Monthly letter archive

Christian Biblical Church of God

Post Office Box 1442

Hollister, California 95024-1442


Fred R. Coulter, Minister

August 19, 2004

Dear Brethren,

By the time you receive this letter the fall holy days and Feast of Tabernacles will be upon us. As we know, the Sabbath, the feasts and the holy days of God are the dividing line that separates the true believers of Jesus Christ from the world and from those who follow man-made religions that reject the Word of God. This dividing line is clearly evident because mainstream Christianity rejects the holy days and feasts of God and instead embraces the "Christianized" pagan holidays. Those who do this automatically blind their eyes and cannot truly understand the Word of God or the plan of God—although they use parts of the Bible combined with human traditions as a basis for their beliefs.

This phenomenon is nothing new. When God called Isaiah to be a prophet to the children of Israel, He made it clear to Isaiah that when he proclaimed the Word of God to them, they would not listen. "Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed" (Isa. 6:8-10, KJV).

Again, Isaiah prophesied that because of sins, the people would be blinded and would not understand the Word of God, in spite of the fact that they had it in their hands and could read it: "Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: and the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.

"Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid" (Isa. 29:9-14, KJV).

Jesus explained to the disciples that they would understand because God would give them understanding, but He would not give understanding to the world because they refused to believe and obey God: "And His disciples came to Him and asked, 'Why do You speak to them in parables?' And He answered and said to them, 'Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries 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. 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; lest they should see with their eyes, and should hear with their ears, and should understand with their hearts, and should be converted, and I should heal them.' But blessed 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. 13:10-17).

The prophet Daniel was given prophecies of the kingdoms that would rule the world from his day to the return of Jesus Christ and the setting up of the Kingdom of God. As great as Daniel was, and as far-reaching the prophecies that he was given, God did not give him a full understanding of the things that he prophesied. In God's final instructions to Daniel, he was told that the full understanding would not be given until the time of the end: "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased....And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand" (Dan. 12:4, 8-10, KJV).

From Daniel's time until our now, God has not given a full understanding of the prophecies contained in the Bible; however, because we are living in the days that are closer to the end, we have more understanding than the prophets of old and even the early New Testament Church. God has not given this understanding because we are anything great or have greater natural mental insight than others but because God promised that at the time of the end He would give the understanding to his people. Moreover, even among his people in the various churches of God, there are varying degrees of understanding.

However, lest we, as the brethren of God, get exalted and boast, we need to remember that if we do not continue to love God the Father and Jesus Christ, believe Their Word, keep Their commandments and live in Their grace, whatever understanding we have can also be taken away. We have seen that happen to those who have fallen away. They have lost, or are losing their understanding.

The spring feasts and holy days reveal God's plan for the Church—those who are called from the time of Jesus Christ's earthly ministry until the first resurrection. The spring feasts and holy days are all tied together. First is the Passover. Although it is not a holy day, it is the day on which Jesus established the New Covenant—the same day that God established His covenant with Abraham (Gen. 15). This is why Paul wrote, "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ ... and if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Gal. 3:27, 29). The Passover day is also the same day that He spared the firstborn of the children of Israel. At midnight on the 14th day of the first month, God passed over their houses and judged all the gods of Egypt and killed the firstborn of man and beast (Ex. 12:11-13).

Then on the night of the Passover day, the 14th day of the first month in 30 AD, Jesus established the New Covenant with the apostles (Matt. 26:17-30). He was arrested and tried at midnight on the 14th. He was condemned to death in the early morning of the 14th. Jesus was crucified, died and was placed in the tomb just before the 14th ended at sunset.

Three days and three nights later, Jesus was resurrected toward the end of the weekly Sabbath during the feast of Unleavened Bread. He ascended to the Father in heaven and was accepted as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world on the morning of the wave sheaf offering day—the first day of the week. This day is the first day of the 50-day count toward Pentecost.

In the Old Testament, God gave the Ten Commandments to Israel on the day of Pentecost (Ex. 19-20). Forty days after His resurrection, Jesus ascended to heaven for the final time. Ten days later on Pentecost, He poured out the Holy Spirit on the apostles and disciples (Acts 1-2). This is how all the spring feasts and holy days are connected. In the New Testament, these holy days reveal God's plan for His Church—our calling, repentance, forgiveness of sin, receiving the Holy Spirit, overcoming, growing in grace and knowledge, and finally the first resurrection when Jesus returns.

As we can see, the key to understanding God's plan is found in the meaning of the feasts and holy days of God. Of course, as we come nearer to the time of the end, we will understand even more as we see the prophecies unfold in the events of the world and the Church. This means that we will understand many things that the prophets of old and the apostles of Jesus Christ prophesied but didn't understand.

Two Additional Keys to Understanding

the Word of God

Obedience to God: In addition to the feasts of God and living in the end times when the prophecies of God are unfolding, the first key to understanding the Word of God and hence the prophecies contained in the Scriptures is to obey God. When Jesus was tempted by Satan the devil, He made it clear that obedience to every word of God was the way men were to live: "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God' " (Matt. 4:4, Luke 4:4 and Deut. 8:3). In the Psalms God confirms this very thing: "The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness. He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever" (Psa. 111:7-10, KJV). On the other hand, those who do not keep the commandments of God will never understand as God said to Daniel, "None of the wicked shall understand" (Dan. 12:10).

Understanding Given by the Holy Spirit: While obedience to God and commandment keeping constitute the first key to understanding the Scriptures, the second key is that the Holy Spirit gives understanding. Jesus told His apostles that the Holy Spirit would reveal to them the things to come: "I have yet many things to tell you, but you are not able to bear them now. However, when that one has come, even the Spirit of the truth, it will lead you into all truth because it shall not speak from itself, but whatever it shall hear, it shall speak. And it shall disclose to you the things to come. That one shall glorify Me because it shall disclose to you the things that it receives from Me" (John 16:12-14).

The prophet Zechariah wrote, "This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts" (Zech. 4:6). No one is going to do anything for God, understand the Scriptures, or preach the Word of God in truth without the Holy Spirit of God.

The apostle Paul also made it clear that we need the Holy Spirit of God in order to understand the things of God. Human intellect or reasoning can never discern the things of God. "Now we speak wisdom among the spiritually mature; however, it is not the wisdom of this world, nor of the rulers of this world, who are coming to nothing. Rather, we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom that God foreordained before the ages unto our glory which not one of the rulers of this world has known (for if they had known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory); 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 things—even the 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. 2:6-14). These two vital keys are foundational in understanding the Word of God and prophecy.

The New Testament: We are almost totally out of the first printing of the New Testament, which was 5,000 copies. We are finalizing the edits and making arrangements to have the second printing. We will have everything at the printer, Thomson-Shore, no later than September 15. In addition to correcting the typos that slipped through in the first printing, we have summarized two sections in The Preface in order to have space to write about the latest abominable translation: Good as New: A Radical Retelling of the Scriptures, published in 2004. This way we will be up to date in exposing men's latest corruption of the Word of God.

The Day Jesus the Christ Died: To date, we have sent nearly 7,000 copies of the new book. We are receiving 50 to 75 requests per day for this book from our website advertisements. Also, we have had one of the busiest months on our websites with 14,230 hits or distinct visitors. We have had 33,000 pages viewed; 6 gigabytes of data transferred or down loaded. We have received many, many letters about the new book. It is bound to have a great impact as it is the only book that reveals uthe whole truth and nothing but the truth" about the day Jesus died.

Brethren, thank you for your loving and faithful support with your tithes and offerings. As you can see, we are pouring every dollar we can into serving the brethren and new people by providing these books for them. As we yield to God, seek His will, preach His word and reach out to brethren and new people, God will bless us and cause His Word to prosper. May God the Father and Jesus Christ bless you with Their love and grace and understanding. May God help you, lift you up and comfort you in any time of difficulty or trial.

With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter


The Added Section to the Preface

in the Second Printing of the New Testament

In order that you may have the additional material that will be in The Preface of the second printing of the New Testament, I have included it in this letter. This is the only major addition that we have made.

A Radical Translation of the

New Testament

In the world of Bible translations, it seems as if some translators are in a race to see who can produce the worst, most corrupt, debased English translation possible. In an apparent attempt to outdo Peterson in desecrating, secularizing, demonizing and profaning the New Testament, John Henson has published Good As New: A Radical Retelling of the Scriptures funded by "The ONE Community for Christian Exploration." This organization is described on the back flyleaf of the dust jacket: "ONE is a network of radical Christians and over twenty organisations in the UK, working to renew the Church from within. Contributions have come from all across the spectrum, from fundamentalists to liberals, and from all denominations."

Henson's presentation so cynically mocks the Word of God, and even God Himself, that to dignify his work as a translation of the New Testament is blasphemous indeed. Yet, Rowen Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Anglican Church of England, praised it as a "presentation ... of extraordinary power ..." (Ibid., p. 7).

So arrogant and presumptuous is Henson's work that he radically deviates from the canon of the Greek New Testament by excluding the epistles of Titus, II Peter, II and III John and Jude, as well as the book of Revelation. To add further confusion, he includes the Gospel of Thomas in his New Testament version as did Robert W. Funk and the fellows of the Jesus Seminar in their publication, The Five Gospels.

In Henson's chapter, "Firing the Canon," he justifies his reasons for making void the true "God-breathed" canon of the New Testament. Henson writes: "It's time we ditched our obsession with the hefty tome we have inherited, and recognized what a turn-off it is for those seeking enlightenment. Those who believe the Bible from 'cover to cover' (especially the covers) make sure their novices are carefully guided so that they miss most of it. We need to revoke the redundancy notice given by the Church to the Holy Spirit the moment the last full stop was put to the Book of Revelation. We need the courage to say that some things in the Bible are no longer scripture for us, whereas the letters of Bonhoeffer and the sermons of Martin Luther King are, and the hymn/poems of Brian Wren and John Bell may one day be. We must say, if we find it to be true, that The Gospel of Thomas is closer to the Jesus we understand and appreciate than Revelation.

"As a community we offer new and fresh versions of some of the earliest Christian writings. They include five 'Gospels' (counting Thomas), Acts, the letters of Paul—to Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colossae, Thessalonika and Philemon; the letters of James, Peter, John the Elder and 'To the Hebrews.' These writings preserve truths and insights from the first Christians that continue to have value for us today. My own view is that the remaining books of the traditional canon do not have much to add and that Revelation in particular is contrary to the mind of Jesus" (Ibid., p. 18). How can Henson even pretend to know the mind of Jesus Christ? Such an audacious assertion that the book of Revelation is contrary to the mind of Jesus is utterly blasphemous.

Henson continues with this comment: "(There has not been a vote on this, but feedback suggests that the ONE community for the most part goes along with this. But it must always be stressed that the ONE community is a collection of individuals—very much so, and that none of our publications, including this one, is likely to reflect the standpoint of all our members.)

"Our intention is not to create a new canon to replace the old [but that is exactly what they are doing], but to do away with the concept of a closed canon of scripture. The canon perpetuates some of what should not be there, and inhibits an enthusiastic appreciation of the treasure-store of Christian writing since biblical times to the present day (post-biblical scripture). The canon is an idol. We have fired the canon!!" {Good As New, pp. 18-19, bracketed comment and bold emphasis added.)

Changing the Names of God and Persons: In order to make the Scriptures gender neutral, Henson has changed the names of God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and Satan the Devil, as well as the names of persons and places. Henson gives this rationale for doing so: "We seek to include the experience of the feminine in our understanding of God. That aspect of God theologically understood as the 'First Person' receives no sexual bias at all. 'Father' is translated as 'the Loving God.' The 'Second Person,' Jesus, is male, and although maleness is part of his humanity, it is secondary to it. So titles of Jesus lose their exclusive masculine sense. The cryptic term 'Son of Man' becomes 'the Complete Person.' 'Son of God' is translated 'God's likeness.' 'The Third Person' is regarded as feminine" (Ibid., p. 12). Contrary to what Henson asserts, in the Greek New Testament, "Spirit" is neither a masculine nor a feminine gender noun, but it is neuter gender [See Appendix H, page 762, for a full exegetical explanation of the Holy Spirit]. However, Henson carries out his misguided assumption that the Holy Spirit is feminine by using the word "she" for its pronoun.

In his Introduction, Henson further explains: "However, when a word like 'spirit,' carrying with it the idea of personality and creativity is classified alongside other words, which are also words for persons, such as women and mother, it is reasonable to suppose that the choice of classification is significant in terms of sexual understanding" (Ibid., pp. 12-13). Indeed Henson's last statement is true. However, "Spirit" in the original Greek is always and only neuter. His statements reveal that he has little or no knowledge of the Greek or has deliberately ignored the inspired Greek text in order to promulgate his baseless assertion that the Holy Spirit is feminine.

Henson continues his explanation for changing key words in his presentation: "Other radical departures reflect the need to demythologize in order to translate adequately into our own culture. 'Kingdom of God' thus becomes 'God's New World,' 'Eternal Life'—'Life to the full,' 'Salvation'—'Healing' or 'Completeness,' 'Heaven'— 'The world beyond time and space' and so on.

"ONE was largely responsible for introducing the concept of inclusive language to these islands [the British Isles] in its pamphlet Bad Language in Church (1981) amidst some scorn. Our position is now accepted by all but the most change-resistant" (Ibid., p. 13).

John 16:13-16, The Holy Spirit: As shown in the following, when the words are changed, the meaning is likewise changed.

"But when the Spirit comes, she'll make you aware of many different types of truth. She won't push her own ideas. She'll open your minds and teach you how to listen. She'll make you aware of possibilities in the future. The Spirit will ensure my reputation by explaining my teaching to you. She'll continue to pass on to you the truths my Parent and I share. Soon you'll miss me; then it won't be long before you see me again" (Good as New, p. 114). This translation does not reflect the Greek at all. It is hopelessly misconstrued.

From this Faithful Version these verses read: "However, when that one has come, even the Spirit of the truth, it will lead you into all truth because it shall not speak from itself, but whatever it shall hear, it shall speak. And it shall disclose to you the things to come. That one shall glorify Me because it shall disclose to you the things that it receives from Me. Everything that the Father has is Mine; for this reason, I said that it shall receive from Me and shall disclose these things to you. A little while, and you shall not see Me; and again a little while, and you shall see Me, because I am going to the Father"

John 1:1-4: Henson's rendition is not even a translation; rather it is only a crude interpretation that completely ignores many of the Greek words as in the following from John 1:1-4: "In the beginning God spoke. This is just like God—part of the way God is. Everything there is comes from God speaking; otherwise there would be nothing at all. God speaking brought into being the life and intelligence we all share."

A correct translation reads: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and not even one thing that was created came into being without Him. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men."

Romans 1:26-27: Henson's outlandish interpretation of scriptures ignores the actual meaning of the Greek and openly twists the scriptures to endorse homosexuality and unmarried sexual relationships. His translation utterly destroys the meaning of the Word of God. Modern-day promiscuous sexual behavior is endorsed in his ignominious rendition.

"God let them go on to pursue their selfish desires. Women use their charms to further their own ends. Men, instead of being friends, ruthlessly exploit one another. Their stressful lifestyle makes them ill." Henson justifies his blatantly perverse interpretation of these verses in a footnote that reads: "These verses have been shamefully used as a basis for the discomforting of those with a same-sex orientation. Undoubtedly Paul had uppermost in his mind [now he knows Paul's mind as well] the callous exploitation associated with the sex-trade, centered in his day in the pagan temples. He was not addressing the issue of loving same-sex relationships. Our translation strives to refocus on Paul's concern with the ill treatment of one human being by another, of which sexual abuse is one example, the persecution of minorities another" (Good as New, p. 303).

A correct and faithful translation reads: "For this cause, God abandoned them to disgraceful passions; for even their women changed the natural use of sex into that which is contrary to nature; and in the same manner also the men, having left the natural use of sex with the woman, were inflamed in their lustful passions toward one another—men with men shamelessly committing lewd acts, and receiving back within themselves a fitting penalty for their error."

I Corinthians 7:1-2, 27-28: Henson's twisted interpretation turns God's truth into a lie and makes a mockery of godly marriage:

"I now turn to the questions you raised in your letters to me. Some of you think the best way to cope with sex is for men and women to keep away from one another. I think that is more likely to lead to sexual offenses. My advice is for everyone to have a regular partner.... If you have a partner, keep the relationship going. If you are on your own, try not to get involved. But if you do find a partner, there's nothing wrong with that, not even if previously you didn't think yourself the type. Those in relationships have extra problems, and I feel for you."

The true meaning of these verses reads: "Now concerning the things that you wrote to me, saying, "It is good for a man not to touch a woman,' I say this: Rather, to avoid sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband .... Have you been bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Have you been loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife. However, if you have married, you have not sinned; and if a virgin has married, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry shall have distress in the flesh, but I wish to spare you" (verses 27-28).

I Corinthians 6:9-10: Henson's gross mistranslation reads: "It's time you realized that people who choose not to control their conduct aren't ready for God's New World! I'm talking about people who mess around in frivolous relationships, people who worship things instead of God, those who set out to steal another's partner, those who make money out of sex or abuse the young, thieves, loan-sharks, those who eat and drink too much, those who make fun of others."

A true rendition of the Greek reads: "Don't you know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor abusers of themselves as women, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Nicknames: Henson has taken the liberty to rename nearly every person, and many places and terms in his translation. A few examples follow:

People: Aaron—Ron; Apollos—Ray; Clement—Clem; the Devil—Evil the power of evil; James and John—Thunder and Lightning; John the Baptist—John the Dipper; Nicodemus—Nick; Peter—Rocky; Thomas—Twin.

Places: Arimathea—Ram; Bethsaida—Fishtown; Bethany—Dategrove; Laodicea—Banktown; Paradise—God's Garden.

Terms: Angels—God's agents, messengers, companions; Apostles—Special helpers, close friends of Jesus, Jesus' team; Christ/Messiah—God's Chosen, the Chosen One; Disciples—Friends, followers, team, gang; King—Ruler, Leader, head of state, "the greatest"; Kingdom of God—God's New World; Kingdom of heaven—Bright New World; Lord (of Jesus)—Leader; The Law—The Rule Book, rules and regulations; The Scripture—the old books; Sin—wrongdoing, faults; Son of God—God's true likeness; Son of Man—The Complete Person; I—for Jesus; We—for Jesus and his community or humanity (See Good as New, pp. 22-25).

Upon close examination, it is evident that nearly every verse in Henson's Good as New—A Radical Retelling of the Scriptures is a radical perverse interpretation of the New Testament. It is a literal destruction of the sacredness, the holiness, the beauty and grace of the God-breathed Word of God.

With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter