Monthly letter archive

November 2011 Letter

November 15, 2011

Dear Brethren,

The Feast of Tabernacles this year was one of the best ever! We had a total of 15 feast sites in the USA, two in Canada, two in Australia, as well as sites in New Zealand and the UK— for a total of 950 brethren attending. It seems that smaller and closer turns out to be better. Everyone reported that it was an excellent Feast, with great fellowship and food. All the brethren got to know one another better. The hosts from each site reported increases in attendance, with the high being Orlando, Florida, with 117 (including many children). This year, there were many longtime church of God brethren attending with the CBCG for the first time. They were excited to attend a Feast site where the meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles was actually taught; where there were no political agendas; and where the brethren were enthusiastic, loving, and spiritually dedicated to the truth—and genuinely knowledgeable about the Bible.

Because we serve many scattered brethren, we sent out over 300 sets of the three Feast DVDs. This means there were as many as 100+ small in-home gatherings of brethren, averaging in number from 3-5 and up—with some as high as 20. Also, everyone on our 3,000-person mailing list received an MP3 CD that contained all of the festival messages beginning with Trumpets through the Last Great Day—a total of 10 sermons.

On our Web site, we posted the audio and video sermons for Trumpets and Atonement, as well as for the entire Feast of Tabernacles. Our webmaster, Ron Cary, reports that we had 13,802 distinct visitors during this year’s Feast who download the festival messages and transcripts. On Church At Home we had 2,172 visitors, and for our Spanish Web site, Iglesia de Dios Cristinana y Biblica, we had 709 visitors. Through our Web sites we are able to provide the same messages that the brethren received in the mail and viewed at the Feast sites. With everyone hearing and studying the same messages, they are being fed the same spiritual meat.

When we combine the attendance at the Feast sites and the scattered in-home gatherings with the activity on our Web sites, we have our highest-ever number of people reaching during the Feast. Remember also that once we post messages online, they are continuously available 24/7 around the world for anyone searching for the truth of God’s Word.

We are most thankful to God the Father and Jesus Christ that we are able to serve so many brethren and people with the truth of God’s Word, where they are able to learn of God’s Plan for Mankind. We pray that they are being inspired and are able to apply in their daily lives what they have learned.

What This Mailing Includes

This is a big mailing. Because the Feast of Tabernacles ended so closely to the end of October, we had to delay this mailing by a week in order to mail it out in the middle of November. On the enclosed CD you will find six new sermons to bring you up to date, as well as messages from this year’s Feast, which were recorded live. Attending at the Hollister/Gilroy site were Michael Heiss and his wife, Nancy. Michael is the Hebrew Consultant whose work on translating the Old Testament made it possible to produce the Holy Bible In Its Original Order. Included in this mailing are three very interesting and instructive messages given by Michael—especially one entitled “Redeemer and Blood Avenger,” which deals with God’s instructions to the children of Israel in the Law and its application in God’s judgment on the world at Jesus’ return.

Church At Home: Also in this mailing, we have included DVD Number 11, which contains eight half-hour Church At Home messages, which are The Kingdom of God (parts 19-21) and Who is God—What is Truth? (parts 1-5). This means you have received a total of 99 Church At Home messages. Since we began the Church At Home Web site two years ago, we have recorded 223 half-hour segments. As of the writing of this letter, we have 202 online. We expect to add hundreds more in the coming years, as the Word of God contains an almost endless number of scriptural topics.

There is a lot of work involved in producing Church At Home videos, much more than just recording an unedited audio or video Sabbath message. Here is a short summary of how we record and process these half-hour programs in our studio in Hollister. After recording a video segment, our cameraman, Dave Froloff, does some initial editing and digitizes all of the Scripture references and any additional quotes used. He then forwards the video to Randy Vild, our producer, who uses state-of-the-art high-speed video editing equipment to produce the final version. Randy is able to complete the editing and production of three Church At Home segments a week. Randy makes the segments “come alive” by adding special effects—the introduction music, background, Scripture quotes, embedded video clips, and various images. Precise timing is required so that every element fits together to make the final version flow flawlessly from beginning to end. We want the videos to be as high a quality as possible in content, presentation and production for placement on the World Wide Web. We are constantly striving for perfection in everything pertaining to Church At Home. We will continue to build up the Church At Home Web site. It is our major outreach to new people in preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and in Restoring Original Christianity—for Today. Our hope and prayer is that God the Father and Jesus Christ will continue to bless our efforts. Our church Web site contains nearly 2,000 audio sermons and Bible studies that we have produced during the past 20 years. Numerous in-depth series with transcripts are available to be downloaded. This is one of the most extensive scriptural Web sites of its kind. It contains pure Bible teachings on all of the major topics. Many people have used this site extensively for several years—checking and proving all things—before contacting us directly.

We regularly add new audio and video messages to the CBCG site, along with transcripts. Bonnie Orswell and Lilia Patterson produce the word-for-word transcripts from the audio messages. They do an excellent job in performing this very tedious task. (They both add that the task doubles as a wonderful “tool” for their personal Bible study.)

In order to improve and expand the CBCG site’s presentation and content, I spend two days each year with our webmasters—Ron Cary and his son, Aaron. Working from their home, they do all the work of organizing the Web site and maintaining and uploading all of the messages, sermons, transcripts, monthly letters, and travel announcements. They utilize high-powered computers to constantly develop, upgrade, and maintain the site—as well as to perform daily data backups.

As a means of protection, the server company hosting our site maintains two “ghost” sites that are always on standby. If someone “hacks into” or sabotages our main server site, then one of the two “ghost” sites is up and running in less than 20 minutes.

Each day, Ron and Aaron forward e-mails to me from the brethren (and others); I answer as many as possible. They also send news articles on religion, economics, science, current events, and politics—especially those pertaining to prophecy. They are hard working, diligent, top-notch webmasters. As you can see, it takes a lot of work to keep the CBCG Web site up and running!

Everyone involved with the work of the CBCG operates out of their homes, staying in constant contact via e-mail and telephone. Today’s computers and high-speed Internet make it all possible. Thus, we can all work together, yet live in separate locations hundreds of miles apart. Such a system is much better and less costly than having everyone live in one city and work in one building. It makes it possible to accomplish much more at the lowest overall cost.

Iglesia de Dios Cristinana y Biblica: This is our Spanish language Web site. Our webmaster is Migual Marcia, who lives in Toronto, Canada. In addition to having a full-time job, Migual runs this site from his home. He initially began the site on his own about six years ago, gradually building up its content. However, it soon became evident that many of the brethren in South America were greatly lacking in access to Spanish language literature and audio and video sermons—even from other churches of God.

Two years ago, Randy Vild put us in contact with Guilavando Elizando, recommending him as someone who could help us develop our literature and sermons into Spanish. Guil, as he likes to be called, is married and has three children, and comes from a family that has been in the Church of God for decades. He speaks fluent Spanish and English. Guil is working full time from his home near Uvalde, Texas, to translate articles, booklets and transcripts—as well as to produce Spanish audio translations of CBCG sermons. He is also currently working on a Spanish translation of The New Testament In Its Original Order. Guil and his brothers (also church members) are enthusiastically helping Migual in the development of the Spanish Web site. Migual has added streaming Spanish subtitles to Church At Home videos for placement on the site. In the coming years, we hope to develop the best possible Church of God Spanish language Web site.

As you can see, God is blessing our work and increasing the scope of our preaching the Gospel to the world. Also, He has blessed our ability to serve the brethren of Jesus Christ and feed the flock of God with spiritual meat in due season. Thank you for all of your work, help and prayers.

New Calendar Article: “God’s Weekly Sabbath, the Annual Festivals and Holy Days, and the Calculated Hebrew Calendar

At the four Feast of Tabernacles sites I visited, I gave detailed messages about the Calculated Hebrew Calendar (CHC). One message has been included on the CD in this mailing, along with a new seven-page article on the CHC. Please read this article and listen to the calendar sermon.

Recently, there has been a plethora of pseudo “Holy Calendar” schemes which men have devised—with claims that such “calendars” have replaced the God-given Calculated Hebrew Calendar. These “calendars” are presented with a veneer of authenticity; consequently, they have caused a great deal of confusion among brethren in various churches of God.

Such “calendars” seek to change the timing of the holy days and feasts that God has designated through the CHC. For example: This year, those who used the astronomical “new moon” kept Trumpets on Wednesday, September 28; the CHC designated Thursday the 29th; those who went by the visible “new moon” kept it on Friday the 30th. This is nothing but confusion! Moreover, those who kept the visible “new moon” had the problem of four back-to-back Sabbaths: a Friday Trumpets followed by the weekly Sabbath; a weekly Sabbath followed by Atonement; the first day of Tabernacles followed by the weekly Sabbath; and the Last Great Day followed by a weekly Sabbath. Again, this is nothing but confusion!

God is not the author of confusion (I Cor. 14:33). Men have tried to place themselves above the Creator God, Who created the heavens, the sun, the earth, and the moon. He alone has given us the correct Sacred Calendar that we are to keep! Remember, just as He gave the Aaronic Priesthood and the Levites the responsibility to preserve the Scriptures of the Old Testament, He also gave them the responsibility to preserve the CHC. Any calendar scheme devised by men—who twist the Scriptures to their own destruction—is null and void before God.

While the technical details of the Calculated Hebrew Calendar are a bit complex, we have needed a basic, easy-to-understand article on this topic for some time. The included article not only explains God’s reckoning of the weekly Sabbath, it also explains why God has given the CHC (and this calendar only) for His people to use for keeping His Sabbath and holy days.

Although it is not necessary for everyone to fully understand how to calculate God’s Sacred Calendar, it is necessary for all of us to understand why God has given us the CHC. This new article will give anyone the basic information they need to avoid being deceived into accepting other calendar schemes.

Are We to “Preach the Gospel” or “Feed the Flock”—or Both?

Recently a man asked, “Are we to preach the Gospel” or “feed the flock?” He knew something was not right, because the church organization he belonged to emphasized the preaching of the Gospel to the world so much that they were neglecting to “feed the flock.”

It is true that Jesus commanded the apostles, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore, go and make disciples in all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit [not a Trinitarian formula]; teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you. And lo, I am with you always, even until the completion of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20). In Mark, Jesus said this to His disciples: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized shall be saved, but the one who does not believe shall be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16).

As a result of preaching the Gospel to the world, when disciples are made and are baptized, what do you have? You have an assembly of brethren and they must be fed. This why Jesus admonished the apostle Peter three times concerning “feeding the flock”: “Therefore, when they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonas, do you love Me more than these?’ And he said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord. You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Feed My lambs.’ He said to him again a second time, ‘Simon, son of Jonas, do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord. You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Shepherd My sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonas, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things. You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep’ ” (John 21:15-17).

There is no question that Peter learned the lesson that the brethren must be fed and taught the Word of God. Notice what Peter writes to elders concerning “feeding the flock”: “The elders who are among you I exhort, even as a fellow elder, and an eyewitness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker of the glory that is about to be revealed: Feed the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight not by compulsion, but willingly; not in fondness of dishonest gain, but with an eager attitude; not as exercising lordship over your possessions; but by being examples to the flock of God. And when the Chief Shepherd is manifested, you shall receive an unfading, eternal crown of glory” (I Peter 5:1-4).

The apostle Paul likewise admonished the elders of the church in Ephesus with a stern warning. He did not mince words: “Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this: that after my departure grievous wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will rise up speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after themselves” (Acts 20:28-30).

In his epistle to the church at Ephesus, Paul had previously written that the overall purpose of the ministry was not to rule with authority, but to serve and teach the heirs of salvation: “And He gave some as apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; until we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; so that we no longer be children, tossed and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men in cunning craftiness, with a view to the systematizing of the error; but holding the truth in love, may in all things grow up into Him Who is the Head, even Christ from Whom all the body, fitly framed and compacted together by that which every joint supplies, according to its inner working in the measure of each individual part, is making the increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Eph. 4:11-16). It is with single-mindedness that we all—teachers and brethren—are to work toward perfection.

While there are many more scriptures we could add to these, the answer to the question is very clear: The elders and teachers of the Church of God are to preach the Gospel as a warning to the world and preach the Gospel to the brethren as they feed the flock. It is important to remember, both must be done, just as Jesus and the apostles commanded. Neither are to be neglected. While from time to time it may be necessary to emphasize one more than the other, both need to be done!

Thanksgiving in the USA:

On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln set the final date for Thanksgiving for the nation. Americans had observed it for many years before that time, but on differing dates. Lincoln was a man who studied the Bible all during his life and understood that God was the source of our blessings as a nation. His “Thanksgiving Proclamation” was written while the Civil War was still being fought. General Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865, and all land forces surrendered by June, while the naval forces finally surrendered in November. Here is Lincoln’s proclamation for Thanksgiving:


THE YEAR that is drawing toward its close has been filled with blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart of the habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

“In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

“Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield; and the country, rejoicing the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

“No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

“It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelt in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners and suffers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

“In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and cause the seal of the United States to be affixed.

“Done in the city of Washington, this 3d day of October, A.D. 1863, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

“By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN WILLIAM H. STEWARD, Secretary of State

Today, God has likewise blessed the nations of modern Israel—the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. And as there was a civil war during Lincoln’s presidency, we are collectively faced with a family war between the sons of Abraham and Isaac—modern Israel—and the sons of Ishmael and Esau.

After Israel’s wanderings in the desert for forty years, God gave a warning to them just before they entered the Promised Land. His warning to ancient Israel is also a warning to modern Israel today. As Lincoln warned the Union that they had forgotten God, today our nations are not only forgetting God, they are turning their backs to Him. Furthermore, the churches of God are “rich and increased with goods” and are lukewarm toward God the Father and Jesus Christ.

Thus, God’s warning through Moses to Israel is also a warning to the nation and the Church today:

“And you shall consider in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you. And you shall keep the commandments of the Lordyour God to walk in His ways and to fear Him, for the Lordyour God brings you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley and vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey, a land in which you shall eat bread without scarceness. You shall not lack any thing in it. It is a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you may dig copper. When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lordyour God for the good land which He has given you. [That is what Thanksgiving Day in the USA should be.]

Beware that you do not forget the Lordyour God by not keeping His commandments, and His judgments, and His statutes, which I command you today, lest when you have eaten and are full and have built goodly houses and lived in them, and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, then you become haughty of heart, and you forget the Lordyour God Who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt from the house of bondage, Who led you through the great and terrible wilderness with fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, Who brought forth water for you out of the rock of flint, Who fed you in the wilderness with manna which your fathers did not know, so that He might humble you and that He might prove you to do you good in your latter end.

“Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand has gotten me this wealth.’ But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He Who gives you power to get wealth, so that He may confirm His covenant which He has sworn to your fathers as it is this very day. And it shall be if you do at all forget the Lord your God and walk after other gods serving them and worshiping them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish—yes, perish. As the nations whom the Lord destroys before your face, so you shall perish because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God” (Deut. 8:5-20).

There are many Psalms which show how we are to praise God with thanksgiving for His goodness in all things and in all circumstances. This is clearly shown in Psalm 107: “O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever. So let the redeemed of the Lord say, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy” (verses 1-2). Four times in this Psalm it reads: “Let them praise the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” (verses 8, 15, 21 and 31).

Psalm 136 is devoted entirely to extolling God. All 26 verses end with “for His mercy [or steadfast love] endures forever.” The first three verses begin by giving thanks to God: “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever. Oh, give thanks to the God of gods, for His mercy endures forever. Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords, for His mercy endures forever” (verses 1-3).

In the same manner, we need to be thankful for all things—and, most importantly, for the spiritual blessings that God the Father and Jesus Christ have poured out upon us. Notice what Paul wrote to the Colossians, as well as to the Laodiceans: “Now I want you to understand what great concern I have for you, and for those in Laodicea, and as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, unto the knowledge of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; in Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

“Now I say this so that no one may deceive you by persuasive speech. For though I am indeed absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, be walking in Him; being rooted and built up in Him, and being confirmed in the faith, exactly as you were taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving” (Col. 2:1-7).

We need to always be devoted to loving God the Father and Jesus Christ in all things, rejoicing with thanksgiving for the great hope that God has given to us: “And above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which you were called into one body, and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And in everything—whatever you do in word or in deed—do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him” (Col. 3:14-17).

While it is good that this nation has set aside a day of thanksgiving to God for all His bountiful blessings, we need to be thankful daily to God the Father and Jesus Christ, as in God we live and move and have our being.

Brethren, as we come to Thanksgiving, we want to thank you for your love and prayers, for your service to the brethren, and for your dedication to God. Thank you for your continued support with God’s tithes and offerings. Together, we can serve the brethren and preach the Gospel with the tools God inspires us to use. May God the Father and Jesus Christ continue to bless you with Their love, grace and thanksgiving in all things.


With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter