Monthly letter archive

Monthly Letter, May 2014

Restoring Original Christianity—for Today!

Christian Biblical Church of God

Post Office Box 1442
Hollister, California 95024-1442

Fred R. Coulter,

May 14, 2014

Dear Brethren,

Thank you for all your cards and letters concerning what a tremendous Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread you experienced. We received numerous messages, e-mails, letters, and cards from larger groups, smaller fellowship groups, and individuals telling us that God the Father and Jesus Christ inspired them to have a great spiritual feast! One widow I spoke to on the phone told me in tears that after 40 years in the church—and in and out of various churches of God—this year she experience the best Passover in her life, even though she had to partake of it alone at home! Every year we grow in grace and knowledge concerning our calling, God's destiny for us, and His awesome plan of salvation.

For us, the "called, chosen, and faithful" children of God, the Feast of Unleavened Bread pictures peace and grace from God the Father and Jesus Christ. It is through God's love for us, His Spirit in us, His Word written in our hearts and minds, and our love back to Him that we are perfected in Christ Jesus. The apostle John writes: "If anyone is keeping His Word, trulyin this one the love of God is being perfected. By this means we know that we are in Him. Anyone who claims to dwell in Him is obligating himself also to walk even as He Himself walked" (I John 2:5-6). And the apostle Paul writes, "For we are also praying for this—evenyour perfection" (II Cor. 13:9).

When we understand the purpose of our calling and the purpose of the ministry, it is clear that ministers and elders are not to rule over the brethren as their own personal possessions (I Pet. 5:2-3). Rather, the whole purpose of the ministry is to perfect the brethren in Christ Jesus, as servants and stewards of God the Father and Jesus Christ. This is what Paul teaches: "And He gave some asapostles, 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).

Truly, brethren, we are few and scattered, but God the Father and Jesus Christ personally love each one of us. Now, through the power of the Holy Spirit, They dwell within us—thereby making each one of us a temple of God. Paul writes: "For you are a temple of the living God, exactly as God said: 'I will dwell in them and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people…. And I shall be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,' says the Lord Almighty" (II Cor. 6:16, 18).

In this life, we can receive nothing greater than these spiritual blessings and promises of God: "According as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him Who called us by His own glory and virtue; through which He has given to us the greatest and most precious promises, that through these you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (II Pet. 1:3-4).

When we were baptized and received the Holy Spirit, God separated us from the world. We now belong to God the Father and Jesus Christ, even though we still live in the world. When praying to the Father just before He was arrested and taken away to be falsely condemned, scourged, and crucified, Jesus said: "And I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, those whom You have given Me, so that they may be one, even as We are one. When I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. I protected those whom You have given Me, and not one of them has perished except the son of perdition, in order that the Scriptures might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to You; and these things I am speaking while yet in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in them. I have given them Your words, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You would take them out of the world, but that You would keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in Your truth; Your Word is the truth" (John 17:11-17).

We are sanctified, meaning that we have been set apart from the world through the truth of God's Word and by the Holy Spirit, which is the "Spirit of the Truth" and the indwelling of God the Father and Jesus Christ. Notice that in spite of the fact that we live in this evil world, we are to be greatly encouraged, knowing that we belong to God: "May the God of hope fill you now with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope and in the power of the Holy Spirit. But I myself am also persuaded concerning you, my brethren, that you are full of goodness, and are being filled with all knowledge, and are able to admonish one another. So then, I have more boldly written to you, brethren, in part as a way of reminding you, because of the grace that was given to me by God, in order that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ unto the Gentiles to perform the holy service of teaching the gospel of God; so that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 15:13-16).

Writing to the Corinthians, Paul shows that sanctification is a special blessing that comes from God the Father and Jesus Christ—because we are the children of God: "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, called by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, to the church of God that is in Corinth, the called saints who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, together with all those in every place who are calling on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: Grace and peace be to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ…. [You] are of Him [God the Father] in Christ Jesus, Who was made to us wisdom from Godeven righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" (I Cor. 1:1-3, 30).

It is true that none of us really amount to anything in this world, and we are not part of the world because God has called us out of the world. Therefore, we are not our own—we belong to God (I Cor. 6:19-20). We are absolutely precious to God the Father and Jesus Christ. This is why we love God, because He loved us first and has given us of His Spirit and truth so that we might be sanctified as His children in order to receive eternal salvation through Jesus Christ. Because of this, as Paul reveals, we need to be encouraged, regardless of our circumstances: "Now we are duty-bound to give thanks to God always concerning you, brethren, who are beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning has called you unto salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth, unto which He called you by our gospel to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brethren, stand firm, and hold fast the ordinances that you were taught, whether by word or by our epistle. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and Godeven our Father, Who loved us and gave us eternal encouragement and good hope through graceencourage your hearts and establish you in every good word and work" (II Thess. 2:13-17).

Other Aspects of God's Sanctification: Truly, we are sanctified by the Holy Spirit of God unto salvation. However, we need to remember that God only gives His Holy Spirit to those who obey Him. The apostle Peter testified of this fact before the Sanhedrin after the apostles were arrested for healing a man. Notice: "But Peter and the apostles answered and said, 'We are obligated to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus Whom you killed by hanging Him on a tree [crucified on the Passover day]. Him has God exalted by His right hand to be a Prince and Savior, to give repentance and remission of sins to Israel. And we are His witnesses of these things, as is also the Holy Spirit, which God has given to those who obey Him' " (Acts 5:29-32).

This is a tremendous key. Not only does God require repentance, baptism, and the laying on of hands for the receiving of the Holy Spirit, He also requires loving, faithful obedience to His Word. Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word of God" (Matt. 4:4; Luke 4:4).

The Sign that God Sanctifies His People: If we keep the seventh-day Sabbath and the biblical holy days, thenwe know that it is God Who sanctifies us: "And the LORD spoke to Moses saying, 'Speak also to the children of Israel, saying, "Truly you shall keep My Sabbaths, for it [the keeping of His Sabbaths]is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations [as a perpetual covenant, verse 16] to know that I am the LORD Who sanctifies you" '" (Ex. 31:12-13).

Here we see that God is speaking of His Sabbaths—plural. Since the holy days are also Sabbaths, we are to keep them as well. As Hebrews 4:9-11 reveals, Sabbath-keeping is still required of the Church: "There remains, therefore, Sabbath-keeping for the people of God. For the one who has entered into His rest [His seventh-day Sabbath], he also has ceased from his works, just as God did from His own works. We should be diligent therefore to enter into that rest [the seventh-day Sabbath], lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience [of Sabbath-breaking, as did ancient Israel]." Indeed, it is through keeping God's Sabbaths that we understand that it is God Who sanctifies us.

Everything Radiates From the Passover: There is a particular foundational feast that makes it possible for us to have direct spiritual contact with God—the Passover. It is the keeping of the New Covenant Christian Passover that enables us to fully comprehend the meaning of the Sabbath and holy days of God. Why is that? Because at the foundation of the world, God ordained that the Lamb of God would be sacrificed for the sins of mankind on the Passover day (the 14th day of the first month according to God's sacred calendar, the Calculated Hebrew Calendar). Notice: "Behold the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world…. [The] Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (John 1:29; Rev. 13:8). And, as Paul writes, "Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us" (I Cor. 5:7).

In reality, everything in God's plan for mankind begins with the sacrifice of Christ, our Passover. Everything emanates from that day! As I wrote in my last letter, this is why Satan the devil and carnal men under his influence have done everything they can to corrupt the meaning of the true Christian Passover. By perverting the Passover, they destroy the understanding of the plan of God as revealed through His Sabbath and holy days. This is why the world is spiritually blinded and willingly embraces Satan's occult holidays. Paul writes: "But if our gospel is hidden, it is hidden to those who are perishing; in whom the god of this age [Satan]has blinded the minds of those who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them" (II Cor. 4:3-4).

The Meaning of the Feast of Pentecost

The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are also central to observing Pentecost on the correct day. In this mailing, we have included two booklets showing in great detail how to correctly count the fifty days to Pentecost. As you read and study these booklets, you will be amazed at how men have miscounted—or do not count the 50 days at all—in their reckoning the date of Pentecost. Because of this, they do not understand the true meaning of Pentecost.

This year we will observe the feast of Pentecost on June 8. When correctly understood, Pentecost pictures the first resurrection—the completed harvest of God's spiritual firstfruits. As the apostle James writes, we are the firstfruits of God's spiritual creation, as He is now working within us to perfect us through the power of the Holy Spirit: "Every good act of giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with Whom there is no variation, nor shadow of turning. According to His own will, He begat us by the Word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all His created beings" (James 1:17-18).

Through His resurrection, Jesus Christ paved the way for us as the forerunner (Heb. 6:20), being the "first of the firstfruits" to be raised from the dead. This is pictured in Leviticus 23:10-11 by the offering of the first of the firstfruits of the grain harvest—"the premier sheaf of the firstfruits." In addition to being the "first of the firstfruits," Jesus is also called the "firstborn from among the dead" (Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5).

Just as Jesus is called the "firstborn from among the dead," the Church is called the "Church of the firstborn" (Heb. 12:23). Thus, Jesus is the "firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29). This means that the remainder of the seven-week barley harvest pictures those who will be resurrected to eternal life in the first resurrection. The pattern of the "seven churches" in Revelation 2 and 3 parallels, prophetically, the seven weeks of the count to Pentecost, with the 50th day picturing the first resurrection to eternal life.

In I Corinthians 15, we find the same pattern—Jesus Christ the Firstfruit, then the rest of the harvest, the Church, at His coming: "But now Christ has been raised from the dead; He has become the Firstfruit of those who have fallen asleep [died in the faith]. For since by man came death, by Man also camethe resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.But each in his own order: Christ the Firstfruit; then, those who are Christ's at His coming" (I Cor. 15:20-23).

As the spiritual children of God the Father, we have the greatest calling and destiny—to be the sons and daughters of God in the first resurrection! At that time we will be glorified by the power of God with a spiritual body and mind. Paul writes of this promise: "But for us, the commonwealth of God exists in the heavens, from where also we are waiting for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; Who will transform our vile bodies, that they may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the inner working of His own power, wherebyHe is able to subdue all things to Himself" (Phil. 3:20-21).

In a world in the grip of satanic lawlessness and oppression, we need to be encouraged and keep our minds fixed on God's purpose in our lives—the Kingdom of God, the resurrection, and the Family of God. This is why God motivated the apostles, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to write of these awesome promises. As did Peter and Paul, John wrote: "Behold! What glorious love the Father has given to us, that we should be called the children of God! For this very reason, the world does not know us because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be; but we know that when He is manifested, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him exactly as He is. And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, even as He is pure" (I John 3:1-3).

Brethren, thank you for your steadfast love for God and the brethren. We know that you pray for us daily. Likewise, we pray for you every day, that you may grow in grace and knowledge and in the love of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. We thank you for your continued support through your tithes and offerings that enable us to feed the flock of God and preach the Gospel to a sick and dying world. May God the Father and Jesus Christ continue to bless you in every way.

With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter