Monthly letter archive

Monthly Letter, September 2012

Restoring Original Christianity—for Today!

Christian Biblical Church of God

Post Office Box 1442
Hollister, California 95024-1442

Fred R. Coulter,

September 8, 2012

Dear Brethren,

In the United States, the entire country is consumed with the November 2012 presidential election. Who will win? What about the failing economy and the national debt crisis? No doubt this election is the most important one in our lifetimes. Regardless of its outcome, there are other urgent issues on the horizon. Two years after the supposed end of the war in Iraq, is there now going to be an Arab/Turkey-led military operation against Syria? What about Iran? Will the Jews—and whatever other countries may be involved—launch an attack against Iran? If so, will it actually prevent the Iranians from completing their development of nuclear weapons?

Look at the Jews and Jerusalem today. They are surrounded by implacable, hate-filled enemies! True to biblical prophecy, all nations will be drawn to the Middle East in the run-up to the return of Jesus Christ. "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people all around, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people. All who burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the nations of the earth be gathered together against it" (Zech. 12:2-3). Jesus also prophesied, "But when you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, then know that her desolation has drawn near" (Luke 21:20). It appears that this prophetic stage is continuing to be set as more and more nations are being drawn into the conflict over the future of Jerusalem. Ultimately, there will be a final climatic battle as the nations oppose Christ upon His return with the resurrected saints. But that is yet future.

In the meantime, what about Russia, China, India, Japan, and all of Southeast Asia? And don't forget Afghanistan. Moreover, consider this: Does the world "need" a war against Iran to bolster the economy and further the development of a world currency and ultimately a world government? While this may be "legitimate justification" for war against Iran, there are greater prophetic reasons for such actions to occur.

First, there is undoubtedly more time in the prophetic picture than we have previously assumed. Why? Because end time events are going to be of a far greatermagnitude than most have imagined. The war in Iraq did not bring peace to the Middle East or rid the world of Islamic terrorists. And neither will the war in Afghanistan. In fact, after the U.S. and NATO armies leave Afghanistan, it appears that China is planning to fill the vacuum.

Next, Iran must be subdued—by war if necessary.

Remember, events taking place today are laying the prophetic foundation for the nations that lie north and east of Jerusalem to gather as one against the Jews. These nations have a geographical area of approximately one-fourth the entire landmass of the world, and have a population of over four billion people.

The prophet Joel wrote of these end time events: "Proclaim this among the nations, 'Prepare for war!' Wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weak say, 'I am strong.' Gather yourselves and come, all you nations, and gather yourselves together all around; cause Your mighty ones to come down there, O Lord. Let the nations be awakened and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the nations all around" (Joel 3:9-12).

The nations that lie to the north and to the east of Jerusalem must develop economically in order to build up their war making capabilities. After the war in Vietnam, economic development was that country's number one priority. Today, the same is true of Iraq and Afghanistan. India, Thailand, Burma, and all Southeast Asian nations are developing their economies as well. So will Pakistan. And look at China—it is rapidly growing into the world's greatest economic and military power. We need to realize that in order to prepare for war, these nations must continue to develop their economies and technologies to a far greater extent. By doing so, they will have the means to increase their armies and perfect advanced, sophisticated weapons systems. This is the overall picture that helps us to understand today's events.

Using their ancient names, Ezekiel prophesied in particular of the nations north and east of Jerusalem: "Son of man, set your face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief ruler of Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him. And say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the chief ruler of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal [Russia and the nations to the north that lay east of Russia]. And I will turn you back, and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed most gorgeously, a great assembly with buckler and shield, all of them swordsmen; Persia, Ethiopia, [India] and Libya with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all his bands; the house of Togarmah from the uttermost parts of the north, and all his bands; and many people with you. Be prepared; yea, prepare for yourself, you and all your assembly that are assembled about you, and be a guard for them…. And I will call for a sword against him upon all My mountains," says the Lord GOD. "Each man's sword shall be against his brother. And I will judge him with pestilence and with blood. And I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people with him, an overflowing shower, and great hailstones, fire and brimstone. Thus, I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself. And I will have Myself known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord" ' " (Ezek. 38:2-7; 21-23).

Ezekiel continues in chapter 39: "Therefore, son of man, prophesy against Gog and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the chief ruler of Meshech and Tubal. And I will turn you about, and lead you on. And I will bring you up from the uttermost parts of the north, and I will bring you against the mountains of Israel. And I will strike your bow out of your left hand, and will cause your arrows to fall out of your right hand. You shall fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your bands, and the people with you. I will give you for food to the birds of prey of every kind, and to the beasts of the field. You shall fall upon the face of the open field, for I have spoken it," says the Lord GOD. "And I will send a fire on Magog, and on those who dwell in the isles. And they shall know that I am the Lord" ' " (Ezek. 39:1-6).

Until God is ready according to His timetable, the world will experience an uneasy peace punctuated by periodic wars in these regions. Meanwhile, the nations of these areas will be arming themselves to the teeth with the most sophisticated weapons imaginable.

The Bible reveals that there will be three invasions of the Holy Land from these nations—before the Millennium begins and the power of God's kingdom is fully established.

The First Invasion: At the time of the end, the king of the north—the coming leader of the European nations—and his armies will invade the Holy Land. Daniel prophesied of this: "And at the time of the end shall the king of the south [not yet on the horizon] push at him [another round in the Arab/terrorist wars]: and the king of the north [not yet in sight] shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. He shall enter also into the glorious land [the Holy Land], and many countries shall be overthrown. But these shall escape out of his hand: even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon [the countries that lie just to the east and south of Jerusalem]. He shall stretch out his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps. But tidings out of the east and out of the north [Russia and all the countries to the east] shall alarm him. Then he shall go out with great fury to destroy, and utterly annihilate many. And he shall plant his royal tents between the seas in the glorious holy mountain. Yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him" (Dan. 11:40-45).

The apostle John saw this event in vision and recorded it in the book of Revelation. When Jesus Christ opens the second seal, the king of the north will invade the Holy Land—setting in motion a sequence of prophetic end time events. Notice: "And when He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, 'Come and see.' And another horse went out that was red; and power was given to the one sitting on it to take peace from the earth, and to cause them to kill one another; and a great sword was given to him" (Rev. 6:3-4).

It is important to understand that the Great Tribulation does not begin until the king of the north, the Beast of Revelation 13, comes against the king of the south. When the king of the north enters the Holy Land, he will go into the Temple in Jerusalem and proclaim himself to be God. That is the abomination that makes desolate (II Thess. 2:1-12). As Jesus said, that event triggers the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:15-22).

After the king of the north has established his power in the Middle East, Daniel shows that tidings out of the east and north will trouble him. The Beast will then launch an attack against those nations. This occurs when the fifth angel sounds his trumpet: "And the fifth angel sounded his trumpet; and I saw a star that had fallen from heaven to the earth, and there was given to it the key to the bottomless abyss. And it opened the bottomless abyss; and there went up smoke from the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke from the pit. Then locusts came onto the earth from the smoke, and power was given to them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was said to them that they should not damage the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only the men who did not have the seal of God in their foreheads. And it was given to them that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man.

"And in those days men will seek death but will not find it; and they will desire to die, but death will flee from them. And the appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared for war, and on their heads were crowns like those of gold; and their faces were like the faces of men; and they had hair like women's hair; and their teeth were like those of lions. And they had breastplates like iron breastplates; and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots drawn by many horses running to war; and they had tails like scorpions, and stingers; and they were given power to injure men with their tails for five months. And they have over them a king, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but the name he has in Greek is Apollyon. The first woe is past. Behold, after these things two more woes are still to come" (Rev. 9:1-11).

After the five months of torment from this scorpion-like attack are over, the nations of the north and east will recover and retaliate in fury. They will assemble the most massive groups of armies ever seen in the history of mankind. As we will see, there will be a series of invasions from the east. John recorded the magnitude of these armies and their fantastic weapons: "And the sixth angel sounded his trumpet; and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar that is before God; and it said to the sixth angel, who had the trumpet, 'Loose the four angels who are bound in the great river Euphrates [in modern-day Iraq].' Then the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were loosed, so that they might kill a third of men; and the number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred thousand thousand [two hundred million]: and I heard the number of them.

"And so I saw the horses in the vision, and those sitting on them, who had fiery breastplates, even like jacinth and brimstone. And the heads of the horses were like heads of lions, and fire and smoke and brimstone shoot out of their mouths. By these three a third of men were killed: by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone that shoot out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouths; for their tails are like serpents, and have heads, and with them they inflict wounds. But the rest of the men who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the works of their hands, that they might not worship demons, and idols of gold and silver and brass and stone and wood, which do not have the power to see, nor to hear, nor to walk. And they did not repent of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornications, nor of their thievery" (Rev. 9:13-21).

Joel describes this fierce retaliation by the armies of the north and the east as they invade the Holy Land: " 'Blow the ram's horn in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain!' Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord comes, for it is near at hand—a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness. As the morning is spread across the mountains, socomesa great people and a mighty people; there has never been the like, nor shall there ever be again, even to the years of many generations. A fire devours before them, and behind them a flame burns. The land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness—and nothing shall escape them.

"Their appearance is as the appearance of horses; and as war horses, so they run. They shall leap with the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains, with the noise of a flame of fire that devours the stubble, like a mighty people set in battle array. In their presence the people shall greatly tremble; all faces shall grow pale. They shall run like mighty men. They shall climb the wall like men of war, and they shall march each one in his path, and they shall not break their ranks. And each one shall not crowd another; they go every one in his own path. And when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded. They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall; they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief. The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble. The sun and the moon shall grow dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. And the Lord shall utter His voice before His army; for His camp is exceedingly great; for powerful is He who executes His Word, for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can endure it?" (Joel 2:1-11).

This is the first invasion of the armies from the north and the east. Because of the sheer size of these armies—two hundred million men—it is apparent that not all of their troops and weapons will be used in this first attack. As we will see, however, they will be used in the second and third invasions.

The Second Invasion: When the second invasion takes place, not only will the armies of the north and the east be involved, but armies from all nations will be united with them. They will be gathered together to fight against Jesus Christ and the resurrected saints. The entire world will be able to see the Sea of Glass as it is hovers in the sky over Jerusalem. To the governments and armies of the world, this will be perceived as an invasion by alien beings from outer space. The call will go out to all nations to gather with their armies to repel these invaders from outer space in order to save the world. When the sixth angel pours out the sixth of the seven last plagues, this second invasion will begin. John recorded this event: "And the sixth angel poured out his vial into the great river Euphrates; and its waters were dried up, so that the way of the kings from the rising of the sun [the east] might be prepared. Then I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet; for they are spirits of demons working miracles, going forth to the kings of the earth, even of the whole world, to gather them together to the battle of that great day of the Almighty God" (Rev. 16:12-14).

As in the first invasion, the Euphrates River is prepared so armies can advance to the Holy Land. The nations of the world will believe that they are gathering to save the world from alien beings from outer space. They will not realize that God is the One Who is gathering them in order to exact His judgment upon them and destroy them in the valley of Jehoshaphat in the battle of Armageddon. Joel also prophesied of this event: "Proclaim this among the nations, 'Prepare for war!' Wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weak say, 'I am strong.' Gather yourselves and come, all you nations, and gather yourselves together all around; cause Your mighty ones to come down there, O Lord. Let the nations be awakened and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the nations all around. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, come down; for the press is full, the vats overflowfor their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake" (Joel 3:9-16).

John also foresaw this awesome judgment of God: "And out from the altar came another angel, who had authority over fire; and he called with a loud cry to the one who had the sharp sickle, saying, 'Thrust in your sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the earth, because her grapes are fully ripe.' And the angel thrust his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast its fruit into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood spewed out from the winepress as high as the horses' bridles, to the distance of a thousand six hundred furlongs" (Rev. 14:18-20).

While all these armies gather to fight against Christ and the saints, they have no idea what is coming. Christ will shower down upon them a fantastic secret weapon—180-pound hailstones raining out of the sky, against which there is no defense. John saw this vision and wrote: "And He gathered them together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. Then the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, 'IT IS FINISHED!' And there were voices and thunders and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were on the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts; and the cities of the nations fell; and Babylon the Great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fury of His wrath. And every island disappeared, and no mountains were found; and great hail, each stone the weight of a talent [180 pounds], fell down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, for the plague was exceedingly great" (Rev. 16:16-21).

However, not all the armies will be destroyed by these great hailstones. Those armies that remain will regroup and make one final, futile attempt to fight Christ and the saints. As Christ and the saints are returning to the earth from the Sea of Glass, Christ will unleash the ultimate weapon of destruction from which there will be no recovery: "And I saw heaven open, and behold, a white horse, and He Who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He does judge and make war. And His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written that no one knows except Him. And He was clothed with a garment dipped in blood; and His name is The Word of God. And the armies in heaven [the resurrected immortal saints] were following Him on white horses; and they were clothed in fine linen, white and pure. And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He might smite the nations; and He shall shepherd them with an iron rod; and He treads the winepress of the fury and the wrath of the Almighty God. And on His garment and on His thigh He has a name written: King of kings and Lord of lords.

"Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, 'Come and gather yourselves together to the supper of the great God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of chief captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all, free and bond, and small and great.' And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies, gathered together to make war with Him Who sits on the horse, and with His army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet who worked miracles in his presence, by which he had deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. Those two were cast alive into the lake of fire, which burns with brimstone; and the rest were killed by the sword of Him Who sits on the horse, even the sword that goes out of His mouth; and all the birds were filled with their flesh" (Rev. 19:11-21).

In the book of Zechariah we are told how this ultimate, all-consuming weapon will work—for it is described as a plague that destroys the remnant of the armies that fight against Jesus Christ and the saints: "For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle…. And [then] shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle…. [A]nd the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with You…. And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people who have fought against Jerusalem; their flesh shall consume away while they stand on their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their sockets, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth…. And likewise shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the donkey, and of all the beasts that shall be in these camps—it shall be as this plague" (Zech. 14:2-3, 5, 12, 15).

After Satan has been bound in the abyss, Jesus Christ and the saints will begin to establish the Kingdom of God on the earth starting at Jerusalem: "And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall split in two, from the east and toward the west, and make a very great valley. And half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south…. And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the eastern sea, and half of them toward the western sea. In summer and in winter shall it be. And the Lord shall be king over all the earth; in that day shall there be one Lord, and His name one" (Zech. 14:4, 8-9).

The Millennium Officially Begins(Rev. 20:4-6): First, Christ deals with the twelve tribes of Israel—those who survived the Great Tribulation. At that time Jerusalem becomes the capital city of the Kingdom of God. For the first three and one-half years, Christ only deals directly with Israel, not the rest of the world. However, during this time some nations will take the opportunity to learn of Jesus Christ and the ways of God. If they come up to Jerusalem and surrender, Christ will deal with them.

But those nations that rebel and refuse to go up to Jerusalem will be forced into submission by Christ. Isaiah foresaw this time: "And it shall come to pass, in the last days the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow into it. And many people shall go and say, 'Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. And He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.' For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (Isa. 2:2-4). This is the setting that leads up to the third and final invasion by the nations of the north and the east.

The Third Invasion: The final, futile third invasion occurs approximately three and one-half years after the Millennium has begun. This invasion will be totally crushed by Jesus Christ, and will lead to the conversion of all the rest of the nations of the world who will then submit to the rule of God. We again go to Ezekiel 38, where we are told of this third invasion. Notice that Israel is already at peace, living under the rule of God (verses 8-14). God says of Gog and Magog and all the nations with them: "Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "In that day when My people of Israel dwell securely, shall you not know it? And you shall come from your place out of the uttermost parts of the north, you and many people with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company and a mighty army. And you shall come up on My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. It shall be in the latter days, and I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me when I shall be sanctified in you, O Gog, before their eyes….

" ' "And I will call for a sword against him upon all My mountains," says the Lord GOD. "Each man's sword shall be against his brother. And I will judge him with pestilence and with blood. And I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people with him, an overflowing shower, and great hailstones, fire and brimstone. Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself. And I will have Myself known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord" ' " (verses 14-16; 21-23).

God destroys the armies of these invading nations in order to demonstrate to the rest of the nations—who have not submitted to the rule of Jesus Christ and the saints—that they must surrender and submit or be destroyed. Notice what God says to Magog in Ezekiel 39: " 'And I will send a fire on Magog, and on those who dwell in the isles. And they shall know that I am the Lord. And I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel. And I will not let them profane My holy name any more. Then the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel. Behold, it is coming, and it shall be done,' says the Lord GOD. 'This is the day of which I have spoken' " (verses 6-8). God does this so the nations will know that He and He alone is God.

The last war to be fought by God will be in crushing this third invasion against Jerusalem. From that time forward, all during the Millennium, people will learn war no more. The prophet Micah foretold: "And He shall judge among many people, and will rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. But they shall sit each one under his own vine and under his own fig tree; and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken" (Micah 4:3-4).

Thus, the Kingdom of God under Jesus Christ and the resurrected saints will rule the entire world, bringing salvation to all people. The world doesn't realize it, but this is exactly what they are longing for—the Kingdom of God. It is also the very reason God has called us. Paul writes that the world will be delivered into the hands of the resurrected, spirit, immortal sons of God: "For the earnest expectation of the creation itself is awaiting the manifestation of the sons of God; because the creation was subjected to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who subjected it in hope, in order that the creation itself might be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that all the creation is groaning together and travailing together until now" (Rom. 8:19-22).

God gave John the vision of this coming kingdom: "And a voice came forth from the throne, saying, 'Praise our God, all His servants, and all who fear Him, both small and great.' And I heard a voice like that of a great multitude, and like the sound of many waters, and the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, 'Hallelujah! For the Lord God Almighty has reigned.'… [A]nd they [the saints] lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years…. Blessed and holy is the one who has part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power. But they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years" (Rev. 19:5-6; 20:4, 6).

Brethren, as we keep the Feast of Tabernacles, let us be mindful of these great promises of God—promises of the coming kingdom. This way, we can have be best Feast ever.

Feast Sermons: The sermons for all of the fall holy days and the entire Feast of Tabernacles are recorded on the enclosed CD. This way, regardless of your circumstances, you will be able to keep the Feast of God. While most will be able to travel to one of our Feast sites to assemble with other brethren, those who meet at home in small groups or even alone will not be left out. Remember, Jesus promised, "For wherever two or three are gathered in My name, there, I am in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:20).

As you can see, we are sending this mailing early so you will have all the Feast messages ahead of time. Brethren, thank you for your continued love and prayers for us and all the brethren. Thank you for reaching out to brethren who need encouragement and help. Thank you for reaching out to new people and directing them to Church at Home, our books, literature, and recorded messages. Thank you for your continued support through your tithes and offerings.We pray daily that God will continue to bless you and yours in every way. Remember, every day we are to stand in grace, walk in faith, believe in hope, and live in love.

With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter