Saturday, August 29, 2009

Destroying What God Has Built

Dr. Couch, there seems to be people out here in our churches and schools bent on destroying what God has built? Is this not so?

ANSWER:  Yes, you're right. There are people who are deep into carnality and fleshliness. They are not into heresy but simply carnality! Paul speaks about this in 1 Corinthians 11:19. "For there must be heresies among you, that they which are approved (who are tried) may be made manifest among you."

   I have seen evil men in churches who are heretics. Not doctrinally so but in their actions, Hodge would say. Hodge points out that the word "heresy" here implies that they choose to destroy, say a church or a seminary. The word implies, he says, a "chosen way of life, a party of men who come together to destroy." Hodge goes on and writes: "By the prevalence of disorders and other evils in the church, God puts his people to the test. They are tried as gold in the furnace, and their genuineness is made to appear. It is a great consolation to know that dissension, whether in the church or in the state, are not fortuitous, but are ordered by the providence of God, and are designed, as storms, for the purpose of purification."

   So be prepared for evil men in the church who will try to take over, to divide, and cause trouble. In God's mysterious providence they are sent by Him to make you stronger. There are no accidents with the Lord. All things have a reason for happening!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

President Kennedy Shooting

Dr. Couch, I know you were a cameraman/reporter for Channel 8, and a stringer for ABC-TV, during the Kennedy shooting in Dallas. You mentioned about running past the police barricade on Stimmons trying to catch up with the motorcade after the President was shot. I had never seen the barricade mentioned but by a few other reporters. What a story you have to tell!

ANSWER:  Yes, what a day! I was only one of four people who saw the rifle in the window just after Kennedy was shot. My testimony is in many books. I learned a lot about life and history while being a young reporter during the early 50s and late 60s. I had a lot of "adventures" that few people had. It all helped give me a "world history" understanding that painted a significant background for understanding the Bible.

   Thanks for reminding me of this.
   Dr. Mal Couch

(August 2009)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Contradiction of 2 Thessalonians 2 and Revelation 7

Dr. Couch, I understand from 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 that the lost will believe a lie during the tribulation period. But then in Revelation 7, it speaks of the Gentiles coming to Christ during the tribulation period. Is there a contradiction?

ANSWER:  No this is not a contradiction. It is a both/and not a neither/nor! Revelation 7 reads, "I saw a great multitude, … from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, … crying saying: 'Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb'" (vv. 9-10). Who are these folks? "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (v. 14).

   Many multitudes during the tribulation will believe the lie of the anti-Christ who is driven by the lie of Satan (2 Thess. 2:9-12). They are deceived and "do not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved" (v. 10). Thus, God sends them a deluding ("leading astray") spirit so that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness" (vv. 10-12).

   Yet, thousands will believe the truth during the tribulation! Not all are deceived. Those who come to Christ during this terrible tribulation period will suffer, and die as martyrs. But many survive and enter the messianic kingdom when Christ comes.

   Those who believe in Christ during the tribulation ("those who are beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus," Rev. 20:4), will "come to life and reign with Christ for a thousand years" (v. 5). They are the ones who are "Blessed and holy and who have a part in the first resurrection" (v. 6). This "first resurrection" is the resurrection that takes place as the kingdom period begins. These resurrected ones are the tribulation believers and martyrs. They "will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years" (v. 6b).

   Who are "the rest of the dead" who do not come back to life until the thousand years are completed" (v. 5)? They are the unbelieving dead who are resurrected for the Great White Throne judgment. The lost are resurrected and "judged from the things which were written in the books (scrolls) according to their works" (v. 12). "The dead were judged every one of them according to their works" (v. 13). "They are thrown into the lake of fire, anyone whose name was not written in the book of life" (v. 15).

   It is not difficult to get all of this straight, that is, if one studies by context and takes the Bible at face value. Don't dump all of the Bible verses into one big bucket and mix everything together. Keep things where they belong!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

(August 2009)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Predicting the End Times

Dr. Couch, have you heard of the gentleman in California who is predicting the coming of the End Times on October 31, 2010?

ANSWER;  No, I have not, but I'm not interested! I've lived long enough to hear all kinds of things. I personally believe that we can say we are rapidly moving into the season of the rapture of the church and the beginning of the seven year tribulation period, but we must be careful to set dates because the Scriptures do not! I believe we are into what the Bible speaks about—the apostasy of the church. But how long this period will last before the saints are caught away, no one knows. I believe this apostasy because of the "departure" ("the standing away") we see clearly taking place all around us, both in the world and in our churches. These days fit that description perfectly. But even with this, I prefer to be cautious. I could be wrong!

   However, several things make me sense that we are indeed into the apostasy. (1) The fact that the entire world is now so tied together. And: (2) What is happening in one place is happening everywhere! (3) Israel is back in the land! (4) And the idea of a one-world global government is part of the discussion among all the nations on the earth! (5) As well, the clear determination to drive the Jews into the sea. (6) The rampant explosion of immorality that is consuming all nations. This is exacerbated by worldwide communications, that whatever happens in one place, quickly spreads to another. Evil is being compounded and in no way is slowing down!

   I will not write anymore on this because I have treated it many times in past articles. By the way, everyone should read 2 Chronicles 36:11-21. Does this not sound like what is happening in America today? (Share these verses at your church or with your Sunday school class!)

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

Friday, August 14, 2009


Dr. Couch, what do you think of fasting today?

ANSWER:  Fasting is not commanded by the Lord. And if one traces all the various references out, you find that this was mainly a Jewish practice, though we have several mentions of those in the church fasting.

   On some of the references we have a manuscript and a textual Greek issue. For example, the NAS rightly translates 2 Corinthians 6:5 and 11:27 as "hunger" rather than fasting. Where it is mentioned in Acts 27:9 it is very Jewish, though the apostle Paul seems to have been honoring it while on his trip by sea to Rome. Ger makes the brief comment: On Paul's trip, the celebration of "Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement ("the Fast, ten nesteian) had already come and gone."

   Most of the references of fasting are found in the very Jewish context of the Gospels. There are only a few references made concerning those in the church fasting, as I have already mentioned. We find the church leaders fasting in Acts 14:23 and also in 13:2-3. This will shock many reading this question, but Christ and the disciples did not practice fasting regularly, or at all. The disciples of John the Baptist asked Christ why His own disciples did not fast. He answered: "The attendants of the bridegroom (Christ) cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast" (Matt. 9:14-15). This may imply that the disciples would indeed fast after His ascension!

   The Bible does not make fasting mandatory, and, we find that only the church leaders in some occasions actually fasted. I do not want to judge anyone about this issue. Fasting is up to the conscience of the believer. But it is my experience that those who fast often do it with a little bit of legalism or extra spiritual piety thrown into the mix. They almost brag about their fasting. Of course, they do not have to do this, and I would not want to say that all who feel they should fast from time to time, are doing so from a super spiritualized position.

   The main issue is how one walks in fellowship with his Lord. We all should be aware that if necessary, we can take that extra time to be in communication with Him. Fasting originally began be the fact that one was so burdened and convicted about certain issues in their life, they could not eat! Their hunger had left them and they just wanted to spend time speaking with the Lord. In time, fasting became a "ceremony" or a practice that showed how burdened one was over a problem or issue.

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Babylonian Ziggurats

Dr. Couch, what do you think of the Babylonian ziggurats?

ANSWER: It is possible that one presently in Babylon could be the one mentioned in Genesis, or, it could certainly be one like that in Genesis. I believe also that the pyramids of Egypt, and of Central and South America, are patterned after the ones in Babylon.

   Remember, the Bible is not giving us mythology but factual history that we can rely on. Unger writes in his book "Archeology and the Old Testament: "The Genesis account neither misrepresents the attitude of the tower-builders nor misunderstands the name of the tower. The temple-tower or "high place" called "the hill of heaven" or "the mountain of God," on whose topmost stage the shrine and the image of the city's patron deity was worshipped. The tower shows man's revolt against God and his determination to promote and glorify himself. All history goes back to what the Bible says of the scattering found in Genesis 10, the Table of Nations!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Table of Nations

Dr. Couch, from the Table of Nations in Genesis 10, where do we put the American Indians, and the people of India and China?

ANSWER:  This is a tough question, though almost all scholars, even in the secular world, believe that the Table of Nations is showing us that all peoples come from the three sons of Noah, Ham, Shem, and Japheth. Yet the closest references in the verses have to do with the races that are surrounding the Jewish people, at least to some degree. But even that has to be explained because there are connections within the list of peoples that would cover the tribal nations of Western Europe, Russia, Africa, the Greeks, and the Italians. Unger says the Table is a "remarkable geographic-ethnographic survey of the ancient biblical world that figures in redemptive history and has been remarkably illuminated by modern archaeological research."

   Without being specific, Unger points out that "Christianity has had great outreach upon the Japhetic peoples of Europe and America."

   One of the most valuable books in my personal library is a work entitled The Key written by John Philip Cohane (London: Turnstone Books, 1973). Prof. Cohane worked closely with the University of Pennsylvania. He spent his life working on place-names and proper names found worldwide. He constantly quoted Genesis 10 and the story of Abraham to show the continuity of all peoples around the globe. He wrote: "Starting with no preconceived theories or opinions, objectively sorting out and assembling date, I could not have been more astonished where the chain of facts led me." Thus

    Within a relatively short time, it became apparent that, for better or worse, all of
 [certain words] figure prominently in ancient Semitic legends … Most of them are to be found in the Old Testament, notably in Genesis. This is not to say there may not be a more logical, even earlier, point of origin than the Semitics, but if so I have not been able to find it. On the basis of the evidence it would seem that a high percentage of the people on earth today are more closely related than is generally assumed and that they are bound together by at least one early bloodstream that is Semitic in origin. (p. 19)


There is scarcely a prominent fact in the opening chapters of the Book of Genesis that cannot be duplicated from the legends of the American nations, and scarcely a custom known to the Jews that does not find its counterpart among the people of the New World. It is a very remarkable fact that we find in America, traditions of the Deluge coming nearer to that of the Bible and the Chaldean religion than among any people of the Old World. … Other native legends told of the Garden of Eden, of the expulsion of Adam and Eve, complete to the temptation of a serpent and the sharing of a forbidden fruit. The same familiar legend was also pictorialized in native art that predated the advent of the Spaniards [coming to the Americas]. (pp. 24-25)

   I challenge any one reading this to make it a point to study this book and come up with a paper or a booklet that would shed a tremendous amount of light on Genesis 10. This work needs to be done!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Verses regarding Apostasy and the Nation of Israel

Dr. Couch, we all get the sense that we're there! We are now deep into the apostasy. You mentioned the other day a great verse that speaks to such issues in regard to the failure of the nation of Israel. Could you please refer to that again?

Yes, I was referring to 2 Chronicles 36:14-21. The passage tells us that the leadership of Israel, and the people, "were very unfaithful following all the abominations of the nations; and they defiled the house of the Lord which He had sanctified in Jerusalem" (v. 14). God then "sent word to them again and again by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people … but they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words ands scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, until there was no remedy left" (vv. 15-16).

   The Lord then sent judgment (by the Chaldeans) who slew the people and destroyed the temple (v. 17).

   The Lord then "fulfilled [His word] by the mouth of Jeremiah …" (v. 21).

   A Scofield Ministries website reader sent an excellent email that we can all believe, if we are truly alert as to what is happening in our world!

I think America as we know it is gone for good. The Constitution is out the window and we have a congress that is totally captured by special interests. Voting no longer makes a difference because the only ones running are those who tow the line and are sponsored by big money. The economy is in dire straits and is not going to turn around anytime soon. The majority of manufacturing jobs are permanently gone. Debt is spiraling out of control. Government is going wild. It is only a matter of time before the dollar is devalued and we move toward a regional or global currency. The swine flu situation has many suspect and troubling aspects. Things seem to be getting set up for martial law. – A Reader

   This is really about the apostasy. And it is not just what is happening in America. Things are crumbling worldwide, not simply here in our country. For example, in Australia things are also falling apart. One of the largest denominational groups – the Uniting Church Australia – is rapidly turning liberal. It will soon support gay ministers.

   A concerned Christian in that country keeps me informed about what is happening. He says: "This group is turning toward apostasy, and buying into the Emerging Church idea. They don't care about how Scripture is interpreted. And they are destroying any thought of proclaiming sound doctrine."

   "We will have to move from the Uniting Church Australia (UCA) quickly. The people in the church who wanted to learn true doctrine are now in harms way spiritually. The days are evil and we are in dangerous times. Apostasy is well within all the areas of the churches these days.  I don't know where to go from here. It's hard to trust any church around here anymore. May the Lord come soon!"

   All that the Word of God has prophesied is coming about before our very eyes!

   Dr. Mal Couch

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Chosen Angels

Dr. Couch, what is meant by "the chosen angels" in 1 Timothy 5:21?

ANSWER: The Greek word for chosen is "eklectos" and is two Greek words put together meaning: "The out called ones." In the NT it is used some 29 times, with 28 times referring to the election of the saved in Christ. God protected and preserved many of the angels and did not allow them to apostatize when Satan fell from the presence of God.

   Many believe that when Isaiah said that Satan said in his heart that he wished to "raise his throne above 'the stars of God,'" (14:13) he was referring to the heavenly angelic host. Unger also writes: "The sinless angels of light, are His first creatures—including the greatest of them, who later became Satan—were also called 'morning stars' (Job 38:7), because they were resplendent, unfallen creatures of light."

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch  

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Dr. Couch, what do you think of inclusivism?

ANSWER: This is the view that says all beliefs lead to salvation. And of course, this is certainly dead wrong, and it is anti-biblical! Christ made it clear when He said: "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26).

   He also said: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through Me" (14:6). Between each of the major nouns is the conjunction "and" which is separating "the way," "the truth," and "the life." This makes each independent and standing alone. Also, the article "the" is placed in front of each of the nouns. This makes these nouns absolutely definite! "I am THE way" and there is no other WAY!

   It is impossible to squeeze any other person, system, or ism, up in front of Christ! He is the absolute. No other religious system will work!

   The Lord also used the definite personal pronoun: "I" or the Greek word "ego." In other words: "I" and no other person is capable of offering this salvation! He also used the simple Greek verb "I am" in the present tense. Or, "I just exist presently as the One who is THE (Only) WAY!"

   The last part of the verse also reads: "No one IS PRESENTLY COMING Toward the Father if not through (by means of) Me!"

   The issue is settled!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

Friday, August 7, 2009

Dispensationalism to Reformed Thinking

Dr. Couch, I'm sending you some info from a man I know what says that he jumped ship from dispensationalism to reformed thinking. What do you think of what he said?

ANSWER:  I find it interesting that all he did in the letter was to say how impressed he was with the piety of many of the reformed scholars. He quotes man after man but what I noticed he does not deal with any of their exegesis issues. He could not do battle doctrinally or biblically.

   It does not matter how impressed we are with personalities. What counts is, what does the Bible say? And I found that this is not where your friend is coming from. For some reason, many are "impressed" with the "classical" sound some of the reformed guys put forth. This means that those reading them are not dealing with issues of exegesis and hermeneutics. They are impressed with the packaging and not the substance!

   I find also that the reformed guys are not reading us, yet I have all of their theology books just three feet from my desk. I often read them, check them out on certain subjects, and appreciate them—when they are biblical. But too often they interpret by their indigestion or by the chili they ate the night before! And, they hold views that they cannot substantiate from the biblical text.

   As I have debated with many of the reformed folks I have found they cannot "debate" back. They do not know how to exegete or handle passages. They just say that they are against dispensationalism but they have no ability to really handle the differences in the two views.

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Obama's Birth Certificate

Dr. Couch, have you heard about the flap over Barack Hussein Obama's lack of proof of being an American citizen? If he is not, then he is ineligible to be President, according to our Constitution.

ANSWER:  Yes, and I understand this is a growing issue, with many lawsuits already filed against him to force him to prove his American citizenship. He has spent millions of dollars trying to ward off the attack. Many do not hear about this because the left-wing media is covering up the story. Obama's approval rating is now in the forties and still dropping. Even moderate liberals are seeing the light. There has never been such a constitutional crisis in America as this one—especially within the executive branch of government.

   Maybe God will give this nation another reprieve and shower His grace upon us, even though we do not deserve such mercy! I know this could happen if we repent and confess our sins as a wayward, rebellious country!

   Please pray!
   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Inclusivism and Preaching Christ

Dr. Couch, I believe Romans 10:13-14 indicates pagans are lost, so then we should preach Christ to them, right? Otherwise, why not let them be saved by some other way. What do you think of inclusivism?

ANSWER:  These verses are looking at the lost from the earthly perspective. And yes, they cannot be saved without accepting Christ, and they cannot hear of Him without a "preacher" ("proclaimer"). This does not negate the doctrine of absolute predestination and election. These verses in Romans are giving us the subjective or the human perspective. If you want to fully understand the doctrine of predestination you need to study Ephesians 1:3-14. Read it carefully and slowly. Notice that "belief" is not mentioned because Paul is taking us up to heaven to observe the Divine perspective on salvation.

   Remember my little saying, God is absolutely 100% sovereign and man is 100% responsible. I really cannot understand this but this is what the Bible proclaims from Genesis to Revelation. Paul points out in Romans 1 that men are responsible for seeing God in nature, but even with that revelation, they still refuse to come to Him. Paul is not suggesting that they can be saved by seeing God in nature but his point is that they do not even go past that revelation. They still refuse to believe in Him no matter how great or small the knowledge they have of Him.

   Paul's conclusion on the subject is important: He writes "There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks after God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, thee is not even one" (Rom. 3:10-12). This comes under the heading of  Total Depravity! In some ways 1 Corinthians 2:14 is even stronger. "The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for these things are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually understandable." Thus mankind is really cut off from God and does not wish to seek Him!

   I am not sure what you mean by inclusivism. Please explain.

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

The Episcopal Church

Dr. Couch, the Episcopal Church is clearly into heresy. What does the word mean in Greek?

ANSWER:  In Greek, the word is "hairesis." It is sometimes translated as "sect" (Acts 5:17; 15:5; 24:5; 26:5; 28:22). Often, it was used to describe Christianity in a negative light.

   Paul makes a strange statement in 1 Corinthians 11:19: "There must be factions (heresies) among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you." Here the word is translated "factions" meaning that which is contrary to the truth. In other words, when the church is facing heresy it makes the believers stronger and more resolute in what they believe. "Who are approved" is a Plural Noun related to the verb "dokimazo" meaning "to be tested, examined."

   "There must" comes from the word "dei" meaning "It is imperative or necessary." In my NT commentary series Dr. Dan Mitchell writes on 1 Corinthians 11:19: "Paul was certain that some divisions would occur in the assembly, if only to bring to light those who defend the truth. It is significant that God in His sovereign purpose uses dissension and disorder in the church to put His people to the test." God can use that which is evil to strengthen what is good. He is not the Author of evil but He can use it for His providential purposes!

   Heresy makes us think and investigate. It causes us to re-examine our convictions.

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Reconstructing the Temple

Dr. Couch, I keep hearing about the fact that there are some in Israel who are planning to reconstruct the temple in preparation for the coming of the Messiah. Is this so?

ANSWER:  Yes, there is an organization of very conservative orthodox Jews who are planning to construct the temple. You asked the question, Where? And that I don't know. I do not put much credit to this, and I'll explain below why.

   How many temples have there been? The (1) first temple was the one constructed by Solomon. It was destroyed in BC 586. Then there was a kind of (2) reconstruction or rebuilding of the temple when Nehemiah and Zerubbabel returned to Judah from Babylon. Some do not count this as a distinct temple construction project, though I do. Then (3) there was the Herodian temple that was still under construction while Christ was ministering. It was destroyed by Titus in 70 AD. There will be an (4) "Antichrist" temple that will be built by the orthodox Jews who may think that he is the Messiah. He will apparently give them permission to build the temple, probably after the signing of the seven year peace pact that begins the tribulation. He will enter it and desecrate it according to Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-10. "He will take his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God." Finally, there is the (5) Millennial temple as described in Ezekiel 40-48.

   Some argue: how can there be a restored sacrificial system, since Christ completed the needed sacrifice for our sins? I must remind you that we do a mini-Passover when we take communion. In fact, it is called a "memorial." The revised temple sacrifices are memorials as to what Christ did on the cross. They are not efficacious or required as if under the law. But they are a reminder of the fact that something (or someone—Christ) innocent had to die for our sins!

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

"Mystery" by Amillennialists

Dr. Couch, I really appreciate your work in the biblical languages. Few Bible teachers online today, are doing language studies. Thank you for your insights. Also, on the word "mystery." Many Amillennialists seem to be confused on the word. Did some of the old Amil writers and theologians get it straight?

ANSWER:  Yes, they did. In my Hermeneutic textbook I have a whole chapter on the dispensations of Charles Hodge. He lists the dispensations almost in the same fashion as dispensationalists do today except he leaves out the dispensation of the Kingdom reign of Christ. Paul's point in Ephesians 3 is that the church was not revealed by any means or in any form in the OT. In his commentary on Ephesians, Hodge says what present-day dispensationalists do about the word "mystery." Present-day allegorists would be shocked to know what he writes.

   He says on Ephesians 3:

"The thing made known by Paul was a 'mystery'; i.e. a secret, something undiscoverable by human reason, the knowledge of which could only be attained by revelation. … The mystery of which he here speaks is that of which the preceding chapters (in Ephesians) treat, viz. the union of the Gentiles with the Jews. … The mystery made known to the apostles and prophets of the new dispensation (the church dispensation), that the Gentiles are, in point of right and fact, fellow-heirs of the same body, and partakers of this promise. … It seems never to have entered into any human mind until the day of Pentecost, that the theocracy itself was to be abolished, and a new form of 'religion' was to be introduced, designed and adapted equally for all mankind, under which the distinction between Jew and Gentile was to be done away with. … Neither is the Gentile in the church by courtesy of the Jews, nor the Jew by courtesy of the Gentiles. They are one body."

   With these thoughts Hodge says what dispensationalists do today!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

Monday, August 3, 2009

Israel Adopted as a Child of God

Dr. Couch, there is no passage in the OT that says Israel is adopted as a child of God, though there are verses that speak of the church saints being adopted unto the Lord. What about this issue?

ANSWER:  There is one passage that speaks of Israel being adopted and that is Romans 9:4: "Who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises." Gill and other old great scholars point out that this is "national" adoption for Israel and is not a personal adoption, but is a corporate adoption. It is true that here the Jews are seen as "sons" yet they are also seen as a group, "God's son."

   Israel is seen as a youth, loved of God and "called out of Egypt as God's son" (singular) (Hosea 11:1). It is more common for the church saints to be seen as individual sons of God who have received "a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!'" (Rom. 8:14-15). While we are now adopted spiritually speaking as sons, we still wait for the final adoption when we leave this life (8:23). We receive this adoption (Gal. 4:5) and we are predestinated to this adoption as sons (Eph. 1:5). 

   The word "adoption" is two Greek words put together: "son-placement." We are placed as sons in God's family. We are then considered truly sons with all the rights and privileges of sons!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch


Dr. Couch, how should 1 Timothy 6:10 read? Some translations say "Money is the root of all sorts of evil," and some say "Money is the root of evil."

The Greek text reads: "For (the) root of all the evils is the affection (love) for money (avarice)." The word "love" is philos (affection, to like) and not agape. "Affection for money" is actually one entire word: "philarguros." The reason some translations used "of all sorts" is because "evils" is in the plural. Often it is translated "Of all the evil things."

   Notice what Paul writes in verses 9 and 11. "Those who want to get rich fall into temptation," and, "Flee from these things, you man of God." From the other verses that follow it seems that Paul is directly addressing Timothy. Being a younger minister of the gospel, Timothy may have been open to certain temptations that Paul knew about. We often think that NT personalities walked on water, but that is not true. They faced the same temptations that we face. There is more than one reference where Paul seems to be concerned for Timothy's conduct. In one place he told him to "Flee youthful lusts" (2 Tim. 2:22).

   What the apostle is saying in 1 Timothy 6:10 is sobering. The desire for money is the starting point for all kinds of evils! This does not mean that money is bad! And it does not mean that one can not be wealthy. But those who have been so blessed must be aware of what money can do. There are many in the Gospels and in the epistles who appear to have been wealthy. They were not chided for their wealth.

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Final Judgment

Dr. Couch, I have heard some say that the seven year tribulation is the final period of judgment of the Jews and a final judgment that ends the dispensation of the Law. Is this so?

ANSWER:  There is some validity for this argument because there is no question that the last "week" of the Seventy Weeks of Daniel is a judgment against the Jewish people. The antichrist will "make a firm covenant with the many (the Jews) for one week (one seven year period), but in the middle of the week (three and a half years) he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering …" (Dan. 9:27). It is clear that this is yet future. The book of Revelation continually makes reference to the seven year tribulation by dividing it into "three and a half … and three and a half years, etc." This is referred to about five times throughout the book of Revelation. Also, the antichrist, as Paul reminds us, enters the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem and "exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God" (2 Thess. 2:4).

   One could argue that Christ presented Himself as Israel's King. They rejected Him, and with that rejection, the dispensation of the church began. It must be remembered that the dispensation of the church was not prophesied or spoken of in the OT. It was a mystery, which means "something not before revealed." Paul makes that clear in Ephesians 3. He wrote of:

   "My insight into the mystery of Christ which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit" (Eph. 3:4b-5). That is "that the Gentiles are (to be) fellow heirs and fellow members of the body …" (v. 6). And "to bring to light what is the dispensation of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God … according to the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord" (vv. 9-10). Even the angels in glory did not know about the church age. Paul goes on and writes: "In order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenlies" (v. 10).

   Thus, in the mind of the Lord, the seven year tribulation is the close of God's judgment dealing with Israel before the establishment of the Christ's one thousand year Kingdom reign! The church is but a parenthesis, and it is taken home in the rapture before the terrible tribulation period begins on earth!

   Some argue that the idea of the mystery of the church does not mean that the church is not mentioned in the OT, but this is not so. The most comprehensive and complete Greek commentary on Ephesians is written by Dr. Harold Hoehner. (It took him twenty years to write the 900 pages) He has an excellent treatment on "mystery" and writes:
Paul clarifies exactly when and to whom this mystery first became known. … In
other generations it was not made known to people. … The mystery was made know to him by revelation, and he continues by saying that it was not made known in other generation. … The revelation is made known to all people, even the heavenly powers (vv. 2-4, 9-10). … It was not known by any person in past generations. … Paul discloses that this mystery, which was not known in past generations has now been revealed. … This corresponds with Rom. 16:25-26 where Paul states that the mystery was kept secret for ages but now has been manifest. … The revelation is some hidden thing or a mystery of God that is unveiled in God and cannot be discovered by human investigation. In the present context, it is the uncovering of a mystery that has been hidden in God throughout the ages (vv. 5, 9). (pp. 437-441)

   Conclusion: It is possible then that the seven year tribulation period, which is a judgment upon the Jews (and also a judgment upon the Gentile nations), is indeed the final work with the Jews before the Kingdom is established on earth. Remember, the church is gone in the rapture before the beginning of the tribulation (1 Thess. 4)!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Dr. Couch, who is Aristarchus?

ANSWER:  First, his name means "best ruler." He was a Greek or Roman and close companion to Paul whom tradition says was killed in Rome by Nero. This would stand to reason in that he was one of the closest followers of Paul. He was a native of Thessalonica. What is so interesting about him is that we know little about him! But he was always seen with the great apostle. Apparently, he was just "there," always at Paul's side, doing whatever was necessary to make the burden of ministry easier.

   Aristarchus was seized along with Gaius during the great riot at Ephesus (Acts 19:29). He traveled with Paul from Troas on his last journey to Rome (Acs 27:2). He was with Paul at Rome when the apostle wrote the epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon. It is suggested that he shared his imprisonment voluntarily.

   Various verses speak of the simplicity of Aristarchus' silent companionship. He did not have to do big and great things to be of help to Paul. He must have been simple but always dependable in his nearness to the apostle. Aristarchus was part of Paul's traveling companions who, as a fellow worker, sent his greetings to Apphia and Archippus in Philemon 24. He was in prison with Paul when he sent a greeting to the Colossian saints. He would be an instructor to them if he was able to travel to that city (Col. 4:10). And with a larger group of followers he was seen with Paul when the apostle was threatened with death by the Jews (Acts 20:4).

   Sometimes just one's presence is sufficient to encourage and give comfort to another believer. That seems to have been the role of Aristarchus!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch