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)