Monthly letter archive

Monthly Letter, March 2011

Restoring Original Christianity—for Today!

Christian Biblical Church of God

Post Office Box 1442
Hollister, California 95024-1442

Fred R. Coulter,

March 15, 2011

Dear Brethren,

By the time you receive this letter the Passover will be less than a month away. In preparation for this time, I have recently given a number of sermons showing that the New Covenant Christian Passover is actually the central focus of the entire Bible. A majority of the prophecies found in the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms foretell of the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Some deal with His first coming and provide details of His sufferings; others concern His second coming, the Millennium and the Kingdom of God.

The four Gospels describe Jesus’ life and ministry, culminating with His institution of the New Covenant Christian Passover and the details of His arrest, trials, beatings, death and resurrection. When we view the seven divisions of the Bible, we find that the Gospels (with the book of Acts) make up the fourth division. Thus, they form the middle division of the Bible, with three divisions before and three divisions after.

The fifth division consists of the General Epistles, while the sixth division includes the Epistles of Paul. Collectively, these epistles reveal the heart of true Christian living under the New Covenant—repentance, grace, faith, baptism, the Holy Spirit as the power and begettal of the Father in our lives. Moreover, they reveal God’s love for us and demonstrate how we are to love God in return through genuine spiritual commandment-keeping and overcoming. In turn, God promises eternal life for the faithful at the first resurrection. The seventh division—the book of Revelation—shows the fulfillment of all the prophecies (Old and New Testament) concerning the Kingdom of God. The final two chapters are a vision of the completion of God’s plan—the new heavens and earth, the New Jerusalem, and God the Father and Jesus Christ dwelling with all the immortal saints.

When properly understood, it is apparent that the entire Bible centers around the New Covenant Passover with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which God planned before the foundation of the world. In Revelation 13:8, we read that Jesus is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” John the Baptist proclaimed Christ as the “Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29; also verse 36). The apostle Paul writes that “Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us” (I Cor. 5:7), and that Jesus, in fact, “was God manifested in the flesh” (I Tim. 3:16).

However, in order to find the first prophecy of the coming Messiah, we have to go Genesis, the first book of the Bible. There we find that after Adam and Eve sinned, the Lord God—the One Who would become the Savior—sentenced Adam and Eve, as well as the serpent (Satan the devil). The first prophecy of the Messiah is found in this judgment.

Notice the account in Genesis three: “And the serpent said to the woman, ‘In dying, you shall not surely die! For God knows that in the day you eat of it [the tree of the knowledge of good and evil], then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be like God, deciding good and evil.’ And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasing to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. And the eyes of both of them were opened [to evil], and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. Then Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

“And the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ And he said, ‘I heard You walking in the garden, and I was afraid because I am naked, and so I hid myself.’ And He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree which I commanded you that you should not eat?’ And the man said, ‘The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.’ And the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ And the woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate’ ” (Gen. 3:4-13).

Next, God gave His judgment and sentence upon them beginning with the serpent, who was the original sinner before the creation of Adam and Eve. “And the Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this you are cursed above all livestock, and above every animal of the field. You shall go upon your belly, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life’ ” (verse 14).

Then, in verse 15, we find the first prophecy of the Messiah—a direct result of the sin of Adam and Eve. “And I will put enmity between you [Satan] and the woman [the church], and between your seed [the demons and those who would later follow Satan] and her Seed [the coming Messiah]; He [the Messiah] will bruise your head [overcome and conquer you], and you shall bruise His heel [cause the crucifixion of Jesus Christ].”

Thus, the stage was set. The battle between God and Satan would continue until the Messiah would completely overcome and conquer the serpent, sin and death. In addition, from that time forward, mankind would be compelled to choose between following Satan the devil, who became the god of this world, or following and obeying the true God.

Continuing: “To the woman He said, ‘I will greatly increase your sorrow and your conception—in sorrow shall you bring forth children. Your desire shall be toward your husband, and he shall rule over you.’ And to Adam He said, ‘Because you have hearkened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree—of which I commanded you, saying, “You shall not eat of it!”—the ground is cursed for your sake. In sorrow shall you eat of it all the days of your life. It shall also bring forth thorns and thistles to you, and thus you shall eat the herbs of the field; in the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return’ ” (verses 16-19).

Because of the sin of Adam and Eve, mankind has received “human nature,” which is a mixture good and evil—but mostly evil. This is why we are subject to death. Only the Word of God reveals this basic, profound truth! The apostle Paul explained it this way: “Therefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and by means of sin came death; and in this way, death passed into all mankind; and it is for this reason that all have sinned” (Rom. 5:12). He further defined human nature as the “law of sin and death” within us. This is why humans desire and intend to do good, but end up sinning. There is no power inherent within humans to keep us from sinning—thus, “all have sinned and have come short of the glory of God.” Yes, cut off from God, men and women follow a way that seems right, but ends only in death—with plenty of misery and suffering along the way (Prov. 14:12; 16:25).

Paul knew and experienced this himself: “Because I fully understand that there is not dwelling within methat is, within my fleshly beingany good. For the desire to do good is present within me; but how to work out that which is good, I do not find. For the good that I desire to do, I am not doing; but the evil that I do not desire to do, this I am doing. But if I do what I do not desire to do, I am no longer working it out myself, but sin that is dwelling within me.

Consequently, I find this law in my members, that when I desire to do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man; but I see another law within my own members, warring against the law of my mind, and leading me captive to THE LAW OF SIN THAT IS WITHIN MY OWN MEMBERS. O what a wretched man I am! Who shall save me from the body of this death? I thank God for His salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 7:18-25).

As Paul writes, every human being has this inherent law of sin and death, and the only deliverance is through the death and resurrectionof Jesus Christ. Why does this salvation come only through Christ? Since God sentenced Adam and Eve with this kind of nature—which is passed on to all mankind by inheritance—what is God going to do about it? How is He going to save mankind from this “law of sin and death”?

What Kind of Human Nature Did Jesus Christ Have? Jesus Christ was God before He divested Himself of His glory and divinity to become a man (John 1:1-14). He divested Himself of all His glory and nearly all of His divinity to become a man. Paul writes, “Christ Jesus, Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but emptied Himself, and was made in the likeness of men, and took the form of a servant; and being found in the manner of man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:5-8).

This tells us that Jesus was subject to death. While God was His Father, the virgin Mary was His physical mother from whom He received His fleshly existence and human nature. Some think that Jesus had a special human nature that none of the rest of mankind has, thus making it impossible for Him to sin or even to be tempted—and that His death was not a real death, as with other men. However, that is not what the Bible teaches.

The fact is, Jesus experienced all the temptations we experience—and much more so in His forty-day temptation by Satan the devil (Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13). Therefore, He had to have had full-fledged human nature, with the ability to choose to sin. Otherwise, if it were impossible for Him to sin, temptation would have been absolutely meaningless.

Notice what Paul writes concerning Jesus’ temptations as compared to our temptations: “For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of both soul and spirit, and of both the joints and the marrow, and is able to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is not a created thing that is not manifest in His sight; but all things are naked and laid bare before the eyes of Him to Whom we must give account. Having therefore a great High Priest, Who has passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, we should hold fast the confession of our faith. For we do not have a high priest who cannot empathize with our weaknesses, but one Who WAS TEMPTED IN ALL THINGS according to the likeness of our own temptations; yet He was without sin. Therefore, we should come with boldness to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:12-16).

The Greek word translated “likeness” is homoite, which means in the exact likeness of our temptations, not something different. We also find that in order for Him to become our Savior, it was obligatory for Jesus to be made exactly like us! Notice: “But we see Jesus, Who was made a little lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor on account of suffering the death, in order that by the grace of God He Himself might taste death for everyone; because it was fitting for Him, for Whom all things were created, and by Whom all things exist, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Author of their salvation perfect through sufferings…. Therefore, since the children are partakers of flesh and blood, in like manner He also took part in the same, in order that through death He might annul him who has the power of death—that is, the devil.

“And that He might deliver those who were subject to bondage all through their lives by their fear of death. For surely, He is not taking upon Himself to help the angels; but He is taking upon Himself to help the [spiritual] seed of Abraham. For this reason, it was obligatory for Him to be made like [Greek, homoite] His brethren in everything that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, in order to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because He Himself has suffered, having been tempted in like manner, He is able to help those who are being tempted” (Heb. 2:9-10, 14-18).

As the Lord God of the Old Testament, Jesus had sentenced Adam, Eve and their progeny with “human nature.” Thus, Jesus had to take upon Himself the exact same nature. Because of this, Jesus had to cry out to the Father to save Him from death, as Paul writes: “Who, in the days of His flesh, offered up both prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears to Him Who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because He feared God. Although He was a Son, yet He learned obedience from the things that He suffered; and having been perfected, He became the Author of eternal salvation to all those who obey Him” (Heb. 5:7-9).

Therefore, it is crystal clear that Jesus had the “law of death” as an inherent part of His human flesh. Since Paul writes that all humans have the “law of sin and death” within them as part of their human nature, did Jesus Christ Himself have within His fleshly body the “law of sin” as well as the “law of death”? If Jesus did not also have the “law of sin” within His fleshly body, He could not have been tempted. Yet, the Scriptures tell us, “He WAS TEMPTED IN ALL THINGS according to the likeness of our own temptations; yet He was without sin” (Heb. 4:15).

The answer to the question is this: Yes, Jesus did carry in His flesh the “law of sin” as well as the “law of death.” Paul makes this very clear! He writes: “God, having sent His own Son in the likeness [homoite—the exact sameness] of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh” (Rom. 8:3). Here, the Greek is even more specific, as it reads “in the exact likeness of flesh, of sin.” Therefore, in order to “condemn sin in the flesh,” Jesus must have had the “law of sin” and the “law of death” within His fleshly body.

This is why Jesus’ death is called “the death.” As God manifested in the flesh—and carrying within Himself the “law of sin and death”—His sacrifice is the only death capable of paying for all the sins and deaths of all mankind. Therefore, His death was the only death that condemned sin in the flesh, and His shed blood is the only atoning blood that can bring God’s forgiveness of sin! This is exactly what John the Baptist said of Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God, Who takes away the SIN OF THE WORLD.” Jesus’ death for sin was greater than all human sins and deaths combined!

Since His death was the only death able to condemn sin in the flesh, we can understand why the unleavened bread of the Christian Passover ceremony pictures His broken body and the wine pictures His shed blood. Notice Jesus’ instructions to His apostles on the night of His last Passover: “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread; and after blessing it, He broke it and gave it to them, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.’ And He took the cup; and after giving thanks, He gave it to them; and they all drank of it. And He said to them, ‘This is My blood, the blood of the New Covenant, which is poured out for many’ ” (Mark 14:22-24).

This is the reason the central focus of the Bible is on the New Covenant of eternal life through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Messiah—our Savior God manifested in the flesh. With these things in mind as we come to the Passover, these words of Jesus have greater meaning: “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 6:53-57).

As God’s people, we will be keeping the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but the world’s “Christianity” will be keeping its pagan, heathen Easter. Because we have added so many new people to our mailing list, we are enclosing in this mailing the article by Philip Neal “Should Christians Celebrate Easter?” As you read this article you will see how far the world has come in abandoning the true teachings of Jesus Christ. While proclaiming that they are honoring God and celebrating the supposed day of His resurrection, they continue blaspheming the true God, Jesus Christ and the Bible. Astonishingly, everything they observe is the exact opposite of what the Bible teaches. Yet, they are so deceived by the god of this world that they think they are actually doing God’s will.

This is what men and women have done throughout history, and continue to do in these end times. Paul accurately describes how human nature has run amok in these last days: “Know this also, that in the last days perilous times shall come; for men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, braggarts, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, implacable, slanderers, without self-control, savage, despisers of those who are good, betrayers, reckless, egotistical, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; having an outward appearance of godliness [sanctimonious pretenders and liars], but denying the power of true godliness.

“But as for you, turn away from all these. For from men such as these come those who are worming their way into houses, and are gaining control over empty-headed gullible women given over to various sins, being driven by all kinds of lust. They are always learning but are never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now just as Jannes and Jambres stood against Moses, in the same manner also these are brazenly standing against the truth; they are men of depraved minds, reprobate in respect to the faith” (II Tim. 3:1-8). Such is the state of the “Christian” religion today. Without a doubt, the chasm between the original, true Christianity of Jesus Christ and the apostles as found in the Bible and the false “Christianity” of this world continues to grow wider and wider with each passing year.

The New BookLord, What Should I Do? Thomson-Shore is nearly finished printing 15,000 copies of the new book, Lord, What Should I Do? We will automatically mail you a copy, along with a special DVD of the five best Church at Home video programs and the video production of the inspiring hymn “The Almighty God.”

Recent Trips: Since the Feast of Tabernacles last year, I have been going to Arcadia, California (320 miles from Hollister), once a month—as the number of brethren in that area continues to increase. This past Sabbath in Arcadia we had 55 brethren attending. On February 19 I was in Waco, Texas, for Sabbath services, where we had 75 in attendance with morning and afternoon services. Then, on February 20, I went to Houston, thanks to Ernest Istre. There we had morning and afternoon Bible studies with 37 in attendance. In March I will be traveling to Seattle and Spokane, Washington; in April, during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, I will be traveling to Orlando, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; and Manchester, New Hampshire. It is very inspiring to visit these areas and I am happy to be with the brethren. As I come to these areas, please make every effort to attend.

Since the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are in April, our next mailing will be in the first week of April. This way you will receive everything you need for the Passover and the Feast in plenty of time.

Brethren, while many of you are facing increasingly more difficult circumstances, remember that God the Father and Jesus Christ love you. They are with you; and through God’s Holy Spirit, which is the earnest of eternal life, they dwell in you and you in them. Keep this in mind as we approach the coming Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Once again, we truly thank you for all your love, faith and prayers. Each day we realize that we cannot do the ministry of preaching the Gospel and serving God’s people without your prayers. In everything we do, we realize that all our strength comes from God the Father and Jesus Christ, Who is the Head of His Church, of which we are all a part. We pray for you daily—for your health, your healing, and God’s blessing to lift you up when you are down, to encourage you in times of distress, and to strengthen you in times of trial. We thank you for your continued faithfulness in sending God’s tithes and offerings, so that all of us together can continue to lovingly serve God the Father and Jesus Christ with all our hearts and minds.

With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter