The Final Phase of the Work

By COGwriter

The Continuing Church of God believes that its top priority needs to be to complete the work of Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20, which is part of the final phase of the work. What is the "final phase of the work"? Is this something that you want to be a part of it? Are there dangers associated with the final phase of the work?

The transitional phase is over. The beginning of sorrows (Matthew 24:4-8) and the final phase of the work has begun. What should you do if you wish to support the final phase of the work?

Herbert Armstrong's Definition of the Work of the Church

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).

Who is the one man at this time?

The O N E  M A N at this time is Dr. Bob Thiel who while assisting in the directions of others who are supporting him, is proclaiming Christ's Gospel of the Kingdom by radio, via YouTube "television," via internet articles, in person, and in print as he leads the Continuing Church of God.

Additional information related to government and qualifications can be found in the articles The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government and How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God.

Notice something that Herbert Armstrong wrote:

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)

Persecutors have lied and have called me, Bob Thiel, a "false prophet." As far as accepting what I write, I only expect people to believe me as I teach matters consistent with the Bible and facts. Don’t simply believe me, believe the truths preached that are backed up by the Bible and/or historical or other facts.

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)

Under Dr. Thiel's direction, the Continuing Church of God has greatly exceeded the 30% growth per year that the old Worldwide Church of God used to claim it had for decades (there are around 3,000 with us now). Many of those that we have with us did NOT have a WCG background as we reached people others had not. No COG has grown as fast as the Continuing Church of God in the 21st century.

Dr. Thiel is writing, speaking, and visiting using modern technology including the internet, email, printing press, radio, YouTube television, and travel to reach people and work with others to reach people (for some results of this, watch Behind The Work 2015: Technology and the Gospel; for more on radion, see Does the CCOG go through the ‘door’ of radio to reach the world?).

Oddly, certain ones since the death of Herbert Armstrong teach that he completely 'finished the work' of proclaiming the Gospel and/or that he was the prophesied 'Zerubbabel.'

But that is not the case.

It is true that Herbert Armstrong believed that he finished the phase of the work that God gave him to do. Yet, from the time of his death in 1986 until 2009/2010/2011/2012 the church was in a transitional phase. But as far as Herbert Armstrong's beliefs go, he felt that the organized proclamation and witness phase would continue until the Philadelphian Church went to a place of safety. Notice:

It may be that the Work that God has given me to do is complete, but not the Work of God's Church, which will be faithfully doing God's Work till Christ, the True Head of this Church, returns...Remember brethren, this is not the work of Herbert W. Armstrong...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... (Armstrong HW. Letter, 1/10/86).

Philadelphia has little strength to do this great work that God has given it to do. God has opened the door, and yet look how insignificant, how weak, how little strength we as a Church have to do that work...Revelation 3:7-13: "And to the angel of the Church in Philadelphia write these things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that OPENETH, and no man SHUTTETH; and SHUTTETH and no man openeth." The great door that God has opened to this work is the facility to go into all the world and preach the gospel; the door of radio, the door of the printing press, plus many other such doors. God has set before us an open door and no MAN can shut it. God can shut it, and He will when the work is finished and the Philadelphia Church goes to a place of safety. ...The Laodicean Church is not going to be worthy to escape to a place of safety. When it is too late, they will find that the Church of Philadelphia has gone to safety (What Is the "LAODICEAN CHURCH"? Good News August 1959 Vol. VIII, Number 8).

Next, when our Great Commission is in God's sight completed, we are to be taken--symbolically flown on the two wings of a great eagle--we shall be taken to a place of protection from the Great Tribulation (Armstrong HW. Looking...PASTOR GENERAL'S REPORT - VOL.3, NO.4 January 23, 1981).

Since the Philadelphians have not yet fled, that portion of the work is not done. Up until (and even for several years after) he died the "Personal Correspondence Department," in a standard letter about the 1290 and 1335 days Daniel, included these statements:

Since no one knows the day of Christ's coming (Matt. 24:36 ; Acts 1:17), we may not know the exact time when the 1335 days begin. Apparently, however, at that time, the organized efforts of God's Work to proclaim the Gospel to the world will end. Forty-five days later, or 1290 days before the return of Christ, the beasts armies will surround Jerusalem. Those who are worthy will have been warned and taken to a place of refuge God has provided for them (Rev. 12:14-16) (Tkach J. Personal Correspondence Department Letter 61, February, 1989).

Notice what Herbert Armstrong wrote about the work prior to the time of fleeing and until the return of Jesus Christ:

Our Work in the hands of Christ is NOT YET FINISHED, and He will not allow the Work to stop until it is finished!...And the abomination that maketh desolate set up." What is this abomination? This refers to Daniel 11:31 and Matthew 24:15...From this time (Daniel 12:11) to Christ's coming will be 1290 days. Now, verse 12, "Blessed is he that waiteth, and comes to the 1335 days." Never before have we understood these periods of 1260, 1290. and 1335 days. But it seems evident, now, a blessing is pronounced on us--GOD"S CHURCH--who wait and endure until the 1335 days--approximately 1335 days prior to Christ's coming. But since no one can know the day or hour of His coming, we probably shall not be able to know the exact day this 1335 days begins. But apparently that is the time when OUR WORK SHALL END. (Armstrong HW. Personal. Good News magazine January 1980, p. 23).

It now appears likely that God's present Work through us will come to an end 1,335 days before the approximate date of Christ's' return in supreme POWER and GLORY! It appears the Roman European armies will surround and take half of the city of Jerusalem 45 days later, and the GREAT TRIBULATION will begin 30 days after that. And the GREAT TRIBULATION, running parallel to the worldwide telecast of the TWO WITNESSES (Rev. 11), will last approximately 3 1/2 years. (Armstrong HW. The Time Has Come for Fasting and Prayer! January 1980, p. 2)

...the work will continue right on to the Second Coming of Christ (Armstrong HW. Letter, 12/23/85).

The 1335 days have not ended, nor as of the last time this article was updated, have they yet have even started, so the work needs to be done. In addition to the types of proclamation efforts that the old WCG engaged in, notice that Herbert Armstrong listed additional components, such as the two witnesses. There are additional components to it as we getting closer to the end and some of these components and specifics make up the final phase of the work. Herbert Armstrong mentioned endurance.

Christians are to endure to the end:

12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. (Matthew 24:12-13).

The more faithful will not have their love grow cold. They will live as Christians (Living as a Christian: How and Why?) and support the work of God.

Perhaps this would be a good time to mention that at the News of those once affiliated with the Global Church of God page in late December 2012, 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 (‘GTA’ is Garner Ted Armstrong and he had a type of celebrity status, which I did not count) which 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. The Continuing Church of God reached millions of people all over the world in our firrst 30 days of existence as I predicted through the internet, radio, personal contact, and the written word (see CCOG met COG proclamation goal).

Furthermore, 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 have been viewed over 900,000 times by people in at least 220 countries/territories (at least 214 for the ContinuingCOG channel and at least 220 for the BibleNewsProphecy channel).

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:

BibleNewsProphecy channel
Bible News Prophecy Flipboard
BibleNewsProphecy online radio

CCOGAfrica channel
CCOG Asia
CCOG Canada (CCOGCANADA.CA)
CCOG English Language
CCOG Europe
CCOG India
CCOG New Zealand
CCOG (PHIND) Philippines
CCOG (CDLIDD) Spanish Language
ContinuingCOG channel

We have made at least some of our materials available in around 100 different languages (a listing with links is also found at www.ccog.org).

We have had our Bible News Prophecy magazine produced in thirteen languages so far:

  1. English
  2. Spanish
  3. Tagalog
  4. Mandarin Chinese
  5. Kiswahili
  6. German
  7. Dholuo
  8. Russian
  9. Hebrew
  10. Hindi
  11. Greek
  12. Arabic
  13. French

We also have other languages in progress, and others expected in the future.

Here is a link to the Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God in the English language. Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Declaración de las Doctrinas de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. Here is a related link in Tagalog: Paglalahad ng Mga Paniniwala ng Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. Here is a related link in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明. Here is a related link in Kiswahili: KATIKA LUGHA YA KISWAHILI. Here is a related link in Dutch: Verklaring van geloofspunten van de Continuing Church of God. Here is a related link in Deutsche (German): Glaubenserklärung der Continuing Church of God. Here is a related link in Italiano: Dichiarazione del Credo della Continuing Church of God.

We have established a separate European website, which we are adding European languages to.

We also are working on more information in Asian, African, and other languages.

Notice what we have listed at our website:

International Languages

Afrikaans Afrikaans
Albanian Shqip
Amharic አማርኛ
Arabic العَرَبِيَّة
Armenian հայերէն
AzerbaijaniAzərbaycan
Basque Euskara
Belarusian беларуская мова
Bengali বাংলা
Bosnian Bosanski
Bulgarian български
Burmese မြန်မာစာ
Catalan Català
Cebuano Bisayâ
Chichewa Nyanja
Croatian Hrvatski
Corsican Corsu
Czech Český
Danish Dansk
Dutch Nederlands
Esperanto Esperanto
Estonian Eesti keel
Finnish Suomalainen
French Français
Frisian Frisian
Galician Galego
Georgianქართული
German Deutsch
Greek Ελληνική
Gujarati ગુજરાતી
Haitian Creole Kreyòl Ayisyen
Hausa Hausa
Hawaiian Ōlelo Hawaiʻi
Hebrew עִברִית
Hindi हिंदी
Hmong Hmong
Hungarian Magyar
Icelandic Íslenska
Igbo Igbo
Indonesian Bahasa Indonesia
Irish Gaeilge
Italian Italiano
Japanese 日本語
Javanese Jawa
Kannada ಕನ್ನಡ
Kazakh Қазақ тілі
Khmer ភាសាខ្មែរ
Kiswahili Kiswahili
Korean 한국어
Kurdish Kurdî
Kyrgyz кыргызча
Lao ພາສາລາວ
Latin Latinae
Latvian Latviešu valoda
Lithuanian lietuvių
Luxembourgish Lëtzebuergesch
Macedonian Македонски
Malagasy Malagasy
Malay Bahasa Melayu
Malayalam മലയാളം
Maltese Malti
Maori Te Reo
Mandarin (Chinese) 普通话
Marathi मराठी
Mongolian Монгол
Nepali नेपाली
Norwegian Norsk
Polish Polskie
Portuguese Português
Punjabi ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਦੇ
Romanian Română
Russian Rusă
Samoan Gagana fa'a Sāmoa
Scots Gaelic Gàidhlig
Serbian Српски
Sesotho Sesotho
Shona chiShona
Sinhalese සිංහල
Slovak Slovenčina
Slovenian Slovenščina
Somali Af-Soomaali
Spanish Español
Sundanese Sundanese
Swedish Svenska
Tagalog Tagolog
Tamil தமிழ்
Thai ภาษาไทย
Turkish Türkไทย
Urdu اردو
Uzbek Oʻzbekcha
Vietnamese Tiếng Việt
Welsh Cymraeg
Xhosa isiXhosa
Yiddish יידיש
Zulu isiZulu

Actually, the Continuing Church of God has literature in more languages than any known Church of God in history--(over 100 are in process, though we only have just over 90 currently online)--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?), a fifth (Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?) and a sixth (The Gospel of the Kingdom of God) in 2016, and a seventh in 2017 (The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast). 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).

One thing that we have striven to restore in the Continuing Church of God is teaching all of Jesus’ words and commands. To truly fulfill His command in Matthew 28:19-20, we have covered ALL THE WORDS of Jesus in the New Testament as well as covering all the verses in the gospels in our English sermons.

We do teach the Bible in CCOG.

Here are links to some of the sermons that show that we have been faithfully fulfilling Matthew 28:19-20:

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? Here is a link to six sermons covering all the verses in the Gospel of Mark: Mark 1-2: Author, Prophecy, & Miracles, Mark 3-5: Healing, Demons, and Parables, Mark 6-9: Tradition, John’s beheading, Elijah, and Restoration, Mark 10-12: Marriage, Divorce, Needle Eye, Greatest Command, & Taxes, Mark 13: Temple, Four Horsemen, Troubles, Great Tribulation, and Gospel Proclamation, and Mark 14-16: Jesus’ Priorities & Betrayal, the Resurrection, Signs, and Reaching the World.
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.

We have also made all those sermons available to the world on our ContinuingCOG YouTube channel–and that YouTube channel has had views from 214 nations/territories as measured by YouTube (though not all nations have watched much). Perhaps it should be mentioned that when in Africa in 2017, I (Bob Thiel) publicly told those in attendance (which included leaders from six African nations and one European nation) that they needed to also go through and teach everything that Jesus commanded in the New Testament. We want to fulfill Matthew 28:19-20 in as many languages and to as many people as we possibly can. We are preaching the Bible, including the gospels--in fulfillment of Jesus' commissions in Matthew 24:14 and 28:19-20. This shows love to our neighbor as well as obedience to Jesus.

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-four 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).

The gospel must be preached--and we in the Continuing Church of God are doing it. For more information that verifies that, here are links to the sermon CCOG: Four Years Revealing Philadelphia? Here is a written link to an article in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?

Notice what else Herbert W. Armstrong specifically taught about preaching the gospel, when that work ends, and preparing the church:

When this European empire is perfected, the great Work God is doing through this Church will be quickly completed--finished...

The sign He gave was that which He is doing through us--proclaiming for the first time in 1900 years to the world the Gospel of the KINGDOM OF GOD (Matthew 24:14).

But next, after our work, is to come the GREAT TRIBULATION (verses 21-22. That shall be ended, verse 29, by supernatural, frightful signs in the sun, moon, and stars; signaling the "day of the Lord"--see also Joel 2:31). Then quickly; the coming of Christ. See also Daniel 12:1.

Events now occurring SWIFTLY in the world are SIGNS of the imminency of the Great Tribulation. No one will be allowed to proclaim Christ's Gospel then. The "Philadelphia era" or succession of God's Church will be taken on the "two wings of a great eagle"--whatever that symbolizes--to a place of protection where we are to be "fed"--provided for. We need now to begin to be ALERT, for this "flight" may happen suddenly. DO NOT BE DECEIVED BY THE NEGATIVE SNEERING OF EXCOMMUNICATED MINISTERS: Both Revelation 12:13 and 3:10 warn us.

We, ourselves, are a sign (Matt. 24:14) of the very imminency of these things!..

Fellow Ministers, God has made it our job to PREPARE His Church--that we may be "without spot or wrinkle...holy and withouth blemish" WHEN Christ comes!

This means renewed dedication, more constant and intensive earnest prayer, "soul-searching," and determined preparation. This is a serious responsibility for all of us! (Armstrong HW. Great Significance of Summit Conference. Pastor General's Report, Vol. 2, No. 26, June 27, 1980).

Notice that although Herbert W. Armstrong felt that the ministry had to prepare the church, the gospel still needed to preached until the European empire was perfected, and we flee to a place of safety. The European empire has not been perfected yet, nor have the Philadelphians fled to a place of safety, therefore, the gospel still must be preached. And preparing the people is part of the final phase of the work Christians are to be prepared by growing in grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18) and speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

Herbert Armstrong also said that something to the effect that God used him to lay the Philadelphia foundation and that the details would be filled in. Yet, this was not done by the Tkach Administration that came to power after his death. Nor did the two groups I was part of do that, though some for many years, led me to believe that they were interested in doing that. And some of those details that were to be filled in on the foundation are part of the final phase of the work--all things are to be restored (Mark 9:12).

Even some Protestants realize that the work has not reached enough:

Even some two thousand years after the Great Commission, more people in the world have not heard the gospel than have heard it. The secret things do belong to God, but Christians and non-Christians alike cannot help wondering about the justice as well as the compassion of a God who assigns to eternal torment people who, for reasons beyond their control, never heard about fellowship with him through Jesus Christ....(Warren V. What the Bible Says about Salvation 1982, pp. 104-105, as cited in Estabrook J and Thompson B. Will Those Who Have Never Heard the Gospel Be Lost? Apologetics Press :: Reason & Revelation, June 2001 - 21[6]:41-46. http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/469 viewed 05/24/12).

Jesus also does not want us to give up early:

Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing (Matthew 24:44-46).

(I should add that one person argued with me that since Jesus does not return until after the place of safety, that this verse does not mean we need to proclaim the Gospel now. Since it is likely that many of God's people will die before then, for them, the Master could seemingly come anytime. Remember that James 2:18-20 teaches:

Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?

Thus it would seem more logical that the work should continue to be done now.

Jesus had a few comments for those who felt it was not time to do the work:

34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.  35 Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!  36 And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.  37 For in this the saying is true: 'One sows and another reaps.'  38 I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors."  (John 4:34-38).

16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit (John 15:16).

Those in the Church of God realize that Christians are warned about those who twist scriptures:

16…these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; (2 Peter 3:17)

Since faulty private prophecies will apparently be used by the unstable to twist the meaning of scriptures, many of the faithful of the Philadelphia remnant will want to better grasp how Satan will likely have some of his followers do that.   

As far as 'Zerbubbabel' goes, notice the following scriptures:

7 'Who are you, O great mountain?
Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain!
And he shall bring forth the capstone
With shouts of "Grace, grace to it!"'"

8 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying:

9 "The hands of Zerubbabel
Have laid the foundation of this temple;
His hands shall also finish it.
Then you will know
That the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. (Zechariah 4:7-9)

Herbert Armstrong did not FINISH THE WORK, Herbert Armstrong only finished the portion of the work he was given to do.

Notice also the following explanation from the Pulpit Commentary related to parts of Zechariah 4:

Verse 7. - Who art thou, O great mountain? The "mountain" is a figurative expression to denote the various difficulties that stood in Zerubbabel's way and impeded the carrying out of his great design. Before Zerubbabel. The Vulgate affixes these words to the former part of the clause, but the accent is in favour of the Authorized Version. Thou Shall become a plain; literally, into a plain! A command. All obstacles shall be removed (comp. Isaiah 40:4; Isaiah 49:11; Matthew 17:20; Luke 3:4, 5). Septuagint, τοῦ κατορθῶσαι (intrans.), "that thou shouldst prosper;" "ut corrigas" (Jerome). He shall bring forth the headstone thereof. "He" is evidently Zerubbabel. He shall commence and put the finishing stroke to the work of rebuilding the temple. Many commentators take this stone to be the one that completes the building, "the topstone."...

Verse 9.-...Shall finish it....The completion of the material temple was a pledge of the establishment of the spiritual temple, the Church of God. (http://biblehub.com/zechariah/4-7.htm viewed 09/18/13)

The work is being done now and the final phase will be finished. (More on Zerubbabel is discussed in the article Who Are The Two Witnesses?).

Stammering Lips?

While we have materials translated into over 100 languages, not all of our translation are as precise as we prefer. Even among native speaker in CCOG, there are differences of opinions about how certain works in the Spanish language should be translated.

But even this seems to be prophesied:

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)

The Bible says that we are to reach people in multiple languages, despite the fact that most will not respond in this age. And that there may be troubles caused by translations.

Notice the version of Isaiah’s statements in the New Testament:

21 In the law it is written:

"With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people; And yet, for all that, they will not hear Me,"

says the Lord. (1 Corinthians 14:21)

But that Bible tells us that during the millennium many will understand:

1 Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, And princes will rule with justice.  2 A man will be as a hiding place from the wind, And a cover from the tempest, As rivers of water in a dry place, As the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.  3 The eyes of those who see will not be dim, And the ears of those who hear will listen. 4 Also the heart of the rash will understand knowledge, And the tongue of the stammerers will be ready to speak plainly. (Isaiah 32:1-4)

Yet also notice something that the Bible says will happen BEFORE the millennium:

33 And those of the people who understand shall instruct many . . . (Daniel 11:33)

The Apostle Paul wrote:

10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of languages in the world, and none of them is without significance. 11 Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me. (1 Corinthians 14:10-11)

Since there are languages people do not understand (cf. Psalm 81:5), then obviously more languages than one need to be used to teach.

As mentioned before, Jesus gave the following commission:

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)

This involves being about to reach people in multiple languages.

The Apostle Paul also wrote:

12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."

14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:

"How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,

Who bring glad tidings of good things!" (Romans 10:12-15)

How can they hear if they do not understand the language?

What about ‘minor’ languages?

Consider Jesus’ words:

4 "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!' (Luke 15:4-6)

Notice what the Apostle Paul wrote:

6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. (2 Corinthians 9:6)

We are to sow bountifully! This may also help us find the lost sheep, or in this case, make it easier for the sheep to see the fact the Father is looking for them (cf. John 4:23-24).

 Notice something else the Apostle Paul wrote:

7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:7-10)

Having materials in many languages helps serve ALL as well as those who are in the household of faith.

Initially, God did a language miracle when the New Testament church began:

1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. 7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, "Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs — we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God." (Acts 2:1-11)

While God could cause a hearing miracle again like He did in Acts 2, scripture does not record that God continued to do the type of miracle where people heard the message came out in one language and then was heard in the language of the hearer’s birth. Nor do we see major evidence of this occurring again throughout Church history. 

Perhaps it should be mentioned that the Bible (NKJV) version uses the term “translated” thirteen times. And, since relatively few people know ancient Hebrew AND Koine Greek, we need translations to understand the Bible.

But as people need help understanding the Bible from the ministry (Acts 8:31-35; Romans 10:12-15; Ephesians 4:11-16), having booklets and other literature in multiple languages helps answer the question Philip asked someone reading the Bible:

 30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?"

31 And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me? "  (Acts 8:30-31)

Literature in various languages help guide those to better understanding.

The Bible shows that this ultimately results in followers from all over and in all languages:

8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying:

"You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth." (Revelation 5:8-10)

9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" (Revelation 7:9-11)

14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:14). 

Thus, it makes sense to get materials into whatever languages God will open up to those of us actively supporting the final phase of the work.

Consider the following:

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. (Revelation 3:7-8)

What is the "open door"?

Let us look at this concept within the New Testament and let the Bible interpret itself.

Paul wrote:

12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord (2 Corinthians 2:12).

8 But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost. 9 For a great and effective door has opened to me (1 Corinthians 16:8-9).

2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; 3 Meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, 4 that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak (Colossians 4:2-4).

Luke wrote:

27 Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles (Acts 14:27).

Thus, the Bible is quite clear that the open door is the door to proclaim the Gospel.

The late Herbert W. Armstrong understood that the door was opened to proclaim the gospel:

Also a door was to be opened for this leader and/or the Philadelphia era of the Church to fulfill Matthew 24:14: 'And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached to all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come' (Mystery of the Ages, pp. 290-291).

And he and his church did reach people with the message in many languages.

Yet, it was not until after he died that there was widespread access to the internet so that this door was open as wide to be able to reach as many people in as many lands.

We in the Continuing Church of God are going through the doors that Jesus opens for us. And getting materials in more languages than any other known COG in history is one of them. It is part of the final phase of the work.

Final Phase Overview

It is the highly dedicated in the real Church of God that will finish the human part of the final phase of the work before (Matthew 24:14-15) and during (Revelation 11:3-14) the Great Tribulation and Day of the Lord. Presuming no significant organizational changes, for many reasons, the final phase of the work will be led by the Continuing Church of God (throughout Church of God, COG, history there have been significant organizational changes, so one must be cautious as more can happen).

The final phase of the work began during the time that Jesus referred to as the beginning of sorrows (Matthew 24:4-8), will include the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord, and does not end until the return of Jesus Christ.

This final phase of the work includes the of identifying what is happening in the world (specifically also in Europe, the Middle East, and the Anglo-descended nations), finishing the proclamation of Christ's gospel of the kingdom as a witness (including the prepartion for the short work) along with persecution (Matthew 24:9-14), the rise and work of the two witnesses (Revelation 11:2-12; which will likely overlap a few days with Matthew 24:14), the likely assistance to the two witnesses by the scattered flock (Revelation 20:4; cf. Luke 9:2-6), the three angel's messages (Revelation 14:8-11; plus other angelic interventions), and the witness of those persecuted and martyred for Jesus (cf. Revelation 17:6). And then Jesus will return and establish the Kingdom of God.

It should be clear to those who truly understand the warnings in the Bible that the final phase of the work for God’s people will also specifically involve:

Being killed as the result of persecution is seemingly also part of the final phase of the work that some of God's people will endure:

12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. 13 Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, "Write: 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.'" "Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them." (Revelation 14:12-13; cf. 6:11)

Even though other parts of the Book of Revelation show that persecution will come from a combination of church and state (i.e. 13:1-8), various verses (i.e. 12:13-17) show that it is truly Satan that is behind the persecutions. The old Radio Church of God taught this about Revelation 12:13:

Now turn to verse 13...this is the persecution that is yet in the future, a persecution that is being secretly planned...(Hoeh H. Are Christians Again to be Martyred?  Plain Truth.  November 1956, p. 21)

Having looked over a variety of Roman and Byzantine Catholic private prophecies, I would suggest that Satan’s planning has not always been completely in secret and that such private prophecies will be cited as “justification” for some of the coming persecutions (see also Persecutions by Church and State; there is also a YouTube video: The Coming Persecution of the Church).

Over a decade ago, evangelist R.C. Meredith and I were talking and he agreed with various points I was raising about the end time work. And back then, I was able to help lead him to essentially state that in the end it would not mainly be the message of the COG vs. the Protestants (although Protestants need to be reached and sometimes are more open than Catholics), but it would be the COG basically vs. the ecumenical religion that will rise up in the end that will likely (for a while) refer to itself as "Catholic" (evangelist Richard Ames confirmed the same thing with me on the Last Great Day in 2012). In 2005, during the Feast of Tabernacles in Clearwater Beach, after a private lunch, we and our wives met at his hotel room and I also discussed various aspects of the final phase of the work with Dr. Meredith--and I had other meetings, discussions, and emails related to that with the other Charlotte evangelists through December 14, 2012.

Yet, even though he and others in his church agreed to take many steps related to the final phase of the work, few, if any, of the promised steps were taken by his group--this is a major part of why the Continuing Church of God needed to form. Instead of correcting literature errors that would interfere with the final phase of the work, these errors have continued and perpetuate Catholic myths--this is not something that the leader of the final phase of the work would do. Furthermore, Dr. Meredith and others also made statements to me directly and indirectly that they would NOT teach certain beliefs publicly as they felt that teaching about certain doctrinal subjects would get them kicked off of television stations, especially those that were or leaned toward Protestantism--although I tried to work with them on this, they would not budge. To a major degree, they are in a massive self-censorship mode of operation there. And while prudence is wise, this compromise was another reason that LCG could not be counted on to lead the final phase of the work.

During the final phase of the work, the faithful in God's Church will take a stand against the views of those who will support the compromised persecuting religious power (cf. Revelation 17:1-6). And though aspects of this have occurred throughout history, in the end it will be a major testing of their patience (cf. Daniel 11:28-35; Revelation 14:8-12).

A bolder, yet truthful, willingness to "name names" and call out what is happening will need to happen more than the official COG groups formed between 1986 and 2011 have done--and this would seem to have to be led by the Continuing Church of God. (I have emails from one or more LCG evangelists where they objected to doing parts of this themselves, as well as notes from a meeting where they told me, and one was Dr. Meredith, that they were afraid that I could become too bold and that they did not want to take bold proclamation steps that could trigger the persecution that they teach is biblically prophesied.)

Faithful Christians need to be “ready to give an answer” (1 Peter 3:15, KJV), “ready to give a defense” (1 Peter 3:15, NKJV) to those that will tend to support the power that God opposes. And they are not to be “ignorant” of Satan's devices (2 Corinthians 2:11) nor be deceived by “doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). Part of the way that the more faithful will do this will be by better understanding the Bible, church history, prophecy, and Satan's plans and tactics. Educating the membership about this is part of the final phase of the work.  This is something that the Continuing Church of God realizes and is working to accomplish. 

Notice what the late evangelist C. Paul Meredith wrote about where have many Catholic (and Protestant) traditions, including certain prophetic understandings, come:

PROTESTANT REFORMERS found the people unwilling to change their doctrines. The reformers quickly took the popular road, rejected the faith once delivered for all time to the saints, and began to FOLLOW tradition-CATHOLIC TRADITION which has its roots in pagan philosophy and doctrines of demons! (Meredith C, Paul.  Lesson 14, What is Man?  Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course. 1958,.p. 3)

Part of the way that the more faithful will be able to resist these “traditions” will be by better understanding the Bible, church history, prophecy, and Satan's plans and tactics. And it part of what we in the Continuing Church of God are working on educating people about. Protestants that truly believe in the idea of
sola Scriptura should re-examine their beliefs (see also Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants and Where is the True Christian Church Today?).

Matthew 24:14-16, The Great Tribulation, and the King of the North

Here are some words from Jesus that all should take note of the time period:

14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached to all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then the end shall come. 15 "Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. (Matthew 24:14-16).

The end has not yet come--the final phase of the work is not over. People have not needed to flee related to this. Materials need to be available to more people and in more languages.

It is my belief that after the peace deal in Daniel 9:27/11:23 has been made and/or confirmed by “the prince to come,” that the group that best represents the “sect of the Nazarenes” (the remnant of the Philadelphia era of the church per Revelation 3:7–11, as led by the Continuing Church of God) in the 21st century will begin to publicly identify the person who confirmed the deal (“the prince”) as the one who fulfilled Daniel 9:27/11:23-24.  This apparently enrages the King of the North so much that he initially tries to eliminate these people through political pressure and selected persecution.  

When the more faithful in the COG (which will, as it now looks, be the Continuing Church of God, and others who may somewhat follow that lead) publicly identifies the King of the North as well as keeps reporting about the final Pope/Antichrist (the initial reporting about the final pope will likely get lost in the media until later as many will write about the final pope) and this may result in massive media coverage. This magnification of the true Church will help fulfill Matthew 24:14 as the media and others will pour through CCOG literature. Catholic scholars (probably getting some direction from the last pope) and others will tear through COG literature and attempt to challenge the credibility and the integrity of the COG message--this will initially cause "vigilante-type" persecution, but will also be followed by more institutionalized persecution (Matthew 24:-10; Daniel 11:28-35; 7:25). Notice that Matthew 24:14 shows that the "end shall come" after the gospel of the kingdom has been proclaimed to the world as a witness. Media spotlighting of what we the Continuing Church of God will thus get a witness into many lands that otherwise may not have realized much or anything about the gospel of the kingdom.

It may be that prior to going to a place of protection (please see There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra), some Christians will flee out of the European (and certain other) lands dominated by the rising King of the North (and/or his sympathizers) prior to him moving into Jerusalem. This probably be during verses 28-30 of Daniel 11 as this is when the King of the North begins his anger against God's most faithful (and I believe that since God's faithful will understand these passages in Daniel 11 by then, some will not wait until verses 30 or 31 to flee from the north--and will most likely go to Judea).

Now at "the appointed time" (again PRIOR to going to the place of protection) something will trigger the King of the North going towards the south:

29 At the appointed time he shall return and go toward the south; but it shall not be like the former or the latter. 30 For ships from Cyprus shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved, and return in rage against the holy covenant, and do damage. So he shall return and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant (Daniel 11:29-30).

Note: the Hebrew term translated as "Cyprus" in the NKJV is a mistranslation. The KJV uses the term Chittim which can mean "Western lands." Hence the King of the North will apparently be temporarily stopped by a Western naval power (this also parallels Numbers 24:24 which also uses the term Chittim and is talking about an Assyrian/European power being troubled by a naval power).

Notice that the King of the North will be even further enraged by the people of the "holy covenant" and most likely try to stop the supporters of it from proclaiming the truth about his intentions and the gospel of the kingdom (c.f. Matthew 24:14). The King of the North will probably attempt to learn more about how to eliminate them by being nice to apostate members (those who "forsake the holy covenant")--apparently he attempts to get them to betray true Christians (Matthew 24:10). It strikes me as important that although a naval power stops the King of the North momentarily, the King of the North becomes apparently more enraged with the people of the holy covenant than the naval power.

Why would this be?

Most likely this occurs because the people of the holy covenant are proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 24:14, as that immediately precedes "the end") and teaching that the King of the North is fulfilling prophecies in Daniel 11.  It is my belief that after the peace deal in Daniel 9:27/11:23 has been made and/or confirmed by “the prince to come,” that the group that best represents the “sect of the Nazarenes” (the remnant of the Philadelphia era of the church per Revelation 3:7–11) in the 21st century will begin to publicly identify the person who confirmed the deal (“the prince”) as the one who fulfilled Daniel 9:27/11:23-24.  This apparently enrages the King of the North so much that he initially tries to eliminate these people through political pressure and selected persecution.  

Notice that after the King of the North returns home, he decides to come back to the Jerusalem area, but this time with a much more determined military presence:

31 And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation (Daniel 11:31).

The above event, which apparently will involve the King of the North sending in forces into Jerusalem, was spoken of by Jesus (Matthew 24:15) as a warning of the final end time. So after the gospel has been preached enough to the world as a witness (Matthew 24:14), Jewish sacrifices are stopped (Daniel 9:27), the abomination is set up (Daniel 9:27; 11:31), and a decree is issued (Zephaniah 2:1), the most faithful Philadelphians will flee per Jesus' statements in Matthew 24:15-16.

And during this time, the northern King will apparently corrupt the corruptible and continue to be responsible for persecuting the people of God:

32 Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. 33 And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering. 34 Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue. 35 And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time (Daniel 11:32-35).

It is likely that the remnant of the Philadelphians are the ones who are strong, they will instruct many, and will carry out something important--and that will be part of the final phase of the work. This could also include members doing miracles (Acts 2:17-21). And this seems to have to be led by the Continuing Church of God as we are the ones who are willing to be properly bold, while also actually reaching millions. It should be noted that the words great exploits  in the NKJV (Daniel 11:32) do not literally appear in the Hebrew text; but perhaps these faithful Christians have the types of signs that Jesus mentioned in Mark 16:15–18, in addition to the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), as well as the prophesied work of martyrdom (cf. Revelation 6:11). Fruits, in terms of numbers of believers, will also apparently become more evident (cf. John 15:5-17). 

This gospel proclamation success, combined with the martyrdom associated with it, will result in the opening of the fifth seal of Revelation, the start of the Great Tribulation, and the King of the North (the "he" in Daniel 11:39) invading the those with the strongest fortresses (which in the 21st century is the USA and its Anglo-Saxon descended allies):

9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed. (Revelation 6:9-11)

39 Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain. (Daniel 11:39).

The Philadelphians are the only ones that Jesus promises protection from this coming hour of trial:

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. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.

13 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."' (Revelation 3:7-13)

Jesus praised the Philadelphians for doing the work and warned them not to let any man take their crown. Because of actions of men such as Joseph Tkach, Gerald Flurry, David Pack, and/or other apostates, many are letting a man take away their crown as many will no longer support the work, and deceive themselves that it is through and that they do not need to do anything but take care of their lives spiritually--that is scripturally in error. Not producing because of overbearing men is NOT a valid excuse per Jesus:

20 "Then another came, saying, 'Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. 21 For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.' 22 And he said to him, 'Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. 23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?'

24 "And he said to those who stood by, 'Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.' 25 (But they said to him, 'Master, he has ten minas.') 26 'For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. (Luke 19:20-26)

Jesus condemned the one who felt it was safer NOT to support the work that was to be done.

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. (Revelation 3:7-10)

Philadelphian Christians want to respond to the doors that Christ opens to proclaim the gospel (2 Corinthians 2:12; 1 Corinthians 16:8-9; Colossians 4:2-4).

Philadelphia Christians are not just enduring to the end, they are also to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18; cf. Ephesians 4:15)--and because of that they can better instruct many. Furthermore, while many seem to prefer to focus on knowledge, grace, including love, is something else Christians are to grow in (Galatians 5:22; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13).

That type of fruit needs to be produced at all times, and especially will be made manifest during the later part of the final phase of the work--a great multitude will respond (Revelation 7:9-14). Other groups, which are led by those that have rejected prophetic truths, will not even know when the Great Tribulation will begin unless they repent (see also Is there a need for a prophet now?).

The Final Phase of the Work

The term 'final phase of the work' was partially inspired by something that the late evangelist John Ogwyn wrote (bolding in original):

The Final Phase of Church History...

The Church of Philadelphia is characterized by a zeal to do the Work... Satan has sown confusion and discouragement... the Gospel will be preached to the world in this end-time (Matthew 24:14), and there is a growing assembly of believers that is both zealous for the full Truth and zealous to finish God's Work. Just as God’s people have had to do from the first century onward, so His people today must "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). God states clearly: "He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness" (Romans 9:28). Who will He use to do it? According to Daniel 11:32 it is "the people who know their God [that] shall be strong, and carry out great exploits." (Ogwyn, God's Church through the Ages, pp. 55,57-58)

The faithful of the Philadelphia remnant who are truly leading the work are the ones that John Ogwyn was referring to in the end.  And of course to contend for the faith once for all delivered, having more knowledge about what that original faith was makes such contending more effective. This is part of why knowledge of early church history will help finish the final phase of the work. 

God said He would use dreams and prophets in the end time (Joel 2:28-31; Acts 2:17-20) and that He would finish the work (Romans 9:28).

God gave Loma Armstrong a dream prior to raising up her husband. God used Herbert W. Armstrong to establish the Philadelphian phase, then one or more evangelists to lead the transitional phase, and now a prophet to lead the final phase of the work.

At least one dream was given prior to the start of the Philadelphian era, and some were given prior to the start of the Continuing Church of God. Consider also that a dream given prior to the start of the old Radio Church of God points to part of the final phase of the work as there was second set of stars in the dream(for details, see Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God). Herbert Armstrong did mention this two-part from his wife Loma had in his published Autobiography and this seems to pertain to the final phase of the work.

Dale Schurter, a former WCG minister, reported that Herbert W. Armstrong stated the following in 1984/1985 (shortly before he died in January 1986):

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)

We in the Continuing Church of God are preparing for the 'short work' by establishing multiple websites in multiple languages, while researching and making available information on church history, doctrine, and prophecy, while also proclaiming Christ's Gospel of the Kingdom to the world as a witness. It is possible that this short work will temporarily swell the ranks of the Church of God (including some Philadelphians, but perhaps with many Laodiceans and many others not truly faithful—many may well fall awaythough some of the first will be last and the last first, cf. Mark 10:31). Some will be faithful and bear fruit, while many others may leave (cf. Matthew 13:18 -23; 2 Thessalonians 2:3) once the persecuting tribulation that seems prophesied to occur prior to the Great Tribulation hits (cf. Matthew 24:9-10;21). Then the end will come.

Partially because the message of the COG, the people of the holy covenant, will enrage the upcoming prince/king of the North (Daniel 11:28-30). One or more associated with the Continuing Church of God will be identifying that the European “prince” (Daniel 9:26-27) who is rising up to become a king, will not be able to truly bring peace, but instead about bring war and will be in league with the final Antichrist. This will likely trigger major media coverage. Scrutiny of real, as well as claimed, COG literature will likely happen and various aspects of real and incorrect COG doctrines will likely be ridiculed. Media coverage would then be expected to cover more the COG message and this may be associated with the “short work” of Romans 9:28.

Since the true COG is so small, it is highly likely that it getting significant media coverage will help fulfill Matthew 24:14. Some of the Philadelphia remnant will be explaining that it is Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God and not the rise of a militaristic leader that the world needs. According to Daniel 11:32 it is "the people who know their God [that] shall be strong, and carry out great exploits." Hundreds of millions, if not billions, will receive at least a partial witness. All of that will likely trigger the King of the North to take actions that lead to the end--this includes the persecutions, pre- (Daniel 7:25a, 11:29-36) and post-tribulation (Daniel 7:25b).

It should be noted because of their lack of proper prophetic understandings (see Is there a need for a prophet now?) other groups cannot be leading the final phase of the work. Some of the groups that seem to act like they are do not fully realize the ramifications of the following verses:

10 Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord deceitfully (Jeremiah 48:10)

4 For the word of the Lord is right, And all His work is done in truth. (Psalms 33:4)

Various groups, knowingly and unknowingly are teaching error and are not truly leading the final phase of the work. The Laodicean churches do not have the right and true work.

Internet Monitoring and the Famine of the Word

Since “Catholic” leaders have renounced the millennial portion of the gospel message, some of them will not want it to be broadcast into all the world in the 21st century. They will support the King of the North’s efforts to stifle the message.

Perhaps under the guise of "neutrality," perhaps under the guise of "The Patriot Act," perhaps under the guise of "public welfare," perhaps because of alleged “intolerance,” calling parts of the message “hate speech” violations of "community standards," and/or national security threats/issues, something will be done to stop perhaps all of the organized media efforts to proclaim biblical truths. A famine of the word is coming (Amos 8:11-12; cf. Romans 10:14-15).

Various governments (like that of the USA and those in Europe) may secretly work to come up with reasons to pull us off the internet.

Even Egypt is monitoring those on the internet:

Newly leaked documents show the Egyptian government now wants to greatly expand its monitoring of Egyptians’ use of social media, hauling in massive amounts of data on just about everyone online in Egypt.
 
Internet surveillance by governments around the world is nothing new, but as technologies have increased, so, too, has the capacity for ever-larger and more sophisticated data collection.
 
Even before its civil war, the Syrian government was using powerful systems from Blue Coat Technologies to monitor its citizens’ movements and communications online.
 
Ethiopia and Vietnam are widely believed to have acquired FinFisher systems to spy on dissidents. And in the United States, the activities of the National Security Agency  have now become public with the leaks from Edward Snowden.
 
The proposed scale of active Egyptian monitoring marks a dramatic escalation in a nation experiencing increased crackdown on dissent.
 
First published in the El-Watan newspaper on June 1, the leaked documents detail a request by the Egyptian government – called a “tender” – to international tech firms for software that can swallow up data from Egyptian users of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, and possibly from mobile apps Instagram, WhatsApp and Viber as well.
 
“The objective of bidding is to get a system that can detect security threats posed by social media networks,” reads the tender document from the Ministry of the Interior.  “Social media is more and more used to spread destructive ideas that our society is influenced by these days.”
 
Widespread impact
 
According to the leaked documents, the government wants a system that would gobble up nearly all online traffic in Egypt and then vacuum the data for 26 key words or phrases that the government considers “destructive ideas on youth.”
 
Those include “spreading vicious rumors, bad-mouthing, calls to reject societal norms, inciting violence and rebellion, mobilizing demonstrations, spreading explosive know-how and calling for illegal strikes, stirring up trouble and unrest and using bad words.” (Bernard D, Elshinnawi M. Egypt Wants Greater Monitoring of Bloggers, Social Media. Voice of America, June 11, 2014. http://www.voanews.com/content/egypt-wants-greater-monitoring-of-bloggers-social-media/1933812.html)

The USA and Europe probably do a lot more such 'monitoring' than Egypt.

Notice something that the Bible warns about:

2 Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked,
From the rebellion of the workers of iniquity,
3 Who sharpen their tongue like a sword,
And bend their bows to shoot their arrows — bitter words,
4 That they may shoot in secret at the blameless;
Suddenly they shoot at him and do not fear. (Psalms 64:2-4)

Attacking those speaking the truth is expected.

Notice that a time will come when people will not be able to find the truth:

11 "Behold, the days are coming," says the Lord God,
"That I will send a famine on the land,
Not a famine of bread,
Nor a thirst for water,
But of hearing the words of the Lord.
12 They shall wander from sea to sea,
And from north to east;
They shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord,
But shall not find it. (Amos 8:11-12)

In this internet age, the most logical way to prevent people from finding the truth of the words of the Lord would be to prevent those with the truth from remaining on the internet. Eliminating blogs and reports that governments do not care for is a plan that many governments have. The rising up of the final European King of the North would seem to be related to the trigger to make that happen.

In a sermon on November 27, 1982 titled “U.S. of Europe is Coming,” Herbert Armstrong stated:

“Anyway this whole United States of Europe, when it goes together, is going to trigger nuclear World War III. Now let me tell you what else it's going to do. It's going to END OUR WORK! OUR WORK WILL BE THROUGH of getting the gospel to the world. That is, very shortly after it goes into force and effect; because they will move in such a way that it will end it. And then I'll tell you what will happen. As you read here in Amos, the 8th chapter and verse 11 of Amos. Amos 8:11Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread ... but of hearing the word of the LORD.’ ”

In a Nov. 22, 1982 co-worker letter, he wrote: "... brethren and co-workers, the prophesied Great Tribulation (nuclear World War III) will start soon after the European unification. That means OUR WORK OF SPREADING THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD WILL BE FINISHED! We have not now much more time. Soon shall come a FAMINE of hearing the Word of the Lord (Amos 8:11). God says, work while it is day, for the night is coming when no man can work – in the Work of God! Nothing else is important in our lives, now, but this all-important Work of God." (http://cog-ff.com/html/pcomments_07_04_08.html)

The work (in the Amos 8:12 sense) may be stopped by government officials (like on the internet, radio, etc.) and persecutions began because people of the holy covenant are warning the world of the results of their sins (which they will not want pointed out), pointing out falsehoods in other religions, and teaching that the King of the North is fulfilling these prophecies in Daniel 11. The faithful may be saying things that are not "politically correct" to the point that one or more governments will take action (especially if we are saying, and I expect to help do this, that a certain individual is the King of the North and that he will invade and destroy the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, etc.). Yet, God's work still will be accomplished and the final phase of the work completed.

The Bible tells of a time, which to a degree we are now in, when a certain amount of self-censorship will be needed:

2 For I know your manifold transgressions And your mighty sins: Afflicting the just and taking bribes; Diverting the poor from justice at the gate. 13 Therefore the prudent keep silent at that time, For it is an evil time. (Amos 5:12-13)

And while some COG groups overly “keep silent,” hence pull-punches in proclamation, the reality is that there is not truly full freedom of truthful speech in countries like the USA without consequences. However, the work will be done and it will trigger persecution. Until the work is done the most faithful will:

1 Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1) . 

Of course, no matter what some Laodiceans insist upon, the end has not yet come--the final phase of the work is not over. Jesus also does not want us to give up early:

44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. 45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing (Matthew 24:44-46).

I should add that one person argued with me that since Jesus does not return until after the “place of safety,” that this verse does not mean we need to proclaim the Gospel now. Since it is likely that many of God's people will die before then, for them, the Master could come anytime. Remember that James wrote, “Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?,” James 2:18-20. 

Thus it would seem more logical that the work should continue to be done now. Satan and the Laodiceans simply do not wish to properly support God's work. Of course, many Laodiceans do not know that they are in that condition, and for many reasons will not understand the final phase of the work or who is leading it.

Satan's Plan

Satan has a plan. Satan has established a multitude of counterfeit religions as part of his plan to deceive the world. And although it has worked for most so far, he further plans to untie as many as he can in an end-time religion that, at least for a while, will claim to represent real Christianity.

Over 1900 years ago, God finalized His written word for this age, at least thus far.  Near the time of Simon Magus (Acts 8:18-23), the mystery of lawlessness was already at work (2 Thessalonians 2:7).  After the completion of the Book of Revelation, Satan continued to influence those who were not faithful to produce and record various twisted views of scripture and prophecy (cf. Matthew 24:4-5).  Throughout the entire church age, there have been false brethren (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:26), false prophets (cf. Acts 13:6), and false (supposedly Christian) teachers (2 Peter 2:1).  False prophets and false teachers were foretold to rise up (2 Peter 2:1-22)—and deceptive prophecies have been recorded.  Though those in the true Church of God have known about this throughout this church age (cf. Matthew 7:15-20) and were warned of this (2 Peter 2:1-3; 1 Timothy 4:1), relatively few have stopped to consider how this may affect the final phase of the work of God.

Not all who claim to be Christian, truly are Christian, nor are all who profess to be ministers of Jesus truly His ministers either:

21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' 23 And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' (Matthew 7:21–23).

14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. (2 Corinthians 11:14-15)

Christians need to know the truth about true Christianity and Satan's significant counterfeits.  As the Bible points out, “prophecies” from people who claim to be, but are not truly, Christian will be made.  Real Christians need to realize this.

Few understand how Satan has affected the view of many towards church history and prophecy, and how much more he will try to do that in the future.  Teaching true believers, and warning others, about this is part of the final phase of the work.

Without going into to all the reasons, let me state that the Church of God has long cited non-biblical sources to support gospel proclamation when appropriate (Acts 17:28; Hill, David Jon. Will you be deceived by Antichrist? Good News magazine of the Radio Church of God, October 1964, pp. 9-12,18; Hill DJ.  Christ or Antichrist.  Good News magazine, Radio Church of God, April 1961, pp. 10-11). The that the Apostle Paul referred to pagan writings to reach his audience at times (cf. Acts 17:22-34; Titus 1:12), and since real Christians are not to be ignorant of Satan's devices (2 Corinthians 2:11), those who actually believe the Bible more than their own "traditions" should realize that knowing how Satan has planned to deceive the world is an important aspect of being able to complete the final phase of the work (as doctrines of demons will be part of it, cf. 1 Timothy 4:1).  Dealing with false prophecies has long been something that God's leaders (cf. 1 Kings 18) and prophets (e.g. (Jeremiah 28:15-16) have had to do.

But the Apostle Paul wrote an interesting reason for doing so that some simply have overlooked (or at least partially misunderstood):

19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel's sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.  (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)

In 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, the Apostle Paul showed that he was willing to tailor his message in order to reach more people. I would suggest that this is what we in the Continuing Church of God are doing as well. We are reaching people of all types of background with COGwriter.com, ccog.org, radio interviews, our magazine (CCOG announces Bible News Prophecy magazine), our daily e-newsletter, our BibleNewsProphecy YouTube channel, our ContinuingCOG YouTube channel, and various books. These, sometimes bold, approaches have been effective and will be helpful in completing the "final phase of the work."  Some details of results thus far are also in the news posts CCOG met COG proclamation goal and More on CCOG’s proclamation statistics.

The Church of God has long realized that although Satan is not omniscient, he does know a great deal about God's plan, and so he basically has his own plan. Furthermore, back in 1964 the old Radio Church of God taught the following about Satan and certain private Catholic prophecies:

Satan knows God’s general plan. He has been at work in the minds of evil and deluded men throughout the ages to lay the groundwork of the GREAT DELUSION!... Here now, for the professed prophecies in the Catholic Church...When these false “prophecies” are read from pulpits into the ears of gullible people and they begin to see God’s intervention come to pass, THEY WILL BELIEVE THE ONLY MEANING THEY HAVE EVER LEARNED ABOUT THESE SIGNS AND WONDERS…They will have been deceived ahead of time by…clever satanic-inspired prophecy…These false doctrines and false prophecies are going to be preached with ALL DECEIVABLENESS, and are truly going to deceive ALL THE WORD. You and I, when we enter God’s Kingdom at His return, are going to have to convince these people of the TRUTH…These diabolical thoughts, ensconced in the fear-ridden minds of completely deceived human beings, WILL BE DIFFICULT TO DISLODGE! You will need all the power God bestows on you as His born son to do the job He will give you to do. (Hill DJ.  Will You be Deceived By Antichrist?  Good News.  October 1964, pp. 9,10,11,18)

This is part of why there have been citations of many “Catholic” and other private prophecies in Continuing Church of God literature.  We want people to better understand Satan's plan so that they will be less likely to be deceived. These often Satanically-linked prophecies appear, in many instances, to essentially be false mirror images of biblical ones.  Some of these private prophecies seem to be intended to ultimately dissuade people from believing that biblically prophesied events will occur as the Continuing Church of God teaches.  And this seems to be part of Satan's plan (cf. 1 Timothy 4:1).

The Bible shows that those who will be faithful during this onslaught should not be ignorant of Satan's devices (cf. Job 5:12; 2 Corinthians 2:11).  Yet, “doctrines of demons” will deceive even some who thought that they were God's people (1 Timothy 4:1). 

Despite false prophetic beliefs:

19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:19-21, KJV)

The true prophetic word is part of our message. But Satan, "prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience" (Ephesians 2:2), wants to obscure the biblical prophetic truths with his own message and plan.

In a nutshell, Satan's plan as laid out in Catholic and Byzantine prophecies is that in the time of the end, Catholics will be lax about their faith. This, according to them, will upset God who will cause civil unrest to occur in Europe as a punishment. This will result in military leaders rising up. One, will be the guy. He lead soldiers who bear crosses and he will get support from Mary and others from heaven . This leader is called the Great Monarch or prince of the North in Catholic prophecies, but we in the Continuing Church of God would call the final Beast, the final King of the North of biblical prophecy. He will change the Catholic faith so much that much of the clergy, at least in France, will be upset. Yet, a pope, who will ultimately perform miracles, will crown him the head of the revived Holy Roman Empire. They will eliminate the English speaking peoples, and the Muslims, Russians, Chinese, etc. will, for a time, accept this faith. The two are to reign for about four years, they will be resisted by a group that Catholic prophecies sometimes call "the secret sect," and then, according to other Catholic prophecies, the Antichrist comes--which in this case, as David Jon Hill pointed out, is really Jesus (see also Do Certain Catholic Prophecies About Antichrist Warn Against Jesus?). And this is all part of Satan's plan to deceive the world and to fight against the Kingdom of God.

And God's people should not be ignorant of this. And teaching the faithful Philadelphians about this is part of the final phase of the work.

Some Catholic Prophecies Point to Aspects of the Final Phase of the Work

There are Roman Catholic prophecies that state or indicate that the beginning of the end will occur in the 20th century.  Here are two not previously cited:

Sister Bouquillon (19th century): The beginning of the end shall not come in the 19th century, but in the 20th for sure. (Dupont, p. 23)

Catholic priest and writer R. Gerald Culleton (20th century): After the birth of Anti-Christ and shortly before the rise of the Great Monarch, the false doctrines were to multiply …In the last days before Anti-Christ, there are to appear many anti-christs… Towards the end of the world the Jews are to commit some atrocious crime for which they will be greatly persecuted…the Great Monarch…This Lion Monarch… together with the Great Pope or Angelic Pastor, shall appear after socialism…(Culleton, pp. 25,27,28,50)

Perhaps “after socialism” may mean after communism falls, like it mainly did in the late 20th century.  Genuine Church of God Christians with “Jewish practices,” who could be considered a type of “Anti-Christ” by Greco-Romans, are to be greatly persecuted around the time of the Great Catholic “Lion” Monarch.  The “atrocious crime” could refer to the “crime” of pointing out that the modern Roman Catholics are not the faithful representatives of true apostolic Christianity and that their apparent Great Monarch represents not the solution, but the ten-horned beast of Revelation.  Or maybe it refers to the Jews re-instituting sacrifices.  Or perhaps a combination of factors.

There are also more Catholic prophecies indicating the end apparently beginning in the 20th century (Germany, for example, was divided in the 20th century):

St. Hildegard (died 1179): The time is coming when princes and peoples will renounce the authority of the Pope. Individual countries will prefer their own Church rulers to the Pope. The German Empire will be divided. Church property will be secularized. Priests will be persecuted. After the birth of Anti-Christ heretics will preach their false doctrines undisturbed, resulting in 'Christians having doubts about their Catholic faith'. (Culleton, p.169)

Ven. Sor Marianne de Jesus Torres (17th century)...Our Lady told Sister Marianee: ...But this knowledge will only become known to the general public in the 20th  Century. During this epoch the Church will find herself attacked by waves of the secret sect...Know, beloved daughter, that when your name is made known in the 20th  Century, there will be many who do not believe, claiming this devotion is not pleasing to God...(Birch, pp. 317,326)

Nun Anne Catherine Emmerich (about 1820): I heard that Lucifer (if I don't mistake) will be freed again for awhile fifty or sixty years before the year 2000 A.D. I have forgotten many of the other dates were told me. (Emmerich AC. The Life of Lord Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelations. Schmöger edition, Vol. IV. Nihil Obstat: D. Jaegher, 14 Februari 1914. Imprimatur: A.C. De Schrevel, Brugis, 14 Februari 1914. Reprint TAN Books, Rockford (IL), 2004: p. 353-354)

It would appear that the Philadelphia portion of the Church of God is the secret sect that is being discussed above.  Perhaps I should mention that if Pope Francis sells certain real estate holdings of his church, he may contribute to the fulfilling the about secularizing church property. As far as the COG goes, the Roman Catholics have been affected in waves, starting with Herbert W. Armstrong, who published the Plain Truth magazine from February 1934, until his death in January 1986.  Herbert Armstrong’s time frame is consistent with the 50 or 60 years before the year 2000 that Nun Emmerich was led to “foretell.”  (While the Philadelphia work began then, it is the later “waves”   that I believe will constitute the final phase of the work.)

Although it is true that there may have been other anti-Vatican leaders during Herbert Armstrong's time, I know of no others back then that were as adamant about the coming kingdom of God and why the final “Catholic” church fit many of the negative prophecies in Revelation.   Also, since the Jesus’ true church is so small, it would seem to that it meet the Catholic idea of being a “secret sect.”

It seems to have been Herbert W. Armstrong that some demon(s) may have had Nun Emmerich (presuming there was any accuracy in her prediction) interpret as Lucifer or his agent.  I believe that in the Radio/Worldwide/Global Church of God, etc. various longer-time leaders, were part of the second wave or so against the Greco-Roman doctrinal changes, and various COG leaders will at least contribute to the final pre-tribulation wave of success against the final Roman message.   Various COG leaders have “traversed the earth” to proclaim the true gospel of the kingdom while also warning against the emerging Beast power (as have I).

Some Catholics seem to believe that after the “sect” it will oppose rises up, demons will punish its followers and that all others will support the pope:

Elizabeth Canori-Mora (died 1825): God will make use of the powers of darkness in order to root out followers of the Sects and godless who want to shake and destroy the foundations of the Church . . . They will be punished by the cruelty of demons and die a tragic and barbarous death.  Hereupon the grand triumph of the Catholic Church will follow and all stream into the fold of the Catholic Church, and recognize the Pope as the representative of God. (Culleton, The Reign of Antichrist, p. 160)

Yet, are demons supposed to lead the triumph of the faithful church?  The Bible nowhere so indicates this, but it does tell of persecution of true believers (John 15:20).

More on the Secret Sect

Here are more Catholic private prophecies on “the secret sect”:

Jeanne le Royer (died 1798): My Father, God has manifested to me the malice of Lucifer, and the perverse and diabolical intentions of his emissaries (secret societies) and the Holy Church of Jesus Christ.  At the command of their master these wicked men have traversed the earth like furies, with the intention to prepare the way and place for Anti-Christ whose reign is approaching…They have succeeded in confounding all sound principles, and spreading everywhere such darkness as to obscure the light both of faith and of reason…(Culleton, p. 179)

Anna-Katarina Emmerick (19th century): I saw a great renewal, and the Church rose high in the sky...I saw the secret sect relentlessly undermining the great Church…Very bad times will come when non-Catholics will lead many people astray. (Dupont, pp.60,62,71)

Anna-Katarina Emmerich (19th century): I saw again the present Pope and the dark church of his time in Rome. It seemed to be a large, old house like a town-hall with columns in front. I saw no altar in it, but only benches, and in the middle of it something like a pulpit. They had preaching and singing, but nothing else, and only very few attended it...The whole church was draped in black, and all that took place in it was shrouded in gloom...I saw the fatal consequences of this counterfeit church ; I saw it increase ; I saw heretics of all kinds flocking to the city. I saw the ever-increasing trepidity of the clergy , the circle of darkness ever widening...Again I saw in vision St. Peter's undermined according to a plan devised by the secret sect whilst, at the same time, it was damaged by storms; but it was delivered at the moment of greatest distress.…'I see new martyrs, not of the present but of the future, though even now they are oppressed. I saw the secret society undermining the great church (St. Peter's) and near them a horrible beast that arose out of the sea…and…citizens and peasants, many of whom were marked on the forehead with a red cross. As this army drew near, the captives and oppressed were delivered and swelled the ranks whilst the demolishers and conspirators were put to flight on all sides.  Then I saw the church speedily rebuilt and more magnificent than before, for its defenders brought stones from all parts of the earth..I see the black counterfeit church gaining ground, I see its fatal influence on the public. (Emmerich, The Life and Revelations, Vol. II, pp. 77,279-281,290-292)

(Note: I use the spelling of Emmerich/Emmerick as provided by the sources cited.  Also, some of the various titles after names of “prophets” vary based upon the sources cited.)

This article that you are now reading could be considered part of a plan evolved by the secret sect to undermine the compromised church.   It seems that the Church of God will be perceived as relentless attacking them since at least the time of Herbert W. Armstrong.  Notice that according to the above mystic prophecies, this secret sect causes problems for the Romans near the time of the end, but it leads into a time of “Catholic” renewal and dominance.  This may include the Great Monarch gaining more prominence.  It is interesting to note that many of those attacking the secret society wear a red cross (people in the Continuing Church of God do not wear crosses, though some visitors/prospective members temporarily might)--could this be related to the persecutions prophesied in Daniel 7:25 and 11:28-35? 

Notice that the following private prophecy also shows that persecutors will wear a red cross:

St. Francis de Paul (1470):...the Great Monarch … shall be a great captain and prince of holy men, who shall be called ‘the holy Cross-bearers’ … a very poor man of the blood of Emperor Constantine…shall on his breast wear a sign which you have seen at the beginning of this letter (a red Cross)...they shall kill all God’s enemies…He will gather a  grand army…Woe to tyrants, to heretics, and to infidels to whom no pity will be shown...(Culleton, The Prophets and Our Times, p. 157-161)

It is also interesting to note that at least one mystic believes that there will be a group of what he calls “wicked men” who “prepare the way and a place for Anti-Christ whose reign is approaching.”  The reason this is interesting is that Herbert Armstrong got the Church of God to focus on the message of proclaiming the gospel of the coming millennial kingdom of God as its major message [the old Church of God (Seventh-Day), that he had been part of, never really did that well].

These Catholic private prophecies encouraging persecution may be pointed to as partial justification to provide the type of persecution that the Philadelphia remnant will be subject to according to the Bible (Daniel 11:28-35; Matthew 24:9-14; Revelation 12:13,17; 14:8-12).  

Lest it seem that I have been overly presumptuous about a portion of the Church of God being portrayed as a “secret sect” or called “Jews” by Catholics, history shows that some Greco-Romans consider Christians who hold to early Jewish Christian practices to be Jews. 

Notice that this goes back until at least the 4th century according to a Catholic priest and researcher:

From 326…The authors speak of “inhabitants” and of “Jews”, and these can only be the Judaeo-Christians…

Epiphanius…these Christians of Jewish race {are} not to be called Christians or Jews but Nazarenes.  A late confirmation that the community of Jerusalem was not considered “Christian” but Nazarene is found in the relation of Severus ibn al Moqaffa (10th century) inserted into the History of the Councils...(Bagatti. The Church from the Gentiles in Palestine, p. 58 and Bagatti. The Church from the Circumcision, p. 13)

The Bible (Acts 8:1) and secular history records that Christians were for centuries considered to be a secret cult or a secret sect by various ones.  Note one account of the early persecutions by Graeme Snooks:

Christianity was a more exclusive, secret, and potentially more subversive, cult than all the others.  The followers of Christ rejected the old gods completely, they refused to sacrifice to the emperor and his gods, and they established an empire-wide network of secret cells practising strange rites.  Not surprisingly, this cult attracted suspicion and hostility from the Roman state, particularly when its members refused to worship publicly the emperors and gods of war.  Christians attracted, therefore, sporadic imperial persecution in the second century AD which became more systematic and determined in the third and fourth centuries…(Snooks, Graeme Donald. The Ephemeral Civilization: Exploding the Myth of Social Evolution. Routledge, 1997, p. 173)

Notice that early Christians, who would not participate in military warfare nor engage in emperor worship, were considered a secret cult.  Despite that, they existed throughout the empire.  The same type of situation is expected at the end.  The faithful in the Church of God will refuse to accept the new ecumenical emperor worship that the militaristic Beast and False Prophet will encourage; they will resist this religion even though it will likely use the name “Catholic.”  The faithful Christians will likely be branded as a cult or secret sect. 

Orthodox seers and writers have also taken positions against those with original Judeo-Christian practices.  One example would be a 1249 A.D. vision of “Blessed Hieronymus Agathaghelos” which claimed that “the blasphemies of the Sabbatians have stained and soiled for many centuries” (Cited in Tzima Otto, p. 135; Dr. Otto herself refers to those with Nazarene/Judeo-Christian beliefs as “Christian traitors” on p. 240). 

Notice something from Dr. Helen Tzima Otto discussing aspects of that writing:

…those trying to…move Christian worship from Sunday to Saturday, (under the excuse that this is only explicitly mentioned in the Scriptures)…Here obviously there is a major controversy among people pretending to be Christians but promoting the Sabbath day (like the Talmudic Rabbis do)…Yet what kind of punishment are these traitors from within Christianity going to receive from…the Public Executioner of the Sabbatians…?  That would imply that the people these Christian traitors are conspiring with, will eventually against them…(Tzima Otto, pp. 144, 240)

So the Orthodox scholar suggests that Sabbath keepers point to the Bible as proof of their position and that is apparently an unacceptable “excuse” to her.  She apparently feels that they are just Jews who are pretending to be Christians.  She also believes that some who will support the Greco-Romans will betray them (which is consistent with Daniel 11:32-35).

Also notice what is in a book written in the 19th century by an anonymous Catholic clergyman writing under the name Maurice Pinay:

In the Middle Ages, the Popes and the Councils were successful in destroying the Jewish revolutionary movements which appeared within Christianity in the form of false teaching and which were introduced by those who were Christians in appearance but Jews in secret. The latter then recruited upright and good Christians for the arising heretical movement by persuading the latter in a crafty way.

The secret Jews organised and controlled in secret manner the movements, which were the creative and driving force of wicked false teachings, such as those of the Iconoclasts, the Cathars, the Patarines, the Albigensians, the Hussites, the Alumbrados and others. (Pinay, Maurice. The Plot Against the Church, Part Four Chapter One. Translated from the German and Spanish editions of the same work. 1962)

The above book is still recommended by and for many Catholics (though some others distance themselves from it).  Hence, some of the Greco-Romans have considered some of whom we in the Continuing Church of God include in our tracing of our spiritual ancestors (like some of the Cathars and Albigenses) to have been a secret Jewish group that only professed Christ.

Several Greco-Romans have taught that a secret sect with Jewish practices that opposes idols will harm the “Catholic Church,” and that many believe this is bad and will require action. And part of the "final phase of the work" will be that Christians will give their testimonies when persecuted:

12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake. 13 But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. 14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17 And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. 18 But not a hair of your head shall be lost. 19 By your patience possess your souls. (Luke 21:12-19)

This is an aspect of the final phase of the work that most prefer not to wish to embrace, but is never-the-less going to come to pass.

9 That this is a rebellious people,
Lying children,
Children who will not hear the law of the Lord;
10 Who say to the seers, "Do not see,"
And to the prophets, "Do not prophesy to us right things;
Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits. (Isaiah 30:9-10)

The Continuing Church of God is attempting proclaim the entire message and not just the "smooth things" that many seem to prefer to hear.

All Slumbered and Slept

Jesus warned that prior to His return all will slumber and sleep:

1 "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

6 "And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!' 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' 9 But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.' 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.

11 "Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' 12 But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.'

13 "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. (Matthew 25:1-13)

Jesus wants people to WAKE UP AND SUPPORT THE FINAL PHASE OF THE WORK THAT BEGINS JUST PRIOR TO HIS RETURN. Can you admit that you have not paid enough attention to the final phase of the work? If so, it is not the time to awake and do so?

The true, most faithful, Church of God will be getting the bride ready (cf. Revelation 19:7). That involves teaching all things Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:19-20) as well doing the work that God wants done.

The Millennial Teaching Will be an Excuse for Persecution

Even though early church writers (including many considered to be Roman Catholic and/or Greek Orthodox saints) endorsed the teaching of a one thousand year millennial reign (see Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism?), it was condemned after the ascension of the Emperor Constantine in the 4th century, and highly discounted by the Greco-Romans in the 5th and later centuries.

In the Middle Ages, both the Protestants and Catholics condemned the Anabaptist-related sects for believing in a literal millennium.

Yet, in spite of sporadic condemnations, not all Catholic nor Protestant scholars after the Middle Ages taught against the millennium.

Notice the following admission from The Catholic Encyclopedia:

Some Catholic theologians of the nineteenth century championed a moderate, modified millenarianism, especially in connection with their explanations of the Apocalypse; as Pagani (The End of the World, 1856), Schneider (Die chiliastische Doktrin, 1859), Rohling (Erklärung der Apokalypse des hl. lohannes, 1895; Auf nach Sion, 1901), Rougeyron Chabauty (Avenir de l'Eglise catholique selon le Plan Divin, 1890). (Kirsch. Millennium and Millenarianism, pp. 307-310)

Thus, the millennium was not strongly condemned within Catholicism into the 19th century.

But this was to change.

In the twentieth century, Catholics apparently were concerned so much about the millennial teaching that the Vatican decided to act against it.

Notice the following Catholic writing:

Millenium {sic}: Since the Holy Office decreed (July 21, 1944) that it cannot safely be taught that Christ at His Second Coming will reign visibly with only some of His saints (risen from the dead) for a period of time before the final and universal judgment, a spiritual millennium is seen in Apoc. 20:4-6. St. John gives a spiritual recapitulation of the activity of Satan, and the spiritual reign of the saints with Christ in heaven and in His Church on earth. (LeFrois, Bernard J. Eschatological Interpretation of the Apocalypse. The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. XIII, pp. 17-20; Cited in Culleton, The Reign of Antichrist, p. 9)

Oddly, the above suggests that Satan has been gone a thousand years (Satan is shown to eventually be bound for 1,000 years in Revelation 20:3).

Does any thinking person believe that Satan was ever bound and away from the Earth for 1,000 years after the Book of Revelation (which Catholics often refer to as the Apocalypse) was written? This has never happened literally or spiritually. It will happen in the millennium.

But another questions is, why might the Vatican have issued such an anti-millennial decree in 1944?

There are two possible reasons that come to mind.

The first is that after Adolph Hitler's third reich, which was supposed to be a thousand year rule, was clearly losing WWII, the Vatican decided to it needed to officially distance itself from millennial teachings.  They did not seem keen on condemning it when Adolph Hitler was rising in power or winning battles.  Only after it became apparent that he would lose, did the Vatican somewhat rise up to condemn this doctrine.

The second is that by that time, Herbert W. Armstrong, a Church of God leader, was proclaiming Christ's gospel of the kingdom enough on radio throughout North America that Vatican leaders perhaps decided to more officially distance themselves from that belief (which they also could have heard versions of from others).

One or both of those facts may have been factors in the timing of the Vatican's announcement.

And although it seemed to warm up to the idea again in 1966 (Culligan, pp. 67, 113-115), the Vatican has gotten tougher on this is in more recent history.

Teaching the millennial reign of Christ on the Earth, the Gospel of the Kingdom, is considered by Benedict XVI to essentially be a MAJOR teaching of Antichrist.  Yet, we in the Continuing of the Church of God consider it a MAJOR end time doctrine of the Bible. 

Amazingly, it is the only major teaching associated with Antichrist claimed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the first truly revised edition in centuries, and one that contains the Imprimatur of the one who is now the pope:

676 The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism...(Catechism of the Catholic Church. 676, p. 194)

Notice that the Bible teaches that the kingdom of Jesus will come to this world and this lasts one thousand years (which is what “millenarianism” represents):

15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!"…

And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years (Revelation 11:15; 20:4c).

The Catholic Encyclopedia actually realizes that the Bible teaches as 1,000 year reign:

Apocalypse...Fourth act (chapters 19-20)
The victory over the beast and the great dragon. A knight appears mounted on a white horse. His name is "The word of God". He defeats the beast and the false prophet. They are cast alive in the pool of fire. Their defeat is followed by the first resurrection and the reign of Christ for a thousand years. The martyrs rise to life and partake with Christ in glory and happiness. (Van den Biesen, Christian. "Apocalypse." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. Nihil Obstat. March 1, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 11 Dec. 2009 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01594b.htm>)

Yet, notice what Joseph Ratzinger wrote in a paper titled The Theology of History in St. Bonaventure before he became Pope Benedict XVI:

...both Chiliasm [the teaching of the Millennium] and Montanism were declared heretical and were excluded from the universal church; for they both denied this vision [the "Christ is the end of the ages" vision] and awaited still another period of more definitive salvation to follow after the age of Christ {note the comments within [] were from the Catholic writer Birch}. (Birch, pp. 515-516)

The fact that we, in the Continuing Church of God, specifically teach the millennium AND that there is another time for salvation IS specifically condemned by the emeritus pope.  In this way, we are also different from most millennial Protestants who normally do not teach after the second resurrection that salvation will be offered to those who did not have a real opportunity in this life (see also Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants).  We also teach that there will be a third resurrection where the incorrigibly wicked will be raised and destroyed as shown in Revelation 20:13-14 (see also What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrections? and The Last Great Day: Shemini 'Azeret).

It appears that the millennial view is being so definitely condemned now, because we are getting so close to that time, that the Vatican intends to warn against following any who will be teaching it, like the Continuing Church of God and the actual two witnesses.

The teaching of the millennium is part of the gospel of the kingdom that Jesus stated would be taught to the world as a witness before the end comes (Matthew 24:14).  It may be that it is partially because of the effective teaching of this message that will embolden the final pontiff, who could by the Roman definition be considered an antipope, to ask the King of the North to intervene and stop the work of the true Church.

While the two witnesses lead the final witness at the end, perhaps it should be emphasized the old Worldwide Church of God taught that the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom by the Philadelphia portion of the Church ends at the time it goes to the place of safety (Armstrong HW. The Time We Are In, Now. Pastor General's Report-Vol 1, No. 15, November 20, 1979, p. 2).

What may happen is that the preaching of the genuine Church of God may be so powerfully effective for a while that the compromised Vatican will experience suffering from a little group that it did not really know existed, that is, the secret sect.

This may lead to the events in Daniel 11:28-35 and Matthew 24:9-10, including the persecution of the Philadelphians mentioned previously.  It will also lead to reprisals by Roman Catholic supporters that will eventually affect others, including the non-Philadelphian COGs.

Notice that Canon III of the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 encouraged “Catholics” to exterminate heretics:

We excommunicate and anathematize every heresy which exalteth itself against this holy, orthodox, and Catholic faith, which we have set forth above; condemning all heretics, by whatsoever names they may be reckoned: who have indeed diverse faces, but their tails are bound together, for they make agreement in the same folly…

But let the Catholics, who, having taken the sign of the cross, have girded themselves for the extermination of the heretics, enjoy the same indulgence, and be armed with the same holy privilege as is conceded to those who go to the assistance of the Holy Land. (Evans J. The statutes of the fourth general council of Lateran. Oxford University, 1843.  Digitized Oct 23, 2006, pp. 86, 87)

Notice that the above was to apply to “all heretics,” and while we in the Church of God are NOT actual heretics (though some of us were raised as Catholics), pronouncements such as Canon III will likely be used as justification for persecution against us.  Is that any different than the position taking by Islamic extremists to destroy all the infidels by pointing to some Islamic pronouncements?

The following private prophecies support the idea of reprisals from the Roman Catholics and that its enemies and a sect, apparently of the Church of God, are rendered inconsequential by their leaders:

Blessed Anna Maria Taigi (died 1837): On this terrible occasion so many of these wicked men--enemies of His Church and of their God--shall be killed by this divine scourge that their corpses round Rome will be as numerous as the fish which a recent inundation of the Tiber had carried into the city. All the enemies of the church, secret as well as known, will perish over the whole earth during that universal darkness, with the exception of the some few, whom God will soon after convert. The air shall be infected with demons, who will appear under all sorts of hideous forms. (Connor, p.26)

Bernhardt Rembordt (died 1783): After a time of peace and prosperity, during the reign of the Great Monarch...there will be more wars...They want to found a new kingdom of Christ...They call themselves servants of God...As such many will themselves with their wives and children.  And four hundred will be strangled with intestines...That is the beginning of the blood-era…Many strange people will be murdered…(Culleton G. The Reign of Antichrist, pp. 153-154)

Anne Catherine Emmerich (Purification day 1822): I saw during the last few days marvellous things connected with the Church. St. Peter's was almost entirely destroyed by the sect, but their labors were, in turn, rendered fruitless and all that belonged to them, their aprons and tools, burned by the executioners on the public place of infamy. They were made of horse-leather, and the stench from them was so offensive that it made me quite sick...(Emmerich, The Life and Revelations, Volume II. p.292)

The comment about public executioners appears consistent with the Orthodox comment about there being one for the Sabbath keepers.  The comments about being burned by executions and horse leather stench may be referring to some of Philadelphian remnant Church of God literature and/or related people being burnt up as this is also consistent with Daniel 11:33.  Like other persecutions throughout history, it is unlikely that the Greco-Roman confederation will only limit the persecutions to those actually part of the Philadelphia remnant of the Church of God, like the Continuing Church of God.

It should be mentioned here that the idea that “heretics” should NOT be burned was condemned as an error by Pope Leo X in one on the ex-Cathedra pronouncements he made.  Notice:

            Some of the errors Martin Luther spreads:…

            33. That heretics be burned is against the will of the Spirit.

(Leo X, Pope.  Papal Bull Exsurge Domine. Decreed June 15, 1520, in the seventh year of Our Pontificate, Anno Domini.  As cited at  http://www.dailycatholic.org/exsurgdo.htm viewed 08/08/09) 

So, according to at least one pope, burning heretics is “the will of the Spirit.”  Of course, no scripture supports Pope Leo’s position.

An Orthodox mystic seems to teach that the Great Monarch, who may be demonically influenced (cf. Revelation 16:13), will kill his enemies and burn them up:

Saint Andrew Fool-for-Christ (c. 4th century): {Through the reign of} this King…for their blasphemous religion…the remaining ones will be annihilated, they will be burned to death and they will die a cruel death…The entire world will fear this King.  He will instigate through fear...(Tzima Otto, p. 113, 114)

The Bible itself shows that demons have influenced prophetic events (1 Kings 22:20–23), will do so in the future (2 Corinthians 11:13-15), and that cruel demons will clearly be supportive of the Beast and the False Prophet (Revelation 16:14).  These private prophecies suggest that some mystics have confused those on the side of Jesus and those on the side of demons.  Accepting the ecumenical form of religion in the future will mean choosing the side of demons, not truly the side of God.  Those affiliated with the true Church of God will point out that kingdom of God is what humanity needs and that feared Great Monarch King is on the side of demons.

The following non-biblical prophecy that mentions secret societies and a particular false religion may specifically apply to the Philadelphian remnant of the Church of God (and/or groups like it):

JANE LE ROYER (d. 1798) SISTER MARY OF THE NATIVITY

"Many precursors, false prophets, and members of infernal secret societies, worshippers of Satan, shall impugn the most sacred dogmas and doctrines of our holy religion, shall persecute the faithful, shall commit abominable actions...

"When the time of the reign of Antichrist is near, a false religion will appear which be opposed to the unity of God and His Church. This will cause the greatest schism the world has ever known. The nearer the time of the end, the more darkness of Satan will spread on Earth, the greater will be the number of children of corruption, and the number of Just will correspondingly diminish. (Culligan, pp.127,128)

Now the above suggests that secret societies will impugn the most sacred dogmas and doctrines of the Catholic religion.  Before Jesus, who some mystics sometimes seem to identify as the Antichrist, (see chapter 62) comes, a false religion will arise that is “opposed to the unity of God and His Church.”

In other Catholic writings, it is the trinity that is referred to as the unity of God.  The Catholic Encyclopedia states:

The Trinity is the term employed to signify the central doctrine of the Christian religion -- the truth that in the unity of the Godhead there are Three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, these Three Persons being truly distinct one from another…Three Persons are that One Omnipotent God in whom the Apostles believed. Indeed the unity of God is so fundamental…(Joyce G.H. The Blessed Trinity. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XV Copyright © 1912 by Robert Appleton Company)

Those in the true Church of God, of course, have long opposed the compromised church.

The “false religion” in the above prophecy can only be referring to an anti-trinitarian group. Notice that this group “appears” just before Antichrist.  Thus, if the “false religion” that appears at the end AND the “secret sect” are the same group, then the private prophecies are warning about a group with “Jewish practices” that starts causing them problems in the 20th century, that is anti-trinitarian.  This clearly describes the old Worldwide Church of God and, in the 21st century, the Continuing Church of God.

It should be mentioned that other Catholics seem to feel that prior to the Antichrist coming, some they associate with him will take a non-trinitarian view of the Godhead.  Notice the following Catholic writings:

Athanasius (4th century): But, whereas one heresy and that the last, which has now risen as harbinger of Antichrist, the Arian, as it is called. (Athanasius.  Four Discourses of S. Athanasius, Archbishop of Alexandria, Against the Arians Discourse 1. Copyright © 2004 by The National Institute for Newman Studies)

Cardinal Newman (19th century): Thus we have found S. Athanasius calling Arianism "the forerunner of Antichrist," Syn. § 5, [prodromos], præcursor; vid. also Orat. i. §§ 1 and 7; Ap. c. Ar. fin.; Hist. Ar. 77; Cyr. Cat. xv. 9; Basil. Ep. 264; Hilar. Aux. 5, no distinction being carefully drawn between the apostasy and the Antichrist. (Newman JH. Four Discourses of S. Athanasius, Archbishop of Alexandria, Against the Arians Discourse 2. Copyright © 2004 by The National Institute for Newman Studies)

Those of us in the Continuing Church of God espouse what Catholics have termed semi-Arianism (see chapter 22), deny the Greco-Roman trinitarian unity of God, and our writings and preaching are often clearly opposed to those now taken by the “Catholic Church.”

The old Worldwide Church of God and groups that came (directly or indirectly) out of it, as far as the Catholics are concerned, have simply recently appeared out of nowhere.  Modern Catholics are normally not willing to accept that we can trace our spiritual roots throughout history, although our ties to the faithfulness to the earliest apostolic successors, like Polycarp, are much stronger than theirs. 

The prophecies warning about some type of Arianism being taught near the time of the end could be applied against groups like the Continuing Church of God.

Knowledge Will Increase

After the Great Tribulation begins, many will see the final phase of the work and many will respond, for according to the Bible:

3 Those who are wise shall shine
Like the brightness of the firmament,
And those who turn many to righteousness
Like the stars forever and ever.  (Daniel 12:3)

The above is happening during the time of Jacob's trouble (Jeremiah 30:7), which is part of the final time of the Gentiles (cf. Luke 21:24; Revelation 11:2). Notice also the following:

43 Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God. 45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul. 46 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us:

'I have set you as a light to the Gentiles,
That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.'" (Acts 13:43-47)

More Gentiles will be called, and many will respond:

9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" 11 All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:

"Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom,
Thanksgiving and honor and power and might,
Be to our God forever and ever.
Amen."

13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?"

14 And I said to him, "Sir, you know."

So he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. 16 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." (Revelation 7:9-17)

The final phase of the work will include additional Gentile involvement. This may be why more Gentiles are responding now to the Continuing Church of God. Of course, the Ezekiel warning must be given to the descendants of Israel, and is being given, but when those descendants do not respond as they should, God does turn to calling more Gentiles, as happened in the time of the Apostle Paul (Acts 13:43-47).

The final 'Elijah' is to arrive and restore "all things":

12 Indeed, Elijah is coming first and restores all things. (Mark 9:12)

This includes knowledge that was lost about doctrine, prophecy, and church history, and likely proper priorities on Christian living, such as turning the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers (Malachi 4:5-6; cf. Ephesians 6:1-4).

Notice something else the Prophet Daniel was told:

4 "But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase." (Daniel 12:4)

Those in the Church of God also need to increase their knowledge. This would include knowledge of doctrine, prophecy, early Church history, as well as aspects of Satan's plan so that these matters can be answered and the truth defended (1 Peter 3:15).

Satan would be aware of this and would realize that knowledge put together in books and articles could be used to try to undermine his plan.  Thus, perhaps he helped inspire the following private prophesies:

Nursing Nun of Bellay (19th century): At the same time, the Great Monarch ascends the throne of his ancestors…All these things shall come to pass once the wicked have succeeded in circulating large numbers of bad books. (Dupont, p.51)

Trappistine Nun of Notre Dame des Gardes: Chastisement will come when a very large number of bad books have been spread. (Dupont, p 114)

Abbe Voclin: People will speak only of money. Horrible books will be freely available. Intellectuals will argue fiercely among themselves. Then war will break out that will see the rise of the Great Monarch. (Dupont, p 114)

Those in the Church of God write some books (Armstrong HW. Mystery of the Ages. Dodd & Mead, 1985; Thiel B.  2012 and the Rise of the Secret Sect.  Nazarene Books, 2009.  www.thesecretsect.com; Thiel B. Fatima Shock!  Nazarene Books, 2012 www.fatimashock.com; Thiel B.  Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States. Nazarene Books, 2012, www.barackobamaprophecy.com; Thiel B. The Last Pope. Nazarene Books, 2013. www.thelastpope.com) and booklets (Armstrong HW. The Book of Revelation Unveiled at Last! 1972) that some may feel partially fulfill the above.  And is it gets closer to the end time, it would appear that some of our materials will be claimed to fulfill those prophecies relatively soon, especially within the next several years.   That is when the “Catholic” Great Monarch is expected to rise up.

While those in the real Church of God are not the only ones who can write books that Roman Catholics disapprove of as a false religion, as it gets closer to the end, I believe that some of our writings (like this text) will be considered a serious threat to various ones in the Roman Catholic Church.  Part of the reason is that both scripture and history document our faithfulness above groups like theirs.  Scripture not only teaches that knowledge would be increased in the time of the end, but that all things would be restored (Matthew 17:11), which presumes that this knowledge will somehow be conveyed--likely including (but not limited to) the written word.

Furthermore, Roman Catholic prophecy suggests that some will attempt to the attack the Greco-Roman Church at its very foundations during a time that seems to parallel their “minor chastisement”(Birch, pp. 364,553).   Some of them teach this will happen before the Roman Catholic Church gains its major end-time prominence.  Here is one such account:

Elizabeth Canori-Mora (died 1825): All men shall rise one against the other, and they shall kill one another without pity. During this sanguinary conflict the avenging arm of God will strike the wicked, and in His mighty power He will punish their pride and presumption. God will employ the powers… for the extermination of these impious and heretical persons who desire to overthrow the Church and destroy it to its very foundation. These presumptuous men in their mad impiety believe that they can overthrow God from His throne; but the Lord will despise these artifices, and through an effect of His Mighty Hand He will punish these impious blasphemers by giving permission to the infernal spirits to come out from {Hades}. Innumerable legions of demons shall overrun the earth, and shall execute the orders of Divine Justice by causing terrible calamities and disaster; they shall attack everything; they shall devastate property and alimentary productions, cities and villages. Nothing on earth shall be spared. God will allow the demons to strike with death those impious men because they gave themselves up to the infernal powers and had formed with them a compact against the Catholic Church…(Connor, pp. 22-23)

Interestingly Dibar Apartian (a late evangelist) and I, could be considered to be heretical persons.  The reason is that both of us were “Catholic” (with Dibar Apartian as originally Armenian Orthodox Catholic and I originally Roman Catholic), only those baptized as Catholics (and possibly their children) and having left the dogmatic teachings of the Catholic church can officially be considered to be heretics by the Roman Church (though in modern times official pronouncements are considered necessary to be an actual heretic). 

Others in the genuine Church of God who work to expose the Roman Church from its very foundations, yet do not have a Roman Catholic background, would be considered to only be impious.   Heretics are always also considered to be impious.  It seems that only those who know their Bibles and the truth of early church history would have the ability to destroy the very foundations of the false church.  Hence, knowledge of real church history would seem to be part of the final phase of the work (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:15).  But while the faithful who lived through times of doctrinal compromise understood much of what happened, a lot of this knowledge had not been retained.  During the time when knowledge is to increase (cf. Daniel 12:4), greater understanding of real church history (including doctrinal compromise) is something that should be restored.

Notice that the mystic Elizabeth Canori-Mora claims that infernal spirits/demons will punish those working to expose the Catholic Church at its very foundations.  The Bible itself shows that demons will perform signs to influence end-time events (1 Timothy 4:1; Revelation 9:20) and that they will be supportive of the Beast and the Antichrist (Revelation 16:14; 18:12).  The last cited “Catholic” prophecy, like several others, confirms that certain “Catholic” private prophets have confused those on the side of Jesus and those on the side of demons.  Do Catholics not realize that according to prophecies of their mystics that they often will be choosing the side of demons and not truly the side of God?  Do those in the Church of God realize how some of them may be used of God to support the work of fighting against the side of demons?

The Role of Catholic Prophecies

Speaking of demons and Catholic prophecies, Desmond A. Birch, a Roman Catholic writer, has made the following observations:

Several private prophecies of canonized Saints specifically state that there will be a latter restoration of the Holy Roman Empire and that there will be at least one last Holy Roman Emperor. The authenticity of the authorship of such prophecies of canonized Saints (e.g., St. Hildegard, St. Vincent Ferrer, St. Francis of Paula, and St. John Vianney) at least over the last eight hundred years is scholastically unquestionable.

We are left with the options that:

(1) the prophecies are genuine,

(2) all of the Fathers and Saints, throughout the centuries who attested to some form of this tradition were deluded or mistaken in exactly the same way, or

(3) that they were all liars and part of a massive Catholic conspiracy which has spanned seventeen centuries, within which they are managed to tell exactly the same lies. (Birch, p.281)

I would tend to pick a modified version of numbers 2 and 3, while pointing out the private prophecies do not teach everything “exactly the same way.”  Because they often contradict scripture, many of the private prophets have been deluded by demons.  This would be part of a Satanic conspiracy, with some compromising complicity, that has spanned more than seventeen centuries.  Those who do not love the truth of entirety of the word of God (Psalm 119:160; John 17:17), will be deceived by end time events and not be saved then (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10).

For additional proof of that position, notice that Anne Emmerick was one of those prophets Desmond Birch referred to elsewhere in his book.  She allegedly claimed that Jesus had visions of Limbo (Emmerich AC. The Life of Lord Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelations. Schmöger edition, Vol. IV, pp. 274, 349-351) and reportedly had close contact with many dead souls in Limbo (Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerick. Mystic, Stigmatist, Visionary, and Prophet 1774-1824. Copyright © 2001-108 Leo's Design. http://members.chello.nl/~l.de.bondt/EmmerichEng.htm viewed 8/23/08).   Although Limbo was never a COG doctrine, the Vatican itself now correctly indicates that Limbo does not exist (The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized. The International Theological Commission, Vatican City, April 20, 2007. at http://www.campchabad.com/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20070419_un-baptised-infants_en.html#_ftn2 viewed 02/07/09; see also What is Limbo? Is There Such a Place as Limbo? What Happens to Babies When They Die?).  Thus, the stigmatic Nun Emmerick, who also claimed to see evil spirits and dead pagans (Emmerich AC. The Life of Lord Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelations. Schmöger edition, Vol. IV, pp. 351-352), should likely be seen as being demon influenced as there is no such place as Limbo.  This should also demonstrate to Catholics that stigmata and other signs are not proof that their prophets are true.  Many other “private prophets” had visions related to the dead or seeing the dead.

The Bible warns against these kinds of prophets.  Notice what Isaiah was inspired to write:

19 And when they say to you, "Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter," should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them (Isaiah 8:19-20).

The testimony is referring to God’s word (Isaiah 8:16; cf. Revelation 19:10).  Mystic prophets often prefer the traditions of men, including how they tried to change the laws of God, over the true law and true testimony of the Bible.

There are many private prophecies that are not going to come to pass.  Some are in blatant contradiction to others.  But many have come to pass and others may come to pass, even if the dates etc. are wrong.  Remember that Satan and his demons do have some knowledge of God’s plan (Matthew 4:6; James 2:19). 

However, it is reasonable to expect that some “Catholics” will point to their private prophecies as proof as part of the signs and wonders showing why they and their explanations of prophetic events should be accepted instead of those in the Bible.  This is part of why those who profess to believe the Bible need to be aware of them during the final phase of the church age (cf. 2 Peter 3:14-18; 2 Corinthians 2:11).

Because of the timing, its size, its anti-trinitarian stance, its Sabbath-keeping, its long-held position of restoring apostolic Christianity, its emphasis on prophecy, its aversion to wearing crosses, its emphasis on gospel proclamation, its identification of false Greco-Roman “Christianity,” and our positions on early church history, I believe that one or more parts and/or members of the Church of God seem to represent what that certain “Catholic” mystics have long warned about).  And the fact that there are those with beliefs that Catholic prophets have warned about for centuries, this should let all those with eyes to see and ears to hear consider the fact that it is the Continuing Church of God, not the Church of Rome, which is the most faithful Church. 

Why else would demonic forces have inspired so many private prophecies for so long against the true Church of God if it was truly a cultic group of no consequence?  Knowing this, and being able to explain this to the world (cf. Daniel 11:28-35) would seem to be part of the final phase of the work (see also Catholic Prophecies: Do They Mirror, Highlight, or Contradict Biblical Prophecies?).

Certainly, the two witnesses will not only have to explain the Bible, but also have to explain why various signs and lying wonders are false (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).  These signs and lying wonders would also seemingly have to do with dealing with false prophets and false prophecies who will deceive all except the elect (Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22-23).  Hence, pointing out those errors would seem to have to be part of their testimony (cf. Revelation 11:7).  The two witnesses, and those who have similar beliefs, will likely be knowledgable of Satan's devices (2 Corinthians 2:11), including his agents' use of false prophecies, twisting scripture, and distorting church history.

Does God Need a Smooth Orator to Proclaim His Truths?

Some have suggested that God would only want to use leaders who are smooth orators to lead the final phase of the work, but that is not consistent with the biblical account.

Notice what Jesus said:

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. Amen (Matthew 28:19-20).

It should be obvious that Jesus intended that the gospel would be proclaimed throughout the world until He returned, and He did not require great speaking abilities. Some, citing John 6:28-29, seem to dismiss the need to truly do the work that Jesus said. Some forget, "faith without works is dead (James 2:20,26) and that Jesus gave the commision after responding to people who wanted to see the work of God then (almost 2,000 years ago)--before the start of the New Testament church age.

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)

For some details that this applies to the Continuing Church of God, check out see Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God.

Moses tried to object when God called him to lead His people, but God had other ideas:

10 Then Moses said to the Lord, "O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue."

11 So the Lord said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? 12 Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say."

13 But he said, "O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send." (Exodus 4:10-13)

God is responsible for who He calls and will provide whatever skills, speaking or otherwise, that God wants.

But it was not just Moses. Notice what the prophet Jeremiah told God:

4 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying:
5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;Before you were born I sanctified you;I ordained you a prophet to the nations."
6 Then said I:
"Ah, Lord God!Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth."
7 But the Lord said to me:
"Do not say, 'I am a youth,'For you shall go to all to whom I send you,And whatever I command you, you shall speak. 8 Do not be afraid of their faces,For I am with you to deliver you," says the Lord.
9 Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me:
"Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. 10 See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms,To root out and to pull down,To destroy and to throw down,To build and to plant." (Jeremiah 1:4-10)

God also called the Apostle Paul. Paul wrote more books of the Bible than anyone. He called himself an apostle to the Gentiles (Roman 11:13), yet did not consider that he was inferior to the other apostles (2 Corinthians 11:5).

But he was not that good of a speaker:

10 "For his letters," they say, "are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible." (2 Corinthians 10:10)

God decides who He wants to call and does allow His leaders to have "thorns in the flesh" (2 Corinthians 12:7) for His purposes. Those who look for the most eloquent speakers need to realize that the Jews did that, but that Paul responded with the truth:

1 Now after five days Ananias the high priest came down with the elders and a certain orator named Tertullus. These gave evidence to the governor against Paul. 2 And when he was called upon, Tertullus began his accusation (Acts 24:1-2).

10 Then Paul, after the governor had nodded to him to speak, answered: "Inasmuch as I know that you have been for many years a judge of this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself, 11 because you may ascertain that it is no more than twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 And they neither found me in the temple disputing with anyone nor inciting the crowd, either in the synagogues or in the city. 13 Nor can they prove the things of which they now accuse me. 14 But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. 15 I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust. (Acts 24:10-16)

Notice that Paul got the message across even though he was apparently not as good of a speaker as the one who was making accusations against him.

Be careful about discounting what God may do through you or His chosen leaders, presuming they speak the word of God in truth.

God wants those who worship Him in Spirit and in truth:

23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:23-24)

He also wants those who love Him more than family or social connections:

37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. (Matthew 10:37-39)

Most, even in the COGs, are not willing to leave their comfort zones or support. More are Laodicean than think that they are.

Although David was famous in Israel for slaying Goliath, leading battles, and being the son-in-law to King Saul, of the millions in Israel, only some hundreds were willing to support him:

1 David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. So when his brothers and all his father's house heard it, they went down there to him. 2 And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him. (1 Samuel 22:1-2)

Are you one that would have supported Saul or David? It is David, and not Saul, that the kingdom ended up being established through, and will be for all eternity. Be symbolic supporters of David and support the Continuing Church of God as we lead the final phase of the work.

The Two Witnesses

The Bible teaches that the two witnesses will prophesy and do miracles for 3 1/2 years:

3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.

4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. 5 And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. 6 These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire. 7 When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. (Revelation 11:3-7)

Thus, for the two witnesses at least, prophecy, testimony, miracles, and martyrdom are part of the final phase of the work. It is likely that the two witnesses will visit the Christians who are protected in a place of safety, as well as probably get some support from Christians, as well as Christian sympathizers, who are not in that place over the course of those three and one-half years.

More on the two witnesses can be found in the article Who Are The Two Witnesses? (here is a related link in Spanish/español:¿Quiénes son los dos testigos?). An online sermon is: Prophecy and the Two Witnesses.

Messages of Three Angels

Although the two witnesses will be part of the final phase of the work, there are other parts.

In addition to the warnings by God's two witnesses for 3 ½ years and God’s remaining people, as well as various signs and trumpets from God, God is going to provide a warning of repentance to the world by way of three angels. This is part of the final phase of the work:

6 Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— 7 saying with a loud voice, "Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water." 8 And another angel followed, saying, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." 9 Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name" (Revelation 14:6-11).

God wants people to repent and will also use angelic beings to get the gospel message out.  Actually, because much of the rest of the world will prosper at this time (cf. Revelation 18), they will not be aware that the “Day of the Lord” is about to come, even though they will have been warned.  That is probably why the Bible teaches that “the day of the Lord will come as a thief” (2 Peter 3:10).

Between the two witnesses, the three angels, and the remaining Christians on the earth at that time, God will get an effective warning message out.  And ultimately through the various plagues and other interventions mentioned in Revelation and elsewhere, eventually humans will have to pay attention. People of all backgrounds will respond (Revelation 7:9-17).

Many in various COG groups today, while not referring to the the messages of the three angels in Revelation 14 (but sometimes the two witnesses), act like they personally have little or no part in doing the final phase of the work, but God will work it out. And while God will, people need to decide whether or not they have the Philadelphian zeal to actively support and even participate in that work.

Conclusion Summary on the Final Phase of the Work

We in the Continuing Church of God are using modern technology to fulfill Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20. We also recognize that the final phase of the work has many parts, but we are leading the parts that we can. We are warning the world about what is going to happen.

Since the coming ecumenical power is prophesied to deceive the world (Revelation 13:4,8) and use signs and lying wonders (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12), those who know their God need to have the spiritual strength and knowledge to resist (James 4:7).

The Bible teaches:

40 Beware therefore, lest what has been spoken in the prophets come upon you: 41 'Behold, you despisers, Marvel and perish! For I work a work in your days, A work which you will by no means believe, Though one were to declare it to you.'" (Acts 13:40-41)

And most in the Church of God will not believe it, even though they were told and could see the truth if they were willing.

The final phase of the work involves:

The final phase of the work includes proclaiming that it is the good news of the coming kingdom of God (Matthew 24:14) and not supporting the Great Monarch/Beast kingdom of man, as God's kingdom is what humanity needs and what God wants His people to proclaim.  That is what we in the Continuing Church of God are trying to do--and we have reached millions of people in over 220 countries and territories through the internet, radio, personal contact, and the written word.

The final phase of the work will be done, Jesus will return, the Beast power will be destroyed, and the millennium will commence. 

Do you have the courage to support the final phase of the work?

Thiel B. The Final Phase of the Work. http://www.cogwriter.com/final-phase-of-the-work.htm 2013/2014/2015/2016/2017 1215

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