Monthly letter archive

Restoring Original Christianity—for Today!

Christian Biblical Church of God

Post Office Box 1442
Hollister, California 95024-1442

Fred R. Coulter,

March 18, 2015

Dear Brethren,

As events in the Middle East develop—and particularly with the expansion of Iranian influence in Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq—the world appears to be heading for WWIII. Iran wants to annihilate the Jewish state of Israel, as well as attack Europe and America. The threat to Israel is so dangerous and imminent that the nation's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was recently invited to speak to a special joint session of the United States Congress. In his broadly-televised speech, Netanyahu warned of the increasing danger Iran poses to the Middle East and the entire world. He demonstrated that a nuclear armed Iran would mean the destruction of the Jewish state, while emphasizing that the Jews will neverallow another holocaust.

Netanyahu warned that the weakness and inaction of the U.S. in dealing with Iran—coupled with Barack Obama's willingness to make a deal that will ultimately allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons—would force the Jews to take unilateral action. Moreover, the presence of Iranian Shiite troops fighting alongside Iraqi Shiite soldiers, all led by a top Iranian general, raises a vital question: Has the Obama administration secretly negotiated a deal with Iran to let their armed forces come into Iraq to fight against the Sunni ISIS/ISIL? If so, is the White House deliberately giving Iran military suzerainty over Iraqi territory and its armed forces? Perhaps this is why Netanyahu also warned that "the enemy of your enemy is your enemy." Because of Iran's threats to the entire Muslim world, Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf nations, descendants of Ishmael, are now discussing the development their own nuclear weapons. They are also looking into purchasing nuclear bombs directly from Pakistan.

Egypt will undoubtedly play a key role in developments in the Middle East. Egypt's new leader, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, is a Sunni Muslim. Appearing recently on FOX News, he called for the Muslim world to ban together to bring about an "Islamic Reformation" designed to distance Islam from radicalism. He emphasized that it is the Arab world's responsibility to stamp out evil elements such as ISIS. To this end, el-Sissi has been actively meeting with Sunni leaders from several Muslim nations. Remember, the biblical "King of the South" has historically originated with Egypt. Perhaps el-Sissi's efforts will propel Egypt to the forefront and eventually lead to the establishment of the prophesied "King of the South."

Meanwhile, politicians and military analysts in America, Europe and the Middle East are asking, "What are we going to do?" "How can we stop ISIS?" "How can we stop Iran?" "How do we protect ourselves?"

Will Turkey Come to the Rescue? In several recent sermons, I discussed the possibility that Turkey could be an immediate solution to the ISIS problem. With their military might, Turkey could no doubt defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq. They have a modern air force and a well-trained standing army of 500,000—with the reputation of being some of the best fighters in the world. Since the Turks are Sunni, this would mean they would be fighting against other Sunni clans—those of ISIS. But the fact is, some Sunni clans are seen as "less desirable"—especially those of ISIS. Turkish intervention would also seem to be an ideal solution to the problem of Iraqi and Iranian Shiite dominance. At any rate, Muslims fighting against Muslims is better than Western forces fighting Muslims.

Up until the end of WWI, Turkey was the core of the Ottoman Empire. At the height of its power it ruled all the Muslim nations involved in the Middle East today. The people of modern-day Turkey are descended from the biblical Esau, the brother of Jacob (or Israel). Also, "Esau is Edomthe father of the Edomites, in Mount Seir…. These are the names of Esau's sons: Eliphaz, the son of Adah the wife of Esau; Reuel, the son of Basemath the wife of Esau. And the sons of Eliphaz: Teman, Omar, Zepho, and Gatam, and Kenaz" (Gen. 36:8-11). The name Ottoman is derived mainly from Teman, Esau's grandson. Also, the Mosque of Omar in Jerusalem is named for Esau's grandson Omar.

From the beginning, Esau has hated Jacob because their father, Isaac, blessed Jacob with a superior blessing. In spite of this, there have been times when they did get along and cooperate. But the underlying hatred is always there and periodically bursts forth.

It is possible that in the near future the Sunni nations of the region may ask Turkey to stop Iran and the Shiite Muslims from gaining power over the entire Middle East. There is little doubt that Turkey longs for the restoration of their former empire (not to mention the vast oil reserves they could possess). Moreover, Turkey could take military action almost immediately because its armies are already poised on the northern borders of Syria and Iraq. Perhaps a war-weary America and a reticent Europe would be more than happy to supply Turkey with arms and money to fight this war.

If this were to occur, Turkey would become a "savior"—helping to tame radical Islam. They would be accepted as "friends" bringing "peace" to that part of the world—and would regain influence and control over part of their past empire. Moreover, this could help pave the way for the coming Beast power of Revelation 13 and 17—and would fit into end-time prophecies concerning the return of Jesus Christ. Note, however, that Turkey's friendly nature could easily revert back to its former hatred of the Jews—tempting them to set out to conquer the modern state of Israel.

Prophecies from Ezekiel and Isaiah reveal that Turkey—Edom, also called Idumea—will be at the forefront of the nations that fight against Christ at His return. Notice this prophecy: "Also, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel, and say, 'O mountains of Israel, hear the Word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord GOD, "Because the enemy has said against you, 'Aha! Even the old high places have become a possession to us.' Therefore prophesy and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Because of the wasting and crushing of you from every side, that you might be a possession to the rest of the nations, and you were lifted up on the tip of the tongue, and are infamous among the people." ' "

" 'Therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the Word of the Lord GOD. Thus says the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, to the deserted wastes, and to the cities that are forsaken, which became a prey and a mockery to the rest of the nations all around. Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, "Surely in the fire of My jealousy I have spoken against the rest of the nations, and against all Idumea, who have appointed My land to themselves for a possession with all joy of heart, with utter contempt, that they might drive them out and plunder them."

" 'So prophesy concerning the land of Israel, and say to the mountains and to the hills, to the rivers and to the valleys, "Thus says the Lord GOD, 'Behold, I have spoken in My jealousy and in My fury because you have borne the shame of the nations' " ' "(Ezek. 36:1-6).

God reveals His judgment against Edom, or Mount Seir, because of their perpetual hatred of the children of Israel and the Jews. Isaiah prophesied: "And the Word of the Lord came to me, saying, 'Son of man, set your face against Mount Seir and prophesy against it. And say unto it, "Thus says the Lord GOD, 'Behold, O Mount Seir, I am against you, and I will stretch out My hand against you, and I will make you a desolation and a waste. I will raze your cities, and you shall be desolate, and you shall know that I am the Lord. Because you have had a perpetual hatred, and have delivered the children of Israel unto the power of the sword at the time of their calamity, at the time of their final punishment, therefore, as I live,' says the Lord GOD, 'I will prepare you for blood, and blood shall pursue you. Since you have not hated blood, even blood shall pursue you' " ' " (Ezek. 35:1-6).

Edom (Turkey) will also fight against Christ at the final battleofArmageddon: "Come near, you nations, to hear; and, you people, hearken; let the earth hear, and its fullness; the world, and its offspring, for the anger of the Lord is upon all nations, and His fury upon all their armies. He has completely destroyed them, He has delivered them to the slaughter. Also their dead shall be thrown out, and their stink shall come up out of their dead bodies, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood.

"And all the host of the heavens shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; and all their host shall fall down, as a leaf falls off from the vine, and as the falling fig from the fig tree, 'For My sword is bathed in the heavens. Behold, it shall come down upon Edom, and upon the people of My curse for judgment. The sword of the Lordis filled with blood; it is made fat with fatness, with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams; for the Lordhas a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Edom' " (Isa. 34:1-6).

We need to watch the Middle East and see if something may yet develop with Turkey.

A Coming Time of Peace and Security: In spite of the fact that the world is facing many difficult problems, there is one passage of Scripture that indicates that there is a time coming when it will appear that the nations will have solved many, if not nearly all, of the dire problems we now face. We have never seen a time in modern history when this passage was fulfilled. Notice what Paul writes: "For when they say, 'Peace and security,' then sudden destruction will come upon them, as travail comes upon a woman who is with child; and they shall by no means escape" (I Thess. 5:3).

This verse reveals that this time of "peace and security" will only be superficial. When combined with related passages, it indicates that even the Muslims will not be carrying out their wars and terrorist attacks. Without a doubt, this short period of time will reflect the coming one-world religion, which will inspire such false "peace and security."

But the world's problems will not have been solved—only briefly contained. Then, the tensions underlying the cover of "peace and security" will suddenly burst forth and the Great Tribulation will be unleashed upon the whole world.

When we read this verse in context, it is apparent that Paul is writing of the times just before the return of Christ: "Now then, concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, there is no need that I write to you; for you yourselves understand perfectly that the day of the Lord will come exactly as a thief comes by night. For when they say, 'Peace and security,' then sudden destruction will come upon them, as travail comes upon a woman who is with child; and they shall by no means escape.

"But you, brethren, are not in darkness that the day of the Lord should overtake you as a thief. For you are all children of the light and children of the day; we are not of the night, nor of the darkness. So then, we should not sleep, as others do; but we should watch, and we should be sober. For those who are sleeping sleep in the night, and those who are drunken get drunk in the night.

"But we who are of the day should be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation, because God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, so that whether we remain alive until He comes or we fall asleep before that day, together we may live forever with Him" (I Thess. 5:1-10). What Paul wrote to the Thessalonians is actually a prophecy for us today.

Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread: There are many things going on in the world and in the nation. But as we approach the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, we are to keep our hearts and minds on the things of God—on our calling and on our purpose! Every year, as we partake of the Passover, we are renewing our commitment in the New Covenant of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

On the night of His last Passover, after instituting the New Covenant, Jesus declared, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6). And He also said, "If you love Me, keep the commandments—namely, My commandments" (verse 15). When these two simple passages are put together, they reinforce the fact that we are to keep the Passover today if we want eternal salvation. And that salvation comes only through Christ.

Dates for the Spring Feast: The Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread are nearly here. Please keep in mind that while the Passover Day is Friday, April 3, the Passover Ceremony is to be observed Thursday night, April 2. This is because the days of the Calculated Hebrew Calendar are reckoned from sunset to sunset. The service should begin as it is getting dark and not immediately after sunset. Also, please remember that only those who have been properly baptized by full immersion in water are to partake of the Passover.

The Night to be Much Remembered to the Lord is to be observed the following night, April 3. Services for the first day of the Feast are to be observed on the weekly Sabbath, April 4. Thus, it is a double Sabbath, being a weekly Sabbath and a high day. Finally, the last Holy Day is on Friday, April 10—followed by a regular Sabbath, April 11.

Once again, we have everything you will need for observing these days, beginning with the Sabbath before Passover. We have included messages on Preparation for the Passover; The Passover Ceremony; The Meaning of the Night to be Much Remembered to the Lord (including the booklet explaining the meaning of this night); and messages for the First Holy Day and the Last Holy Day.

As Jesus taught, the Christian Passover Ceremony is based entirely on His words as recorded in the Gospels. Since the New Covenant is the covenant for eternal life, He told His disciples, "It is the Spirit that gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life" (John 6:63). This is the reason the entire ceremony is based on the words of Christ. There are three parts to the New Covenant Christian Passover Ceremony.

  1. The footwashing, as found in John 13:1-17. It is vital what Jesus told His apostles concerning the footwashing: if you do not wash one another's feet, you have no part with Me.
  2. Partaking of the broken unleavened bread. Jesus said that the broken unleavened bread symbolized His broken body: "And He took bread; and after giving thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, 'This is My body, which is given for you. This do in the remembrance of Me' " (Luke 22:19).
  3. Partaking of the wine, which symbolizes Jesus' shed blood of the New Covenant for the remission of sins. "In like manner also, He took the cup after supper, saying, 'This cup is the New Covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you' " (Luke 22:20). "For this is My blood, the blood of the New Covenant, which is poured out for many for the remission of sins" (Matt 26:28). "This is the cup of the New Covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in the remembrance of Me" (I Cor. 11:25).

Jesus made it absolutely clear that true Christians are obligated to observe the New Covenant Christian Passover in the way that He personally taught the apostles. It is to be the remembrance of Jesus' crucifixion and death. Each year it is to be observed on the night of the 14th day of the first month, according to the Calculated Hebrew Calendar, after sunset ending the 13th day, as it is getting dark.

Keeping the Passover is absolutely necessary in order to receive eternal life. Jesus said, "Truly, truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you do not have life in yourselves. The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up in the last day; for My flesh is truly food, and My blood is truly drink. The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood is dwelling in Me, and I in him. As the living Father has sent Me, and I live by the Father; so also the one who eats Me shall live by Me" (John 6:53-57).

Remember, the Passover sacrifice of Jesus Christ—"the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world"—is based on the love of God. First, His love for us; and second, our love back to God the Father and Christ: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish, but may have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

After instituting the New Covenant Christian Passover, Jesus and the apostles went to the Mount of Olives, where the Garden of Gethsemane was located. While they were walking, Jesus taught them that they were to live in the love of God. Jesus explains the full operation of the love of God: "In this [way] is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be My disciples. As the Father has loved Me, I also have loved you; live in My love. If you keep My commandments, you shall live in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and live in His love. These things I have spoken to you, in order that My joy may dwell in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment: that you love one another, as I have loved you" (John 15:8-12).

In answering a question concerning the greatest commandment, Jesus said: "The first of all the commandments is, 'Hear, O Israel. Our one God is the Lord, the Lord. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment.

"And the second is like this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these" (Mark 12:29-31). This is the central focus we need to keep in our hearts and minds as we are preparing for the Passover.

Revelation DVD: We were not able to send the DVD of the Book of Revelation in this mailing. However, we will have it for you in April's mailing.

Brethren, as the apostle John wrote, "Keep yourselves in the love of God." When we do this, God will strengthen us spiritually in every way. Once again, thank you for your love and prayers for us and all the brethren. We love you and pray for you every day. May God bless you with a great Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread. May God bless you in every way so that you may continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter