Monthly letter archive

Christian Biblical Church of God

Post Office Box 1442

Hollister, California 95024-1442

(831)-637-1875

Fred R. Coulter

Minister

January 22, 2003

Dear Brethren,

It looks like war in Iraq will soon take place. But why will it occur? Is it because the United States needs the war to bolster the economy? Is it because the United States will use this war as a reason to pass the laws in Congress to allow the oil companies to drill for oil in Alaska? Is it because the world needs the oil? How does North Korea fit into the picture? What about China, India, Japan and all of Southeast Asia? What about Russia and all the far east? And don't forget Afghanistan! While all of these immediate reasons may be used to justify that war against Iraq, there are greater prophetic reasons for these actions. As we will understand there is a bigger overall pattern to these events than most people could imagine. What is it?

First of all, there is undoubtedly more time in the prophetic picture from God's perceptive than we have realized in the past. But why? Because all the end time events are going to be of a far greater magnitude than most people could ever fathom. The war in Iraq, as well as what has happened in Afghanistan, is laying the foundation for the fulfilling of the prophecies concerning all the nations that lie north and east of Jerusalem. These nations have a geographical area of approximately one-fourth the entire landmass of the world, and have a population of nearly four billion people.

The prophet Joel wrote of these end time events: "Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, 'I am strong.' Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat; for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about" (Joel 3:9-12, KJV).

All the nations that lie to the north and east of Jerusalem, all the way to, and including Japan, must develop economically in order to develop their war making capabilities. This is why that after the war in Vietnam economic development was the number one priority. The same is true of Afghanistan, today. It will also be in Iraq after the war is over. Today, we are assisting Pakistan economically. At the same time, India, Thailand, Burma and all Southeast Asian nations are developing their economies as well. Look at China! It is rapidly growing into a gigantic economic and military power, made possible because of their increasing economic power. We need to realize that in order to prepare for war, these nations must continue to develop their economies and technologies to a far greater extent. By so doing, they will have the means to increase their armies and to perfect advanced sophisticated weapons systems. This is the greater overall picture in all of these events that are happening, today.

Ezekiel also prophesied of all these nations by their ancient names. However, these names refer to all the nations north and east of Jerusalem. A few of these nations still bear the ancient names that Ezekiel was inspired to write. Notice what he wrote:

"And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 'Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,' and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal [Russia and the nations in the north that lay east of Russia]: and I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee. Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them....And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man's sword shall be against his brother. And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD" (Ezk. 38:1-7, 21-23, KJV).

Ezekiel's prophecy against these nations continues in Chapter 39: "Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; 'Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: and I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel: and I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand. Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD. And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD' " (Ezk. 39:1-6, KJV). Until God is fully ready, according to His timetable, the world will experience an uneasy peace, punctuated by periodic wars in these regions of the world. But in the mean time those nations will be arming themselves to the teeth with the most sophisticated weapons imaginable.

Another profound understanding about these nations and their war making abilities is this: The Bible shows that there will be three invasions of the Holy Land from these nations.

The First Invasion: At the time of the end, the king of the north—the coming leader of the European nations—and his armies will invade the Holy Land. Daniel prophesied of this: "And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him [another round in the Arab/terrorists wars]: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. He shall enter also into the glorious land [the Holy Land], and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon [the countries that lie just to the east and south of Jerusalem]. He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps. But tidings out of the east and out of the north [Russia and all the countries to the east] shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him" (Dan. 11:40-45, KJV).

The apostle John also saw this event in vision and recorded it in the book of Revelation. The king of the north will invade the Holy Land when Jesus Christ opens the second seal and it will set in motion a whole chain of events and begin to fulfill all the Bible prophecies concerning the end time. Notice: "And when He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, 'Come and see.' And another horse went out that was red; and power was given to the one sitting on it to take peace from the earth, and to cause them to kill one another; and a great sword was given to him" (Rev. 6:3-4).

It is important to understand that the Great Tribulation does not begin until the king of the north, called the Beast in Revelation 13, comes against the king of the south. When the king of the north enters the Holy Land, he will go into the temple in Jerusalem and proclaim himself to be God (II Thes. 2:1-12). That triggers the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:15-22). After he has established his power in the middle east, Daniel shows that tidings out of the east and north will trouble the king of the north. The Beast will then launch an attack against those nations. This occurs when the fifth angel sounds his trumpet. John wrote: "And the fifth angel sounded his trumpet; and I saw a star that had fallen from heaven to the earth, and there was given to it the key to the bottomless abyss. And it opened the bottomless abyss; and there went up smoke from the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke from the pit. Then locusts came onto the earth from the smoke, and power was given to them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was said to them that they should not damage the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only the men who did not have the seal of God in their foreheads. And it was given to them that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man.

"And in those days men will seek death but will not find it; and they will desire to die, but death will flee from them. And the appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared for war, and on their heads were crowns like those of gold; and their faces were like the faces of men; and they had hair like women's hair; and their teeth were like those of lions. And they had breastplates like iron breastplates; and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots drawn by many horses running to war; and they had tails like scorpions, and stingers; and they were given power to injure men with their tails for five months. And they have over them a king, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but the name he has in Greek is Apollyon. The first woe is past. Behold, after these things two more woes are still to come" (verses 1-11).

After the five months of torment from this scorpion-like attack is over, the nations of the north and east will recover and retaliate in fury. They will assemble the most massive army ever assembled in the history of mankind and they will begin invade from the east. As we will see, there will be a series of invasions. John recorded the magnitude of these armies and their fantastic weapons: "And the sixth angel sounded his trumpet; and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar that is before God; and it said to the sixth angel, who had the trumpet, 'Loose the four angels who are bound in the great river Euphrates [modern-day Iraq].' Then the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were loosed, so that they might kill a third of men; and the number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred thousand thousand [two hundred million]: and I heard the number of them.

"And so I saw the horses in the vision, and those sitting on them, who had fiery breastplates, even like jacinth and brimstone. And the heads of the horses were like heads of lions, and fire and smoke and brimstone shoot out of their mouths. By these three a third of men were killed: by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone that shoot out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouths; for their tails are like serpents, and have heads, and with them they inflict wounds. But the rest of the men who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the works of their hands, that they might not worship demons, and idols of gold and silver and brass and stone and wood, which do not have the power to see, nor to hear, nor to walk. And they did not repent of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornications, nor of their thievery" (Rev. 9:13-21).

The prophet Joel describes the armies and soldiers of this fierce retaliation by the armies from the north and east as they invade the Holy Land: "Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.

"The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness. They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded. They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief. The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: and the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? (Joel 2:1-11, KJV).

This is the first invasion of the armies from the north and east. Just because of the sheer size of these armies—two hundred million men, it is apparent that in the first invasion that not all of their troops and weapons will be used in this attack. However, as we will see, they will be used in the second and third invasions.

The Second Invasion: When the second invasion takes place, not only will the armies of the north and east be involved, but also united with them will be armies from all the nations of the world, as well. They will be gathered together to fight against Jesus Christ and the resurrected saints. People of the world will probably be able to see the Sea of Glass as it is suspended in the air over Jerusalem. To the world this will be an invasion by alien beings from outer space. The call will go out to all nations to gather with their armies to repel these invaders from outer space in order to save the world. When the sixth angel pours out the sixth of the seven last plagues, this invasion will begin. John recorded this event: "And the sixth angel poured out his vial into the great river Euphrates; and its waters were dried up, so that the way of the kings from the rising of the sun might be prepared. Then I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet; for they are spirits of demons working miracles, going forth to the kings of the earth, even of the whole world, to gather them together to the battle of that great day of the Almighty God" (Rev. 16:12-14).

Like the first invasion, the Euphrates River is, again, prepared so these armies advance to the Holy Land. The nations of the world will think that they are going to save the world from alien beings from outer space. They do not realize that God is the one Who is gathering them in order to exact His judgment and destroy them in the valley of Jehoshaphat in the battle of Armageddon. The prophet Joel also prophesied of this event: "Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the vats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake" (Joel 3:11-16, KJV).

The apostle John also foresaw this awesome judgment of God: "And out from the altar came another angel, who had authority over fire; and he called with a loud cry to the one who had the sharp sickle, saying, 'Thrust in your sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the earth, because her grapes are fully ripe.' And the angel thrust his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast its fruit into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood spewed out from the winepress as high as the horses' bridles, to the distance of a thousand six hundred furlongs" (Rev. 14:18-20)

While all these armies gather to fight against Christ and the saints, they have no idea of what is coming. Christ will shower down upon them a fantastic secret weapon—180-pound hailstones reigning out of the sky—against which there is no defense. John saw this vision and wrote: "And he gathered them together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. Then the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, 'IT IS FINISHED.' And there were voices and thunders and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were on the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts; and the cities of the nations fell; and Babylon the Great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fury of His wrath. And every island disappeared, and no mountains were found; and great hail, each stone the weight of a talent [180 pounds], fell down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, for the plague was exceedingly great" (Rev. 16:16-21).

However, not all the armies will be destroyed by these great hailstones. Those armies that remain will regroup and make one final, futile attempt to fight Christ and the saints. As Christ and the saints are returning to the earth from the Sea of Glass, Christ will unleash the ultimate weapon of destruction from which there will be no recovery: "And I saw heaven open, and behold, a white horse, and He Who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He does judge and make war. And His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written that no one knows except Him. And He was clothed with a garment dipped in blood; and His name is The Word of God. And the armies in heaven [the resurrected immortal saints] were following Him on white horses; and they were clothed in fine linen, white and pure. And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He might smite the nations; and He shall shepherd them with an iron rod; and He treads the winepress of the fury and the wrath of the Almighty God. And on His garment and on His thigh He has a name written: King of kings and Lord of lords.

"Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, 'Come and gather yourselves together to the supper of the great God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of chief captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all, free and bond, and small and great.' And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies, gathered together to make war with Him Who sits on the horse, and with His army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet who worked miracles in his presence, by which he had deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. Those two were cast alive into the lake of fire, which burns with brimstone; and the rest were killed by the sword of Him Who sits on the horse, even the sword that goes out of His mouth; and all the birds were filled with their flesh" (Rev. 19:21).

In the book of Zechariah we are told how this ultimate, all-consuming weapon will work. Zechariah describes this final plague that destroys the remnant of the armies that fight against Jesus Christ and the saints: "For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle...then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle....and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee....And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth....And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague" (Zech. 14:2-3, 12, 15, KJV).

Then Jesus Christ and the saints begin to establish the kingdom of God on the earth: "And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south....And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one" (Zech. 14:4, 8-9, KJV). The Millennium officially begins (Rev. 20:4-6).

First, Christ deals with the twelve tribes of Israel—those who survived the great tribulation. At that time, Jerusalem becomes the capital city of the kingdom of God. For the first three and one-half years Christ only deals directly with Israel, not all the rest of the nations of the world. However, during this time the rest of the nations of the world will have an opportunity to know of Jesus Christ and the ways of God, if they come up to Jerusalem, Christ will deal with them. On the other hand, during this three and one-half year period not all nations will go up to Jerusalem to learn the ways of God. Some will still rebel and Christ will have to rebuke them until they submit. Isaiah foresaw this time: "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (Isa. 2:2-4). This is the setting that leads up to the third and final invasion by the nations of the north and east.

The Third Invasion: The final, futile third invasion occurs approximately three and one-half years after the Millennium has begun. This invasion will be totally crushed by Jesus Christ, and will lead to the conversion of all the rest of the nations of the world who will then submit to the rule of God. We again go to Ezekiel 38 where we are told of this third invasion. Notice that Israel is already at peace, living under the rule of God (verses 8- 14). God says of Gog and Magog and all the nations with them: 'Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shall thou not know it? And thou shall come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army: and thou shall come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes....And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man's sword shall be against his brother. "And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD" (verses 14-16; 21-23 KJV).

God destroys the nations of this third invasion in order to show to all the rest of the nations of the world, who have not submitted to the rule of Jesus Christ and the saints, that they must submit or be destroyed. Notice what God says to Magog in Ezekiel 39: "And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD. So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord GOD; this is the day whereof I have spoken" (verses 6-8). God does this so that the heathen will know that He and He alone is God.

The world will only know peace when there is no more war. And the last war to be fought will be the third invasion by the forces of God and Magog with all the nations of the north and east. From that time forward, all during the Millennium, people will not learn to make war as the prophet Micah foretold: "And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it" (Micah 4:3-4, KJV).

For the rest of the Millennium, Christ and the saints will rule the world. The true government of God will be on earth. Christ is the head of that government. It was for this purpose that Jesus Christ was born. Isaiah wrote: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this" (Isa. 9:6-7,KJV).

In reality, what we are witnessing today, with coming war in Iraq, is laying the foundation for all of the nations and peoples north and east of Jerusalem to develop the greatest armies the world has ever seen. They will fight Christ three times and they will be utterly defeated because He is "King of kings and Lord of lords."

The New Testament Project: We are continuing to work hard on the commentaries for the New Testament. We have been delayed because I have been recovering from my hip operation. However, it seems that every small delay actually turns out for the best in the long run. With the added research that Gary Staszak and I are doing, which will become part of the commentaries, God has led us to historical records that prove beyond any shadow of doubt that the Byzantine Greek text of the New Testament is the authentic Word of God, and has been accurately preserved. When all the factors of the various Byzantine manuscripts are carefully compared, we now know that they all agree to about 98-99%. Furthermore, the small number of differences between the manuscripts does not affect the accuracy of the Word of God. Contrary to the pronouncements of many scholars, we do have the God-inspired New Testament. This will all be explained in the commentaries in the coming New Testament.

It has now been two months since my operation. I am making good progress in my recovery and hope to be up to full strength in about another month. Thank you for all your prayers, letters and cards of encouragement. However, please continue to pray for all the brethren who need to be healed, to be encouraged, to find a job and to deal with the trials they are facing on a daily basis. May God the Father strengthen you in love and faith. May you continue to be inspired by the hope of our salvation. May you be filled with the Holy Spirit of God to continue to make your calling and election sure. Thank you for your continued support. We are in the process of finalizing the receipts for your tithes and offerings and we will have them mailed to you by the end of the month.

With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter

FRC

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