Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Books on Premillennial Theology

Dr. Couch, I'm convinced. From much that you've been writing I see the error of amillennialism and covenant theology. Where can I read more on how all that heresy began?

ANSWER: I suggest three sources, or study the teaching of three individuals in church history. (1) Philo, (2) Origen, and (3) Augustine. They are the ones who influenced the church the most by their writings on allegorical interpretation.

The sources would be Bernard Ramm in his book Protestant Biblical Interpretation. Read pages 24-38. Read also on Catholic Allegorism (pp. 38-45). Also study the section on the Syrian School of Antioch (pp. 48-50). Antioch was most influenced by the early prophets and probably Paul as mentioned in the book of Acts. They maintained and taught the literal approach to Scripture for generations. Ramm writes "The result of these principles [developed in Antioch] was some of the finest exegetical literature of ancient times." And the literal interpretative school at Antioch, especially in "The commentary of Theodore [of Mopsuestia] on the minor epistles of Paul is the first and almost the last exegetical work produced in the ancient Church which will bear any comparison with modern commentaries."

Check out the three names of the men mentioned above in my Dictionary of Premillennial Theology (Kregel). I also wrote a chapter on the Antiochian School as well.

Read also what I wrote on these men in my interpretation book Classical Evangelical Hermeneutics (Kregel). The allegory and destructive hermeneutics of these men greatly influenced Catholic and then Reformation thinking in their spiritualizing especially biblical prophecy. I really do not think most allegory and amillennial guys know the origin of their own system. They are great quoters but terrible interpreters. They are unable to think textually and biblically.

I quote Trigg who shows the foolishness of Origen in his interpretation on Matthew 24 and the issue of the return of Christ. Trigg points out that Origen, on the two men laboring in the field, believes this "represents good and bad influences on a person's will." How dumb!
And I quote on Origen the great church historian and Lutheran amillennialist, Philip Schaff, when he has to admit that "His allegorical interpretation is ingenious, but often runs far away from the text and degenerates into the merest caprice." I conclude in my book, "amillennialists continue to utilize a system of interpretation that is textually and historically at odds with the normal reading [even] understood by the early church."

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Monday, December 19, 2011

Baptism in the Bible

Dr. Couch, where did baptism come from?

ANSWER: The idea of “the washing” comes from the washings from the OT. The water did not actually spiritually cleanse one, but it was a picture of such a cleansing. There are two words used in the OT context. The Greek word used in the LXX was baptizomai and the related word bapto. The baptismal work of the Holy Spirit is prophesied in Ezekiel 36:25. This is tied in to the coming of the New Covenant that was made for Israel, based on the death and the sacrifice of Christ. The New Covenant would replace the Law Covenant. See Jeremiah 31-on.

Ezekiel 36:25-27 is tied together: “I will sprinkle (“slosh” zarach) clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols” (v. 25). Physical water does not make one spiritually clean. The verses go on and say, “And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes …” (v. 27). “And you will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers …” (v. 28). The great Jewish/Christian scholar Dr. Charles Feinberg (who was one of my profs in grad school) writes: Ezekiel 36:25 “is a parallel to Jeremiah 31:31-34. … This is the coming of the Holy Spirit upon Israel in the future. … The gift of the Spirit is frequently connected with the coming of the new economy (dispensation) for Israel (see 39:29; Isa. 44:3; 59:21; Joel 2:28-29; Acts 2:16 f.).”

This is the spiritual baptism carried out by the Holy Spirit as mentioned by Christ. It launches the New Covenant that was first for Israel but would be applied to the church. The church does not fulfill the New Covenant but presently benefits from it. Israel under the dispensation of the kingdom will in the future fulfill the New Covenant when the Jewish people come to Christ in the land. We are not now in the kingdom! The New Covenant was ratified by Christ’s death and launched at Pentecost, and will be fulfilled when Israel is back in the land and trusting in their Messiah!

Keep the dispensational lines straight and the Bible will all come together. Mix up the dispensations and you have chaos, and, you’ll get rid of Israel and certainly not understand how the Word of God goes together! Only dispensationalists have it right. The covenant guys have it all wrong and they allegorize and spiritualize the great prophecies of Scripture. They are into replacement theology and get rid of Israel just like the Catholic Church does.

Thus, the idea of a washing comes from the OT. But that washing is symbolic of the washing of the Holy Spirit, a baptism! This is what truly saves one, based on faith in Christ. Water baptism does not save! It is but the sign of the spiritual work and the spiritual reality carried out by the spiritual washing, and the union that follows with Christ, all done by the work of the Spirit.

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Baptism and the Washing Away of Sin

Dr. Couch, Acts 22:16 seems to say that water baptism “washes” away our sins. How do you answer?

ANSWER: To understand 22:16 you have to start with 3:19. 3:19 reads, speaking to the nation of Israel: “Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away (blotted out, ‘exaleipho’), …” Repent and return are both Second person Plurals, Aorist Imperatives. Or, “All of you repent and all of you return [back to God] [with the result that] your sins will be blotted out (wiped away).” “Wiped away” is an Aorist Passive Infinitive. Or, “Your sins will be acted upon, blotted away, by God”—“They are to be acted upon by the Lord. He will cause them to be gone!” This is based on their repentance and their returning to God! Of course the message they are to believe in is the fact that “Christ should suffer” [for you], and this “He has thus fulfilled” (v. 18).

This idea then is picked up and applied to Paul here in 22:16. Ananias tells Paul that “it was appointed for him to know God’s will, and to hear an utterance from His mouth. Because he was to be a witness for Him to all men of what he has seen and heard” (v. 15).

22:16 reads from the Greek: “Having gotten up, you are to be baptized yourself, and yourself have your sins washed away, and called yourself upon His name.” All of these verbs show parallel action going on at once. The Middle Voice is used continually, “yourself.” They are all Aorist Tenses. It is all happening at once. 3:19 certainly clarifies what is happening in 22:16. Baptism alone could not be saving Paul or any Israelite, and no other passage would give that idea.

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Matthew 24:40-42 and the Rapture

Dr. Couch, is the rapture in Matthew 24:40-42? Many of the well-known dispensationalists think so.

ANSWER: Heavens no, it is not! I know all the men you mentioned, and I knew the two that have passed on. Remember, they have (and had) a right to be wrong! (By the way, we're talking about the "one taken, one left" verses.)

The clear proof that this is not the rapture is that it is repeated in Luke 17:36-37. There, the disciples asked the Lord, "But where [are they taken] Lord?" He then gives a chilling answer: "Where the body is, there also will the vulture be gathered" (v. 37). In other words, these taken will be the unfaithful servants who will be taken out, when the King comes, and executed. This is what Christ says in the Matthew context. He says in the context of that statement: The unfaithful servant will be taken "and shall [be] cut in pieces and assigned to a place with the hypocrites; weeping shall be there and the gnashing of teeth" (v. 51). THAT IS NOT THE BLESSED RAPTURE!

Besides, after Christ had said in Matthew 40-41 "One taken and one left," He then added in verse 42, "Therefore be on the alert for you do not know which day your Lord is coming." The "you be on alert" is not the church but the Jews who are living when He returns as king. He is coming back here in this context as "The Son of Man" (v. 44) which is a messianic title about His kingship. It is found in Daniel 7. This "one taken, one left" statement is about His return as king, it is not about His headship over the church, nor about His coming for His church. Keep the lines straight. Use good OBSERVATION, OBSERVATION, OBSERVATION!

The one left is the faithful servant who was anticipating the coming of the king; the one taken is the one taken before Him and judged because he did not believe that his Lord was going to come back. That is the case today of many Jews. They are not expecting the coming of their own Messiah! Christ is not discussing the church; He is discussing the kingdom and His return as king, not His return to gather away the church saints!

(Boy, that is so easy! What is wrong out there in the church hinter-land?)

Sloppy interpretation always amazes me!

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Friday, December 16, 2011

Post-Tribulation and the Rapture

Dr. Couch, it seems as if the post-tribers are against the rapture doctrine because they say that Psalm 110:1 teaches that Christ remains in heaven until His enemies are subdued and then He comes back to earth again. What do you say?

ANSWER: They practice what I call "wooden-headed" interpretation. The Psalm 110 passage has to do completely with the issue of His coming to earth to reign. They cannot prove by the passage that He never leaves heaven to gather upwards His church saints in order to get them out of the way for the tribulation. They have a problem, I don't! All of the rapture passages are clear. (Look in the archives in this website. I have an exegesis on almost all of the rapture passages!)

God gathers His own up to Himself. And again, don't mix dispensations. Psalm 110 has to do with His coming millennial kingdom reign. The rapture issue has to do with the church.

The post-tribers have to answer what it means when Paul says "Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them (the resurrected) in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord" (1 Thess. 4:17). I can read! And I know the difference between up and down. He does not come down to reign. We go up to meet Him in the air. We take the Bible verses where we find them. We OBSERVE, OBSERVE, OBSERVE!

The reason we go up is obvious from 5:9. Paul writes, "For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ." The church does not go through the wrath. And the wrath is the entire seven year period, not just the last half. We know this from Jeremiah 30:6-7. The "Birth Pangs" (v. 6) refer to "that day." And "that day" is "great" in a singular sense (v. 7). The church does not go through part, any part of, the tribulation. We are rescued from all of it! This is further explained in 1 Thessalonians 1:10: "Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come," all of it!

Only premillennialists practice good hermeneutics and sound observation. The other guys get very sloppy! And remember, when you work so hard to deny the obvious, you have a hidden agenda. What is their agenda? Usually, it is that they just don't like the doctrine of the rapture, and, they just don't like dispensationalism, though they really can't tell you why.

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Magi

Dr. Couch, who were the magi? Were they "three kings of Orient"? Were they three races, as sometimes pictured?

ANSWER: We have really fouled up the magi story! First of all, we do not know that they were "three" in number; that idea comes from the fact that they brought three precious items to the baby Jesus—gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matt. 2:11). (This is a fascinating story in itself!) If anything in regard to their race, they would have been Babylonian for that is where we get the idea for the magi.

The Greek word magos in the text is plural—magoi. The word means "the great ones." The term is related to the words "majestic, magnanimous." It is referring to the astronomers, astrologers of Babylon. They probably came from Shushan, the royal city of Babylon, or, possibly from Ur.

How did they know they were seeking the King of Israel, and what was the star they saw, while they were residing in the east? More than likely they had read the cryptic prophecy in Numbers 24:17 which says: "I see him, but not right now, I behold him, but he is not near. A star shall come forth from Jacob, and a scepter shall rise from Israel, and shall crush the head of Moab." (The people of Moab were the most violent enemies of Israel at that time.)

From their vantage point, looking west, they saw the star standing over Israel. This was a miracle star that God put in the heavens to announce the arrival of His Messiah, the anointed Ruler of the world!

How did the magi find this passage? We must remember that they were astronomer/astrologers who belonged to that school in Babylon. We must also remember that Daniel (over 400 years before) was made the dean of that university when he was ruling in Babylon. We read, "King Nebuchadnezzar … promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts, and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and … over all the wise men of Babylon" (Dan. 2:48). More than likely then, Daniel placed in their library the Torah scrolls of Moses. Since these men saw the star over the vicinity of Israel, they went into the library and found the Jewish scrolls and began to read through them. When they found the passage, and put together the vision of the star, they calculated that the Messiah (the King) was born. I believe they continued to read and discovered that the One being born was the Son of God. They truly believed in Him and came to worship Him with a genuine faith and trust, not simply doing a political homage to the birth of a politician.

On Numbers 24:17 Unger writes: "The 'Scepter' envisions the Lord coming to rule the earth as absolute King and Lord (Rev. 19:16). The 'Scepter' is owned first in Zion and extends to the ends of the earth when Shiloh comes (Gen. 49:10)."

Jesus did not come to reign in our hearts! He will someday be the King ruling over Israel and over the entire world in a literal, historic way, not in some allegorical, "spiritualized" way, as the covenant guys see it. King Herod got it right. He knew that the Messiah could replace him as ruler. Even a pagan king understood literal language over what some allegorical theologians wrongly teach today!

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Kingdom of God and The Kingdom of Heaven

Dr. Couch, is the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven the same thing?

ANSWER: Yes, they are, and I prove it in my Hermeneutic book, page 291. When Dr. John F. Walvoord saw this chapter he went silent! He realized that I had proven the point. You need my Hermeneutic volume, one of the few books on the subject.

Since I have so proven the point I won't repeat the information here but just to say, get the volume! The full title: An Introduction to Classical Evangelical Hermeneutics (Kregel).

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch (11/11)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Do Not Pray

Dr. Couch, are there ever times we are told by the Lord not to pray?

ANSWER: Yes, there are such times. When Israel was so rebellious and sinful God told Jeremiah: "Do not pray for this people, and do not lift up cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with Me, for I do not hear you. Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?" (Jer. 7:16-17). He added: "Do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them; for I will not listen when they call to Me because of there disaster" (11:14). And, "Do not pray for the welfare of this people. I am not going to listen to their cry; … I am not going to accept them. Rather I am going to make an end of them by the sword, famine and pestilence" (vv. 11-12).

The Lord added, even if Moses and Samuel interceded for them I would not respond (15:1). "My heart would not be with this people; send them away from My presence and let them go!" They will ask, "Where shall we go?" They are doomed for death, and the sword, and for famine, as well as captivity (v. 2). "I shall appoint over them four kinds of doom: sword, dogs to drag them off, the birds to eat their flesh, and the earth to devour their flesh" (v. 3). All kinds of horror will overtake them.

So with America! We are doomed for destruction. We had it all and threw it all away. To pray for America is quickly becoming a waste of time. For Israel, even if Noah, Daniel and Job were in their midst, they could only save themselves, not the people of God (Ezek. 14:14).

The Lord will reach a point when He is finished with the sins of America and will not respond to our needs. People can push Him too far with He says enough is enough! We don't think that can happen but indeed it can! We try the Lord to the inth degree and He gives up on a wayward people. We must accept His mercy NOW and not try Him forever! I believe America has almost reached this point now.

Thanks for asking.
--Dr. Mal Couch (10/11)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Scofield Reference Bible

Dr. Couch, which Bible do you recommend, the old Scofield Reference Bible or the newer one?

ANSWER: Both are great helps for understanding the Scriptures. I lean toward the newer version because I personally knew almost all on the revision committee. They were friends of mine, and/or I worked with them at various Christian colleges and Bible schools. Get the newer version—you'll really find yourself using it a lot.

God bless. --Dr. Mal Couch (10/11)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

2 Corinthians 5:17-21

Dr. Couch, what does Paul mean when he says that God has reconciled the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them (2 Cor. 5:17-21)?

ANSWER: To reconcile means to remove enmity between two parties. It involves a “change in relationship” so Mitchell notes. The first reaction is to think that the entire world has been “saved” but that's not Paul's point. He is referring to the world of those who have been saved. In other words, God has supplied for people a reconciliation based on the death of Christ. They still have to appropriate His work on the cross. This is not a statement of universalism.

Hodge points out “God was making atonement for the sins of the world, By the world (without the article) he meant 'man, mankind.'” In the same sense Christ is called “the Savior of the world, or the Savior of men,” Hodge goes on: “God has commissioned his ministers to announce to all men that God is reconciled and ready to forgive, so that whosoever will may turn unto Him and live.”

Barrett adds: “Transgressions are no longer counted against men, the way is now open for reconciliation; nothing remains but for men to take it, what God has supplied.” But they must receive His offer of redemption. Men are not saved until they appropriate the provision in what Christ did on the cross. But salvation is now ready to be received! God “loves the world” (John 3:16) but this does not mean the world is saved until it accepts what Jesus did for it.

This is a provision; it is not universalism, as if salvation is now automatic. Men must believe.

The BKC goes on: “Reconciliation involves removing rebellious and sinful man's enmity toward God. This is one of the many marvelous accomplishments of the Godhead on behalf of a person the moment he believes in Christ. People no longer need to be the object of God's wrath. Men's sins are no longer counted, that is, imputed or reckoned, against them, for Christ has taken them on Himself.”

“The world” then is the world of those who believe in Christ. Men must appropriate what was done for them in Christ.

Thanks for asking.
--Dr. Mal Couch (10/11)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Yum Kippur

Dr. Couch: What is Yom Kippur?

ANSWER: This is the Day of Atonement that comes in the Fall. It was the Day in which Israel was to repent of their sins both nationally and personally. In the book by Scofield Ministries entitled "Messianic Systematic Theology of the Old Testament" you can read a full treatment of the subject. The Day of Atonement is not mentioned in the NT. Christ completes the work of our full salvation and therefore we are not under a repeated Atonement today.

The main passage on Yom Kippur is found in Leviticus 16:29-34. The Jewish Rabbis write extensively on the subject from the orthodox perspective. The Jews were told that once each year they were to confess their sins. Kippur means "a covering." You can hear "covering" in "kippur." Repentance and contrition is a great part of the Day of Atonement. The Rabbis say "without such confession, accompanied by the solemn resolve to abandon the way of evil, fasting in itself is not the fulfillment of the Divine command and purpose of the Day of Atonement."

The Jews knew the importance of sacrifice in Atonement. The Bible says "the blood by reason of life that makes atonement" (Lev. 17:11). And the Lord adds "You must afflict (humble) your souls" (23:32). The Rabbis add: "while life and blood are not quite identical, the blood is the principle carrier of life. The blood on the Altar was for the spiritual welfare of the worshiper, not for the gratification of God."

I have been in Israel in October on Yom Kippur 1973, at the time when the Arabs attacked the Jewish people and almost were victorious against them. I was there one other time during Yom Kippur and joined the Jewish families when they gathered together at the Wailing Wall to celebrate that great day. The families put down blankets on the pavement, had food for the small children and then read the book of Lamentations, written by Jeremiah as a reminder of the Fall of Jerusalem and the temple in 586 BC. What a great experience!

Thanks for asking.
--Dr. Mal Couch (10/11)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

God's Gift of Faith

Dr. Couch, is faith a gift of God as it seems to say in Ephesians 2:8?

ANSWER: The passage reads: "Saved by faith (Feminine), and that (Neuter) not of yourselves, it is the gift (Neuter) of God." The "gift of God" is Neuter and it points back to "that" which is also Neuter and is pointing and modifying the word "gift." Salvation includes the faith and it all is God's gift. He is the One who is activating the entire process of salvation.

Nicoll says the verse can read "God's gift it is. The salvation is not an achievement but a gift, and a gift from none other than God."

He goes on: "That the glory of that salvation belongs wholly to God and in no degree to man, and that it has been so planned and so effected as to take from us all ground for boasting, is enforced on Paul's hearers again and again, ..."

Hendriksen writes: "Salvation is the gift of God followed by a fourth and fifth repetition, namely, not of works, for we are His handiwork."

Several other great verses tell us that faith is a gift of God. Paul writes: "Peace be to the brothers, and LOVE WITH FAITH FROM GOD THE FATHER and FROM the LORD JESUS CHRIST" (Eph. 6:23).

And "by GOD'S DOING you are IN Christ Jesus, who BECAME TO US … righteousness and sanctification, and redemption" (1 Cor. 1:30).

Also, "God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation THROUGH, BY MEANS OF sanctification by the Spirit and (by means of) FAITH IN THE TRUTH" (2 Thess. 2:13).

Thanks for asking.
--Dr. Mal Couch (10/11)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Is Gog the Anti-Christ?

Dr. Couch, could Gog be the anti-christ in Ezekiel 38?

ANSWER: No, not really. First, he is only over the land of Magog (and he is also the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal) and not the entire world, or the Roman empire, as all believe he will be, from what is said in Revelation. The description of him does not match up with Revelation 13 or any other thing describing him in Revelation. In Ezekiel 38 his description is too limited. The event of Gog and Magog is confined and is not universal as played out in Revelation.
Thanks for asking.
--Dr. Mal Couch (9/11)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

"The Rest of Her Seed"

Dr. Couch, who are 'the rest of her seed' in Revelation 12:17? Are these the church saints?

ANSWER: No. At this point, remember the world is deep into the tribulation. The church saints have been raptured. The "her" is not the church, "she" is Israel that Satan is trying to destroy. Remember context, context, context!

The Jewish people keep God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus as well. Thomas says rightly "this sequence says rather plainly that 'the rest of her seed' is none other than the 144,000." He adds, "The rest of her seed as the 144,000 Israaelites who were sealed in chapter 7. These have the distinction of being active witnesses throughout the world during the last three and one half years before Christ returns."

Thanks for asking.
--Dr. Mal Couch (9/11)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Sin Nature

Dr. Couch, do we still have the tug of the sin nature in the Christian life?

ANSWER: There is a lot of confusion on this issue. While POSITIONALLY the old man was crucified with Christ we still wrestle with sin in the life. Romans 7:14, 17, 20, 21 are good verses that tell us we have a struggle even as Christians with sin. Paul writes: "I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin" and "sin which indwells in me," "sin which dwells in me" and "evil is present in me." This is not about our past position, it is about the present Christian and spiritual walk.

We read in Romans 6:6 that the "old self (old man) was crucified with Him." This is positionally truth. But then Paul adds that in our walk we should "no longer be slaves to sin" (6:6). Positionally, "we died with Christ (v. 8) and we now are "to live to God" (v. 10).

Therefore, in the walk we are "to consider, reckon" ourselves "alive to God in Christ Jesus" (v. 11). With a Present Imperative we are to "not allow sin to reign, rule in our mortal body that we should obey its lusts," again, in the walk. "We are not to be presenting the members of our body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness, but (instead) be presenting ourselves to God as those alive from the dead and our members as instruments of righteousness to God" (v. 13).

Those who have problems with the differences between POSITIONAL and EXPERIENTIAL truth get all of this confused. It really is very simply. For example, Paul says we are now "in the heavenlies" ("heavenly places") in God's viewpoint, that is, POSITIONALLY, we are there, in glory! (Because God is not bound by time!) But in our time-walk, in the daily experience, we are still living out the Christian life on earth.

May this help in our understanding in the struggle in the Christian life.

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch (9/11)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Is the Sermon on the Mount for today?

Dr. Couch, I understand that some think that the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7) is not applicable to the church age today. Is this true, and, what do you think?

ANSWER: In the Bible there are first and secondary applications in various chapters. A question: is the Law in the OT seen with a first application to us today, or a secondary application? Are we under the Law, or was the Law for the Jewish people during their existence in OT times?

All would answer that the Law was for the Jews during the dispensation of the Law. Yet, there are great spiritual principles in the Law for us today, but not with direction application. I can learn many great principles from the Law as I read it but we are not under the Law in a direct way now in this church age.

The same is true with the Sermon on the Mount. For example we read in Matthew 5:3 of the "poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Do the poor today receive blessings by being under the kingdom of heaven? Of course not, the kingdom of heaven is the messianic kingdom that is yet to come, when Christ returns as Israel's Messiah! This was anticipated by the Jews, but the kingdom of heaven is not the church today.

Do you think that 5:20 is about us today, those now living in the church age? It reads: "Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven." Do you think that is for the church presently? Of course not!

Are we guilty of fiery hell (5:22) if we say to a brother RACA? This is extremely Jewish and must be understood in regard to the Jews who were then under the Law.

Do we stand and pray in the synagogue as mentioned in 6:5. No, we do not. Do we "seek first His kingdom and His righteousness" as the Jews? To a certain extent yes but in another sense we do not (6:33).

Again, while there are certain spiritual lessons in the Sermon on the Mount for us today, these verses are not first for the church dispensation. They were for the Jews who were looking for the messianic rule of the Messiah over Israel in the Holy Land. First application would be for Israel and the Jews; second application would be for us, but interpreted with caution.

When we read our newspaper we apply the same principles of interpretation. I know that the first page of my newspaper is about "hard" news and is not the advertising section of the paper. I know that it is not the editorial section, nor the want-ad section. When I read my newspaper I read it with sound "hermeneutics." I apply the various sections in the proper way. I don't simply apply every paragraph directly to me, from every sentence, with a broad stroke of the brush! I do the same when reading and applying the Bible to every situation.

Common sense is needed when reading the Scriptures!

I hope this helps. Thanks for asking. --Dr. Mal Couch (9/11)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Reformed Theology and Dispensationalism

Dr. Couch, Thanks for your ministry. I was introduced to you and your bible teaching by a student at Tyndale seminary about eight years ago when I was a new christian. Your books and sermons have really helped give me a foundation in dispensational premillenialism when many of my younger christian friends were were headed into reformed theology. While I was reading Ryrie, Couch, Lahaye and Lutzer, they were reading Sproul, Berkhof, and Kenneth Gentry. It seems that the popular and "in" thing is to head in the reformed direction. Have you heard of the "young restless and reformed" movement that is going on? John Macarthur, R.C. Sproul and some other notable pastors and theologians are encouraging it. To be very honest it seems that the men I know that are involved in this sort of thing are doing it just because it is popular and sort of noble to be "reformed." What do you think about this?

When I have talked to reformed guys about dispensationalism, and read blogs from guys like Kenneth Gentry, they will often accuse dispensationalism of being a new heresy that developed in the 19th century. People i know have jumped on this bandwagon. Oddly enough they dont want to actually talk about the biblical text they just want to bolster thier arguments with the names and opinions of their favorite theologians and bible teachers. How would you deal with this. Thanks for your ministry, and thanks for providing your bible lessons free on your website they are the epitome of great bible exposition and clear teaching.

ANSWER: Unfortunately, there is a war going on between hard core Reformed guys and dispensationalists. The dispensationalists are right. The Bible is "Dispensational," and that can be proven all the way back to the early church. While being dispensational is not exactly being premillennial, the two are very close together. All dispensationalists are premillennial! The early church was clearly premillennial and so were the orthodox Jews. Christ and the disciples were. They made it clear that the church and Israel were not the same nor were they inter-linked.
What is happening is not a textual war but a philosophical skirmish. The Reformed guys just don't like dispensationalism. I want to thank you for your great letter.

 --Dr. Mal Couch (9/11)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Resurrection and Rapture in Philippians 3:11

Dr. Couch, could the word "resurrection" (ex-anastasis) in Philippians 3:11 actually be about the rapture rather than the resurrection, as it is now translated?

ANSWER: You are correct in that this is the only place where this word is used in the NT. Technically, it translates "out-up-stand." It would be doubtful that it would be translated as "rapture." The verse concludes:

"That I may arrive at (attain to a thing, may become a partaker of) the out-up-stand along with the dead ones."

The word is clearly a compound and it is most unusual. Paul really wants to stress the resurrection. If the word was about the rapture it would include that thought, but here, he only touches on the resurrection of the "dead ones." If the rapture does not happen before he dies, he will join the righteous dead when they are brought back alive.

Thanks for asking.

Dr. Mal Couch (9/11)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hebrew Language and Studies

Dr. Couch, you seem to have a lot of books on the Hebrew language and Hebrew studies. I find few who can translate the language and who understand the grammar of this subject.

ANSWER: You are right. Almost none in my graduate classes continue studying Hebrew. I have some of the most important grammar books and commentaries on Hebrew. I translate several verses each week because I think both Hebrew and Greek is important if I am going to be an engineer of the Scriptures! The books I possess you can hardly find today. I am blessed with a great language library.

I spent three years studying graduate Hebrew with the outstanding scholar, Dr. Merrill F. Unger. What a blessed man! My class went through the book of Zechariah in Hebrew with him. I sat on the front row in order to get all I could from his mind and his heart. I never gave up on his instruction, as many of my classmates did.

Remember, the Hebrew of the OT and the Greek of the NT, is indeed the Word of God! It is a blessed privilege to study the Bible in the original languages! Why any student would throw away all the effort of such study, I cannot figure out. More and more, students are giving up on theology and the biblical languages. Such efforts are disappearing. More and more are throwing in the towels on wanting to know the Scriptures. This is a part of the sign of the approaching apostasy taking over our churches and our seminaries.

—Dr. Mal Couch (8/11)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hebrew Massoretic Text

Dr. Couch, is the Hebrew Massoretic text reliable?

ANSWER: Yes indeed, it certainly is. The ancient Rabbis were very careful to copy and transmit the Old Testament text with great accuracy. If they made copying mistakes they started all over again in order to make sure that no mistakes were allowed to sneak into the new copied work.

The Hebrew scribes of the earliest times take care to be accurate. The work was transferred over to the Talmudic Rabbis from 200-500 AD with continual guarantees that what they copied was not compromised. Jewish scholarship emigrated eastward to Babylon in the second century through the tenth century to make sure that scholarly traditions were maintained in keeping the Old Testament copies accurate. With certainty the Babylonian variants were listed in the R. Kittel edition known as the "Biblia Hebraica" (1929-1937).

In graduate school I cut my teeth on the Kittel edition. There has been almost no question on the Kittel version. Unger writes: "The Massoretes manifested the same spirit of deep loyalty and devotion to the Sacred Scriptures as the inspired and authoritative Word of God, which had been handed down to them, that had been characteristic throughout the centuries of the history of the nation chosen to be the recipients and the custodians of the Bible."

Thanks for asking.

—Dr. Mal Couch (8/11)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Was the Church Around Before Pentecost?

Dr. Couch, I have heard some say that by their careful exegesis the church started before Pentecost. What do you say?

ANSWER: I think they are a little looney! There is no evidence that the church began before Acts 2. More than likely these are amillennial folks who can't read very well. The first reference to the church as the beginning of a local body of church believers is found in Acts 5:11, which reads: "Great fear came upon the whole church ..."

Matthew 16:18 is a future tense in which Christ is predicting the establishment of the church. Unfortunately, Matthew 18:17 is a mistranslation. It reads in the English: "If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; ..." The Greek word is ekklasia which is often translated "assembly," as referring to the Jewish synagogue.

Remember, we translate by CONTEXT not simply by the fact that we see a particular word. Context, context, context, is the key to good exegesis!

The Greek lexicon says that the word can be used thusly: "A gathering of citizens," "assembly of the people." From the LXX: "An assembly of the Israelites" in Judges 21:8. Also, "Any gathering or throng of men assembled by chance," and, "A religious meeting."

Only when there is a true assembly of believing Christians in reference to the New covenant do we translate the word as "church."

Thanks for asking. —Dr. Mal Couch (8/11)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Jeremiah in the LXX

Dr. Couch, I have heard that the book of Jeremiah in the LXX is about 1/7 shorter than in our Bibles. Is this true? Where can I get a good source on the issue?

ANSWER: Dr. Charles Feinberg in his Jeremiah commentary has a good discussion on the subject. Check him out on pages 15-16. The liberals deny chapters 50-52 as having been written by Jeremiah. But Dr. Feinberg deals objectively with the problem. He was one of my professors in graduate school. He was one of the most outstanding Hebrew scholars of the last century. (I was blessed to sit under the giants such as Dr. Feinberg.) Today, students in seminaries do not get to study under such outstanding scholars. Only us "old guys" have had that privilege. This is why we are going into an apostasy. Younger guys are not getting the goodies that many of us did in days gone by!

Thanks for asking.

—Dr. Mal Couch (8/11)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Effect in 1 Corinthians 12:10

Dr. Couch, what does "effect" mean in 1 Corinthians 12:10?

ANSWER: It is the Greek word for "work," dunamis. It can be translated "to produce power or results." It reads in many versions: "to another the effecting ..." These are the gifts of the Holy Spirit listed in this context. He is the one producing works coming through the believer.

Thanks for asking. —Dr. Mal Couch (8/11)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Image of the Beast

Dr. Couch, did the religious beast make an image of the beast in Revelation?

ANSWER: We all get a little confused about this issue because of 13:14-15. It is the people who construct an image of the beast but the verses say: "There was given to the (religious) beast to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast might even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed." And "he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand, or on their forehead."

So while the religious beast does not build the image of the beast he still causes apparent "miracles" to happen through it that fools the people of the earth! We sometimes have a slip of the tongue in how we speak of the image. The bottom line, the people build the image—the religious beast manipulates it and deceives the people.

Thanks for asking.
—Dr. Mal Couch (7/11)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Turning Against Israel

Dr. Couch, I'm convinced that more and more churches are turning against Israel, some even denying that they even existed. What do you say?

ANSWER: This is a sign of the times. I firmly believe we are deep into the apostasy of the church whereby they are turning away from the truth, and the faith, just as the Bible predicted. While I'm not a date setter, I think we're closer to the rapture then we could believe. I think churches have three distinct messages today. (1) the gospel of salvation in Christ, (2) the issue of total depravity and the sinfulness of man, and (3) the doctrine of biblical prophecy. I would also include the fact that the churches should be teaching what is happening in our culture as a warning to our people. This is why elders are also to be called Episcopas, that is we are to be "overseeing" what is coming and giving a warning to the congregation.

Thanks for asking.
—Dr. Mal Couch (7/11)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Anointing

Dr. Couch, what is the anointing in 2 Cor. 1:21 and 1 John 2:20, 27?

ANSWER: The Greek lexicon says that it is a smearing of unquent and an oinment. In 1 John 2:20, 27 the lexicon says "This is regarded as endued with the Holy Spirit rendering the individual holy." But there is more. 2 Cor. 1:21-22 reads: "God who establishes us with you in Chris and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave to us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge." "To establish" means "to make firm, to make steadfast and constant in the soul." Look at the results, with the anointing: "And to seal us and give us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge" (v. 22). This establishing, anointing, and sealing brings about this work of the Spirit in our hearts.

I wrote in my Holy Spirit book, "This refers to an imparting of knowledge of spiritual truth and knowledge that gives a framework for living the Christian life. The apostle John speaks of this anointing also in 1 John 2:20." Barrett adds: "God made us share the anointing of Christ Himself being the Anointed One (Xristos [Christ] --- Xrisas [Anointing]). We share His vocation and mission and as themselves anointed are assured of this not by the steadfastness of their own faith, or by the warmth of its emotional accompaniments, but by God Himself."

—Dr. Mal Couch (7/11)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fruit Bearing

Dr. Couch, what is going on in John 15 and the issue of fruit bearing?

ANSWER: The context is about the believer being a branch in Christ who is, or who is not, bearing fruit. As a branch, if there is no fruit bearing the branch is removed from that position of being a branch. But notice, the branch is judged by "them," by "men" or by others and are burned, that is, they are judged by other people, even the lost, if no fruit is produced.

This is not about our position "in Christ" in regard to our salvation but it is about fruit bearing, not about redemption. In fellowship, all one has to do to bear fruit is "to abide in Him" (v. 5). (Present Active Indicative) "The branch who is continually sticking, staying with Christ."

This "abiding" means in Greek "to remain with" Him, stay with Him, "don't go away!" Notice that verse 6 says "they" meaning men, or people, gather them (the wayward) believer, and then men (these people) cast them into the fire (referring to a judgment) and they are burned or judged for lack of fruit bearing (v. 6). God is not casting the believer into the fire for judgment but "they" (others) are judging the believers for their lack of producing fruit.

Christians cannot bear fruit by themselves. Christ said "The branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides (sticks or stays with) the vine, so neither can you, unless you continually stick with, stay with" Him in a fruit bearing position (v. 4). This is not about positional salvation but about staying with Christ in order to bear fruit. Salvation is not the issue but good works is what the passage is all about!

Notice that the Father is glorified when we bear fruit. Salvation is not the issue. Bearing much fruit is what the Lord is looking for (v. 8).

I hope this helps.
—Dr. Mal Couch (7/11)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Signs of the Rapture

Dr. Couch, are there any signs that the rapture may happen soon?

ANSWER: The Bible gives no signs for the rapture of the church, though there are some markers that may indicate we're getting closer. In other words, we're getting closer to the coming tribulation because the Jews are back in the land as prophesied. And the rapture takes place just before the tribulation.

The apostle Paul said that he was in a period of apostasy but he also spoke of a future and final apostasy that would come in the last days. "The Spirit says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits ..." (1 Tim. 4:1). "Realize that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of money ..." (2 Tim. 3:1). These days obviously come upon the people before the rapture. I believe we are in these times now, so the rapture is soon.

The order then is: 1. apostasy, 2. rapture, 3. tribulation, 4. return of Christ and the establishment of the kingdom. The key to all of this is that Israel will be back in the land, which it is now!

I believe there are two stages in the end-time apostasy. There is (1) the falling away (the apostasy) of the church, and, (2) the cultural apostasy, when the culture gets worse because the light of the church has gone out.

The cultural apostasy is described in 2 Timothy 3:1-9. "For MEN (the lost, not the church) will be lovers of money, boasters, arrogant, revilers, etc." (v. 2). The church apostasy is described in 2 Timothy 4:3-5. "For the time will come when they will endure sound doctrine, … they will turn away from the truth ..." (v. 4). Church apostasy: "They will fall away from the faith ..." (4:1).

We are now going into the church apostasy AND the cultural apostasy. The culture is getting worse because the churches are no longer influencing the culture. When I was growing up cultural apostasy was held back by the churches. There was prayer before sports events. TV stations opened and closed with pastoral devotionals and prayer. But no more! There was prayer over the PA system at school, along with Bible reading brought by the Student Council. There were musicals for Christmas and for Easter at the public schools. The Gideons could pass out their Bibles at school.

Yesterday, New York state endorsed same-sex marriages, so cultural apostasy is growing rapidly. A sign that we are getting closer to the rapture, though I'm not a date-setter. These are indicators that we're getting closer to the total collapse of the culture, and thus the rapture is nearer than before!

We have some witnessing tracts that can help people with these issues. God bless and thanks for asking.
—Dr. Mal Couch (7/11)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Death and Adam's Sin

Dr. Couch, I don't see in Romans 8:22 that it says that death came into the world because of Adam's sin. All creation groans to be delivered but is this also implying that death is part of that groaning, brought on because of Adam's fall?

ANSWER: In court cases, circumstantial evidence is considered valid evidence as well as "direct evidence." The proof that death came into the world is circumstantial and this is valid. The proof is in what happened to all flesh. Circumstantial evidence can be evidence! The violence of all in the animal world circumstantially points to the sin that entered the world through Adam's fall.

In Romans 8 we read that God causes the creation to be subjected to futility—creation is enslaved to corruption because of the sin of Adam. The entire creation now groans to be delivered. Humanity is at the top of all flesh that has been created. Man is the epitome of the creation of flesh. What happens to man, and what man did, brings about a subjection to the rest of the animal world.

Below are some quotes that give to us circumstantial proof that, because of Adam's sin, the entire realm of the creation of the animal world, suffers and moves towards death. The Lord told Adam "Curses is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow because of you" (Gen. 3:17b-19).

God "grieves in His heart because He made man on the earth. He said, I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the earth, from man to animal to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them" (6:7). "The earth (the animal life) was corrupt in the sigh to God,and the earth was filled with violence. God looked on the earth, and behold, it (the animal kingdom) was corrupt for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. … The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth" (vv. 11-13).

"I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish" (v. 17). How did the earth, and all flesh, become so corrupt? The only answer is the fact of the sin of mankind.

All flesh will die. "Every beast after its kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, all sorts of birds" (7:14).

With the flood waters, "All flesh that moved on the earth perished, birds and cattle and beasts and every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth, and all mankind; of all that was on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, died" (vv. 21-22). God "blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animal to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the earth" (v. 23).

Until mankind is finally and ultimately redeemed, "creation is subjected to futility because God has so subjected it" (Rom. 8:20). "The whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now" (v. 22).

What does the Greek word "futility" mean? It means to be "void of force, lack of truth, useless, without purpose, to be devoid of appropriateness, frailty, lack of vigor, to be made empty, deprivation, vain." Because of sin, brought into the realm of creation by mankind, the creation no longer has purpose or meaning.

Thanks for asking.
—Dr. Mal Couch (7/11)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Timeline of Prophecy in Psalm 83

Dr. Couch, where would you place Psalm 83 in Bible prophecy?

ANSWER: I have dealt with this question before. It prophesies about the nations saying "Come, and let us wipe Israel off as a nation that the name of Israel be remembered no more." Then the tribal peoples of the Arabs are mentioned.

Along with one of my old professors, Dr. Merrill F. Unger, I hold to the possibility that it could take place before the Rapture of the church. Thus, it could happen before Gog and Magog (the Russian invasion of Israel) and as mentioned, before the Rapture. Too, of course, before the Tribulation.

Thanks for asking.
—Dr. Mal Couch (7/11)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Total Depravity

Dr. Couch, total depravity tells us that man from the beginning is a sinner. Why do people deny this doctrine?

ANSWER: It is because they do not read their Bible. Man is not born "good" but sinful. Many do not believe this but our founding fathers did. That is why they divided our government into three parts in order to have checks and balances in the running of the nation. You cannot depend on any one man, or group of men. That is why there is a counter-weight with the three branches.

Here are some other verses besides the ones that are so clear about depravity: "The intent of man's heart is evil from his youth; and I will again never destroy every living thing, as I have done" (Gen. 8:21). "The sons of Judah have been doing only evil in My sight from their youth ..." (Jer. 32:30). And, "God is a righteous Judge, and a God who has indignation every day [against sin]" (Psa. 7:11).

In Genesis 8:21 the word for "youth" is "Na' Air" referring to the age that would be a teenager. It is at that age that a youth begins to be more "mature" in his sinful actions with those around him. Everyone goes deeper into sin at that point in their life.

Psalm 7 has the word "indignation." "Za'am" carries with it the idea of God passing sentence on sin. Or that the Lord curses the evil of mankind. Thus, He scolds the sinful ways of humanity. Men are sinners from the beginning and anyone who does not believe this is really very foolish!

Thanks for asking.
—Dr. Mal Couch (7/11)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Progressive Revelation, Covenant Theologians, and Dispensationalists

Dr. Couch, what does Progressive Revelation have to do with the differences between Covenant theologians and dispensationalists? They see the covenant blessings promised to Israel as given to the church whereby we are heirs of those prophecies.

ANSWER: The word heir or inheritance are two Greek words put together meaning: "to legally call," "to legally designate." Almost all the verses using the word is referring to salvation not to all the covenant promises to Israel. I know of no NT verses that say the church is inheriting the land promises. It is true that the church will be in the millennium but the church today is not the kingdom, the millennium!

Dispensationalist are correct: Christ is not today reigning over the world through Israel in the Holy Land, there is not a restored earthly temple today, as Ezekiel indicates in chapters 40-48.

We premillennialists are in the right camp. We hold what the early church held to and what the pious orthodox Jews believed (and still believe); they still hold to Israel as being restored (as prophesied). The Jews are coming to Christ (as prophesied), a world war is near (as prophesied).

There is nothing that we "spiritualize" but the Covenant theologians must spiritualize (the kingdom) which we do not. We then do not have two phases of interpretation. We are consistent with literal interpretation. In fact, I believe it was Ladd who said, "If we held to literal interpretation as the premillennialists do, we would hold to their same position." Right on!

The issue is not about Progressive Revelation or about the word "heir." The issue is about being consistent with interpretation. And it is about seeing the clear distinction between Israel and the Church! The church is not Israel. Some of the covenant guys say "the church is in Israel in the OT." This is clearly not so!

Those of you who have my Hermeneutics book need to read the long quotes on pages 12-13, and pages 182 through the middle of 189.

My Hermeneutic book answers all of these issues. The book is used in many Bible colleges and seminaries. Several Covenant men reviewed my book and could not answer my charges against their views. I believe it answers all their errors about interpretation.

Thanks for asking.
—Dr. Mal Couch (7/11)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Temple Gate Beautiful

Dr. Couch, what is the temple gate BEAUTIFUL all about in Acts 3:2?

ANSWER: This is a gate that led into the public area of the temple grounds. The reason the gate is called "Beautiful" is because it had a picture of the city of Shushan in Persia. Shushan was called "the town of lilies." Actually, the gate may not have been called "Beautiful" but simply described as beautiful. The beggars came to this gate and asked for alms in order to survive. That is what is going on in the first verses of Acts 3. Peter told the beggar "I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: 'In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!'" (v. 6).

Nazareth was the city in which Jesus was raised and this identified Him with the crowd. The man was healed instantly and did three things almost at once. He walked, leaped, and praised God. These are three Present Tense Participles. He was walking, leaping, and praising God. The word "praise" means "to sing [to God] with praise and honor" The beggar was truly touched with his healing. He spiritually responded to the Lord for his blessing!

Thanks for asking.
—Dr. Mal Couch (6/11)

Friday, June 24, 2011


Dr. Couch, I still hear Bible teachers saying that the Nephilim in Genesis 6 were a mixture between humans and fallen angels, thus creating a hybrid of strange creatures that were unusual being in early Genesis. What do you think?

ANSWER: For years I have studied these verses from the Hebrew text and am convinced that they are not referring to fallen angels! What is happening is that the two lines, the Godly and the unGodly lines of Seth and Cain, were coming together, by which the line of humans was weakened and degraded, becoming even more sinful.

By good exegesis, and reading carefully chapters 4-6, this view seems to make the most sense. While there are some Bible teachers who hold to the "angel" theory, the outstanding scholars I read hold to the fact that the two lines of Seth and Cain come together, washing down morally and spiritually the Godly line.

I just discovered the great Old Testament respected Jewish Christian scholar, Alfred Edersheim, holds to the coming together of the two lines. He writes:

"The corruption of mankind reached its highest point when even the difference between the Sethites and the Cainites became obliterated by intermarriage between the two parties, and that from sensual motives. We read that 'the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.' At that time the earth must have been in a great measure peopled, and its state is thus described, 'And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.'

This means more than the total corruption of our nature, as we should now describe it, and refers to the universal prevalence of open, daring sin, and rebellion against God, brought about when the separation between the Sethites and the Cainites ceased. With the exception of Noah there was none in that generation 'to call upon the name of Jehovah. … The giants (in Hebrew: Nephilim) were 'men of violence, or tyrants,' as Luther renders it, the root of the word meaning, 'to fall upon.'"

All of the above is what I teach from good, solid exegesis! Almost word for word!

The scholarly Jewish Rabbis in the Soncino commentaries hold to the same view—this is not referring to fallen angels. They write:

"There is no trace in Genesis of 'fallen angels' or rebellious angels; and the idea of inter-marriage of angels and human beings is altogether foreign to Hebrew though. The mythological explanation of this passage was in all ages repelled by a large body of Jewish and non-Jewish commentators, though it has been revived by many modern [and liberal teachers]."

There is one Jewish Christian teacher in Texas who holds to the angel theory. But he does so by following others, holding to mythology and not good exegesis from the Bible. Don't follow him blindly! I work with the best of commentators not those who buy into mythology! In fact, I do more Hebrew exegesis than this dear brother! He often does not do good independent exegesis as he should.

Thanks for asking.
—Dr. Mal Couch (6/11)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How Many Churches?

Dr. Couch, was there more than one church in each city Paul wrote to?

ANSWER: Probably not. The tone of each of his letters seem to indicate that there was only the one church Paul was addressing. Therefore, the churches must have been small but very powerful and effective in reaching their community. One would think that if there was more than one church, the apostle would somehow have addressed the fact. He would have mentioned that the believers should have been communicating with each other and working together for the Gospel.

Thanks for asking.
—Dr. Mal Couch (6/11)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Land of Israel is Land-less in the New Testament

Dr. Couch, what do we say to those who say the "land of Israel" is not mentioned in the New Testament? And thus, the covenant that will be fulfilled is "land-less" in the New Testament?

ANSWER: First of all, we do not have to track with those who make the New Covenant spiritual only. Because the land is not mentioned in the NT only proves our point. For the Gentiles now, we benefit by the NT but the church does not receive the land. All the promises about the land are made in the OT and they are still there. They are going to be fulfilled! The land does not have to be mentioned in the NT in order to be fulfilled. The OT promises are still valid and will come to pass just as they were prophesied.

However, having said that, I contend that the land is mentioned in the NT when it is mentioning the New Covenant for Israel. We read in Romans 11:26, which is quoting Isaiah 59:20, "Thus all Israel will be saved, just as it is written, 'THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob, ..." Notice that it says "from Zion." is "ek" which means clearly "out of," or "away from."

But the Hebrew text of the Isaiah 59:20 passage says "a Redeemer will come TO Zion." The Hebrew word TO should be translated "FOR, FOR THE SAKE OF Zion." The consistent and normal reading of Zion means "Jerusalem, Israel, or the Land of Israel." Even the old scholar Nicoll writes:

"Paul is thinking of the historical people. Israel as a nation a part of the Messianic kingdom, is the content of his thoughts."

When Paul quotes the New Covenant in Romans 11:27: "This is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins," part of the context of the New Covenant, given there in Jeremiah 31:31-40, the prophet mentions the land issue. Jeremiah writes in that context: "When the city [of Jerusalem] shall be rebuilt" (v. 38), and "the valley … and the fields as far as the brook Kidron (which is on the East of Jerusalem), "to the corner of the horse Gate toward the east, shall be holy to the Lord, it shall not be plucked up, or overthrown anymore forever" (v. 40). This is part of the context of the New Covenant. Read Jeremiah 31:31-40.

Christ fulfills the Davidic covenant as mentioned in Luke 1:31-33. "The Lord God will give Him (Mary's Son) the throne of His father David." This then is expanded in Psalm 132 that makes it clear that this Covenant is fulfilled in Zion, "the Lord's resting place," and there "Your sons will keep My covenant (the Davidic), "For the Lord has chosen Zion; He had desired it for His habitation." "This will be a place for the Lord, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob" (v. 5). ALL OF THIS IS ABOUT THE LAND! We don't need the Land to be mentioned again in the NT!

In Matthew 25:31-45 A LAND is clearly implied when the Kingdom is mentioned (v. 34). "The Son of Man will come in His glory … and will sit on His glorious throne" (v. 31) with all the nations gathered before Him (v. 32). This implies a place, a location, a geographic site, a headquarters, A LAND!

The resurrected come to life and "reign with Christ for a thousand years" (Rev. 20:4, 6). Where is it that they are reigning if not in the kingdom land? The forces of God and Magog "surround the camp of the saints and the beloved city, ..." (20:9). What is the beloved city, and where is it, if not in the city of Jerusalem during the kingdom reign? Is not this the LAND?

The prophecy of John the Baptist is given to us in Luke 1:76-77. This is a quote and a fulfillment of Malachi 4:5-6 which partly reads that John will turn the hearts of the children to their fathers "lest I come and smite the LAND with a curse."

So much about the LAND is implied and understood by the reader except those who want to get rid of such a reference. The land is the kingdom, and the kingdom is the land!

Thanks for asking.
—Dr. Mal Couch (6/11)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hebrews 8:13 on the New Covenant

Dr. Couch, does not Hebrews 8:13 say that the New covenant makes (past tense) the Old (Mosaic) covenant obsolete?

ANSWER: No, not really. Here's how the verse reads in the Greek text.

"In which He (God) is to be saying (Pres. Inf.) 'A New (covenant) He has made old (palaioo, Perf. Act. Ind.).' For whatever is becoming obsolete, failing for age (garasko, Pres. Tense), [is] at hand [eggus] to disappear."

Notice it is God who is making the Mosaic covenant obsolete not the New covenant doing it. The Lord is in charge! He is creating the new Dispensation of grace. God is a Dispensationalist! He is replacing the Old with the New. The church will benefit by the New covenant but we don't fulfill it. Israel will fulfill it when the nation is converted and brought back into the kingdom. Notice I said "brought back into the kingdom." The kingdom first existed under the kingship of David and then Solomon. But it was destroyed with the Civil War and all the kings that followed were not the rulers promised by the Lord. The kingdom is to be restored. The next king is the Messiah, the Son of God, and the Son of David. He will reign and rule just as David and Solomon did, on the earth, in the Promised Holy Land! How do the Covenant Reformed guys miss this?

The great old scholar Nicoll understands dispensationalism and writes:

"In saying New, God has antiquated the first (the Mosaic); and that which is antiquated and growing old is near extinction [literally disappearing]. That is to say, by speaking in the passage quoted in Jeremiah 31, God speaks of a New covenant, He brands the former as old. Thus even in Jeremiah's time the Mosaic covenant was disparaged. The fact that a new was required showed that it was insufficient. It was condemned as antiquated. And that which is antiquated and aged has not much longer to live. 'It has become antiquated is said in Greek in the LXX.' It suggests of utter destruction, abolished!"

I don't know how they do it, but the Covenant and Reformed theologians say we are still under the Law, the Mosaic covenant. We are to keep the Law, they say. They are really ignorant of their Bible!

Thanks for asking.
—Dr. Mal Couch(6/11)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Old Covenant Obsolete

Dr. Couch, the writer of Hebrews quotes Jeremiah 31:31-34 in Hebrews 8 regarding the New covenant "with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah," saying the New covenant has made (past tense) the Old covenant (the Mosaic Law) obsolete. Does that imply that believers today in the Church age are part of the New covenant?

ANSWER: You hit the nerve when it comes to interpreting the book of Hebrews. I have contended for years that the book is aimed not at the church but at the Jews who have not trusted in Christ. The book then is an apologetic, a polemic, aimed at causing the unbelieving Jews to turn to Jesus. Most of my theology buddies do not agree with me but the greatest Greek teacher of the last century, Dr. Kenneth Wuest who taught at Moody Bible Institute, does agree. This is his view also. I came to my position way before I read what Wuest said. (I came to my position by translating the entire book of Hebrews in graduate school. You will probably not meet any Bible teachers who have translated Hebrews. Most men have poor language training and have not gone through the book in Greek.)

How would you explain:

"Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, as in the day of trial in the wilderness. … Therefore I was angry with this generation … As I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter My rest. And to whom did He swear that they should not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient (disbelieving)? And so we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief. Therefore, let us fear lest while a promise remains of entering His rest any one of you should seem to have come short of it" (3:7-4:1).

Some teachers take a mediating position and say that the book is aimed at both saved and unsaved Jews. I don't think that is defense-able.

The book of Hebrews is full of what is called "the warning passages" that some men say are just warnings to believers written in strong language. They are trying to make Hebrews fit into their mold but it won't do it! We study the Bible by strong OBSERVATION, OBSERVATION, OBSERVATION! Some of the church fathers also saw that the book was probably written to lost Jews. They were correct.

Without taking too much time to explain all of my view, I will just say that the church does indeed benefit by the New covenant but it won't be fulfilled by the Jews until they enter the kingdom and turn to Christ as their Savior. That's when it is fulfilled! Today, we receive forgiveness of sins and we receive the promised Holy Spirit, as given in the New covenant. We are not promised land promises. That is reserved for the Jews when the kingdom arrives.

You need my book entitled "The New Covenant". This will explain all of this to you.

Thanks for asking.
—Dr. Mal Couch (6/11)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Salvation: The Most Important Doctrine

Dr. Couch, the Reformed folks say salvation is the most important purpose and doctrine in the Bible. Dispensationalists say that there are many other doctrines that God makes important in Scripture. How would you answer what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:3: “I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures ...” It seems as if salvation is the most important doctrine. How do you answer?

ANSWER: If you look carefully at verses 1 & 2 you see that Paul is discussing the issue of believing, and on the issue of believing, he points out that he received the real scoop about what salvation is all about. He then defines salvation for those who believe in verses 3-8. His description and definition is complete and full in these verses. In this passage he does not address the other important doctrines we find in the Word of God. And there are many. But notice carefully something.

When he writes “I delivered to you as of first importance ...” the word “first” is protois. In the Greek lexicon, when this word is without an article and without a noun attached it means “absolutely.” By the way, the translators have added the word “importance.” It is not in the Greek text. So it should read: “I delivered to you THE FIRST, the MOST ABSOLUTE, when it comes to the issue and the definition of salvation.” He is not saying that this is the “First” most important doctrine in all of the Bible but it is the most important description when he is going to write about salvation.

We let the Bible speak to us; we don't tell the Bible what to say or believe, it tells us! Dispensationalists are correct in our understanding of what the Word of God is saying. The Bible IS dispensational. And, there are many doctrines that are equally important in the Scriptures that we have to heed. By the way, I believe our message today is two-fold: (1) The doctrine of salvation, and (2) The doctrine of the literal, historic, and actual return of Christ to come to the earth to reign and rule. History is going to cave in, collapse. Only when Israel's Messiah arrives will right be restored. Our Savior is the promised King who is soon to come to the earth as prophesied.

Thanks for asking.
—Dr. Mal Couch (6/11)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wonders in the Sky Above

Dr. Couch, it seems that Acts 2:19-20a is saying that the “wonders in the sky above” all take place “Before the great and glorious Day of the Lord.” Is that what the passage is saying?

ANSWER: Not really. This is why it is imperative that those of us who want to be teachers MUST translate both the Hebrew and Greek texts in order to really understand what is going on in the Bible. Unfortunately, we are not training men today to work the text and be engineers of the Scriptures. We are losing it, and in my opinion, we will never get it back with the present generation.

I've recently been teaching Acts and have done a lot of translation work on Acts 2. “Before the great and glorious Day of the Lord” is important. “Before ...” sounds as if those terrible things happen just prior to the beginning of the Tribulation, the Wrath, the Seven Year Tribulation. But the key is the Greek word “Before” which is the word “Prin.” In Hebrew, where the passage comes from in Joel 2:31, the word is the particle the “Lamed” (the Hebrew letter L) that often means “to, toward.” But here, there is something else going on. The perfect illustration is with Psalm 12:7 which should read: “Silver purified in the workshop AS TO EARTH, or, IN REGARD TO EARTH.” Or, “in relation to earth.”

The passage in Acts 2:19-20 then should read: “I will grant wonders in the sky above, and signs on the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, “(Before) IN REFERENCE TO, IN REGARD TO the great and glorious Day of the Lord [which] shall come ...”

In my commentary series, Steven Ger on the passage makes a great statement:
“The new era commenced as the New Covenant began to be fulfilled with Jesus' distribution of His Spirit on Pentecost. This view is careful to recognize that there has been no fulfillment, in any sense, of any portion of the second segment (vv. 19-21) of Joel's prophecy. These astronomic cataclysms are to occur immediately prior to the inauguration of the messianic kingdom. It was obvious to every Jew standing in the Temple … that these signs and wonders were still to be fulfilled. Yet the promise of these cataclysms, cited by Peter, would have been compelling incentive to urge the assembled crowd to positively respond to their messiah.”

In other words, these signs are part of the Day of the Lord, they launch the Day of the Lord, or they certainly begin the Day of the Lord. They are not “outside” of that Day!

I hope this helps. Thanks for asking.
—Dr. Mal Couch (6/11)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Recommended Seminary

Dr. Couch, what seminary do you now recommend for extension courses? I know you have tremendous experience in higher education and should be keeping up with the best available.

ANSWER: I highly recommend Scofield Seminary in California. Almost all extension courses put you on your own in the work load, and so does Scofield. I hear horror stories about other schools, so one has to be careful. Some schools have "big" men who come to teach but behind the scenes there are problems. Scofield has myself, Dr. Tommy Ice, and Dr. Whitcomb associated with it. You can't beat that. But some are just not what they used to be. If you went to Scofield you'd have me as an adviser for many of the studies. I'll give you the goodies! I receive calls monthly from students and potential students who tell me "that school is just not what it used to be!" I know why but it's not my job to be openly critical. I just tell students to be careful.

Thanks for asking.
—Dr. Mal Couch (6/11)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Thank You

Dr. Couch, your book "Messianic Systematic Theology of the Old Testament" is really unique. The way you present the biblical doctrines with quotes from the Rabbis (and correcting them when they are wrong) is invaluable. I found the chapter on "The Son of God" particularly profitable. I have had the opportunity to witness to Jews and they are extremely confused about their own Messiah. Evan messianic Jews are confused, many of them are into Arianism. This book is a tremendous tool for evangelism. God bless you and God bless Israel! --Dr. E. R., Brazil

ANSWER: Thank you for your kind comments on the book. I wrote it for messianic Jews but as yet I only have a few takers. They are, unfortunately, too much into their own thinking without any training from theologians such as myself. Some believe we "Gentiles" certainly could not know anything about the OT. I will try to get the book out at no charge to any messianic Jew or anyone working with Jews for salvation. I sense that the Jewish community does not really want to know what the OT teaches, and too, I sense the same thing from messianic Jews. Many are into emotionalism and the charismatic movement but fail to try to understand the Scriptures from a strong objective position. They are really babes when it comes to studying the Word of God, and it seems often they just want to stay that way. If this is offensive to some and provokes them—good! I want them to start thinking and studying the Bible seriously, or otherwise, they are going to fail in their mission and in their comprehension of God's Word!

Again, thank you for your kind comments. —Dr. Mal Couch (6/1)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

To Sanctify in Truth

Dr. Couch, what did Christ mean when He said "For the sake of [the disciples] I sanctified Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth" (John 17:19).

ANSWER: "To sanctify" means "to make holy, special, unique." By presenting Himself as sanctified, He is making them sanctified "in truth." By making Himself special He is then sanctifying them in truth. One's witness about oneself in court is valid as a testimony. Christ is speaking for Himself in order to set Himself out as one who is to be heard.

All believers are tied together, believers of all generations. We are tied to those who came before us. This is what is said in the following verses. Christ had concern for those who came along after the disciples, "through their word." Someone told us what they had said, etc., etc. "that they all may be one; even as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they may be one, just as We are one" (vv. 20-21).

Thanks for asking,
-- Dr. Mal Couch (5/11)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

An Early Reference to the Church

Dr. Couch, is John 10:16 an early reference to the church?

ANSWER: The passage reads: "I have other sheep which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they shall hear My voice; and they shall become one flock with one shepherd."

This is very possibly a beginning reference to the church which consists of Jew and Gentile together in one body. See Ephesians 2:11-3:21. However, Christ could be talking about the Jews who were standing around Him at the time. In other words, the "other sheep" are Jews who were not there at that moment. I lean toward this for the following reason:

The "Good Shepherd" reference is about God and is found in Ezekiel 34:11-24. In this passage the Lord God is the Shepherd and Israel is the Flock (v. 12). Christ is therefore claiming to be the Good Shepherd of Ezekiel 34! There is no other "outside" flock in the passage that could be referring to Gentiles. And, king David will be the shepherd (God's servant) over them (vv. 23-24). Too, David will be the Prince among them, that is, among the Jews (v. 24). Read thoroughly the Ezekiel passage.

When we read the Word of God we must read carefully and slowly. Observe, observe, observe!

Thanks for asking.
—Dr. Mal Couch (5/11)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Rapture in Hebrews 9

Dr. Couch, is Hebrews 9:28 a rapture passage? It seems that it is. Seems the same here as He delivers us from the coming wrath.

ANSWER: Hebrews 9:28 reads: "So Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him."

Remember, context is important, and I'm convinced that the book of Hebrews is written mainly to the Jews who have not accepted Him as Savior; it is not written to the church but to the Jews. Note that the passage does not say "to us who await" but to "those who await." Also, the passage is about the two comings. Technically, the rapture is not a coming. We go up to Him; His feet do not touch the ground. We are caught up to Him in the clouds.

The verse is parallel to Luke 1 where it speaks of "two" salvations, one which is His death for sins and the other is a salvation from Israel's enemies, that is, it is the kingdom salvation, which kingdom He will reign and rule over.

First coming: "To give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins" (Luke 1:77).

Second coming: "God has raised up for us (the Jews) a horn of salvation in the house of David His servant … [Kingdom] Salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of those who hate us" (Luke 1:69-71).

This is why the passage was not used as a rapture passage. But too, we did not give all the rapture verses in the book Perhaps Today. That was not our purpose even if Hebrews 9:28 was a rapture passage, which it is not. It is a Kingdom [Second Coming] passage!

Thanks for asking.
—Dr. Mal Couch (5/11)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Kaaba Stone

Dr. Couch, what is the Kaaba stone in Mecca?

ANSWER: The word Kaaba means "a cube." It is a huge black box that has been rebuilt ten times. According to Muslims it was handed down at the dawn of history by angels from heaven, to Adam, Seth, Abraham, and to Ishmael, Hagar's son. The "black box" is over a rectangular stone which is forty feet long by thirty-five feet wide, by fifty feet. This is a black stone of dark red material, oval in shape, which is kissed by the faithful.

Within the Kaaba, in pre-Muslim days, it contained several gods, one of which was called Allah, who was probably a tribal god, but also included three others who were the daughters of Allah: Uzza, al-Lar, and Manah. The historian Herodotus says al-Lar was a major Arabian deity. Allah was pushed forward and worshiped as a chief god.

No unbeliever shall ever put his foot in Mecca. In 629 Muslims from Medina came to Mecca and circled the Kaaba seven times shouting "There is no god but Allah alone!"

Thanks for asking,
-- Dr. Mal Couch (5/11)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Size of the Temple Area

Dr. Couch, what is the size of the temple area as described in Ezekiel 45:1-6?

ANSWER: I'm rather bad with math figures but using the Jewish Soncino commentary on Ezekiel, and Dr. Merrill Unger's calculations, the temple area seems to be about 8 miles square. It is described by cubits which are still calculated at 18 inches a cubit, or 25,000 x 10,000 cubits. This is the "sacred area" for the temple plus the area for the priests, its personnel. A similar area designated, on the south, a rectangle, for [a large company of] the Levites is 25,000 x 5,000 cubits. Unger says this is for the city of Jerusalem itself. Unger writes: "The apportionment will be an 'oblation unto the Lord' (a lifting up), an offering in which the offerer raises his hand to present the gift [a sacrificial gift] to God."

All of this is for worship in the Kingdom! Unger concludes: "The Lord's temple and the priestly service are to be given top priority" in the Kingdom! And he says, "In the millennial day of the triumph of righteousness, it must be remembered that all blessing and salvation flow from the death of Christ, which makes the Kingdom age possible."

Thanks for asking.
—Dr. Mal Couch (5/11)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fires of Gehenna

Dr. Couch, do you believe the fires of Gehenna are literal or not?

ANSWER: I believe they are worse than described in Scripture. The Bible uses the concept of fire to describe the terror and pain of hell. This is a physical description. Those who suffer the fires of hell will actually be in an eternal body. Their sins must be punished as required by the righteousness and holiness of a perfect God.

All men have had an opportunity to turn to God, repent, and find the way to salvation through Christ, but none will accept this opportunity of salvation. They repudiate God and defy Him. There is no doubt that they must face an eternity of suffering. We don't fully understand how the flames continue forever but the Bible is certain on that issue. This is a terrible picture but it is verified by the prophets and by Christ Himself.

Man is responsible but he also hates God and refuses to accept His provision for deliverance. I like 1 Corinthians 2:14 because it explains the total depravity of the human race. Paul says the natural man ACCEPTS NOT the things of the Spirit of God. Those things are FOOLISHNESS to him. And he CANNOT UNDERSTAND them, because those things are SPIRITUALLY UNDERSTANDABLE!

Man just does not want what God offers in Christ!

Graphically and poetically, but with accuracy of fact, the lost are cast into hell "where their worm does not die, and the ire is not quenched" (Mark 9:48). This comes from Isaiah 66:24: "For the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me, for their worm shall not die, and their fire shall be quenched; and they shall be an abhorrence to all mankind." The lost will face "disgrace and everlasting contempt" (Dan. 12:2). Notice, it is "everlasting."

Christ added that the lost will "go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (Matt. 25:46). Whatever the physical state, it is an eternal state!

Thanks for asking.
—Dr. Mal Couch (5/11)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Jewish Believers in the Gospels

Dr. Couch, what happened to the Jews who accepted Christ as their Messiah in the Gospels?

ANSWER: Good question. You're right. They did not know fully of the fact of His work as the Savior, though they may have known more than we imagine. But if they accepted Him as their Messiah I take it they were acting on all the revelation they had and they were saved! Apparently, the Jews were saved by having faith in what God was revealing, like Abraham as seen in Genesis 15:6. He just believed God and that was sufficient at that point.

However, they knew that the Messiah would justify many (Isa. 53:12). And, "they would be given the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins" (Luke 1:77). In the book of John the verb "to believe" in Christ is used some 90 times. The Jews believed in Him by what He said or by what He did. Surprisingly, the noun "to believe" is not used at all in John! So "to believe" according to John is an active idea! The Jews were holding on to the Lord then by faith. He was the object of that faith but it was not fully understood theologically by all the people.

They would then be added to the church in Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit was poured out.

I hope this helps. Thanks for asking.
—Dr Mal Couch (5/11)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Abrahamic Covenant for Today

Dr. Couch, is the Abrahamic covenant still applicable for the Jews today?

ANSWER: Yes, indeed, it is, because first of all, it is called an eternal covenant that is still in operation. Note Psalm 105:8-11. There it states that the covenant was made with Abraham and passed down to Isaac and then Jacob as "an everlasting covenant, saying, 'To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion of your inheritance.'" See also verses 42-45. As well: Isaiah 41:8-11.

Christ said that God made a promise to the Jewish people, and, do they not know, He is (Present tense, exists as) "the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead but of the living" (Matt. 22:31-32). And they are alive in glory! These fathers still exist and the Lord has not forgotten His promises to them.

Mary was promised a fulfillment "of what had been spoken to her by the Lord. And Mary said, 'He has given help to Israel His servant, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his offspring (future Jewish generation) forever'" (Luke 1:54-55).

Zacharias added: God determined "to show mercy toward our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant, the oath which He swore to Abraham our father, to grant us that we being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days" (vv. 72-75).

These promises are given to the Jews and they have not been canceled.

Luke 1:31-33 is also important. Christ, the Son of David will establish His rule, throne, and kingdom, and it will have no end, it will be eternal. This is the house of Jacob, the Jewish people. It is not the church.

Thanks for asking.
—Dr. Mal Couch (5/11)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Zephaniah 1

Dr. Couch, is Zephaniah 1 about judgment events in Zephaniah's day or is it about the future coming tribulation, the Day of the Lord?

ANSWER: Many are confused with this issue in the book. You got it right in that "the Day of the Lord" is indeed the tribulation. The apostle makes this clear. He writes: "You yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night" (1 Thess. 5:2). For the world, THEY, will say "Peace and safety! Then sudden destruction will come upon THEM (not us, the church saints) suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and THEY (the lost) shall not escape."

But back to Zephaniah 1, there is something important to notice. 1:2-4a. The Lord will bring universal judgment upon the world: "I will remove all things from the face of the earth," and "I will remove man and animal, and birds of the sky, and the fish, and I will cut off man from the face of the earth."

But then Zephaniah comes back to the context of his day. God will stretch out His hand against Judah and Jerusalem (v. 4a), and, He will judge the pagans (Baal), "the remnant from this place (the holy land)." Thus, "the day of the Lord is near … it is against 'all the people of Canaan'" (v. 7). This is "a punishment on that day" (v. 10a); it "will come about at that time" (v. 12a).

However, note the change in 1:14. "Near is the GREAT day of the Lord." Having translated the passage from Hebrew I noted that it should best read:

"Imminent (in duration) [is] the Day of the Lord, the GREAT (Ha'Ga'Dol)."

This is the only place in Zephaniah where GREAT is used. The other references to "the Day of the Lord" probably are referring to what happened in time past, but then, "the GREAT DAY" would be the terrible tribulation of the end times. But look what is said in verses 15-16:

"A day of wrath is that day, a day of trouble and distress, a day of destruction and desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet and battle cry" (vv. 15-16).

Compare this with Jeremiah 30:3-8: "For the days are coming" … a sound of terror, of dread, and there is no peace, a woman in childbirth (the birth pangs), all faces turn pale, Alas! For that day is GREAT, there is none like it; it is the time of Jacob's (Israel's) distress (or tribulation), it shall come about in that day ..."

The BIRTH PANGS are clearly about the tribulation just as Christ and Paul say: "It is the beginning of the birth pangs, there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall be" (Matt. 24:8, 21). And Paul adds, "The day of the Lord will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they (the lost in the world) shall not escape" (1 Thess. 5:3).

So, Zephaniah has several stages. But the Great Day of the Lord would specifically be the future tribulation. Zephaniah concludes:

"On the day of the Lord's wrath; and all the earth will be devoured in the fire of His jealousy, for He will make a complete end. Indeed a terrifying one, of all the inhabitants of the earth" (1:18).

Thanks for asking.
—Dr. Mal Couch (5/11)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

God Hates Sinner but Loves the World

Dr. Couch, is there a contradiction between the fact that God hates sin and sinners but still loves the world (John 3:16)?

ANSWER: Absolutely not. God is a righteous God who hates sin and sinners but still loves men and provides a way of escape from their sins in the work of Christ on the cross. You referred to Psalm 5:5 where David said "You hate all who do iniquity." God's attributes of holiness and righteousness demand that He must hate the sinner for his evil work. The Jewish Rabbis write: "The evil man shall not sojourn with You; God does not tolerate their presence. God cannot be bribed with offerings to overlook the evil of their lives."

The Imprecatory Psalms are those where a judgment, a curse, and hatred comes upon the evil. God does not tolerate sin. Note Proverbs 6:16-19. God hates seven things: "Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed blood, a heart that devices wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness, one who spreads strife between brother." There is no contradiction between hating the sinner for his sin and then providing salvation be loving him. There are two different issues. The "hate" goes away when one turns to Christ, and when that one experiences God's love in the provision of His Son!

Thanks for asking.
—Dr. Mal Couch(5/11)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Is the Church Part of Israel

Dr. Couch, many amillennialists use Galatians 6:16 to prove that the church, present day believers, are part of Israel. Or, that we are now Israel. How do we answer them?

ANSWER: We answer them by thorough analysis and observation of the Scriptures. We use good hermeneutics and grammar, and history, to let the Bible speak for itself. The amills are poor scholars. They have lousy interpretative skills, if any at all!

"Israel" is a direct reference to the Jewish people. Israel is a reference to Jacob, the father of the twelve tribes. Jacob means to "grasp the heel." He was the supplanter who held back his twin brother when they were coming out of the womb. This made him the first born with all the first born privileges. Israel means "to strive with God," or the Angel of Jehovah as recorded in Genesis 32:28.

All of this has to do with Israel's history and it's not about the church! The church is never called Israel. However, we are the spiritual seed of Abraham by faith. "By faith" is the key. I am not a natural Israelite. Paul writes of those of us who are "of faith who are sons of Abraham" (Gal. 3:7). He speaks of those by promise "by faith in Jesus Christ" (v. 22). "Justified by faith" (v. 24). "You belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, heirs according to promise" (v. 29).

Paul closes then with "And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God" (6:16). "Those who walk by this rule" would be the Gentiles and "upon them" would be Jews. "Israel" is never used to describe Gentiles! Paul went from one subject to another subject. "Those" and the "upon Israel." Thus, Abraham is the father of all who believe (Rom. 4:11). He is my spiritual father but not my natural father! But I am never called "Israel."

Thanks for asking.
—Dr. Mal Couch (4/11)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Dates of the Death and Resurrection of Christ

Dr. Couch, is it right to say that Christ was crucified on Nisan 14 (April) and resurrected on Sunday, Nisan 16?

ANSWER: Yes, the best scholarship uses these dates, and I believe they are accurate. But the Lord is not "legalistic" holding our feet to the fire as to the exactness of these dates. The dates are not as important as the fact of His death and resurrection! Don't major on the minors but major on the majors! Christ's death is what gives us our salvation; the resurrection proves that we are justified before God because, His resurrection proves that the Lord is finished with our sins. That is the most important and urgent doctrinal issue we cling to.

Thanks for asking.
—Dr. Mal Couch (4/11)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Women Teachers

Dr. Couch, I see that from time to time you receive criticism from younger women about your views on women teaching men, or teaching mixed groups. I know of some very talented women teachers who are teaching men. How do you answer?

ANSWER: It does not matter what they are doing. It does not matter how much talent they have as teachers. It matters what Paul, the inspired apostle, says. 1 Timothy 2:12-15 is as clear as it can get! Women have wonderful abilities and ministries given them by the Holy Spirit but to teach over men, or to have pastoral authority, these roles are not given to women. As a principle, men are more objective than women and less emotional. This is how the Lord has constructed the differences between the sexes. In Paul's argument that women are not to "teach or exercise authority over a men." He adds the reason why. He writes "The woman (Eve) being quite deceived, fell into transgression" (1 Tim. 2:14). "Quite deceived" is one Greek word. She was REALLY deceived by Satan, the Greek text notes! Adam was simply deceived, though he was responsible for the family and the culpability was greater against him because he was the first created.

I find that a lot of younger Christian women get upset about this issue because they have been brainwashed by the culture. "No matter what the Bible says, we want it our way!" And, they do not hold the inspired Scripture with its full authority. They are not willing to do what it says—to obey its principles.

So, often I take a hit but I sleep well at night because I want to obey what God has said!

Verse 15 tells us how the woman is to be elevated by the Lord. She is "saved" or protected through child bearing, that is, by having children that gives her important responsibilities and that keeps her in check. But too, she must continue in strong faith, love, and sanctity, with self-restraint. These last values mentioned here will be greatly honored by the Lord. They are spiritual values that allow the woman even to go before the man in spirituality. We see this in women. They are more spiritual when they follow God's patterns and don't try to be men, in the affairs of the culture and in the affairs of the church. But it's hard for women to see this. And that proves Paul's point. Women are more emotional about this discussion. They do not relate objectively to what Paul is saying. They get upset quickly about what the Lord is teaching the church. This is not Dr. Couch theology. It is Pauline theology!

The great Greek scholar A. T. Robertson notes: "Paul has in mind that child-bearing, not public teaching, is the peculiar function of woman with a glory and dignity all its own." Women today do not see the greatness of pouring themselves into their children. But what a privilege in creating spiritually the next generation!

Thanks for asking.
—Dr. Mal Couch (4/11)