Monthly letter archive

October 17, 2018 | pdficon small - PDF Version

Dear Brethren,

As you will see from the reports that follow, all the brethren had a tremendous Feast of Tabernacles! The Bible tells us that this Feast pictures the Millennium—the thousand-year rule of Jesus Christ when everyone will have the opportunity to know and love God and fulfill their ultimate destiny by entering into the Kingdom of God. At that time, all the saints in the first resurrection will be spirit beings under Christ, and we will rule and govern to bring peace to all the world—no more crime, no more war, no more Satan the devil.

The Last Great Day pictures: 1) When all the rest of the dead from the beginning of the world until the return of Christ, who had not committed the unpardonable sin, will be raised to a second physical life for their first opportunity for salvation and eternal life. This will be billions and billions of people—including those who were aborted, as well as still-born babies, and the untimely deaths of young and old through wars and catastrophes, plague and famine—all who lived and died to whom God did not give an opportunity for salvation. They will be given 100 years of new physical life to successfully attain eternal life.

God has decreed that all the incorrigible sinners who had committed the unpardonable sin must die twice. Therefore: 2) All these dead—along with those still alive who, at the end of the 100 years, refused God's salvation—will be raised to a second physical life for their ultimate judgment: to be cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Then begins the awesome, fantastic future—into eternity of time—that God the Father and Jesus Christ have prepared for God's sons and daughters! The saints of the first resurrection will live in new Jerusalem—the place Jesus is preparing for us now. And all the nations that are saved during the Millennium and the 100-year period will live on the new Earth.

The apostle John writes: "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away, and there was no more sea. And I, John, saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice from heaven say, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men [and women, now spirit beings]; and He shall dwell with them, and they shall be His people; and God Himself shall be with them and be their God. And God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall not be any more death, or sorrow, or crying; neither shall there be any more pain, because the former things have passed away.'

"And He Who sits on the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new.' Then He said to me, 'Write, for these words are true and faithful.' And He said to me, 'IT IS DONE! I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the one who thirsts, I will give freely of the fountain of the water of life. The one who overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son.'…

"And one of the seven angels that had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, 'Come here, and I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife.' And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, holy Jerusalem [where the wife will live], descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. And her radiance was like a most precious stone, as crystal-clear as jasper stone….

"And I saw no temple in it; for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city has no need of the sun, or of the moon, that they should shine in it; because the glory of God enlightens it, and the light of it is the Lamb. And the nations that are saved shall walk in its light; and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honor into it. And its gates shall never be shut by day; for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. And nothing that defiles shall ever enter into it, nor shall anyone who practices an abomination or devises a lie; but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life" (Rev. 21:1-7, 9-11, 22-27).

Each one of us in the first resurrection will be able to personally see and ta1k with God the Father and Jesus Christ: "Then he showed me a pure river of the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing out from the throne of God and of the Lamb. And in the middle of the street, and on this side and that side of the river, was the tree of life, producing twelve manner of fruits, each month yielding its fruit; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him, and they shall see His face [God the Father's]; and His name is in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; for they have no need of a lamp or the light of the sun, because the Lord God enlightens them; and they shall reign into the ages of eternity. And he said to me, 'These words are faithful and true; and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things that must shortly come to pass' " (Rev. 22:1-6). This is the awesome purpose of our calling! There can be nothing greater!

Now that we are back home, we are also back in the world. In order to keep growing in grace and knowledge, we must keep this goal in our hearts and in the forefront of our minds. If we do, we will never fail!

In John 16:27, Jesus told the apostles that because the Father Himself loved them (as well as all saints of all ages), they could direct their prayers personally to Him, in Jesus' name. In Jesus' last prayer to the Father (John 17) before His betrayal and arrest, He prayed for all His disciples from that time forward to His return: "For I have given them the words that You gave to Me; and they have received them and truly have known that I came from You; and they have believed that You did send Me. I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world, but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. All Mine are Yours, and all Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them.

"And I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, those whom You have given Me, so that they may be one, even as We are one. When I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. I protected those whom You have given Me, and not one of them has perished except the son of perdition, in order that the Scriptures might be fulfilled.

"But now I am coming to You; and these things I am speaking while yet in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in them. I have given them Your words, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You would take them out of the world, but that You would keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

"Sanctify them in Your truth; Your Word is the truth. Even as You did send Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, so that they also may be sanctified in Your truth. I do not pray for these only, but also for those who shall believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, even as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, in order that the world may believe that You did send Me.

"And I have given them the glory that You gave to Me, in order that they may be one, in the same way that We are one: I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfected into one; and that the world may know that You did send Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that those whom You have given Me may also be with Me where I am, so that they may behold My glory, which You have given Me; because You did love Me before the foundation of the world" (John 17:8-24).

Remember also these encouraging words of the apostle Paul: "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose, because those whom He did foreknow, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His own Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Now whom He predestinated, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

"He Who did not spare even His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how shall He not also grant us all things together with Him? Who shall bring an accusation against the elect of God? God is the One Who justifies. Who is the one that condemns? It is Christ Who died, but rather, Who is raised again, Who is even now at the right hand of God, and Who is also making intercession for us.

"What shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? Accordingly, it is written, 'For Your sake we are killed all the day long; we are reckoned as sheep for the slaughter.' But in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord!" (Rom. 8:28-39).

In the Psalms, King David praised and exalted God because He fought for him against his foes. David trusted in God at all times: "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, my enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an army should encamp against me, my heart shall not be afraid; though war should rise against me, even then I will be confident.

"One thing I have desired from the Lord, that I will seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion, in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies round about me; therefore I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy in His tabernacle. I will sing; yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord" (Psa. 27:1-6).

Remember, whatever our circumstances, whatever our trials, whatever we have to overcome, if we love God the Father and Jesus Christ with all our heart, mind, and being, we will never fail! This is our goal, this is our destiny, and Christ will help us as He promised: "Do not allow the love of money [or anything else] to influence your behavior, but be satisfied with what you have; for He has said, 'In no way will I ever leave you; no—I will never 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?' " (Heb. 13:5-6).

New Book for Teens: We just received our new book Good Sense! Help for Teens from the Book of Proverbs, written by our editor, Philip Neal. It is an excellent, well-written, easy-to-understand book for all youth and teens. The back cover of the book reads:

"Yeah, I could use some help!"

THE TEEN YEARS are full of wonder, excitement, and discovery. But for many teens, it's also a time of anxiety, frustration, and even feeling kinda lost.

So what teenager couldn't use a little help, right?

That's exactly what King Solomon was thinking when he wrote the biblical Book of Proverbs. As it turns out, he took some really great notes as he went through life — notes on how to make it out there in the real world.

Good Sense! focuses on a dozen or so "living" principles from Proverbs that are as fresh and relevant as ever. In fact, no matter what you're facing in life, Proverbs offers real solutions that work.

Yeah, you're gonna need some help getting through those crazy teen years. That's what Good Sense! is all about. It's a great way to begin exploring what God has to say to you in the Book of Proverbs.

At the end of the letter there is an order coupon for this new book. You can order as many as you need, so that you can send copies to the youth and teens that you know. We will send them to you at no cost—free!

Once again brethren, thank you for your prayers and for your love for us, and all the brethren. Let us continue to draw close to God in daily heartfelt prayer and in the study of God's Word. This way we will be growing in grace and knowledge. We thank God the Father and Jesus Christ for Their goodness and mercy for all God's people. We thank you for your faithfulness in your tithes and offerings. We pray that God will continue to bless you and watch over you in every way. We are praying for you daily, for your health and for your healing through God's love and grace.

With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter

FRC

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Order Coupon for the book Good Sense!

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The accusations and record against

the Church of God by Babylon the Great

Note the record bears a true and false witness as recorded in defiance of the truth;

That the heretical accusations arose from twisting the truth to the benefit of the preponderant power—we see this as common among those that immerse themselves in this world;

That the true Church of God was reviled and attacked, buried, and burned, while the beast and false prophet assumed the role of protector and preserver of a false, diabolical "truth"—yet with power from a god with an authority to take life;

The records were revealed when a city was burned, and so nothing is hidden that will not be revealed; lies fly swiftly, but truth overtakes them;

The unrelenting persecution through the Inquisition persisted intensely for 500 years—interestingly it has been 500 years now, since the last vestiges of this satanic effort to destroy the Church has been primarily paused;

That the Church was no small force, but infiltrated all principalities, economies, institutions, and communities while under persecution;

That martyrdom never destroys faith but rather spreads it; that the seeds of the kingdom have always had the blood of martyrs to nurture and spread the word of God and open the eyes of the blind and ears of the deaf; and,

That the world in its institutions denies and reviles the truth, turning blind eyes and deaf ears, to advance her fantasies and falsehoods; and only when facing overwhelming revolution (i.e., reformation) does she relinquish—but arises anew from the ashes. And so she is today, spinning, weaving, and crafting seemingly new powers and principalities that reflect the satanic kingdoms always ruled by blood lust and lies.

 

HOW THE WALDENSES WERE UNJUSTLY ACCUSED

BY THEIR INQUISITORS AND ACCUSERS

In the second book of the first part of the History of the Waldenses, by Jean Paul Perrin, translated by J.M.V., 3d chapter, page 74, col. 2, there is an account of one Jan Veileti, a monk, and inquisitor over the Waldenses, and how very unfaithfully and deceitfully he or his clerk acted in the case of these people, from which it can be inferred how it also was with others of their accusers. The words read as follows:

But in the processes which were instituted by this monk Jan Veileti, we have observed an exquisite kind of villainy and low cunning; for, having gotten these proceedings into our hands, we found in them little billets, upon which this commissary (Jan Veileti) had noted the answers of the accused, simply, and just as they had come from their lips; but these simple answers, we afterwards, in the proceedings found extended, and frequently given in a form contrary to, and quite different from what the sumptum, that is, the aforementioned answer as noted in the proceedings, implied and contained; thereby perverting the meaning of the defendant, and causing him to say that of which he had never thought.

For example, when he was asked whether he did not believe, that as soon as the sacramental words were pronounced by the priest, in the mass, the body of Christ was in the host, just as He was on the tree of the cross, and the Waldenses answered, No. Veileti or his clerk set down as his answer: That he had confessed that he did not believe in God.

Again, when it was asked, whether the saints must not be invoked, the reply was, No. They wrote: That they had reviled, and spoken evil of, the saints.

When it was asked whether the virgin Mary must not be saluted and invoked in our extremity, and the answer was, No. They wrote: That they had reviled the virgin Mary.

"Behold, such was the faithlessness of the monks and inquisitors in such important matters, and it is not without a certain evidence of God's providence," says the writer, "that these villainies have been preserved and have remained to the present time, as a means by which to show what spirit actuated those men having, by manifold frauds, oppressed and ultimately killed and burnt the believing members of the church of Christ, yet have the audacity to ask us, where the church, and the believers, whom they themselves put to death, were before our coming."

"Now, if the reader is desirous to know," says our author, "how said proceedings fell into our hands, we reply, that this occurred likewise through the providence of God."

He then relates how the archbishops of Embrun, John Rostan, and others had these papers and proceedings under lock and key in their chests and chanceries, until the city where they resided was taken, A. D. 1585.

The house of the archbishop having taken fire on this occasion, many of these processes held in former times against the Waldenses were thrown in bags into the street.

One Calignon, chancellor of Navarre, and a certain councilor of Grenoble, who were present, ordered them to be picked up and delivered into their hands; and thus, it is stated, the perfidious calumnies against the Waldenses came to light, which, otherwise, would have gone among the papists as true accusations against them. But it is as the common adage says: Lies fly swiftly, but truth overtakes them.

We will now close our account of the true faith and good practice of the Waldenses, and show how long and in what times they existed.

 

CONCERNING THE TIME OF THE WALDENSES

Of this, H. Montanus gives this account: "The persuasion of the Waldenses or Lyonites obtained, in France as well as in some cities of Italy, secretly as well as openly, according to the condition of the times, for more than three hundred years, from the year 1170 or 1180 to 1545"—as seen in Sleidanus, lib. 16, Comment. H. Mont. Nietigh., page 86.

Their beginning we have fixed, according to the common reckoning of ancient writers, A. D. 1170; but it appears that they existed long before; for even as early as the year 1120, people of the same profession declared, by open writings, their views against the pope, whom they called antichrist, censuring him in many things, as stated above.

Moreover, P. J. Twisck gives the following account for the year 1168: "The Waldenses, of whom mention is made for the year 1159, had at this time so many followers and such great success with their doctrine, in France, Spain, Italy, and Germany, that those of their profession, as Guil. Nebriss, writes, numbered as many as the sand of the sea; who, when they were summoned by the pope of Rome, to give an account of their doctrine, would not appear, saying that they were not obliged to obey the pope, who was the antichrist and had declared them schismatics." Chron. page 479, col. I. A. D. 1199.

It is stated that at this time the Albigenses, who were one church with the Waldenses, had so increased in the earldom of Toulouse, that, as the papists complained, "almost a thousand cities were polluted with them." Introduction M. M., page 52, col. 1, from Baron. A. D. 1199, num. 13. With this the lord of St. Aldegonde concurs, when he says (in't Tafereel der Geschil., cap. 12, fol. 142):

"That, notwithstanding Peter de Bruis was burnt as a heretic, at St. Giles, near Nismes, their doctrine nevertheless was spread throughout the province of Gascony, into the earldom of Fois, Querci, Agenois, Bourdeloicx, and almost throughout all Languedoc, and the earldom of Jugrane, now called Venice.

"In Province also this doctrine was almost universally accepted, and the cities, Cahors, Narbonne, Carcassonne, Rhodes, Aix la Chapelle, Mesieres, Toulouse, Avignon, Mantau­ ban, S. Antonin, Puflanrens, Castres, Minerve, Begiers, Beaucaire, Lombes, Pannes, and the country of Bigorre were filled with it, together with many other cities which were favorable to them, as Tarascon, Marseilles, Perces, Agenois, Marmande, and Bordeaux; whereby this doctrine spread still further, from the one side into Spain and England, from the other, into Germany, Bohemia, Hungary, Moravia, Dalmatia, and even into Italy.

"Indeed in such a manner did this doctrine spread that however sedulously the popes and all their minions exerted themselves, aided by the princes and the secular magistrates, to exterminate them, first by disputations, then by banishment and papal excommunication and anathemas, proclaiming of crusades, indulgences and pardons to all who would commit violence upon them, and finally, by all manner of tortures, fire, gallows, and cruel bloodshedding, yea, in such a manner that the whole world was in commotion on account of it; yet, they (the papists) could not prevent the ashes from flying abroad, and becoming scattered far and wide, almost even to all the ends of the earth." Introduction M. M., page 52, col. I, 2.

The above seems marvelous, but it is not marvelous with regard to the Lord God, with whom nothing is wonderful or impossible. In the meantime, we see how God permitted this grain of mustard seed of the Waldenses, or Poor Men of Lyons, to grow up a large tree, and this in the midst of their persecutions. Oh, the great power, wisdom and love of God, who never forsakes His people!

P. J. Twisck, having finished his account of the twelfth century, concludes as follows, with which we will also conclude our account: "As regards the state and condition of ecclesiastical affairs in the preceding hundred years, we find no special change, nor reformation, except that in this century we have many praiseworthy men who opposed papery with the Holy Scriptures, rejecting images, pilgrimages, masses, and other papal superstitions, and also infant baptism; concerning which you may consult the years 1145, 1159, 1168, 1182, 1198.

"Thus, the Baptists and many others (who had better views than the papists), and their followers or fellow believers, lived for a long period, or even to this time, in various countries and places, under many severe persecutions." Chro: i., 12th book, page 511.

 

2018 Feast E-mails and Letters from Brethren

Berlin, Ohio—Hello everyone from rainy Berlin. Even though it has been overcast and rainy, our spirits are high. We have had a great start to the Feast and are enjoying loving fellowship among the brethren and spiritual meat from the sermons. We are excited about the sun coming out and the fulfillment of the future Feast of Tabernacles and the Kingdom of God on the earth. We wish you a wonderful, profitable, and blessed remainder of the Feast. We had an enthusiastic 48 people in attendance in Berlin this year. Spirits were high and the messages were edifying. Everyone had a wonderful experience; looking to next year.—Steve and Terry Durham

Kalispell, Montana—We had lovely, cool fall weather in this beautiful valley surrounded by mountains and Flathead Lake. Some were able to visit Glacier Park, as it opened again after being closed for fires. Some of the activities enjoyed were hiking, bowling, sightseeing, game night, and we watched two movies, "The Book of Daniel" and "The Book of Ruth," which are both very good. Brethren were able to enjoy wonderful physical food as well as the very timely spiritual food with Fred's sermons, as well as a Bible Study and seven sermonettes that were very well presented. The special music was enjoyed and we were able to have a choir once again. Duncan MacLeod was the Festival Elder, and was appreciated by all. The attendance started out at 25 and ended the second half with 35. We had a luncheon on the first day of the Feast and the Last Great Day, which encouraged fellowship and lasting friendships. We are all looking forward to the kingdom, at Christ's return.—John & Hiedi Vogele

Vernon, B.C. Canada—Greetings to everyone from the beautiful sunny Okanagan Valley in Vernon. Wishing you all the best from 87 happy and most eager brethren attending on the first Holy Day of the Feast of Tabernacles here in Canada. Warm autumn weather has greeted us all with a great start to the Feast. The warmth, unity and love amongst the brethren was phenomenal and the presence of God was truly evident for a great start to the Feast. The opening messages were well received and the fellowship has been tremendous. Had a great opening wine and cheese welcoming reception the evening following the 1st Holy Day and everyone is set for a most inspiring and rewarding Feast—both physically but, most importantly, spiritually.

We are fortunate to be able to share the Feast this year with a visiting elder Roger Tointon and his wife, Sherri, from California. On behalf of all of the brethren here, we sincerely wish you all the most blessed and rewarding Feast of Tabernacles and may God bless you all over the next seven days. Let us be inspired, brethren, of the calling we have and the awesome opportunity that God has given us to be part of His plan. HAVE A MOST JOYOUS FEAST!

Update: Greetings to all from warm Vernon. We are now into the seventh day of the Feast here and the week has been most rewarding, both physically and spiritually. The messages have all been fantastic and the weather has been awesome. We have averaged about 83 people attending all week and the love and unity shown amongst everyone is overwhelming. It is so refreshing, and there is such a positive environment amongst us that truly depicts the meaning of the Feast. From all of us here in western Canada, we wish you all the most rewarding Day 7 of the Feast and an awesome Last Great Day.

Update: The Feast in Vernon this year was most profitable and inspiring for everyone. With an average attendance of 80 over the eight days, the warmth among the brethren was phenomenal. The weather was superb and the activities—including an outdoor family day, a bowling evening, and a church dinner—were well attended. The attendees were so grateful for all the efforts put forth by the planners and organizers to make this Feast special. The willingness of people to help and serve was awesome. God's Spirit was definitely present, and the love of God and love towards each other was most prevalent.

We were pleased to have Roger Tointon, as well as his wife Sherry, there with us (as he certainly added a little spice to the Feast). He gave two messages, as I did, and Fred's messages were well received and appreciated. Everyone was filled with spiritual and physical food to the fullest, and the fellowship was outstanding. The room was filled with joy and unity throughout. It was so refreshing and most rewarding for Denise and I again to host these wonderful brethren for another year.—Norbert & Denise Bohnert

Ngongotaha, New Zealand—Greetings to all of God's family keeping His Feast of Tabernacles in many location around the globe. The New Zealand family has been incredibly blessed with an excellent venue to celebrate the coming Kingdom of God! The location is in Ngongotaha (Ngong-go-ta-ha), seven kilometers north of Rotorua, a prime tourist location on the North Island. The meeting site, Willowhaven Holiday Park, is on the water front of lake Rotorua, and early risers were able to sit by the lake in the morning and enjoy the creation. We are all dwelling in very comfortable cabins adjacent to the meeting hall. This gives us freedom to fellowship in a relaxed atmosphere. We have catered meals for the two holy days and the Sabbath and today everyone had a lunch cruise on Lake Rotorua.

The time seems to be passing all too quickly and we are all enjoying immensely the spiritual food and teachings via the video sermons. We thank God for providing us with the MEAT in due season.

We have been enjoying the company of Maurice Dodson from Australia, who has the job of seeing that all the CDs and DVDs are prepared and mailed out to Australia, New Zealand , the UK, South Africa, Malaysia, and a number of other locations. A mighty task to feed the brethren and those who are seeking the truth of God.

Update: Greetings again to all our brothers and sisters worldwide. We are now almost three hours into the Last Great Day and looking to hear what will be added to our understanding of the meaning of the day. We are a small group of about 20 and this attendance has been constant every day, except when we have had visitors. On two occasions, two of our brethren travelled to visit a widow of 84 years; she was lonely and delighted to have the company.

For the first message today, we watched the latest Church at Home video, "Catholicism: How Did It Become So Corrupt?" After the service the ladies had prepared a special high tea with all the trimmings. This was thoroughly enjoyed. One evening we had a half-hour interactive Bible Study with questions and comments on end time events, why we avoid a hierarchical church structure, and other topics. Another evening we viewed the Temple Mount video.

This truly has been a Feast of learning, fellowship, and activities. With love from your brethren keeping God's Feast in New Zealand.—Lyall Johnston, John & Olga Schurink

Branson, Missouri—We had very pleasant weather in Branson. We met at the Thousand Hills Resort and it was a very nice meeting room. The average attendance was in the 30s. The high attendance was 46. We had brethren visit from Texas, Canada, Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. Ron Ware and Tracey Layton were a big help. The sermons were great and the special music by Lisa Fry, Bonnie Bolin, Tracey Layton, and Jeannie Theimer was excellent. We all had a wonderful Feast.—Kelly Smith

Lake George, New York—Greetings to you all from 24 spiritually charged brethren keeping the Feast in beautiful Lake George. The weather is lovely and we all look forward to God's coming kingdom. Fred's messages have been well received and appreciated. The fellowship has been outstanding with so much love being shown as we spend this precious time together. We are enjoying several activities including a scenic ride on Lake George, a hike, game night, and much time fellowshipping. We pray that God will continue to pour out His blessings on all the Feast sites as we rejoice in the coming fulfillment of God's plan for mankind. With much love.

Update: The Feast in Lake George went extremely well in every way as God poured out His spiritual and physical blessings. Everyone enjoyed the eight days we spent learning about God's coming kingdom, rejoicing, and fellowshipping together in brotherly love. Psalms 133:1 comes to mind: "How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity."

God certainly inspired you, Fred, to bring us daily sermons which helped us to see and understand more clearly the coming of God's kingdom and our part in ruling under Christ. Each day of the Feast the messages brought a greater reality to our minds of the millennial rule of Christ and the incredible transformation that will occur when Satan is removed and all people come to know the true God and His son Jesus Christ.

The facilities at the Wingate Hotel were perfect for our group of 24 brethren who enjoyed getting to know one another in a close and meaningful way. We all appreciated the beauty of the region and being able to get together for several activities—including a hike, movie night, game/fellowship night, and a cruise on Lake George. Thank you, Fred, for your loving service to the brethren as we all look forward to the Feast next year.—Roger and Emy Kendall

Brackley Point, Prince Edward Island—From the little flock (of 12) at Brackley Point. So thankful for the spiritual meat and the uplifting fellowship that we enjoy daily and being together with brethren of like mind. Looking forward to our evening full of fun, music, games, snacking, and wine tasting. The weather has been pleasant and mild. Hoping to have the Feast here next year, God willing.

Update: First year we received a banner—really added to the Feast. First year we received anointed cloths; 3 out of the 5 were asked for. We had two group meals: one in a restaurant, one was catered at the hall. For two days we had two visitors. George and I had open house at our cabin where we had snacks, drinks, entertainment—plus our 2 visitors came as well. On the eighth day we had special music—Sylvia played the piano for us. Everyone is looking forward to coming back to the Feast on PEI next year.—George and Simona Neufeld

La Serena, Chile—Greetings to all our brethren around the world from another little flock (of 9) in La Serena, on the shores of the Pacific Ocean! We had a most inspiring Feast, learning together and experiencing a foretaste of dwelling with God—with lots of spiritual meat, sharing meals together, and good conversation.

All the sermons given by Fred were translated and broadcast live in Spanish and recorded on the La Verdad de Dios YouTube channel. There were also activities for the children after services each day in which they learned about the days of creation through arts and crafts. 

We also had the opportunity to make a couple of short trips to Valle de Elqui (an amazing place to watch the stars at night) and to Isla Damas (Ladies Island) and Isla Choros (Choros Island) where we got to see Humboldt penguins and sea lions in their natural habitat (in addition to many other amazing creatures). Great food was also a highlight of the Feast.

Everyone enjoyed the fellowship, love, and growing together in grace and knowledge. We look forward to having another Spanish CBCG site in the future.—Eduardo Elizondo

Guelph, Ontario Canada—Greetings to all God's family at His Feast sites. We have had a prosperous week with all of Fred's messages and inspiring knowledge we have all gained. Thank you Fred. The warmth and love has been spread to everyone here; God's Holy Spirit is at work. We have all shared duties, our love and commitment to God, and with each other—as families do! We have prayed for all the brethren, elders, and, of course, Fred and our church! All our love and prayers.

Update: Hello Fred & Dolores and all the brethren. We thank you Fred and all the brethren for all the inspiring Feast responses. It was rewarding, inspirational—God's Holy Spirit was evident. Brethren were loving, kind, and sharing. We had a wonderful luncheon here at Riverside park; we also enjoyed a turkey dinner and fellowship at the Holiday Inn. We also visited a Lion's Safari to see God's amazing animals!

What a rewarding Feast with all of the AWESOME messages and scriptures. Thank you Fred! Our eyes are opening further and further every year to the greatness of God's plans for us and the world through Jesus Christ! May God continue to be with all of you, offering you good health and happiness, strength, and endurance to keep going forward—based on His LOVE and brotherly love! Love and prayers from 22 devoted, God-loving brethren.—Robert & Trisha

Destin, Florida—We have had a wonderful Feast of Tabernacles here in Destin. We had 35 brethren on the first day, and attendance has varied from the mid-twenties to the mid-thirties. We will begin services for the Last Great Day in a couple of hours. The love and fellowship of the brethren has been terrific. The weather has been great (with no threat of a hurricane) but nothing compared to the atmosphere in the meeting hall.

We especially enjoyed those attending their first time with the CBCG. Without a doubt, our heavenly Father has blessed us with terrific spiritual food and a wonderful atmosphere of love. The Spirit of God was evident and was reflected in the attitude and fellowship of the brethren. My thanks to all for their participation. My wife and I, Kay and Ben Ambrose, and all the brethren here in Destin send our love to everyone, and pray that everyone has a fruitful Last Great Day and safe travel back home.—Russ Kemp

Tulsa, Oklahoma—We had a really great Feast this year in Tulsa, although the attendance was down some from past years: our average for the eight days was 29. On Wednesday we had our church meal, and after the meal we played Bingo for a couple hours. Everyone really enjoyed that. The weather was nice and fall-like, with no rain. The highlight of the Feast was the answered prayers for a young baby who was one of our church member's friend's son (who were not church members, but had ask for prayers).

Everyone really enjoyed the messages and the transcript books were really great. Really nice to have them all in book form so we can go back over them as a Bible study on our own. Bill and Mona Wax, and all those who served, did a fantastic job of hosting the Feast. Our new 65-inch smart TV worked great, as Bill had downloaded all the songs and sermons on a thumb drive. All he had to do was click and we were ready to go. Hope all went well for all the Feast sights. God's spirit was evident here in Tulsa—with everyone working and serving and loving each other.—Lawrence Burchfield

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee—Dear Fred: We would like to tell you we had a great Feast at Pigeon Forge this year. Everyone was caring and loving one another. We had close to 100 the first day; 68 was the low, on day 4; on day 5, we had 69; the rest of the Feast it was in the 70s and 80s.

We had a loving Feast. Like to thank you for what you do, and we give thanks to God the Father and Jesus Christ. We have a great elder, too. Tom Fannin does a great job. Hope you had a great Feast, too. May God bless you and your family.—Earl & Sheila

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee—We had another tremendous Feast of Tabernacles in Pigeon Forge. The brethren had a loving spirit that made our fellowship and activities more inspiring. Every year is like a family reunion. We averaged 78 daily in attendance, with 90 the first day. The messages were excellent. We spent a lot of time together and our activities included a luncheon, cookout, ice cream social, family evening, and nightly fellowship. We have the same facility booked for 2019. We thank everyone for helping to make this Feast successful. God and Christ have blessed our Feast and we give thanks and praise to them.—Tom & Rhonda Fannin

Blanchard, Idaho—Fred, thank you for the great opportunity to speak with God's people. What a fantastic group setting this was in Blanchard! Wayne and Patrick, to name a few, were so helpful and supportive to us all. Sorry we could not get the Internet connection through Go-to-Meeting to work.—John Guenther

Blanchard, Idaho—I hope you're enjoying an enriching Feast! All seem to be enjoying it up here in Blanchard. The first part of John's presentation was really well received! This year I've counted 28 in attendance.

Update: Fred, thank you for your support of this new Feast site. It really was a foretaste of Christ's millennial kingdom—with the beautiful physical surroundings, spiritual food, and harmonious fellowship. Most of us met on day one as strangers—and left as family.

We shared many meals together, including two BBQs. Yum! The children enjoyed wholesome play, happiness, and fun. Our group visited a unique buffalo and elk ranch where we were able to get right in the middle of the herds and actually pet the animals—and bottle feed a baby buffalo—as if the animals were tame.

We had 31 attend throughout the Feast, with 28 being our highest for one day. We had one blessing of a baby. Richard and Ruth Gagnon celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. We also thoroughly enjoyed John Guenther's presentation outlining the history of the church, beginning from 100 AD. We look forward to all the brethren receiving this study.

We had a lot of good feedback on the Stoneridge Resort and the beauty of North Idaho, with several brethren stating that it was the best Feast ever.—Patrick Ryan

Blanchard, Idaho—Just a note to fill you in on the Feast in Blanchard. The Feast was held at the beautiful Stoneridge Resort located in the panhandle of northern Idaho in the town of Blanchard. It is located about 45 minutes north of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The Resort has many facilities to keep one busy just in the area itself—golf, swimming, tennis, etc.

The beauty of the fall season was just spectacular. We had brethren from Washington, Colorado, Texas, Nevada, Minnesota, Kansas, Oklahoma, and from Canada.

Services were located in the basement of the Resort. The attendance ranged anywhere from 24 to 28. We had the DVD videos from Fred for the sermons and, as a bonus, we had John Guenther do a three-part series on the History of the Church of God—100 AD to 1600 AD. The presentations were video recorded. His presentations focused largely on what the Church of God had to endure in order to keep and preach the truth. John had much literature available and people were able to take some home for further study.

Some of the activities that the brethren shared in fellowship included miniature golf day, a pizza party, and a movie night that featured the movies "Unlocking the Mystery of Life" and "God of Wonders." There was also a tour of a local park where brethren had an opportunity to see up close, feed, and pet some of the bison and elk in the herds. Brethren had a chance to buy bison and elk meat for the BBQ we had that coming Sabbath. That BBQ was a very tasty success! There was a meal provided on both holy days and on one or two other days. Plenty of food and drink on hand! Thank you Georgia and Anne! On the last day of the Feast, there was the blessing of a child, John Spannagel, age three months. That evening brethren got together to watch the Temple Mount video.

The weather was perfect until the last day, when it started getting windy and cold. Other than that, it was perfect for golfing, hiking, BBQ-ing, and fishing. The restaurants in the area served good food and brethren could drive into nearby Coeur d'Alene for fine dining.

The Resort and the surrounding area made such a wonderful Feast site that the brethren unanimously decided that they wanted a site here in 2019. Patrick and Georgia Ryan are again preparing things to make that happen!—Wayne and Ellen Julian

Penang, Malaysia—The Malaysian brethren had a wonderful Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day this year in Penang. The weather was great continually and all our activities went through without a problem. For us it was very much a family Feast, as we all participated together in meals for the Sabbaths, outdoor trips, activities, a Bible quiz, Bible activity for adults and children, and an entertainment night on a sketch on John the Baptist.

A highlight this year was the spiritual food we received in the extraordinary sermons by Fred, which were well received by all. A big thank you to Mr. Fred. We were pleased to have Ms. Terry Hoffmann from New Jersey visit. Her company made a great Feast even better. We had 28 in attendance, including children, throughout the 8 days. A memorable Feast was had by all, and we will have to work hard to have a better one next year.—Andrew Moses

Daytona Beach, Florida—Brethren and visitors at Daytona Beach just experienced the most meaningful Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day ever! One of the reasons for this is the Festival time was not treated as a vacation or a whirlwind of activities. Brethren listened to the meaningful and relevant messages presented by Fred, and absorbed the messages, and felt the love of God manifest among us. The activities and fellowship were secondary. The absorbing of God's Word came first! Best Feast ever!—Nolan Joseph

Caloundra, Queensland Australia—Greetings to all from brethren in Caloundra. It has been refreshing to receive messages of prophecy, encouragement, and hope throughout this Feast while in a backdrop of heightened political controversy and division in the world around us. We have also been privileged to have service-oriented brethren who have been catering at the Feast with refreshments and meals that have further facilitated the warm fellowship. Manola and I began the first few days of the Feast at the Nelson Bay site, which also featured the same warmth and hospitality. One feature that we found common at both sites was the in-depth "iron sharpening iron" spiritually-based discussions similar in character to those that take place after sermons given at the online GTM meetings from Indianapolis. The only problem is that the Feast seems to end too quickly as we now begin the Last Great Day and then prepare to go back into the world. Wishing all an uplifting Last Great Day.—Roy and Manola Assanti

Caloundra, Queensland Australia—This year, the Feast of Tabernacles was held for the first time at a recently built venue—Kawana Forest Meeting Place. The facility is modern with updated technology and a big screen, which was well received by the brethren.

Attendance was slightly down from last year, varying from 35 on the first Holy Day to 25 on most of the remaining days. Attendance was down due to a number of our brethren staying home because of the drought conditions, as well as old age and illness.

The atmosphere was relaxed with plenty of opportunity to fellowship both before and after services—and particularly during lunch, which was provided each day. Providing lunch allows brethren the time to catch up with old friends and meet new people who may be attending the Feast site for the first time.

The brethren really appreciated the time and effort Fred put into each Feast message, being spiritual meat in due season that is directly on point. As times become more difficult with trials and the deterioration of society, having the vision of God's plan and the purpose of our calling will help us to endure to the end. Bound transcripts of the messages were again made available, which are useful for review both at the Feast and at home. Roy Assanti attended and gave two messages and a presentation on the Australian church's finances for 2107/18.

Nelson Bay, Australia—The small Feast of Tabernacles site in Nelson Bay has had a wonderful 7 days and we are just starting the Last Great Day. We've had about 10-12 most days, but it's been a rotating set of people—a total of 20 with most visiting 2 or 3 days.

The spiritual food from Fred has been supplemented by studies by Steve Greene and Neil Latham, which have all been deeply thought provoking and have led to good spiritual growth and increased understanding. We also had a Bible quiz, and today's Bible study will be on "Will
Hitler be resurrected?" A pretty interesting topic.

On Friday most went out on a cruise ship and witnessed several pods of whales with 2
baby calves, a mother and escort. They were right up close and were a beautiful display of God's masterful creation. Sunsets here are breathtaking, with the most dazzling purples mixed with sunburnt orange. It makes your heart sing praises to such a beautiful Creator. Our love and best wishes to all the scattered brethren.

Update: The small Feast of Tabernacles site in Port Stephens (near Nelson Bay) was a wonderful celebration of God's plan for mankind. This year we moved into a new hall about 10 minutes from the previous one at Nelson Bay. The Soldier's Point Sailing Club has spectacular views overlooking the bay—with the whole eastern wall made of glass. We had exclusive use of it for the full 8 days. There were about 10-12 attendees most days. Roy and Manola Assanti visited for the first three days. The spiritual food from Fred was the usual high standard, with the certainty of prophecy in the Word of God (garnished liberally with cowbell speculations of what things may well be like, generating deep and animated conversations). Our other international speaker this year was Steve Greene, who provided messages on the Monarch Butterfly and Cleansing. For those who haven't heard Steve speak, I hope his messages will be circulated. He showed how the butterfly is a living analogy of how God's people are transformed. Neil Latham gave a fascinating sermonette touching on the highlights of the history of the Waldensians, Millerites, 7th Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and on the pitfalls of trying to tell God what to do.—Peter Carson

Moama, Victoria Australia—The Feast of Tabernacles in Moama NSW was attended by 22 people on average, with 26 attending on the Sabbath. It was encouraging to hear the messages pointing towards God's kingdom and to speak with those of like mind about our great future.

The services were enjoyed by all, with a spirit of love and co-operation in abundance. Several mentioned that it was the best Feast they had ever had. Many brethren have already booked their accommodations for next year!

Ten Pin bowling was a lot of fun for young and old—as was an afternoon of cricket and fellowship. We enjoyed a paddle steamer cruise on the "Canberra" one afternoon, and a luncheon cruise on a more modern vessel, the "M. V. Mary Ann."

While the weather was a little cooler than in previous years, we had warm fellowship. We enjoyed several pot luck meals together and an enjoyable "Farewell Dinner" at a local restaurant after the Last Great Day.—CBCG brethren in Moama

Pasadena, California—God provided beautiful weather for our fall festival in Pasadena. Extra activities included a fun show with an ice cream social and a BBQ in the park, where we enjoyed bison steaks, tri-tip roast, chicken, and all the trimmings. We shared food, fun, and lots of godly fellowship throughout the Feast. We greatly appreciated Fred's wonderful messages and were pleased with interesting sermonettes.—Byron Norrod

Payson, Arizona—About 22 brethren enjoyed a relaxing and peaceful Feast in Payson. It was evident that our loving Father and our Lord Jesus Christ were present. We had ample time to get to know one another and enjoy fulfilling fellowship. We really appreciate the sermons leading us through the scriptures illustrating the coming millennium. The meaning of the Feast becomes deeper each year as we continue to study, learn, and grow in God's way. These stirring messages give us hope and strength for the coming year.—Leon H. Ritchie

Hollister, California—The Feast of Tabernacles in Hollister was the highlight of the year. The love and joy just seem to flow. We had brethren from Canada, Missouri, Washington, and California. We had great fellowship and Bible discussions. There was an abundance of food—and yes, wine. We even had a wine-tasting tour at several area wineries. One of the highlights was the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings for him to be a Supreme Court Associate Justice. We compared how the Senate hearing was conducted with the Bible instructions God requires for judges. What a difference indeed! But it gave us additional proof of why the world needs Jesus Christ to return and set up the Kingdom of God on earth, with all the resurrected saints. We had 32 in attendance, nearly filling up our meeting hall. While we were sorry to see the Feast come to an end, everyone left on a high note.—Fred Coulter

Modern Syncretism:

Halloween Now Christened a "Fall Festival"

The general practice of nascent Catholicism was to convert pagans throughout the Roman Empire as quickly as possible. However, most pagans stubbornly held to their false gods and ancient practices. In response, Rome implemented a strategy of "appropriation"—accomplished primarily by renaming pagan holidays and adapting their symbolism to reflect "Christian" themes. For example, Louis L. Morrow, author of My Catholic Faith, writes: "In the history of the Church we find that she often christened pagan festivals … and endowed them with an entirely new and Christian significance" (p. 416). In her book Witches, Erica Jong similarly writes, "Christian holidays were deliberately set at times that had been sacred since the earliest pagan days. The Christians knew the power paganism had over the people and usually renamed rather than reinvented holidays" (p. 124).

Christmas is a perfect example. Ever wonder about the strange customs associated with Christmas: Santa Claus, elves, flying reindeer, mistletoe, the exchanging of gifts, the colorful decking of trees and homes, all the merrymaking? What does any of that have to do with the birth of Jesus?

Obviously, nothing.

Indeed, true followers of Christ understand the pagan origins of Christmas—how it was "Christianized" by the Catholic Church via a process called syncretism. Simply put, syncretism is the blending or mingling of different religious or cultural ideas. Syncretism takes two or more concepts—even those diametrically opposed to one another—and repositions them as a single, innovative idea. While the "new idea" contains clear elements of the original concepts, previous points of opposition or conflict are "resolved"—typically by using clever semantics.

All of the familiar Christmas customs listed above were once part of the pagan mid-winter festival Saturnalia, which honored the god Saturn and was celebrated for centuries prior to Jesus' birth. But the festival was eventually branded "Christian" by the Catholic Church in order to appease heathen converts. Rather than force these new "Christians" to surrender their pagan holiday, Jesus' name was attached to the festival—giving it new "sacred legitimacy." Then, in the fourth century, December 25—the day anciently set aside to honor Saturn—was officially decreed to be Jesus' birthday. Eventually the "Christianized" festival's pagan name was abandoned in favor of "Christmas"—Mass of the Christ.

This is a classic example of religious syncretism—something the Bible forbids. But such syncretism continues even to this very day—involving one of Christendom's most cherished holidays: Halloween.

For years now in mainstream Protestantism, there has been a shift away from the overt practice of keeping Halloween. To be sure, if parents want to take their kids out trick-or-treating, that is their business—and few if any churches are going to discourage it. But when it comes to church-sponsored activities, most churches today are shying away from hosting "Halloween parties" or similar events. Why? In the back of their minds, they know it smacks of paganism—even Satanism. So instead, they hold—on Halloween—a "Fall Festival." In practice, these festivals still look like Halloween parties, complete with the scary costumes, the candy, etc. And instead of "trick-or-treat," its now "trunk-or-treat"—as candy is doled out to kids from the trunks of church members' cars in the church parking lot. This keeps the kids safe, off the streets. In other words, they're going to do it anyway, so we might as well at least keep the kids safe. (Sounds a lot like the ancient pagans, refusing to give up their old ways. And isn't it interesting that this so-called "Fall Festival" falls very close to the biblical fall festival of Tabernacles as found in Leviticus 23?)

But in reality, this is only a modern attempt at religious syncretism. The cherished event has been cleverly sterilized by semantically removing the explicit association with Halloween. Thus, Halloween—now called a "Fall Festival"—has been subtly Christianized, made palatable for churchgoers who otherwise frown on kids pretending to be witches, goblins, or devils.

Unlike with Christmas, however, no mainstream church is using Halloween—or their "Fall Festival"—to actually worship God. But by sanctioning the event as a church-sponsored activity, they have now added Halloween to the Protestant collection of "acceptable holidays."

For Christians, everything we do should honor and bring glory to God. Can Halloween, masquerading as a "Fall Festival," measure up to that standard?

Hardly. The Bible says we are not to worship God according to the "customs of the heathen" (Deut. 12:30-32). Yet Halloween is based entirely on pagan, even satanic, customs.

So try as they may, they cannot make something unholy, holy. Especially Halloween!

Philip Neal

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