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)