Friday, October 31, 2008

Is Isaiah 26:20-27 a Rapture Passage

Dr. Couch, could Isaiah 26:20-27:1 be a rapture passage?

ANSWER: No, not really. Paul calls the doctrine of the rapture a mystery, i.e. "something not before revealed" in the OT. He writes: "I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; … and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed" (1 Cor. 15:51-52).

The believing Jews will "hide for a little while, until indignation runs its course. For behold, the Lord is about to come out from His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity …" (Isa. 26:20-21). By this the people of Israel, who are believers living on the earth during the tribulation, escape God's wrath and that wrath is likened to the birth pangs (Isa. 26:17) of the tribulation described in Jeremiah 30:6.

The Jews in Isaiah 26 do not go up to heaven but they find a hiding place on earth (probably Petra) from God's wrath which is the tribulation. The context of Isaiah 26 is the Jews "in the land of Judah" (verse 1). This has to do with the Jews who during the tribulation become believers in the Lord. THIS IS NOT ABOUT THE CHURCH!

Keep your dispensational lines straight. Don't mix them all up as the covenant guys do!

On this Isaiah 26 passage Unger, my dearly beloved OT professor wrote in his commentary:

The Lord spoke through Isaiah to give a note of cheer. Deliverance from Great Tribulation and its fearful anguish will be near for the beleaguered remnant. "Come My people, enter … into your chambers," their divinely provided place of safety, for the Lord will soon take vengeance on the fully developed, ripe-for-judgment iniquity of the ungodly."

You won't find the rapture or the church in the OT! I'm still waiting! No one has found these doctrines in the OT yet!

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Does the Fig Tree Represent Israel?

Dr. Couch, I have heard that the fig tree represents Israel. Is that so?

ANSWER:  No, I cannot think of a verse that says that. Some try to use Matthew 24:32-33 but that will not fly! In Luke 13:6-7 Christ uses the fig tree as a parable of the fruitlessness of the nation of Israel but that is but one illustration and not an entire teaching on the subject as definitive. There are only two references outside of the Gospels about the fig tree (James 3:12; Rev. 6:13) and neither speak of Israel as the fig tree.

   Many try to use Romans 11:13-24 to say that Israel is the olive tree but that won't fly either. The Jews in this passage are seen as the "natural branches" that are blessed by the olive tree. They are cut out of the olive tree and the Gentiles are temporarily grafted in. So if they are cut out, and the olive tree of blessing continues, well guess what, the olive tree simply represents the blessings of God and does not represent Israel per se. Israel was cut out of the olive tree for their sin but they will be engrafted back in when the times of the Gentiles are completed. Read the passage carefully. Don't be a quot-er and simply repeat what you have heard. Study carefully. OBSERVE, OBSERVE, OBSERVE, by CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

What About the Doctrine of the Resurrection in Scripture?

Dr. Couch, I've heard some say that the doctrine of the resurrection is not clear in Scripture. What say you?

ANSWER:  It is very clear, though the various resurrections are not spelled out in detail in the OT, such as the resurrection of church saints, those "in Christ." Two of the strongest passages in the OT: Isaiah 26:19 and Daniel 12:2. Probably because of these verses and the verses in Job, Martha could say: "I know that [brother Lazarus] will rise again in the resurrection on the last day" (John 11:24). That last day to the Jews would be at the beginning of the kingdom reign of the Messiah! Church believers, those "in Christ," will be resurrected seconds before the rapture of the living church saints (1 Thess. 4).

   One cannot find a stronger verse on the resurrection for the OT saints than Isaiah 29:19:

Your dead will live;
Their corpses will rise.
You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy,
For your dew is as the dew of the dawn,
And the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.

What a powerful passage and a great hope to the Jewish people!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

How Should We Live in the Apostasy?

Dr. Couch, I appreciate what you've been writing in regard to the end times and the apostasy coming upon the world. How should we then live under these circumstances?

ANSWER: Read Titus 2:12-13. Paul tells us what we should be doing. He says in verse 12 how we are to live, and then in verse 13 he reminds us that we are to be anxiously waiting for the "going home," the rapture. We are to be doing both—living and waiting! Not simply one or the other. Rick Warren said that studying prophecy is a waste of time and not necessary today. How foolish! And how contrary to the Word of God!

We are to be "denying ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age" (v. 12). Then, we are to be looking "for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus" (v. 13). Quoting from my Titus Commentary, on verse 12, I wrote:

In the present age. "In the now eon." Or, "in the present course of things." (Ellicott) The apostle is speaking of his times, his generation, and his era. Each generation of Christians must live godly in the present history God has placed them. The evils of today may be a little different than the past, but the child of God must walk according to the Word of God and the injunctions set forth in it. Some generations are destined to suffer greatly. Others face waves of error and false doctrine. But these words of Paul remain firm, and are as applicable to us today as when the apostle wrote them. "The Lord has appointed the present life for the trial of our faith." (Calvin) "These are the duties we owe in the present life." (Barnes)

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Salvation in the Millennial Kingdom

Dr. Couch, will all those who enter the millennial kingdom be saved?

ANSWER: Many believe that this will be true of the Jews because of Romans 11:26-27. It says: "And thus all Israel will be saved, just as it is written, 'The Deliverer will come from Zion.' And this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins."
The verses seem to be all encompassing and appear to be saying that all of the Jews who enter the kingdom will be converted. Though many of us have taught through the years that everyone will be saved who enters the kingdom, but this may not include the Gentiles. Psalm 96 is a kingdom passage. It reads: "Worship the Lord in holy attire, tremble before Him, all the earth. … He will judge the peoples with equity."
This seems to teach that the nations are not all converted at the start of the kingdom, and thus they have to be judged by the Messiah from His throne in Jerusalem. Zechariah 14:16-19 also implies a judgment during the kingdom of the Gentile nations who do not honor the Messiah. "Whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them" (14:17). The Lord will smite the nations with a plague (v. 18) and punish all the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths (v. 19). Psalm 2 also makes it clear that the King, the Messiah, will judge the nations and rule over them with a scepter of iron, which implies clearly times of judgment following His return to earth to rule.
On Psalm 96:10 Unger writes:
"The Lord reigns." This is the announcement of His public enthronement, in fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam. 7:8-16), by those who have heard it to those who have not. Evidently this indicates that, although all Israel as a nation will be saved to enter the Millennium (Rom. 11:16-17), all Gentiles will not, and that the Israelites will be missionaries to the nations (cf. Isa. 40:9-10; Zech. 8:20-23; 14:16-21). Then the world will be firmly established under the Messiah's righteous rule. With enemies rooted out and Satan and demonic powers bound, the Messiah will judge the peoples with equity.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Apostasy and the Rapture of the Church

Dr. Couch, you have convinced me! You show that there are two types of apostasy in the final days before the rapture of the church. Would you further explain?

ANSWER: I am still studying this through but it seems that (1) there is the apostasy ("standing away from") the truth by the church, and (2) a growing departure of the world deeper and deeper into gross and subtle immorality. For example 2 Timothy 4:1-5 describes an apostasy of the church, and 3:1-9 describes the men of the world sinking deeper into evil. This seems to be substantiated in 3:13 where Paul writes: "But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived."

2 Timothy 3:1-5 is describing what is happening now in our culture. The fastest growing philosophical and "religion" segment in our nation is atheism. And the number of young college students holding on to some form of faith is shrinking rapidly. At the present rate, in the future only about 4 percent of college graduates will claim to be believers in God by the time they leave school.

Watching TV or TV commercials makes one think of 2 Timothy 3:1-5. I warned our congregation to pay careful attention to TV this fall. The secularists hate anything conservative or that represents Evangelicals. And sure enough, they are pushing the immoral envelop to the max! You can see it in the faces of many of the personalities on TV. They are "haters of the good" (v. 3). This implies that they actually know the good, but they just "hate it" with a passion. They know what they are doing but their hatred boils up and spills over in their emotions! They cannot tolerate what is good!

On the expression "to hate the good," Paul created a new word made from three different words: no-love-good. Or, "no love for the good." In 3:3 the apostle created another word, unloving. The root is storge which means "love of kindred." Paul then adds a negative: "without love of one's relatives." Or, "those who do not relate to family."

The word revilers in verse 2 refers to covenant breakers, or those who are unable to mutually agree on what is right. Conceited (v. 4) comes from the word tophoo and is a Perfect Passive Participle. The word means "to raise a cloud, put up a smoke screen." Or, "to be puffed up with pride, render insolent." With the Perfect Passive: "They are those who have, through a process of time, arrived at a state of haughtiness or pride." Or, they are "blinded with stupidity and foolishness."

Lovers of pleasure (v. 4) is one word (with two words put together) and it can be translated "lovers of the present, the now." The present is the word hadone from which we get the word hedonism. They live only for the now. They pay no attention to the future. They are hedonistic!

All of the above words, and the others in these verses, describe our present day. Again, while people have always to some degree been like this, the apostle is specifically describing a future time where this will become worse. This future day will be characterized just this way! "Realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be …" (v. 1). In my opinion we are moving into the apostasy!

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Does The Holy Spirit's Work Within Us Ever Cease?

Dr. Couch, does the Holy Spirit's work within us ever cease? Does He finish His work within us at our death (physical) or at the rapture?

ANSWER: I cannot think of a passage that would indicate either way. It may be that at the resurrection. the Holy Spirit would continue to abide within us, within our new resurrected body! But this may be a stretch in application of this idea. One would argue that even in our new resurrected body we still require and need the work of the Spirit to interpret for us what all we are seeing in the new life, but again, I would not wish to be dogmatic if I can not prove this point.

My booklet The Coming of the Holy Spirit, deals with all the verses about the Spirit of God, from Genesis to Revelation!

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bema Seat Judgment

Dr. Couch, is 2 Timothy 1:12, 18 and that day about the Bema judgment of the believer?

ANSWER: Paul writes:

"For this reason I also suffer these things (persecutions), but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day" (v. 12).

"The Lord grant to [Omesiphorus] to find mercy from the Lord on that day—and you know very well what services he rendered at Ephesus" (v. 18).

Yes, the context has to do with rewards and recognition for service rendered for the Lord's sake. In verse 12 the "I am convinced" is in the Perfect Tense, showing that Paul had arrived at a conclusion over time and now he "had become certain" that God was able "to guard" or "defend" what Paul was doing in the ministry as what had been entrusted to him by the Lord! "Entrusted" has the idea: "to deposit." Paul was given a task by Him and he would be faithful to the end, and his faithfulness would be honored at the Bema Seat! 

   In my commentary series on 1 & 2 Timothy (AMG), Charles Ray writes: "'That day' is primarily utilized in reference to the day believers will 'appear before the judgment seat of Christ' (2 Cor. 5:10). Paul could never return the favor, but God could."

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Church Membership Importance

Dr. Couch, what is church membership and is it important?

ANSWER: In the early church we know by the epistles that the Christians in one town congregated in one assembly. While we do not read of any formal "membership" apparently the elders, and even Paul as the visiting apostle, exercised authority over all the believers in that community. So I guess to a degree, that was church membership, though today, we go through certain formalities that they may not have.

   We know that as the church age progressed, the churches demanded baptism as a sign of belief and of membership in that community. In time, this became "baptismal regeneration" and baptism was necessary for salvation. Of course, this was not biblically correct but this is the way the churches controlled the people. Very early on, believers were becoming a part of the church as an organization, a physical body, that controlled all aspects of the believer's life.

   It was the church father Cyprian who tied salvation to the church—soteriology and ecclesiology. For him salvation is a process that begins within the bosom of the church with conversion at baptism and continues within the church until death.

   "Cyprian was one of the first church fathers to clearly and unequivocally affirm baptismal regeneration—the idea that salvation happens at and by water baptism duly administered by an ordained bishop or priest." (The Story of Christian Theology, Roger Olson) The high churches do this today but in a smaller sense, by requiring local "church baptism" and tying it to membership, other congregations are doing the same thing.

   When one joins the local assembly I believe it is appropriate to ask about one's confession of Christ. And I believe it is okay to inquire if the one joining the church holds to the biblical beliefs of the congregation. Anyone is welcome to come to my church but if they are into the foolishness of amillennialism they will not be comfortable—nor would it be right for them to teach a Sunday school class, though they would still be invited to come and learn the truth and sit under the ministry of the Word of God! And warm fellowship would be the order of the day for any who darken the door! Through the church the Word of God must go forth and be available at no charge!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

Friday, October 24, 2008

Covenant Theology and the Jews

Dr. Couch, I agree with what you are saying about how covenant theology really destroys the scope of the Bible and God's plans for Israel. I do not see how they say God is through with the Jews. How do you answer this issue?

ANSWER: There are no verses that are so clear as Jeremiah 31:35-37 that show that God will never cast away the Jewish people in His plans and purposes. The covenant guys say that the church takes up the blessings promised to Israel, and that God is through with the Jews! It is my opinion that with evil intent many of the covenant guys, past and present, are anti-Semitic. And that includes some of the older theologians who just want to get rid of the Jewish people! How could these verses be any clearer?

Thus says the Lord,
Who gives the sun for light by day,
And the fixed order of the moon and the stars
For light by night,
Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar;
The Lord of hosts is His name:
"If this fixed order departs from Me," declares the Lord,
"Then the offspring of Israel also shall cease
from being a nation before Me forever."
Thus says the Lord,
"If the heavens above can be measured, and the foundations of the
earth searched out below, then I will also cast off all the offspring
of Israel for all that they have done," declares the Lord.

   Jeremiah continues the thought of the permanency of the Jewish people. He does not allegorize the literalness of the verses above. They are about the Jewish linage and the natural descendants who God will someday bless again. Of course it is understood that His Spirit will touch that future generation and they will be redeemed and trust their Messiah in the last days! In 32:37-42 the prophet says that God will gather them again out of all the lands to which they have been driven in His anger.  He "will bring them back to this place and make them dwell in safety. And they shall be My people, and I will be their God; and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me always, for their own good, and for the good of their children after them."

   The "one heart" and the "everlasting covenant" is the new covenant Jeremiah mentions in 31:31-34. This new covenant is signed, sealed, and delivered by Christ by His work on the cross (Luke 22:20). That return to the land, and the fulfillment of the new covenant for Israel, is about to take place, because God has brought the Jews back to the land of their forefathers, as Jeremiah mentioned in 30:1-7.

   We are getting close! The world is moving into the apostasy; the rapture is next, and then the birth pangs will fall upon Israel, as prophesied by Jeremiah in 30:6. The birth pangs have to do with the tribulation. So, when will the event of Matthew 24 take place? When these happenings here in Jeremiah 30 take place. Especially, "When I restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah … and bring them back to the land that I gave to their forefathers, and they shall possess it." Read the entire chapter carefully! See also Matthew 24:8, 13, 21, and 1 Thessalonians 5:3.

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sleep of the Believer

Dr. Couch, it is interesting what Paul is saying about "sleep" in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14. I take it this is the sleep of the believer, correct?

ANSWER:  The context is about the resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. They will be resurrected, and then, immediately "those who are alive" will be changed and caught up with them (the resurrected) in the "clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord" (v. 17).

   Can you believe the amill and covenant guys don't know the difference between "up and down." The church resurrected, that is "those who are asleep" and "those who are alive" (could be us) are caught up (harpazo, snatched suddenly away) into the heavens to always be with the Lord, whereby when He comes to reign, "He comes down and His feet touch the Mount of Olives" (Zach. 14:4). They glibly say, "these two comings are the same."

   They fail to notice too that the coming Zachariah speaks of has to do with His reign in Israel, in Jerusalem, over the Jews and over the world, whereas the rapture coming has to do only with the church, "those in Jesus," "those in Christ" (1 Thess. 4:14, 16).

   Can you believe Ellicott says something absolutely dumb about 1 Thessalonians 4:17. He writes, "here [the catching away] is only used in contrast with the 'ground' and means 'on the way from Heaven whence He comes,' of course not to 'dwell' there, but to accompany Him to His Judgment-seat on the earth." Talking about being mixed up and messed up! What does Ellicott do with "we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together WITH THEM (the church resurrected) in the clouds to meet the Lord IN THE AIR …"?

   I write in my Thessalonian Greek commentary The Hope of Christ's Return (AMG) on verse 17:

    Going up into the sky, into the air (aera), is an unmistakable description. Jesus  is not coming down to establish His kingdom nor to judge men on earth. The  Church saints are going upward. The reason seems to be clearly stated in 5:9—to escape the coming wrath or Tribulation that falls upon the earth. To meet is actually a prepositional phrase—"into [eis] a meeting with the Lord.

   Guess what! Even amill A.T. Robertson gets the point. He writes "This (church) rapture of the saints (both risen and changed) is a glorious climax to Paul's argument of consolation. … This is the outcome, to be forever with the Lord."

   Ellicott along with so many deniers of the rapture doctrine really work hard to escape the obvious!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

Monday, October 20, 2008

How Can Amils Ignore Jeremiah 33?

Dr. Couch, though I am a dispensationalist I attend a yearly amillennial conference at which the teachers discuss all kinds of subjects. I was asked, "Are the amils you know anti-Semitic?" My answer is, Yes! And that is, by their silence. They have nothing to say about Israel or the return of the Jews to the land. By their comments, or lack there of, you would not know that there is a restored Jewish nation in the Middle East. How can they ignore such great passages as Jeremiah 33?

ANSWER: My only answer is what you have already hinted at. Deep in the soul of many amillennialists there are shades of anti-Semitism. They do not like the Jews, and, they want to make the church the cat's meow! They do not see another program of God, beyond the church age, as so clearly set forth in the Word of God. They allegorize or spiritualize the great prophetic passages of the Bible. They take Christ's first coming as literal but they take His second coming in an allegorical sense. Some, such as R. C. Sproul, are partial preterists. They believe Christ returned spiritually in 70 AD but they also hold to some kind of literal return for judgment later. They refuse to accept the plain teaching about an apostasy of the church, a rapture of the church, a seven year tribulation period, and the earthly millennial reign of Christ.

Jeremiah 33 makes it absolutely clear that God's promises of a literal fulfillment of the Davidic covenant is to take place. God will restore the fortunes of both Jewish nations, Israel and Judah. "I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel, and I will rebuild them as they were at the first" (v. 7). How could any promise be more clear, literal, and obvious, by using a normal hermeneutic? One has to have a preconception to deny what this verse is saying. Ellicott foolishly says this return has to do with the restoration of the Jews after the Babylonian captivity, but this cannot be.

God makes it certain that this return happens "In those days …," a future time when He places the Messiah, the Branch of David on the throne in Jerusalem. "In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth" (v. 15). And, "In those days Judah shall be saved and Jerusalem shall dwell in safety; and this is the name by which she shall be called: the Lord is our righteousness" (v. 16).

The Lord's covenant with day and night, "their appointed time," confirms the literalness of these promises. Since there will be a literal day and night, there will be a literal fulfillment of the covenant with David concerning the literal reign of his Son on the Davidic throne. "Then My covenant may also be broken (if one can get rid of day and night) with David My servant that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and with the Levitical priests, My ministers" (v. 21).
Verse 24 is extremely important to this discussion. It reads: "Have you not observed what this people have spoken, saying, 'The two families (Israel and Judah) which the Lord chose, He has rejected them'? Thus they despise My people, no longer are they as a nation in their sight."

Unger points out that "this people" are the Jews who deny the literal fulfillment of God restoring both families (Israel and Judah) to the status of one new nation in the Kingdom! This is what the amil doubters do today! This is a strong statement but I believe that in the area of eschatology the amils are spiritually blinded so that they deny the Lord's actual return and His literal reign on earth! Unger says:

On verses 23-24. The Lord dramatically asked the prophet if he had not observed what this people (with a ring of disapproval) had said. They also (like many Christians today) denied a future for Israel. The two families (Israel and Judah), which the Lord hath chosen (v. 26; Isa. 7:17; 11:13; Ezek. 37:22), he hath … cast them off. The Lord branded that as despising Israel as his people (Neh. 4:2-4; Esther 3:6-8; Psalms 44:13-14; 83:4; Ezek. 36:2), actually a subtle form of anti-Semitism and a denial of the Kingdom to be established over Israel (Acts 1:6).
On verse 25. His covenant with Israel is as permanent as the fixed patterns of the heaven and earth that He has established (Psalm 74:16-17).
On verse 26. He has not rejected the descendants of Jacob and David, His servant. He will take from David's posterity rulers over the descendants of the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and fulfill the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:1-3), in relation to Israel by establishing the nation in the Davidic-Messianic Kingdom (cf. Rev. 20:4-6).

Unfortunately, people gravitate to the amil position that virtually repudiates Israel and her return to the land. Anti-Semitism is a spirit of denial that is fed by a satanic philosophy. Peter notes that mockers say "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation" (2 Pet. 3:4). He adds, "It escapes their notion that by the Word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water … and the present heavens and earth by His Word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men" (vv. 5-7).

The people of earth detest the idea of Christ's return with the resulting final judgment that will destroy the world! But it is going to happen!

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Saturday, October 18, 2008

What Are The Imprecatory Prayers And How Does Judgment Relate To The Word Brimstone?

Dr. Couch, what are the imprecatory prayers, and how does judgment relate to the word brimstone?

ANSWER:  This word (goph-reeth) comes from the word gopher wood (goh-pher) and is used but one time in the OT (Gen. 6:14), and there, in relation to the building the ark. Goph-reeth is used seven times in the OT, is translated as brimstone, and has to do with God's judgment. In prophecy in Ezekiel 38:22, brimstone refers to the Lord's wrath and judgment upon Gog in the final days (possibly before the tribulation actually begins). "I shall rain on him (Gog), and on his troops, and on many peoples who are with him, a torrential rain, with hailstones, fire, and brimestone." This is a geophysical outpouring that destroys many of Israel's enemies who come up against the Holy Land, led by Gog, the peoples to the far north, the Russians and her allies.

   Brimstone may be a reference to pumas which is light like wood, but is actually porous rock, thus thought to be by the ancients a form of wood. Sulfur spewing forth from volcanoes also could be tied to what the ancients were witnessing. 

   The set, A Dictionary of the Bible, says we cannot be certain as to what kind of tree the gopher was. Celsius says it was a cypress. In any case, it was plenteous during the building of Noah's ark. Since the Lord ordered that this gopher wood was to be used in construction it can be assumed that it would not soften in water, possibly being a very hard and study wood (Gen. 6:14). Since brimstone comes from this word "gopher," being a hard wood, the connection was perfect to describe brimstone and/or thus, judgment.

    In the NT brimstone comes from the Greek word theion and is used seven times. It is related to the judgment that comes from the Greek gods. One reference is used in Luke 17:29 and the rest are in Revelation. 

   The imprecatory psalms are the psalms that call down God's judgment upon evil peoples. Imprecatory has in mind a giving forth of a curse. There are at least three such Psalms: 35, 69, 109. David cries out: "Lord … fight against those who fight against me. Take hold of buckler and shield, and rise up for my help" (35:1-2). "Pour out Thine indignation on them, and may Thy burning anger overtaken them" (69:24).

   When evil is so evil, and when un-justice so destroys the innocent, it is proper to call forth God's vengeance upon the wicked. Both mercy and justice are God's business but when the wrath of man is so destructive, and obvious, it is right to call upon the Lord's judgment to stop the pain and evil. In the book of Revelation the martyred call for God's vengeance on those who were so wrathful on earth.

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What Can Women Say in Church?

Dr. Couch, is the Bible saying that women are not to say anything in the church, when it says that must be silent?
ANSWER:  Paul's main concern is that he does not want women, who can be more emotionally wired, to be in charge of the teaching and leading in the congregations. He wants male leadership in the churches. By their spirituality, women can have a great influence over their husbands and over children. Read 1 Timothy 2:9-15. The apostle commends women for their good works. "Rather by means of good works, as befits women making a claim to godliness. Let a woman quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness" (vv. 10-11).
  Feminist claim that Paul's words only fit that culture but this is not so. Paul argues for male leadership on the basis of the primacy of Adam. What he says is applicable throughout the entire period of the dispensation of the church."For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve" (v. 13). Adam was deceived but Eve was "quite deceived" (v. 14). Paul says that the woman is to receive instruction "quietly" (v. 11). The Greek word is heesukia. It means "to be unemotional," "to be quiet in the sense of being emotionally controlled," to not be animated, not simply to be silent. He repeats this idea in verse 14.
  Paul seems to be repeating this thought in 1 Corinthians 14:35-36. He says the woman is to "keep silent" (v. 34). He uses the Greek word sigao from the Greek word siagon, meaning jaw-bone. She is not to be slapping the jaw, flapping the mouth! She is not to be dominating the conversation, just going blah, blah, blah! So I do not think Paul is saying she cannot speak at all but she is not to dominate in the discussion. You have to put this word together with his thought that she is "not to be speaking" in the rest of the two verses. Paul wants his readers to "get it." He adds, "But if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized" (v. 38). To conclude: women can converse in the church service but they are not to emotionally dominate the conversation or become overly excitable.
I hope this helps, and, thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What Does Paul Mean About Not Despising Prophetic Utterances?

Dr. Couch, what does Paul mean in 1 Thessalonians 5:20 when he writes, "Do not despise prophetic utterances"?
ANSWER: Both 1 & 2 Thessalonians, in proportion, have more prophecy than any other books by Paul. Here he writes about the judgment of the tribulation, the tribulation itself, a ton about the rapture of the church, the apostasy, the antichrist, his desecration of the temple, etc.
  And just like today, there were Christians who did not want to hear about Bible prophecy. Rick Warren repudiated prophecy, saying we had too many other issues to deal with rather than prophecy! How foolish!
  Paul makes it short and sweet—he says "Do not be continually rejecting, tossing out prophetic discourses, utterances." He uses a Present Command with the verb exoutheneo. "Do not be continually throwing out prophecy teaching." In his day, as today, there were folks who were fearful of the future, disagreed with prophecy, thought the study of prophecy was divisive! I hear all of these arguments today! Or, the most stupid argument that is still around: "Well, there are so many different views, we just should not study the subject." And, "I am a pan-millennialist—it'll all just pan out in the end! How ignorant and blind! There are not many views of prophecy. There is only one view, the right one that is defendable! The pre-millennial position, that takes the prophetic Word in its normal, natural, literal interpretation. All other views are bogus. They are foolish and false. They are mystical, allegorical, and misleading! Also, they are anti-Semitic! And they are inspired from the pit. They deny the Lord's plans for His chosen people, Israel. They deny the literal reign of the Son of God, as promised, from Jerusalem! Satan loves this view!
  The study of prophecy gives to the believer a historic timeline of what God is doing in His world. It gives to us a proper priority of what is important. It stops us from clinging to this world, as if we're going to exist forever in this physical state. We are not!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Monday, October 13, 2008

What About Tongues?

Dr. Couch, some Charismatics believe that tongues in Acts 2 is a true foreign language but the speaking of tongues in 1 Corinthians 12-14 is: (1) a kind of aesthetic utterance, a gibberish, (2) a foreign language, or (3) an angelic utterance and language. I heard you one time in the past give a sound answer that proved in both references, it is an actual language, and that the same thing is in view. Would you repeat that?

ANSWER: Unfortunately, most Charismatics are not very well-trained. They almost believe that it is wrong to study the Bible, and to understand it doctrinally by the Greek text. While some would deny this, in practice that is often how they operate when it comes to proving its message from the Greek language. I have seen them even get angry if you say, "The Greek text says …" They seem to believe that the KJV was inspired and is our actual Bible. They cannot get it through their heads that our English versions are just that, versions! But the proof that in both Acts and 1 Corinthians, we can demonstrate that tongues in both cases was a language and not some aesthetic mumbling.
In Acts 2 4 it is written that when the Spirit fell on those standing about "they spoke with other tongues. In Greek this is heterais glossais. In 1 Corinthians 14:21 (quoting Isaiah 28:11) Paul puts the two words together and writes the same thing with: hetroglossois. The meaning is identical and is translated other languages.

If I were a detective and went to the robbery scene, and found the same finger print in the bathroom, and in the den, I would rightly conclude that the finger prints were left by the same person. If I have the same phrase describing this miracle of languages in two different places, I would assume I am looking at the same phenomena. A language is thus in both places!

But this is too complicated for many Charismatics to understand. It is as if their biblical reasoning cannot go that far! But the fact is that they want to believe what they want to believe, when they want to believe it, never mind what the Bible says. And by the way, I have had Charismatics say just that. "But I don't care what the Bible says, my experience comes before the biblical text!"

I hope this helps.
Dr. Mal Couch

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Can You List For Me The Apostasy Passages?

Dr. Couch, can you list for me the apostasy passages? You have convinced me and others that indeed we are moving into the period of the apostasy. I'd like the main verses. Thanks.

ANSWER:  Below are the main passages, including the two that specifically use the word apostasy. I believe that Christians need to know where we are in God's timetable. But having said that, I do not believe we can be date-setters in the sense that we can say the rapture will take place, "Five months, six months, from now," etc.! The apostle Paul held to the imminent rapture position. He thought it could happen at any time, though he was not given the specific time. He constantly used the expression "we will be caught up, to us it will happen" when describing the arrival of the rapture. In other words, he included himself when speaking about the coming of the catching away of the church saints.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-3. In the context of this chapter, Paul comes back to the issue of the rapture when he reminds the Thessalonians of "the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him." Then he brings up the issue of the apostasy that takes place first. He goes on and describes the revealing of the antichrist (the man of lawlessness), who comes at the beginning of the tribulation (v. 3).

1 Timothy 4:1-on. Paul writes "The Spirit emphatically says that in later times ("in the lastly seasons") some will "stand away from" (apostasize) THE FAITH, they will turn toward "tramp, roving" spirits and doctrines of demons."

2 Timothy 3:1-on. "But realize this, that in the last days (eschatais [eschatology]) hard-to-bear seasons "will themselves make an appearance". Paul then writes out a long list as to how the last-day culture will turn grossly immoral and evil. Men will give lip service to godliness but they will deny its authority and power!

2 Timothy 3:12-13. This all happens during the end of the church dispensation, we know by these verses! Those IN CHRIST (the church saints) who attempt to live godly will be persecuted (v. 12). Persecuted is a Future Passive Indicative of the Greek word dioko meaning to be molested, harassed, made to run, put to flight. This persecution comes on believers in the future, in reference to the time of Paul's writing.
   This happens before the rapture and takes place in the apostasy! Morally, evil men will become more evil. Paul writes, "Evil men and imposters will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived" (v. 13). The word imposter (Greek: go'es) refers to pretenders, those who make noise, wailers, even those who are enchanters, who perform incantations! They have a loud, emotional, external expression of Christianity! They pretend to be Christians, believers, but they simply make a lot of noise, and fool those who hear them! (Those of you who are reading this: DO YOU GET IT? HELLO!)    

   These men deceive and will be deceived (planao). The word means to wander away, go astray, fall into error. Planao is another word describing the apostasy!

2 Timothy 4:1-on. Paul urges Timothy to "proclaim the Word" (v. 2), because in the future "the time will come when they will not endure sound ("healthy") doctrine ("teaching"). They will want men to entertainment them: "To have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will TURN AWAY their ears from THE TRUTH, and will turn aside to THE MYTHS (the lies, muthos)" (v. 4).

2 Peter 2:1-3. "There will in the future also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them … and because of them the way of THE TRUTH will be maligned" (v. 2).

   Look carefully at verses 4-9. Peter could be discussing the rapture of the church. He speaks about God (1) not sparing the ancient world, (2) bringing a flood upon the world of the ungodly, (3) reducing Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes, (4) rescuing righteous Lot, (5) Finally: "The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment."

   I hope this will help. And those of you who are Sunday school teachers, and pastors, you need to teach these goodies to the sheep who are terribly confused about what is happening today!

 –Dr. Mal Couch

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Are There Any True Orthodox Jews Today?

Dr. Couch, I heard one of the covenant guys on the radio say that there is no true orthodox Jews today, that at the most, the so-called orthodox would be Talmudic, following the traditional commentary writings of the sages of the past. Is this true?

ANSWER: This is both right and wrong, and is more wrong than right! Just like the covenant guys who follow traditional covenant teaching (that is not biblical) and who are enamored with the imperfect church creeds, so many of the orthodox Jews rely more on the Talmud than with the OT Scriptures.

However, to say that there are no orthodox Jews today, that they all simply follow the Talmud, is false, and shows the lack of research on the part of the covenant proponents. I happen to have one of the largest Jewish libraries of any Bible teacher I know of, and the orthodox hold to everything a dispensationalist would hold concerning prophecy, the end-times, and the nature of the Messiah. Of course they do not believe that Jesus was the Messiah. But they hold that when He comes, He would be holy and sinless, that He would substitute for sin, that there will be a seven-year tribulation, that He will establish the Davidic Kingdom, etc. On these and many other issues they are absolutely correct!

In many of their writings there is some mysticism and wild views, but overall they hold biblically what we premillennialists believe in. The covenant guys are very ignorant of what these issues are all about. They accuse us of being uncritical, of believing what the Pharisees believed. They say we are Judaizing the Scriptures. If I hold to the literal, normal interpretation of the OT, I am indeed doing what Christ and the OT saints were doing—i.e., taking the Bible at face value in interpretation. Christ did not chide the Pharisees for their Kingdom belief, and about the coming of the Messiah, but He did criticize them for their legalism and hypocrisy. Too, they just did not believe that He was the One!

So I am good company, holding to the teaching of the OT as Christ and the prophets did. It is the covenant guys who bend the OT promises and make them apply to the church. Through the ages this allegorical interpretation was tolerated but the time has come when it must be challenged, discarded, thrown out, and rejected as being part of the great lie that distorts the biblical doctrines about the coming tribulation and the return of Christ to reign on David's throne. Enough is enough!

The Jewish scholar, Raphael Patai, in his wonderful book The Messiah Texts, refers kindly to Revelation 21 that is about the final days of the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven. He even quotes the whole chapter. He writes:

Entirely within the spirit of Jewish prophecy is the vision of the heavenly Jerusalem contained in Revelation 21. The book of Revelation was written … in Greek, late in the first century. Its author [John] was a Jewish Christian, well versed in the Scriptures who, while he believed in the Messiahship of Jesus (whom he calls "the Lamb"), expected his return in the Future to Come, and described the heavenly Jerusalem in Jewish prophetic terms.

In the Talmud … the heavenly Jerusalem is a standard Haggadic notion, presented in great detail and in many variants. In them, the undying love of the Jewish people for Jerusalem, the Holy City, the city of the Temple and the royal seat of David, finds eloquent expression in … the glories of the future Jerusalem in the days of the Messiah. This Messianic Jerusalem, which will descend in its entirety from heaven, will comprise a thousand towers, fortresses, street corners, pools, and cisterns, … Its radiance will light up the whole world and will rise up to God's Throne of Glory.

I am completing a new book entitled For the Cause of Zion. I have a chapter in the book labeled "Much in Common." In it I write:

World history keys off of both Judaism and Christianity. Christianity cannot be understood without the Old Testament, though the church is certainly different than Israel. What was said in the Old Testament, beginning with the Jewish people, brought about the blessings of salvation to the Gentiles nations through Christ, who is Jewish. And, when God has done His final work with the nations He will again work with the children of Israel as prophesied. We are moving rapidly toward that day!

Someday the eyes of the Jewish people will be open concerning Christ, and we will have much in common.

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Thursday, October 9, 2008

What is Happening Worldwide?

Dr. Couch, what is happening worldwide? It looks like things are falling apart!

ANSWER: You're right, and, we're into the apostasy prophesied in Scripture. The poor covenant guys having nothing to say but dispensationalists do. The Bible tells us the dispensation of the church will fail but it also speaks of all that will come upon the world in the end times. The rapture of the church will take place before the "Birth Pangs" or the "Day of the Lord," but all that is going on is setting us up for the final days.

When our nation cut itself off from the Word of God some decades ago, selfishness and greed began to work in the economics of our culture. Everyone knows that under Clinton's Democratic administration he forced the banks to give home loans to people who were unable to pay the notes. It was a socialistic movement to get the favor of minorities for the Democrats in elections. Both greedy people, and the banks and lending institutions, began to suck the air out of our "biblically based" economic foundation.

Previously, you did not "deserve" to be given a loan unless you could be responsible for it. The Bible speaks of taking loans that one is not able to pay back. It speaks of being in slavery to the lender. Proverbs 22:26-27 reads: "Do not be among those who give pledges, among those who become sureties for debts. If you have nothing with which to pay, why should he take your bed from under you?" To give a surety means that one stands behind a loan made to someone else.

On these verses Waltke writes: "Although at the time of becoming the surety on a debt, one may have had the means to risk becoming guarantor, future financial reversals may expose him to losing everything he owes. … All of a sudden, if at the time of payment he lacked the money, he will find himself on the floor," without a bed, and broke!

Our banks are now going broke because of evil and selfish loans made to people who could not repay their debts. On 16:26 Waltke writes that:


The liberal believes a group, a minority for example, has rights. But this is a lie. Individuals have rights, to fail or to work hard. An individual does not have rights to let the government provide him everything. Other "cultures" in this country don't get it. The Reformation culture that came from Europe had a tradition of work. Proverbs 16:26 says, "A worker's appetite works for him, for his hunger urges him on." To have nothing SHOULD give one an incentive. Proverbs 17:18 reads, "A man lacking in sense pledges, and becomes surety in the presence of his neighbor."

Proverbs 22:7 says "The borrower becomes the lender's slave." Psalm 37:21 adds: "The wicked borrows and does not pay back, but the righteous is gracious and gives." Today, there are thousands defaulting on their credit cards, their loans, and even on what they owe in taxes. These are evil people who are coming against the Word of God! In TV ads we hear, "You have the right to have your debts canceled."

When the hurricanes hit in Texas and Louisiana, the TV news showed minority single women getting on buses with four or five children in tow, and no husbands around. They all probably were on welfare. They were supported by the government, supported by the taxes of hard-working people. They feel it is their right to be given a home by the government, to have illegitimate children, to be fed by the government, and to have their children supported by the government. These are spiritual and theological issues, not simply economic or social issues!
That this is happening with thousands, if not millions of people, shows how sinful America has become!

Proverbs 6:10-11 reads:

"How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—And your poverty will come in like a vagabond, and your need like an armed man."

We are told today that we need change. Generally, this means more free health care, more socialism, more sympathy for those who do not work. "Change" in the Bible usually means a turning away from what is right, what is stable, solid, and true! It means more socialism in our school systems. Proverbs 24:21-22 reads: "Do not associate with those who are given over to CHANGE; for their calamity will rise suddenly, and who knows the ruin that comes from both of them?"

There is no hope for America. Its departure from God will bring on the whirlwind. It is over for this once great nation. I have a friend who is an expert in the stock market and banking. He is warning Christians to store up so much food because of what is coming. It will be worse than what is happening presently. He predicted several years ago what is now taking place. He says there is no way we will escape a judgment.

This reminds me of Jeremiah 7:29-31 and the sinful nation of Israel. "The Lord has rejected and forsaken (Israel) the generation of His wrath. For the sons of Judah have done that which is evil in My sight, declares the Lord. [They have done] that which I did not command, and [that which] did not come into My mind."

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Answering the 95 Theses Against Dispensationalism

Dr. Couch, I understand you and a team of dispensationalists will be answering the 95 Theses Against Dispensationalism produced by Robert Reymond and the Nicene Council Group. Will each objection they raise against dispensationalism be answered?

ANSWER: Yes, and we cannot wait to get into this project. The answers will be put on a set of CDs. In looking at their objections, we find it will be easy to answer what they have to say. We will be using church history and the Scriptures to show their mistakes in their view of dispensationalism. We were very surprised at how they misread what the Scriptures have to say on this issue.

Below is a sample: it is their objection against the dispensational view of "rightly dividing the Word of truth" from 2 Timothy 2:15. They somehow say dispensationalists argue for the structuring of history from the word "dividing" whereas "dividing" should be translated "handling accurately." I have never heard dispensationalists using this passage to make historical divisions. The Word of God is what should be handled accurately.

The KJV uses the expression "rightly dividing" in translating the Greek word orthotomeo. It is a Present Active Participle. The root idea of the word is "to cut straight," as in cutting a straight line in building. Ortho=straight, and temno=to cut. The point is that in studying the Word of God we must cut accurately, straight, in understanding the full meaning of the Scriptures. In the Balz & Schneider Lexicon the authors write on the word:

The instruction to Timothy is that he is to show himself to be a zealous workman "who correctly administers the word of truth. Or "to follow the right way," or "to proclaim the word forthrightly without unprofitable disputes."

The covenant guys bunch the Bible up all in a wad and fail to see the different dispensations that make the Word of God clear during specific periods of the unfolding plan, through the OT and on into the NT. They fail to understand "progressive revelation" when interpreting the Scriptures. The amil Ellicott makes the same point that dispensationalists do from the word. He writes, "The word literally signifies 'cutting a straight line.' The word of truth is to be laid out straightly and truly." Or, "to manage rightly, to treat truthfully without falsifying."

The old Greek scholar Alford also sees the light. He points out that the original meaning of the word, "to rightly divide," was lost but still is the most valid way to translate the idea. He adds, the word came to signify "to manage rightly, to treat truthfully without falsifying, seems to approach the nearest to the requirements of the context." RIGHT ON! This is what dispensationalists see in the word. To be faithful in Bible study in taking note of the CONTEXT of a passage! The covenant, amil guys fudge at this point in handling the Scriptures!

The covenant guys say that dispensationalists use the expression "rightly dividing" to divide the Bible "into discrete historical divisions," but that it has no "allusions" to this. I have never heard or read of dispensationalists saying that this passage, 2 Timothy 2:15, is about making historical divisions!

On this verse and subject, Scofield writes: "The word of truth has right divisions, and one cannot be a workman without observing them. They cannot be ignored. Many who study the Word makes the Bible confusing. Many Christians confess that they find the study of the Bible weary work." Scofield uses 2 Timothy 2:15 to help clarify the Bible not history. I don't know what the amil guys are talking about.

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Healing in Isaiah 53:4

Dr. Couch, I believe you have written about Isaiah 53:4 before but can you repeat what you said about healing in the passage?

ANSWER:  Sure. The Charismatics and the Pentecostals get it all wrong because they want to believe what they want to believe it, when they want to believe it, instead of letting the biblical text speak for itself. They "wants what they want when they want it!"

   They take the verse meaning that there is healing in the atonement. And this is silly, mainly because the way the verse is quoted in the NT has to do with Christ's healing ministry, and has nothing to do with some healing in the atonement! It is not saying that healing today is automatic! Matthew points out that Christ's healing ministry was mentioned in the Isaiah passage. As the Lord healed (Matt. 8:16) Matthew comments: "In order that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, saying 'He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases'" (Matt. 8:17). End of discussion! Matthew is simply noting that one of the great signs of the Messiah is the fact that in His ministry, He would heal!

   But then the second part of Isaiah 53:4 says "Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted." This has to do, not with physical, but with spiritual healing. How do we know? Because that is the way Peter quotes the passage in 1 Peter 2:24-25. Peter writes: "And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls" (Isa. 53:4b).

   In Harry Bultema's great commentary on Isaiah, he points out how the founder of the Christian Missionary Alliance (Pentecostal), A. B. Simpson, gets it wrong and applies 53:4 to physical sickness.

   By the way, Bultema (1884-1952) is an interesting scholar who came to America from the Netherlands, being from a Dutch Calvinistic tradition. He was one of many, many Covenant guys in the last century who got it right. He studied at Calvin College, Calvin Seminary, and later took pastorates in Reformed churches. But then he realized that dispensationalism was correct and the Covenant theology, that worked hard to get rid of Israel, was all wrong. His stance caused him to leave the Christian Reformed churches, as many other great scholars did also, embracing dispensationalism. They went back to normal, literal interpretation, and realized that they had been fooled for many years by the anti-Semitism of Covenant theology.

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

When Does An Unborn Baby Become A Person?

Dr. Couch, I know a Jewish woman who says, by Jewish thinking, the child does not become a "person" until it comes out of the womb. Do you know what they teach?

ANSWER:  The liberal Jews are tainted by the world and would hold to the "out of the womb view" because that is a convenient idea to justify abortion. I have a great orthodox Jewish library and what they teach on Psalm 139 is what we would hold to. The Rabbis teach:

   God knows us through and through, because He controlled our existence and development from the womb (v. 13). Verse 13 reads: "For you have made my reins (all the internal organs); You have knitted me together in my mother's womb."

   Verse 15 is important. "My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret (in the darkness of the womb)." Verse 16, the Rabbis write,  refers to the embryo, its development from the start. In the doctrine of predestination, they say, God has a book in which is recorded each person from the embryonic stage, the number of days which would be lived. In God's book all of our parts are written, "when as yet there were none of them" (v. 16b). Among those days is included our lives from the embryo stage until we come to birth.

   Since the Lord was so involved in our creation in the womb, how foolish and sinful to say that we can then destroy the child that He is working on just before he comes out of the mother's womb!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch