Monthly letter archive

September 15, 2017

Dear Brethren,

Texas and Florida have been hit with a double whammy—hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The devastation in Texas has been unprecedented due to a record breaking 57 inches of rain. Harvey left a vast swath of destruction—roads, bridges, buildings, factories, and 300,000 homes wrecked. Thousands and thousands of people have lost everything. Then Florida was hit by one of the largest and most powerful hurricanes in the history of that state. This 300 mile-wide hurricane pummeled nearly every part of the state. Please keep everyone in your prayers—especially the brethren in these areas. As one woman who lost everything said of Harvey, “If the power of this disaster doesn’t humble you, nothing will. God help us all!”

It seems the whole world is burdened down with terrible problems: wars, famine, fires, hurricanes, typhoons, floods, droughts, terrorist attacks, pestilence. Add to that the problems of sickness and disease, crime and drugs, and widespread government corruption.

And now there is the possibility of war with North Korea, which could be catastrophic to the United States and Asia. If the North Korean dictator, Kim Jung Un, chooses to implement a nuclear attack on America or its allies, the resultant death toll could be in the millions—on both sides. Yet no one seems able to ratchet down his declared destruction on America.

All of these problems are part of the crisis at the close of this age of man’s rule under Satan the devil. When we read Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, combined with the book of Revelation, the magnitude of end time events seems surreal. But now we are seeing prophecy unfold that can quickly inflame the whole world! And it is all the result of rampant lawlessness. But one thing is certain: God fulfills prophecy to the maximum—not one word will fail!

Concerning the time just before His return, Jesus said world conditions would reach a point that, if God did not intervene, no life would be spared. “For then shall there be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until this time, nor ever shall be again. And if those days were not limited, there would no flesh be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days shall be limited…. For in those days shall be great tribulation, such as has not been the like from the beginning of the creation that God created until this time, nor ever shall be again; and unless the Lord had limited the days, no flesh would be saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom He has chosen, He has limited the days” (Matt. 24:21-22; Mark 13:19-20).

The Coming Kingdom of God and the Final War: The world’s only hope in all these troubles—including even more horrible troubles to come—is the awesome return of Jesus Christ in power to rescue humanity from utter destruction. But beginning with righteous Able, God has chosen His elect—to reign with Christ and save the world and bring peace to all nations!

When Jesus returns in awesome power and great glory, every person on earth will be able to see and feel this spectacular, earth-shaking event. Jesus said every eye will see Him coming in the clouds (Rev. 1:7). However, leading up to that time, Satan will have deceived the whole world—causing mankind to believe that Jesus’ return is an invasion of aliens from outer space! In a sense, that will be true—because God the Father and Jesus Christ are actually aliens to the people of this world. Satan will deceive the world into actually believing that he is God and will cause men to worship him (Rev. 12:9; 13:3-4; II Thess. 2:7-12).

At the set time, the first resurrection will take place on the Feast of Pentecost in the year of Jesus’ return. When we are raised from the dead, the angels will carry all the saints to a gigantic Sea of Glass in the clouds positioned directly over the holy land. After special events and ceremonies take place on the Sea of Glass [refer to any Day 49 and Pentecost study], we will then be assembled into the righteous army of Christ, the mighty King and Savior of the world. Then, on the Feast of Trumpets, we will follow Christ and descend to the earth to destroy the armies of the Beast and Satan—the final war! Revelation 17 and 19 detail this war: “And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings, who have not yet received a kingdom, but shall receive authority as kings for one hour with the beast. These all have one mind, and shall give up their power and authority to the beast. These will make war with the Lamb, but the Lamb shall overcome them; for He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful” (Rev. 17:12-14).

Jesus told Pilate before He was crucified, “If My Kingdom were of this world then would My servants fight” (John 18:36). We will participate in this war! And under Christ’s direction, we will win! Notice: “And I saw heaven open; and behold, a white horse; and He Who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He does judge and make war. And His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written that no one knows except Him. And He was clothed with a garment dipped in blood; and His name is The Word of God.

“And the armies [all the saints] in heaven were following Him on white horses; and they were clothed in fine linen, white and pure. And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He might smite the nations; and He shall shepherd them with an iron rod; and He treads the winepress of the fury and the wrath of the Almighty God. And on His garment and on His thigh He has a name written: King of kings and Lord of lords.

“Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, ‘Come and gather yourselves together to the supper of the great God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of chief captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all, free and bond, and small and great.’

“And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies, gathered together to make war with Him Who sits on the horse, and with His army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet who worked miracles in his presence, by which he had deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. Those two were cast alive into the lake of fire, which burns with brimstone; and the rest were killed by the sword of Him Who sits on the horse, even the sword that goes out of His mouth; and all the birds were filled with their flesh” (Rev. 19:11-21).

There are numerous prophecies throughout the Bible that foretell of this coming awesome event—the final war in the plan of God. Jeremiah writes these words of God: “And prophesy against them all these words, and say to them, ‘The Lord shall roar from on high, and utter His voice from His holy habitation. He shall mightily roar over His dwelling place. He shall give a shout, like those who tread out grapes, against all the people of the earth. A noise shall come to the ends of the earth; for the Lord has a controversy with the nations; He will plead with all flesh. He will give those who are wicked to the sword,’ says the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be stirred up from the farthest corners of the earth. And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth; they shall not be mourned, nor gathered, nor buried. They shall be as dung on the ground’ ” (Jer. 25:30-33).

Zechariah also prophesied of this war 2,300 years ago in nearly the same language as Revelation 19: “For I will gather all nations to battle against Jerusalem…. And the Lord shall go out and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle. And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall split in two, from the east and to the west, and make a very great valley. And half of the mountain shall move toward the north, and half of it toward the south…. And the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with You.

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark. And it will be one day which shall be known to the Lord, neither day nor night; but it shall come to pass that at evening time it shall be light. And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them shall go toward the eastern sea, and half of them toward the western sea. In summer and in winter it shall be.

And the Lord shall be King over all the earth; in that day there shall be one Lord, and His name shall be one…. And they shall dwell in it, and there shall never again be any more utter destruction, but Jerusalem shall dwell safely. And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will smite all the people who have fought against Jerusalem. Their flesh shall consume away while they stand on their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their sockets. And their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. And it shall be in that day that a great panic from the Lord shall be among them. And they shall each one lay hold of his neighbor, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbor. And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the nations all around shall be gathered—gold, and silver, and clothing in great abundance. And likewise shall be the plague of the horse, the mule, the camel, and the donkey, and of all the beasts which shall be in these camps—it shall be as this plague.

And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came up against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles” (Zech. 14:2-16).

The Feast of Tabernacles portrays the time of the 1,000-year worldwide rule of Jesus Christ and the saints bringing the government of God and peace to all mankind (Isa. 9:6-7). The prophet Micah declares that there will be no more war: “But it shall be in the last days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come and say, ‘Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob. And He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths’—for the law shall go forth out of Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among many people, and will rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. But they shall sit each one under his own vine and under his own fig tree; and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken” (Micah 4:1-4).

As we look at today’s world and prepare to keep the fall feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day, we need to keep these Scriptures in mind. Jesus admonished us to keep our minds on the goal: “But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father delights in giving you the kingdom” (Luke 12:31-32).

Remember, God the Father and Jesus Christ have called us not only to receive eternal life, but to reign with them for all eternity! To inspire us, the apostle John writes: “Blessed is the one who reads, and those who hear the words of this prophecy and who keep the things that are written therein; for the time is at hand. John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace and peace be to you from Him Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come; and from the seven spirits that are before His throne; and from Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness, the Firstborn from the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him Who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to God and His Father; to Him be the glory and the sovereignty into the ages of eternity…. 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; 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. Behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book’ ” (Rev. 1:3-6; 22:3-7).

More on the Mystery of Protestantism: As part of this letter we are including a special study of Colossians Two, which adds to the studies on the “Mystery of Protestantism.” Typical of Protestantism, this section of Scripture is completely misinterpreted. Why? Because the foundation of nearly all Protestant theology is the teaching that the Law, Sabbath, and holy days have been abolished—which, they claim, gives them license to keep Sunday and the holidays of the world.

But when properly understood, Colossians Two actually says the exact opposite! In fact, it proves that we are obligated to keep the Law and the Sabbath! It demonstrates that these Gentile converts were actually keeping them, as evidenced by the fact that Paul instructed these Christians to “not let anyone judge them for keeping them.” You will find this an interesting and meaningful study. The audio message will be included in the next mailing. (The audio and video are already online at

Brethren, let us draw close to God daily in heartfelt prayer and in the study of His Word. This is the only way to grow in grace and knowledge. We thank God for His goodness and mercy for all of His people. We thank you for your love and faithfulness to God and each other. Thank you for your prayers for us and all the brethren. Thank you for your faithfulness in your tithes and offerings, especially in these difficult times. We pray that God will continue to bless you and watch over you in everything. We are praying for you daily—for health and healing through God’s love and grace.

With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter


Colossians Two: Were the Ten Commandments Really Nailed to the Cross When Jesus Was Crucified?

Another example of misinterpreting Paul’s writings is found in Colossians 2:14, 16-17, and stems from an extremely poor translation of the Greek text. Unfortunately, this particular misunderstanding has led millions to believe that all the laws and commandments were nailed to the cross when Jesus was crucified. As in the case of Galatians Four, we will notice that the Protestants’ false interpretation is exactly the opposite of what Paul actually wrote and meant.

First, we will examine the KJV translation of each of these key passages, beginning with verse 14: “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.”

From this obscure translation, people presume that the phrase “handwriting of ordinances” constitutes the laws and commandments of God. Therefore, they conclude incorrectly that the Ten Commandments were nailed to the cross.

In the Greek, “handwriting of ordinances” is chriographon tois dogmasin—which literally means “handwriting in decrees or dogmas.” In the New Testament, dogma always refers to “decrees” written by men (Luke 2:1; Acts 16:4; 17:7; Eph. 2:15). Nowhere in the entirety of the Bible does dogma, “decrees,” refer to any part of the Law of God. Therefore, this phrase in Colossians 2:14 has nothing to do with biblical Law.

But what does the expression “handwriting of ordinances” actually mean? As we will see, the phrase refers to a written account of one’s sins, called “a note of debt.” In his epical book The Two Babylons, Alexander Hislop writes concerning this pagan, Greek religious practice, which the converts in Colosse had undoubtedly formerly practiced (the practice was also found in ancient Chinese religion): “A work of some note on morals, called Merits and Demerits Examined, [describes how] a man is directed to keep a [written] debtor and creditor account with himself of the acts of each day, and at the end of the year to wind it up [in summary]. If the balance is in his favor, it serves as the foundation of a stock of merits for the ensuing year; and if against him, it must be liquidated by future good deeds [justification by works]. Various lists and comparative tables are given of both good and bad actions in the several relations of life; and benevolence is strongly inculcated in regard first to man, and, secondly, to the brute creation. To cause another’s death is reckoned at one hundred on the side of demerit; while a single act of charitable relief counts as one on the other side” (page 147).

Thus, the phrase in Colossians 2:14 should be translated as “note of debt against us with the decrees of our sins”—or a symbolic listing of our sins against God. Our sins and the debt of our sins were nailed to the cross when Jesus Christ was crucified and died. Upon true repentance of sins to God the Father, Jesus Christ blots out the “note of debt” through the remission of our sins. Jesus Christ, Who knew no sin, was made sin for us. He was nailed to the cross as a sin offering for the sins of the whole world. The “note of debt” of our sins was symbolically nailed to the cross, NOT the commandments of God which stand forever.

When Colossians 2:13 is included with the correct translation of verse 14, the true meaning of what Paul wrote becomes clear: “For you, who were once dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has now made alive with Him, having forgiven all your trespasses. He has blotted out the note of debt against us with the decrees of our sins, which was contrary to us; and He has taken it away, having nailed it to the cross.” Therefore, the actual meaning of these verses has nothing to do with nailing the Law to the cross, as falsely believed by millions of professing Christians.

The True Meaning of Colossians 2:16-17

The erroneous distortion of these two verses has caused Protestantism to denounce the observance of the biblical Sabbath, holy days and clean and unclean meats more than any other passages in the New Testament. Consequently, it has caused ministers and laymen alike to “rummage” through the New Testament in search of other Scriptures to substantiate this misinterpretation—resulting in a myriad of additional false interpretations and beliefs that appear to bolster their practices of Sunday-keeping and observing occult holidays. When one casually reads these verses, it does give the appearance that such an interpretation may be correct—but such is not the case.

In the KJV, Colossians 2:16 reads: “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days”—verse 17—“which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”

To add further confusion to this doctrinal puzzle, the New International Version savaged verse 17 with the following deliberate mistranslation: “These are a shadow of things that were to come.” In so doing, they reinforced the false idea that, since Christ has already come, the things that were “to come” have been fulfilled. Thus, they cling tenaciously to their mistaken belief that indeed “the life, death and resurrection terminated all these laws and commandments of God.”

However, the Greek preposition the NIV translators mistranslated as the English past tense phrase “were to come” is actually a present tense, articular active plural participle, toon mellontoon, which is impossible to translate as a past tense completed action. An honest translation can only reflect the present tense, continuous, ongoing meaning of “the things to come,” or “the coming things”—which can only mean the continuous unfolding of prophecy and the plan of God.

Importantly, we know the Colossian church was composed entirely of Gentile converts. Paul preached “the mystery among the Gentiles” (Col. 1:27), and refers to their spiritual circumcision of the heart through Jesus Christ—their conversion—in contrast to their physical condition of “uncircumcision” of the flesh (Col. 2:13).

As we find in Acts 19, Gentile converts forsook their pagan religion and worship of Greek gods and goddesses when they were met with resistance and ridicule. And in the case of Paul, he was threatened with death because he gave up Judaism. Likewise, when the Colossians were converted, their lives were completely changed. They abandoned their past pagan religious practices, forsook the idol temples, and ceased to participate in pagan religious festivals and days of worship. Instead, they observed the seventh-day weekly Sabbath; and as Paul taught in all the churches, they were faithful to the holy days and festivals of the true God.

This caused those outside the church to make judgments against the Colossian brethren for having abandoned their former religious philosophy and worship of fallen angels. When we understand the circumstances with which Paul was dealing when he wrote Colossians 2:16-17, then the true meaning of the passage becomes clear.

An Analysis of Colossians 2:16-17

Here is an accurate translation from the original Greek of Colossians 2:16-17: “Therefore, do not allow anyone to judge you in eating or in drinking, or with regard to a festival, or new moon, or the Sabbaths”—verse 17—“which are a foreshadow of the things that are coming, but the body of Christ.” The following is a phrase-by-phrase analysis:

Therefore, do not allow anyone to judge you…”—means that because they were now converted and had changed their lives to believe and obey the Gospel, and were now keeping the laws and commandments of God instead of their former pagan ways, therefore, they were not to allow anyone outside the Church judge them because of their new way of life.

“…in eating, or in drinking…” When they were pagans they ate all meats—clean and unclean. After conversion they no longer ate unclean meats (I Tim. 4:1-5). Likewise, they no longer engaged in drunkenness as in the past, which was also part of their pagan religious practices. Now, because they had changed their ways, they were to ignore the judgments and criticisms of those outside the Church.

“…with regard to a festival, or new moon, or the Sabbaths…” Rather than showing that the Colossians were being judged for rejecting the festivals and Sabbaths of God, this phrase means the exact opposite. As in the case of the Galatians, as former pagans they had never observed any of the biblical festivals and Sabbaths before their conversion. Therefore, those outside the Church were not judging the Colossians because they were no longer keeping these things, rather they were judging them because after their conversion they were, indeed, keeping them. A word about “new moon.” Since this is in the singular, not plural, it refers to the calculated Hebrew Calendar, and must be referring to the Feast of Trumpets, a holy day, because the first day of the seventh month (a new moon) is the beginning date for the calculations of the Hebrew Calendar.

“…which are a foreshadow of the things that are coming…” This important phrase shows that true Christians—those obeying God’s way of life—will have an understanding of coming events in prophecy as the plan of God unfolds.

“…but the body of Christ.” This phrase can reflect two meanings. First, since the Colossian brethren were being judged by those outside the Church for their new, converted conduct, any judging concerning these matters should only be done in and by the Church, which is the “body of Christ.” Second, this phrase can also mean that the reality of observing God’s Sabbath and holy days can be found only in the “body of Christ”—the Church—not from outside the Church. In other words, the true knowledge and meaning of such days can be found only in the churches of God. As Jesus said, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them [outside the body of Christ—outside the true Church of God] it has not been given…. But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For truly I say to you, many prophets and righteous men have desired to see what you see, and have not seen; and to hear what you hear, and have not heard” (Matt. 13:11, 16-17).

As we will see, the entire chapter of Colossians Two is, in fact, a contrast between the way of God through Jesus Christ and the way of pagans with their religious philosophies and worship of fallen angels. When the verses of this chapter are divided into these two contrasting elements, the true meaning and full intent of what Paul wrote becomes clear. Below, the verses of Colossians Two are divided into two elements: A. Things relating to Christ and God the Father and the Christian way of life; and B. Warnings against paganism, religious philosophy, and the worship of fallen angels. We begin with verse one:

“Now I want you to understand what great concern I have for you, and for those in Laodicea, and as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, unto the knowledge of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; in Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (verses 1-3).

“Now I say this so that no one may deceive you by persuasive speech” (verse 4).

“For though I am indeed absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, be walking in Him; being rooted and built up in Him, and being confirmed in the faith, exactly as you were taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving” (verses 4-7).

“Beware lest anyone takes you captive through philosophy and vain deceit, according to the traditions of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ” (verse 8).

“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, Who is the Head of all principality and power; in Whom you have also been circumcised with the circumcision not made by hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, by which you have also been raised with Him through the inner working of God, Who raised Him from the dead. For you, who were once dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has now made alive with Him, having forgiven all your trespasses. He has blotted out the note of debt against us with the decrees of our sins, which was contrary to us; and He has taken it away, having nailed it to the cross. After stripping the principalities and the powers, He made a public spectacle of them, and has triumphed over them in it [through His crucifixion and resurrection]” (verses 9-15).

“Therefore, do not allow anyone to judge you in eating or in drinking, or with regard to a festival, or new moon, or the Sabbaths, which are a foreshadow of the things that are coming, but the body of Christ. Do not allow anyone to defraud you of the prize by doing his will in self-abasement and the worship of angels, intruding into things that he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his own carnal mind and not holding fast to the Head…” (verses 16-19).

“[T]he Head from Whom all the body, being supplied and knit together by the joints and bands, is increasing with the increase of God. Therefore, if you have died together with Christ from the elements [see Gal. 4:8-10] of the world…” (verses 19-20).

“…why are you subjecting yourselves to the decrees of men as if you were living in the world? They say, ‘You may not handle! You may not taste! You may not touch!’ The use of all such things leads to corruption. It is according to the commandments and doctrines of men, which indeed have an outward appearance of wisdom in voluntary worship of angels, and self-abasement, and unsparing treatment of the body, not in any respect to the satisfying of the needs of the flesh” (verses 20-23).

When the chapter is taken as a whole—and one examines Paul’s contrasting admonitions—it becomes obvious that Paul did not abolish the dietary laws of clean and unclean meats, the annual festivals or the weekly Sabbath, or adopt a pagan calendar system. Moreover, none of God’s laws were nailed to the cross. Rather, Paul is clearly affirming that the Gentiles in Colosse were to continue to observe God’s laws and commandments as they had been taught. Paul was instructing the Colossians to disregard the criticisms and harsh judgments of those outside the Church, because the observance of God’s Sabbath and holy days are a continuous foreshadowing of events yet to occur in God’s plan.

However, by being faithful and keeping these commandments of God, they would always be worshiping the true God, be built up in Jesus Christ and never lose the understanding of God’s plan. By true obedience to God the Father and Jesus Christ, they would never again be deceived by vain philosophies and decrees of men, nor would they be seduced into the worship of fallen angels—Satan and his demons.

This is the true meaning of Colossians Two!