How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God

By COGwriter

For quite a few years, I have denounced a variety of false and self-appointed prophets at the www.cogwriter.com website. I also get emails from people who believe that they are some type of prophet or one of the two witnesses. Of course, that does not mean that God has not called anyone to be a prophet in this 21st century, just that many false prophets have arisen.

"How can you tell the impostor from the true servant of God? The answer will probably be quite surprising to many people because they are using an unscriptural basis for evaluation" (Neff LL. Imposter--or--True Prophet -- Which? Good News, December 1986, p. 10).

This article will look at scriptures and other information that should help one determine if one is a true prophet of God or a self-appointed false prophet. It will also include some quotes from the others who have taught about this subject in the past.

Signs of a False Prophet From the Bible

In the Old Testament, the Bible gives two fairly easy to understand passages about determining if someone is a false prophet. One is making specific predictions that do not come to pass:

21 And if you say in your heart, 'How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?' — 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him. (Deuteronomy 18:21-22; NKJV throughout unless otherwise noted)

But it is not just enough that the prophet be right not to be false. Notice also the following:

1"If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods' — which you have not known — 'and let us serve them,' 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. (Deuteronomy 13:1-4)

So, if the prophet does not keep and advocate keeping God's commandments, he is also false. (Additional items of interest are in the article Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders?)

False prophets sometimes use magic charms and other items that God condemns:

20 'Therefore thus says the Lord God: "Behold, I am against your magic charms by which you hunt souls there like birds. I will tear them from your arms, and let the souls go, the souls you hunt like birds. 21 I will also tear off your veils and deliver My people out of your hand, and they shall no longer be as prey in your hand. Then you shall know that I am the Lord. 22 "Because with lies you have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and you have strengthened the hands of the wicked, so that he does not turn from his wicked way to save his life. 23 Therefore you shall no longer envision futility nor practice divination; for I will deliver My people out of your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord."'"(Ezekiel 13:20-23)

True prophets of God do not need "charms," etc.

Scriptures on Prophets from the New Testament

There are a variety of warnings against false prophets in the New Testament (Matthew 7:15-19, 24:11,24; Mark 13:22; Luke 6:26; Acts 13:6; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 4:1; Revelation 16:13, 19:20, 20:10).

But there are also positive statements about church-era prophets as well.

About six weeks after discussing individual prophetic matters with Dr. Bob Thiel (March 23, 2012), long-time evangelist Dr. R.C. Meredith (who had been made aware on March 23, 2012 of Bob Thiel's anointing of December 15, 2011) declared in a sermon that in the New Testament, that one who is a prophet can have "inspired preaching" or teaching as opposed to having seen a vision or received all prophetic messages in dreams as many prophets in the Old Testament did (Meredith RC. God is building a spiritual family. LCG DVE703 sermon, May 5, 2012). And that is consistent with what happened at the start of the New Testament church (cf. Acts 2:1-18)--though, New Testament prophets may have one or more dreams or visions (e.g. Acts 16:9; 2:17-18).

Who determines who will be a prophet?

Notice what the New Testament teaches:

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 12:7-11)

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? (1 Corinthians 12:28-30)

As the above show, one becomes a prophet by God's appointing. Yet, it seems that often those in the Church of God believe that God has to do things their way, as opposed to His, when certain leaders are chosen. All should consider that although the late Joseph Tkach was specifically and publicly chosen to lead the old Worldwide Church of God (WCG), that he obviously was NOT God's choice for a faithful leader--God used other methods then and has also used a method different than most would have expected in the past year or so for identifying one He has chosen.

How does one become recognized as a prophet in the New Testament?

Normally one becomes more formally recognized as a prophet from the laying on of hands by one or more who has been properly ordained into Christ's ministry who have been inspired by God (2 Timothy 1:6; Hebrews 6:2).

This is also consistent with the following:

14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. (1 Timothy 4:14, NKJV)

14 Do not be careless about the gifts with which you are endowed, which were conferred on you through a divine revelation when the hands of the elders were placed upon you. (1 Timothy 4:14, Weymouth)

14 Make use of that grace in you, which was given to you by the word of the prophets, when the rulers of the church put their hands on you. (1 Timothy 4:14, BBE)

6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. (2 Timothy 1:6, NKJV)

According to the Apostle Paul, genuine prophets are chosen by God (not really committees of men) and God uses His ministers to lay hands upon them (and though God could chose to bypass that step, thus far in the 21st century, He has not --He has used the laying on of hands). Dreams are sometimes involved (Acts 2:17-18) (see also Dreams, the Bible, and the Continuing Church of God).

Jesus said:

15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:15-16)

Concerning prophets, Jesus stated "by their fruits you will know them" (Matthew 7:20).

And the fruits of a true prophet include not only holding to proper Church of God (COG) teachings from the time of the apostles (Jude 3), but specifically also, making predictions that come to pass.

Dealing with leaders that contradict the Bible is a task of true and faithful leaders, and that includes prophets:

9... holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict (Titus 1:9).

15 Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, "Hear now, Hananiah, the Lord has not sent you, but you make this people trust in a lie. (Jeremiah 28:15-16)

Real prophets, and those who spiritually evaluate them, must also believe Paul's real teachings:

37 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. 38 But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant. 39 Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy...(1 Corinthians 14:37-39)

But, prophets are to exercise caution:

9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. (1 Corinthians 13:9)

6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; (Romans 12:6-7)

Many to not seem to understand the above.

A New Testament prophet would never have to exercise caution if the only thing he (or she per Acts 21:9) did was repeat words from a dream or vision. And this is why a New Testament prophet can be correct about something, even if not directly told by God, but presuming that the prophet has allowed himself to be properly led by God or God's Spirit.

Prophets edify, assist, and encourage, those in the church:

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. (1 Corinthians 14:1-5)

Notice also:

22...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 14:22-25)

29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. 30 But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. (1 Corinthians 14:29-33)

Prophets make statements that help believers. And while that is also a witness to unbelievers, prophets try to assist people in the worship of the true God.

Notice also the following from a non-COG source:

A prophet in the biblical sense is not someone who gazes into crystal balls or reads tea leaves in an effort to predict the future. A prophet is an individual who speaks God's truth to his contemporaries, calls attention to sin and warns of the consequences for failing to repent of falling short of the Lord's expectations. (Boggs K. FIRST-PERSON: Help wanted -- a prophet. Baptist Press, August 30, 2013)

And that is also true.

Notice also the following by a former employee of the old WCG and former board member of the old GCG:

There are over 40 separate passages about prophets and their prophecies in the New Testament—so many that one might easily get tired of reading them! We have left out verses about the Old Testament prophets and New Testament false prophets to keep the list shorter. If we want God to show us what will happen in the future, we need to “desire earnestly to prophesy” (1Cor 14:39). It is a New Testament teaching we must not ignore!

John 16:13 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”

Acts 2:15-18 “For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘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. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy.”

Acts 8:29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.”

Acts 9:10-12 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.”

Acts 10:1-3 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!”

Acts 10:10-20 Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again. Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate. And they called and asked whether Simon, whose surname was Peter, was lodging there. While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you. Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.”

The above pair of prophetic visions were so important, their story is completely retold in Acts 11:4-14.

Acts 11:27-29 And in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch. Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar. Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea.

Acts 12:8-9 Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did. And he said to him, “Put on your garment and follow me.” So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision.

Acts 13:1 Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

Acts 15:32 Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words.

Acts 16:9-10 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.

Acts 18:9-10 Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.”

Acts 19:5-7 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Now the men were about twelve in all.

Acts 20:23 “except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me.

Acts 21:8-9 On the next day we who were Paul’s companions departed and came to Caesarea, and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.

Rom 12:4-6 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;

1Cor 11:4-5 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved.

1Cor 12:7-10 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 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.

1Cor 12:28-29 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. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?

1Cor 13:2 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.

1Cor 13:8-9 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. For we know in part and we prophesy in part.

1Cor 14:1,3-6 Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy…. But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 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. 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?

1Cor 14:22 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. 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? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all.

1Cor 14:26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.

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.

2Cor 12:1-2, 7 It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I [Paul] will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago — whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows — such a one was caught up to the third heaven…. And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.

Gal 1:12 For I [Paul] neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Eph 1:17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,

Eph 2:19-20 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,

Eph 3:3-5 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets:

Eph 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,

1Th 5:19-21 Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good.

1Tim 1:18 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare,

1Tim 4:14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.

2Tim 3:1-2, 5 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be… lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

Do people today have faith that God is able to prophecy through people in their congregations?

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”. (Edwards N. Need Prophets More than Prophecy. Shepherd's Voice, Fall 2013)

His last note hopefully will people pause who doubt that God can use prophets today, while his first comment about 40 scriptures should also assist people in understanding that.

Prophets Have Significant Ecclesiastical Influence and Authority

Notice that the Church of God is founded on the authority of the apostles and the prophets:

19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22)

While the above is primarily referring to New Testament apostles and Old Testament prophets, it would also seem to include others that were sent (which is what apostle means) in Old Testament times as well as any prophets from New Testament times, and any other apostles and prophets throughout the Church age.

Those who have been anointed/appointed by God to be prophets hold a fairly high position in the true Church of God:

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. (1 Corinthians 12:28)

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)

If there are any properly ordained apostles currently alive in the genuine Church of God, those who truly accept proper church governance should accept his spiritual authority. If not, then those who truly accept proper church governance should accept the spiritual authority of any properly anointed Church of God prophets, especially if there is one who also has served an evangelical role.

What some seem to overlook is that someone, even a/the top ecclesiastical authority, can lose their top position. This happened with Elijah, for example, even though he had been a faithful leader for a long time. Elijah, however, eventually lost the mental ability to properly lead (1 Kings 19:13-18). God later took him and replaced him with Elisha as the top ecclesiastical authority.

Elisha then received a “double-portion” (two-portion literally) of the gift that God had given Elijah (2 Kings 2:9-13). Elisha picked up the mantle of Elijah (2 Kings 2:13) which Elijah dropped and God wanted him to have (1 Kings 19:16-19), as he replaced Elijah as God’s top ecclesiastical authority on earth (cf. 1 Kings 19:16). Yet, for several years after picked Elisha up the mantle that Elijah dropped, Elijah was still alive. While many outside of the genuine Church of God seem to doubt this, this is verified by 2 Chronicles 21:5, 12-15 (see also Elijah: Past and Prophesied).

Perhaps it should be mentioned that A.N. Dugger (of CG7) may have been considered as the top ecclesiastical authority by Herbert Armstrong for a time (though both Herbert Armstrong and I had various doubts about A.N. Dugger). A.N. Dugger personally claimed to have had succession from the apostles to hold the top ecclesiastical authority (Dugger, A History of True Religion, pp. 306, 308; this was also confirmed by Robert Coulter in a telephone conversion on April 2, 2012 with B. Thiel where R. Coulter explained various writings he as the former CG7 president and CG7 historian had ran across in his research).

Yet, even though A.N. Dugger did not fall into severe apostasy, because he ignored certain truths and integrity problems (for example, A.N. Dugger saw truth in doctrine that Herbert Armstrong brought up as he admitted in writing on July 28, 1929; and when he had a chance with his new organization in 1933 to correct them, A.N. Dugger failed to do so), the mantle from CG7 was passed to Herbert Armstrong in the 1930s (though Herbert Armstrong did not realize at the time, and probably it was in 1933 as HWA later wrote). However it needs to be understood that, A.N. Dugger continued for many more decades as a major CG7 leader and with a greater numeric following than Herbert Armstrong often did. Yet those of the Philadelphian era and its remnant do not believe that A.N. Dugger retained the top ecclesiastical authority after the 1930s (if he even ever had it)--hence if he had it, he lost it. A major reason that CG7 lost the mantle because it would not correct known errors and teach the truth. The 'mantle-holding/retaining' Church of God is the one that is "the pillar and ground of truth" (1 Timothy 3:15). That is why God could not allow LCG to be that group.

The Bible itself shows that leaders that God approves of can lose God's favor if they compromise as they get older. In addition to people such as Saul and Solomon, King Asa comes to mind (2 Chronicles 21:5, 12-15). Asa, who started out well (2 Chronicles 21:5), would not heed the warning from one of God's prophets 2 Chronicles 21:12-15). He, perhaps, did not understand the following:

13 Better a poor and wise youth Than an old and foolish king who will be admonished no more. (Ecclesiastes 4:13)

And as far as Saul (who also had received an anointing from one of God's servants, 1 Samuel 10:1-11) goes, he knew, at least for a time, that David was righteous and God was going to have David as king (1 Samuel 24:16-20), yet he later fought against him (1 Samuel 27:1) as Saul apparently had more concerns about his own organizational legacy (cf. 1 Samuel 20:30-31) than the will of God.

Teachings of Determining Who is a True Prophet from Herbert W. Armstrong, Leroy Neff, Others, and Scripture

In a radio broadcast, the late Herbert W. Armstrong taught the following:

True prophet...Watch and see if it {what he says} comes to pass--and you can know that man has been called {by God} to be a prophet. (Armstrong HW. Proof of a True Prophet. World Tomorrow Radio program. HA535B.MP3)

Events confirming what the prophet said by one called of God is part of the proof. And that is consistent with Deuteronomy 18.

Notice something that Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:

But the TRUE prophets of God have always put emphasis on the right CAUSE-on God's WAY to the desired blessings.

Let me explain that. Let me make that PLAIN! This magazine deals with making truth PLAIN--understandable!

You may search the Bible from beginning to end. You'll find the true prophets, apostles, ministers of God put first emphasis on the right CAUSE, not the effect. They proclaim THE WAY that leads to peace, happiness, security, and finally, eternal life. In Bible language, this means that God's Word, and God's true prophets and ministers put first emphasis on God's LAW...God sends HIS prophets and ministers to proclaim the RIGHT WAY, to sh ow people that they are going the WRONG WAY, to cause them to turn around and get back on the RIGHT WAY through Jesus Christ by God's free grace...

God's true servants are not OF this world nor of its ways. (Armstrong HW. Personal from the Editor. Plain Truth, May 1966, pp. 2, 44-45)

Of course, there are false prophets who claim to teach the commandments, but usually reason around some of them. But true prophets of God most certainly do teach God's law and way of life.

Before going further, perhaps the following should be included as there has been some confusion regarding HWA and being a prophet.  Here is some of what Herbert W. Armstrong wrote about that:

I have definitely NOT been called to be a PROPHET...Emphatically I am NOT a prophet, in the sense of one to whom God speaks specially and directly, revealing personally a future event to happen or new truth, or new and special instruction direct from God -- separate from, and apart from what is contained in the Bible.  And I never have claimed to be. There is no such human prophet living today! (Armstrong H. Personal from the Editor, The 19 Year Time Cycles. The Good News of Tomorrow's World. February, 1972, p. 1)

And I agree with Herbert W. Armstrong that he was not a prophet (though he had prophetic understanding in various areas) and no one recognized of God was anointed as a prophet back in 1972. But since the Two Witnesses prophesy (Revelation 11:3), it should be clear that Herbert Armstrong was not teaching that the people who would be the two witnesses could not have been alive in 1972 (especially since he felt that they would possibly fulfill their calling during his lifetime).

Furthermore, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:

The Hebrew word for prophet, navi, means “one who announces or brings a message from God.” The word “prophet” in the English language means essentially the same thing — “one who speaks by divine inspiration as the interpreter or spokesman of God,” whether it be a message of duty and warning, or a prediction of future events.

A prophet is one who speaks for God; hence, the prefix pro (from the Greek language — from which our word prophet is derived) which means “for” and “before.”...

The prophets were not a special hierarchy, a guild, or a certain “class” of men! Many of them were chosen from various of the twelve tribes of Israel, and, unlike those of the tribe of Levi, were not born into their office. They were princes, sheepherders, farmers, fishermen, and priests. They came from many different tribes, and God called them at many different times...

Amos 3:7: “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth His secret unto his servants the prophets.”

Remember, ONLY God’s true servants have come to properly understand prophecy. Others try — by the thousands of hours of preaching and by the tons of printed material. But all for nothing.

God’s true disciples in this age will be shown “the things to come” by God’s Holy Spirit (John 16:13) — given to them because they believe in, preach and obey God (Acts 5:32). These individuals have a “good understanding” because they keep God’s Commandments to DO them (Psalm 111:10; Rev. 22:7,14). Wherever you can find a “Work of God” that fulfills these conditions — which keeps God’s Commandments — there you will also find God revealing His secrets — which means opening up Bible prophecies for the practical understanding of future events. (Armstrong HW. How to Understand Prophecy. Ambassador College, 1973, pp. 3,4,25)

It also needs to be understood that prophets do not have to perform public miracles to be genuine. John the Baptist was a prophet according to Jesus (Matthew 11:7-10), but he is not recorded as performing any public miracles. Actually, the Bible records, "John did no miracle" (John 10:41, KJV). Jesus told the Pharisees that an adulterous generation sought signs, beyond prophetic accuracy (Matthew 12:38-40)

Back in 1986, then WCG evangelist L. Leroy Neff (now deceased) wrote a lot about how to identify a true prophet as well as what is not required:

What are the credentials?

Some people would look to a prophet's or minister's credentials. He would be accepted if he were educated at a recognized theological institution. Others would look for a minister's popularity, his charisma, his personality or his speaking ability.

But the Scriptures show that God's servants have sometimes not had these qualities or credentials. They were not graduates of the recognized theological institutions of their day. Moses had trouble speaking in public (Exodus 4: 10). Jeremiah was "too young" (Jeremiah 1:6). Paul lacked certain speech abilities (I Corinthians 2: 1, II Corinthians 10:10). Even Jesus Himself had no outstanding personal characteristics that set Him apart from others, as the religious leaders had to pay Judas to point Him (Matthew 26:47-49).

Some would expect to find a true minister or prophet in a large and beautiful church building. Yet, during the history of the early Church, there is no mention of church buildings. Instead we read that the Church was not a building at all, but the people who were called out of this world to become the Church. The people (the Church) met in various buildings, sometimes in Church members' homes (Romans 16:5, I Corinthians 16:19, Philemon 2). Paul preached for two years while under house arrest in rented facilities. He probably had both living quarters and a meeting hall of some kind (Acts 28:30-31).

Jesus said His followers would not be many in number, but would be comparatively few: "Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32). (Neff LL. Imposter--or--True Prophet -- Which? Good News, December 1986, pp. 10-11)

A true prophet would not need to be from a major theological institution, have the most magnanimous personality, or have a large or impressive Church, but would be the type willing to meet in members' homes. He also does not have to have had a ministerial background. Or even, like apparently the Apostle Paul per 2 Corinthians 10:10 and 11:6 or Moses per Exodus 4:10, be a great speaker. God chooses who His prophets are. Notice something from the Old Testament:

14 Then Amos answered, and said to Amaziah: "I was no prophet, Nor was I a son of a prophet, But I was a sheepbreeder And a tender of sycamore fruit. 15 Then the Lord took me as I followed the flock, And the Lord said to me, 'Go, prophesy to My people Israel.' (Amos 7:14-15)

So, a prophet also does not need to come from a ministerial family, but instead can be called if he has a secular work background.

Leroy Neff wrote not to disqualify a prophet if some predictions take a long time to happen:

Then there is the prophet or minister who says something will come to pass and it apparently does not. Such a one would certainly be labeled false by most observers. This is one reason, but not the only reason, why almost all of God's prophets throughout history have been labeled by many as false!

Consider such men as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel. They sometimes prophesied for many years, and yet what they said would happen did not come to pass immediately. Why didn't these prophecies come to pass?

The answer was that it was not yet God's time for their predictions to come to pass. At the proper time, sometimes years or decades later, the prophecies were fulfilled. And in some cases, what they prophesied has not yet come to pass even in our day, but will be fulfilled in God's time. There is a time, after ample warning, when God will finally say, "None of My words will be postponed any more" (Ezekiel 12:28).

There are other examples where God's true servants expected certain events to occur in their lifetimes. During his earlier ministry, the apostle Paul apparently expected Christ to return during his life (I Thessalonians 4:17, I Corinthians 15:51). Later, he realized that it would not occur until later (II Timothy 4:6- 8) . Paul was criticized and labeled "false" by accusers, but the members of God's Church knew he was a true servant of God. (Imposter--or--True Prophet -- Which? Good News, December 1986, p. 11)

It also should be noted that while the Apostle Paul considered himself to be a prophet, not all of his speculative predictions were accurate. He once claimed:

10 I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives (Acts 27:10).

And while his speculation was mostly accurate, it was not completely accurate, as there was no loss of lives. His position became completely accurate when he claimed to speak as God led him as opposed to his perceptions:

21 Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. 22 And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23 For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, 24 saying, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.' 25 Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. (Acts 27:21-26)

So, delays and speculations do not make one a false prophet. One is biblically and clearly a false prophet when one claims to speak on God's behalf and gives a prophecy that does not happen:

21 And if you say in your heart, 'How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?' — 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him. (Deuteronomy 18:21)

(The above suggests that if God's prophets make statements that they do not claim to be from the Lord, and are in error, perhaps like what they think someone will do, that God is saying that personal comments from prophets are not inspired and not the same as false statements from those while claiming to speak in the name of the Lord.)

It may also be of interest to note that the Apostle Paul referred to pagan prophetic and other sources sometimes (Acts 17:22-30) in an effort to better reach people of various backgrounds (1 Corinthians 9:19-22; Acts 17:18-30). Furthermore, various prophets, such as Micaiah (1 Kings 22:10-28) and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 28:1-17) explained how pagan prophecies impacted God's prophecies. Notice one example:

19 Then Micaiah said, "Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left. 20 And the Lord said, 'Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?' So one spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner. 21 Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, and said, 'I will persuade him.' 22 The Lord said to him, 'In what way?' So he said, 'I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' And the Lord said, 'You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.' 23 Therefore look! The Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the Lord has declared disaster against you."  (1 Kings 22:19-23)

Notice that God's prophet specifically explained how a lying prophecy was going to be successful.  When it comes to Catholic,  Eastern Orthodox, Hindu, and Chinese prophecies, I have done the same thing.  I have also striven to follow the Apostle Paul who claimed that he tried different cultural approaches (including referring to improper religious beliefs, Acts 19:22-31) to try to reach who he could (cf.1 Corinthians 9:19-22), and that he did that "for the gospel's sake" (1 Corinthians 9:23).

What I have tried to do is follow Paul, Micaiah, Jeremiah, and others who have done this, though some have condemned me for this and use this as an improper reason not to believe what I say or write (a YouTube video of related interest may be Do Prophets Cite False Prophecies?).

Getting back to Leroy Neff, he continued by asking and providing insight into an interesting question:

Would Christians reject Christ?

If Jesus Christ were to come again in our day, live the same way and teach the same message He did almost 2,000 years ago, many of His "followers" of today would reject Him as false.

Why? Because He would not live the same kind of life they live. He would not observe the same religious days they observe. He would · not eat many of the foods they eat. His teachings about and from the Old Testament would be considered Jewish and unchristian by some who reject that part of Holy Scripture. He would not fit the mold of what many consider to be a true Christian.

In short, they would reject Him as a heretic and the leader of a new sect, just as some labeled his servant Paul "a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes" (Acts 24:5) . Undoubtedly some would call His religion a cult, as some label His true religion today. (Imposter--or--True Prophet -- Which? Good News, December 1986, pp. 11-12)

Truly, most people, even in the COG, will not listen to a true prophet of God in this age. And, even when God grants power to His two witnesses, most in the world will not only not listen to them, they will be deceived enough to support an army that will fight against the returning Jesus Christ (Revelation 16:13-14; 19:11-19)!

How would one recognize a true prophet? Leroy Neff continued with:

So far we have mostly seen how not to recognize a true prophet. How, then, can you tell a true prophet from a false one? That is the important question we must now answer from the Scriptures, and not from human reason...

Paul warned the Corinthians: "But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you may well put up with it" (II Corinthians 11:3-4).

The New International Version translates the last phrase, "You put up with it easily enough."

We read elsewhere that. Jesus Christ is God. This passage should make it plain that a minister or prophet can preach Christ, but it can be a different Christ - a different God than the one of the Bible.

How can this be? If the message is different from that of the Jesus Christ of Scripture, and different from that of the original apostles, then the minister or prophet is preaching how to "go after other gods which you have not known." It is therefore vitally necessary that we prove which ministers preach Christ's same Gospel and which preach a different gospel and a different message.

Isaiah makes it clear

"To the law and to the testimony!" proclaims Isaiah 8:20. "If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."

This expands on what we saw previously. If a prophet or minister does not speak according to God's Word, according to His law and His testimony, there is no light in him, or, in other words, no truth in him. His message is false. Many claiming to represent God try to "do away" with God's laws and commandments. They only accept a part of God's Word and reject the rest...

A true prophet or servant of God will speak according to God's law. He will speak according to God's commandments. His way of life will be that of a commandment keeper, not a commandment breaker. He will not just be preaching a gospel about Christ, but he will be preaching the same Gospel that Christ and the original apostles preached - the good news of the coming Kingdom of God on earth.

That is the way to determine who are impostors and who are God's true prophets, ministers and teachers. (Imposter--or--True Prophet -- Which? Good News, December 1986, p. 12)

A true prophet is one called of God, teaches the same gospel that Jesus taught, keeps the commandments of God, AND has predictions that come to pass. Jesus (Mark 1:14) and Paul (Acts 28:30-31) taught the gospel of the kingdom of God (see also The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church and What is the Gospel?). Even if one appears to be "an angel from heaven," unless the true gospel is being taught, Paul says such a one should be "accursed" (Galatians 1:9) (see also Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions).

Here is in a Plain Truth question and answer article that had no listed author, when L. Leroy Neff was listed as a contributing editor of that edition on page 2:

In the Bible I read where the prophet whose prophecies come true is a prophet of God_ How else can we know if a person is a prophet of God?-A reader from North Carolina...

Just what is the test of a prophet of God? How does one know the difference between one who speaks with divine authority and someone who utters prognostications out of his, or her, own mind?

People assume-as has our reader from North Carolina-that anyone whose predictions come true must be a messenger of God. That is not what your Bible says! Open your Bible and see what it does say:

"If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass" does that prove the person is sent by God? Suppose the person whose predictions came true also says to disobey the plain statements of your Bible--or to believe what the Bible does not teach-what should you do? Read God's answer--out of your own Bible: "Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deut. 13:1-3).

Here is the true test of a servant of God-he tells the people to obey the Word of God. God's servant will tell them to believe exactly what the Bible says. The Bible commands us to LOVE GOD. . . . How do you love God? By keeping His commandments! "If ye love me, keep my commandments," so says John 14:15 in your Bible. Further: "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him" (1 John 2 :4).

If one is against the commandments of God, he is not of God. It is as simple as that.

God's servants may foretell the future. But that is not the proof that they are God's servants. Sometimes even Satan's servants predict the future-as much as Almighty God allows. The witch of Endor predicted the fate of King Saul. This witch communicated with a demon spirit-a fallen angel which already knew that Saul was to die in the coming battle with the Philistines. (I Sam. 28:7-20.)

In the New Testament Book of Acts, we read of a woman who had a familiar spirit, and who revealed secrets and foretold the future. The Apostle Paul ordered the demon out of the woman (Acts 16:16-18). Here, then, is an example of where "occult power" comes from. Demons-fallen angels are responsible for many of the visions, prognostications, and revelations of crystal-ball gazers and mediums. Those people need not wonder where they get such revelations. The Bible tells them. (The Bible Answers Short Questions from our Readers. Plain Truth. September 1965, pp. 41,48)

The above confirms much of what the Bible and others in the Church of God have said.

Notice one other trait of a true New Testament prophet from the 1965 Good News magazine:

Whenever a man is ordained to an office of greater service in God’s Work hands are laid on him. In the ordination ceremony God’s ministers lay their hands on those being ordained, and ask Almighty God-the Head of this Church-to continue to work in their lives...

The laying on of hands serves the purpose of setting apart anyone or anything in God’s sight, for a SPECIAL USE OR PURPOSE...

God gives special gifts-special powers of His Spirit-to those who are set apart by the laying on of hands. Remember that it was by the laying on of hands that Timothy received the added ability, called “prophecy” by the King James translators...(I Tim. 4:14 and II Tim. 1:6)...

This spiritual gift of inspired preaching was conferred to Timothy by the laying on of hands...

This proof-in-action of your willingness to submit to God’s human representative-God’s minister -for anointing and the laying on of hands is “acting out” your willingness to accept the spiritual Government of Almighty God Himself over your physical life (Ellis, William H. Why We Have the Laying on of Hands Ceremony. Good News. April-May 1965, pp. 11, 14,15)

A true prophet is under God's authority. A true New Testament prophet has had hands laid upon him/her and received special anointing under God's inspiration. You can not anoint yourself nor come up with doctrine that contradicts the Bible (cf. Revelation 22:18-19) like at least three self-declared supposed COG "prophets" (Gerald Flurry, William Dankenbring, and Ronald Weinland) and false predictors (like Harold Camping) have falsely done. God's prophets are true to the Bible--"Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35).

It should be understood that although some of the prophets in the Hebrew scriptures did miracles, and some of the apostles in the Greek scriptures were also prophets, no one who was considered a prophet and not an apostle is shown as doing dramatic miracles (e.g. John 10:41).

LCG put out an article by its Dexter Wakefield that has some parts correct, but which when properly understood by items not mentioned in it, helps show the results of what happens to groups that do not accept God has any prophet now--for details, please see the news post LCG on Prophets: Rare, But Look for the Fruits.

God's Prophets Are Often Not Accepted, Even By Those Who Claim to be or Should Be, God's People

While some act like that they would clearly be able to recognize who God's true prophet is or true prophets are, historically that does not seem to have been the case.

Before we look at a few, notice something that Herbert Armstrong wrote as well as what Jesus taught:

Always the true prophets and ministers of God have stood almost alone and opposed by the overwhelming majority in Israel. That is Israel's history of old. It is true today. (Armstrong HW. Why Russia Will Not Attack the United States, reprint 1980)

24 "Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. 25 But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; 26 but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian." (Luke 4:24-27)

Few would accept God's prophets. Notice some famous biblical examples:

Moses. We are not told in scripture why, but decades before the burning bush, Moses somehow knew from an early time that God called him to lead the children of Israel (Acts 7:25). Yet, Moses, himself, became presumptuousness and took matters into his own hand (Acts 7:23-24); and God had him wait another 40 years to use him (Acts 7:30-34). Despite the later signs and miracles, the children of Israel had many doubts about Moses and rebelled many times (e.g. Acts 7:35). Despite not having the same anointing he had, other religious and political leaders thought that Moses was not in the role God put him in and had exalted himself too much (Numbers 12:1-2; Numbers 16). Moses also told the children of Israel that he was a prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15). For the role that God put him in, Moses was essentially accused by leaders of being too presumptuous (Numbers 16:3) and Moses accused his accusers themselves of the same (Numbers 16:7). Hence Moses' position was not made plain enough to many, who had their own criteria, despite what God did.

David. David's brother accused David of having improper motivations (1 Samuel 17:28), which David denied (1 Samuel 17:29). Neither his father nor Samuel seemingly would have picked David to lead Israel (1 Samuel 16:3-11). If the Bible had not recorded that David had hands laid on him by Samuel (1 Samuel 16:12-13), one would think that David was not God’s guy based upon what happened shortly after that (1 Samuel 20-29). David fled from the government of Israel (apparently for years, cf. 1 Samuel 27:7; 29:3). David, though well known for being the King of Israel, was used by God to write many prophetic statements, most of which are preserved in the Book of Psalms. The Bible also points out that David mainly only had questionable and discouraged people following him when he was hiding from Saul (1 Samuel 22:2; 30:22)--and even they ended up wanting to stone him (1 Samuel 30:6). So, God apparently did not make David's anointing very plain to the satisfaction of many. The more “respectable” people probably thought that David should have turned himself in and submitted to Saul’s judgment instead of maintaining his distance as he did. And even when he was accepted as king by Judah, it took even longer for the rest of Israel to accept his kingship. The Bible is clear that it took quite a few years (around a decade) before David got the type of clear support one who have expected—despite the fact that David tried to be loyal to Saul and the children of Israel. The same type of thing seems consistent with what is going on now with Bob Thiel and other COG leaders/followers.

Jeremiah. Jeremiah, though called early by God to be a prophet (Jeremiah 1), was often rejected by the children of Israel. He was also subject to imprisonment (Jeremiah 32:2), ridicule, and having his messages discounted by religious leaders without proof that they were in error (Jeremiah 28). Even when people told him that they would listen to whatever God told him to tell them (Jeremiah 42), they often rejected to the truth that he spoke (Jeremiah 43). Despite what many may think now, many in Jeremiah's time did not believe that God had made Jeremiah's role clear (Jeremiah 42). Jeremiah went so far as to write, "Every one of them curses me" (Jeremiah 15:10). Prophets often are subject to ridicule and scorn.

Amos. Despite telling the truth, Amos felt it necessary to tell those who heard him that even if one does not have an ecclesiastical background, that one can still be a prophet (Amos 7:14).

Isaiah and Peter. Neither the Prophet Isaiah (2 Chronicles 32:20) nor the Apostle Peter (who, like many of the original apostles, had the "prophetic word" per 2 Peter 1:19-21) were universally recognized during their times (though Peter did end up with basically universal recognition within the church and Isaiah seemingly had it from Hezekiah). Anyway, outsiders did not believe Isaiah (Isaiah 27:8-13) and Peter was specifically discounted by the religious authorities of his day (Acts 4:13-18).

John the Baptist. John the Baptist did no miracles, was despised, was abused, was imprisoned, and even killed by the religious and political leaders during his time (Matthew 11:18; Mark 6:25-28). Jesus said the John the Baptist was a prophet and more than a prophet (Luke 7:26-28). Yet, relatively few in John the Baptist's time believed that God had made John the Baptist's role clear.

Jesus. Now although Jesus did do miracles, He was not believed. Jesus was also despised, abused, imprisoned, and killed by the religious and political leaders during his time—even John the Baptist had doubts (Luke 7:19-20). Jesus was accused of being presumptuous for letting others understand His role (Matthew 26:64-66). Sometimes, when people told Jesus He had to do certain miracles to prove who He was, and He did not (e.g. Matthew 26:68; 27:40)--and even condemned those who asked for a sign (Matthew 12:38-39). And most who became early Christians, did not do so until after Jesus died (cf. Acts 2). Relatively few in Jesus' time believed that God had made Jesus' role clear.

Notice also following that Jesus said:

46...And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? (John 8:46)

Jesus was telling those who considered themselves as God's people/leaders that even if they did not believe that He had any status, they had an obligation to believe the truth, if He spoke it (which He did). But then, as now, many discount the truth. Do you?

Paul. The Apostle Paul, despite the miracles, prophecies, etc., was not believed by certain Christians to be worthy of being the type of COG leader that he was. Notice how he put himself forward:

5 For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles... 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they ministers of Christ? — I speak as a fool — I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness — 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? (2 Corinthians 11:5, 22-29)

So, despite how God tried to make it clear, Paul found it necessary to write to Christians and explain reasons why he was who he claimed to be.

One recent personal critic of Bob Thiel posted the following:

When one of these so called self appointed "prophets" or "apostles" call fire down from heaven, or heal a 3 days dead man, or heal the eyes of known public blind man, or restore the missing limb from a war veteran, then I will take notice . In the meantime, I will just shake my head, and be amazed at the audacity and ego mania of some who just cannot accept the simple fact that God loves them. (Moeller J. Thiel...Banned by HWA, 12/30/12)

And while that critic remotely might believe if he saw, that is not always how God does things nor what He wants (cf. Luke 16:27-30).

Notice that even Jesus had the problem that religious leaders claimed that they would have believed the Old Testament prophets:

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 (Matthew 12:38-39).

Jesus is giving the impression that they would not have believed the ancient prophets and that He did not have to give them the type of sign they demanded. All need to be careful about what requirements that they may try to place on God for proof of a prophet. People told Jesus He had to do certain miracles to prove who He was, and He did not (e.g. Matthew 26:68; 27:40).

Notice also what Jesus taught (with the first about someone who says that he would believe if there was a sign):

30 And he said, 'No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' 31 But he said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.' (Luke 16:30-31)

And while Jesus did have some signs, He seem to have issues with those who required them:

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." (John 20:29)

The reality is that both in the Old and New Testaments, many people would not accept the word of God's true prophets.

God Sometimes Uses Dreams For His Prophets

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).

Do dreams and prophets have any place in the Christian Church today? 

The Bible shows that God often works 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)

A few 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, 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 it.

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.

Roderick Meredith once wrote:

In II Kings 2:8-15, we find the account where the great prophet Elijah was taken up into heaven — turning his office and mantle over to Elisha. Read this account carefully. Notice that Elisha expected to carryon in the power of God as had Elijah. For he asked for a "double portion" of Elijah's spirit to be upon him. As Elijah ascended up to heaven, his mantle fell on Elisha. ...

Today, you should personally awake to the fact that the mantle and power of Elijah will be manifested among God's true servants in this age.

For as John the Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17), so God says of our day: "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and. dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse" (Malachi 4:5-6). (Meredith RC. Tapping Your INNER POWERS Is Not Enough. Plain Truth, October-November 1979)

Unlike Herbert Armstrong who restored truths to the Philadelphia era, and Bob Thiel who added more details to those truths, Dr. Meredith has not done that. Nor has he fulfilled the prophetic office. Yet, he wrote that someone had to.

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 (see Roderick C. Meredith's Accusatory Letter to Bob Thiel), 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 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.

But first, let us start here with 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 I, chapter 10)

And that is correct.  Most dreams are not from God, even if people think that they are.  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).

Though many discount all dreams, many also forget that Herbert W. Armstrong believed that his wife Loma 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; see also, Autobiography of Herbert Armstrong, Volume I, chapter 10).

So, there was a dream from a woman that preceded the start of the old Radio Church of God that Herbert W. Armstrong led.

A question to ponder is have there been any dreams from God in more recent years?

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 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.

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.

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). See also Dreams, the Bible, and the Continuing Church of God.

Jesus Emphazied that Even a Prophet Who Was the Greatest Did Not Appear as People Expected

Jesus taught:

28 For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist (Luke 7:28).

John the Baptist is not recorded as having done any miracles, nor making predictions that the majority accepted as fulfilled when he was alive. He apparently led an aspect of the work that was assigned to him.

Many who believe that they follow the God of the Bible seem to have convinced themselves that they would know how to determine who is a true prophet of God. But, as mentioned elsewhere in this article, the Bible and other evidence points to the opposite conclusion.

Most people will NOT accept the biblical criteria but instead come up with their own, based upon their own expectations and interpretations.

Jesus addressed this with attitudes related to John the Baptist as He decided to defend him as well as Himself:

7 As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. 9 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. 10 For this is he of whom it is written:

"Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
Who will prepare Your way before You.'

11 "Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come. 15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

16 "But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions, 17 and saying:

'We played the flute for you,
And you did not dance;
We mourned to you,
And you did not lament.'

18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.' 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' But wisdom is justified by her children." (Matthew 11:7-19)

So, people ruled out John the Baptist, as well as Jesus, because they did not meet their improper criteria. The same thing is happening today.

The reality is that ALL THE PROPHETS were rejected by the majority throughout history. When Jesus taught this (Luke 4:24-27), many of the religous of His time became full of wrath (Luke 4:28) as they erroneously believed that they would have accepted a prophet of God--this is still a major problem today.

If the prophet Jeremiah were here now, he would be rejected by nearly everyone. He did no recorded miracles. People would not have not believed that God called him. Even after he was accepted as being a prophet, he was accused of being wrong and not listened to by many, but denounced as speaking falsely (Jeremiah 43:1-2).

43 "For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:43-45)

True prophets teach the truth of the Bible. But people seem to be expecting a variety of more specular signs, and the Bible indicates even those would not truly persuade them (cf. Luke 16:31).

The fact is that just like the Pharisees who believe that they would have accepted the Old Testament prophets if they lived back then, but according to Jesus they would not have (Matthew 23:29-36), the reality is that since the Bible did not record about those prophets until AFTER their ministries were completed or nearly completed, few believed that they were prophets. It is mainly because the Bible says that they were prophets that more people, after the prophets died, accepted that they were God's prophets.

For the sake of argument, what would you think if the following was recorded in the Bible? And if there will be additions to the Bible for the church age, perhaps something like this will be:

As an appointed doctrinal and prophetic advisor to the Living Church of God (LCG), Bob Thiel sees problems in the fact that evangelist Roderick Meredith is not keeping his promises. After prayer, he tells a minister Davy Crockett that he believes that a top LCG leader will soon be struck with something by God unless the matter changes. The next month, Dr. Meredith suffers a debilitating ministroke. The next month, God moves Dr. Meredith to call Bob Thiel and tell him that God may consider him to be a prophet and Dr. Meredith accepts that God is somehow correcting him. God further moves Dr. Meredith to consider ordaining Bob Thiel as prophet, but because Dr. Meredith wishes to consider himself an apostle before doing so, Dr. Meredith refuses. After this Dr. Thiel writes book that eventually has at least 33 predictions confirmed in it. Bob Thiel also has a dream that is later fulfilled. Dr. Thiel also has other predictions that are confirmed. Later, Bob Thiel so tried to tell Dr. Meredith that his wife was about to have a major health issue strike her, and within weeks, this is confirmed.

Instead of accepting the reality of this, Dr. Meredith resists. Bob Thiel counsels with at least two in the ministry about this and various prophetic implications (Gary Ehman and Jeffrey Fall). Although the ministers told him that he did not have to have hands laid upon him again to demonstrate he was a prophet, Dr. Thiel cites portions of the Bible and states that he would need to have hands laid upon him for him to accept it. So, Dr. Thiel prayed that if God truly did consider him a prophet, that something would happen on his next visit to LCG's Charlotte offices. During that visit, Gary Ehman was not in at first, and Dr. Thiel unexpectedly met with Gaylyn Bonjour who when anointing and laying hands upon him, move by the Holy Spirit, he prayed that Dr. Thiel would be granted a 'double-portion' of God's Spirit. Gaylyn Bonjour told Dr. Thiel that this was reminiscent of the passing of the mantle from Elijah to Elisha and the establishing of the prophetic credentials of Elisha.

When Dr. Meredith hears of this, he indicates offense that it should have been one like himself to do that type of anointing, though he understands that an ordained minister (like Gaylyn Bonjour) is qualified. Various ones, concerned about Bob Thiel's growing influence, pressure Dr. Meredith to distance himself from Dr. Thiel. God then speaks to Fesilafai Leaana in a dream, that she at first does not understand. A few weeks later, Dr. Meredith sends out an improper letter against Bob Thiel in violation of Matthew 18:15-18. Bob Thiel concludes that this letter is final proof that the mantle had passed and that he must form the Continuing Church of God. Within days of this, Fesilafai Leaana's husband realized that her dream was fulfilled by the formation of the Continuing Church of God with Bob Thiel as its prophetic, human, leader. The final phase of the work begins.

Now, you are telling yourself, yes if that was actually in the Bible, then I would accept Bob Thiel as being a true prophet of God, but since it currently is not part of the 66 books of the Bible, this can be rejected. But do you not get the point? The truth about prophets does not get recorded in the Bible until AFTER various things happen.

Please consider that the children of Israel did NOT have the portions of their Bible written and/or accepted that described the prophets until AFTER they completed or nearly completed their jobs.

True prophets have always been rejected by many. Remember what Jesus said:

41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. (Matthew 10:41)

I will flat out state the incidents I put in the hypothetical 'scripture' all happened. The only question is did God inspire Dr. Meredith, Gaylyn Bonjour, and others to say what they said? I believe that He did as the other matters help verify that. Can any prove otherwise?

While many had doubts about the Apostle Paul, the Bible praised the Bereans who "searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether" what Paul taught was so (Acts 17:10-11). The most faithful will do likewise.

True Prophets Will Be Criticized and Until Around the Time of the Two Witnesses Do Not Have to Perform Miracles

Jesus personally warned that people (including some who claimed to be followers of God) have spoken bad things about true prophets:

11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)

Just because someone receives criticism, that does not prove he or she is a false prophet. Depending on the type of criticism and how the person being criticized handles it, that can be a sign of a true prophet.

Now there is a point that one who was once COG, but turned against the faith, stated about prophets that perhaps should be addressed. First the statement:

Did the prophets in the Bible ever brag about their prophecies coming to pass? In fact, did they ever attempt to "own" the prophecies that God had given them, and to attempt to collect followers? (http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=226103369043606765&postID=7025608215452313870)

Well the biblical answer to those statements is basically yes, especially when they had not been believed. Jeremiah did report his predictions came to pass (Jeremiah 37:18-20), Micah basically did (Micah 3:8), as did others did (cf. Jeremiah 28:8-9), including basically God Himself (Jeremiah 29:15-20, 44:4-6; Zechariah 1:4-6).

While the prophets were not trying for a simply personal following per se, they absolutely taught that people should listen to them and not the false prophets or false religious leaders (e.g. Micah 3:5-8; Jeremiah 27:12-22). So, trying to discredit possible prophets because of accurate predictions that the prophet mentions is not a biblically correct reason to dismiss him or her--it would be a reason to accept the prophet. Jesus Himself mentioned His works as reasons to believe Him (John 14:11)--and Jesus also said that one would know if a prophet was real by the fruits (Matthew 7:15-16)--which would include accurate prophecies.

Also, there is another important point that those who are truly part of the Church of God should consider (and this is directed mainly to those that have not totally abandoned the faith). Scripture is clear that not all of God’s people will be protected during the Great Tribulation (Revelation 12:17)—if God had a plan to make His prophets and witnesses clearly chosen and accepted in advance by the majority of His people, would not many in the non-Philadelphian COGs see and support this? And would this not be contrary to Revelation 12:17 and certain statements in Revelation 2 & 3 that indicate only a minority of Church of God brethren will hold fast enough to be protected?

There are reasons that God does what He does and His ways are not the same as how humans tend to think (cf. Isaiah 55:7-8).

People who claim that only if THEY, or someone they listen to accepts who is a prophet of God is the proper biblical requirement have apparently not properly considered all the scriptures. A prophet does not need organizational approval nor does he or she have to do certain public 'miracles' for biblical acceptance. The biblical requirement is that the prophet teach and practice the law of God and proclaim God's truth, while having the fruits of a prophet and having hands laid upon him/her.

Are not great public miracles a major sign of the false prophet of Revelation 13:11-15; 19:20? God's people are not to be deceived by signs and lying wonders (Matthew 24:24), but instead are to have the love of the truth so that they are not deceived (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10).

Christians are to walk by faith and not be sight (2 Corinthians 5:7), and SEEING miracles is not the final criteria that a Christian is supposed to have. Jesus' clear requirements for determining a true vs. false prophet was the FRUITS not some sign or miracle (Matthew 7:15-20; 24:24).

If you do not think that Bob Thiel may be a prophet, you owe it to yourself to disprove it from the New Testament criteria. In my view, anything less is a sign of Laodiceanism (cf. Revelation 3:14-18).

Herbert Armstrong's Comments About Distancing Himself from CG7

Related to his distancing himself from CG7 in 1933, Herbert Armstrong wrote:

“As for me and my house,” I then said firmly, “we shall serve the Eternal our God, and Him ONLY shall we serve...My wife and I knew we were obeying and serving God. We knew He was using us. The FRUITS being borne were loud testimony of this. God had prepared us for relying solely on Him by many miraculous answers to prayer. Therefore we knew, in perfect faith, God would supply our need.

The Crucial Test

Actually this was the turning point of my whole life -- far more crucial than I realized at the time.

This was the crossroads -- the final pivotal, crucial test before the living Christ began opening the doors of mass communication through which GOD’S WORK at last could come to life after centuries of sleeping, and go forth in mighty power to all the world, preparing the way before Christ’s return to earth as Ruler over all nations.

I did not fully realize, then, that this was a crucial turning point in the history of the Church of God. My wife and I did not leave the Church. This was God’s Church. Of that I was not, then, completely sure. They came closer to Biblical truth than any other -- but I was seriously disturbed by their lack of power and accomplishment.

What actually was happening, though we did not understand it then, was that a NEW ERA was dawning in the history of the Church of God...

Mrs. Armstrong and I continued to fellowship with these brethren. I continued to work with them, and with their ministers, as far as that was possible. The lay brethren continued to look to me for the leadership for getting the Work of God going to the world...

And this crisis was the turning point when my wife and I actually, in practice, began RELYING SOLELY ON GOD -- no longer on either self or MEN!

Until those two milestones had been hurdled, God could not OPEN THE BIG DOORs! The DIFFERENCE between THIS Work of GOD and others is just that -- this is the Work of GOD and not of MEN. It started, and continued, to rely on GOD, not on MAN.

I had been changed; I had seven years of intensive Bible study and growth in Biblical KNOWLEDGE behind me. I had five years of experience in preaching. I had become quite experienced in relying on God, instead of on self or on humans. Yet, notwithstanding, as long as I was EMPLOYED by men who were over me, and who had proved to be susceptible of being influenced and swayed by false ministers, into acting contrary to God’s Word, I was not yet free to RELY ON GOD ALONE, and to be completely FAITHFUL to His Word!

The living Christ simply could not start opening the doors for HIS WORK, until I was free to RELY SOLELY ON HIM!

I was now FREE! This final crucial test had proved that I would be FAITHFUL to God and His Word, even at cost of giving up everything!

I know of evangelists who probably are sincere in supposing they are serving God -- and who would like to be free to proclaim many truths they now hold back. They reason something like this:

“If I go farther, and preach those things, I’ll lose all my support. I’d be cut off from the ministry altogether. Then I could preach NOTHING. Better serve God by preaching as much of the Biblical truth as possible, than to be prevented from preaching anything.”

They are relying on the financial support of MEN, or of organizations of men. Anyone in that predicament is the SERVANT OF MEN, and NOT OF GOD, whether he realizes it or not...

If I were to serve GOD, I would have to look solely to GOD for support!

Of course God does work through human instruments. But I had to rely on GOD to lay it on the hearts of people to support the kind of preaching that obeys Isaiah 58:1 by crying ALOUD -- lifting up my voice and showing the people their SINS!

NEVER was a more important decision made than that decision to cut loose entirely from relying on MEN, and instead, relying solely on God -- not only for truth, and for direction, but also for SUPPORT! That’s why we never solicit the public for contributions. (Armstrong HW. Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, Volume 1, Chapter 30. 1973 edition, pp. 447-451)

And while at this stage a new Church era is not now dawning (Laodicea is already here, and only a remnant of the Philadelphia Church era remains), we are entering what I have termed the final phase of the work. Yet many who claim to be Philadelphians (PCG, RCG, LCG, many in other groups, etc.), unlike Herbert Armstrong, are looking towards an organization or opinions of men, instead of stepping out with real faith to support the Philadelphia efforts for the final phase of the work of God.

Herbert Armstrong essentially claimed that fruits of successful gospel proclamation were proof God was using him. The popularity and impact of the Continuing Church of God's gospel proclamation exceeded that of Herbert W. Armstrong's in its first 11 months. CCOG has reached MILLIONS on radio and the internet. According to Alexa.com's internet rankings, CCOG's internet popularity vastly exceeds that of groups like LCG. The proclamation fruits are there for those willing to see it.

Many do not truly understand God's government or how He works.

Of course, Herbert W. Armstrong was not a prophet, and in the Bible, we see that prophets apparently often had outside jobs for some or all of their financial support (cf. Amos 7:14-15; Jeremiah 32:6-12). Although the Apostle Paul was a minister (Romans 15:16) and entitled to financial support (1 Corinthians 1:19), he sometimes prophesied (1 Corinthians 13:9) and sometimes did outside work to help support himself (cf. Acts 18:2-4).

But what if parts of the effort seem small?

Notice what the Bible teaches:

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

9 "The hands of Zerubbabel
Have laid the foundation of this temple;
His hands shall also finish it.
Then you will know
That the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you.
10 For who has despised the day of small things?
For these seven rejoice to see
The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.
They are the eyes of the Lord,
Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth."

11 Then I answered and said to him, "What are these two olive trees — at the right of the lampstand and at its left?" 12 And I further answered and said to him, "What are these two olive branches that drip into the receptacles of the two gold pipes from which the golden oil drains?"

13 Then he answered me and said, "Do you not know what these are?"

And I said, "No, my lord."

14 So he said, "These are the two anointed ones, who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth." (Zechariah 4:8-14)

Herbert Armstrong did not despise the small work he started. But what about the small work in the 21st century? How do you view it?

Types of Prophets: Prophetic Evangelists and Local Prophets

The New Testament seems to discuss several types of prophets. Some, like the Apostle John, received direct revelation from Jesus (Revelation 1). Some others were apparently "local" prophets (1 Corinthians 14:29-32) who assisted in the understanding of matters in local areas. And some were apparently prophetic evangelists (like apparently Timothy), who had some prophetic gift, but may or may not have had many/any visions/dreams.

Dr. R.C. Meredith during the old Radio Church of God days wrote (bolding mine):

The true Church of God is the ONLY Church which directly follows not only the form of government but employs the very titles which God Himself inspired as the designations for His ministers of various ranks and functions. These titles are partially included in the various spiritual gifts mentioned in I Corinthians 12: “And GOD hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues” (Verse 28)...Those mentioned first are apostles...

Next are mentioned “prophets.” These can be either men or women and were used to foretell future events by special and personal revelation from God (Acts 11:27-30; 21:9-10). There is no example of them having any administrative authority over other ministers in the Church unless they were also apostles or evangelists. Also, from the later chapters of Acts and the following centuries of true Church history, it would seem that their function has diminished and that Christ is not placing many in this office since the basic revelation of the Bible is now complete.

Next in authority under the apostles were the evangelists. Originally, they included such men as Timothy, Titus, Epaphroditus, Silas and others who assisted the apostles in directing the work of the ministry. (Meredith RC. How Church Government Really WORKS. Good News, March 1964, pp. 4-5)

So according to the writings of Dr. Meredith, prophets who also do the work of an evangelist, "prophetic evangelists" or "evangelistic prophets," can have administrative authority. And that is so (other prophets in New Testament and later times probably also had some type of administrative authority as well). And not placing MANY in that role does not mean that CHRIST is not placing any.

Dr. Meredith also mentioned a group that he called local prophets (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:29-32):

As God’s Church in this age has GROWN over the past thirty years in this era, Christ has filled ALL of the ministerial ranks outlined in Ephesians 4 except that of the local “prophets”- who were not much in evidence toward the latter part of the Biblical history and after the Bible was written. (Meredith RC. How Church Government Really WORKS. Good News, March 1964, pp. 6,24)

And, that combined with those like the Apostle John, show that there were apparently at least three kinds. Yet, many today in the COG do not seem to realize this. They may wish to be like the Bereans and "searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11).

Prophets clearly are an office of the COG. Is it not possible that God has raised up at least one now in the 21st century?

Prophets Are Often Ridiculed, But Those Who Accept Them Are to Receive a Reward

The Bible is clear that God's prophets have not always been accepted, but often have been subject to ridicule.

Notice of what Jeremiah wrote in the Old Testament:

1 I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath. 2 He has led me and made me walk In darkness and not in light. 3 Surely He has turned His hand against me Time and time again throughout the day.
4 He has aged my flesh and my skin,And broken my bones. 5 He has besieged me And surrounded me with bitterness and woe. 6 He has set me in dark places Like the dead of long ago.
7 He has hedged me in so that I cannot get out;He has made my chain heavy. 8 Even when I cry and shout,He shuts out my prayer. 9 He has blocked my ways with hewn stone;He has made my paths crooked.
10 He has been to me a bear lying in wait,Like a lion in ambush. 11 He has turned aside my ways and torn me in pieces;He has made me desolate. 12 He has bent His bow And set me up as a target for the arrow.
13 He has caused the arrows of His quiver To pierce my loins. 14 I have become the ridicule of all my people — Their taunting song all the day. (Lamentations 3:1-14)

So, the Prophet Jeremiah was ridiculed by people who claimed to follow the God of the Bible.

Notice some of what the Apostle Peter wrote in the New Testament:

3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation." 5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. (2 Peter 3:3-7)

But being subject to ridicule and scoffing is not the only issue, persecution is as well. But Jesus also made it clear that there were rewards associated with receiving His prophets:

31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. 32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. 34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. 37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. 40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. 41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. (Matthew 10:31-41, KJV)

Are you willing to receive that God could have at least one prophet today, despite him being subject to ridicule?

It should be emphasized that, despite some claims, Jesus did not teach that one should accept a prophet in the name of a long-term evangelist (those who believe otherwise, should check the only three scriptures that use the Greek term for evangelist, which are Acts 21:8, Ephesians 4:11, and 2 Timothy 4:5, as they make no suggestion that an evangelist is the authority on such matters).

Yet, most people throughout history have always not considered that God's prophets are His prophets. It simply has not been clear enough as people refused to look at God's criteria for them, so they discounted what they said and did not treat them properly.

The martyr Stephen asked:

52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? (Acts 7:52)

Stephen was saying that all the prophets were persecuted by people who supposedly follow God, and kept the Sabbath and other commandments.

Even now, there are many who have Church of God ties who have denounced me for accepting what happened to me and for actually believing what the Bible, as opposed to their own imaginations, teaches about being a true prophet. At least two websites ran by people who supposedly are part of the Church of God have repeatedly referred to me as a 'false prophet.' Is this type of persecuting because I ever claimed to speak prophecies in the name of God that did not come to pass?

No.

They call me 'false' because they refuse to accept that what happened to me with the anointing, valididated predictions, and gospel proclamation success, line us with THEIR personal opinions of what THEY ARE LOOKING for. They are similar to the Pharisees of Jesus' day in that respect. The Apostle Paul warned:

20 Do not despise prophecies. 21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21)

Yet, the vast majority despise prophecies and will not accept true prophets. The Bible warns about that.

Please if you consider yourself a true Christian, be like the Bereans and search "the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). Do not rely on improper traditions or opinions of men that are not truly based upon what the Bible actually teaches. Do not decide that God must do things in accordance with personal preferences as opposed to what His Word really teaches.

If You Think that You May be a Prophet or One of the Two Witnesses

If you feel that somehow God has given you a special prophetic message or insight, please contact the appropriate Church of God minister for your geographical area to discuss that--DO NOT CONTACT ME (my not taking time to shoot down contrary doctrines should not be interpreted that I "couldn't find anything wrong" with them as some have improperly claimed). If the minister believes that I should be involved, he will contact me.

If you will not do this, then please understand that I will not respect any such submissions. If you are not serious enough to contact a real Church of God minister, please understand that I consider such people as unwilling to accept biblical church governance and/or as religious hobbyists as opposed to those who are truly willing to be led by God--even if you think you are an apostle, prophet, one of the two witnesses, specially-called, had a Divine dream/vision, etc. Those who are being led by God, will seek to understand how and why He has a ministry and will submit themselves to God's will to help accomplish His plan (Ephesians 4:11-16; 2:19-22; 1 Corinthians 16:16).

Thus far, none who have ever contacted me have had hands laid upon them to give them a type of anointing that a true prophet of God would likely to have had in this church age if God was selecting them.

Hence, if the anointing from a true minister being led by God has not happened to you, understand that I do not now accept that you are a prophet or one of the two witnesses. Laying hands upon yourself (figuratively or literally) is not enough.

The Bible shows that with New Testament era prophets that God ordains and has human anoint them.

(If you click here you could learn about one who had had prophetic fruits and has had hands laid upon him.)

Bob Thiel Had a Dream, Was Anointed, Was Told, Is Faithful, and Has the Prophetic Fruits

As mentioned before, I had a dream which later was confirmed (Numbers 12:6; Deuteronomy 18:17-20).

But as far as being prophetically anointed, what happen to me?

Here is the shorter version: In November/December 2011, I prayed that if I truly had a prophetic role from God that He would have something happen during a planned mid-December 2011 trip to Charlotte, North Carolina to confirm it or deny it if that were His will. As it turned out, on 12/15/2011 hands were laid upon me in Charlotte.  The minister who did so prayed that I would be granted a "double-portion" of God's Holy Spirit.  The minister told me that he had not ever done this before but he felt that it was reminiscent of the time that the prophetic and ecclesiastical leadership mantle passed from the Prophet Elijah to Elisha (2 Kings 2:9-13).  This minister had been unaware that I had prayed that God would have me anointed or somehow identified for a prophetic role on that mid-December 2011 trip if that were His plan for me and I had never discussed my possible prophetic role with him prior to this anointing.  On 12/18/12, I asked this minister if he knew what he may have intentionally done and he said yes. This 12/15/11 anointing appears to be the first biblically-appropriate prophetic anointing in the Church of God in many decades, if not many, many multiple centuries.  And the legitimacy of this anointing has been proven by subsequent events--though many do not seem to understand how God works at times.  

Let this be clear, I was absolutely anointed, had hands laid over me, and the minister who did so prayed that I would receive a 'double-portion' of God's Holy Spirit, and afterwards that same minister stated that this was reminscient of the mantle passing from Elijah to Elisha. The fact that the minister did not originally intend to do it is of no consequence, as the Bible shows that although Isaac had not intended to provide certain blessings to Jacob, once Isaac laid hands upon Jacob and gave the prayer, the anointed blessing would remain according to the Bible (Genesis 27)--and unlike Jacob, I did not employ any deceit in the anointing.

Furthermore, understand that I believe that I do have the appropriate prophetic fruits that Jesus discussed (Matthew 7:15-20) and that those truly interested in the truth can see this if they truly wish to prayfully look into this. Perhaps it should be mentioned that while some question my ordination, others have also had concerns about God's anointing and ordinations (2 Kings 9:1-11; Jeremiah 43:2; Genesis 27:26-37). God does not always do things the way humans think He does (cf. Isaiah 55:8-9).

Additionally, the fact of Fesilafai Leaana's dream and later confirmations of that, combined with other items brought up here, should be a sufficient additional witness for those truly interested in the truth. Jesus taught:

16 ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ (Matthew 18:16)

Perhaps all should be reminded that the Apostle Paul found it necessary to defend his apostleship on various occasions (e.g. 2 Corinthians 11:22-29), and prophets like Jeremiah felt it necessary to defend the role of being a prophet by reminding people of fulfilled prophecies that they proclaimed (e.g. Jeremiah 37:18-20; 43). Because he was not an original apostle, a lot of Christians apparently had trouble with Paul being an apostle (2 Corinthians 11:22-29, Galatians 1:1, etc.), but notice what he wrote:

1 Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead) (Galatians 1:1)

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God (Ephesians 1:1)

17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." (Acts 9:17)

Paul was ordained an apostle by God and had hands laid on him by a man who apparently was a minister. I was ordained a prophet by God and had hands laid upon me by a man, a minister, who specifically asked that God would grant me a 'double-portion' of His Spirit.

Notice something that the Prophet Jeremiah stated:

8 The prophets who have been before me and before you of old prophesied against many countries and great kingdoms — of war and disaster and pestilence. 9 As for the prophet who prophesies of peace, when the word of the prophet comes to pass, the prophet will be known as one whom the Lord has truly sent. (Jeremiah 28:8-9)

As far as my own prophetic record and 'prophesies of peace,' every year since at least 2008, I have publicly stated that the great tribulation would not start for years, and I have been proven right for each of the years I have stated that, despite certain others claiming the great tribulation would or could start in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. Furthermore, there is a listing of 32 predictions related to my 2012 book at the beginning of the article End of Mayan Calendar 2012--Might 2012 Mean Something?; 7 related to Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg in the article Might German Baron Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg become the King of the North?; 1 related to China and Australian Prime Minister Julian Gilliard is mentioned in the article USA and Australia Concerned About Chinese Military; Chinese Concerned about Australia-USA Military Co-operation. And one I made about Pope Benedict XVI also seems to be confirmed (Pope Benedict announces resignation! Might he fulfill Catholic prophecies and COGwriter speculation?), as well as one or more related to the situation in Egypt (e.g. Egypt’s ElBaradei again talks of peace with Israel). I also made a speculative one about the final/another pope in a YouTube video on September 1, 2009, that looks like it could have be fulfilled in March 2013 (YouTube viewer impressed by Bob Thiel’s 2009 speculation about the timing of the last pope). And if one goes through the details of past news and other articles at the COGwriter.com website, the total of correct speculations/predictions seems to be in the hundreds.

Despite improper accusations from various ones on the internet that I am some type of a false prophet, to the best of my knowledge, I have never once posted a false prediction (and I do try to indicate when something is speculation), nor do those critics actually post any "false" predictions that I supposedly made and provide proof that even one false. Thus, those who love the truth will not listen to their false dismissals. Furthermore, I did not anoint myself (Gaylyn Bonjour anointed me with oil) and am not self-ordained, but am God-ordained. Yet sadly, some so misunderstand the role of prophets in the New Testament that they would rather believe the lies about me than face the truth that the actual facts reveal.

While some have suggested that these forty-plus specified predictions were simply informed analyses as opposed to prophecies (and several likely were), I would add that I told LCG's Davy Crockett in August 2008, several weeks before Dr. Meredith had his first ministroke, that I believed that God was about to strike one of LCG's top leaders down (meaning likely Dr. Meredith) if LCG did not keep certain promises related to correcting literature, etc. And this happened. Furthermore, I tried to meet with Dr. Meredith on December 19, 2011 to tell him that it seemed God was telling me that his wife was about to be struck with something serious. A few weeks later (per Dr. Meredith’s letter dated 1/12/12), Dr. Meredith reported that his wife (who was much younger than he) was stricken with stage four cancer (she later died on November 29, 2013). Those two predictions were not the result of news analytical skills on my behalf, but I believe were insights from God's Spirit.

In the May-June 2014 edition of the Living Church News, LCG's Dexter Wakefield wrote, "the gift of “prophecy” is primarily the gift of inspired speech" (see also LCG on Prophets: Rare, But Look for the Fruits). It should be pointed out that to the best of my knowledge, all the COG groups which I have studied related to their understanding of certain end time prophecies (including LCG) have shown that their errors in understanding key prophecies in Daniel 9, Daniel 11, Matthew 24, Revelation 17, 2 Thessalonians 2, and/or elsewhere mean that they will NOT know when the Great Tribulation will begin and hence will not know when to flee (cf. Matthew 24:14-21; Revelation 12:14-17). Perhaps it should be noted that leaders in various COGs, who were once were part of the old WCG, have told me that my understanding on all the items listed in the section titled Laodiceans Misunderstand Bible Prophecy in the article The Laodicean Church Era were correct, despite the fact that their respective churches held to several of the errors listed. Those who rely too much on a compromised ministry (Ezekiel 34:7-10) to teach them prophecy that is not truly in accordance with scripture need to realize that according to Jesus' words in Revelation 2 & 3 and Luke 21, only relatively few Christians will be protected from the hour of trial that will come upon the whole world.

Now, I cannot tell people when God will lead me to other prophetic insights. But my prophetic track record seems unparalleled in modern times. And yes, I accept the prophetic office I was ordained by God and anointed into. The fruits are there (cf. Matthew 7:16-20).

Because some seemingly have selective memories of statements, and others have heard/read misinformation, I thought that perhaps the following could be helpful for some wanting information about what leaders in my former church stated about my prophetic role:

Of course, it is God who appoints prophets (1 Corinthians 12:28), but the reality is that the Charlotte-based evangelists supported telling me that God may consider me to be a prophet. Thus, those who suggest otherwise should ask themselves how many others in the history of the Radio/Worldwide/Global/Living Church of God have the top leaders told that God may consider them to be a prophet? I would suggest that the only one to be told this, at least multiple times over the course of years, was me, Bob Thiel. And that God led Gaylyn Bonjour to anoint and pray over me for a 'double-portion' of His Spirit as he did.

Since it is God who appoints prophets (1 Corinthians 12:28), it seems that perhaps because Dr. Meredith personally did not anoint me, God took steps to get that anointing done by a properly ordained member of the eldership. And this happened. And the anointing combined with events that happened in LCG since the anointing (such as the adoption of foreign doctrine) forced me to recognize that LCG could no longer have the Philadelphia mantle (see also Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God) and to go out on faith to establish the Continuing Church of God. I did not leave LCG because they rejected my prophetic role. I left LCG because I concluded that the top leadership did not have the biblical character to possibly hold the Philadelphia mantle (see also Roderick C. Meredith's Accusatory Letter to Bob Thiel), thus decided to accept that God no longer wanted one anointed as a prophet to stay with an organization that could not possibly lead the final phase of the work.

I should add that people need to consider what God's standards for a prophet are in the New Testament and not discount them based upon their preferences or traditions. I accept that I have a prophetic office, that God will grant one or more others the gift of prophecy in the future, and that I will try to best use the spiritual gifts that God has granted me. Let me also state that I am not asking people to follow me per se, I only ask people who hope that they are Philadelphia-remnant Christians to follow me as I follow Jesus Christ, do the work, and teach those things that are consistent with the Bible (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:1).

Jesus warned:

24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment. (John 7:24)

Yet, sadly, most who profess Christ do not REALLY seem to understand what Jesus meant here. People are not improper judgments based upon false and improper accusations or various outward impressions, yet it seems that most Christians seemingly have done so. All of God's commandments are righteousness (Psalm 119:172) and, thus, judgments need to be based on the Ten Commandments. I advocate, teach, and strive to keep the commandments.

Can you accept the New Testament criteria for a prophet? One consistent with the writings of the old Radio/Worldwide Church of God? Do not let the fact that many prophets in the New Testament did NOT perform public "miracles" keep you from overlooking that same fact today. The time for those miracles is coming (cf. Revelation 11:3; Daniel 11:32), but God expects His people to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

In terms of evangelistic reach, we in the Continuing Church of God have already reached hundreds of thousands over the internet and millions over the radio with Christ's gospel of the kingdom (The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church). We have reached people in at least 220 countries and territories around the world. Teaching, not only prophecy, but standing for God's law (The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil and The Ten Commandments and the Early Church) and the true Christian way of life (What is the Meaning of Life?), Living as a Christian: How and Why?, and Overcoming Sin). God is blessing the reach of this prophetic and evangelistic ministry.

Please understand that on a per attendee basis, statistics help demonstrate that the Continuing Church of God has seemingly reached more people on a regular basis than any Church of God in recorded in history. On a total basis, the Continuing Church of God has already reached more people than most COGs in known pre-20th century history and is currently the group most boldly leading the effort to fulfill Matthew 24:14 and finish the work. Is that not consistent with the fruits of a group led by one with a prophetic anointing from God? The Continuing Church of God is leading final phase of the work.

Unlike the other COGs I am aware, the Continuing Church of God is the first (and perhaps only one) in modern times to publicly teach the proper identity of the man of sin in 2 Thessalonians (see Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? ; in Spanish ¿Quién es el Hombre de Pecado de 2 Tesalonicenses 2?; watch Who is the Man of Sin?). We also may be the first to actually have a regular magazine in Mandarin Chinese: 圣经新闻与预言2013 (we also have other languages, including English, Spanish, and Tagalog, with others being worked on).

As far as Dr. Meredith comments about who has prophetic understanding, on April 17, 2013 the Living Church of God sent out the following claim (bolding below mine) that he wrote:

One of the most vital yet neglected prophecies in all of the Bible is found in 2 Thessalonians 2...

For those of you who understand prophecy, it becomes obvious that this great “man of sin,” or “man of lawlessness,” ties in directly with the “second beast” of Revelation 13.

Now, Dr. Meredith knew that I disagreed with this position as over the years I had sent him various detailed papers about this (and various leaders in LCG told me personally that I was correct on this).

Why bring this up here?

Dr. Meredith wanted to distinguish those who understand prophecy from those who do not. So, if he is not right here, then this shows that according to what he has written, his church obviously does not understand this (and certain other) aspects of prophecy.

But the Bible is clear that the "man of sin" in 2 Thessalonians 2 must be the first beast, not the second one (see Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2?).

This is just additional proof that I and those of us in the Continuing Church of God have a better understanding of various aspects of prophecy than Dr. Meredith now does (for another example, see also The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings). And while I am about the lowest level of prophet that the New Testament tells of, that level is still ahead of the position of an evangelist according to the Bible (cf. Ephesians 4:11). This may explain why Dr. Meredith is in error on a prophetic point he claims should be so obvious to those that understand prophecy.

Those who think that perhaps I left LCG too early, really should prayfully study the article Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God as well as Roderick C. Meredith's Accusatory Letter to Bob Thiel.

Concerns About Bob Thiel Being a True Prophet

Despite the facts, scriptures, etc., mentioned in this article, many still have concerns. So, the following is a brief list of concerns with scriptural and/or other information.

The biggest issue seems to be that most overlook what the Bible teaches about New Testament prophets or accept that God sometimes speaks to prophets only through dreams (Numbers 12:6) and/or being led by the Holy Spirit (John 6:13; Acts 11:28). But the fact is that Bob Thiel had a dream that was later confirmed (Numbers 12:6) was anointed and had hands laid upon him for a 'double-portion' of God's Spirit, has been faithful to the Bible, has the prophetic fruits that Jesus said were the criteria (Matthew 7:15-20), and is leading the final phase of the work. And another, Fesilafai Fiso Leaana, also had a dream which was confirmed by the formation of the Continuing Church of God. Two different witnesses from dreams, plus Gaylyn Bonjour's witness for doing the anointing--‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established’ (Matthew 18:16) (more on dreams can be found in the article Dreams, the Bible, and the Continuing Church of God).

Do you have the courage of the Bereans (Acts 17:10-11) to see if these things are so? If so, what will you do about it?

Concluding Comments: Summary on How to Determine if One is a True Prophet

It is astounding how few Christians really understand what the New Testament teaches about prophets. And many seem to prefer their own opinions over what the Bible actually teaches.

False prophets are a problem, and will continue to be cause problems (Matthew 7:15, 24:11,24; Mark 13:22; Luke 6:26; Acts 13:6; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 4:1; Revelation 16:13, 19:20, 20:10). Sadly, though, they tend to be followed and are prophesied to have more followers than God's true prophets (cf. Revelation 13). See also Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders? and Elijah: Past and Prophesied.

God's true prophets do not need to come from respected mainstream theological institutions, be the greatest speakers, or perform public miracles.

So, what are the requirements to be a true prophet of God? Here are seven:

  1. God appoints/calls/ordains the person to be a prophet (1 Corinthians 12:7-11,28-30; Ephesians 4:11; Numbers 12:6)--and this is shown by the next two items, with the genuineness confirmed by the last items.
  2. In the Church age, the person normally needs to have had hands laid upon him/her and be anointed by a real minister in the Church of God (1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6) who God inspires to do this (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:7,28).
  3. The person will display the fruits of a prophet (Matthew 7:15-16, 20) by making predictions that do come to pass (although there can be prophets that make predictions far out in the future that obviously could also be true ones or properly defines certain items as speculative) as well as being able to properly understand and explain key end time prophecies.
  4. One or more dreams that are told (Jeremiah 23:28) have been confirmed are often expected to be involved (Acts 2:17-18).
  5. Concerning prophets, Jesus stated "by their fruits you will know them" (Matthew 7:20), this includes prophetic results and properly teaching biblical doctrines including denouncing lawlessness--yet He also taught that most would reject God's prophets (Luke 4:24).
  6. The most dedicated servants of God, and most certainly prophets, will not unduly compromise with organizations on matters of doctrine or truth (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21).
  7. The prophetically-gifted person needs to teach the commandments of God (Deuteronomy 13:1-4; Isaiah 8:20), Christ's gospel of the kingdom (2 Corinthians 11:3-4; Acts 28:30-31; Galatians 1:9), and not contradict scripture (cf. John 10:35; Revelation 22:18-19).

Those who do not have the above are not the true prophets of God. And, even those who have all the above will be subject to ridicule--which I have been in 2013 and 2014 (and sometimes prophets are even subject to death, cf. Hebrews 11:32-40; Revelation 11:3-7).

Would you, however, follow the lead of one that did meet all of those requirements as he tried to follow Christ? If you heard about one, what would you really do? If you believe in biblical church governance and do not accept any self-appointed "apostles," should you not consider the Continuing Church of God as its top human leader has meets the prophetic criteria?

The Bible shows that with New Testament era prophets that God ordains and has human anoint them. I was ordained by God and anointed by a COG minister. Oddly, many seem to prefer that humans always both ordain and anoint. Do not be Laodicean (Revelation 3:14-18) about this--"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

Remember, according to Jesus, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign" (Matthew 12:39). Please accept the criteria that God, not some organization claiming to represent Him, has set for determining who is a true prophet of God. Do not add non-biblical criteria, which is what most have done.

If you are uncertain about what to do, please be like the Bereans and search "the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11), "Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ" (Colossians 4:2-3), and do what God, above what any human, would want you to do (Acts 5:29).

The title of the sermon I gave for the Sabbath of January 12, 2013 was titled How to determine if someone is a true prophet of God and it is available at the ContinuingCOG YouTube channel.  Some may also find it of interest.

Thiel B. How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God. www.cogwriter.com/true-prophet.htm 2012 2013 2014 0819

Back to home page

Continuing Church of God