Monthly letter archive

March 20, 2019

Dear Brethren,

Because of the timing of the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread this year, we are combining the March and April letters into one. We will still have one more mailing in early April, with two CDs. One CD will include all the messages for the Sabbath before Passover, the Passover Ceremony, The Night to be Much Observed, the First Holy Day, the Last Holy Day, and the Sabbath after the last Holy Day. The second CD will include the rest of the series, The Last Ten Days of Jesus Christ’s life.

Special Notice: If you do not have the Passover Ceremony booklet, please call the office or e-mail us and we will get it to you right away—as many copies as you need. Also, if this is the first Passover you will be observing, and you will be keeping it at home, we will get the booklet to you immediately.

Dates for the Passover and Unleavened Bread:

  • Sabbath before Passover: April 13
  • PASSOVER: Thursday night, April 18 (10 minutes after sunset)
  • The Night to be Much Observed: April 19
  • First Holy Day: April 20
  • Last Holy Day: April 26
  • Sabbath after last Holy Day: April 27

In addition to the Passover Ceremony, we have prepared messages for all these days. For extra studies during the Feast, you may download related messages from truthofgod.org.

Scriptural Meaning of Baptism and Foot Washing During the Passover: As we will see, baptism is by complete immersion in water and has a very special meaning. This meaning is reflected in the Passover Ceremony, which is to be observed only by those who have been baptized. Passover is the annual renewal of the Covenant of Eternal Life through Jesus Christ, which Paul relates to baptism in Romans 6: “[T]hat we, as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus, were baptized into His death. Therefore, we were buried with Him through the baptism into the death; so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, in the same way, we also should walk in newness of life.

“For if we have been conjoined together in the likeness of His death, so also shall we be in the likeness of His resurrection. Knowing this, that our old man was co-crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be destroyed, so that we might no longer be enslaved to sin; because the one who has died to sin has been justified from sin. Now if we died together with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him” (Rom. 6:3-8).

On the night of His last Passover with the apostles, Jesus revealed the fundamental meaning of Paul’s phrase, “We also should walk in newness of life,” by declaring, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

At the beginning of the Passover Ceremony, when Jesus was washing the apostles’ feet, He told Peter and the other apostles: “ ‘If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.’… Therefore, when He had washed their feet, and had taken His garments, and had sat down again, He said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me the Teacher and the Lord, and you speak rightly, because I am. Therefore, if I, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, you also are duty-bound to wash one another’s feet; for I have given you an example, to show that you also should do exactly as I have done to you. Truly, truly I tell you, a servant is not greater than his lord, nor a messenger [apostle] greater than He who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them’ ” (John 13:8, 12-17).

When we wash another’s feet on the Passover night, we are demonstrating our humble covenant pledge to walk in the way of God as Jesus Himself walked—in love, faith, and obedience through the grace of God. The apostle John writes: “And by this standard we know that we know Him: if we keep His commandments. The one who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. On the other hand, if anyone is keeping His Word, truly in this one the love of God is being perfected. By this means we know that we are in Him. Anyone who claims to dwell in Him is obligating himself also to walk even as He Himself walked” (I John 2:3-6). Peter adds: “For to this you were called because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow in His footsteps” (I Pet. 2:21).

The Meaning of the Passover Bread: After washing the apostles’ feet, Jesus offered them unleavened bread: “[A]nd after giving thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body, which is given for you. This do in the remembrance of Me’ ” (Luke 22:19). Paul’s record of the occasion makes it more personal: “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and after giving thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body, which is being broken for you. This do in the remembrance of Me’ ” (I Cor. 11:23-24).

When Jesus gave His body to be scourged and lacerated with the cat-of-nine-tails whip, He fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says, “I gave My back to the smiters, and My cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting” (Isa. 50:6).

The apostle Peter declares this of Jesus’ false trial and scourging: “Who committed no sin; neither was guile found in His mouth; Who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when suffering, He threatened not, but committed Himself to Him Who judges righteously; Who Himself bore our sins within His own body on the tree, so that we, being dead to sins, may live unto righteousness; by Whose stripes you were healed” (I Pet. 2:22-24).

The Meaning of the Passover Wine: After the disciples had eaten the unleavened bread, Jesus gave them wine, which is symbolic of His shed blood: “And He took the cup; and after giving thanks, He gave it to them, saying, ‘All of you drink of it; for this is My blood, the blood of the New Covenant, which is poured out for many for the remission of sins’ ” (Matt. 26:27-28). Luke adds, “which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:20).

Peter shows that we are redeemed from sin and Satan the devil by Jesus’ blood: “[Y]ou 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” (I Peter 1:18-19).

Paul makes it clear that “without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin” (Heb. 9:22). He adds, “Because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins…. Then He said, ‘Lo, I come to do Your will, O God.’ He takes away the first covenant in order that He may establish the second covenant; by Whose will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all…. But He, after offering one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God” (Heb. 10:4, 9-10, 12).

When our sins are forgiven through the sacrifice and blood of Christ, we are justified—made right in the sight of God the Father: “But God commends His own love to us because, when we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more, therefore, having been justified now by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His own Son, much more then, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Rom. 5:8-10).

Here, Paul makes it clear that the grace of God—through the death of His only begotten Son—is complete only because Jesus was resurrected from the dead!

Looking again at Hebrews, Paul writes that the shed blood of Christ not only brings forgiveness of sins, it also grants us direct access to God the Father: “For by one offering He has obtained eternal perfection for those who are sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after He had previously said, ‘This is the covenant that I will establish with them after those days,’ says the Lord: ‘I will give My laws into their hearts, and I will inscribe them in their minds; and their sins and lawlessness I will not remember ever again.’

“Now where remission of these is, it is no longer necessary to offer sacrifices for sin. Therefore, brethren, having confidence to enter into the true holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He consecrated for us through the veil (that is, His flesh), and having a great High Priest over the house of God, let us approach God with a true heart, with full conviction of faith, our hearts having been purified from a wicked conscience, and our bodies having been washed with pure water. Let us hold fast without wavering to the hope that we profess, for He Who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:14-23).

At His next-to-the-last Passover, Jesus taught that He was the “Bread of Life.” He also taught that eternal life is only possible through Him. “ ‘I am the living bread, which came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is even My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.’

“Because of this, the Jews were arguing with one another, saying, ‘How is He able to give us His flesh to eat?’ 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 I in 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 6:51-57).

This means we are to live our lives through Christ, and live by every word of God, as Jesus said: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).

Jesus makes it clear: Do we practice His words and live by them? He also compares how we live to “building a house.” Are we building on Him—the Rock—Jesus Christ? Is He our foundation? Luke writes: “And why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but you do not practice what I say? Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and practices them, I will show you what he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock [and that Rock is Christ (I Cor. 10:4)]; and a flood came, and the torrent beat against that house, but could not shake it, because it was founded on the rock.

“But the one who has heard My words and has not practiced them is like a man who built a house on top of the ground, without a foundation; and when the torrent beat against it, it fell at once, and the ruin of that house was great” (Luke 6:46-49).

In Ephesians 2, Paul lays out the entire sequence of repentance and forgiveness of sins, through the grace of God, leading to salvation. Moreover, he makes it clear that we are to live by doing the works of God—not our own works. He writes: “Now you were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you walked in times past according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now working within the children of disobedience; among whom also we all once had our conduct in the lusts of our flesh, doing the things willed by the flesh and by the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as the rest of the world” (Eph. 2:1-3).

Continuing: “But God, Who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, has made us alive together with Christ. (For you have been saved by grace.)… For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this especially is not of your own selves; it is the gift of God, not of our own works, so that no one may boast. For we are His [God the Father’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto the good works that God ordained beforehand in order that we might walk in them” (verses 4-5, 8-10).

These passages actually outline the meaning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Since we are God the Father’s workmanship, let us go forward to perfection, pictured by Pentecost and the first resurrection.

Catalog of CBCG Books and Literature: We finally have a complete catalog of all CBCG books and literature. We have included it in this mailing. As you will see, we have many, many in-depth Bible and topical studies with text manuscripts that accompany our CDs. We distribute all of these free of charge. Please note: When you order from the catalog, please limit your requests to four at a time. This will prevent us from being overloaded with stacks of orders. Thank you very much.

Once again, brethren, because of the condition of the world, with all of its troubles and evils, we need to draw closer to God the Father and Jesus Christ than ever before. We can do this daily through prayer and study. This is how we can grow in grace and knowledge.

Thank you for your prayers on our behalf. We pray for you every day—for God’s blessings, healing, help, and inspiration—so that you may grow in the mind of Christ and in your love for God and the brethren. May God the Father and Jesus Christ bless you with an inspiring Passover and a wonderful Feast of Unleavened Bread.

With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter

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