Monthly letter archive

January 16, 2019

Dear Brethren,

As we begin a new year according to the Roman Calendar, it seems like Jesus’ prophesies of Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 are magnifying in intensity! While it is true that these prophesies began with the time of Jesus and the apostles—leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD—they are being repeated in an almost cyclical manner down through time, with a yet-to-be-built third Temple to be destroyed at Christ’s return.

In spite of all that has been happening, we are not yet close to the end, to the return of Jesus Christ in power and glory. But, we are closer than in the past. There are yet many prophetic events that must take place before we reach the actual end.

Wanting God to fulfill His prophecies during their lifetimes, men have through the centuries “set dates” predicting when the end would come. All such predictions have failed. Many “Christian” ministers continue to do so—as do some ministers in the churches of God. But no man, regardless of how important he may be, can tell God what to do!

People seem to ignore the fact that God’s plan works according to His timetable. This is what Jesus told His disciples before ascending into heaven: “So then, when they were assembled together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will You restore the kingdom to Israel at this time?’ And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has placed in His own authority; but you yourselves shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses, both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and unto the ends of the earth.’ And after saying these things, as they were looking at Him, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight” (Acts 1:6-9).

Similarly, in Jesus’ Olivet prophesy He explained that the timing of end time prophecy is under the Father’s control: “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 generation [the final 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” (Mark 13:28-33).

On the other hand, it appears that we are now at the stage where prophecy is “speeding up”—primarily because the Gospel is now being published in and preached to all nations, just as Jesus said: “And the gospel must first be published among all nations…. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come” (Mark 13:10; Matt. 24:14).

Because we are close to the end time, we have a fairly detailed understanding of events that are to take place. Plus, the framework of the holy days gives us a special perspective on prophecy. But we still do not know exactly when events will take placeno one does!

Jesus also said that as we enter the “latter days” there would be many false prophets—even false Messiahs. Though this has happened down through time, it will intensify as we get closer to the end: “For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and they shall present great signs and wonders, in order to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matt. 24:24).

Consequently, we must be watching for key events. And Jesus revealed the one key prophetic event that will signal the beginning of the “Great Tribulation.” He said that when we see the “Abomination of Desolation” standing in the holy place, then the Tribulation will begin (Matt. 24:15, 21). This means that the Temple in Jerusalem has to be built and operating (Rev. 11:1-2). Also, the “beast” power and the “man of sin” (the “son of perdition”) must be on the scene. When this tyrannical ruler proclaims himself to be God, and is endorsed by the “false prophet,” he will go into the holy of holies in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem—and men will worship him as God, a false Messiah (II Thess. 2:1-12; Rev. 13:3-8).

In past years, I have given a sermon a number of times titled Fourteen Things to Happen in Prophecy (12-18-04). It details events that must occur before Jesus’ second coming. Since I do not plan on repeating it again this year, you might retrieve it from your sermon library; or go to and download it so you can listen to it again to refresh your understanding.

While certain prophetic conditions are definitely developing, numerous others have not yet begun. Remember, Jesus said, “When you see ALL these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (Matt. 24:33). It cannot be half, or two-thirds, or three-quarters; we must see “all these things”—then we will know that the end is upon us and the Tribulation is ready to unfold!

But well prior to the Tribulation, two major prophecies must be fulfilled: 1) There must be a king of the north; and 2) There must be a king of the south. Daniel writes that events of the end time will not take place until they come into power and the king of the south “pushes” at the king of the north: “And at the time of the end, the king of the south shall push at him. 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 sweep through.

“He shall also enter into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown. But these shall escape out of his hand: Edom and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. And he shall stretch out 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 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 shall alarm him. Then he will go forth with great fury to destroy and to utterly annihilate many. And he shall plant his royal tents between the seas in the glorious holy mountain. Yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.

“And at that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands for the children of your people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even until that time” (Dan. 11:40-45; 12:1).

Today, Europe is weak and in disarray—politically, economically, religiously—and overwhelmed with millions of Muslims. Furthermore, a strong man to lead all of Europe, who could fulfill the function of the king of the north, has not appeared on the horizon. Likewise, all the Islamic countries are far from becoming a united entity with the king of the south to challenge Europe. Eventually the Muslim world will come together, perhaps in a loose confederation. Many Islamic intellectuals and economists desire to restore an Islamic Empire stretching from the Atlantic to India. This will take much time. Perhaps they may be able to use the Arab League organization as its foundation.

With these things in mind, it becomes apparent that prophesied end time events will take somewhat longer to develop. We need to keep in mind the apostle Peter’s warning that we will be mocked and ridiculed because it will appear that the prophecies of the Bible will not happen: “Now, beloved, I am writing this second epistle to you; in both, I am stirring up your pure minds by causing you to remember, in order for you to be mindful of the words that were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of the Lord and Savior, spoken by us, the apostles; knowing this first, that in the last days there will come mockers, walking according to their own personal lusts, and asking, ‘Where is the promise of His coming?

“ ‘For ever since the forefathers died, everything has remained the same as from the beginning of creation.’ But this fact is hidden from them—they themselves choosing to ignore it—that by the Word of God the heavens existed of old, and the earth came forth out of water and amid water, by which the world at that time, having been deluged with water, had itself been destroyed. But the present heavens and earth are being held in store by His Word, and are being reserved for fire in the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly” (II Pet. 3:1-7).

Time and Chance Happen to All: When viewing events like the recent Southeast Asian earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis, some will claim that God has sent His judgment against evil people. However, that is not necessarily the case, because time and chance happen to all, as King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes: “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happens to them all. For man also does not know his time; as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falls suddenly upon them” (Eccl. 9:11-12).

Furthermore, Jesus made it clear that those who are killed in unexpected disasters are not greater sinners than others who are spared. He verified that “time and chance” happens to all: “Now at the same time, there were present some who were telling Him about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Do you suppose that these Galileans were sinners above all Galileans, because they suffered such things? No, I tell you; but if you do not repent, you shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell, and killed them, do you suppose that these were debtors above all men who dwelt in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but if you do not repent, you shall all likewise perish’ ” (Luke 13:1-5).

For those victims in Indonesia, it is good to see the tremendous outpouring of aid and comfort the nations of the world—and especially the United States—are providing for those who have survived this immense catastrophe. God will bless those nations that give such needed help. As for America’s part, the prophecy God gave to Abraham—“[I]n you shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12:3)—is being fulfilled.

When we see such disasters, we need not fear—because of God’s promises. Instead, we need to take the opportunity to draw closer to God. We need to yield our hearts and minds to God the Father and Jesus Christ in love, faith, and hope. Jesus will help us, comfort us, and be with us: “For He said, ‘In no way will I ever leave you; no, nor will I ever 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?’… Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Heb. 13:5-6, 8).

Regardless of your circumstances, whether you are young or old, whether you are weak or strong, whether you are newly converted or a longtime saint, whether you are poor or rich, remember God loves you! God has called you! We are to be the Father’s sons and daughters forever! These are promises of God the Father and Jesus Christfor eternal life!

Always keep these wonderful words of Jesus in mind. If we do, and live by them, we will be in the first resurrection and enter into the Kingdom of God: “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. No one has greater love than this: that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends, if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, because the servant does not know what his master is doing. But I have called you friends because I have made known to you all the things that I have heard from My Father.

“You yourselves did not choose Me, but I have personally chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go forth and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain; so that whatever you shall ask the Father in My name, He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another” (John 15:9-17).

If we love God and keep His commandments, Jesus promises that He will watch over us. Notice: “I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, and no one has the power to shut it; because you have a little strength, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name [in this wicked and evil generation]. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who proclaim themselves to be Jews and are not, but do lie; behold, I will cause them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.

Because you have kept the word of My patience, I also will keep you from the time of temptation, which is about to come upon the whole world to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly; hold fast that which you have, so that no one may take away your crown. The one who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall not go out any more; and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which will come down out of heaven from My God, and I will write upon him My new name. The one who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev. 3:8-13).

If we live in God’s love and in His faith every day, we can be sure that God will keep His promises to us. Christ is the head of the Church. Through the power of His Holy Spirit, He is in you. He will never fail you! God the Father and Jesus Christ love you. You have been called to eternal glory. They will give you eternal life. When we keep these things in the forefront of our minds, we will have peace of mind—regardless of the conditions around us and in the world.

Once again brethren, thank you for all your prayers for the brethren and for us. We pray for you daily—for you to continue to grow in grace and knowledge, for your health, and for your healing when you are ill. We pray for God’s blessings and protection to be upon you and yours. We thank you for your faithfulness in your tithes and offerings, so that together we may continue to serve the brethren, preach the Gospel, and reach out to new brethren and people.

With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter