|One of the local TV stations put up a "Christmas" message that is as crazy as a bed bug! It shows how far off base the world really is, and how little they understand about the Bible, the Lord, and about the purpose of the coming of Christ.|
They put this up on the screen: "Tis the season because THE CHRIST is in all of us!"
Now what in the world does that mean? It's pure NEW AGE thinking imposed upon the story of the birth of Christ. And the world probably does not even know what they had in mind!
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
|Recently, a big local seminary gave over an entire brochure/booklet to the issue of The Gospel and the Jewish People. Dr. Tom McCall believes they did it because they received a lot of complaints in trying to distance themselves from the present State of Israel. While there were some good things in the publication, they said some things that I believe revealed their true feelings about the Jewish people.|
One of the professors contributing to the publication said that Jews could worship in their ethnic practices just as Christians who are African-Americans or who are Koreans. In one sense I agree with this statement. For a Jewish Christian to celebrate the feasts of the Old Testament publicly, they are expressing something more. They are showing something that is very biblical and spiritual in nature because of their connection with the Scriptures, and because of the importance of these celebrations even to Gentiles who have been saved through the blessings that were revealed through the prophets of ancient Israel. African-American practices are not the same as that which comes to us through the Bible!
I am not sure what another professor is trying to get across when he writes: "One mistake is to equate the modern secular state of Israel with Israel, the people of God. For those with this point of view, no matter what Israel does, it's considered ok. If the present nation of Israel isn't the nation to come, it's the foundation for it."
It must be remembered that the present day Jewish people are "right now" "from the standpoint of God's choice [His sovereign election] BELOVED [by God] for the sake of the [ancient] fathers [Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob]" (Rom. 11:28). The reason is that "the gifts and the calling [election] of God are irrevocable [unchangeable]" (v. 29). If the Jews are presently loved by Him, we should then also have a great and deep concern for them as well.
One professor noted that some people say that in our support for Israel, we should stand by them no matter what they do that may be wrong. I have never met anyone who had that view! No one would support Israel if they are wrong in their actions. I have gone to Israel twenty-three times for a total of about one year in time in that nation. And I never saw the Jewish government do anything unjust to the Arabs. How the Jews have kept their cool with all the hate spewed at them by the Muslim Arabs, I just cannot figure out!
By the way, one professor pointed out that recently a "prominent [big] church in Dallas held a seminar on Romans that covered Romans 1-8 and 12-16, but then completely left out Romans 9-11 which is about God's future prophetic plans for Israel. Wow! Unbelievable!
The bottom line: the article could have been stronger and more supportive toward the Jewish people suffering under the world's hate there in the land. And Dr. McCall is probably correct, the articles were written to counter that school's soft ball approach to the Jews in past articles. In my opinion, and Dr. McCall's also, is that an undeserved criticism toward Israel is a first step towards a kind of liberalism and even a denial to dispensationalism. Watch carefully what our evangelical schools are doing in their criticism toward the Jews. – Dr. Mal Couch (Dec., 09)
|Fox News has been putting up "spiritual" announcements about Christmas, which is somewhat refreshing in comparison to what other stations are doing. But they goofed. In one announcement/ad instead of putting up "The King of Israel," they put up "The King of the Angels." This way, they got rid of Israel. What a goof, in my opinion, and a sop dished out in order to placate the Arabs in our country! The evil continues! – Dr. Mal Couch|
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
|As a historian I'm always studying something about the past 100 years, and especially about the events of World War I & II. Recently, I was given an eye opener as to what happened at the end of World War I that set the world up for end times.|
When the war was over, our Presbyterian Christian President, Woodrow Wilson, attempted to be conciliatory to Germany, the reason, he was a Postmillennialist, who believed to a degree in the goodness of mankind. He thought that, at the bottom line, the Germans were really good, and if we resisted in treating them with a certain punishment, the world would get better, and ultimately, the nations would be set up for messianic days. America did not suffer nearly as bad as the nations of Europe. Wilson was pushing for the League of Nations that would form a platform for lasting global peace. But he was wrong!
The four great powers, America, England, Italy, and France tried to hammer out the principles of the League with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. But the other powers would have none of it. And they were right—Wilson was wrong, because his theology was off base.
The big Three felt that if Germany had the chance it would renew the war because the Germanic mind-set did not believe they were beaten. Evil was seething, and the allies were also ready to go back to war if the Germans did not sign the Versailles Treaty that was officially meant to end the conflict.
Europe was a collection of angry nations—the hearts of men were not satisfied! Wilson did not understand this because, while America spent millions of dollars on the struggle and lost many men, it did not suffer to the same degree that Europe did. Wilson was believing that peace was just around the corner, while Europe was actually pushing for a strong power, a strong man, who could guarantee permanent world peace.
In Europe, revolution was boiling, and to a degree, it had jumped the Atlantic Ocean and was touching America. The trade unions were leaning toward the communists and the liberals—democracy was under attack. Wilson did not see it that way. He thought that goodness would triumph because men were basically good.
The possibility of a strong man, an antichrist, was in the air! Germany at first refused to sign the Versailles Treaty because they did not wish to pay the heavy burden of the reparations being put upon them by the allies. This was fanning the flames of revolution and causing men like Hitler to rise up to lead the Germans into another conflict. The French said that Wilson, the old amillennial Presbyterian, was bamboozled and fooled by the Germans. He was going soft on them! The French were right—Wilson was being fooled!
In order to try to prevent the Germans, or others, from going to war again, all European borders were being re-drawn. New nations were created, and old ones were dissolved. Thus, many borders of Europe and even Africa were being changed. This event went further and made Europeans, and especially the Germans, bitter as to what was being forced down their throats.
If the Germans did not sign the Versailles Treaty to end the war, Europe was having troops standing by to invade that country and start up the conflict again. Because things were turned into such a mess, China and Italy walked out of the Conference and did not sign the Versailles document. England was also crushed with all the twists and turns by those who were redrawing the maps of the nations. She would never rule the high seas again, to the detriment of the world.
Even though the Treaty was signed, Wilson knew that all was lost and that the hearts of the leaders were not in the signing. Wilson went home heart broken. The American people, and Congress, did not want to ratify the Treaty either. Wilson died two years later with a heart attack. Germany never forgave the allies or Wilson. The winds of the next war, World War II, were blowing, and evil leaders were coming on the stage who would lead millions into another conflict—such as Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler. The end of World War II pushed Europe into a one world "nation" that is the forerunner for the coming of the antichrist, who in my opinion, is not far off! – Dr. Mal Couch (Dec., 09)
Monday, December 28, 2009
Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21:5-36; 17:22-37)
The last half of the Tribulation is the most horrible for Israel. The nation will see pressure from all sides, the whole world will come against her. The absence of the word of God will result in man turning into a dominating tyrant; trade, national sovereignty, and an earth full of catastrophic natural disasters bring in a global leader with its confederacy holding a heavy hand on society. The last half of the Tribulation will see the final hours of the earth in labor pains – can you imagine? Woe for the day.
The Last Half of the Tribulation (24:15-22)
15 Whenever, therefore that you might see the abomination of desolation, the one being poured forth through the prophet Daniel, having stood in [the] holy place. The one reading, understand! 16 At that time those in Judea flee over the mountain. 17 The one on the rooftop do not come down to take away anything out from his house, 18 and the one in the field do not return afterwards to carry away his clothes. 19 But woe to those holding in her womb, and to women who are breast feeding in the day. 20 But yourselves pray in order that your flight might not be of winter and not on the Sabbath day. 21 For at that time it will be great tribulation such as has not been from [the] beginning of [the] world until this time and never be 22 and if those days had not been shortened no flesh would be saved, but for the chosen ones, these days will be shortened.
In verses fifteen through twenty-two, the Lord provides a warning and a great woe! The warning starts with a transitional conjunction "therefore" and is given with a sign, whenever, therefore that you might see the abomination of desolation. The use of the aorist subjunctive "you might see" is significant here. The idea is, "there is a constant possibility, so always be watchful." Never let your guard down, because the abomination of desolation is a possibility that can occur at anytime. The word for "see" is to "see with the eyes." What must be known are the details of what the prophet Daniel describes. What is declared an abomination to the Lord is extensive, but here Daniel details a particular abomination or "detestable thing." The Lord is speaking of what was spoken through the prophet Daniel (Dan. 12:11). Daniel says the signs will be, (1) the daily sacrifice will be taken away, then (2) the abomination that makes desolate will be set up. The Hebrew that Daniel uses is "a detestable thing, an idol." Daniel could be translated "the idol, the one that makes desolate, [is] put up" (cf. Dan. 9:24-27).
Both Mark (13:14) and Luke (21:20) leave out Daniel as the source of the prophecy (by the NA27 text and Vulgate, but the Textus Receptus identifies Daniel in Mark), and Luke omits the description of the Temple's abomination, speaking only "when the armies surround Jerusalem," then the desolation is near. But it seems that both Matthew and Mark point the reader to a clearer understanding by adding "let the reader understand." The Lord points them to the writings of Daniel. He says, in essence, "go, read Daniel again, so that you will know and recognize the sign!" But a second interpretation is that Jesus is anticipating the written recording of His words, and the reader should always keep these words that He speaks in mind, they are after all rooted in Daniel's prophecy.
Dr. Toussaint comments:
Since the Lord's statement concerning the abomination of desolation is based on Daniel's prophecy of the seventy weeks, it is well to note the chronology of Daniel 9:24-27. Daniel prophesies that from the decree of Artaxeres – given to Nehemiah to restore and rebuild Jerusalem – until the coming of Israel's King is the period of sixty-nine weeks of years. This period of time was culminated when Christ made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. But because Israel rejected its King, the calendar of events of the seventieth week had to be postponed. Consequently, the great time of tribulation spoken of in connection with that period of time (Daniel 12:1) has been put off into the future. This future period of time will be inaugurated with the signing of the covenant by the nation Israel with the wicked prince that shall come. In the middle of the week, or after three and a half years, that wicked prince will cause the temple worship at Jerusalem to cease. At that time, the abomination of desolation will be introduced in the temple. (Stanley Toussaint, Behold the King: A study of Matthew, p. 274)
Notice that for the sacrifices to be stopped, sacrifices must be present in that day. This brings great problems to those who believe in a future fulfillment. There is no temple in Israel today and, in fact, there seems no chance one will or can be built. Although for those believing this is a past event have bigger problems since there are large holes where things that clearly have not come to pass have to already have taken place – and they have not! It is far more reasonable to believe that Israel will build a temple and institute sacrifices than to believe in an allegorical fulfillment of the events. After all, is God not big enough to get the Temple built?
One final note concerning the abomination, it seems that the abomination spoken of refers to a person who sets himself up as God in the Temple (cf., 2 Thes. 2:3-9; Mark 13:14; Rev. 13:11-18). This event is claimed to have taken place by Josephus, but it should be noted that Josephus was not an unbiased historical writer. Dr. Price notes his political motivation:
The writings of Josephus, while generally considered accurate in most details, such as architectural and cultural descriptions, are famous for their Roman political bias and openly antagonistic attitude to the aspirations of Jewish nationalism. Josephus's involvement in the Great War was primarily on the side of the Romans, a fact that caused him to be regarded as a traitor by his own Jewish nation… In keeping with his rejection of Jewish nationalism, Josephus scorned popular movements, especially messianic movements whose hopes included an earthly kingdom for Israel…This lack of eschatological hope evidently influenced Josephus to make unwarranted historical compromises and concessions. For example, despite the fact Joesephus accepted the Maccabean interpretation that Antiochus IV Epiphanes fulfilled a prophecy of Daniel concerning the "abomination of desolation" in the Temple, when he wrote his history of the Roman conquest of Jerusalem, he abridged this view to "make room" to incorporate Titus and the Romans as "also" fulfilling Daniel's prophecy… (Randall Price, in Tim Lahaye & Thomas Ice gen. ed., The End Times Controversy, pp. 357-358)
This is not the first time the Jews were not able to bring sacrifices during Israel's history. It should be noted that the Temple was desecrated many times in history: In 720 BC, Ahaz closed the temple, used its furnishings to pay Assyria tribute and defiled it with a Syrian alter (2 Kings 16:8-18). Idols were placed in the Holy of Holies by King Manasseh around 695-642 B.C. (2 Kings 21:1-11). Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) pillaged the Temple, defiled it, and stopped sacrifices (175-165 BC). Then again Aristobulus in 67 BC substituted a pig for a sheep and stopped sacrifices (67 BC). Emperor Pompey conquered Jerusalem and entered the Holy of Holies (63 BC). Roman emperor Caligula fails in his attempt to defile the Temple by erecting a statue of himself (40 AD). Roman general Titus destroys Temple and carries off treasures (70 AD). Hadrian retakes Jerusalem, destroys Bar Kokhba Temple, and desecrates Temple mount by erecting statue of himself at the site of the Holies of Holies (135 AD).
Though Daniel does prophesy concerning Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) in chapter 11, he goes beyond him to a "type" of him that is even more evil, whose self-worship holds no room for the worship of Greek gods (as Antiochus did), nor will this one show any regard or desire for women. This Antiochus type will be the evilest of the evil.
At that time those in Judea flee over the mountain. The language is strong as the Lord uses the imperative – "Flee!" or "seek safety by flight!" It has a future sense but made stronger by use of the imperative. The starting location is identified as Judea. The term Judea represents the Hellenizing of Judah which took place following the conquests of Alexander the Great. Judea is the Greek word for the Hebrew Judah. A network of Hellenistic cities surrounded the province of Judea so one by one the cities took Greek names. Geographically, the term can mean two things, (1) the political region ruled by the Romans, or (2) a general term representing the traditional land known as Judah. At its root is the term Jewish or that which belongs to the Jewish nation.
Most translations treat the preposition epi as genitival meaning "on or upon" (contact or position is implied), while others translate as a locative meaning "in" (position is implied), but the usage is accusative meaning "over or across" (motion is implied). They are to flee over the mountain, beyond the Jordan valley.
The one on the rooftop, do not come down to take away anything out from his house. And the one in the field, do not return afterwards to carry away his clothes. The idea is to flee immediately! Stress is placed upon the person's normal daily life, either working on the rooftop or the field. "The roof, which was flat, was used for prayer, drying vegetables and other functions. The staircase from the roof was on the outside of the house; one could descend without entering the house." (Craig Keener, The IVP Bible Backgrounds Commentary NT, p. 112) The command is to leave now and don't look back! The image is that of the story of Lot and his wife who are also told to escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains lest you be destroyed" (Gen. 19:17). The imperative mood with the third person usually is translated using the word "let" so the common translation "let him who is on the rooftop not go down to take anything out of the house."
But woe to those holding in her womb, and to women who are breast feeding in the day. But yourselves pray in order that your flight might not be of winter and not on the Sabbath day. This interjection "woe" is a primary exclamation of grief and as Dr. Glasscock notes, "instead of reflecting pain resulting from impending judgment (as in 23:13-29), this 'woe' more than likely attests to pity on the part of the Lord." (Glasscock, p. 470) There is a poetic rhythm to these two verses. The "woe" of verse nineteen contrasts with the "pray" of verse twenty. The woe of the one who starts out with a heavy burden contrasts with, pray unto God that the day does not occur on an unfortunate travel day where bad weather hampers, or supplies are not found, for there may not be a way to cross the mountains and escape alive.
The Jews in the area of Judea will be allowed to worship for a time in the Temple, so their adhering to the Law and practice thereof will again be administered by the priest. A revival of the Jewish religious establishment will flourish, so when the ruler puts a stop to Jewish worship, putting himself in the Temple, Judea will experience a sudden shock. Jews will be persecuted again with a fury as in the days of the first and second destructions of the Temple. God in His infinite sovereignty has made a day – the 9th of Av, a day of sober remembrance for the loss of both the First and Second Temples. Both the Solomonic (586 BC) and the Herodian (AD 70) Temples were destroyed some 656 years apart and on the same day! Is this by chance or design? Will the people find themselves fleeing around the 9th of Av in some kind of prophetic destructive type? Will the people find the Lord return to the Millennial Temple on the 9th of Av as some kind of prophetic reconstructive type?
Dr. Gill notes:
When days are short, and unfit for long journeys, and roads are bad, and sometimes not passable, through large snows, or floods of water; and when to dwell in desert places, and lodge in mountains, must be very uncomfortable….the word "day" is not in the Greek text; and some have been of opinion, that the "sabbatical year", or the seventh year, is meant, when no fruits would be found in the fields, and a great scarcity of provisions among people; who would not have a sufficiency, and much less any to spare to strangers fleeing from their native places; but rather the Sabbath day, or "day of the Sabbath", as the Persic version reads it, is designed; and Beza says, four of his copies read it in the genitive case: and so four of Stephens'. And the reason why our Lord put them on praying, that their flight might not be on the Sabbath day, was, because he knew not only that the Jews, who believed not in him, would not suffer them to travel on a Sabbath day more than two thousand cubits; which, according to their traditions, was a Sabbath day's journey; and which would not be sufficient for their flight to put them out of danger. (John Gill, Gill's Commentary on the Whole Bible).
For at that time it will be great tribulation such as has not been from [the] beginning of [the] world until this time and never be. This period is characterized as "great" in the sense of intensity and degree. The timing is given as "at that time" referring back to the sign and, hence, the three and a half years, or the last half of the tribulation - the Great Tribulation. Some have used this to say the Great Tribulation only involves this last half of the seven years, and the first part can only be called the Tribulation. But recognize that the whole seven years is referred to the tribulation. (cf. Daniel's 70th week; Dan. 9:24-27)! The word thlipsis means literally "a pressing," but metaphorically, "oppression, affliction, tribulation." The root word means, "to press (as grapes), press hard, rub" (cf. Isa. 22:5).
So great is this troubled day that nothing like it has ever been seen, nor will it ever be! The aorist subjunctive "to become, come into existence" used with the double negative expresses "emphatic negation" and may be translated "by no means" or "never."
And if those days had not been shortened no flesh would be saved. The final three and a half years will see a great deal of death. So severe will be the period that no flesh would have survived. The final battle will involve great armies and be composed of an international array. So the word "flesh" is used, not only in a general ethnic sense, but provides the picture of dead bodies. This is not some sort of spiritual battle that is fought in everyone's lives, but a real physical battle that results in the death of the flesh – physical death. The local battle moves to a global battle that involves the whole world, the destructive force so strong that the world would be destroyed, every man, woman and child. Will mankind come up with some new weapon that he does not understand its destructive nature? Will mankind become so furious in his desire to kill every Jew that he will use such weapons in quantities that, if used, would destroy everything, even the Satanically controlled ruler?
But the Lord has a remnant that He loves and calls, for the chosen ones, these days will be shortened. This is a purpose clause, as the preposition dia is used with the accusative meaning "because of" the chosen ones, the elect ones, the "plucked out" or "called out" ones. These "chosen ones" are not the Church, but the original chosen ones – the sons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – Israel. These days will be kept short. Three and a half years is a long time when you are the one hiding out in the mountains. The whole world will be looking for Jews in a great genocide – the greatest genocide ever, like has never been seen before. Truly, a time of Great Tribulation! A time of hatred and any remnant of God's word will be removed. Can you imagine a world without the word of God to hold down sin?
False Christs and Prophets (24:23-26)
23 Then if any one might say to you, see, here is the Christ or here there, do not believe. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will be aroused and they will give great signs and miracles insomuch that, to lead astray, if able, even the elect. 25 Behold, I have told to you before. 26 Therefore if they say to you behold, he is in the wilderness. Do not go, behold, in the storerooms, do not believe.
The Lord returns to the topic of false christs and prophets. In His previous discussion (vv. 4-5), the false christs had proud, boastful language, but now these false christs and prophets will perform what appear to be miracles – counterfeit miracles.
For false Christs and false prophets will be aroused. As before, these christs are pseudo-christs and the prophets are not real but are pseudo-prophets. The Greek puts the stress upon the arousal for it is placed at the head of the sentence! The future passive verb indicates that they are not arisen yet, but moreover, that they are aroused in the sense of (1) to be stirred up (emotionally), (2) to bring before the public, or simply (3) to erect. Either way one takes this, they are passive participants and are "being" aroused with the result of visually appearing on the scene.
They will give great signs and miracles. Literally, "and they [the false christs and prophets] will give signs, great ones." A sign is a "mark" it says something about its originator. In antiquity, the common sign, if one can call this common, was the signet ring which was used to make an identifying mark on a wax seal of a document. The idea is, there is a message and it is authenticated by the originator's mark. Our modern freeway signs are exactly that, they give a message and the advertiser's name is given. A miracle is a wonder. It is something that makes the observer wonder how it is possible.
The Greek word for miracle is of unknown origin and is used here as Dr. Gill notes,
…make an appearance of doing them, though they really did them not: so that Jonathan, before mentioned, pretended to show signs and sights; and Barcochab made as if flame came out of his mouth; and many of the Jewish doctors in these times, and following, gave themselves up to sorcery, and the magic art; and are, many of them, often said to be, "expert in wonders", or miracles. (John Gill., op. cit.)
Though these signs and wonders are given by pseudo-christs and pseudo-prophets, they are so impressive in their genuineness as to lead astray, if able, even the elect. Of course this is not possible, but as the great grammarian Dr. Robertson notes, "These charlatans will be so skilful that they will, if possible (ei dunaton), lead astray the very elect. The implication is that it is not possible. People become excited and are misled and are unable to judge the results. Often it is post hoc, sed non propter hoc." (A.T. Robertson, Robertson's Word Pictures)
The Lord tells them in essence, "they have been warned! Take note, and do not listen to them." The elect refers to the nation Israel. But one may argue, what is Jesus doing warning the nation Israel, have they not rejected Him? The elect of this day will hear the voice of the Lord. The elect of this day is the remnant, a special people elect unto God and will be saved on the last day, and this group will be Jewish. It is the great promise of the Old Testament that a remnant will be saved out of the house of Judah (cf., Isa. 10:20-11:16; Micah 2:12-13).
This doctrine of the "elect" being out of Israel is not without controversy. Replacement theology has thrown Israel out of the picture altogether. Notice what Dr. Pentecost says,
Until the present eschatological controversy, prophetic writers were in general agreement on the existence, the nature, the mission and the preservation of a remnant of Israel during the tribulation period. At the present time the doctrine of the remnant is being attacked by the amillennialist, who can not admit the existence of the remnant, since he affirms the church is fulfilling the covenants and no further fulfillment is possible. It is also being attacked by the posttribulation rapturist, who can not admit the existence of the remnant, for he affirms that the church is going through the tribulation so it will be the witnessing remnant. Although for different reasons, the amillennialist and the posttribulation rapturist join hands in attacking this doctrine.
The remnant of Israel is tied to the covenant made with Abraham which is an everlasting (eternal) and unconditional (only God passed through the cut animal, cf. Gen 15:4-21) covenant. The covenant contains a land (national Israel), seed (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, i.e., ethnic seed), and blessing (that God would be their God and they would be His people). The outworking of the Abrahamic covenant (Gen. 12:1-3; 13:14-17; 15:4-21; 17:1-8; 22:17-18) is the Land covenant promising Israel a land (Deut. 30:1-9; Jer. 32:36-44; Ezek. 11:16-21; 36:21-38), the Davidic covenant promising Israel a King to rule in the land (2 Sam. 7:10-16; Jer. 33:20-21; Ps. 89), and the New covenant promising Israel restoration as a nation, forgiveness of sins and a new heart (Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 16:60; Isa. 59:20-21; Hos. 2:14-23).
It should be noted that there has always been a believing remnant of Israel as far back as the nation was called out and established by God (cf. Isa. 41:8-10). Some would say that God rejected Israel when they rejected Him, but the New Testament makes it clear that God has not cast out the nation. God has created a new thing, the Church made up of both Jew and Gentile and called it a mystery (something not revealed in the OT, but now revealed, cf. Rom. 11:25; Eph. 1:9; 3:1-21). This is the blessing part of the covenant that the Gentile partakes in, a spiritual blessing which brings new life to the one who believes the gospel of Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-5).
Today Israel is predominately secular. This seems to continue as she will enter the Tribulation as an unbelieving nation. She will be brought back to the land and God will deal with the nation to bring her to repentance. Today, the whole seventieth week of Daniel is a period of preparation for the coming of the her King. The nation will receive a multitude of witness of various kinds so that individuals will experience salvation (Rom. 11:26-27). Brethren will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony (Rev. 12:10-11). The remnant of the Tribulation will be the witnessing body during the Tribulation testifying of Jesus Christ (Rev. 12:11,17). This will satisfy the original purpose of Israel in the Old Testament to be God's witness to the nations on earth which they failed to do, but now will perform in boldness as the world comes against them.
The next article will bring the coming of the Son of Man on the scene and the wonderful parables for us to live by today.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
|I am urging all churches to have printed out some envelops with the names of your congressmen or senators on the front. Then, also pass out sheets (plenty) with fill-in lines so that your people can write messages to these men, sign them, and then keep such messages going to Washington every week or so. This makes it convenient for your congregation to write on a regular basis, and to have addressed envelops ready to go when they need to fire off a message.|
Also, I'm urging churches to push voter registration for next fall. We are part of the government in this blessed country, and therefore it is a spiritual and theological obligation to take part in the process of how America goes.
There is a mistaken idea about the separation of church and state. Some think that we cannot keep our tax exemption if we tell our people how to vote but we can urge that they write their congressmen and express what they wish to say. We are going to do this with our local church. I know for a fact that more Christians will be writing if the process is made easy for them and convenient. Addressed envelops and a sheet for a letter will greatly help.
-- Dr. Mal Couch (Dec., 09)
Saturday, December 26, 2009
|Dr. Couch, why have things collapsed so quickly in our country, on every level—political, social, theological, cultural, etc.?|
ANSWER: Things were building up more quickly than we could imagine—we just didn't notice the changes coming. Theologically, I believe this is a judgment from God upon an apostate nation, and world. We are moving rapidly toward the end times. America for some time now has walked away from the Lord. But on the human level, there are some things we can observe that I believe are part of God's judgment.
(1) We have for some time now departed morally. Drugs, abortion, homosexuality, etc. has been destroying us from within for decades. (2) The mixing of cultures that did not have the Judeo-Christian morality behind them. And, those who have Christianity as a heritage have apostatized into immorality anyway. The founding of the nation, and our Reformation European heritage has been long ago lost to this culture. (3) Our secular state universities have moved toward liberalism and socialism, and these views have been fed to our young people now for decades. (4) And, our young people have been so brainwashed from grade school to buy into the lies of Satan. And as well, the repudiation in our schools of any form of recognition of Christianity.
In many schools, they have discarded Christianity but have honored Muslim and Hindu holidays in place of Christian traditions. Now I know having a holiday does not make our nation "Christian" but there is still a principle being trashed. And we will pay a price for that.
I know for a fact that many of my school friends came to Christ because Bibles were passed out at school and there were plays and musicals given over to Resurrection Sunday and Christmas. Everyone knew that America's morality had its origins from the Word of God, even though they may not have been born again or went to church on Sunday. Without doubt, we have departed on one level or another, and we are going to pay the price.
Someone recently sent me an article about a paper written by a chaplain in the Army saying that the real enemy in this country is premillennialism. Premillennialists, he said, see things black and white, and this is causing problems with those who are conciliatory on issues. We knew that this argument would be coming—blaming the facts of Scripture for how we are perceived in the world. Pray that this will not bring more havoc on those who are proclaiming the truth in our culture.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Friday, December 25, 2009
|The ignorance and the foolishness marches on! I just heard of this two days ago: A large church had an opportunity to hire as a pastor an outstanding Bible teacher who exegetes the Scriptures verse by verse. But the church, with about 400 members, said no. They wanted a "pastor" type who would read a couple of verses and then do typical Southern Baptist church waxing eloquently and "sermonizing" topically, with pounding and waving of arms and legs. In fact they said, "We've never seen anyone 'teach' the Bible. And, we've never seen anyone explain the Bible verse by verse. And, we're not now interested, 'No thank you!'"|
This actually happened just a few days ago. The ignorance is massive, and the ignorant are so ignorant, they don't know that they are ignorant!
I knew this could happen, but I was so ignorant about this ignorance, I never thought I'd ever hear of this actually taking place.
Without the explaining and the teaching of the Word of God there can be no growth and clear understanding of what God is saying to us. Besides this problem, many churches have never heard taught the explanation of the great passages of prophetic Scripture. No one knows whether the Lord is coming or going. Many in Southern Baptist churches play the old game that they are pan-millennialists. "It'll all just pan out in the end!" That is so sickening it's not even funny anymore!
A true story: While teaching at one of the most outstanding Southern Baptist universities, I heard one of the Bible professors say that he just told the kids to go to the library and find out the different views on the book of Revelation. He did not plan to teach the book in the classroom, because, he admitted, he knew nothing about it! Another professor had an older student get up in class and explain to the students the different interpretative views of Revelation. He admitted, with his doctorate from Southwest Seminary, that he knew nothing about John's final book. (I hope things have changed there a little since then!)
(I am finishing a book on the coming Millennial Government of Christ. It should be out in about 4 weeks. Many will have never heard about Christ's soon return to establish His Davidic rule on earth!) – Dr. Mal Couch (Dec., 09)
Thursday, December 24, 2009
|Dr. Couch, is John 15:1-9 about loss of salvation? It's the parable about the branches abiding in Christ. What do you say?|
ANSWER: First of all, the issue here is about fruit bearing not about one's Position in salvation. Christ prunes the branches of the vine in order to make them bear more fruit. To prune is painful to the branch. But it brings forth more fruit in the process.
Notice that the individual connected with Christ, the vine, is "already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you" (v. 3). That is a Positional statement about salvation. So the issue here is fruit bearing, or a relationship that produces fruit. Salvation is not the point. That is a settled issue.
The main idea is "abiding" or to put it in the vernacular, about "sticking" with Christ, "staying with Him in fellowship, which is so necessary for the daily Christian walk. Verse 5 makes the main point, "apart from Me you can do nothing." Again, this is not a salvation issue but a fruit production issue, the "doing something for the cause of Christ."
Some think the "casting away into the fire, and they are burned" is alluding to the loss of salvation and the fires of eternal, spiritual judgment (v. 6). But who is doing the "casting away"? It is the "they." Or, men who are doing the judging, not God! "They gather them" is a Present Active Indicative, Third Person Plural, meaning "they," or "men" gather the branches and cast them into the fire. The "Men" or probably even the lost, who are doing the judging against Christians, that is those believers who are hypocrites because the world does not see any good coming out of these believers in their walk. The Christians are walking like the world, like the lost! And, there is no fruit bearing.
The issue of fruit bearing also has to do with glorifying the Father, and by this, we prove that we are Christ's disciples, and that has to do with our following and walking with Him, not an issue about our salvation (v. 8). Finally, "fellowship love" is the issue as stated in verse 9. We are to be abiding, "sticking" with Christ in His relationship love, as stated in this verse. Most of the time in this passage when Christ says "abide" or "stay with" Me, He uses the Present Tense in Greek. "Be daily and continually staying with Me" in fellowship ..." How we are walking is what this passage is all about, not about our Position in our salvation.
Thanks for asking. I hope this helps.
Dr. Mal Couch
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
|"Dr. Couch, on your last posting for your website you convicted me! You wrote: "The men in the pulpit are no longer trained in systematic theology or the biblical languages."|
Although I was so trained, I am ashamed to admit that I have let those skills atrophy through the 25 years of disuse! And though I am not a pastor, but a Christian school teacher, I do periodically have the chance to preach. Sensing that the man in the pew wouldn't notice, I have usually taken the easy route to sermon prep (and lesson prep as well).
You ARE right. And I have been wrong and lazy (sinfully so). Beginning today, I covenant that I will begin to re-sharpen the tools, and refresh my Greek and Hebrew. I know it's late in my life and ministry, but perhaps the Lord will have mercy and let me redeem some time. Please pray for me, and keep sharing the truth. God bless. --BJ (New York)"
I have been pounding away on this issue for years now and this is the first time one with such maturity has been so convicted. Thank you for sharing this with me and our audience. Without systematic theology, doctrine dies. Systematic theology is the "systematic" approach to putting together all that the Bible says on a specific doctrine and subject. Without this, we cannot demonstrate properly, say, the doctrine of the nature of our God, the Trinity. I know only of a few schools that teach the proper use of the languages and systematic theology in our country, and especially, down this way. There are schools with young pups teaching who think they know what they're doing, but indeed, they do not! I can recommend none here in Texas! And I mean none!
I'm looking for a few younger men who will pick up the mantle who will train their minds and hearts to really learn the great truths of Scripture. So far I find it difficult to have them stick with the process, and the pain, to finally know what they're doing with God's Word.
Again, thank you for being so candid with your comments. – Dr. Mal Couch(12-09)
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
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|Dr. Couch, I am being persuaded in what you say about a social apostasy coming upon the world. Can you explain a little more?|
ANSWER: Yes, what I mean is that the culture, that in some places, to a large degree, has been blessed by biblical Christianity, will turn and be even more evil that previously. And this is exactly what happened in Europe some decades back, and has now happened in America during my lifetime. Christianity held back sin to some extent but now the roof has collapsed and sin is becoming more sinful!
And, the church then is becoming more like the world and the culture! We have some verses that I believe point this out. For example, 2 Timothy 3:1-2.
"But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money ..."
The verses speak of "in the last days difficult times will come." Paul is not in those verses talking about church apostasy but about cultural apostasy and evil growing worse and worse. The Greek reads "Time of stress, fierce, savage times." Paul uses the Future Tense of the "to be" verb. "It will be this way ..."
Then in verse 2 he does not speak of the church folks, but of "the men" of the world, using the Greek word, with the article, "hoi anthropos." This will happen when "the time" (kairos, chronology) will come, and grow more savage, when the change happens in the culture. Paul connects this thought with 4:3 when he writes: "For that 'time' (kairos, chronological period) will come (Future Tense) when 'they' (supplied by the translator) 'will not endure healthy doctrine ... '" Paul here is not talking about true believers but about those in the culture who apostatize from what little they know of truth.
He is not talking about true"possessing Christians" in 3:13, as some think, but again, he is talking about the lost in the culture, when he writes "But evil men (poneeros anthropos) ... and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived." These are the lost men of the society, the culture, not those who are Christians (though the true believers will be deceived.). Indeed, the evil men are "impostors" (goees). This is the only place in the NT where this word is used. It's often translated "seducers." This is a better translation; they will be seducing and leading astray those who are professors, and who are taken down the wrong path, who go into apostasy and join them in their worldly sinfulness! "Goees" can be translated "a juggler, enchanter, one who uses incantations to deceive." This is happening and going on today. The church is getting like the culture.
"They will proceed" (Future Tense) is from the Greek word "prokopos" meaning "they will go forward, go forward hammering (as a smith hammers metal)," "promoting further" their evil agendas. And nothing will stop them; it will get worse and worse, as the apostasy takes over the culture even more!
The Bible Knowledge Commentary seems to agree with my thoughts on the passage. Several times it mentions "the people (the lost), when they the world will see terrible times of societal degeneration."
I believe we are now in religious, spiritual, and social degeneration and this is the sign that we are in "the last days."
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Monday, December 21, 2009
|Dr. Couch, the problems go on in the church I'm involved in. What do I do?|
ANSWER You mentioned the terrible confusion in the teaching there in the country where you live. The leaders do not know what they believe and they are mixing kingdom and church issues because of their blindness and ignorance of the Bible. It amazes me how we want science to be precise but we are ready to compromise when it comes to the "science" of interpretation of the biblical texts. What foolishness and blindness!
Someone will say, what do you mean by science of the Bible? They fail to realize that we start with the grammar of Scripture, and we must be "scientifically accurate when approaching the interpretative issues. Science means we also must interpret by logic, history, the social background of the Bible, etc. If we don't, we will not understand what's going on in the passages of Scripture. It is the Holy Spirit who inspired the authors in their usage of the right grammar of the Hebrew and Greek texts. And the Bible has a setting, a social, historic setting, which we must understand in order to be exegetes of the Word. I must follow the interpretative lead of the Holy Spirit. I can't be sloppy in my study of the Bible.
You mentioned that the leaders of the church could not identify whether they were amill, premill, postmill, Arminian or Calvinistic in their understanding of the Bible. And they knew nothing about the clear passages on the rapture of the church, which fouled up their total understanding and teaching of the book of Revelation. And these are teaching leaders?
I predicted many years ago we'd be in this mess once the leaders of the churches abandoned systematic theology and went to "feel good" messages, entertainment and emotion. And sure enough, I was correct!
Don't forget that Paul predicted the apostasy we are now in. He wrote: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound (healthy) doctrine (not feel good messages), but wanting to have their ears ticked (wanting entertainment), they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away from the truth, and will turn aside to myths (lies)" (2 Tim. 4:3-4).
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Sunday, December 20, 2009
|He is shocked! The navy is talking about putting women on subs. What a morale-killer this former sailor says. We have gone mad in our nation! And there is no end to it. It will not stop! The barn door has been opened and there is no closing it. Once you move away from the objective directives of the Word of God, power rules and the liberal mind-set will have their way. Pray for our nation but I think, without a doubt, we're now moving into "difficult times" as Paul says! – Dr. Mal Couch (Dec., 09)|
Saturday, December 19, 2009
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|We've all been told that most of the founding fathers and authors of our constitution were deists. But experts like David Barton, and others, point out that this is a lie that is repudiated by the opposite facts. We know for certain that of the signers, 28 were Episcopalians, 8 Presbyterians, 7 Congregationalists, 2 Lutherans, 2 Dutch Reformed, 2 Methodists, 2 Catholics, and only 2 were know deists. Some think that it is possible that only one might have been a deists but there is questions on this. Usually, the deists were listed as Hugh Williamson, James Wilson, and Benjamin Franklin. At most deism was the religion of 3 out of 55, or 51/2 percent of the signers!|
As a condition of church membership in colonial America, the adherents had to be sworn in to believing in their church's doctrinal statement, which included belief in the Bible as God's revelation and trust in Christ as the Son of God. If the founding fathers held deist ideas while belonging to Christian churches it means they swore falsely in the presence of God.
While no one can vouch absolutely for the salvation of any one, the above is pretty strong evidence as to where they were coming from. But too, it is important to realize that Christian principles had an effect on the culture and the society even though an individual may not have trusted Christ as Savior. More than likely the vast majority of these men were born again.
Please pass this on to your children, and if you are a pastor, pass it on to your congregation. We should be thankful for this heritage! – Dr. Mal Couch (Dec., 09)
Friday, December 18, 2009
|Dr. Couch, should we be celebrating Christmas, since this is a "Catholic" word: Christ-mass? We are not commanded to do so in Scripture.|
ANSWER: This reminds me of the Church of Christ folks who argue, since musical instruments are not mentioned in the Bible to use for worship, therefore, it is wrong to use musical instruments in church worship!
And, I guess Christ was wrong to go up to Jerusalem to celebrate Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, since the Jews were not commanded to do so in the OT! (see John 10:22-30.) Did you know that He did that? There is nothing wrong with remembering certain blessings in either the OT or NT. This is what Christ did. This is what we do with the Lord's Table. It is a "remembrance" and it is Passover condensed and abbreviated. I don't know of any true believer in Christ who became a Catholic because of the word Christmas. Some words become embedded in our vocabulary by usage, but most people don't know of the origins of such words.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Thursday, December 17, 2009
|For over four years Dr. Couch has been saying that we are moving into both the apostasy of the church, and the apostasy of the culture. "Apostasy" means the "falling away," in reference to the truth and the faith. A latest Pew Report just confirms this fact of the departure of the culture from anything even half way spiritual!|
For example, now in this nation, many say they hold beliefs of the sort found in Buddhist temples or New Age bookstores. Almost a fourth of those who say they are Christians say they believe in reincarnation. A fourth say they attend services of other faiths, and a fourth believe in Eastern or New Age ideas, including Hinduism or Buddhism.
They also believe in yoga as a spiritual practice, giving spiritual energy to things like mountains and crystals, and astrology. Sixteen percent believe in the evil eye or the casting of curses or spells. Three in ten of black Protestants believe in some of the thoughts of Islam, or African beliefs. Half say they have had religious or mystical experiences whereby they received spiritual awakening or enlightenment. This phenomenon is growing in the Black communities and in the minorities who are pouring into this country, legally or illegally. They do not have as their heritage the Protestant, Reformation blessing that came through Europe and England and that was part of the founding of the nation.
Religion now is a mixture of beliefs whereby one can build their own religious belief system. Many evangelicals hold to such heresies even though their church may not believe the same things. The reason is what Dr. Couch has said: there is a departure of the teaching of doctrine. Most churches are now into feel good messages, emotionalism, heavy music, but away from sound, objective teaching of the Word of God from the pulpit. Dr. Couch has warned of this for years.
There will be no turning back. The men in the pulpit are no longer trained in systematic theology or the biblical languages. They do not know how to grasp the Scriptures doctrinally. They are conditioned to be "positive" and emotional. Television is their source of communication, and television is based on emotion and entertainment. We are moving deeper and deeper into the religious and cultural apostasy. We are shrinking in numbers as those who claim to be Christians, and, those who claim to be atheists are growing in number. The spiritual night is coming, and it is almost here!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
|Dr. Couch, in Ephesians 5:19 we are told by Paul to speak to one another in Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Are we supposed to do this literally, and if so how?|
ANSWER: This is not a moral command. It has to do with the heart of the fellowship time of the believers in the church. "Hymns and spiritual songs" is what we all do in churches right now, hopefully! We have to avoid a legalistic approach to such words by Paul and the other apostles. This is to be the spiritual result of the Holy Spirit making such sharing real as Paul says in verse 18. He adds "making melody with your heart to the Lord; and giving of thanks ..." (v. 20).
In my Ephesians commentary just out I made this statement on the passage: "The greatest unsaved vocalist on earth is totally incapable of making a pleasing melody to God from the inner recesses of the soul. One has to be in close fellowship with the Lord to be controlled by the Holy Spirit for this to happen. Yet the Spirit-filled (controlled) believer can scarcely be restrained from such activity, whether a good vocalist or not. The 'heart' is what speaks to the Lord."
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
|We refer to the culture that originated in Greece, spread to Rome, permeated Northern Europe, was incorporated by the Anglo-Saxon tradition, spread through British influence, and is associated today primarily with Europe-the United States, and the former commonwealth countries of Britain, and has touched even some Asian countries like Japan and South Korea.|
In no way would we admire the paganism of the Greeks but we received through them, and the Romans, much culture that made the European heritage. This is why up until about seventy years ago, youngsters in public school, the upper levels, took Latin and Greek and Roman history. Now, we are repudiating this heritage and there are those, including our President, who want to destroy that heritage. We would have to say that it was used of God to create the highways on which Christianity moved. Again, this is not to admire such heritage in the wrong way, but we cannot escape the positive influence of Western thinking. This reminder comes to us from Dr. Victor Hanson as written in Imprimis (November 2009). This is why during World War II, Winston Churchill continued to refer to the good things (but not exclusively) that came through "the English speaking people of the world" in opposing the sins of Germany during that struggle.
I am sure some will argue against what Dr. Hanson has written but if they do, they are ignorant of world history! But too, what is sad is that in the Western world, we have destroyed by massive immorality the blessings we inherited. And we are now touting the other cultures of the world that do not hold a candle to the blessings God used in Western civilization. – Dr. Mal Couch (Dec., 09)
Monday, December 14, 2009
|Hundreds of verses of Scripture do just that, but there are three passages that are determinative on the issue. They are Luke 22:28-30; Acts 1:10-11; Hebrews 9:28.|
(1) In Luke 22:28-30 Christ told the disciples that they would be eating and drinking with Him at His table "in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." How could the kingdom be the church? This does not make sense. Is this about the twelve tribes of Israel or does it somehow represent the church age? And, who are the disciples here if not the disciples who walked with Christ daily? If this passage is taken literally, how in the world could it represent the church? Using the desert island approach to interpretation in which no one is influencing your view of the passage, how would you take it except with common sense? And common sense will make it mean just what it says! It would be taken in a literal and normal way. It means just what it says.
Amillennialism is out the window!
(2) In Acts 1:10-11 the angels told the disciples that when the Lord departed and ascended to heaven, "This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven." In other words, in a literal, visible, normal way. He went up from them "as they gazed intently into the sky while He was departing" and He would come back to earth in the exact same manner back. This departing and coming cannot be spiritualized, allegorized, amillennial-ized! It must be taken as an actual going and returning, just as the premillennial orthodox Jews and evangelical premillennial/dispensationalists have said. One cannot fudge interpretation in such a passage.
Why do the amillennialists want to make this complicated? Because they want to get rid of the Jewish people and destroy the idea of a literal kingdom reign of Christ. There is no other answer that makes sense.
(3) In Hebrews 9:28 we have a phrase that is extremely close to saying "a second coming." The writer of Hebrews says "Christ also, having been offered once [at His first coming] to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time [the second coming] for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him." "Shall appear" is the key. He lived on earth visibly and so He will come in like manner, visibly! The Jews reading Hebrews knew exactly what was being said here. They were to be LOOKING for Him to come in the same way He arrived the first time! "Shall appear" is a Future Passive Indicative of the common word "to see," horao. Thus, "He shall be seen."
In no way could these verses be talking about the church in some allegorical way. Christ's second coming will have all of the markers of a coming, an appearance, a visible arriving! – Dr. Mal Couch (Dec., 09)
Sunday, December 13, 2009
|Dr. Couch, my relative got a copy of your new book "This Great Nation." He called me to say that he is reading it and says that the content and the presentation is the best he's ever read on the subject of America and American history.|
He went on to say that he has a masters degree in Church History and has taught the same subject as well. But he added that all of his teachers, or even books he's ever read on American history, never impacted him the way you bring it out and teach on it so clearly.
I don't think I can ever put in words just how much I thank God for you and how Christ is working in you and through you--you have helped me so much! Thank you for helping so many of us grow in the Grace and Knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. My prayers are always for you. -- TB, Texas [RIGHT NOW for a limited time, the hardback book is free inside the USA, BUT please include $5 for shipping. Order it now!: Scofield Ministries, 120 CR 3222, Clifton, TX 76634]
Saturday, December 12, 2009
|Dr. Couch, I believe in eternal security but I have problems with Matthew 5:22 where Jesus said "... and whosoever shall say, You fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." How do you answer? – from England|
ANSWER: I really appreciate your questions, but you must interpret the Bible by context not by the ping pong method, where you bounce all over the place and automatically apply verses to the church. This is the Sermon on the Mount where Christ is speaking specifically to the Jews and the problems they had in the way they mistreated others.
Remember, we must interpret the Bible by context and by the Greek text, not by the English. "Hell" is a bad translation that is why Bible teachers need to take Greek in order to understand all that is happening in Scripture. I have had more Greek than any Bible teacher you'll talk with. I translate almost everyday. In this passage "hell" is Geenna or Gehenna, referring to the burning garbage dump outside of the city of Jerusalem that became a symbol of judgment. Yes, often it was symbolic of hell's fires but it can, in context, often just be referring to a judgment.
Christ is addressing how the Jews mistreated each other with their mouth—with their criticisms. Note the progression in verse 22. If one is angry with his brother he should be brought before the synagogue court and be judged. If one goes further and calls his brother Raca (or numb skull, stupid) he is to be brought before the supreme court or the Sanhedrin and be judged. But if one says to his brother that he is a fool, he receives the harshest judgment and was to be cast into Gehenna, the burning garbage dump! Now can you imagine the fear this brought to the hearts of the Jews? In their relationships with others they were terribly critical, hurt others with the mouth, and continued to destroy the relationships by harsh words! The Jews paid no attention to this mistreatment. Christ brought it to their attention. The point is not about a doctrinal or theological judgment but about the issue of mistreatment of others.
This was meant to awaken the Jews in the harshness of their human relationships.
Thanks for asking, and, I hope this helps.
Dr. Mal Couch
Friday, December 11, 2009
|Dr. Couch, in Philippians 3:11 Paul says "If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead." I have heard some argue that this means Paul had some doubts about the resurrection, and the critics land on the words "if" and "might." This argument would go against what he says in 1 Corinthians 15. How do we answer? – from England|
ANSWER: I don't know how the critic could get out of the verse that Paul is having questions about the resurrection! The wording certainly does not lead me to that conclusion. All Paul is saying is that he wants to be worthy of that great truth of Christ's resurrection from the dead! You must start his argument with verse 7 where he says he counts all things as loss "for the sake of Christ." He speaks of the surpassing value of knowing Christ and counts all things as dung (rubbish) so that he might gain Christ (v. 8). He is not doubting the resurrection but he is making it a center piece doctrine around which his life revolves.
From verses 7-14 there is not one piece of evidence that he doubts the resurrection! All of the language has to do with how he is living. Nicoll writes:
"The Resurrection is the Apostle's goal, for it will mean perfect, unbroken knowledge of Christ and fellowship with Him. Paul knows by experience the difficulty of remaining loyal to the end, of being so conformed to Christ's death that the power of sin will not revive its mastery over him. So his apparent uncertainty here of reaching the goal is not distrust of God. It is distrust of himself."
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Thursday, December 10, 2009
|Dr. Couch, Shouldn't the emphasis be more focused on doing 'good' when sharing the gospel?|
ANSWER: Some believe that to urge anyone to do good is not enough. The gospel must somehow always be put forward. But the Bible seems to argue that good works will show one's salvation. James writes: "This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress ..." (James 1:27). He also writes "I will show you my faith by my works" (2:18). Paul says "Overcome evil with good" (Rom. 12:21). "Be wise in what is good" (16:19).
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
|Dr. Couch, is the idea of inalienable rights found in the Bible?|
ANSWER: Good question, and I would answer yes. By Webster, the word "inalienable" means rights that cannot be transferred. Or, rights that each person has because he has been created in the image of God, and all are equal before God, whether this is the king or the subject to the king. This was the great struggle when democracy was being born in America. "Is anyone less than the king?"
Since all are created in the image of God (though now polluted by sin) He sees all equally. God so loves the world equally (John 3:16). Does any believer in Christ want to be seen as unequal in America? I think not.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
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Monday, December 7, 2009
|America is now a welfare nation with one out of every eight adults and one in four children on welfare. By the way, we can't call this welfare, we're supposed to call the food stamp giveaway and all the giveaway programs "nutritional aid" not welfare! Talking about being politically correct and re-writing reality—the redefining of words and definitions! Now let's be honest, there are always people who come about on hard times and need limited help to get through a certain period in their lives, but if the truth would be known, most of those receiving such aid are probably loafers and takers who simply fall back on the giveaway program because they are just plain lazy! And more than likely, most are minorities and illegal foreigners who are here simply because we have become a welfare state. |
In most of our public schools, we give away free breakfasts and lunches to the children. Again, bleeding hearts will argue, "but what about the children?" It is the responsibility of the parents to sacrifice, even suffer, and take two jobs, in order to provide for their children. There is nothing in the government mandates for this nation that says the government is to provide free meals for its citizens. This takes the incentive away from the parents and makes us a beggar nation.
The apostle Paul speaks to this issue among Christians. He writes that the hard working believer should stay away from those who live undisciplined lives (2 Thess. 3:6) and who do not follow the work example of the disciples (v. 7). We are not to eat the bread of someone else "but with labor and hardship, Paul says, we kept working night and day so that we might not be a burden to any of you" (v. 8). In other words, whatever it takes, we should work two or three jobs in order to survive if need be! "If anyone will not work, neither let him eat" (v. 10).
In Texas, the illegal, that is, the criminal foreigners are swamping our Emergency Rooms in our hospitals because they can get free care and do not have to pay for it. Most come in for medicine for their colds and other minor issues. Some say, "well isn't that charitable, especially for their children?" I say, if they cannot get such help let them go back to the country from which they came. No one is forcing them to stay in America! They need to do what our founding fathers did, they came to these shores and sacrificed and by hard work made a better nation. They expected no free government aid to bail them out of their problems!
Historically, America was only meant to give all an equal opportunity to make a better life for themselves and their families. There is no built-in guarantee that all will have an equal outcome for their hard labor in life. But now, American socialism says all are to be given an equal ride whether they honestly earn it or not!
A few years ago in Texas, the illegal and criminal foreigners drove up in their big SUVs, with cell phones in their ears, to the various locations of the Salvation Army where they were giving out free Christmas toys for their children. The charitable organizations got smart. They made the freeloaders show their IRS tax reports (which most did not have) from the year before to demonstrate that they indeed were charity cases in order to get the free handouts. Can you imagine what that was teaching their children!
There is no return for America, no going back! The social apostasy (the falling away from the truth) is here and Christian morality and hard work will never again return to this nation! – Dr. Mal Couch (12-09)
Sunday, December 6, 2009
|The small nation of Switzerland (the home of the Reformation) has it right—they have banned the explosion of minarets in that country of only seven million Swiss citizens. There are 400,000 Muslims in the country but they are attempting to take over the entire population, and possibly put the people under sharia Muslim law. A large number of the people (58%) voted to stop the building of minarets. The conservative Swiss People's Party (SVP) long warned of a creeping "Islamisation" of the nation, because of high immigration patterns and high birth rates among Muslims. |
Christianity is about dead in that nation. The people long ago started into the prophesied apostasy, mainly because almost all the churches are liberal and thus repudiate the Scriptures. (John Calvin would roll over in his grave!) Some heretical Christians (if they are Christians) believe banning the minarets is a cowardly act but they just don't get it! The Europeans are losing their freedoms, their land, and all that was once dear to them. In fact, that is part of the problem. Christianity, Christ and the Bible, are no longer important. Spiritual issues to the nation now mean absolutely nothing!
Remember, whatever happens in Europe will happen in America. We are going in the same direction as the nations of Europe—toward an evil spiritual apostasy because the Word of God no longer means anything!
The apostle Paul warned us of our day: "For the time will come when [men] will not endure sound (healthy) doctrine (teaching); but wanting to have their ears ticked (wanting to be amused, entertained), they will accumulate to themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths (lies). But you stay awake in all things, endure hardships, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your [spiritual] work" (2 Tim. 4:3-5). – Dr. Mal Couch (12-09)
Saturday, December 5, 2009
|Dr. Couch, didn't the Gnostics allegorize the Bible?|
ANSWER: Yes, but the problem with the Gnostics is something else besides allegorical interpretation. Allegorization started way before the Gnostic cults. The biggest issue with them was their secret-ness, their immorality, and their "spiritualizing" the person of Christ. We do not know all that they taught. In fact, each group held to somewhat different beliefs. And, they really came on the scene sometime after the time of Christ. John the apostle seems to be standing against incipient Gnosticism in his letters of I-III John, written about AD 90-95.
To allegorize the Scriptures is treated in detail in my book An Introduction to Classical Evangelical Hermeneutics (Kregel). The pages are 95-103. The word Gnostic is related to the Greek word ginosko, to know. They believed they had higher spiritual knowledge and knew things that the average person did not know.
Allegorization was expanded and made popular by Augustine. He taught that the Church had become Israel. Thus, the kingdom was the Church here on earth, and, God was finished with the Jews. When he came to the words Jerusalem, or kingdom, he said these words were really about the Church. Charismatics hold to some Gnostic thoughts. Everyone has heard them say, "I don't care what the Bible says, I know what my experience is!" Experience is seen as higher than objective fact in Scripture.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Friday, December 4, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21:5-36; 17:22-37)
The topic now turns to the Tribulation. Our Lord will prepare the nation Israel for the Millennial Kingdom with a unique seven year period of Tribulation. This will be a time of discipline and purging for the nation. For the Gentiles, it is a time of pouring out divine judgment upon those who have not dealt justly with Israel. The period marks the end of the period known as the times of the Gentiles (Luke 21:24), that period marked by Gentile control of Jerusalem since 600 B.C.
The Tribulation is first prophesied in the Old Testament in Deut. 4:29-30. The prophets provide more detail concerning its nature and character. For example, Jeremiah 30:4-11 describes a time of great trouble – the time of Jacob's trouble:
5 For thus says the LORD: 'We have heard a voice of trembling, Of fear, and not of peace. 6 Ask now, and see, Whether a man is ever in labor with child? So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins Like a woman in labor, And all faces turned pale? 7 Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob's trouble, But he shall be saved out of it. 8 'For it shall come to pass in that day,' Says the LORD of hosts, 'That I will break his yoke from your neck, And will burst your bonds; Foreigners shall no more enslave them. 9 But they shall serve the LORD their God, And David their king, Whom I will raise up for them. 10 'Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob,' says the LORD, 'Nor be dismayed, O Israel; For behold, I will save you from afar, And your seed from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet, And no one shall make him afraid. 11 For I am with you,' says the LORD, 'to save you; Though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, Yet I will not make a complete end of you. But I will correct you in justice, And will not let you go altogether unpunished.' (Jer. 30:5-11; See also Daniel 7:7-8, 19-27; 11:36-45; 12:11-13; Joel 2:1-11, 28-32; Zeph. 1:14-18; Zech. 13:8-14:2; 1 Thes. 5:1-11; 2 Thes. 2:1-12; Rev.chap 4-19)
Dr. Benware writes, "Pretribulational writes agree in general that the Olivet Discourse is indeed future … There is some disagreement on where 24:4-14 fits into the tribulation. Some view it as an overview of the entire period, with 24:4-8 looking at the first half and 24:9-14 viewing the second half of the tribulation. Others view 24:4-14 as a reference only to the first half." (Paul Benware, Understanding End Times Prophecy, p. 370).
Benware also notes, "After the church is removed from the earth at the rapture, the world will experience a time commonly called the tribulation. There could well be a short period of time between the rapture and the actual beginning of the tribulation during which some necessary alignments and developments take place. Based on Daniel 9:24-27, this period begins when the man known as the Antichrist signs a treaty with the nation of Israel. The Antichrist will seem at first to be a protector of Israel, but he will turn out to be the great persecutor of Israel. The seven-year Tribulation is divided into two distinct parts of three and a half years each." (Benware, p. 199).
The Tribulation (24:10-14)
10 And then many will be offended and they will give into the hands of one another and they will hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will be aroused and they will lead many astray. 12 And through the multiplicity of iniquity, the love of the many will be cool. 13 But the one who remains to [the] end, this one will be saved. 14 And this one, the gospel of the kingdom, will be proclaimed in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations and at that time the end will come.
And then many will be offended. The many will be stumblers, lit. "to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, to offend." For whatever reason there are those who seem to be believers, they are in the churches and profess Christ as their Savior, but they walk contrary to God's word. "But let money, goods, position, honor, liberty, or blood be the price of faithfulness, how many will then deny the Name!" (Lenski, p. 933) The word apostasy come to the English from the Greek meaning "a standing away," and theologically means that those in the church will stand away from the Lord's work and a great apostasy will precede the Day of the Lord which is characterized by a denial of God, a denial of Christ, a denial of sound doctrine, faith, and morality (cf. 1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Thes. 2:3; Heb. 3:12) ( Mal Couch, Dictionary of Premillennial Theology (Grand Rapids:Kregel, 1996), p. 56).
The reason is they were not really believers at all. But at this time in history, that is, in the Tribulation, there will be groups that will give into the hands of one another and they will hate one another. The term "give into the hands of another" is often translated as simply "betray one another." That is just what this is! The motivation for this betrayal is hatred, the Greek word means, "to hate, pursue with hatred, to detest." This is a repeated message from the Lord to His disciples, this is the second time He lets them know about this kind of hate (cf. Mat. 10:22). In Matthew 10, Jesus tells the disciples to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel preaching the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Jesus tells them He sent them out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so they are directed to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves, "bet beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues." The disciples were going out into a hostile world preaching the gospel of the Kingdom. In Mathew 24, the Tribulation, comes upon them suddenly, there is a tense atmosphere of war, famines, and earthquakes. In Matthew 10, the Jewish councils will deal with the Jewish believers, in Matthew 24, the all nations seems to be the source of hate (24:9).
And many false prophets will be aroused and will lead astray many. In this later period there will be psedoprophetes - a false prophet, from the compound pseudes meaning "lying, deceitful, or false," and prophetes "prophet." This is what a psedoprophet is, a lying prophet and there will be many who will be aroused. Notice the passive "be aroused," there is an external agent acting! The thing causing them to be aroused, be raised up, is not declared, but no doubt the ruler of this world, Satan, will arouse them for the task and many will be led astray.
There will be a period where iniquity, that is literally, 'a' – "not," and nomos "law," lawlessness will increase to the point that the love of self will become so great that the love of the many will become cool, or as Dr. Vincent writes, "The verb means originally to breathe or blow; and the picture is that of spiritual energy blighted or chilled by a malign or poisonous wind." These are people who will put away our Lord's two great laws, the love your God, and love you neighbor as yourself (Mat. 19:19; 22:39). These two great laws have been cast aside and replaced with the one law - self-love, which is no law at all. Self-love will justify anything, break any law, in order to satisfy self.
But the one who remains to [the] end. The one who remains means the one who remains [with the law, the law of love]. That is, there is a contrast presented between the lawless ones and those who follow God's law. Those in the "law" are not necessary in the Mossiac Law, for Jesus summarized all the law into two. This group will experience a hard time and will be persecuted, some may be killed, but the Lord will bring them through to the end. This one will be saved, or delivered. The word in the Greek means, "to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction." Each one who abides in the Lord will come through, rescued from destruction. The passive voice means an external agent will rescue "this one." This one may be persecuted even unto death, but his or her salvation is secure, and the Lord Himself will bring them through! This speaks of the security of the believer. It is not by the power of man, but by the power of God.
And this one, the emphasis is placed upon the one who the Lord has brought through this dreadful period. This one will hear the gospel of the kingdom that is proclaimed in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations and at that time the end will come. This is in effect an apoligic concerning Israel. A historical account that God chose Israel and preserved the nation, they in effect become a living witness of the power of God. What is the gospel of the kingdom (Matt. 4:23; 9:35; 11:5; 24:14; Mark 1:14, 15) and how is it different from the gospel of Christ (cf. Acts 20:24; Rom. 1:9, 16; 15:29; 1 Cor. 9:12, 18; 15:1; 2 Cor 2:12; 4:4; 9:13; 10:14; Gal. 1:7; Eph. 1:13; 1 Thes. 3:2; 2 Thes. 1:8).
The gospel of the kingdom that the Lord gave is expressed as:
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate; 39 "for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!' (Matt. 23:37-39)
Though the Lord does not pronounce this as the gospel, the meaning comes from the Old Testament promise of the Messianic Kingdom where national Israel will be gathered together to dwell with the Lord in everlasting peace (cf. Ps. 17:8; 91:4; 118:26; Isa. 49:5, as the Lord uses all these verses to build His statement).
The word gospel comes from the middle English god-spel meaning good-news and is just a translation of the Greek euaggelion from the compound of eu meaning "good," and aggelos meaning "a messenger," hence, the usual translation "good-news." This gospel, or good news of the kingdom is the promised Davidic Covenant (2 Sam. 7:12-17). This is different from the gospel of Christ (cf., Rom. 19:19; 1 Cor. 15:1-5) which is often times simply called "the gospel". The gospel of Christ is that which is to be preached today, that is, we preach Christ's death, burial and resurrection to all the world.
The gospel of the kingdom is that promised one thousand year earthly reign of the Messiah and is an Old Testament concept meaning "bring news of victory." The good news of God's kingly rule (cf. Ps. 40:9; Isa. 52:7; 61:1). As the Lord reveals, He desires to gather the remnant of Israel together "as a hen gathers her chicks under her wing," a picture of the little chicks safe and secure under the protection and provision of their mother (cf. Ps. 91:4). One asks, how is God revealed in His creation? An example is given here. His loving care for His people is revealed as a mother's love for her young offspring. That is why God is called Father. He cares for His children Israel (cf. Isa. 63:16; Jer. 31:9), and for believers in general who are also called sons of God (cf. Mat. 6:9; 1 Jn. 1:12-13; Gal. 1:1,4). The picture is that of a loving fatherly relationship.
What are the particulars of the kingdom? While there is described the Kingdom of God that has existed throughout time, that is, God's kingdom exists now and He is on His throne, ruling sovereignly and in control over all creation. The kingdom described here is a promised earthly kingdom where Christ Himself will reign for one thousand years after His second coming. In this earthly kingdom Dr. Pentecost notes several characteristics: it is (1) characterized by righteousness (Mat. 25:37; Isa. 46:13; 51:5; 60:21; Psa. 110:4); (2) characterized by obedience (Gen. 2:16-17; Eph. 1:9-10; Heb. 10:9); (3) characterized by holiness (Isa. 4:3-4; 6:13; 35:8-10; Psa. 60:6; Joel 3:17); (4) characterized by truth (Rom. 1:25; Jn. 14:6); and (5) characterized by the fullness of the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-29; Ezk. 37:14) (J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come, pp. 481-487).
There are several events that must take place, one is the Second Coming of Christ, another will be resurrections, and another judgments. Finally, Christ's government will be set up and He will reign as Supreme King. But, along with a Kingly righteous rule, there will be set up the Millennial Temple where He Himself will teach all nations. (John Walvoord, in Mal Couch gen. ed., The Fundamentals for the Twenty-First Century, pp. 536-538).
It should be pointed out that there is some commonality between the gospel of the kingdom and the gospel of Christ. That commonality has to do with salvation. Gentiles partake in the blessing of a promised salvation, so the gospel of Christ involves the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, because He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). This is the spiritual part of the promise made to Abraham in the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:1-3), "all the families of the earth" are promised spiritual blessing. Gentiles partake in the spiritual part of the covenant while both the physical and spiritual blessings come to Israel in the fullness of time in the kingdom.
Dr. Walvoord notes the distinction in the Abrahamic covenant between the blessings for the Gentile and the physical seed – the Jew, as he writes, "Not only should these distinctions [physical verses spiritual blessings] be observed, but it should be carefully noted what is left out of the covenant. While Abraham is personally justified by faith because of trust in God's promise concerning his seed, it is obvious that the Abrahamic covenant itself is not the gospel of salvation even though the promised blessing anticipated the gospel (cf. Gal. 3:8)." (John Walvoord, The Millennial Kingdom, p. 143).
The characteristics of the Kingdom are scattered throughout the Old Testament and again Jesus gives us the parables of the Kingdom (cf. Matt. 13). A summary of the characteristics of the Kingdom are:
The gospel will be proclaimed in all the inhabited earth. This gospel [of the kingdom] will be preached or proclaimed openly as the word would imply. It means, "to herald, or proclaim openly, to publish," and indeed this gospel has been openly published since the closing of the cannon of Scripture and proclaimed openly to every nation of the earth! The Greek "in all the world" in which I have translated "in all the inhabited earth" uses the word oikoumene meaning the inhabited earth, universe or world, and comes from the verb oikeo meaning "to dwell," "in every dwelling place" as the singular would render.
The proclamation of the gospel serves as a witness to all the ethnos literally, "ethnic groups, or nations." When all these things occur, then at that time the end will come. Or more literally, then the end (to set out for a definite point or goal, but not of the end of a period of time) will have come, or arrived. This is the end of the times of the Gentiles (Luke 21:24). There is a goal in mind, but a process or sequence of events must come about as that of a woman giving birth, before the end point arrives. The implication is that something follows, and "that something" is the millennial kingdom, the new birthed kingdom! While Jesus in His public ministry went about proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom (cf. Matt. 4:23; 9:35), this gospel will be proclaimed to all the earth! This Messianic Kingdom, the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant will about. The good news of the Kingdom – that Israel will never again be oppressed in her land. A Kingdom where God will be their God and they will be His people (Deu. 11:13; Jer. 7:23; 30:22).