Monthly letter archive

Monthly Letter, August 2012

Restoring Original Christianity—for Today!

Christian Biblical Church of God

Post Office Box 1442
Hollister, California 95024-1442

Fred R. Coulter,

August 16, 2012

Dear Brethren,

As we view today’s world and its unfolding events through the lens of Scripture, it is evident that the entire world is being engulfed and oppressed by satanic lies and deceptions, which continue to lay the groundwork for the prophesied world government—the final beast of Revelation 13: “[A]nd the dragon gave him his power, and his throne and great authority…. [A]nd the whole earth was amazed and followed the beast. And they worshiped the dragon, who gave his authority to the beast. And they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who has the power to make war against him?’ ” (verses: 2-4). Indeed, Satan the devil is truly “deceiving the whole world” (Rev. 12:9) and bringing it under his control. Even now, “the whole world lies in the power of the wicked one” (I John 5:19), and through Satan-inspired sorcery all nations will be deceived (Rev. 18:23).

The only ones who will not be deceived are those whose names are written in the “Book of Life of the Lamb”—because they truly love and obey God the Father and Jesus Christ, and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. God gives understanding to them—not to the world. In fact, the world is being led into deeper and deeper deception because people do not believe God or love the truth (II Thess. 2:9-12). Thus, “wicked men and imposters shall become worse and worse, deceiving others and being deceived themselves” (II Tim. 3:13).

On the other hand, God has promised that in the end time the wise will understand: “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and refined. But the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand” (Dan. 12:9-10). Also, Jesus told His disciples: “[B]lessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For truly I say to you, many prophets and righteous men have desired to see what you see, and have not seen; and to hear what you hear, and have not heard” (Matt. 13:16-17).

The apostle Peter confirms what Jesus said: “Concerning which salvation the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you have diligently searched out and intently inquired, searching into what way and what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them was indicating, testifying beforehand of the sufferings of Christ, and these glories that would follow; to whom it was revealed that, not for themselves, but to us they were ministering these things, which now have been announced to you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit, sent from heaveninto which things the angels desire to look” (I Pet. 1:10-12).

                  God has hidden these prophecies and the meaning of His plan and purpose in plain sight in the Bible (Prov. 25:2). Therefore, understanding end-time prophecy is not a matter of simply reading, studying, and interpreting the Bible. Rather, if we are to receive understanding from God, we must love God, believe His Word, obey His voice, and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit within us, the Spirit of the truth. As Jesus said: “If you love Me, keep the commandments—namely, My commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that it may be with you throughout the age: eventhe Spirit of the truth, which the world cannot receive because it perceives it not, nor knows it; but you know it because it dwells with you, and shall be within you…. If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. The one who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word that you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s, Who sent Me” (John 14:15-17, 23-24). Furthermore, Jesus said, “[T]he Spirit of the truth, it will lead you into all truth…. And it shall disclose to you the things to come” (John 16:13).

The apostle Paul writes that the deep, secret things of God are hidden, and can only be revealed and understood through the Spirit of God—not through the wisdom of men or the spirit of this world: “But according as it is written, ‘The eye has not seen, nor the ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit, for the Spirit searches all thingseventhe deep things of God. For who among men understands the things of man except by the spirit of man which is in him? In the same way also, the things of God no one understands except by the Spirit of God.

“Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is of God, so that we might know the things graciously given to us by God; which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Holy Spirit in order to communicate spiritual things by spiritual means. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (I Cor. 2:9-14).

God must give such knowledge to us by revelation through His Word and His Spirit, as Jesus told His disciples: “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries [the secrets] of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has understanding, to him more shall be given, and he shall have an abundance; but whoever does not have understanding, even what he has shall be taken away from him” (Matt. 13:11-12).

In the Old Testament, God has deliberately hidden prophecies in plain sight by inspiring them to be written “precept upon precept,” “line upon line,” and “here a little, there a little”(Isa. 28:10-13). We must thus follow the “Fourteen Rules of Bible Study” as we are led by the Spirit and Word of God to unlock the true meaning of prophecy. Notice what Paul writes to Timothy: “Diligently study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of the truth; but avoid profane and vain babblings because they will only give rise to more ungodliness” (II Tim. 2:15-16).

The Scriptures reveal that God makes known tous His secret plan, which the world does not and cannot know: “Having made known to us [not to the world] the mystery [or secret] of His own will, according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself; that in thedivine plan for the fulfilling of the times, He might bring all things together in Christ, both the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth; yes, in Him, in Whom we also have obtained an inheritance, having been predestinated according to His purpose, Who is working out all things according to the counsel of His own will” (Eph. 1:9-11).

Even though this knowledge is actually in plain sight, the world cannot know it because, as Jesus said, God has hidden it from them: “I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent, and have revealed them to babes. Yes, Father, for it was well pleasing in Your sight to do this” (Matt. 11:25-26).

How has God hidden the knowledge of His secret plan in plain sight in the Bible so that the world cannot understand? And, how is it that those who are the true spiritual children of God can know? Jesus gives the answer: If people do not believe and obey God when they hear the Word of God—for whatever reason—they are automatically blinded spiritually. Jesus said this was why He spoke to the multitudes in parables. Notice: “For this reason I speak to them in parables, because seeing, they see not; and hearing, they hear not; neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which says, ‘In hearing you shall hear, and in no way understand; and in seeing you shall see, and in no way perceive; for the heart of this people has grown fat, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed…’ ” (Matt. 13:13-15).

Furthermore, the real unseen power that blinds people is Satan the devil—the prince of the power of the air. He blinds with lies and deceptions that appeal to the deceitful natures and lusts of men and women: “Now you were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you walked in times past according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now working within the children of disobedience; among whom also we all once had our conduct in the lusts of our flesh, doing the things willed by the flesh and by the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as the rest of the world” (Eph. 2:1-3).

Because people are minding the things of the world and the things of the flesh—their own carnal desires and lusts—their minds are blinded to the truth of God. Though they may read and hear the Word, the true meaning is hidden from them. Paul writes, “But ifour gospel is hidden, it is hidden to those who are perishing; in whom the god of this age [this world] has blinded the minds of those who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (II Cor. 4:3-4).

Where did God hide this knowledge? Did He hide it in heaven? Did He hide it on the top of the highest mountain? Did He hide it deep within the earth, or at the bottom of the ocean? Is it someplace where no one can find it? Concerning the Gospel, Paul gives us the answer: “But the righteousness that comes through faith speaks after this manner: ‘Do not say in your heart, “Who shall ascend up to heaven?” ’(that is, to bring Christ down). ‘Or, “Who shall descend into the abyss?” ’ (that is, to bring Christ up from among the dead.)? But what does it say? ‘The word is near to you, in your mouth and in your heart [in a language you can understand].’ This is the word of faith that we are proclaiming” (Rom. 10:6-8).

What Paul writes is from Deuteronomy 30, which reads: “For this commandment [the word of God to Israel] which I command you today is not hidden from you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven that you should say, ‘Who shall go up to heaven for us, and bring it to us, so that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea that you should say, ‘Who shall go over the sea for us to bring it to us, so that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, so that you may do it” (verses 11-14).

When we combine these passages, we have a prophecy concerning the whole Bible! Because man now has the ability to explore space and go to the depths of the oceans and climb to the top of the highest mountains, these verses have a more intense meaning than ever before. These passages are more than a statement to Israel by Moses or a statement about the preaching of the Gospel during Paul’s ministry—they are a prophecy for our day! Think about all the preaching of the gospel in the world today—whether with the whole truth or with partial truth. It is overwhelming!

How many Bibles are there in the world today? It is estimated that nearly eight billion have been distributed throughout the world—with the vast majority still available for use! And these figures do not include the various digital versions of the Bible being used by millions of people on computers, on the Internet, and on millions of handheld digital/media devises in a language each person can understand.

At the present time, the complete Bible has been published in over 450 languages. The New Testament alone has been published in nearly 1,400 languages, with the Gospel of Mark in over 2,370 languages. Although these figures represent less than half of the languages and dialects presently in use in the world, they nonetheless include the primary vehicles of communication for well over 90 percent of the world’s population. Think what this means! With the world’s population approaching seven billion, there is approximately one Bible for every living person on earth! Jesus’ promise in Mark 13:10 is no doubt being fulfilled:“And the gospel must first be published among all nations.” Likewise, this saying of Jesus will also be fulfilled to the maximum: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matt. 24:14).

This is truly an awesome work of God! In every single Bible—all eight billion of them—the plan of God has been hidden in plain sight. It is hidden throughout the Scriptures—concealed within the meaning of the weekly Sabbath, the Passover, the feasts and the holy days. But most people will never find or believe the truth because they refuse to repent of their ways and sins. They do not truly believe what Jesus said: “The time has been fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is near at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).

Oh, some people may believe in God and Jesus Christ in varying degrees. However, they do so on their own terms—not God’s terms—by clinging to their traditions: Sunday, Halloween, Christmas, New Years, Lent and Easter. As a rule, people keep their religious traditions, totally devoid of God’s truth.

On the other hand, those who truly love and believe God the Father and Jesus Christ—who keep God’s commandments, the Sabbath, the Passover and holy days—will have understanding, for God will reveal His truth and the meaning of His secret plan to His servants.

Here is how to discover these great truths of God’s secret plan—hidden throughout the Scriptures. They are not hard to find IF you will repent and obey the Word of God, and IF you will follow these passages and claim the promises of God: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments” (Psa. 111:10).

Next, claim this promise of Jesus Christ: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matt. 5:6). Here is how you hunger and thirst after righteousness, as found in Proverbs 2: “My son, IF you will receive my words and treasure up my commandments within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom and apply your heart to understanding; yea, IF you cry after knowledge and lift up your voice for understanding; IFyou seek her as silver and search for her as for HIDDEN treasures, [search the Scriptures daily, Acts 17:11] THEN you shall understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; out of His mouth comes knowledge and understanding. He lays up sound wisdom for the righteous; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly. He keeps the paths of right judgment and preserves the way of His saints. THEN you shall understand righteousness and judgment and equity, every good path” (Prov. 2:1-9).

An Overview of the Fall Holy Days

By the time you receive this letter, the fall festival season will be upon us. Accordingly, I have included a quick summary of the meaning of the fall holy days.

The Scriptures teach that, in addition to the seventh-day Sabbath, there are seven annual holy days or festivals ordained by God to be observed as special commanded holy convocations. Utilizing numerous symbols or types, these high days portray—in a step-by-step manner—God’s entire plan of salvation for mankind. The spring festivals of Passover and Unleavened Bread and the late spring feast of Pentecost depict vital aspects of God’s plan for the “firstfruits”—those called in this present age (James 1:18; John 6:44; Gal. 1:4). On the other hand, the fall holy days—Trumpets, Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day—picture the salvation of the remainder of mankind beginning with the intervention of Jesus Christ just before His literal return to the earth.

Feast of Trumpets (7th month, first day)

Anciently, the Feast of Trumpets was a memorial of the sounding of trumpets for war (Jer. 4:19; Ezek. 7:14; Joel 2:1).As such, this festival looks forward to the end-time “Day of the Lord”—a time when Jesus Christ will directly and forcefully intervene in the affairs of men in order to establish His authority over all mankind (Isa. 2:11-12; Zeph. 1:14-18).

The Day of the Lord is shown to be a year in actual duration (Isa. 34:8), and is organized around seven successive “trumpet plagues” (Rev. 8-9). These plagues bring humanity step-by-step into full submission to Jesus Christ (Rev. 11:15-18). The sounding of the 7th and final trumpet announces the seven “final plagues” (Rev. 15:1; 16:1-21) and pictures the Pentecost resurrection of the saints—the harvest of the firstfruits (Matt. 24:31; I Cor. 15:52; I Thess. 4:17; Rev. 10:7; 11:15-18; 14:14-16). From Pentecost until the following Feast of Trumpets, the resurrected saints are on the Sea of Glass with Jesus Christ while the seven last plagues are poured out (Rev. 15:6-16:21). After the Marriage Supper of the Lamb has been completed, the Feast of Trumpets heralds the actual return of Christ and the saints to the earth to establish the Kingdom of God.

Day of Atonement (7th month, tenth day)

Under the Old Covenant, the High Priest utilized special animal sacrifices to annually atone for the sins of Israel (Lev. 16). These rituals—held on the Day of Atonement—were prototypical, pointing to Jesus’ future role as High Priest and as the ultimate sacrifice for sin (Heb. 9:8-14, 23-28; 10:1-6). A key future event—the binding of Satan the devil—is also pictured.

On this day, the high priest was commanded to select two goats—one for the Lord, picturing Christ—and one for “Azazel,” which is another name for Satan. The goat representing Christ was sacrificed as a sin offering and its blood sprinkled upon the Ark in the holy of holies. Jesus’ blood shed for the firstfruits is pictured by Passover; the blood shed on Atonement does not point to a second sacrifice, but signifies that Jesus’ atoning sacrifice is now made available for all mankind.

The goat for Azazel was not sacrificed; rather, the priest confessed all the sins of the children of Israel upon the head of the goat, showing that all sin originated with Satan. The Azazel goat was then led into the wilderness where it was “let loose,” signifying Satan’s future banishment. Immediately following Jesus’ return with the resurrected saints, He will dispatch an angel (symbolized by the “fit man” of Leviticus 16:21) to bind Satan and his demons in a great abyss for the entire 1,000-year period during which Christ and the saints rule (Rev. 20:1-3).

                  Once Satan has been bound and Jesus’ sacrifice for sin is made available to all, the world will be poised for the restoration of all things (Acts 3:21)—a time pictured by the next fall festival, Tabernacles.

Feast of Tabernacles (7th month, days 15-21)

Anciently, this festival of “ingathering” (Ex. 23:16; 34:22) celebrated the fullness of the annual harvest (as opposed to Pentecost, which celebrated only the harvesting of the firstfruits). Thus, this seven-day festival pictures the granting of salvation to the masses of humanity as they are “harvested” into the Kingdom of God in the age to come (Luke 10:2; Heb. 8:11).

Israel’s sojourn in the wilderness was associated with “booths”—temporary dwelling tabernacles (Lev. 23:43). This pointed to the temporary nature of their journey to the Promised Land. Likewise, Christian’s today dwell in “booths” during the Feast of Tabernacles/Booths to depict the temporary nature of this age, as one “sojourns” in anticipation of the Kingdom of God.

For Christians, this pivotal festival celebrates the wonderful millennial reign of Jesus Christ and the saints (Rev. 20:6)—a time of complete restoration of the earth back to its perfect, Eden-like state. During this period, God’s way of life will be taught worldwide—with peace, prosperity, and righteousness characterizing man’s existence (Isa. 2:1-4; Micah 4:1-7).

While the 1000-year rule of Christ is the time of the “restoring of all things” (Acts 3:21), it is only preparatory to the time pictured by the “eighth day”—the Last Great Day.

Last Great Day (7th month, day 22)

This final holy day, commanded in Leviticus 23:36, is called the “eighth day” because it follows the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles. This “appointed” festival is a holy convocation, a high day.

The Hebrew root word for eight means “to be fat”—as in plentiful, thus pointing to abundance. However, based on its use in the Old Testament, the number eight is primarily associated with new beginnings. For example, circumcision was on the eighth day, signifying a new beginning under the sign of the Abrahamic covenant; a sacrificial animal had to be at least eight days old to be sacrificed; and, various cleansings were for a full seven days, allowing the cleansed person to re-enter the camp on the eighth day. Noah was called the “eighth person” (II Pet. 2:5) as mankind embarked upon a new beginning after the Flood.

This unique feast day points to the post-millennial period, which includes several key aspects of God’s plan. First, it is the time of the second resurrection—the“Great White Throne Judgment” (Rev. 20:11-13)—wherein all who have ever lived and died without having received an opportunity for salvation are resurrected to a second physical life for a “first opportunity” for salvation (Ezek. 37:1-14). Consequently, while the overwhelming majority will inherit eternal life, this time also deals with the final judgment of the incorrigibly wicked via the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14-15).

Moreover, this eighth-day festival pictures a newbeginning in God’s plan for eternity: The new heavens and new earth are complete (Rev. 21:1); God the Father comes, via the New Jerusalem, to dwell with all mankind (verses 2-3); there is no more sorrow or death (verse 4); and, all things are made new (verse 5).

Thus, the entire plan of God will have been finished, leading to a completely new, eternal beginning (Rev. 21-22).

The Continuing National Problems We Face: In our nations we are all faced with huge problems resulting from God’s correction. This correction comes because of the sins of the people—including those of the so-called“Christian” religion and even the churches of God. Here is what I wrote last month about the need to pray for the brethren and ministers of the churches of God: “With this in mind, each one of us needs to take a day that we can devote to prayer and fasting, asking God to intercede in our nations and once again extend mercy to them. We need to ask God to grant repentance to all the ministers and brethren in the churches of God so that we will have the spiritual strength and grace to let God the Father and Jesus Christ continue their spiritual work in us in preparation for the times ahead and to finally be granted entrance into the Kingdom of God at the return of Jesus Christ.” In addition to taking a day of fasting and prayer, please remember these things in your daily prayers.

New BookletAre Enoch and Elijah in Heaven? In our last mailing we sent you the new booklet God or No God? by Duncan MacLeod, an elder and our Canadian Office Manager. This is an excellent booklet for new people. We have just completed a new small booklet Are Enoch and Elijah in Heaven? by Philip Neal. Again, this is part of our continuing effort to develop biblical materials for new people who respond to our Church at Home online video programs. To date, we have completed over 275 half-hour video segments. In our September mailing we will send Church at Home DVD #16, which will bring you up to 144 thirty-minute segments.

Brethren, thank you for all your love and continued prayers for us and all the other brethren and for our nations as well. All your prayers are vital, and God does answer. You are in our prayers every day. We pray that you may continue to grow in grace and knowledge; that you will love God the Father and Jesus Christ with all your heart and mind. We pray for your health and healing. We thank you for all your sustaining support through your tithes and offerings as God blesses you. Remember, every day we are to stand in grace, walk in faith, believe in hope, and live in love. May God continue to bless you and yours in every way.

With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter