Artist’s representation of Jacob’s ladder dream (Genesis 28:10-17)
Were dreams involved with the Philadelphia era of the Church of God?
Do dreams and prophets have any place in the Christian Church today?
Did any dreams precede the start of the old Radio Church of God? What about the Continuing Church of God (which did not officially form as a declared entity until December 28, 2012)?
The Bible records that God often has used dreams to give messages (Genesis 20:3-7, 28:10-17, 31:10-13, 31:24, 37:5-10, 40:5-18, 41:1-32; Numbers 12:6; Judges 7:13-15; 1 Kings 3:5-15; Daniel 2:3-45, 4:4-27, 7:1-28; Matthew 1:20-25, 2:12, 2:13, 2:19, 2:22; Acts 16:9).
I had a dream prior to the start of the Continuing Church of God, as did someone I did not know who lived in New Zealand.
While some may wish to discount what happened with me, let us also look at something that the late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote about dreams:
Let me say here that in about 99,999 times out of 100,000, when people think GOD is speaking to them in a dream or vision in this day and age, it is pure imagination, or some form of self-hypnotism or self-deception. I have only come to believe that this dream was a bonafide call from God in the light of subsequent events. (Autobiography of Herbert Armstrong, (Volume 1), chapter 10, 1973, p. 194)
And that is correct. Most dreams are not from God, even if people think that they are. Notice what the Bible teaches:
7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God. (Ecclesiastes 5:7)
Dreams from God are shown to be correct in the light of subsequent events (though just because a dream ends up being correct, that does of itself, not prove that it was from God as there can be other factors, cf. Deuteronomy 13:1-5, but God Himself does sometimes use dreams, Numbers 12:6; Acts 2:17-18).
There are also false dreams:
2 For the idols speak delusion; The diviners envision lies, And tell false dreams; (Zechariah 10:2)
Though many discount all dreams, many also forget that Herbert W. Armstrong believed that his wife Loma D. Armstrong had a dream from God, although it took him some years to accept the validity of it:
Within 30 or 60 days after our marriage God spoke to my wife in what might have been an intense unusual dream, or a vision — but it was years later before we came to realize that this really was a message from God. (Armstrong HW. Brethren and Co-worker letter, November 28, 1956)
One night my wife had a dream so vivid and impressive it overwhelmed and shook her tremendously. It was so realistic it seemed more like a vision. For two or three days afterward everything else seemed unreal — as if in a daze — and only this extraordinary dream seemed real.
In her dream she and I were crossing the wide intersection, only a block or two from our apartment, where Broadway diagonally crosses Sheridan Road. Suddenly there appeared an awesome sight in the sky above. It was a dazzling spectacle — the sky filled with a gigantic solid mass of brilliant stars, shaped like a huge banner. The stars began to quiver and separate, finally vanishing. She called my attention to the vanishing stars, when another huge grouping of flashing stars appeared, then quivering, separating, and vanishing like the first.
As she and I, in her dream, looked upward at the vanishing stars, three large white birds suddenly appeared in the sky between us and the vanishing stars. These great white birds flew directly toward us. As they descended nearer, she perceived that they were angels.
“Then,” my wife wrote a day or two after the dream, in a letter to my mother which I have just run across among old family pictures, “it dawned on me that Christ was coming, and I was so happy I was just crying for joy. Then suddenly I thought of Herbert and was rather worried.”
She knew I had evidenced very little religious interest, although we had attended a corner church two or three times.
Then it seemed that, from among these angels in her dream, that, “Christ descended from among them and stood directly in front of us.
At first I was a little doubtful and afraid of how He would receive us, because I remembered we had neglected our Bible study and had our minds too much on things apart from His interests. But as we went up to Him, He put His arms around both of us, and we were so happy! I thought people all over the world had seen Him come. As far as we could see, people were just swarming into the streets at this broad intersection. Some were glad and some were afraid.
“Then it seemed He had changed into an angel. I was terribly disappointed at first, until he told me Christ was really coming in a very short time.”
At that time, we had been going quite regularly to motion – picture theatres. She asked the angel if this were wrong. He replied Christ had important work for us to do, preparing for His coming — there would be no time for “movies .” (Those were the days of the “silent” pictures.) Then the angel and the whole spectacle seemed to vanish, and she awakened, shaken and wondering!
In the morning, she told me of her dream. I was embarrassed. I didn’t want to think about it, yet I was afraid to totally dismiss it. I thought of a logical way to evade it myself, and still solve it. …
Do not hastily ascribe a dream to God. True, the Bible shows that God has spoken to His own chosen servants by this means of communication — primarily in the Old Testament, and before the writing of the Bible was completed. But most dreams mean nothing. And false prophets have misled people by telling false dreams, representing their dreams to be the Word of God (Jeremiah 23, where God sa ys, “I am against prophets who recount lying dreams, leading my people astray with their lies and their empty pretensions, though I never sent them, never commissioned them” — verse 32, Moffatt translation).
Certainly I did not ascribe this dream to God. It made me feel a little uncomfortable at the time, and I was anxious to forget it — which I did for some years. I was twenty – five at the time. God left me to my own ways for five more years. But when I was age thirty, He began to deal with me in no uncertain terms… (The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, 1973, pp. 187,193-194).
Loma and Herbert Armstrong were married in 1917. They were specifically told that they would have a work to do. Furthermore, the bright lights in the dream may have had to do with doing a work (cf. Matthew 5:16)–a work that seemed to vanish and return (flash). Thus, there was a dream from God given to a woman in the 20th century that preceded the start of the old Radio Church of God that Herbert W. Armstrong led. The Radio Church of God represented the start of the Philadelphia era and the Philadelphian work–a work that is not finished (cf. Matthew 24:14-15)–and Herbert W. Armstrong claimed that a dream given to his wife was from God, prior to the start of the Philadelphia era.
Since the Philadelphia era was raised up years after that dream, a question to ponder is would God do anything similar to point to the continuation of the end-time COG remnant of the Philadelphians? Consider that in Loma Armstrong’s dream that there were two sets of flashing stars–there were two parts to the dream. Herbert Armstrong is now dead and there was a pause between the work God had him to do and the completion of the final phase of the work to finally fulfill Matthew 24:14 (cf. Isaiah 29:14).
In the past, like in 2013 and 2014, I have called the time between his death and the formation of the Continuing Church of God the transitional phase (see also The Final Phase of the Work)–which is consistent with Loma Armstrong’s dream. God will cut that final work short (Romans 9:28) which results in the famine of the word (Amos 8:12; see also Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word) which is consistent with the vanishing stars in Loma Armstrong’s dream (though there could be other interpretations–we in CCOG are continuing the Philadelphia work and expect to be the ones God will use on earth to help finish it).
Herbert Armstrong mentioned the dream from time to time publicly, here are two nearly identical accounts:
I’m usually pretty skeptical about God speaking to anyone today in visions or dreams. God speaks to us thru His Son, Jesus Christ — the WORD of God — and the Bible is the written Word. I didn’t really believe it then, 38 years ago, but subsequent events have verified that God did speak to my wife at that time, shortly after we were married, revealing thru an angel that He was calling us to the mission of WARNING the world of the fast-approaching END OF THIS WORLD, the Coming of Jesus Christ, and the world-ruling Kingdom of God. At the time I was unconverted, not bothering to attend church, interested only in business and making money. I was embarrassed — a little awed — but immediately tried to put it out of my mind. But at age 30 God took away my business, struck me down, took away my idol of money-making and business prestige. (Armstrong HW. Co-worker letter, November 25, 1955)
I’m usually pretty skeptical about God speaking to anyone today in visions or dreams. God speaks to us thru His Son, Jesus Christ — the WORD of God — and the Bible is the written Word. I didn’t really believe it then, 38 years ago, but subsequent events have verified that God did speak to my wife at that time, shortly after we were married, revealing thru an angel in a vision that He was calling us to the mission of WARNING the world of the fast- approaching END OF THIS WORLD, the coming of Jesus Christ, and the world-ruling Kingdom of God. At that time I was unconverted, not bothering to attend church, interested only in business and making money. I was embarrassed — a little awed — but immediately tried to put it out of my mind. But at age 30 God took away my business, struck me down, took away my idol of money-making and business prestige. (Armstrong HW. Co-worker letter, February 21, 1956)
Notice that the dream was to go until the end of the world and the coming of Jesus–since Herbert Armstrong has been dead since January 16, 1986–if the dream was from God then, does it not make sense that the second half of the dream would be fulfilled by another in the 21st century? We in the Continuing Church of God are fulfilling that second part of stars.
Perhaps it should be mentioned, Herbert Armstrong had more information about what I am referring to as the first set of stars in the dream. He wrote:
It was a dazzling spectacle…People by the hundreds came running into this broad intersection looking up to see the strange phenomena … A vast multitude of eyes were upon us… I have only come to believe that this dream was a bonafide call from God in the light of subsequent events. (Armstrong HW. The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, 9th installment. Plain Truth, August 1958, p. 18).
Eyes of a vast multitude suggest that the dream was saying that the work to be done was to have a witness to many. This happened with the old Radio and Worldwide Church of God under Herbert Armstrong’s leadership in the 20th century. The second set of stars in the dream, which he did not mention in the August 1958 Plain Truth, article, but did in his published Autobiography, may pertain to what I have called, for years, The Final Phase of the Work. But even if it had applicability to the ministry of Herbert Armstrong only, the dream, which he shortly before his death he confirmed he believed was from God (per Aaron Dean, who I discussed this with on October 30, 2015), shows that one did precede the COG work he was involved in.
Consider that Herbert W. Armstrong considered that his wife Loma’s dream was from God. He also believed the first part of it had to do with the start of the Philadelphia era of the Church of God via the Radio Church Church of God. He did not discuss the fulfillment of the second part of the dream directly, however he taught another work would be done.
Dale Schurter, a former WCG minister, reported that Herbert W. Armstrong stated the following in 1984/1985 (shortly before he died in January 1986). Here are two accounts of this:
“A few months before Mr. Armstrong’s death, my wife and I had the opportunity to spend several hours with Mr. Armstrong in his home in Pasadena. He spoke freely of the mighty work God had commissioned him to accomplish, and related certain heartfelt comments: ‘I can say that I have finished the work God has given me to do, and am at peace about it. I have preached and taken the Gospel of the Kingdom of God into all the world as a witness to all nations.’
“Mr. Armstrong went on to say, ‘I have come to realize there will be an even greater work to follow—to go again, to “prophesy again” to all nations tongues and peoples (Rev. 10:11) before the work of the two witnesses—but with more power and with a stronger warning message. But that will be for others to do.’ He continued, ‘It will be a short work (Rom. 9:27-29), compared with the longer time to complete the work I was given, and it will be cut short. That’s when the Great Tribulation will begin, as will the work of the two witnesses. These will last for three and one-half years, at the end of which Christ will return in glory.’” (“The Greatest Work Lies JUST Ahead…” as stated in RCG letter of May 31, 2013)
When Mr. Armstrong was age 91 — about 1984 — Mona and I had opportunity to spend several hours with him in his home in Pasadena to visit and further report on work he had commissioned us to do. We were to report directly back to him. He talked freely of the mighty work God had given him to accomplish. He went on to tell us there was yet a bigger work still to be done, to go again and repeat what has been done, but with more power and with a stronger warning, just before the work of the two witnesses would begin. He said it would be a “short work” (Rom. 9:27-29) compared with the longer time to complete the work he had been given, and that it would be “cut short.” That’s when the great tribulation would begin, as would the work of the two witnesses. These would last for three and one-half years. (January 7, 2012 Dale Schurter Speaks Out: UCG Resignation Letter http://www.rcgtruth.com/2012/01/dale-l-schurter-resignation-letter_06.html)
Herbert Armstrong’s part of the work lasted over 50 years, and he seemingly felt that the “short work” would be much shorter than his work. And that is correct.
Here is what was in Herbert W. Armstrong’s last letter:
The greatest work lies ahead…Never before in the history of the Church has it been possible to reap so great a harvest. It has only been made possible through modern technology, beginning with the printing press, radio, television...Each of you must commit yourself to support God’s Work…God’s work must push ahead as never before. God is opening up new doors in television (Letter, 1/10/86).
Consider that since Herbert Armstrong did not teach that the second part of his wife Loma’s dream was fulfilled and that he also taught a greater work was going to happen after his death. It is greater because it will fulfill Matthew 24:14, etc. That is the work that we in the Continuing Church of God are leading (see The Final Phase of the Work and Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word). It appears that the second part of Loma D. Armstrong’s dream was pointing to the Continuing Church of God–the group that best represents the remnant of the Philadelphian portion of the Church of God.
The fact that there were also other dreams related to the Continuing Church of God that were confirmed is consistent with the fact that God has used dreams related to the Continuing Church of God.
Of course, many do not want to believe that God uses dreams or will discount the ones they hear about.
Yet, the Bible shows that God often chooses to work with prophets through a dream:
6 “Hear now My words:
If there is a prophet among you,
I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision;
I speak to him in a dream. (Numbers 12:6)
Notice that the above says that God will speak to His prophet in a dream. Notice also:
28 The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream (Jeremiah 23:28)
Several years ago I had a dream, which while I did not understand it at first, as it became more and more fulfilled over the years, I began to understand it and believe it was from God.
I was 50 at the time (which essentially makes me an ‘old man’ per Numbers 8:25; cf. John 8:57). In my dream, there seemed to be two parallel lines. Living Church of God (LCG) evangelist Roderick Meredith was on the top line and I was on the line much below. In the dream, I kept calling up to Dr. Meredith, but he never would respond. This lack of response made no sense to me during the dream. Then after what seemed to be a long time, the lines-crossed with his line dropping and my line going up.
One reason that I did not understand it at the time was that I was on relatively close speaking terms with Dr. Meredith then (he repeatedly told me he considered me to be his friend, plus he had appointed me an adviser to LCG on matters of doctrine and prophecy), so that aspect of the dream made no sense. Also, since I had no intentions of leaving Living Church of God then (and certainly no plans to start a separate church), it was not clear what the dream was saying. Another reason I was unsure about the dream then was that I had not had any anointing for the Holy Spirit beyond baptism when I had that dream.
But these matters changed eventually. For one, I was unexpectedly anointed for a ‘double-portion’ of God’s Spirit (cf. 2 Kings 2:9) on December 15, 2011 by an LCG minister named Gaylyn Bonjour.
Furthermore, over time, Dr. Meredith became more distant from me, would not keep various promises to me, and ultimately stopped speaking with me. And after I got a letter from him on 12/28/12, it was clear to me that there was no way that the Philadelphia mantle could be with him or any of his leaders. These subsequent events showed me that the dream was being fulfilled.
Related to dreams, the Bible also teaches:
8 “And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. 29 And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. (Joel 2:28-29)
14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them,
“Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. (Acts 2:14-18)
28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? (1 Corinthians 12:28-30).
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ– 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love (Ephesians 4:11-16).
Despite what the Bible supports, most Church of God groups do not seemingly accept that there are any prophets today, nor do they seem to accept that God actually sometimes speaks in dreams in the 21st century–some, oddly, seem indignant of the very idea. Part of the reason for this is that those self-proclaimed ‘prophets’ outside of the Continuing Church of God have tended to be proven to be false (see also Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders?).
But that does not mean God doesn’t ever use dreams or have any in the office of prophet or ever pour out a ‘double-portion’ of His Spirit (cf. 2 Kings 2:9-15) as happened when an ordained minister so prayed and anointed me on December 15, 2011 (see also How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God).
The Bible shows that the Apostle Peter and the prophet Joel mentioned that there would be some with prophetic dreams in the end times.
Fesilafai Fiso Leaana Had a Dream
In addition to my dream (which seemed consistent with Number 12:6 and Acts 2:17), there also seems to have been at least one other dream related to the Continuing Church of God that I would like to mention in some detail here that someone else had.
Unbeknownst to me until late September 2013, a woman named Fesilafai Fiso Leaana of New Zealand had a dream after going to bed on December 8, 2012. Here is a report that Fesilafai Fiso Leaana wrote about her dream:
A few months before my dream, my husband and I noticed a contradiction in practice, regarding the sabbath commandment in LCG, from there we started to pray continuously for God to lead us to where the truth is. It seems God has answered our prayers through the dream.
The dream began with myself and approximately 70 New Zealand Living Church of God brethren, then suddenly LCG vanished (I was wondering where is LCG?) and I was left standing with approximately 10 people excluding myself, on a very high building. We were standing on the very top of the building, where I couldn’t see the bottom, there were no other buildings, just this building. I could not see the bottom of the building but just clouds below the building and clouds surrounding the building which led to a beautiful white mountain – a mountain that had no ends on either side. The building was pretty close to the mountain, I could see the top of the mountain. The mountain was all white and so beautiful. I remember that I began to be filled with joy and peace. But also wondering how we got up on this building and confused why there were no other buildings but the clouds seemed like it was hiding the building and I felt protected or it felt like a safe place. I looked around there were still only about ten people there, the only person I could clearly recognize was Shirley constantly working, the approximate ten others were just sitting and standing around. So I walked around the building looking for the large crowd from LCG, but all I kept returning to was that Shirley was working and doing different types of work alone while the others were still sitting and standing around the building with me. I wondered why she was working a lot. I could not find LCG.
Then suddenly a message came to my mind: “There is a secret in the mountain”. And I was so happy to know that, I was still feeling elated and could still see the beautiful white mountain and wondered about the secret. Then I asked: “What is the secret?” Then the message said, nobody knows the secret in the mountain but only you have received this message that there is a secret in the mountain. Then I asked ‘what is the secret in the mountain?’ I received a message to my mind that told me that “the secret in the mountain is the Ark of the Covenant”. Then the dream abruptly ended because I woke up. And immediately, I woke up my husband and recounted the dream to him, and I told my husband that it reminded me of when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments on the mountain and that the mountain was also covered with clouds.
On the same day after my dream, at church service Mr Penman warned us to be careful what we read from Bob Thiel’s Obama book, because they do not support everything he wrote in it. At the time I kept your name in my mind as I did not know who you were then.
Then 3 weeks later Shirley contacted me regarding your Chronology – the exit from LCG. Shirley had all of the Chronology and gave us all a print out of it and went over it with my husband and I. Shirley kept stressing the integrity of the LCG leadership and administration was compromised as proven by your Chronology account. Then my husband and I had to make a decision whether we would continue with LCG or go with Bob Thiel (you) since Shirley, John and Kayla had already decided to be with you
We decided to go with Bob Thiel and then left the meeting but a letter from Mr. Penman and a visit from the new New Zealand minister Paul attempted to obstruct our departure and tried to dissuade us from leaving LCG and coming with you. This forced us to carefully rethink our decision.
My husband and I were alone, that’s when my husband said to me, “remember your dream? This is what your dream means, that we need to leave this church and go with Shirley”. That’s when we knew what to do. And this dream is the reason most of us in the kiwi CCOG knew that we are in the right Church, God told us to come to this Church. We reaffirmed with Shirley and others that we were going to go with Bob Thiel and my husband told them the dream for the first time and that the dream is the reason my husband and I decided to come.
Not having all the details of the dream, Shirley then prayed about the dream. She asked God for more understanding on the dream. Then the next day she was reading the book of Psalm and Psalm 25:14 JUMPED out at her: “The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant.” (email 9/29/13)
Within several weeks of the dream, ten people in New Zealand, including Shirley Gestro (the Shirley above) began to attend the newly formed Continuing Church of God.
Biblically, mountains can symbolize government (Psalm 30:7; Isaiah 11:9; Daniel 2:35; Zechariah 4:7) and white purity or cleanness (Isaiah 1:18; Revelation 7:14, 19:14). Clouds around a mountain (or at least the top of it) could show a separation—maybe a separation that keeps many from seeing all of the truth (cf. Job 22:14; Lamentations 3:44) or recognizing top leadership?
The dream seemed to be a signal to confirm that the Philadelphia mantle was not with the Living Church of God, but instead was associated with someone that that had something to do with the ark of the covenant. Prior to the dream Fesilafai Fiso Leaana indicated that she had problems with how the leadership in LCG viewed the Sabbath, and that was one of the issues that I dealt within weeks of the formation of the Continuing Church of God.
Now, I (Bob Thiel) never heard of, nor learned of, this dream until after the start of the Feast of Tabernacles in September 2013 in New Zealand (which is where my wife Joyce and I began keeping the Feast of Tabernacles in 2013).
Why is that potentially significant?
Back in 2006, when I was first asked to give a sermon at the Feast of Tabernacles, it occurred to me that never in WCG, GCG, nor LCG did I recall anyone actually fulfilling the requirement in Deuteronomy 31:10-13 about reading the “words of the law” in Deuteronomy every seven years at the Feast of Tabernacles (see also The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time to Learn the Law). So, when the opportunity to give a sermon came up (in Guatemala), I attempted to go through that book of the law. In 2012, it occurred to me that since this was to be done every seven years, that somehow I would need to do this in 2013 (seven years later), but I was not sure how this would be done. However, once the Continuing Church of God formed, I realized that how this would be done at the Feast of Tabernacles in 2013 (sermons were given related to that, links to which are found in the article Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2013).
After I began to cite Deuteronomy 31:10-13 and started reading the book of the law at the Feast of Tabernacles in New Zealand in 2013, Fesilafai Fiso Leaana came up to me and told me about her dream. We discussed some points about it and the ark of the covenant, etc. As it turns out, one of the items that was kept besides the ark of the covenant was the very same “Book of the Law” (Deuteronomy 31:26) that I was reading in its entirety publicly during that Feast of Tabernacles. This is a connection that, humanly speaking Fesilafai Leaana could not have known. (There are also other potential ramifications related to the ark of the covenant that I may attempt to publicly address in the future.)
Subsequent events, events that Fesilafai Leaana could not have known on December 8/9, 2012, confirmed her dream. She had no idea that the Continuing Church of God was going to form, and I had not made the decision to actually form it until after getting a letter on December 28, 2012. Fesilafai Leaana’s dream is another witness as to the proper start, etc. of the Continuing Church of God.
Senhor Pires Had a Dream
On March 28, 2014, I flew into London for a two night stopover, before heading to Kenya for a CCOG leadership conference. Within an hour of arriving at my hotel, Senhor Pires came for baptismal counseling. As we walked from the hotel lobby to my room, he wanted to tell me about a vision he saw in a dream that he had.
Here is what he said:
I had this dream. In it was a vision of a congregation of the Continuing Church of God inside a transparent glass bubble (like a balloon). And everyone, I mean everyone apart from the speaker, was black. The speaker was white. And I was asking myself inside that bubble…”why is everyone black here?”
It made no sense to me. I wondered why I would see this.
When Senhor Pires told me the above, I began to laugh. I said to him, “Didn’t you know that the vast majority of people in the Continuing Church of God were black?”
And he said, “No, I figured that most would be white.”
I then told him, “This is quite interesting. Your dream seems to be one of three or more directly related to the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) that has had confirmation.”
I also told him that I was to fly to Kenya in two days Sunday, and that those who were to attend a Continuing Church of God leadership conference from Kenya and Tanzania were also black, and that I, the main speaker, would be the only one who was white. And that is what happened.
Also as it turns out, not only was Senhor Pires black, the others who came to attend Sabbath services with us the next day in the United Kingdom were also black. Neither Senhor Pires nor I were aware of this until March 30, 2014.
While this may not seem to be a massive ‘earth-shattering’ dream, it is yet additional confirmation that God has used dreams/visions to communicate to at least three individuals who all later became part of the Continuing Church of God. Dreams and visions are something that God intended to use during the end times (cf. Acts 2:17-18; Joel 2:28-29). Elijah apparently once thought that God would be in something dramatic, but then only was in “a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11-13).
I believe that they are partial confirmations that the Continuing Church of God was to lead (two dreams happened prior to CCOG’s formation), and now is leading, the final phase of the work . The truths that we teach should be accepted as the other proof:
45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. (John 8:45)
Believe the truth, at least for the truth’s sake. Christians are to believe and know the truth (1 Timothy 4:3). The truth sets Christians free (John 8:32) from all types of error (including Laodicean ones, cf. Revelation 3:14-22). The Laodiceans and remnant of Sardis have so many prophetic misunderstandings that they will not possibly know when the Great Tribulation will start until it is too late!
Although some have chosen not to believe all the facts about how and why the Continuing Church of God began, recall that the Bible teaches:
16 ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ (Matthew 18:16)
19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. (1 Timothy 5:19)
Of course, since Gaylyn Bonjour always freely stated that he did the ‘double-portion’ anointing, there long had been a second witness (though various ones have their own opinion about how to interpret that).
Yet, in addition to various facts, the dream from Fesilafai Leaana looks like perhaps God was planning on making it clearer for true Philadelphians (who are in various organizations/fellowships) to see that the mantle location had truly changed. And the one from Senhor Pires showing that God had a major plan for Africans within that.
At the CCOG Feast of Tabernacles sites around the world in 2015, the vast majority were black (although this was not the case for the two sites in North America–blacks did attend, but they were not the majority).
Received the following unsolicited email by a CCOG member in the eastern USA, after he watched the sermon Dreams, COGs, and One Man Rule:
Thank you for a needed sermon to inform those who have doubts about the use of dreams by God and to make it clear who God is using now to finish the final phase of His work. I know many are skeptical of one who claims they are the one God is using to lead His Work/Church. This is understandable since there are those who make such claims and are in it for themselves. Clearly you are doing what God has commissioned/called you to do. I can see no reason why you would dedicate so much time and energy in starting and leading the CCof G (what material benefit do you receive?). Materially you would be better off putting that time and energy into your business. However, the only wise option you really have is to allow God to use you as He wants since ones reward is in heaven. Therefore one should store up treasure in heaven. I do not believe you sought/seek power and prestige as some do in other so called Church of God groups.
I believe God has lead me to CCofG. He heard and answered my prayer. I finally became so disgusted with GCI and where it had lead God’s people. I had so many issues with their doctrine, and tearing down of everything God built through HWA. But I did not know where to go. I believed God called and chose me and that His church would never die out. For many years I thought the mantel passed from HWA to Mr. Tkach senior, since Mr. HWA chose him as his successor, and then Joe Jr. Of course I was wrong. I looked to the example of unfaithful kings in Israel and Judah and waited for God to appoint a faithful leader. The example of David waiting for God to remove Saul was misunderstood by me.
The last straw was a message DXX RXXXXX gave on church history about 4 years ago. He traced church history through the Catholic Church and he marginalized Mr. Armstrong’s work. I finally woke up. I asked God to lead me where His most faithful leader and body of believers was. In time and after much study of church history and those who were most faithful to the faith once delivered God lead me your website. He answered my prayer. Interestingly it was not until I had re-studied early church leaders such as Polycarp and Polycrates plus the Passover/Easter issue on other web sites, etc. that I discover Cogwriter by “accident”.
I recalled what HWA taught about church history and realized there still must be a Church of God group still faithful to biblical teachings and contending for the faith once delivered. But where and who?
The main reason I never considered a break off group from WCG in the 1990′s was because I first came in contact with Jerry Flurry’s group. I reject his teaching on the man of sin and other doctrines and his leadership style. Also, when Global started and other break off groups there was such confusion and governance issue it seemed to me it was better to stay where I was in WCG. Of course being in Connecticut we were far from Pasadena and had little first hand information.
However, I knew from scripture God did not want Christians to go it alone. He formed His church and it was ones duty to support His work as well as develop a personal relationship with God. Many of my friends just left WCG or became members in churches of this world. Some stayed with WCG. But I believed God raised up HWA to start the 6th church era and to proclaim the second coming of Jesus Christ. Therefore, how could I just be content to go it alone, (outside of His Church)? Thankfully in time God answered my prayer and I believe has led me to CCofG.
Hopefully others will wake up. Thank you for your faithful service.
It is good this member found the sermon helpful. As far as his observation that I was not seeking power and prestige, I would add that he has met with me and seen me both in the USA and Canada, and realizes that my profession, etc. could give me more of that. And yes, I would concur with his position that I would be better off financially (as well as the related stresses of ‘the burden’ associated with the work, cf. Malachi 1:1; Numbers 11:11) if I did not lead the CCOG, as I do not take a salary from the Continuing Church of God (CCOG).
While the Bible says that ministers are entitled to be compensated per the Apostle Paul (1 Timothy 5:17-18), it also warns against worthless shepherds:
1 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3 You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.” (Ezekiel 34:1-6)
While there is nothing wrong with wearing wool clothing, many in the ministry ended up with better clothes than perhaps they otherwise would have. Often their focus has been wrong.
Why do I not take a salary?
Two basic reasons:
1) The work would be affected too much negatively–the Apostle Paul, himself, worked in his profession at times (Acts 18:3). We must feed the flock spiritually, and that does take funds to reach people. Costs are incurred for literature, the internet, video production, graphics, printing, postage, and travel–including sending Pastor Evans, Pastor Owak, myself, and/or others to differing locations to minister.
2) If I took a salary a lot more people would go hungry, especially in Africa (cf. Galatians 2:10). The salary amount that would be appropriate for me by historic Worldwide Church of God standards would be more than all the money we currently send to Africa each year. That being said, while I wish we had more money to send to Africa (and sometimes Asia), as we cannot satisfy all the hungry and other needs there, we are sending what we can. We try to feed the flock physically where we can (yet, even the Apostle Peter could not always give to the needy per Acts 3:6), and that takes funds.
My not taking a salary, car, housing allowance, etc. does not mean I would never consider taking a salary, but with the ‘present distress’ (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:26) I have chosen not to do it and God has blessed our business enough that our family has our needs, etc. met.
The Work is Being Done
The work (Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20; Galatians 2:10) is being done, and CCOG is a work that God has blessed with at least 3 dreams prior to its start and at least once since.
The CCOG has also been the fastest growing of the COG groups, and has exceeded the 30% growth per year that for a time occurred in the old Radio/Worldwide Church of God (see also )CCOG reports 1900 attended its festival sites and has a total membership of over 2200.
But many do not believe that God will work using dreams in the 21st century, despite the reality that most once part of the old WCG supposedly believed that God did in the 20th century (see also Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God).
Of course, some will discount dreams and their confirmation as proper proof of anything they do not wish to believe. Many want more dramatic signs (Matthew 12:38; 1 Kings 19:11-12), but God does not always do it that way (Matthew 12:39-42; 1 Kings 19:12-14).
Can you believe?
If so, are you willing to support the most faithful remnant of the Philadelphia portion of the Church of God?
Some items of possibly related interest may include:
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here is a related YouTube video titled The Final Phase of the Work.
Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God How has God used dreams in the past? Does God still use dreams? Did He use any involving those in the Continuing Church of God? A related sermon is also available: Dreams, COGs, and One Man Rule.
Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word What is the ‘short work’ of Romans 9:28? Who is preparing for it? Here is a link to a related video sermon titled: The Short Work.
Leading the Final Phase of the Work Matthew 24:14 will be fulfilled. Who is leading the final phase of the work? What did Herbert Armstrong and the old WCG teach about that and about prophets? Does Bob Thiel meet the criteria that the Bible and the old WCG set? What is the proof? What has the Continuing Church of God been doing? This is a sermonette length video.
The Elijah Heresies Does the Bible teach that there will be a future Elijah? Must it be Herbert W. Armstrong? Two related sermons are available Elijah: Prophecies and Heresies and Elijah, Herbert W. Armstrong, and CCOG.
Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert W. Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and Herbert W. Armstrong expect from lower level leaders?
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God There are many false prophets. How can Christians determine who is a true prophet? There is also a sermon-length video titled How to determine if someone is a true prophet of God. Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Cómo determinar si alguien es un verdadero profeta de Dios?
The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and COG-7th Day.
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots. They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent. One video of related interest is 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy.
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God.