|Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21:5-36; 17:22-37) |
In the previous article the disciples asked "when will these things be? What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" They receive their answer and what an answer it turned out to be. Matthew 24 and 25 are one of the greatest prophetic sections of the entire Bible.
III. Jesus Answers (24:4 – 25:46)
The Beginnings of Birth Pangs (24:4-8)
4 So Jesus answered. He said to them, see [that] no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name saying, I, I am the Christ, so many will lead astray. 6 And you will be about to hear of wars and reports of wars. See [that] you are not troubled for all [these] things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will be aroused against nation and kingdom against kingdom and there will be famines and plagues and earthquakes according to places. 8 But all these [are] [the] beginning of birth pangs.
In the first part of Jesus' answer to the disciples He tells them to watch out! "See that no one deceives you" is a strong warning and a command for them to be discerning. As Dr. Glasscok notes this "warning is prompted by their eagerness for a sign. The danger of being misled (planese) was increased if one was too enthusiastic or anticipated some symbolic indication of the event." (Ed Glasscock, Moody Gospel Commentary – Matthew, p. 464) The Greek word planao means "to cause to stray," "to lead astray." This warning is given because many will speak in the name of Christ, appear to be Christian, maybe hold to some of the fundamentals, but their teaching will lead people astray. Their teaching is characterized as deceptive - to lead away from the truth and lead one into error (or theologically, "to lead away into error and sin").
So the command by Jesus to blepo – "to see, discern," to see the error for what it is – a deception that leads one astray from the pure word and intent of God. The deception seems to involve the trouble that will come build up and the error of why, and what to do as a result. Jesus says – watch out – I will tell you what to do and what it means. I want you to stand and discern what the deceiver says –measure what they say against what I say.
The second sign is, you will be about to hear of wars and reports of wars. The "wars" do not seem to be upon them. Though some interpret "you will continually hear" of wars, but Dr. Linski observes rightly, that here the "circumscribed future with the present infinitive reveals that the disciples are soon to hear of wars, namely right at hand." (R.C.H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel (Minneapolis, Min: Augsburg Publishing House, 1964), p. 930) This might better read, "the clamoring before war" or, "pre-war propaganda."
But the Lord provides them comfort by saying see [that] you are not troubled for all [these] things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. Here the Lord just puts two imperatives together in what the older grammarians call asyndeton – the practice of leaving out the conjunctions between two co-ordinate sentence elements (e.g., I came, I saw, I conquered). So, literally it reads, "See to it, be not troubled!" They are not to be troubled because "it is necessary," "there is need of," or "it is right and proper," for all these things must "become," "arise," or "appear in history." The One who tells the beginning from the end comforts them by reminding them of his trustworthy word. Prophecy is comforting, it is history spoken in advance by the one who is sovereign. These things will come about because He has said they will. It is necessary because He has a plan for the ages and wars and rumors of wars are a necessary condition.
But things are not over yet because the end is not yet. The word for "end" is tello meaning "to set out for a definite point or goal." There is an ultimate goal in mind for all these events to take place. For nation will be aroused against nation and kingdom against kingdom. Individual nations will be against or opposed to other nations within a single kingdom. But there will also be individual kingdoms against other kingdoms. So that within kingdoms there are nations, but within the confines of the whole earth there are kingdoms. Kingdoms will become the larger governing bodies of the earth, something like the many headed beasts of Daniel and Revelation. The governing body of many nations aligned into a single ruling head.
Along with all the animosity between nations, there will be famines and plagues and earthquakes. A famine is literally "scarcity of harvest," and the most common reasons for a famine are a lack of water and warfare. However, a famine is often pictured as a divine judgment of sin (2 Sam. 21:1; 24:13; 1 Kgs. 8:37; 2 Kgs. 8:1; Isa. 51:19; Jer. 14:12-18; Ezk. 5:12), and is part of the "four severe judgments" for Jerusalem – the sword, the famine, the wild beasts, and pestilence (Ezk. 14:21). The worst kind of famine for them is given in the figurative sense, "a famine…of hearing the words of the Lord" (Amos 8:11) which is threatened to those who have despised and rejected the message of the Lord. The absence of the word of God is for any nation a time of trouble as His word keeps sin down, without it sin only increases and woe to those who live is a land without the word of God. Famines speak of lack of abundance, lack of God's goodness. Scarcity will add to the hostility between nations.
A plague may be of any form of trouble or harassment, "but the term most often has reference to evil, or to disease of pestilential proportions, epidemic in its occurrence and fatal in its effects." (Wycliffe Bible Dictionary (Peabody Mass:Hendrickson Publishers, 1999), p. 1348) Most notable of the plagues of the Bible are those of the Exodus, the water to blood (Ex. 7:14-25; Ps. 78:44; 105:29), the frogs (Ex. 8:1-15; Ps. 78:45; 105:30), Lice (Ex. 8:16-19; Ps. 105:31), swarms (Ex. 8:20-32; Ps. 78;45; 105:31), pestilence affecting the livestock (Ex. 9:1-7), boils (Ex. 9:8-12), Hail (Ex. 9:13-35; Ps. 78:48; 105:32-33), locusts (Ex. 10:1-20; Ps. 78:46; 105:34-35), darkness (Ex. 10:21-29; Ps. 105:28), death of the firstborn (Ex. 11:1-10; 12:29-32; Ps. 78:51; 105:36). One can only imagine the type of viruses that will quickly spread through the nations in those days.
There seems to be two types of earthquakes, volcanic and tectonic. Though there are many earthquakes described in Scripture, the largest will be seen in the last days (Rev. 16:18). These are all great signs, but Luke alone adds "and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven (Luke 21:11). All these will occur according to places, upon places, as the accusative preposition acts distributive "from place to place" or the more modern "in various places."
Here is described a set of forces that man cannot control. With increased sin will come increased scarcity and disease. And to top it all off, earthquakes will add to the devastation in increasing number and uncertainty. Trouble will be upon the earth, but Jerusalem and God's people Israel is the focus of this message.
But all these [are] [the] beginning of birth pangs indicating the progress of time, or rather, a process must transpire before the birth of the Kingdom of the Messiah! This equating of signs to "birth pangs" is directly from the Old Testament and in particular Jeremiah chapter thirty. In Jeremiah, the Lord says:
For thus says the LORD, 'I have heard a sound of terror, Of dread, and there is no peace. 'Ask now, and see If a male can give birth. Why do I see every man With his hands on his loins, as a woman in childbirth? And why have all faces turned pale? 'Alas! for that day is great, There is none like it; And it is the time of Jacob's distress, But he will be saved from it. (Jer. 30:5-7)
This day is the "time of Jacob's trouble." The idea of birth pangs is for this period of Jacob's trouble or what the Lord calls the Great Tribulation and is an ongoing thesis of Scripture (cf. Deu. 4:30; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15). The picture is that of a woman who is pregnant. It takes nine months to go through the process of all the events that must transpire in order to produce a healthy baby. The baby starts out inside the woman and she experience morning sickness, and then after a while as the baby develops inside her, she starts to feel the burden of the extra weight, the kicking, the sleepless nights, the increasing pain the bigger the baby gets. The baby is real, but she cannot hold it yet in her arms. It is there but she cannot see it yet. She just sees a big belly. The last month or so is the worst. The pain becomes great as the baby finishes developing all its functions. Each month, each week, each day has its purpose. On the last week she is so tired of the baby inside her she cannot wait to finally get the baby out! On the last day the pain of child birth is great, but the wait is worse so when the final moment arrives she is relieved, the final travail turns to joy as the baby has finally come and she can now hold that beautiful new creation.
As can be seen, the picture of birth pains is more than just the final hour. Birth pains are present the entire nine months, but in varying degrees. There is a process that must transpire in order for all things to work out just right. The Great Tribulation is pictured as maybe the final week of the pregnancy when the pains are the worst. The agony is nonstop. Her hands are on her belly all the time, the baby's kicking and movement debilitating. These are just the beginning of the birth pangs!
Their Death Foretold (24:9)
9 Then they will give you into the hands of another into tribulation, and they will kill you. And you will be hated by all the nations through my name.
Then they will give you into the hands of another. "They" referred to here are those who are associated with the false Christs. "Into the hand" is an old Jewish idiom associated with destruction (cf. Lev. 26:25; Deu. 19:12; Jos. 7:7, etc). Death follows this phrase and sure enough they [the disciples] will see trouble and even death. All this because they are disciples of Jesus Christ and the nations hate everything about Him. In the Greek "in the hands of another is a compound meaning, "to give over into (one's) power or use."
The one problem that faces this verse is the adverb "then." Normally, this adverb is translated "then" with reference to time. Matthew uses the adverb ninety times! It seems he uses it loosely, sometimes using it as a conjunction. Mark uses the conjunction de meaning and, even, also (Mark 13:9), while Luke uses "But before all this they will lay their hands on you" (Luke 21:12). It therefore must be reckoned that Matthew is using the adverb in the sense of "manner or degree," rather than of "time or place." With this in mind he may be using tote as its compound, as it is made up of the rel. pron. 'ho', meaning "who, which, that, this" and 'te' meaning "as…so, not only…but also, both…and." So, he may be saying "not only this, but also, they will give you into the hands of another."
There may be two interpretations of the "you" used here. Is Jesus using the you to refer to the disciples or is He using the "you" as a generic you as He had just done as He spoke to the Scribes and Pharisees? At the end of the previous chapter, Jesus says, "from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered…" (Matthew 23:35). They most certainly did not murder them, but the idea of the common or generic you is to include them with the group previous groups that did the acts. It is used as association – guilt by association.
I take the you here as referring not directly to the disciples, though it is true that they did die because of their association with Jesus, but instead this you refers to a future Jewish remnant professing Jesus as the Christ – the Messiah, and they pay with their lives. The timing is during the future Tribulation, the Church has been raptured out of this world and a strong Jewish believing group has grown up in the midst of Tribulation, and they will be chased down, hunted and experience hatred and death.
In the next article the Tribulation, deception and death will highlight the discussion as the characteristics of the day is described. Oh what a day of trouble it will be.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
|Dr. Couch, who owns the Holy Land?|
ANSWER: This is simple—it belongs to the Lord, who in turn, gave it to His people, Israel. In His sovereignty, He can do with it as He pleases. He answers to no one! "Who do we think we are?" And, "Who is in charge?" God is in charge! He can do with the lost world as He wishes.
We are told who owns the Land in Judges 11. The nations surrounding Israel complained, the people of Moab and Ammon. They said: "Israel took away my land when they came up from Egypt, ... now return it peaceably" (v. 13). But through Jephthah God answered: "The Lord, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they defeated them; so Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites. ... Since now the Lord, the God of Israel, drove out the Amorites from before His people Israel, are you then to possess it?" (vv. 21-23). "So whatever the Lord our God has driven out before us, we will possess it" (v. 24).
God is in heaven but is He not the ruler "over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand before You!" (2 Chron. 20:6). "Did you not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and give it to the descendants of Abraham You friend FOREVER?" (v. 7). Note the word FOREVER!
The land belongs to Israel and not to the Arabs or the Palestinians.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Thursday, October 29, 2009
|The administration of Barack Hussein Obama has just appointed what he says is "Two devout Muslims" to the Department of Homeland Security! Would the government ever call a Jew or a Christian "devout"? What in the world is going on? And since the terror against America and Israel is coming from the theology of orthodox Islam, how could such an appointment be justified? Our government is in denial, denying that what is taking place is really religious and theological! This fact is being covered over and ignored. The larger question: How do we stop the madness now going on in Washington? – Dr. Mal Couch (10-09)|
|Dr. Couch, you have made me a believer in regard to the fact that the church benefits from the New covenant today, but we do not "fulfill" it as Israel will in the kingdom. Why do people resist this idea? I'm specifically referring to the quoting of Joel 2 in Acts 2, and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit.|
ANSWER: Mainly because they do not read their Bible; they do not have good interpretive skills! This is why I wrote one of the few books available today on hermeneutics: Classical Evangelical Hermeneutics (Kregel).
I will only have space here to summarize:
(1) For Israel, the New covenant is prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31-on. (2) It will be activated by the work of the Spirit, as prophesied in Joel 2:28-29. (3) Christ said that His sacrifice would ratify the New covenant. (Luke 22:20): "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood." (4) The New covenant is then "launched" at Pentecost (Acts 2:16-21), but it is not fulfilled by the church, though the church will benefit and represent the New covenant during the church dispensation.
There are three places in Paul's letters that show the church has a connection with the New covenant presently but the verses never say we fulfill it now. It will be fulfilled when applied to Israel during the dispensation of the Kingdom.
Paul speaks to the Jews in Romans 2:17-29 and argues that, for them, to be a believing Jew today, their circumcision is spiritual and their Jewish-ness is inward. Then he adds, "by the Spirit, not by the letter [of the Mosaic law]; the Jews' praise is not from men, but from God." Here Paul compares the New covenant with the Law and points out that it has replaced the "letter of the Law" as prophesied in Jeremiah 31. There Jeremiah said that the New covenant will replace the Mosaic covenant. "The New covenant will not be like "My covenant which I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke ..."
Paul speaks of the New covenant again in Romans 7:6: "We serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter [of the law]." The Holy Spirit mentioned in both 2:29 and 7:6 is the Activator of the New covenant today in the church age. Paul mentions the New covenant again in 2 Corinthians 3:3 where he says the church saints are a letter of Christ "written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts ..." Here, Paul is again comparing the work of the Spirit, who is the Activator of the New covenant, with the Mosaic law. He adds that we are now "servants of a New covenant, not of the letter [of the law] but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life" (v. 6).
It is important to look carefully at what Peter says about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:16. He (1) does not say the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost fulfills Joel 2 [as the amillennialists would say], nor (2) does he say that it is simply an "illustration" of the work of the Spirit, as mentioned in Joel 2 [as some dispensational buddies of mine would say]. But instead, in quoting Joel 2:28-29, he says "But this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel."
One must know Greek in order to fully understand what is going on here. Peter writes: "This IS 'that which has been written'". The IS is the common "TO BE" verb (estin). And "which has been written" is a Perfect Passive Participle, Neuter, Nominative. In Greek (and in English) on both sides of the TO BE verb you have the Nominative case. Thus, this which [is now going on—the outpouring of the Holy Spirit] has been written (ereo) is simply the same thing as mentioned in Joel 2!
Peter had ways to say that Joel 2 was an illustrative of the outpouring of the Spirit; and he had ways of saying that Joel 2 was being fulfilled here in Acts 2, but Peter did not say either one of these things!
The only sound conclusion is that the church presently is benefiting from the outpouring of the Spirit, and of the New covenant, but the church is not fulfilling the New covenant! That will happen with Israel when the Kingdom arrives and the Jews are back in the Land! At that time, for them, the New covenant will be fulfilled!
This is complicated to write, so I hope it makes sense. Many of my friends are now seeing the issue this way, and I think this is correct.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
|Dr. Couch, you have convinced me about the two facets of the Christian life, concerning Positional Truth, and Experiential Truth. How does this work out with the doctrine of sanctification?|
ANSWER: Believers Positionally are "sanctified" in Christ, and they are urged to "Be holy as He is holy" which would have to do with our Experience in time. The word "sanctify" is related to the Greek word "holy" (hagios). We are positionally "holy" in Christ. Paul writes "to the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified (made holy) in Christ Jesus, saints (holy ones in position) by calling, with all who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours" (1 Cor. 1:2).
Concerning our daily Christian walk, our Experience in time, Peter says "But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, 'You shall be holy, for I am holy'" (1 Pet. 1:15-16). And, "... what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness" (2 Pet. 3:11).
Both aspects are made clear in these verses: Our Position in Christ, and our Experience (or Walk) with Christ!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
|Dr. Couch, I am confused on the issue of the Tree of Life and the removal of the names of those who add or take away what is written in the book of Revelation. Can you help me?|
ANSWER: I have the most complete answer to this issue of any source in my Handbook to the Book of Revelation (Kregel). I have discovered the secret of what is going on in 22:18-19 for all those who are interested. We will send you this hardback volume for a discount, just $20. Make the check out to Scofield Ministries, 120 CR 3222, Clifton, TX 76634.
The book has a great endorsement from Dr. John F. Walvoord before he passed away in 2002. He said "It is an outstanding contribution to the literature on this important book of the Bible." This is not a commentary per se but it is more of a theology of Revelation. Others joined me in producing the volume, such as Dr. Larry Crutchfield, Dr. Harold Foos, and Dr. Robert Lightner.
I tie together a lot of Scriptures that help us understand the issue of the Tree of Life and those who deny the writing of Revelation. Also, I have a lot of rabbinical quotes that show they studied the book of Revelation and basically saw the premillennial stamp on the book. This will shock our covenant and amillennial friends. Those of us who take Revelation basically literal are in good company with the orthodox Rabbis who also take prophecy literal! For example, by their calculations the orthodox Rabbis saw and agreed with the fact that the tribulation would be a seven year event, by their correct figuring of Daniel's Seventy Weeks in Daniel 7. They also held to the 1000 year millennial Kingdom. Every one reading this needs the Handbook!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Monday, October 26, 2009
|The August 18, 2007 edition of World Magazine points out what I have been saying for years now. The socialist and communist garbage has been coming from our secular colleges and universities. Many faculty are Tenured Bigots who despise the Christian students in their classrooms. And they love to counter what the Christians are saying. By survey, it is shown that 53% of the faculty have an "unfavorable view toward Christian students." This is reported by Gary Tobin who is the president of the Institute for Jewish and Community Research. He writes: "The prejudice is so deep that faculty do not have any problem justifying [their hatred]. They tried to dismiss it and said they had a good reason for it." Tobin added: "I don't think that if I'd uncovered bigotry or social dissonance about Latinos, women, blacks, or Jews, they would have had that same response." |
Our universities have an "anti-evangelical" bias. The faculty hates what they call "Bible thumpers" or members of the "God squad."
-- Dr. Mal Couch
Sunday, October 25, 2009
|Dr. Couch, have you heard the expression "Pan-millennialism"?|
ANSWER: Yes, I have. It is put forth by lazy pastors and Bible teachers who do not study the Scriptures well, and then remain in ignorance about what prophecy is all about. I find it interesting that the Word of God is basically very clear about the major doctrines of the Bible, but when it comes to eschatology, the Lord gets sloppy and does not make prophecy understandable.
Of course, the problem is not with the Lord; the problem is pastors who do not pay the price of good study habits in order to know what the Bible is teaching on the subject. Their phony and silly answer to what the Scripture teach about prophecy is: "I believe in Pan-millennialism. It'll all pan out in the end!" That answer is juvenile and down right stupid! I would be ashamed to be a Bible teacher and come up with that excuse for my laziness in studying the Word of God!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Saturday, October 24, 2009
|Dr. Couch, the covenant theologians say that God's master plan is about salvation almost exclusively. Whereas dispensationalists see many issues in the Scriptures are honored with glory, not simply salvation. Is this right? |
ANSWER: It is true that God's work in salvation, and in the Church, does indeed bring Him glory. But all of history has many conclusions that give Him honor, along with the issue of salvation. Dispensationalists can point to many, many things whereby God will be glorified, even more than the issue of salvation.
Charles Ryrie points out in his book Dispensationalism, that the founder of covenant theology, Cocceius, "makes the three covenants of this system, the basis, and background, and substance of all God's dealings with man for his redemption." In other words, redemption, and salvation, is the main, if not the exclusive, work of God in history. While salvation is certainly important, God's plan has more to it whereby He receives glory! Below is a list:
God's plan of history brings Him glory, even above the issue of human salvation!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Friday, October 23, 2009
|Dr. Couch, is there a contradiction between what Paul says in Acts 17:31 and what Peter says in 2 Peter 3:12, about God's sovereign plan in history, and our hastening the "coming day of God"?|
ANSWER: Good question. And this is where only a student of the Greek text can give a definitive answer. The apostle Paul says God has a plan, "He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, ... raising Him from the dead" (Acts 17:31). God is in charge of when the day of judgment will come. It is an exact moment in His eternal decree of all things! But then the English in 2 Peter 3:12 reads: "... looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, ..." This sounds as if we can hasten the coming of the day of final judgment. Is this right?
No, it is not! Both "looking for" and "hastening" are Present Active Participles in the Greek text, but more, the word "hastening" is not a good translation in this context of the word speudo. The "looking for" is better translated "expecting" and the word "hastening" is better translated "earnestly desiring." As translated "hastening" it sounds as if we are causing the day of God to come quickly. Instead, the point is that we are "earnestly desiring" that it will arrive soon.
A problem like this is why I spent some 35 college and graduate hours in Greek, with some of the best Greek teachers in America, so that I could know exactly what the biblical text was saying! After I came to my conclusion I checked out the great old Greek scholar A. T. Robertson, and, he translates the verse the same way. We are not causing the coming of the day of God, we are anticipating its arrival!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Thursday, October 22, 2009
|8% of our population is now Arab, and, they are pushing like crazy to remove Christianity from our nation. Here are some frightening statistics, unless you are a believer in the sovereignty of God. He knows what He's doing!|
Until about 1965 our immigration laws had quotas. We allowed into our country mainly Europeans. But Ted Kennedy helped open the door for overhauling our immigration rules, allowing people from other third world nations. Since then, thousands of Muslims have invaded this country, using loopholes in order to get in. I firmly believe our government is participating in our demise. We are being flooded with Muslims! Some 80,000 each year come into our country. Many thousands come on the pretense of student visas. Our liberal colleges actually go on a positive recruitment in Muslim countries to bring them in. And once here, many claim asylum from persecution, marry Americans fraudulently, or just disappear from view in order to stay here.
Hundreds if not thousands of Muslims come from East Africa through our porous Mexican borders—our President is doing nothing to stop the flow! Once apprehended (only one in four are caught) they claim asylum and stay in the U.S. This is warping and bending our cultural and social structure, watering down our Judeo-Christian and European framework. Many come from Mogadishu, Somalia, and speak (surprisingly) perfect English. They also somehow (and strangely) are able to get the $10,000 transfer fee that puts them on the role for citizenship! (The average income in many of the African countries is only about $300 per year! Something is fishy!) Generally, the only education they have is they know how to read the Koran!
The floodgates are open and there is no turning back what is happening! We have had it too good in this nation. And I believe this is a judgment from God. You had better prepare for monumental changes in America. Unfortunately, our new President, seems to be behind what is happening, and is approving all that is taking place. Watching an old movie the other evening, the people described the morality in other countries, especially in Asia, as pagan. No one would be allowed to say that today! –Dr. Mal Couch
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
|Dr. Couch, there are many verses of Scripture, especially in the OT, that seem to apply to today. What do you think about Jeremiah 12:14-17?|
ANSWER: While not directly applied to us now, these verses certainly have a secondary application to what is going on in the Middle East. There is a frightening principle that the nations surrounding Israel need to observe carefully.
The Lord calls Israel's neighbors "My wicked neighbors" (v. 14). Though God's people, the Jews, have been promised an "inheritance with which I have endowed My people Israel" (v. 14a), they are presently in spiritual rebellion, and will be until they put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
When Israel's enemies turn against the Jews in the seven year tribulation, the Lord will "uproot them [the enemies of the Jews] from their land and will uproot the house of Judah from among them" (v. 14b). Notice that a judgment will fall upon Israel's wicked neighbors, and upon the Jews as well!
The uprooting of the Jews took place in 70 AD, but God still promises: "I will bring them back, each one to his inheritance and each one to his land" (v. 15).
On these verses the Jewish Rabbis write: "Although these nations are God's instruments for the execution of His purposes, they will be punished by exile for destroying Israel, because 'benefit is brought through the instrumentality of the virtuous, while hurt is brought through the instrumentality of the evil.' Their exile will only be temporary if they repent, but permanent if they persist in their evil ways."
And, "My people will be restored to their land, thus they will! In the future there will be a state of unity and peace, it will be a Messianic forecast of the peace and friendship which will one day in the future reign among all peoples."
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Dr. Couch, "my name is G... and I am a Christian from Albania. For almost fifty years under Communism we were not allowed to read the Bible. It was not until 1997 that Albania became open to religion. Unfortunately, most of the missionaries that came here were deeply ignorant of the Bible.
"Today, in Albania, the Bible is still under attack, and this time, not by Communism, but by ignorance and by the false-teaching of the pastors who dismiss Bible study. Many have been led astray and away from God because of this. Most of the so-called pastors are willing to attack and threaten anyone who desires to study the Bible, and because of such, Christianity in Albania is in turmoil.
"I love to study the Scriptures, but unfortunately, here in our country we have no Christian books to better understand the Word of God. Please, would you help and send me some books written by you for my study.
"Below is a list of your works that will help me."
I really enjoyed receiving the above letter. It tells me that many, even in far-off lands, are reading our website and getting the point about Bible study.
Unfortunately, we have the same problem here in the States. The pastors are truly ignorant of God's Word, and many repudiate Bible study, overtly or covertly! The problem is getting worse, and Satan is loving it!
God bless all the believers in Albania!
Dr. Mal Couch
Monday, October 19, 2009
|Dr. Couch, what about loud music in the worship service at church?|
There is a difference between "loud music" and "strong music" that is, beautiful music in its composure and presentation. As a teenager, I sang in the choir at church, and each year we presented in concert George Frideric Hendel's Messiah. Now that is strong, forceful, and overpowering music! But it is not "loud" in the discordant sense.
They deny the truth, but younger people like just plain old loud, noisy, ear-splitting music, that in no way can be classified as meaningful. Some argue, "But that is what speaks to us! I say: Garbage! That is what they like but in no way is it edifying.
I have three rules that I believe are right and correct when evaluating music. And to a degree, the same rules, adjusted, can be applied to art.
They are: (1) is the music theologically correct? (2) can you understand the words? (3) can you hum the tune, and repeat the words in the shower? If so, the music is coming up and out of your soul. And it is repeatable! If these three rules are violated, then, in my opinion, it is not good music!
I do not automatically reject contemporary music. Common sense lets us know if it is a good piece of music or not. But unfortunately, most contemporary music does not come up to the standards I have just alluded to. "But Dr. Couch, that is your opinion!" No, it is common sense. Some younger people like the loud, discordant music because, they would argue, it is part of their musical scene, and, it is not accepted by older people, therefore, it is good!
Try to follow what is being sung in most contemporary pieces of music, and then listen to Amazing Grace! End of discussion!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Sunday, October 18, 2009
|Dr. Couch, does the idea of the Catholic Pontiff come from Babylonian theology?|
ANSWER: Yes, and in fact, the idea has a lot of connections with paganism throughout the ancient world. The word pontiff is assigned to the Pope. The origin of pontiff comes from the Latin word pontifex which means "path-maker" or bridge[builder]. The idea is that the Pope builds a bridge to God for the people.
The origin goes back to Babylonian theology. The Pope is the head of the College of Cardinals. He is the "Pontifex Maximus" or "Sovereign Pontiff." The idea of the Pope is framed on the model of the grand original Council of Pontiffs at Babylon.
For a thousand years the Pope was invested with the title, which had had attached to it the power of the keys of Janus and Cybele. He is the possessor of these very keys bestowed on Peter, in Catholic theology. Much of this goes back to the Babylonians and their worship of the Goddess Mother and her Son. In Egypt, the Mother and Child were worshipped under the names of Isis and Osiris. In Asia, as Cybele and Deoius. In pagan Rome, as Fortuna and Jupiter, In Greece, as the Great Mother with the babe at her breast.
Both Janus and Cybele each bore a key, the ensign to their spiritual authority. These two keys are emblazoned on the arms of the Pope's garment representing his power wielded over the Church. Thus, Peter alone had the power of the keys, as well as his successor. For more, see Alexander Hislop's work, The Two Babylons.
Unfortunately, most Catholics do not know the theology of their own Church! Most of it is raw paganism!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Saturday, October 17, 2009
|Below is an editorial from Jeffrey Kuhner of The Washington Times and the president of the Edmund Burke Institute, a Washington-based think tank. This was in the September 28, 2009 edition of that paper:|
"The waves of illegal immigration represent an onslaught on America's historic and cultural core. The great myth of our time, promoted by ... the left and the neoconservative right, is that the United States is a creedal nation. They argue that the country was founded upon abstract ideas embodied in the Declaration of Independence. ... This is a historical fraud. ... John Adams said, "There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide."This is what I have been saying for months now. Our nation is being split apart! –Dr. Mal Couch
"In other words, the Founding Fathers were not only republicans, they were nationalists who believed they had established a distinct and unique nation based on a common language, faith, heritage and culture. America is an outgrowth of Christianity and English civilization. Its roots are European. The previous waves of immigrants who came to its shores [years ago] not only deliberately assimilated, but embraced a common national identity. They became Americans.
"This is not the case with the army of illegal immigrants. The combination of uncontrolled immigration with multiculturalism is a recipe for balkanization—the fracturing of America along racial and ethnic lines. ... Many Hispanic radicals want to return the southwest states back to Mexico. They think amnesty will accelerate the process of reacquiring former Mexican territories.
"Immigrants are no longer required to learn English. The fastest-growing TV and radio stations are those broadcasting in Spanish. Everywhere one goes—ATMs, restaurants, state motor vehicle departments—Spanish is prevalent. Many urban schools in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York teach bilingualism. We are no longer one people who share the same language, culture, history, customs, heroes, literature and traditions. The bonds of national union are slowly being torn apart.
"Mr. Obama already has shown he is the most leftist president in U.S. history. His statist policies and massive budget deficits [have] crippled the private sector, ...
"Mr. Obama is an internationalist socialist. His ultimate goal is to erect a liberal ruling class to forge a Democratic majority coalition—one that would dominate for decades. Amnesty would put millions of illegal immigrants into the voting booths—and into the welcoming arms of Democrats."
Friday, October 16, 2009
Here are some of the contributing authors: Kerby Anderson, Dr. Paul Benware, Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Dr. Ed Hindson, Dave Hunt, Dr. Thomas Ice, Dr. Mark Hitchcock, Dr. Tom McCall, Dr. Mike Stallard, Dr. Robert Thomas, Dr. Stanley Toussaint, Dr. Elmer Towns, Dr. Andy Woods, Dr. Manfred Kober, Dr. George Gunn, Dr. Mal Couch, Steven Ger
We have a limited printing, so act FAST! Send an email with your name and address to: Scofield Ministries, 120 CR 3222, Clifton, TX 76634.
|Dr. Couch, does the Greek word "glory" (doxa) refer to heaven or simply the glory of the person of Christ, or of God, etc.?|
ANSWER: Some try to claim that the word is never used of heaven but this is not so. They seem to do this in order to avoid the idea that the church goes "into glory, heaven" at the time of the rapture, thus making the church a heavenly people. Yet, there is no question that the church saints also will come back with Christ for the blessed period of the millennial reign on earth. We are given a certain amount of "co-reigning" and authority when He returns.
The word "glory" is sometimes used to describe certain characteristics of God and of Christ. For example, Christ will sit on the throne of His glory (Matt. 19:28), and He will come in the glory of His Father (Mark 8:38), and will finally "enter into His glory" (Luke 21:26). God the Father is assigned glory (John 11:40), Israel is seen in her glory (Rom. 9:4), and too, the church has its glory (1 Cor. 2:7; Eph. 3:21). A woman is the glory of her husband (11:7), the celestial bodies have their glory (15:40), such as the sun (v. 41). The gospel is said to be glorious (2 Cor. 4:4).
But the word glory is still often used to describe heaven: "Christ in us is the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27), and we shall appear with Him IN glory (3:4). As well, we are to be received "up into glory" (1 Tim. 3:16), and "many sons are to be brought unto glory" (Heb. 2:10). Finally, Peter says we have "been called unto His eternal glory" (1 Pet. 5:10).
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Here is an expose by one of our readers. I believe he is correct. The apostasy will take this nation, and the world, to the edge of the pit! -- Dr. Mal Couch
There is no way to know when or how the situation will unfold. Something is certain to happen, however. It is a mathematical impossibility to avoid it. Even if the entire country repented and turned to God, there is no way to get around the enormous debt overhang that is suffocating our economy. At a minimum, we are facing another Great Depression. But that's only if the politicians would do what's necessary to allow the economy to restructure and get rid of all the excesses and inefficiencies. As it stands, they are doing the exact opposite. They are growing government to take up the slack from the private sector and kicking the debt can down the road. The more they do this, the worse it will be in the end.
The only things that have supported the dollar are the global protection and threat of the US Military, along with Mutual Assured Destruction by other countries holding our debt. It's a house of cards that must come down at some point. It's all working to further Satan's agenda though. He's operating through the global elite/brotherhood of darkness to usher in the New World Order. As one guy put it, the US is the 800 pound gorilla in the room. The stubborn sovereignty, individualism, middle class, and Christian values of our country need to be eradicated to advance the goals.
This is what has been happening. Much of US manufacturing has been outsourced to sweatshop labor countries. There is no way for us to get it back without competing at a global wage level. The globalists don't want it back though. The idea is to develop a worldwide slave society, through the use of debt, to regionalize the planet into different areas of specialization. I think it's sort of the Chinese model, where entire towns concentrate on a specific product. They want cradle to grave control over the entire population.
The international bankers are at the tip of the power structure and have a vice grip on politicians around the world. There is evidence to suggest that the Federal Reserve (which is a cartel organization of private banks) is being controlled by the Rothschilds and other European bankers operating out of London. This fits with the trend of what's happening with the G20 summit meetings and the submission to international financial bodies and rules. Our banking system is a complete fraud. It's a Ponzi Scheme that is currently being manipulated like a shell game. There is so much corruption in this regard it's hard to keep track of everything these guys are doing. Plus, they have a lot of ways of obscuring it and covering their tracks. It's essentially organized crime. (As an aside, research into the history of modern banking reveals that it is closely associated with the occult and secret societies.)
Anyway, that's kind of a long answer. From a purely mathematical and monetary standpoint, pressure is building and is going to have to be relieved somewhere, somehow. Things that can't go on indefinitely, won't. You can't solve a debt and productivity problem by creating more debt and growing government. It's like eating more to lose weight, or drinking to get sober. It's sheer insanity from a logical perspective, but we're not dealing with logic. We're dealing with dark spiritual forces. -- MF
Also, from John Maynard Keynes, the high priest of socialist economists:
"Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the Capitalist System was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, government can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some. – As the inflation proceeds and the real value of the currency fluctuates wildly from month to month, all permanent relations between debtors and creditors, which form the ultimate foundation of capitalism, become so utterly disordered as to be almost meaningless; and the process of wealth-getting degenerates into a gamble and a lottery.
"Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose."
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
- Rev 4:5-5:4 God implements the Great Tribulation. This lesson begins the transfer of authority from God the Father to God the Son.
Daniel E. Woodhead is a doctoral student studying under Dr. Couch at Scofield Seminary.
|Dr. Couch, there seems to a war brewing over the teaching of prophecy among Evangelicals, especially concerning the teaching of dispensationlism. The argument is that we dispensationalists are overdoing it. How do we answer?|
ANSWER: The majority of verses in the Bible have to do with prophecy, prophecy already fulfilled and more to be filled in the future. But we are in good biblical company! The Bible gives us the encouragement to teach about end time events. For example:
The opponents against biblical prophecy are wrong; we are right! I could go on and on with many more verses of Scripture. The passages above are just the start of what Paul says about the importance of eschatology! Don't let them fool you! Study your Bible; this is what the opposition does not want you to do!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
|Dr. Couch, are the shepherds (pastors) the same as the teachers in Ephesians 4:11?|
ANSWER: Yes, indeed. The charismatics are dead wrong by trying to make these two separate gifts, or gifted men given to the church. Paul writes: "And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as PASTORS (Shepherds) EVEN TEACHERS."
The reason there is confusion and mistranslation is that pastors today are so ignorant, and few today can work the grammar of the Greek text. So the church is becoming more and more ignorant about what the Bible is truly teaching!
The grammar is saying "pastors EVEN, INDEED, THAT IS, TEACHERS!" So then, how does a pastor pastor? By teaching! Most pastors are foolish and do not study nor do they teach from the pulpit. They emote, devote, promote, and do not exegete the Word of God line by line. They haven't been trained that way; they don't think that way; nor do they know that this is what they are supposed to do from the pulpit.
One of the greatest grammarians concurs with me grammatically—Dr. Kenneth Wuest. He says almost line by line what I have been saying, though I only learned recently that grammatically this is what he has always taught!
He says in his Greek commentary on Ephesians:
"Paul only mentions four individuals (not five) in verse 11. The student of the English Bible could never know that the words, 'pastors' and 'teachers,' are in a construction in the Greek text called Granville Sharp's rule which is stated as follows: 'When two nouns are in the same case, connected by the word "kai" (and), the first noun having the definite article, the second noun without the article refers to the same person or thing to which the first noun refers and is a further description of it.' Not knowing this rule, the pastor would fail to see that Paul was only referring to one individual when he spoke of pastors and teachers. Thus, he would miss the important truth that God's ideal pastor is a teaching pastor, one who specializes in expository sermons, one whose ministry is a teaching ministry."
Wuest and I have been yelling in the dark. Few are getting it or listening to what Paul is saying here. This is why most pastors are ending up being cheer leaders, CEOs, psychologists, advertising agents, etc., giving puny sermonettes for weak-minded and simple christianettes!
Satan just loves it! Because the full explanation of the Word of God is not going forth, nor are the pastors able to explain it!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Monday, October 12, 2009
| Listen to the words of Isaiah:|
"All of us growl like bears, and moan sadly like doves;
we hope for justice, but there is none.
For salvation, but it is far from us!
for our transgressions are multiplied before You,
and our sins testify against us;
for our transgressions are with us, and we know our iniquities.
Transgressing and denying the Lord,
and turning away from our God,
Speaking oppression and revolt,
conceiving in and uttering from the heart lying words.
... Uprightness cannot enter. Yes, truth is lacking" (Isa. 59:13-15).
Sunday, October 11, 2009
|But most do not want to admit it. The liberal media hides the facts from us. Watch or listen to conservative talk or news programs. The socialist media programming wants to support the government line at any cost. Unemployment is more like 21% not 10%. Over 10,000 are seeking manufacturing jobs! We are into a depression, and, we are putting out billions of dollars each day to various countries, especially China, for the interest on our loans! This cannot go on much longer! – Dr. Mal Couch |
|What an outstanding verse of Scripture: Isaiah 57:11. The prophet asks the Jews, what is their problem in that they seem to fear others and ignore God! The passage reads:|
Of whom were you worried and fearful,
when you lied, and did not remember Me,
nor give Me a thought?
Was I not silent even for a long time so you
did not fear Me?
The Rabbis say: "Certainly it was not of Me! There was nothing to deter them from pursuing their evil course, since no fear of God stood in the way! The Lord did nothing to His own people but bless them!"
Unger adds: "The Lord confronted His people, Israel, with this question: Of whom were they so afraid and terrified that they would deny Him? They denied Him by lying, that is, dissenting and playing the hypocrite, pretending to trust God, but so frequently leaning upon someone else, either Egypt, or like Ahaz, Assyria! They construed the silence of their God as indifference, rather than a manifestation of His longsuffering, and therefore ceased to fear Him."
This is America today. God's silence seems to throw the doubters off! But He is not impotent! All that is happening in our day is leading to something! – Dr. Mal Couch (Oct., 09)
Saturday, October 10, 2009
|It may be true that without a judgment falling upon America, there will be no turning around and seeking God. Isaiah the prophet writes: "When the earth experiences Your judgments the inhabitants of the world [then] learn righteousness" (Isa. 26:9). It often takes pain and punishment for humanity to drop sin. The prophet goes on and says: "Though the wicked is shown favor, he does not learn righteousness; he deals unjustly in the land of uprightness, and does not perceive the majesty of the Lord" (v. 10).|
In my opinion, this nation will not turn back. We are moving ever deeper into the apostasy. In 1980, there were 14 million Americans who claimed no religious affiliations. Now that number is about 34 million! Things are indeed getting worse. And without judgment it will increase even further down the road of disaster! – Dr. Mal Couch (October 2009)
Friday, October 9, 2009
|For over forty years I have been saying that the Anti-christ will, in his peace covenant, make it possible for both Jews and Arabs to co-occupy the temple Mount. The Arab's Dome of the Rock would remain, and the Jews would put up their temple just to the north on the vacant slab where the ancient temple probably stood. I was the only Bible teacher I know of who was making a case for this to happen. No one agreed with me!|
I have been vindicated by a recent article in the Sept./Oct. 2009 issue of The Jerusalem Connection. In an article entitled "What? Muslim Leader Wants Temple Rebuilt?," what I said could happen was advocated by "World News Daily." Without going into all the details of the article I will just quote the paragraph that says "The Interfaith Encounter Association" is working on a project called "God's Holy Mountain." It is reported that they are advocating: "The day [may come] when the rebuilt Jewish Temple will exist side by side with the Dome of the Rock."
And in my book "For The Cause Of Zion," I gave a long description of the Arab messiah who is called "The Mahdi." In The Jerusalem Connection, the article goes on and adds what I have been teaching for years: "Islam's primary messiah figure [the Mahdi], ... will one day invade the land of Israel and establish his seat of authority on the Temple Mount."
Many of the leaders in President Barack Hussein Obama's administration say that, if it becomes necessary to stop the so-called "genocide" of the Palestinian Arabs, the U.S. would consider military force against the Jews!
We are rapidly moving to the days prophesied in Scripture about the End Times!
This is of course what the apostle Paul writes in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4. The "man of lawlessness [will be] revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God" (v. 4). Before His crucifixion, the Lord spoke of the Anti-christ desecrating the temple, as prophesied in Daniel 9:27: He said to a future generation of Jews, "When you see the 'abomination of desolation' which was spoke of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place [the temple] ... then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains ..." (Matt. 24:15-16).
A side-note: The Christian British General, Gordon, fought one claiming to be the Arab's messiah, the Mahdi, in Africa before the turn of the twentieth century. He was killed by the Mahdi's troops in the African city of Khartoum, at the junction where the White and Blue Nile Rivers come together. Gordon knew well the claims of the Mahdi theologically.
You can get our 120 page hardback book For The Cause Of Zion free. Send $5 for shipping to: Scofield Ministries, 120 CR 3222, Clifton, TX 76634. – Dr. Mal Couch (October 2009)
Thursday, October 8, 2009
|Sometimes little words make big implications in understanding Bible doctrine. This is the case of the Greek word throeo. Though it is used only three times in Scripture it substantiates the fact that the church will not enter the tribulation period. Now there are literally dozens of other proofs for this fact, but this word just adds to the argument!|
The word throeo is used in Matthew 24:6, Mark 13:7, and in 2 Thessalonians 2:2. In the Thessalonians passage we read: "'Do not be quickly shaken from your composure' ... as if the day of the Lord has come." The Matthew and Mark passages are the words of Christ, telling the Jews that when they hear in the future of "wars and rumors of wars," this is not the time of the tribulation. "See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end." International catastrophes are but "the beginning of [the] birth pangs" (v. 8). And we know from Jeremiah 30:5-7 that the birth pangs represent the entire period of the tribulation, the seven year time of wrath!
The word shaken, frightened comes from the Greek word throeo. In my Greek commentary on 1 & 2 Thessalonians (The Hope of Christ's Return) published by AMG, I write: "The word is used of a ship that is shaken, adrift from its moorings and tossed upon a troubled sea, that is shaken of the waves and agitated by a storm." False teachers were trying to frighten the Thessalonian Christians in believing that they were in the Day of the Lord, the tribulation!
The word "composure" means "the mind." The Thessalonians were losing their minds, their reasoning ability was shaken in regard to this particular subject. This came as a shock to the mind and left them greatly agitated. In 2 Thessalonians 2:2 the verb "throeo" is in the Present Passive Infinitive form. The Christians were continually being put in a state of fright, believing that they were in the tribulation, but of course they were not!
Christ uses the word in the Matthew and Mark passages to tell the Jews who would be living during the end times that the wars they are seeing do not signal that they were in the tribulation. The tribulation would follow but various wars do not prove that it had arrived. Lenski says that Paul was quoting Christ. The apostasy of the church must take place first before the tribulation begins with the revelation of the Anti-christ!
Matthew 24:6 reads in the Greek grammar: "Do not be continually "frightened" when you see wars and rumors of wars. And Mark 13:7 reads: "When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; these things must take place; but the end is not yet." Or, "do not let fright be continually overtaking you." Christ adds in verse 8 that it must really get bad internationally. And when it does, "These things are merely the beginning of the birth pangs" or the beginning stages of the tribulation!
Paul makes it clear the church will not go through the tribulation, the wrath. He writes the Thessalonians are "to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come" (1 Thess. 1:10). And, "God has not destined us for wrath but for obtaining deliverance through our Lord Jesus Christ" (5:9).
Remember too, there is a time of lull when the Anti-christ's peace agreement is signed, when men will say "Peace and safety!" (1 Thess. 5:3a), and "then sudden destruction will come upon them (not us, the church believers) suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child (Jer. 30:5-7); and they (it is not about us) shall not escape" (v. 3b). – Dr. Mal Couch (Oct. 09)
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
|Dr. Couch, is apostasy mentioned in the OT?|
ANSWER: Yes it is, especially mentioned in passages dealing with the future kingdom blessing: like Hosea 14:4-7. The difference with the apostasy in the OT and apostasy in the NT, is that apostasy in the OT is particularly dealing with the falling away of Israel as a nation. In the NT it is about individuals who have a form of godliness but are really not saved. And, there is no restoration for those who fall away in the NT context. But God will restore the nation of Israel. The Jews will be regathered for the kingdom, as mentioned in Hosea 14.
Hosea 14:1 begins: "Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity." Then Israel, "return to the Lord, receive us graciously, that we may present the fruit of our lips" before the Lord (v. 2).
God then says, "I will heal their apostasy, I will love them freely, for My anger has turned away from them" (v. 4). "Love them freely" is a reference to the Freewill Offerings, although the Jewish people have not earned God's love. Yet, He is prepared to let them have His love as a gift!
The Hebrew word "apostasy" is "meshuva" and means "departure, faithlessness, defection." It is related to other Hebrew words that mean "deception, desolate," as referring to a "desolate desert land." Those in apostasy are like the dry desert, spiritually speaking!
In Hosea 14:5, God says He will be like the dew to Israel that waters the dry land. The Rabbis say, when the messianic Davidic kingdom is established, Israel will blossom like the lily and take root like the cedars of Lebanon. Israel will have beauty like the olive tree (v. 5). With blessing, the Jews will move out of the shadows and "will again raise grain" in the sunlight, and will be prosperous (v. 7).
The Lord urges the Jews to be wise: they must "understand these things" (v. 9). Because "the ways of the Lord are right, and the righteous [Jews will] walk in them" (v. 9).
PRAY FOR ISRAEL! God is beginning to work again with the Jewish people; the entire world is moving toward the times prophesied in Scripture! On this Hosea 14 passage, the Rabbis write:
"With a desperate call God is urging Israel to repentance. Israel is pleaded with in this chapter to give up the folly of wandering from the Lord. Let the people learn from their hard experiences to trust in Him; assurance of forgiveness is held out to them. Dew is essential for the growth of vegetation. The Divine Grace will enable Israel to flourish."
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Daniel E. Woodhead is a doctoral student studying under Dr. Couch at Scofield Seminary.
|The October 4, 2009 edition of Parade Magazine has a survey of what is going on spiritually in America. And the results are shocking! Below are some statistics:|
Concerning the Purpose of "Religion."
40% say religion holds the truth;
22% say that religion has no place in their lives;
19% say it helps teach morality and ethics to children.
Concerning the Reasons We Pray.
72% say we pray for the well-being of others;
60% say they pray for forgiveness;
21% pray for material things.
Concerning New Beliefs.
82% would marry someone of a different faith;
59% say that all religions are valid;
24% say they are "spiritual" but not "religious."
19% believe they are religious because it is traditional.
14% say religion makes them feel good.
8% say religion gives them a sense of community.
15% say they pray because God expects them to.
27% pray for personal success.
20% say they go to services once a month or a few times a year.
50% say they rarely attend services.
45% consider themselves religious.
59% say faith can help solve the world's problems.
58% say one should not mix religion and politics.
12% check their horoscopes.
83% say they have no experiences with the spirit of one who has passed away.
9% say they have psychic abilities.
43% say people will go to heaven or hell depending on their good works.
—Dr. Mal Couch
|Dr. David Noebel, president of Summit Ministries, reviews a book entitled Shadow World: Resurgent Russia, the Global News Left (Regnery (2008) by Robert Chandler. Below are some exerts and observations by Dr. Noebel that are right on target! (In the Sept. 2009 issue of The Journal)|
The transformation of the U.S. into a socialist paradise with Big Brother Government, and its elite members, is coming and it will rule over our lives. There are two fronts in which they are working on: (1) Global warming (though there has been no climate change since 1978), and (2) Public health. Once either of these two schemes is signed into law, our nation, as we have known it, will no longer exist!
This is a Marxist advance in the U.S. Two congressmen are pushing for the leaning to the left of this country: Edward Markey and Henry Waxman. Old Marxism just took your property away but this new brand of Marxism will allow you to keep your property, and then tax you to death to redistribute your earnings to support those who are supposed to be economically disadvantaged. By this, those who are the recipients of your hard-earned income will be beholding to the government and will always vote liberal and Democratic in order to keep the flow of personal government support coming!
The evil liberals, socialists, and communists are being honest, they are calling what they are doing: "Transformational change"! In June 2009, President Barack Hussein Obama signed into law a Gay Pride Month statement in honor of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender folks! Our founding fathers would be appalled!
Everyone reading this needs to get the book The Death of the Grown-Up by Diana West (St. Martin's Press). An excellent analysis of the downfall of this nation. The author says what I have said for years—the sewer pipe into our nation is our secular and state-run universities and colleges. They are the source of the evil that is now taking root and destroying the influence of Christianity. The author argues that the fall started with the World War II vets who began to spoil and buy into secular psychology in the raising of our children. – Dr. Mal Couch
Monday, October 5, 2009
|Dr. Couch, I have heard some say that Matthew 7:13-27 is about the church; they make a case for belief not being enough to enter the kingdom—only those who do the will of the Father will enter. It seems this section is dealing with false prophets. Aren't these the predominant ones during the time of Christ who claimed to prophesy, etc. And, who were the ones doing this stuff in Israel at the time of Christ?|
ANSWER: I won't be able to deal with this entire section in this short answer. It is important to say here that there are many spiritual principles in this section (Matthew 5-7: The Sermon on the Mount). So I will simply point out some observations that would tell us this is not first for the church; it has to do with what was happening with the nation of Israel as Christ began His ministry. And the passage is more than simply about false teachers.
Note the following:
(1) The entire section has to do with the presentation of the millennial kingdom, here called "The kingdom of heaven" (5:3; 10, 19, 20; 6:10, 33; 7:21). (2) The church is made up of Jews and Gentiles but in this section, Christ compares the Jews with the Gentiles (5:47; 6:7, 32). (3) The Lord speaks of the synagogue in this section (6:2, 5), and (4) The giving of alms, which was a distinct Jewish practice (6:2, 3).
Note 6:2: the church is not even around! "When you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues ..." 5:20 is a distinct Jewish passage that cannot be understood unless one sees that the verse is aimed at the thinking of the Jews. "I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes (Jewish) and Pharisees (very Jewish), you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven."
Those who try to make a direct application of the Sermon on the Mount to the church have no understanding of history. There is no question but that the "kingdom of heaven, kingdom of God" is a description of the messianic kingdom! In no way is this used to describe the church age! If this is settled in one's mind, this section of verses makes definite sense. Again, while there are many principles that we can embrace in the Sermon on the Mount, it is not directed to the church age. We can have secondary application in some things the Lord says, but not direct application!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21:5-36; 17:22-37)
The Olivet Discourse follows the series of confrontations between Jesus and the Jewish religious leaders in the temple compound (Matt. 21:12-23:39). They had questioned and ridiculed Him. The hypocrisy and false religion which so characterized the Scribes and Pharisees resulted in it now being the time to lament over the city and leave it and them desolate. So, the Lord after pronouncing the seven woes, pronounces the Temple's destruction, and lays out the plan for the future. Does His plan include a period premillennialists call the Tribulation which finds no Church present or just a local tribulation with the Church present?
This set of articles looks at Matthew's version of the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24-25) and presents a grammatical look at a harmony alongside the other gospels. The translation presented is my own but I do not suggest it is better than any of the other established translations – it is just that mine has a specific purpose – to be as literal and hold to the word order of the original as to bring out the original author's work and intent.
One of the most important questions concerns whether the church can be found in this section of Scripture (and it cannot!)? Dr. Enns notes, "If Matthew 24 deals with the church, then the church must go through the Tribulation; the fact the church will not go through the Tribulation can be defended both exegetically and theologically. Exegetically, verses like Romans 5:9 and 1 Thessalonians 5:9 state rather forcefully that the church will be spared the wrath of God – which is the Tribulation. Theologically, the matter is resolved by asking the question, what is the purpose of the Tribulation? The answer is that the Tribulation is a time of outpouring of the wrath of God on unbelievers (Rev. 6:16-17; 11:18; 14:19; 15:1, 7; 16:1, 19; cf. Isa. 24:5-6, 21; Rev. 3:10). How does the Church relate to the wrath of God? It doesn't. Christ bore God's wrath for believers…Further, God's purpose in the Tribulation relates to Israel, to discipline the nation and bring it to repentance (Dan. 9:24; Jer. 30:7)." (Mal Couch gen. ed.. Dictionary of Premillennial Theology, p. 286)
Four Views within Premillennialism
The Olivet Discourse is the most important spot in the New Testament with respect to sequential events leading to the end-times. It is important to note that dates are not specified, just events corresponding to the general Jewish concept of measuring periods or ages without specific reference to time, but keeping the sequential aspect intact. It is hard at times to distinguish a clear break or shift within the period described, so within premillennialism there are differences of opinion. Dr. Chafer observes, "Few portions of the New Testament place recorded events in a more complete chronological order than this address." (Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come, p.277) There are typically four different views concerning the events of the tribulation period of Matthew 24:4-26. The first is held by Dr. Chafer who holds that 24:4-8 describes events of the present church age but prior to the seventieth week, calling them the "beginning of sorrows." Then the tribulation follows in verses 9-26. The second view is held by Dr. Scofield who holds to a double interpretation of verses 4-14, partly applicable to the church age and partly to the tribulation. A third view is held by Dr. English who holds that verses 4-14 refer to the first half of the week, the beginning of the end. Verses 15-26 refer to the latter half of the tribulation – the Great Tribulation. A fourth view is held by Dr. Gaebelein who holds that verses 4-8 outline the first half of the tribulation and verses 9-26 describe the second half.
I. The Destruction of the Temple Foretold (24:1-2)
1 Then Jesus went out, transferring Himself from the temple. His disciples drew near to show Him the buildings of the Temple. 2 Then Jesus said to them, [do] you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, in no way will one stone be left here upon stone that will in no way be thrown down.
The phrase Then Jesus went out relates a special type of action because a participle is used. The grammar points out (with special emphasis) to "he who went forth from" the Temple. The participle answers the question "who went out from the temple?" The answer is, "he who went forth from the temple was Jesus whose name means the Savior!" He is transferring Himself from the Temple area proper down the Kidron valley to the Mount of Olives, but before He gets very far in His departure, as the imperfect he was transferring himself suggests, His disciples ("learners" or "pupils") approached close to him to point out the Temple buildings. Herod's Temple was grand with various buildings covering the area of Solomon's original temple, but adding a Roman Guard area separate but close and high in order to keep watch over and keep order within the central place of Jewish life.
Jesus had just pronounced their house would be left desolate (23:38), and after leaving the leaders of Israel and the Temple, His disciples seem to point to the Temple's magnificence with all its courts, porches, and edifices, such a grand and strong structure it must have been. But Jesus pronounced its desolation declaring it would be no more.
He would leave them and their temple would not only be left without its true glory, namely, Christ, but moreover, in no way will one stone be left here upon stone that will in no way be thrown down. My translation is rather clumsy, but the literal and raw version points out the important fact that Jesus was not speaking figuratively, but literally referring to the structure and its stones. Their exuberance for the structure is amplified as recorded by Mark as he writes, "Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings" (Mark 13:1), or as Luke records, the temple was "adorned with beautiful stones and donations" (Luke 21:5). As Dr. Walvoord points out, "The temple had been under construction since 20 B.C., and, though not actually completed until A.D. 64, its main buildings apparently were largely finished." (John Walvoord, Matthew, Thy Kingdom Come, p. 179) For all the Temple's beauty it is nothing without the presence of the Lord! The double negative with the subjunctive expresses emphatic negation and can be translated "by no means" or "never" – the structure will come down (cf., Mat. 5:20).
Jesus' comment concerning its destruction is in the Greek a bit complex. In the first place, He says, [do] you not see all these things? The demonstrative pronoun "these things" is in the neuter which goes with its antecedent the Temple, which in turn includes all its buildings. But the question is placed as Dr. Nicoll says, "you ask me to look at them, let me ask you in turn to take a good look at them." (W. R. Nicoll, The Expositor's Greek Testament, vol.1, p.288) Then He says, amen – truly, most assuredly I say to you, no, not one stone, the double negative being the strongest possible wording one can find in the Greek. The sense is that not one stone will be left upon another. They will all be thrown down.
II. The Disciples Questions (24:3)
3 But the disciples came to Him who is sitting upon the Mount of Olives according to one's own, saying, tell us when will it be, these things? And what [is] the sign of your coming and the end of the age?
Once the Lord reached the height of the Mount of Olives, He sat down. The view of the Temple mount from the other side of the Kidron valley is spectacular. The height of the Mount of Olives is higher than the Temple mount and the Lord is identified as he who is sitting upon the Mount of Olives. No doubt He was looking down upon the activity within the temple. The phrase the disciples came to him according to one's own indicates that they came to Him privately, either, they separated themselves from the crowd, or that each one of them had their own individual question, but they all asked the question: when will it be, these things? The singular "when will it be" contrasts with the plural "these things" demonstrating that the disciples understood that Jesus prophecy of the destruction of the Temple was about be fulfilled and that this prophecy was directly related to the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. This is further declared by their question, and what [is] the sign of your coming and the end of the age. They knew something was up – but what?
The Old Testament is full of descriptions of the signs of the coming of the Messiah. They believed Him to be the coming Son of Man, the Messiah, as their question clearly indicates. They knew the Old Testament signs, but this situation had thrown them. This seems to be something new, something different from what they thought. They ask for the one definite "sign," "mark," or "token" of His parousia – "presence," "coming," or "advent." He is present with them now, but when will He become the Messiah, the Priest-King?
The third part of the question concerns the end of the age. The word in the Greek is aion and means "age," "a period of time," "an unbroken age." In the Jewish mindset the world is divided by God into seasons, times, or ages. They had just passed the age or dispensation of the Mosaic Law when the Jewish leadership rejected their King (it is hard to distinguish the end of the age of the Law, is it at the end of chapter 23 with the official rejection of the King or at His death on the cross or even at the destruction of the Temple? There are arguments on all sides, but it seems that there is not one specific event that ended the age, but both the rejection and the crucificixion are an inseparable package and this might be called the period of the rejection of the Law). The rejection was official and Jesus' death on the cross was to come – more prophecy was to be fulfilled.
A dispensation and an age are different in the following ways: (1) An age seems to exist over more than one dispensation, and (2) the age seems to be a specific term closely related to the end of the world as we know it. Dr. Darby says, "They class together the destruction of the temple, the coming of Christ, and the end of the age. We must observe, that here the end of the age is the end of the period during which Israel was subject to the law under the old covenant: a period which was to cease, giving place to the Messiah and to the new covenant." (John Darby, John Darby's Synopsis of the Old and New Testaments)
In the next article Jesus will answer one of their questions in detail and will present familiar wording recalling the Old Testament period known as the "birth pangs." When will this all happen and will the Church join in with the birth pangs?