Artist Depiction of Jacob's Latter Dream (Genesis 28:12)
Do dreams and prophets have any place in the Christian Church today? Did any precede the start of the old Radio Church of God? Are any dreams related to the Continuing Church of God (CCOG). (The CCOG did not officially form as a declared entity until December 28, 2012.)
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).
Yet, 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. Was God done with dreams then?
Well, in the 21st century, there have been at least three people who had dreams, prior to being part of the Continuing Church of God, which became fulfilled near or after they became part of CCOG. (A related sermon is also available: Dreams, COGs, and One Man Rule.)
Let's look at some of the dreams in the Bible, starting with one in involving Jacob:
10 Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. 12 Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
13 And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: "I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. 14 Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you."
16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it." 17 And he was afraid and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!"
18 Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. 19 And he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city had been Luz previously. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, 21 so that I come back to my father's house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. 22 And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God's house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You." (Genesis 28:10-22)
Now, Jacob had not too long before this improperly got a blessing (Genesis 27:18-29), a blessing that his father had not intended to give him, but one he also could not take back (Genesis 27:33-37). God then basically told Jacob that he was part of the plan and that God would be with him. He accepted the dream and also declared he would tithes of all he got.
Jacob also had a dream about what he would end up with (Genesis 31:10-13) and his father-in-law Laban was warned by God in a dream to not take it away (Genesis 31:24).
Joseph, Jacob's son, also was given dreams:
5 Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more. 6 So he said to them, "Please hear this dream which I have dreamed: 7 There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Then behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and indeed your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf."
8 And his brothers said to him, "Shall you indeed reign over us? Or shall you indeed have dominion over us?" So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.
9 Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, "Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me."
10 So he told it to his father and his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, "What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?" 11 And his brothers envied him, but his father kept the matter in mind. (Genesis 37:5-11)
God was telling Joseph of a position he would attain in the future. When Joseph told of his dreams to his family, they envied him. Something similar to that happened to me when the leadership of the Living Church of God heard about one of my dreams.
Then later, the Pharaoh of Egypt had a dream that he asked Joseph to interpret:
14 Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon; and he shaved, changed his clothing, and came to Pharaoh. 15 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream, to interpret it."
16 So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, "It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace."
17 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph: "Behold, in my dream I stood on the bank of the river. 18 Suddenly seven cows came up out of the river, fine looking and fat; and they fed in the meadow. 19 Then behold, seven other cows came up after them, poor and very ugly and gaunt, such ugliness as I have never seen in all the land of Egypt. 20 And the gaunt and ugly cows ate up the first seven, the fat cows. 21 When they had eaten them up, no one would have known that they had eaten them, for they were just as ugly as at the beginning. So I awoke. 22 Also I saw in my dream, and suddenly seven heads came up on one stalk, full and good. 23 Then behold, seven heads, withered, thin, and blighted by the east wind, sprang up after them. 24 And the thin heads devoured the seven good heads. So I told this to the magicians, but there was no one who could explain it to me."
25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, "The dreams of Pharaoh are one; God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do: 26 The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads are seven years; the dreams are one. 27 And the seven thin and ugly cows which came up after them are seven years, and the seven empty heads blighted by the east wind are seven years of famine. 28 This is the thing which I have spoken to Pharaoh. God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do. 29 Indeed seven years of great plenty will come throughout all the land of Egypt; 30 but after them seven years of famine will arise, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine will deplete the land. 31 So the plenty will not be known in the land because of the famine following, for it will be very severe. 32 And the dream was repeated to Pharaoh twice because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.
33 "Now therefore, let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years. 35 And let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming, and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. 36 Then that food shall be as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt, that the land may not perish during the famine."
37 So the advice was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants. 38 And Pharaoh said to his servants, "Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?"
39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you." 41 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, "See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt." (Genesis 41:14-41)
Notice that Pharaoh had a dream which, according to Joseph, should involve a work. Pharaoh then appointed Joseph to do that work. And it was because of that work that later Joseph's dream related to his relatives was confirmed:
3 So Joseph's ten brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt. 4 But Jacob did not send Joseph's brother Benjamin with his brothers, for he said, "Lest some calamity befall him." 5 And the sons of Israel went to buy grain among those who journeyed, for the famine was in the land of Canaan.
6 Now Joseph was governor over the land; and it was he who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph's brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the earth. 7 Joseph saw his brothers and recognized them, but he acted as a stranger to them and spoke roughly to them. Then he said to them, "Where do you come from?"
And they said, "From the land of Canaan to buy food."
8 So Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. 9 Then Joseph remembered the dreams which he had dreamed about them, and said to them, "You are spies! You have come to see the nakedness of the land!" (Genesis 42:3-9)
God also gave other dreams of a prophetic nature to Gentiles (Judges 7:13-16; Daniel 2:3-45, 4:4-27, 7:1-28) The dreams, especially in Daniel, that we in the Continuing Church of God refer to even now as they contain prophecies that are still to come to pass.
In the New Testament, various ones had dreams (Matthew 1:20-25, 2:12, 2:13, 2:19, 2:22; 27:9). The Apostle Paul had a prophetic vision at night himself:
9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." 10 Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them. (Acts 16:9-10)
It is possible that this vision was part of a dream as the Bible ties in dreams and night visions in Isaiah 29:7 (see also Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible and Barnes' Notes on the Bible think it may have been). But whether he was awake or not, Paul understood prophetically that he had a specific work to do based upon the vision.
Does the Bible ever teach about prophets and dreams?
Of course, many do not want to believe that God uses dreams or will discount the ones they hear about.
Yet, 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.
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).
Furthermore, 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.
28 The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream; And he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. (Jeremiah 23:28)
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.
I told LCG leaders of both dreams per Jeremiah 23:28 though they did not ask for the details, thus they had that witness, before I had to leave (and no, I did not make any demands, other than urging them to keep their word and correct literature/doctrinal/prophetic errors that they acknowledged they had).
Related to dreams, the Bible also teaches:
8 “And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. 29 And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. (Joel 2:28-29)
14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them,
“Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
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)
28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? (1 Corinthians 12:28-30).
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ– 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love (Ephesians 4:11-16).
Despite what the Bible supports, most Church of God groups do not seemingly accept that there are any prophets today, nor do they seem to accept that God actually sometimes speaks in dreams in the 21st century–some, oddly, seem indignant of the very idea. Part of the reason for this is that those self-proclaimed ‘prophets’ outside of the Continuing Church of God have tended to proven to be false (see also Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders?).
But that does not mean God doesn’t ever use dreams or have any in the office of prophet. The Bible shows that God can pour out a ‘double-portion’ of His Spirit (cf. 2 Kings 2:9-15) as what happened when an ordained minister so prayed and anointed me on December 15, 2011 (see also How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God). As already cited, the Bible shows that the Apostle Peter and the prophet Joel mentioned that there would be some with prophetic dreams in the end times.
While some may wish to discount what happened with me, let us also look at something that the late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote about dreams:
Let me say here that in about 99,999 times out of 100,000, when people think GOD is speaking to them in a dream or vision in this day and age, it is pure imagination, or some form of self-hypnotism or self-deception. I have only come to believe that this dream was a bonafide call from God in the light of subsequent events. (Autobiography of Herbert Armstrong, (Volume 1), chapter 10, 1973, p. 194)
And that is correct. Most dreams are not from God, even if people think that they are. Notice what the Bible teaches:
7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God. (Ecclesiastes 5:7)
Dreams from God are shown to be correct in the light of subsequent events (though just because a dream ends up being correct, that does of itself, not prove that it was from God as there can be other factors, cf. Deuteronomy 13:1-5, but God Himself does sometimes use dreams, Numbers 12:6; Acts 2:17-18).
There are also false dreams:
2 For the idols speak delusion; The diviners envision lies, And tell false dreams; (Zechariah 10:2)
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?).
In the past, like in 2013 and 2014, I have called the time between his death and the formation of the Continuing Church of God the transitional phase (see also The Final Phase of the Work)--which is consistent with Loma Armstrong's dream. God will cut that final work short (Romans 9:28) which results in the famine of the word (Amos 8:12; see also Preparing for the 'Short Work' and The Famine of the Word) which is consistent with the vanishing stars in Loma Armstrong's dream (though there could be other interpretations--we in CCOG are continuing the Philadelphia work and expect to be the ones God will use on earth to help finish it).
He mentioned the dream from time to time publicly, here are two nearly identical accounts:
I'm usually pretty skeptical about God speaking to anyone today in visions or dreams. God speaks to us thru His Son, Jesus Christ — the WORD of God — and the Bible is the written Word. I didn't really believe it then, 38 years ago, but subsequent events have verified that God did speak to my wife at that time, shortly after we were married, revealing thru an angel that He was calling us to the mission of WARNING the world of the fast-approaching END OF THIS WORLD, the Coming of Jesus Christ, and the world-ruling Kingdom of God. At the time I was unconverted, not bothering to attend church, interested only in business and making money. I was embarrassed — a little awed — but immediately tried to put it out of my mind. But at age 30 God took away my business, struck me down, took away my idol of money-making and business prestige. (Armstrong HW. Co-worker letter, November 25, 1955)
I'm usually pretty skeptical about God speaking to anyone today in visions or dreams. God speaks to us thru His Son, Jesus Christ — the WORD of God — and the Bible is the written Word. I didn't really believe it then, 38 years ago, but subsequent events have verified that God did speak to my wife at that time, shortly after we were married, revealing thru an angel in a vision that He was calling us to the mission of WARNING the world of the fast- approaching END OF THIS WORLD, the coming of Jesus Christ, and the world-ruling Kingdom of God. At that time I was unconverted, not bothering to attend church, interested only in business and making money. I was embarrassed — a little awed — but immediately tried to put it out of my mind. But at age 30 God took away my business, struck me down, took away my idol of money-making and business prestige. (Armstrong HW. Co-worker letter, February 21, 1956)
Notice that the dream was to go until the end of the world and the coming of Jesus--since Herbert Armstrong has been dead since January 16, 1986--if the dream was from God then, does it not make sense that the second half of the dream would be fulfilled by another in the 21st century? We in the Continuing Church of God are fulfilling that second part of stars (see also The Final Phase of the Work).
Perhaps it should be mentioned, Herbert Armstrong had more information about what I am referring to as the first set of stars (the first part) in the dream. He wrote:
It was a dazzling spectacle...People by the hundreds came running into this broad intersection looking up to see the strange phenomena ... A vast multitude of eyes were upon us... I have only come to believe that this dream was a bonafide call from God in the light of subsequent events. (Armstrong HW. The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, 9th installment. Plain Truth, August 1958, p. 18).
Eyes of a vast multitude suggest that the dream was saying that the work to be done was to have a witness to many. This happened with the old Radio and Worldwide Church of God under Herbert Armstrong's leadership in the 20th century. The second set of stars in the dream, which he did not mention in the August 1958 Plain Truth, article, but did in his published Autobiography, seems to pertain to what I have called, for years, The Final Phase of the Work as well as the 'Short Work.' But even if it had applicability to the ministry of Herbert Armstrong only, the dream, which he shortly before his death he confirmed he believed was from God (per Aaron Dean, who I discussed this with on October 30, 2015), shows that one dream did precede the COG work he was involved in.
Understand that Herbert W. Armstrong considered that his wife Loma's dream was from God. He also believed the first part of it had to do with the start of the Philadelphia era of the Church of God via the Radio Church Church of God. He did not discuss the fulfillment of the second part of the dream directly, however he taught another work would be done.
Dale Schurter, a former WCG minister, reported that Herbert W. Armstrong stated the following in 1984/1985 (shortly before he died in January 1986). Here are two accounts of this:
“A few months before Mr. Armstrong’s death, my wife and I had the opportunity to spend several hours with Mr. Armstrong in his home in Pasadena. He spoke freely of the mighty work God had commissioned him to accomplish, and related certain heartfelt comments: ‘I can say that I have finished the work God has given me to do, and am at peace about it. I have preached and taken the Gospel of the Kingdom of God into all the world as a witness to all nations.’
“Mr. Armstrong went on to say, ‘I have come to realize there will be an even greater work to follow—to go again, to “prophesy again” to all nations tongues and peoples (Rev. 10:11) before the work of the two witnesses—but with more power and with a stronger warning message. But that will be for others to do.’ He continued, ‘It will be a short work (Rom. 9:27-29), compared with the longer time to complete the work I was given, and it will be cut short. That’s when the Great Tribulation will begin, as will the work of the two witnesses. These will last for three and one-half years, at the end of which Christ will return in glory.’” (“The Greatest Work Lies JUST Ahead…” as stated in RCG letter of May 31, 2013)
When Mr. Armstrong was age 91 --- about 1984 --- Mona and I had opportunity to spend several hours with him in his home in Pasadena to visit and further report on work he had commissioned us to do. We were to report directly back to him. He talked freely of the mighty work God had given him to accomplish. He went on to tell us there was yet a bigger work still to be done, to go again and repeat what has been done, but with more power and with a stronger warning, just before the work of the two witnesses would begin. He said it would be a “short work” (Rom. 9:27-29) compared with the longer time to complete the work he had been given, and that it would be “cut short.” That’s when the great tribulation would begin, as would the work of the two witnesses. These would last for three and one-half years. (January 7, 2012 Dale Schurter Speaks Out: UCG Resignation Letter http://www.rcgtruth.com/2012/01/dale-l-schurter-resignation-letter_06.html)
Herbert Armstrong's part of the work lasted over 50 years, and he seemingly felt that the "short work" would be much shorter than his work. And that is correct.
Here is what was in Herbert W. Armstrong's last letter:
The greatest work lies ahead...Never before in the history of the Church has it been possible to reap so great a harvest. It has only been made possible through modern technology, beginning with the printing press, radio, television...Each of you must commit yourself to support God's Work...God's work must push ahead as never before. God is opening up new doors in television (Letter, 1/10/86).
Consider that since Herbert Armstrong did not teach that the second part of his wife Loma's dream was fulfilled and that he also taught a greater work was going to happen after his death. It is greater because it will fulfill Matthew 24:14, etc. That is the work that we in the Continuing Church of God are leading (see The Final Phase of the Work and Preparing for the 'Short Work' and The Famine of the Word). It appears that the second part of Loma D. Armstrong's dream was pointing to the Continuing Church of God.
The fact that there were also other dreams related to the Continuing Church of God that were confirmed is consistent with the fact that God has used dreams related to the Continuing Church of God.
Do you believe that God could use any dreams in the 21st century?
Perhaps it should also be mentioned that the 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).
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).
Although some have chosen not to believe all the facts about how and why the Continuing Church of God began, recall that the Bible teaches:
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 (though various ones have their own opinion about how to interpret that).
Yet, in addition to various facts, the dream from Fesilafai Leaana looks like perhaps God was planning on making it clearer for true Philadelphians (who are in various organizations/fellowships) to see that the mantle location had truly changed. The Philadelphian mantle is with the Continuing Church of God.
Then there is also the dream from Senhor Pires, which is additional divine confirmation.
Two confirmations of my anointing, and three confirmations on for the Continuing Church of God coming from dreams that were fulfilled. Plus, we teach the truths from the Bible and biblical prophecy. The witness is there for those who are willing to see it. Those who do not know what to do should pray about it.
Of course, some will discount dreams and their confirmation as proper proof of anything they do not wish to believe.
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.
But one that was not quoted above and that all should consider is the following:
41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward. (Matthew 10:41)
So, people should test the spirits (1 John 4:1) and accept the prophet at his word according to Jesus. People should also “search the scriptures” to see if these things are so (Acts 17:11).
Many do not believe that God would use His Spirit to ever speak through prophets today. (Note, just because I say or write something does NOT mean I am doing so as a prophet. Unless I am properly reading scripture or giving a direct message from God, which I would normally identify as such, I can and do make mistakes. The prophets in the Bible spent relatively little time actually prophesying and were mainly involved in biblical teaching, unless they also had secular jobs.)
Many want more dramatic signs (Matthew 12:38; 1 Kings 19:11-12), but God does not always do it that way (Matthew 12:39-42; 1 Kings 19:12-14).
Can you believe?
Some have stated that one needs to be an ordained minister or evangelist or something similar to be able to interpret dreams and/or other messages from God.
But that is not a requirement according to the Bible.
Joseph of Genesis fame was an interpreter of dreams. In the case of his interpretations of the dreams of the butler and the baker, Joseph's position was that of being a prisoner (Genesis 40:1-22). The Bible did not list that Joseph had any type spiritual title when he did that.
Daniel was also an interpreter of dreams. He was a captive and his title may have been an advisor to one or more government leaders (Daniel 1:3-7). FWIW, I was appointed an advisor to the LCG evangelists by its Presiding Evangelist Dr. Roderick C. Meredith in the late Summer of 2005. Spiritually speaking, that title is not less than whatever title Daniel held when he is first listed as interpreting a dream (Daniel 2:1-45).
Furthermore, the Old Testament is actually fairly clear that one does not need any particular title to interpret dreams. Notice the following:
13 And when Gideon had come, there was a man telling a dream to his companion. He said, "I have had a dream: To my surprise, a loaf of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian; it came to a tent and struck it so that it fell and overturned, and the tent collapsed."
14 Then his companion answered and said, "This is nothing else but the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel! Into his hand God has delivered Midian and the whole camp."
15 And so it was, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, that he worshiped. (Judges 7:13-15)
A 'companion' is not a title and that companion was the interpreter.
Furthermore, in the New Testament, Pilate's wife is shown to have had a dream and given an interpretation that the Bible does not dispute (Matthew 27:19). She would not seem to have to have to have some type of biblical title and presumably she was pagan.
Additionally, while the New Testament does not list than an interpreter of dreams has a separate title, it does discuss interpreters of tongues. Notice what the Apostle Paul wrote:
27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. (1 Corinthians 14:27-28)
Paul is writing to converted Christians here. Thus, I believe that the New Testament allows for any who have God's Holy Spirit to interpret if they feel properly led to. Both myself and Solomona Leaana (husband of Fesilafai Fiso Leaana) who interpreted the dreams in this article were properly baptized and have had hands laid upon us for the Holy Spirit. It was Solomona Leaana who interpreted his wife's dream as specifically referring to me and the Continuing Church of God, thus it was not me who originally did that. Recall Jesus said that "by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established" (Matthew 18:16).
While an interpreter may possibly make a mistake, the scripture clearly does not show that one needs to have a title to be a legitimate interpreter.
Although, as he admitted, in his earliest writings he was confused about the subject of proper church governance, over time, he believed that proper church governance was one of the 18 truths that God restored to the Philadelphia portion of the Church of God through him. He considered this a fundamental, trunk of the tree, doctrine--actually his sermon actually titled The Trunk of the Tree often focused on government.
Here is some of what Herbert W. Armstrong taught:
Jesus came to start God's world, and He came to start it by starting the Church. The Church was started with one Man. ... Now He came to restore the government of God on this earth. ... It's a matter of government. It's a matter that makes sense all the way through. There had to be a Church Age to have time to train people that God is calling out of the world. ... Now restitution means restoring to a former state or condition, or restoring something that had been taken away and lost. Jesus is coming to restore the GOVERNMENT of God. He's coming to knock Satan off of that throne over the world, and Christ will sit on the throne and rule over all nations. ... And then, finally, we are going to go out to the other planets all over the vast universe. ... In other words, I'm giving you THE TRUNK OF THE TREE—the roots, and the trunk, and the major branches. And the others fill in with the smaller branches, and its smaller branches than that; then the little twigs. And all those are important too. They are all part of the same tree. (Armstrong HW. The Trunk of the Tree. Sermon, October 16, 1983)
The government of God has been restored to the Church, and the government of God has been placed in the Church. You read that in Ephesians 4 and I Corinthians 12. Christ is the head of the Church and under Christ in the administration of the government are an apostle or apostles...And the Church is restored in that form of government. The Sardis Church even didn't have the right form of government (Sermon. Mission of the Philadelphia Church Era by Herbert W. Armstrong given on December 17, 1983).
The government of God is of necessity government from the top down. It cannot be 'government by the consent of the governed' ...
The Presbyterian Church is organized with the presbyters or ministers in control. The Congregational Church delegates top authority to the congregation--"government by the consent of the governed."
And so it goes. The churches of this world of Satan are organized according to humanly devised patterns. But the Bible gives explicit directions in regard to Church government. Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church. God's form of government is, indeed, hierarchical. God the Father is head over Christ--the sole Lawgiver and supreme authority...
To administer these many operations, God--not a vote of the members--"hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers." Or, as stated in more detail in Ephesians 4:11 (RSV): "And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers."
An apostle is "one sent forth" with Christ's gospel message, including the supervision of proclaiming that message to the world by means and persons other than himself. Also an apostle was given supervision over all the local congregations or churches (I Cor. 16:1). The apostle Paul had oversight over the churches of the Gentile world (II Cor. 11:28).
The prophets set in the foundation of the Church...
Evangelists were leading ministers, proclaiming the gospel to the public, even raising up local churches and having supervision over some churches under the apostle. Therefore an evangelist may hold executive functions under the apostle in the Church headquarters or work today. An evangelist is not necessarily stationary. Pastors are stationary pastors over a local church or contingent group of local churches...
Old Testament Israel, the Church of the Old Testament, was also a nation in the world--though not OF the world as God organized it. Its GOVERNMENT was HIERARCHICAL. It was theocratic government--government from the top down--the very opposite of "democracy."
The CHURCH is organized under theocratic government, hierarchical in form. The members do not set officials in the Church. God sets EVEN THE LAY MEMBERS in the Church (I Cor. 12:18).
Jesus said explicitly, "No MAN CAN come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him" (John 6:44). The world, except for the specially called, is CUT OFF from God!
We have just covered the truth that GOD set officials to serve on the human level under Christ, in the Church. Members do not elect them. Yet in the churches of this world some believe in government by the entire congregation--"democracy"--and call themselves "Congregational." Others have organized themselves into government by ministers or presbytery and call themselves "Presbyterian." " (Mystery of the Ages, Dodd & Mead, 1985, pp.49, 242, 244, 246-247).
The 'loner'-the individual Christian' who wants to climb up into the kingdom some other way than by Christ and His way through His Church-is not being trained in Christ's manner of training, to rule and reign with Christ in his kingdom!… The person who says, 'I will get my salvation alone, outside of the Church' is totally deceived.
Now what about the "private," or "individual Christian," who says, "I don't want to be a part of the Church--I want to seek my salvation direct and alone with Christ." ...
The Church is ORGANIZED on GOD'S pattern of mutual teamwork and cooperation to function perfectly together. They shall become the GOD FAMILY as it shall exist at the time of Christ's Second Coming. Remember God IS that divine FAMILY! (Mystery of the Ages, pp. 270-271).
God has always, in dealing with humans, worked through ONE MAN at a time — one who believed God! Some in ancient Israel challenged this one-man leadership. Some, like-wise, have challenged it today! First, Moses' own brother and sister challenged his one-man leadership. ... That is the case of Korah, Dathan, Abiram and On.
"And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes ... famous in the congregation, men of renown: And they gathered themselves together against Moses ... Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Eternal is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Eternal?" (Numbers 16:1-3).
They accused Moses of appointing himself — though there had been ample evidence by the fruits of Moses' leadership and even miracles God did through him, that they were without excuse, just as many are today. What happened to them?
"And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up ... They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation" (verses 32-33). ...
God has always worked through one man, primarily, at a time. God chose David and worked through him. Two of his sons, at different times, conspired to wrest his throne from him. But God protected David, and those sons were destroyed! ...
In founding God's Church, Jesus worked primarily through one man, Peter, even though He originally chose His 12 disciples. Few have ever noticed that Peter was the real leader... "Simeon [PETER] hath declared ..." — And James merely CONFIRMED Peter's decision, making it official. That ought to make clear this crucial 15th chapter of Acts — the one classic example of settling any disputed doctrine in the Church. And, though there were other apostles, God worked primarily through ONE man –PETER! Has God changed? Or is He the SAME still today? ...
The Jerusalem conference (Acts 15) showed that PETER was predominant over even Paul, although Paul was the ONE MAN God worked through primarily in the ministry to gentiles. ... Acts 15. This crucial crux chapter has been misinterpreted, twisted and distorted. I have tried to take space to MAKE IT CLEAR in this article. The other apostles and ministers were all in confusion, arguing and disputing. But CHRIST silenced them by speaking through His CHOSEN chief apostle, PETER! (Armstrong HW, And NOW Christ Sets Church Back On Track Doctrinally. Good News, April 1979).
"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).
Many thousands claim that they are faithful to the teachings of the old Worldwide Church of God under Herbert W. Armstrong, but they are not. This is one teaching that many have reasoned around in various ways.
Anyone who had been in the old Worldwide Church of God long enough in the 1980s ,while Herbert W. Armstrong was alive, heard him repeatedly emphasize the importance of proper Church governance. But most did not later accept this teaching, and many of those who thought they did had issues truly understanding and abiding by it. This is despite the fact that those part of the old WCG at least tacitly accepted the idea that governance was one of the 18 truths that Herbert W. Armstrong claimed God used him to restore to the Philadelphia era of the Church of God (more on governance can be found in the article The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government).
You need to know who the O N E M A N at this time leading the final phase of the work is.
Consider all the COGs in the 21st century. Eliminate those that do not believe in hierarchical governance as they rejected one of the truths that many of their leaders once claimed was from God. Now, eliminate those groups that do not believe that they need to keep the priority of fulfilling Matthew 24:14 their top priority as well as those who have not had any significant reach to the world.
This then leaves about seven claimed COG groups which come to mind: PCG, LCG, RCG, COGaIC, ICG, COGPFK, and CCOG. The first six of which have major problems in their prophetic understandings as well as certain doctrinal problems.
Also, there is no indication from any of the first six that God gave their leaders and/or potential dreams before their respective groups were formed and that those dreams were confirmed. Only one, the CCOG has had God's confirmation of dreams, like the old Radio Church of God had, without the doctrinal and prophetic problems the other groups clearly have (and those are documented in the articles linked to their initials PCG, LCG, RCG, COGaIC, ICG, COGPFK).
Many people today, which perhaps can be best categorized as Laodicean, feel that because they have been hurt by some aspect of hierarchical governance, that they are best not moving to support one with proper 'one man rule' as it is sometimes called. Jesus actually dealt with this when He told the parable of the talents:
14 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord's money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
20 "So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, 'Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.' 21 His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.' 22 He also who had received two talents came and said, 'Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.' 23 His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'
24 "Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.'
26 "But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.
29 'For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' (Matthew 25:14-30)
Many people do not know what to do and they seem to feel that doing nothing is the best response--they are in error. Notice also something else that Jesus taught:
14 "And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
'These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing' — and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked — 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. (Revelation 3:14-19)
Jesus DID NOT say you were better off not doing what needed to be done. The Laodiceans are condemned because they have a work that is different than the Philadelphia work--which is to go through the open doors while holding fast to sound doctrine (Revelation 3:7-13).
Do not be afraid to believe God's word and take action. If you are not supporting the Continuing Church of God because of fear of making a change, consider that the New Testament teaches:
7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. (Revelation 21:7-8)
Overcome your fear of taking godly action.
If people once in the old WCG want to see some type of a sign, they should consider accepting the dreams, as they presumably accepted Herbert Armstrong's account of his wife's dream.
And as this article says, yes, I Bob Thiel did have a prophetic dream, it was confirmed, and another had one which her husband concluded was about Bob Thiel, and the Continuing Church of God, which none of us had an idea of when we had our dreams later formed. Some might not want to accept dreams as a sign, but this is what God did for the old Radio Church of God, and people should accept the sign(s) that God gives, as He limits signs to what He wants (Matthew 12:39; Luke 11:29).
Of course dreams are not the most important criteria, as Jesus said about prophets:
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)
We in the Continuing Church of God have reached people in over 220 countries and territories, and millions of our articles are accessed every year and we have materials in multiple languages, plus also reach multiple thousands over YouTube television and millions over the radio (for more details, see The Final Phase of the Work). While there are other groups that reach people, those that do have serious doctrinal, prophetic, and/or integrity issues that CCOG does not have.
Unlike some of the other groups who needed millions of dollars to reach people, we in the Continuing Church of God have not done it that way.
6 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6)
Can you believe in God's form of governance and work?
The Bible does teach about other spiritual gifts, such as discernment, which can be related to interpretation:
9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11)
Notice that Paul tied in real love, true knowledge, and proper discernment with righteousness. These are all essentially gifts of the Spirit (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:1-11).
Notice also the following:
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
Not only do we need the gift of faith related to salvation, we need faith to walk the Christian way of life.
The Apostle Paul further taught:
1 Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts...12 Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel. (1 Corinthians 14:1, 12)
He further wrote about various spiritual gifts, with some cautions:
1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:..
4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. (1 Corinthians 12:1,4-11)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:22-26)
True Christians possess one of more of the gifts of the Spirit. And sometimes, we do not know until later what are spiritual gifts or talents truly are. But all Christians are to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18), and knowledge is a spiritual gift (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:10-14). We should all have love, joy, peace, wisdom, faith, etc.Notice, however, that while the Apostle Paul teaches that we are to desire the best gifts, that love is what profits:
12:31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
13: 1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails...
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 12:31; 13:1-8,13)
Love is the most important spiritual gift that we can demonstrate and develop.
But Christians are the ones who should have received the "love of the truth" (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11; Matthew 24:24).
Received two unsolicited emails by CCOG members after they watched the recommended sermon for November 14, 2015 titled Dreams, COGs, and One Man Rule.
Here is the first with one name X'd out by me:
Thank you for a needed sermon to inform those who have doubts about the use of dreams by God and to make it clear who God is using now to finish the final phase of His work. I know many are skeptical of one who claims they are the one God is using to lead His Work/Church. This is understandable since there are those who make such claims and are in it for themselves. Clearly you are doing what God has commissioned/called you to do. I can see no reason why you would dedicate so much time and energy in starting and leading the CCof G (what material benefit do you receive?). Materially you would be better off putting that time and energy into your business. However, the only wise option you really have is to allow God to use you as He wants since ones reward is in heaven. Therefore one should store up treasure in heaven. I do not believe you sought/seek power and prestige as some do in other so called Church of God groups.
I believe God has lead me to CCofG. He heard and answered my prayer. I finally became so disgusted with GCI and where it had lead God's people. I had so many issues with their doctrine, and tearing down of everything God built through HWA. But I did not know where to go. I believed God called and chose me and that His church would never die out. For many years I thought the mantel passed from HWA to Mr. Tkach senior, since Mr. HWA chose him as his successor, and then Joe Jr. Of course I was wrong. I looked to the example of unfaithful kings in Israel and Judah and waited for God to appoint a faithful leader. The example of David waiting for God to remove Saul was misunderstood by me.
The last straw was a message DXX RXXXXX gave on church history about 4 years ago. He traced church history through the Catholic Church and he marginalized Mr. Armstrong's work. I finally woke up. I asked God to lead me where His most faithful leader and body of believers was. In time and after much study of church history and those who were most faithful to the faith once delivered God lead me your website. He answered my prayer. Interestingly it was not until I had re-studied early church leaders such as Polycarp and Polycrates plus the Passover/Easter issue on other web sites, etc. that I discover Cogwriter by "accident".
I recalled what HWA taught about church history and realized there still must be a Church of God group still faithful to biblical teachings and contending for the faith once delivered. But where and who?
The main reason I never considered a break off group from WCG in the 1990's was because I first came in contact with Jerry Flurry's group. I reject his teaching on the man of sin and other doctrines and his leadership style. Also, when Global started and other break off groups there was such confusion and governance issue it seemed to me it was better to stay where I was in WCG. Of course being in Connecticut we were far from Pasadena and had little first hand information.
However, I knew from scripture God did not want Christians to go it alone. He formed His church and it was ones duty to support His work as well as develop a personal relationship with God. Many of my friends just left WCG or became members in churches of this world. Some stayed with WCG. But I believed God raised up HWA to start the 6th church era and to proclaim the second coming of Jesus Christ. Therefore, how could I just be content to go it alone, (outside of His Church)? Thankfully in time God answered my prayer and I believe has led me to CCofG.
Hopefully others will wake up. Thank you for your faithful service.
This particular member graduated from Ambassador College in the late 1960s. It is good he found the sermon helpful. As far as his observation that I was not seeking power and prestige, I would add that he has met with me and seen me both in the USA and Canada, and realizes that my profession, etc. could give me more of that. And yes, I would concur with his position that I would be better off financially (as well as the related stresses of 'the burden' associated with the work, cf. Malachi 1:1; Numbers 11:11) if I did not lead the CCOG, as I do not take a salary from the Continuing Church of God (CCOG). While the Bible says that ministers are entitled to be compensated per the Apostle Paul (1 Timothy 5:17-18), it also warns against worthless shepherds:
1 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: "Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3 You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them." (Ezekiel 34:1-6)
While there is nothing wrong with wearing wool clothing, many in the ministry ended up with better clothes than perhaps they otherwise would have. Often their focus has been wrong.
Why do I not take a salary?
Two basic reasons.
1) The work would be affected too much negatively--the Apostle Paul, himself, worked in his profession at times (Acts 18:3). We must feed the flock spiritually, and that does take funds to reach people. Costs are incurred for literature, the internet, video production, graphics, printing, postage, and travel--including sending Pastor Evans, Pastor Owak, myself, and/or others to differing locations to minister.
2) If I took a salary a lot more people would go hungry, especially in Africa (cf. Galatians 2:10). The salary amount that would be appropriate for me by historic Worldwide Church of God standards would be more than all the money we currently send to Africa each year. That being said, while I wish we had more money to send to Africa (and sometimes Asia), as we cannot satisfy all the hungry and other needs there, we are sending what we can. We try to feed the flock physically where we can (yet, even the Apostle Peter could not always give to the needy per Acts 3:6), and that takes funds.
This does not mean I would never consider taking a salary, but with the 'present distress' (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:26) I have chosen not to do it and God has blessed our business enough that our family has our needs, etc. met.
The second email was from a member who after seeing the Dreams, COGs, and One Man Rule sermon now wants to translate the CCOG sermons into the Spanish language. That is of interest, so we are working on ways to try to do that.
The work (Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20; Galatians 2:10) is being done, and CCOG is a work that God has blessed with at least 3 dreams prior to its start and at least once since.But sadly, many do not believe that God will work using dreams in the 21st century, despite the reality that most once part of the old WCG supposedly believed that God did in the 20th century
The Bible shows that God sometimes uses dreams. He has used it for leaders of His work throughout history.
Most in the 21st century do not seem to accept that, even though most part of the old Radio Church of God and Worldwide Church of God accepted that in the 20th century.
The old Radio Church of God, which represented the beginning of the Philadelphia era of the Church of God, was preceded by a dream.
Can you accept the truth about dreams and the Continuing Church of God?
Notice something else from the late Herbert W. Armstrong:
PERSECUTORS HAVE CALLED me a “false prophet.” Now how would you KNOW whether the accusation IS true- or false?…
Actually, it probably is not very important to you to know whether my persecutors are right or wrong, when they call me dirty names, hurl epithets, resort to innuendo, impute sinister motives, strive to discredit, attempt character assassination. What is important to YOU is whether what you read in The PLAIN TRUTH really is the truth – whether what you hear over The WORLD TOMORROW broadcast is true- not whether I , as an individual, am true or false.
I think our readers know by now that we always say: ” DON’ T believe what we say because you believe in us.” We say ” Listen with open mind, without prejudice, then CHECK UP in your own Bible-prove whether it is true, and BELIEVE what you find proved!” I don’t seek to induce people to believe in ME- I seek to lead them to believe in JESUS CHRIST! (Armstrong HW. Personal from the Editor. Plain Truth, May 1966, pp. 2)
What we teach in the CCOG is true (though as imperfect human beings we sometimes mis-speak, make typos; we only know in part as did the Apostle Paul per 1 Corinthians 13:14). But we still stand for the truth and reaching the world with the witness of the Gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew 24:14) and all things Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:19-20).
Of course, many will discount dreams, their confirmation, and true teachings as proper proof of anything they do not wish to believe. Many want more dramatic signs (Matthew 12:38; 1 Kings 19:11-12), but God does not always do it that way (Matthew 12:39-42; 1 Kings 19:12-14).
But the truth of what we in CCOG teach should overcome genuine objections of any truly interested in loving the truth over false and improper traditions and beliefs. Jesus warned that Laodicean Christians felt that they had need of nothing (Revelation 3:14-22) and that Sardisian Christians were losing much of the truth that they had (Revelation 3:1-6).
Can you believe?
If so, are you taking the steps to support the work confirmed by dreams that came to pass?
A related sermon is also available: Dreams, COGs, and One Man Rule.
Here are links and information related to three free online booklets:
Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen What is faith? Can faith be increased? Are you saved by faith? What about works? Do Christians need to keep the Ten Commandments? What is the 'faith chapter'? How do the just live by faith? Is faith one of the weightier matters of the law? How does faith come? Here is a link to a pdf. booklet titled . Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Fe para aquellos que Dios ha llamado y escogido. Here is a link to a related sermon titled: Faith for the Called and Chosen. Here is a link to shorter version of the written article in Mandarin Chinese 一篇关于信仰的小文章.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
Thiel B. Dreams, the Bible, and the Continuing Church of God http://www.cogwriter.com/dreams.htm COGwriter (c) 2014/2015/2016 1010
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