Monthly letter archive

Christian Biblical Church of God

Post Office Box 1442

Hollister, California 95024-1442


Fred R. Coulter, Minister

March 19, 2004

Dear Brethren,

I just returned from a trip to Texas, where Dolores and I visited Chad, Rachelle and Jeremy and Chad's parents. On Sabbath, we had morning and afternoon services in Waco with 90 brethren in attendance. Then Glenn and Phyllis Daniel drove Eugene Ragan and me down to Houston, where we stayed Saturday night. On Sunday we had morning and afternoon Bible studies with 40 brethren in attendance. It was tremendous to travel and be with the brethren again. Because everyone had received their New Testaments, we were able to use them during the sermons and Bible studies.

A wild Pentecostal meeting in the next room at the Holiday Inn interrupted the afternoon sermon that I gave in Houston, The Death of Truth # 1. It was a mindless, emotional, shouting, yelling and trumpet-blowing religious service, where they supposedly called down the "Holy Ghost." They were repeatedly yelling, "Jesus, Holy Ghost" and blowing a trumpet—totally off key. Although they were speaking English, they were trying to speak in tongues—gibberish. Because of the noise, we had to stop our meeting and take a break. It got so loud that we asked the manager to move us to another room in order for us to finish our service. (On the last part of side one of the tape you will be able to hear the noise coming through the partition separating the two rooms.)

We could not help thinking about what the apostle Paul wrote concerning "tongues." He made it clear that speaking in an unknown tongue does not edify the church as does prophecy: "...the one who prophesies [inspired speaking and teaching] is speaking to men for edification and encouragement and comfort [in decency and order according to the Word of God]. The one who speaks in an unknown language is edifying only himself; but the one who prophesies is edifying the church ... And now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in foreign languages, of what benefit will it be to you, unless I speak to you either in revelation, or in knowledge, or in prophecy, or in teaching? In the same way also, unless you give intelligible speech, how will it be known what is being spoken? For you will be speaking gibberish into the air ... Therefore, if the whole church is assembled together in one place, and all are speaking in unknown languages, and unlearned persons or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you have lost your minds?

"But in the church, I desire to speak five words with my understanding rather than ten thousand words in an unknown language [with shouting, yelling and trumpet blowing], so that I may also instruct others. Brethren, do not be children in your minds; however, in regard to malice be babes, but in your minds be fully mature. For your prophets [those who teach the brethren] can all prophesy one by one, so that everyone may learn and may be encouraged. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints" (I Cor. 14:3-4, 6, 9, 23, 19-20, and 31-34).

What an experience that was! I had never been close to a Pentecostal meeting, but others told me that, as bad as it was, it could not be compared to some revival meetings that are wilder, where people fall on the floor in demonic-like fits. However, we can be sure, the Holy Spirit of God does not inspire confusion. "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of sound-mindedness" (II Tim. 1:7).

That experience served as an excellent example that truth dies when emotions and feelings replace rational thought and the Word of God. God created us as thinking beings. He has given to all men and women the "spirit of man" that gives us intelligence. He expects us to use our minds. Moreover, in order to understand the Word of God, human intellect and thought is not enough. We need the Spirit of God added to our spirit. Only then can we truly understand the Word of God: "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 inorder to communicate spiritual things by spiritual means" (I Cor. 2:9-13).

Truth is revealed in the Word of God. Truth does not reside in human emotion. Feelings do not equal truth. Feelings should always be secondary to truth—subordinate to truth. Truth comes from the God of truth, Whose Word is true, Whose Holy Spirit is truth.

The Lord lives in truth (Jer. 4:2). God cannot lie (Titus 1:2, Heb 6:18). Jesus said, "Sanctify them in Your truth; Your Word is the truth" (John 17:17). God's "law is the truth" (Psa. 119:142). "All your commandments are truth" (Psa. 119:151). "Your word is true from the beginning" (Psa. 119:160). Finally, Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6), and we are to have the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5).

It is God's Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, that renews our minds, as the apostle Paul wrote: "I exhort you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and well pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service. Do not conform yourselves to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind in order that you may prove what is well pleasing and good, and the perfect will of God" (Rom. 12:1-2).

Truth comes from God the Father through Jesus Christ. It does not come any other way. Without the true Jesus, the Lord and Savior of men, there is no truth: Jesus said, " 'He Who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone because I always do the things that please Him.' As He spoke these things, many believed in Him. Therefore, Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in Him, 'If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free' " (John 8:29-32).

As Jesus told the Jews, it is not enough to believe in Him. One must continue in or practice His Word. That is how we are to live in His love. There is no true freedom without the true God the Father and Jesus Christ—we remain in the bondage of sin. Christianity of the world claims freedom without commandment keeping. As a result, they are still in bondage because they practice sin—lawlessness. In practicing lawlessness, they appear to be obedient but they are keeping their own laws and observing their own days instead of God's appointed Holy Days.

The apostle John makes it abundantly clear that if we love God, we will keep His commandments: "By this standard we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God: that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome" (I John 5:2-3).

John left no room for doubt. The standard by which we know God the Father and Jesus Christ is by two things: One is outward—commandment keeping: "And by this standard we know that we know Him: if we keep His commandments" (I John 2:3). He also made it clear that it is impossible to know Jesus Christ if a person does not keep His commandments. In fact, he or she is a liar: "The one who says, 'I know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (I John 2:4).

The other is inward—the Holy Spirit—and is coupled with commandment keeping because it is the Spirit that gives one the ability to obey God. John wrote, "And whatever we may ask we receive from Him because we keep His commandments and practice those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and that we love one another, exactly as He gave commandment to us. And the one who keeps His commandments is dwelling in Him, and He in him; and by this we know that He is dwelling in us: by the Spirit which He has given to us" (I John 3:22-24).

John summarized his epistle when he wrote: "We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of thewicked one. And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us an understanding, so that we may know Him Who istrue; and we are in Him Who is true, and in His Son, Jesus Christ. He is the true God, and the eternal life" (IJohn 5:19-20).

Paul shows that we are to be led by the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God will not push us, nor will it pull us. It will lead us, but we have to be willing to follow: "Now if the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead is dwelling within you, He Who raised Christ from the dead will also quicken your mortal bodies because of His Spirit that dwells within you. So then, brethren, we are not debtors to the flesh, to live according to the flesh; because if you are living according to the flesh, you shall die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. Now you have not received a spirit of bondage again unto fear, but you have received the Spirit of sonship, whereby we call out, " 'Abba, Father' " (Rom. 8:11-15). '

What a fantastic blessing it is to know the truth of God, to keep His commandments and to live in His love. Brethren, as we come to the Passover we need to keep these things in mind.

The True Passover of God: Jesus Christ established the Christian Passover on the night of the 14th day of the first month in 30 AD. That is the night He established the ceremony of footwashing and commanded us to wash one another's feet (John 13). After washing the apostles' feet, Jesus established the symbols of the bread and the wine of the New Covenant: "And as they were eating, Jesus took the bread and blessed it; then He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is My body.' And He took the cup; and after giving thanks, He gave itto them, saying, 'All of you drink of it; for this is My blood, the blood of the New Covenant, which is poured out for many for the remission of sins' " (Matt. 26:26-28).

Instead of sacrificing a lamb and eating a meal, we observe the Passover exactly as Jesus commanded us. Every year when we observe the Christian Passover on the night of the 14th day of the first month, we are renewing the New Covenant of eternal life. Jesus said that if we do not eat His flesh, symbolized by the broken bread, and drink His blood, symbolized by the wine, we do not have eternal life. Jesus explained to the Jews, " 'I am the living bread, which came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is even My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.' Because of this, the Jews were arguing with one another, saying, 'How is He able to give us His flesh to eat?' Therefore, Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you do not have life in yourselves.

"The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up in the last day; for My flesh is truly food, and My blood is truly drink. The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood is dwelling in Me, and I in him. As the living Father has sent Me, and I live by the Father; so also the one who eats Me shall live by Me" (John 6:51-57).

As the "Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world," Jesus Christ is the true Passover sacrifice. Paul wrote that because of this, not only are we to keep the Passover, but the Feast of Unleavened Bread as well: "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. 5:7-8).

Since the true New Testament Passover of God is the New Covenant renewal day, Satan does not want Christians to understand it or to observe it. As a result, Satan has caused more confusion concerning the true Passover of God, both Old and New Testaments, than anything else. The Jews observe a 15th Passover. In the realm of Christendom, instead of the Passover many observe what is called the "Lord's supper," communion, the Eucharist—or even the sacrifice of the Mass, where Christ is recrucified daily. No doubt about it, Satan has designed these counterfeits to keep people confused and to keep them locked into the bondage of "the mystery of lawlessness."

Even within the Churches of God there is confusion. Much of the confusion is caused because some people do not use the God-given calculated Hebrew calendar. They want to devise their own methods of calculating time. As a result, many do not observe the Passover at the God-ordained time of the 14th day of the first month. They observe it a day or two earlier or a day or two later and in some cases even a month later. Because of all the confusion, I wrote The Christian Passover—What Does It Mean? When Should It Be Observed—the 14th or the 15th? This book covers every detail of the meaning and timing of the Biblical Passover, Old and New Testaments.

New Testament Books: Although most of you have received your New Testaments, we still have some to mail out. If you have not received yours, it will be coming soon. We were a bit delayed because we have had problems getting the right kind of packaging that would keep the book from being damaged in the mail. We just received them and will be mailing out the rest as soon as possible. Hang on! You will be getting yours soon.

This week we are mailing out the Feast of Unleavened Bread tapes. I have recorded special sermons ahead of time for the first and last days of Unleavened Bread, as well as for the weekly Sabbath during the feast. We do this because we are commanded to preach the Word of God in season: "I charge you, therefore, in the sight of God, even the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is ready to judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the Word! Be urgent in season and out of season; convict, rebuke, encourage, with all patience and doctrine. For there shall come a time when they will not tolerate sound doctrine; but according to their own lusts they shall accumulate to themselves a great number of teachers, having ears itching to hear what satisfies their cravings; but they shall turn away their own ears from the truth; and they shall be turned aside unto myths" (II Tim. 4:1-4).

Brethren, thank you for your love, prayers and continued support and help in serving the brethren. We hope that you will have a tremendous Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread. May God bless you with His Spirit so that you may overcome, grow in grace and knowledge and continue to love God the Father and Jesus Christ with all your hearts, minds and strength.

With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter


P.S. During the Feast I will be traveling to Seattle (4-9 & 10), Spokane (4-11) and Phoenix (4-12). See letter or website for locations and times of meetings.