Letter to the Brethren – April 3, 2006
Dear Brethren and Friends;
This past Thursday, March 30, was the first day of the first month of a new year according to Godís reckoning of time. This first month of the year is called Abib or Nisan. In just nine days we will be observing Passover, that being the 14th day of the month of Abib! Of course, the Passover service will begin Tuesday evening, shortly after sunset. Following the day of Passover, at sunset, begin the Days of Unleavened Bread. These are most important days for you and for me; but for most of the world, these days have little or no cognitive meaning! Most have no idea of the significance of these days; and many who seemed to have once understood have lost sight of the true importance God places in these days!
While many in the world have inculcated the Christian name in their religion, and have adopted many of the stories of the Bible in their teachings, they have rejected many of the most significant teachings of the Scriptures which keep one in tune with God’s overall purpose for mankind. In so doing, they fail to understand the wonderful promises God has made to those who truly incorporate His Way into their lives!
At the same time, many who have adopted the name “Christian,” observe days which God has not established to His honor. Note Paul’s admonishment to the Galatians, found in Galatians, chapter 4: “But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe (pagan) days and months and seasons and years” (Galatians 4:8-10).
Yes, many who seemed to have understood over the past 50 years have now turned back to those things from which God has called us. Again, note Paulís warning to the Galatians, in Galatians chapter 1: “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:6-9).
Just as many in the Church of the Galatians reverted back, many in God’s Church today have turned back to the ways of this world, rejecting God’s Truth and following men who have portrayed themselves as ministers of Jesus Christ, but failed to walk in the Way of God. Paul continually warned the brethren in each of the Church areas where he traveled of the extreme danger of falling back into the ways of this world because of deceitful men who would lead God’s people astray! And, of course, Satan never lets up on his attack of the people of God!
While the holidays of Christmas and Easter do not in any way honor the True God, the first two festivals of God’s sacred year–Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread–are filled with significance for the people of God!
The Passover, itself, is most significant for you and for me in the overall Plan of God!
Historically, it was observed in reference to the passing over of the death angel of all the homes which were protected by the blood of the slain Passover lamb applied to the doorposts of the homes; and, without this protection, all firstborn in the house were slain. This was true throughout the land of Egypt! (Compare the entire 12th chapter of the book of Exodus). This event was symbolic of Christ, our “Passover lamb,” slain for you and for me (Compare John 1:29- 34; 1 Corinthians 5:7). The shedding of Christ’s blood was for the forgiveness of all of our sins. Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 9:22). Such forgiveness allows for the opportunity for one who is living by Christ’s faith in him (Galatians 2:20, Authorized Version) to receive eternal life with God the Father and Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of God!
We have come to understand that once one accepts Jesus Christ as his/her Savior, with Christ’s blood covering such a person’s sins, and upon repentance, baptism, and the receiving of God’s Spirit with the laying on of hands by God’s minister, that person must now live his/her life in a manner pleasing to God, striving to walk as Christ walked. We must let Christ live His life in us, through the Holy Spirit of God, as we are told in Romans 5:10: “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved BY HIS LIFE.” In so doing, we overcome sin in our lives and put it behind us. This is pictured by the Days of Unleavened Bread!
Upon reviewing these first two of God’s Annual Festivals, one can readily see the tremendous meaning which is included in each of these festivals. Each and every one of God’s Festivals is filled with such meaningful information. And as we observe and study each of these festivals, we learn even more about God and all He has planned for His people who remain faithful to Him and to His Way!
To have a complete synopsis of each of God’s seven festivals, be sure to obtain a copy of, and to study carefully, our free booklet: “God’s Commanded Holy Days”! It is imperative that we have a thorough understanding of all of God’s days and of His festivals, since we find in them the overall Plan of God, of which we must never lose sight!
In Christ’s Service,
J. Edwin Pope
PS: An article giving a summary of the Church Conference has been completed and will be submitted for publication in the Journal. We are publishing the article below for your information:
The 2006 conference for Church of the Eternal God was held in San Diego, California, on March 10th through March 15th. Representatives from Great Britain, Canada and the United States participated.
A primary focus of this meeting centered on reports and future plans for the web sites sponsored by the Church: www.eternalgod.org; www.standingwatch.org; www.globalchurchofgod.co.uk; and www.churchofgodacf.ca. New programs that would advertise these pages are currently being implemented through Google Video and Google spot ads. The StandingWatch video program featuring Evangelist Norbert Link along with booklets, Q&A’s in print format, and the Church’s Updates will be highlighted in future ad presentations.
President and Chairman J. Edwin Pope presented other important matters involving specific administrative decisions to be considered surrounding doctrinal applications. Plans for future booklets were made, and Dave Harris and Norbert Link will be writing, among others, publications on biblical authority and prayer.
Additionally, public Bible lectures were planned with the first one taking place in Fort Collins, Colorado, during the evening of May 21, 2006. This presentation, by Norbert Link, is to be held at the Hilton Fort Collins facility, and will be based on our newest booklet, “Mysteries of the Bible.”
The local church, which meets in Ramona, California, hosted weekend activities for the conference attendees. Visiting elders Brian Gale (Great Britain) and Rene Messier (Canada) delivered sermons on the Sabbath.