Monthly letter archive

May 18, 2022

Dear Brethren,

With the recent leaking of the Supreme Court’s preliminary opinion striking down the abortion ruling set in 1973 by Roe v. Wade, a wave of protests by pro-abortionists has spread across the nation—starting at Washington, DC. If this opinion holds in its final form, it will outlaw abortion at the federal level, which is a big step forward. But it will not end abortion; rather, it will send the issue back to the states. This means that some states will outlaw (or restrict) abortion while other states will make abortion fully legal. So instead of completely outlawing abortion, this judgment will allow the murdering of the unborn to continue. Is this “partial repentance” enough for God to lift His heavy hand of correction from this nation? Only time will tell. But God will not forget the 62 million innocent American lives already taken through abortion!

We will have a virtual Elders’ Conference May 14-15. However, before the Conference begins this letter will still be in the process of being printed or still be in the mail. But we will have a full report for you in the July letter. Also, in this mailing is a DVD featuring a recent Church at Home video series that further reveals why Judaism is not the religion of the Old Testament. For more on this subject, you may request the transcript book/CD study Scripturalism Versus Judaism and the book Judaism—Revelation of Moses or Religion of Men?

With Pentecost coming on June 5, we need to realize this: With every passing year that we keep God’s feasts, He grants us more understanding of His plan for mankind. What a tremendous blessing it is to understand that we are destined to be a part of the firstfruits in the first resurrection to eternal life—if we are faithful to the end. Pentecost is that day of hope and promise!

As shown in our booklet How to Count Pentecost, it is clear that the first day of the count toward Pentecost is the Wave Sheaf Offering Day. That day was a prophetic ceremony of Jesus ascending to God the Father to be accepted as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. At the Temple, the Wave Sheaf Offering of the first of the firstfruits of the barley harvest was waved by the priest before the Lord on the day after the weekly Sabbath—i.e., the first day of the week during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This is the first day of the 50-day count to Pentecost.

The last day, or the 50th day, of the count is the day after the seventh Sabbath. This finishes the harvest of the firstfruits. Pentecost always falls on the first day of the week because it is the day after seven complete weeks, or seven Sabbaths. And Monday is never the day after a weekly Sabbath. Plus, partial weeks are not allowed—meaning that the 50th day can never be on a Monday or on a fixed day of the month (as the Jews practice). Each week must contain seven days—day one through day seven—for the seven complete weeks. Each week ends on a Sabbath, for a total of 49 days. Then, the day after the seventh Sabbath—the 50th day, a first day of the week—is the day of Pentecost (Greek pentekosta). It marks the end of the barley and wheat harvest. Prophetically, Pentecost pictures the harvest of the first resurrection of the saints to eternal life (James 1:18; Rev. 14:14-16).

Jesus explains that the harvest of the firstfruits was comparable to grain sown in the earth. He also showed the various problems faced by those who are called: “Therefore, hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the wicked one comes and snatches away that which was sown in his heart. This is the one who was sown by the way. Now the one who was sown upon the rocky places is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; but because he has no root in himself, he does not endure; for when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, he is quickly offended. And the one who was sown among the thorns is the one who hears the word, but the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But the one who was sown on good ground, this is the one who hears the word and understands, who indeed brings forth fruit and produces—one a hundredfold, another sixtyfold and another thirtyfold” (Matt. 13:18-23).

In another parable about a sower of grain and its harvest, Jesus identifies Himself as the sower and the enemy as Satan the devil. The good seed are the children of the Kingdom and the tares are the children of the devil: “And after dismissing the multitude, Jesus went into the house. Then His disciples came to Him, saying, ‘Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.’ And He answered and said to them, ‘The one Who sows the good seed is the Son of man; and the field is the world; and the good seed, these are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one. Now the enemy who sowed them is the devil; and the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore, as the tares are gathered and consumed in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this age. The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all the offenders and those who are practicing lawlessness; and they shall cast them into the furnace of fire. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. The one who has ears to hear, let him hear” (verses 36-43).

From these parables we can understand why Pentecost is a harvest feast and pictures the first resurrection—the harvest of the saints. The apostle Paul makes this clear: “But Christ has now been raised from the dead; He became 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, at His coming those who are Christ’s” (I Cor. 15:20-23). Jesus was the first one to be resurrected from the dead to eternal life—the firstborn from the dead (Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5). No one else has ever been resurrected to eternal life, nor will anyone be resurrected to eternal life until Christ returns. Only Jesus has ascended into heaven (John 3:13)—no one else, not even the virgin Mary.

Just as there are seven weeks of the wheat and barley harvest, the harvest of the Church down through the ages is symbolized by the prophecies of the Seven Churches in Revelation 2-3. While the time frame in actual years may not be symbolized by an exact count of seven prophetic days for each church, the Seven Churches nevertheless represent the Church harvest and correspond to the seven weeks (49 days) in the count toward Pentecost.

God’s Fiftieth Day Harvest: There is an additional final harvest of firstfruits by God, which is represented by the 50th day. This “50th day harvest” is Christ’s special firstfruits harvest of the 144,000 of the children of Israel—12,000 from each tribe—and the Great Innumerable Multitude of Revelation 7. These come to repentance and are saved during the Great Tribulation.

Jesus explained this in the “parable of the laborers”: Those hired in the early morning, who labored all day, represent the apostles and disciples called during Jesus’ ministry. Those workers who were hired at the 11th hour symbolize those who are saved out of the Great Tribulation, only one year before the first resurrection. Yet both groups receive the same wage.

In both cases, the wage received represents eternal life. Jesus explains: “The kingdom of heaven shall be compared to a man, a master of a house, who went out early in the morning to hire workmen for his vineyard. And after agreeing with the workmen on a silver coin for the day’s wage, he sent them into his vineyard. And when he went out about the third hour, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, ‘Go also into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ And they went. Again, after going out about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did likewise. And about the eleventh hour, he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, Why have you been standing here idle all the day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘Go also into my vineyard, and whatever is right you shall receive.’ And when evening came, the lord of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the workmen and pay them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.’ And when those who were hired about the eleventh hour came, they each received a silver coin. But when the first ones came, they thought that they would receive more; but each of them also received a silver coin. And after receiving it, they complained against the master of the house, saying, ‘These who came last have worked one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who have carried the burden and the heat of the day.’ But he answered and said to them, ‘Friend, I am not doing you wrong. Did you not agree with me on a silver coin for the day? Take what is yours and go, for I also desire to give to the last ones exactly as I gave to you. And is it not lawful for me to do what I will with that which is my own? Is your eye evil because I am good?’ So the last shall be first, and the first shall be last; for many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt. 20:1-16).

God’s “50th day harvest” will be the harvest of the 144,000 from the children of Israel and the Great Innumerable Multitude. This will be a tremendous event and will probably occur on Pentecost one year before the first resurrection—from Pentecost to Pentecost. They are symbolized by the workers hired at the 11th hour. God will directly intervene to save them right after the sixth seal is opened and the fearful and awesome heavenly signs begin: “And when He opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as the hair of sackcloth, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its untimely figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the heaven departed, like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the powerful men, and every bondman, and every free man hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, ‘Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him Who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; because the great day of His wrath has come, and who has the power to stand?’ ” (Rev. 6:12-17).

Then, when the heavens are rolled back as a scroll, the sign of the Son of man appears in heaven. This spectacular event takes place after two years of tribulation against the 12 tribes of Israel. When it first appears, it will probably be like a great burst of light illuminating the heavens and the earth—an astonishing sign! It will become like another sun. Because of the rotation of the earth it will appear to shine, as does the sun, from the east to the west: “For as the light of day, which comes forth from the east and shines as far as the west, so also shall the coming of the Son of man be” (Matt. 24:27).

The prophet Malachi verifies that Jesus’ return will be as the sun coming to the earth: “ ‘For behold, the day is coming, burning like a consuming oven; and all the proud, and every doer of wickedness, shall be stubble. And the day that comes shall burn them up,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and will leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you who fear My name, the Sun of Righteousness shall arise, and healing will be in His wings. And you shall go out and grow up like calves of the stall. And you shall trample the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I am preparing,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Mal. 4:1-3).

The whole world will think the earth is being invaded from outer space—which will be true, because Christ will be coming as a conquering king. Jesus described these coming days: “But immediately after the tribulation [against Israel] of those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming upon the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matt. 24:29-30). Thinking Jesus is the enemy, all nations will begin to marshal their armies to fight against Him.

However, right after the sign of the Son of man first appears in the heavens, an astonishing thing happens. Jesus Christ directly intervenes and sends a mighty angel to save the 144,000 and the Great Innumerable Multitude—sealing them in their foreheads with God’s Holy Spirit. To help this mighty angel, God sends four other angels to hold back the four winds until the sealing is complete. John wrote: “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that the wind might not blow on the earth, or on the sea, or on any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to damage the earth and the sea, saying, ‘Do not damage the earth, or the sea, or the trees until we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.’ And I heard the number of those who were sealed: one hundred forty-four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the children of Israel….

“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one was able to number, out of every nation and tribe, and people, and language, was standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes and holding palms in their hands; and they were calling out with a loud voice to Him Who sits on the throne and to the Lamb, saying, ‘The salvation of our God has come.’ Then all the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, ‘Amen. Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might be to our God into the ages of eternity. Amen.’ And one of the elders answered and said to me, ‘These who are clothed with white robes, who are they, and where did they come from?’ Then I said to him, ‘Sir, you know.’ And he said to me, ‘They are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and have made their robes white in the blood of the Lamb’ ” (Rev. 7:1-14).

Next, the seven trumpet plagues begin to be poured out on the earth. The first trumpet plague probably begins on the Feast of Trumpets the year before Christ and the resurrected saints return to the earth on the following Feast of Trumpets. The first four trumpet plagues are poured out rather quickly. When fifth trumpet plague is poured out, it lasts five months. Then the sixth trumpet plague is unleashed (Rev. 8-9). Sometime after the sixth trumpet sounds, the Two Witnesses will finish their work and be killed; their bodies will lie in a street of Jerusalem for three and a half days, immediately prior to Pentecost. Then the seventh trump sounds—the “last trump”—for the first resurrection on Pentecost.

Since they are the last ones martyred for Christ, the Two Witnesses will be the first ones to be resurrected—literally “the first will be last and the last will be first.” Notice Revelation 11: “And when they [the Two Witnesses] have completed their testimony, the beast who ascends out of the abyss will make war against them, and will overcome them, and will kill them. And their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. Then those of the peoples and tribes and languages and nations shall see their bodies three and a half days, for they will not allow their bodies to be put into tombs. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, and will make merry, and will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets had tormented those who dwell on the earth. Then I saw the spirit of life from God enter into them after the three and a half days, and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon those who were watching them. And they heard a great voice from heaven, say, ‘Come up here!’ And they ascended into heaven in a cloud; and their enemies saw them rise. And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell, and seven thousand men were killed in the earthquake. And the rest were filled with fear, and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming immediately” (Rev. 11:7-14).

As the Two Witnesses are rising up into heaven, the seventh trumpet sounds and the first resurrection begins to take place, which occurs on Pentecost one year after the 144,000 and Great Innumerable Multitude are sealed: “Then the seventh angel sounded his trumpet [the “last trumpet”]; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become our Lord’s and His Christ’s, and He shall reign into the ages of eternity.’ And the twenty-four elders, who sit before God on their thrones, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, ‘We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come, that You have taken to Yourself Your great power, and have reigned. For the nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time for the dead to be judged, and to give the promised reward to Your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and to all those who fear Your name, the small and the great; and to destroy those who destroy the earth.’ And the temple of God in heaven was opened, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple; and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunders, and an earthquake and great hail” (verses 15-19).

Revelation 14 also depicts the first resurrection, the harvest of the firstfruits: “And I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and one like the Son of man sitting on the cloud, having a golden crown on His head; and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him Who was sitting on the cloud, ‘Thrust in your sickle and reap, because the time has come for You to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe [the first resurrection, the harvest of the firstfruits].’ And He Who was sitting on the cloud thrust forth His sickle upon the earth, and the earth was reaped” (Rev. 14:14-16).

Paul wrote that the first resurrection will occur at the “last trumpet”—which is seventh trumpet. Remember, it was on the Day of Pentecost when God came down on Mount Sinai and spoke the Ten Commandments to the children of Israel. On that day the trumpet—singular—sounded loud and long (Ex. 20:18). From that time forward, the trumpet was always blown on the Feast of Pentecost at the Tabernacle, and later at the Temple. The seventh trumpet of Revelation 11 is the last trumpet blown and this undoubtedly occurs on Pentecost. This is when the first resurrection takes place—not on the Feast of Trumpets. Indeed, the resurrection does not occur at the end of a memorial of the blowing of many trumpets all day long on the Feast of Trumpets. Rather, it is a single trumpet, the seventh trumpet, or the last trump that the angel sounds, not many angels sounding many trumpets. Notice: “Behold, I show you a mystery: we shall not all fall asleep, but we shall all be changed, in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, at THE LAST TRUMPET; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruptibility, and this mortal must put on immortality. Now when this corruptible shall have put on incorruptibility, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’ ” (I Cor. 15:51-54).

When the seventh trumpet sounds, the first resurrection of the saints will take place and Jesus will send the angels to gather His elect who have been raised from the dead. “And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet; and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matt. 24:31).

Why are those in the first resurrection taken up into the air by the angels? Where will they be taken? When Paul wrote to the Thessalonians about the first resurrection, he partially answered those questions. “But I do not wish you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, that you be not grieved, even as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in exactly the same way also, those who have fallen asleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall in no wise precede those who have fallen asleep; because the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them IN THE CLOUDS FOR THE MEETING WITH THE LORD IN THE AIR; and so shall we always be with the Lord. Therefore, encourage one another with these words” (I Thess. 4:13-18).

Where will this meeting in the air take place? Why is it necessary? What will happen at that “Great Meeting”? After about a year of shining in space and appearing as a second sun, the “great light”—the sign of the Son of man in the heavens signaling His return—will suddenly streak towards the earth. This is when all the people of the earth will see Jesus Christ coming on the clouds of heaven in great power and glory! At that time, instead of smashing into the earth as would a huge asteroid, the “great light” will settle into the clouds and suddenly become a great Sea of Glass in the clouds over Jerusalem.

In the book of Hebrews, Paul shows that when we pray we come to a heavenly Mount Sion: “But you have come to Mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem; and to an innumerable company of angels, to the joyous festival gathering; and to the church of the firstborn, whose names have been registered in the Book of Life in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all; and to the spirits of just men and women who have been perfected; and to Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant; and to sprinkling of the blood of ratification, proclaiming superior things than that of Abel” (Heb. 12:22-24).

There will be a “joyous festival gathering” of the resurrected saints, who will be carried by the angels into the air to meet Christ. That “joyous festival gathering” could only be pictured by Pentecost, the completed harvest of the firstfruits, the first resurrection. On the other hand, the Feast of Trumpets is not a feast of joy, but a feast of war. But, where will the resurrected saints meet Christ? Do the angels take the resurrected saints up in the air, meet Christ, and immediately return to the earth? If the first resurrection were on the Feast of Trumpets, that is exactly what would have to happen. However, as we will see, that is not the case.

Paul wrote that we will meet Christ in the air. But how? And where? As we will see, the angels will carry us up to the Sea of Glasswhere Christ will be. The apostle John recorded this vision in Revelation 15: “Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and awesome: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is filled up. And I saw a SEA OF GLASS mingled with fire, and those who had gotten the victory over the beast, and over its image, and over its mark, and over the number of its name, STANDING ON THE SEA OF GLASS, having the harps of God. And they were singing the song of Moses, the servant of God [signifying those in the first resurrection from Old Testament times], and the song of the Lamb [signifying those in the first resurrection from New Testament times], saying, ‘Great and awesome are Your works, Lord God Almighty; righteous and true are Your ways, King of the saints. Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You only are holy; and all the nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been revealed’ ” (Rev. 15:1-4).

At this point the first resurrection is finished and all the saints will be with Christ on the Sea of Glass, which is in the clouds over Jerusalem. We will then be the “Great Congregation of God.” While we are on the Sea of Glass, many things will happen before we return with Christ to the earth, on the following Feast of Trumpets, to fight against the armies of the world and to begin to reign with Him for a thousand years:

  1. We will meet Christ in person, and all the resurrected brethren;

  2. He will proclaim us to the Father;

  3. We will all receive our rewards and new names;

  4. The marriage of the Lamb and the wedding supper will take place;

  5. The seven last plagues will be poured out;

  6. We will receive our assignments;

  7. We will be organized into Christ’s army;

  8. Then we will return with Jesus to the earth on the following Feast of Trumpets.

There are additional passages that complete the story. However, there is not enough room in this letter to include all the references. As the Scriptures show, this is what we have to look forward to and why the day of Pentecost is such a tremendous feast! It is the “joyous festival gathering” of all the saints, who are resurrected at the first resurrection!

Keeping Our Minds on the Spiritual: As we look at the world today, we can see more than ever that we need to keep our minds on the spiritual. We should be aware of what is taking place in this world, yet keep our focus on the spiritual things of God and the hope of the resurrection—rather than on physical things. Paul shows us how to do this: “Therefore … let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily entraps us; and let us run the race set before us with endurance, having our minds fixed on Jesus, the Beginner and Finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that lay ahead of Him endured the cross, although He despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Now meditate deeply on Him Who has endured such great hostility of sinners against Himself, so that you do not become weary and discouraged. You have not yet resisted to the point of losing blood in your struggle against sin” (Heb. 12:1-4).

Not only does Paul admonish us to lay aside every weight and sin, but we are also to follow his example. As he did, we need to consider that, compared to eternal life, all the physical things in this world are nothing but a heap of dung. Physical things may seem pleasant or good, but they perish with the using. Moreover, Jesus promised that if we seek the Kingdom of God first, He will provide for us (Matt. 6:25-34).

When Paul wrote to the Philippians, he wanted to inspire them to always strive for the true righteousness of Jesus Christ and the power of the resurrection: “But then truly, I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as dung that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is derived from law, but that righteousness which is by the faith of Christthe righteousness of God that is based on faith, that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; if by any means I may attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

“Not as though I have already received this, or have already been perfected; but I am striving, so that I may also lay hold on that for which I also was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not count myself as having attained; but this one thing I doforgetting the things that are behind, and reaching forth to the things that are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:8-14).

This is the attitude and dedication Christ wants us to have, so that regardless of the things taking place in this world, or what our personal circumstances are, we will be overcoming and pressing toward the goal—the first resurrection and eternal life. Paul shows that if we have this frame of mind we are being perfected in love, grace, and knowledge: “So then, let as many as be perfect be of this mind. And if in anything you are otherwise minded, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, in regard to that which we have attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. Brethren, be imitators together of me, and bear in mind those who walk in this way, as you have us for an example” (verses 15-17). What a tremendous blessing it is to know that if we are in any way “otherwise minded,” God will reveal this to us so that we may repent and overcome. Remember, God the Father and Jesus Christ love us and are for us. Therefore, no one, nor any thing, can prevail against us—not even the accusations of Satan the devil.

However, just as it was in Paul’s day, so it is today. There were those who forsook the spiritual and turned back to the physical—counting them more important than eternal life. They became weary and allowed themselves to give up on God and eternal life. Some had even turned against Christ by following false teachers; others marched right back into the world to serve self and Satan: “For many walk contrary; I have often told you of them, and also I tell you with weeping, they are the enemies of the cross of Christ; whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame; for they mind earthly things” (verses 18-19.)

When we consider all the trials and difficulties that Paul endured, we know that he is an excellent example for us to follow. He always looked to Jesus Christ. He always kept the goal of the resurrection in the forefront of his mind. Here is his exhortation to us: “But for us, the commonwealth of God exists in the heavens, from where also we are waiting for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; Who will transform our vile bodies, that they may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the inner working of His own power whereby He is able to subdue all things to Himself” (verses 20-21).

Not only are we to follow the example of the apostle Paul, but, more importantly, we are to be followers of God: “Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, even as Christ also loved us, and gave Himself for us as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor” (Eph. 5:1-2). This is how we can avoid being partakers of the sins of the world—Babylon the Great (Rev. 18:4).

If we continue in God’s way of life, we will be walking in love and obedience—having the faith of Jesus and keeping the commandments of God (Rev. 14:12). We are then imitating God. We will be building godly character and growing to perfection (Matt. 5:48). Moreover, when we are doing the things that please God, we are living righteously—and we automatically avoid sinning. Nevertheless, Paul warns: “But as for fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, do not permit it even to be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking nor jesting, which are not becoming; but instead thanksgiving. For this you know, that no fornicator, or unclean person, or covetous person, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God” (Eph. 5:3-5).

When we are actively living God’s way, day by day, we are spiritually armed and on guard so that we will not be led astray. Today, we are confronted with so many preachers and teachers who have a multitude of false doctrines and false prophecies. And they can sound very convincing. But the end result is not righteousness or the love of God. Rather, the end result is confusion, deception, and self-righteousness. Paul continued his warning, which applies to us today: “Do not let anyone deceive you with vain words; for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore, do not be joint-partakers with them. For you were once darkness; but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (because the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth), proving what is well-pleasing to the Lord; and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness” (verses 6-11).

Let us diligently apply ourselves and live by these scriptures, keeping the hope of the resurrection and eternal life in the forefront of our minds.

Brethren, we all realize that we are facing very difficult times. But regardless of our circumstances, God the Father and Jesus Christ are with us and the angels are watching over us. Once again, thank you for your love and prayers. We pray for you every day—that God’s love, grace, and blessings will be upon you and yours in every way. We thank you for your continued support with your tithes and offerings, which help us to reach out to brethren and, increasingly, to new people who are searching for God.

With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter