Monthly letter archive

Christian Biblical Church of God

Post Office Box 1442

Hollister, California 95024-1442


Fred R. Coulter, Minister

September 11, 2003

Dear Brethren,

Today is the second anniversary of the 9/11 attacks against America. As we know from the Bible, when a nation sins greatly, God raises up enemies as instruments of correction. When Jeremiah wrote God's message to Israel because she sinned, he made it clear that God judges all nations alike by His righteous standards: "O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; if that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; if it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them." (Jer. 18:6-10, KJV).

As descendants of Israel, we have been sinning greatly against God. After the attacks of 9/11, the whole nation immediately remembered God. Everywhere American flags were flown; slogans about God were displayed, signs and banners saying, "God bless America"; and churches were filled to overflowing on Sunday. This is typical of Israel's response to God. Nearly 3,000 years ago the Psalmist wrote: "For all this they sinned still [provoking God in the wilderness]; and believed not for his wondrous works. Therefore their days did he consume in vanity, and their years in trouble. When he slew them, then they sought him: and they returned and inquired early after God [as we do when war comes]. And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer. Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. For their heart was not right with him, neither were they steadfast in his covenant. But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath. For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again" (Psa. 78:32-39).

Yes, God has been merciful and kind to us as a nation in the face of all the evils we have committed against him. Now we are confronted with another issue, which gets to the heart and core of Israel's self-righteous ways. As a nation, will we truly obey God and keep His commandments, or will we continue to flatter Him with our lips and say, "In God we trust" and "God bless America"? God has given us another opportunity to demonstrate whether we will love Him and obey Him through the controversy over the Ten Commandment Monument in Montgomery, Alabama.

An intense spiritual and legal battle over the public display of a monument of the Ten Commandments in the Alabama Supreme Court is being waged. It has tremendous significance for the fate of the nation. Will the remnant make a stand against the atheistic judges who have systematically expunged God from the public conscience? The ultimate outcome of this battle will demonstrate whether the remnant still believes in God enough to make a difference. Will they do as the apostle Peter and the other eleven apostles did in the face of threats from the established Jewish government when they commanded Peter to stop preaching in the name of Jesus Christ? Or, will they succumb to a secular, humanistic Christianity without God? Peter set the example and revealed that we are always to obey God first, in spite of men. Peter said: "And they brought them [the apostles] in and set them before the Sanhedrin [the supreme counsel of judgment]. And the high priest asked them, saying, 'Did we not order you by a direct command not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, with the purpose of bringing this man's blood upon us.' But Peter and the apostles answered and said, 'We are obligated to obey God rather than men' " (Acts 5:27-29).

Though judge Roy Moore has fought for the acknowledgement of God in public life, the monument was eventually removed from public sight. Yet, in a recent poll, seventy-eight percent of the people polled said that the monument should stay on display. Such an opinion is truly flattery toward God, because those same people do not obey His commandments, especially the Fourth Commandment. Will they repent and keep God's holy Sabbath? If the nation does not repent, all vestiges of God will be removed from public display or acknowledgement because God will not be flattered or mocked.

In spite of the events in the nation and the world, we always need to stay close to God. The Bible shows that God will hold back His hand of punishment when even a small remnant of true believers remain faithful and love God with all their hearts and minds. Remember, God spared Lot and his daughters, but Lot's wife did not truly believe the angel and longingly looked back at Sodom and turned into a pillar of salt. That is a lesson for us, because Jesus said of these days, "Remember Lot's wife" (Luke 17:32).

Brethren, although we live in the world, we must not have one foot in the world and one foot in the church. Lot's wife had just enough commitment to be comfortable, but not enough to obey God. Unfortunately, too many of God's people are more like Lot's wife than like the apostles who obeyed God rather than men. We need to stay close to God through prayer and Bible study, developing a true intimate relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ in sincerity and truth. We don't have to be like the world, or Lot's wife, if we make it our aim to love God the Father and Jesus Christ with all our hearts and minds.

In a few weeks, God's holy days and the Feast of Tabernacles will be upon us. This allows us a tremendous opportunity to rededicate ourselves to God, to grow in grace and knowledge and to fellowship with the brethren. We hope that you have made provision to attend the Feast at one of the feast sites. If you are unable to attend, you should already have requested the audiotapes so that you can keep the Feast at home.

We are on target to complete the New Testament as mentioned in the last letter. If you have not returned your order form from the last letter, please do so as soon as possible. Because we have been extremely busy, and the Feast is at hand, this will be a short letter. May God bless you with His love, grace and mercy in all things, as you draw close to Him in love, hope and faith.

With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter