Monday, May 26, 2008

Proverb of the Week: May 26-30

As a dog that returns to his vomit, so is a fool that repeats a folly (Prov. 26:11).

The Rabbis point out that, "the food that is ejected from the stomach is indigestible; but a dog, being senseless, will eat it again and suffer for it. In like manner a fool repeats his mistakes although they had previously harmed him."

The fool never learns. He goes back to the same sinful and harmful patterns and repeats them over and over. He cares not for those he hurts, much less the pain he causes himself. Lawson writes that repeating sinners are fools and dogs. All who sin in the same way over and over are like the unclean dog. Sometimes their awakened conscience causes them to temporarily stop sinning but in time their evilness causes them to break down and go back to eating of the same filth. Lawson adds, the sight of a dog returning to his vomit is loathsome; but it is much more detestable for sinners to return to their former wickedness. Nothing is more dishonoring to God; nothing is more hurtful to the souls of men, and especially to the sinner who does not learn the first time!

Waltke points out that the fool in his incorrigibility is like the dog's repulsive nature to return to its own vomit. The dog smells his vomit, licks it, and then eats it. The dog is pictured in Scripture in contempt in that they ate garbage, carcasses, corpses, and licked the blood of the dead, and were scavengers. They were seen as unclean and as detestable. They appear as figures for evildoers (2 Sam. 16:9).

Monday, May 19, 2008

Proverb for the Week: May 19-23

Proverbs 19:18. Be aggressively teaching-disciplining your son while there is hope, and let not your soul spare for his crying.

There has never been a more spoiled and selfish generation than now in America. This of course is not true of all young men but enough to cause us to be terribly concerned. The verb "teach" is in an intensive form in Hebrew and really makes the matter urgent for fathers as they lead their sons. Unfortunately, today many mothers interfere with the spanking of the child. They come between the father and the son. Of course the son picks up on this and sees his protector to be a woman, his mother! Young men need to have a healthy fear of their fathers. They will be chastened if they play games with their dads and do not obey what he says! Boys are like wild colts and need to be reigned in!

The Bible is addressed to fathers who have a spiritual mandate to lead their sons. If you get under control early the son/boy, you bring peace and happiness to the future bride who will be protected by a godly young man and husband/father.

"While there is hope" implies that teaching and discipline must be carried out when the son is still a youth. The rabbis read this as "while there is still hope." As he gets older, his character and disposition hardens and change, and doing the right thing, comes more slowly and painfully. The "chastening" according to the orthodox Jewish rabbis is corporal punishment where the rod is not spared! Because of secular psychology, many of the yuppy parents today think it is terrible to spank but in reality, they are being rebellious as to what God commands them to do.

Note that the parents' very souls (nephesh) are disturbed by the sons crying when disciplined. But what God says comes before our own emotional wishes or feelings. It is painful to spank but not to will bring even more soulish pain in the future. On this verse the old Scottish pastor Lawson writes:

But your heart melts, and you are in pain to hear the cries of your poor child. Let him alone, then and leave him to the government of his own passions, unless you think that it would be still more grievous to have your gray hairs brought with sorrow to the grave, and to hear him curse you at the left hand of God your Judge, for allowing him to destroy himself, than to hear his groans for a few moments.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

America MUST Pray - Douglas MacArthur

General MacArthur is one of America's greatest military leaders. He came from a long line of soldier/generals that stretched all the way back to the Civil War. Though up in years, he had been stationed in Manila just before the outbreak of World War II in order to get that nation ready for trouble with Japan.

While sitting at his desk he heard that back in the States his wife Jean had just delivered a baby boy. MacArthur read his New Testament constantly and he knew that the Lord had sent this son to him by his providence and ever loving grace. MacArthur composed a prayer: "Build me a son, O Lord, … who will be strong enough when he is weak … whose wishbone will not be where his backbone should be." He then went on to ask God for other strong marks of character, none more important than "to stand up to the storm" and to acquire the virtues of wisdom, humility, and "meekness of true strength." If God would only grant him these things, MacArthur prayed, "Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, "I have not lived in vain."

MacArthur was relieved of his commanding position during the Korean War because he wanted to push American forces all the way up to the Chinese border. President Truman felt this could start a larger war with both China and Russia. When MacArthur came back to the States, at West Point (where he had been the Corp Commandant years before), he gave his famous speech: "Old soldiers never die, they just fade away."

Saturday, May 17, 2008

America MUST Pray - Harry S. Truman

During World War II Senator Truman from Missouri was put on the ticket of President Franklin D. Roosevelt for a fourth term as his Vice President. An unknown, Truman was added to the ticket in order to carry the South for the Democrats. But Roosevelt did not care for his Christian, Baptist, and Sunday school teaching new VP. Before he died, Roosevelt only met one time with Truman for a breakfast session together.

When the President passed Truman met with reporters and said, "Boys, if you ever pray, pray for me. I don't know whether you fellows ever had a load of hay fall on you, but when they told me yesterday what had happened, I felt like the moon, the stars, and all the planets had fallen on me."

Four days later, Truman told the Congress, "At this moment I have in my heart a prayer. As I have assumed my duties, I humbly pray Almighty God, in the words of King Solomon: 'Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people that I may discern between good and bad for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?' I ask only to be a good and faithful servant of my Lord and my people."

Though Truman was salty in his personal life he still had great trust in the Lord. He had a prayer that he prayed every day from his high school years until he died. He shared this prayer with his future wife Bess before they tied the knot. In part it went something like this:

"Oh! Almighty and Everlasting God, creator of Heaven, Earth, and the Universe, Help me to be, to think, to act what is right, because it is right; make me truthful, honest, and honorable in all things; make me intellectually honest for the sake of right and honor without thought of reward to me. … Give me understanding."

Truman had been in business with a Jewish partner back in Independence, Missouri. When the issue of the establishment of the State of Israel came up before the UN, his old partner came to the White House and pleaded with Truman to support the founding of the Jewish State. While Truman had been raised in churches that denied the future Millennial Kingdom, he responded positively to his friend and supported the UN resolution to make this new nation in the Holy Land. Unfortunately Truman did not support the idea of supplying the new State with weapons to defend itself against the Arabs. Yet God in His sovereignty protected Israel despite the fact that thirteen Arab nations declared war against the Jews the day after independence was declared.

Billy Graham became a friend to the President and often met with him during his time in office and when he retired.

Friday, May 16, 2008

What Barack Obama Advocates

  1. He advocates the "Freedom of Choice Act" for a woman's right to choose an abortion.
  2. He is concerned the legislative act "Gonzales v. Carhart" will embolden state legislatures to enact further measures to restrict a woman's right to choose.
  3. Voted to kill a bill that would have required an abortionist to notify at least one parent before performing an abortion on a minor girl from another state.
  4. Voted in favor of funding embryonic stem cell research. He said "We should expand and accelerate research using these embryos."
  5. Co-sponsored a bill (S. 1520) in 2005 that would allow the cloning of human embryos for research but prohibit their survival.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Evangelical Manifesto

Many of you have noticed that coming out is an Evangelical Manifesto put together by a steering committee of men who represent liberal and amillennial organizations, publications, and seminaries. While some of the signers may be to a degree Evangelical and Conservative, overall they do not represent strong conservative theology. While these men may not deny the fundamentals of the faith, in my opinion, they would not stand up with strength to defend the hard issues of the faith. And too, they are highly conciliatory and work hard to be inclusive. They want the world to like us as Christians. They come from a base of secular psychology and positive humanism! "Let's just all love and get along; never mind, sharp doctrinal distinctives."

In their Manifesto Introduction they write:

(1) "This is an open declaration … not only to Evangelicals and other Christians but other American citizens and people of all other faiths in America." This is so all inclusive, in an attempt to cover all bases, it ends up covering none! There is nothing they could say to me that would be palatable to liberal Christians, or other false religious beliefs—the "other faiths in America."

(2) It is addressed also to "those who say they have no faith." Then what value is this Evangelical Manifesto? In the opening of the Manifesto they say "the signers are not out to attack or exclude anyone, but to rally and to call for reform." What does "reform" mean to someone who has no faith? What would it mean to someone who may be a Christian but who then in his theology may deny some of the basic tenets of the Evangelical faith?

(3) Further, they write, this Manifesto is "an example of how different faith communities may address each other in public life." This sounds like a "let's come together" of Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, etc. I have no common ground with other faiths. God loves people of other faiths and calls for them to come to Christ for personal salvation. Otherwise, only judgment can be their fate. The theology of other faiths contradicts the Word of God, is antagonistic to it. There is no common ground by which we are to address each other. What we have to say is "accept Christ as your personal Savior. There is no salvation apart from Him!"

(4) The Manifesto is to present commonly with the various faiths, "a clear commitment to the common good of the societies in which we all live together." Multiple faiths do not bring about a common good. Only Christianity based on the clear teachings of the Word of God can bring peace to a society. "Faiths" do not come together to make that happen. America for example was not founded by nor propagated by a multitude of different faiths. It did not flourish under the teachings of Islam or Hinduism. It was founded by hard core, strong Reformed teachings that made the Bible the central document that promoted morality and spirituality!

(5) The Manifesto urges a "challenge to reaffirm Evangelical identity … to reposition Evangelicals in public life." I don't need to be challenged, "to reaffirm, to reposition" anything! What needs to happen is a return to solid propagation of the Word of God, to teach again verse by verse this wonderful revelation! Our seminaries need to get out of the business of training cheer leaders, psychologists, team leaders, facilitators, etc. They need to train pastors in the totality of Scripture and show them again how to be blessedly dogmatic and fearless in presenting spiritual truth.

We need to go back to basics and quite dancing around and presenting silly techniques in order to reposition ourselves with the world. "Teach the Word" must be returned to. –Dr. Mal Couch

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Happiest Home

Where is the happiest home on earth?
It is not the most noisy;
But where God's favor, sought aright,
Fills every one with joy and light.

Is it the richest home? It is not found
Where wealth and splendor most abound;
But where ever in the house,
Men live contented with their lot.

Is it in the fairest home? It is not placed
In scenes with outward beauty graced;
But where kind words and smiles impart
A constant sunshine in the heart.

On such a home of peace and love
God showers His blessing from above;
And angels, watching over it cry,
"Lo! This is like our home on high!"

Friday, May 9, 2008

England and Christianity

For well over one hundred years Christianity has been on life support in England. A Puritan influence and even a premillennial/dispensational influence sustained for a while. It has been estimated that around fifty percent of English clergymen were greatly influenced by dispensationalism and even were of this persuasion for a period of time. But this began to change dramatically just before the beginning of the twentieth century.

The most active people spiritually in that nation today may be the conservative dispensationalists. While they are a small group they appear to be healthy when it comes to propagating the gospel and teaching Scripture. But otherwise, Christianity is on life support there. With such a large spiritual vacuum it is no wonder that there is a hatred of Christian thought. And too, there is no wonder that the country opened wide its doors to accept Muslim influence.

In the April 18 edition of the Jerusalem Post Professor Robert Wistrich of the Hebrew University analyzed correctly what is happening in Britain. He put his finger on the fact that England lost its premillennial faith and its Christian connection, and from this, there is now a growing anti-Semitism in that nation. Here is a summary of what Wistrich said:

With a growing Muslim population, and a rising anti-Semitism, the increased spiritual confusion can be seen coming from the nation’s “detachment of the British from THEIR CHRISTIAN ROOTS.” For almost a thousand years Great Britain suffered from a large dose of Jewish hatred. In 1290, King Edward I, following years of anti-Semitism, gave the edict for the first violent major expulsion of the Jews, even more terrible than the expulsions of other Jewish communities anywhere in Europe. The Jews were banned from England until 1656, when Oliver Cromwell, a Puritan PREMILLENNIALIST authorized their return.

Then historian Wistrich makes a statement that I am sure he would fail to realize its full implications for those of us who are today premillennial and dispensational! He said “the straying of the British from their CHRISTIAN ROOTS has also created a changed reality in the Anglo-Israeli relationship with NO BIBLE-BASED reasons or raison de’tre for a Jewish presence in THE HOLY LAND.”

He cited the recent support of the archbishop of Canterbury for the adoption of parts of Shari’a, or Islamic law, in Britian—the same country which, he noted, was once the birthplace of the US EVANGELICAL MOVEMENT.

Finally he noted, “The loss of Christian identity in what was the MOST BIBLE-BELIEVING CULTURE in its day is one of the deeper layers of what has happened here in England.” He noted some of the biblical remarks of prominent British leaders of the past such as Lord Balfour and David Lloyd George would be viewed today as anathema. Both men after World War I supported the establishment of the Jewish people back to their ancient home in the Holy Land. There is no question about the personal faith of Balfour. He believed in the fulfillment of prophecy as premillennialists and dispensationalists do today!

Wistrich concluded with a most interesting statement: “You cannot speak or act [supportive for Israel] in that way today, or you would be considered the ‘BIGGEST THREAT TO CIVILIZATION’ as AMERICAN EVANGELICALS ARE.” A correction: That would be American premillennial Evangelicals not replacement theologians or the allegorical Reformed Covenant guys!

Dr. Mal Couch

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Tribulation Wrath Begins in Revelation 6

When does the tribulation wrath begin in the book of Revelation; and, does the church suffer under any part of this "wrath" of God that comes upon the earth?

While there was a period when some premillennial/dispensational scholars thought that Revelation 6 started the second half of the tribulation, almost all today who are really knowledgeable of God's Word hold the correct view, and that is that this chapter actually begins the terrible events of the seven year period of horror on earth. It is clear from 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 and 5:9 that the church will not go under that terrible period nor will the church experience the persecution of the antichrist. While he may be alive and have some kind of political position he does not begin his evil work until the peace pact is made with the Jews. He is seen as a savior for humanity and for the Jewish people.

Since the time of the rapture is not revealed in Paul's epistles, it is seen as imminent or certain even to the early church. In other words the rapture could potentially have taken place at any time. This would be the perspective of the believers living during Paul's day.

Paul writes to the Thessalonians how he was told they had "turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, and TO WAIT for His Son from heaven, whom [God] raised from the dead that is Jesus, who will deliver us OUT FROM (ek) the WRATH (orgas) that is coming" (1 Thess. 1:9b-10). There is no mention of the church saints experiencing the diabolical work of the antichrist. One would think that if the church was going to go under his persecution, Paul would have told them how they might survive and escape his evil intentions. And one would think in the book of Revelation there would be some kind of mention as to the work of the church during the tribulation period. Instead, the most prominent witnessing body mentioned in the book is the 144,000 Jews, not church saints! They believe in the Lord and were then sealed as the tribulation began (Rev. 7:4). We know the tribulation was going on when they believed and were sealed. John writes that an angel cries out with a loud voice to the four angels, "Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads" (v. 3). While these are believing Jews they are never called members of the church or seen as part of the body of Christ, or said to be "in Christ."

There are some important points to note as I point out in my Greek commentary (The Hope of Christ's Return, AMG) on 1 Thessalonians 1:10:

Who delivers us. This is a Present Active Participle from ruomai that should be translated "the one who is rescuing." Some commentators have translated it as a timeless substantive (that denotes characteristics of the noun), "the Rescuer Jesus," or "Our Deliverer" (Alford). "He is our Savior (Matt. 1:21) true to His name, Jesus. He is our Rescuer (Rom. 1:26, ho ruomenos, from Isa. 59:20)" (Robertson).

Ruomai actually comes from the Classical Greek word eruo but in Koine the e is dropped. In Classical Greek, eruo can be translated "drag, draw," implying force of violence as in "drag away the body of a slain hero," or "drag away, rescue friends" (L&S). Vincent translates ruomai with the force of the Middle Voice, that is, "to draw to one's self, with the specification [from] evil or danger." The Present Participle could have the force of a prophetic future: "The One who will drag us [to Himself]."

From the wrath to come. Wrath (orges) in the Thessalonians context, as a divine act, refers to the "coming" or "approaching" Tribulation that will immediately follow the rapture of the church. As Paul is using it here there is no room for the church to go through part of the seven year tribulation period and witness the work of the antichrist. Paul makes his argument clean, neat, and a complete rescue from the entire period. This wrath is the final seven year period of earth's judgment; it is the wrath of Daniel's Seventieth Week that purges Israel and also becomes a judgment upon the entire world as seen beginning in Revelation 6:12-17.

The church, the body of Christ, is rescued by Jesus before that day comes (1 Thess. 5:9): "For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ." Here Paul describes salvation as a rescue from the earthly wrath, the Day of the Lord (5:2) that comes upon the world. This wrath "is a title for the [entire] period just before Messiah's kingdom on earth, when God will afflict earth's inhabitants with an unparalleled series of physical torments because of their rejection of His will" (HBC). This truth "teaches that the Lord Jesus Christ will return to the earth, and it leads the soul to wait for his appearing" (Barnes).

The wrath "coming" is a Present Active Participle of erchomai. It is a coming wrath! The Present Tense "is frequently used to denote the certainty of a future event" (Lightfoot). Some say "the Wrath absolutely" (Vincent), or some translate it "the Wrath absolutely, the Coming!" Another translation is "the Wrath is on its way someday to the world" (Ellicott).

The wrath has absoluteness about it. It is certain and even moving in this direction though it will not arrive until after the rapture. The church will not experience its terrors and therefore will certainly not experience the evil of the antichrist.

I Thessalonians 5:9 adds to this:

For God has not destined us for wrath. If the church does not go under any part of the wrath neither will it experience the work of the antichrist or see him at work during this wrath/tribulation time. For (hoti) introduces the reason for the anticipation of deliverance. Believers in Christ are not "assigned" to the wrath that is on its way (see 1:10). Destined (tithemi, Aorist Middle Indicative) can be translated "to place, position, firmly fix, determine, make something happen" (EDNT). The clause here might be translated, "God has [not] Himself assigned, appointed us for being recipients of His wrath." With the Aorist Tense and Middle Voice, the apostle is giving a firm, absolute soteriological promise, the keeping and protecting of which will be a sovereign act of the Lord. The promise is given without conditions: "God, according to His own good will and pleasure has decreed that we shall escape the outpouring of His wrath" (Ritchie). No idea of going through the tribulation for a cleaning up of wayward believers, or of a "moral sanctification" or of a partial rapture is found here. No believer who belongs to the body of Christ in this present dispensation will be placed under this wrath!

But what about those who become believers during the tribulation after Revelation 5? They are tribulation believers but they are not described as: "The body of Christ," "Saints in Christ," "In Christ," "The church." No church officers are mentioned, "elders," "deacons." No congregations are mentioned or described. The church is not here; it is gone in the rapture!

The resurrection that takes place just a split second before the rapture describes the resurrected as those God will cause Jesus to "bring with Him, those who have fallen asleep IN JESUS" (1 Thess. 4:14). They are the DEAD IN CHRIST (v. 16). These are technical descriptions of church saints. And we the living church saints join the resurrected church saints. Paul makes this clear by writing "For this we say TO YOU ... who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord" (v. 15).

The "last trumpet" of 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 is not the 7th trumpet of Revelation 11:15-19. 1 Corinthians 15 is similar to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, speaking of both the resurrection and the rapture of "those in Christ." That trumpet is blown to call the workers home from the fields. It is a harvest trumpet.
The "wraths" of the book of Revelation are spread throughout the book. Wrath (orges) is mentioned in 6:16-17; 11:18; 14:10; 16:19; 19:15. The entire tribulation is described as "the wrath" right up front in Revelation 6:16-17. This is the "wrath of the Lord" i.e. "the great day of THEIR (the Father and the Lamb) came; and who is able to stand up under it?"
In Jeremiah 30, the birth pangs is "Jacob's distress" (za'rah, Hebrew, that can be translated tribulation) (v. 7). It is the Day of the Lord (v. 8). "Alas! for that DAY is great" (v. 7). The birth pangs of Jeremiah 30:6 is the Day of the Lord which the church saints will not go under (1 Thess. 5:2). It is the period when THEY, the world, will say "peace and safety" (v. 3). "They shall not escape" (v. 3), but "you, brethren (church saints), are not in darkness, that the day (of the Lord) should overcome you like a thief" (v. 4). You are sons of light, of day, and are not in darkness, "for God has not destined US for wrath but for obtaining deliverance through our Lord Jesus Christ" (v. 9). Why do I translate sozo deliverance when it is often translated "salvation"? Because in the context the discussion is about the escaping the Day of the Lord. Paul's discussion is not about spiritual salvation. Smart people interpret the Bible by CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT!

The best of premillennial Bible teachers know that the entire tribulation begins at Revelation 6. There the tribulation is called "the wrath". Verse 17 calls it "the great day of their wrath" (of the Father and the Lamb) and notes that "it came" (Aorist Tense). It was already there in the events of chapter 6. The best of scholars understand this. Even a non-dispensationalist like Bruce Metzger writes: "with the sixth chapter, the main action of the book may be said properly to begin." The author of the best commentary on Revelation, Dr. Robert Thomas, says of chapter 6: "the commencement of the revelation proper, the first five chapters [of Revelation] having been introductory." Thomas is one of the best living Greek scholars today, and on 6:17 he writes:

John Sproule raises the possibility, without endorsing it, that "came" is a dramatic

Aorist that would give no time indication for the beginning of the great day of wrath. ... The only time an aorist indicative speaks of something future or something about to happen, however, is if it is a dramatic aorist (Dana & Mantey). ... Some contextual feature must be present to indicate clearly these exceptional usages. No such feature exists in the context of the sixth seal, so these special uses are not options here.

Rosenthal (Prewrath Rapture) cites a use of the same verb form in Rev. 19:7 to demonstrate its futuristic connotation (PreWrath Rapture, pp. 166-67), but this usage is in one of the heavenly songs that often in the Apocalypse utilize proleptic aorsts (e.g. Rev. 11:15-19). His citation of "has come" in Mark 14:41 is not relevant to the sixth seal, because the historical context of that passage clearly refers to Christ's coming crucifixion. The verb in Rev. 6:17 must be a constative aorist looking back in time to the point in the past when the great day of wrath arrived. (Revelation, I: 460)

Conclusion: The Day of the Lord, the wrath of God, begins in Revelation 6. The church saints will not be here!

Most of the greatest scholars point out that the tribulation begins in Revelation 6, and that by 1 Thessalonians 1:10 and 5:9, it is clear the church will not go under the wrath, therefore, the church will not be a witness to the evil of the antichrist. Here are some who hold that position:

R. H. Charles
Bruce Metzger
Ed Hindson
Robert Thomas
Walter Scott
Henry Morris
Leon Tucker
Stewart Custer
William Newell
Hal Lindsey
Tom McCall
Tim LaHaye
John Walvoord** (I know for a fact in interviewing him he held this view at the end of his life)

--Dr. Mal Couch

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Prewrath Rapture, Part II

Most of the Prewrath Rapture guys and myself agree on what constitutes most of the rapture passages. But what they try to do is connect Christ's appearance and His coming for the saints at the rapture with the fact that the antichrist will be around, and thus the church is here during the first part of the tribulation. They use 2 Thessalonians 2:8 to prove their point. The passages reads: "And then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming."

They camp on the words "appearance" and "coming" (parousia). Since many rapture passages use these words this proves that 2 Thessalonaians 2:8 is a rapture verse in their minds. But they are clearly wrong by the context. And it is true the word "coming" (parousia) can be used in both rapture and second coming verses.

Only rarely can you make doctrinal connections simply by the use of the same word(s). The most compelling key to interpretation is Context, Context, Context! And the context of this passage is clearly not a rapture context!

In the verses (2:1-7) leading up to 2:8 one must read carefully as to what Paul is saying. The Thessalonian church thought they might be in the tribulation, the Day of the Lord, because of the suffering they were undergoing. But Paul makes it clear that this was not so.

When the apostle gets to 2:8 he is writing not about the rapture but about the second coming of Christ. The Prewrath guys would make the verse about the rapture, thus when He comes (in the rapture), the verse would show that the church will be here during antichrist's reign! But most Prewrath advocates would say the church is raptured before the wrath of Revelation 16. Yet more happens in the winding down of the tribulation as seen from Revelation 17-20. The Prewrath guys have it all balled up! It is not until the very, very end of the tribulation that the beast (antichrist) is cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20) and then Satan is finally defeated (20:1-3).

In Paul's entire conversation about the antichrist in 2 Thessalonians 2 there is no mention of the church being around or seeing the antichrist! This is a false leap by the Prewrath guys!

Also what smashes their deficient view is the fact that the "restrainer" is taken out of the way before the antichrist is revealed (vs. 6-7). It is a settled issue that the restrainer is the Holy Spirit. I will not go into all the arguments on that issue here. It is certainly well argued that He leaves with the church. The antichrist would then begin his dirty work well before when he makes the covenant with the Jewish people that starts the seven year tribulation.

The Prewrath idea was initiated not by good Bible study but it came out of the brain storm of a layman by the name of Robert Van Kampen. He convinced Marvin Rosenthal of this deficient view for motives other than biblical! Van Kampen's ultimate motive was from the fact that he just plain did not like dispensationalism and the pretribulational biblically proven rapture. To fully answer in a thorough way, one must get Dr. Renald Showers' book The Pre-wrath Rapture View (Kregel). It is considered the classic in answering this false idea!

-- Dr. Mal Couch

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Sixty Years and Counting ...

This coming June it will be sixty years since the establishment of the State of Israel. In one day, the new nation was declared. Its destruction went back to AD 70 when General Titus destroyed both the temple and the city of Jerusalem. The Jews were taken into slavery and thousands died at the hands of the Romans. While there was some effort to reestablish the nation it did not come about. The Lord scattered the Jews worldwide as He had prophesied in ages past.

When the new nation was declared in June 1948 the Arabs went on the offensive with the vow to drive the Jewish people into the sea. They told the Palestinian Arabs to leave the land while they destroyed the Jews from one end of the country to the other. Many Arab civilians died and the war was vicious on both sides, but the cruelty and lies found root on the Muslim side far above what the Jews did.

Several decades before the Arabs had welcomed the Jews back home to the Holy Land. But by the 1930s and 1940s the Arabs turned on the Jews, and so did the British, to a degree, who were supposed to be the keepers of the peace in the Holy Land.

To keep the political fires burning the Arabs of Palestine had said that partition would only be achieved over the bodies of their people, their women and children. They vowed to drive the Jews into the sea and said the problem between the two peoples would only be solved by the sword; "all Jews must leave Palestine."

Where are we today?

Many believe that to keep the peace in the Middle East, Israel must attack the nuclear facility in Iran. The Iranians seem bent on building an atomic bomb and using it someday on Israel. But God is not asleep in these matters. He will have the final say in the Middle East in the tribulation. We are moving quickly to those days!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Answering AGAIN the Prewrath Rapture Guys, Part 1

I thought the PreWrath Rapture guys had been put out to pasture a long time ago! But I guess error has a way of continually re-surfacing again and again. What is the PreWrath Rapture view?

It is a convoluted view that says the church will go through part of the tribulation and be raptured before the wrath of Revelation 16:1-12. By doing this they put the church through part of the tribulation. They often use 1 Thessalonians 5:9 for their argument: "For God has not destined us for wrath but for obtaining salvation (deliverance) through our Lord Jesus Christ." They argue that the church does go to heaven before that wrath of Revelation 16 and on.

They foolishly in their poor interpretation practices fail to note two things: First chapter 5 is about the entire tribulation, the Day of the Lord, that will come upon the world like a thief in the night (v. 2). Paul never says this entire period (seven years), or even part of this period, will fall upon church saints. In fact he writes in the following verses about "them," "they," the lost, who will be caught up in that terrible period (v. 3). But the "you," the church, is not in darkness that that day should overtake the saints (v. 4).

The PreWrath guys fail to note also that Paul is alluding to the wrath of God, "that day," that falls on the Jews after they have returned from around the world back to the Holy Land (Jer. 30). That same wrath of course also falls upon the lost world. The "birth pangs" in Jeremiah 30:6 are describing the tribulation as a whole, an entire period of wrath. Those birth pangs Paul speaks about here in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 are seen as a whole, the complete seven years of earth horror. Thus the church shall escape the whole period of the birth pangs (the entire period of wrath) not just the last half.

But the spiritually challenged PreWrath guys ignore or certainly dance around Revelation 6:12-17 where it is clearly stated that the wrath of God begins at the front end of the tribulation, even though the final outpouring of wrath is described by the Bowls of Wrath in Revelation 16.

At the first of the tribulation, in Revelation 6:16-17, the world cries out (not the church or the Christians crying out), "Hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the WRATH of the Lamb; for THE GREAT DAY OF THEIR WRATH "HAS ARRIVED" (Aorist Tense, it is already here at the beginning of the tribulation) and who is able to stand [up under it]."

Conclusion: Since the church does not go under any part of the tribulation it will be gone in the PRETRIBULATIONAL RAPTURE before Revelation 6! Remember people who come up with such silly views have an agenda at stake. They want the church to be "purged" by the pain of the tribulation or just flat out cannot stand the clear teaching of Pretribulational Rapturists! They want to argue just to argue! They work disparately hard to create another view in order to deny the obvious. They need to go to counseling!

Part 2 to follow: Will the church face the antichrist?

-- Dr. Mal Couch