Monthly letter archive

Christian Biblical Church of God

Post Office Box 1442

Hollister, California 95024-1442


Fred R. Coulter, Minister

April 7, 2005

Dear Brethren,

We realize that we have sent you a lot of tapes in the past few weeks, and we hope the extra tapes have not been an overload. It was not planned this way, but the shooting that occurred in Wisconsin necessitated the sending of additional material. In my forty-five years in the Church of God, this was the worst thing ever to hit one of the churches. As I wrote previously, it will take us some time to more fully understand the whys and wherefores of this situation. Only God knows all the facts. In the meantime, we need to continue to pray for the brethren and for God's healing of the trauma that the survivors experienced.

For the past several months and in particular the last two weeks, people in the USA have been confronted with the Terri Schiavo case. Terri finally died March 31 after being deprived of food and water for nearly two weeks. This case has gone in and out of the courts for over a decade. As a result, it has stirred a heated discussion about life and death issues such as who has the right to live or to die. In spite of the euthanasia debates in the media, the slaughter of the unborn and all other kinds of heinous crimes and sins continue to abound.

Then on Sabbath April 2, 2005, the pope, John Paul II died. This was a momentous event. There is no doubt that his successor will undoubtedly have a tremendous impact on this world as the Catholic Church seeks to expand its power and authority in the world and align all religions in a new universal religion. This is Satan's time and he is exposing some of the workings of the Catholic Church to the world. While watching all the television coverage on the pope's death, all the pomp, rituals and ceremonies connected with the death and burial of the pope, clearly revealed the idolatry and paganism of Catholicism. I delivered a sermon about the Biblical Truth About the Papacy. As I later learned, I began the sermon at the exact time that the Vatican announced the pope's death. We are including it in this mailing for you to that you will be up to date on this on the prophecies of the coming pope. I read some of the Catholic prophecies about the coming final pope and the coming "Great Monarch." You will be surprised how closely they match the prophecies in the book of Revelation.

These events clearly show that the world cannot seem to understand that when the laws and commandments of God are set aside, the end result is lawlessness in society. Over 6,000 years of human history has proved this again and again. Secularists lament the horrible crimes that are being committed and demand more police protection and laws while at the same time insisting that neither society nor the government ought to publicly acknowledge God, and the Ten Commandments should be expunged from public schools and other public places.

Without God's unchanging standard to guide them, people are doing what seems to be right in their own eyes. Jesus said of the end times, "And then shall many be led into sin, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another; and many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many; and because lawlessness shall be multiplied, the love of many shall grow cold" (Matt. 24:10-12). Then Jesus admonished His followers to remain faithful and endure to the end: "But the one who endures to the end, that one shall be saved" (verse 13).

I am sure that we all feel much like Lot felt when he lived in Sodom—frustrated and emotionally oppressed because of the sins of his society. But God was faithful to him and rescued him and his two daughters from destruction: "And if He personally rescued righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the lawless ones living in licentious conduct; (For that righteous man, dwelling among them, through seeing and hearing their lawless activities, was tormented day by day in his righteous soul;) the Lord knows how to rescue the godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unrighteous to the day of judgment to be punished" (II Pet. 2:7-9).

Regardless of the sins of the world around us, we are to keep our minds on Jesus Christ and our calling because we have God's promise that He will always be there to help us. He will never fail us; He will never leave us! He will never forsake us "... for He has said, 'In no way will I ever leave you; no—I will never forsake you in any way.' So then, let us boldly say, "The Lord ismy helper, and I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?' ... Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever" (Heb. 13:5-6, 8).

One of the ways that Jesus Christ fulfills these promises is through our keeping the weekly Sabbath and holy days that He has commanded us to keep. Regardless of what the world does or does not do, we are able to continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Passover and Unleavened Bread: This year the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread occur later on the Roman Calendar, so it is no surprise that spring is also delayed in coming. However, these feasts are right on time according to the calculated Hebrew Calendar. The special calendar calculations that God gave to the Levites thousands of years ago were not devised by men. Thus, the Hebrew Calendar is not a Jewish calendar but God's sacred calendar. He gave it to his people Israel and also to the Church so that we would be able to keep the feasts in their proper seasons.

Many have undertaken to devise their own calendar system against what God has revealed. All their reasonings and so-called proofs about calendar error notwithstanding, there are no errors in the sacred calculated Hebrew Calendar—it is always on time. Therefore, anyone who dares to create his own calendar scheme is seeking to change the times and seasons that God has created and established for us.

When viewed in the light of God's Word, changing the days that God Himself has commanded us to observe is tantamount to changing the Word of God. This is the very reason that God has given us the sacred calculated Hebrew Calendar—so that everyone does not "do that which is right in his own eyes," having feasts on different days and thereby causing confusion among the brethren. These holy days and feasts are God's holy days and feasts. He and He alone has set the times and has given the sacred calculated Hebrew Calendar so that we will keep them at the time God wants us to keep them.

Sabbath and Holy Days Are God’s Appointments For Us: Everett Fox's translation of The First Five Books of Mosesthe Shocken Bible Volume One leaves no doubt that God has set these times and not man. (Note that Fox transliterates the names of God and Moses from the Hebrew). "YHWH spoke to Moshe, saying: Speak to the Children of Israel and say to them: The appointed-times of YHWH, which you are to proclaim to them as proclamations of holiness—these are they, my appointed-times: For six days may work be done, but on the seventh day (is) Sabbath, Sabbath-Ceasing, a proclamation of holiness, any-kind of work you are not to do. It is Sabbath to YHWH, throughout your settlements" (Lev. 23:1-3).

God Himself makes it absolutely clear that the Sabbath, the seventh day of each week, is an appointed time for us to rest from our labors and to assemble before Him and worship Him. This is the day that God the Father Himself and Jesus Christ have set aside as the appointed time to fellowship with us through prayer, teaching, and study from God's Word, and it is also a time for us to fellowship with the brethren. This is what the apostle John meant when he wrote, "That which was from the beginning, that which we have heard, that which we have seen with our own eyes, that which we observed for ourselves and our own hands handled, concerning the Word of life; (And the life was manifested, and we have seen, and are bearing witness, and are reporting to you the eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested to us;) that which we have seen and have heard we are reporting to you in order that you also may have fellowship . with us; for the fellowship—indeed, our fellowship—is with the Father and with His own Son, Jesus Christ. These things we are also writing to you, so that your joy may be completely full" (I John 1:1-4). If we miss that day or do not keep God's appointed time, how then can God fellowship with us? This is the problem with Sunday keeping and the holidays of the world. They assemble on the wrong days and during the wrong seasons of the year.

God has provided these special days so that we can grow in the love of God and develop the mind of Jesus Christ and the character of God. This is what fellowship with God the Father and Jesus Christ is all about. Yet, this is not all accomplished on the Sabbath or holy days. The daily fellowship with God the Father and Jesus Christ involves prayer and study through the power of the Holy Spirit, whereby we grow in understanding of God's love for us and our love for God and the brethren.

When we understand this fellowship with God the Father and Jesus Christ, then we understand that the feasts and holy days of God are appointed times or annual Sabbaths. "These are the appointed-times of YHWH, proclamations of holiness, which you are to proclaim at their appointed-times: on the first New-Moon [month], on the fourteenth after the New-Moon [month], between the setting times (is Passover to YHWH. On the fifteenth day after this New-Moon [month] is the pilgrimage-festival of matzot [unleavened bread] to YHWH: for seven days, matzot you are to eat! On the first day a proclamation of holiness shall there be for you, any-kind of servile work you are not to do. You are to bring-near a fire-offering to YHWH, for seven days, on the seventh day (is) a proclamation of holiness, any-kind of servile work you are not to do" (Fox, The First Five Books of Mosesthe Shocken Bible Volume One, verses 4-8).

This year, 2005, the Passover falls on Friday night April 22. The Night to be Much Observed, which begins the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, falls on Saturday night April 23. Then, Sunday, April 24 is the day portion of the first holy day as well as the Wave Sheaf Offering Day. We have provided new taped sermons for the first day and seventh day of the feast. They are not sermons from last year. Also, to help make the feast meaningful, you can certainly use the extra tapes that you have received during the days between the first and seventh days. After all, it is the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days, not just the first and seventh days!

How We Are Unleavened in Christ Jesus: Contrary to the claims of Orthodox Christendom, the New Testament does indeed show that Christians are to keep the feasts and holy days of God. In fact, far from doing away with the feasts and holy days, the apostle Paul commanded the Gentile church in Corinth to keep the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. He also taught that leaven is a type of sin. Just as leaven puffs up bread dough, sin puffs up human nature—the vanity of sinful human nature.

The problem in the church at Corinth was grievous sexual sin by one man and the sin of the congregation in tolerating it: "It is commonly reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—allowing one to have his own father's wife. You are puffed up and did not grieve instead, so that he who did this deed might be taken out of your midst. For I indeed, being absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged concerning him who has so shamelessly committed this evil deed as if I were present: In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, and my spirit, together with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

"Your glorying is not good. Don't you know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore, purge out the old leaven, so that you may become a new lump, even as you are unleavened. For Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us. For this reason, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (I Cor. 5:1-8).

We keep the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread because Jesus Christ was sacrificed for us! We keep these days because they are part of the laws and commandments of God in the Old and New Testaments. As Paul taught, when we put the leaven out of our homes as God has commanded, it is a type of our putting sin out of our lives. While we have our part to do, God the Father and Jesus Christ give us the ability to overcome sin through the power of the Holy Spirit. Day by day, God continuously forgives our sins by His grace and mercy through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (I John 1:6-9, Luke 11:4). Likewise, God is converting our carnal, sinful minds by writing and inscribing His laws and commandments into our hearts and minds (Heb. 10:16-17).

Conversion is a life-long process of growing and overcoming through the divine help and power of the Holy Spirit. The apostle Peter was inspired to give us God's step-by-step process for continuous Christian growth: "According as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him Who called us by His own glory and virtue; through which He has given to us the greatest and most precious promises, that through these you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And for this very reason also, having applied all diligence besides, add to your faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, endurance; and to endurance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly love; and to brotherly love, the love of God.

"For if these things exist and abound in you, they will cause you to be neither lacking effort nor lacking fruit in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But the one in whom these things are not present is spiritually blind—so short-sighted that he has forgotten that he was purified from his old sins. For this reason, brethren, be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure; because if you are doing these things, you will never fall at any time" (II Pet. 1:3-10).

Through this life-long process—daily, weekly and yearly—we get the leaven of sin out and the righteousness of God and His love in. This is the spiritual conversion and perfection through Christ. As Paul wrote, this is how God the Father develops the mind of Jesus Christ within each one of us: "Now then, if there be any encouragement in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any deep inner affections and compassions, fulfill my joy, that you be of the same mind, having the same love, being joined together in soul, minding the one thing. Let nothing be done through contention or vainglory, but in humility, each esteeming the others above himself. Let each one look not only after his own things, but let each one also consider the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:1-5).

Brethren, once again thank you for all your love, prayers and faithful support so that together we may continue to reach out to the brethren and new people, whom God will call. May God the Father and Jesus Christ bless you and all the brethren with a meaningful and wonderful Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread.

With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter