Saturday, December 26, 2009

America's Collapse

Dr. Couch, why have things collapsed so quickly in our country, on every level—political, social, theological, cultural, etc.?

ANSWER:  Things were building up more quickly than we could imagine—we just didn't notice the changes coming. Theologically, I believe this is a judgment from God upon an apostate nation, and world. We are moving rapidly toward the end times. America for some time now has walked away from the Lord. But on the human level, there are some things we can observe that I believe are part of God's judgment.

   (1) We have for some time now departed morally. Drugs, abortion, homosexuality, etc. has been destroying us from within for decades. (2) The mixing of cultures that did not have the Judeo-Christian morality behind them. And, those who have Christianity as a heritage have apostatized into immorality anyway. The founding of the nation, and our Reformation European heritage has been long ago lost to this culture. (3) Our secular state universities have moved toward liberalism and socialism, and these views have been fed to our young people now for decades. (4) And, our young people have been so brainwashed from grade school to buy into the lies of Satan. And as well, the repudiation in our schools of any form of recognition of Christianity.

   In many schools, they have discarded Christianity but have honored Muslim and Hindu holidays in place of Christian traditions. Now I know having a holiday does not make our nation "Christian" but there is still a principle being trashed. And we will pay a price for that.

   I know for a fact that many of my school friends came to Christ because Bibles were passed out at school and there were plays and musicals given over to Resurrection Sunday and Christmas. Everyone knew that America's morality had its origins from the Word of God, even though they may not have been born again or went to church on Sunday. Without doubt, we have departed on one level or another, and we are going to pay the price.

   Someone recently sent me an article about a paper written by a chaplain in the Army saying that the real enemy in this country is premillennialism. Premillennialists, he said, see things black and white, and this is causing problems with those who are conciliatory on issues. We knew that this argument would be coming—blaming the facts of Scripture for how we are perceived in the world. Pray that this will not bring more havoc on those who are proclaiming the truth in our culture.

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch
(Dec., 09)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Parable on the Branches Abiding in Christ

Dr. Couch, is John 15:1-9 about loss of salvation? It's the parable about the branches abiding in Christ. What do you say?

ANSWER:  First of all, the issue here is about fruit bearing not about one's Position in salvation. Christ prunes the branches of the vine in order to make them bear more fruit. To prune is painful to the branch. But it brings forth more fruit in the process.

   Notice that the individual connected with Christ, the vine, is "already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you" (v. 3). That is a Positional statement about salvation. So the issue here is fruit bearing, or a relationship that produces fruit. Salvation is not the point. That is a settled issue.

   The main idea is "abiding" or to put it in the vernacular, about "sticking" with Christ, "staying with Him in fellowship, which is so necessary for the daily Christian walk. Verse 5 makes the main point, "apart from Me you can do nothing." Again, this is not a salvation issue but a fruit production issue, the "doing something for the cause of Christ."

   Some think the "casting away into the fire, and they are burned" is alluding to the loss of salvation and the fires of eternal, spiritual judgment (v. 6). But who is doing the "casting away"? It is the "they." Or, men who are doing the judging, not God! "They gather them" is a Present Active Indicative, Third Person Plural, meaning "they," or "men" gather the branches and cast them into the fire. The "Men" or probably even the lost, who are doing the judging against Christians, that is those believers who are hypocrites because the world does not see any good coming out of these believers in their walk. The Christians are walking like the world, like the lost! And, there is no fruit bearing.

   The issue of fruit bearing also has to do with glorifying the Father, and by this, we prove that we are Christ's disciples, and that has to do with our following and walking with Him, not an issue about our salvation (v. 8). Finally, "fellowship love" is the issue as stated in verse 9. We are to be abiding, "sticking" with Christ in His relationship love, as stated in this verse. Most of the time in this passage when Christ says "abide" or "stay with" Me, He uses the Present Tense in Greek. "Be daily and continually staying with Me" in fellowship ..." How we are walking is what this passage is all about, not about our Position in our salvation.

   Thanks for asking. I hope this helps.
   Dr. Mal Couch
(Dec., 09)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Social Apostasy

Dr. Couch, I am being persuaded in what you say about a social apostasy coming upon the world. Can you explain a little more?

ANSWER:  Yes, what I mean is that the culture, that in some places, to a large degree, has been blessed by biblical Christianity, will turn and be even more evil that previously. And this is exactly what happened in Europe some decades back, and has now happened in America during my lifetime. Christianity held back sin to some extent but now the roof has collapsed and sin is becoming more sinful!

   And, the church then is becoming more like the world and the culture! We have some verses that I believe point this out. For example, 2 Timothy 3:1-2.

   "But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money ..."

The verses speak of "in the last days difficult times will come." Paul is not in those verses talking about church apostasy but about cultural apostasy and evil growing worse and worse. The Greek reads "Time of stress, fierce, savage times." Paul uses the Future Tense of the "to be" verb. "It will be this way ..."

   Then in verse 2 he does not speak of the church folks, but of "the men" of the world, using the Greek word, with the article, "hoi anthropos." This will happen when "the time" (kairos, chronology) will come, and grow more savage, when the change happens in the culture. Paul connects this thought with 4:3 when he writes: "For that 'time' (kairos, chronological period) will come (Future Tense) when 'they' (supplied by the translator) 'will not endure healthy doctrine ... '" Paul here is not talking about true believers but about those in the culture who apostatize from what little they know of truth.

   He is not talking about true"possessing Christians" in 3:13, as some think, but again, he is talking about the lost in the culture, when he writes "But evil men (poneeros anthropos) ... and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived." These are the lost men of the society, the culture, not those who are Christians (though the true believers will be deceived.). Indeed, the evil men are "impostors" (goees). This is the only place in the NT where this word is used. It's often translated "seducers." This is a better translation; they will be seducing and leading astray those who are professors, and who are taken down the wrong path, who go into apostasy and join them in their worldly sinfulness! "Goees" can be translated "a juggler, enchanter, one who uses incantations to deceive." This is happening and going on today. The church is getting like the culture.

   "They will proceed" (Future Tense) is from the Greek word "prokopos" meaning "they will go forward, go forward hammering (as a smith hammers metal)," "promoting further" their evil agendas. And nothing will stop them; it will get worse and worse, as the apostasy takes over the culture even more! 

   The Bible Knowledge Commentary seems to agree with my thoughts on the passage. Several times it mentions "the people (the lost), when they the world will see terrible times of societal degeneration."

   I believe we are now in religious, spiritual, and social degeneration and this is the sign that we are in "the last days."

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch
(Dec., 09)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Problems in the Church

Dr. Couch, the problems go on in the church I'm involved in. What do I do?

ANSWER  You mentioned the terrible confusion in the teaching there in the country where you live. The leaders do not know what they believe and they are mixing kingdom and church issues because of their blindness and ignorance of the Bible. It amazes me how we want science to be precise but we are ready to compromise when it comes to the "science" of interpretation of the biblical texts. What foolishness and blindness!

   Someone will say, what do you mean by science of the Bible? They fail to realize that we start with the grammar of Scripture, and we must be "scientifically accurate when approaching the interpretative issues. Science means we also must interpret by logic, history, the social background of the Bible, etc. If we don't, we will not understand what's going on in the passages of Scripture. It is the Holy Spirit who inspired the authors in their usage of the right grammar of the Hebrew and Greek texts. And the Bible has a setting, a social, historic setting, which we must understand in order to be exegetes of the Word. I must follow the interpretative lead of the Holy Spirit. I can't be sloppy in my study of the Bible.

   You mentioned that the leaders of the church could not identify whether they were amill, premill, postmill, Arminian or Calvinistic in their understanding of the Bible. And they knew nothing about the clear passages on the rapture of the church, which fouled up their total understanding and teaching of the book of Revelation. And these are teaching leaders?

   I predicted many years ago we'd be in this mess once the leaders of the churches abandoned systematic theology and went to "feel good" messages, entertainment and emotion. And sure enough, I was correct!

   Don't forget that Paul predicted the apostasy we are now in. He wrote: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound (healthy) doctrine (not feel good messages), but wanting to have their ears ticked (wanting entertainment), they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away from the truth, and will turn aside to myths (lies)" (2 Tim. 4:3-4).

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch
(Dec., 09)    

Friday, December 18, 2009

Celebrating Christmas

Dr. Couch, should we be celebrating Christmas, since this is a "Catholic" word: Christ-mass? We are not commanded to do so in Scripture.

ANSWER:  This reminds me of the Church of Christ folks who argue, since musical instruments are not mentioned in the Bible to use for worship, therefore, it is wrong to use musical instruments in church worship!

   And, I guess Christ was wrong to go up to Jerusalem to celebrate Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, since the Jews were not commanded to do so in the OT! (see John 10:22-30.) Did you know that He did that? There is nothing wrong with remembering certain blessings in either the OT or NT. This is what Christ did. This is what we do with the Lord's Table. It is a "remembrance" and it is Passover condensed and abbreviated. I don't know of any true believer in Christ who became a Catholic because of the word Christmas. Some words become embedded in our vocabulary by usage, but most people don't know of the origins of such words.

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch
(Dec., 09)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs

Dr. Couch, in Ephesians 5:19 we are told by Paul to speak to one another in Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Are we supposed to do this literally, and if so how?

ANSWER: This is not a moral command. It has to do with the heart of the fellowship time of the believers in the church. "Hymns and spiritual songs" is what we all do in churches right now, hopefully! We have to avoid a legalistic approach to such words by Paul and the other apostles. This is to be the spiritual result of the Holy Spirit making such sharing real as Paul says in verse 18. He adds "making melody with your heart to the Lord; and giving of thanks ..." (v. 20).

   In my Ephesians commentary just out I made this statement on the passage: "The greatest unsaved vocalist on earth is totally incapable of making a pleasing melody to God from the inner recesses of the soul. One has to be in close fellowship with the Lord to be controlled by the Holy Spirit for this to happen. Yet the Spirit-filled (controlled) believer can scarcely be restrained from such activity, whether a good vocalist or not. The 'heart' is what speaks to the Lord."

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch
(Dec., 09)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Struggling with Eternal Security

Dr. Couch, I believe in eternal security but I have problems with Matthew 5:22 where Jesus said "... and whosoever shall say, You fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." How do you answer? – from England

ANSWER:  I really appreciate your questions, but you must interpret the Bible by context not by the ping pong method, where you bounce all over the place and automatically apply verses to the church. This is the Sermon on the Mount where Christ is speaking specifically to the Jews and the problems they had in the way they mistreated others.

   Remember, we must interpret the Bible by context and by the Greek text, not by the English. "Hell" is a bad translation that is why Bible teachers need to take Greek in order to understand all that is happening in Scripture. I have had more Greek than any Bible teacher you'll talk with. I translate almost everyday. In this passage "hell" is Geenna or Gehenna, referring to the burning garbage dump outside of the city of Jerusalem that became a symbol of judgment. Yes, often it was symbolic of hell's fires but it can, in context, often just be referring to a judgment.

   Christ is addressing how the Jews mistreated each other with their mouth—with their criticisms. Note the progression in verse 22. If one is angry with his brother he should be brought before the synagogue court and be judged. If one goes further and calls his brother Raca (or numb skull, stupid) he is to be brought before the supreme court or the Sanhedrin and be judged. But if one says to his brother that he is a fool, he receives the harshest judgment and was to be cast into Gehenna, the burning garbage dump! Now can you imagine the fear this brought to the hearts of the Jews? In their relationships with others they were terribly critical, hurt others with the mouth, and continued to destroy the relationships by harsh words! The Jews paid no attention to this mistreatment. Christ brought it to their attention. The point is not about a doctrinal or theological judgment but about the issue of mistreatment of others.

   This was meant to awaken the Jews in the harshness of their human relationships.

   Thanks for asking, and, I hope this helps.

   Dr. Mal Couch
(Dec., 09)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Contradiction Regarding Christ's Resurrection

Dr. Couch, in Philippians 3:11 Paul says "If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead." I have heard some argue that this means Paul had some doubts about the resurrection, and the critics land on the words "if" and "might." This argument would go against what he says in 1 Corinthians 15. How do we answer? – from England

ANSWER:  I don't know how the critic could get out of the verse that Paul is having questions about the resurrection! The wording certainly does not lead me to that conclusion. All Paul is saying is that he wants to be worthy of that great truth of Christ's resurrection from the dead! You must start his argument with verse 7 where he says he counts all things as loss "for the sake of Christ." He speaks of the surpassing value of knowing Christ and counts all things as dung (rubbish) so that he might gain Christ (v. 8). He is not doubting the resurrection but he is making it a center piece doctrine around which his life revolves.

   From verses 7-14 there is not one piece of evidence that he doubts the resurrection! All of the language has to do with how he is living. Nicoll writes:

   "The Resurrection is the Apostle's goal, for it will mean perfect, unbroken knowledge of Christ and fellowship with Him. Paul knows by experience the difficulty of remaining loyal to the end, of being so conformed to Christ's death that the power of sin will not revive its mastery over him. So his apparent uncertainty here of reaching the goal is not distrust of God. It is distrust of himself."

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch
(Dec., 09)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Good works and Sharing the Gospel

Dr. Couch, Shouldn't the emphasis be more focused on doing 'good' when sharing the gospel?

ANSWER:   Some believe that to urge anyone to do good is not enough. The gospel must somehow always be put forward. But the Bible seems to argue that good works will show one's salvation. James writes: "This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress ..." (James 1:27). He also writes "I will show you my faith by my works" (2:18). Paul says "Overcome evil with good" (Rom. 12:21). "Be wise in what is good" (16:19).

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
(Dec., '09)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Inalienable Rights

Dr. Couch, is the idea of inalienable rights found in the Bible?

ANSWER:  Good question, and I would answer yes. By Webster, the word "inalienable" means rights that cannot be transferred. Or, rights that each person has because he has been created in the image of God, and all are equal before God, whether this is the king or the subject to the king. This was the great struggle when democracy was being born in America. "Is anyone less than the king?"

    Since all are created in the image of God (though now polluted by sin) He sees all equally. God so loves the world equally (John 3:16). Does any believer in Christ want to be seen as unequal in America? I think not.

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch
(Dec., 09)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Gnostics Allegorized the Bible

Dr. Couch, didn't the Gnostics allegorize the Bible?

ANSWER:  Yes, but the problem with the Gnostics is something else besides allegorical interpretation. Allegorization started way before the Gnostic cults. The biggest issue with them was their secret-ness, their immorality, and their "spiritualizing" the person of Christ. We do not know all that they taught. In fact, each group held to somewhat different beliefs. And, they really came on the scene sometime after the time of Christ. John the apostle seems to be standing against incipient Gnosticism in his letters of I-III John, written about AD 90-95.

   To allegorize the Scriptures is treated in detail in my book An Introduction to Classical Evangelical Hermeneutics (Kregel). The pages are 95-103. The word Gnostic is related to the Greek word ginosko, to know. They believed they had higher spiritual knowledge and knew things that the average person did not know.

   Allegorization was expanded and made popular by Augustine. He taught that the Church had become Israel. Thus, the kingdom was the Church here on earth, and, God was finished with the Jews. When he came to the words Jerusalem, or kingdom, he said these words were really about the Church. Charismatics hold to some Gnostic thoughts. Everyone has heard them say, "I don't care what the Bible says, I know what my experience is!" Experience is seen as higher than objective fact in Scripture.

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch  

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Manhattan Declaration

Dr. Couch, what do you think about the Manhattan Declaration and the statement put together by the leadership of Chuck Colson?

ANSWER:  A few months back I wrote online about the fact that Christians need to stand together on immoral issues being imposed upon us by the culture and by our government. Colson has put together a consortium of leaders from the Protestant churches, Catholic and Greek orthodox assemblies. The three issues focused on are:

   (1) homosexuality, (2) marriage is the union of one man and one woman, and (3) the issue of abortion.

   Some ask, "Should we join hands even with different Christian groups that are so doctrinally diverse?" Because of the urgency of the times, I'm rethinking some of the positions we all have taken in the past.

   For example, if I joined and came aboard with the Manhattan Declaration, would I have to compromise my doctrinal beliefs and distinctions? Would I still be free to share the gospel as I understand it from Scripture? And as far as I can tell, those coming on board do not have to compromise such distinctions and beliefs. If that is the case, maybe it is time for us to join forces in order to present a united front. Compromising doctrinal issues is not part of the requirement. I can still believe what I wish to believe and witness to the Scriptures as I see fit.

   One of the things that Colson is pushing for is that those who buy into the Manhattan Declaration will stand firm even if it means losing tax-exemption for ministries, and even facing arrest by being accused of promoting "hate crimes." I think many believers in Christ are reaching the point where "enough is enough"! We have taken it long enough, and, it is only getting worse!

   Someone has rightly said that none of us makes a firm stand on issues until our own interests are at stake; until what we believe becomes threatened, then we move! And maybe we have arrived where our own circle is threatened.

   I would like for those reading this to send me an email on your opinion on what I have just written, and on your opinion on the Manhattan Declaration. We will use your name, or not, whatever you desire. Please let me have your thoughts quickly!

   Dr. Mal Couch
(Nov., 09)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Obama Bowing to other Nations Leaders

Dr. Couch, why did President Barack Hussein Obama bow to the leaders of China, Japan, and Saudi Arabia? I thought this was a "no, no" for American Presidents?

ANSWER:  It is. And everyone is asking the same questions. The secular media is trying to argue that he really was not bowing but by all the evidence from the photos, he was! Obama seems to continue to put down America and want to make it simply one of the many nations of the world. But most Presidents have felt that we owe no leader of another country any such honor. No one can fully figure out what the President is doing with his continual subjugating of our country. He does not look at our country as other leaders have in the past!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch  
(Nov., 09)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

"I Never Knew You"

Dr. Couch, what is going on in Matthew 7:21-23? What does Christ mean by "I never knew you"? Does this mean He truly did not know anything about them?

ANSWER:  The passage has to do with hypocritical Jews who wanted to identify with the Messiah. They said "Lord, Lord," and yet they were not following the God of heaven nor doing His will (v. 21). These Jews even said they had prophesied in His name and had also cast out demons for Him (v. 22). Then Christ said, "I never knew you" (v. 23).

   The Greek word "knew" is "ginosko" (Aorist Tense). The word has the thought of knowing by experiencing, learning by relationship. The idea is not simply about acquiring knowledge or having a knowledge base. Christ actually knew all things. As God, nothing was kept from Him. We may say about a friend or acquaintance, "I really know him!" meaning we have a relational knowledge.

   This is what Christ is saying. The Lord did not know them in a close, spiritual, fellowship way! I hope this helps.

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch
(Nov., 09)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Melchizedek Both a Priest and King

Dr. Couch, Hebrews 6:20 says that the Messiah "has become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek." Melchizedek was both a priest and a king, thus, the Kingdom Now folks say He is reigning as such, as King, presently. What do you say?

ANSWER:  Notice in Hebrews 7 that Melchizedek was "king over Salem, which is peace" (v. 2). But it is true that Christ is both priest and king but that does not mean that He is presently reigning as King. That will happen when He arrives to "sit on His glorious throne" and when, on earth, He begins to rule and judge the nations (Matt. 25:31-34). That is His literal, earthly, historic rule that has not begun yet. You correctly pointed out Luke 1:32-33 where it states "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 uses two future tenses in Greek, and "the house of Jacob" means "the house of Jacob" not the church. Also, "the throne of His father David" does not mean the church.

   The rule of interpretation: observe, observe, observe!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch
(Nov., 09)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Jeremiah 18:7-10 and America

Dr. Couch, what is going on in Jeremiah 18:7-10? And, does this sound like what is happening to America today?

ANSWER: While not applied directly to America, the principle is certainly applicable to this nation and all nations that turn from the Lord. God will speak to the evil nation and a kingdom to uproot and pull it down, to destroy it, when it defies Him (v. 7). If that country turns from its evil ways, God will relent concerning the calamity "I planned to bring on it" (v. 8). But America, and the other nations of the world, will not repent. Prophecy tells us the nations will apostatize and go deeper into their sin. If the nation goes further into its sin, God will think better "of the good with which I had promised to bless it" (v. 10).

   Concerning Judah and Jerusalem, God has said He will speak against its inhabitants, saying: "Behold, I am fashioning calamity against you and devising a plan against you. Oh turn back each of you from his evil way, and reform your ways and your deeds" (v. 11). But this will not happen. Israel will go through the birth pangs (Jer. 30) of the tribulation, and so will the nations of earth! Unger writes: "The Lord is sovereign in His dealing with His people (Isa. 45:9; 64:8; Matt. 20:15; Rom. 9:21). He is the Potter, they are the clay."

   We are drawing nearer to the end, and there is no turning back! We should not be surprised or troubled!

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
(Nov., 09)

Monday, November 16, 2009

God's Sovereignty

Dr. Couch, thank you for your strong stance on God's sovereignty. It seems as if there are hundreds, if not thousands, of verses on the fact that He is in control.

ANSWER:  Yes, you are right! In Ecclesiastes 1:13-15 we find that all that is done under the heavens, is "a grievous task which God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with." Thus, "What is crooked cannot be straightened, and what is lacking cannot be counted" (v. 15).

Solomon adds: "Consider the work of God, for who is able to straighten what He has bent? In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider—God has made the one as well as the other so that man may not discover anything that will be after him" (7:13-14).

   While God is not the author of evil, as we might conceive, He still can use evil for His divine purposes. We are not to speak of human conspiracies because it is God who turns the hearts and minds of men to do His biding. We are "not to fear what [men] fear or be in dread of it. ... [God] shall be your dread" (Isa. 8:12-13).

   In our present administration in Washington, men do not understand righteousness. "Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand all things" (Prov. 28:8). Foolish men now lead us, and without God's direct sovereignty in America, we will not see Godly change in this country.

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

Sunday, November 15, 2009

God's Sovereignty at Work in the Believer

Dr. Couch, what is going on in Philippians 2:13? It sounds like the absolute sovereignty of God working in the believer! Is this right?

ANSWER:  You're right! That is what is going on! The believer is not a robot and yet, God is absolutely sovereign. Nothing happens with us without His working and causing us to be willing and then to be working in regard to His good pleasure! The Greek text reads:

   "Be continually working intently your salvation with fear and trembling; for God is the One continually working in you the to be willing and the to be working concerning the good pleasure [of Him]" (Phil. 2:12b-13).

   Notice the Present Tenses in the verse. Nicoll points out that there is no conflict with Divine sovereignty and human responsibility. But guess which one dominates? God's sovereignty. His work causes all things to be!

   A.T. Robertson is stronger on the passage. "God is the Energy and the Energizer of the universe. ... God is back of all activity in nature." "Both the willing and the working (the energizing). God does it all, then. The will of God is behind gravitation and all the laws of nature." 

   As I used to ask my students: "Who is in charge?" And, "Who do we think we are?"

   Ellicott goes further: "The word 'works in you' is constantly applied to the divine operation in the soul, ... to do the action of men. It must necessarily extend to the will as well as the action; otherwise God would not be sovereign in the inner realm of mind. Hence, while we cannot even conceive the existence of freedom under an unbending impersonal law or force, the harmony of our will with a Supreme Personal Will (God's) is mysterious, indeed."

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Worshiping Mythological Figures and Idols

Dr. Couch, what causes people to worship mythological figures and idols? What about secret organizations, do they intentionally deceive the masses, and their followers, on the lower levels?

ANSWER:  Secret societies certainly can deceive but far more follow after idols and mythological characters because of the ongoing work of Satan in the culture. Believing in other gods, and idols, was one of the main sins and early responses of the world to the religious work of Satan. He loves to see people fooled and misled by idolatry. 

   In the NT we find many believers being fooled by idolatry. Many struggled getting out of cultish religious worship, though they were still saved. Idolatry is a sin just like all sin! And since believers can "do" all sins, they can be idol worshippers.

   Paul wrote to the Corinthians: "We should not crave evil things, as they also craved (the Jews did in the wilderness). And do not be idolaters, as some of them were" (1 Cor. 10:5b-6). James said he wrote to the Gentile Christians "to abstain from things contaminated by idols ..." (Acts 15:20). John warned the Christians "Little children, guard yourselves from idols" (1 John 5:21).

    Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Dr. Couch, what is the vengeance in Luke 21:22?

ANSWER:  This is the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple that takes place in 70 AD. It is part of the Olivet Discourse of our Lord that He gave to His disciples before His arrest and crucifixion. In that Discourse He spoke of the far off coming tribulation period but He also taught on the coming judgment of 70 AD. Christ called it "the vengeance." The Greek word is "ekdikasis" which means "a revenging, a punishment," to vindicate a wrong, "accomplished with an avenging, to inflict punishment."

   From the time of Christ's ascension until 70 AD the Jews went into the mode of rejecting Christ, and then of persecuting His followers. Christ spoke of those "days of vengeance [coming] in order that all things which are written may be fulfilled, the great distress upon the land, and wrath to this people" (Luke 21:22-23).

   Where was the vengeance predicted? In Hosea 9:7, 17. There the prophet Hosea writes about "The days of punishment [that] will come, the days of retribution will come; ... because of the grossness of your iniquity." And he added, "My God will cast them away [His people] because they have not listened to Him; and they will be wanderers among the nations."

   This wandering among the nations is predicting the dispersion of 70 AD by Hosea. In my Luke commentary published by AMG, I wrote: "When this vengeance came in A.D. 70, the Lord was executing judgment because of the Jewish rejection of Christ. The disciples suffered great persecution and martyrdom. A mountain of wrath had been built and had come down on the heads of the people, as brought about by the Romans. The Jewish people were not at war with Christians, but they were at war with the Lord, because this was His vengeance. Some see this Lukan passage about Jerusalem being surrounded and destroyed coming from Hosea 9."

   Unger as well sees some of the punishment mentioned in Hosea 9 as the 70 A.D. dispersion. He writes that "the Jews of Russia, China, India, and other countries are evidently descendants of the ten tribes. The Jews at Pentecost (Acts 2:9) and those addressed by James (1:1), doubtlessly included the ten tribes, as well as Judah and Benjamin" who were dispersed in 70 A.D.

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Evangelical Feminists

Dr. Couch, what is driving Evangelical feminists? What are they thinking?

ANSWER:  I often ask Dr. Lacy Couch the same thing, and she comes up with some pretty good insights as to what is going on.

   (1) While they may deny it, they are influenced and driven by the culture, especially those who have attended secular universities. The lies have rubbed off on them! They think it is "smart" to be worldly and contemporary in their thinking.

   (2) They enjoy being in the company of men; they do not like being women.

   (3) They think being a woman is beneath them. They believe men have all the fun and that they are left out of what is most important.

   (4) They do not like motherhood. Raising children, and pouring themselves into a child is demeaning. They have not been taught properly what the Word of God teaches about the high calling of being a wife and mother. They do not think that they are appreciated.

   (5) They want to teach men, though they can already teach children and other women, this is not enough for them. They want to teach men. They think they are being deprived of something that they want to do. And, they think the apostle Paul, or other men, are keeping them from a higher calling.

   (6) They think that they are highly intellectual but the reality is that they are emotional and they are like sheep. They are really followers and don't think independently as they believe about themselves!

   (7) They do not believe in the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture. They challenge Paul's opinions and think that they are simply the thoughts of man and not of the Holy Spirit.

   Strong men need to challenge them and speak up to them head-on. They are far more foolish than they think!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

Friday, November 6, 2009

Jesus' Knowledge Regarding End Times Events

Dr. Couch, I have heard some say that from Mark 13:32 Jesus did not know the time of the beginning of the tribulation events and of the time of His return to earth in order to reign and rule in His kingdom. Is this true?

ANSWER:  The words of Christ in that passage reads: "But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone."

   Many "good" theologians miss the point on this passage. Being very God, there is nothing that Christ could not have known. God the Son cannot "unknow" the facts of history. Philippians 2:6-7, and the doctrine of the kenoses ("to empty"), may help us understand what is happening here in Mark. The Philippians passage reads "He emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, ..." When Christ was born into the realm of mankind, He did not become less than God but He set aside His divine glory and took the form of a slave. A slave is not serving Himself but the One higher than He is. The Father in rank is above the Son, but the Son is not less than the Father in His deity!

   Thus, the prerogative of Christ in His work on earth was that of a slave. Therefore, the Father is sovereign in decisions, and the Son obeys the Father and does His biding. "The knowledge of the final plans of history" is the prerogative of the Father not of the Son! Part of the key also is the word "know" in the Mark passage. It is the Greek word "oida." Oida is an intuitive knowledge over against a body of knowledge expressed by "ginosko." It is intuitive with the Father to have the knowledge of the plan of history. It is His plan! This does not mean that the Son did not know what the plan was; but it was with the Father specifically to know when He would execute the working out of the tribulation and the kingdom at a specific point in time. This was not the prerogative of the Son!

   In my commentary series, McGowan quotes Lenski who says: "In their essential oneness the three persons [of the Trinity] know all things, but in his humiliation the second person did not use his divine attributes save as he needed them in his mediatorial work." I would soften this statement somewhat and say that Christ did not, as a servant, speak what He knew because He left such knowledge with the Father, and the Father determined not to reveal the specific day or hour when the end time events would begin! Thus, the Son acquiesced to His Father and did not reveal this information, but He left the issue in the hands of His Father.

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch
(Nov., 09)  

Friday, October 30, 2009

Who Owns the Holy Land

Dr. Couch, who owns the Holy Land?

ANSWER:  This is simple—it belongs to the Lord, who in turn, gave it to His people, Israel. In His sovereignty, He can do with it as He pleases. He answers to no one! "Who do we think we are?" And, "Who is in charge?" God is in charge! He can do with the lost world as He wishes.

   We are told who owns the Land in Judges 11. The nations surrounding Israel complained, the people of Moab and Ammon. They said: "Israel took away my land when they came up from Egypt, ... now return it peaceably" (v. 13). But through Jephthah God answered: "The Lord, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they defeated them; so Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites. ... Since now the Lord, the God of Israel, drove out the Amorites from before His people Israel, are you then to possess it?" (vv. 21-23). "So whatever the Lord our God has driven out before us, we will possess it" (v. 24).

   God is in heaven but is He not the ruler "over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand before You!" (2 Chron. 20:6). "Did you not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and give it to the descendants of Abraham You friend FOREVER?" (v. 7). Note the word FOREVER!

   The land belongs to Israel and not to the Arabs or the Palestinians.

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch
(Oct., 09)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Israel Fulfills the New Covenant

Dr. Couch, you have made me a believer in regard to the fact that the church benefits from the New covenant today, but we do not "fulfill" it as Israel will in the kingdom. Why do people resist this idea? I'm specifically referring to the quoting of Joel 2 in Acts 2, and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit.

ANSWER:  Mainly because they do not read their Bible; they do not have good interpretive skills! This is why I wrote one of the few books available today on hermeneutics: Classical Evangelical Hermeneutics (Kregel).

   I will only have space here to summarize:

   (1) For Israel, the New covenant is prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31-on. (2) It will be activated by the work of the Spirit, as prophesied in Joel 2:28-29. (3) Christ said that His sacrifice would ratify the New covenant. (Luke 22:20): "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood." (4) The New covenant is then "launched" at Pentecost (Acts 2:16-21), but it is not fulfilled by the church, though the church will benefit and represent the New covenant during the church dispensation.

   There are three places in Paul's letters that show the church has a connection with the New covenant presently but the verses never say we fulfill it now. It will be fulfilled when applied to Israel during the dispensation of the Kingdom.

   Paul speaks to the Jews in Romans 2:17-29 and argues that, for them, to be a believing Jew today, their circumcision is spiritual and their Jewish-ness is inward. Then he adds, "by the Spirit, not by the letter [of the Mosaic law]; the Jews' praise is not from men, but from God." Here Paul compares the New covenant with the Law and points out that it has replaced the "letter of the Law" as prophesied in Jeremiah 31. There Jeremiah said that the New covenant will replace the Mosaic covenant. "The New covenant will not be like "My covenant which I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke ..."

   Paul speaks of the New covenant again in Romans 7:6: "We serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter [of the law]." The Holy Spirit mentioned in both 2:29 and 7:6 is the Activator of the New covenant today in the church age. Paul mentions the New covenant again in 2 Corinthians 3:3 where he says the church saints are a letter of Christ "written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts ..." Here, Paul is again comparing the work of the Spirit, who is the Activator of the New covenant, with the Mosaic law. He adds that we are now "servants of a New covenant, not of the letter [of the law] but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life" (v. 6).

   It is important to look carefully at what Peter says about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:16. He (1) does not say the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost fulfills Joel 2 [as the amillennialists would say], nor (2) does he say that it is simply an "illustration" of the work of the Spirit, as mentioned in Joel 2 [as some dispensational buddies of mine would say]. But instead, in quoting Joel 2:28-29, he says "But this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel."

   One must know Greek in order to fully understand what is going on here. Peter writes: "This IS 'that which has been written'". The IS is the common "TO BE" verb (estin). And "which has been written" is a Perfect Passive Participle, Neuter, Nominative. In Greek (and in English) on both sides of the TO BE verb you have the Nominative case. Thus, this which [is now going on—the outpouring of the Holy Spirit] has been written (ereo) is simply the same thing as mentioned in Joel 2!

   Peter had ways to say that Joel 2 was an illustrative of the outpouring of the Spirit; and he had ways of saying that Joel 2 was being fulfilled here in Acts 2, but Peter did not say either one of these things!

   The only sound conclusion is that the church presently is benefiting from the outpouring of the Spirit, and of the New covenant, but the church is not fulfilling the New covenant! That will happen with Israel when the Kingdom arrives and the Jews are back in the Land! At that time, for them, the New covenant will be fulfilled!

   This is complicated to write, so I hope it makes sense. Many of my friends are now seeing the issue this way, and I think this is correct.

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch
(Oct., 09)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Positional Truth, Experiential Truth, and Sanctification

Dr. Couch, you have convinced me about the two facets of the Christian life, concerning Positional Truth, and Experiential Truth. How does this work out with the doctrine of sanctification?

ANSWER:  Believers Positionally are "sanctified" in Christ, and they are urged to "Be holy as He is holy" which would have to do with our Experience in time. The word "sanctify" is related to the Greek word "holy" (hagios). We are positionally "holy" in Christ. Paul writes "to the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified (made holy) in Christ Jesus, saints (holy ones in position) by calling, with all who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours" (1 Cor. 1:2).

   Concerning our daily Christian walk, our Experience in time, Peter says "But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, 'You shall be holy, for I am holy'" (1 Pet. 1:15-16). And, "... what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness" (2 Pet. 3:11).

   Both aspects are made clear in these verses: Our Position in Christ, and our Experience (or Walk) with Christ!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch
(Oct., 09)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Tree of Life and Removal of Names in the Book.

Dr. Couch, I am confused on the issue of the Tree of Life and the removal of the names of those who add or take away what is written in the book of Revelation. Can you help me?

ANSWER:  I have the most complete answer to this issue of any source in my Handbook to the Book of Revelation (Kregel). I have discovered the secret of what is going on in 22:18-19 for all those who are interested.

   The book has a great endorsement from Dr. John F. Walvoord before he passed away in 2002. He said "It is an outstanding contribution to the literature on this important book of the Bible." This is not a commentary per se but it is more of a theology of Revelation. Others joined me in producing the volume, such as Dr. Larry Crutchfield, Dr. Harold Foos, and Dr. Robert Lightner.

   I tie together a lot of Scriptures that help us understand the issue of the Tree of Life and those who deny the writing of Revelation. Also, I have a lot of rabbinical quotes that show they studied the book of Revelation and basically saw the premillennial stamp on the book. This will shock our covenant and amillennial friends. Those of us who take Revelation basically literal are in good company with the orthodox Rabbis who also take prophecy literal! For example, by their calculations the orthodox Rabbis saw and agreed with the fact that the tribulation would be a seven year event, by their correct figuring of Daniel's Seventy Weeks in Daniel 7. They also held to the 1000 year millennial Kingdom. Every one reading this needs the Handbook!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Dr. Couch, have you heard the expression "Pan-millennialism"?

ANSWER:  Yes, I have. It is put forth by lazy pastors and Bible teachers who do not study the Scriptures well, and then remain in ignorance about what prophecy is all about. I find it interesting that the Word of God is basically very clear about the major doctrines of the Bible, but when it comes to eschatology, the Lord gets sloppy and does not make prophecy understandable.

   Of course, the problem is not with the Lord; the problem is pastors who do not pay the price of good study habits in order to know what the Bible is teaching on the subject. Their phony and silly answer to what the Scripture teach about prophecy is: "I believe in Pan-millennialism. It'll all pan out in the end!" That answer is juvenile and down right stupid! I would be ashamed to be a Bible teacher and come up with that excuse for my laziness in studying the Word of God!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch
(Oct., 09)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

God's Master Plan

Dr. Couch, the covenant theologians say that God's master plan is about salvation almost exclusively. Whereas dispensationalists see many issues in the Scriptures are honored with glory, not simply salvation. Is this right?

ANSWER:  It is true that God's work in salvation, and in the Church, does indeed bring Him glory. But all of history has many conclusions that give Him honor, along with the issue of salvation. Dispensationalists can point to many, many things whereby God will be glorified, even more than the issue of salvation.

   Charles Ryrie points out in his book Dispensationalism, that the founder of covenant theology, Cocceius, "makes the three covenants of this system, the basis, and background, and substance of all God's dealings with man for his redemption." In other words, redemption, and salvation, is the main, if not the exclusive, work of God in history. While salvation is certainly important, God's plan has more to it whereby He receives glory! Below is a list:

  •    The Law given by Moses "came with glory" (2 Cor. 3:7).
  •    Moses' face shown with glory when he descended from the mountain (2 Cor. 3:7b).
  •    The gospel itself gives the light of "the glory of Christ" (2 Cor. 4:4).
  •    The grace of the gospel causes the "giving of thanks to abound to God's glory (v. 15).
  •     Paul's tribulations bring to the believer glory (Eph. 3:13).
  •     Because of the Church, Christ receives glory (v. 21).
  •     The Father receives glory (Phil. 4:20).
  •     We all with appear with Christ in glory (Col. 1:27; 3:4).
  •     Moses received glory (Heb. 3:3).
  •     Christ will receive glory in His future appearing (1 Pet. 1:7).
  •     In the tribulation period, the angelic beings will receive glory (Rev. 4:9).
  •     God as Creator will receive glory (v. 11).
  •     Because of His messianic, Kingly position, with power and riches, Christ will receive glory (Rev. 5:12, 13; 7:12; 11:13; 14:7).
  •     The rulers entering the new earth will bring in their glory (Rev. 21:24).
  •     The word of God is glorious (Acts 13:48).
  •     After Babylon the Harlot is destroyed God receives glory (Rev. 18:1).
  •     Because of God's power and wrath in the tribulation, the heavenly temple is filled  with smoke "from the glory of God" (15:5-8).

   God's plan of history brings Him glory, even above the issue of human salvation!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch
(Oct., 09)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Contradiction between Paul and Peter Regarding God's Sovereignty

Dr. Couch, is there a contradiction between what Paul says in Acts 17:31 and what Peter says in 2 Peter 3:12, about God's sovereign plan in history, and our hastening the "coming day of God"?

ANSWER:  Good question. And this is where only a student of the Greek text can give a definitive answer. The apostle Paul says God has a plan, "He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, ... raising Him from the dead" (Acts 17:31). God is in charge of when the day of judgment will come. It is an exact moment in His eternal decree of all things! But then the English in 2 Peter 3:12 reads: "... looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, ..." This sounds as if we can hasten the coming of the day of final judgment. Is this right?

   No, it is not! Both "looking for" and "hastening" are Present Active Participles in the Greek text, but more, the word "hastening" is not a good translation in this context of the word speudo. The "looking for" is better translated "expecting" and the word "hastening" is better translated "earnestly desiring." As translated "hastening" it sounds as if we are causing the day of God to come quickly. Instead, the point is that we are "earnestly desiring" that it will arrive soon.

   A problem like this is why I spent some 35 college and graduate hours in Greek, with some of the best Greek teachers in America, so that I could know exactly what the biblical text was saying! After I came to my conclusion I checked out the great old Greek scholar A. T. Robertson, and, he translates the verse the same way. We are not causing the coming of the day of God, we are anticipating its arrival!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch
(Oct., 09)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Application of Scripture

Dr. Couch, there are many verses of Scripture, especially in the OT, that seem to apply to today. What do you think about Jeremiah 12:14-17?

ANSWER:  While not directly applied to us now, these verses certainly have a secondary application to what is going on in the Middle East. There is a frightening principle that the nations surrounding Israel need to observe carefully.

   The Lord calls Israel's neighbors "My wicked neighbors" (v. 14). Though God's people, the Jews, have been promised an "inheritance with which I have endowed My people Israel" (v. 14a), they are presently in spiritual rebellion, and will be until they put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

   When Israel's enemies turn against the Jews in the seven year tribulation, the Lord will "uproot them [the enemies of the Jews] from their land and will uproot the house of Judah from among them" (v. 14b). Notice that a judgment will fall upon Israel's wicked neighbors, and upon the Jews as well!

   The uprooting of the Jews took place in 70 AD, but God still promises: "I will bring them back, each one to his inheritance and each one to his land" (v. 15).

   On these verses the Jewish Rabbis write: "Although these nations are God's instruments for the execution of His purposes, they will be punished by exile for destroying Israel, because 'benefit is brought through the instrumentality of the virtuous, while hurt is brought through the instrumentality of the evil.' Their exile will only be temporary if they repent, but permanent if they persist in their evil ways."

   And, "My people will be restored to their land, thus they will! In the future there will be a state of unity and peace, it will be a Messianic forecast of the peace and friendship which will one day in the future reign among all peoples."

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch   

Monday, October 19, 2009

Loud Music in Church

Dr. Couch, what about loud music in the worship service at church?

There is a difference between "loud music" and "strong music" that is, beautiful music in its composure and presentation. As a teenager, I sang in the choir at church, and each year we presented in concert George Frideric Hendel's Messiah. Now that is strong, forceful, and overpowering music! But it is not "loud" in the discordant sense.

   They deny the truth, but younger people like just plain old loud, noisy, ear-splitting music, that in no way can be classified as meaningful. Some argue, "But that is what speaks to us! I say: Garbage! That is what they like but in no way is it edifying.

   I have three rules that I believe are right and correct when evaluating music. And to a degree, the same rules, adjusted, can be applied to art.

   They are: (1) is the music theologically correct? (2) can you understand the words? (3) can you hum the tune, and repeat the words in the shower? If so, the music is coming up and out of your soul. And it is repeatable! If these three rules are violated, then, in my opinion, it is not good music!

   I do not automatically reject contemporary music. Common sense lets us know if it is a good piece of music or not. But unfortunately, most contemporary music does not come up to the standards I have just alluded to. "But Dr. Couch, that is your opinion!" No, it is common sense. Some younger people like the loud, discordant music because, they would argue, it is part of their musical scene, and, it is not accepted by older people, therefore, it is good!

   Try to follow what is being sung in most contemporary pieces of music, and then listen to Amazing Grace! End of discussion!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch
(Oct. 2009)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Catholic Pontiff

Dr. Couch, does the idea of the Catholic Pontiff come from Babylonian theology?

ANSWER:  Yes, and in fact, the idea has a lot of connections with paganism throughout the ancient world. The word pontiff is assigned to the Pope. The origin of pontiff comes from the Latin word pontifex which means "path-maker" or bridge[builder]. The idea is that the Pope builds a bridge to God for the people.

   The origin goes back to Babylonian theology. The Pope is the head of the College of Cardinals. He is the "Pontifex Maximus" or "Sovereign Pontiff." The idea of the Pope is framed on the model of the grand original Council of Pontiffs at Babylon.

   For a thousand years the Pope was invested with the title, which had had attached to it the power of the keys of Janus and Cybele. He is the possessor of these very keys bestowed on Peter, in Catholic theology. Much of this goes back to the Babylonians and their worship of the Goddess Mother and her Son. In Egypt, the Mother and Child were worshipped under the names of Isis and Osiris. In Asia, as Cybele and Deoius. In pagan Rome, as Fortuna and Jupiter, In Greece, as the Great Mother with the babe at her breast.

   Both Janus and Cybele each bore a key, the ensign to their spiritual authority. These two keys are emblazoned on the arms of the Pope's garment representing his power wielded over the Church. Thus, Peter alone had the power of the keys, as well as his successor. For more, see Alexander Hislop's work, The Two Babylons.

   Unfortunately, most Catholics do not know the theology of their own Church!  Most of it is raw paganism!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

Friday, October 16, 2009

Greek Word "Glory"

Dr. Couch, does the Greek word "glory" (doxa) refer to heaven or simply the glory of the person of Christ, or of God, etc.?

ANSWER:  Some try to claim that the word is never used of heaven but this is not so. They seem to do this in order to avoid the idea that the church goes "into glory, heaven" at the time of the rapture, thus making the church a heavenly people. Yet, there is no question that the church saints also will come back with Christ for the blessed period of the millennial reign on earth. We are given a certain amount of "co-reigning" and authority when He returns.

   The word "glory" is sometimes used to describe certain characteristics of God and of Christ. For example, Christ will sit on the throne of His glory (Matt. 19:28), and He will come in the glory of His Father (Mark 8:38), and will finally "enter into His glory" (Luke 21:26). God the Father is assigned glory (John 11:40), Israel is seen in her glory (Rom. 9:4), and too, the church has its glory (1 Cor. 2:7; Eph. 3:21). A woman is the glory of her husband (11:7), the celestial bodies have their glory (15:40), such as the sun (v. 41). The gospel is said to be glorious (2 Cor. 4:4).

   But the word glory is still often used to describe heaven: "Christ in us is the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27), and we shall appear with Him IN glory (3:4). As well, we are to be received "up into glory" (1 Tim. 3:16), and "many sons are to be brought unto glory" (Heb. 2:10). Finally, Peter says we have "been called unto His eternal glory" (1 Pet. 5:10).

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch
(Oct., 09)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

War Concerning the Teaching of Dispensationlism

Dr. Couch, there seems to a war brewing over the teaching of prophecy among Evangelicals, especially concerning the teaching of dispensationlism. The argument is that we dispensationalists are overdoing it. How do we answer?

ANSWER:  The majority of verses in the Bible have to do with prophecy, prophecy already fulfilled and more to be filled in the future. But we are in good biblical company! The Bible gives us the encouragement to teach about end time events. For example:

  •    Paul commended the Thessalonians as to how they were "serving a living and true God, and were waiting for His Son from heaven" (1 Thess. 1:9-10).
  •    About the return of the Lord in the rapture of the church, Paul says he does not want the church "to be uninformed, ignorant (without hope) about the coming of the Lord" (4:13).
  •    Paul reminded the Thessalonians that when he had been with them previously, he taught them about the coming of the Anti-Christ (2 Thess. 2:5).
  •    He says in 2 Timothy 3:1 "But realize (know) this, that in the last days difficult times will come."
  •    The apostle told Titus that he should be "looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus" (Titus 2:13).

   The opponents against biblical prophecy are wrong; we are right! I could go on and on with many more verses of Scripture. The passages above are just the start of what Paul says about the importance of eschatology! Don't let them fool you! Study your Bible; this is what the opposition does not want you to do!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch
(Oct., 09)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Shepherds, Pastors, and Teachers

Dr. Couch, are the shepherds (pastors) the same as the teachers in Ephesians 4:11?

ANSWER:  Yes, indeed. The charismatics are dead wrong by trying to make these two separate gifts, or gifted men given to the church. Paul writes:  "And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as PASTORS (Shepherds) EVEN TEACHERS."

   The reason there is confusion and mistranslation is that pastors today are so ignorant, and few today can work the grammar of the Greek text. So the church is becoming more and more ignorant about what the Bible is truly teaching!

   The grammar is saying "pastors EVEN, INDEED, THAT IS, TEACHERS!" So then, how does a pastor pastor? By teaching! Most pastors are foolish and do not study nor do they teach from the pulpit. They emote, devote, promote, and do not exegete the Word of God line by line. They haven't been trained that way; they don't think that way; nor do they know that this is what they are supposed to do from the pulpit.

   One of the greatest grammarians concurs with me grammatically—Dr. Kenneth Wuest. He says almost line by line what I have been saying, though I only learned recently that grammatically this is what he has always taught!

   He says in his Greek commentary on Ephesians:

   "Paul only mentions four individuals (not five) in verse 11. The student of the English Bible could never know that the words, 'pastors' and 'teachers,' are in a construction in the Greek text called Granville Sharp's rule which is stated as follows: 'When two nouns are in the same case, connected by the word "kai" (and), the first noun having the definite article, the second noun without the article refers to the same person or thing to which the first noun refers and is a further description of it.' Not knowing this rule, the pastor would fail to see that Paul was only referring to one individual when he spoke of pastors and teachers. Thus, he would miss the important truth that God's ideal pastor is a teaching pastor, one who specializes in expository sermons, one whose ministry is a teaching ministry."

   Wuest and I have been yelling in the dark. Few are getting it or listening to what Paul is saying here. This is why most pastors are ending up being cheer leaders, CEOs, psychologists, advertising agents, etc., giving puny sermonettes for weak-minded and simple christianettes!

   Satan just loves it! Because the full explanation of the Word of God is not going forth, nor are the pastors able to explain it!  

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch
(Oct., 09)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Apostasy in the Old Testament

Dr. Couch, is apostasy mentioned in the OT?

ANSWER:  Yes it is, especially mentioned in passages dealing with the future kingdom blessing: like Hosea 14:4-7. The difference with the apostasy in the OT and apostasy in the NT, is that apostasy in the OT is particularly dealing with the falling away of Israel as a nation. In the NT it is about individuals who have a form of godliness but are really not saved. And, there is no restoration for those who fall away in the NT context. But God will restore the nation of Israel. The Jews will be regathered for the kingdom, as mentioned in Hosea 14.

   Hosea 14:1 begins: "Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity." Then Israel, "return to the Lord, receive us graciously, that we may present the fruit of our lips" before the Lord (v. 2).

   God then says, "I will heal their apostasy, I will love them freely, for My anger has turned away from them" (v. 4). "Love them freely" is a reference to the Freewill Offerings, although the Jewish people have not earned God's love. Yet, He is prepared to let them have His love as a gift!

   The Hebrew word "apostasy" is "meshuva" and means "departure, faithlessness, defection." It is related to other Hebrew words that mean "deception, desolate," as referring to a "desolate desert land." Those in apostasy are like the dry desert, spiritually speaking!

   In Hosea 14:5, God says He will be like the dew to Israel that waters the dry land. The Rabbis say, when the messianic Davidic kingdom is established, Israel will blossom like the lily and take root like the cedars of Lebanon. Israel will have beauty like the olive tree (v. 5). With blessing, the Jews will move out of the shadows and "will again raise grain" in the sunlight, and will be prosperous (v. 7).

   The Lord urges the Jews to be wise: they must "understand these things" (v. 9). Because "the ways of the Lord are right, and the righteous [Jews will] walk in them" (v. 9).

   PRAY FOR ISRAEL! God is beginning to work again with the Jewish people; the entire world is moving toward the times prophesied in Scripture! On this Hosea 14 passage, the Rabbis write:

   "With a desperate call God is urging Israel to repentance. Israel is pleaded with in this chapter to give up the folly of wandering from the Lord. Let the people learn from their hard experiences to trust in Him; assurance of forgiveness is held out to them. Dew is essential for the growth of vegetation. The Divine Grace will enable Israel to flourish."

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch
(Oct. 2009)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Matthew 7 and Salvation

Dr. Couch, I have heard some say that Matthew 7:13-27 is about the church; they make a case for belief not being enough to enter the kingdom—only those who do the will of the Father will enter. It seems this section is dealing with false prophets. Aren't these the predominant ones during the time of Christ who claimed to prophesy, etc. And, who were the ones doing this stuff in Israel at the time of Christ?

ANSWER:  I won't be able to deal with this entire section in this short answer. It is important to say here that there are many spiritual principles in this section (Matthew 5-7: The Sermon on the Mount). So I will simply point out some observations that would tell us this is not first for the church; it has to do with what was happening with the nation of Israel as Christ began His ministry. And the passage is more than simply about false teachers.
 Note the following:

(1) The entire section has to do with the presentation of the millennial kingdom, here called "The kingdom of heaven" (5:3; 10, 19, 20; 6:10, 33; 7:21). (2) The church is made up of Jews and Gentiles but in this section, Christ compares the Jews with the Gentiles (5:47; 6:7, 32). (3) The Lord speaks of the synagogue in this section (6:2, 5), and (4) The giving of alms, which was a distinct Jewish practice (6:2, 3).

Note 6:2: the church is not even around! "When you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues ..." 5:20 is a distinct Jewish passage that cannot be understood unless one sees that the verse is aimed at the thinking of the Jews. "I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes (Jewish) and Pharisees (very Jewish), you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven."

   Those who try to make a direct application of the Sermon on the Mount to the church have no understanding of history. There is no question but that the "kingdom of heaven, kingdom of God" is a description of the messianic kingdom! In no way is this used to describe the church age! If this is settled in one's mind, this section of verses makes definite sense. Again, while there are many principles that we can embrace in the Sermon on the Mount, it is not directed to the church age. We can have secondary application in some things the Lord says, but not direct application!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch