Monthly letter archive

Christian Biblical Church of God

Post Office Box 1442

Hollister, California 95024-1442


Fred R. Coulter, Minister

February 18, 2004

Dear Brethren,

When the printer Thomson-Shore finished the New Testament book, I had thirty-six copies shipped to me via UPS next day air. We were excited to receive them. On Sabbath January 31, I gave copies to the brethren in Fairfield and Hollister. However, when my wife Dolores—who had studied book repair during her training as a librarian— examined the books more closely, she discovered that the binding on the books was faulty. There were two stitches missing at the bottom of the books and the rest of the stitches were too close to the edge of the fold in the gutter of the sections. These faults made the binding very weak and subject to coming apart in a short period of time. After discovering this, we called the brethren who had received their books and found the same problem with the binding.

On Monday February 3, I called our account representative, Angie Fugate, at Thomson-Shore and explained the problem to her. As we were talking on the phone, she got her copy of the book and found the same problems in hers. She then showed the faulty binding to her boss. He immediately ordered an inspection of all 4,500 books, which were scheduled to be shipped the next day. Later, one of the vice-presidents called me and asked if we would accept the books if they repaired them with glue. I told him that was not acceptable because we did not contract with them to produce repaired books. After inspecting the books, they found only 479 books that had good bindings. Then I received a call from Angie that they would make good on our contract and would reprint over 4,000 books at their expense. We had them ship the good books to our Canadian office.

We regret that this has happened because we know that you were looking forward to receiving your New Testament this month. However, it is best that the problem was discovered now, rather than later. We can thank Dolores for her eagle eye in catching this horrible flaw in the binding.

With this new printing, we can be sure that the people at Thomson-Shore will be especially careful. Everyone involved, from the vice-president on down will be paying special attention to every step of its production. It will be checked and rechecked. From the tentative schedule that Angie Fugate gave me, it now appears that we will be ready to mail them to you beginning the second week in March.

All that said, aside from the binding problem, the book is beautiful, the paper is excellent and the printing is outstanding. We know that when you receive your copy, you will truly appreciate studying this New Testament book for many years to come.

Overview of the New Testament Book: Toward the end of February we will be sending you two tapes about the New Testament book. In these tapes I cover the purpose of the commentaries and why they are necessary. For some readers parts of the commentaries will be a bit difficult to understand. However, if you read them several times you will able to understand them. We need to realize that is important for these commentaries be included in this book because we must deal with all major the arguments that the New Testament was not written down for decades or even hundreds of years after the apostles had died. As you will learn, such a proposition is not true. In Chapter One through Seven, I wrote commentaries explaining when and by whom the New Testament was written and canonized. The Scriptures themselves clearly reveal that the apostles wrote the books of the New Testament and that Paul, Peter and John canonized it. In Chapter Eight I conclude with "A Tribute to William Tyndale, 'the Father of All English Bibles.' "

Gary Staszak wrote the Chapter Nine through Fifteen. His commentaries are especially important because they deal with the history and preservation of the Old and New Testaments. The chapters he wrote deal with the major scholarly arguments about the accuracy of the Hebrew and Greek texts. It is absolutely necessary to have these commentaries in order to refute false theories and to show that the Word of God was directly inspired by God the Father and Jesus Christ as the "God-breathed" words of God. Notice what the apostle Paul wrote: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is profitable for doctrine, for conviction, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; so that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work" (II Tim 3:15-16).

As one of the last surviving eye-witnesses of the transfiguration of Jesus Christ, Peter made it absolutely clear that what the apostles had written was not based on the myths of men: "For we did not follow cleverly concocted myths as our authority, when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His magnificent glory; because He received glory and honor from God the Father when the voice came to Him from the Majestic Glory, This is My Son, the Beloved, in Whom I am well pleased.' And this is the voice from heaven that we heard when we were with Him on the holy mountain. We also possess the confirmed prophetic Word to which you do well to pay attention, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture originated as anyone's own private interpretation; because prophecy was not brought at any time by human will, but the holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (II Pet. 1:16-21).

Gary wrote very compelling commentaries on how God the Father and Jesus Christ caused the New Testament to be copied and preserved down through the centuries so that, today, we can have full faith and confidence in the word of God. As Jesus said, "The words that I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life" (John 6:63). And again He said, "The heaven and the earth shall pass away, but My words shall never pass away" (Matt. 24:35).

Yet, today, too many scholars and, yes, even leading theologians believe that the Bible is not the Word of God, but only a collection of myths and accumulated folklore. They claim that since men created the Bible that it cannot have a fixed final canon,. Therefore, men can change it to meet the needs of each generation. That is the reason that some modern translations are almost unrecognizable as the Word of God.

The apostle Peter wrote about such men who blaspheme and subvert the Word of God. As it is today, they were discrediting the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Gospel of the kingdom of God: "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).

In this age, the servants of Satan the devil are busily doing the same thing. We can hear and see this every day in the false Christianity of this world. Just as the apostle Peter wrote, the Epistles of Paul are twisted and distorted to preach a lawless grace that leads to destruction: "And bear in mind that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation, exactly as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has also written to you; as he has also in all his epistles, speaking in them concerning these things; in which are some things that are difficult to understand, which the ignorant and unstable are twisting and distorting, as they also twist and distort the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. Therefore, beloved, since you know this in advance, be on guard against such practices, lest you be led astray with the error of the lawless ones, and you fall from your own steadfastness; rather, be growing in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and into the day of eternity" (II Pet. 3:15-18).

Likewise, the apostle Paul also wrote extensively about false prophets and teachers who would corrupt the Word of God: "For we are not like the many, who for their own profit are corrupting the Word of God; but we speak with sincerity, as from God, and before God, and in Christ" (II Cor. 2:15-17).

As it is today, they used the name of Jesus Christ to preach a false gospel because they are seeking to please men rather than God. In his epistle to the Galatians, Paul exposed and strongly rebuked those who preached a different gospel that was leading brethren astray. Not only were the brethren in Galatia allowing false apostles to teach them, they were just sitting there and allowing themselves be led astray: "I am astonished that you are so quickly being turned away from Him Who called you into the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which in reality is not another gospel, but there are some who are troubling you and are desiring to pervert the gospel of Christ. But if we, or even an angel from heaven, should preach a gospel to you that is contrary to what we have preached, LET HIM BE ACCURSED! As we have said before, I also now say again. If anyone is preaching a gospel contrary to what you have received, LET HIM BE ACCURSED! Now then, am I striving to please men, or God? Or am I motivated to please men? For if I am yet pleasing men, I would not be a servant of Christ" (Gal. 1:6-10).

Those who teach the Word of God are responsible to know the Scriptures, as well as "rightly dividing the word of Truth" (II Tim. 2:15). They must speak the words of God, because "the one whom God sends, speaks the words of God" (John 3:34). When they preach themselves and seek to please men rather than God, they are preaching a different Gospel, although they use the Bible and the name of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul is an example of the true dedication needed to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and not self: "Therefore, having this ministry, according as we have received mercy, we are not fainthearted. For we have personally renounced the hidden things of dishonest gain, not walking in cunningcraftiness, nor handling the Word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth, we are commending ourselves to every man's conscience before God. But if our gospel is hidden, it is hidden to those who are perishing; in whom the god of this world 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. For we do not preach our own selves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake because it is God Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, Who shined into our hearts the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (II Cor. 4:1-6).

Brethren, you will find that the translation, commentaries and appendices in this book, The New Testament In Its Original Order—A Faithful Version with Commentary, have been written in the same attitude and spirit that guided the apostles of Jesus Christ who wrote and canonized the New Testament. This was not done for self. This was not done for personal aggrandizement. It was done to proclaim the truth of the Word of God and the salvation of Jesus Christ. It was done to uphold the true Word of God and the true teachings of Jesus Christ. It was done to refute the gainsayers who hate the Word of God and seek to subvert it with corrupt new translations and false teachings.

Always remember, God had not called us to a religion but to a way of life. He has called us to be His sons and daughters and to give us eternal life. We have been redeemed through the blood of Jesus Christ and begotten by His Spirit so that we can live by every word of God. Notice what Peter wrote: "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the elect strangers scattered in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia; who have been chosen according to the predetermined knowledge of God the Father, by sanctification through the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who, according to His abundant mercy, has begotten us again unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; unto an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, reserved in heaven for us, who are being safeguarded by the power of God through faith, for salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time....Knowing that you were not redeemed by corruptible things, by silver or gold, from your futile way of living, inherited by tradition from your forefathers; but by the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot; Who truly was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but was manifested in these last times for your sakes; even for you who through Him do believe in God, Who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope might be in God. Having purified your lives by obedience to the Truth unto unfeigned brotherly love through the Spirit, love one another fervently with a pure heart. For you have been begotten again, not from corruptible seed, but from incorruptible seed, by the living Word of God, which remains forever. For all flesh is like grass, and all the glory of man is like the flower of the field; the grass has withered, and its flower has fallen away. But the Word of the Lord remains forever; and this is the message that was preached to you through the gospel" (I Pet. 1:1-5, 18-25).

We have been called from a life of sin and disobedience to be converted and to receive eternal life at the resurrection. That is the hope that is set before us: "For we also were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving all kinds of lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the graciousness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we practiced, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, which He richly poured out upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior; so that, having been justified by His grace, we would become heirs according to the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:3-7).

We also have our part to do in the process of spiritual growth and development of godly character and love. Think of it! We have been called to receive the divine nature of God. But God expects our love, full cooperation, obedience and diligence in the fantastic work that He is doing in us! Peter was inspired to write out a step-by-step way to build spiritual character and the love of God that will never fail: "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. And for this very reason also, having applied all diligence besides, add to your faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, endurance; and to endurance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly love; and to brotherly love, the love of God. For if these things exist and abound in you, they will cause you to be neither lacking effort nor lacking fruit in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But the one in whom these things are not present is spiritually blind—so short­sighted that he has forgotten that he was purified from his old sins. For this reason, brethren, be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure; because if you are doing these things, you will never fall at any time" (II Pet. 2:3-10).

When we fall short, Jesus Christ, as our High Priest, is there at the right hand of God to intercede for us, to forgive us and to strengthen us so that we will overcome and attain eternal life: "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).

With the help and intervention of God the Father and Jesus Christ, there is no problem that is too great. There is no temptation that is too strong. There is no weakness that cannot be overcome. Remember, when all else fails, God the Father loves us. Jesus Christ loves us—He gave his life for us—so that we may overcome and attain eternal life and glory. This is why we must go to God the Father in prayer and repentance asking Jesus to stir us up through the power of the Holy Spirit as Paul wrote to Timothy: "I admonish you to stir up the gift of God that is in you by the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of sound-mindedness" (IITim. 1:3-7).

This is the kind of attitude and zeal that we need to strive for. Never forget, Jesus Christ has promised, what He has started He will finish: "Being confident of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6). And again, uFor He has said, 'In no way will I ever leave you; no—I will never forsake you in any way.' So then, let us boldly say, 'The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?' " (Heb. 13:5-6).

Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread: In approximately six weeks it will be time to observe the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread. As we know, the Passover is the annual renewal of the New Covenant that was sealed with the shed blood and broken body of Jesus Christ. The night of Jesus' last Passover, before His arrest, trials and subsequent crucifixion, He instituted the New Covenant Christian Passover, as recorded in the Gospels: "And as they were eating, Jesus took the bread and blessed it; then He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is Mybody.' And He took the cup; and after giving thanks, He gave it to them, saying, 'All of you drink of it; for this is Myblood, the blood of the New Covenant, which is poured out for many for the remission of sins" (Matt. 26:26-28).

Jesus Christ is the bread of life, as He explained: " '...the bread of God is He Who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.' Jesus said to them, 'I am the bread of life; the one who comes to Me shall never hunger; and the one who believes in Me shall never thirst at any time' " (John 6:33, 35).

Many of Jesus' disciples did not understand what He meant when He told them they had to eat His flesh and drink His blood to receive eternal life. They thought that He was talking about literally eating His flesh and drinking His blood. They said that what He had told them was "a hard saying." They were not able to understand and turned from following Jesus.

However, as we have seen, when Jesus instituted the New Covenant Passover ceremony, He made it clear to the apostles that the bread and wine symbolized His flesh and blood. Jesus also taught that if you do not eat His flesh, through eating the unleavened bread, and do not drink His blood, through drinking of the wine, you do not have eternal life in you: "Therefore, Jesus said to them, "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 Iin 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).

The apostle Paul commanded, "Preach the Word! Be urgent in season and out of season; convict, rebuke, encourage, with all patience and doctrine" (I Tim. 4:2). Now the spring feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread are coming, we will do exactly as Jesus has commanded.

Passover Materials: We have five Passover preparation tapes that we did last year. These were meant to be used as preparation for any Passover, as we thoroughly study the "Words of the New Covenant" in John 14-17. If you do not have these tapes, please write for them and we will send them to you immediately, along with the study paper.

The Christian Passover book: If you do nothave The Christian Passover book, please write for it. It is an in-depth, 512 page book explaining every aspect of the Passover—Old and New Testaments, as well as its beginning with Abraham.

Brethren, thank you for your patience in waiting for the New Testament book. It will be worth the wait. We hope that it will inspire you to stand for the truth, to love and serve God the Father and Jesus Christ with even greater determination and zeal. Thank you for your faithful tithes and offerings which made this project possible. May God continue to bless you with His love, grace and mercy in all things.

With Love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter