December 28, 2016 marks, on the Roman calendar, the four-year anniversary of the official declaration of the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) as a separate entity, a corporation sole (see also Why is the Continuing Church of God a corporation sole? and 501(c)(3)? Why the Continuing Church of God chose a better option).
Much as gone on. In the CCOG since its declaration on 12/28/12.
Has God been revealing Philadelphia?
There are four main areas to focus on in this article:
A related sermon is available and titled CCOG: Four Years Revealing Philadelphia?
Before dealing with those, let's brief consider the actual number four.
In the days of the old Worldwide Church of God, there was something which is claimed to list what some of the symbology of the Bible represented.
For example, there was claimed to be a handout from Ambassador College, a document titled The Symbols of the Bible that stated/claimed:
Lamb -- Christ (Jno. 1:36)
Elect -- Phil. Church
Here are three related to numbers from The Symbols of the Bible:
666 -- Number of the Beast of Rev.
Seven -- Completion
Four -- God Revealing Himself
Well, 666 is the number of the Beast according to Revelation 13:18. In terms of seven, God rested the seventh-day completing His physical recreation in Genesis 2. There are seven Holy Days. Revelation has seven churches.
But the number four?
While I could not find any old Worldwide Church of God comments on why it is claimed it represented "God Revealing Himself," there are four gospels which reveal much about what we know about Jesus, as well as what Jesus revealed about the Father.
Christians need to reflect God's glory (2 Corinthians 3:18, ERV/ISB/NLT).
Here are some scriptures mentioning 'four':
24 The gatekeepers were assigned to the four directions: the east, west, north, and south. (1 Chronicles 9:24)
6 Against Elam I will bring the four winds
From the four quarters of heaven,
And scatter them toward all those winds; (Jeremiah 49:36)
9 Also He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'Thus says the Lord God: "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live."'" 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army. (Ezekiel 37:9-10)
27 And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven. (Mark 13:27)
1 After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. (Revelation 7:1)
The Feast of Trumpets is the fourth holy day and the trumpets reveal the Day of the Lord.
The Sabbath is the fourth commandment. It is to be a holy convocation (Leviticus 23:3)--a time to have God revealed by His ministry as well as a time to learn more about God on our own through His word.
It is possible that the number four has to do with some revealing, but this is an area reasonable people can differ on.
Compared to the formation of other groups whose leaders were once part of the old Worldwide Church of God, there have been several things that were unique about our formation. But actually, more similar to the start of the old Radio Church of God.
Like the fact that Herbert W. Armstrong left Church of God, Seventh-day (CG7) because it would not teach truth that it admitted, and I left the Living Church of God (LCG) because it would not fix errors it said it would (see also Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God).
Non-believers and Laodiceans often will not accept how God works.
The Bible records that God often has used dreams to give messages (Genesis 20:3-7, 28:10-17, 31:10-13, 31:24, 37:5-10, 40:5-18, 41:1-32; Numbers 12:6; Judges 7:13-15; 1 Kings 3:5-15; Daniel 2:3-45, 4:4-27, 7:1-28; Matthew 1:20-25, 2:12, 2:13, 2:19, 2:22; Acts 16:9). But often they are not from God (Ecclesiastes 5:7; Zechariah 10:2).
As it turns out there were four dreams associated with the CCOG.
The Bible shows that God often chooses to work with prophets through a dream:
6 “Hear now My words:
If there is a prophet among you,
I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision;
I speak to him in a dream. (Numbers 12:6)
Notice that the above says that God will speak to His prophet in a dream. Many do not want to hear about dreams, but those with that attitude fail to realize that God has used dreams to convey His Philadelphian work.
Dreams are prophesied for the end times:
17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. (Acts 2:14-18)
Herbert W. Armstrong claimed his wife Loma had a dream in the 20th century from God that preceded the start of the old Radio Church of God.
Though many discount all dreams, many also forget that Herbert W. Armstrong believed that his wife Loma D. Armstrong had a dream from God, although it took him some years to accept the validity of it:
Within 30 or 60 days after our marriage God spoke to my wife in what might have been an intense unusual dream, or a vision -- but it was years later before we came to realize that this really was a message from God. (Armstrong HW. Brethren and Co-worker letter, November 28, 1956)
One night my wife had a dream so vivid and impressive it overwhelmed and shook her tremendously. It was so realistic it seemed more like a vision. For two or three days afterward everything else seemed unreal -- as if in a daze -- and only this extraordinary dream seemed real.
In her dream she and I were crossing the wide intersection, only a block or two from our apartment, where Broadway diagonally crosses Sheridan Road. Suddenly there appeared an awesome sight in the sky above. It was a dazzling spectacle -- the sky filled with a gigantic solid mass of brilliant stars, shaped like a huge banner. The stars began to quiver and separate, finally vanishing. She called my attention to the vanishing stars, when another huge grouping of flashing stars appeared, then quivering, separating, and vanishing like the first.
As she and I, in her dream, looked upward at the vanishing stars, three large white birds suddenly appeared in the sky between us and the vanishing stars. These great white birds flew directly toward us. As they descended nearer, she perceived that they were angels.
“Then,” my wife wrote a day or two after the dream, in a letter to my mother which I have just run across among old family pictures, “it dawned on me that Christ was coming, and I was so happy I was just crying for joy. Then suddenly I thought of Herbert and was rather worried.”
She knew I had evidenced very little religious interest, although we had attended a corner church two or three times.
Then it seemed that, from among these angels in her dream, that, “Christ descended from among them and stood directly in front of us.
At first I was a little doubtful and afraid of how He would receive us, because I remembered we had neglected our Bible study and had our minds too much on things apart from His interests. But as we went up to Him, He put His arms around both of us, and we were so happy! I thought people all over the world had seen Him come. As far as we could see, people were just swarming into the streets at this broad intersection. Some were glad and some were afraid.
“Then it seemed He had changed into an angel. I was terribly disappointed at first, until he told me Christ was really coming in a very short time.”
At that time, we had been going quite regularly to motion - picture theatres. She asked the angel if this were wrong. He replied Christ had important work for us to do, preparing for His coming -- there would be no time for “movies .” (Those were the days of the “silent” pictures.) Then the angel and the whole spectacle seemed to vanish, and she awakened, shaken and wondering!
In the morning, she told me of her dream. I was embarrassed. I didn’t want to think about it, yet I was afraid to totally dismiss it. I thought of a logical way to evade it myself, and still solve it. ...
Do not hastily ascribe a dream to God. True, the Bible shows that God has spoken to His own chosen servants by this means of communication -- primarily in the Old Testament, and before the writing of the Bible was completed. But most dreams mean nothing. And false prophets have misled people by telling false dreams, representing their dreams to be the Word of God (Jeremiah 23, where God sa ys, “I am against prophets who recount lying dreams, leading my people astray with their lies and their empty pretensions, though I never sent them, never commissioned them” -- verse 32, Moffatt translation).
Certainly I did not ascribe this dream to God. It made me feel a little uncomfortable at the time, and I was anxious to forget it -- which I did for some years. I was twenty - five at the time. God left me to my own ways for five more years. But when I was age thirty, He began to deal with me in no uncertain terms... (The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, 1973, pp. 187,193-194).
Loma and Herbert Armstrong were married in 1917. They were specifically told that they would have a work to do. Furthermore, the bright lights in the dream may have had to do with doing a work (cf. Matthew 5:16)--a work that seemed to vanish and return (flash). Thus, there was a dream from given to a woman in the 20th century that preceded the start of the old Radio Church of God that Herbert W. Armstrong led. The Radio Church of God represented the start of the Philadelphia era and the Philadelphian work--a work that is not finished (cf. Matthew 24:14-15)--and Herbert W. Armstrong claimed that a dream given to his wife was from God, prior to the start of the Philadelphia era.
Since the Philadelphia era was raised up years after that dream, a question to ponder is would God do anything similar to point to the continuation of the end-time COG remnant of the Philadelphians? Consider that in Loma Armstrong's dream that there were two sets of flashing stars. Herbert Armstrong is now dead and there was a pause between the work God had him to do and the completion of the final phase of the work to finally fulfill Matthew 24:14 (cf. Isaiah 29:14?).
God directly intervened with a dream that years later led to the beginning of the Philadelphia era of the COG.
Was God done with dreams then?
Well not according to the old WCG. As its Personal Correspondence Department in the old WCG sent out a letter on dreams and stated the Bible showed that future dreams from God to His people were expected. It then had a date change added to it and here is a quote from that one:
Thank you for your question concerning visions or dreams. The Bible reveals that in times past servants of God were given visions and dreams for specific reasons and/or to convey special messages. ...God has used this means of communication in the past and will do so again (Acts 2:17; Joel 2:28) (L052 Worldwide Church of God, 1989)
As the WCG did not publicly acknowledge any such dreams after that letter was sent, the interpretation must be that God would later use dreams (it should be mentioned that the original date of L052 was prior to 1986--hence it was not a change by the Tkach Administration).
So obviously more dreams were expected!
Several years ago I had a dream, which while I did not understand it at first, as it became more and more fulfilled over the years, I began to understand it and believe it was from God.
I was about 50 at the time (which essentially makes me an ‘old man’ per Numbers 8:25; cf. John 8:57). At first it made little sense. Yet, the Prophet Jeremiah at least once wondered about a message he received and later determined it was from God (Jeremiah 32:6-8), and the Apostle Peter at least once had a vision that he did not understand (Acts 10:9-17) until later as well (Acts 11:5-17). The same goes for Daniel (Daniel 8).
In my dream, there seemed to be two parallel lines. The presiding evangelist of the Living Church of God (LCG) Roderick Meredith was on the top line and I was on the line much below. In the dream, I kept calling up to Dr. Meredith, but he never would respond. This lack of response made no sense to me during the dream. Then after what seemed to be a long time, the lines-crossed with his line dropping and my line going up.
One reason that I did not understand it at the time was that I was on relatively close speaking terms with Dr. Meredith then (he repeatedly told me he considered me to be his friend, plus he had appointed me an adviser to LCG on matters of doctrine and prophecy), so that aspect made of the dream made no sense. Also, since I had no intentions of leaving Living Church of God then (and certainly no plans to start a separate church), it was not clear what the dream was saying. Another reason I was unsure about the dream then was that I had not had any anointing for the Holy Spirit beyond baptism when I had that dream.
But these matters changed eventually. For one, I was unexpectedly anointed for a ‘double-portion’ of God’s Spirit (cf. 2 Kings 2:9) on December 15, 2011 by an LCG minister named Gaylyn Bonjour (see also How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God).
Of course, some do not accept how God works. They seem to think that unless an organization makes an announcement about an ordination it is suspect. But that it not how God works.
Getting back to the fulfillment of that dream, over time, Dr. Meredith became more distant from me, would not keep various promises to me, and ultimately stopped speaking with me. And after I got a letter from him on 12/28/12, it was clear to me that there was no way that the Philadelphia mantle could be with him or any of his remaining leaders (see Roderick C. Meredith's Accusatory Letter to Bob Thiel). These subsequent events showed me that the dream was being fulfilled. This dream gave an outline of what would happen in the future and that has happened.
I also had another dream (and do not recall precisely when, but it was prior to 2012) reminiscent of a vision that Isaiah. In that dream, I recall responding to a request from God and saying, “Here I am, send me” (cf. Isaiah 6:8). I have spoken God's word faithfully.
You might say to yourself I made all this dream stuff up or that the dreams were not from God. Let's look at something else:
16 ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ (Matthew 18:16)
19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. (1 Timothy 5:19)
Of course, since Gaylyn Bonjour always freely stated that he did the ‘double-portion’ anointing, there long had been a second witness.
Furthermore, while I had two dreams, two more who ended up affiliating with CCOG had dreams as well.
There have now been at least three witnesses for dreams in the CCOG--dreams that were confirmed by subsequent events.
A question to ponder is have there been any dreams from God in more recent years? Could a dream from another woman precede the start of the formation of the leader of the Philadelphia remnant?
In addition to my dreams (which seemed consistent with Number 12:6, Isaiah 6:8 and Acts 2:17), there also seems to have been at least two other dreams related to the Continuing Church of God that I would like to mention in some detail.
The first involves a woman.
Unbeknownst to me until late September 2013, a lady named Fesilafai Fiso Leaana of New Zealand had a dream after going to bed on December 8, 2012. Here is a report that Fesilafai Fiso Leaana wrote about her dream:
A few months before my dream, my husband and I noticed a contradiction in practice, regarding the sabbath commandment in LCG, from there we started to pray continuously for God to lead us to where the truth is. It seems God has answered our prayers through the dream.
The dream began with myself and approximately 70 New Zealand Living Church of God brethren, then suddenly LCG vanished (I was wondering where is LCG?) and I was left standing with approximately 10 people excluding myself, on a very high building. We were standing on the very top of the building, where I couldn’t see the bottom, there were no other buildings, just this building. I could not see the bottom of the building but just clouds below the building and clouds surrounding the building which led to a beautiful white mountain – a mountain that had no ends on either side. The building was pretty close to the mountain, I could see the top of the mountain. The mountain was all white and so beautiful. I remember that I began to be filled with joy and peace. But also wondering how we got up on this building and confused why there were no other buildings but the clouds seemed like it was hiding the building and I felt protected or it felt like a safe place. I looked around there were still only about ten people there, the only person I could clearly recognize was Shirley constantly working, the approximate ten others were just sitting and standing around. So I walked around the building looking for the large crowd from LCG, but all I kept returning to was that Shirley was working and doing different types of work alone while the others were still sitting and standing around the building with me. I wondered why she was working a lot. I could not find LCG.
Then suddenly a message came to my mind: “There is a secret in the mountain”. And I was so happy to know that, I was still feeling elated and could still see the beautiful white mountain and wondered about the secret. Then I asked: “What is the secret?” Then the message said, nobody knows the secret in the mountain but only you have received this message that there is a secret in the mountain. Then I asked ‘what is the secret in the mountain?’ I received a message to my mind that told me that “the secret in the mountain is the Ark of the Covenant”. Then the dream abruptly ended because I woke up. And immediately, I woke up my husband and recounted the dream to him, and I told my husband that it reminded me of when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments on the mountain and that the mountain was also covered with clouds.
On the same day after my dream, at church service Mr Penman warned us to be careful what we read from Bob Thiel’s Obama book, because they do not support everything he wrote in it. At the time I kept your name in my mind as I did not know who you were then.
Then 3 weeks later Shirley contacted me regarding your Chronology – the exit from LCG. Shirley had all of the Chronology and gave us all a print out of it and went over it with my husband and I. Shirley kept stressing the integrity of the LCG leadership and administration was compromised as proven by your Chronology account. Then my husband and I had to make a decision whether we would continue with LCG or go with Bob Thiel (you) since Shirley, John and Kayla had already decided to be with you
We decided to go with Bob Thiel and then left the meeting but a letter from Mr. Penman and a visit from the new New Zealand minister Paul attempted to obstruct our departure and tried to dissuade us from leaving LCG and coming with you. This forced us to carefully rethink our decision.
My husband and I were alone, that’s when my husband said to me, “remember your dream? This is what your dream means, that we need to leave this church and go with Shirley”. That’s when we knew what to do. And this dream is the reason most of us in the kiwi CCOG knew that we are in the right Church, God told us to come to this Church. We reaffirmed with Shirley and others that we were going to go with Bob Thiel and my husband told them the dream for the first time and that the dream is the reason my husband and I decided to come.
Not having all the details of the dream, Shirley then prayed about the dream. She asked God for more understanding on the dream. Then the next day she was reading the book of Psalm and Psalm 25:14 JUMPED out at her: “The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant.” (email 9/29/13)
Within several weeks of the dream, ten people in New Zealand, including Shirley Gestro (the Shirley above) began to attend the newly formed Continuing Church of God.
Biblically, mountains can symbolize government (Psalm 30:7; Isaiah 11:9; Daniel 2:35; Zechariah 4:7) and white purity or cleanness (Isaiah 1:18; Revelation 7:14, 19:14). Clouds around a mountain (or at least the top of it) could show a separation—maybe a separation that keeps many from seeing all of the truth (cf. Job 22:14; Lamentations 3:44) or recognizing top leadership?
The dream seemed to be a signal to confirm that the Philadelphia mantle was not with the Living Church of God, but instead was associated with someone that that had something to do with the ark of the covenant. Prior to the dream Fesilafai Fiso Leaana indicated that she had problems with how the leadership in LCG viewed the Sabbath, and that was one of the issues that I dealt within weeks of the formation of the Continuing Church of God.
Now, I (Bob Thiel) never heard of, nor learned of, this dream until after the start of the Feast of Tabernacles in September 2013 in New Zealand (which is where my wife Joyce and I began the Feast of Tabernacles in 2013).
Why is that potentially significant?
Back in 2006, when I was first asked to give a sermon at the Feast of Tabernacles, it occurred to me that never in WCG, GCG, nor LCG did I recall anyone actually fulfilling the requirement in Deuteronomy 31:10-13 about reading the “words of the law” in Deuteronomy every seven years at the Feast of Tabernacles. So, when the opportunity to give a sermon came up (in Guatemala in 2006), I attempted to go through that book of the law. In 2012, it occurred to me that since this was to be done every seven years, that somehow I would need to do this in 2013 (seven years later), but I was not sure how this would be done. However, once the Continuing Church of God formed, I realized that how this would be done at the Feast of Tabernacles in 2013.
After I began to cite Deuteronomy 31:10-13 and started reading the book of the law at the Feast of Tabernacles in New Zealand in 2013, Fesilafai Fiso Leaana came up to me and told me about her dream. We discussed some points about it and the ark of the covenant, etc. As it turns out, one of the items that was kept besides the ark of the covenant was the very same “Book of the Law” (Deuteronomy 31:26) that I was reading in its entirety publicly during that Feast of Tabernacles. This is a connection that, humanly speaking Fesilafai Leaana could not have known. (There are also other potential ramifications related to the ark of the covenant that I may attempt to publicly address in the future.)
Subsequent events, events that Fesilafai Leaana could not have known on December 8/9, 2012, confirmed her dream. She had no idea that the Continuing Church of God was going to form, and I had not made the decision to actually form it until after getting a letter on December 28, 2012. Fesilafai Leaana’s dream is another witness as to the proper start, etc. of the Continuing Church of God.
Fesilafai Leaana’s dream, in a sense, is reminiscent of the dream that Loma Armstrong had prior to the formation ot the Radio Church of God.
The Bible teaches:
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
So, does it not make sense that if God granted a dream to a woman prior to the formation of the Radio Church of God that God could have done that prior to the formation of the Continuing Church of God?
On March 28, 2014, I flew into London for a two night stopover, before heading to Kenya for a CCOG leadership conference. Within an hour of arriving at my hotel, Senhor Pires came for baptismal counseling. As we walked from the hotel lobby to my room, he wanted to tell me about a vision he saw in a dream that he had.
Here is what he said:
I had this dream. In it was a vision of a congregation of the Continuing Church of God inside a transparent glass bubble (like a balloon). And everyone, I mean everyone apart from the speaker, was black. The speaker was white. And I was asking myself inside that bubble…”why is everyone black here?”It made no sense to me. I wondered why I would see this.
When Senhor Pires told me the above, I began to laugh. I said to him, “Didn’t you know that the vast majority of people in the Continuing Church of God were black?”
And he said, “No, I figured that most would be white.”
I then told him, “This is quite interesting. Your dream seems to be one of three or more directly related to the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) that has had confirmation.”
I also told him that I was to fly to Kenya in two days Sunday, and that those who were to attend a Continuing Church of God leadership conference from Kenya and Tanzania were also black, and that I, the main speaker, would be the only one who was white. And that is what happened.
God has worked with Africans in the past and this dream was an indication that many in the Continuing Church of God would be of African heritage (see also Africa: Its Biblical Past and Prophesied Future).
Also as it turns out, not only was Senhor Pires black, but the others who came to attend Sabbath services with us the next day in the United Kingdom were also black. Neither Senhor Pires nor I were aware of this until March 30, 2014.
While this may not seem to be a massive ‘earth-shattering’ dream, it is yet additional confirmation that God has used dreams/visions to communicate to at least three individuals who all later became part of the Continuing Church of God. Dreams and visions are something that God intended to use during the end times (cf. Acts 2:17-18; Joel 2:28-29). Elijah apparently once thought that God would be in something dramatic, but then only was in “a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11-13).
Perhaps I should mention that a fourth person later told me her dream, and I provided her an interpretation, but she would not accept it and did not become part of the CCOG. Not all respond to messages, via dreams or otherwise.
I believe that certain dreams are truly partial confirmations that the Continuing Church of God was to lead (two dreams happened prior to CCOG’s formation), and now is leading, the final phase of the work. The truths that we teach should be accepted as the major proof:
45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. (John 8:45)
Believe the truth, at least for the truth's sake. Christians are to believe and know the truth (1 Timothy 4:3). The truth sets Christians free (John 8:32) from all types of error (including Laodicean ones, cf. Revelation 3:14-22).
For more on dreams, check out the article Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God.
The Bible teaches, “test the spirits, whether they are of God” (1 John 4:1). A former board member of the old Global Church of God, who is not part of the Continuing Church of God, wrote the following in late 2013 (bolding his):
When we need to know what is about to happen, God will show us through direct revelation and through the right Scriptures at the right time.
Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets (Amos 3:7).
The entire New Testament is like this…
1Cor 14:29-32 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
1Cor 14:37-39 If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord. But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant. Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues…
1Jo 4:1-2 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,
Note: If there were no true prophets, there would be no need to “test the spirits”—because every prophet would be a “false prophet”. But because there are both true prophets and false prophets, we need to “test the spirits”…
Many have said, “If God is still providing prophets to the church, where are they?” My church—even my whole denomination—does not recognize any.” Our national leaders do not recognize any either. That is “business as usual” when it comes to prophets. We must remember that God sends prophets to speak His messages and do His work, which often conflicts with the purposes of political and religious leaders...
The gift of prophecy is not vulnerable to electronic surveillance, network failures, police action, restrictive laws or religious censorship. It works in any language, custom or culture. It works no matter what other nations and churches do. (Edwards N. Need Prophets More than Prophecy. Shepherd’s Voice, Fall 2013)
Yes, because a group leader does not recognize a prophet, that does not mean the prophet is not valid. The above article also quoted several scriptures that demonstrate that.
For more on prophets, check out the article How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God.
How do you test, other than to assure yourself that what is said is not in contradiction with scripture?
Jesus taught that fruits will identify the true from the false:
15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:15-20)
Lat's consider proclamation fruits.
On December 30/31, 2012 at the News of those once affiliated with the Global Church of God page I posted a prediction that I felt that in its first 30 days the Continuing Church of God would reach more people with the COG message than any non-GTA group that came out of the old Worldwide Church of God as well as any group that came out of the old Global Church of God.
When I made the prediction, only one radio interview was actually scheduled, and one was for a program with a relatively small listenership. As it turns out, I was invited to be another show with a much larger audience. According to the lowest estimates of audience by the two radio hosts (and yes, they could exaggerate, though they assured me that they were not doing so), on behalf of the Continuing Church of God, I was able to reach well over 2,000,000 via radio (the highest audience estimates were multiple times that large) in the past couple of weeks.
Perhaps I should add that the radio presence was unexpected. We did not pay for it, we were contacted.
Consider that the Bible teaches at least part of the final phase of the work will be done by God's Spirit through His people, but many will not have the faith to believe:
6 This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:
'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,'
Says the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6)
7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
5 Look among the nations and watch —
Be utterly astounded!
For I will work a work in your days
Which you would not believe, though it were told you. (Habakkuk 1:5)
Can you believe? Various ones have wrongly stated that they cannot put their priority of the proclamation Work of God for lack of money. That is clearly unbiblical.
Christians are to "walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7) and:
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Most will not do that.
And the internet back then? Tallying unique visitors over multiple websites is difficult, so I originally considered not to include any of the visitors to the www.ccog.org, ContinuingCOG channel, or the Bible News Prophecy channel (none of which had content 30 when the prediction was made). And without them, the amount of unique visitors for the first 30 days that statistics show was a little over 100,000. The amount related to COGwriter.com is up significantly from the same period for the prior year.
The proclamation goal was hit!
To answer the question, JUST WHAT IS THE WORK?, Herbert W. Armstrong personally wrote:
But Christ said to His Philadelphia era Church, that because we have but little strength, He would OPEN THOSE DOORS TO US (Rev. 3:8)" (Letter 11/19/76).
The PURPOSE for which Christ built the Church exemplifies its WORK...1) To ANNOUNCE to the world for its witness the coming Kingdom of God...2) To prepare the people to whom God adds to the Church...God has always worked with humans. He has worked with O N E M A N at a time...The WORK consists of proclaiming the Gospel, by radio, by television, in print (Armstrong HW. JUST WHAT IS THE WORK? PASTOR GENERAL'S REPORT - VOL.3, NO.6 February 6, 1981)
Notice that Herbert Armstrong believed that God mainly worked through the leadership of one man at a time to lead various phases of the work. Scripture, shows for example, that the mantle passed from Elijah to Elisha (2 Kings 2:9-15). The 'mantle' would currently be with the person/group that truly functioned as the 'pillar and ground of truth' (1 Timothy 3:15).
according to AWstats, CCOG has now reached people in over 220 countries/territories have accessed our websites. According to YouTube, our BibleNewsProphecy videos and other videos (ContinuingCOG channel and CCOGAfrica channel) have been viewed about 800,000 times by people in at least 214 countries/territories. Tens of millions of computers have been reached through CCOG's church history Google campaigns. Millions of people have been reached over the radio. We have materials in European, African, and Asian languages, and thousands of printed books and magazines have been given away.
Other than COGwriter, here is a listing of links to various CCOG websites:
Bible News Prophecy Flipboard
BibleNewsProphecy online radio
CCOG Canada (CCOGCANADA.CA)
CCOG English Language
CCOG New Zealand
CCOG (PHIND) Philippines
CCOG (CDLIDD) Spanish Language
We are reaching people in the English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, Kiswahli, German, French, Dutch, Italian, Korean, Dholuo, Ekegusii, Tagalog (Philippines) and other languages. We have plans to greatly increase that number.
We have had our Bible News Prophecy magazine produced in thirteen languages so far:
We also have other languages and others expected in the future.
We have established a separate European website, which we are adding European languages to (in addition to English, Spanish, French, and German, we now also have some limited information in Dutch, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Russian, and Serbian).
We also are working on information in the Jingpho, Telugu, Zulu, and other languages. Actually, the Continuing Church of God has literature in more languages than any known Church of God in history--over 100!--and this seems to be necessary in order to fulfill Jesus' statements in Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20.
The total reach and impact of the websites of the Continuing Church of God exceeds the impact of the bottom 90% of groups with origins in the old WCG combined. Furthermore, the popularity of the COGwriter.com website exceeds all but a few of COG groups. The Continuing Church of God has been highly effective on the internet.
We Christians are to preach “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations” (Matthew 24:14), “make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19), and ultimately results in followers from “all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues” (Revelation 7:9; cf. Daniel 7:14). Thus, it makes sense to get materials into whatever languages God will open up to us (cf. Revelation 3:7-8; 1 Corinthians 16:9; 2 Corinthians 2:12).
Since the formation of CCOG, Dr. Thiel has visited the Middle East, preached in North America, preached in South America, preached in New Zealand, preached in Europe, and preached in Africa. CCOG has congregations around the world (see Congregations of the Continuing Church of God). In 2014 & 2015 & 2016, Dr. Thiel has reached millions around the world over the radio as well millions reached over the internet. CCOG has also sent requested printed literature to all continents and does so on a regular basis. He also wrote and had three booklets printed in 2014 (Continuing History of the Church of God and Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen and Where is the True Christian Church Today?) a fourth in 2015 (Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach?) and a fifth (Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?) and a sixth (The Gospel of the Kingdom of God) in 2016. He has been involved now in baptizing people on all inhabited continents except South America and expects that to happen in the future. Fruits are being born (John 15:16; Luke 7:43-45; Matthew 7:17-20).
We have reached many millions via radio since formation (by being a radio guest on many secular radio stations and programs; see also Does the CCOG go through the ‘door’ of radio to reach the world?) plus we also have an online radio presence. Of course, being on radio is something that COG leaders have done since no later than the 1930s. Radio was used so much to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom and other biblical messages, that after he left CG7, the late Herbert W. Armstrong initially named his group the Radio Church of God. Radio is one of the forms of mass media that we in the Continuing Church of God use to teach people about Jesus’ gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 24:14), warn the world what is coming to pass (Ezekiel 33:1-10; watch also Go, Set a Watchman), and provide other teachings (Matthew 28:19-20). I, personally, have been interviewed, on average, once every three weeks since the official formation of the Continuing Church of God on 12/28/12. This seems to be significantly more than any other COG leader in the 21st century that I am aware of. It remains my belief that getting secular media coverage will be part of how we will be able to reach the world with the witness of the Kingdom of God that Jesus said would happen prior to the end (Matthew 24:14).
While the late Herbert Armstrong would go on radio live daily, often with a newspaper going over prophecy, in the 21st century, Dr. Thiel makes three posts daily involving news, doctrine, and prophecy. This is consistent with how the Philadelphian era of the COG began.
For more on proclamation, check out the article The Final Phase of the Work.
Have the proclamation efforts born any fruit?
Peter Cross, at his 7th Day Churches of God, Church of God News page, reported the following:
Continuing Church of God
Robert Thiel reports:
“We had 1900 people attend the Feast of Tabernacles’ sites of the Continuing Church of God this year, which is up over 30% from last year. For details and photographs, here is a link to a series of reports titled: 2016 Feast of Tabernacles Report. We also have others that claim affiliation, but were unable to attend because of financial limitations. Currently, we have over 2000 (including children) declaring they are in the Continuing Church of God.”
This is the highest festival attendance of any church group not started by former ministers of the Worldwide Church of God.
Peter Cross’ observation about the high festival attendance is correct. The other 4-5 COG groups whose leaders were once part of the old Worldwide Church of God (WCG), that are larger than the Continuing Church of God, were all started by men who were ministers in WCG.
Actually, since its formation, the Continuing Church of God has been the fastest growing of all COG groups. We have had 30 percent growth in both attendees and income.
We now have over 2,000 people around the world, in about 60 congregations, with most of our congregations in Africa (see Congregations of the Continuing Church of God).
Of the allegedly 400 groups whose leaders were once part of the old Worldwide Church of God, the Continuing Church of God is one of the newest, and seems to about the sixth largest in terms of congregants.
Of course, size, of itself, is not what is important. Love, faithfulness, and truth are.
Unlike the formation of many groups like the United Church of God, Living Church of God, and Church of God, a Worldwide Association, there were not discussions among ministers prior to the official formation for CCOG to start. CCOG started out on faith.
Enough faith that within a day or two of our formation, I made the proclamation prediction.
But to put CCOG in a historical perspective, consider something written decades ago by the late Pastor General of the old Worldwide Church of God, Herbert W Armstrong:
THE WORK of God, which the Church had been added to back up and assist, was started by myself, with only my wife as full time assistant. I started the radio broadcasting program in January, 1934, and The Plain Truth, in February, 1934. The Good News, as the organ for our members, had started earlier in 1933.
The Work GREW. God continued to ADD to His Church such as HE called to back up the GREAT COMMISSION, and to develop the godly, holy and righteous CHARACTER to qualify them to be made kings and priests UNDER CHRIST after His return to earth as KING of Kings at the beginning of the millenial rule.
For 35 years the WORK OF GOD grew steadily at the rate of approximately 30 percent a year. I do not know of any organization, secular or of God, that has shown so remarkable growth, starting from NOTHING financially (though we started with something greater — FAITH in the living Christ HEAD of the Church and the WORK). This Work was built literally on FAITH. The living Christ blessed it richly, even though there was carnal opposition and persecution from the beginning.
Read carefully now. As the Work grew, so did the human organization to work UNDER me in getting God's Work done. Then, after this 35-year unmatched GROWTH with God's blessing, I made a basic mistake, which I did not then realize was contrary to GOD'S form of organization. It was a detail that NONE in the Church realized was unscriptural.
It happened this way: As the work continued growing and growing, especially after the foundation of Ambassador College, my younger son, Garner Ted, had become converted. Mr. Roderick C. Meredith had entered Ambassador College as a student beginning its third year, fall of 1949. He was developing as a leader under me. He saw the rapid strides my son Garner Ted was making at the time, spiritually. My elder son, Richard D. (Dick), was growing spiritually too, but at a slower more steady rate.
Mr. Meredith began to urge me to make Garner Ted vice president under me, in the Work. I thought it a good suggestion. ...
Christ built Work
Now to the CENTRAL TRUTH leading into today's state of the Work. Brethren, READ THIS SERIOUSLY! Jesus Christ, the living HEAD of God's Church, started this present era of His Work through me. I DID NOT BUILD THE WORK OR THE CHURCH — the living Christ built it, using me as His instrument and His apostle.
But I made the mistake, unrealizing that mistake, of allowing an office of authority to be injected BETWEEN ME AND THE MINISTRY AND CHURCH!
For the first 35 years of this Work, I was the sole human in supreme command, UNDER CHRIST. There was opposition and persecution — from without — but THERE WAS NO QUESTION OF WHO WAS IN CHARGE! During those 35 years the Church and the Work GREW AND GREW AND GREW! It had Christ's BLESSING!
I knew that GOD'S FORM OF ORGANIZATION IS FROM THE TOP DOWN. I DID NOT REALIZE that allowing an office of authority to be interjected BETWEEN me and the Church was contrary to God's form of human organization.
WHAT RESULTED? Great confusion grew in the Church — especially in and around headquarters. "WHO IS REALLY IN AUTHORITY?" many wondered, perplexed. The Work STOPPED GROWING. (Christ Puts Church On Bible Form Of Organization. Good News, June 5, 1978)
Until I saw the above on 12/24/16, I did not realize that according to Herbert W. Armstrong, it was a suggestion by Dr. Meredith that stopped the church's growth.
We in CCOG have been more faithful to church government than GCG/LCG. Actually, it was mispplications of church government that allowed for the GCG takeover, and ultimately, my departure from LCG.
Under Dr. Thiel's direction, the Continuing Church of God has exceeded the 30% growth per year that the old Radio/Worldwide Church of God used to claim it had for decades. Many of those that we have with us did NOT have a WCG background as we reached people others had not. (As far as church governance goes, check out the article The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government.)
This growth in CCOG appears to be unmatched by other groups. It is not that others are not larger (4-5 are), but they either started large or grew slowly--and none of the groups that are currently larger than CCOG have claimed that 30% per year growth--but we in CCOG have it.
It does not mean that will continue, but it, of itself, should be revealing to those with:
8 "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" (Luke 8:8)
Similar to Herbert W. Armstrong who refused a salary from the Church of God, Seventh-Day prior to the formation of the Radio Church of God, I on two occasions turned down financial offers (one offer was a salary, the other was less clear) from the Living Church of God, sometime prior to the start of CCOG.
Many anti-COG posters on the internet have falsely claimed that the COG is all about financial enriching the leaders of the respective churches. In my case, I will add that I have never taken a salary from the Living Church of God or Continuing Church of God. This does not mean that I never would, but I have not--nor has my wife Joyce.
But for CCOG, it should be clear this was about integrity and the ability to lead the final phase of the work. It most certainly was not financial. And as finances go, we probably spend a higher percentage of our income to support the poor, widows, and orphans in Africa than all the COGs who have over 100 congregants. Of course, Jesus said, "it is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).
Interestingly, someone not in CCOG mentioned to me in Illinois this past October that CCOG was one of the only, if not the only, COG group he knew of that formed mainly because of doctrinal/integrity issues, as opposed to personality issues. Details on why CCOG had to form are in the article Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God.
Of course, some have dismissed CCOG because I am not the world's great orator. Plus, I often go through many scriptures and sources when I give a sermon. Though factually accurate, my sermons are not as entertaining as many in the 21st century seem to prefer.
But consider the following:
9 "Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just drawn from the breasts? 10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little."
11 For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people, 12 To whom He said, "This is the rest with which You may cause the weary to rest," And, "This is the refreshing"; Yet they would not hear. (Isaiah 28:9-12)
Furthermore, the Bible is shows that God used the Apostle Paul per 2 Corinthians 10:10 and 11:6, Moses per Exodus 4:10 and the prophet Jeremiah per Jeremiah 1:6, even though they were apparently not good speakers.
Earlier doctrine was mentioned.
In this area, the CCOG has restored more than other groups we are aware of.
This includes church history (see Continuing History of the Church of God), doctrine (see What About the Living Church of God? Are there Doctrinal Differences with the Continuing Church of God?), and prophecy (The Laodicean Church Era ).
Notice something Jesus told Philadelphia:
7 "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,
'These things says He who is holy, He who is true, "He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens": 8 "I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie — indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. (Revelation 3:7-11)
CCOG was the first, and may be the only COG, that lists the 18 truths that Herbert Armstrong felt God had him restore to the Philadelphia portion of the COG, as part of its Statement of Beliefs:
1. True Gospel (An article of related interest may include The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church.)
2. Purpose of God (An article of related interest may include Deification: Did the Early Church Teach That Christians Would Become God?).
3. God’s Plan through the Holy Days (Several articles of possibly related interest may include Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible?, Passover and the Early Church, and Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days?)
4. Proper Church Government (Two articles of possibly related interest may include The Bible, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, and Roderick C. Meredith on Church Government and Polycarp’s Letter to the Philippians.)
5. Who and What is God? (An article of related interest may include One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning.)
6. What and Why is Man? (Two articles of possibly related interest may include What is the Meaning of Life? and Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality?)
7. Spirit in Man (An article of possibly related interest may include Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality?)
8. Firstfruits In this Age (An article of related interest may include Pentecost: Is it more than Acts 2?)
9. Knowledge of What the Millennium Truly Is (An article of related interest may include Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism and a 6000 Year Plan?)
10. Truth About the Holy Spirit (An article of related interest may include Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity?)
11. Christians are Begotten Now (An article of related interest may include Born Again: A Question of Semantics?)
12. Born-Again at the Resurrection (An article of related interest may include Born Again: A Question of Semantics?)
13. Identity of Physical Israel (An article of related interest may include Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel.)
14. How the Identity of Israel Opens Up Understanding of Bible Prophecy (An article of related interest may include Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel.)
15. Second and Third Tithes (An article of related interest may include Is Third Tithe Still Valid Today?)
16. Identity of Babylon and Her Daughters (Three articles of possibly related interest may include Europa, the Beast, and Revelation, Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Genuine Church of God?, and Hope of Salvation: How the Genuine Church of God differ from most Protestants.)
17. Satan has Deceived the Whole World (An article possibly related interest may be The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance.)
18. We Are to Be Separate (Two articles of related interest may include Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders? and Overview: How Does the Church of God Agree and Disagree with Other Faiths Professing Christ?)
We also have the 'correct list'--we use Herbert W. Armstrong's list given 12/17/83 (many use the improper Tkach list from the Worldwide News, August 25, 1986; see also The 18 Restored Truths: Do You Know What the First Changes the Tkach Administration Made?), plus teach these truths in more accurate detail than others we are aware of.
In addition, we have taken steps to correct doctrinal errors. The old Global and Living Church of God required my sons to complete the old Radio Church of God Bible Correspondence Course as a prerequisite to baptism. Yet, both sons would come to me when they found clear errors (the most common being that the scripture cited as 'proof' was not correct--but there were exaggeration and other errors as well).
Since a course to study the Bible is helpful for Christian growth, in the CCOG we decided to use the old lessons of the Bible Correspondence Course as a template--to insure the subjects would be covered--but with updating for scriptural accuracy, timeliness, doctrinal accuracy, and with additional scriptures. This has resulted in a restored course that is improved and appropriate for the 21st century (see Study the Bible Course: Lesson 1 In English).
In terms of restoration, we also did two things I never saw in any of the COGs (other than myself try to do) had previously been part of.
Here is the first:
10..."At the end of every seven years, at the appointed time in the year of release, at the Feast of Tabernacles, 11 when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12 Gather the people together, men and women and little ones, and the stranger who is within your gates, that they may hear and that they may learn to fear the Lord your God and carefully observe all the words of this law, 13 and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God as long as you live in the land which you cross the Jordan to possess." (Deuteronomy 31:10-13).
The above was accomplished in 2013 (see The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time to Learn the Law).
Here is the second:
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20)
The above took years to complete, but was fulfilled in 2016. Here are links to sermons that show that:
MATTHEW Here are links to twelve sermons covering the 28 chapters of Matthew: Matthew 1-2: Greek or Aramaic, Jesus, and the Star?, Matthew 3-5: John the Baptist, Temptations, and the Beatitudes, Matthew 6-7: Charitable Deeds, the Rosary, Prayer, the Golden Rule, and Faith, Matthew 8-10: Married Clergy, Faith, Coming Persecution, and the Ecumenical Agenda, Matthew 11-12: John the Elijah, Sodom, Unpardonable Sin, & 3 Days and 3 Nights, -14: Parables, Mustard Seeds, Birthdays, and Faith, Matthew 15-16: Tradition, Signs of the Times, and The Rock & Peter, Matthew 17-18: Transfiguration, Elijah to Come, Taxes, and Forgiveness, Matthew 19-20: Transgender? Divorce? Purgatory? The first shall be last?, Matthew 21-23: 'Palm Sunday,' Come as You Are?, and the Greatest Commandments, Matthew 24: Temple Destruction, Sorrows, Tribulation, and the Return of Jesus, and Matthew 25-28: Midnight Cry, False Christians, Resurrection, & Teaching what Jesus Taught.
MARK Here is a link to a sermon covering all of Jesus' words in the 'Gospel of Mark': What did Jesus teach in the Book of Mark?
LUKE Here are links to eight sermons covering the entire 'Gospel of Luke': Luke 1-2: John the Baptist, Mary, and the Census, Luke 3-6: John the Baptist, Jesus’ genealogy, Satan’s Influence, and the Sermon on the Mount, Luke 7-9: Miracles, Purpose of Parables, Kingdom of God, and Women Supporting the Ministry, Luke 10-11: The 70, Doing the Work, the Good Samaritan, Prayer, and Signs, Luke 12-13: Priorities, Delayed Fruit Bearing, Little Flock, Prophecy, and the Narrow Way, Luke 14-16: The Lost Sheep, the Prodigal Son, the Rich Man and Lazarus, Luke 17-20: Faith, the Kingdom, Gathering, Prayer, & Rewards, and Luke 21-22: Giving, Sorrows, Persecution, Tribulation, Fig Tree, and Violence. The last sermon also covers Jesus' words in the Book of Acts.
JOHN Here are links to a seven-part sermon series covering the entire 'Gospel of John': John 1-3: Anti-unitarian, Wine, Being Born Again, & Heaven, John 4-6: Jesus and the Samaritan Woman, Miracles and the Bread of Life, John 10-12: Sheep, Hirelings, Lazarus/Soul Sleep and ‘Palm Day’, John 13-15: Footwashing and the Words of Jesus, John 16-18: Truth, Trinity, and Pontius Pilate, and John 19-21: Do not //only try, do what God wants.
REVELATION This is a link to a sermon covering words Jesus spoke as recorded in the Book of Revelation and in first and second Corinthians: Revelation: Jesus’ Final Words.
I mentioned to CCOG member Steve Dupuie that anyone could have done these things, but no one else had. His view was no, God had CCOG do them as others would not. Going through all of Jesus' words may not be exciting enough for some, but it is a command. And in CCOG we followed it. You might not view this as important if your church leaders have not done this yet. Many will not leave the group they are with based on their own criteria--but shouldn't faithfulness to God's word count?
As far as other group's specific doctrinal errors go, here are links to articles about many groups--COGs and others:
What About the Living Church of God? Are there Doctrinal Differences with the Continuing Church of God? This article explains some information and doctrines of the Living Church of God as led by Roderick C. Meredith and some concerns about them. (En el idioma español: ¿Qué hay acerca de la Iglesia de Dios Viviente? ¿Hay diferencias doctrinales con la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios?)
Church of God, (Seventh Day): History and Teachings Nearly all COG's I am aware of trace part of their history through some affiliation with this group. Loren Stacey is the president of the largest CG7 group (Denver). Do you know much about them?
Comments on the Teachings of Ron Wallen, Philip Neal, Kenneth W., GRUMPS, Jesse Arellano, and others who Profess(ed) that WCG has God's Authority Can one still believe what Herbert W. Armstrong used to teach and still be in WCG? This article addresses this important issue.
Independent Members of the COG: Herbert W. Armstrong Comments, Plus Questions and Answers What did Herbert W. Armstrong teach about being independent of the organized Church? Should independents who claim to accept Herbert W. Armstrong's teachings support the end time Philadelphian work?
Differences between the Living Church of God and United Church of God This article provides quotes information from the two of the largest groups which had their origins in WCG as well as commentary.
Concerns about Church of God, a Worldwide Association Known as COGWA, this is the largest group that came out of the United Church of God. Here is some history and concerns about it. UCG's former president Clyde Kilough and UK CEO Peter Hawkins are part of it.
Teachings Unique to the Philadelphia Church of God Simply calling oneself 'Philadelphia' does not make one so (see Revelation 3:7-9), nor does Gerald Flurry calling himself "that prophet" make it so. This article provides many quotes from this group which tries to look faithful.
In Their Own Words: Doctrinal Differences Between the old United Church of God and the old Global Church of God Older quotes from the leadership and some of the membership of these two organizations are included without added commentary (until the end and the 7/31/98 update) which highlighted some of the differences between them.
Church of God, an International Community (COG aic) This is the group led by David Hulme. It seems to minimize parts of biblical prophecy.
Beware, Doctrinal Compromise is in the Air! Discusses some doctrines that CGCF may have had to change in order to merge with United.
Teachings of the Christian Churches of God This group reject's the deity of Jesus and has other unusual teachings.
Why Not the Restored Church of God? This group, led by David Pack, claims to be the most faithful. The information in this article suggests otherwise. Here is a version in the Spanish language: ¿Por qué no la Iglesia de Dios Restaurada?
It's Not Stedfast This group, was led by Arlen Berkey. It claimed it was the most faithful, but like others had different priorities.
God's Church, Worldwide is another group to claim it is the most faithful, but like others has different priorities.
Intercontinental Church of God ICG was Garner Ted Armstrong's last group; it is now led by Mark Armstrong.
Teachings of the Church of God, International This article focuses on where CGI differs from the old WCG.
Teachings and Practices of Legacy Institute Works mainly in Asia and is led by Leon Sexton. It has various misunderstandings.
Church of God, Southern California This article discusses some of how David Antion's group differs from the old WCG.
Church of God Outreach Ministries This was a CGI spin-off that says it is not a church.
Teachings of the Christian Churches of God This group, led by Wade Cox, reject's the deity of Jesus and has other unusual teachings.
Teachings of Triumph Prophetic Ministries William Dankenbring's ministry--incorrectly speculates on various dates and holds to some odd doctrines.
Concerns About Ronald Weinland's Church of God-Preparing for the Kingdom of God Ronald Weinland falsely claimed to be one of the two witnesses God is raising up, that the Great Tribulation began on December 14, 2008, Jesus would return late September 2011, that Jesus would return on May 27, 2012, and later that Jesus would return on May 19, 2013. Why else does the Bible show that Ron Weinland is a false prophet? He has other views which show he may not be part of the Church of God.?
Worldwide Assembly of Yahweh This is what I'd call a sacred name group.
Church of God, In Truth This is what I'd call a calendar group.
Church of the Great God This group, led by John Ritenbaugh, says the bride must first be made ready (it de-emphasizes the priority of public proclamation of the gospel). Might this lead to a selfish bride? This group also seriously seems to misunderstand end-time prophecy.
Error-Ridden James Malm Not Doing an Elijah Work James Malm is one who misunderstands and improperly maligns.
Teachings of Christian Educational Ministries Ron Dart's confederation (not a church).
Christian Renewal Ministries International They teach Hebrew.
Banned by HWA and Ambassador Watch There are various ones that oppose the Church of God, but they will not prevail (Matthew 16:18). This is an article about some anti-Church of God tactics.
Is the Genuine Church of God a Cult? There are misleading statements on the internet that this article tries to address.
Christian Biblical Church of God and its Teachings Fred Coulter's group--they tend to explain conspiracies, calendar issues, and have a "sea of glass" teaching. Plus they produce books on various subjects.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their 'mother church' in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed? See also World Council of Churches Peace Plan.
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the genuine Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example? Here is a related sermon video: Martin Luther and Herbert Armstrong: Reformers with Differences.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions. [Português: Qual é fiel: A igreja católica romana ou a igreja do deus?]
Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? (And the Protestants) Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good? Here is a link to a related video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?
Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction? Is the interfaith movement going to lead to lasting peace or is it warned against? A video sermon of related interest is: Will the Interfaith Movement lead to World War III? and a video sermon is also available: Do You Know That Babylon is Forming?
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics Unity between these groups will put them in position to be part of the final end time Babylon that the Bible warns against as well as require improper compromise.
Similarities and Differences Between the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to represent the original Christian faith. Do you know much about them? Both groups have some interesting similarities, but many major differences. Would you like information on how to deal with Jehovah's Witnesses? A related sermon is also available: Jehovah's Witnesses: Right and Wrong Teachings?
Messianic Judaism Beliefs Differ from the Continuing Church of God Both groups keep the seventh-day Sabbath, but have important differences in doctrines and practices. Here is a link to a related sermon: Messianic Jewish Beliefs.
SDA/CCOG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666 The genuine Church of God is NOT part of the Seventh-day Adventists. This article explains two prophetic differences, the trinity, differences in approaching doctrine, including Ellen White. Did Ellen White make prophetic errors? Did Ellen White make false prophecies? Here is a version in the Spanish language: SDA/COG Diferencias: La bestia de dos cuernos de Apocalipsis y 666. Here is a sermon in the English language: CCOG and SDA differences and similarities.
Seventh-day Adventist President Ted Wilson's Comments on the Remnant Church Ted N. C. Wilson spoke on the SDAs striving to be the "remnant church", but what do the related scriptures actually teach?
Some Dissimilarities Between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) and the Continuing Church of God The genuine Church of God is not related to the Mormons and this article explains some differences and a couple of similarities. Also, might certain LDS prophecies apply to Mitt Romney?
Differences Between Islam and the Continuing Church of God What are some of the main differences? Are there any similarities? A video of related interest is titled: Islam: Any Christian Concerns or Similarities?
As far as prophecy goes, we have put together a list of some prophetic errors that other groups claiming to be Church of God have:
- Many COG groups (ICG, CGI, UCG, COGaIC, CG7, CBCG, CGG, CEM, etc.) do not officially teach and/or do not believe in the idea of Church eras (The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3), though they sometimes teach about the churches of Revelation. They tend to take more of a preterist (past) view of those churches, despite the fact that many statements made to them had to have future prophetic ramifications (e.g. Revelation 1:19; 3:3; 3:10). Because of that they do not teach certain prophetic aspects of this, most do not see their own problems and will have to go through the Great Tribulation.
- Many COG groups do not believe that the Gospel of the Kingdom still needs to be preached to the world as a witness per Matthew 24:14 (e.g. GCW, PCG), do not really make that a high priority (e.g. COGWA, CGG), or do so in less than truly loving the truth (cf. Jeremiah 48:10; see Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God), hence do not have the real Philadelphian work. As only the Philadelphians are promised to be protected from the hour of trial that will come on the whole world, they will not understand when Matthew 24:14 is fulfilled or when to flee per Matthew 24:15. Hence they do not have or lead the Philadelphian work. Only the Philadelphians are promised to be protected from the hour of trial that will come on the whole world (see also There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra ). See also Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work?
- At least three groups misunderstand the Gospel and COG doctrines so much (PCG, CGPfK, and RCG) that I question if their top leaders are actually converted members of the COG. Two of those leaders have had major predictions be proven false (CGPFK and RCG).
- Many, if not most, COG groups do not realize that the Great Tribulation begins with the King of the North invading the USA. UK, and/or their Anglo-Saxon descended allies (Daniel 11:39; see Who is the King of the North?; see also USA in Prophecy: The Strongest Fortresses).
- Many COG groups misunderstand the identity of the King of the South (Daniel 11:40-43), and some have the wrong prophetic sequence regarding the King of the South (see PCG and LCG do not understand the end-time King of the South sequence–do you?). This is not the order that Daniel 11 teaches (see Who is the King of the North?). This view overlooks the fact that since the Great Tribulation is the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7), that it begins with the USA and its Anglo-Saxon allies like the United Kingdom getting invaded (cf. Daniel 11:39). Some of the groups cling to this sequential error, because it was once held by the late Herbert W. Armstrong, who changed his view by 1979 (Armstrong, Herbert W. The Time We Are In, Now. Pastor General’s Report-Vol 1, No. 15, November 20, 1979). Since the King of the North will eliminate those of the strongest fortresses (the USA, Canada, etc.) in Daniel 11:39, prior to invading the King of the South in Daniel 11:40, those who hold to this view will not know when the Great Tribulation will begin until after it has started.
- Some (CEG, GCG-UK) teach that there is no biblically-required King of the South, while at least one group is unsure (CGF-NW)–but this is an error (see also Is the Future King of the South Rising Up?). This error contributes to other prophetic errors that those groups have.
- Some have insisted that the final King of the South will be from the nation of Ethiopia. This is partially based upon a mistranslation in the KJV version of the Bible as well as a position that the late Herbert Armstrong held. However, he changed his position in the 1960s and 1970s to an Arabic-Muslim confederation. Those who insist that the final King of the South must be Ethiopia will not possibly realize that the Great Tribulation will begin until it is too late (RCG once held that position, but later changed it).
- Several COG groups (like CGG, RCG, PCG, COGWA) clearly misunderstand Daniel 9:27, the second half of which ties in with Daniel 11:31 and Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:15. Those who misunderstand it will not have a proper pre-warning of what is happening nor likely know when the Great Tribulation will begin. (see also The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27).
- Various COG groups (UCG, COGWA, COGaIC, RCG, and CGOM, come to immediate mind, but they are not the only ones) have so many areas of undefined prophecy that they will not know what certain events will mean. And groups who define matters wrongly will have problems that way as well (PCG and LCG come to immediate mind, but so do nearly all other COG claimed groups).
- A couple of groups, such as Church of God-Preparing for the Kingdom of God and Triumph Prophetic Ministries, have been repeatedly proven wrong about their dates for the start of the Great Tribulation and the return of Jesus Christ. Those who rely on the leaders of those groups really do not understand biblical prophecy.
- Certain groups teach improper interpretations of the 1335, 1290, and 1260 days of Daniel 12 (CGPFK is one) or have other problems with that (most other COG groups) that they will not understand when the Great Tribulation will start. Herbert Armstrong changed his view on this by 1979 and many never understood the change.
- Most COG groups fail to understand Habakkuk 2:2-8 and hence are not properly getting the warning out to the USA and UK (see Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel). PCG totally misses it, and LCG, while it once would teach it, has backed off because of what appears to be internal politics. The rising ‘time bomb’ of USA debt is something that needs to be pointed out and Habakkuk 2:2-8 points out the biblical threat that this poses. It should be proclaimed and we in CCOG are doing it. Many do not realize that Habakkuk 2:2-8 is related to fleeing and the start of the Great Tribulation, that the time will come when those Philadelphians who understand it in its proper timeframe will flee (see also There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra), and is one of the reasons for the attack against the indebted descendants of the tribes of Joseph.
- At least one group (LCG) is not longer certain that France or certain other Israelitish nations will support the Beast power (see Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations?). This differs from the position specifically taught by the late Dibar Apartian (see The ‘Lost Tribe’ of Reuben: France in Prophecy?) as well as what the Bible teaches (see Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations?). Those who misunderstand this are likely to not possibly realize when the final Beast power has formed.
- Many COG groups have various ‘Elijah heresies.’ Because of this, they will not be able to recognize the final Elijah. Some think it must have been Herbert Armstrong, despite the fact that he has been dead since 1986 and that death disqualifies him according to his writing about that (Mystery of the Ages. 1985, p. 349). Some think that either there is no Elijah to come or that is the church and not an individual, which goes against Jesus’ teachings on the subject in Mark 9:12-13 (for more details, see The Elijah Heresies).
- Many groups do not understand the differing persecutions (and other matters) to come in Daniel 7:25, 11:30-39, Matthew 24:9-22, and Revelation 12:14-17, hence when the prophesied wave of persecution initially hits the Philadelphians primarily (and not them), they will not see this persecution as evidence that the Great Tribulation is about to begin. The old Radio Church of God specifically applied the persecuting scriptures of Daniel 11:32-35 to the end time Philadelphian church (see also Persecutions by Church and State).
- Most groups that came out of groups once led by the late Garner Ted Armstrong (ICG, CGI, CEM, etc.) do not seem to teach that there is a physical place of safety (despite what Revelation 12:14-16 teaches), hence they will not be inclined to flee towards one just prior to the start of the Great Tribulation (see also There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra).
- Most ‘independents’ do not believe that they need to ‘gather together’ prior to the time to flee despite what Zephaniah 2:1-3 teaches, hence it is not likely they will be inclined to flee together when a group they are not part of does just prior to the start of the Great Tribulation (cf. Revelation 12:14-17; see also There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra).
- At least one group (PCG) misunderstands the final Prince of Rosh. Those who insist on a pre-return of Jesus Christ for the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38 will be disappointed as that is in scriptural error.
- At least one COG group (CG7) basically teaches that most of the events of Revelation have already taken place and no one needs to worry about coming persecution. Jesus warned those of Sardis to be careful about losing the doctrinal understandings they had (Revelation 3:1-6), and this loss of prophetic knowledge proves that those in Sardis will not know when the Great Tribulation will begin.
- At least one COG group (LCG) erroneously believes that the abomination of desolation of Daniel 11:31 occurs after the King of the North invades the King of the South (Daniel 11:40-43; see PCG and LCG do not understand the end-time King of the South sequence–do you?). Since this will not happen that way, those who hold to that position will not understand when the Great Tribulation will begin.
- At least one group (RCG) totally misunderstands various prophecies in Haggai and Zechariah and expect a type of reunification that is not prophesied. Those who rely on this and other misinterpretations will not know when the Great Tribulation will begin.
- At least one group (LCG) erroneously teaches that the ‘Falling Away’ warned about in 2 Thessalonians 2 has mainly to do with the world and Protestants and not the Church of God (see The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings). This improper emphasis seems to be leading to a falling away of certain prophetic understandings for those who hold to it.
- Some groups teach (RCG, UCG, COGWA, LCG) that the man of sin who sits in the temple of God (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4) is the Antichrist, not the Beast of the Sea. Yet, it is this Beast of the Sea, the final King of the North (Daniel 11:35-36; see also Who is the Man of Sin?). So, when this happens, those who hold to the wrong position will not understand its prophetic ramifications. The identity of the ‘son of perdition’ is important to understand in the end times.
- At least one group teaches that the ‘man of sin’ is Joseph Tkach, Jr. (PCG). This absurd position also partially leads to many other misunderstandings.
- A few teach that a Jewish temple in Jerusalem temple will be rebuilt before Jesus returns (CBCG, RCG, COGFF, CEG, and TPM teach this, as do some in LCG). While this is remotely possible it is not required (the “temple of God” in the New Testament has to do with a Christian, not a modern Jewish, location; see Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required?). Since this will not happen as a few sometimes teach, those who hold to that position will not understand when the Great Tribulation will begin.
- At least two groups (PCG and LCG) teach that the Beast power will consist of 10 or 11 current nations in the European Union (see Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations?). The European Union has 28 nation members with several others hoping to join it. And while it may lose nations, the reality is that if the Beast power rises up when there are more than 11 nations in it, those who hold to that position will not understand when the Great Tribulation will begin. Under Herbert Armstrong, the old WCG taught in at least a dozen documents (Plain Truth, Good News, Tomorrow’s World, booklets, Co-worker letter, Bible Correspondence Course) that this passage referred to 10 nations or GROUPS OF NATIONS. Presuming it will be another number of nations, those who insist on 10 or 11 will not realize when the Great Tribulation will begin.
- At least one group (CBCG) teaches that the ten kings are to be in charge of ten regions around the world as opposed to being a primarily European power. Insistence upon this would mean that such a group could not possibly understand when the Great Tribulation would begin.
- At least two groups seem to teach that the first verse in the Daniel 11 sequence relating to the beginning of the Great Tribulation is Daniel 11:40 (LCG does this in its Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs, whereas PCG does it elsewhere. Instead they should teach that it begins with Daniel 11:39 (see also USA in Prophecy: The Strongest Fortresses), which is shortly after Daniel 11:31, which is also consistent with the start of the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7; see also Who is the King of the North?). Those who hold to the Daniel 11:40 position will not understand when the Great Tribulation will begin.
- The leader of at least one group (GOI, James Malm) has claimed that the Great Tribulation could begin within a year for the last 6 or so years. Since it does not recognize why this is in error, it will not truly know when the Great Tribulation will begin.
- Some independents and some groups (PCG comes to mind) insist that the late Herbert W. Armstrong was the final ‘Elijah to come’ even though that contradicts scripture and Herbert Armstrong’s own writings (see The Elijah Heresies).
- Leaders of at least two groups (CGPFK and RCG), who once insisted publicly that Herbert Armstrong must be the final Elijah, now falsely claim that they hold that role.
- Some groups either do not believe there is an Elijah to come (CGI comes to mind) or do not believe he needs to be a person (LCG comes to mind).
- At least one group has confused the final Elijah with the return of Jesus (LCG comes to mind).
- At least one group has publicly claimed that God has no prophets today and will not have any until the two witnesses are empowered (LCG comes to mind). This downplays how God works (cf. Ephesians 2:20) and that the Bible teaches, ” Surely the Lord God does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7) (see also How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God).
- At least one group (CGG) teaches that the Beast power is not European. Since the Beast power will arise in Europe, those who do not understand this will not realize when the Great Tribulation is about to begin (see also Europa, the Beast, and the Book of Revelation).
- At least one group (LCG) teaches that the European Union will collapse like the old Roman Empire. But the lessons of history and the Bible contradict that (details are in the article Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations?).
In terms of restoration, we have been Preparing for the 'Short Work' and The Famine of the Word and explained the The Final Phase of the Work.
It's been an amazing four years.
From confirmed dreams, proclamation success, growth, and biblical doctrinal integrity, CCOG has been faithfully carrying the Philadelphia mantle. While that does not mean that there cannot be any Laodiceans in Continuing Church of God, it does help show where the Philadelphia mantle resides. It should be clear to those willing to look I am filling the rold of an "evangelical prophet" or "prophetic evangelist "(see also How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God) and that CCOG best represents the Philadelphian portion of the Church of God at this time.
Can you see the hand of God in this?
If so, notice what the Apostle Peter wrote:
6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. (1 Peter 5:6-10)
Jesus warned that in the end, the bulk of Christians would NOT listen to Him enough, but trust themselves and be Laodicean (Revelation 3:14-18). Do not be like the Laodiceans.
Through God's Spirit we in the CCOG have been able to have fruits (like dreams and radio) that no other actual COG group actually has had. We have also had tremendous growth in membership, while we have reached people around the world.
In these past four or so years, yes, I believe that God has been revealing Philadelphia.
Although we have a lot more to do, we in the CCOG are leading The Final Phase of the Work.
A related sermon is available and titled CCOG: Four Years Revealing Philadelphia?
Thiel B. CCOG's Four Years and God Revealing Philadelphia? http://www.cogwriter.com/ccog-four.htm (c) COGwriter, 2016/2017 0114
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