Does the Bible teach about spiritual gifts?
Of course, many do not want to believe that God and will often discount the ones they hear about.
On the other hand, some claim spiritual gifts that they simply do not have from God.
The Bible teaches, “test the spirits, whether they are of God” (1 John 4:1, NKJV throughout unless quoting other writers quoting scripture).
The Apostle Paul further taught:
1 Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts...12 Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel. (1 Corinthians 14:1, 12)
He further wrote about various spiritual gifts, with some cautions:
1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:..
4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. (1 Corinthians 12:1,4-11)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:22-26)
True Christians possess one of more of the gifts of the Spirit. And sometimes, we do not know until later what are spiritual gifts or talents truly are. But all Christians are to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18), and knowledge is a spiritual gift (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:10-14). We should all have love, joy, peace, wisdom, faith, etc. If not, the spiritual gifts we may seem to possess are as nothing (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:1).
In sermons, we often teach about love, wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, the discerning of spirits, and fruits of the Spirit (e.g. Galatians 5 & 6: The Gifts of the Spirit).
Because that is something that Christian leaders are to do:
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.
17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:11-24)
As far as spiritual gifts go, many do not value wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, or the discerning of spirits very much. Many think that spiritual gifts are more like healings, doing miracles, prophesying, speaking in tongues, etc. And while those CAN BE spiritual gifts, God does no tend to manifest them in ways that most people will accept.
Jesus made that clear when He spoke to the religious leaders of His day:
29 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, 'If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.' (Matthew 23:29-30)
38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You."
39 But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here. (Matthew 12:38-42)
The same holds true in this day. And even though Jesus did perform many miracles, they still had Him killed.
Now, when we preach, we do not give gives like healings, doing miracles, prophesying, speaking in tongues, etc. While we can give teachings about those matters, they come from the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:11). As far as the ministry goes, what we can do is pray for you, and as appropriate, lay on hands (see Laying on of Hands). God will then determine what gifts to give you then, and later as you examine yourself and grow.
DO NOT THINK THAT YOU MUST SEE OUTWARD MIRACLES. Notice something that John was inspired to record:
24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord."
So he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."
26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!" 27 Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing."
28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"
29 Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:24-31)
We are supposed to believe and to "walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7).
The late Dr. Herman Hoeh wrote:
People have been seeking the wrong source of power! The churches are looking to material substitutes, to psychological panaceas. But they are not. looking to the real source of power which filled the apostles and the whole Church in apostolic days! Notice the source of that power: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”. (Romans 15:13)
Notice it! "Filled"! Filled with what? "With all joy and peace"!
By what power? "By the power of the holy Spirit"! The inspired, original New Testament Church was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. We don't see that today. Instead, we see either insipid pseudospirituality or uncontrolled human emotionalism masquerading as the power of God. Consider what mighty spiritual power overflowed the Church in apostolic days:
“And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:31) Inspired preaching — not soft, purring sermons — came from the apostles! Where do you see that kind of power in today's churches? This was not some kind of uncontrolled, pseudospiritual, humanly generated, emotional ecstasy often witnessed in evangelistic campaigns. This was the real power of God — not a counterfeit, uncontrolled emotionalism. ...
How many really believe that God acts upon or operates in human lives through the Holy Spirit? ...
How to Lead a Fruitful Life
How many of you feel empty and frustrated; feel spiritually lifeless? Here's how to lead a rejuvenated, fruitful life — how to be imbued with Power! Notice the fruit of the Spirit:
“22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23).
It is by the fruits of the Spirit that you know you have received the Holy Spirit of God. "Therefore by their fruits you will know them" said Jesus (Matthew 7:20).
The first fruit is love. Love is the greatest spiritual Power on earth. "The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us" says Paul in Romans 5:5. What is the love of God? "Love is the fulfillment of the law." is Paul's answer in Romans 13:10. Love is a godly, spiritual force; imparted by the Holy Spirit, that channels the human will into obedience, obedience to God's law.
If you love God, you will — by the power of God, not by your human strength — be keeping all His commandments — all ten of them. No one who continues to break God's law of love has received the Spirit of God or has the power of God working in him! That means that millions of deceived, but sincere, professing Christians who have not surrendered their wills to God and who do not keep all the Ten Commandments have never received the Spirit of God — they are still unconverted — and they never will be converted until they yield to God's spiritual law of love.
The other fruits of the Spirit, mentioned by Paul in Galatians 5:22, amplify the attitude of love.
Obedience to God is not harsh and cruel and unyielding — it is a joy, it is peaceable and gentle, it expresses itself in self-control. Self-control is the key to real spiritual power. Most people cannot be filled with spiritual power because they have not been willing to exercise self-control. Uncontrolled power is worse than no power at all. I know that this is hard to believe. Some of you probably were taught that you cannot receive the Holy Spirit until you work up your emotions — until you reject God's law. That deceptive teaching results from hearing a different gospel than Jesus preached. That is the way of Cain who hated his brother Abel. God's law of love has been His message from the beginning (1 John 3:11-12 11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, 12 not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.).
But men have refused it! ...
Just as a fetus in a mother's womb must have physical substance added to the original ovum (egg) and sperm if that new physical life is to develop, so we must be filled with spiritual nourishment — "filled with the Spirit" — so that our minds grow spiritually.
The Holy Spirit from Christ and the Father may be "compared to a current of electricity flowing through a light bulb. We are that bulb. But there could be no light without a filament inside the bulb. That filament is comparable to the spiritual seed from the Father. As we receive more of God's Spirit, we emit more power — more light! Our light literally fills the room!
The expression "filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18) does not mean to be filled with emotional manifestations (which come from the flesh and not from Spirit). It means that we are imbued with Spirit from heaven administered through Jesus Christ in His office as High Priest.
Notice how Paul explains this in Romans 8:9: " But you are not in the flesh" — we are not motivated by fleshly passions — "but in the Spirit" — motivated and guided by Spirit — "if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you."
That is the Holy Spirit in the form of a seed from the Father transmitting His characteristics.
But notice what Paul adds: "Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His." — that is, the Holy Spirit from the Father and Jesus Christ, filling our minds so that we can grow spiritually. This begettal and growth through the Holy Spirit most people have never understood. (Hoeh H. How You Can Be Imbued With the POWER of God. Plain Truth, Apirl 1979)
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)
We need to have a spiritual focused love of God and our neighbor as well as love of the truth. Plus we need to act on the truth.
While the Apostle Paul teaches that we are to desire the best gifts, that love is what profits:
12:31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
13: 1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. ... 13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 12:31; 13:1,13)
Love is the most important spiritual gift that we can demonstrate and develop.
Christians are the ones who should have received the "love of the truth" (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11; Matthew 24:24).
The Bible does teach about other spiritual gifts, such as discernment, which can be related to interpretation:
9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11)
Notice that Paul tied in real love, true knowledge, and proper discernment with righteousness. These are all essentially gifts of the Spirit (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:1-11).
Notice also the following:
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
Not only do we need the gift of faith related to salvation, we need faith to walk the Christian way of life.
Some spiritual gifts are mentioned related to the start of the New Testament church:
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." 12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "Whatever could this mean?"
13 Others mocking said, "They are full of new wine."
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. 19 I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. 21 And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.'
22 "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know — 23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. (Acts 2:1-22)
Despite what the Bible supports, most Church of God groups do not seemingly accept that there are any prophets today, nor do they seem to accept that God actually sometimes speaks in dreams in the 21st century–some, oddly, seem indignant of the very idea. Part of the reason for this is that those self-proclaimed ‘prophets’ outside of the Continuing Church of God have tended to proven to be false (see also Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders?).
But that does not mean God doesn’t ever use dreams or have any in the office of prophet. The Bible shows that God can pour out a ‘double-portion’ of His Spirit (cf. 2 Kings 2:9-15) as what happened when an ordained minister so prayed and anointed me on December 15, 2011 (see also How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God). As already cited, the Bible shows that the Apostle Peter and the prophet Joel mentioned that there would be some with prophetic dreams in the end times.
Questions have come up about 'speaking in tongues.' First it should be noted that the idea that the Pentecostals have about having 'tarry meetings' to "pray down the Holy Spirit' for 'baptism of the Holy Spirit' as they understand it is NOT biblical nor a practice shown in the New Testament. They have misuderstood Acts 2 and other scriptures. For more details on this check out the article The Tongues Question.
Consider also that it is never recorded that Jesus spoke in any tongue other than Aramaic and Hebrew. And He apparently did not do that more than others who read and taught from the Hebrew scriptures in His day.
Notice also the following:
A "tongues movement" is sweeping the religious world. Once confined to a few "fundamentalist sects," it now finds adherents in almost every denomination, including some of those considered the most staid and traditionalist. Is glossolalia a real manifestation of the Holy Spirit as in the days of the apostles? Here is the answer from both biblical and linguistic research.
GLOSSOLALIA — coined from the Greek words meaning "tongue-speech" — was once confined to the scattered, small, usually emotion-charged meetings of "Pentecostal" groups. But the last few years have changed that picture entirely. From Catholic to Lutheran, Baptist to Presbyterian to Episcopalian, one finds enthusiastic believers in the "gift of tongues." Laymen and clergy alike participate.
There are still many who oppose "speaking in tongues." But the number of those who actually experience the phenomenon is growing constantly, while the total of nonparticipants who favor tongue speaking also continues to swell.
Is this a sign that the Holy Spirit is sweeping the religious world? Are we truly seeing a return to the faith of the Apostolic Church? Or is this only a devilish counterfeit being palmed off on naive people? This is not merely an academic question. The answer could concern your spiritual life.
One of the views taken by many non-religionists — but also by some religious people — is that "tongues" both in the Bible and elsewhere is "ecstatic speech" — the incoherent ramblings of someone in a state of ecstasy. One theologian writes: "Paul goes to great lengths to hold before the church of Corinth the fact that their 'tongues' are not intelligible speech, only ecstatic babbling."
Furthermore, The New English Bible uses the expressions "gift of ecstatic utterance," "language of ecstasy," "tongues of ecstasy," etc., for the Greek word (glossa, normally translated "language" or "tongue"). Some tongue speakers feel that glossolalia is not any particular language, though they might not agree that it is "ecstatic speech." But others adamantly insist that "tongues" are really actual languages of human beings — whether ancient or modern. Still others see them as a "Holy Ghost language" — the "tongues of angels."
The only way to find the truth is to examine the Bible and then compare its message with the objective studies done on modern glossolalia by skilled impartial researchers.
The first experience of "speaking in tongues" is described in Acts 2. ...
There can be no doubt that the "tongues" of Acts 2 were real, intelligible foreign languages. Even a cursory reading of the chapter shows this. Furthermore, a careful reading of the chapter in Greek adds additional evidence. Notice the key words in the Greek text.
The disciples "began to speak with other languages [glossa], so that "because of this sound [phone] the crowd came together and were astounded [sugcheo]." These same root words are found in the Septuagint version (Greek translation) of the Old Testament in Genesis II — the account of the confusion of languages at Babel! According to the Septuagint, in Genesis II God said: "Come, we will go down and confuse [sugcheo] their language [glossa] so that they will not understand one another's speech [phone]."
Is this only coincidental? Luke, the author of Acts, has the confusion at Babel in mind and deliberately chooses words used in the Septuagint account of Babel in Genesis II. Scholars have long recognized that Luke was greatly influenced by the language and wording of the Septuagint. Luke obviously regards the phenomenon on Pentecost as a reversal of the curse at Babel. They were human languages at Babel — they were also human languages at Pentecost.
But what about other references to "tongues speaking" in the New Testament? In Acts 10, we find the account of Peter's baptizing Cornelius, the Roman centurion, and others of his household. Just before they were baptized, the Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke in "tongues" (verses 44-46).
Was this a different phenomenon from that of Acts 2? Not in their speaking! "And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, as on us at the beginning" (Acts 11:15). As in Acts 2, Cornelius and those with him spoke in genuine foreign languages — languages understood by the Jewish Christians present (10:46).
In each case, the Greek word used is glossa. Elsewhere in the New Testament (and in the Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament), this word always refers to genuine human speech.
I Corinthians 14 also deals with "tongues" in detail. Yet the very same Greek word (glossa) is still used. There is absolutely no indication that something different is intended by Paul. As one investigator wrote: "The attempt to make a difference between the tongues of Corinthians and those of Acts is wholly artificial" (E. J. G. Titterington, "The Gift of Tongues," Faith and Thought 90, 1958, p. 65).
New Testament scholar J. G. Davies made a study of the accounts in Acts 2 and I Corinthians 14, especially in connection with the Greek word hermeneuo (meaning "translate" or "interpret"). He concluded: "There seems, therefore, to be no adequate reason for denying that St. Paul understood glossolalia to be speaking in foreign languages. Consequently there is no conflict between his description and the account in Acts 2, which is a unity." ("Pentecost and Glossolalia," Journal of Theological Studies 3, 1952, p. 231. See also the article by R. H. Gundry in same journal, vol. XVII, 1966, pp. 299, 307.) Without a doubt, genuine languages are referred to in I Corinthians 14 as well as Acts 2 (Grabbe LL. The New Testament Teaching on 'Tongues'. Good News, February 1975)
1 Corithinans 14 is a chapter that discusses spiritual gifts, including tongues. The Apostle Paul wrote:
1 Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. 3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. 4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 5 I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.
6 But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you unless I speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by teaching? 7 Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played? 8 For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle? 9 So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air. 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. 12 Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.
13 Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. 16 Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say "Amen" at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say? 17 For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified.
18 I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; 19 yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.
20 Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.
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.
22 Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe. 23 Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. 25 And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you. (1 Corinthians 14:1-25)
We will deal with prophets a little later after dealing with tongues.
Notice that the Apostle Paul teaches that if one speaks in a "tongue" so that no one around understands, that speaker is only speaking to God (1 Corinthians 14:2). He shows (verse 4) that this person would then only edify himself — whereas one who preaches would edify the church. In verse 6, Paul makes it clear that if he speaks in a language others do not understand it is not helping anyone. In verse 9, Paul says if someone else speaks that people cannot understand then that person is just speaking to the air. The Apostle Paul is emphasizing the necessity, for intelligible communication. Who will go to a concert just to hear all the instruments playing the wrong notes, off-key or unclearly? Then why meet with other Christians to babble away in meaningless sounds?
In verse 10, Paul teaches that there are many languages in the world.
In verse 12, he exhorts the Corinthians to speak to edify the church — not to speak in tongues or foreign languages unless they are translated into the language of the majority of the congregation understand. In verse 14, Paul says that if he prays in a foreign language his "spirit" or mind prays — but the understanding or significance of what he is saying is "unfruitful" so far as others are concerned. He then goes on to show that a man who has this gift may "bless" or return thanks in a supernaturally imparted foreign tongue, but an uneducated person would not benefit from his prayer and would be unable to say "Amen" at his thanksgiving. Thus, this type of praying or giving of thanks is unfruitful — UNPROFITABLE! In verse 19, the Apostle Paul says it is better to say one word that in understandable than 10,000 words that are not.
In verse 20, he says that understanding is important.
In verse 21, Paul is citing Isaiah:
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 28:11-12)
With our speaking as well as our translated booklets, we in the Contiuing Church of God are doing that. See, for example, Preaching the Gospel in Over 100 Languages.
But getting back to 1 Corinthians 14, the way modern Pentecostals interpret this most definitely is not consistent with the Bible.
Some have stated that one needs to be an ordained minister or evangelist or something similar to be able to interpret dreams and/or other messages from God.
But that is not a requirement according to the Bible.
Additionally, while the New Testament does not list than an interpreter of dreams has a separate title, it does discuss interpreters of tongues. Notice what the Apostle Paul wrote:
27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. (1 Corinthians 14:27-28)
Paul is writing to converted Christians here. Thus, I believe that the New Testament allows for any who have God's Holy Spirit to interpret if they feel properly led to. Both myself and Solomona Leaana (husband of Fesilafai Fiso Leaana) who interpreted the dreams in this article were properly baptized and have had hands laid upon us for the Holy Spirit. It was Solomona Leaana who interpreted his wife's dream as specifically referring to me and the Continuing Church of God, thus it was not me who originally did that. Recall Jesus said that "by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established" (Matthew 18:16).
While an interpreter may possibly make a mistake, the scripture clearly does not show that one needs to have a title to be a legitimate interpreter.
Joseph of Genesis fame was an interpreter of dreams. In the case of his interpretations of the dreams of the butler and the baker, Joseph's position was that of being a prisoner (Genesis 40:1-22). The Bible did not list that Joseph had any type spiritual title when he did that.
Daniel was also an interpreter of dreams. He was a captive and his title may have been an advisor to one or more government leaders (Daniel 1:3-7). FWIW, I was appointed an advisor to the LCG evangelists by its Presiding Evangelist Dr. Roderick C. Meredith in the late Summer of 2005. Spiritually speaking, that title is not less than whatever title Daniel held when he is first listed as interpreting a dream (Daniel 2:1-45).
Furthermore, the Old Testament is actually fairly clear that one does not need any particular title to interpret dreams. Notice the following:
13 And when Gideon had come, there was a man telling a dream to his companion. He said, "I have had a dream: To my surprise, a loaf of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian; it came to a tent and struck it so that it fell and overturned, and the tent collapsed."
14 Then his companion answered and said, "This is nothing else but the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel! Into his hand God has delivered Midian and the whole camp."
15 And so it was, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, that he worshiped. (Judges 7:13-15)
A 'companion' is not a title and that companion was the interpreter.
Furthermore, in the New Testament, Pilate's wife is shown to have had a dream and given an interpretation that the Bible does not dispute (Matthew 27:19). She would not seem to have to have to have some type of biblical title and presumably she was pagan.
So, then what about dreams?
Here is something that the late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote about dreams:
Let me say here that in about 99,999 times out of 100,000, when people think GOD is speaking to them in a dream or vision in this day and age, it is pure imagination, or some form of self-hypnotism or self-deception. I have only come to believe that this dream was a bonafide call from God in the light of subsequent events. (Autobiography of Herbert Armstrong, (Volume 1), chapter 10, 1973, p. 194)
And that is correct. Most dreams are not from God, even if people think that they are. Notice what the Bible teaches:
7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God. (Ecclesiastes 5:7)
Dreams from God are shown to be correct in the light of subsequent events (though just because a dream ends up being correct, that does of itself, not prove that it was from God as there can be other factors, cf. Deuteronomy 13:1-5, but God Himself does sometimes use dreams, Numbers 12:6; Acts 2:17-18).
There are also false dreams:
2 For the idols speak delusion; The diviners envision lies, And tell false dreams; (Zechariah 10:2)
Though many discount all dreams, many also forget that Herbert W. Armstrong believed that his wife Loma D. Armstrong had a dream from God, although it took him some years to accept the validity of it:
Within 30 or 60 days after our marriage God spoke to my wife in what might have been an intense unusual dream, or a vision -- but it was years later before we came to realize that this really was a message from God. (Armstrong HW. Brethren and Co-worker letter, November 28, 1956)
One night my wife had a dream so vivid and impressive it overwhelmed and shook her tremendously. It was so realistic it seemed more like a vision. For two or three days afterward everything else seemed unreal -- as if in a daze -- and only this extraordinary dream seemed real.
In her dream she and I were crossing the wide intersection, only a block or two from our apartment, where Broadway diagonally crosses Sheridan Road. Suddenly there appeared an awesome sight in the sky above. It was a dazzling spectacle -- the sky filled with a gigantic solid mass of brilliant stars, shaped like a huge banner. The stars began to quiver and separate, finally vanishing. She called my attention to the vanishing stars, when another huge grouping of flashing stars appeared, then quivering, separating, and vanishing like the first.
As she and I, in her dream, looked upward at the vanishing stars, three large white birds suddenly appeared in the sky between us and the vanishing stars. These great white birds flew directly toward us. As they descended nearer, she perceived that they were angels.
“Then,” my wife wrote a day or two after the dream, in a letter to my mother which I have just run across among old family pictures, “it dawned on me that Christ was coming, and I was so happy I was just crying for joy. Then suddenly I thought of Herbert and was rather worried.”
She knew I had evidenced very little religious interest, although we had attended a corner church two or three times.
Then it seemed that, from among these angels in her dream, that, “Christ descended from among them and stood directly in front of us.
At first I was a little doubtful and afraid of how He would receive us, because I remembered we had neglected our Bible study and had our minds too much on things apart from His interests. But as we went up to Him, He put His arms around both of us, and we were so happy! I thought people all over the world had seen Him come. As far as we could see, people were just swarming into the streets at this broad intersection. Some were glad and some were afraid.
“Then it seemed He had changed into an angel. I was terribly disappointed at first, until he told me Christ was really coming in a very short time.”
At that time, we had been going quite regularly to motion - picture theatres. She asked the angel if this were wrong. He replied Christ had important work for us to do, preparing for His coming -- there would be no time for “movies .” (Those were the days of the “silent” pictures.) Then the angel and the whole spectacle seemed to vanish, and she awakened, shaken and wondering!
In the morning, she told me of her dream. I was embarrassed. I didn’t want to think about it, yet I was afraid to totally dismiss it. I thought of a logical way to evade it myself, and still solve it. ...
Do not hastily ascribe a dream to God. True, the Bible shows that God has spoken to His own chosen servants by this means of communication -- primarily in the Old Testament, and before the writing of the Bible was completed. But most dreams mean nothing. And false prophets have misled people by telling false dreams, representing their dreams to be the Word of God (Jeremiah 23, where God sa ys, “I am against prophets who recount lying dreams, leading my people astray with their lies and their empty pretensions, though I never sent them, never commissioned them” -- verse 32, Moffatt translation).
Certainly I did not ascribe this dream to God. It made me feel a little uncomfortable at the time, and I was anxious to forget it -- which I did for some years. I was twenty - five at the time. God left me to my own ways for five more years. But when I was age thirty, He began to deal with me in no uncertain terms... (The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, 1973, pp. 187,193-194).
Loma and Herbert Armstrong were married in 1917. They were specifically told that they would have a work to do. Furthermore, the bright lights in the dream may have had to do with doing a work (cf. Matthew 5:16)--a work that seemed to vanish and return (flash). Thus, there was a dream from given to a woman in the 20th century that preceded the start of the old Radio Church of God that Herbert W. Armstrong led. The Radio Church of God represented the start of the Philadelphia era and the Philadelphian work--a work that is not finished (cf. Matthew 24:14-15)--and Herbert W. Armstrong claimed that a dream given to his wife was from God, prior to the start of the Philadelphia era.
Since the Philadelphia era was raised up years after that dream, a question to ponder is would God do anything similar to point to the continuation of the end-time COG remnant of the Philadelphians? Consider that in Loma Armstrong's dream that there were two sets of flashing stars. Herbert Armstrong is now dead and there was a pause between the work God had him to do and the completion of the final phase of the work to finally fulfill Matthew 24:14 (cf. Isaiah 29:14?).
In the past, like in 2013 and 2014, I have called the time between his death and the formation of the Continuing Church of God the transitional phase (see also The Final Phase of the Work)--which is consistent with Loma Armstrong's dream. God will cut that final work short (Romans 9:28) which results in the famine of the word (Amos 8:12; see also Preparing for the 'Short Work' and The Famine of the Word) which is consistent with the vanishing stars in Loma Armstrong's dream (though there could be other interpretations--we in CCOG are continuing the Philadelphia work and expect to be the ones God will use on earth to help finish it).
He mentioned the dream from time to time publicly, here are two nearly identical accounts:
I'm usually pretty skeptical about God speaking to anyone today in visions or dreams. God speaks to us thru His Son, Jesus Christ — the WORD of God — and the Bible is the written Word. I didn't really believe it then, 38 years ago, but subsequent events have verified that God did speak to my wife at that time, shortly after we were married, revealing thru an angel that He was calling us to the mission of WARNING the world of the fast-approaching END OF THIS WORLD, the Coming of Jesus Christ, and the world-ruling Kingdom of God. At the time I was unconverted, not bothering to attend church, interested only in business and making money. I was embarrassed — a little awed — but immediately tried to put it out of my mind. But at age 30 God took away my business, struck me down, took away my idol of money-making and business prestige. (Armstrong HW. Co-worker letter, November 25, 1955)
I'm usually pretty skeptical about God speaking to anyone today in visions or dreams. God speaks to us thru His Son, Jesus Christ — the WORD of God — and the Bible is the written Word. I didn't really believe it then, 38 years ago, but subsequent events have verified that God did speak to my wife at that time, shortly after we were married, revealing thru an angel in a vision that He was calling us to the mission of WARNING the world of the fast- approaching END OF THIS WORLD, the coming of Jesus Christ, and the world-ruling Kingdom of God. At that time I was unconverted, not bothering to attend church, interested only in business and making money. I was embarrassed — a little awed — but immediately tried to put it out of my mind. But at age 30 God took away my business, struck me down, took away my idol of money-making and business prestige. (Armstrong HW. Co-worker letter, February 21, 1956)
Notice that the dream was to go until the end of the world and the coming of Jesus--since Herbert Armstrong has been dead since January 16, 1986--if the dream was from God then, does it not make sense that the second half of the dream would be fulfilled by another in the 21st century? We in the Continuing Church of God are fulfilling that second part of stars (see also The Final Phase of the Work).
Perhaps it should be mentioned, Herbert Armstrong had more information about what I am referring to as the first set of stars (the first part) in the dream. He wrote:
It was a dazzling spectacle...People by the hundreds came running into this broad intersection looking up to see the strange phenomena ... A vast multitude of eyes were upon us... I have only come to believe that this dream was a bonafide call from God in the light of subsequent events. (Armstrong HW. The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, 9th installment. Plain Truth, August 1958, p. 18).
Eyes of a vast multitude suggest that the dream was saying that the work to be done was to have a witness to many. This happened with the old Radio and Worldwide Church of God under Herbert Armstrong's leadership in the 20th century. The second set of stars in the dream, which he did not mention in the August 1958 Plain Truth, article, but did in his published Autobiography, seems to pertain to what I have called, for years, The Final Phase of the Work as well as the 'Short Work.' But even if it had applicability to the ministry of Herbert Armstrong only, the dream, which he shortly before his death he confirmed he believed was from God (per Aaron Dean, who I discussed this with on October 30, 2015), shows that one dream did precede the COG work he was involved in.
Understand that Herbert W. Armstrong considered that his wife Loma's dream was from God. He also believed the first part of it had to do with the start of the Philadelphia era of the Church of God via the Radio Church Church of God. He did not discuss the fulfillment of the second part of the dream directly, however he taught another work would be done.
Dale Schurter, a former WCG minister, reported that Herbert W. Armstrong stated the following in 1984/1985 (shortly before he died in January 1986). Here are two accounts of this:
“A few months before Mr. Armstrong’s death, my wife and I had the opportunity to spend several hours with Mr. Armstrong in his home in Pasadena. He spoke freely of the mighty work God had commissioned him to accomplish, and related certain heartfelt comments: ‘I can say that I have finished the work God has given me to do, and am at peace about it. I have preached and taken the Gospel of the Kingdom of God into all the world as a witness to all nations.’
“Mr. Armstrong went on to say, ‘I have come to realize there will be an even greater work to follow—to go again, to “prophesy again” to all nations tongues and peoples (Rev. 10:11) before the work of the two witnesses—but with more power and with a stronger warning message. But that will be for others to do.’ He continued, ‘It will be a short work (Rom. 9:27-29), compared with the longer time to complete the work I was given, and it will be cut short. That’s when the Great Tribulation will begin, as will the work of the two witnesses. These will last for three and one-half years, at the end of which Christ will return in glory.’” (“The Greatest Work Lies JUST Ahead…” as stated in RCG letter of May 31, 2013)
When Mr. Armstrong was age 91 --- about 1984 --- Mona and I had opportunity to spend several hours with him in his home in Pasadena to visit and further report on work he had commissioned us to do. We were to report directly back to him. He talked freely of the mighty work God had given him to accomplish. He went on to tell us there was yet a bigger work still to be done, to go again and repeat what has been done, but with more power and with a stronger warning, just before the work of the two witnesses would begin. He said it would be a “short work” (Rom. 9:27-29) compared with the longer time to complete the work he had been given, and that it would be “cut short.” That’s when the great tribulation would begin, as would the work of the two witnesses. These would last for three and one-half years. (January 7, 2012 Dale Schurter Speaks Out: UCG Resignation Letter http://www.rcgtruth.com/2012/01/dale-l-schurter-resignation-letter_06.html)
Herbert Armstrong's part of the work lasted over 50 years, and he seemingly felt that the "short work" would be much shorter than his work. And that is correct.
Here is what was in Herbert W. Armstrong's last letter:
The greatest work lies ahead...Never before in the history of the Church has it been possible to reap so great a harvest. It has only been made possible through modern technology, beginning with the printing press, radio, television...Each of you must commit yourself to support God's Work...God's work must push ahead as never before. God is opening up new doors in television (Letter, 1/10/86).
Consider that since Herbert Armstrong did not teach that the second part of his wife Loma's dream was fulfilled and that he also taught a greater work was going to happen after his death. It is greater because it will fulfill Matthew 24:14, etc. That is the work that we in the Continuing Church of God are leading (see The Final Phase of the Work and Preparing for the 'Short Work' and The Famine of the Word). It appears that the second part of Loma D. Armstrong's dream was pointing to the Continuing Church of God.
The fact that there were also other dreams related to the Continuing Church of God that were confirmed is consistent with the fact that God has used dreams related to the Continuing Church of God.
Do you believe that God could use any dreams in the 21st century?
Perhaps it should also be mentioned that the Personal Correspondence Department in the old WCG sent out a letter on dreams and stated the Bible showed that future dreams from God to His people were expected. It then had a date change added to it and here is a quote from that one:
Thank you for your question concerning visions or dreams. The Bible reveals that in times past servants of God were given visions and dreams for specific reasons and/or to convey special messages. ...God has used this means of communication in the past and will do so again (Acts 2:17; Joel 2:28) (L052 Worldwide Church of God, 1989)
As the WCG did not publicly acknowledge any such dreams after that letter was sent, the interpretation must be that God would later use dreams (it should be mentioned that the original date of L052 was prior to 1986--hence it was not a change by the Tkach Administration).
A question to ponder is have there been any dreams from God in more recent years? Could a dream from another woman precede the start of the formation of the leader of the Philadelphia remnant?
The Bible shows that God often chooses to work with prophets through a dream:
6 “Hear now My words:
If there is a prophet among you,
I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision;
I speak to him in a dream. (Numbers 12:6)
Notice that the above says that God will speak to His prophet in a dream.
Several years ago I had a dream, which while I did not understand it at first, as it became more and more fulfilled over the years, I began to understand it and believe it was from God.
I was about 50 at the time (which essentially makes me an ‘old man’ per Numbers 8:25; cf. John 8:57). At first it made little sense. Yet, the Prophet Jeremiah at least once wondered about a message he received and later determined it was from God (Jeremiah 32:6-8), and the Apostle Peter at least once had a vision that he did not understand (Acts 10:9-17) until later as well (Acts 11:5-17). The same goes for Daniel (Daniel 8).
In my dream, there seemed to be two parallel lines. The presiding evangelist of the Living Church of God (LCG) Roderick Meredith was on the top line and I was on the line much below. In the dream, I kept calling up to Dr. Meredith, but he never would respond. This lack of response made no sense to me during the dream. Then after what seemed to be a long time, the lines-crossed with his line dropping and my line going up.
One reason that I did not understand it at the time was that I was on relatively close speaking terms with Dr. Meredith then (he repeatedly told me he considered me to be his friend, plus he had appointed me an adviser to LCG on matters of doctrine and prophecy), so that aspect made of the dream made no sense. Also, since I had no intentions of leaving Living Church of God then (and certainly no plans to start a separate church), it was not clear what the dream was saying. Another reason I was unsure about the dream then was that I had not had any anointing for the Holy Spirit beyond baptism when I had that dream.
But these matters changed eventually. For one, I was unexpectedly anointed for a ‘double-portion’ of God’s Spirit (cf. 2 Kings 2:9) on December 15, 2011 by an LCG minister named Gaylyn Bonjour (see also How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God).
Furthermore, over time, Dr. Meredith became more distant from me, would not keep various promises to me, and ultimately stopped speaking with me. And after I got a letter from him on 12/28/12, it was clear to me that there was no way that the Philadelphia mantle could be with him or any of his remaining leaders (see Roderick C. Meredith's Accusatory Letter to Bob Thiel). These subsequent events showed me that the dream was being fulfilled. This dream gave an outline of what would happen in the future and that has happened.
28 The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream; And he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. (Jeremiah 23:28)
I also had another dream (and do not recall precisely when, but it was prior to 2012) reminiscent of a vision that Isaiah. In that dream, I recall responding to a request from God and saying, “Here I am, send me” (cf. Isaiah 6:8). I have spoken God's word faithfully.
I told LCG leaders of both dreams per Jeremiah 23:28 though they did not ask for the details, thus they had that witness, before I had to leave (and no, I did not make any demands, other than urging them to keep their word and correct literature/doctrinal/prophetic errors that they acknowledged they had).
In addition to my dreams (which seemed consistent with Number 12:6, Isaiah 6:8 and Acts 2:17), there also were other dreams related to the Continuing Church of God that I would like to mention in some detail.
The first involves a woman.
Unbeknownst to me until late September 2013, a lady named Fesilafai Fiso Leaana of New Zealand had a dream after going to bed on December 8, 2012. Here is a report that Fesilafai Fiso Leaana wrote about her dream:
A few months before my dream, my husband and I noticed a contradiction in practice, regarding the sabbath commandment in LCG, from there we started to pray continuously for God to lead us to where the truth is. It seems God has answered our prayers through the dream.
The dream began with myself and approximately 70 New Zealand Living Church of God brethren, then suddenly LCG vanished (I was wondering where is LCG?) and I was left standing with approximately 10 people excluding myself, on a very high building. We were standing on the very top of the building, where I couldn’t see the bottom, there were no other buildings, just this building. I could not see the bottom of the building but just clouds below the building and clouds surrounding the building which led to a beautiful white mountain – a mountain that had no ends on either side. The building was pretty close to the mountain, I could see the top of the mountain. The mountain was all white and so beautiful. I remember that I began to be filled with joy and peace. But also wondering how we got up on this building and confused why there were no other buildings but the clouds seemed like it was hiding the building and I felt protected or it felt like a safe place. I looked around there were still only about ten people there, the only person I could clearly recognize was Shirley constantly working, the approximate ten others were just sitting and standing around. So I walked around the building looking for the large crowd from LCG, but all I kept returning to was that Shirley was working and doing different types of work alone while the others were still sitting and standing around the building with me. I wondered why she was working a lot. I could not find LCG.
Then suddenly a message came to my mind: “There is a secret in the mountain”. And I was so happy to know that, I was still feeling elated and could still see the beautiful white mountain and wondered about the secret. Then I asked: “What is the secret?” Then the message said, nobody knows the secret in the mountain but only you have received this message that there is a secret in the mountain. Then I asked ‘what is the secret in the mountain?’ I received a message to my mind that told me that “the secret in the mountain is the Ark of the Covenant”. Then the dream abruptly ended because I woke up. And immediately, I woke up my husband and recounted the dream to him, and I told my husband that it reminded me of when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments on the mountain and that the mountain was also covered with clouds.
On the same day after my dream, at church service Mr Penman warned us to be careful what we read from Bob Thiel’s Obama book, because they do not support everything he wrote in it. At the time I kept your name in my mind as I did not know who you were then.
Then 3 weeks later Shirley contacted me regarding your Chronology – the exit from LCG. Shirley had all of the Chronology and gave us all a print out of it and went over it with my husband and I. Shirley kept stressing the integrity of the LCG leadership and administration was compromised as proven by your Chronology account. Then my husband and I had to make a decision whether we would continue with LCG or go with Bob Thiel (you) since Shirley, John and Kayla had already decided to be with you
We decided to go with Bob Thiel and then left the meeting but a letter from Mr. Penman and a visit from the new New Zealand minister Paul attempted to obstruct our departure and tried to dissuade us from leaving LCG and coming with you. This forced us to carefully rethink our decision.
My husband and I were alone, that’s when my husband said to me, “remember your dream? This is what your dream means, that we need to leave this church and go with Shirley”. That’s when we knew what to do. And this dream is the reason most of us in the kiwi CCOG knew that we are in the right Church, God told us to come to this Church. We reaffirmed with Shirley and others that we were going to go with Bob Thiel and my husband told them the dream for the first time and that the dream is the reason my husband and I decided to come.
Not having all the details of the dream, Shirley then prayed about the dream. She asked God for more understanding on the dream. Then the next day she was reading the book of Psalm and Psalm 25:14 JUMPED out at her: “The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant.” (email 9/29/13)
Within several weeks of the dream, ten people in New Zealand, including Shirley Gestro (the Shirley above) began to attend the newly formed Continuing Church of God.
Biblically, mountains can symbolize government (Psalm 30:7; Isaiah 11:9; Daniel 2:35; Zechariah 4:7) and white purity or cleanness (Isaiah 1:18; Revelation 7:14, 19:14). Clouds around a mountain (or at least the top of it) could show a separation—maybe a separation that keeps many from seeing all of the truth (cf. Job 22:14; Lamentations 3:44) or recognizing top leadership?
The dream seemed to be a signal to confirm that the Philadelphia mantle was not with the Living Church of God, but instead was associated with someone that that had something to do with the ark of the covenant. Prior to the dream Fesilafai Fiso Leaana indicated that she had problems with how the leadership in LCG viewed the Sabbath, and that was one of the issues that I dealt within weeks of the formation of the Continuing Church of God.
Now, I (Bob Thiel) never heard of, nor learned of, this dream until after the start of the Feast of Tabernacles in September 2013 in New Zealand (which is where my wife Joyce and I began the Feast of Tabernacles in 2013).
Why is that potentially significant?
Back in 2006, when I was first asked to give a sermon at the Feast of Tabernacles, it occurred to me that never in WCG, GCG, nor LCG did I recall anyone actually fulfilling the requirement in Deuteronomy 31:10-13 about reading the “words of the law” in Deuteronomy every seven years at the Feast of Tabernacles. So, when the opportunity to give a sermon came up (in Guatemala in 2006), I attempted to go through that book of the law. In 2012, it occurred to me that since this was to be done every seven years, that somehow I would need to do this in 2013 (seven years later), but I was not sure how this would be done. However, once the Continuing Church of God formed, I realized that how this would be done at the Feast of Tabernacles in 2013.
After I began to cite Deuteronomy 31:10-13 and started reading the book of the law at the Feast of Tabernacles in New Zealand in 2013, Fesilafai Fiso Leaana came up to me and told me about her dream. We discussed some points about it and the ark of the covenant, etc. As it turns out, one of the items that was kept besides the ark of the covenant was the very same “Book of the Law” (Deuteronomy 31:26) that I was reading in its entirety publicly during that Feast of Tabernacles. This is a connection that, humanly speaking Fesilafai Leaana could not have known. (There are also other potential ramifications related to the ark of the covenant that I may attempt to publicly address in the future.)
Subsequent events, events that Fesilafai Leaana could not have known on December 8/9, 2012, confirmed her dream. She had no idea that the Continuing Church of God was going to form, and I had not made the decision to actually form it until after getting a letter on December 28, 2012. Fesilafai Leaana’s dream is another witness as to the proper start, etc. of the Continuing Church of God.
Fesilafai Leaana’s dream, in a sense, is reminiscent of the dream that Loma Armstrong had prior to the formation ot the Radio Church of God.
The Bible teaches:
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
So, does it not make sense that if God granted a dream to a woman prior to the formation of the Radio Church of God that God could have done that prior to the formation of the Continuing Church of God?
On March 28, 2014, I flew into London for a two night stopover, before heading to Kenya for a CCOG leadership conference. Within an hour of arriving at my hotel, Senhor Pires came for baptismal counseling. As we walked from the hotel lobby to my room, he wanted to tell me about a vision he saw in a dream that he had.
Here is what he said:
I had this dream. In it was a vision of a congregation of the Continuing Church of God inside a transparent glass bubble (like a balloon). And everyone, I mean everyone apart from the speaker, was black. The speaker was white. And I was asking myself inside that bubble…”why is everyone black here?”It made no sense to me. I wondered why I would see this.
When Senhor Pires told me the above, I began to laugh. I said to him, “Didn’t you know that the vast majority of people in the Continuing Church of God were black?”
And he said, “No, I figured that most would be white.”
I then told him, “This is quite interesting. Your dream seems to be one of three or more directly related to the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) that has had confirmation.”
I also told him that I was to fly to Kenya in two days Sunday, and that those who were to attend a Continuing Church of God leadership conference from Kenya and Tanzania were also black, and that I, the main speaker, would be the only one who was white. And that is what happened.
God has worked with Africans in the past and this dream was an indication that many in the Continuing Church of God would be of African heritage (see also Africa: Its Biblical Past and Prophesied Future).
Also as it turns out, not only was Senhor Pires black, but the others who came to attend Sabbath services with us the next day in the United Kingdom were also black. Neither Senhor Pires nor I were aware of this until March 30, 2014.
While this may not seem to be a massive ‘earth-shattering’ dream, it is yet additional confirmation that God has used dreams/visions to communicate to at least three individuals who all later became part of the Continuing Church of God. Dreams and visions are something that God intended to use during the end times (cf. Acts 2:17-18; Joel 2:28-29). Elijah apparently once thought that God would be in something dramatic, but then only was in “a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11-13).
Perhaps I should mention that a fourth person later told me her dream, and I provided her an interpretation, but she would not accept it and did not become part of the CCOG. Not all respond to messages, via dreams or otherwise.
I believe that certain dreams are truly partial confirmations that the Continuing Church of God was to lead (two dreams happened prior to CCOG’s formation), and now is leading, the final phase of the work. The truths that we teach should be accepted as the major proof:
45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. (John 8:45)
Believe the truth, at least for the truth's sake. Christians are to believe and know the truth (1 Timothy 4:3). The truth sets Christians free (John 8:32) from all types of error (including Laodicean ones, cf. Revelation 3:14-22).
Aleksandar 'Sasha' Veljic sent the following from Serbia:
For the first time in my 25 years of being in the Church of God, I have finally experienced an enthusiastic embrace worldwide that we make a joint humbling before God and ask Him to open more doors and intervene in our various problems. You said on the Sabbath in Kenya that you hoped this was the Church I thought I became part of when I was baptized in 1992. Indeed, this is the Church I believed I became part of back then.
Another fulfilled dream. I learned on February 26th that another dream was fulfilled. I used to be very cautious about dreams because I thought that they might be just figments of our human imaginations (and, as you know, the former hierarchies strongly discouraged deriving any conclusions from our dreams). So, the fact that dreams can be used as a message from God is a totally new thing to me, even though it has been in the Bible all along. Even that aspect shows you why I felt distrustful and weary of any hierarchy. All of those hierarchies impended the work of God in many ways. Anyhow, this is what Ondigo wrote me on February 26th:
„I remember several occasions when fasting has helped me. Before you came to Kenya, I fasted for you and Bob's coming. On the same night after fasting, I saw in a dream Bob smearing oil on my body and some pure water like a waterfall dropped on my head. I have never told anybody that dream because I usually do not tell people my dreams. Imagine, I did not know that I would be ordained so I think it was the fulfillment of the dream".
So, Fred Ochieng had a dream about your path lit with light and Ondigo Ochieng had a dream I have just quoted. Amazing.
Notice that Sasha was somewhat of a dream skeptic, but realized that the Bible often told about dreams.
The situation with Nimrod Ondigo Ochieng is interesting. He attended the Nairobi conference in 2014 and no one was ordained with oil then--there were no ordinations at that conference--so it was not like there was a precedent. The comment about pure water dropping on his head would seem to be a reference to the prayer I gave during his anointing. So, we have another confirmed dream associated with the Continuing Church of God.
I am expecting a written report from Frederick Ochieng (who is not related to Nimrod Ondigo Ochieng) on his confirmed dream as well. Essentially, he dreamed that his father needed to not be affected by outside factors, but follow the leadership of Bob Thiel in the Continuing Church of God.Although some have chosen not to believe all the facts about how and why the Continuing Church of God began, recall that the Bible teaches:
16 ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ (Matthew 18:16)
19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. (1 Timothy 5:19)
Of course, since Gaylyn Bonjour always freely stated that he did the ‘double-portion’ anointing, there long had been a second witness (though various ones have their own opinion about how to interpret that).
Yet, in addition to various facts, the dream from Fesilafai Leaana looks like perhaps God was planning on making it clearer for true Philadelphians (who are in various organizations/fellowships) to see that the mantle location had truly changed. The Philadelphian mantle is with the Continuing Church of God.
Then there is also the dream from Senhor Pires, which is additional divine confirmation. Then also the dream from Ondigo Ochieng.
Two confirmations of my anointing, and three confirmations on for the Continuing Church of God coming from dreams that were fulfilled. Plus, we teach the truths from the Bible and biblical prophecy. The witness is there for those who are willing to see it. Those who do not know what to do should pray about it.
Of course, some will discount dreams and their confirmation as proper proof of anything they do not wish to believe.
A former board member of the old Global Church of God, who is not part of the Continuing Church of God, wrote the following in late 2013 (bolding his):
When we need to know what is about to happen, God will show us through direct revelation and through the right Scriptures at the right time.
Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets (Amos 3:7).
The entire New Testament is like this…
1Cor 14:29-32 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
1Cor 14:37-39 If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord. But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant. Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues…
1Jo 4:1-2 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,
Note: If there were no true prophets, there would be no need to “test the spirits”—because every prophet would be a “false prophet”. But because there are both true prophets and false prophets, we need to “test the spirits”…
Many have said, “If God is still providing prophets to the church, where are they?” My church—even my whole denomination—does not recognize any.” Our national leaders do not recognize any either. That is “business as usual” when it comes to prophets. We must remember that God sends prophets to speak His messages and do His work, which often conflicts with the purposes of political and religious leaders...
The gift of prophecy is not vulnerable to electronic surveillance, network failures, police action, restrictive laws or religious censorship. It works in any language, custom or culture. It works no matter what other nations and churches do. (Edwards N. Need Prophets More than Prophecy. Shepherd’s Voice, Fall 2013)
Yes, because a group leader does not recognize a prophet, that does not mean the prophet is not valid. The above article also quoted several scriptures that demonstrate that.
But one that was not quoted above and that all should consider is the following:
41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward. (Matthew 10:41)
So, people should test the spirits (1 John 4:1) and accept the prophet at his word according to Jesus. People should also “search the scriptures” to see if these things are so (Acts 17:11).
Many do not believe that God would use His Spirit to ever speak through prophets today. (Note, just because I say or write something does NOT mean I am doing so as a prophet. Unless I am properly reading scripture or giving a direct message from God, which I would normally identify as such, I can and do make mistakes. The prophets in the Bible spent relatively little time actually prophesying and were mainly involved in biblical teaching, unless they also had secular jobs.)
Many want more dramatic signs (Matthew 12:38; 1 Kings 19:11-12), but God does not always do it that way (Matthew 12:39-42; 1 Kings 19:12-14).
Can you believe?
The Bible shows that God sometimes uses dreams. He has used it for leaders of His work throughout history.
Most in the 21st century do not seem to accept that, even though most part of the old Radio Church of God and Worldwide Church of God accepted that in the 20th century.
The old Radio Church of God, which represented the beginning of the Philadelphia era of the Church of God, was preceded by a dream.
Can you accept the truth about dreams and the Continuing Church of God?
Notice something else from the late Herbert W. Armstrong:
PERSECUTORS HAVE CALLED me a “false prophet.” Now how would you KNOW whether the accusation IS true- or false?…
Actually, it probably is not very important to you to know whether my persecutors are right or wrong, when they call me dirty names, hurl epithets, resort to innuendo, impute sinister motives, strive to discredit, attempt character assassination. What is important to YOU is whether what you read in The PLAIN TRUTH really is the truth – whether what you hear over The WORLD TOMORROW broadcast is true- not whether I , as an individual, am true or false.
I think our readers know by now that we always say: ” DON’ T believe what we say because you believe in us.” We say ” Listen with open mind, without prejudice, then CHECK UP in your own Bible-prove whether it is true, and BELIEVE what you find proved!” I don’t seek to induce people to believe in ME- I seek to lead them to believe in JESUS CHRIST! (Armstrong HW. Personal from the Editor. Plain Truth, May 1966, pp. 2)
What we teach in the CCOG is true (though as imperfect human beings we sometimes mis-speak, make typos; we only know in part as did the Apostle Paul per 1 Corinthians 13:14). But we still stand for the truth and reaching the world with the witness of the Gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew 24:14) and all things Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:19-20).
Of course, many will discount dreams, their confirmation, and true teachings as proper proof of anything they do not wish to believe. Many want more dramatic signs (Matthew 12:38; 1 Kings 19:11-12), but God does not always do it that way (Matthew 12:39-42; 1 Kings 19:12-14).
But the truth of what we in CCOG teach should overcome genuine objections of any truly interested in loving the truth over false and improper traditions and beliefs. Jesus warned that Laodicean Christians felt that they had need of nothing (Revelation 3:14-22) and that Sardisian Christians were losing much of the truth that they had (Revelation 3:1-6).
Notice the type of weapons and armour Christians are supposed to have--and that they are all for "spiritual" not carnal warfare:
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints (Ephesians 6:10-18).
Those are all spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts to deal with spiritual matters.
Do you realize that you may have been part of certain end time prophecies? Prophecies that will be fulfilled just prior to the start of the Great Tribulation, as well as various ones afterwards?
Notice what Jesus said:
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)
Notice something from the Book of Daniel:
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. (Daniel 11:32-33)
YOU may be one that God will use to instruct many. YOU MAY have or at least be in the process of developing spiritual gifts so that God will use you this way.
What about love?
The importance of love is confirmed by many in the New Testament. Notice the following from the Apostle Paul:
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
Many think that they have knowledge, faith, etc. and think that they are fine. But most Christians in the end times do not have Philadelphian love. They do not have the work that God expects them to have.
Jesus warned that the Laodiceans thought they needed nothing, but He said that they needed to change (Revelation 3:14-22). Paul says love, however does not puff up.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
Many Laodiceans say that they have endured enough, hence do not wish to risk making the type of changes that those with Philadelphian love would make.
Love is never fails and is more important than what many in the last days are focused on.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:8-13)
Notice that love is MORE IMPORTANT THAN APPARENT GIFTS OF TONGUES OR PROPHECY! (To learn about your own role and love, please check out the article What is the Meaning of Life?)
Notice also some passages written by the Apostle John:
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.
20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. (1 John 4:7-21)
1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. (1 John 5:1-4)
Christians need to practice love:
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe — and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. (James 2:14-24)
Practicing love demonstrates faith as well.
The Pharisees were considered to be spiritual. But there apparently spirituality was only 'skin deep' as we might say today, as Jesus said to them:
25 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.
27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (Matthew 23:25-28)
Spiritual gifts are more than an outward show.
You should have the gifts of the Spirit and they should be manifest as the fruits of the Spirit.
THIS ARTICLE IS IN-PROCESS AND NOT COMPLETE.
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Thiel B. Spiritual Gifts. COGwriter (c) 2017 http://www.cogwriter.com/spiritual-gifts.htm