Monthly letter archive

Restoring Original Christianity—for Today!

Christian Biblical Church of God

Post Office Box 1442
Hollister, California 95024-1442

Fred R. Coulter


March 10, 2010

Special PDF Download:Genesis 15 Covenant Sacrifice and the Death of Jesus Christ - Chart

Dear Brethren,

The Christian Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread will be here in about two weeks. Many brethren will be observing these days as individuals in their homes, while others will meet in various fellowship groups. This year, the Passover is on Sunday night, March 28. Remember, the Passover begins as it is beginning to get dark, not immediately after sundown. The next night is the “Night to be Much Observed unto the Lord,” March 29, which begins the first holy day. Then, on the morning of March 30, we will continue to observe the first holy day with new, specially prepared messages. Next comes the regular Sabbath, on April 3; and finally, the seventh day of the feast, also a holy day, falls on April 5.

As in the past, we are sending out a special CD that includes the Passover Ceremony, a message for the “Night to be Much Observed,” and sermons for both holy days and the Sabbath in between. In this mailing, we are including the Passover Ceremony booklet, which we have reformatted into a smaller size. The booklet contains complete instructions and the necessary Scriptures for the proper observance of the New Covenant Passover according to Jesus Christ’s instructions. If you need additional Passover Ceremony booklets, phone the office immediately and we will rush them to you.

To help you have a full spiritual Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread, we have included an additional CD with special messages pertaining to the Spring feast season.

The Passover—Planned from the Foundation of the World

As the book of Revelation shows, God’s plan for mankind, beginning with the Passover, was planned from the foundation of the world—as Jesus is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). After Adam and Eve sinned, the Lord God, the one Who would become Jesus Christ, prophesied that He would confront Satan the devil and defeat him by means of the crucifixion. This reference reveals only a sketch of the coming Passover Lamb of God: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He [Christ] will bruise your head, and you [Satan] shall bruise His [Christ’s] heel [in the crucifixion]” (Gen. 3:15). John the Baptist reveals that Jesus is the “Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29, 36).

Other prophecies fill in more pieces of the puzzle. Isaiah 9 and 40 tell of Jesus’ coming in the flesh, and Philippians two tells us how He fulfilled this prophecy by divesting Himself of His divinity to become a man. Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 foretell of Jesus’ scourging, beatings, crucifixion and death for the sins of the world. The Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John show the fulfillment of God’s promises of Jesus Christ as the Redeemer and Savior of mankind—through His life, ministry, death and resurrection.

Two of our books, A Harmony of the Gospels in Modern English—The Life of Jesus Christ and The Day Jesus the Christ Died, each have a special chapter titled “Twenty-Eight Prophecies Fulfilled in One Day”—the Passover day, Nisan 14, April 5, 30 AD, the day of Jesus’ crucifixion, death and burial. This is the day of destiny that makes our part in the plan of God possible. It is the focal point of God’s plan to redeem mankind from sin and Satan in order for us to receive immortality as very sons and daughters of God.

The Passover is more than the crucifixion, death and burial of Jesus Christ. It is about the love of God! Through the Passover, God the Father and Jesus Christ demonstrate their profound love for the world and for those who are called and converted—past, present and future: “For God [the Father] so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish, but may have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Because Jesus loves us, He willingly laid down His life for us—to redeem and save us from our sins and Satan and his demons and give us eternal life: “I have come so that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly. I am the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep…. I am the good Shepherd, and I know those who are Mine, and am known of those who are Mine. Just as the Father knows Me, I also know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep…. On account of this, the Father loves Me: because I lay down My life, that I may receive it back again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have authority to lay it down and authority to receive it back again. This commandment I received from My Father” (John 10:10-11, 14-15 and 17-18).

The apostle Paul writes of it this way: “For even when we were without strength, at the appointedtime [the Passover day, Nisan 14, April 5, 30 AD] Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, although perhaps someone might have the courage even to die for a good man. But God commends His own love to us because, when we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more, therefore, having been justified now by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His own Son, much more then, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Rom. 5:6-10).

Not only did Jesus die for our sins to redeem and save us, He and God the Father have rescued us from Satan the devil and the power of darkness. Paul also makes it clear that this redemption was made possible because Jesus shed His blood for us: “Giving thanks to the Father, Who has made us qualified for the share of the inheritance of the saints in the light; Who has personally rescued us from the power of darkness and has transferred us unto the kingdom of the Son of His love; in Whom we have redemption through His own blood, even the remission of sins…. And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things to Himself; by Him, whether the things on the earth, or the things in heaven. For you were once alienated and enemies in your minds by wicked works; but now He has reconciled you in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblamable and unimpeachable before Him; if indeed you continue in the faith grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which you have heard, and which was proclaimed in all the creation that is under heaven…” (Col. 1:12-14, 20-23).

As we prepare to observe the Christian Passover—with foot washing and the partaking of bread and wine—we need to keep in mind the greatness of the love and sacrifice of God the Father and Jesus Christ.

Jesus’ Personal Assurance of His Love for Us: On the night of His last Passover—shortly after instituting the New Covenant Passover and knowing that He would soon be arrested, falsely judged and condemned to death by crucifixion—Jesus told the disciples of God the Father’s love for Him and of His own love for the Father. Then Jesus told the disciples of His personal love for them, His friends: “As the Father has loved Me, I also have loved you; live in My love. If you keep My commandments, you shall live in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and live in His love. These things I have spoken to you, in order that My joy may dwell in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment: that you love one another, as I have loved you.

No one has greater love than this: that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends, if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, because the servant does not know what his master is doing. But I have called you friends because I have made known to you all the things that I have heard from My Father.

“You yourselves did not choose Me, but I have personally chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go forth and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain; so that whatever you shall ask the Father in My name, He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another” (John 15:9-17). This is the purpose of the New Covenant Christian Passover; it is an expression of God’s love for us, as well as an expression of our love for God—and one another.

While the world celebrates a false Christ as part of its pagan Easter holiday—filled with lies and the leaven of sin—we need to keep our minds fixed on Jesus Christ and the love of God for making our calling possible: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great throng of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily entraps us; and let us run the race set before us with endurance, having ourminds fixed on Jesus, the Beginner and Finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that lay ahead of Him endured the cross, although He despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

“Now meditate deeply on Him Who endured such great hostility of sinners against Himself so that you do not become weary and faint in your minds. You have not yet resisted to the point of losing blood in your struggle against sin” (Heb. 12:1-4).

The Passover prepares us for the Feast of Unleavened Bread and is the reason we keep the Feast. Paul writes: “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).

What Constitutes Leaven: During the Feast of Unleavened Bread, we know that leaven is a type of sin. Not only are we to put sin out of our lives through Jesus Christ our Lord, we are also to put physical leaven out of our homes during this Feast. Notice what Paul wrote to the Corinthians concerning their tolerance of gross sin within the congregation: “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 hisown 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” (I Cor. 5:1-7).

The last phrase, “as you are unleavened,” shows that the Corinthians had put the physical leaven out of their homes, but had not removed the spiritual leaven of sin from their congregation.

While it is obligatory that we put the physical leaven out of our homes for the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread, questions always remain as to what constitutes leaven. Every year, new people, who are keeping the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread for the first time, have questions. They want to know, “What is leaven?”

Leaven is defined as: “A substance such as yeast, used to produce fermentation, especially in dough.” Any substance that produces a “leavening action” is leaven—thus, baking powder and baking soda are also leaven or leavening agents.

It is easy to understand that leavened bread or breadproducts must be put out of our homes before Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. God commands us to do so. On the other hand, some define a leavening agent as “leaven” only if it is active, claiming that only active or working leaven (such as in sourdough) must be put out of our homes.

Based on this narrow definition, they conclude that wrapped squares of yeast or dry yeast in small packets, baking soda and baking power in packages or cans do not constitute leaven because they are not activelyleavening any product (nor has the inert, dry leaven been activated with liquid). Because of this view, they claim that such items cannot be considered as leaven and do not need to be removed from our homes.

However, it makes no sense to conclude that a “dry leavening agent” is not “leaven” until liquids activate it. They are viewing the active process of leavening as the only “real leaven.” They overlook the fact that dry, un-activated leavening agents or substances are stillleaven—that is what they are and that is what they are designed to do. Thus, even in their dry, inactive form, these substances do constitute leaven.

As we will see, God is talking about the substance of leaven itself, not just the “active process” of leavening dough. Notice God’s instructions concerning this very issue: “There shall be no leavened bread eaten…. Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days. And there shall be no leavened bread seen with you, NOR SHALL THERE BE LEAVEN SEEN WITH YOU IN ALL YOUR BORDERS” (Ex. 13:3, 7).

Here, God clearly makes a distinction between “leavened bread” and “leaven.” The “leaven” to which He is referring is not a lump of leavened dough. Nor is He referring to the action of leaven. It is clear that God defines “leaven” as being separate from “sourdough leaven” within a lump of dough. Therefore, by using the word “leaven,” God is referring to leavening agents that have not yet been activated by liquid.

The reality is that leavening agentsareleaven; even those that have not been activated by liquid are still leaven—for that is their purpose. This is why they must be removed from our homes for the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Jesus shows the same thing in His parable about leaven. The leavening agent is mixed into flour—dry flour. It does not say a lump of sourdough leaven was added to a new batch of dough. “Another parable He spoke to them: ‘The kingdom of heaven is compared to leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour until all was leavened’ ” (Matt. 13:33).

To conclude that leaven or leavening is limited only to the action or puffing upprocess is completely wrong. Leaven is leaven, whether inert or active.  

The Christian PassoverComing Third Edition: We are nearly ready to reprint The Christian Passover. We have updated all the necessary scriptural quotes using The Holy Bible In Its Original Order. We are downsizing this edition from 8 ½ x 11 hard cover to 7 x 10 soft cover. Because of these changes it qualifies as a third edition. We should go to press in late May to early June, and will automatically send copies to everyone on the mailing list.

Travel Schedule: I will be traveling to Seattle, Washington, for services on March 19-20, with a Bible study Friday night and double services on the Sabbath. Then I will fly to Spokane for double services on March 21.

During the Feast of Unleavened Bread, I will be in Fairfield, California, for the first holy day, March 30. For the regular Sabbath during the feast, April 3, I will be in Atlanta for all-day services. For the last holy day, I will go to Manchester, New Hampshire, for double services. Travel announcements are posted on the site.

Brethren, we pray that you will have an meaningful and inspiring Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread. In spite of the problems of this world and trials in our personal lives, always remember that God the Father and Jesus Christ love you and have called you so that your spiritual character may be perfected in Christ Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Once again, brethren, thank you for your love and prayers. Our prayers are with you daily—for your love of God, your health and healing. We thank you for your continued support through your tithes and offerings. We pray that God will continually bless you with His love, grace and spiritual strength in everything and in all circumstances.

With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter