|Dr. Couch, I understand that more Jews are flooding back to Israel from the U.S. Is this true?|
ANSWER: The latest issue of the Jerusalem Post reports that many Jews who have lost their jobs here in the U.S. are indeed immigrating to the Holy Land. They are saying, "Why not?" They have nothing to lose and feel that they can start their lives over again there. God is using all kinds of methods to increase the numbers returning home to the land of their forefathers.
It has been predicted in Jeremiah 30 that the "birth pangs," the tribulation and the wrath, takes place after the Jews from both houses, from both kingdoms, return to the land. This has happened in our life-time. The nation of Israel was restored in 1948. We are moving rapidly to the prophesied days of tribulation. The Word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah says:
For behold, days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah. The Lord says, I will also bring them back to the land that I gave to their forefathers, and they shall possess it. (vv. 2-3)
Jeremiah then adds:
I have heard a sound of terror, of dread, and there is no peace. Ask now and see, if a male can give birth. Why do I see everyman with his hands on his loins, as a woman in childbirth? And why have all faces turned pale? Alas! for that day is great, there is none like it; and it is the time of Jacob's (Israel's) distress (zarak, tribulation). (vv. 5-7)
This is the birth pangs, the seven year tribulation that is prophesied against Israel and against the world. God adds, "I will destroy completely all the nations where I have scattered you (Israel, not the church), only I will not destroy you (Israel) completely but I will chasten you justly" (v. 11). And, "Jacob (Israel, not the church) shall return [to the land] and shall be quiet and at ease, and no one shall make him (Israel) afraid" (v. 10b).
Wow! Is this not so simple? How could anyone destroy the clear intent of the Bible? God is not through with the Jews!
Has this happened some time in the past? Of course not! Christ quotes this passage about four times, especially the words about the birth pangs, and, so does the apostle Paul. Christ says about the terrible things coming on the earth He just mentioned: "But all these things are merely the beginning of the birth pangs" (Matt. 24:8), and Paul says: "When they are saying, 'peace and safety!' then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child and they shall not escape" (1 Thess. 5:3).
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
| One of the founders of this break-off group from the Southern Baptists, Cecil Sherman, said in regard to the virgin birth, "A teacher who might also be led by the Scriptures not to believe in the virgin birth should not be fired" from his seminary teaching position.|
Many churches in Texas that pulled away from the Southern Baptist joined that organization not fully realizing what was behind it. The main reason for the split was that there was a takeover of the Southern Baptists by conservatives who held to the inerrancy of Scripture and other great doctrines of the faith. Liberal pastors, who were trained in liberal schools, resisted this strengthening of the doctrine of the inspiration of Scripture. Inerrancy is a biblical doctrine. I should know. My thesis for my first master's degree was on inerrancy!
And by the way, there was nothing wrong in the "take over." The whole purpose was to get back to what the Bible teaches. Liberalism was moving (and still is) into the Southern Baptist schools. In my opinion, soon, the Southern Baptists will be completely liberal. This is the way all human institutions are going.
The liberals deny inerrancy. And apparently Cecil Sherman is certainly soft on the issue of the virgin birth of our Savior. Along with Dr. Al Mohler, I believe one who denies this doctrine is not saved. To deny the virgin birth is to "create" another Jesus. This would make Christ simply another man. The virgin birth is essential for understanding the sinlessness of Christ, otherwise, He would be dying for His own sins! Being the Son of God, Christ is sinless.
It amazes me what people do not know about their own group, their own denomination!
-- Dr. Mal Couch
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
|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
Monday, December 22, 2008
When the Lord Jesus returns to earth to establish His Davidic and messianic rule, Zechariah 12:10 says: "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born."
A question has been raised about the prepositional phrase "look on Me." Should this be "look on, upon Me" or "look unto Me"? Which is right, and does it make a big difference as to which translation would be correct?
Many prepositions are rather spongy and have shades of meaning that sometimes are difficult to make precise. Without question, the passage is saying that Israel, the Jews, will see Christ physically return to the earth to rule over the house of David (the kingly house) and over Jerusalem, the royal city, for carrying out the messianic reign. This is a settled issue and it makes those who do not take His return to reign over the literal messianic kingdom, which is actual and literal, look foolish. It is the covenant guys who deny the normal, natural meaning of this great passage. They deprecate the Word of God and take away the Lord's earthly reign as promised clearly in Scripture!
The proposition el at its first meaning is toward. Or, "to, on, upon." The great Jewish Rabbi Rashi says it should read "They shall look upon Me." Or, "They will turn to Me." Unger rightly puts it all together: "The pouring out of the Spirit upon the remnant will result in their looking 'upon' the Messiah, but the Hebrew 'they shall look' also includes the idea of 'looking to' Him in confidence and faith." By the way, it is God the Son who says in the passage "they shall look upon Me"!
The word "to look" in Hebrew is ne'bat in the hiphil verb form with the force of "they will be made to look." The Hebrew lexicon says the word is best translated "to look in a specific direction." Apparently when the Spirit of God touches the Jews as Christ arrives to reign upon His messianic throne, the people will be made to turn and look at His descending down to earth. This will cause them to cry out when they recognize Him as their rejected Messiah! The piercing of course refers to His crucifixion when the nation as a whole rejected Him as their Savior and King! --Dr. Mal Couch
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Most American religious believers, including most Christians, say eternal life is not exclusively for those who accept Christ as their savior, a new survey finds.
Of the 65% of people who held this open view of heaven's gates, 80% named at least one non-Christian group - Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists or people with no religion at all- who may also be saved, according to a new survey released today by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
This most recent report, released today, clarifies a report issued earlier this year. That earlier report became the cause of some controversy because some researchers questioned the accuracy of the responses, since some of those surveyed may have confused other Christian denominations for other religions.
In releasing this updated report, the Pew Forum isolated the question and made it far more specific. Those who affirmed other ways of salvation were then asked to specify what they meant. As USA Today reports, the vast majority of those who affirmed other ways of salvation went on to specify "Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists or people with no religion at all" as valid options.
The report indicates that 52% of those belonging to churches and denominations that teach that Jesus is the only way of salvation reject that teaching.
More from USA Today:
Christian believers who named at least one non-Christian faith that could lead to salvation included 34% of white evangelicals, even though evangelical doctrine stresses that salvation is possible only through Jesus.
Higher levels of church attendance made some difference, particularly among white evangelical protestants. But an overall majority (54%) of people who identified with a religion and who said they attend church weekly also said many religions can lead to eternal life. This majority included 37% of white evangelicals, 75% of mainline Protestants and 85% of non-Hispanic white Catholics.
This survey cannot easily be dismissed. The specificity of the responses and the quality of the research sample indicate that we face a serious decline in confidence in the Gospel. When 34% of white evangelicals reject the truth that Jesus is the only Savior, we are witnessing a virtual collapse of evangelical theology.
There is also additional cause for concern. As Cathy Lynn Grossman reports, "Pew's new survey also found that many Christians (29%) say they are saved by their good actions; 30% say salvation is through belief in Jesus, God or a higher power alone, which is the core teaching of evangelical Protestantism; and 10% say salvation is found through a combination of behavior and belief, a view closer to Catholic teachings."
I was interviewed for the USA Today story and expressed my concern:
Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, calls the findings "a theological crisis for American evangelicals. They represent at best a misunderstanding of the Gospel and at worst a repudiation of the Gospel."
Overall, the new findings are "an indictment of evangelicalism and evangelical preaching," said Mohler. "The clear Biblical teaching is that Jesus Christ proclaimed himself to be the only way to salvation."
Mohler sees behind the statistics the impact of pluralism and secularism in U.S. society and the challenge of facing family and friends with "an uncomfortable truth."
"We are in an age when we want to tell everyone they are doing just fine. It's extremely uncomfortable to turn to someone and say, 'You will go to hell unless you come to a saving knowledge of Jesus,' " Mohler says.
Over twenty years ago, Professor James Davison Hunter of the University of Virginia sounded a similar alarm in Evangelicalism: The Coming Generation. In that work, Hunter warned that the rising generation of younger evangelicals -- then mostly college age -- were increasingly uncomfortable with the claim that Jesus is the only Savior and that belief in Christ is necessary in order for a person to go to heaven. Now, those students are old enough to be parents and their influence is becoming more evident year by year. One can almost draw a straight line between Hunter's analysis of 1987 and the Pew report released today.
As I told USA Today, this report reveals that a good number of those who attend evangelical churches either misunderstand or repudiate the Gospel. The New Testament reveals not only that Jesus claimed to be the only way to the Father [see John 14:6] but also that the Gospel of Christ is the only message that saves [see Romans 10]. This claim has been central to evangelical conviction -- at least until now.
I am confident that much of this confusion can be traced to the superficiality that marks far too many evangelical pulpits. The disappearance of doctrinal understanding and evangelical demonstration can be traced directly to the decline in expository preaching and doctrinal instruction. A loss of evangelistic and missionary commitment can be fully expected as a direct result of this confusion or repudiation of the Gospel.
This new survey should be received with great concern. Will it awaken today's generation of evangelicals to the catastrophe before our eyes?
This article originated at albertmohler.com
Saturday, December 20, 2008
|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
Friday, December 19, 2008
|A misinterpretation of the Colossians 1:13 passage has raised its ugly head again! There are those who want to argue that the kingdom here in this verse is somehow a "spiritualized" kingdom or is actually the messianic kingdom that the church has been joined to. The passage reads from the Greek text: |
"He delivered (Aorist Tense, ruomai, "rescued from enemies") us out from the power (exousias, "authority") of the darkness and transferred (Aorist Tense, methistami, "rescued, changed") us into the kingdom concerning His Son of love ("agapes")." Or, "loved," "beloved" Son!
The Aorist Tenses make this verse absolute. God has already performed this transaction. In God's mind, this is completed action. This phenomenon happens also in Romans 8:30. By using the Aorist Tense God already sees us "glorified," that is, in heaven glorified. It's a done deal! I'm already there. I'm already in heaven. When I die I will go to heaven but then in my new glorified body I return to reign with Him in the Millennial kingdom. He sees me already here in that kingdom. The Aorist Tense in Colossians 1:13 makes it a done deal. I'm already transferred in God's mind to the Millennial kingdom, and, God also already sees me in heaven according to the Romans 8:30 passage. Both are true! (Though heaven is not the millennial kingdom!)
Now again, how do I know Paul is describing the Millennial reign of Christ in Colossians 1:13 and not some kind of squashy "spiritualized" kingdom? (The answer is easy!)
In the beginning of the Gospels, God the Father says over and over again that Christ is His "beloved Son" (Matt. 3:17; 12:18; 17:5; Mark 1:11, 9:7; 12:6; Luke 3:22; 9:35—for just a few!) The language of Colossians 1:13 is almost the same as used in the Gospels. In the Gospel references, "beloved Son" comes from Psalm 2:7 where it is said that the Lord has a Son, though "beloved" is not used. This is messianic, it is about the King (Psa. 2:6). Thus, it is about the Jewish messianic kingdom, it is not about some fuzzy spiritualized kingdom, nor is it about the church.
The disciples got the point in the early chapters of the Gospels. Nathaniel virtually quotes Psalm 2 when he said to Christ: "You are the Son of God; You are the king of Israel" (John 1:49). Colossians 1:13 ties into all of this and says that we are now transferred in God's mind to that messianic kingdom. We will be down here on earth in our new body someday! We will co-rule with Him though the Jewish people will be the prime people in the kingdom reign.
Keep the interpretative lines straight. OBSERVE clearly and carefully and the Bible will open like a flower!
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Thursday, December 18, 2008
|Dr. Couch, is the rapture in Matthew 24:40-42? Many of the well-known dispensationalists think so.|
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
Monday, December 15, 2008
Isaiah 43, Part Two.
|Dr. Couch, what about the woman thing in 1 Timothy 2:12-14?|
ANSWER: What about it? The Bible is clear. Women are not to be elders in churches, not to have authority or teach over men. For 2000 years the church has thoroughly understood that until the authority of Scripture was undermined and evil men starting allowing women to be "pastors."
Yes, the fault is not with the misled women but with the stupid men who allowed this to happen to the church. Men will be judged for giving up on their authority and responsibilities in the church. No writer of, say, the past thirty years and back, would argue any other position in the subject. The old Greek scholar Patrick Fairbairn on 1 Timothy 2:12-14 writes:
Thus did God in the method of creation give clear testimony to the headship of man—to his right, and also his obligation, to hold directly what God says, and stand under the command of God, and to Him only; while woman, being form for his helpmate and partner, stands under command to her husband, and is called to act for God in him. And simply by inverting this relative position and calling—the helpmate assuming the place of the head or guide, and the head then yielding to her control—was the happy constitution of paradise overthrown, and everything involved in disorder and evil.
In the general management of affairs man should concede to her the ascendancy, this would be wrong! She lacks and is without, by the very constitution of nature, the qualities necessary for such a task—in particular, the equability of temper, the practical shrewdness and discernment, the firm, independent, regulative judgment, which are required to carry the leaders of important spiritual things above first impressions and outside appearances and fierce conflicts to cleave unswervingly to the right. Her very nature, with the finer sensibilities and stronger impulses of her emotional and living nature—tend in a measure to disqualify her here of being a leader in the church. … It was Adam who was mainly charged with this responsibility, and who should have been, in everything relating to it, the prime agent.
Dr. Mal Couch
Sunday, December 14, 2008
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 13, 2008
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
Friday, December 12, 2008
This division is primarily based on a presupposition of what is possible and what is not possible. Is it possible to have a future temple if God is through with the Old Covenant? Is it possible for God to institute sacrifice in a future period? These questions are at the heart of the interpretative war over this section of Scripture and Ezekiel’s temple.
For many Christians even the concept of a future Second Coming of the Messiah is out of the question! For these Christians the millennium is spiritualized and the promises made to Israel have been given to the Church. This set of articles will examine the Millennial Temple of Ezekiel and the worship described for that day. This article will examine the different interpretative ways that have been proposed for Ezekiel chapters 40-48, and expose the problem of pre-conceived doctrine that distorts the Word of God, changing what is plain into something subjective; what is literal into that which is spiritual.
The Interpretative Problem
Dr. Dyer summarizes the problem when he writes, "Three interpretations of chapters 40-43 are held by Bible students: (1) Ezekiel predicted a rebuilding of Solomon’s temple after the Babylonian Captivity. (2) Ezekiel was prophesying about the church in a figurative sense; he did not have a literal temple in mind. (3) A still-future literal temple will be built during the millennial kingdom." (Charles Dyer in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Walvoord & Zuck gen. ed., p. 1303).
The problem addressed here has to do with the interpretative method. The possibility of a future sacrificial system is not allowed for some, so they create an interpretative method that removes the perceived problem. "The figurative or ‘spiritualizing’ interpretative approach does not seem to solve any of the problems of Ezekiel 40-48; rather it tends to create new ones. When the interpreter abandons a normal grammatical-historical hermeneutic because the passage does not seem to make sense and opts for an interpretative procedure by which he can allegorize, symbolize, or ‘spiritualize,’ the interpretations become subjective. Different aspects of a passage mean whatever the interpreter desires." (Ralph Alexander, Ezekiel in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, p. 943).
The Scripture Outlined
Ezekiel was a priest, himself a son of a priest (son of Buzi; 1:3), who was taken captive with Jehoiachin in 597 B.C. As such Ezekiel is said to have been both a priest and a prophet. Though the priestly work was not allowed during their Babylonian captivity, the priests managed to continue their teaching aspect of the office. It is then no mistake that Ezekiel teaches both individual and corporate responsibility for sin before God (Chapters 18 & 23). It was after all the failure of the priests, their past defilement and disobedience that led to their exile in Babylon. Ezekiel reiterates that an individual’s behavior is connected to how one approaches God in worship. Insincere worship leads to immoral behavior and judgment, whereas proper worship leads to moral behavior and blessing.
It is from Ezekiel 34 and Psalms 23 that the good shepherd of John 10 comes from. As such Ezekiel tells the nation that the Messiah Himself will return and teach from a new temple. God gives Ezekiel the vision of bayith Yisra’el ("house of Israel"), measuring every detail of the house. The house is an equivalent term for the temple in this context. Ezekiel details in these chapters the Millennial Temple (chaps. 40-43), millennial worship (chaps. 44-46), and the millennial land division (chapters. 47-48). (Merril Unger, Unger’s Commentary on the Old Testament, p. 1581). These final chapters are not stand-alone; the whole of the book is presented chronologically. In fact, the temple is prominent in this book. Notice what the great Hebrew scholar Dr. Alexander says:
In order to determine the general time-frame of these chapters, they will be examined in light of the development and flow of Ezekiel’s argument in the entire book. He has shown the presence of God’s glory in the historical Jerusalem temple and its departure from the temple because of Israel’s sin of breaking the Mosaic covenant. The Fall of Jerusalem and the Captivity in Babylon were the consequence (chs. 4-24). After declaring how the nations would also be judged (25:1-33:20), Ezekiel encouraged the Jewish captives through six night messages of hope (33:21-39:29). In these he informed them that the Messiah would restore them to their Promised Land in the future and become a true shepherd to them. They would be cleansed and all their covenants would be fulfilled. Even in the end times, after the land prospers and Israel dwells securely in it, some will try to take the Promised Land away from Israel and profane the Lord’s name; but the Lord will not permit it (chs. 38-39). It would seem logical, therefore, that Ezekiel would conclude the logical and chronological development of his prophecy by describing the messianic kingdom and the return of God’s glory to govern his people (chs. 40-48)…" (Ralph Alexander, Ezekiel in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, pp. 943-944)
As can be seen by this overview, I have used commentators that have taken a literal-grammatical historical approach. A literal Millennial Temple unfortunately is not accepted within the non-futurist camp.
Gleason Archer’s excellent book A Survey of the Old Testament Introduction reports the following summary:
As recently as the eighth edition of Driver’s ILOT, the genuineness of Ezekiel had been accepted as completely authentic by the majority of rationalist critics. But in 1924 Gustav Hoelscher advanced the thesis that only a small fraction of the book was by the historical sixth-century Ezekiel (i.e., only 143 verses out of 1273) and the rest came from some later author living in Jerusalem and contemporaneous with Nehemiah (440-430 B.C.). In 1930 Professor C.C. Torrey published a discussion of his view that no part of Ezekiel came from the sixth century, or even from the two centuries succeeding. He dated the earliest stratum of the book of Ezekiel at 230 B.C. and deduced that it was written in Jerusalem rather than Babylonia. Not long afterward it was reedited by a redactor who gave it the appearance of having been written in Babylonia by one of the Captivity. It should be mentioned that Torrey did not believe in the historicity of the Chaldean destruction of Judah or the removal of the Jewish population to Babylonia in any sort of national captivity. (Gleason Archer, A Survey of the Old Testament Introduction, pp. 410-412)
Among the many arguments why the critical scholars reject Ezekiel authorship is in fact the perceived problem of the fulfillment of Ezekiel 40-48. Archer explains, "These chapters contain a long and detailed series of predictions of what the future Palestine is to be like, with its city and temple. To an open-minded reader, it is safe to say the predictions of these nine chapters give the appearance of being as literally intended as those contained in the earlier part of the book (e.g., the judgments upon Tyre and Sidon in 26-28, which found literal fulfillment in subsequent history). The question is whether the plans set forth in chapters 40-48 are ever to be realized. If no temple is ever going to be erected in accordance with these specifications, and if there is to be no such holy city as the prophet describes, and if there is to be no such apportionment of the land among the twelve tribes as he indicates, we are faced with a portion of Scripture containing false prophecy." (Gleason Archer, p. 415).
What Dr. Archer is saying is that the only way to avoid such a conclusion, according to some interpreters, is to take all these provisions as intended to be figurative. They say these chapters should be understood as referring to the New Testament church, the spiritual Jerusalem! And so they interpret it that way.
Unger identifies the following three points of view concerning Ezekiel’s millennial temple: "(1) Ezekiel’s prophecy was merely to preserve the memory of Solomon’s Temple and to portray what should have been put into effect upon the return from Babylon. (2) It sets forth the kingdom of God in its final form (C.F. Keil). (3) It is a symbolic description of the Christian church in its earthly glory and blessing (Luther, Calvin, Cappellus, Cocceius, and the majority of modern scholars)." (Merrill Unger, Unger’s Commentary on the Old Testament, p. 1581).
Numerous problems exist for the interpreter. For example, how would the regulations for blood sacrifice which appear in these chapters fit into the post-Calvary economy of salvation? The criticism is actually levied on the literalist but, as W. Kelly puts it, "Now the prophets, from Isaiah to Malachi, bring to light for the glorious day an earthly temple with sacrifices, priesthood, and rites appropriate to it. No doubt it is not Christianity; but who with such an array of inspired witnesses against him [cf. Is 2:2-3; 56:7; 60:7; Hag. 2:6-7; Zech. 6:12, 15], will dare to say that such a state of things will not be according to the truth, and for the glory of God in that day" (Unger, p. 1582). The temple vision is specific to Israel and concerns the regenerated seed of Abraham by natural birth to which God made certain covenants and promises.
John writes in Revelation 21:22, "But I saw no temple in it [the new heavens and earth], for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple." So, how can there be a millennial temple? The answer is simple, chapter 21 of Revelation begins the "new heaven and new earth" and not the millennial kingdom. The millennial kingdom is Jewish in nature, whereas in the new heaven and earth there will be no temple - all things will be new. Prophecy will have been completely fulfilled.
Types of Temples in Scripture
The Scriptures do speak of temples being other than a literal structure. In fact, the first reference is that of the tabernacle which is called "the temple of the Lord" (1 Sam. 1:9). Then there is the temple which replaced the tabernacle, Solomon’s Temple that was destroyed on the 9th of Av. Next there was Zerubbabel’s Temple, which was rebuilt and expanded by Herod and hence called Herod’s Temple which was also destroyed on the 9th of Av, and finally, pagan temples. In addition, there is the non building usage of the temple; (1) Jesus Christ as a temple (John 2:19-22); (2) Believer bodies are called a temple of God (1 Cor. 6:19); (3) the Church as a temple (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:21-22; Heb. 3:6); and (4) Heaven is called a temple (Rev. 16:17). The temple is the dwelling place of God whether it is in a tent, a house, or a believer.
As can be seen from these references the word refers to the place where God dwells. While the tabernacle had a symbolic meaning in the Mosaic covenant it is more typological than symbolical. "These meanings are recognized in later revelation. Isaiah 7:14, as interpreted by Matthew 1:23, revealed that the name Messiah would be Immanuel, ‘God with us.’ The essential purpose of the tabernacle, therefore, would be realized in the person and work of Jesus. The apostle John captured this truth as he described Jesus’ life with the word skenoo, ‘to tabernacle’ or ‘to pitch a tent’ – ‘And the Word became flesh, and dwelt (tabernacled) among us: (1:14).’" (Mal Couch, gen.ed., Dictionary of Premillennial Theology, p. 402). The word Temple may also be translated sanctuary, a term inclusive of God’s dwelling in all its forms.
The premillennial Dispensationalist also sees two additional literal temples in Scripture, the Tribulation Temple (2 Thes. 2:4; Rev. 11:1-2), and the Millennial Temple (Ezek. 40-48; Hag. 2:6-9). These temples are literal and serve the purpose of sacrifice and worship during these periods.
The Use of Symbolism
Ezekiel uses more symbolism than any other Old Testament prophet. "His figures of speech are not dependent on heathen sources but have their foundation in the sanctuary of Israel and in the concepts of his predecessors, educated as he was under Levitical training." (Wycliffe Bible Dictionary, p. 581). In fact the whole of the book is said to be for the most part in chronological order and are usually replete with chronological and historical data (Eugene Merrill, Kingdom of Priests, p. 482). This historical data cannot and should not be taken allegorically.
Ramm points out that with any symbol there are two elements:
First is the idea which is mental and conceptual, and second the image which represents it. In a given culture these ideas and images are kept close together through the familiarity of constant usage (Bernard Ramm, p. 233). He points out the following guidelines:
"1. Those symbols interpreted by the Scriptures are the foundation for all further studies in symbolism. When the Scripture interprets a symbol then we are on sure ground.... 2. If the symbol is not interpreted we suggest the following: (i) Investigate the context thoroughly. It might be that in what is said before or after, the idea corresponding to the symbol is revealed. (ii) By means of a concordance check other passages which use the same symbol and see if such cross references will give the clue. (iii) Sometimes the nature of the symbol is a clue to its meaning (although the temptation to read the meaning of our culture into these symbols must be resisted). ....(iv) Sometimes comparative studies of Semitic culture reveal the meaning of the symbol....3. Be aware of double imagery in symbols. There is nothing in the symbolism of the Bible which demands that each symbol have one and only one meaning." (Ramm, p. 234).
With this as a guide it is clear that the temple of Ezekiel is clearly a literal temple because elsewhere in Scripture when the temple is measured, the temple is literal. There is no mysterious symbol that needs to be interpreted. There is not another way to interpret the exact dimensions of the wall, the details of the construction in any other way but literal! When the Lord defines exactly what the measurement is, "the cubit is one cubit and a hand-breadth" (Ezek. 43:13), so exact is the physical measuring standard, one has to take it literal. When the Lord tells Ezekiel to write it down so that Israel might keep its "whole design and all its ordinances" for them to "perform them" (43:11), then, this must be literal.
Paul Lee Tan in his book The Interpretation of Prophecy details the following for interpreting symbols, "Many interpreters err in seeing an inordinate amount of symbolism in Bible prophecy. For this reason, the interpreter should be conversant with the various situations under which symbols do not and cannot possibly exist. These situations are as follows: (1). When the ‘symbol’ involves things possible. – The prophetic Scriptures contain many descriptions of the future which are possible or plausible. In such instances, the interpreter should not assign these to the realm of symbolism...(2). When details superfluous to the ‘symbol’ are given. – When a ‘symbol’ is found, the interpreter must test his discovery by asking whether it contains details unnecessary and incidental to the intended symbolism. If so, its symbolism should be denied and its non-symbolical character affirmed. The prophecy of the 144,000 in Revelation 7 contains so many incidental details, such as the genealogies, tribal names, and subdivided memberships of that group, that it cannot possibly be a symbol... (3) When the symbol separates from itself. – When handling symbols, the interpreter must accept no symbol that is found separated or apart from itself. Every symbol must behave as a composite unit and not be seen in action separated or apart from itself." (Paul Lee Tan, The Interpretation of Prophecy (Dallas:Bible Communication, Inc., 1994), p.p. 159-161).
With these common sense guidelines, Dr. Tan says, "Perhaps the best illustration of the rule of the "no superfluous details" is found in Ezekiel’s prophecy of the Millennial Temple (Ezek. 40-48). Non-literal interpreters maintain that this prophecy is a symbol of the Christian Church. However, this major prophecy in the Book of Ezekiel contains descriptions, specifications, and measurements of the millennial temple which are so exhaustive that one may actually make a sketch of it, just as one might of Solomon’s historic temple"( Paul Tan, p. 161).
Ezekiel’s Literal Temple
There are several observations that establish Ezekiel’s temple as literal in space and millennial in time.
Ezekiel’s literal temple is literally anticipated.
The Lord God tells Ezekiel to write down the dimensions so that Israel may observe the prescribed ordinances (43:10). The physical measurements are provided for the altar and its placement is described (43:13-16). The Lord God anticipates the ordinances for the consecrating of the alter to be performed in some future day "when it is made" (43:18). Literal sacrifices will be performed in accordance with the Lord’s command (43:18-27). It appears the temple is primarily for the purpose of the Jews (44:6-9).
Ezekiel’s temple and Israel’s physical blessing prophecy are to be literally completed.
The Lord God describes Jewish temple worship that is uniquely future. The method of service was not practiced by the returning exiles, or in the time of Christ. Yet Ezekiel describes (a) restored Israel (39:27); (b) a holy temple; (c) the Lord’s glory will return to the sanctuary forever (43:7); (d) the temple is the place of His throne and the soles of His feet (43:7); (e) the land divided for each tribe (45:1; 47:13-48:35); (f) a holy city (Jerusalem) (45:6; 48:35); (g) a section of the city for the prince (David) (45:7; 48:21); (h) Israel’s princes will no longer oppress Israel (45:8); (i) honest dealings in offerings restored (45:9-15); (j) the prince shall himself prepare the offerings on appointed days for the house of Israel (45:17); (k) living water flowing out of the temple toward the east (47:1-9); trees which line the river of life will continuously produce fruit (47:12). These point to a future period of time called the Millennium.
Dr. Couch points out, "The difference between dispensational theology and reformed theology is largely reflected in their approaches to interpreting eschatological literature. Dispensational theology consistently applies a literal hermeneutic to the eschatological and non-eschatological books of the Bible. Reformed theology frequently employs the allegorical or spiritualizing method of biblical interpretation when it comes to interpreting prophetic passages of the Bible. For example, with an allegorical interpretation, Israel does not have to mean the nation Israel. It could mean the church.... The Reformed view rejects the idea of there being a physical temple building in Ezekiel 40-48. Instead, they maintain that it refers to the universal church. Allegorizing the text in this way dismisses the common, ordinary meaning of words as they were understood in their historical context" (Mal Couch, gen. ed., An Introduction to Classical Evangelical Hermeneutics, p. 300).
It has been said by the non-literalist that Ezekiel’s Millennial Temple of Ezek. 40-48 is symbolic and should not be interpreted literally. Even quoting Rev. 21:22, in claiming that the future will contain no temple. It has been presented that Revelation 21 starts the "new heavens and new earth" section of Scripture. The millennial [kingdom] temple is detailed by Ezekiel because there really will be a future temple in the Davidic kingdom. One can even go out and build in great detail this millennial temple. The physical dimensions are in such detail that it describes a literal structure. No one should take it any other way except as literal. Ezekiel was a priest before the captivity, and God used him to describe the detailed Jewish worship in the Davidic millennial kingdom. The requirement for a memorial sacrifice is realistic in Scripture and so must be taken as a literal sacrifice. In Scripture, the physical building called the temple is always the temple! Ezekiel details the priestly service of the millennial temple which can be taken only as literal since some of the priestly services violates the Levetical law. In the next article that temple and its service will be examined in detail.
A team of Bible teachers will be answering the published 95 objections to dispensationalism. The CD set will be available in January. The donation will be $35 for over fifteen CDs, plus an attractive carrying case.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Nevertheless, the secularization of the society is one thing, but the secularization of the church is another. Yet, at least one major leader of the Church of England now assumes what can only be described as a secular vision of the church.
Writing in a new publication of the Institute for Public Policy Research in London, Dr. John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, calls for the Church of England to represent people of all faiths, and those of no faith at all.
Writing in Faith in the Nation: Religion, Identity, and the Public Realm in Britain Today, the Archbishop argues that the Church of England deserves its place as the established church of Great Britain because it now serves as a "public utility" serving the common good.
As The Times [London] reported the story:
The Church of England should be open for use by people of any religion or none, like a hospital, says Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York.
There is a strong case for regarding the Church as a public body that does not exist simply to serve believers, he argues. Whether or not most people attend regularly is irrelevant.
This is a strange and pathetic vision of the church. No longer the assembly of believers, the church is now defined merely as a public utility. What does this public utility do? It exists, he argues, in order to provide service such as education, funerals, and a context for important national events — such as, he suggests, the funeral of Princess Diana.
In his chapter in the book, Archbishop Sentamu argues that the Church of England serves as a public utility that offers services "at the point of need for populations who will sooner or later require their services." Quoting researcher Grace Davie, a specialist on religion in Britain, Archbishop Sentamu explains that "the fact that these populations see no need to attend these churches does not mean that they are not appreciated."
This has to be one of the strangest and most unbiblical concepts of the church ever to reach print. The church is now to be more or less on-call for a population that sees no need to attend these churches but nonetheless is assumed to appreciate the fact that they exist. Confused?
Well, the Archbishop goes on to cite Grave Davie again in proposing the idea of "vicarious religion." As she explains, "vicarious religion" is "the notion of religion performed by an active minority but on behalf of a much larger number who (implicitly at least) not only understand, but quite clearly approve of what the minority is doing."
Finally, the Archbishop argues that the church provides "faithful capital" for the society at large, building community and relationships and social cohesiveness. Of course, as he acknowledges, all this is supposed to come without much (if any) emphasis on actual Christian beliefs or teachings. As a matter of fact, he assumes that most people will never attend church anyway. Evidently, the Archbishop no longer sees that as much of a problem.
This is the end result of liberal theology — a thoroughly secularized church. This Archbishop celebrates multiculturalism and religious diversity. No urgent concept of evangelism is to be found in his essay, for he appears to believe that no such effort is needed.
Archbishop Sentamu effectively erases the boundary between belief and unbelief, suggesting that the church belongs to believers and unbelievers alike. The saving message of the Gospel — the message of salvation from sin through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ — is replaced with a social function. The Body of Christ is transformed into a public utility.
In Matthew 16, Jesus states that his church is built on the confession that he is "the Christ, the Son of the Living God." But in the church of liberal theology, any belief (or no belief at all) will eventually do. Furthermore, no one actually needs to come. Nothing of eternal significance is hanging in the balance anyway. A clear proclamation of the Gospel and the bold preaching of the Word of God may be missing, but the architecture is grand and the music is glorious.
Of course, Archbishop Sentamu is attempting to argue for the continued existence of the Church of England as an established state church. His argument represents what happens when the interests of the state are all that remain. But Christians in America — which thankfully has no state church — are not immune from the same temptation to reduce the meaning and mission of the church to social capital and public utility.
This is ultimately where liberal theology leads, and where the church meets its end. The gates of hell will easily prevail over anything reduced to the status of a "public utility."
This article originated at albertmohler.com
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
|Dr. Couch, I understand Newsweek Magazine has a scathing editorial against the Bible and the issue of homosexuality. What's going on?|
ANSWER: What is happening is clearly the advancement of the prophesied apostasy of the culture, or technically, the further degradation of the culture down the moral slippery slop in the end time. The church is indeed specifically going apostate as the world falls into the pit. In other words, (1) the world is getting worse morally and in its rejection of revelation, and (2) the church is apostatizing morally and spiritually.
We are not going to stop this, and, I do not expect a revival or a turning back to God. The world (specifically the West) now has no biblical orientation as it once did to know to a degree a certain spiritual conviction. But of course, that spiritual conviction is not natural. It is given by the sovereignty of God and He now is turning away from the culture. He is preparing the world for the wrath.
By the way, the Newsweek editorial shows how the Bible can be misconstrued when the reader (the lost or even the Christian) does not understand dispensationalism, and how the Word of God must be so interpreted. You have to understand that the world was different under the OT economy, and how God worked with the world differently, under the period of the law over against how He deals with the world today under the age of Grace. If Christians don't get it, they go silent because they do not see the changes within the different ages of biblical history. And they cannot answer the criticisms of the culture against the Bible!
I am more and more getting tired of the old apologetics because it no longer answers the new charges against the revelations found in Scripture. You cannot have a biblical apologetic without understanding the prophecies concerning Israel and the restoration of the Davidic Kingdom. I have a bunch of friends who are just fascinated with the field of "Reformed" apologetics but it's as if they are working in the backroom and have not come out to the front room to present the Scriptures that proclaim that God is working against with the nation of Israel. Reformed apologetics needs to be put to bed and we need so new men, premillennialists and dispensationalists, who bring apologetics up to snuff! I know what I'm talking about. I went through the standard graduate apologetic courses in grad school! We need some thinking young dispensationalists to plow new ground!
So we dispensationalists are right. The Covenant guys have few answers in being able to put the Scriptures together, in making clear how our day is different from the days of the OT.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
|Dr. Couch, Kenneth Wuest makes an issue of the two uses of the idea "to birth" and "genealogy" as seen in Matthew 1:1 and 11:11. What is he referring to?|
ANSWER: Matthew 1:1 reads: "The book of the becoming of Jesus Christ." The word "becoming" is actually the word "genealogy"! The Greek word genealogy is the word gensis which comes from the verb ginomai, meaning to become, come into being. This is the only place the word is used, in reference to the coming of Christ!
However, another word, gennesis, is used describing the birth of Christ in Matthew 1:18 and Luke 1:14. This word is used only of Him and only in these two places. The Bible is trying to tell us something by the fact that there are several distinct words being used to describe the coming of Christ. I'm not sure exactly what the message is, except the fact that He is a very special One coming into the world!
Of John the Baptist it is said in Matthew 11:11: he came "Among them that are born (genneetos) of women."
Both words (gensis and genneetos) come from ginomai ("to come into being") but it's interesting to see how the biblical text focuses in the different way to describe the natural birth of John and the miraculous birth of Christ. There are no accidents in the inspiration of Scripture. Every word has its own purpose as given to us by the Holy Spirit.
Summary: Christ had "a becoming" being the Son of God who was pre-existent. John the Baptist, and other human beings, are born into this earth—thus, "birthed."
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Monday, December 8, 2008
|Dr. Couch, the story of the destruction of Tyre seems to really explain the sovereignty of God that you hold so strongly to. Right?|
ANSWER: Absolutely! The story is in Ezekiel 26 where it is predicted that Babylon will come against Tyre as led by the Lord. The siege by Nebuchadnezzar would last for thirteen years (585-583 B.C.). God said to Tyre "I will cause many nations to come up against you" (v. 3). God then predicted that the city would move out to an island. "I will scrape her debris (the city's) from her and make her a bare rock. She will be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea, for I have spoken, declares the Lord God, and she will become spoil for the nations" (vv. 4-5). "I will bring Nebuchadnezzar upon her" (v. 7). "I will put an end to the sound of your songs" (v. 13). In other words, God is in charge!
The fate foretold of Tyre is very unique and was incredibly fulfilled and came to pass. As Ezekiel prophesied, Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city on the land but the king had no reason to throw the rubble into the ocean. However, the people of Tyre escaped to an island and built, as prophesied, a new city there. "They will lay your stones in the midst of the sea" (v. 12).
Three hundred years later Alexander the Great wanted to take the island city and did by constructing a causeway out to it and then cast all of its remains into the sea, as spoken in verse 12. The remains of Tyre are still in the ocean under the causeway that Alexander built! My two sayings: Who is in charge? And, Who do we think we are? What an amazing prediction that came to pass just as the Lord said through Ezekiel.
God can do this to America, and He will! A complete destruction will come someday. What does this nation deserve? Why should He keep protecting us?
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Saturday, December 6, 2008
1 Corinthians 10, John 14:15-26, The Filling and Baptism of the Holy Spirit, PLUS the book of Titus taught Chapter by Chapter and Verse by Verse: Introduction to Titus, Titus 1:1-16 , Titus 2:1-10, Titus 2:11-3:8, and Titus 3:9-15.
While controversial, this happens to be a major teaching by the apostle on the place and the role of women. Many who heard Dr. Couch’s exegesis of the passage said, “You must make copies of this!”
Donation: $8 made out to Scofield Ministries. Don’t miss it!
Please Email Dr. Couch to Order.
Please Email Dr. Couch to Order.
|Dr. Couch, did you receive the seminary publication I sent to you about the lady seminary graduates who now play on a tackle pro womens' football team?|
ANSWER: Yes, I got it. I was not surprised because many of our seminaries are turning left with their products, the graduates, doing more and more stupid things. What I don't get is why the administration allowed this article, written by the pro lady football player, to be put in one of its publications.
If you read the article carefully you can see how crazy it is. The lay graduate football-ett says that she prayed for years, with her female friend, how they could have some kind of ministry together. She and her friend "never experience God's sovereignty in such a dramatic and clear way" when He led them to join the pro womens' football team! (Wow, does God work in mysterious ways!)
She added that when they joined the "womens' professional tackle football team, we were right where we belonged!" The seminary lady grad added, "we realized this is the kind of environment we prayed for all these years." She then admits that most of the girls on the team are not Christians, and some are lesbians. She went on to explain that she and her friend do not do direct witnessing: "We don't announce our Christianity but demonstrate it in how we act and the effort we put forth." I take the "effort" means how hard they play the game. She further says, "Every day [the team] 'reads' our lives and sees our faith lived out without us breathing a word of Scripture to them."
Now I'm really confused. If this is "a ministry" it would imply that they would give forth the gospel and they would explain and tell what the Scriptures say. Otherwise, it's not a ministry. Every believer is to live a life of faith but that does not make it a ministry!
The kicker (excuse the pun) is she and her friend wants the team "to see something different about us," so they go around and pick up the trash after the game! (They are also in the trash business! This really tells the team about Christ!)
Talking about a rationalization—playing a male sport and trying to call that a ministry. Talking about being part of the feminist agenda and buying into the culture! This lady seminary graduate and her friend are into the silent ministry, no, the silent living! She concludes the article by saying, "we are willing to involve ourselves in the [team's] lives and love them where they are and allow God to do the rest." Again, a silent ministry is no ministry at all. While God for a period may use our silence, that is not what a ministry is all about—silence! I can't stand the old "love them where they are" rationalization. That is a cop out that tries to hide the fact that they simply want to do what the guys do, play football and brag about it.
As counselor Dr. Lacy Couch says, many women do not like being women. And, they want to do what the guys do in order to try to prove something. This seminary lady grad missed something in the courses as to what a Christian woman is to be. (And reading her article carefully, you can spot that right off.)
This football lady needs to read what God says constitutes the most blessed qualities of being a woman:
"Let women adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, … but rather by means of good works (not football), as befits women making a claim to godliness" (1 Tim. 2:9-10). A woman's greatest ministry is to her husband and to her children. Paul further writes that the older women are to train the younger women "to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored" (Titus 2:4-5). Obviously, this girl received no training at home as to what she was to be!
I fault the seminary for putting this dumb article in one of its publications! It's another sign of caving in to the culture! Thanks for reminding me of this article.
Dr. Mal Couch
Friday, December 5, 2008
“Barack Obama, it need hardly be said, comes to the presidency with no comparable agenda, or much of an agenda at all. True, he has had position papers galore, but in the course of his run he contradicted several of their core assumptions or promises. … He supported , then opposed it. He opposed welfare reform, then said he would not question ’s decision to sign it into law. He has spent more than a year backing away from his statement that he would meet with America’s enemies without preconditions.
“He has lived in and around elite left-wing universities since he was eighteen years old, a community organizer working from a demonstrably radical playbook, a parishioner of a church with a radical anti-American pastor who officiated at his wedding and baptized his children and from whom he took the phrase “the ” as the title of his second book, a state senator from one of the most left-wing districts in the United States, and so forth.
“American may not be a ‘center-Right’ country, but it is not a ‘center-Left’ country, either. Perhaps Obama thinks he can make it so. But the memory of the shortcomings of American Left-liberalism that still resides somewhere in the nervous system of the American body politic offers reason to believe that a lurch to the Left is not the change America voted for.
“Obama told the worshipful throng before him and the tens of millions who voted for him that they had chosen to ‘put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.’ The day is now upon us, and hope, however audacious, will no longer be enough.”
Interesting! – Dr. Mal Couch
Thursday, December 4, 2008
ANSWER: I am hearing of more and more throwing in the towel and capitulating to the feminist agenda on 1 Timothy 2:12-15. They are given such pastoral authority not be force of hand but because of the biblical caving in of pastors, seminaries, and elder/deacon boards. They are also wrongly put on pastoral search committees which is dead wrong as well. The sheep are not supposed to select their pastors! See Titus 1. Elders are to appoint elders/pastors. They are not to be voted in by popular vote. So, many of our Evangelical churches are doing it all wrong!
The Greek word is authenteo and is in the Present form. “They are not to be in the process of exercising continually authority.” Nor are they to be teaching, giving doctrine (proclaiming dedake), also a Present Infinitive.
They are not to be authenticating control over men in the position of church leadership. That is what the elders, the male leaders, are supposed to be doing. Authenteo is used only here in the NT. : “One who governs another, exercises dominance” (Thayer). Or, “Women should not rule over men” (Balz & Schneider). “To tell a man what to do” (Jerusalem Bible). “To assume authority, give orders” (BAG). “To take in hand, to have absolute sway” (Classical Greek).
The women are equally prohibited not to teach. The Greek forms are the same with both words: Present Infinitives. “They are not to be doing these things!”
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch
Monday, December 1, 2008
|Dr. Couch, I understand your views on the book of Hebrews are the same as the great scholar of the last century, Kenneth Wuest. Correct?|
ANSWER: Yes. Wuest holds to the fact that the book is aimed at the unbelieving Jew who had the full testimony about the Messiah. However, he did not fully understand the deity of Christ, that is why the book hits the ground running dealing with that issue. And too, the author continues by showing that Christ was better than angels, Moses, the Law, etc.
The book was then turned over to the Christian community in order to use it as a witnessing tool in dealing with the Jewish community.
Many miss also the fact that the author of Hebrews speaks a lot about the promised land of Israel, and the fact that the Jews, beginning with Abraham, were looking for the new city that would be established by the Lord (which would be named Jerusalem). These verses can be overlooked if the reader does not observe carefully.
The book of Hebrews clearly establishes the idea of the first and second comings of the Messiah. The first coming is about His provision for salvation but His second coming is not about that. The author says: "So Christ also, having been offered once to beat the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him" (Heb. 9:28). The "eagerly awaiting Him" has to do with the establishment of the holy city of Jerusalem and His reigning in the land under the Davidic Covenant!
What is the author talking about when he speaks of the Jews waiting to "receive what was promised" in the OT? It is the kingdom, though the author doesn't have to say that because it's understood by the readers. The author proves this point when he speaks of the persecution of the Jews who lose their property, "knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and an abiding one. Do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. … You need endurance that, you may receive what was promised. For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay" (10:34-37). The "possession" and the "promise," and the "great reward," has to do with "His coming," Christ's millennial reign and the establishment of the kingdom with Jerusalem as the center of the earth.
Notice what chapter 11 says about what Abraham was looking for:
Why did Jacob (Israel) tell Joseph when he was about to die that God would "bring you back to the land of your fathers"? (Gen. 48:21). Why did he want to be buried back in the land where Abraham was buried? (Gen.49:29). Why did Joseph want his bones to be taken back to the promised land and not left in Egypt? (Heb. 11:22; Gen. 50:22-26). He made the sons of Israel swear that "you shall carry my bones up from here, from this land (of Egypt) to the land which God promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob."
God told Joshua that he was to cross the Jordan and take the people "to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel" (Josh. 1:2). Rahab the harlot said she knew that "the Lord has given you the land" (2:9) and that the enemies, those then dwelling in the land at that time, would melt away before the children of Israel when they came to possess it (v. 23).
Hebrews continues on with speaking about the promised land. All those in the OT "gained approval through their faith, (though) they did not receive (the land) which was promised" (11:39). Presently, "God has provided something better for us, so that apart from us they (the believing OT saints) should not be made perfect" (v. 40). The provision of personal salvation comes first before the enactment and establishment of the 1,000 year millennial kingdom.
Much more can be said on this subject but above are some of the tidbits that prove the point.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch