Saturday, June 30, 2007

Straw Man Arguments

Dr. Couch, many people like to set up a straw man for an argument against dispensationalism. Some use the argument that Jehovah Witnesses also believe in a future millennial kingdom. What do you think of such an "ad hominem" attack? 
    It is interesting that Webster defines the Latin phrase ad hominem as "Appealing to one’s prejudice, emotions, or special interests rather than to one’s reason." You picked a great phrase to describe how flakey the opposition can be! How silly to want to get rid of the biblical teaching on the millennial kingdom and the literal reign of Christ by the argument of guilt by association! The 1,000 year kingdom is part of the teaching of Christ and the disciples, and all of the OT prophets. 

    I never have a problem with people asking legitimate questions or who want to learn all that the Bible teaches, but I have a problem with those who oppose clear doctrine from some personal agenda or from the fact that they have just not spent the time to study thoroughly the Word of God. 

    We must remember that all heretical teachings always have a bit of truth mixed in with error. 

    Remember that the Bible IS dispensational! We who are dispensational do not impose our own man-made doctrinal framework over the Scriptures. But this is exactly what the Covenant guys do. They even admit that the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace are implied but not explicit in Scripture. From this they build a whole system that leads down the primrose path to false doctrine. 

Thanks for asking.

Dr. Mal Couch

Friday, June 29, 2007

Resurrection Passages in the Old Testament

Dr. Couch, I understand that there are but few resurrection passages in the OT? Is this true? 
    Well, not really. There are far more than you may think. Some are obscure and may be hard to discover at first. For example: Isaiah 57:1-2 and Hosea 6:2. 

    Isaiah 57:1 reads: “The righteous man perishes, and no man takes it to heart.” The righteous will be disregarded and repudiated by the world. Unger notes that the time frame here is the tribulation period when wickedness will abound (Matt. 24:9-12). Because of the excesses of the unfaithful watchmen in Israel (Isa. 56:10-12), many of the godly will perish in the violent persecutions under the apostate Jewish leaders, who will side with the Antichrist (Rev. 13:1-18). 

    “Devout men are taken away” (v. 1b) refers to the “men of covenant faithfulness” who will experience a violent death (Micah 7:2). The “righteous man is removed from evil” (v. 1c) refers to the calamitous divine judgments of the great tribulation which is about to burst upon the wicked at that time. This refers to their martyrdom and the fact that they die before all of the judgments climax toward the end of the period of wrath. 

    With the death of the righteous, “he [the righteous] enters into peace and they [all] rest on their beds” (v. 2a), i.e. “those who walked in [God’s?] upright way” (v. 2b). Unger points out that the “entering into peace” and “resting on their beds” shows they lie in calmness and peace with the certainty of awakening at the resurrection. This is virtually what is said to Daniel (Dan.12:1-2). 

    Hosea 6:2 reads: “[God] will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day that we may live before Him.” 

    Unger points out that the Lord will restore the Jewish believing remnant in every way: physically, politically and spiritually. This has to do with the surviving remnant who make it through the tribulation (Matt. 24:13; Rom. 11:26). There will also be the resurrection of the OT saints who come to enjoy the millennial reign of the Son of David (Isa. 26:19; Dan. 12:2). They will be here to participate in the messianic kingdom (Ezek. 37:1-14). 

    “In the third day He will raise us up.” Unger thinks this refers to the physical resurrection of the OT Jewish saints who die in the tribulation. The “third day” may point to the fact that Christ came forth from the grave on the third day (1 Cor. 15:4). “And we shall live,” or He will “revive us,” “make us alive.” The OT saints and the godly remnant of Israel will be brought back to earth in a resurrection. The purpose of God raising up His people is that they may live “in His sight” and enjoy His favor and fellowship as in ancient times. 

    Verses like this prove the reason Martha could say to Jesus, “I know that [Lazarus] will rise again in the resurrection on the last day” (John 11:24). 

Thanks for asking.

Dr. Mal Couch

Thursday, June 28, 2007

What is Going on in Psalm 120?

Dr. Couch, what is going on in Psalm 120, especially in verses 5-7? Could this have to do with some of the things going on in the Middle East with Israel even today?
There are many prophecies that more and more seem to apply to issues of today, that maybe we overlooked in the past. I believe this is possible with this Psalm, and Dr. Merrill F. Unger concurs. 

The Psalm may be about the Jews returning to Jerusalem from Babylon but there is more. Verses 5-7 seem to indicate a future time when the Jews would be surrounded and even overwhelmed by those in the pagan nations. Unger points out that the reference to "sojourning in Meshech" in verse 5a is a reference to possibly being scattered among the European nations. Meshech was a descendant of Japheth from which the Europeans derive (Gen. 10:21). Meshech is also part of the leadership that rises up with a surprise attack on the Jewish people who are living in the Holy Land—the famous Ezekiel 38-39, "The Coming Russian Invasion of Israel." (I believe we are coming near to this event right now!) 

Then there is the reference to Keder (v. 5b) who was a descendant of Ishmael who was a son of Abraham. The descendants of Ishmael were part of the larger body of Arabic peoples, who loved strife like their father (Gen. 16:12). And of course they have been in perpetual conflict, and even a state of hatred, with the descendants of Abraham-Isaac-and Jacob, who are the present day Jewish people of the Covenant!
The last two verses are interesting and sound very much like what is happening even today. "Too long has my soul had its dwelling with those who hate peace. I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war" (vv. 6-7). Unger writes:
How true this situation is today. The Jews are scattered throughout the world among the Gentiles, and the State of Israel is surrounded by overwhelming numbers of hostile Arabs (Ishmaelites), who plan their extinction.
In the Hebrew text the expression "I am for peace" is actually "I peace." Unger paraphrases this with the Jews sighing in this last verse: "My very nature is peace; but when I speak to foster peace, they breathe only war." There will be no peace in the Middle East until the Messiah, the Peacemaker, comes! 

Come quickly, Lord Jesus! 

Thanks for asking.

Dr. Mal Couch

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What About Animals?

Dr. Couch, there has been a lot in the news lately about treating animals right. What do you think?
    There are several verses of Scripture about treating your animals with kindness.

Deuteronomy 25:4 says, "You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing." That is, you shall not torture him with the munchy grain underfoot and not let him eat of it. That is, do not stop him from eating! Christ also added that, on the Sabbath, "Which one of you shall have … an ox fall into a well, and will not immediately pull him out?" No righteous man would leave his animal there to suffer for even one day! And as well, Proverbs 12:10 says, "A righteous man regards the life of his animal; but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel." The People’s Bible comments:
   "This verse might be rendered—a righteous man knows the feelings of his animals. He gives them credit for feelings; he does not look upon them as merely so much animated matter, but as standing in some relation to himself, and the more responsible his ownership the more considerate ought to be his treatment even of the animals he owns. ... Does God care for oxen? "Not a sparrow falls to the ground without your Father," Christ said. The lions roar and seek their meat from God, Job remarks. God cares for what He made."
    I once knew a man who belonged to a "fighting fundy" group, who thought himself extremely righteous and perfect in all ways. But he would capture poor wild animals in a cage, such as raccoons, and leave them there to suffer in the heat for days without food or water, waiting for the Animal Control people to come. While he fed his cats, he gave them no love nor removed the tortuous fleas. They were wild without human affection and finally wandered off for attention somewhere else. When my cats get hurt I do not want them to suffer and rush them to the Vet. They are gifts from God and I have a responsibility to them. That same feeling should be for people also. 

    Though all who belong to such a hard core fundamental group do not mistreat their animals this way, I have seen the coldness of so many of that ilk that I do not want to relate to their hypocrisy. I have found also that, generally speaking, they will not change. They judge everyone else but themselves! What disturbed me the most about this Christian was his legalism and self-righteousness. He would never call what he did to animals wrong. He was legalistic but could not (or did not want to) see his own sins of cruelty. He could never confess that he was sinning against God’s little creatures! But interestingly, in like manner, and apart from his own immediate family, he was also cold and icy to other people. He always appeared to be better than other believers. And he certainly isolated himself from the lost. They knew how he felt about them. 

    How one treats his animals is probably how he will treat other people. And the reverse is true also. Lack of feelings and the lack of ability to identify with others is the rule. Thus, there will be little mercy for man and animal. When you are around these folks, observe how they treat their dogs and cats! If you see cruelty and coldness run from such! How they treat their animals is more than likely how they will treat you. 

Thanks for asking.

Dr. Mal Couch

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Do Older Dispensationalists Have A Different View of the Sermon on the Mount?

Dr. Couch, do older dispensationalists (such as Chafer, Scofield, Gaebelein) have a different view of the Sermon on the Mount than younger dispensationalists? 
   Not in substance, that I know of. But, by counting heads and taking tabulations as to who believes what, is not how I do theology. I do theology by CONTEXT, CONTEXT, and CONTEXT, and by OBSERVATION, OBSERVATION, and OBSERVATION! 

    The Bible IS dispensational. We do not make up dispensationalism as we go along! So let’s go to the Sermon on the Mount and do Observation! 

    First of all, the Sermon is about the Kingdom of Heaven, not about the church. When Christ mentions the Kingdom, the Jews had no other point of reference than the Davidic/Messianic Kingdom in which the Son of David, the Son of God, would rule over the world from Jerusalem. There is No other interpretation. The Jews fully understood this! 

    In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew we have the expressions: "Kingdom of Heaven (used six times), the "Kingdom" (used two times), and the "Kingdom of God" (used once), though Christ also spoke of "Your Kingdom" (God’s) and "The Kingdom is Yours." 

    But I am quick to point out that there are tremendous spiritual and practical applications for any dispensation. We do not isolate spiritual principles and say that certain things are only applicable to one age and not another, unless there is due cause to do so. Yet, here are some statements of the Lord that fit another era, the kingdom period, and not the church age:
  • "Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth" (5:5).
  • If you are angry with your brother you can be brought to judgment in the Rabbinical courts (5:22).
  • Do not be presenting an offering to the (temple) altar while your brother has a charge against you (5:23-24).
  • Do not make false vows, by heaven or earth, or "by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King (the Messiah)" (5:33-35).
    I could go on and on with additional points from the Sermon on the Mount but you get the idea. To again reiterate: there are dozens of wonderful principles here in the Sermon that can be applied to any dispensation. And the Sermon on the Mount is full of them but it does take some clear thinking and acute observation in order to avoid a misapplication. 

    On the Sermon, my old graduate Greek professor, Dr. Stanley Toussaint, writes in his commentary on Matthew:
   Not only are the crowds and disciples looking forward to the establishment of the kingdom, but the message of the sermon is also anticipatory. This aspect is indicated by the attitude of anticipation which pervades the entire discourse. It looks forward to a time when people shall enter the kingdom (5:20; 7:21). ... The sample prayer includes a request for the coming of the kingdom (6:10). (Behold the King, Kregel)
In my Classical Evangelical Hermeneutics (Kregel) I wrote:
The "kingdom of God" and "kingdom of heaven" both refer to the future Messianic reign of the Messiah. The only point of reference the Jews would have known is the messianic kingdom and the coming rule of peace that would last for one thousand years. Jesus presented Himself as the king who fulfilled the kingship role for that kingdom. He told neither His disciples nor the crowds that they were mistaken in their perceptions [about the earthly messianic kingdom].
    And in The Popular Bible Prophecy Commentary (gen. eds. Tim LaHaye, Ed Hindson, Harvest House) I wrote: 

When Jesus began His ministry, His message was the same as John the Baptist’s:
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 4:17; cf. 3:2). This means "the kingdom that comes down from heaven." This undoubtedly refers to the messianic kingdom, the Davidic rule that will be based in Jerusalem but will have sovereignty over all the nations of the earth.
    The Sermon on the Mount is referring to this earthly messianic kingdom! 

Thanks for asking.

Dr. Mal Couch

Monday, June 25, 2007

What Will Happen to the Nations Surrounding Israel?

Dr. Couch, what is going to happen to the nations surrounding Israel who hate the Jews and want them destroyed? Even the lost world today knows that something will happen soon in the Middle East that will throw the world into terrible confusion and danger. So where is it all going with these antagonistic nations? 
   God is going to have the last say, and it’s all recorded in the prophetic Scriptures. For example, read Ezekiel 28:24-26. The passage will knock you over! 

    God makes it clear that He will "execute judgments upon all who scorn [the Jews], this is, those who live round about them" (v. 26). This will of course be at the end of the tribulation when the second coming takes place and Christ comes back to judge the nations (Matt. 25) and begins His earthly Davidic reign that will last for one thousand years! 

    Even though he usually interprets OT prophecies as if they are about the church age, amillennialist and allegorical guy, Charles Ellicott, has to fess up and admit the passage is about the return of the Jews to their promised land. He writes:
The course of God’s providence is very distinctly marked out in these verses of promise. The judgment upon Judah has already come, in the fall of their holy city and the captivity of the people. … Then comes the promise of the return, and the judgment of the ungodly enemies who have despised Judah (verse 26). This, too, shall be accomplished in its time, and then peace and prosperity shall return to Israel. The immediate point of this prophecy is the return of the Jews to their own land.
    When the day of the millennial blessing arrives "there will be no more for the house of Israel a prickling brier or a painful thorn from any [of the nations] round about them who scorned them; then they [those nations] will know that I am the Lord God" (v. 24). 

    God will then "gather the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered." His holiness will be visible "in the sight of the nations, they [the Jews] will live in their land which I gave to My servant Jacob" (v. 25). "They will live securely." 

    In remembering His covenant forever (the Abrahamic covenant) "He will make known to His people (the Jews) the power of His works, in giving them the heritage of the nations" (Psa. 111:5b-6). 

    On Ezekiel 28:24-26 Unger writes that the Jews will be regathered
at the end time for Kingdom blessing, converted Israel (Rom. 11:26) will live securely in the Holy Land (Jer. 23:6; Ezek. 34:25-28; 38:8) and prosper in the land (Jer. 32:15; Amos 9:13-14) when the Lord executes judgments upon their enemies.
    It is such a blessing to take the Word of God at face value and with a normal and literal interpretation. Preterism and amillennialism actually goes up in smoke when you do that! And it is so clear to see that the Lord has a distinct plan and purpose for Israel and then for the church! I feel sorry for those who are partially blinded as to what the entire Bible is teaching! 

Thanks for asking.

Dr. Mal Couch

Sunday, June 24, 2007

What Is Psalm 137 About?

Dr. Couch, Psalm 137 is a unique Psalm. It sounds so harsh! What is it about?
This Psalm is about the Jews weeping as they were taken into captivity to Babylon. They longed for the blessings of the Holy Land and of Jerusalem. However their sins had led to their captivity. In God’s sovereignty and providence, He will still someday bring punishment upon Babylon because of its hatred of the people of God. The Psalm is also called an imprecatory Psalm in that it calls for horrible punishment to fall upon the Babylonians. ("Imprecatory" means "To call down a curse") While the call for punishment and vengeance sounds harsh to our ears, we fail to realize that the Jews are God’s special people. The Lord is furious when they are mistreated—even though they are guilty of their own sins! 

During World War II, in order to stop the war, bring it to a completion, and inflict punishment, the allies ceased being polite! They fire bombed and saturated bombed Germany and Japan into submission. Since God is the Author of all of history, this was part of His providential punishment upon these two wayward and cruel nations.
This Psalm 137 reminds me of a documentary special I saw recently on Public Television. Thousands of Jews in modern Israel were gathered to listen to the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra perform. When they played pieces that were performed in the concentration camps of Europe, the audience fell absolutely silent! No one moved! 

When the Jews were returning to the Holy Land in 1947-1948 to re-establish the nation of Israel, even while combat was raging around them, they formed a classical orchestra to play, even though the bullets were flying. 

During World War II the guards of the Jewish prison camps made the Jews sing and play their instruments though they were about to be gassed! This is partly what is described in Psalm 137: 

When the Jews arrived in Babylon they sat down and wept, "When they remembered Zion" (v. 1). Their captors "demanded of us songs, and our tormentors demanded mirth, saying, ‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion’" (v. 3). This was the demand of the Germans in the prison camps! 

The captive Jews who had arrived in Babylon responded: "How can we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land"? (v. 4). Then these famous two verses:
If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget her skill. May my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy. (vv. 5-6)
Then the psalmist goes on and cries out: "How blessed will be the one who repays you (Babylon) with the recompense with which you have repaid us" (v. 8). He follows up with the imprecatory verse, verse 9: "How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones against the rock." 

Dr. Merrill F. Unger on this terrible verse notes:
This verse in its horror is meant to highlight the awful divine judgment (vengeance) that will fall upon human lawlessness, especially in the Great Tribulation, manifested in one important facet in its hatred of God’s elect nation, Israel (Rev. 12:13-13:18; cf. Matt. 25:31-46).
Thanks for asking.

Dr. Mal Couch

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Teaching Children in the Church Self-Esteem Messages

Dr. Couch, we visited a new church recently. The material being used for our youngsters seems to be about children self-esteem rather than about the Bible, or about Christ. We probably won’t go back. What is happening to the Sunday school literature? 
    It is going the way of the world. Not all of it of course but enough to make us terribly alarmed. This reminds me, I just got a “Christian” catalog with cups, T-shirts and other stuff. One T- shirt for kids reads: “I make God smile be just being me!” 

    Talking about self-centeredness and self-esteem! Where is the teaching that we are sinners and need the love of God through Christ to save us? Small children can understand why Jesus died for them—for their sins! Now we’re telling them they are okay before Him just like they are! That God loves us is true—through Christ. He makes it possible when we trust Him (even little kids) that we can become His child and then He becomes our Heavenly Father! You cannot have the love of God without the cross of Christ for sinners! 

    Few Christians are smart enough to see what is happening but you were and you made the right choice by saying you would not take your kids back to that church. 

Thanks for asking. 
 Dr. Mal Couch

Friday, June 22, 2007

What About Secular Psychology Invading the Church?

Dr. Couch, I guess you have noticed how secular psychology has so invaded the church, and our culture. What do you think? 
    You must be new to my website. I write often about this invasion, and about Political Correctness (PC) that drives our culture like a train engine! In all of this I have certain pet peeves though I really do not lose sleep over the devastating changes taking place. It is part of the destruction of our world! 

    For example: 

    The waitress comes up and says, “Hello, I’m your server.” I always have fun with her and say, “But I thought you were a girl! You are a waitress and the guy is a waiter!” At first she looks shocked! You see, they are now making issues, designations and descriptions neutral and breaking down the distinction between men and women. 

    Or, the little waitress will say, “What do you guys want?” My wife is not a guy; she is a gal! But better she is an older lady, a woman. Why don’t they say “What do you guys and gals want?” They make both genders “guys.” What happened to “Sir, what would you like?” Or, “Ma'am, what can I get you?” By the way, some Evangelical fema-nazis say “You should not call a grown woman a “girl.” That’s funny, in all the “old” movies the actors may say “What do you girls want to do?” How come there was no great offense in those days in saying that, but there is now? 

    The reason this is all happening is that this present generation gets so offended because it is so psychologically sensitive—it wears its feelings on its shoulders. Now the word “respect” is big. “He did not RESPECT me!” And, “I need my space.” 

    Also, what blows me away, is that men today call policemen to come out when they have been hit (“ASSAULTED”) by a woman or a wife. So what! Big deal! Where have all the men gone. Men have been made “equal” and feminized by the girls! 

    This sounds like I am nitpicking but I am not! WHOEVER controls the language, and the laws, controls the culture! Whoever can change the way people think, on so many issues, will change the nation! 

Thanks for asking.

Dr. Mal Couch

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Does The Lord Have Humor?

Dr. Couch, so often it seems as if we forget that the Lord has humor in what He says in Scripture. Do you agree? 
    Yes, I certainly do! I just ran across Ezekiel 29:18-20 that to me has a spark of humor from the Lord. The background is the siege of the city of Tyre by king Nebuchadnezzar in 585-572 B.C. For thirteen years he built a roadway out to the island city and besieged it, but when his war was over he received no booty and his soldiers were not paid. The text says his army “labored hard against Tyre” with their heads bald and their shoulders rubbed bare. “But his army had no wages from Tyre” (v. 18). 

    But God made a recompense to Nebuchadnezzar. The Lord gave him Egypt and he carried away her wealth, and more: “it will be wages for his army” (v. 19). In God’s providence, and the fact that He is sovereign in all of history, He gave Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar, i.e. “the land of Egypt for his labor which he performed, because they (Nebuchadnezzar’s troops) acted for Me” (v. 20). Nebuchadnezzar and his army were the servants of Jehovah! 

    If the soldiers did not get paid one way, they would another way! God used Nebuchadnezzar and his forces to punish Egypt and his men got paid for all they did in trying to bring down Tyre, but Egypt as well! 

    To me, this is a ha, ha! 

Thanks for asking.

Dr. Mal Couch

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What About Preterism?

Dr. Couch, I keep hearing about Preterism. How can anyone hold to this absurd doctrine that says “the second coming took place in 70 AD”? 
    I would answer the same way I did about Pentecostal Oneness. Such false doctrine, crazy views, and idiotic ideas, are spawned or exacerbated by Satan. I am not saying that those who hold to such views as Christians are indwelt by him or his demons, but I am saying that they have been spiritually brainwashed and blinded so that they cannot see the plain words of Scripture! 

    To get it all straightened out, you need to get The End Times Controversy by general editors Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice (Harvest House). A bunch of us got together and wrote important chapters in this book on this false, almost heretical view. I wrote what I consider one of the most important chapters, chapter 12, entitled: “The War Over Words.” 

    I believe a lot who hold to Preterism and allegorical amillennialism do so as a reaction against biblical dispensationalism and premillennialism. Remember, dispensationalism is not a system forced on top of the Bible; the Bible is dispensational in its structure! By the way, some of the big guys on radio who hold the Preterist view have either poor theological training or no training at all. They shoot from the hip and “speaketh of that which they know-eth not of”! They are reactionaries who just want to be contrary. I believe too that this crazy, nutty view is a satanic brainwashing that blinds them to the issues of the return of the Lord. 

    Get the book! It will be one of the most important in your library. 

Thanks for asking.

Dr. Mal Couch

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Have You Heard of the Pentecostal Oneness (Jesus Only) Denomination?

Dr. Couch, have you ever heard of the Pentecostal Oneness (Jesus Only) denomination?
    Yes, of course. And they are a heresy. They deny the Trinity and the Tri-Unity of God. They really have a silly view because there are dozens, if not hundreds of verses, which shows the three persons of the Trinity speaking to each other, and which support the basic concepts of this doctrine. By the way, some of the biggest TV pastors are Pentecostal Oneness (such as T. D. Jakes) but the ignorant Christians do not know that, nor do they care, because after all, this issue has to do with “doctrine” and who cares about that? 

    What the Pentecostal Oneness folks say is that Jesus speaks, then puts on the hat of the Father, and then puts on the hat of the Spirit! How stupid and evil to deny the clear verses of the Word of God! Remember, the doctrine of the Trinity says there is only One God, but three persons in the Godhead! We cannot comprehend this but the Scriptures are consistent on this from Genesis to Revelation. 

    Here are just a few verses that smash this heresy:
  • Matthew 28:19: “In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Note: one name (singular) but three distinct persons separated by the definite articles.
  • John 14:16-17: The Son asks the Father who will send another Helper (the Holy Spirit) to be with you. Here each person in the Godhead is seen as separate from the other person. Many, many other verses support the Trinity, from the OT to the NT.
  • While the early church fathers had some aberrant views, over a period of time, they got the doctrine of the Trinity right! For this we should be grateful.
  • Probably the classic volume on the Trinity is The Trinity, by Edward Henry Bickersteth (Kregel). No one can deny the Trinity after going through the accumulated verses that so clearly point to this doctrinal truth. Remember that all error is either spawned by, or promoted by Satan. He is “is a liar, and the father of lies” (John 8:44). If you are confused, get Bickersteth’s book!
Thanks for asking.

Dr. Mal Couch

Monday, June 18, 2007

More On The Apostasy

Dr. Couch, it seems without a doubt our culture is lost. You have given so many verses that show how America is like what was happening in the OT with Judah. Do you have others? 
    I could give hundreds but my eyes yesterday fell on Ezekiel 16:44-50. Judah was into deep sexual sins (“Sodom is your sister,” v. 48), living in arrogance, having plenty to eat, carelessly at ease” (v. 49). They were unafraid of God, haughty, “and committed abominations before [the Lord]” (v. 50), i.e. they did not care what He thought of their sins, and they had no fear of consequences. And when they sinned they no longer knew how to blush with conviction (Jer. 6:15; 8:12). 

    I did not see it but someone told me about a 60 Minute documentary examining the attitudes of a younger generation born between 1980 and 1992. They are self-serving, spoiled, want their job at work to fit their own schedule, and do not know how to take directions. Companies are training their leaders how to deal with this new generation. (They cannot be criticized directly or they will bolt!) Wait until they get into power and let their immorality all hang out! We will really be doomed as a nation! Even mothers have been known to call up companies and say something like: “You gave my junior a lower score than he deserved on his job evaluation!” Poor baby! 

    We are coming into the apostasy! When Paul writes about it he says “in the last days difficult times will come, for men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy …” (2 Tim. 3:1-2). 

Thanks for asking.

Dr. Mal Couch

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Fighting Fundies?

Dr. Couch, thank you for your comments some weeks ago about watching out for the fighting fundies. We just had a run in with them. They appear so pious, negative, and legalistic. I found that they ran from discussion and appeared to be very hard-hearted. And these folks cannot get fixed. They ran from another church to ours, and now they are gone to another. What is wrong with them? 
    I have had many confrontations with such as these. They generally have little humor, are controlling, can not discuss issues. They are extremely secretive and silent, and look like they just swallowed a can of worms! They have strange very narrow views which they label as being biblical but they truly are not. They are like the Pharisees of Christ’s day. They live by fear and they interpret wrongly many passages of the Bible. In doing this they think they are being spiritual. They do not know how to live by grace. And, they never confess being wrong. 

    They are sneaky and will kill a church if given an opportunity. Fairly recently I ran into some of these folks, and so have many pastors who read this website. They will work hard to split a church if things are not going their way. These fundies will abandon you with a heart-beat. Don’t put your trust in them. 

    The People’s Bible on Proverbs 8 and 10 have their number. The author of this commentary has them in his gun sight. He points out that their minds are made up and they will calculate when to strike. He adds that they are cerebral but have no heart or emotions. They are generally cold and icy. "They merely like to be contrary, contend, defend themselves intellectually but show little emotion or heart feelings." 

    Again, as I say, we have had a lot of pastors recently be attacked by such. After they have caused troubles, they pack their bags and sneak off into the night! Watch out! 

Thanks for asking.

Dr. Mal Couch

Saturday, June 16, 2007

What is the Relationship Between the New Covenant and the Land Covenant?

Dr. Couch, what is the relationship between the New Covenant and the Land Covenant? What are both covenants about? 
    The New Covenant was prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31-37. It is first and foremost with Israel though the church today shares in the benefits of it yet we do not fulfill it. It will be fulfilled in the kingdom in a specific manner with the Jews turning to the Lord. 

    The New Covenant is to be with "Israel and the house of Judah" (31:31). It contrasts and replaces the Mosaic Covenant, the Law (v. 32). God’s principles will be placed within and written on the heart of the Jews (v. 33). The New Covenant will bring about permanent forgiveness of sins (v. 34). The Jews will not be jettisoned from God’s program. There is no Replacement Theology (vv. 35-37). A remnant of the nation of Israel will be saved intact. The offspring of Israel will always be a nation before the Lord forever! (v. 36). 

    While the promise of a return to the Holy Land (the Land Covenant) has distinct features about it, still both the New Covenant and the Land Covenant, when discussing Israel, work in tandem together. (The land promises are never said to be for the church.) 

    In Ezekiel 11 God makes it clear He would scatter Israel "among the nations, and though I had scattered them among the countries, yet I was a sanctuary for them a little while in the countries where they had gone" (v. 16). Then the Lord promises, "I shall gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries among which you have been scattered, and I shall give you the land of Israel" (v. 17). As this is happening, the Lord promises to activate among the Jews the features of the New Covenant such as giving "them one heart, and putting a new spirit within them" (v. 19). This is exactly what is prophesied back in Jeremiah 31:33 concerning the New Covenant! 

    The Land promise (or Covenant) is directly connected to the "grand daddy" of the main biblical covenants, the Abrahamic Covenant! This is made clear in Psalm 105:8-11. There the Lord says He will
"remember His covenant forever, ... the covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac. Then He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, ‘To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion of your inheritance’" (vv. 8-11).
    On Psalm 105 my godly Old Testament professor, Dr. Merrill F. Unger, writes in his commentary: "When Israel is regathered to the [Holy Land] she will be converted (Zech. 12:10-13:1), and established in Kingdom glory. God has made an unalterable law that Israel should be His elect people and should inherit Canaan (vv.11, 42). To ‘all generations’ of Jews the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:1-3) was confirmed by an oath to Isaac (26:3) and confirmed to Jacob. The Jewish people of course must accept the New Covenant by their trust in their Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He ratified the Covenant by His death, His blood shed on the cross (Luke 22:20).He is the One to whom the promises have been made and He must secure its benefits for Israel. 

    Luke records the angel Gabriel saying :

    "He [the Messiah] 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; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end" (Luke 1:32- 33).
    Some of the covenant guys take these verses in a mushy "spiritualized" way rather than take them as Mary did, as prophecy concerning the nation of Israel. I write in my Luke Commentary:
Some argue that this reign of the Messiah is not really over Israel, but over the church that has replaced the Jewish people in the plan of God. In other words, these promises are spiritualized or allegorized. The question is, How did Mary receive these promises? If verse 31 is referring to the Messiah’s literal and actual birth, then His reign, as promised in a literal sense in the Old Testament, must also come to pass in a literal and historic way (vv. 32-33). One cannot change an interpretative horse in the middle of a stream! Both His first coming (His birth up to His ascension), and His second coming to reign later, must be seen in the same light: literal history! (p. 28)
Thanks for asking.

Dr. Mal Couch

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Influenced By Secular Philosophy?

Dr. Couch, my son is getting confused about his faith. He is being influenced by secular philosophy. What about the writings of Oz Guinness, William Lane Craig, and others? If he read their writings would they help? 
These men and others have written some good works. However, I have a three-step suggestion for you to consider. And this may help if your son is open to spiritual exploration. 

(1) Sit down with him and have him read Isaiah 53 out loud. Then ask him, "Who is Isaiah talking about?" He would have to answer, "Jesus Christ." Have him read a few more verses. "Who is this?" "It’s Christ!" would be his answer. Then you say, "But this chapter was written 700 years before He came!" I witnessed a young man come to the Lord in 30 seconds when he realized the detailed prophecy of the substitutionary death of Jesus predicted in Isaiah 53. 

(2) Ask your son to read the books of John and Romans. More people have come to Christ, and had their faith restored from reading these two volumes. The Word of God is powerful and penetrates deep into our soul (Heb. 4:12). 

(3) I would suggest you get the big volume Understanding the Times, by David Noebel, published by Harvest House. Dr. Noebel heads up Summit Ministries which is an apologetic school given over to preparing young Christians for facing the philosophies they will hear on the college campuses. Noebel goes through all of the philosophies that are prevalent in our culture and that are destroying faith and spiritual reason. He explains what they teach and then gives the biblical answers that refute their arguments. 

    Thanks for asking, and let me know what happens with your son.

    Dr. Mal Couch

Thoughts on Accreditation

Dr. Couch, why did Dr. John F. Walvoord, the president of Dallas Seminary, finally allow the school to become accredited around 1970? I thought he stood against it. By the way thank you for your historical work in getting the State of Texas off the backs of Christian Bible Colleges and Seminaries. I know you took a lot of criticism for that fight! 
    Early on Dr. Walvoord and Lewis S. Chafer (the president until 1952) did stand against accreditations. (Walvoord was Chafer’s assistant at that time.) They understood that such "secularized" intrusions were but traps that would in time control seminaries. Probably some of the "staff" influenced him in the 1970s that the school needed this to please the students whose degrees from Dallas were not being recognized. (Though hundreds of us hold "unaccredited degrees from the school and somehow it didn’t hurt us!) But Dallas would "experiment" with accreditation for a short period during the depression years.

    Dr. Walvoord told me when I was writing his biography that in October 1936 the seminary had filed for accreditation with the American Association of Theological Schools (AATS). At that time about sixty seminaries had formed this organization "to create some kind of theological conformity."

    Then, Chafer didn’t believe that Dallas, which was a very conservative school at that time, would be hindered from joining such an organization. The seminary began working hard "to modernize" itself as a prerequisite for such an organizational acceptance.
    In September 1936 The Christian Century magazine published an editorial on "What is Good Theological Education?" The article stated:
One of the first projects of [this] new association (the AATS) is the restudy of the theological curriculum. It is to be hoped that, where it has not already occurred, the traditional Bible-centered curriculum may be replaced by a plan of study more balanced and comprehensive and more relevant to the needs of contemporary life.
    By 1938, and after some thinking and prayer on the part of Chafer, Dallas Seminary was not going in that direction. The hiring of faculty out of the pool of its own alumni did not conform to the policies of most accrediting organizations. In other words, the AATS did not want schools to over-use their own faculty on their staff. So Dallas withdrew its application by the spring of 1944. 

    Walvoord added in his conversation with me, that Chafer then focused his attention to systematizing the theology of dispensationalism. He wanted to make theology clear to Dallas’ students. In some ways Chafer was pioneering new ground and Walvoord set out to help him. 

    Pastors need to learn from this. Keep your love of the Word of God and the Lord strong. Don’t be "impressed" by accreditations! Don’t be tugged and enticed by the world. Accreditations are humanistic approvals. We do not need this to be successful in the eyes of our Savior! Fly your spiritual plane straight! Don’t deviate from the flight plan!

Thanks for asking.

Dr. Mal Couch

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Please Share What You Believe About 1 Thess. 5:4-11

Dr. Couch, you have an interesting interpretation on 1 Thessalonians 5:4-11. Would you share that? 
   Paul reminds believers that they will not go under the day of darkness, the day of the Lord, the "thief in the night" tribulation, the sudden birth pangs of that tribulation. From Jeremiah 30 we know that this birth pangs, the day of the Lord, is the entire tribulation, not just a part of it. The church saints will be raptured and removed from the wrath (v. 9) that is coming. 

    He writes in verses 4-5 that we are not in darkness, "that the day should overtake you like a thief." Believers will not be caught in the tribulation because of 4:17. There the apostle writes that we will be taken in clouds, into the meeting in the air. "The meeting" is "apantesis" and implies "a nonhostile meeting, a civic, public welcome to rulers upon their arrival in a city." (See my technical Greek commentary on 1 & 2 Thessalonians: The Hope of Christ’s Return, AMG Publishers.)

    We are sons of lights, sons of the day. "We are not of night nor of darkness." After writing this, Paul then makes an application as to what we should be doing right now. He says "So then …" (v. 6a). In Greek it is ara oun and on this I write in my commentary: "This is a conclusion, ‘introducing emphatically the necessary conclusion from the preceding statement.’"

    "We are not to sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober" (v. 6b). What does Paul mean by asleep? He is not talking about (1) physical sleep, or about (2) Christians who may be sinning. The apostle is saying (3) that because of the situation of the world, and the fact the times are critical, believers are to be awake as to what is happening in their culture, in their environment. Believers are not to piddle their time away as if completely out of it regarding the seriousness of their world (v. 7). They are to be defensive, having put on the "helmet of hope of salvation (deliverance)." This is prophetic. Most of the time when "hope" (elpis) is used it is eschatological. We are to be anticipating that Christ is coming to resurrect those who "have fallen asleep in Jesus" (4:14-15) and to take away suddenly those who are presently alive. "For God has not destined us for wrath (the seven year tribulation) but for obtaining salvation (deliverance) through (by means of) our Lord Jesus Christ" (5:9). We are already saved spiritually but this salvation (soterias) has to do with being rescued from the coming wrath. Notice that Paul writes "God has not destined (tithemi, Himself placed us) into the wrath that is coming …" So we are to live our lives a certain way. "Whether we are awake (as to what is happening) or asleep (brain dead), we may live together with Him" (v. 10). "Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you have been doing" (v. 11).

    I am 100% correct on this interpretation. The Expositor’s Bible agrees and says: "While it is impossible for the day of the Lord to catch Christians unprepared, it is possible for them to adopt the same life style as those who will be caught unawares. Paul urges his readers not to let this happen."

    Don’t be a Christian who is asleep and unaware as to what your Christian life is all about!

Thanks for asking.

Dr. Mal Couch

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Feminism Rules Our Society?

Dr. Couch, it seems as if feminism now rules our society, and in fact, the entire Western world. How did this happen? 
   Feminism always raises its ugly head when the Bible is trashed by the culture. During the French Revolution (circa. 1770s) France proclaimed itself gender neutral. Everyone called each other "citizen." In the French Congress, equality among the sexes ruled in decision making. They even formed female army brigades, though this did not last over several months. The women soon wanted to go home and the idea of women "soldier-ettes" was abandoned. The French Revolution was the first attempt at a form of Communism.

    The Russian Revolution also pushed forward female equality. Everyone was called "comrades." There were some women thrust forward in combat roles during World War II but the girls were so mauled in combat that this experiment soon died. The Russians stopped calling for women in combat after the war. And, around the 1980s, there was a revolt of the women of Russia because of the "equality" push. They went home by the thousands, abandoning their equality jobs for home and motherhood.

    In America, with the 1960 and 1970 cultural (communist-like) revolution, our nation went into a form of madness! Whatever a girl wanted to do, she could not be held back. So we went to the idea of police-etts, fireman-etts, combat soldier-etts. Secular psychology ruled. Whatever gave the women self-fulfillment and self-actualization, the government made us do. I can remember when the phone companies were forced to call for women volunteers to be pole climbers. They had to have a quota or the companies would be fined. The cultural revolution changed the language. Remember, whoever controls the language controls the culture.

    Besides the fact that the importance of women at home is destroyed, other issues come to play. Women have qualities that the society, and the home, really need. For example, (1) Women are more emotional—this is ideal for promoting love and raising children. (2) You don’t put your women and mothers in harms way in combat positions. (3) You don’t demean women by throwing them into the rough and tumble world of male crudeness.

    It is an unchanging fact, recognized by the army, that physically women are on the average a foot shorter than men, have fifty percent less strength and upper body strength, have about fifty percent less stamina. Only about twenty percent of women can do physically what a man can. But never mind! When the nation falls into a lack of reality, and away from biblical truth, these facts are ignored. 

    I asked my wife, Dr. Lacy Couch, who has counseled for over twenty years why women would want to abandon their homes for the job market, go into the military, push themselves into more work roles that are traditionally male oriented. She pondered this question for years but just recently came up with the answer, based on her long-time experience in working with women. She said, "They don’t like themselves as women!" I think she is right. Also, they want to prove something. I remember my wife talking with a 110 lb. Christian girl who wanted to become a police-ette. Lacy concluded to join the police force this was not really in her heart but she had been brainwashed that she had to prove something! 

    Women in America have been told that home-making is demeaning, raising children is a waste of time, but there is something more. Often women enjoy the "male" attention they can get in the work world. They have been brainwashed from the first grade all the way through college that they have to be something else besides a woman! 

    For Christian women, in my opinion, this entire problem is a spiritual one. A Christian woman is not a waste in God’s plans. She sets both a moral and practical example for her children. By bringing about the blessings of a warm and peaceful home, she does more for her husband than she can imagine.

    The apostle Paul sets forth what is precious about the role of a Christian woman. He puts forth practical ideas that are also spiritual in nature. He writes, "I want a women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modesty and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments; but rather by means of good works, as befits women making a claim to godliness" (1 Tim. 2:9-10).

    Paul is not mentioning dress or jewelry because this is the way prostitutes dressed but because he did not want Christian women to be "showy" or ostentatious in their dress. A woman can dress stylishly but still avoid attracting too much attention to herself. The apostle Peter also wants a woman to have a gentle and quiet spirit; she is not to be loud, pushy, harsh, and crude (1 Pet. 3:4).

    Many women today want to compete with the men. They abandon their homes, their children, for the rough and tumble work world. They think this is what they are supposed to do to uphold "the sisterhood" of women. They think they would be considered "less than" if they give themselves to their home. This of course is just the opposite of what the Lord wants. Young women are "to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored" (Titus 2:5).

    On the issue of pushing women into more and more combat roles in the military I suggest a fairly new book that is a "must" read: Men, Women & War, Martin Van Creveld (Cassel & Co., 2001). I was impressed that the author opened his book with Proverbs 11:16: "A gracious woman retains honor."

Thanks for asking.

Dr. Mal Couch

Monday, June 11, 2007

What About Slander and Gossip In The Church?

Dr. Couch, our church recently went through a split. Slander and gossip destroyed the peace and contentment. A lot of people got hurt and left. I understand this is going on all over. I just found Proverbs 26:19-22. Do these verses apply to what is going on today?
   Absolutely! Here are some excellent thoughts about these verses from the Proverbs commentary volumes of Dr. Bruce Waltke. He not only exegetes the verses, and their meaning, but puts the right interpretation on what the passages are all about. Christians can be terribly destructive and go about without guilt destroying other people and institutions. Waltke writes:

   "The slanderer is a contentious person. He uses inflammatory speech that will burn down the community of believers. His words are so destructive, and he is so cunning, the church body will swallow his inflammatory calumnies like testy tidbits. The group that tolerates the gossip is also culpable for the conflicts that tear it apart.

    "By attacking others, or authority, the gossip secures his own will. He is labeled perverse, the one who turns a community upside down. His tools of trade are half-truths, facts distorted and exaggerated beyond recognition. As a storm whips up the sea, the slandering rebel whips up strife so strong that it divides even the closest friends. A contentious person must be driven from the community.

    "The gossip’s yeast will work through the whole batch of dough. His audience greedily swallow his inflammatory speech, they delight in his words. The words now in their hearts will inevitably be on their lips. The community will ultimately lose its own peace and character by tolerating agitators against all that is right."

   Waltke is right on target in his thoughts coming from these verses. This destruction is happening in church after church across America!

Thanks for asking.

Dr. Mal Couch

Sunday, June 10, 2007

What is Happening Presently in the Middle East?

Dr. Couch, what is your take on what is happening presently in the Middle East? 
   Here are some frightening statistics that will answer your question:
  • Fatah’s constitution calls for the demolition and eradication of the nation of Israel.
  • The West is funding the Palestinians so they can pay salaries to their Fatah forces.
  • Former President and amillennial/allegorist Southern Baptist Jimmy Carter blamed Israel for Palestinian terrorism.
  • Arab members of Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, openly sided with Israel’s Arab enemies.
  • Last week, rockets fell on the northern Israeli town of Sderot. Little was said about it in the media. What would America do if this was happening to our cities?
  • The road to peace is a joke. Connie Rice is getting nowhere with her shuttle diplomacy!
  • Islam is the fastest growing religion in the U.S.
  • Only a handful of Arabs are moderate or against the terrorists. And these fear for their lives if they speak out.
   It is still the American Christian public, mainly those who are premillennial, who hold back the tide of disinterest for the Jewish people. When this support goes we will be on the doorstep of the coming World War III, or the tribulation itself. 

Thanks for asking.

Dr. Mal Couch

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Why Do Others Not See The Error in Covenant Theology?

Dr. Couch, I am one of those "Covenant guys" who paid little attention to Israel and Bible prophecy. I was asleep in my Covenant arrogance and denial, but you have convinced me to see the Bible in its entire framework. Thank you. Why do others not see it? 
   I believe you answered your own question. There is a certain sophistication set forth by the Covenant theologians—but not all of them, of course. We cannot read the OT without seeing God’s plans with the Jews and the fact of future restoration. The Jews are central to the Scriptures. Also, if our Bible is 40% - 50% prophecy (or more), this is what we should emphasize in our teachings. Or to put it in another way, we should teach in proportion what God has revealed in His Bible. Doing this gives believers a divine timeline from the past, into our day, and on into the future.

    By stonewalling the issue of the Jews, and never dealing with Bible prophecy, proves that one is an anti-Semite by his silence. Bible prophecy should certainly not be the only thing we teach. I personally range all over the Bible, exegeting various epistles and prophecy books from the NT on into the OT. But C. I. Scofield said it perfectly: "When we near the events described in prophecy, we will better understand those events and their significance." Scofield did not hobbyhorse prophecy but he clearly saw what was coming in our day and how it lined up with the prophetic Word. 

    By the way, I have only known in my lifetime a few who jumped ship from dispensational to covenant. The flow is overwhelmingly the other way—from covenant to dispensational. And those who became Covenant enjoy the mystique, the traditions, the elitism of being "Reformed/Covenant." They often feel intellectually superior and sit around reading philosophical theology books that mean very little in the larger scheme of things. They can not argue biblically but only philosophically.

    By the way, speaking of Israel and Bible prophecy, my eyes just now fell on Lamentations 4:15. It reminds me of what is happening today in so much anti-Semitic thinking in our world. Jeremiah says that the people of the world say, the Jews "shall not continue to dwell with us." The cry of the Jews is found in 5:21-22: "Restore us to You, O Lord, that we may be restored; renew our days as of old. Unless You have utterly rejected us, and are exceedingly angry with us." The restoration of the Jews will bring them to faith in Christ and bring them back to their Land of Promise!

    I will continue teaching the great prophecies of Scripture. And I will let the Covenant leaning guys go on in their false sophistication and denial of the entire Bible, even of all that God says. 

Thanks for asking.

Dr. Mal Couch

Friday, June 8, 2007

Did the Resurrected Saints Ascend To Heaven with Christ?

Dr. Couch, is it possible that the resurrected saints who came out of the grave when Christ came forth from the tomb were resurrected OT saints who were given glorified bodies and ascended up with Christ at His ascension? 
    That they were OT saints is not in doubt. The church dispensation begins at Pentecost in Acts 2. You cite Matthew 27:52-53 to prove the point of their ascension: "And the graves were opened and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared to many."

    First of all the passage does not say they ascended up with Christ to heaven. They went into the city of Jerusalem and were seen by many. But like Lazarus, their resurrection was not eternal in nature. Lazarus would die again and be resurrected at some point in the future.

    We all have to avoid wild speculations. While there are times we can postulate about things the Bible does not address specifically, do not be one who always goes out into left field and comes up with strange ideas! 

Thanks for asking.

Dr. Mal Couch

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Will The 144,000 Be Raptured?

Dr. Couch, you say the 144,000 Jews were probably martyred. Is it possible they will be "raptured" as the church will be? The 144,000 are mentioned being before the heavenly throne in 14:3. What is the difference between the saints around the throne of heaven in Revelation 5:11 and those before the throne in 7:15? 
    It is clear that the saints from "every tribe and tongue and people and nation" in 5:9-11 would be the raptured church believers. They are seen in glory just before chapter 6 where the tribulation begins. In 7:1-8 the 144,000 Jewish saints from every tribe of Israel are sealed and protected during the tribulation to be the Lord’s special witnesses. 

    The saints, the "great multitude" of 7:9-17, are clearly stated to be those who came out of the "great tribulation" that was taking place on earth. The whole tone of this passage implies that they suffered on earth for the sake of the Lord.

    While some may disagree with me, I think what is said of the 144,000 finally arriving in heaven in 14:1-5 implies that they were martyred while testifying down on earth. Twice it mentions "they were purchased from the earth" (vv. 3-4). They are described as having a special relationship with the Lord. They are seen "standing with the Lord" on the heavenly Mount Zion (v. 1), having the heavenly Father’s name written on their foreheads (v. 1), singing loudly with harps (v. 2), singing an exclusively new song not shared with others (v. 3), they were morally blameless (vv. 3-4) and they were a special first fruit to the Lord (v. 4). 

    The word "purchased" (vv. 3-4) is the Greek word agorazo. It is a word related to the "agora" or the marketplace. Thayer points out that the word is not used in the sense of being redeemed. But it is used in the context of Revelation 14 as being bought, as fruit out of the marketplace. Thayer adds that the idea of the word in Revelation 14 is "that they are withdrawn from the earth (and its miseries) and from (wicked) men." 

    I personally do not think this is referring to a form of the rapture. The rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 is a removal from the earth before the wrath of God falls on the earth. The 144,000 are already witnessing in the wrath, in the tribulation! They are not church saints but tribulation saints! 

Thanks for asking.

Dr. Mal Couch

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Do the 144,00 Survive the Tribulation?

Dr. Couch, since about one third of faithful Jews are left at the end of the tribulation, does this include the 144,000 witnessing Jews mentioned in Revelation 7? 
    The 144,000 Jews of Revelation 7:4-8 are sealed and protected for a period of time for a witness during the beginning stages of the tribulation. However God removes His protection of them later on during this terrible period of the wrath. They are mentioned as martyrs in 14:1-5. They are seen worshipping the Lord in glory, singing a new song around the heavenly throne. No one who had not experienced what they did could join in with them in this chorus of praise (v. 3).

    By the time of chapter 14, they have been “purchased from the earth” and taken heavenward. They were “purchased from among men [on earth] as first fruits to God and to the Lamb” (v. 4). In glory they will stand as examples of faithfulness during the awful days of the seven-year tribulation horrors! 

    Covenant and allegorical guys reading this foolishly call this group of 144,000 “Jews” the church, even though John makes it clear they constitute 12,000 Jews from each tribe of Israel! How they do this is beyond me, except the only answer is that they have no clue as to how to practice sound interpretation! But too, they want to replace the Jewish people with the church, and you just can’t do that! Sounds like a tinge of anti-Semitism to me! 

Thanks for asking.

Dr. Mal Couch

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

What Does the Word Epiphany Mean?

Dr. Couch, what does the word epiphany mean? I understand it is used in the Bible to refer to the second coming of Christ. 
    Yes, indeed. But it is used sometimes also to describe the rapture of the church.
    The word epiphany literally means "the out shining." The preposition "epi" intensifies the word "phaneo" which means "to shine," "give forth light." In Titus 2:11 and 3:4 the verb is used to describe the fact that the gospel, and the love of God, has "appeared" (shines brightly) to men through our Savior. 

    In 2 Timothy 1:10 epiphany is used to describe the Lord’s first coming to earth to bring salvation. In 1 Timothy 6:14-15 the word (appearing) is used to describe His coming kingship and sovereignty at the second coming to earth in which He is to reign and rule. The same in 2 Timothy 4:1. "I charge you," Paul writes, "in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom; ... " 

    2 Timothy 4:8 could be referring to the rapture because Paul speaks of "the future" at which time he will receive "the crown of righteousness" along with others "who have loved His appearing." It is when the church is taken to glory that rewards are given out.
    In Titus 2:13 the word "epiphany" is used definitely to describe the rapture of the church. Paul says we are to be "looking for the blessed hope and the epiphany of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus." The "blessed hope" is the present anticipation, for the church saints, of the soon coming of the Lord—the rapture, the catching away suddenly of those in Christ. 

    2 Thessalonians 2:8 is about the second coming of Christ to earth in which He will "slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming" the antichrist. This is His coming to rule and reign on the throne of David. 

    Other related words are used such as in Acts 2:20. Here epiphanees speaks of the Lord’s second coming, and calls it "the great and glorious day of the Lord [which] shall come." 

    Epiphany is a wonderful and graphic word that tells us, whether it is referring to the rapture or to the second coming, His appearing will be full of brightness and clarity! 

Thanks for asking.

Dr. Mal Couch

Monday, June 4, 2007

Should We Call Jews 'Hebrews'? What About The Word 'Jews'?

Dr. Couch, should we use the word Hebrew to describe Abraham’s other children, such as Ishmael and grandson Esau? And what about the word Jew? 
    The word “Hebrew” is first mentioned in Genesis 14:13 where it is applied to Abram (Abraham). It was specifically applied to Abram since he had “crossed over from the other side” of the River Euphrates. The word is related to the word e’ber which means “the other side,” or to come from the other side, i.e. of the Euphrates. However, interestingly, the word refers to ancient times when there was one named Eber, who was a descendant of Shem (Gen. 10:21-24). So the word had a reference point in a name who probably came from Babylon, then in time was broadened and specifically applied to Abraham in 14:13. 

    Up until Genesis 39:14 it is not mentioned again. So from chapters 14-39, it had an application only to Abraham. In 39:14 it is specifically applied to Joseph. “See, he has brought in a Hebrew (Joseph) to us to make sport of us,” Potiphar’s wife said. By the time of Exodus 2:6, the word is applied only to Jacob’s children. 

    While the word originally had a broad meaning, in time, it focused down to describe the Jewish descendants of Abraham, but specifically by its usage, mainly those who are of the line of Abraham-Isaac-Jacob-and Jacob’s twelve sons. 

    The word Hebrew(s) is used some forty-seven times in Scripture. Acts 21-26 speaks of the Hebrew dialect, which was probably Aramaic. Paul calls himself a “Hebrew of Hebrews” (Phil. 3:5). Thus we are safe now in using the word Hebrew to refer only to the Jewish people. In proper usage it would not now describe any of the Arabic peoples who come from Ishmael, Esau, the children of Keturah (Abraham’s second wife), and Abraham’s later concubines. A large group of what we call “Arabic” people came through Keturah and the concubines (Gen. 25:1-4). Abraham separated these children from the clan of Isaac so that there would be no inheritance problems. He sent them eastward with gifts to get rid of them (vv. 5-6). 

    The word Jew became a catch-all nickname for those of the tribe of Judah, the largest tribe in Israel. And in time, it became a reference word for all the descendants of Abraham-Isaac-Jacob-and Jacob’s twelve sons. Paul calls himself a Jew though technically he was of the tribe of Benjamin (Acts 21:39). The word Jew was first used in Esther 2:5. It is used some thirty times throughout Scripture. It is used most often in Esther (8 times), Acts (6 times), and Romans (8 times). 

    Paul places all of the Israelites under the description of “the Jews.” The last use is in Colossians 3:11: “no distinction between Greek and Jew.” 

Thanks for asking.

Dr. Mal Couch