Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What About the Jewish People in the Book of Hebrews?

Dr. Couch, I understand that some of the best Greek teachers along with yourself hold that the Jews in the book of Hebrews had not accepted Christ as their Savior. They were "hearers" but they had not believed in Him as their Lord as required for salvation. I have felt the same thing as I have read Hebrews. Is this correct?

ANSWER: Yes, you are right. The great Dr. Kenneth Wuest who taught at Moody, and who was one of the best Greek professors of the last century held to this position. As you know, I taught at Moody and was influenced by his spirituality and scholarship. He wrote:

"These Jews had allowed the Holy Spirit to carry them along to the place of repentance. Now … if they should refuse the faith by which they could lay hold of the High Priest as their Savior, and return to the abrogated sacrifices of the First Testament (the animal sacrifices), it would be impossible to bring them back to the act of repentance again. … They refused the light and turned back into the darkness of sin and continued unbelief, so these Hebrews were in danger of doing a like thing. These Jews were like the Hebrew spies at Kadesh-Barnea who saw the land and had the very fruit in their hands, and yet turned back (4:1-13). They were like many sinners who heard the message and then said "The world is too much with us," and then turned back into sin.

They were partakers of the Holy Spirit but this does not mean they were possessors! The Spirit had led them into the act of repentance. The next step would be that of faith. But here they were in danger of turning their backs upon the Spirit and returning again to the sacrifices. They had been led into repentance. Now should they fall away from their profession of faith in the Messiah and back to the sacrifices, it would be impossible to renew them to repentance (6:6-8). The apostle warned these unsaved Hebrews from making such a thing a reality.

Before I had read Wuest's comments I had already come to the position that these Jews were not saved but only professors who had not truly trusted in Christ as Savior! I am very surprised at believers who do not study carefully the Word of God! They are just copy-kats who simply quote what others have said.

Thanks for asking.
--Dr. Mal Couch (2/12)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Interim Covenant

Dr. Couch, I've come to the conclusion that there was an "Interim Covenant" with the Jews until the New Covenant came into view for the Gentiles. What do you say?

ANSWER: I believe you are confused, and that you are adding somethings to the book of Acts that are not there. I know of no one who would hold to that position. There is no reason to deny that Acts 2 is the outpouring of the Spirit of God and the beginning of the New Covenant as promised by Christ in 1:5, where He said "You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."

What Peter said in 11:15 and in 15:8 is very important. He told the apostles "As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them (Cornelius and his house) just as He did upon us at the beginning" (11:15). And, he said earlier, "Everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins" (10:43), and too, "Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit JUST AS WE DID CAN HE?" (10:47). And, "God who knows the hearts bore witness to them, giving them the Holy Spirit, just as HE ALSO DID TO US" (15:8).

The Holy Spirit is the sign for the New Covenant. The expression "The Spirit upon us" is about Acts 2. I believe you are listening to some who have an agenda and who are trying to make a two-step movement with the Spirit and avoiding the pouring out of the Spirit in Acts 2 for some reason. Let the Bible just speak for itself. Don't complicate the issue!

Peter says that what was happening in Acts 2 was mentioned in Joel 2 (Acts 2:16-21), and this is the New Covenant.

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch (2/12)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Day Christ was Crucified

Dr. Couch, on what day was Christ crucified?

ANSWER: No one has been able to question the dating of Dr. Harold Hoehner in his classic book THE CHRONOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF THE LIFE OF CHRIST (Zondervan). Dr. Hoehner shared with me that when he finished the book, he shared his research with a group of scholars from Cambridge University. They could offer no criticism because his work was flawless with the best research available.

He wrote that after the Lord was tried by the Sanhedrin, Pilate, Herod Antipas, and Pilate again, (Matt. 27:1-30; Mark 15:1-19; Luke 22:66-23:25), Jesus was then led to the cross and crucified at 9:00 a.m. And died at 3:00 p.m. And was buried later that day (John 19:16-42). He was the Paschal Lamb (1 Cor. 5:7) who died at the time when the Israelites were sacrificing their own lambs.

He died on Friday, Nisan 14, at 3:00 p.m. One must now determine which year between the extremes of A.D. 26 and A.D. 36 is the most plausible as the year of His crucifixion. There have been several studies in this, and their conclusions are that the only possible times Nisan 14 fell on Friday were in the years of A.D. 27, 30, 33, and 36. Of these A.D. 27 is the least likely astronomically. In that year it is probable that Nisan 14 fell on Thursday rather than Friday. The year of A.D. 30 has also been debated, but it is reasonably certain that Nisan 14 was a Friday that year.

In conclusion, then, the calculations of astronomers would limit the probable years of Christ's crucifixion on Friday, Nisan 14, to the years 30, 33, and 36, with A.D. 27 as an unlikely possibility.

You need to purchase the book mentioned above because it is the best ever written on the subject, but also, it is the best work on Daniel's Seventy Weeks as well.

Thanks for asking.
--Dr. Mal Couch(2/12)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Is There a Seven Year Tribulation?

Dr. Couch, there are some who say that the Bible does not teach a seven year tribulation. A friend, a post-tribulationalist, denies such. What do we say?

ANSWER: We just look at the Bible! Many such folks just can't read very well. Daniel's Seventy-Week prophecy in 9:24-27 make it clear that there is a seven year tribulation. Daniel uses "a week" or "a seven" to describe the 490 years determined on the nation of Israel. The last "week" or seven years is yet to take place. Daniel says the antichrist "will make a firm covenant with the many for one week (seven years) but in the middle of the week, he will put a stop to sacrifice ..." (v. 27). All scholars, no matter what their persuasion, believe this is a seven year period, and it is the period of the seven years of wrath that will fall upon the earth, bring a punishment to the nations, and a purge to the people of Israel.

This is repeated in the book of Revelation but the numbers are explained differently. For example, in 11:2 it says "They will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months" (or seven years). And the Jewish people "will be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days" (or seven years) (12:6). She will be nourished "for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent" (or seven years) (v. 14).

Finally, the antichrist will have authority to act for "forty-two months" (or seven years) (13:5).

Check out the commentaries of Dr. Paul Benware (Scofield Ministries), Dr. John F. Walvoord, Dr. Merrill Unger, Dr. Mal Couch (Revelation handbook), Dr. Ed Hindson, Dr. Robert Thomas, and others.

Read the good guys, not the guys who don't know what they are talking about!

Thanks for asking.
--Dr. Mal Couch (2/12)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Did Christ Need the Holy Spirit?

Dr. Couch, can you give a passage that says Christ needed the Holy Spirit in His ministry?

ANSWER: The word NEED is the wrong word. The Spirit of God has determined to work within Christ in order to aid Him in His earthly ministry. Jesus said that He would send the Spirit from the Father, the Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me, and you will bear witness also, ..." (John 15:26). The three persons in the Trinity constitute ONE God, not three Gods. They each have their own function. They just are, and they relate to each other. You cannot use the word NEED as we normally use it. They relate to each other because that is their nature. They have always been in an eternal situation and that will never change.

I recommend Dr. Charles Ryrie and Dr. John Walvoord's books on the Holy Spirit. I don't think they will answer your question but they would certainly give more information on the Spirit that would be very useful for one searching for more information on the work of the Spirit of God.

Thanks for asking.
 --Dr. Mal Couch (2/12)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"The Kingdom of God" Present in the Church Today

Dr. Couch, Millard Erickson says that "the kingdom of God" over which Christ reigns, is present in the church. What do you say?

ANSWER: Erickson has not read carefully. The kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven are two ways of describing the millennial kingdom. I proved this clearly in my book "An Introduction to Classical Evangelical Hermeneutics." Dr. Walvoord had not seen this before, and before he endorsed my book, agreed with what I had written. As you know he was an outstanding prophecy scholar. This is a book that is making clear interpretation of the Bible. And, it is one of the few interpretative books now available.

Thanks for asking.
--Dr. Mal Couch (2/12)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How Were the Old Testament Jews Saved?

Dr. Couch, How were the Old Testament Jews saved?

ANSWER: They were saved and made righteous by their trust, their faith. Paul uses Genesis 15:6 over and over again to prove this. "And Abraham believed God and He counted it unto him as righteousness." In other words, he and all the OT saints just believed what God had said and the Lord counted it unto him as positional righteousness.

After the coming of Christ, everyone had to trust Christ as the sin-bearer for their salvation. Of course, God saw His Son as the Savior, even for Abraham. The Lord applied the work of Christ for all who trusted what He had said. This was sufficient for God. He was satisfied with the coming work of Christ on the cross. In a sense, salvation is applied back to those who trusted what the Lord had said, and He applies now forward the work of Christ to those of us who now trust what He did for us.

Thanks for asking.
--Dr. Mal Couch (2/12)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Satan's Fall

Dr. Couch, when did Satan fall from his abode with God?

ANSWER: The Bible is not clear on that but it indicates that ultimately he influenced the nations of the earth as they began to grow and multiply. See Ezekiel 28:11-19 and Isaiah 14:11-21. Both passages speak of his fall and influence in poetic language. He shook kingdoms, and wanted to be like God. The peoples of the earth were appalled with him. Being an eternal person, Christ saw him fall from heaven to earth. "I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning" (Luke 10:18).

It is not impossible that he fell before Adam turned his back on the Lord, but it certainly happened probably sometime before the sin of Adam and Eve.

Thanks for asking. Thanks for asking.
--Dr. Mal Couch (2/12)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Does God Hate Sinners?

Dr. Couch, does God hate sinners? I have heard pastors say that He does not hate people, the lost, and those not saved. What do you say?

ANSWER: While it is true that God so loves the world (Jo. 3:16), it is also true that He despises the lost and repudiates their actions of sin. This is not a contradiction but it is a "both" and an "and." It is true that there are not a lot of verses that speak of the Lord hating sinners but here is a few: (Psa. 31:6; 119:113; Rom. 9:13; and Rev. 2:6). Don't go by what some people say but what the Bible says! Sin and sinners are an abomination to Him. --Dr. Mal Couch (2/12)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Four Kingdoms and Empires

Dr. Couch, what are the primary sources on the four kingdoms and empires in the book of Daniel?

ANSWER: You also asked about Antiochus Epiphanies. The best historic source on him would be Josephus who is considered one of the best historians of the ancient Jewish world. He is rarely challenged.

The best sources for the four kingdoms (Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome) would be Keil and many other historic sources, both secular and religious. Such sources are almost never challenged. All virtually agree on their identification. So you can depend on Walvoord, Ironside, Showers, and others as to these facts. Few have disagreements. I haven't checked recently but Josephus also would be reliable on this material. Both conservatives and liberals hold firmly to this information.

Thanks for asking.
--Dr. Mal Couch (2/12)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Support Groups

Dr. Couch, what about 'support groups' for people who are sinners?

ANSWER: We certainly are not "supporting" people in their sin but we can have support groups for those who are seeking forgiveness and who are attempting to turn away from sins that are holding them in their sins! You quoted Matthew 18:15-17. Note that Christ calls those who are struggling "brothers" (v. 15). He says to reprove them "in private" not publicly to hurt them. If the brother listens "you have won your brother" and helped him in his struggle.

If he won't listen then take two or three brothers in order to convict him that "every fact (against him) may be confirmed" (v. 16b). Then if he refuses to change he is to be exposed before the church in order to bring about conviction (v. 17). I have rarely seen such stubbornness in sin though it can happen.

A support group should and can help but it should not be a crutch to keep the brother in his sin.

Thanks for asking.
--Dr. Mal Couch (2/12)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Finger into Christ's Side

Dr. Couch, did Thomas place his finger into Christ's side?

ANSWER: According to John 20:27 he certainly did. Christ uses the preposition EIS which would certainly mean that Thomas' finger was thrust "into" His side! This became a confirmation to Thomas and to the other disciples that Christ had been run threw with a spear. Thomas could no longer disbelieve that the Lord had suffered but was at that moment standing before His followers alive and well. Thomas had so seen the risen Christ and then "believed" (vv. 28-29).

I am always puzzled when people have objections to the obvious and the clear teaching of Scripture.

Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch (2/12)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Who Are the Saints?

Dr. Couch, are we saints today?

Answer: Yes, we positionally saints "in Christ." In almost all of Paul's letters he starts out addressing the believers as saints. Paul means that positionally we are "holy" because we are related to Him. In our walk and experience we are to live as saints. The Bible says "Be holy for I am holy." That means to be walking sanctified. While we will never become perfect, PERFECT, we are still to do what He asks.

The church is not the kingdom, though we will live with Christ in the kingdom when He returns to establish the Davidic rule on earth. The Bible almost 100% calls the kingdom the millennial reign, though sometimes it speaks of the universal kingdom rule of the Lord over His creation, but this is really just a few times in Scripture.

Christ is presently seated on His Father's throne in heaven (Psa. 110:1-2). But He says: "He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne" (Rev. 3:21). It was told Mary, "[Jesus] will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob (Israel) forever; and His kingdom will have no end" (Luke 1:32-33).

Thanks for asking. --Dr. Mal Couch (2/12)