who will deliver us out from (ek) that wrath that will nearly destroy the world. Paul is here speaking about the rapture of true believers!
In my opinion the dispensation of mercy and grace is almost over. Those who trust Christ will be taken out of here before the Day of the Lord arrives! I believe we are now coming into the period known as the Apostasy. Andy Woods and I are cutting two Gathering Storm CDs (for August and September) concerning the arrival of this predicted period. A $30 yearly donation subscription will guarantee that you receive them!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
When one takes legal American citizenship, “it is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American. There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag. We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language, and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.” (1907 Speech)
ANSWER: You know what I would think! Paul says in Romans 13 that God ordains government for what is good not to maintain what is evil. In my opinion we are going into the apostasy, both of the church and the world. The crush is coming and it will get worse just before the rapture of the church, though I absolutely believe in the imminence of His coming. The Lord knows when that will be; we do not
Sin and humanism is coming forth like never before. There is no stopping as to what is now going on. People have said, "Oh, it has always been said that we are in the end times!" Yes, but Israel was not back in the land! That is the key to understanding the fact that we are moving to the end of days!
Andy Woods and I are doing two CDs on The Apostasy for August and September 2008. If you want to get them, the subscription for a CD a month is $30 for the year. Don't miss them!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Monday, July 7, 2008
|The way of the Lord is a stronghold to the upright, but ruin to the workers of iniquity (Prov. 10:29).|
Even though everyone in a nation is not born again, the Bible can and does have an effect on the culture and the mores of the society. There have been times in the past in America when even the lost had a respect for the Word of God. That respect is now gone. Millions are defying the laws of the land, disrespecting Scripture, and are pouring into the country to steal and take advantage of the rules established here for our citizens. Couples forgo marriage in order that the woman may receive free health care and get benefits that she is not entitled to. Millions come into the country in order to have a baby that then gives to them legal status to take advantage of the nation's generosity. The baby becomes a citizen and then the same is given to the mother. If law is violated because of sympathetic humanism, destruction will follow!
These are no longer simply social issues putting our nation at risk but issues of morality, spirituality, and of right and wrong. The nation cannot continue to destroy itself! Now what is at stake has to do with the open acceptance of sin, and such sin will destroy the underpinnings of the country. When a nation stands and holds fast its own laws, and the laws of God, it is blessed. It will be cursed if it destroys and ignores God's ways.
Society is degrading rapidly. Almost 50% of young Americans have a social disease. Abortions take place each year by the hundreds of thousands. Many Americans, even Evangelicals, have no problem with abortions. Feminism has destroyed the family framework and order. Soon, almost half of the children born will be illegitimate. Our television media is now spewing forth raw sewage into our homes, and no one seems to be able to stop it. It is my opinion that we are already moving into the first stages of what the Scriptures call "the standing away" from the faith, the apostasy!
Believers should certainly pray for the nation but also, we need to face the fact that a judgment is coming. We should not fear outwardly though we can grieve concerning the loss of this great country. Lawson says: "Upright men, when feeling the weakness of their own strength, are sometimes filled with anxious thoughts. But through the grace of Christ their strength shall increase. They shall reach in safety the end of their journey, and be more than conquerors (cf. Ps. 27:13, 14; Isa. 40:29)."
The Rabbis say: "The upright man who walks therein finds courage and fortitude so that he is strengthened to face difficulties and dangers; to the evil-doer, on the other hand, it is "ruin" because they forsake it and so incur punishment." Unger concludes: "The expectation and the hope of the wicked shall perish (Job 8:13; 11:20; Prov. 11:7). The godless can have no hope, for they have no faith in God, on whom hope is founded."
-- Dr. Mal Couch
Saturday, July 5, 2008
ANSWER: Yes, 2 Kings 10 tells us just who is in charge in this world. I used to ask my students: "Who is in charge?" And, "Who do we think we are?" By the way, this is not popular today as our churches go into the apostasy. We think we are in charge, and, humanism is now replacing God as God
Hezekiah prayed before the Lord in regard to the evil of king Sennacherib of Assyria. He pleaded for God to hear his petition: "O Lord, … see; and listen to the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God" (v. 16). "O Lord our God, I pray, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that Thou alone, O Lord, art God" (v. 19).
God responds to Hezekiah and says, "Because you have prayed to Me about Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard you" (v. 20). The Lord then reminds the pagan king that He put into place a plan that started to come about that He declared long ago. God said to Sennacherib: "Have you not heard? Long ago I did it; from ancient times I planned it. Now I have brought it to pass" (v. 25). The Lord then adds: "I know your sitting down, and your going out and your coming in, and your raging against Me. … I will put My hook in your nose, and My bridle in your lips, and I will turn you back by the way which you came" (vv. 27-28).
God knows before hand, and God plans before hand! He is in charge of history even though it seems as if mankind is sovereign! People are not really in charge. God is
Thanks for your comments
Dr. Mal Couch
Thursday, July 3, 2008
ANSWER: Oh, heavens no! Their view will not fly in any form or fashion! The messianic kingdom will be actual, historic, and a specific event that unfolds in time. To fully understand Luke 17:21 you must tie it together with 10:9, 11. In my Luke commentary on 17:21 I write: "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 you." It has come up to the present, up to the moment, but it has not been inaugurated. 'It has been on its way, and it has arrived, but it has in no way begun!'" "Has come" is egiken in Greek and is from the verb engizo. It is a Perfect Active Indicative and this verb form is used almost always to convey the idea that the kingdom is presented but not inaugurated or fulfilled. That is, the "coming" of the kingdom has reached a finished state. If the Jews had repented as a nation, in theory, the kingdom would have started. Of course the God in His Prescience knew they would reject it! "It has finished coming" but is not necessarily now in operation. There is a cogent reason that the Perfect Tense is used so consistently when discussing the kingdom arrival. Dana & Mantey, the great Greek grammarians, write: "It is best to assume that there is a reason for the Perfect [Tense] wherever it occurs."
In the Greek text of 10:9, near is the Preposition epi with the root idea here of upon. The point is that the kingdom has made its arrival because the King is present, but this does not mean that the kingdom has started. "The kingdom of God is resting over you Pharisees but has not begun!" It is impossible that the idea of 17:21 would be that the kingdom is now operating within believers. Christ is talking with the Pharisees who, for the most part, were not true believers!
The BKC says:
Some feel that the force of the expression is "within your possession or within your reach," Jesus' point was that He was standing right in their midst. All they had to do was acknowledge that He is indeed the Messiah who could bring in the kingdom—and then the kingdom would come.
In the book The End Times Controversy (eds. Tim LaHaye & Tommy Ice) I wrote:
Based on the grammar and context of a given passage, engus may simply mean that something is coming near, approaching, or being brought near. But does this guarantee that the referred-to event will take place immediately? If John the Baptist and Christ said the "kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 3:2; 17; 10:7), is it inherent in the verb that the kingdom will come right then? Could the kingdom be near or certain but not actually arrive because of some other factors? As well, could the verb tens simply be telling us that that the kingdom is certainly on its way? Could it be that the Jewish rabbis understood that the kingdom would not be announced yet, not arrive because the nation of Israel was unworthy — that it was not inaugurated because of the sins of the nation? Can it be shown by the writings of the church fathers that they understood this problem? The church fathers indicate that the kingdom was yet to arrive—perhaps in their day, or beyond.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
|Dr. Couch, everyone I know realizes that something is happening in America that will lead us to destruction. I agree with all that you say on the Scofield website. I know you are correct when you point out that the coming fall of this country will be because of sin. The Bible speaks to what is going on today. Do you agree?|
ANSWER: Yes. The Scriptures point out that a nation will not get away with moral corruption, especially in the corruption that ends in gross homosexuality. Read Deuteronomy 32:28-33.
This section begins by pointing out that a nation will fall that refuses Godly counsel, and has lost its understanding of what is right and wrong (v. 28). The wise that possess understanding are gone (v. 29a). But what is most interesting is the fact that that nation can no longer discern the future. "Understanding is gone that they would discern their future!" (v. 29b). For that wayward nation, it will be so bad that one soldier is able to chase and put to flight "a thousand" or even two warriors can "put to flight ten thousand" because God, their Rock, has sold them into slavery with "even their enemies will be judging them" (v. 30).
But it gets worse! What they produce will be like planting vines, "the vine of Sodom, and from the fields of Gomorrah" (v. 32a). "Their grapes are grapes of poison, their clusters are bitter. Their wine is the venom of serpents, and the deadly poison of cobras" (v. 32b-33). Homosexuality will come forth like the clusters of grapes!
America exports Hollywood evil and gross sin! We are now beholding to the world. We no longer lead the nations! We must print billions of dollars each day in order to pay our national deficit. Many groups have found ways to steal from the government. Many couples live together, and are not married, with the woman having a child in order to get government support. Illegal foreigners who are women come across our borders in order to have a child. Then they are able to be given citizenship and abuse our laws. Fifty percent of our teens have a social disease. Filth from Hollywood tempts our children but school teachers are told they cannot speak of what is right or wrong. They cannot speak of morality!
In my opinion we are into the first stages of the apostasy. And the world is dictating even to Christians what they should be doing morally.
There is no turning back!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch