Monday, September 23, 2013

Was Israel's Monarchy of God or Man? by Thomas S. McCall, Th.D.

Jesus asked the Jewish leaders if the baptism of John was of human or divine origin.

Matthew 21:25 
“The baptism of John was from what source, from heaven or from men?” And they began reasoning among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ (NASB)

As our Lord Jesus indicated, it is important to know whether any event or institution is of God or of man.  Many believe that the Israeli monarchy was of human origin and that God did not intend for Israel to have kings.  It is the purpose of this article to demonstrate that it was the direct will of God that Israel would have kings.  This purpose was partially fulfilled in the inauguration of:

  • David and his lineage, and is ultimately fulfilled in David’s descendant, the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings.
  • Those who deny the validity of the monarchy point to the episode in which the leaders of Israel asked Samuel to anoint a king.
1 Samuel 8:5
And they said to him, “Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations.” (NASB)

Samuel was greatly disappointed over their request, and went to the Lord with the people’s desire to have a king.  God also was displeased with the request, said they were rejecting Him and His rule over them, and warned against the dangers of having a king.  Nevertheless, He appointed Saul, of the tribe of Benjamin, to be their king.

1 Samuel 8:6-10
6 But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the LORD. 7 And the LORD said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.  8 “Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day– in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods– so they are doing to you also.  9 “Now then, listen to their voice; however, you shall solemnly warn them and tell them of the procedure of the king who will reign over them.”  10 So Samuel spoke all the words of the LORD to the people who had asked of him a king. (NASB)

The people of Israel were dissatisfied with having Judges.  They wanted a king so that they would have stability like the other nations, and a standing army that could deal with their enemies that beset them on every side.  When they came to Samuel about this he asked the Lord and the Lord replied that they were not only rejecting Samuel but also Himself as king.  He furthermore warned them that having a king brought many onerous problems, such as taxes and conscripted service in the king’s army and service in the court.  They might well in time regret having ever asked for a king.

From this episode many have assumed that the Israelite monarchy was of man and that God was opposed to Israel having a monarchy.  Furthermore, many of them think that the whole idea of Israel having a future Messianic kingdom would be unthinkable as well.

However, whose Idea was it that Israel should have a monarchy in the first place?  The Lord Himself is the first to broach the idea of Israel having kings, as he promised kings to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Judah.

Genesis 17:6 
And I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come forth from you. (NASB)

 Genesis 35:11
God also said to him, “I am God Almighty; be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come forth from you. (NASB)

Genesis 49:10
The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. (NASB)

Not only does God promise kings to Israel, He even designates Judah as the tribe through whom the kings and King Messiah (Shiloh) would come.  Therefore, we must pay close attention to the tribe of Judah.  After this prophecy about Judah, some 400 years pass before God was ready to bring Israel out of Egypt through a deliverer.  Who was that deliverer and where did that deliverer come from.  Of course, it was Moses and Moses was from Levi, not from Judah.  What happened to the promise to Judah?

The next leader and successor to Moses was Joshua, who would lead Israel in the conquest of the Promised Land.  However, he also was not from Judah, but from the tribe of Ephraim.  Why not a leader from the tribe of Judah?

In Judges, the first Judge was Othniel (the brother of Caleb), who was of the tribe of Judah, and he defeated the Mesopotamian king, He then served as Judge for 40 years.  He is the only Judge from the tribe of Judah, and there is no indication that he ruled over the 12 tribes or wielded a scepter over Israel.

All the rest of the Judges were from various other tribes, and the writer laments that there was no king in Israel, and that every man did what was right in his own eyes.  Judah is not prominent during this 400 year period.  The absence of the prominence of the tribe of Judah all during the hundreds of years after the death of the patriarch Judah is problematical.  Judah was prophesied to be the ruling tribe, the tribe from whom the Messiah was to come.  Yet no enduring leadership arose during the Egyptian exile, the Exodus, the Wilderness Journey, the Conquest of Canaan or the period of the Judges.  Why was Judah essentially passed over for some 700 years?

To find the answer to this, we must first look at the life of the founder of the tribe of Judah, Judah himself.  In Genesis 38, we find the unusual story of Judah and his daughter-in-law, Tamar.  As it turns out, they had an incestuous relationship that had enormous ramifications for centuries to come.

Genesis 38:24-26
Now it was about three months later that Judah was informed, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has played the harlot, and behold, she is also with child by harlotry.” Then Judah said, “Bring her out and let her be burned!”  25 It was while she was being brought out that she sent to her father-in-law, saying, and “I am with child by the man to whom these things belong.” And she said, “Please examine and see, whose signet ring and cords and staff are these?” 26 And Judah recognized them, and said, “She is more righteous than I, inasmuch as I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not have relations with her again. (NASB)

Genesis 38:27 – 30 
And it came about at the time she was giving birth, that behold, there were twins in her womb.  28 Moreover, it took place while she was giving birth, one put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.”  29 But it came about as he drew back his hand, that behold, his brother came out. Then she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” So he was named Perez.  30 And afterward his brother came out who had the scarlet thread on his hand; and he was named Zerah. (NASB)

Thus it was that Perez became the first born son of Judah and Tamar.  We would expect the line of Perez to have the leadership role and the line of kings for the 12 tribes of Israel.  But, as mentioned above, when the time came for choosing the deliverer to bring the nation out of Egypt, the chosen deliverer was not from Judah, but from the tribe of Levi, Moses.

Exodus 2:1-2
Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a daughter of Levi.  And the woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months. (NASB)

It was Moses who was miraculously spared and became the recipient of all the wisdom of Egypt in the house of Pharaoh, not a member of the tribe of Judah.  He was thus prepared to later lead his people out of Egypt, and to bring Israel to the entrance to the Land of Canaan.
As Moses was about to die on Mount Nebo, he appointed Joshua to be the one to lead Israel in the conquest of Canaan.  Where was Joshua from?  Not the tribe of Judah, but Ephraim.

1 Chronicles 7:20-27
26 And the sons of Ephraim were Shuthelah and Bered his son, Tahath his son, Eleadah his son, Tahath his son . . 27Ladan his son, Ammihud his son, Elishama his son, Nun his son, and Joshua his son. (NASB)

Again, the question arises: Why was Judah passed over when it came time to choose the leader who would bring the Chosen People into the Promised Land?  The tribe of Ephraim led the people through Joshua to conquer the Land.

Next comes the 400 difficult years of the Judges.  Among the Judges only Othniel was from the tribe of Judah, and he was not a descendant of Perez the royal line.  Members of almost every other tribe were chosen to be Judges throughout that period.  Many of them did not lead all twelve tribes.  Gideon only led 300 into battle, and Samson was a one man army.  Judah was not prominent, and there was certainly no king in Israel.

Some interpreters think that the Judge system was ideal, but the writer of Judges did not think so. In fact, on several occasions the writer deplored the fact that there was no king reigning in Israel.

Judges 21:25
In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what he thought best. (NASB)

Samuel acceded to the wishes of the people, and anointed Saul as king. The Lord actually selected Saul and gave Him the blessing of the Holy Spirit, at least temporarily.  God even gave King Saul significant victories, and he had the allegiance of the 12 tribes, but eventually Saul was disobedient to the Lord, so Samuel announced that the kingdom was removed from him.

1 Samuel 15:26-28
26 But Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you; for you have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you from being king over Israel.”  27 And as Samuel turned to go, Saul seized the edge of his robe, and it tore.  28 So Samuel said to him, “The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today, and has given it to your neighbor who is better than you. (NASB)

Saul continued to rule after the Lord had taken the kingdom from him, and Samuel went home and mourned for the national condition. But the Lord remonstrated with him and told him He had work for him to do.

1 Samuel 16:1-3
1 Now the LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons.”  2 But Samuel said, “How can I go? When Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the LORD said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’  3 “And you shall invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for Me the one whom I designate to you.” (NASB)

God was now taking the initiative, not the people, and He was moving quickly to anoint a new king for Israel.  Jesse brought before Samuel 6 sons beginning with the eldest, but none of them qualified as the Lord’s next king.  Who, then would receive the throne?  Samuel asks Jesse his host.

1 Samuel 16:11-13
11 And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are these all the children?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep.” Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.”  12 So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance. And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is he.”  13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah. (NASB)

It was the 7th son, David, the youngest, who was chosen by the Lord and anointed by Samuel to be king.  It was some seven hundred years since the promise was made to Judah that his would be the royal tribe, and yet no member of the tribe of Judah assumed leadership over the twelve tribe of Israel. Why did it take so long, from Judah to David, 700 years, for the tribe to produce a king?  Perhaps part of the answer is found in the Law of Moses.

The Lord Himself declared in the Law a strong penalty against promiscuity and the producing of illegitimate children.  No illegitimate child could enter the assembly of the Lord for 10 generations.

Deuteronomy 23:2-3
 “No one of illegitimate birth shall enter the assembly of the LORD; none of his descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall enter the assembly of the LORD.  3 “No Ammonite or Moabite shall enter the assembly of the LORD; none of their descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall ever enter the assembly of the LORD, (NASB)

What does it mean that one could not enter the assembly of the Lord?  It certainly meant that they could not join in the public worship of the people, especially the occasions that involved in the worship in the Tabernacle or later in the Temple.  Furthermore, it probably precluded them from public position of leadership. The problem was, of course, that the sons of Judah and Tamar were illegitimate children because of the incestuous relationship between Judah and his daughter-in-law Tamar. Thus, Perez, the first born of the couple, could not enter into the congregation of the Lord, if this law applies to him.  Actually, this law was not pronounced for several hundred years after Perez was born, during the time of Moses.  It appears that the Lord bound Himself and the line of Judah to a law that He would later convey to the people of Israel.

The fact that the law applied to the line of Judah becomes clear with the story in the Book of Ruth.  This beautiful love story that culminates in the marriage of Ruth and Boaz ends with the genealogy of David.  Strangely enough, it did not begin with Abraham, or even Judah, but with the illegitimate son Perez.

Ruth 4:17-22
17 And the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi!” So they named him Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.  18 Now these are the generations of Perez: to Perez was born Hezron,  19 and to Hezron was born Ram, and to Ram, Amminadab,  20 and to Amminadab was born Nahshon, and to Nahshon, Salmon,  21 and to Salmon was born Boaz, and to Boaz, Obed,  22 and to Obed was born Jesse, and to Jesse, David. (NASB)

Fully ten generations passed from Perez to David.  David’s generation was the first generation that was able to enter into the congregation of the Lord.  Indeed, his was the first generation that could assume leadership over the 12 tribes of Israel.  By His own law, God waited ten generations, some 700 years from Perez to David to bring forth a king from the tribe of Judah.

Yet, just being 10 generations from Perez was not the only qualification for the new king of Israel.  David had six brothers, all of whom met that qualification, but they were not chosen.  God was looking for a man after His own heart.  David, the seventh and last son of Jesse, was that man.  He was the one the Spirit of God designated, and Samuel anointed him.  He was the king of Israel, holding the scepter of the Tribe of Judah.
Once David was established as king, God did far more for the man who was a man after His own heart, He promised him an eternal dynasty, in what is known as the Davidic Covenant.  This Covenant is the foundation of the royal majesty of the Messiah. The prophet Gad pronounced it to David when after he informed the king that he would not himself build the Lord a Temple, but it would be built by David’s son.

2 Samuel 7:12-17
 12 “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom.  13 “He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  14 “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men,  15 but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.  16 “And your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”‘”  17 In accordance with all these words and all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David. (NASB)

The Davidic dynasty plays a large role in the New Testament, which begins with the declaration of the fact that Jesus Christ is the descendant of David, which is an essential requirement of the Messiah.

Matthew 1:1
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. (NASB)

When the angel appeared to Mary, he stressed the fact that the One who would be born to her would be not only the Son of God, but also the son of David, and would sit  upon the throne of David, ruling over Israel forever.

Luke 1:29-33
29 But she was greatly troubled at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this might be.  30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.  31 “And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.  32 “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end.” (NASB)

Years later, when the Apostle Paul spoke in the synagogue in Antioch in Asia Minor, he mentioned that Christ was the recipient of the sure blessings of David, which included the promise that He would be raised from the dead.


Acts 13:34-37
 34 “And as for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no more to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’  35 “Therefore He also says in another Psalm, ‘Thou wilt not allow Thy Holy One to undergo decay.’  36 “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers, and underwent decay; 37 but He whom God raised did not undergo decay. (NASB)

Then when Paul began the letter to the Romans, he proclaimed that Jesus was the son of David according to the flesh, and the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.

Romans 1:1-5
Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh,  4 who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord,  5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles, for His name’s sake, (NASB)

In one of the letters to the seven churches, Christ describes Himself as the One who has the key of David.

Revelation 3:7
 7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this: (NASB)

 Next, as the Book of Revelation continues, Jesus is referred to as the Lion of Judah and the Root of David.

Revelation 5:5
5 and one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals. (NASB)
Finally, at the end of Revelation, the next to the last thing that Christ says to the churches is that He is the root and the offspring of David. The root produces the plant, while the offspring is the fruit of the plant. Thus, as God, Jesus produced David, while as the offspring; He is the son of David.

Revelation 22:16
16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star.” (NASB)

Surely the Israelite monarchy was in the promised and planned will of God.  The plan was lengthy because of the sin of Judah, who committed incest with Tamar and produced the illegitimate son Perez.  This required 10 generations to pass before Judah’s descendant would be eligible to take the throne over Israel.  Thus any of Jesse’s sons would have fit that requirement, but that was not enough.  He must also be a “man after God’s own heart.”  The other seven brothers fit the first requirement, but only David fit the second.  Thus he was anointed as king by the Prophet Samuel.  After he ascended to the throne, then he made Jerusalem the capital of Israel, and God gave him the Davidic Covenant, the promise of an eternal dynasty, extending forever through his descendant, the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The people of Israel who asked Samuel for a king were wrong on two counts:  their motive was wrong because they did not ask for a king according to God’s promise, but because they wanted to be like the Gentile nations; and their timing was wrong.  They were a generation too early.  They did not wait for Perez’ tenth generation to come to arrive.  Nevertheless, the Lord brought about His divine plan for a Messianic dynasty, so that when Christ returns to the earth He may take His rightful place over Israel and the World as the Redeemer King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

10 By Any Other Name by Rev. Todd Virnoche

This may sound like a riddle, but what do you call two Popes and eight Cardinals?

“VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis named eight cardinals from around the globe Saturday to advise him on running the Catholic Church and reforming the Vatican bureaucracy, marking his first month as pope with a major initiative to reflect the universal nature of the church in key governing decisions.

The advisory panel includes only one current Vatican official. The rest are cardinals from North, Central and South America, Africa, Asia, Europe and Australia. Many have been outspoken in calling for a shake-up of the Vatican bureaucracy, which was last reformed 25 years ago, while others have tried to clean up the church from sexually abusive priests”

Without any fanfare the newly elected Pope in his first month as the “supreme commander of the Jesuits” and “the pauper pontiff” for the “Faithful” ushered in a new era without a peep from God’s elect. It has been more than 600 years since we have had two living Popes and the Catholics churches division of the globe by region. This new alliance within the hierarchy of the Roman empire; though missed by the masses, has not fallen by the wayside with this writer. The overlooked significance of Israel in the land, the regathering of the Jewish nation from the ends of the earth (Ezk.34:29), the movement to rebuild the temple – on temple mount (Dan. 9:27) and the massive departure from biblical truth and teaching (2 Tim. 3:1-9) has cauterized the conscience of most to a distant reckoning foretold by God in ages past. With worldwide tyranny on the rise and whole hearted applause for it in the press it is no stretch of imagination to connect a few dots and see the framework being assembled before our very eyes. I am no prophet nor am I particularly keen; but the writing has been on the wall much like in the day of Belshazzar in Babylon.

    “Then there will be a fourth kingdom, one strong like iron. Just like iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything, and as iron breaks in pieces all of these metals, so it will break in pieces and crush the others. In that you were seeing feet and toes partly of wet clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom. Some of the strength of iron will be in it, for you saw iron mixed with wet clay. In that the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, the latter stages of this kingdom will be partly strong and partly fragile. And in that you saw iron mixed with wet clay, so people will be mixed with one another without adhering to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay." (Dan 2:40-43 NET)

As dismal as this may seem to an average citizen; we need to look up (Luke 21:28). We are not destined for wrath (1 Thess. 5:9) and when the Great Day of the LORD arrives we will have been with Him (1Thess. 4:13-18) and we will arrive with Him (Rev. 19:6-21) and Israel will have peace and know it’s Messiah.

    “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will raise up an everlasting kingdom that will not be destroyed and a kingdom that will not be left to another people. It will break in pieces and bring about the demise of all these kingdoms. But it will stand forever." (Dan 2:44 NET)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Another word of God? by Rev. Todd Virnoche

"As man thinks so he will do" is a quote I have long heard during my time in Seminary. As benign as this originally appears the roots take us back to the very day in which our ancestors Adam and Eve wrought upon themselves God's wrath; namely death which was the consequence for their insistence to twist God's commandment. Today in the course of our discoveries and deliberations with respect to the vast number of resources that God has provided us with to discern His Word; mankind instead has set off on a path to tone down and invalidate the language God gave specifically to prohibit moral and physical debauchery.

A purposely fractured and manmade manipulation of the King James Bible text has been released under the title of "The Queen James Bible". Why this version? Quite simple... it's no longer governed by copyright. There was no team of scholars, or the painstaking sweat of translation from the original text or even a need within our churches for such a rendition. In 8 verses throughout the Queen James text (Gen. 19:5, Lev. 18:22, Lev. 20:13, Rom. 1:26, Rom. 1:27, 1 Cor. 6:9 and 1 Tim. 1:10 and Jude 1:7) any reference to the sin of homosexuality is removed. The prohibition of such acts removed for ever more by a group of nearsighted pleasure seekers without cause or direction; denying the Word of God which forgives the acts they desperately are trying to bury.

In the garden, when mankind fell, genetically something happen to us… we were translated from moral to immoral; immortal to mortal, from life eternal to death supreme. “ There is a tendency within the church body, especially here in the United States, to forget we were purchased with a price and we are not our own (1 Cor. 6:19-20) and that our bodies are used to glorify our Creator. Sexual sins and especially homosexuality are conceived within the mind and are acted on outside the body; whether by force or compliance these despicable acts compel another individual to error. The scientific community would like us to believe the GLBT crowd is compelled by genetics. If Adam’s error transformed us into sinners; and we are an image of Adam (Gen 5:3) then all mankind is predisposed and destined to error. This error takes many shapes and distorts the original glory mankind enjoyed. Whether you subscribe to ones will to sin; or that we are all sinners… one thing is certain we are all responsible for our actions whether in the mind or outwardly from the body (Rom. 1:32).

In our secular society we teach that nothing is evil; and we approve and applaud an individual’s choice. This too is a corruption of the choice to do what is true and right and just that only comes by way of His implanted Spirit within. In 2 Peter 3 we are warned that evil men would try to deceive many… in Jude we are reminded that they are now among the church; Paul reminds us that ministry would be dismantled… by the same will that caused us to fall originally.

Ministry in the Last Days: But understand this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, savage, opposed to what is good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, loving pleasure rather than loving God. They will maintain the outward appearance of religion but will have repudiated its power. So avoid people like these. (2Ti 3:1-5)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Memorial Service

On February 12th, Dr. Malcom Couch lost his long-standing battle with cancer and passed into the presence of his Savior, Jesus Christ. He left behind a wonderful spiritual legacy as well as many friends and loved ones. 

A Memorial Service will be held in his honor in order to celebrate his homecoming and heavenly promotion. All wishing to pay their last respects to this wonderful man of God are invited to attend.

The service will be held at the Museum of Biblical Art in Dallas, TX. The service will be conducted on Thursday, March 14 from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM with a luncheon immediately following the service. The museum is found at the following address: 

7500 Park Lane, Dallas, TX 75225
Cross Streets: Park Lane and Boedeker Street
Neighborhood: Preston Hollow

Furthermore information regarding location is available at the below link.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Tribute to Dr. Mal Couch from Dr. Andy Woods

It is with mixed emotions that I announce tonight that Dr. Mal Couch early this morning around 2 AM on February 12th lost his battle with cancer and passed into the presence of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The reason my emotions are mixed is because on the one hand I am happy since I now know that Mal Couch is in a better place. Paul indicated that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8) and to depart and be with Christ is far better (Philip. 1:21-23). 

On the other hand my heart is heavy tonight with sadness knowing that I have temporarily lost the companionship of a mentor and even more important than that a very good, close, personal friend. The life of Dr. Mal Couch was nothing short of extraordinary. I hope to blog about it in more detail at a later time. God used him in so many strategic ways to touch many people, including myself. I've had the privilege of knowing him personally over the course of the last decade. Volumes could be written on the things that I have learned from this man philosophically, theologically, and professionally. He invited me to contribute to a plethora of journal issues, books, conferences, online resources, and CD interviews. Despite my busy schedule, only one time I remember did I ever turn him down. In many ways, he was a father-like figure to me. Outside of my immediate and extended family, there was probably no one who was a greater supporter, influencer, encourager, and cheerleader for my life and ministry than Dr. Mal Couch. I owe the current trajectory in my life largely to his positive influence. His passing certainly makes heaven richer and earth poorer. 

Besides my mixed emotions of happiness and sadness, one other feeling strikes me very strongly this evening. That sensation is urgency or motivation! His passing reminds me of how brief life really is (Ps. 103:15-16; Jas. 4:14). It's imperative to all of us like-minded ministers and believers to invest what limited time we have left in this fleeting life into eternal things. Mal Couch seemed to understand that his time on earth was limited, and so he wanted to make every second count for Christ. We should follow his example. His passing is a reminder that the spiritual baton has now been formally passed to those of us that he influenced. Let us take that baton, consisting of the rich things that we learned from him, and pass it on to the next generation while there is still time and freedom to do so. His passing has personally awakened within me a desire to reconsecrate my life to God so that He can use me as His channel of blessing to others. I want to bless others the same way Mal blessed me. 

The death of the giants of Mal's generation remind us that we can no longer count on these older Christians to disseminate what their generation stood for (Dispensationalism, pre-tribulationism, Zionism, literal interpretation, free grace, conservatism, and constitutionalism). It's our turn now to take the lead in these issues. Let run our race with boldness and endurance knowing that we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses (Heb. 12:1). May God strengthen us for the task ahead. Thank you again Dr. Mal Couch for what you have meant to so many and for the encouragement and training you have given us to follow your wonderful example.

During this difficult time, my thoughts and prayers go out to Mal's family, especially his wonderful wife Lacy.

Dr. Andy Woods