Monthly letter archive

December 14, 2017

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Dear Brethren,

On December 6, President Donald Trump announced that the United States officially recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of the modern-day state of Israel. (Thanks to a heads-up from Dwight Blevins, this announcement actually occurred 1947 years, to the very same week, from the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.) Consequently, the American embassy will soon be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In biblical terms, this is “brother Manasseh”—the United States—helping “brother Judah”—the Jews.

We can be sure that this announcement is significant in terms of end time prophecy. In the book of Zechariah, God notes the preeminence of end time Judah and Jerusalem: “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people all around, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day [the time of the end] I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people. All who burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the nations of the earth be gathered together against it…. And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, ‘The people of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the Lord of hosts their God.’ In that day I will make the governors of Judah like a hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire among the sheaves. And they shall devour all the people all around, on the right hand and on the left hand. And Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her place, even in Jerusalem” (Zech. 12:2-3, 5-6). The stage for this key prophecy has been being set since Israel was declared a state in 1948 by the UN.

Trump’s announcement will undoubtedly bring us closer to the time when the Jews will begin to build the “Third Temple” (see the Temple Institute Web site for more information). Still, this will take a number of years—how many we do not know. We can only understand prophecy as events unfold. But there can be no question that this historic recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the modern Jewish nation has great prophetic significance.

Excerpts from President Trump’s December 6 Speech Recognizing Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel

Thank you. When I came into office, I promised to look at the world’s challenges with open eyes and very fresh thinking. We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past. All challenges demand new approaches. My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

In 1995, Congress adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Act urging the federal government to relocate the American Embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize that that city, and so importantly, is Israel’s capital. This act passed congress by an overwhelming bipartisan majority, and was reaffirmed by the unanimous vote of the Senate only six months ago.

Yet, for over 20 years, every previous American president has exercised the law’s waiver, refusing to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem or to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. Presidents issued these waivers under the belief that delaying the recognition of Jerusalem would advance the cause of peace…. Nevertheless, the record is in. After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result. Therefore, I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel….

I’ve judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This is a long overdue step to advance the peace process, and to work towards a lasting agreement.

Israel is a sovereign nation with the right, like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital. Acknowledging this as a fact is a necessary condition for achieving peace. It was 70 years ago that the United States under President Truman recognized the state of Israel. Ever since then, Israel has made its capital in the city of Jerusalem, the capital the Jewish people established in ancient times….

That is why, consistent with the Jerusalem embassy act, I am also directing the State Department to begin preparation to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This will immediately begin the process of hiring architects, engineers and planners so that a new embassy, when completed, will be a magnificent tribute to peace.

In making these announcements, I also want to make one point very clear. This decision is not intended in any way to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement. We want an agreement that is a great deal for the Israelis and a great deal for the Palestinians. We are not taking a position on any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem or the resolution of contested borders. Those questions are up to the parties involved.

The United States remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides. I intend to do everything in my power to help forge such an agreement.

Without question, Jerusalem is one of the most sensitive issues in those talks. The United States would support a two-state solution if agreed to by both sides. In the meantime, I call on all parties to maintain the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites, including the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al-Sharif. Above all, our greatest hope is for peace—the universal yearning in every human soul.

With today’s action, I reaffirm my administration’s longstanding commitment to a future of peace and security for the region. There will, of course, be disagreement and dissent regarding this announcement. But we are confident that, ultimately, as we work through these disagreements, we will arrive at a peace and a place far greater in understanding and cooperation.

This sacred city should call forth the best in humanity. Lifting our sights to what is possible, not pulling us back and down to the old fights that have become so totally predictable.

Peace is never beyond the grasp of those willing to reach it. So today we call for calm, for moderation, and for the voices of tolerance to prevail over the purveyors of hate. Our children should inherit our love, not our conflicts. I repeat the message I delivered at the historic and extraordinary summit in Saudi Arabia earlier this year: The Middle East is a region rich with culture, spirit and history. Its people are brilliant, proud and diverse; vibrant and strong.

But the incredible future awaiting this region is held at bay by bloodshed, ignorance and terror. Vice President Pence will travel to the region in the coming days to reaffirm our commitment to work with partners throughout the Middle East to defeat the radicalism that threatens the hopes and dreams of future generations….

So today, let us rededicate ourselves to a path of mutual understanding and respect. Let us rethink old assumptions and open our hearts and minds to the possible….

And finally, I ask the leaders of the region—political and religious, Israeli and Palestinian, Jewish and Christian and Muslim—to join us in the noble quest for lasting peace.

Thank you. God bless you. God bless Israel. God bless the Palestinians, and God bless the United States. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Source: www.nytimes.com/2017/12/06/ world/middleeast/trump-israel-speech-transcript.html.)

Excerpts from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks Concerning Trump’s Declaration

This is a historic day. Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years. It’s been the capital of Israel for nearly 70 years. It was here that our temples stood, our kings ruled, our prophets preached. Jerusalem has been the focus of our hopes, our dreams, our prayers for three millennia. From every corner of the earth, our people yearned to return to Jerusalem, to touch its golden stones, to walk its hallowed streets.

So, it’s rare to be able to speak of new and genuine milestones in the glorious history of this city. Yet today’s pronouncement by President Trump is such an occasion. We’re profoundly grateful for the President for his courageous and just decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to prepare for the opening of the U.S. Embassy here. This decision reflects the President’s commitment to … fulfilling his promises and to advancing peace. The President’s decision is an important step towards peace, for there is no peace that doesn’t include Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.

I call on all countries that seek peace to join the United States in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and to move their embassies here. I share President Trump’s commitment to advancing peace between Israel and all of our neighbors, including the Palestinians. This has been our goal from Israel’s first day. And we will continue to work with the President and his team to make that dream of peace come true.

I also want to make clear: There will be no change whatsoever to the status quo at the holy sites. Israel will always ensure freedom of worship for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike.

President Trump, thank you for today’s historic decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The Jewish people and the Jewish State will be forever grateful.

(End of excerpts.)

Jewish religious leaders remain blinded as to the correct location for a rebuilt Temple. Today, everyone thinks that the Al Aqsa Mosque sits on the location of the Second Temple, which was destroyed in 70 AD. This is incorrect, because the Al Aqsa Mosque is built on vast foundation stones, as evidenced by the western Wailing Wall.

We can know with absolute certainty that the mosque site is not the true location of God’s Temple. Jesus told His disciples that when the destruction of the Temple occurred there would not be one stone left upon another: “And as He [Jesus] was going out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Master, see how splendid the stones and buildings are!’ Then Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Do you see these great buildings? There shall not be left a stone upon a stone that shall not be thrown down’ ” (Mark 13:1-2). Jesus also declared, “The heaven and the earth shall pass away, but My words shall never pass away” (verse 31).

This catastrophic destruction is exactly what happened when the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD. Roman soldiers burned the Temple, causing much of the Temple gold to melt and run into the foundation. Then they removed all the stones in their lust to gather the spoil—leaving not one stone upon another. Later, after the final Jewish revolt of 135 AD, the Romans further destroyed the Temple area by plowing it into heaps. Jeremiah records the following prophecy concerning Zion—which is the actual Temple location—thus verifying what Jesus prophesied: “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Zion shall be plowed like a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house [the Temple Mount] like the high places of a forest’ ” (Jer. 26:18; Micah 3:12).

Therefore, the assumed location of the Temple Mount, where the Al Aqsa Mosque is located today, cannot be the correct location because all the foundation stones are still standing. Most people do not realize that the Al Aqsa Mosque is actually located where the Roman Fort Antonio once stood—and that the Temple of God was in fact located directly south of Fort Antonio (see diagram below).

The Temple and Fort Antonia from the Mount of Offense (looking northwestward)

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This drawing confirms the biblical location of the Temple and shows that the Dome of the Rock sits atop the Roman Fort Antonia.

How do we know that, in the end time, another Temple will be build?

First: In 95-96 AD, some 25 years after the Temple was destroyed, we find in Revelation 11 that God commanded the apostle John to measure the Temple. Obviously, that would have been impossible—as there was no Temple!

Second: Jesus specifically foretold the one key event that would trigger the “Great Tribulation.” Notice: “Therefore, when you see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (the one who reads, let him understand)…. 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” (Matt. 24:15, 21-22; Mark 13:14, 19-20).

Third: What is the “abomination that makes desolate” that stands in the holy place—the holy of holies in the Temple? In 51 AD, the apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians about this coming climatic event—because they were expecting Christ’s return at that time. Remember, at the time Paul wrote this the Temple was intact and fully operational. He writes: “Now we beseech you, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken in mind, nor be troubled—neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by epistle, as if from us, saying that the day of Christ is present. Do not let anyone deceive you by any means because that day will not come unless the apostasy shall come first, and the man of sin shall be revealed—the son of perdition, the one who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is an object of worship; so that he comes into the temple of God and sits down as God, proclaiming that he himself is God.

“Do you not remember that when I was still with you, I told you these things? And now you understand what is holding him back in order for him to be revealed in his own set time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already working; only there is one Who is restraining at the present time until it arises out of the midst.

And then the lawless one will be revealed (whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth, and will destroy with the brightness of His coming); even the one whose coming is according to the inner working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in those who are perishing because they did not receive the love of the truth, so that they might be saved. And for this cause, God will send upon them a powerful deception that will cause them to believe the lie, so that all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but who took pleasure in unrighteousness” (II Thess. 2:1-12).

Fourth: Here is the key to understanding: When the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD, the man of sin, the son of perdition, did not come and enter into the holy of holies! The set time for the “man of sin” to appear is just before the return of Christ, who will personally destroy him along with the false prophet (Rev. 13:5-8, 19:20-21).

Before the death of the apostle John in 98-100 AD, he supervised the compiling and finalizing of the New Testament. Assisting him were Philip and Andrew and the scribe for the apostle Peter, his nephew Mark. They could clearly see that when the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD the “abomination of desolation,” as described by Paul, had not occurred.

Because of what Paul had written, and because of John’s vision of Revelation 11, they realized that the Temple would have to be rebuilt in the distant future. This is why, under the inspiration of God, they inserted a parenthetical statement in Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14. Notice: “Therefore, when you see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (the one who reads, let him understand)….”

It is obvious that this parenthetical statement was not spoken by Jesus. Rather, it is a written edit to what Jesus said. As such, it was to indicate to future Christians that the “abomination of desolation” prophecy was for the end time, for a future Third Temple.

The Most Accurate Greek New Testament: At the House of Tyndale Bible Institute in Cambridge, UK, Dr. Dirk Jongkind—Vice Principal of Tyndale House and previously curator of the Codex Sinaiticus—has been working for ten years to come up with what Tyndale House describes as “the most accurate Greek New Testament ever.” But is it?

Here is what they write about this Greek New Testament: “This Greek New Testament is a revision of a previous Greek New Testament edition produced in the 19th century by Samuel Prideaux Tregelles. This major 19th-century edition was used as a textual source on Westcott and Hort’s classic edition The New Testament in the Original Greek…. [The edition reflects] the desire of Tyndale House to serve the global church in an open-handed way with the very best Greek text possible” (Online News Release, November 15, 2017).

However, this report fails to mention that Westcott and Hort’s Greek New Testament was resoundingly rejected in the 1880s as one of the worse extant Greek New Testaments. It was based on the Codex Alexandrian and the Codex Sinaiticus, which were both widely considered to be among the most deficient Greek New Testaments texts. (The Codex Vaticanus, the Greek text used by the Roman Catholic Church, is also based on the Codex Alexandrian and the Codex Sinaiticus texts).

Below are short descriptions, by Robinson and Pierpont, of the different New Testament Greek texts—along with some of their deficiencies. This will help you to see why Tyndale House’s “most accurate Greek text” is actually quite inaccurate!

The Western Text: “The earliest deviations from the autographs [the originals] appear in the so-called Western, or ‘uncontrolled popular text,’ of the second century. That text is characterized by free expansion, paraphrase, and alteration of previously existing words [as are many translations today]. Western witnesses are few and generally diverse, with a textual individuality that hampers the reconstruction of a common archetype [original copy]. Even so, the bulk of its readings shares a commonalty with the text of the presumed autograph” (Preface, p. iii, Byzantine Textform 2005, Robinson and Pierpont; bracketed insertions added throughout).

Modern textual determination, as applied by many scholars and translators of various obscure Greek manuscripts, is based on an “eclectic method.” This essentially means that the “personal opinion” of the translator is not based on fact or the preponderance of evidence—such as the thousands of available Byzantine texts. So-called “most accurate” Greek texts have been the basis of most modern and “neuter gender” versions. Such “translations” should never be the basis for doctrinal decisions or dogmatic assertions, because the truth of the Word of God has oftentimes been subverted or grossly misrepresented. Those who truly know the Scriptures can see that such “renditions” often reflect the twisted perversions of Satan—as part of his efforts to destroy the “original Christianity” taught by Jesus and His apostles (II Pet. 2:2-3 and Jude 3-4).

The Alexandrian Text: “The Alexandrian texttype appears to originate in an early localized recensional [corrective] attempt to purge and purify the alterations and accretions found among the Western manuscripts. The principles underlying this recensional activity seem to have been reductionist and stylistic. The manuscripts selected … were ‘mixed’ in textual quality as well as scribally defective; this would parallel what is found in most early Egyptian or Palestinian papyri of the second and third centuries. The Alexandrian recension seems often to have overreacted and overextended itself, removing not only early Western expansions but [also] many longer original readings in the process” (Ibid, pp. iii-iv).

“The Alexandrian texttype is primarily represented throughout most of the New Testament by the agreement of Codex Vaticanus (B/03) and Codex Sinaiticus (X/01), with the support of other related manuscripts…” (Ibid, p. iv).

The Caesarian Text: “The Caesarian text appears to be an amalgam of readings from the Alexandrian and Byzantine traditions. Although the Caesarian manuscripts do appear to posses a distinctive pattern of readings, this texttype does not appear to have existed prior to either the Byzantine or Alexandrian texts. It is generally dismissed from any serious consideration regarding autograph originality” (Ibid, pp. iv-v; bold emphasis added).

The Byzantine Textform: “The Byzantine Textform preserves with a general consistency the type of New Testament text that dominated the Greek-speaking world. This dominance existed from at least the fourth century until the invention of printing in the sixteenth century. Under the present theory, this text also is presumed in centuries prior to the fourth to have dominated the primary Greek-speaking region of the Roman Empire (southern Italy, Greece, and Asia Minor)—a large and diverse region within which manuscript, versional, and patristic evidence is lacking during the pre-fourth century era, yet the primary region of Byzantine Textform dominance in subsequent centuries” (Ibid, p. v).

Robinson and Pierpont also note that since copies of the Byzantine Greek manuscripts from the fourth century forward are mostly unified, this likely indicates accurate and faithful scribal copying from the first century to the fourth. In other reports, Robinson and Pierpont point out that the Greek New Testament called The Received Text agrees with their Byzantine Textform New Testament 98.5 to 99 percent.

In 1992, I began translating the New Testament from the Received Text. My first complete translation—The New Testament In Its Original Order—was finished in 1998. From that time until 2004, I wrote various supporting commentaries and appendices. During that time Gary Staszak was writing on how the Scriptures developed and how the Bible was preserved. He is an excellent writer and did a great job developing commentaries on this subject for The New Testament In Its Original Order (chapters 10-14).

Gary was also in personal contact with Pierpont and Robinson and managed to get their vital input to improve our translation. So while my translation is based on the Received Text, it is also in alignment with Robinson and Pierpont’s Byzantine Textform. This means that the New Testament in the Faithful Version is 99-plus percent in agreement with theirs.

Although Pierpont died in February of 2003, Maurice Robinson finally had their works published in 2005, about 18 months after our publication of The New Testament In Its Original Order. Robinson titled their publication The New Testament In The Original Greek—Byzantine Textform, 2005 and both Robinson and Pierpont are designated as the authors.

Prove All Things: After reading the News Release by the Tyndale House about their supposed “most accurate Greek New Testament,” I acquired a digital copy of their Gospel of Mark. I then compared their work against the Greek New Testament by Robinson and Pierpont, the Greek used by George Ricker Berry (1897), and the Stephens 1550 Greek New Testament.

As demonstrated on the last two pages of this letter, what I found was astounding! On the very first page of Mark’s Gospel, I discovered 16 errors—as compared to the other Greek texts. I marked them for you to see. The most obvious error appears in verse two, where the text is changed from “It is written in the prophets” to “It is written in Isaiah the prophet.” I included part of Berry’s Interlinear so you can see the difference in English as well as in Greek.

The reason it must read “the prophets” instead of “the prophet Isaiah” is because Mark quoted from Malachi 3:1 as well as Isaiah 40:3. Tyndale House’s rendering is based on a well-known “alternate reading” that has been long established as incorrect. If you will look carefully at Robinson and Pierpont’s text and the text from Stephen’s 1550 Greek New Testament, you will see a marginal reference to Isaiah. This means that this “alternate reading” was well known as being incorrect 467 years ago. Apparently, Tyndale House’s editors were attempting to make Mark 1:2 read like Matthew’s account—where he wrote: “This is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah” (Matt. 3:3).

I also examined Mark 13 and found 20 variant readings with different or missing words. Thus, in “proving all things” we have found that the claims of Tyndale House—that they have just produced “the most accurate Greek text possible”—are false.

Brethren, we need to draw close to God in heartfelt prayer and in the daily study of His Word—so that we can grow in grace and knowledge and always be overcoming. We thank God the Father daily for His goodness and mercy for all of His people. We thank you personally for your continued love and faithfulness to God and each other. We thank you for your prayers for us and all the brethren, and for your faithfulness in tithes and offerings. We pray that God will continue to bless you and keep watch over you in everything. We continue to pray for you—for your health, your healing, and for God’s love and grace to be upon you in all circumstances.

With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter

FRC

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