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)