Saturday, February 28, 2009

Similarities and Differences in Galatians 2:20 and Romans 6:6

Dr. Couch, what do we do with Galatians 2:20? Have you noticed the similarity with Romans 6:6?

ANSWER: Yes, there is a similarity but too, there is a difference. Romans 6:6 reads: "Knowing that our old man was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin."

"Crucified (once and for all) with Him" is an Aorist Tense. It is completed and finished action. In our Position before God, we died with Christ. Our old self was crucified and judged but still active and causing us grief in the Christian walk. Paul attests to this when he writes: "I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate" (7:15).

Galatians 2:20 goes from this statement about Positional truth to the daily Experience of the believer as he walks about here on earth. Paul uses the Perfect Tense which reads: "I have been progressively crucified with Christ …" In other words the action started in the past and comes up to the present. The result is impacting us now.

On the Perfect Tense, the great Greek grammarians Dana and Mantey say this: It "shows the progress of an act to a point of culmination with its finished results. It implies a process that reaches its consummation, into a finished state. It can be shown this way:
Start>>>>>>>>>>>>>Culmination in the Present.

Putting it all together, Galatians 2:20 reads

I have been crucified with Christ (with the present impact being) it is no longer I who am presently living (Present Tense), but Christ is presently living (Present Tense) in me; and the [life] which I now am living (Present Tense) in the flesh (in this body), I am living (Present Tense) by the Son of God, the One who distinctly loved (Aorist Participle) me and who distinctly gave Himself over, delivered Himself up (Aorist Participle) for me.

The verse starts with Positional truth and then progresses to Experiential truth concerning daily living out the Christian life! This is about the mysterious work of Christ living through the believer. It is impossible to fully understand or explain. We are new creatures. But too, there is the struggle in the Christian walk because there is conflict going on with the flesh. He deals with that in chapter 5. Paul writes: "I say, be continually walking by means of the Spirit, and you will not carry out the lust of the flesh" (v. 16). If we walk by the Spirit then "you may not do the things that you please" (v. 17). "For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another" (v. 17a). "If we are in the new Position, living by means of the Spirit, then let us also in our Experience be walking by means of the Spirit [and not by means of the flesh]" (v. 25).

Can believers transgress in the flesh? You bet they can! Paul writes, "Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass …" (6:1).

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

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Power and Matthew 26:64

Dr. Couch, what does the word "power" mean, and what is going on in Matthew 26:64?

ANSWER: The verse reads: "Hereafter you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven."

Some foolish allegorists and amillennialists think this is about Christ's final coming to simply judge humanity, with eternity beginning right after that. Actually, the word here is speaking of God Himself! The passage is about the Lord's coming to reign on the Davidic throne for the 1,000 year millennial rule. The expression Son of Man is messianic and is never used in relationship to the church. The rule here is not His rule presently over the church. And the Kingdom of God is certainly not the church. It is the promised Kingdom period. Christ has two main offices: (1) to die for the sins of mankind, and (2) to be the King of Israel sitting on the literal throne in Jerusalem as promised in the OT. How dare the amillennial guys to remove His second major office from history! They say that the church has "replaced" His Kingdom reign! What audacity!

The NAS translates dunameos as Power. The word has the thought of "might, strength, ability, capability." In this Matthew 26:64 passage the word is used of God Himself. He is the POWER. He is no less! There is no other Power in the universe!

The word can also be used simply as a noun. Mark 13:25 speaks of the "stars of heaven falling and THE POWERS (pl.) of the heavens being shaken."

Ephesians 1:21 says that Christ presently is "seated at the right hand of God in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and powers (exousia) and DOMINION (dunameos)." Dominion implies that Christ's great power controls all aspects of the universe. He is fully in charge!

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Is The Church Now Part of Israel?

Dr. Couch, some say that John 10:14-16 shows that the church is now part of Israel. Is this so?

ANSWER: Of course not. And, those who take such a view have not read the passage carefully. In the context, Christ is calling Himself the "good shepherd" (v. 14). He is taking on the description of God that is found in Ezekiel 34. There, the heavenly Father calls Himself the Shepherd and Israel His sheep. He reminds them that they are being scattered but that He will someday bring them back to their Promised Land (v. 13).

In the John 10 passage, the Lord takes on that same designation, the Good Shepherd. He then says "I have other sheep, which are not of this (sheep) fold; I must bring them also, and they shall (in the future) hear My voice; and they shall (in the future) become one flock with one Shepherd (which would be Christ)" (v. 16).

Christ is the Shepherd to all believers, whether to the OT Jews or for the church. But note, the "other sheep" are not of the same (sheep) fold, that is the other sheep fold which is Israel, though there is a common relationship that OT saints and/or NT saints have with Him: He is the Shepherd for both! This does not mean that the church has become part of the Jewish Kingdom or of the nation of Israel.

All people who are redeemed are redeemed by the death of Christ. His death goes back to the saving of the OT saints, and it goes forward to saving the NT saints; but there are two different sheep folds!

Study by context, context, and, keep the lines straight when interpreting the Bible!

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Is The Church in the Old Testament?

Dr. Couch, I have friends who foolishly say the church is in the OT. They say that the Greek Septuagint, for example, translates the Hebrew word "congregation" from the Greek word "ecclesia" which can be "church." Thus, the doctrine of the church is in the OT. How do you answer?

ANSWER: These people are just plain foolish and ignorant! I can't be anymore strong about it. The Greek word "ecclesia" can be translated "church, assembly, congregation" but that is simply a judgment call by the translators. Context determines whether we are speaking about the NT doctrine of the church or not. (Note Numbers 10:2.) This is simply a translation issue and not a doctrinal issue.

The doctrine of the church is something brand new in the NT. The Bible is not saying that the doctrine of the NT church is in the OT. And these people who so argue are really crazy and blind, and I might add, argumentative! I can't help but believe they really know better but they want the Bible to say what they want it to say, even throwing common sense to the wind!

In some ways, it is not worth our time to argue with them. Their heads are in the sand and their arguments are so nutty that it is impossible to discuss such issues with them!

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Monday, February 23, 2009

What Is The 'New' Nation in Matthew 21:43

Dr. Couch, what is the "new" nation that Christ is speaking about in Matthew 21:43? Some say it is the church, and that the Kingdom of God has been taken away from the Jews and given to the "church," which is that new nation.

ANSWER: The passage says (Matthew 21:33-44) that the vine-growers take the owner's son (who would be Christ in the context) and kill him and seize his inheritance (v. 38). The Lord adds: The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone (v. 42). Then, "The kingdom of God will be taken away from you (the chief priests and the Pharisees), and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it" (v. 43).

Some foolishly argue that this means the Kingdom of God is taken from the Jews and given to the Gentiles, the church! How does the church "produce the fruit of the Kingdom"? There is no comparison between what happens in the dispensation of the Kingdom and what is now taking place in the dispensation of the church! The Kingdom is a theocracy, with Israel, confined in its governorship to the Promised Land, though the Messiah's rule is worldwide. There is the restoration of the priesthood (Zadokian priesthood) and the restoration of a new Kingdom temple (Ezek. 40-48).

Secondly, the church is never called "a nation." The Jewish leadership got the point; they knew He was speaking of them. "They understood that He was speaking about them" (v. 45). Christ is speaking about a future generation of Jews, a new and later Jewish nation that will embrace the Kingdom. He said, "Truly I say to you, all these things shall come upon this generation" (23:36). A future generation, a new nation, will receive and accept the Kingdom!

Some dumbly attempt to say that when Peter quotes Exodus 19:6, he is there calling the church the "holy nation" as was applied to Israel. Exodus 19:6 reads: "You shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel." (Notice it has to do with Israel, not the church!) Peter quotes this in 1 Peter 2:9 and says to the Jews who are in the Diaspora (the scattered ones), "You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation." While it is true that Peter is writing to Jews who now belong to the church, his point is that the believing Jews have this as their heritage with its national promise. He is not applying this in the broad sense to the church. He says to those Jews, the "scattered Jews," that they have such promises as a nation. In fact, he goes on and says, you are "a people for God's own possession" (v. 9). The believing Jews now have received the promised blessings of the New Covenant as prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31-on. These Jews "obeyed Jesus Christ and [were] sprinkled with His blood" (the New Covenant). They had received grace "in the fullest measure."

Thus, even believing Jews today can be proud of their historic heritage. They were God's "race," His holy race, and "a royal priesthood" that represented Him on earth, and as well, they were designated "a holy nation" which is not said of the church. The church is not a race or a nation, but this is how the Jewish people, even today, are described!

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Sunday, February 22, 2009

What Is the Lie in the End Times?

Dr. Couch, what is the lie that people will believe in the end times?

ANSWER: The word lie comes from the word pseudos, and can be translated lie, deceive, false. Surprisingly, the NT uses the word often with many verifications and combinations. One of the key passages where the word is used in found in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12. There, it is used in the context of the tribulation when Satan seems to have complete control of the world and its philosophies. But it must be kept in mind that, while the passage is about the seven year tribulation, what is happening in that period really began some years before the rapture of the church. In other words, the world progressively moves into that horrible period, not just suddenly!

Satan during the tribulation will be active "with all power and signs and false (lying) wonders" (v. 9). He will deceive the world "with all deception (trickery) of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved" (v. 10). Notice the open door for the satanic deception begins with the world's attitude of not loving the truth! The world does not desire the truth and has no love for it. For this reason, God will send upon them a deluding (leading astray) spirit (influence) "so that they might believe what is false (a lie), in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness" (vv. 11-12).

Now, what is the lie?

The lie may include many things but it begins with a denial of God. Paul writes in Romans 1:25: The lost "exchanged the truth (about) God for a lie (for that which is false), and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator …" The creature is better translated as "That which is created," the physical. To worship humanity is part of this as well. What mankind can create and do is worshipped rather than the God who made man.

Just recently many churches celebrated the birth of Charles Darwin. They consider him a great man and scientist. Darwin replaced "chance" with God, not just in his science, but in his theology. God is dead! The world today despises the truth, and rejects God. Therefore, it is becoming more and more humanistic and moving deeper into immorality. The world has said "There is no God" (Psa. 14:1). From that, men feel no compulsion to know the God of Scripture. Instead, they commit "abominable deeds; there is no one who does God." "They have turned aside; have become corrupt" (v. 3).

This is why there is on its way, the wrath of God! In the future, in the Kingdom period, "salvation will come out of Zion (Israel)" (v. 7), when the Lord restores His captive people, (then) Jacob (Israel) will rejoice, Israel will be glad" (v. 7b).

For the deceiver, the liar, "There is no fear of God before his eyes" (Psa. 36:1). TV shows us the direction the world is going. There is no turning back. We are into the apostasy. The rapture of the church is probably closer than we can imagine!

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Friday, February 20, 2009

Matthew 19:28 and Salvation in the Kingdom

Dr. Couch, what is going on in Matthew 19:28 where Christ says that He would be with the believers in the "regeneration"?

ANSWER: The Lord is talking about the regeneration, the receiving of salvation, in the Kingdom, "when the Son of Man sits on His glorious throne," with "the twelve disciples sitting on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." This word "regeneration" is palingenesia (the again birth) and it is used only one more time, in Titus 3:5.

That passage reads, God "saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of the regeneration (the again birth) and the renewing (the again newing, remaking) by the Holy Spirit."

"The again birth" or the "regeneration," by the Holy Spirit, has to do with the New Covenant. The New Covenant was ratified by the death of Christ and launched at Pentecost. Christ said in Luke 22:20 "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood." His sacrifice on the cross, the pouring out of His blood, begins the New Covenant. The church does not fulfill this covenant but benefits by it.

The New Covenant will be fulfilled by Israel when the Kingdom begins, and that is what is said in Matthew 19:28. In Titus 3:5, it is clear that church saints are saved by the New Covenant, the regeneration work of the Holy Spirit. The church is not Israel, and Israel is not the church.

Paul makes it clear that we today represent the New Covenant. He says that God made us, the church saints, "adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter (of the Law), but of the Spirit; for the letter (of the Law) kills, but the Spirit (through the New Covenant) gives life" (2 Cor. 3:6).

Matthew 19:28 is a great passage that proves the point. For Israel, the "regeneration" of the New Covenant will be fulfilled in the Kingdom.

Christ refers to the regeneration coming, in John 3:3. He told Nicodemus "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (the millennial kingdom)." Born again here is two distinct words. Born happens to be part of the word "regeneration," or the verb gennao. It is an Aorist Passive Subjunctive. The action comes upon the subject. The word again here is mistranslated. It is the Greek word anothen which is better translated from above. However, the idea, and the relationship between the two thoughts are related. To be born again is to be born from above. This is the work of the New Covenant carried out by the Holy Spirit! In John 3, Christ is talking about the same thing as He is in Matthew 19:28. He is not speaking about being born again in the church dispensation but in the Kingdom dispensation. The Lord makes that clear. "Truly, truly, I say to you (Nicodemus) unless one is born of water and (that is, even), the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (v. 5).

(Christ is not referring to water baptism but to the washing of the Spirit which is the application of the New Covenant. Jesus is referring to Ezekiel 36:25-27 which promises the coming work of the New Covenant. "This I will sprinkle (slosh) clean water on you (the Jews), and you will be clean … I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes …" Christ chided Nicodemus that he should have known this Ezekiel passage. He asked him, "Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not understand (know) these things?" (John 3:10). Where could Nicodemus have known of that truth? Only from Ezekiel 36:25-27.

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Psalm 83 and The End Times

Dr. Couch, is Psalm 83 about the end times? It seems to be prophetic concerning the nations that are near her and who come against Israel in the latter days. What do you think?

ANSWER: I agree. The psalmist Asaph pleads with God not to remain silent. "For behold, Your enemies make an uproar; and those who hate You have exalted themselves. They [will] make shrewd plans against Your people, and conspire against Your treasured ones" (vv. 1-3). More, "They have said, 'Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more'" (v. 4).

They have conspired "together with one mind; against You do they make a covenant" (v. 5). (Does this seem like today!) What adds to this view is the fact that the nations mentioned who despise Israel are the nations surrounding her and that are the closest to the Promised Land! "Edom and the Ishmaelites," Moab, Ammon, and the Amalekites. Philistia and the inhabitants of Tyre. But more, even the Assyrians, who today would be the peoples of Iraq and Iran! The way the text puts it, is that the "Assyrians also have joined with them" (v. 7). In other words, the people of Iraq and Iran have joined in a pact to come and help the nations who are closer to Israel to come and help destroy her!

A hundred years ago or so, all the Arab peoples were called by the West, the "Ishmaelites." Today, the enemies of the Jewish people have all been mixed up together; they now are the descendants of the nations mentioned above.

As with the Arabs today, they want what the Jews have. They want to take over the Promised Land, the Holy Land, as their own. They say, "Let us possess for ourselves the pastures of God" (v. 12).

But the Lord will have the last word. He is beseeched by the psalmist to "make them like the whirling dust; like chaff before the wind. Like fire that burns the forest, and like a flame that sets the mountains on fire, so pursue them with Your tempest, and terrify them with Your storm" (vv. 13-15).

While these peoples have an opportunity to turn to God, they more than likely will not. "They will be humbled and perish" (v. 17). They will then know that God's "name is the Lord, and that He is the Most High over all the earth" (v. 18).

Unger believes also that Psalm 83 is a prophetic glimpse of Israel's future troubles and ultimate deliverance into the Messianic Kingdom, the Davidic reign of Christ. It is about the Wrath, the Tribulation, that will last seven years on earth. These nations will be chastened and finally destroyed, though some of the peoples will repent and be saved for the Kingdom.

Unger further points out that there has never been recorded a coalition in the past such as mentioned here in these verses, so the Psalm waits for a future fulfillment. But Unger goes further and says that it is not impossible that this passage could be fulfilled just before the Tribulation, that is, even in our present time! He writes:

Probably its fulfillment will come in some pan-Arabic coalition and attack
on the Israeli State before the church is taken out, or at least before Daniel's seventieth week begins. (Commentary, pp. 866-67)

Interestingly, some of the Rabbis of the past held that Edom was Rome, or the kingdom of Italy. Many have forgotten that about 150 years ago, all of Italy was the kingdom of the Pope. It was his own state, the Papal state. Then a civil war followed and the various kingdoms of the Italian peninsula broke away from the Vatican. That Edom is Rome is a minor view of some of the orthodox Rabbis. On the day of Edom's downfall, the Lord will make war against the nations. When He is victorious, there will come about the resurrection of the dead Old Testament saints in order that they may enter the Messianic Kingdom.

Below is Rabbinical fiction, but it is very interesting:

During this turmoil, the Jews will say to the Arabs, "The temple is ours. Take silver and gold and leave the temple." The Arabs will answer, "You have no right to the temple. Accept our sacrifice and we shall be one people. Accept our faith!" The Jews will answer, "We shall rather slay and be slain, but we shall not deny God!"

The Messiah in the Tribulation will end this conflict; He will say "See the salvation of the Lord!" He will blow upon the Arabs with the breath of His mouth, and all of them will fall dead before Him.

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Monday, February 16, 2009

Bible Student's Toolbox

Dr. Couch, thank you for your most excellent and in-depth answers to Bible questions. I need to have things compute. A thorough knowledge of Scripture combined with original language skills, enables you to clear up any confusions. Your resources should be a part of every Bible student's toolbox.

ANSWER: Thank you for your kind words. I was blessed in graduate school to be thoroughly trained in the biblical languages. However, when I graduated, that institution, and some of the others I attended, started downgrading the training in Hebrew and Greek. I had one recent graduate tell me he could not really exegete the Scriptures because he did not receive enough course work in these languages.

When we lose our exegeses, we will lose our sharpness in doctrine and interpretation. Because the churches no longer want teachers, most of the seminaries are downplaying language training.

But I have learned long ago, that there is no turning things around. This is our generation and it is marching to the drums of the apostasy when strong doctrine will no longer be taught.

Again, thank you for your kind thoughts.
Dr. Mal Couch

Sunday, February 15, 2009

This Evil and Deceitful World

Dr. Couch, I agree with you as to what is happening today in our world. It is indeed growing more evil and deceitful. Can you give some additional verses of Scripture?

ANSWER: Isaiah 26:10 is a great verse of Scripture. God "shows favor to the wicked" but His grace and patience rarely changes things. The wicked "does not learn righteousness. He deals unjustly in the land of uprightness." In other words, he destroys what is good. That is what is happening in America, though the righteous cannot simply blame the evil person. We are responsible for our lethargy and our own sins of omission and commission! There are national corporate sins and individual sins. And there are cultural sins. By importing in a wholesale manner other cultures into America, we are weakening our Reformed, European heritage. But again, we are not innocent. We have allowed what is now going on. All individuals are equal before God, but not all cultures are equal.

I should know. I have been in every Central American country and most of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. All nations and cultures are not the same!

Every believer in Christ, and many, many people who are not Christians, all see the same things happening. And they are agreeing that we now have a nation divided between those who are conservative and want to hold on to strong principles, and those who are leaning to socialism. One European who came to the States recently said, "I'm from Europe and America has now moved into European socialism."

Isaiah 26:10 closes with: "The wicked does not perceive the majesty of the Lord." He just does not get it! The wicked does not understand God and will destroy the nation in which he resides, and that is attempting to honor Him!

Psalm 7:11 points out that God is a righteous Judge, "and a God who has indignation every day" against evil. But His grace is held back for a time. And then His wrath falls upon that evil nation. Even though we are in the dispensation of grace, God still brings judgment upon the world. This is why there are wars and judgments that fall upon the evil countries of the world. It is now building up on America. We are starting to get ours! It will finally tumble in upon us in a rush. It has already begun! One can hear the rumbling as we get closer to the abyss!

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Saturday, February 14, 2009

If The Jews Were Expecting the Messiah, How Could They Have Rejected Jesus?

Dr. Couch, if the Jews were expecting the Messiah based on Daniel's Seventy-Week timeline found in Daniel 9, how could they reject Jesus?

ANSWER: Good question. But it must be remembered that not all the Jews were looking for His coming. And, I'm quick to point out that they were looking for "the season" of His appearance. Only the pious and Godly Jews were looking for His arrival and the promised Kingdom. They did not know the exact time of His coming, but I believe that some, not all, the Rabbis has done some basic calculations and felt that the Kingdom period was close.

I'm basing this on the Gospel of Luke. It is said that Simeon "was a righteous man and devout, looking for the consolation (the Kingdom) of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him" (Luke 2:25). Also, Anna (was among) "all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem" (v. 38). The only indication they could have would be a calculation of Daniel's Seventy Week prophecy. Since ancient people did not have detailed calendars, they would have to estimate some of the facts from that prophecy. They could not be absolute in their figuring.

To accept the Lord was a spiritual matter. Never mind what they could have calculated. Only the Godly would have been ready for His appearance. We read the Jewish leadership said "If we let Him go on like this [in His miracles], all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation" (John 11:48).

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Limited Atonement and 1 Timothy 4:10

Dr. Couch, what is your understanding of 1 Timothy 4:10, where Paul says that God is the Savior of all men, especially of believers?

ANSWER: This verse, along with about eight other passages, destroys the hard Calvinists' doctrine of Limited Atonement. Christ died for all but His sacrifice is applied only to the elect. The Limited Atonement guys say He died only for the elect.

The verse reads: "We have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers." Christ's sacrifice is sufficient for all but applied only to the elect. All men can not, and will not, come to Him as Savior. This is the doctrine of Total Depravity. No one by himself can come to Him. And only the elect are drawn to Him in a sovereign way.

The word especially is the Greek word malista which should be translated "particularly, most of all, above all." Alford writes: "His will is that all men should be saved, and He has made full and sufficient provision for the salvation of all; so that, as far as salvation stands in Him, He is the Savior of all men. And it is in virtue of this … salvation offered by God, that we have rested our hopes on Him and become saved, especially them that believe, God has provided, become actual, He is the same Savior towards all; but these alone who believe appropriate His salvation." This is of course done by His sovereign election.

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Friday, February 13, 2009

Size of the Holy Land in the Millenium

Dr. Couch, there seems to be a difference in the land promised to the Jews for the Kingdom, from Genesis 15:18 and Ezekiel 47:18. In Genesis, the extent of the land goes "from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates." But in Ezekiel, it only mentions "the land of Israel, shall be [to] the Jordan. … This is the east side." Why the difference?

ANSWER: The full extent of the land runs all the way to the Euphrates river in present day Iraq. But notice what is going on in Ezekiel 47:13-23!

The issue in Ezekiel is the inheritance of the "occupied" area during the 1,000 year Kingdom reign. The occupied land area just goes out to the Jordan to the east. It is the "inheritance" to live on. It is for the "occupied boundary" that would be inhabited during the Kingdom reign! It is to be "measured" out to the north, south, east, and west ("to the eastern sea": the Mediterranean).

It is this portion, over to the Jordan river, that is "divided by lot for an inheritance among yourselves and among the strangers who stay in your midst, who bring forth sons in your midst." These strangers (Gentiles) or foreigners "shall be allotted an inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel" (v. 22).

The majority of the Kingdom population will reside in the core of the land, that just goes over to the Jordan river, though the full territory designated the Kingdom land will be all the way over to the Euphrates.

An illustration: I live in the country on an acre and a half piece of property. But our house and yard are confined to just about one third of that space. We do not mow or garden on the front one acre. Our entire land is just one and a half acres but we only live on a third of that!

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

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Judas' Betrayal

Dr. Couch: I understand there is a different translation on the word "Friend" in Matthew 26:50. What does the word mean?

 ANSWER:  Judas brought the Jews to the Garden of Gethsemane in order to arrest Christ while He was there with the other eleven to pray with Him. When he came up to the Lord and said "Hail, Rabbi" and kissed Him, Jesus said to him, "Friend, do what you have come for." The word friend is not a good word to use. It is not the Greek word phileo. The word is hetairos. And though it is translated as friend, this is not the best rendering. The word is used only in Matthew: 11:16; 20:13; 22:12; 26:50.

   The better translation is "comrade, mate, partner, fellow." Judas was part of the contingency of the apostles who were to witness or confirm who Christ was, but he did not have fellowship with Him as one who was close and intimate in the spiritual work of the Lord. From the very beginning he was a turncoat and one who would betray Jesus. 

   Judas' betrayal was even prophesied in Psalm 41:9: "Even my close friend, in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me." "Close friend" is not a good translation either. It is better translated "the man of my peace." It is a strong idiomatic expression in Hebrew for the man with whom I was at peace. And this is true of Judas. Alexander notes that "Our Lord applies this verse expressly to Himself and Judas (John 13:18), which shows that Judas was really included in the class to which the psalm relates." But Judas with his betrayal would kick at Christ with his heel in turning his back against the Lord.

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Beliver's Awards

Dr. Couch, I know you've been doing a series on awards. What about 2 Timothy 4:8?

ANSWER: Yes, that's a great passage. Below is a translation of it that really brings forth what Paul is talking about in terms of awards.

Finally, there is right now (presently) laying up for me the crown (stephanos) of righteousness (how I lived rightly) which the Lord, the Righteous Judge, will (in the future) give forth (award) to me, on that day, yet not only to me, but to all the ones who have been loving (Perfect Tense) the appearance (the coming manifestation) of Him.

God already has the crown prepared, laid up, that has to do with how we live the Christian life. He will in the future bestow it upon us! It will reflect how we have been, in an ongoing process, loving Him. And that loving produces in us a desire to live rightly for His sake. If we have not been going through our walk progressively loving Him and the fact of His return, we will not be desiring to do what He says! The appearance has to do with His coming for His own—the rapture of the church saints up to meet Him in the clouds, in the air, just prior to the wrath that falls upon a wicked and wayward world.

This is a powerful passage!

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Dispensationalism Attacked

Dr. Couch, it seems that on his radio program, Hank Hanegraaff continually attacks dispensationalism from a partial preterist-covenant point of view. What do you think? 
    ANSWER: Nothing! I do not think anything about him. What can you expect from men who have no solid hermeneutical training in the Word of God, who (1) are allegorists, (2) who hold to a view that God is through with the Jews, (3) that the Church replaces Israel, and (4) who are blind to the facts of the Middle East that point like great big arrows to the prophetic promises of the ancient prophets? 

   I simply quote the awesome predictions God made to the nation of Israel through the prophet Ezekiel: 

   "'I will put My Spirit within you [Israel], and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it,' declares the Lord" (Ezek. 37:14). 

   "I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will bring them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, ... and one king (the Messiah) will be king for all of them; and they will no longer be two nations, and they will no longer be divided into two kingdoms. ... I will cleanse them. And they will be My people, and I will be their God" (vv. 21-23). 

   Stick to the Word of God. Do not listen to contrary voices. 

   Thanks for asking.

   Dr. Mal Couch