Monthly letter archive

June 15, 2017

Dear Brethren,

From all the reports, e-mails, and letters, God the Father and Jesus Christ certainly blessed us with a tremendous and inspiring Feast of Pentecost—picturing the first resurrection. As we know, Pentecost (the first fruit harvest) is directly connected to the Passover (the sparing of the firstborn of Israel), the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the wave sheaf offering. When we compare the firstborn with the first fruits, we see a parallel spiritual fulfillment.

The Importance of the Firstborn: At midnight on the Passover in Egypt, God slew the firstborn of man and beast of the Egyptians, but spared the firstborn of the children of Israel. Thus, the firstborn of man and beast were strictly dedicated to God: “And it shall be, when the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, as He swore to you and to your fathers, and shall give it to you, you shall set apart to the Lord all that opens the womb, and every firstborn that comes of any animal which you have; the males shall be the Lord’s.

“And every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb. And if you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. And all the firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem. And it shall be when your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What does this mean?’ you shall say to him, ‘The Lord brought us out of Egypt by the strength of His hand, from the house of bondage. And it came to pass when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, the Lord killed all the firstborn of the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of animals. Therefore I sacrifice to the Lord all that opens the womb, that are males. But all the firstborn of my sons I redeem’ ” (Ex. 13:11-15).

All the firstborn are special to God: “You shall give the firstborn of your sons to Me. Likewise you shall do with your oxen and with your sheep; it shall be with its dam seven days. On the eighth day you shall give it to Me. And you shall be holy men to Me” (Ex. 22:29).

Spiritually, the ultimate “firstborn” is Jesus Christ, as God manifested in the flesh, the firstborn of the virgin Mary (Matt. 1:25). Furthermore, when He was resurrected, He became “the firstborn from among the dead” (Rev. 1:5; Col. 1:18). This is the key to understanding being “born again” in John chapter three: “Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, unless anyone has been born of water [one’s fleshly birth] and of Spirit [at the resurrection], he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which has been born of the flesh is flesh [one’s physical birth]; and that which has been born of the Spirit is spirit [born of the Spirit in the first resurrection—raised, or born from the dead, as was Jesus].

“ ‘Do not be amazed that I said to you, “It is necessary for you to be born again.” The wind blows where it wills, and you hear its sound, but you do not know the place from which it comes and the place to which it goes; so also is everyone who has been born of the Spirit’ ” (verses 5-8).

Jesus is called the “firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:29). Thus, all who are ultimately in the first resurrection will be the “Church of the firstborn” (Heb. 12:23).

The Importance of the First Fruits: Just as all the firstborn belong to God, so also do the first fruits: “You shall not delay to offer the first of your ripe fruits and of your vintage…” (Ex. 22:29). Moreover, the first of the first fruits were extra special to God, as they were to be brought to the Temple: “The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God” (Ex. 23:19).

The spiritual fulfillment of the first of the “first fruits” is found in Jesus—His birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection. “But now Christ has been raised from the dead; He has become the first fruit of those who have fallen asleep” (I Cor. 15:20). Thus, His resurrection and ascension into heaven to be accepted by God was the spiritual fulfillment of the special wave sheaf offering—the first of the “first fruits.” “Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘When you have come into the land which I give to you, and shall reap the harvest of it, then you shall bring the premier sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord to be accepted for you. On the next day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it…’ ” (Lev. 23:10-11).

The remainder of the first fruit harvest of the barley and wheat represents the first resurrection. James writes that all true Christians are called first fruits: “According to His own will, he begat us by the Word of Truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all His created beings” (James 1:18). The apostle Paul confirms this: “But now Christ has been raised from the dead; He has become the Firstfruit of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the Firstfruit; then, those who are Christ’s at His coming” (I Cor. 15:20-23).

At the ultimate Pentecost of Christ’s return, all the saints—from Abel, the first martyr, to the “two witnesses,” the last martyrs—will be raised from the dead. This is how “the last shall be first.” Indeed, the “two witnesses” will be the first ones to be resurrected from the dead when the first resurrection begins at the seventh trump on that final Pentecost just before the Millennium begins (Rev. 11:7-12).

All who will be in the first resurrection are the first fruits, as the resurrection is portrayed as a harvest of grain (Matt. 13; Mark 4; Luke 8; Rev. 14:14-16).

The Importance of President Trump’s Trip: President Donald Trump’s special trip to Saudi Arabia to speak to 50 Muslim leaders on the urgency of eliminating radical terrorism appears to have tremendous prophetic significance! The king of Saudi Arabia was the host of this historic assembly of Muslim leaders. There has never been a similar Muslim gathering. Trump emphasized that the war on radical Islamic terrorism must begin with Muslim leaders. Here are excerpts from his speech:

“Our vision is one of peace, security, and prosperity—in this region, and in the world. Our goal is a coalition of nations who share the aim of stamping out extremism and providing our children a hopeful future that does honor to God. And so this historic and unprecedented gathering of leaders—unique in the history of nations—is a symbol to the world of our shared resolve and our mutual respect. To the leaders and citizens of every country assembled here today, I want you to know that the United States is eager to form closer bonds of friendship, security, culture, and commerce….

“Later today, we will make history again with the opening of a new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology—located right here, in this central part of the Islamic world. This groundbreaking new center represents a clear declaration that Muslim-majority countries must take the lead in combatting radicalization, and I want to express our gratitude to King Salman for this strong demonstration of leadership….

“America has suffered repeated barbaric attacks—from the atrocities of September 11 to the devastation of the Boston bombing, to the horrible killings in San Bernardino and Orlando. The nations of Europe have also endured unspeakable horror. So too have the nations of Africa and even South America. India, Russia, China, and Australia have been victims.

But, in sheer numbers, the deadliest toll has been exacted on the innocent people of Arab, Muslim, and Middle Eastern nations. They have borne the brunt of the killings and the worst of the destruction in this wave of fanatical violence…. Some estimates hold that more than 95 percent of the victims of terrorism are themselves Muslim. We now face a humanitarian and security disaster in this region that is spreading across the planet. It is a tragedy of epic proportions. No description of the suffering and depravity can begin to capture its full measure….

“There can be no coexistence with this violence. There can be no tolerating it, no accepting it, no excusing it, and no ignoring it. Every time a terrorist murders an innocent person, and falsely invokes the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith.

“Terrorists do not worship God, they worship death.

“If we do not act against this organized terror, then we know what will happen. Terrorism’s devastation of life will continue to spread. Peaceful societies will become engulfed by violence. And the futures of many generations will be sadly squandered.

“If we do not stand in uniform condemnation of this killing—then not only will we be judged by our people, not only will we be judged by history, but we will be judged by God.

This is a battle between Good and Evil.

“When we see the scenes of destruction in the wake of terror, we see no signs that those murdered were Jewish or Christian, Shia or Sunni. When we look upon the streams of innocent blood soaked into the ancient ground, we cannot see the faith or sect or tribe of the victims—we see only that they were Children of God whose deaths are an insult to all that is holy.

“But we can only overcome this evil if the forces of good are united and strong—and if everyone in this room does their fair share and fulfills their part of the burden.

“Terrorism has spread across the world. But the path to peace begins right here, on this ancient soil, in this sacred land. America is prepared to stand with you—in pursuit of shared interests and common security.

“But the nations of the Middle East cannot wait for American power to crush this enemy for them. The nations of the Middle East will have to decide what kind of future they want for themselves, for their countries, and for their children. It is a choice between two futures—and it is a choice America CANNOT make for you.

A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and extremists. Drive. Them. Out. DRIVE THEM OUT of your places of worship. DRIVE THEM OUT of your communities. DRIVE THEM OUT of your holy land, and DRIVE THEM OUT OF THIS EARTH…” (White House Press Release—May 21, 2017).

These are the boldest words ever spoken to the Muslim world by a Christian leader about terrorism. But how effective Muslim efforts will be remains to be seen. For a time, they may be able to contain and abate radical terrorism—as the Bible does reveal a period of temporary peace just before the return of Christ. But they will never eliminate terrorism! (In a recent message, I explained the inherent reasons why such violence can never be stopped by the efforts of men.)

Indeed, the Bible shows that there will come a short time of peace just before the Great Tribulation begins: “Now then, concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, there is no need that I write to you; for you yourselves understand perfectly that the day of the Lord will come exactly as a thief comes by night. For when they say, ‘Peace and security,’ then sudden destruction will come upon them, as travail comes upon a woman who is with child; and they shall by no means escape” (I Thess. 5:1-3).

However, this “peace” will not be the result of nations disarming themselves and actually agreeing to stop all wars, including terrorism. Rather, this facade of peace will only take place because of the power of the coming “Beast” of Revelation 13, also known as the King of the North of Daniel 11: “And I stood on the sand of the sea; and I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard, and his feet like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion; and the dragon gave him his power, and his throne and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as if it were slain to death, but his deadly wound was healed; and the whole earth was amazed and followed the beast. And they worshiped the dragon, who gave his authority to the beast. And they worshiped the beast, saying, Who is like the beast? Who has the power to make war against him?’ ” (Rev. 13:1-4).

But the King of the South, leading all the united Muslim nations, will militarily push against the King of the North. The King of the North will retaliate against them with fury:

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 [Judea], 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” (Dan. 11:40-45).

Coming New Booklet: Duncan MacLeod, one of our elders, has completed a new booklet titled Is the Bible Credible? In it he demonstrates from history that the Bible is absolutely credible. He shows how God has dealt with nations from ancient times until today. He also documents conclusions by numerous secular historians that actually validate biblical prophecy. We will mail this booklet to you in August.

Brethren, during these troubling times we need to stay close to God in our daily lives through prayer and study and living our lives in a manner that is pleasing to God (I John 3:21-24). You are in our prayers every day for His blessings, healing, and protection. We know that God will give each of us the strength and encouragement we need in every area of our lives. Once again, we truly appreciate your love, prayers, and support, and your participation through your tithes and offerings in reaching out to other brethren and new people. God is blessing our combined efforts as we continue to move forward in serving Him in love with all our hearts, minds, and strength.

 

With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter

FRC

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