Monthly letter archive

January 17, 2018

Dear Brethren,

We finished off 2017 by sending out three great booklets: God, or No God? and How Credible is the Bible?, both by Duncan MacLeod, and Geology, Catastrophism, and the Scriptures, which includes material by Dr. Lynn Torrance and Philip Neal. These booklets are vitally important for those who are beginning to understand the Bible. (We’ve also made them available on audio CD—so you can listen as you read or just listen to them in your car.)

These booklets reveal that there is indeed an Almighty God who created all that exists. They also demonstrate how God works over time with people and nations to fulfill His will. Fundamentally, these booklets prove that the Word of God is true—that the Scriptures are living and powerful and are actively working both on earth and in the heavens!

The apostle Paul preached the same message to the great philosophers who gathered at Mars Hill in Athens, Greece, over 1900 years ago: “He is the God Who made the world and all things that are in it. Being the Lord of heaven and earth, He does not dwell in temples made by hands; nor is He served by the hands of men, as though He needs anything, for He gives to all life and breath and all things.

“And He made of one blood all the nations of men to dwell upon all the face of the earth, having determined beforehand their appointed times and the boundaries of their dwelling; in order that they might seek the Lord, if perhaps they might feel after Him and might find Him; though truly, He is not far from each one of us, for in Him we live and move and have our being…” (Acts 17:24-28).

Understanding Prophecy: As we enter a new year, extraordinary events are taking place. Naturally, we ask: “Where are we in prophecy?” “How close are we to the return of Christ?” “When will the Kingdom of God be set up?” From the time of the apostles, perhaps in nearly every generation, the people of God have pondered these questions.

Now, some 2,000 years since Jesus’ time, it appears—based on how world events are unfolding—that there may be a number of years yet before Jesus returns to set up His kingdom with us as kings and priests (Rev. 1:6; 5:9-10; 20:6). Why? Because there are many prophecies that have yet to be fulfilled. And as we are coming to realize, some of these prophecies are going to be fulfilled in a far greater way than we have imagined!

Thankfully, we do have a good understanding of many end time prophecies. However, we may have overlooked one of the most important aspects of understanding their fulfillment. What did we miss? The answer is found in Matthew five, in passages we have covered again and again. How many times have we covered these two verses? “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until the heaven and the earth shall pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no way pass from the Law until everything [including all prophecy] has been fulfilled [by Christ Himself]” (Matt. 5:17-18).

We have always emphasized that Jesus did not come to abolish the Law, but to “magnify the Law and make it glorious” (Isa. 42:21). (Perhaps this was because there is so much lawlessness in the world, especially in worldly Christianity.) We then proceeded to show how Jesus did in fact magnify the Law—as true Christianity does not teach a “lawless grace.” Indeed, the New Testament emphasizes love and obedience toward God (I John 2:3-6).

However, what we have neglected in Matthew five is that Jesus also came to fulfill the prophetsall of them, not just the ones that foretold of His first coming and His ministry. Thus, Jesus is to fulfill all end time prophecies Himself—as God the Father has given Him “all authority in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18).

Jesus Christ is “the Prophet”: In the book of Deuteronomy, we find a basic prophecy given to Moses that Jesus Christ would be called “the Prophet.” Notice: “The Lord your God will raise up unto you a Prophet from the midst of you, of your brethren, One like me. To Him you shall hearken…. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, One like you, and will put My words in His mouth. And He shall speak to them all that I shall command Him. And it shall come to pass, whatever man will not hearken to My words which He shall speak in My name, I will require it of him. But the prophet who shall presume to speak a word in My name which I have not commanded him to speak or who shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die” (Deut. 18:15, 18-20).

John the Baptist was asked by the Jewish religious authorities: “Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” (John 1:25). When Jesus had fed the five thousand, the people said, “Of a truth, this is the Prophet Who was to come into the world” (John 6:14). When Peter witnessed to the entire Sanhedrin, he proclaimed that Jesus was that Prophet (Acts 3:22).

The Bible provides essential keys on how to understand prophecy. But it always begins with God, because there are hidden things that God must reveal—through His Word and through the Holy Spirit. In the book of Daniel, for example, we find that only God grants understanding of prophecy. King Nebuchadnezzar’s “prophetic” dream is a perfect example. The Babylonian king’s magicians, enchanters, prognosticators, sorcerers, wise men—none of them could give the interpretation of the king’s dream. Rather, God Himself revealed the meaning of the dream to Daniel in a night vision: “And Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said, ‘Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals the deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him. I thank You, and praise You, O God of my fathers, Who has given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we desired of You, for You have made known to us the king’s matter’ ” (Dan. 2:19-23).

The Lord God of the Old Testament, the one who became Jesus Christ of the New Testament—“the Prophet”—revealed the entire matter, the dream and its interpretation to Daniel (Dan. 2:27-43). This passage is important because it shows who reveals prophecy—God. Thus, it becomes foundational to all biblical prophecy!

Continuing: “And in the days of these kings, the God of heaven shall set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed. And the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Because you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter. And the dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure. Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face and worshiped Daniel, and he commanded to offer an offering and sweet incense to him. The king answered Daniel and said, ‘It is true that your God is the God of gods, and the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret’ ” (verses 44-47).

This is a perfect example of how Jesus not only pronounces prophecy, but also fulfills prophecy. He is directly involved, because it has been given to Him from God to fulfill all prophecy. All prophecy comes from God, but Jesus must make it known. This means that the understanding of prophecy must come through Christ—“the Prophet.”

Yes, we must rightly divide the Word of God by the Spirit of God. Yet the understanding does not come because of human intellect. Paul makes this clear: “Rather, we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom that God foreordained before the ages unto our glory, which not one of the rulers of this world has known…. But according as it is written, ‘The eye has not seen, nor the ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’

But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit, for the Spirit searches all things—even the deep things of God. For who among men understands the things of man except by the spirit of man which is in him? In the same way also, the things of God no one understands except by the Spirit of God. Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is of God, so that we might know the things graciously given to us by God; which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Holy Spirit in order to communicate spiritual things by spiritual means. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (I Cor. 2:7-14).

Jesus also commanded us to be watching end time events as they occur: “But learn the parable of the fig tree: When its branches become tender, and it puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way also, when you see these things coming to pass, know that it is near, even at the doors.

“Truly I say to you, this [end-time] generation shall in no way pass away until all these things have taken place. The heaven and the earth shall pass away, but My words shall never pass away. But concerning that day and the hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.

Take heed, be watching and praying. For you do not know when the time is coming. It is like a man journeying to a far country, leaving his house and giving authority to his servants, and to each one his work, and commanding the doorkeeper to watch. Be watching, therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming: at evening, or at midnight, or at the cock’s crowing, or in the morning; lest he come suddenly and find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” (Mark 13:28-37).

Ultimately, when God chooses to disclose the meaning of a particular prophecy, then we will have the correct understanding. Notice what the angel of God promised Daniel when he wanted to understand the prophecies God had given to him: “Then I [Daniel] said, ‘O my lord, what shall be the end of these things?’ And he said, ‘Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and refined. But the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand’ ” (Dan. 12:8-10).

Prophecy and the Book of Revelation: In the beginning of the book of Revelation, Jesus makes it clear that He alone will fulfill all prophecy. He is the one who directs events and directs and commands angels as He causes prophecy to be fulfilled. As we will see, the first eight verses of Revelation chapter one actually form a prologue to the book and contain a short summary of the plan of God: “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to Him, to show to His servants the things that are ordained to come to pass shortly; and He made it known, having sent it by His angel to His servant John; who gave witness to the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, and all the things he saw.

“Blessed is the one who reads, and those who hear the words of this prophecy and who keep the things that are written therein; for the time is at hand. John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace and peace be to you from Him Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come; and from the seven spirits that are before His throne; and from Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness, the Firstborn from the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him Who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to God and His Father; to Him be the glory and the sovereignty into the ages of eternity. Amen.

“Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye shall see Him, and those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the Ending,’ says the Lord, ‘Who is, and Who was, and Who is to comethe Almighty’ ” (Rev. 1:1-8).

Jesus is declaring that He is in complete control, fully able to fulfill all prophecy—just as He stated in Matthew 5:18. Jesus alone is uniquely qualified to do this: “And in the right hand of Him Who sits on the throne [of God the Father] I saw a book, written within and on the back, which had been sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the book and to loose its seals?’ But no one in heaven, or on the earth, or under the earth was able to open the book, or to look inside it. And I was weeping greatly because no one was found worthy to open and to read the book, or to look into it.

“Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. Behold, the Lion Who is of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome to open the book, and to loose its seven seals.’ Then I saw, and behold, before the throne and the four living creatures, and before the elders, was standing a Lamb as having been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God that are sent into all the earth. And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him Who sits on the throne” (Rev. 5:1-7).

Only Jesus has the authority to open the seals. As each seal is opened, various prophecies are simultaneously unleashed to bring about the complete fulfillment of the seal. Moreover, as each seal is opened, their overlapping effects produce greater and greater destruction around the world. This opening of the seals of Revelation demonstrates that Christ will fulfill all prophecy.

In another example, Revelation 17 deals with prophecies concerning ten end time kings. Notice how Jesus deals with them directly: “ ‘And the beast that was, and is not, he is also the eighth, and is from the seven, and goes into perdition. And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings, who have not yet received a kingdom, but shall receive authority as kings for one hour with the beast. These all have one mind, and shall give up their power and authority to the beast. These will make war with the Lamb, but the Lamb shall overcome them; for He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.’

“Then he said to me, ‘The waters that you saw, where the whore sits, are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages [encompassing the entire world; Rev. 13:7]. But the ten horns that you saw on the beast shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and shall burn her with fire; for God has put into their hearts to do His will, and to act with one accord, and to give their kingdom to the beast until the words of God have been fulfilled. And the woman whom you saw is the great city that has royal power over the kings of the earth’ ” (Rev. 17:11-18).

Now we can better understand how Jesus is “the Prophet” who will personally bring to pass every prophecy in the Bible—past, present and future. Concerning prophecy, Peter wrote: “We also possess the confirmed prophetic Word [now the entire Word of God] 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 Peter 1:19-21).

Now you know why Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until the heaven and the earth shall pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no way pass from the Law [or the Prophets] until everything has been fulfilled” (Matt. 5:17-18).

There are many prophecies moving toward fulfillment. In upcoming messages and studies, we will keep you informed as key events transpire. If we do things God’s way—rightly divide the Scriptures, be led by the Holy Spirit, and be watching at all times as prophecies are unfolding—then He will grant us the understanding we need through Christ.

Brethren, thank you for your love and prayers—for us and all the brethren. Because many of us are getting up there in years, we all need to pray for one another. We love you and are praying for you daily—for your health, your healing, and especially that you stay strong in the Lord. We thank you for your continued support through your tithes and offerings as God blesses you. May God continue to bless you and yours in every way.

With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter