Monthly letter archive

December 15, 2023

Dear Brethren,

Economic woes continue to plague America—runaway inflation, the potential collapse of the dollar because of our massive debt ($33 trillion and counting), the potential of dealing with another war if China decides to take Taiwan, etc. So five months ago we made the decision to order more Bibles. We did this out of concern that major disasters could strike and prevent us from getting more Bibles printed in China—or that there might not be enough money to do so. This year, God has provided enough money for us to have 6,000 more Bibles printed, as well as 2,500 copies of our new Greek-English Interlinear.

As a result, we now have plenty of Bibles—a total of 10,000, which are already paid for. So now you can order additional Bibles at no cost to you. If you need a new Bible, you can order one. We have plenty of second-edition calfskin Bibles.

More importantly, we have enough so that you can order copies for brethren you know who are in other churches of God. You can order up to a box of 8 at a time. This way we are helping the brethren in the CBCG, as well as brethren in other churches of God. At this time we can provide Bibles to you and to them at no cost. So get these Bibles out to brethren who will use them—after all, Bibles stored in a warehouse aren’t benefiting anyone!

As I mentioned, we just finished a nearly seven-year project of producing a Greek-English Interlinear. We based it on George Ricker Berry’s Interlinear (in public domain), which utilized the Received Greek Text of the New Testament. The Received Greek Text has been proven to be the most accurate Greek text of the New Testament.

We re-typeset the entire Greek text in large bold letters, making it easy to read. Berry’s English translation directly under the Greek text was also enlarged. We also rearranged the books in their original manuscript order. On the outer column, Berry used the KJV—which we replaced with the New Testament from The Holy Bible In Its Original Order. Finally, we made the page size 8.5 by 11. Heartfelt thanks go to John (deceased October 18, 2021), Hiedi, and Timothy Vogele for their diligent work over the past seven years in producing this Interlinear. We had 2,500 printed. It is a large beautiful book—the cover is black vinyl-leatherette with the title stamped in gold letters, and the edges of the pages are gilded in gold. Again, these are all paid for. Not everyone will desire a copy of this Interlinear, but for those who do, it can also be provided at no cost.

This Interlinear will be a helpful guide even for those who know little about biblical Greek but want to study the New Testament more deeply. These two study aids to help in looking up Greek words, especially verbs and participles. One is A Parsing Guide to the New Testament (by Nathan E. Han) for checking verbs and participles. The second one is The Analytical Greek Lexicon Revised (by Harold K. Moulton), which covers all Greek words. These must be ordered separately from other sources on line.

What follows is an example of how a close analysis of the Greek can bring out a more precise meaning. The verse in question is Revelation 13:15. When originally translating the New Testament, I missed this particular verse concerning the Greek word pnuema (spirit).

A Study of Revelation 13:15

Revelation 13 contains the prophecies of the coming two end time Beasts. The first one is the “Beast System”—which is the coming “New World Order” or “World Government.” Satan will give his power and authority to this system and its physical leader, also called the “Beast” (Rev. 13:1-10). The apostle Paul writes that the man who leads this world government is also called the “son of perdition”—who comes into the Temple in Jerusalem and declares himself to be “God” (II Thess. 2:3-12).

There is a second Beast that “looks like a lamb, but speaks as a dragon”—the dragon being Satan the devil: “And he exercises all the authority of the first beast before him; and he causes the earth and those who dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he performs great wonders, so that he even causes fire to come down to the earth from heaven in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by means of the wonders that were given to him to perform in the sight of the beast, saying to those who dwell on the earth that they should make an image [a great idol] for the beast, which had the wound by the sword, yet was alive” (Rev. 13:12-14).

Verse 15 reads: “And he [the second Beast] was given power to give life to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast also could speak.” The Greek words translated “to give life” are dounai pneuma, which actually means “to give a spirit.”

The Greek word pneuma is translated throughout the New Testament as spirit. John 4:24 reads: “God is Spirit”—meaning “God is a Spirit Being.” In other places, pneuma is used in various ways: the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit. Angels are called “ministering spirits.” The Bible reveals that there are also unclean spirits, wicked spirits, and demonic spirits.

There are three places where pneuma is not translated spirit. 1) John 3:8, the only place where pnuema is translated as “wind”; 2) Revelation 13:15 in the KJV and FV, where is it translated “life”; and 3) in Berry’s Interlinear, where pneuma is translated once as “breath.”

Throughout the Bible, only God can give life. To all humans God gives the “spirit of man” at conception; at death, that spirit returns to God (I Cor. 2:11; James 2:26; Eccl. 12:7).

In connection with conversion, after a person is baptized and has the laying-on of hands, God the Father gives the Holy Spirit (Greek pneuma higion, literally “Spirit Holy”) as the earnest of eternal life in every begotten saint of God.

Concerning the resurrection and eternal life, in the Gospel of John it is recorded that Jesus said that only the Father and Jesus Himself have the power to give physicallife—and eternallife.” John quotes Jesus: “For even as the Father raises the dead and gives life, in the same way also, the Son gives life to whom He will” (John 5:21). In the Greek, “gives life” is a single compound word, zo-opoiei—which literally means “to quicken.”

The word zo-opoiei is not used in Revelation 13:15. Rather, the Greek words used are dounai,to give”—and pneuma, “spirit” or “a spirit.” Therefore, it cannot be translated “to give life”—since pneuma is always translated spirit. So this phrase literally means “to give a spirit.” The Greek pneuma is not translated life or breath any place in the New Testament—except in Revelation 13:15 in the KJV, FV, Berry, and a few other translations.

In fact, spirit and life are separate words, though they work together to sustain life—both physical (the spirit of man) and spiritual (the Spirit of God). Notice what Jesus said: “It is the Spirit [from God] that gives life [zo-opoiei]; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you, they are spirit [pneuma] and they are life [zoe]” (John 6:63).

CONCLUSION: Since only God the Father and Jesus Christ can give life, we can rightfully conclude that it is not possible for a Satan-inspired man—the “false prophet”—to give “life” or “breath” to an idol of the Beast, so that it could speak. So, what is it that the “false prophet” gives to the idol of the Beast to make it speak? The answer is found in understanding the powers and abilities of Satan the devil—and unclean or demonic spirits.

THE POWERS OF SATAN THE DEVIL: Satan can talk. He talked with Adam and Eve (Gen. 3). He talks with God (Job 1-2). He talked with Jesus when tempting Him, and Jesus answered him (Matt. 4; Luke 4). He also accuses the saints day and night before God (Rev. 12:10). Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). He has the power to deceive people—in fact, the whole world (Rev. 12:9). He has the power to inspire people to lie (Acts 5:3; John 13:2). He has the power to possess people (John 13:27). He has the power to project thoughts and attitudes of sin into the hearts and minds of people, to cause them to lust and sin (Eph. 2:1-3).

THE POWERS OF DEMONS—UNCLEAN SPIRITS: In the Gospel accounts, we find that demons or unclean spirits can possess people. They can talk—Jesus talked with them on occasion (Matt. 8:28-34; 9:32-33; Mark 9:17-27). Demons can bring other demons and repossess a man, so that his end is worse than at the beginning (Luke 11:24-26).

Satan is the prince of demons and ruler of this world (John 14:30) and god of this age (II Cor. 4:4). Also, there is a hierarchy of demons, and they rule in high places throughout human society (Eph. 6:12).

A MORE ACCURATE TRANSLATION OF REVELATION 13:15: Now that we understand the powers of God and the powers of Satan and the demons, we can determine a more accurate translation of Revelation 13:15.

We know that the “false prophet” speaks like a dragon. In order to perform miracles and wonders, he must be Satan-inspired and undoubtedly possessed by a powerful demon. With that understanding, we can conclude that he cannot command or direct righteous spirits, or angels. This means that the pneuma or spirit that the “false prophet” gives to the image of the Beast cannot be a spirit or an angel of God. Therefore, the only “spirit” or pneuma that the “false prophet” can give to the idol image of the Beast is a demonic or satanic spirit—one that can speak to deceive the people of the world.

Therefore, a more accurate translation of Revelation 13:15 is this: “And he [the “false prophet”] was given power to give a satanic spirit to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast also could speak; and he causes everyone who will not worship the image of the beast to be killed.”

This translation is more in keeping with the actual meaning of the Greek. Furthermore, it fits into the context of Satan working through these two Beasts as described in Revelation 13.

We Must Continue to Serve the Brethren and Preach the Gospel: As we head into the coming year, we need to remember that Jesus began His ministry by “proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time has been fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is near at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel’ ” (Mark 1:14-15). The entire message of the four Gospels defines for the churches of God what we should be continuously preaching and teaching.

Each one of us has a part in preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God—through our lives as a “light to the world,” as well as by our participation in our local church. Jesus promised, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matt. 24:14). Not understanding what was taking place in the churches of God, many ministers and brethren have thought that this warning would be left for the Two Witnesses to do. While it is true that they will have a tremendous work, we should never assume that we can sit back and relax and not preach the Gospel—leaving it to the Two Witnesses. To do so would be a great dereliction of our duty before God.

Paul understood that he had a God-given responsibility to preach the Gospel, as he explained to the Corinthians: “For though I preach the gospel, there is no reason for me to boast because an obligation has been laid upon me. And woe to me, if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if I do this against my will, I have been entrusted with a ministry” (I Cor. 9:16-17).

He also understood that his ministry was a stewardship from God—a sacred trust committed to him by God: “[L]et every man regard us as ministers of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Beyond that, it is required of stewards that one be found faithful” (I Cor. 4:1-2).

All of us need to view our calling in the same way—a stewardship, a calling of faithfulness—because God the Father and Jesus Christ have personally chosen to dwell in us through the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, while we live in the world, we are not a part of the world. This fact is especially evident during the worldly holiday season called “Christmas.”

We are not to be partakers of the world’s ways and religions. Paul warned of this when he wrote, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and lawlessness have in common? And what fellowship does light have with darkness? And what union does Christ have with Belial? Or what part does a believer have with an unbeliever? And what agreement is there between a temple of God and idols?

For you are a temple of the living God, exactly as God said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from the midst of them and be separate,’ says the Lord, ‘and touch not the unclean, and I will receive you; and I shall be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters.’… Now then, beloved, since we have these promises, we should purge ourselves from every defilement of the flesh and the spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (II Cor. 6:14-18; 7:1).

Brethren, we need to be faithful, because we have been called to eternal life, to be a part of the Family of God—to become immortal spirit beings at the return of Jesus Christ through the first resurrection. Always remember, Christ loves us—He died for us! The Father loves us—and answers our prayers! We are to pray directly to God the Father, as Jesus said: “[Y]ou shall ask in My name; and I do not tell you that I will beseech the Father for you, for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God” (John 16:26-27).

Notice how the apostle John emphasized the extraordinary love that God has toward us: “Behold! What glorious love the Father has given to us, that we should be called the children of God! For this very reason, the world does not know us because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be; but we know that when He is manifested, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him exactly as He is. And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, even as He is pure” (I John 3:1-3).

All of this is because of the love of God—His love for us first—as John also wrote: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish, but may have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

In order to receive eternal life, we must come to God on His terms. We do not come to God on our terms. The longer we live with the Spirit of God within us, coupled with the continuous daily prayer and study of the Word of God, we grow in the love of God and grow in our understanding of the depth of God’s love for us.

John understood this more than the other apostles because he was the one whom Jesus especially loved. This is why his Gospel and epistles teach us more about the love of God than any other book of the Bible. Further explaining the love of God for us, John writes: “In this way the love of God was manifested toward us: that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. In this act is the lovenot that we loved God; rather, that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also are duty-bound to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. Yet, if we love one another, God dwells in us, and His own love is perfected in us. By this standard we know that we are dwelling in Him, and He is dwelling in us: because of His own Spirit, which He has given to us…. And we have known and have believed the love that God has toward us. God is love, and the one who dwells in love is dwelling in God, and God in him.” (We can show our love for the brethren in other churches of God by giving them a copy of The Holy Bible In Its Original Order.)

Continuing, “By this spiritual indwelling, the love of God is perfected within us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment because even as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in the love of God; rather, perfect love casts out fear because fear has torment. And the one who fears has not been made perfect in the love of God. We love Him because He loved us first” (I John 4:9-13, 16-19).

As we know, the love of God is more than an emotion, though emotion is involved. Through the Holy Spirit, our love of God is dynamic, active, and produces fruit. The love of God is being perfected in us because we are living His way of life. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep the commandmentsnamely, My commandments” (John 14:15).

John confirmed this when he wrote, “By this standard we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God: that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome” (I John 5:2-3).

Deceivers infiltrated the churches of God with false doctrines and antichrist teachings in John’s time, thus his writings are key to restoring original Christianity. In the short epistle of II John, we find verification that the love of God, commandment-keeping, and truth go hand-in-hand and are vital spiritual keys for us today.

This is why we have to be deeply rooted in the Word of God and in the love of God. Notice what John wrote: “I rejoiced exceedingly that I have found among your children those who are walking in truth, exactly as we received commandment from the Father. And now I beseech you, lady, not as though I am writing a new commandment to you, but that which we have observed from the beginning, that we love one another [original Christianity].

And this is the love of God: that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, exactly as you heard from the beginning, that you might walk in it [original Christianity], because many deceivers have entered into the world—those who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. This is the spirit of the deceiver and the antichrist.

“Watch out for yourselves in order that we may not lose the things we have accomplished, but that we may receive a full reward. Anyone who transgresses and does not continue in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. But the one who continues in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son [original Christianity]” (II John 4-9).

John’s messages encompass everything God wants us to believe and do. On the other hand, the Orthodox Christianity of this world, under the deception of Satan the devil and the spirit of antichrist, does not have the Father and the Son. Their mixture of truth and error and their rejection of God’s Sabbath and holy days, coupled with a counterfeit love of God, are an exact duplicate of what John and the brethren were experiencing during their time.

Once we understand the simplicity of it—the love of God, keeping the commandments, keeping the Sabbath and the holy days—we can understand the truth of God. We can be restoring original Christianity in our lives.

Through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God the Father has reconciled us to HIMSELF PERSONALLY. Paul writes: “And all things are from God, Who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation” (II Cor. 5:18). This gives us direct access to God the Father, with His Holy Spirit within us, through personal prayer and Bible study: “And that He might reconcile both [Jews and Gentiles] to God in one body through the cross, having slain the enmity [of human religions and human nature] by it. Now when He came, He preached the gospel—peace to you who were far off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have direct access by one Spirit to the Father” (Eph. 2:16-18).

Satan’s Universal Deception: On the other hand, Satan the devil is actively deceiving the whole world in nearly every aspect of life—every institution, every government, and all religions. This is especially evident in all the pagan holidays (Rev. 12:9). Nominal Christians are doing everything God says He hates (Isa. 1:14; Amos 5:21-26). To Protestants and Catholics, God says, “[Y]ou have made me to serve with your sins; and wearied me with your iniquities” (Isa. 43:24).

In the last days of the apostles, the Church was being engulfed with false teachings and a “universe of deception” (I John 4:6). We are experiencing the same thing today, but on a far greater scale because the “Mystery of Lawlessness” is now being fully developed around the world. God calls this entire religious/governmental system “BABYLON THE GREAT” (Rev. 17:5).

Today, this “Babylon the Great” is even more intensive, more oppressive, and more invasive because of modern media, the Internet, and technology—literally affecting all nations and peoples. At the time of God’s final judgment, “Babylon the Great” will encompass the entire world. John describes it this way: “And after these things I saw an angel descending from heaven, having great authority; and the earth was illuminated with his glory. And he cried out mightily with a loud voice, saying, ‘Babylon the Great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a habitation of demons, and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hated bird; because ALL NATIONS have drunk of the wine of the fury of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the power of her luxury.’

“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, ‘Come out of her, My people, so that you do not take part in her sins, and that you do not receive of her plagues, for her sins have reached as far as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Render to her as she has rendered to you; and give to her double, even according to her works. In the cup that she mixed, give her back double. To the degree that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, give to her as much torment and sorrow. For she says in her heart, “I sit a queen enthroned, and am not a widow; and in no way shall I experience sorrow.” For this very reason, her plagues shall come in one day—death and sorrow and famine; and she shall be burned with fire; for the Lord God, Who executes judgment upon her, is powerful. Then the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication with her and have lived luxuriously, will weep and lament for her when they see the smoke of her burning’ ” (Rev. 18:1-9).

This is how we need to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. We are to come out of “Babylon the Great”—this world’s satanic ways! Repent! Return to God! Jesus Christ is soon returning to this earth! The Kingdom of God is near!

Brethren, we need to draw close to God in heartfelt prayer and in the daily study of the Scriptures—so that we can grow in grace and knowledge and always be overcoming. We thank God the Father and Jesus Christ daily for Their goodness and mercy. We thank you for your continued love and faithfulness to God and to 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, keep watch over you, and protect you with His angels. 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