Monday, March 31, 2008

KJV and Corrupt Texts?

Dr. Couch, Psalm 68:19 in the NKJV reads: "Who daily loads us with benefits …" whereas the NAS says: "Who daily bears our burdens …" Which reading is right? I have misguided friends who virtually believe the KJV is inspired from on high. They could not imagine that the translators in 1611 could make mistakes, but also, they do not believe that in some cases, the KJV editors were working with corrupt texts. What do you say?

ANSWER: Remember, the inspired Bible is what we have in the Hebrew and Greek text, not the English. This is why I spent years studying both languages so I could know for sure what I know! This is refreshing to find someone who understands some of the issues of translations, various Hebrew and Greek texts, and knows that we can have human errors in our versions. I commend you! This is why I spent about thirteen years in college and graduate schools in order to thoroughly learn the Bible, theology, and the biblical languages. Most pastors today do not go through that discipline and so they don't know beans about Scripture, nor how to solve issues like this!

Now to the passage and my Hebrew translation:

Blessed Adonai, day [to] day He bears our burden (Lit. "He bears for us"), God our Salvation. Selah!

The Rabbis write: "He bears our burden. He carries for us, even the God who is our salvation. Or, more simply, 'God is our salvation.'" (Soncino)

The great Hebrew scholar H. C. Leupold writes: "The reason assigned for such a blessing [back to God] is that He who is so mighty stoops so far down as to 'bear us up,' and thus He well merits the description 'the God of our salvation.'" The Hebrew linguist Murphy adds: "'From day to day,' in perpetuity. The God, the Mighty One (Adonai). He bears for us. Our salvation is a burden which it needs a God to bear. Well may we say, 'Blessed be God who bears it.'" E. W. Hengstenberg translates the last part of the verse simply: "God is our help."

My translation, confirmed by great scholars, makes sense in the light of the verse that follows (v. 20). In Hebrew it reads: "The God (Elohim) is to us God (El) who causes salvation." "Salvation" is in the Hiphil Participle (causative, active) verb form. The Participle shows that it is His nature, His characteristic, to be delivering and bringing about salvation!

Actually, the word "salvation" (Ya'Shav) is in the plural. He brings about deliverances, salvations. He causes them to be! The Rabbis write: "The plural, as in 94:5, indicates many and decisive acts of salvation."

I hope this helps. Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Friday, March 28, 2008

Soul Sleep

Dr. Couch, I just saw your new study on 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. You rightly point out that Paul uses the expression of "sleep" to describe the death of the believer. Is this "soul sleep"?

ANSWER: Oh, heavens no! The Bible makes it clear there is consciousness after death, both for the lost and the saved. The story of the death of the rich man and the beggar in Luke 16:19-31 is a case in point. The rich man is in Hades in torment but the poor believing beggar is at peace in Abraham's bosom. Both are fully aware of their surroundings and conscious of what is happening to them.

"Sleep" is a metaphor for death for the believer. From the human perspective the physical body looks as if it is simply asleep. However, the soul and spirit of the saint is with the Lord while the lost is conscious and existing in torment, waiting for the final judgment.

Other passages verify the conscious state of the believer after death. Paul writes "while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:6b), and that in either state, before or after death, we are "to be pleasing to Him" (v. 9). Paul was also transported to glory, to Paradise, and saw in a vision revelations, and "heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak" (12:1-4). While the apostle did not die, he was in glory and seeing things that were beyond the normal physical realm.

When the church is raptured Paul makes it clear he will present us to the Lord Jesus Christ, in His presence, at His coming (1 Thess. 2:19), and that we may be established before we die, or before the rapture takes place, so that we will be unblamable when we come "before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints" (3:13). All of these verses make it clear there is life after death and we are not simply in a soul sleep state!

And of course there are many, many passages in Revelation that show the saints in glory worshiping before the throne of God and before Christ the Lamb! So the idea of "soul sleep" will just not fly!

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Would Proverbs 11:14 Be Applicable Today?

Dr. Couch, would Proverbs 11:14 be applicable for our day and times?

ANSWER: I think so. The verse reads: “Where there is no guidance, the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.”

This certainly sounds like one of the parties in our American politics. Even secular commentators are asking, “Where is the experience and the wisdom in our modern politicians?” I would ask another question, what is wrong with the constituency and the people who are voting in that they do not see through the light weight candidates, who have no experience, and who simply tout a liberal agenda?

Merrill Unger writes in his OT commentary: “Where is ‘wise council,’ i.e. in the sense of ‘leadership’ to steer the ship of state. God’s punishment on a sinful state is to give it leaders devoid of wisdom (15:22; Isa. 3:4). Compare the case of Rehoboam, whose kingdom suffered tragic loss because of neglect of good counsel (I Kings 12:13-17).”

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Prophecy of Wrath

Dr. Couch, I have heard you speak about the incredible prophecy of wrath coming upon the entire world as spoken by Jeremiah in his book, chapter 25. Would you explain that again?

ANSWER Judgment from Babylon was impending and about to fall on the Southern Kingdom Judah. As God spoke through Jeremiah He moves from discussing the judgment coming upon Israel, to the judgment that will fall on the nations surrounding her, to the far distant judgment that will come someday upon the entire world. There is a progression that leads to and climaxes in the final seven year tribulation and the coming wrath of God—the day of the Lord!

By the way, those churches buying into the Emerging Church philosophy, are almost to a congregation, no longer hearing the doctrines of the rapture of the church and the coming seven year tribulation period. The foolish and ignorant pastors put their people into the KINGDOM NOW and do not know what to do with the rapture and the tribulation issues. But back to Jeremiah 25:

Through the long march of history, beginning in Jeremiah's time, there are prophesied at least three stages of the coming wrath.

  1. Wrath falling upon Jerusalem and Judah (v. 18).
  2. Wrath falling upon the nations relatively near Israel (vv. 19-26).
  3. Wrath someday coming upon "all the inhabitants of the earth" (vv. 29-33).

(1) The cup of judgment will be poured out on "Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, and its kings and its princes, to make them a ruin, a horror, a hissing, and a curse" (vv. 17b-18). God is no respecter of persons. If His people sin they will be judged equally as the rest of the world. This wrath began falling on the nation with the Assyrian and followed up with the Babylon invasions.

(2) Then His wrath would move out further to the surrounding nations: Egypt, Uz, the Philistines, Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, Ashdod, Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, Sidon, Dedan, Tema, Buz, Arabia, Zimri, Elam, Media (vv. 19-26). These nations brought terror against Israel. They were idolatrous and pagan in their morality. They would suffer a judgment from God.

(3) Then as well, there will be A TRIBULATION judgment that would fall upon "all the kingdoms of the earth which are upon the face of the ground" (v. 26). All the nations someday will "Drink, be drunk, vomit, fall, and rise no more because of the sword which I will send among you" (v. 27).

This last wrathful judgment in this chapter is given more space than the other two phases. Jeremiah reviews God's plan for sending wrath. He says it will start with the Lord's "work of calamity and punishment on Israel (who will not escape His punishment)," and, "I will summon a sword (Prophetic future) against all the inhabitants of the earth" (v. 29).

God will start with tribulation coming on those of "His fold" (v. 30a) and finally bring forth His wrathful judgment against "all the inhabitants of the earth" (v. 30b). Further, "A clamor will come (prophetic future) to the end of the earth, because the Lord has a controversy with the nations. He will enter into judgment with ALL FLESH …" (v. 31).

Evil will spread across the earth by rapid communications, from nation to nation. As the world will be teeming with a massive population sin and rebellion will spread like a disease from nation to nation. While there has always been sin, it will somehow now in the end times be amplified and dispersed in larger doses than ever before!

"Behold, evil will go forth from nation to nation, and a GREAT STORM will be stirred up from the remotest PARTS OF THE EARTH. And those slain by the Lord ON THAT DAY (THE DAY OF THE LORD—The Tribulation) shall be from one end of the earth to the other." (vv. 32-33)

After this terrible tribulation that will be world-wide, God will restore the Jewish people both spiritually and geographically. Their re-gathering will be a universal event!

"'And I will be found by you (Israel),' declares the Lord, 'and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,' declares the Lord, 'and I will bring you back to the place (the holy land) from where I sent you into exile.'" (29:14)

On Jeremiah 25, Unger rightly says:

"The predicted fall of Babylon furnishes the basis for the prophecy of the end-time destruction of Babylon (Rev. 17-18), the overthrow of the satanic world system (Zech. 13:2; Rev. 20:1-3) at Christ's second advent (19:11-21), and the establishment of the Kingdom over regathered and restored Israel (Rom. 11:26; Rev. 20:4-6). It will include the judgment of all the nations. The ultimate scope of this prophecy finds fulfillment in the Tribulation, which has its vortex in Jerusalem and is preeminently 'the time of Jacob's trouble' (Jer. 30:5-7)." (Unger, Commentary)

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Monday, March 17, 2008

Luke 1:20 and Marvin Pate

Dr. Couch, I am the one who asked you about Marvin Pate's Commentary on Luke and his statement on 1:15. Another question is about his comment on 1:20 and the fact that John the Baptist's father, Zechariah, was struck with muteness because he did not believe the words of the angel who spoke to him. What is Pate saying?

ANSWER: You are referring to this comment by Pate: "Zechariah's partial judgment (the judgment of muteness) was a prophetic sign to Israel, a picture of both Israel's present rejection of, and future restoration to, God."

This is making what happened to Zechariah a metaphor, an analogy. When such illustrations are found in Scripture there are some indicators that that is what is happening in the passage. Such is not the case here. This is a real, historic happening with no signs of being such a type. The story from start to finish is about the miracle of the birth of John to older parents, and the fact that they were going to bring forth the herald, the one who would be the forerunner of the Messiah.

The people who witnessed Zechariah's muteness, and then the restoring of his voice, were believers who saw what that sign was all about. They rejoiced when Zechariah, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, told them what was about to happen, and what did indeed happen—the birth of the herald and of the Messiah!

Pate has some strange views. I would trust other dispensational and Evangelical commentaries over what he writes.

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Luke 1:15 and Marvin Pate

 Dr. Couch, I have your Luke Commentary, and it's great! I also have Marvin Pate's Luke Commentary but I'm puzzled by many things he says. Can you explain his comment on Luke 1:15?

ANSWER: As far as I know he is a Progressive Dispensationalist who is not very discerning. But of course, he has the right to be wrong. The quote you are referring to is: The coming of the Spirit on John the Baptist "represented a transitional period; he lived in the overlap of the Old Testament era and the messianic kingdom."

No, Pate is dead wrong! John presented the King. Israel rejected the King and their Kingdom, and we went into the period of the postponement of that Kingdom. We are now in the dispensation of grace not the kingdom!

Pate is implying that the church somehow is the messianic kingdom, and of course this is stupid and wrong. John presented the King who would inaugurate the Kingdom if the Jews as a nation repented, which they did not!

Progressives believe that we are now in some form of the messianic kingdom, but of course they may say, the millennial stage will come later. Some used to say that Christ is now on the throne of David, heading up the millennial kingdom, in heaven. They use Psalm 110:1 to poorly try to prove that. But guess what?

Some recently repented and recanted that sorry view. They realized they were wrong! They should have formulated their views better! The truth is, Christ is seated on His Father's throne until the Father subdues His enemies and then puts His Son on the Davidic throne in Zion (Jerusalem).

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Are We Saved By Law-Keeping?

 Dr. Couch, are we saved by law-keeping? I find some still saying that we are.

ANSWER: The issue of law-keeping continues to raise its ugly head as it did in the apostolic times. People just want to do something to help God along in salvation, or, in the sanctification process in the daily Christian life. But the Lord is not interested!

While keeping the law and doing sacrifices was commanded in the OT, still what God really wanted was the heart of a person. The fact that the Jews failed in law-keeping proved their helplessness which would in time drive them to repentance, let them see their moral failures, and cause them to wait for the coming of Christ who would bring finality to the issue of sin.

The sacrificial system was the central component to the law. And on that God said in Isaiah 1:11: "'What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?' says the Lord. 'I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed cattle. And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs, or goats.'" And the Lord adds in Hosea 6:6: "For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings."

At the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15, Peter reminded the apostles and the elders listening to him that salvation is by faith and that they, nor the fathers of Israel, could keep the law - especially for salvation! "Our fathers were not able to bear" the law (v. 10), thus "we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they (the Gentiles) are also" saved (v. 11). The law was a yoke around their necks (v. 10).

Read also Romans 3:19-31; Galatians 3:22-29; 4:4-5.

In the Philippian epistle, after Paul had rehearsed his life of piety before he was saved, and after saying he had lived blameless in law-keeping (Phil. 3:6), he concludes concerning his new life: "That I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith" (vv. 8b-9).

Finally, the apostle makes it clear that we are neither saved nor sanctified in the Christian life by law-keeping but by faith alone (Gal. 3:1-5).

The "law thing" will never end until people quite inserting the flesh into the Christian life. We are saved by faith, and, we are to walk by faith!

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Friday, March 7, 2008

70 Weeks

Dr. Couch, I am fascinated by the great prophecy of Daniel's Seventy weeks found in Daniel 9:24-27. Would you explain the various points of what will happen during that period, and also, suggest a book that may help me study it out?

ANSWER: You need Scofield Ministries' commentary on Daniel done by Dr. Paul Benware. It is almost 300 pages in length and entitled: Daniel's Prophecy of Things to Come. I believe this is one of the best dispensational commentaries produced in some time. (Below are some of the excellent observations made by Dr. Benware on Daniel 9:24-27.)

There are six points or conclusions in 9:24 that God will carry out during the Seventy weeks, or the seventy sevens (or, 490 years of judgment upon Israel).


"The first divine goal of the 490 years will be to bring to completion the transgression (Heb. pasha) of Israel. This word 'transgression' focuses on the deliberate rebellion and apostasy of Israel and it is declared that this will be brought to an end. The definite article is used so that it is not just Israel's rebellion generally in view, but the rebellion of the nation."


"In this goal of God, the idea appears to be that sin generally will be brought into judgment and forgiveness granted. Israel, whose national life had been so characterized by its waywardness, will live apart from sin because their sins have been judged and they have been forgiven."


"The third purpose of the Seventy Weeks is to deal with the sin issue by making atonement for it. This is undoubtedly looking at the cross of Jesus Christ, since it is the only thing that takes care of sin. It is the cross alone that makes it possible for anyone to be reconciled to God, whether Gentile or Israelite."


"According to the Old Testament prophets, one of the marvelous characteristics of the Messiah's kingdom is that of righteousness (cf. Isa. 11:2-5; Jer. 23:3-6). Righteousness, not sin, will prevail in the realm of mankind and the nations of the earth."


"The term 'seal up' 'indicates a complete fulfillment of all prophecy' coupled with the idea that there will be no additional prophetic information given."


"The 'anointing' refers to the consecration of the chambers that housed the Ark of the Covenant, whose presence sanctified the Temple by virtue of the Shekinah (the divine presence)."

Sir Robert Anderson was one of the first to calculate successfully Daniel's Seventy Weeks which comes down chronologically to the rejection of Christ during what is called the Passion Week. The calculation leaves one more Week (seven years) that fits perfectly with the apostle John's presentation of the seven year tribulation. While he does not use the number seven, John does refer to the period by 31/2 and 3/12 year increments, thus letting us know that our calculation in Daniel 9 is correct.

Following Anderson's lead, Harold Hoehner shows that the 360-day year is used

in the prophetic literature of the Bible. And when we recall that the Apostle John, in the Book of Revelation, apparently used 360-day years in his calculations (cf. Rev. 11:2-3; 12:6, 14; 13:5), it is likely that he was walking in step with Daniel. With a 360-day year, the end of the sixty-ninth week, after which the Messiah will be cut off, is the year 33 A.D. (Paul Benware)

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

What is Going on in Luke 17:20-21?

Dr. Couch, what is going on in Luke 17:20-21? Some covenant guys say "the kingdom of God is within you" proves that by faith, right now, we activate the kingdom within ourselves. What do you say?

ANSWER: Even most of the old amil and covenant guys who know Greek know better. The passage should read, as is translated in the NAS, "the kingdom of God is in your midst." The kingdom was there because the King had arrived! But it is important to look first at verse 20 to get the full scope of what Christ is talking about. He said, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed." "Signs" (semeion) had to do with some kind of "signal" in order to give a warning or fanfare of something coming. In my Luke commentary I write about these two verses:

"Signs to be observed" (Luke 17:20) is the verb parateresis, meaning "in a way that can be observed [be external signs]," with "critical observation," Jesus described His coming: "Just as the lightning when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day" (v. 24). No distinct precursor will take place when the kingdom comes. It will suddenly arrive on the scene!

"For behold the kingdom of God is in your midst" (v. 21). In every reference to the arrival, or the coming of the kingdom in the Gospels, the verb is in the perfect tense. In Luke the NASB translates 10:9, 11 correctly: "The kingdom of God has come near to you." It has arrived but it has not been inaugurated. "It has been on its way, and it has arrived, but it has in no way begun!"

In 17:21 Jesus continues this thought and told the Pharisees, "It [the kingdom] is existing in your midst, but it certainly has not started!" When kingdom of God (and kingdom of heaven) is mentioned, it is accompanied by a perfect tense, meaning the kingdom has come up to the moment but it has not been inaugurated. The kingdom itself will not come with signs (Greek, semeion) to be observed.

This lends itself to the fact that the kingdom, the millennial reign of the Messiah, has been postponed and temporarily set aside, but not permanently canceled or done away with. It will come at the end of the terrible tribulation period!

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

The Dispensations of Grace and Law

Dr. Couch, I'm the one who wrote earlier saying you are convincing me of dispensationalism. What about the Gospels? Are these books unusual in their message because the Messiah was then in the midst of the Jewish people?

ANSWER: Good question. We normally say that the dispensation of grace began at Pentecost that replaced the dispensation of the Law but there is an interesting verse in Luke 16, where Christ is speaking, that has an interesting twist.

Speaking to the Pharisees the Lord said, "The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John [the Baptist]; since then the gospel of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it" (v. 16).

There are several important things to note: A new message began with the preaching of repentance by John the Baptist. It either replaced or overshadowed the dispensation of the Law. It was the "good news" about the millennial kingdom because the King was then in the presence of the Jews. We know for an absolute fact that the gospel of "the kingdom of God" is not directly about personal salvation (though only those who trust Christ when the kingdom begins will enter it as its citizens), and is certainly not the message concerning the coming of the church age. All of Jewish history tells us "the gospel of the kingdom" is about the Davidic reign of the Messiah. In this sense the kingdom was presented to the Jews but was rejected.

Notice carefully the rest of the verse. Chiding the legalistic and Pharisaic Jews the Lord added, "and everyone is forcing his way into it." This tells us the Jews hearing John the Baptist, and then Christ, were attempting to become citizens of the millennial kingdom simply by the fact that they were Jews. Though the kingdom when it arrives will be geographical and literal, they ignored the spiritual nature of that kingdom and the fact they must accept Jesus as Israel's Messiah in order to enter it! This also tells us that the kingdom of God is certainly not the church because at that time, the Jews were rushing to force themselves into it and the church had not even been launched at that time! (Again, we dispensationalists are correct and the covenant guys who cannot seem to understand the Bible are wrong!)

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Do Believers Need To Confess Their Sins?

Dr. Couch, I head Bob George say on his radio program that believers' sins are already forgiven and we no longer need to confess our sins. This seems to fly in the face of 1 John 1:9. What do you say?

ANSWER: You observed carefully. The problem with this view is that it is not discerning the difference between POSITIONAL and EXPERIENTIAL truth. Positionally, in God's divine mind all of my sins have been forgiven and I'm a child of God forever. But in my Christian walk, in my experience in time, and in regard to my fellowship with Him, I need to confess my sins in order to restore fellowship.

This is exactly what happens in the relationship between parent and child. The child is forever a member of his birth family. The birth certificate is filed in the courthouse and is forever recorded and made permanent. But the daily relationship is another matter. The child may sin against his parents. What restores that fellowship? The verbal confession of doing wrong. "I'm sorry, Dad!"

Lack of confession does not mean loss of salvation but a loss of fellowship. John makes this clear in the introduction to his epistle. He says "We proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us, and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ" (1 John 1:3). He adds, "I am writing that your joy may be made complete" (v. 4). And, if we walk in darkness (and are sinning) and say we have fellowship with Him we are lying" (v. 6). Also, in the Christian walk, if we say we have no sin "we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (v. 8).

I have always wondered what George's agenda is on this subject. There is an agenda and a payoff in his mind. What is it?

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Saturday, March 1, 2008


Dr. Couch, how do we answer our immature friends who think some of the big mega-ministers are okay, like Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyers, Rick Warren?

ANSWER:You can talk yourself blue in the face but more than likely you will get little biblical and spiritual response. Their minds are closed and they have been tainted by the culture. Remember, these folks are giving our Christian brothers sugar and not meat. And sugar heightens the emotions and gives an adrenaline rush.

Also, remember your friends do not have a biblical framework to discern the truth. They know very few Bible verses and doctrinal truths. They decide to spiritual truth only as the way it's packaged and emotionally spooned out.

The apostle Paul speaks of those who have itching ears. You tickle their ears and they laugh, i.e. they want to be entertained (2 Tim. 4:3) and they turn away from their truth (v. 4). They follow teachers who can give them light, sugary food to eat. They get bored with solid substance.

I hate to give you bad tidings but I've seen few turn around. They are not listening for what you're listening to; they do not see what you see! You are like me in that I always think if I say just one more word, they'll get it and turn around, and come rushing to a Bible teaching church for the truth! But this is just not so!

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch