Church of God Leaders on Prophets

By COGwriter

Do you believe in biblical prophecy?

A lot of people say that they do, but when it comes down to it, they do not accept certain prophecies for the last days.

Are you one of those?

Sadly, most Christians these days are.

Many people have different opinions about prophecies and prophets in the Church of God (COG) from the time of Jesus to present.

This article includes quotes from New Testament Church of God leaders as well as COG leaders from the second century to present.

Many think they know, but may be surprised to see what the Bible, historical, and modern writings really teach.

Here is a link to a related sermon: Church of God Leaders on Prophets.

From the Apostle Paul

Who determines who will be a prophet?

Notice what the the COG leader known as the Apostle Paul wrote:

7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the benefit of all. 8 For to one, a word of wisdom is given by the Spirit; and to another, a word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9 And to a different one, faith by the same Spirit; and to another, gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10. And to another, the working of miracles; and to another, prophecy; and to another, discerning of spirits; and to a different one, various languages; and to another, the interpretation of languages. 11 But the one and the same Spirit is operating in all these things, dividing separately to each one as God Himself desires. (1 Corinthians 12:7-11, AFV)

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 (as well as those out of it) believe that God has to do things their way, as opposed to His, when certain leaders are chosen.

Note: All readers with some type of a Worldwide Church of God (WCG) connection should consider that although the late Joseph Tkach was specifically and publicly chosen to lead the old 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 for identifying one He has chosen.

Normally a Christian 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 from the Apostle Paul:

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)

The Radio Church of God reported:

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. (Ellis WH. Why We Have the Laying on of Hands Ceremony. Good News Magazine April-May 1965)

The Strong's number 4394 for the Greek word transliterated in English as 'profeetias' is used 19 times in the New Testament, and while it includes 'inspired speaking' it really is a reference to prophecy.

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, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God and/or watch the video Dreams, COGs, and One Man Rule).

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Many have their minds made up, and will not concede that the Bible says that they need to be more open and not rely on their own (mis) understandings (Proverbs 3:5-6).

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.

But prophets do not spend their days always prophesying--and that is clear from both the Old and New Testaments. Some prophets in the Old Testament are only known for writing a couple of pages of prophecies, and it is not clear that they made other prophecies.

Furthermore, there were clearly prophets in the New Testament.

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.

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

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 so, 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).

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?).

Perhaps it should be mentioned here that the old Radio Church of God cited Catholic prophecies (see Christ or Antichrist? and Will You Be Deceived by Antichrist?) as well as Mayan, Indian, and Chinese prophecies (see History Documents Jesus Christ!). The old Worldwide Church of God also cited the Mayan Popol Vuh (Freibergs G. How Many Creators? Tomorrow's World, April 1971), which is something I cited in one of my books.

To help demonstrate that he was a true apostle and prophet, the Apostle Paul claimed:

33 I have coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. 34 Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. 35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" (Acts 20:33-35)

11 If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? 12 If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more?

Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ. (1 Corinthians 9:11-12)

17 For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ. (2 Corinthians 2:17)

Like the Apostle Paul, I Bob Thiel, have NOT taken wages or a salary from the CCOG (nor did I ever in the GCG or LCG). Hence, I am clearly not 'peddling' the word of God for financial gain.

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 and prophet by God and had hands laid on him by a man who apparently was a minister--there is NO indication that Ananias was an apostle or prophet himself--and Anaias did not even want to do it (Acts 9:10-17). 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.

True prophets have always been rejected by many as Jesus taught

46 And He said, "Woe to you also, lawyers! For you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. 47 Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. 48 In fact, you bear witness that you approve the deeds of your fathers; for they indeed killed them, and you build their tombs. 49 Therefore the wisdom of God also said, 'I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and persecute,' (Luke 11:46-49)

Prophets have long been rejected and persecuted.

Now, consider something that 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)

Jesus is saying that the prophet will have to tell people that he/she is a prophet. This happened repeatedly with the Old Testament prophets as well. Jesus did NOT say that until YOU see something YOU think is miraculous enough, you should receive the prophet. He said to receive the prophet in the name of the prophet.

Notice another translation:

41 Every one who receives a prophet, because he is a prophet, will receive a prophet's reward, and every one who receives a righteous man, because he is a righteous man, will receive a righteous man's reward. (Matthew 10:41, Weymouth New Testament)

In other words, pay attention what the prophet says and accept his/her teachings and you will receive a prophet's reward. If the prophet does not claim to be a prophet (and also provide evidence) how else can anyone know if the person is a prophet? Hence, it is needful for a prophet to 'defend' and sometime explain, the prophet status.

Jesus Said Fruits Were an Important Criteria

Jesus, the ultimate Church of God leader, taught that fruits will identify the true from the false:

15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:15-20)

So, fruits are the criteria Matthew recorded that Jesus set.

Good trees produce a lot of fruit.

The CCOG has the signs/fruits and fruits of Acts 2:17-18 (see also Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18?).

Deuteronomy 7:13 refers to people as the fruit of the womb.

If fruits can also be defined as people in the Church of God, then CCOG has those.

Since CCOG formed, it has produced the most fruit that way.

While size is not an indicator of truth, the truth is that the CCOG has been the fastest growing COG in the 21st century.

Any Prophets in Church of God History?

While the Book of Acts mentions various prophets (e.g. Acts 21:10) and even prophetesses (Acts 21:8-9), were there any prophets after the New Testament was finished?

At least according to at least three ancient writings, yes there were.

In a document believed to be put together by Church of God leaders in Smyrna in around 158 A.D., called the The Martyrdom of Polycarp, is the following:

16:2 In the number of these was this man, the glorious martyr Polycarp, who was found an apostolic and prophetic teacher in our own time, a bishop of the holy Church which is in Smyrna. For every word which he uttered from his mouth was accomplished and will be accomplished. (The Martyrdom of Polycarp. In: Holmes M. The Apostolic Fathers--Greek Text and English Translations, 3rd printing 2004, pp 222-249)

It appears that "prophet" was one of Polycarp's roles. The fact that he was a traveling prophetic teacher (he visited Rome as well as parts of Asia Minor) indicates he was a prophetic evangelist. And he looks to be the "one man" God had lead the true Church for many years.

Herbert W. Armstrong endorsed Polycarp as a Church of God leader:

It is significant that after his release John trained Polycarp elder of Smyrna, a city near Ephesus in the province of Asia. ... At neighboring Smyrna, Polycarp presided over the Church of God for half a century after John's death. Polycarp stood up boldly for the truth while many fell away and began having fellowship with the Catholic bishops of Rome. History relates that following the example of Peter, Paul and John, Polycarp wrote many letters to congregations and individuals, though all these have perished, save one in an edited version. (Armstrong HW. The Church They Couldn't Destroy. Good News, December 1981)

The Catholic saint Jerome reported that Tertullian reported that in the second century, Christians considered Church of God leader Melito of Sardis as a prophet. Tertullian, related to Melito from Jerome, wrote:

Melito of Asia, bishop of Sardis ... he was considered a prophet by many of us. (Jerome. De Viris Illustribus (On Illustrious Men), Chapter 24. Translated by Ernest Cushing Richardson. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 3. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1892.)

Herbert W. Armstrong wrote that Melito, along with, Polycarp, was one of the "of the true Christians observing Passover on the 14th of Nisan, first month of the Sacred Calendar" (Armstrong HW. The Plain Truth About Easter. WCG booklet, 1973).

Melito was the "one man" who was leading the Church of God for a time and he was an overseer (bishop) and prophet.

Did you know that he wrote about prophets?

Back in 2006/2007, I translated Melito's Greek text from H. Paulsen Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1.5. Und Die, commonly referred to as Melito's On the Prophets. I submitted the following as a rough translation of the first part of it:

You give the gift of prophecy through your spirit in your way ... (Melito, On the Prophets. Translated by Bob Thiel from the Greek from the H. Paulsen Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1.5. Und Die)

Melito was a second century Church of God leader who Christians considered to be a prophet. Since Melito was considered as a prophet, he may have written that first line to remind his critics and supporters that God decides how to give the gift of prophecy, not humans. By the way, note that I translated and submitted this well before Dr. Meredith told me in October of 2008 that God may consider me to be a prophet as well as years before I had the double-portion anointing. As COG leader Melito wrote, God gives the gift of prophecy HIS way.

Sadly, many people think God needs to give the gift of prophecy according to THEIR (Laos) Way/Judgement (Dike) (Laodicea). Since Melito was considered as a prophet, he may have written that first line to remind his critics and supporters that God decides how to give the gift of prophecy, not humans.

Notice something from the old Radio Church of God:

Paulician Church Government

The Paulicians claimed to be THE "holy universal and apostolic church" founded by Jesus Christ and his apostles. Of the false churches, they would say: "We do not belong to these, for they have long ago broken connection with the church."

They taught that the Church is not a building, not just an organization, but an organism — the body of truly converted baptized persons, which has continued unbroken with the apostolic traditions from its beginning. Jesus Christ was and is the HEAD of that Church.

Paulicians also taught that the Scripture is for the layman as much as for the minister. They continually urged the people to check the Scriptures for themselves, and accused the priests of hiding the Scriptures in order to deprive the people of the truth and of making monetary profit in addition by dispensing a SUPPOSED word of God in its place. ...

Four of their greatest leaders, the Paulicians called APOSTLES and PROPHETS. ...

Any greatness is not of the man, but of the OFFICE. No man is qualified for it but through the Holy Spirit.

Though you might not respect the MAN, YOU had BETTER respect that OFFICE!

THAT office is of God. (Lesson 50 - I Will Build My Church, Part 2. 58 Lesson: Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course, 1965)

The New Testament endorsed prophets, at least one is believed to have been around in the second century A.D., and the old Radio Church of God taught that they existed beyond New Testament times.

The 'Paulicians' were part of the Smyrna Church Era and the Pergamos Church Era.

And, it should be pointed out that a Worldwide Church of God evangelist taught that the Thyatira Church Era had a "school of the prophets" in a paper that was approved by the college of that church (Blackwell D. A HANDBOOK OF CHURCH HISTORY. A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Ambassador College Graduate School of Theology, April 1973, pp. 28, 155).

What about Sardis? Notice something written by a then WCG evangelist:

German Anabaptists ... Carlstadt, a Sabbath keeper, said. Another prevailing feature of their system was a belief in immediate or prophetic inspiration, which if it did not supercede the written word, assimilated them to its author. Notice even there, the test of a prophet was the written word! (Blackwell D. A HANDBOOK OF CHURCH HISTORY. A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Ambassador College Graduate School of Theology, April 1973, pp. 166, 167)

The old Radio Church of God taught:

I Corinthians 12: ... prophets ... Christ is not placing many in this office (Meredith RC. How Church Government Really WORKS. Good News, March 1964, pp. 4-5)

Not MANY does not, and cannot, mean NONE in the 21st century!

Furthermore, the old WCG/RCG taught about a coming Elijah in accordance with the following:

5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. (Malachi 4:5)

It can thus be concluded, that the Philadelphia Church Era also taught about at least one coming prophet.

So, we see that the old Radio/Worldwide Church of God taught that there were prophets in pretty much all church eras (including people like the Apostle John in the Ephesus Church Era).

Teachings of Determining Who is a True Prophet from Herbert W. Armstrong

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:

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)

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 (see our free online booklet: The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast).

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.

Now, yes, Herbert Armstrong at least once declared that there were no prophets in WCG and no need for them. But I did discuss this with his long time aide, Aaron Dean who basically told me that Herbert Armstrong was annoyed by various ones who contacted him claiming to be a prophet and he wanted people to stop doing that. However, Aaron Dean also said that Herbert Armstrong was not intending to teach that there would be no more prophets.

Of course, 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). Plus, as editor in chief of the publications of the old Radio and Worldwide Church of God, he did have items about prophets in the history of the Church of God published. Items that contradicted a statement he wrote about prophets not having administrative roles as Timothy did as did Melito as did the Paulicians that he had information published about.

Notice something else from the late Herbert W. Armstrong:

PERSECUTORS HAVE CALLED me a “false prophet.” Now how would you KNOW whether the accusation IS true- or false?…

Actually, it probably is not very important to you to know whether my persecutors are right or wrong, when they call me dirty names, hurl epithets, resort to innuendo, impute sinister motives, strive to discredit, attempt character assassination. What is important to YOU is whether what you read in The PLAIN TRUTH really is the truth – whether what you hear over The WORLD TOMORROW broadcast is true- not whether I , as an individual, am true or false.

I think our readers know by now that we always say: ” DON’ T believe what we say because you believe in us.” We say ” Listen with open mind, without prejudice, then CHECK UP in your own Bible-prove whether it is true, and BELIEVE what you find proved!” I don’t seek to induce people to believe in ME- I seek to lead them to believe in JESUS CHRIST! (Armstrong HW. Personal from the Editor. Plain Truth, May 1966, pp. 2)

I have never been a false prophet and urge all to check out what I have taught with the Bible.

Herbert Armstrong also stated:

Joel 2:28-29 And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: (29) And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.

So there is a time coming when God will start pouring out His spirit on human beings. ... Day of Pentecost, 3000 were baptized. Peter preached a sermon. They were pricked in their hearts. God began to draw them. God was now... Remember He said, "I will pour out of my spirit on all flesh." All right, there's a duality of that. (Armstrong HW. Building The Temple. Sermon, February 14, 1981)

Yes, there was a duality to what Peter preached in Acts 2--and that duality is for our current time.

Herbert Armstrong wrote a lot--some of it contradictory--so looking at the overall intent of his writings and teaching is more important than taking one statement as his total view. Plus, of course, the most important criteria is the Bible--and the Bible clearly teaches that there will be prophets in the last days--and not just the two witnesses per Acts 2.

As far as the witnesses go, notice some items he had published:

But who — or what — are the two witnesses? Verse 4 of Revelation 11 reveals, "These ARE the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth." These are symbols. The prophet Zechariah had a vision of these two mysterious olive trees. But he was confused — perplexed. He asked, "What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof?" The angel answered, "Knowest thou not what these be? These are the TWO ANOINTED ONES, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth" (Zech. 4:11-14). Now let's put these explanations together. First, these two witnesses prophesy or preach (Rev. 11:3, 6 and 10). Their prophesying lasts for three and one-half years. They are "anointed ones" — that is, they have been anointed by the Holy Spirit of God (II Cor. 1:21-22; I John 2:20, 27). Therefore, they are God's PROPHETS — two prophets to arise and to prophesy in the streets of Jerusalem! (Plain Truth, August 1965)

WHAT LIES AHEAD, vital to us in God's Church, in the next very few years? Bible prophecy does not pinpoint precise dates—or even the precise year—of forecasted events. ... But there is an important prophecy in Revelation 10. The apostle John saw, in a vision, an angel come with his hand lifted to heaven, saying, "There should be delay no longer" (verse 6). Then a voice from heaven told John to take and open a very small book in the hand of the angel, and eat it. In his mouth it was sweet as honey, but in his stomach very bitter. Then the voice said to John, "Thou must prophesy [preach or announce] again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, AND KINGS" (verse 11, Authorized Version). Now what is the TIME setting of this prophecy? It is sometime PRIOR to the sounding of the seventh trumpet, at which time Christ shall come. That is clear in verse 7. Also it is followed immediately by the 3 1/2-year mission of the two witnesses. Their 3 1/2 years BEGIN with the Great Tribulation. So the TIME of this prophecy is just shortly before the work of the Philadelphia church is finished. (Armstrong HW. What Lies Ahead? Good News, January 1984)

So, Herbert Armstrong felt that the two witnesses, who will be prophets, were alive in 1984, and presumably, one or more was an adult by then.

Getting back to Herbert W. Armstrong, he also 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).

Let me add that both the Bible and writings published by the old Radio Church of God show that prophets can also have administrative roles (e.g. Meredith RC. How Church Government Really WORKS. Good News, March 1964, pp. 4-5).

From Evangelist Leroy Neff

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:

"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" ...

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 does the prophet even, like apparently the Apostle Paul per 2 Corinthians 10:10 and 11:6 or Moses per Exodus 4:10 or Jeremiah per Jeremiah 1:6, need to be a great speaker. God chooses who His prophets are.

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. Stumbling does not make a leader false either as according to the Apostle James:

1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. (James 3:1-2)

There is a difference between stumbling and being a false leader.

A leader 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.)

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). 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, not all ever did (e.g. John 10:41).

But God sometimes does things more quietly.

For example, although Elijah was looking for some dramatic sign (1 Kings 19:11-13), instead God used ''a still small voice" (1 Kings 19:12). Although Elijah accepted that God worked that way (1 Kings 19:13-18), most of the Laodiceans do not. Dreams would be consistent with a "still small voice."

From Norman Edwards

Notice the following by Norman Edwards, who was a former employee of the old WCG and former board member of the old Global Church of God:

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. The Bible shows that in these end times, most Christians have a Laodicean work and need to repent (Revelation 3:14-19), but will not do so. They do not properly discern the spirits and will not accept God's actual prophet(s) as they should.

One anti-COG site when condemning me put something up that prophets do not use words like maybe, might, possibly, etc. Well, they do if they are not directly prophesying, and sometimes even when they were.

The Old Testament shows that prophets like Isaiah (Isaiah 47:12), Jeremiah quoting God Himself (Jeremiah 26:3, 51:8), and Daniel (Daniel 4:27) used the word "perhaps" (NKJV). The Psalmist (Psalm 106:3), Ezekiel (Ezekiel 17:14; 20:26), Hosea (Hosea 8:4), Amos (Amos 1:3), Habakkuk (Habakkuk 3:16), Zechariah (Zechariah 6:7, 8:9, 11:10, 11:14), Malachi (Malachi 2:5), and Paul (Romans 11:32, 15:4) used the word "might." Paul used the term "perceive" once when he was making a prediction that turned out to be in error (Acts 27:10, 42-44).

Two Wrongs Do Not Make a Right

Consider that in 2015, Norman Edwards also wrote:

Two Wrongs Do Not Make a Right

... 37 If you claim to be a prophet or think you are spiritual, you should recognize that what I am saying is a command from the Lord himself. But if you do not recognize this, you yourself will not be recognized. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and don’t forbid speaking in tongues. But be sure that everything is done properly and in order (1 Corinthians 14:31- 33, 37-40).

Simply because some congregations do not follow this scripture does not mean that there is not a proper use of spiritual gifts today. Think about this. Almost all of us would agree that we know of another church denomination or congregation that teaches erroneous doctrines. But does that error stop us from teaching the Bible? It should not. Similarly, many people do not attend church congregations because they have experienced corruption there before. But should that stop us from continuing to meet in congregations as the Bible instructs?

Two wrongs do not make a right!

Simply because some congregations that promote “spiritual gifts” do not follow all the scriptural teaching on it, does not mean that dedicated believers can abandon these vital gifts. It becomes all the more important for godly people to do it right. The number of false prophets compared to the number of true prophets does not matter. Elijah went up against 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah. The power of God destroyed all the false prophets (1 Kings 18:17-40). (Edwards N. Spiritual Oomph! Shepherd's Voice, Fall 2015, pp. 11-12)

Basically, Norman Edwards is saying that the New Testament does tell of prophets, and that even though there can be vast multitudes of false prophets, that those who will really be the most faithful will listen to God's prophet(s). Jesus Himself also warned in His parable of the talents that some would not support the work for fear of mistakes, and Jesus condemned the one who was afraid to do what should have been done (Matthew 25:24-30).

TWO WRONGS DO NOT MAKE A RIGHT!

The existence of false prophets does NOT excuse not supporting a real one.

Norman Edwards on the Need in the COGs for Prophets

The following is from a file Norman Edwards emailed me:

Need Prophets more than Prophecy

by Norman Scott Edwards, Shepherd’s Voice Magazine

This writer can still remember the excitement he felt when he first heard a preacher explain that the Bible was a prophetic book, and we could understand the events of our time in advance by reading it. The preacher explained that the prophecies of the Bible were complicated and often symbolic. He also said a firm grasp of world history was necessary to properly distinguish the fulfilled prophecies from the ones in the future. This task obviously exceeded the capability of fledgling Christians, so I needed to get his booklet on the subject. And so many others have had a similar experience, and were excited to take in the book, video or seminar where the future events of prophecy were all explained for them.

This first encounter is generally most exciting—because one feels that one really knows exactly what is going to happen. But if one reads more widely, sees how many conflicting prophetic interpretations are available, and sees how many such interpretations have failed over the centuries, the excitement wears off.

The approach of some is to ignore Bible prophecy altogether. But the prophetic book of Revelation pronounces a blessing on those who read it (Rev 1:3), and Christ told us to live by “every word of God” (Luke 4;4). So why should we read Bible prophecy if we cannot put it together and figure out what it all means? Because prophecy gives us a clear general understanding that God will judge the world through Christ (Rom 2:16; 2Tim 4:1), and good will be rewarded and evil punished. It shows how God thinks, works and judges. When we need to know what is about to happen, God will show us through direct revelation and through the right Scriptures at the right time.

Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets (Amos 3:7).

The entire New Testament is like this. There are no long expositions or charts of Old Testament prophecy explaining how they all fit together. Rather there are numerous references to a few verses showing how they apply to a specific situation as revealed by the Holy Spirit. The New Testament teaching of God continuing to work through prophets in the Church is overwhelming. A few verses, such as the beginning of Hebrews 1:1-2, have caused some believers to think that there are no more prophets:

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds (Heb 1:1-2).

But these verses simply accurately state the greatness of Christ’s teaching compared to those of the prophets. Christ’s righteous teaching and words of eternal life are so much more important than knowing what kingdom will arise or be defeated. Christ is “heir to all things” and we indeed can be “joint heirs” with Him (Rom 8:17). These verses do not contradict the numerous other statements of the New Testament telling us about Christian prophets, their prophecies and the need for on-going prophecies in the Church. ...

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”.

Rev 1:1-3 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants — things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.

The last book of the Bible is a prophecy inspired by Christ, given to the apostle and prophet named John.

Rev 10:7 But in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.

There is no Old Testament prophecy about a “seventh angel” and very little about a “mystery of God”.

Rev 10:10-11 Then I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter. And he said to me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.”

Here an angel is commanding John (or some end-time fulfillment of him) to prophesy. It does not say what he is to prophesy, but it will be given to the prophets when they need it. Similarly, there are two specific prophets, the “two witnesses”, prophesied to come in the future at the time of the end. Prophets are found throughout the history of the church. ...

Where Are the Prophets today?

Many have said, “If God is still providing prophets to the church, where are they?” My church—even my whole denomination—does not recognize any.” Our national leaders do not recognize any either. That is “business as usual” when it comes to prophets. We must remember that God sends prophets to speak His messages and do His work, which often conflicts with the purposes of political and religious leaders. Political and religious groups tend to only allow teachers and preachers who are educated in their schools or approved by their management. Yes, God might choose to give one of them the gift of prophecy, but since most such groups and their schools do not seek out prophetic gifts, they rarely receive them. Notice these important passages:

Matt 23:37-39 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! “See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ “

Matt 21:24-27 But Jesus answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things: The baptism of John — where was it from? From heaven or from men?” And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the multitude, for all count John as a prophet.” So they answered Jesus and said, “We do not know.” And He said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

If there was no prophet greater than John the Baptist (Matt 11:9-11) and if the leaders of his day refused to recognize him, what makes us think that the leaders of our day will recognize any true prophets today? This writer has met people whom he believes have the gift of prophecy, but they are often in small congregations or keep a “low profile” in larger ones. In most cases, they have said or done things in conflict with popular or leader’s opinions, so are not held in high esteem by the brethren.

As an example, throughout the New Testament, the leaders and most of the common people were looking for a Messiah who would establish a physical kingdom apart from the Roman power. Even after Christ’s death and resurrection, his own disciples where still asking about this (Acts 1:6-8). That was their prophetic interpretation. So of course, the teaching of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ, which was from God, did not fit in with the doctrine of the day. And so today’s prophetic interpretations have detailed descriptions of “the rapture” or a “place of safety”, the “beast” and his “mark”, the “battle of Armageddon” “Christ’s return”, etc. God knows more than today’s prophetic interpreters. So when He speaks through prophets today, He will probably not always agree with popular prophetic interpretations.

While the Bible teaches us to listen to prophets in meetings of brethren (1Cor 14:29), the overwhelming teaching is not to seek out prophets to hear, but to “desire to prophecy”(1Cor 14:1, 24-25, 39; 12:31; 1Th 5:20; 1Ti 4:14). While there is no guarantee that anyone will receive any particular spiritual gifts, desiring them certainly means they are worth praying for. We can pray to receive the gift of prophecy. We should be willing to pray for it over a long period of time—just as we might pray for family members, a better job, a new home, etc. We should pray about using it for good, not for selfish reasons. We do not want people to say, “Look at him, he’s spiritual” or “Look at her, she’s a prophetess.” We should pray for strength to withstand the persecution the gift of prophecy usually brings on.

Sometimes, we may not feel that we are righteous enough to receive the gift of prophecy. Do not worry. Nobody is “righteous enough” to receive it. It is an undeserved gift from God! If we do have unrighteousness in our lives, we need to repent, seek forgiveness and overcome—whether we receive the gift of prophecy or not. It is not something that one has to “work up” or “get the right feeling to receive.” Whether it is a dream, a vision, a voice or an overwhelming feeling, most people know when God has clearly spoken to them. The prophets of the Bible were completely honest about what they saw or heard, and were very careful not to add to it, take away form it, or confuse their own interpretation and feelings with what God gave them. Sometimes, they had to be content not to understand it (Dan 12:8-9). One can always judge by making accurate records of revelations and then seeing if they come to pass as understood.

As the time of the end approaches, we need more prophets, not less. Local prophets can help each person and each group survive and be a powerful witness in the tribulations to come. The gift of prophecy is not vulnerable to electronic surveillance, network failures, police action, restrictive laws or religious censorship. It works in any language, custom or culture. It works no matter what other nations and churches do.

Matt 7:7-8 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

Here is a link to this article in the Spanish language: La Voz del Pastor: La Iglesia de Dios necesita más profetas.

Norman Edwards ran the Port Austin Bible Campus and was editor for Shepherd’s Voice magazine. He is not part of the Continuing Church of God, where, I function as its human leader (and am an ordained prophet; the only known such prophet in any legitimate Church of God group).

While Norman Edwards and I have long disagreed about aspects of church governance and various matters of doctrine (and I would have suggested a different title, etc. for his article), we both agree that many who are in or claim to be in the Church of God (COG) wrongly do not accept that God has any prophets today. We also agree that most have severe difficulty to identify one who really is a prophet because of various unscriptural biases and improper criteria that they have.

As Norman Edward’s article points out, it is scriptural to now have prophets according to the New Testament. But many who truly believe that they live by the word of God have discounted or overlooked what the Bible actually teaches and/or have been influenced by others who have done the same or worse. The COG has at least one demonstrably true prophet today, yet most in the greater COG world seem to be able to ignore the truth about that, like most ignored John the Baptist and others in their day.

From John Ritenbaugh

Notice also the following by CGG’s John Ritenbaugh:

Deuteronomy 18:15-18

(15) “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, (16) according to all you desired of the LORD your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, “Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.” (17) “And the LORD said to me: “What they have spoken is good. (18) I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.
New King James Version

All of us desire to know the future so we can be prepared for it. We want to be in control of our destinies and not at the mercy of events. However, some have this desire so strongly that they set themselves up as channels through which the future is revealed.

Such people have misled many. Deuteronomy 18, along with chapter 13, warns against such people. Whether they are called diviners, charmers, spiritists, or channelers, using methods like reading tea leaves, casting lots, or conducting séances, they are to be seriously and carefully avoided because there is no godly reality to their prognostications. Those seeking to know are being misguided, putting themselves at the mercy of lying demons, or at the very least, imaginative men and women.

At other times, simply following a church tradition regarding a prophecy can also mislead a person. This occurs because someone in the past, sincerely believing he understood a particular prophecy, began preaching his belief, and many in his audience then believed without the resources to prove the interpretation wrong. Due to frequent repetition, it came to be accepted as truth.

It is important for us to understand that prophets were not merely temporary and occasional expedients God would turn to. They played a vital and continuing role in Israel, especially in those times before the Word of God was widely distributed. This is why God makes provision for them within the law. He shows in many places that those He appoints to the prophetic office will always preach the keeping of the commandments of God as evidence of the Source of their inspiration. They will teach the conservation of past truths even as they break new doctrinal ground.

They both forthtell – that is, proclaim a message truthfully, clearly, and authoritatively to those for whom it is intended – and they will on occasion, but not always, foretell – that is, predict events before they take place.

It is misleading to believe these verses in Deuteronomy 18 apply only to Christ. His is undoubtedly their ultimate application, but the promise and description applies to all true, God-ordained prophets. Notice some of the identifiers in these verses:

1. God established the foundational pattern for the prophetic office in Moses (“like me”).

2. God will raise a prophet up from among the Israelitish people. Later biblical sources show he might be drawn and appointed from any of the tribes and from any occupation. In other words, he did not have to be a Levite.

3. He will perform the function of a mediator between God and men (verses 16-18).

4. He will stand apart from the system already installed. He will not be antagonistic to the system, but he may be very antagonistic to the sins of those within the system, especially the leadership.

5. God will directly appoint and separate him for his office. Thus, the thrust of his service as God’s representative is direct and authoritative. By contrast, the priest’s function flowed from man to God by means of sacrifice – far less direct and more appealing and pleading than demanding. The New Testament ministry combines elements of both, but parallels the prophet’s function more than the priest’s.

Simply and broadly, a prophet is one who is given a message by another of greater authority and speaks for him to those for whom the message is intended. Thus, Moses was God’s prophet, but Aaron was Moses’ prophet.

Without a doubt, when we hear the word “prophet,” we immediately think of the Old Testament. This is a natural reaction because that is where most of them appear in the Bible. Our memory instantaneously brings forth names like Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and David – all great men. However, without a doubt, the two greatest prophets of all time appear in the New Testament: John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. John the Baptist is the last and greatest under the Old Covenant, and Jesus Christ is the first and greatest of the New.

John W. Ritenbaugh

While I am not about to analyze all of his points, the reality is that most real Christians will NOT accept biblical criteria for prophets in this age.

Notice also something that the late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:

This very WORK OF GOD for our day is foretold in the prophecy of Revelation 3:7-13. But there it is revealed that we, today, are a people of but little strength - little power (verse 8)! - within ourselves though we have faithfully KEPT GOD’S WORD! The impact of this WORK OF GOD today is going out only through the power of God! Are you having your part in this very WORK OF GOD? But - let’s face it! - WE DO NOT HAVE WITHIN OURSELVES, AS GOD’S INSTRUMENTS FOR HIS WORK TODAY, ANYWHERE NEAR THE POWER OF GOD THAT ACTIVATED THAT ORIGINAL FIRST-CENTURY CHURCH! For that very reason, the living Christ says (verse 8), He has opened to us the gigantic door of MASS COMMUNICATION! The magnified power of the microphone and the printing press. Yet that is only physical, mechanical power! The REAL POWER that makes God’s Work vital and alive is the Holy Spirit of God! (Armstrong HW. Christians Have Lost Their POWER! Plain Truth, Jun 1958).

The Greek word translated as strength, dunamis, which HWA refers to as power, is the same Greek word that is normally translated as 'miracle' or 'miracles'. Thus, Revelation 3:8 shows that the Philadelphia Church will have some type of miracles, and although I agree with HWA's position that the initial power/miracle had to do with electronic media, I also agree with him that the old WCG did not have, "ANYWHERE NEAR THE POWER OF GOD THAT ACTIVATED THAT ORIGINAL FIRST-CENTURY CHURCH."

Thus, HWA acknowledged, howbeit indirectly, that the power of God had not been fully restored to the church in his time. And it should be noted that dreams and gifts of prophecy were given to the first-century church (Acts 2:17-18) and thus, according to his own writing, there should be these type of occurrences at the end. One group in the 21st century has that (see also Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God).

Part of the final phase of the work is being done by God’s Spirit through His people (with God and angels directly handling other parts, e.g. Revelation 14:6-11), but many will not have the faith to believe:

6 This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:
‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6)

7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

5 Look among the nations and watch —
Be utterly astounded!
For I will work a work in your days
Which you would not believe, though it were told you. (Habakkuk 1:5)

It is God’s Spirit that provides the signs of Acts 2:17-18 which CCOG has (see Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18?). Can you believe?

Now consider that sometime in 1980, Herbert W. Armstrong had a dream. Here is something he reported from it:

Well, the REAL QUESTION is whether this is GOD'S Church or the PEOPLE'S Church! If it is GOD'S Church, then GOD is running it, and revealing what we shall believe and teach. GOD has the 'say so'. God runs it through Jesus Christ, who is the HEAD of the Church. And Jesus Christ runs it through His chosen apostle, whom HE, not men, chose, prepared and now guides and leads. Those men are getting your eyes off of GOD — you are leaving GOD out of the picture — out of the Church. You are looking only at people! (Armstrong HW. Shall We All Leave THE CHURCH OF GOD and Join 'THE CHURCH OF PEOPLE'? Good News, September 1980)

Christians should accept biblical governance and look to the proofs and signs God provides as opposing to look to the approval of humans, which most tend to do.

Herbert Armstrong's claimed apostleship was based on fruits. Bob Thiel's divinely ordained prophetic role has been confirmed by fulfillments of Acts 2:17-18 and the fruits of growth (for details, see Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18?).

If only two of the confirmed dreams and/or prophetic fulfillments are from God (cf. Matthew 18:16), then this is Divine validation of Bob Thiel prophetic status. And since no other COG has God's confirmation of a prophetic leader like this, this is something that any claiming to be true Church of God Christians should pay attention to. And, of course, anyone who accepts and truly understands biblical church governance realizes that prophets are only considered second to apostles (1 Corinthians 12:28)--so if there are no accepted apostles today, those outside of CCOG should consider that they need to properly respond to biblical church governance (see also The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government).

Consider also that the Apostle Paul wrote:

1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles — 2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 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), 5 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 (Ephesians 3:1-5).

Notice that God's plan of grace is a mystery that Paul says he understands and was revealed through God's prophets.

God has answered my prayers and helped me to restore more on God's plan for the Gentiles than has been found in other COG literature. For details, check out the free online book: Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation.

Also, more has been restored on history. For details, check out the free online book: Continuing History of the Church of God.

Also, more has been restored on prophecies of the Messiah. For details, check out the free online book: Proof Jesus is the Messiah.

Norman Edwards: Pride is why People will not Recognize a True Prophet

Norman Edwards also wrote another article and here is information from some of the beginning of his article:

Some people believe the Old Testament Seventh-Day Sabbath- keeping continued into the New Testament and through today, but others do not. Similarly, some people believe God continued to prophesy—speak through believers in the New Testament through today, but others do not. Some accept both and some believe in neither.

What does the Bible say? What can we do about this? We will see.

It is interesting that the same arguments are used against both modern-day Sabbath-keeping and prophesying:
• God is not working this way any more.
• Christianity has not traditionally done these things, so they must not be necessary.
• We do not do this in our church organization, so God must not be either requiring or inspiring it any longer.
• These things are not well- respected any more—or just plain weird.

Sadly, the idea that God uses prophets and dreams is considered so weird to many that they cannot accept what the Bible teaches about those subjects.

I will leave most of Norman Edward’s comments about the Seventh-day Sabbath out in this article (even though I do keep the Sabbath), and pick his article back up where he goes more into prophets (bolding and italics are his):

Old Testament Preponderance of Prophets

Remove prophets from the Old Testament and there is not much left. In the Pentateuch—the first five books—Enoch, Abraham, Moses and Aaron were all regarded as prophets (Jude 1:14; Genesis 20:7; Deuteronomy 34:10; Exodus 7:1). After the Pentateuch, almost everything else is the words of a prophet. Jesus recognized the Old Testament Scripture divisions of the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 5:17; 7:12; 11:13; 22:40; Luke 16:16; John 1:45) and “Law, Prophets and Psalms” (Luke 24:44).

Indeed, the Jewish Scribes classify Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Chronicles and several small books as “The Writings”. These are possibly the least prophetic books, but there are many Psalms that are prophetic of Christ—David being a prophet (Acts 2:29-30). Chronicles contains some of the same prophets as Kings and the five “Festival Books” are also treated as prophetic allegory.

The Jewish Scribes have long regarded the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings as the “Former Prophets”, including the stories of the prophets Samuel, Nathan, Gad, Elijah, Elisha, etc. The “Latter Prophets” are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and the twelve “Minor Prophets”. Whether it be the writing of Scripture, or a spoken but unwritten prophecy (1 Kings 22:8), these prophets were the communication between God and mankind.

The scripture gives us a definition of a prophet—showing that there are different kinds of them:

Then He said, “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. Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face, Even plainly, and not in dark sayings; And he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant Moses?” (Numbers 12:6-8).

Some prophets hear from God in visions or dreams. A very few—like Moses—speak to him face to face. Other scriptures show that some prophets hear from angels (Judges 6:11-12; Numbers 22:35; 1 Kings 13:18; Zechariah 1:1 – 6:9). But the common thread of all of this is that it is a message directly from God. Occasionally, people will think this verse means that an exhortation or exposition of the Scripture is prophesying: “But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men” (1 Corinthians 14:3). This scripture gives the effect of prophecy, not the definition of it. Every place in the scripture where we have the words of a prophecy, it is something that God gave that would otherwise not be known. Every place where the Scripture gives the words of a prophecy, we can see that it was the words of God—something people would not know on their own. It is not simply a sermon, teaching, or repeat of other Scripture. The Apostle Peter concurs:

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 1:20-21).

If a person prophesies once, does that make him a prophet? Probably not! A person can prophesy a time or two, but not be able to do it whenever he wants, whereas the major prophets of the Bible often went to God with a variety of questions and received answers. The Scripture contains no clear definition of how many times a person must prophesy to become a “prophet”. King Saul is an interesting example. Twice, the Spirit of God came upon him and he prophesied, but near the end of his life he sought the word of the Lord and did not receive it (1 Samuel 10:10-12; 19:20-24; 28:6). The people of his day made a saying: “Is Saul among the prophets?” They did not know for sure if Saul was a prophet, and we may not always know who is a prophet today. But we know we can trust the prophecies of Scripture, and the New Testament tells us how to deal with the prophets of our day.

Prophets Continue in New Testament

The words “prophet”, “prophecy”, “prophesy”, and their various forms occur in 202 verses in the New Testament

40 refer to specific Old Testament prophets or their prophecies (Matthew 1:22; 2:5, 15, 17, 23; 3:3; 4:14; 8:17; 12:17, 39; 13:14, 35; 15:7; 16:4; 21:4; 24:15; 27:9, 35; Mark 1:2; 7:6; 13:14; Luke 3:4; 4:17, 27; 11:29; John 1:21, 23, 25; 12:38; Acts 2:16, 30; 3:24; 7:42, 48; 8:28, 30, 34; 13:20; 28:25; Jude 1:14).

36 refer to prophets in general—could be Old, New or between Testaments (Matthew 13:57; 23:29, 30, 31, 34, 37; Mark 6:4, 15; Luke 1:70; 4:24; 6:23; 11:47, 49, 50; 13:28, 33, 34; John 4:19; 7:52; Acts 3:18, 21, 25; 7:52; 10:43; Ephesians 2:20; 3:5; James 5:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:15; 2 Peter 1:19; 3:2; Revelation 10:7; 11:18; 16:6; 18:20, 24; 22:6).

24 are references to the portion of the Old Testament Scripture known as “the Prophets” (Matthew 5:17; 7:12; 22:40; 26:56; Luke 16:16, 29, 31; 18:31; 24:25, 27, 44; John 1:45; 6:45; Acts 13:15, 27, 40; 15:15; 24:14; 26:22, 27; 28:23; Romans 1:2; 3:21; 16:26).

23 verses show that prophesying is a gift of the Holy Spirit which Christians should seek and use in Christian congregations as instructed (Acts 2:17, 18; 19:6; Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 11:4, 5; 12:10, 28; 14:1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 22, 24, 31, 39; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:20; 1 Timothy 1:18; 4:14; Revelation 19:10; 22:9).

19 refer to false prophets which often tried to deceive believers (Matthew 7:15, 22; 24:11, 24; Mark 13:22; Luke 6:26; 7:26, 28; 20:6; Acts 13:6; Titus 1:12; 2 Peter 2:1, 16; 1 John 4:1; Revelation 2:20; 10:11; 16:13; Revelation 19:20; 20:10). • 18 verses refer to 19 specific New Testament prophets or their prophecies: Zecharias (father of John the Baptist), John the Baptist, Anna, Caiaphas, Agabus, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, Saul, Judas, Silas, Philip’s four daughters, the apostle John and the “two witnesses” (Matthew 11:9, 21:26; Mark 11:32; Luke 1:76; 2:36; John 11:51; Acts 13:1; 15:32; 21:9, 10; Revelation 1:3; 11:3, 6, 10; 22:7; 10, 18, 19).

16 verses refer to the Old Testament prophets generally (Matthew 5:12; 11:13; 13:17; 16:14; Mark 8:28; Luke 9:8, 19; 10:24; John 8:52, 53; Romans 11:3; Hebrews 1:1; 11:32; 1 Peter 1:10; 2 Peter 1:20, 21).

16 verses call Jesus a “prophet” (Matthew 14:5; 21:11, 46; 26:68; Mark 16:65; Luke 7:16, 39; 22:64; 24:19; John 4:19; 6:14; 7:40; 9:17; Acts 3:22, 23; 7:37).

7 verses give cautions to prophecy: It is not the most important; It is not necessary for every believer; It may require other believers to judge its validity and agreement with Scripture; Prophets should have control of themselves when they prophesy (1 Corinthians 12:29; 13:2, 8, 9; 14:29, 32, 37).

3 verses refer to unidentified New Testament prophets (Matthew 10:41; Acts 11:27; 19:6).

In summary, the Gospels and Acts make many references to the Old Testament prophecies of Christ and to the Pharisees and Sadducees’ ancestors who persecuted the Old Testament prophets. In Romans through Revelation, most of the verses are about the spiritual gift of prophecy and its use in the church.

We will cite a few examples:

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 (Romans 12:6).

Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy(1 Corinthians 14:1).

Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge (1 Corinthians 14:29).

Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:39-40).

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

“And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. … These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire (Revelation 11:3, 6).

The exact same words are used for both Old and New Testament prophets and prophecies. There is not a big powerful word for Moses, Isaiah and Jeremiah, and a “little prophet” word used for Agabus and Philip’s four prophesying daughters. They all prophesy—speak for God at times. For those who have studied New Testament prophets, it seems so natural. But for many believers, especially those in big church organizations, it is a point of difficulty. Why?

Prophets Do Not Come

Easily Obviously, one cannot prophesy by one’s own will. God has to do it. But most Christians do not pray for the gift and would be skeptical of others who claim to have it. Why? Because the message God gives to prophets is sometimes hard to take. It may not be in agreement with what we want or think. It will often not be in agreement with today’s religious or political leaders. Church organizations usually function by making goals, budgets, doctrinal statements, evangelistic plans, growth targets, etc. Leaders can control these things, but they cannot control God or His prophets and prophecies. Prophets speak God’s words and may or may not agree with the teachings and practices of a church group. Notice these New Testament prophecies that were not easy for the leaders and the people to accept:

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.” Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. “And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel (Acts 9:10-15).

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 11:27-29).

Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them (Acts 16:6).

“And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more.” (Acts 20:22-25).

These messages would be hard to accept, but they were from God and they were true. The Church believed them, acted accordingly and God’s work was done. But it is easy for Christians to seek congregations that tell them: “God loves us the most”, “we have the most truth”, “everything is getting better for us”, and “all will go well for us in the future.”

In spite of this overwhelming New Testament teaching, some will still point to verses, such as the following, and claim that God stopped providing prophets at some time in the first century. Some say the writing and copying of both Old and New Testaments made prophets unnecessary. Here are two verses they cite:

“For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John” (Matthew 11:13).

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds (Hebrews 1:1-2).

There is no doubt that Jesus Christ is greater than all of the prophets, and that His message is more important. The Gospels are vital revelations and so is the dwelling of Christ in us (Colossians 1:27).But these verses do not declare the end of prophets and prophecy—they introduce the greater revelation of Christ. Christ is greater than our fleshly bodies, but we still have them and will be judged for how we use them (2 Corinthians 5:1-10). Christ is greater than our civil governments, but the Scripture teaches obedience to them (Romans 13). Christ is greater than the law— including the Sabbath, but that law is still used; it is written in our hearts (Hebrews 8:10). Christ’s ongoing use of prophets and prophecy is taught throughout the New Testament— whereas no verses teach that it has ended. Even the very testimony of Jesus is called “the spirit of prophecy” at the end of the Bible:

“… I [an angel] am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10).

With dozens of New Testament Scriptures explaining and encouraging the ongoing prophecy in the New Testament and with no scriptures clearly declaring its end, one must conclude that prophets and prophecy are something that God wants for His Church today!

Implementing These Truths

In this 21 st century, most who call themselves Christian neither observe the Sabbath nor seek prophets or prophecies in their congregations. A few teach and practice one or the other. Only a tiny fraction accepts both.

The single biggest difficulty in acquiring any truth, no matter how valuable, is overcoming our own human pride. It is very difficult to accept that we have been wrong about something for many years— especially when we have been right on other things. The lessons of the books of Kings and Chronicles come to mind. Each king’s life is frequently summed up in a single statement— explaining what he did right and where he fell short. If we hunger and thirst for God as King David did (Psalm 63:1; 107:9), we can receive all that he has for us—and obtain a good report (Acts 22:12; Hebrews 11:2, 39).

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Beyond our personal decision to accept a biblical truth, we find difficulty dealing with Christian friends with whom we will differ. From our long friendships, we see each other as fellow believers. But our difference in Biblical understanding raises the questions in each person’s mind: If I do this and they do that, am I wrong? Are they wrong? Should I continue to fellowship with them?

These things often require prayer and patience by all involved. When the Gospel was taken to non-Jews, many Jewish believers had trouble with the concept (John 4, Acts 10 & 11). When the apostles taught that circumcision was not necessary for salvation, again, some believers could not accept it and formed a “circumcision” subgroup within the church that was sometimes helpful and sometimes not (Acts 15; Colossians 4:11; Titus 1:10). We need to learn to coexist in peace, in spite of our differences, as the Apostle Paul encouraged (1 Corinthians 1:11-15).

Finally, for members of a church group with a doctrinal statement that is decades or centuries old, growth is rarely quick or even possible. Both religious and civil leaders struggle with prophets today for the same reason they did in the Old and New Testaments. The prophets speak for God, not for the religious or civil leaders of the day. People who always prophesy what the leaders want are probably false prophets.

This writer heard a church leader put forth this argument against prophets in the church: “If there are real prophets today, then we could ask them and know for sure when Christ will come back. But the Bible says that no man knows that time, so there cannot be prophets today.” We should never underestimate God. He is quite able to not answer the questions we do not need answered now. Jesus already explained this leader’s question:

Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:6-8).

Individual believers can choose to accept and practice the Scriptural truth about prophets quietly. But if they speak openly and often, they will probably be required to depart for a new congregation. This takes faith to “walk in the wilderness” until new believing friends are established. …

One can quietly come to understand that God grants the gift of prophecy today and continue to fellowship and serve with the same brethren. But when a believer receives a prophecy in a church meeting (1 Corinthians 1 4:30) or makes important life decisions based on a current prophesy, then division often arises. Is this person hearing from God? Should we take action on what he says?

For example, when Agabus prophesied the famine throughout the world (Acts 11:30-31), should the believers have agreed to send relief to the brethren in Judea? Or should they have been suspicious that someone was going to profit from that operation—maybe steal some of the offerings? Or was this giving simply unnecessary? When we think about it, there is no reason for God to speak unless His people are going to listen to what He says and act upon it. We also need to realize that God gives the congregation the responsibility of judging prophecies:

“If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, 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,’ 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” (Deuteronomy 13:1-3).

Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge (1 Corinthians 14:29).

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

Hearing from God by a current prophetic word can be an awesome experience. It can be a frightening one. This writer has experienced both. Keeping the Sabbath can be an awesome experience—rest, relaxation and leisurely fellowship with God’s people. It can also be a doctrine of contention with one brother judging another. This writer has experienced both.

With the Judgment You Judge, You Will Be Judged

Brethren who have practiced both of these Biblical teachings know what a blessing they can be. Even so, most probably did not understand these things on the day when they were baptized. We have to grow in grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18). So we ought to not be judgmental of others who take time to learn these things.

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you (Matthew 7:1-2).

Unfortunately, many Sabbath- keeping church groups judge others as unbelievers because they do not observe the Sabbaths. Also, many “charismatic” or “Pentecostal” groups judge others as unbelievers because they do not accept the gift of prophecy in their congregations. Furthermore, many other groups consider both teachings obsolete, legalistic, Jewish, phony or just plain weird. We all need to get back to the Scriptures and learn. But more specifically, we need to ask ourselves, if we judge others as unbelievers because of a truth they are missing, will we be judged by God as unbelievers for a truth we are missing? Will God be merciful to us and not to all the others? Why?

Some people dismiss one of these truths by simply saying, “God obviously is not working that way anymore” because He has not worked that way among them. But how many really seek God and ask Him, “Do you want our congregation to meet on the seventh day Sabbath?” or “Do you want our congregation to seek the gift of prophecy and allow prophets to speak in our meetings?”

One of the most dangerous things we can do is begin thinking we already have everything important (Revelation 3:17-19). We must forever be humble before God and realize that He is bringing about His will. He is not there to back up our will or the policies of our church group. He also knows when is the right time to teach each truth to each person. Even Jesus could not teach His apostles everything at once:

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (John 16:12).

There is so much in the Scripture. This writer realizes he will not master it all before he dies. But he will be thankful for what He has given, and trust Him for the future. (Edwards N. New Testament Sabbaths and Prophets. Shepherd’s Voice, Fall 2016).

Pride and other forms of self-deceit are why people will not accept God's prophets.

Roderick Meredith on 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. Polycarp of Smyrna, who was anointed by the Apostle John also was a prophetic evangelist.

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?

Interestingly, 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, etc. Dr. Meredith did not do that. Nor did he fulfill the prophetic office. Nor has anyone currently in LCG done so. Yet, Dr. Meredith wrote that someone had to.

From Gaylyn Bonjour

Although at least two LCG ministers (Dr. Jeff Fall and Gary Ehman) told me in the Fall of 2011 that that I did not need to have hands laid upon me to be a prophet (they knew about Dr. Meredith's conversations with me), I was not convinced if this was really my role (though if God grants someone a dream or something that does not require anointing nor necessarily put one in the office of a prophet). 

So, I prayed that if I was a prophet that God would arrange something to happen in Charlotte, NC on a trip I was going to make there in mid-December 2011. God answered that prayer in a manner that I did not expect when LCG minister Gaylyn Bonjour anointed me and unexpectedly prayed that God would grant me a double-portion of His Spirit (cf. 2 Kings 2:9-13).

On the morning of December 15, 2011, upon arriving at the Charlotte HQ of LCG, I asked to meet with Gary Ehman as I wanted to get anointed for some non-debilitating matters as well as to ask him to pray that I be granted wisdom for my meetings with the HQ evangelists. But Gary Ehman was not in.  So instead, I asked to meet with Gaylyn Bonjour (with whom I never had any discussions prior about me possibly being some type of prophet). I asked Gaylyn Bonjour if he would do the anointing and pray that God would grant me wisdom for the meetings. He agreed. But while laying hands upon me, Gaylyn Bonjour also happened (it was not planned nor did I say anything to encourage this) to ask God to grant me a “double-portion” of His Holy Spirit and anointed me with oil. I asked him if he had ever prayed for a a double-portion anointing before, he said he had not, and that the only 'double-portion' he knew of was when Elisha received the double-portion and the mantle in 2 Kings 2. I then attended a meeting with the evangelists and did not then have time to discuss more of what this might mean with Gaylyn Bonjour.

Do you believe that answered prayer can be the fruit of a prophet?  If not, then consider that you might not be willing to understand how God often works.

Later that day, LCG’s top three evangelists told me that they would correct the issues that I had been bringing up to them for years (some in accordance with Matthew 18:15-18). Yet, they did not resolve matters when they said that they would. In a meeting with the Charlotte evangelists on December 15, 2011, Richard Ames commended me for an article I had posted earlier that morning defending various fasts that LCG had called (LCG Fast Comments and Complaints). We specifically discussed my view that "I personally received certain spiritual insights/gifts as the result of LCG fasts in 2009, 2010, and 2011" related to me and the matter of prophecy, spiritual gifts, and insight into how acquiring certain information on Catholic/Orthodox prophecy was helpful.

On Sunday 12/18/11 night at a family wedding reception, without discussing the matter, I stared at Gaylyn Bonjour for a few moments, without saying anything and then asked, “Do you have any idea of what you may have accidently done?”  Gaylyn Bonjour said, “Yes, I think so.”

The following Monday morning was my first opportunity to speak with Gaylyn Bonjour privately for more details about the anointing. I asked him if it was his practice to pray that God grant a double-portion of His Spirit to people that he anoints, he said, no he had never done that for an individual before.

I asked him if he had any idea of what he may have been inadvertently led by God to do, and he said yes.  Gaylyn Bonjour also said that the only “double-portion” he recalled from the Bible was when Elisha became the replacement prophet and ecclesiastical leader for Elijah (2 Kings 2:9)—I told then him that this was my recollection as well.  Notice it was Gaylyn Bonjour, and not me, who first stated this connection. He also was the first to bring up the subject of “the passing of the mantle.” He also said that what he did could not be undone.

On March 23, 2012, Gaylyn Bonjour told me he felt that in the Bible the “double-portion of the Spirit” anointing was related to “the passing of the mantle” and that it mattered not what certain other leaders would say because it is God, and not an organization of men, that truly appoints prophets, etc. 

After he said that, I told him that I really needed to speak to Dr. Meredith about this. Dr. Meredith did not say I was not anointed as a prophet-he basically said that he felt that Gaylyn Bonjour was an emotional man. I reminded Dr. Meredith that Gaylyn Bonjour was a minister in LCG in good standing.

The only question is did God inspire Dr. Meredith, Gaylyn Bonjour, and others to say what they said about me being a prophet and/or the mantle being passed? 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.

Dexter Wakefield and LCG Evangelists

At meeting with the LCG evangelists on December 16, 2011, Richard Ames prayed, with “Amen” concurrence from Dr. Meredith and Dr. D. Winnail, that "Dr. Thiel" would continue to do the work that God has had given me to do, etc.  He also specifically called my writings/work “an additional witness.” Hence, there was a concurrence with the evangelical and prophetic fruits of that work--this, also in my view, was unintended confirmation from all the Charlotte-based evangelists of LCG that I was authorized to speak out in an evangelical and prophetic role; like a "prophetic evangelist" or "evangelistic prophet."  

At this 12/16/11 meeting, other matters related to Bob Thiel and prophecy were discussed, including the fact that by then world events had already aligned with at least 20 predictions in my book 2012 and the Rise of the Secret Sect. Additionally the fact that some of my speculative predictions about Karl Guttenberg and Julia Gillard that had come to pass since the October 2011 meeting with Dr. Winnail was also brought up. Since Dr. Winnail asked the most questions related to the prophetic fruits, he and I also met privately about it. My private comment to Dr. Winnail was that perhaps the evangelists should consider if those accurate speculative predictions are just coincidental or possibly the fruits of a prophet. Dr. Winnail seemed to discount that then, and later, despite the biblical admonition to not despise prophecies (1 Thessalonians 5:20).

On August 26, 2012, LCG Evangelist Dr. D. Winnail told Bob Thiel, “We all think that you might be a prophet.”  In order in order to determine who “We all” was, on September 7, 2012, I asked if this was a reference to all three of the LCG Charlotte-based evangelists (himself, Dr. Meredith, and Richard Ames) and Dr. Winnail concurred.

In the Old Testament, repeatedly we see people who thought that God' prophets may have been prophets, but they ignored or discounted them (Elijah-1 Kings 1:9-12; Jeremiah 42:1-6, 43:1-2). And in the New Testament, we saw the same related to Jesus (Matthew 22:16-18), with envy a reason He was delivered to death (Mark 15:10).

Norman Edwards mentioned that pride was a major reason that people do not accept true prophets. Jeremiah 43:2 specifically states that the "proud men" would not accept him.

A minister in LCG stated to me about the three evangelists that were in Charlotte when I was there that one of them felt that he was unable to control me with money or a promise of advancement/ordination so that made him uncomfortable, that the pride of another made him unwilling to admit that he allowed errors to be published, and that I was considered to be the only intellectual threat to one who had (while I was in LCG) pushed a heretical doctrine and repeatedly tried to make it sound like Herbert W. Armstrong taught something about a subject that he did not teach.

After LCG, in writing on 12/28/12, showed that it was renigging on its promises to correct literature, doctrinal, and others errors, I contacted my LCG pastor (Dr. Jeff Fall) and informed him that I had no choice but to leave LCG. Later that day, I also sent Dr. Meredith an email that mentioned that.

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

On the above point, CCOG has grown faster and more than LCG, even though LCG has had between 50-100 times our income. Now consider it in the light of the following:

13 They have sown wheat but reaped thorns; They have put themselves to pain but do not profit. But be ashamed of your harvest Because of the fierce anger of the Lord. (Jeremiah 12:13)

As far as the prophet matter goes, even after my departure from LCG, on January 7, 2013, Dr. Douglas Winnail sent me an email, which included the statement, "we made comments to you  that “you may be a prophet.”"

Later, LCG also put out that it is LCG's position that it has NO prophets (which is apparently the case in their fellowship as I stopped associating with LCG on 12/28/12):

We are aware of no prophets in the Church today (Wakefield D. Living Church News, July-August 2015, p. 26)

That is LCG's current position.

Yet, it should be noted that LCG's Dr. Meredith repeatedly taught in the past that God may consider Bob Thiel to be a prophet (see How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God).

Now that I am not in LCG, it seems obvious that LCG does not have any prophets nor does it seem to wish to. It also has NUMEROUS prophetic misunderstandings and teachings which will prevent it to know when the Great Tribulation will begin until it is too late (see What About the Living Church of God? Are there Doctrinal Differences with the Continuing Church of God?), unless it changes.

Other COGs also have seriously wrong teachings on prophecy that will prevent them from knowing when the Great Tribulation will begin until it is too late (a list is towards the end of the article The Laodicean Church Era).

COGWA Posted Its Standards, But Does Not Really Pay Attention

In an article by its Chris Moen, the Church of God, a Worldwide Association (COGWA) posted an article in 2016 (which was still there in 2019) to help people determine if a prophet was a true one:

Four tests to prove whether a prophet is true

We need to carefully consider God’s Word—the Bible—in order to discern between false and true prophets. The Bible provides four tests to determine the genuineness of a prophet.

1. Does the conduct of the prophet reflect godly character?

Jesus and the apostles warned many times about deceptive prophets. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-17).

These prophets can be identified by their “fruits”—a term used metaphorically by Jesus to describe one’s actions and character. The law of God is the only standard we have to determine whether someone’s fruits are good or bad. True prophets will live in accordance with God’s law.

2. Do the predictions of the prophet come true?

Moses instructed ancient Israel: “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 18:22).

The Bible gives a few exceptions. It shows that God has the prerogative to change His mind, as was the case with Jonah’s prophecies about Nineveh (Jonah 3:10). Also, this does not mean that God’s true servants couldn’t be wrong about timing, as Paul was in assuming he would be alive at Christ’s return (1 Thessalonians 4:15).

Except in circumstances like these, if a prophet’s predictions do not come to pass, then he or she is not a true prophet.

3. Are the words of the prophet consistent with Scripture?

God explained to those who foolishly seek knowledge from mediums and wizards, “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:19-20).

Peter declared that the apostles could truthfully attest to many fulfilled Bible prophecies concerning the life and deeds of Jesus Christ. “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. … And we have the prophetic word made more sure” (2 Peter 1:16, 19, Revised Standard Version).

Peter also stated that true prophets do not speak their own words. As Peter wrote, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20, emphasis added).

4. Do the people benefit spiritually from the prophet’s ministry?

God’s desire was that ancient Israel would serve as a model nation and represent Him to the nations around them. Israel would be blessed as it fulfilled God’s expectation.

With this background, God warned His people, “‘Behold, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,’ says the LORD, ‘and tell them, and cause My people to err by their lies and by their recklessness. Yet I did not send them or command them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all,’ says the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:32; also read verses 13-14).

The results of a prophet’s ministry can also indicate whether this person is a false or true prophet. http://lifehopeandtruth.com/prophecy/prophets/false-prophets/

Although COGWA left out some criteria, even based upon the above criteria, there is one person in one of the COGs that meets all those criteria, and he is not part of COGWA, but physically heads up the Continuing Church of God (CCOG).

Specifically, I live a a real Church of God Christian. Please have even written a free online book on the Ten Commandments (see The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast).

The two times I have said that I believe God led me to make specific warnings about people's health, the predictions were fulfilled. Plus, then there are other more predictions that have been confirmed.

I encourage people to be like the Bereans of old to search to see if what I teach is consistent with scripture (Acts 17:10-11). Despite false charges against me, I have not gone off the deep end and abandoned scripture. Check out any of the books that I have written for CCOG to determine for yourself if I teach the Bible or some odd heresies.

The fruits and results of this ministry is that we have been the fastest growing COG in the 21st century, and we have materials in more languages than perhaps any other COG. By having as many translators as we have had, we are able to better reach people than many COGs seem to have at least partially forsaken. I also, personally, fulfilled Matthew 28:19-20 by teaching ALL the words recorded in the New Testament by Jesus--this was done in a series of sermons covering several years.

Despite meeting the COGWA prophet criteria, its members do not take proper action.

The various Laodiceans will not properly understand end time prophecy, and that will contribute to them NOT fleeing when they should (cf. Matthew 24:15-21; Revelation 12:14-17). A video of related interest is titled 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy.

In the Continuing Church of God:

19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:19-21, KJV)

A detailed article about prophets in the Church of God is How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God. That article not only has scriptures, it also has historical COG writings that should help people who will believe the truth to be able to see the truth.

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.

Jesus taught:

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. Some famous Old Testament examples are shown in the article:How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God.

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 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).

Although Jesus gave many signs (John 2:11; 6:2, 26; 7:31; 9:16; 11:47; 12:37), the people apparently wanted different ones. Jesus is giving the impression here 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.

(As far as Jesus goes, check out also the free online book: Proof Jesus is the Messiah.)

God Often Uses Dreams For His Prophets

Notice something from the New Testament:

1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. ... 4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will? (Hebrews 2:1,4)

Dreams can be one of the signs that God uses to bear witness. 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? 

Notice what the Apostle Peter taught:

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)

We are in the last days (see also Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End?).

Dreams and prophesy were expected for our day! For more on Acts 2:17-18, check out the article: Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18?

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 seemingly despise prophecies (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:20) and seem indignant of the very idea that God would use dreams or prophets. 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.

The Bible shows that the Apostle Peter and the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28-29) taught that there would be some with prophetic dreams in the end times.

Yet, many non-Philadelphians have concluded that there are not, cannot be, and/or that no stock should be placed on dreams.

But since Peter said that was a last days prophecy, then at some had to have dreams and/or prophetic abilities.

At least seven people associated with the Continuing Church of God have had confirmed prophetic dreams (for details, see Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God).

It is bizarre that so many people who claim to believe in Bible prophecy are so dismissive of dreams.

The Bible shows that God most often works with prophets through a dream:

5 Then the Lord came down in the pillar of cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam. And they both went forward. 6 Then He said,

“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 12:5-6)

Notice that the above says that God’s plan is that He will speak to His prophets in a dream.

A decade or so ago I had two dreams, which while I did not fully understand at first, became more and more fulfilled over the years, I began to understand it and believe it was from God–and I was not the only one who had some about me. At least six other people associated with the Continuing Church of God, several of which I did not know before they had dreams, had CCOG-related dreams that were confirmed (for details, check out the article Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God).

Dreams and prophets were prophesied in the New Testament for the last days!

How many dreams or people with confirmed dreams will it take for people to accept that the dreams' prophecy in Acts 2:17-18 is being fulfilled in the Continuing Church of God and, to this degree, in no other church?

Remember Jesus taught that "by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established." (Matthew 18:16)

Isn't seven people with confirmed dreams enough to take them seriously?

Yet, those who seem to wish to remain Laodicean (or at least part of Laodicean groups or independents) look to be judging against God by not accepting such clear proof.

The reality is that most end time Christians will not be Philadelphian–and it is the Philadelphians that have the work that Jesus praised (Revelation 3:7-13). It is the non-Philadelphians that will not accept dreams from God or listening to His prophets until it is too late (cf. Revelation 3).

Now consider something that Jeremiah was inspired to write:

28 The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream. And he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. (Jeremiah 23:28)

Some do not want to hear about dreams, but the word of God says that God’s prophets should truthfully tell them. Some are critical of me telling about them.

Yet, notice the following:

29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. 31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him." (Acts 5:29-32)

In these times, Christians still ought to obey God and not men. And when it comes to proclamation, also be witnesses of what has happened.

That is something we in the Continuing Church of God are doing.

Some were critical of Samuel. And he and his sons did have problems. But notice what God told Samuel:

7 ... Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. (1 Samuel 8:7)

Those who are look to really being critical of the word of God. People have rejected what happened to me for governance and other reasons.

Now, 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 (see also Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God).

So, in addition to my two dreams, there were people around the world who had dreams related to me that were later confirmed by facts they did not know and/or what was in the dreams came to pass.

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.

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.

Jesus Emphasized 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 religious 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.

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 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)

So, prophets will be improperly spoken against. Jesus would have not mentioned that if there were not to be prophets after His departure from the earth.

Therefore, 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. Laodiceans think they are fine, but according to Jesus are they are not supporting the correct work (cf. Revelation 3:14-22).

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. He also claimed he was free from financial support from a large group--and in my case, I have never taken a salary from CCOG (nor LCG nor GCG for that matter).

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, who had not been a minister or came from a minister's family per 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?

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

Do Not Despise Prophecies

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, validated predictions, confirmed dreams, 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. Most Christians are despising prophetic dreams--as at least 7 different people associated with the CCOG had such dreams that have been confirmed.

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)

For more on 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, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. Furthermore, there is a listing of 32 predictions related to my 2012 in the article World Events Line Up With at Least 32 Predictions Made in the Book 2012 and the Rise of the Secret Sect (a 33rd happened shortly thereafter); 7-11 (depending on how they, and speculations, are counted) 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). Around 20 or so I made about Donald Trump also have come to pass (see Donald Trump in Prophecy). And if one goes through the details of past news and other articles at the COGwriter.com website, the total of correct speculations/predictions looks to be in the hundreds.

Look also at the following chart:

Coincidences or Divine Intervention?

Category

Event

Fulfillment

Prediction

During late August 2008, Bob Thiel told LCG minister Davy Crocket that unless evangelists would implement certain matters that God was about to strike a top LCG leader with something.

LCG’s top evangelist, Roderick C. Meredith, suffered a ministroke on September 19, 2008.

Prayer

On February 4, 2009, Dr. Meredith asked Bob Thiel to pray that he would live another 7 – 15 years, so Bob Thiel did.

Dr. Meredith died on May 18, 2017--a little over 8 years after that prayer.

Predictions

In July 2009, Bob Thiel’s book 2012 and the Rise of the Secret Sect went to press.

By December 22, 2012, 32 predictions in that book were at least partially fulfilled. For details, go to https://www.cogwriter.com/Confirmed2012BookEvents.htm

Speculative
Prediction

On June 24, 2010, Bob Thiel warned that “Certain biblical, Chinese, and other prophecies…discuss that how Australia itself may become taken over. By virtue of her timing, Julia Gillard may inadvertently pursue policies that will lead to the fulfillment of various end time prophecies.”

On November 10, 2011, because an agreement with Julia Gillard, US troops were stationed in Darwin, Australia, and by November 18, 2011 China pointed to this as a reason to consider military action against Australia.

Speculative
Predictions

From 2010 to 2015, Bob Thiel made and/or posted speculative predictions related to Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg.

By late 2017, 7-11 predictions (depending on how they are included) related to Herr Guttenberg were at least partially fulfilled. For details, go to https://www.cogwriter.com/karl-theodor-zu-guttenberg-king-of-the-north.htm

Prayer

Although told by two LCG ministers (Dr. Jeff Fall and Gary Ehman) in the late Fall of 2011 that he did not need to have hands laid on him to be a prophet, Bob Thiel prayed that something would happen related to his ‘prophet’ situation in a planned December 2011 trip to Charlotte, North Carolina.

On December 15, 2011, Gaylyn Bonjour anointed Bob Thiel and prayed that he be granted a double-portion of God’s Spirit. Gaylyn Bonjour said this was reminiscent of the passing of the mantle, that he realized what he may have unintentionally did, and that what he did could not be undone. This answered Bob Thiel’s prayer.

Prayer

On December 16, 2011, Richard Ames prayed that Bob Thiel would continue his evangelical/prophetic efforts and LCG evangelists Dr. Meredith and Dr. D. Winnail gave Amen concurrence.

Bob Thiel has continued evangelical/prophetic efforts and has been the human leader of the fastest growing COG group in the 21st century, known as the Continuing Church of God.

Prediction

On December 19, 2011, Bob Thiel tried to meet with Dr. Meredith to tell him that it seemed God was telling him that his wife Sheryl was about to be struck with something serious.

In Dr. Meredith’s letter dated 1/12/12, he reported that his wife Sheryl (who was much younger than he) was stricken with stage four cancer. She later died on November 29, 2013).

Predictions

In a book published on January 19, 2017, Bob Thiel listed many predictions related to the upcoming Donald Trump presidency. Plus he published others at cogwriter.com

By mid 2019, events aligned with at least 19 predictions related to the Trump Administration. For details go to https://www.cogwriter.com/donald-trump-prophecy.htm

Clearly the above are not all coincidental nor only the result of analytical news skills and biblical knowledge.

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 was 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 numerous specified predictions were simply informed analyses as opposed to prophecies (and many 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 to Dr. Meredith on September 19, 2008. 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.

Yet, instead of accepting that God moved me to state that Dr. Meredith's wife was about to be struck with something, and that being confirmed about four weeks later, someone made up the spin story that 'everyone knew Sheryl Meredith was gravely ill and that I would have known that when I said it.' That is wrong for at least two reasons: 1) I lived thousands of miles away from Charlotte and did not know the state of her health and 2) the stage four diagnosis did not happen until AFTER God moved me on this. Yet, many despise prophecies.

Oddly, some have challenged me to "prophesy" something on my own. Others tried to do that with Jesus (Mark 14:65; Matthew 26:68), but He ignored their requests. For other prophets, it simply does not work that way--"for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21). God must grant the prophecy, then the prophet states it. And as the last line of the previous paragraph shows, I did do that. Those who claim that I should be able to prophesy on according to my own, or their demands, are in conflict with the Bible. A true prophet speaks as God directs and when God directs. Jesus was repeatedly hit because He would not prophesy on demand (Mark 14:65; Matthew 26:68). Various ones insult me and/or consider me false for following His example this way.

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).

Many today are like the Sadducees of old and have their own ideas, that are not in accordance with the Bible (see Are the Laodiceans the Modern Sadducees and Pharisees?). Notice something from the New Testament:

23 The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, 24 saying: "Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. 25 Now there were with us seven brothers. The first died after he had married, and having no offspring, left his wife to his brother. 26 Likewise the second also, and the third, even to the seventh. 27 Last of all the woman died also. 28 Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her."

29 Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. 31 But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, 32 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." (Matthew 22:23-32 )

Many in the COGs do not know the scriptures as they should nor the power of God (see also How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God and Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God and The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government). Laodiceans will not accept God's prophets or sufficiently dreams from Him until it is too late.

Sadly, most are in certain ways like the Sadducees who "are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God." They do not really believe nor understand how God works and governs, despite what the Bible actually teaches.

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 to serve Him and others. 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 Church of God leaders over the centuries?

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).

Interestingly, many of the Old Testament prophets only wrote a relatively few pages about matters that were often not fulfilled until after their deaths--yet God considered them to be His prophets. Do not add criteria to being a prophet that God does not have.

In terms of evangelistic reach, we in the Continuing Church of God have already reached millions 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.

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.

The Continuing Church of God is also the fastest growing Church of God in the 21st century.

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. Many do not seem to want to 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 two dreams that were later confirmed (Numbers 12:6), was anointed, and had hands laid upon him for a 'double-portion' of God's Spirit. Like Jeremiah (who was unsure about a message until it was confirmed, see Jeremiah 32:6-8), Bob Thiel did not conclude that the messages were from God until they were confirmed.

Bob Thiel 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 (now a supporter), 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

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.

Consider also:

3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. (Revelation 11:3).

Notice that, while the two witnesses are almost certainly alive today, that the power for the two witnesses is NOT given until about the start of the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21)--hence until then, we may not see the type of miracle-working power that God has will later give the two witnesses.

Despite the truth of scripture or the facts of history, few will believe. Consider that:

  1. The Apostle Peter taught that God would grant dreams and have prophets in the last days (Acts 2:17-18).
  2. The Apostle Paul made it clear that God appoints/calls/ordains the person to be a prophet (1 Corinthians 12:7-11,28-30; Ephesians 4:11).
  3. Throughout COG history, there have been some considered as prophets associated with various of the church eras.
  4. LCG's then presiding evangelist Dr, Meredith, on more than one occasion stated that God may consider me to be a prophet. But because of issues related to his position, he did not personally ordain me as a prophet, though he mentioned doing it once.
  5. God said He speaks to His prophets in dreams (Number 12:6) and that prophets are to tell those dreams (Jeremiah 23:28).
  6. I had two dreams that were confirmed by subsequent events, thus confirming they were from God (Jeremiah 32:6-8; Acts 10:9-17, 11:5-17)--as did someone I did not know, but then came into CCOG (Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God).
  7. 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). God answered my prayer (cf. Psalm 65:2) as an unplanned double-portion anointing happened on 12/15/11.
  8. God does not always get anointings done the way people think they should be (Genesis 27:25-37; 2 Kings 9:1-3). (Consider that the true mantle could not have remained with the senior Joseph Tkach.)
  9. Therefore, it is logical to conclude that my anointing was a real answer to prayer and God's intervention. Do you believe that God can answer prayers? Or do you think everything is simply a coincidence?
  10. 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). The fact that the Continuing Church of God has been the fastest growing xWCOG church in the 21st century also should demonstrate to all that the fruits are there.
  11. My prophetic accuracy, particularly the two related to health problems to strike two of the Merediths about four weeks before the events each time, shows that those who will believe what Jeremiah wrote, should accept them as confirmation of my prophetic status (Jeremiah 28:9).
  12. The prophetically-gifted person needs to teach the commandments of God (Deuteronomy 13:1-4; Isaiah 8:20; see also the free book I wrote: The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast), Christ's gospel of the kingdom (2 Corinthians 11:3-4; Acts 28:30-31; Galatians 1:9; see also the free book I wrote: The Gospel of the Kingdom of God), and does not make predictions that contradict scripture (cf. John 10:35; Revelation 22:18-19).
  13. 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; see also Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God).
  14. The scriptural criteria that various COG writers have had published about prophets in the 20th and 21st centuries have been met by Bob Thiel.
  15. Most Christians in the end time will not be Philadelphian and will not properly heed Jesus' warnings (Revelation 3) nor those of the two witnesses. Melito, Paul, and others in the church age had problems with Christians in their time accepting their prophetic roles, so it should not be a surprise that many do not accept a faithful prophet today.

Will you believe doctrine supported by scriptures spread throughout the Bible?

Many will not believe, but that was expected:

6 “Don’t say such things,” the people respond. “Don’t prophesy like that. Such disasters will never come our way!” (Micah 2:6, New Living Translation)

16 ... You say, 'Do not prophesy against Israel, And do not spout against the house of Isaac.' (Amos 7:16)

People will not want to hear!

Most end time Christians are Laodicean and WILL NOT accept a true prophet of God, including the two witnesses, until it is too late for them to take sufficient action.

Consider the following which will affect God's people:

26 Disaster will come upon disaster,
And rumor will be upon rumor.
Then they will seek a vision from a prophet; (Ezekiel 7:26)

Will you wait until it is too late (cf. Zephaniah 2:1-3; see also There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Near Petra)?

Would you, instead, follow the lead of one that did meet all of the biblical-requirements for a prophet 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 and that the CCOG has the confirmed fruits of Acts 2:17-18?

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).

God expects Christians to accept the criteria in His word.

The Laodiceans do not want to hear prophets and even Jesus has to knock to get them to pay even minimal attention:

20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (Revelation 3:20)

Jesus did NOT say He would knock the door down to force Laodiceans to change. He knocked. Can you accept His knocking?

Will you answer Jesus' criteria in the Bible?

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 Continuing Church of God is the only COG organization with so many of the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18 (see also Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18?).

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).

Here is a link to a related sermon: Church of God Leaders on Prophets.

Thiel B. Church of God Leaders on Prophets. COGwriter (c) 2019 https://www.cogwriter.com/cog-leaders-prophets.htm 2019 0913

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