Monthly letter archive

Monthly Letter, June 2014

Restoring Original Christianity—for Today!

Christian Biblical Church of God

Post Office Box 1442
Hollister, California 95024-1442

Fred R. Coulter,

June 16, 2014

Dear Brethren,

Our recent Elders' Conference was perhaps the best we have ever had! The theme of the conference was "Guard the Doctrine"—the true teachings of Jesus Christ and the apostles. In other words, Restoring Original Christianity—for Today! Indeed, the theme was appropriate, as we have all witnessed church of God organizations compromise with doctrine—and we have had to stand for the truth and for God.

In this mailing we are bringing you about two-thirds of the conference messages on CD, as well as a DVD featuring a Greek word study showing why the New Testament does not teach a so-called triune Godhead. Because of this vital information, this is perhaps one of our most important mailings ever. The Greek analysis I present on the DVD may be somewhat difficult to follow—though I have endeavored to keep it simple and have included a study guide. If you stick with it, you should be able to see that the New Testament does not teach a trinity.

Historically, "doctrinal change" often begins with subtle alterations to the New Covenant Passover. In his book From Sabbath to Sunday, Samuele Bacchiocchi documents how the apostolic church was doctrinally subverted. Beginning with the so-called "Quartodecimen Controversy," false teachers challenged the veracity of the 14th Passover in favor of Sunday "communion." In time, the Sabbath was exchanged for Sunday, followed by the holy days for various occult holidays. Finally, the nature of the Godhead was changed from God the Father and Jesus Christ to the Trinity—a three-in-one God. None of these fundamental false doctrines are found in the Word of God; rather, they are based on traditions, philosophies, and false interpretations of men.

Down through history, true Christians have had to reject compromise, which always leads to the acceptance of false doctrines and traditions of men. Jesus repeatedly warned the apostles to be on guard and not let anyone deceive them. The apostles John and Paul likewise warned the ministers and brethren. These warnings have been preserved for us today. Jude, as well, warned that the church in his day was being subverted from within: "Beloved, when personally exerting all my diligence to write to you concerning the common salvation, I was compelled to write to you, exhorting you to ferventlyfight for the faith, which once for all time has been delivered to the saints. For certain men have stealthily crept in, those who long ago have been written about, condemning them to thisjudgment. They are ungodly men, who are perverting the grace of our God, turning it into licentiousness, and are personally denying the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ" (Jude 3-4).

The apostle Peter also powerfully warned about false teachers whose doctrines would deny Jesus Himself: "But there were also false prophets among the people, as indeed there will be false teachers among you, who will stealthily introduce destructive heresies, personally denying the Lord who bought them, and bringing swift destruction upon themselves. And many people will follow as authoritative their destructive ways; and because of them, the way of the truth will be blasphemed. Also, through insatiable greed they will with enticing messages exploit you for gain; for whom the judgment of old is in full force, and their destruction is ever watching" (II Pet. 2:1-3).

Paul called the end-time system of false Christianity the "Mystery of Lawlessness"—or "Iniquity" (II Thess. 2:7). In the Bible this system is also called "Babylon the Great," and is the point of origin of all the religions of the world. In the "Christian" world, this system is known as the Roman Catholic Church. The current pope, Francis I, is working diligently to bring back all the Protestants to Rome (as you will see in the special DVD enclosed in this mailing). What you will see is absolutely stunning: the pope speaking to a gathering of "charismatic ministers"—including the popular Kenneth Copeland! These Protestant ministers fell for it "hook, line, and sinker"—and were virtually worshiping the pope with prayers of praise!

The Vatican was again this week reaching out to various Protestants gathered in Rome. Note this news report: Joel Osteen Meets with Pope Francis at Vatican: ROME: "Megachurch speaker and author Joel Osteen was among a group of political and religious leaders who met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Thursday. According to reports, Osteen was part of a delegation organized by the International Foundation in an effort to encourage interfaith relations and ecumenicism. Utah Senator Mike Lee (R), a Mormon, Gayle Beebe, the president of the interdenominational Westmont College in California, and Pastor Tim Timmons, founder of South Coast Community Church, also in California, were among those who greeted the pope, along with Osteen.

" 'I just felt very honored and very humbled,' Osteen told local television station Click 2 Houston. 'It was amazing. And even to go back into that part of the Vatican—there's so much history there, the place that they took us through. You feel that deep respect and reverence for God.'

"The Lakewood leader also met with other Vatican staff during his visit, including Cardinal Pietro Paroli, Secretary of State for the Vatican, and had dinner with an unspecified staff member. Osteen attended mass in St. Peter's Square on Wednesday prior to the meeting in the midst of a crowd of 100,000 people.

" 'Afterward, [the pope] spent an hour and a half going through the crowd with the Popemobile, greeting people,' [Osteen] recalled to the Houston Chronicle. 'It was very heartwarming to see him caring for people.'

"Osteen told reporters that he believed the pope's message and focus is one of unity. 'I love the fact that he's made the Church more inclusive,' he said. 'Not trying to make it smaller, but to try to make it larger—to take everybody in. So, that just resonates with me.'

"But others have expressed sadness about Osteen's recent meeting at the Vatican, stating that ecumenicism is far from biblical. 'Joel Osteen has joined the rank of all other popular ministries in bowing his knee to the anti-Christ system, and those that blindly follow his leadership will be the first ones in line with their hand out to be marked by the beast,' Pastor Mark Herridge Sr. of Pentecostal Lighthouse Church in Livingston, Texas, told Christian News Network. 'Any Protestant ministry that links up with the pope and Catholicism is betraying the sacrifice of millions of faithful Christians that have died at the hands of this brutal, dictatorial and oppressive religion that has never represented the Church of the Living God as outlined in New Testament teaching,' he said" (

This is amazing news! However, we knew this was coming sooner or later because of Bible prophecy. In Revelation 17, an angel of God reveals the true identity of this satanic system: "And one of the seven angels who had the seven vials came and spoke with me, saying to me, 'Come here; I will show you the judgment of the great whore who sits upon many waters [peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages—verse 15]; with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.'

"Then he carried me away in the spirit to a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting upon a scarlet beast that had seven heads and ten horns, full of names of blasphemy. And the woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and was adorned with gold and pearls and precious stones; and she had a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominations and the filthiness of her fornication; and across her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF THE HARLOTS [all the religions of the world] AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And after seeing her, I wondered with great amazement" (Rev. 17:1-6).

Just as the New Testament indicates, satanic forces are now working in unprecedented ways to bring all the religions of the world into one, amalgamated global religion—a "United Nations of Religion." This is all being done primarily through the office of the pope. Amazingly, this includes Islam. Eric Odem ( writes: "The Muslim world is finding much to rejoice about in a confusing and quite shocking decision made by the pope. The pope will allow Muslims to read from the Quran and chant Islamic prayers from the Vatican in a move said to promote peace. For the first time in history, Islamic prayers and readings from the Quran will be heard at the Vatican on Sunday, in a move by Pope Francis to usher in peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The problem is, in many instances the Quran promotes violence and war. The Quran calls for forced conversion of all Catholics to Islam, so I fail to see how allowing its words to flow through the Vatican is a good thing." He is quite correct—it is not a good thing!

Recycled Passover and Unleavened Bread Heresies


This past year we have received several major papers claiming that we are keeping the Passover on the wrong day, or in the wrong manner. Other papers allege that the Passover and the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread are the same day. Moreover, one minister (in another organization) announced on the Passover night that they were going to have the footwashing at the end of the service! This startled everyone, as most knew he was wrong!

Many of you already have The Christian Passover book. This is the most complete book ever written about the Passover and covers every question concerning the Passover. Because these (and other) attacks against the truth are increasing, you need to be on guard so you won't be deceived by clever arguments—so you can stand for the truth and defend the true teachings of the Bible. Remember, Satan always attacks the Passover first. Once brethren deviate from the scriptural New Covenant Christian Passover, Satan (through his ministers) is then able to introduce other false doctrines, such as Sunday-keeping and the Trinity.

The Christian Passover was written in great detail, covering every one of these false teachings: how they arose, why they are wrong, and what the truth of God's Word is. This book is nearly 500 pages in length and covers information vital to the correct understanding of the Passover. Moreover, it will equip you to defend against these false teachings. If you do not have The Christian Passover, please write for it and we will send you a copy at no cost. If you have the book but have not read or reviewed it in several years, it would be a worthwhile project for you to reread it. You may be surprised at what you may have missed or forgotten.

As we have seen through the years, false teachings and doctrines are often recycled. The old propositions are presented over and over again as "new truth." However, these ideas are not really new, nor are they "truth." This is why God commands us to prove all things and hold fast to that which is good (I Thess. 5:21). We are to do like the Bereans, who searched the Scriptures to see if what they were being taught was true (Acts 17:11).

Such is the case with a recent paper that was mailed to many brethren and ministers in many of the churches of God. I received one, and knew instantly that the research was extremely poor and was based on assumptions made by the writer, a minister in a church of God in Utah. He stated that the footwashing comes after the Old Testament Passover supper and after the bread and wine ceremony of the New Covenant Christian Passover—not before the bread and wine. He also stated that the Night to be Much Observed and the 14th Passover are combined and should be observed at the beginning of the 14th day of the first month, and that the Feast of Unleavened Bread should end on the 20th rather than on the 21st. The answer to the first false doctrine—that God combined the 14th and the 15th into one feast—is simple to refute. SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES AND YOU NOT FIND ANYWHERE THAT GOD EVER COMMANDED THAT THESE DAYS BE COMBINED AND OBSERVED AS ONE FEAST. On the other hand, Judaism has combined the two days, and Jews observe their Passover on the 15th and then extend the Feast of Unleavened Bread until the end of the 22nd day. It does not matter how the Jews explain it; what they practice and the dates on which they observe their Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread cannot be found in the Scriptures. However, why they do this is a most interesting historical fact, which is thoroughly covered in The Christian Passover.

Remember, we are to obey God and keep His commandments—not the traditions of the Jews or any other religion. As God warned through the prophet Isaiah: "And when they shall say unto you, 'Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter'—but should not a people seek unto their God? Should the dead be sought on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isa. 8:19-20).

Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep the commandments—namely Mine" (John 14:15). There is no question that Jesus and the apostles kept the Passover on the 14th just as found in Exodus 12, Leviticus 23, etc. Again, a detailed study about this very question is covered in The Christian Passover. There are some ministers who remain confused about the 14/15 Passover issue, but they refuse to read the book. In fact, one evangelist (who now heads an educational ministry) to whom I personally gave an autographed copy in 1994 just threw it in the waste can! To this day he complains that the Passover is such a "complicated issue."

Why does the Christian Passover appear to be a complicated issue? The answer is very simple. Satan does not want people to be in a true covenant relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ. Because if they are, they will receive eternal life, and Satan does not what that! Therefore, his ministers and scholars confuse the truth with their lies and twisted interpretations. Look at the result in the world! Those who profess Christ have no clue as to what the New Covenant Christian Passover actually is. They are false Christians. They are not in a covenant relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ because they participate in the Sacrifice of the Mass, the Eucharist, communion, or the Lord's Supper—but not the true Christian Passover. In their ceremonies some use leavened bread, some unleavened bread; they may use wine, grape juice, or even water. Some take it daily, some weekly, some quarterly. What mass confusion! But God is not the author of confusion—Satan the devil is!

Look at the various churches of God. Some keep the Passover at the correct time—the night of the 14th, as Jesus and the apostles did. Others keep it on the afternoon of the 14th. Some keep it on the 15th. And some, because they reject the Calculated Hebrew Calendar and devise their own calendars, end up keeping it on the wrong day entirely!

To further complicate matters, some have a meal with their Passover ceremony, contrary to Paul's instructions in I Corinthians 11. Still others participate in the footwashing after partaking of the bread and wine. This last error is the result of a mistranslation in the KJV in John 13. This footwashing error was incorporated into one of the recent papers sent to me.

When I read this paper, I remembered that I had addressed this same issue years ago. In fact, I had written a letter to a man who had made this very assertion. What follows is the letter I wrote on January 19, 1975,to answer his false assumptions—while I was still a minister in the WCG. Indeed, this old heresy is again recycled 40 years later!

The Timing of the Footwashing

Dear M. K.,

It has been brought to my attention through the Theological Research Project Team that you had submitted a paper to the First Year Bible Class, "The Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ." You wrote on the subject of a seemingly obvious misplacement of verses and the sequence of the New Covenant Christian Passover as outlined in the Harmony of the Gospels authored by me.

I was furnished with a copy of your paper. Thank you very much for your interest and the things you showed in your paper. I hope that this direct answer from me, the author, will be helpful to you in many ways, especially for any of your future endeavors along these lines.

Before we get into the subject, there are several things that must be borne in mind when dealing with topics like this.

1) The Bible is inspired [God-breathed] by God as written in the original language. Translations may or may not retain varying degrees of inspiration.

2) When there is an apparent conflict between scriptures, every facet of the problem must be considered.

3) When there is a difficulty with the KJV, an investigation into the Greek or Hebrew is necessary to clarify the situation.

4) Especially when dealing with the Gospels, a key to understanding is that no single Gospel contains all the facts and evidence alone, when one or more relate the same event. Overall, the four Gospels are complimentary to each other and must be properly coordinated for a complete understanding.

Each Gospel account is essential. For example: Matthew and Mark show only one Passover; Luke, two; and John, three. If we did not have John and Luke, we would not know certain keys related to the time period and the chronology of Jesus Christ's ministry.

At Jesus' last Passover, when He instituted the New Covenant ceremony, we would have some major problems if all four accounts were not available to coordinate all the activities. Here are some examples:

1) John does not show the bread and wine ceremony, only the footwashing. So if John alone were used as a guide, or if Matthew, Mark and Luke were not there, we would only know of the footwashing ceremony and nothing about the bread and wine.

2) Matthew, Mark, Luke and I Corinthians only show the bread and wine ceremony, so we would know nothing about the footwashing. Therefore, if these three accounts were used, without John's account, we would only observe the bread and wine ceremony of the Passover, as does much of the professing Christianity of the world.

3) Matthew, Mark and Luke do not show that Judas ever left the meal to betray Jesus.

4) Matthew, Mark and Luke do not show the long discourse that Jesus gave to His disciples after the supper, as does John in chapters 14-16.

5) Only Luke records the argument that occurred between the disciples, during Jesus' last Passover, as to who would be the greatest among them.

6) Only Luke records that the disciples took two swords with them when they all went to the Mount of Olives with Jesus.

So it is obvious that if the approach is taken of pitting each account against the other in a negative way, the list of problems and difficulties throughout the entirety of the four Gospels would be immense indeed. Because many scholars have taken this approach, they are in hopeless confusion as to how to solve many of these problems; they believe that the differences between the four Gospels are contradictions, when they actually are not.

The Apparent Problem at Hand

Your paper deals with a section which projects all the options that were open to me while reconstructing the chronology of the events of Jesus' last Passover, when I wrote the Harmony. All of the factors that you have brought up were deeply considered by me before arranging Luke's account, which was not placed in the numbered verse sequence.

Why did I arrange verses 21-23, then 19, 17, 18 and 20 of Luke 22 in that order? Was this arrangement merely done to satisfy Worldwide Church of God doctrine? (If so, then the scholarship of the book is greatly limited in proper understanding, as would apply to any other scholar and author who is bound by personal views, prejudice, bias or a doctrine of his church that prejudices him to distort the truth to appease doctrine, tradition or whatever to please humans and not God. Please be assured that the WCG is on public record [at the time this letter was written in 1975] and has proven that its desire is to have all of its teachings and doctrines be in complete agreement with biblical truth.) Or, on the other hand, were there good reasons for making the arrangement in the way that I did? If so, what were the reasons?

First, I arranged Luke in the way that I did because of the order Matthew and Mark used. Second, Luke 22:17-18 was when Jesus passed the larger container of wine to the disciples to have each one pour a small amount of wine into a smaller container for himself. This was distributed to each one before Jesus gave thanks and broke the bread, symbolizing His broken body. Next, in verse 20, after giving thanks, Jesus instructed them that the wine they were drinking was symbolic of His blood, the blood of the New Covenant. Third, Matthew, Mark and Luke all show that the ceremony of the broken bread came before the drinking of the wine, and the drinking of the wine came after the Passover supper. That is why verse 19 in the Harmony was placed before verses 17-18, in order to coordinate it with Matthew and Mark. In fact, the partaking of the wine was nearly the last thing that was done before Jesus and the apostles left for the Mount of Olives.

In order to determine when Judas left to betray Jesus—before the bread and wine, or after the bread and wine—we need to carefully examine John 13. John, in his narration of the footwashing, specifically shows that Judas left shortly after the footwashing. The basic key to understand when the footwashing took place is found in the context and in the Greek words, which clarify everything.

Perhaps the whole supposition for your rearrangement of the verses would have been clarified, or could have been seen as not accurate, if you had only researched the subject in any Greek-English Interlinear. In addition, if you had some basic understanding of the Greek verbs and participles used in the verses in question, you would have seen the error of your premise.

In order to understand the proper order of the Passover ceremony, we need to begin with the account of the footwashing. In the KJV of John 13:2, there is a mistranslation which seems to indicate that the supper had ended by the time the footwashing began. It reads: "And supper being ended…." However, the Greek actually shows that that phrase should have been translated "during supper." Unfortunately, this removes the basic premise of your paper. So let's begin by examining the critical verses in John 13, one by one:

#1) John 13:2—Supper Being Ended, or During Supper? In the KJV it reads "And supper being ended…"—and this is a most unfortunate mistranslation. The Greek-English Interlinear translation by George Ricker Berry reads "and supper taking place…." If you had only used this interlinear English translation, you would have realized that the footwashing did not take place after supper, but "during supper" or "supper taking place." The Greek word γενομενου genonenou translated "supper taking place" or "during supper" is a present tense participle and should never be translated in the past tense. This participle is derived from the prime verb γινομαι ginomai, which means "to be, to become" or "to come into being." Therefore, γενομενουgenonenou has the meaning of "during the taking place of supper," or "while taking place." As such, then, since the prime verb γινομαι ginomai is the root verb of the participle γενομενουgenonenou, it can also be translated "at the beginning of supper." Berry's translation, "supper taking place," does indicate that the footwashing took place at the beginning of supper. Finally, because γενομενου genonenou is a present tense participle, it is completely incorrect to translate it in the past tense "after supper," as translated in the KJV. This erroneous translation has caused a great deal of confusion. And those who do not understand the Greek do not know that this should be translated in the present tense.

Greek Words John Would Have to Have Used to Mean That Supper had Ended: The main Greek word for "end" isτελοςtelos, which means "end, conclusion of" or "termination of." The Greek word for "being ended" is συντελεοσθεισωνsunteleostheison,as used in Luke 4:2 referring to the end of Jesus' forty-day fast and temptation by Satan the devil. Notice that the prime root τελtel, for the meaning "end," is the basic root for this word. John could have used this word to express the fact that the supper "had ended."

In addition, we find that the drinking of the wine did, in fact, occur "after supper," as the Greek clearly shows in Luke 22:20 and I Corinthians 11:25 where the Greek phrase μετα το δειπνησαιmeta to deipnesai is used, which means "after supper." There is no question that the Greek word meta means "after." John could also have used this word to show that the footwashing took place "after supper," as did Luke and Paul to show that the drinking of the wine took place after supper. However, he did not use this word.

As a result, the whole supposition you presented, that the footwashing took place after supper, is not confirmed by the Greek. In fact, the Greek clearly refutes any such claim.

Now let's follow the sequence of events of John 13, and we'll see that the footwashing took place at the beginning of the Passover supper and continued past the time that Judas left to betray Jesus.

• 13:2 "And during supper (the devil having already put into the heart of Judas…"

• 13:3 "Jesus, knowing…"

• 13:4 "rose from supper…" (additional proof that supper was in progress)

• 13:5 "to wash the disciples' feet…"

• 13:12 "sat down again…"

When we take into account the entire context of John 13:2-12, we get the complete picture. Thus, the sequence of events from verse 2 through verse 12 is as follows: "During supper," (i.e., the beginning of supper), "Jesus knowing … rose from supper … washed the disciples feet … sat down again." "Sat down" was actually a reclining position. With all the disciples in a reclining position, Jesus easily carried out the footwashing.

When we put all the facts together, it becomes clear that Jesus instituted the footwashing at the beginning of the Passover ceremony. Then He sat down again, or reclined, which was the position for eating the Passover supper. If the supper had been completed, there obviously would be no reason for Jesus to recline again.

• 13:13-17 Jesus gives the explanation for the footwashing.

• 13:18 Jesus indicates that He had chosen Judas to betray Him—"he who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me." The Greek verb "he who eats" is the present tense participle τρωγων trogon, which can also be translated "the one who is eating with Me." As the Greek indicates, it was an active, present tense fulfillment of the prophecy of Jesus' betrayal. When Jesus said this about Judas, they were still eating, the supper was still in progress, after the footwashing had already taken place. In Mark 14:18 we find a more direct statement. Jesus is quoted as saying, in the first person, "that one of you will deliver me up, who is eating with me" (EGNT, Berry).

• 13:26 Jesus dips the sop or "morsel," then gives it to Judas. Satan enters into him and he leaves to betray Jesus to the Jewish religious authorities. However, when Judas left, supper was still in progress.

The Jews had a custom that the master of the paschal supper gave a morsel to all who were at the table. So there was nothing particularly unusual about Jesus giving a morsel to Judas. If supper had already ended and was not still in progress when Jesus gave the morsel to Judas, there would have been no need for the disciples to think that Judas was leaving in order to buy something for the feast (i.e., the Passover supper that they were eating) or to go out and give something to the poor who were also eating the Passover supper in nearby houses.

Conclusion From John 13: The context of John 13 alone shows that supper was still in progress past the time that Judas had departed. An important point to keep in mind: Only John's account shows when Judas left. None of the other Gospel accounts do. Without a doubt, John shows that Judas left while supper was still in progress and it continued after he had left. Therefore, the footwashing had to have taken place at the beginning of the meal and could not have taken place after the Passover supper was finished. The Greek and the flow of the context of John 13 prove this.

#2) The Breaking and Eating of the Bread Took Place While They Were Still Eating the Passover Supper: Matthew 26:26 and Mark 14:22 show that while they were eating Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, etc. Therefore, supper was still in progress at this point. It would only be proper for Jesus to institute the breaking of the bread of the New Covenant Passover ceremony after Judas had left. Judas only received a non-ceremonial morsel from Jesus to symbolize that he would betray Him. Therefore, Judas did not partake of the bread that Jesus had broken and blessed for the New Covenant Christian Passover.

#3) Matthew, Mark, Luke and I Corinthians Show That the Drinking of the Wine Was After the Eating of the Bread: Matthew 26:27, Mark 14:23, Luke 22:20 and I Corinthians 11:25; all are in agreement as to the sequence of the bread and wine part of the ceremony.

#4) The Wine Was Taken After SupperNot the Footwashing: As we have seen, Luke 22:20 and I Corinthians 11:25 show that it was after supper when they partook of the wine, as shown in the Greek phrase μετα το δειπνησαιmeta to deipnesai. This phrase cannot mean "during supper" in any way. It can only mean "after supper." Remember that Judas had already left during supper and the drinking of the wine was after supper. This means that Judas could not have taken part in the wine ceremony.

Was Luke "Confused" About the Sequence of Events? Did He Have a "Bad Memory" or What? Now we will address the problems in Luke's account, which on the surface gives the appearance of a different sequence than the other Gospel accounts—or does it really? Let's examine what Luke wrote, because his order of the events was actually clarified, very simply, by Luke himself.

Luke 22:20 is the key [difficult] verse, because the drinking of the wine is stated before the announcement by Jesus that one of the disciples (Judas) would betray Him. Luke does not show that it was Judas who was the betrayer, neither does he show Jesus dipping of the sop and giving it to Judas. But does Luke really show that the partaking of the wine occurred before the announcement of the betrayal, just because it is stated first? That is the key question. In verse 20, Luke wrote, "In like manner also, He took the cup after supper…." Luke is clearly stating that the sequence of the cup was after supper. Now we know that according to John's account, Judas left during the supper. Therefore, Judas could not have been there during the drinking of the wine. Luke agrees with John, because he wrote that they partook of the wine, symbolizing the shed blood of Jesus, after supper, as the Greek phrase clearly shows: μετα το δειπνησαι meta to deipnesai.

But does this mean that Luke is not permitted to narrate something that had actually occurred prior to this? Of course not!

Now we can examine Luke 22:21 and understand that there is not an actual contradiction in what Luke had written, although he placed it after the partaking of the wine. "Moreover the hand of him (who is) delivering me up (is) with me on the table…" (EGNT, Berry). The Greek phrase επι της τραπεζης epi tes trapezes means "at the table." This clearly shows that when Jesus said that the hand of the one who was betraying Him was with Him at the table. He said it while the meal was still in progress, even though it is placed after the drinking of the wine, which took place after the meal. The Greek clearly shows the difference through the use of the verbs and participles. In verse 20, past tense "after supper," and verse 21, a previous present tense, "Moreover the hand of him (who is) delivering me up (is) with me on the table…." How Luke used the Greek words and their tenses actually shows that the chronology in the Harmony is correct, even though the narration in Luke appears to be slightly different from Matthew and Mark.

Conclusion: This is the basis for the difference in the sequence of verses in the Harmony, rather than any fault on Luke's part, or a fault on the part of the WCG, or a fault on my part. (Please be sure that we are not teaching heresy! And please be careful not to use the Word of God so carelessly, because it might cause you and others trouble that perhaps you never intended.) However, in the Harmony, for the sake of the actual progression of the events as they occurred, I arranged Luke 22:17-23 in the order as found in the book.

I hope that this answer will help you come to a clearer understanding of this section of the book. If you have any more questions, please feel to write or call me, or see me personally. I will be glad to be of any assistance possible.[End of letter]

I realize that we have sent you a lot of material in this mailing. Please don't let it overwhelm you. While some of it may be difficult to follow, you can understand it.

Always remember what a blessing it is to have the entire Bible—the true Word of God. We can understand the truth of God. We can prove all things and hold fast to the truth of God. God the Father loves us as He loved Jesus Christ, Who also loves us as His brethren—the future sons and daughters of God the Father. He is the Firstborn, from the dead, among many brethren; and we, the brethren, the Church of the Firstborn, are to be raised to eternal life at the first resurrection when Christ returns.

Brethren, we thank you greatly for your love and prayers for us and all the brethren. We love you and pray for you daily. Thank you for reaching out to those in need and those who are experiencing trials. Thank you for being faithful in your lives and love toward God, and diligent in your tithes and offerings. We use God's funds for feeding the flock and preaching the Gospel to the world. We constantly pray that God will bless you in all things.

Yours in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter