Monthly letter archive

Christian Biblical Church of God

Post Office Box 1442

Hollister, California 95024-1442

(831) 637-1875

Fred R.Coulter

Minister

April 8, 2003

Dear Brethren,

As many of you know, Sabbath, February 22, I traveled to Waco, where we had most inspiring services and an excellent turn out with about 100 brethren in attendance. Between the morning and afternoon services, all enjoyed an excellent meal. I left Dolores, Chad and Rachelle, and I went to Houston, February 23, meeting with 30 brethren and again sharing in most inspiring services with a meal in between. It was my first trip since my hip surgery in November 2002. At the present time, I am back to about 98% full strength, and I am free of pain. Thank you for all your prayers, letters and cards.

During the Feast of Unleavened Bread, I will be in Seattle, April 18-19, and Spokane, Washington, April 20. Next, I will go to Phoenix, Arizona, April 23. Then I will travel to Cincinnati for the Sabbath on May 3. We will have morning and afternoon services, with a meal between services. On May 2 and 4 we will have a mini Elders’ Conference.

Bible Studies Leading Up to Passover: In recent weeks, we have sent you a good number of tapes. Our intention was not to overwhelm you, but it was necessary to update the Passover Preparation Series from the 1995 series. We expedited mailing them to you, so you would have them before Passover, as it would not have been as helpful for you to get them after the Passover. Now that you have them, you can use them for future Passover preparation.

Again with this mailing, we have some very profound information about Roman crucifixion—the kind that Jesus suffered. We are sending you a reprint article about the Crucifixion from JAMA, written by doctors from a medical standpoint and using medical terminology. It most accurately portrays the gruesome agony and sufferings that Jesus Christ experienced when He was crucified. These graphic illustrations will enable you to understand more fully what Jesus Christ endured.

When I read this article, it gave me a deeper spiritual and physical understanding of the sufferings of our Savior. We are to keep in mind the sacrifice of Jesus Christ not only when partaking of the Passover but also every time we cry out to God for forgiveness, healing and mercy. We always need to remember that the Lord God became a man for the purpose of suffering death by crucifixion in order to save us from our sins. Paul was inspired to write: "But we see Jesus, Who was made a little lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor on account of suffering the death, in order that by the grace of God He Himself might taste death for everyone; because it was fitting for Him, for Whom all things were created, and by Whom all things exist, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Author of their salvation perfect through sufferings" (Heb. 2:9-10).

This article will give you a greater appreciation for what Paul wrote when he explained what God gave up to become a man and to be the sacrifice for the sins of the world. He wrote: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but emptied Himself, and was made in the likeness of men, and took the form of a servant; and being found in the manner of man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Therefore, God has also highly exalted Him and bestowed upon Him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of beings in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:5-11).

We must never forget when we are facing trouble or struggling against sin, we are always to look to Jesus Christ. We are to consider Him and His sacrifice in order to have hope and inspiration, regardless of the outward circumstances. After writing about the examples of the struggles of the righteous men and women of the Old Testament who overcame sin and the enemy, Paul stated: 'Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great throng of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily entraps us; and let us run the race set before us with endurance, having our minds fixed on Jesus, the Beginner and Finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that lay ahead of Hint endured the cross, although He despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Now meditate deeply on Him Who endured such great hostility of sinners against Himself, so that you do not become weary and faint in your minds. You have not yet resisted to the point of losing blood in your struggle against sin" (Heb. 12:1-4).

Regardless of the outcome of trials and persecution, we are to look to God for His deliverance and arm ourselves with the mind of Christ. The apostle Peter encouraged and comforted us with these words: "Consequently, since Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind; because the one who has suffered in the flesh has finished living in sin, to this end: that he no longer lives his remaining time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God....Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial among you, which is taking place to test you, as if some strange thing were happening to you. But to the degree that you have a share in the sufferings of Christ, rejoice; so that, at the revelation of His glory, you also may rejoice exceedingly. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and the Spirit of God is resting upon you; on their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. Assuredly, let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or an evildoer, or as an over lording busybody in other people's lives.

"Yet if anyone is suffering as a Christian, he should not be ashamed; but let him glorify God because of this. For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it first begins with us, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? And if the righteous are saved with much difficulty, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner? For this reason also, let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in well doing, as to a faithful Creator" (I Pet. 4:1-2, 12-19).

Not only did the apostles write of the sufferings of Christ in the gospels and epistles, but the prophets of the Old Testament also foretold of this awesome, loving sacrifice in great detail. Isaiah prophesied that Jesus Christ would be God the Father's sacrifice for the sins of the world: "For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our grief, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

"And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors" (Isa. 53:2-12).

Think of it! Over 700 years before Christ came to this earth, Isaiah foretold of the suffering and crucifixion that He would endure. In fact, as the Lord God of the Old Testa­ment, it was Jesus Himself Who gave these prophecies to His prophets. Not only did Isaiah prophesy of Jesus' crucifixion, but he prophesied of the scourging He would endure before being led out and nailed and hung on a cross to die: "As many were astonished at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: so shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider" (Isa. 52:14-15).

In spite of His excruciating pain and sufferings, Jesus was faithful unto the end. He was the Lamb of God. He knew from before the foundation of the world that He would be the sacrifice for the sins of the world. King David, from whom Jesus Christ's physical lineage through Mary would come, also prophesied in Psalm 22 of the gruesome details of Jesus' suffering on the cross and even penned some of the very words Jesus would utter as He hung on the cross: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? ... But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD mat he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.

"But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother's belly. Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. Many bulls [powerful demons] have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.

"For dogs [the Gentiles and Jewish religious leaders] have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me. Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. Save me from the lion's mouth [Satan the devil]: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns" (Psa. 22:1-21).

Brethren, as we come to partake of the Passover, renewing the New Covenant, we need to fully understand the tremendous love that God the Father and Jesus Christ have for us. Their love is not only for us but also for all the saints down through the ages who have faithfully finished their course—most by martyrdom—and are awaiting the resurrection.

The awesome sacrifice that Jesus Christ accomplished offers us a place in the Family of God—to be the very sons and daughters of God: "For both He Who is sanctifying and those who are sanctified are all of one; for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, 'I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the church I will sing praise to You.' And again, 'I will be trusting in Him.' And again, 'Behold, I and the children whom God has given Me' " (Heb. 2:11-13).

God the Father through Jesus Christ has blessed us with the greatest relationship possible by giving us direct access to His throne in heaven through prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote these encouraging words for us: "Having therefore a great High Priest, Who has passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, we should hold fast the confession of our faith. For we do not have a high priest who cannot empathize with our weaknesses, but one Who was tempted in all things according to the likeness of our own temptations; yet He was without sin. Therefore, we should come with boldness to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4: 14-16).

Jesus Christ -- at the right hand of God as our personal Advocate and Intercessor to keep us in right standing with the Father, as we cry out to Him for mercy and forgiveness with repentant hearts and humble minds. There is no temptation, no trouble, no trauma, no trial or tribulation we will ever experience that is too small or too great to lay before the throne of God, requesting His forgiveness, help, strength and intervention. Jesus understands us completely. He is always ready to forgive us, help us and strengthen us. And He is only a prayer away!

Passover Controversies Raise Their Ugly Heads Again: As we have experienced in the past, Satan never ceases to attack the Passover of God. It appears that he and his servants are at it again. We have received information that the same old Passover controversies are being recycled through various other churches of God. Some might ask you if you know the answers to their questions. Armed with The Christian Passover book, you will be able to answer all their questions, and if they are willing to write to us, we will be happy to send them a book at no cost. If they feel uneasy about writing to us because they belong to another church of God, we can send a book to you that you may give to them. We are happy to do this as a service of love for the brethren of Jesus Christ, so they may recover themselves out of Satan's snare.

Brethren, let us through the power of the Holy Spirit and the love of God have a most meaningful Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread. I hope that this material, showing the details of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, will help give you a more profound understanding of God the Father's personal love for you. Once again, thank you for your love and prayers and your help in restoring the brethren in love to Jesus Christ and God the Father. May God's love, grace and blessings be upon you in everything.

With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter

FRC

P.S. Many brethren have commented to me that they have reread or are in the process of rereading The Christian Passover. Remember that it is an in-depth book filled with a lot of facts and knowledge. Therefore, it is a very good idea to review and study it, not only for the Passover season but also at other times, as it covers many subjects in addition to the Passover itself.

 

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