Herbert W. Armstrong, the Philadelphia Church, & the Mantle

By COGwriter

Many people, including those in various Church of God groups, do not seem to understand about church eras or the importance of striving to be part of the best representation of the Philadelphian remnant organization in the 21st century.

COG groups including ICG, CGI, UCG, COGaIC, CG7CGG, and the old CEM do not officially teach and/or do not believe in the idea of Church eras (The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3), though they sometimes teach about the churches of Revelation.

Part of the reason for this is that the late Garner Ted Armstrong turned against that doctrine and after he was put out of the old Worldwide Church of God (WCG) by his father, the group he formed, and groups that came out of them, stopped teaching church eras.

Others who left the WCG during the Tkach apostasy years also often decided not to teach church eras either.

Part of the reason for this is that the cessation of teaching church eras was one of the first changes that the Tkach Administration did (see The 18 Restored Truths: Do You Know What the First Changes the Tkach Administration Made?; originally published in The Journal: News of the Churches of God, July 31, 2002).

Because of that, people who came in to WCG after 1985 did not learn much about them and many who were there before ceased to think that they or the passing of the mantle were important.

For more on church eras, check out the article The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 and/or watch the sermon The Seven Church Eras of Revelation.

Jesus and Philadelphia

Jesus told the Philadelphia Church:

7. "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, 'These things says He who is holy, He who is true, "He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens":
8 "I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie--indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.
10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.
12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.
13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." ' (Revelation 3:7-13. NKJV throughout).

There are several differences in the promises to the Philadelphia church that do not seem to be included in the messages to the other churches.

These unique statements include: the key of David (vs.7), an open door (vs.8), a little strength (vs. 8), kept Jesus' word (vs. 8), the command to persevere (vs.10), and the promise to be kept from the hour of trial (vs. 10; see also There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra).

It also should be noted that Jesus has condemnation for the non-Philadelphians in Revelation 3, and that the bulk of Christians in the end time are expected to be Laodiceans, whom Jesus condemns (Revelation 3:14-22).

The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong

Although in most places the 1973 and 1986 editions of Volume 1 of the Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong are the same, the 1986 version that the Tkach Administration sent out to WCG members was edited after Herbert Armstrong's death by people who apparently wanted to modify some of his teachings.

The 1973 edition was the last true autobiography (it is not an autobiography if someone else changes it).

Here are some other edits/alterations:

"Events of the 38 years since that time have revealed that this was the transition from the 'Sardis era' (Rev. 3:1-5) into the beginning of the 'Philadelphia era.' " (1973 ed., page 448; missing from page 526, 1986 ed.)

"Now the living Christ began opening DOORS! Later research into church history identified where we stood, at the moment, in the prophecy concerning the seven stages, or eras of God's Church from the time of the original apostles, up to Christ's return to earth and establishment of the Kingdom of God. I had been fellowshipping with, working with, the latter part of the Sardis era, as described in Christ's own words in Revelation 3:1-5. The time had come for the Philadelphia era to begin. It did begin a week later, with the ending of the Firbutte meetings, and establishment of a new local Church of God starting out with 19 members! It is to the Philadelphia era that Christ said He would OPEN DOORS that His Gospel might be worldwide, into all nations, in power. This could not have started as long as I was being employed by MEN, ruled by MEN, not free to serve God FULLY, His way!" (1973 ed., page 450; missing from page 528, 1986 ed.)

"Actually, although we did not know it then, Christ Himself had started the 'Philadelphia' era or phase of His Church with the organization of that little Church of God now meeting at Jeans school, following the meetings in the Firbutte school, and following the rejection of the salary and authority of men resulting from the 'All-Day Wrangle.'" (1973 ed., page 473; missing from page 561, 1986 ed.)

[after the word 'ministers'] "in the two branches of the 'Sardis' phase of the Church." (1973 ed., page 474; missing from page 562, 1986 ed.)

Partially because of these changes, most once part of the old Worldwide Church of God lost site of Church Eras and the ramifications of being part of the remnant of Philadelphian portion of the true Church of God.

More on Tkach changes is documented in the article Did You Know What the First Changes the Tkach Administration Made?).

As far as rejection of salary goes, that happened with me twice, when I turned down salary offers from LCG' then top evangelist.

Early HWA Years

The following is from the 1973 edition of The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong:

I was born July 31, 1892, of respected and upright parents who were of solid Quaker stock. My ancestors had emigrated from England to Pennsylvania with William Penn, a hundred years before the United States became a nation. ...

When I was 6 the family moved to Marshalltown, Iowa, where my father entered the flour milling business...

Back to Des Moines we moved again in 1901, in early fall, after a year and a half in Union, this time near East 13th and Walker. I was now in the 4th grade. We lived a short distance from a Seventh-Day Adventist Sanitarium, with a bakery shop near the front entrance. I remember being sent often to this bakery for special "health" bread -- probably whole wheat. The thing that most impressed me, however, was the impression on my boyish mind that these Adventists must be some kind of odd religious people, because they "kept Saturday for their Sunday." Even at that age, anything different from common custom and general social acceptance automatically seemed strange -- and if strange, then of course it seemed WRONG. Why do people assume that the rank-and-file of PEOPLE can't be wrong? ...

AT AGE 18 I found a book in the public library, titled, "Choosing a Vocation." It took the reader through a searching self-analysis, and a survey of vocations, occupations and professions, to place the candidate where he best fit.

A thorough study of this self-analysis and survey indicated that I would probably be most successful in the profession of journalism and advertising. And this, to me, was one of the truly exciting, thrilling professions.

It so happened that my uncle in Des Moines, Frank Armstrong, my father's younger brother, was the most prominent advertising man in the state. ...

Here is more from The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong as he met and married Loma.

Up until 1917 I had never thought really seriously of any girl. I liked the company of girls. ...

In my foolish conceit of those days, I was cocksure that I was headed for outstanding success. But I had certain ideals and convictions, and one of them was that a young man ought not to think of marriage until he was prepared to assume the responsibilities of marriage -- especially that of supporting a wife! The idea of my wife having to get a job to help earn the living would have crushed my spirit -- would have been the supreme disgrace! ...

My mother had written that her twin sister, my Aunt Emma Morrow, was stricken with pneumonia, and asked me to visit her on this trip. So I took the short side-trip to the Morrow farm, 30 miles southeast of Des Moines, and a short mile north of the crossroads town called Motor, which consisted only of a store, schoolhouse, church, and two or three houses I found my aunt considerably improved, and convalescing. During the afternoon a girl from Motor, two years younger than I, came to see my aunt ... Her name was Bertha Dillon, and her father owned the store at Motor ...

I was enjoying a conversation with her, when, about 4:30 in the afternoon, her older sister, Loma -- just my age -- came bounding in. That's not an exaggeration. I hadn't seen such fresh, joyous, "zip and go" in a long time. She literally exuded energy, sparkle, good cheer, the friendly warmth of a sincere, outgoing personality ...

It was the night of May 13th. We walked down the roadside, past the old Quaker Church building and graveyard. I told Loma that I knew, now, that I was in love with her ...

Loma and I became engaged on May 15th {1917} ...

We decided to be married as soon as possible. She needed a week to make all preparations to come to Chicago. I needed a week to locate a place for us to live. It was now July 21st...

Notice about something that happened shortly after he was married:

Within 30 or 60 days after our marriage God spoke to my wife in what might have been an intense unusual dream, or a vision — but it was years later before we came to realize that this really was a message from God.  (Armstrong HW.  Brethren and Co-worker letter, November 28, 1956)

One night my wife had a dream so vivid and impressive it overwhelmed and shook her tremendously. It was so realistic it seemed more like a vision. For two or three days afterward everything else seemed unreal -- as if in a daze -- and only this extraordinary dream seemed real.

In her dream she and I were crossing the wide intersection, only a block or two from our apartment, where Broadway diagonally crosses Sheridan Road. Suddenly there appeared an awesome sight in the sky above. It was a dazzling spectacle -- the sky filled with a gigantic solid mass of brilliant stars, shaped like a huge banner. The stars began to quiver and separate, finally vanishing. She called my attention to the vanishing stars, when another huge grouping of flashing stars appeared, then quivering, separating, and vanishing like the first.

As she and I, in her dream, looked upward at the vanishing stars, three large white birds suddenly appeared in the sky between us and the vanishing stars. These great white birds flew directly toward us. As they descended nearer, she perceived that they were angels.

“Then,” my wife wrote a day or two after the dream, in a letter to my mother which I have just run across among old family pictures, “it dawned on me that Christ was coming, and I was so happy I was just crying for joy. Then suddenly I thought of Herbert and was rather worried.” She knew I had evidenced very little religious interest, although we had attended a corner church two or three times.

Then it seemed that, from among these angels in her dream, that, “Christ descended from among them and stood directly in front of us.

At first I was a little doubtful and afraid of how He would receive us, because I remembered we had neglected our Bible study and had our minds too much on things apart from His interests. But as we went up to Him, He put His arms around both of us, and we were so happy! I thought people all over the world had seen Him come. As far as we could see, people were just swarming into the streets at this broad intersection. Some were glad and some were afraid.

“Then it seemed He had changed into an angel. I was terribly disappointed at first, until he told me Christ was really coming in a very short time.” At that time, we had been going quite regularly to motion - picture theatres. She asked the angel if this were wrong. He replied Christ had important work for us to do, preparing for His coming -- there would be no time for “movies .” (Those were the days of the “silent” pictures.) Then the angel and the whole spectacle seemed to vanish, and she awakened, shaken and wondering!

In the morning, she told me of her dream. I was embarrassed. I didn’t want to think about it, yet I was afraid to totally dismiss it. I thought of a logical way to evade it myself, and still solve it.

Do not hastily ascribe a dream to God. True, the Bible shows that God has spoken to His own chosen servants by this means of communication -- primarily in the Old Testament, and before the writing of the Bible was completed. But most dreams mean nothing. ...

Certainly I did not ascribe this dream to God. It made me feel a little uncomfortable at the time, and I was anxious to forget it -- which I did for some years. I was twenty - five at the time. God left me to my own ways for five more years. But when I was age thirty, He began to deal with me in no uncertain terms... (The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, 1973, pp. 187,193-194).

(The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, 1973, pp. 187,193-194).

Then it seemed in her dream that "Christ descended from among them and stood directly in front of us. At first I was a little doubtful and afraid of how he would receive us, because I remembered we had neglected our Bible study and had our minds too much on things apart from his interests. But as we went up to him, he put his arms around both of us, and we were so happy! I thought people all over the world had seen him come. As far as we could see, people were just swarming into the streets at this broad intersection. Some were glad and some were afraid. (Mystery of the Ages, Introduction)

Loma and Herbert Armstrong were married in 1917. They were specifically told that they would have a work to do. Furthermore, the bright lights in the dream may have had to do with doing a work (cf. Matthew 5:16)--a work that seemed to vanish and return (flash). Thus, there was a dream from given to a woman in the 20th century that preceded the start of the old Radio Church of God that Herbert W. Armstrong led.

The Radio Church of God represented the start of the Philadelphia era and the Philadelphian work--a work that is not finished (cf. Matthew 24:14-15)--and Herbert W. Armstrong claimed that a dream given to his wife was from God, prior to the start of the Philadelphia era.

He thought it was so important, it was in his autobiography, various magazine articles, in sermons, and even in the introduction to his book The Mystery of the Ages.

Since the Philadelphia era was raised up years after that dream, a question to ponder is would God do anything similar to point to the continuation of the end-time COG remnant of the Philadelphians?

Consider that in Loma Armstrong's dream that there were two sets of flashing stars. Herbert Armstrong is now dead and there was a pause between the work God had him to do and the completion of the final phase of the work to finally fulfill Matthew 24:14. In the past, like in 2013 and 2014, I have called the time between his death and the formation of the Continuing Church of God the transitional phase--which is consistent with Loma Armstrong's dream. God will cut that final work short (Romans 9:28) which results in the famine of the word (Amos 8:12; see also Preparing for the 'Short Work' and The Famine of the Word) which is consistent with the vanishing stars in Loma Armstrong's dream.

He mentioned the dream from time to time publicly, here are two nearly identical accounts:

I'm usually pretty skeptical about God speaking to anyone today in visions or dreams. God speaks to us thru His Son, Jesus Christ — the WORD of God — and the Bible is the written Word. I didn't really believe it then, 38 years ago, but subsequent events have verified that God did speak to my wife at that time, shortly after we were married, revealing thru an angel that He was calling us to the mission of WARNING the world of the fast-approaching END OF THIS WORLD, the Coming of Jesus Christ, and the world-ruling Kingdom of God. At the time I was unconverted, not bothering to attend church, interested only in business and making money. I was embarrassed — a little awed — but immediately tried to put it out of my mind. But at age 30 God took away my business, struck me down, took away my idol of money-making and business prestige. (Armstrong HW. Co-worker letter, November 25, 1955)

I'm usually pretty skeptical about God speaking to anyone today in visions or dreams. God speaks to us thru His Son, Jesus Christ — the WORD of God — and the Bible is the written Word. I didn't really believe it then, 38 years ago, but subsequent events have verified that God did speak to my wife at that time, shortly after we were married, revealing thru an angel in a vision that He was calling us to the mission of WARNING the world of the fast- approaching END OF THIS WORLD, the coming of Jesus Christ, and the world-ruling Kingdom of God. At that time I was unconverted, not bothering to attend church, interested only in business and making money. I was embarrassed — a little awed — but immediately tried to put it out of my mind. But at age 30 God took away my business, struck me down, took away my idol of money-making and business prestige. (Armstrong HW. Co-worker letter, February 21, 1956)

Notice that the dream was to go until the end of the world and the coming of Jesus--since Herbert Armstrong has been dead since January 16, 1986--if the dream was from God then, does it not make sense that the second half of the dream would be fulfilled by another in the 21st century? We in the Continuing Church of God are fulfilling that second part of stars (see also The Final Phase of the Work).

Perhaps it should be mentioned, Herbert Armstrong had more information about what I am referring to as the first set of stars (the first part) in the dream. He wrote:

It was a dazzling spectacle...People by the hundreds came running into this broad intersection looking up to see the strange phenomena ... A vast multitude of eyes were upon us... I have only come to believe that this dream was a bonafide call from God in the light of subsequent events. (Armstrong HW. The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, 9th installment. Plain Truth, August 1958, p. 18).

Eyes of a vast multitude suggest that the dream was saying that the work to be done was to have a witness to many. This happened with the old Radio and Worldwide Church of God under Herbert Armstrong's leadership in the 20th century. The second set of stars in the dream, which he did not mention in the August 1958 Plain Truth, article, but did in his published Autobiography, seems to pertain to what I have called, for years, The Final Phase of the Work as well as the 'Short Work.' But even if it had applicability to the ministry of Herbert Armstrong only, the dream, which he also shortly before his death confirmed he believed was from God (per Aaron Dean, who I discussed this with on October 30, 2015), shows that one dream did precede the COG work he was involved in.

Understand that Herbert W. Armstrong considered that his wife Loma's dream was from God. He also believed the first part of it had to do with the start of the Philadelphia era of the Church of God via the Radio Church Church of God.  He did not discuss the fulfillment of the second part of the dream directly, however he taught another work would be done.

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

“A few months before Mr. Armstrong’s death, my wife and I had the opportunity to spend several hours with Mr. Armstrong in his home in Pasadena. He spoke freely of the mighty work God had commissioned him to accomplish, and related certain heartfelt comments: ‘I can say that I have finished the work God has given me to do, and am at peace about it. I have preached and taken the Gospel of the Kingdom of God into all the world as a witness to all nations.’

“Mr. Armstrong went on to say, ‘I have come to realize there will be an even greater work to follow—to go again, to “prophesy again” to all nations tongues and peoples (Rev. 10:11) before the work of the two witnesses—but with more power and with a stronger warning message. But that will be for others to do.’ He continued, ‘It will be a short work (Rom. 9:27-29), compared with the longer time to complete the work I was given, and it will be cut short. That’s when the Great Tribulation will begin, as will the work of the two witnesses. These will last for three and one-half years, at the end of which Christ will return in glory.’” (“The Greatest Work Lies JUST Ahead…” as stated in RCG letter of May 31, 2013)

When Mr. Armstrong was age 91 --- about 1984 --- Mona and I had opportunity to spend several hours with him in his home in Pasadena to visit and further report on work he had commissioned us to do. We were to report directly back to him. He talked freely of the mighty work God had given him to accomplish. He went on to tell us there was yet a bigger work still to be done, to go again and repeat what has been done, but with more power and with a stronger warning, just before the work of the two witnesses would begin. He said it would be a “short work” (Rom. 9:27-29) compared with the longer time to complete the work he had been given, and that it would be “cut short.” That’s when the great tribulation would begin, as would the work of the two witnesses. These would last for three and one-half years. (January 7, 2012 Dale Schurter Speaks Out: UCG Resignation Letter http://www.rcgtruth.com/2012/01/dale-l-schurter-resignation-letter_06.html)

Herbert Armstrong's part of the work lasted over 50 years, and he seemingly felt that the "short work" would be much shorter than his work. And that is correct.

His long-time aide, Aaron Dean confirmed with me on August 15, 2017 that it was not until the last year or so of his life that Herbert Armstrong realized that he would NOT be around until Jesus returned. Therefore, if his wife's dream was from God, as he claimed it was, there was still to be fulfillment of the second part of it.

Herbert Armstrong, as relayed earlier, confirmed that he believed that the dream was from God (Armstrong HW.  Brethren and Co-worker letter, November 28, 1956).

Notice that, in time, Herbert Armstrong accepted the dream as a dream from God and that was a dream that preceded the start of the Radio Church of God (something similar happened that preceded the start of the Continuing Church of God (for details, see Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God).

Church of God, Seventh Day

Here is more from The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong: :

The only Church I had so far found which "kept the commandments of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ," and at the same time bore the NAME of the original true Church, was this almost unknown little Church of God with its small publishing house in Stanberry, Missouri. ...

I was deeply perplexed. Here was a little church, with scattered members probably numbering less than 2,000 -- mostly in rural areas. Apparently, as nearly as I could learn, it had only a very limited number of local churches, none as large as 100 members. ...

Could this be God's one and only true Church on earth? The very question seemed preposterous!

And yet ... it had more Bible TRUTH than any church I could find!

Even though Herbert W. Armstrong was attending with the Church of God Seventh Day (CG7), he was not baptized by them or even a COG minister.

He also told those in CG7 that there were problems.

This is clearly documented in a front page article in CG7's The Bible Advocate in 1928, by Herbert Armstrong, who wrote:

...the Adventists and the Church of God ... Have either of these bodies been, so far, winning converts to the message by the thousands--by whole cities? Has this message, so far, gone forth with the POWER, the BOLDNESS, and the results in converts ...? ... It can't be because God is not doing His part ... Folks, let's come to life! Let's awake from this state of coma. Let's tear away from the inertia that holds us ... Perhaps we need MORE POWER! (Armstrong H.W. Have we tarried for the power to carry the third angel's message? The Bible Advocate, LXII, 41, October 16, 1928, pp. 431-434).

Actual converts were expected by him. We in the Continuing Church of God expect that these days and are seeing them (see What About Romans 11:25 and the Full Number of the Gentiles?).

Philadelphians expect to provide more than a witness, they expect God will call numbers of people to conversion before Jesus returns.

More from The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong:

Being ordained and entering the ministry full time meant a complete change in my life. In former years the idea of becoming a minister was the very last thing I should have wanted to do. But by June, 1931, I had been preaching a great deal for three and a half years. By this time my whole heart was in it...

This ordination took place at, or very near, the Day of Pentecost in 1931. I do not remember the exact day of the month of this ordination ... But the date was June, 1931.

His ordination document, like those of others at the time in CG7, mentioned the term apostle. Because of the fruits of Herbert Armstrong's ministry, he later accepted that the title apostle did apply.

But he never felt it applied to the others in CG7 ministry and he did not think they had the Philadelphian fruits.

Although many have had dreams in the 21st century they believed were from God, only the CCOG has the Philadelphian fruits to confirm that certain dreams were from God.

Why Herbert W. Armstrong Left the Church of God, Seventh Day

Herbert W. Armstrong explained why he left CG7 in The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong Volume 1, 1973 edition:

So, as the first step in this test, I wrote up an exposition of some 16 typewritten pages proving clearly, plainly, and beyond contradiction that a certain minor point of doctrine proclaimed by this church, based on an erroneous interpretation of a certain verse of Scripture, was in error. This was mailed to the Stanberry, Missouri, headquarters to see whether their leaders would confess error and change.

The answer came back from their head man, editor of their paper and president of their "General Conference." He was forced to admit, in plain words, that their teaching on this point was false and in error. But, he explained, he feared that if any attempt was made to correct this false doctrine and publicly confess the truth, many of their members, especially those of older standing and heavy tithe payers, would be unable to accept it. He feared they would lose confidence in the Church if they found it had been in error on any point. He said he feared many would withdraw their financial support, and it might divide the Church. And therefore he felt the Church could do nothing but continue to teach and preach this doctrine which he admitted in writing to be false.

Naturally, this shook my confidence considerably. This church leader, if not the church itself, was looking to people as the SOURCE of belief, instead of to God! Yet, here was the only Church holding to the one greatest basic truth of the Commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, kept in the NAME of God, and in spite of this and a few other erroneous teachings, nevertheless being closer to the whole truth than any church I had found.

If this was not the true Church of God, then where was it? (Autobiography, 1973 ed. pages 315-316).

After about two week of our Umapine meetings, a letter from Mrs. Florence Curtis, secretary of the State Conference, informed us that a business meeting had been called...At precisely 5:30 the next morning, Mr. and Mrs. Preston and I bade Elder Dailey goodbye...

This Umapine experience was one more in which no fruit could be borne as long as I teamed with one of the ministers of this church, connected with, or springing from the Stanberry, Missouri, political center.

Years later, still in my search for the one true church, still questioning whether this could be that church, still not having found it elsewhere, I asked Mrs. Runcorn (whom Mrs. Armstrong and I looked upon as our "spiritual mother") if she could point out a single real bonafide convert, brought in from the outside, resulting from the ministry of any of the preachers affiliated with "Stanberry." She thought seriously for quite a while. Then she slowly shook her head. She knew of none. I asked several others who had been in the church for years. Their answers were the same (pages 383-385).

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. The words of Christ are quoted in the 2nd and 3rd chapters of the Book of Revelation, foretelling the history of God's Church in seven successive eras, or phases. Events since that time have revealed was the transition from the 'Sardis' (Rev. 3:1-5) into the beginning of the 'Philadelphia era'.

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. But from that "all-day wrangle" I was independent of them and their ministers, financially. From that time I was dependent, solely, on God. We did not ask or solicit financial contributions from any except those who voluntarily became financial co-workers with us. And that has been the policy ever since" (page 448).

Now the living Christ began opening DOORS!

Later research into church history identified where we stood, at the moment, in the prophecy concerning the seven stages, or eras of God's Church from the time of the original apostles, up to Christ's return to earth and establishment of the Kingdom of God. I had been fellowshipping with, working with, the latter part of the Sardis era, as described in Christ's own words in Revelation 3:1-5.

The time had come for the Philadelphia era to begin. It did begin a week later, with the ending of the Firbutte meetings, and establishment of a new local Church of God starting out with 19 members! It is to the Philadelphia era that Christ said He would OPEN DOORS that His Gospel might be worldwide, into all nations, in power. This could not have started as long as I was being employed by MEN, ruled by MEN, not free to serve God FULLY, His way!" (page 450).

As shown in the preceding quotes, Herbert Armstrong left CG7 primarily because of doctrine as well as the fact that to him CG7 did not seem to feel that its top priority should be to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom to the world as a witness. His autobiography contains a letter one of CG7's top leaders wrote that CG7 would not teach British Commonwealth and United States peoples were descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh, even though that leader believed what Herbert Armstrong had written on that subject was true.

The reality is that former CG7 leader A.N. Dugger had problems in being unwilling to change incorrect doctrine, proclaim certain doctrines publicly that he agreed were right, boldly try to fulfill Matthew 24:14, etc. And although Herbert Armstrong did not directly mention it, according to another former CG7 President Robert Coulter, A.N. Dugger also had some serious personal integrity issues around this time that Herbert W. Armstrong would have likely known about (Robert Coulter not only told me this personally, it is documented in his book The Journey: A History of the Church of God (Seventh Day) pp. 262, 271, 283-285, etc.). So, because of doctrinal and integrity issues, Herbert W. Armstrong left CG7 and formed a group he named the Radio Church of God (interestingly the same type of issues many decades later resulted in the formation of the Continuing Church of God, see also Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God).

Below is a letter from A.N. Dugger to Herbert W. Armstrong dated July 28, 1929 where A.N. Dugger admits that Herbert Armstrong was correct about the identity of the British peoples but that the Church of God Seventh Day would not teach this (note that this was removed from the 1986 edition edited by the Tkach WCG):

A.N. Dugger British Israel Letter

The reasons Herbert Armstrong gave for leaving are consistent with what CG7 has officially stated.

For documentation, here is what CG7's Bible Advocate Press reported about Herbert Armstrong's departure:

In 1933 the Church of God (Seventh Day) suffered a severe schism, dividing right down the middle. The half that severed (both in members and ministers) established their headquarters in Salem, West Virginia. This new organization was headed by Andrew N. Dugger, who had served as president of the old conference from 1914 to 1928 and as editor of the Bible Advocate from 1914 to 1932. The two divisions reunited in 1949, eventually establishing new headquarters in Denver, Colorado. A small number of dissidents remained separate from the reorganized body, and kept a skeletal work in Salem. Mr. Armstrong gravitated toward the Salem movement. He had aligned himself with A. N. Dugger, thus following Elder Dugger in that association. By 1934, Mr. Armstrong had accepted appointment as one of "the seventy," a group of ministers and church leaders who were charged with "the message for the last days."... Mr. Armstrong was granted ministerial credentials at that time. It was also about this time that Mr. Armstrong began a radio broadcast ministry which he identified as "The Radio Church of God," and which he later contended to be independent of the Salem body’s support or endorsement. Interestingly enough, the Salem body was publishing his reports and articles at the time, so apparently they did not share his understanding. He was carrying the highest documentation that the Church bestows. During the ensuing months and years, Mr. Armstrong began to take an outspoken view on his understanding of British Israelism and the Hebrew feasts. The brethren encouraged him to present to the ministerial body as a whole his views on those subjects, rather than to continue preaching and promoting most forcefully his personal position. It was at Detroit, Michigan, that Mr. Armstrong’s material on the Hebrew festivals was presented. The ministerial body gave full treatment to the positions of Mr. Armstrong and a majority rejected the doctrine as unscriptural. But Mr. Armstrong was most insistent and continued to present his viewpoints in an antagonistic manner. So, in 1938 the Salem organization revoked Mr. Armstrong’s credentials. Official records show the doctrinal dispute to be the reason for the severance" (Quoted in Transformed by Truth, Chapter 12).

An individual who was part of CG7's publishing arm when Herbert W. Armstrong left wrote the following:

It was in the fall of 1937 when Elder Armstrong’s credentials were revoked by the Salem Church of God organization. The reason given by the Board of Twelve for this action was because he taught and kept the annual Feast days. (Kiesz J. The Worldwide Church Of God Vs. The Church Of God (7th Day). http://www.giveshare.org/churchhistory/rcogvscog7.html 6/24/06).

The holy days are still a major difference between CG7 and the other COGs. This is documented in the article Is There "An Annual Worship Calendar" In the Bible? But in the 21st centurt, CG7 modified its anti-holy day stance to a small degree (please see the article Church of God, Seventh Day: History and Teachings).

In time, while there were many other differences, Herbert W. Armstrong felt that God used him to restore 18 truths that the Sardis era as represented by CG7 had lost. Herbert Armstrong listed them in a sermon on December 17, 1983, and that list was different than the list the Tkach Administration later published (see 18 Truths Restored to the Churches of God: Mission of the Philadelphia Church Era ).

Here is the list as shown in the Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God:

1. True Gospel (A booklet of related interest is: The Gospel of the Kingdom of God.)

2. Purpose of God (An article of related interest may include Deification: Did the Early Church Teach That Christians Would Become God?).

3. God’s Plan through the Holy Days (A booklet of related interest is: Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?)

4. Proper Church Government (Two articles of possibly related interest may include The Bible, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, and Roderick C. Meredith on Church Government and Polycarp’s Letter to the Philippians.)

5. Who and What is God? (An article of related interest may include One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning.)

6. What and Why is Man? (Two articles of possibly related interest may include What is the Meaning of Life? and Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality?)

7. Spirit in Man (An article of possibly related interest may include Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality?)

8. Firstfruits In this Age (An article of related interest may include Pentecost: Is it more than Acts 2?)

9. Knowledge of What the Millennium Truly Is (An article of related interest may include Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism and a 6000 Year Plan?)

10. Truth About the Holy Spirit (An article of related interest may include Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity?)

11. Christians are Begotten Now (An article of related interest may include Born Again: A Question of Semantics?)

12. Born-Again at the Resurrection (An article of related interest may include Born Again: A Question of Semantics?)

13. Identity of Physical Israel (An article of related interest may include Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel.)

14. How the Identity of Israel Opens Up Understanding of Bible Prophecy (An article of related interest may include Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel.)

15. Second and Third Tithes (An article of related interest may include Is Third Tithe Still Valid Today?)

16. Identity of Babylon and Her Daughters (Three articles of possibly related interest may include Europa, the Beast, and Revelation, Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Genuine Church of God?, and Hope of Salvation: How the Genuine Church of God differ from most Protestants.)

17. Satan has Deceived the Whole World (An article possibly related interest may be The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance.)

18. We Are to Be Separate (Two articles of related interest may include Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders? and Overview: How Does the Church of God Agree and Disagree with Other Faiths Professing Christ?)

Without going into more detail here, the second century writings of Theophilus of Antioch, for example, demonstrate that Christians believed that they were to be born again at the resurrection (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book 2, Chapter XV) and other early writings do demonstrate that there were those who professed Christ after the death of the original apostles that seemed to hold to those “restored truths.”  Judeo-Christians of the first few centuries A.D. seemed to understand at least some the identity of physical Israel and tried to get the gospel message to them (e.g. James 1:1).

Basically, Philadelphians, as opposed to others who claim COG ties, truly put their top priority on Philadelphia love by supporting the fulfillment of Matthew 24:14 and related proclamation scriptures, while recognizing that God works through ordained leaders and has tended to have had an evangelist-ranked or higher leader of the Philadelphia era, and still does though only a remnant of that era is around today.

Similarities

The Philadelphia era was preceded by a dream from a woman. Herbert Armstrong left CG7 because of its failure to teach doctrines that it knew were right. He left because CG7 had integrity problems.

On a World Tomorrow program, Herbert W. Armstrong stated:

And this gospel is going around the world. And when it has circulated around this earth and gone around the world, then, and not until then, and not after then, shall the end of this age come. (also available to hear on an anti-COG video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kb76qyaC824 accessed 08/27/19)

Note that the END was to come right after, not long after, Matthew 24:14 was fulfilled.

Autobiography p. 447 gave up salary from CG7 as he did not want to have to listen to men who, while they had some truth, compromised with it too much, then later God opened up doors for him p. 451. I refused a salary when Dr. Meredith offered me one over the telephone for similar reasons. And because of the need to support the poor in Africa and to better get the gospel out, neither my wife nor I take a salary.

Chart 1. Similiarities Prior to Establishing Church Organization

Herbert W. Armstrong

Bob Thiel

Did not come from a ministerial background

Did not come from a ministerial background

Uncoventionally educated.

Conventionally and nconventionally educated.

Sometimes promoted aspects of natural health for living

Promotes aspects of natural health for living

Started church after woman had a dream

Started church after woman had a dream

Refused to take a salary from his prior COG organization.

Refused to take a salary from his prior COG organization.

Wrote for church publications.

Wrote for church publications.

Told prior organization of errors that it admitted, but would not correct.

Told prior organization of errors that it admitted, but did not correct as promised.

 

Chart 2. Similiarities After Establishing Church Organization

Herbert W. Armstrong

Bob Thiel

Went on radio within weeks of refusing salary from prior organization.

Went on radio within weeks of leaving prior organization.

Human leader of fastest growing COG in 20th century.

Human leader of fastest growing real COG in 21st  century.

Taught God restored 18 truths that prior church era did not have.

Put Herbert W. Armstrong’s list of 18 restored truths in CCOG’s official statement of beliefs.

Taught that end comes right after Matthew 24:14 is completed.

Teaches that end comes right after Matthew 24:14 is completed.

Taught full number of Gentiles needed to be converted.

Teaches that the full number of Gentiles needed to be converted.

Taught that Acts 2:17-18 would have a future application.

Taught that Acts 2:17-18 is being fulfilled in the CCOG as seven had confirmed dreams and he has had numerous confirmed predictions.

Fulfilled first part of dream given to Loma Armstrong.

Fulfilling second part of dream given to Loma Armstrong.

Went on radio, often daily, going over world news, doctrine, and prophecy.

Goes on the internet daily going over world news, doctrine, and prophecy.

Of course, there are also various differences.

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

I had a vivid example of this a couple of mornings ago, awakening from a dream. In the dream it seemed to be several years ago when the Church was smaller. There was a young man across the street who looked like a possible one of our leaders. He was about age 30, with outstanding personality and appearance, and an articulate extrovert. Then two other young men of about 30, well dressed, of somewhat impressive appearance and manner, were seen walking over and talking to him. They took pains to avoid me, and I seemed to know they were opposed to me personally.

In the dream I determined to speak immediately with the man they were trying to influence adversely. I told him I knew they were "lobbying" against the Church and against me. 

"Yes," he replied, "but I have to tell you, Mr. Armstrong, I think these men have something worth listening to. They say you arrogate to yourself too much power. You make yourself the leader of the Church. They say the people ought to have all the 'say so.' The people ought to vote on who they want to be their leader and on what they want to believe and accept as Church doctrine. That sounds like a good idea to me. I think we need more DEMOCRACY." 

I awoke at that point, thinking about the dream, which had stuck in my mind. But before awakening, I remember I had said to this man in the dream, "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. It is not arrogant to accept a position.

Herbert Armstrong's claimed apostleship was based on fruits and restoration of truth. Bob Thiel's divinely ordained prophetic role has been confirmed by fulfillments of Acts 2:17-18, the restortation of doctrinal (see The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you? and The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast), prophetic (see Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation, Proof Jesus is the Messiah, and The Laodicean Church Era), & historical (see Continuing History of the Church of God) details and truth, plus, of course, the fruits of growth (for details, see Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18?).

Notice some details one of the similarities from the chart.

In Romans 11, the Apostle Paul wrote the following:

25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:

“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
27 For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.” (Romans 11:25-27)

In the sequence of Romans 11, we see the full number of the Gentiles will come into the faith (Romans 11:25), prior to Jesus’ return (Romans 11:26).

The late Pastor General of the old Worldwide Church of God, Herbert W. Armstrong, taught the following about Romans 11:25:

Now I want you to study carefully one of the most wonderful, important chapters in all the Bible — the 11th of Romans. … Verse 23 says those who abide not still in unbelief shall YET receive salvation. … Now study carefully beginning verse 25: “Blindness in part is happened to Israel [HOW LONG? Forever? No — note it], UNTIL the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” — the end of this age during which God is calling a people from among the gentiles to bear His name (Acts 15:14). And so, says Romans 11:26, “all Israel SHALL BE SAVED [how?]: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” The Deliverer, Jesus Christ, is coming again!

When He comes, the gentile times will be over — the BLINDNESS will be removed from the Israelites — and their opportunity — their FIRST chance — of salvation will then come to those whom God had blinded! This is at the time when He comes to REIGN on HIS THRONE — the throne of David, with the saints made immortal reigning and ruling with Him — and the time is DURING THE THOUSAND YEARS!

Notice verse 31. These blinded Israelites have not now, in this age, received mercy, that through the mercy of the gentiles saved in this age, they MAY, THEN, obtain mercy and salvation. How? Because these saved gentiles will then be kings and priests, assisting in this wonderful Work! (Armstrong HW. Where Will The MILLENNIUM Be Spent? Tomorrow’s Word magazine, September 1971, p. 5)

25: “Blindness in part is happened until Israel”-HOW LONG? Forever? No-note it-“UNTIL the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” -the end of this age during which God is calling a people from among the Gentiles to bear His name (Acts 15: 14). … These blinded Israelites have not now, in this age, received mercy, that thru the mercy of the Gentiles saved in this age, they MAY, THEN, obtain mercy and salvation. How? Because these saved Gentiles will then be kings and priests, assisting in this wonderful work! (Armstrong HW. Where Will The MILLENNIUM Be Spent? Plain Truth, February-March 1954 , pp. 4-5)

(25) For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel [or that part of Israel, meaning the great part, the big part — all but a few, have been blinded. It’s the big part actually] until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. [Or the number of Gentiles to be converted becomes complete — as other translations have it] (Armstrong HW. Romans 11-13. Bible Study, June 27, 1980)

Clearly, we are much closer to the time when all the Gentiles are to come in to later be kings and priests than when those articles were published (see also: Christians are to Rule).

More of the Gentiles had to be called and converted– and that is happening now!

Sadly, many people are affected by prejudices and other factors which stop them from acting on the truth and supporting the reaching of the Gentiles. Many are dismissive of CCOG because of having so many Gentiles,

Yet, Jesus taught that the end does NOT come until the ‘Gospel of the Kingdom of God‘ reaches enough nations (Matthew 24:14) and, based on Paul’s writings, we also see that  “the full number” (as the NIV, NLT, BSB, CEV, GNT, HCSV, ISV, and NET Bible, put Romans 11:25) of Gentiles God wants in this age come in.

This is happening in CCOG!

Succession Through Hands and the Mantle

In the Continuing Church of God, we teach that the laying on of hands began in the New Testament church with the apostles with continued to successive church eras. This is something that various ones in the Church of God have historically also taught (see also the article: see Laying on of Hands).

The old Radio Church of God, for one example, taught that the true church always had laying on of hands succession. Yet it also taught that leaders could lose it. Notice:

Did Jesus Christ Himself put men directly into the highest office of this chain of authority? And did He "ordain" them by the laying on of His hands? Mark 3:14; John 15:16. ...

Only by the choice of Jesus Christ, by the Scriptural ordinance of the laying on of hands, were different ranks of ministers ordained to authority, and that by those who were ministers before them. The succession of ministers thus begun by the hands of Jesus Christ remained unbroken in the True Church through all ages.

Some of the men so ordained may prove unworthy. (Judas is an example.) They may be more interested in physical things than in service or the gospel.

Among the Paulicians were men, from time to time, whose works made it obvious Jesus Christ Himself had ranked them as apostles.

An apostle need not be an impressive looking man, or of HUMAN nobility. Fishermen, publicans, and tax-collectors have been among Christ's apostles (Mat. 4:18, 21; 9:9; Luke 5:27). 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)

HWA claimed that A.N. Dugger had been unfaithful to the word of God (and he was) and that A.N. Dugger/CG7 no longer possessed the 'mantle' of leadership past 1933 (if not sooner, and if he ever had it).

The late WCG evangelist Roderick Meredith twice 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 and Meredith RC. Tap the POWER of Almighty God! Plain Truth, September 1967)

Unlike Herbert Armstrong who restored truths to the Philadelphia era, and Bob Thiel who added more details to those truths (e.g. see Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation and The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you?), Dr. Meredith did not do that. Nor did he fulfill the prophetic office. Nor did he have signs of Acts 2:17-18. Plus Dr. Meredith had serious integrity issues and in various ways disqualified himself for the top role [presuming he ever had it--it may have been that it was the late Dibar Apartian until his death]--for some details, please see Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God. Dr. Meredith had years to keep his promises, but then ended up refusing to do so, despite repeatedly reminders and him repeatedly agreeing to do so. He died without that repentance.

Notice something that Herbert W. Armstrong said about the mantle:

Now Christ is the head of the Church today as Elijah was the head and the leader of the sons or the disciples of the prophets in that day. But God wanted Elisha to direct his work ...

Now, this mantle of his that dropped off and Elisha picked up, you remember? What was that mantle? And I showed you in according to Clark's Commentary or you can get it in any authority, that it was a cloak that was worn by the priests and the prophets as a simple insignia of their office. And it represented their office — well like a badge shows you that a man as a policeman today. His badge is the insignia that tells you he's a policeman and this cloak, was the insignia that meant that this man was the prophet of God. And so this mantle or this cloak fell off and Elisha, you'll remember, picked it up. (Armstrong HW. Hebrews Series 11 - Elijah. World Tomorrow Telecast. https://www.hwalibrary.com/cgi-bin/get/hwa.cgi?action=gettcast&InfoID=1333114722)

In the Old Testament, God gave a sign people could see that showed the mantle of leadership passed to Elisha (2 Kings 2:14-15). And for the last days, the Philadelphian Christians are those who kept God's word ("kept My word" Revelation 3:7-8), and hence are willing to believe the confirmation signs that were at least partially prophesied in the New Testament in Acts 2:17-18 (see also Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18?). This was not said of the non-Philadelphians.

Now, notice something that Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:

But Christ said to His Philadelphia era Church, that because we have but little strength, He would OPEN THOSE DOORS TO US (Rev. 3:8)" (Letter 11/19/76).

The PURPOSE for which Christ built the Church exemplifies its WORK ... 1) To ANNOUNCE to the world for its witness the coming Kingdom of God...2) To prepare the people to whom God adds to the Church...God has always worked with humans. He has worked with O N E  M A N at a time ... The WORK consists of proclaiming the Gospel, by radio, by television, in print (Armstrong HW. JUST WHAT IS THE WORK? PASTOR GENERAL'S REPORT - VOL.3, NO.6 February 6, 1981)

Herbert Armstrong believed that God mainly worked through the leadership of one man at a time to lead various phases of the work. Scripture, shows for example, that the mantle passed from Elijah to Elisha (2 Kings 2:9-15). The 'mantle' would currently be with the person/group that truly functioned as the 'pillar and ground of truth' (1 Timothy 3:15).

For fifty years in the second century, according to Herbert W. Armstrong, that man was Polycarp:

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)

For over 50 years in the 20th century, it was Herbert W. Armstrong.

Who is the one man at this time?

The O N E  M A N at this time is Dr. Bob Thiel who holds the mantle while assisting in the directions of others who are supporting him, is proclaiming Christ's Gospel of the Kingdom by radio, via internet "television," via internet articles, in person, and in print as he leads the Continuing Church of God. Bob Thiel did NOT ask for the mantle, but was told twice that he may have been given it no later than 2011.

Related to Philadelphian history, Herbert W. Armstrong taught:

I spoke..., reading from Matthew 28:19-20 that he who taught was to baptize those taught, after which by laying on of hands they would receive the Holy Spirit, then teaching them the way of the Christian life. ...

Anyway, the meetings closed at the end of that week, and afterward I organized the 19 we had, including the Fishers and Ellises, into the parent church of the present Worldwide Church of God. This was the "Philadelphia" succession of the CHURCH OF GOD founded the day of Pentecost, A. D. 31, by Jesus Christ. It was founded entirely through living FAITH in Jesus Christ. It was founded in poverty in the midst of the worst economic depression within the memory of man. (Armstrong HW. The History of the Beginning and Growth of the Worldwide Church of God - Chapter 4. Good News, August 1980)

Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:

 The history of the Church would fall into seven distinct eras -- each with its own strengths and weaknesses and its own special trials and problems.

Just as a message could pass along the mail route from Ephesus to Laodicea, so would the truth of God be passed from era to era.

It was like a relay race -- in which the baton is passed from runner to runner, each one doing his part, until the finish line is reached.

Some time during the early decades of the second century, the baton was passed from the Ephesian era to the people that God had called to the Smyrna era of his Church. ... the baton passed from the Smyrna Christians to those of the Pergamos era. ... One thousand years after Jesus had founded his Church, the exhausted remnant of the Pergamos era handed over the baton. The Thyatiran era got off to a vigorous start ...

The true Church in England withered. But across the ocean, men were beginning to discover a New World. ... In the Willamette Valley, they waited. It was nearly time for the baton to change again — into the hands of those God would call to do his end-time work.

Restoration of God's Truth to Church

From the year 1931, exactly 1,900 years (a century of time cycles from the foundation of the Church, this small remnant of the original true Church of God began to take on new life as the Philadelphia era. It had come to the "time of the end." A new spiritual vitality was infused into it. The time had come for Jesus' prophecy of Matthew 24:14 to be fulfilled "this gospel of the kingdom shall be [proclaimed] in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." Such vital truth that had been lost was gradually revealed and proclaimed.

This Philadelphia era is described in verses 7 to 13 of Revelation 3. The Sardis era (Rev. 3:1-6) was by this time spiritually dying and had become impotent in spreading the true gospel of Christ. Indeed they had by this time lost knowledge of the true meaning of that gospel. They knew they were approaching the Second Coming of Christ, but they had no knowledge of what would happen during the thousand years millennium, further than the fact Christ would rule.

Of the Philadelphia era of God's true Church we read: "To the angel of the church ...." This word angel translated from the Greek aggelos means messenger or agent. This is not necessarily always referring to a spirit angel but can refer as well to a human agent. It is possible that God's principle of duality may apply here. It may apply to an actual spirit-composed angel that has been assigned as an overall agent or helper of this particular era of the Church. Or it may also apply to the human messenger or agent God has raised up to lead this era of his Church.

At the same time another principle of duality may apply to verses 7-13. It may apply to the Church of this era as a whole, ...

This era of the Church was to produce fruit. ...

The human leader to be raised up somewhat shortly prior to Christ's Second Coming was to prepare the way — prepare the Church — for Christ's coming, and restore the truth that had been lost through the preceding eras of the Church. Also a door was to be opened for this leader and/or the Philadelphia era of the Church to fulfill Matthew 24:14: "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."

It was to be at a time when, for the first time in the history of mankind, the weapons of mass destruction were produced that could erase all humanity from the earth (Matt. 24:21-22). This also was to occur just before the Second Coming of Christ (verses 29-30). (Armstrong HW. Mystery of the Ages, Chapter 6).

So, while truth was passed to different eras, the old WCG believed and taught that the Philadelphia era would produce the fruit to finish the work. It also taught that God would have a leader in the end working to fulfill Matthew 24:14.

The Worldwide Church of God taught related to offices and the mantle:

Since Church leaders are appointed and not voted into office, and since, therefore, the members are not watchdogs over the leaders, who is responsible for keeping these leaders on track spiritually and administratively?

  1. The answer is that God's government in His Church is a government of faith. Simply put, this means members believe that behind the physical, outward appearance of the Church, is the unseen hand of Jesus Christ, who directs its affairs.

  2. True Christians today trust Christ to direct the Church, bless it, correct it or its officers if need be and steer its general course.

  3. From the time of Moses and the rebellion of Korab (a leader in the congregation who was killed by God for insubordination — Numbers 16), through the age of the apostles and the rejection of Judas Iscariot from his apostleship, to the present day, Christ has demonstrated His ability to:

    1. run His Church,

    2. place capable men in their proper positions,

    3. discipline those who need it,

    4. and reject from the Church those unfit to wear the Christian mantle.

  4. The very existence of the Church and the Church's continuing vitality proves this beyond dispute! (Doctrines of the Church: Church Governance. Worldwide Church of God, 1986/1987)

Since Church leaders are appointed and not voted into office, and since, therefore, the members are not watchdogs over the leaders, who is responsible for keeping these leaders on track spiritually and administratively?
   The answer is that God's government in His Church is a government of faith. Simply put, this means members believe that behind the physical, outward appearance of the Church is the unseen hand of Jesus Christ, who directs its affairs. True Christians today trust Christ to direct the Church, bless it, correct it or its officers if need be and steer its general course.
   From the time of Moses and the rebellion of Korah (a leader in the congregation who was killed by God for insubordination — Numbers 16) , through the age of the apostles and the rejection of Judas Iscariot from his apostleship, to the present day, Christ has demonstrated His ability to run His Church, place capable men in their proper positions, discipline those who need it and reject from His Church those unfit to wear the Christian mantle. The very existence of the Church and the Church's continuing vitality prove this beyond dispute! (Prove All Things: Government in God's Church. Good News, May 1986)

I, like Christ, rejected the leadership of those unfit to wear the Philadelphia mantle.

This is important. Church history has shown, though many have had hands laid upon them, various leaders were not always faithful. Despite that, the true Church has continued from the time of the apostles.

While in the Global Church of God, Roderick Meredith wrote:

Yet, in the Church, most of the ministers and brethren seem to think that the awesome mantle "Government of God" rests on whoever happens to get in charge of any local church congregation, or the larger Church organization. ...

Should we, then, follow leaders who speak "perverse things?" Obviously NOT! The KEY is that our first loyalty is to GOD and the inspired Word of God which we all need to be studying much more zealously! (Meredith RC. When Should You Follow Church Government. Global Church of God, 1995)

It was mainly problems with HIS character and HIM speaking falsely and perverse things that I left the Living Church of God.

Character counts. The bottom line is that I left LCG because LCG had (and still has) integrity and priority issues in conflict with scripture and had insufficient love of the truth (see also Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God). Therefore, and also after two dreams and statements from LCG minister Gaylyn Bonjour (in 2011 and 2012) that the mantle may have passed to me, I concluded that it no longer held the Philadelphia mantle as it could not be the church with 'the pillar and ground of the truth' (cf. 1 Timothy 3:15) and was standing for the truth as Jesus would direct (Isaiah 61:8), nor did it have the ability to be able to complete the final phase of the work as Jeremiah 48:10 sadly applied to it:

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

Furthermore, in many areas, LCG was not (and still is not) "rightly dividing the word of truth" (Timothy 2:15).

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). As many know, I had a couple of dreams that were later confirmed (see Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God).

It should be understood that although some of the prophets in the Hebrew scriptures did miracles, and some of the apostles in the Greek scriptures were also prophets, no one who was considered a prophet and not an apostle is shown as doing dramatic miracles (e.g. John 10:41). But God sometimes does things more quietly (1 Kings 19:11-13).

Now, I had been told by the minister in LCG (Gaylyn Bonjour) who laid hands on me that my anointing by him on 12/15/11 for a "double-portion" of God's Spirit was the type of event that seeminly showed the passing of the mantle to me. He also said this to me on March 23, 2012 and it was his second time bringing the statement up about the passing of the mantle that got me to give more consideration about the mantle, me, and LCG.

Well, beyond my dream and Gaylyn Bonjour's comments, there were later confirmations.

In 2017, I learned that a man in Africa, Frederick Ochieng, in late 2013, had a dream which pointed to Bob Thiel as the one God wanted his father to follow:

Dear pastor

Greetings pastor.  I believe you are doing good though you are having great thrust of fulfilling Matthew 28:19 of which we must do before the return of Christ. ...

I had two dreams

1. Before our family joined CCOG my father was then working with voice in the Wilderness Church of God. When I was sleeping I had a dream and in my dream I saw a light and the light was not normal, the one who was standing by the was You pastor Bob according to my dream. Then I had voice shouting, "Arise you who are sleeping, for the Lord is near." I again I heard another voice shouting, "Come up Evans and let us do the work we are called to do." I then saw a man dressed in white clothes join hands with my father walking together towards a very big lake then I woke up. 

2: In my second dream some weeks after my first dream and in my second dream I saw almost the same dream and now this was in New Zealand. I did not know about the CCOG group in New Zealand before I had the dream.

Fred

Related to the first part of the dream, after his father, Evans Ochieng came with the Continuing Church of God in March of 2014, when he came we had about 260 people in Africa. Frederick also did not know anything about New Zealand then.

Perhaps, it should also be mentioned that Evangelist Evans Ochieng told me in 2017 that Frederick also said his dream showed that we would have much growth in Africa. As of late 2018, we have around 4300-4700 in Africa. So, his dream was confirmed.

Hence, we have had 'dream confirmation,' if you will, about the mantle being with Bob Thiel in the CCOG. There have been at least seven people associated with the CCOG that have had confirmation of prophetic dreams (for details, check out the article Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God). Lest people improperly discount dreams and more end time prophecies, they were specifically prophesied for these end times (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! In addition various fulfilled predictions and prayers (see Church of God Leaders on Prophets), at least seven associated with the Continuing Church of God have had prophetic dreams which were later confirmed (see Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God).

The Continuing Church of God is seemingly the only xWCOG-related organization with so many of the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18.

Would not that be expected of the most faithful remnant of the Philadelphian era in the last days?

For more on Acts 2:17-18, check out the article: Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18?

Notice also something that the old Radio Church of God published:

One of the outstanding fruits of this end-time work is that it has been increasing approximately 30 percent a year in almost every phase of operation. The church of Philadelphia is growing in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, it is also growing in size and in influence. Are you growing 30 percent a year?

God has given each one of us an "open door" to do His end-time Work. If we are not doing that work, we are not a part of the Philadelphia Church. (Neff L. Are YOU a Philadelphia Christian? Good News, April-May 1966)

The only COG to have have that type of growth in the 21st century has been the Continuing Church of God.

Jesus said that 'fruits' were how to tell true from false prophets (Matthew 7:15-20). See also Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18?

Jesus taught:

8 ... Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8)

Many Christians really do not have much faith in God's ways.

Sadly, many are 'puffed up' and do not accept that God has used dreams in the 21st century, even though the start of the Philadelphia era was preceded with a dream by a woman, as was the start of the the Continuing Church of God (see also Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God). They are also feel that they are "in need of nothing" (Revelation 3:17)--like an end time prophet (see also How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God)--but do not realize the truth about their spiritual state (see also The Laodicean Church Era).

After leaving LCG, here is something that was published in The Journal: News of the Churches of God: in 2013:

Gaylyn Bonjour, anointed Dr. Thiel for a minor health concern.

But something unusual happened during the anointing procedure. Unexpectedly to the anointee, the anointer prayed that Dr. Thiel would “be granted a double portion of God’s Spirit.”

That was significant in Dr. Thiel’s mind because, he said, Mr. Bonjour also specifically spoke to him of the significance of the passing of the mantle from Elijah to Elisha. Was God inspiring Mr. Bonjour to divinely set Dr. Thiel apart as a prophet? ...

THE JOURNAL asked Dr. Thiel if he believes only one church group at a time is qualified to wear the mantle of authority from God in the Christian age.

(Some Church of God groups and their members interpret the seven congregations of Revelation 2-3 as prophesied eras of true Christianity that have stretched down through the last 2,000 years or so.)

“If you accept hierarchical governance the way it’s discussed in 1 Corinthians 12:28 and Ephesians,” Dr. Thiel said, “the mantle, if you will, would reside with the highest ecclesiastical authority.

“And, since prophets are above evangelists, etc., then that would say that, unless a different type of prophet rose up or someone who was truly an apostle rose up, then the mantle would be with the highest non-self-appointed legitimate Church of God leader.”

Who’s on second?

He explained that, in line with Ephesians 4:11, prophets come in second in the hierarchy, after apostles and just above evangelists.

Dr. Thiel believes the Philadelphia mantle fell in the 1920s {error-Dr. Thiel believes and stated '1930s'} onto the shoulders of Worldwide Church of God founder Herbert Armstrong, who died in 1986.

But who wore it before Mr. Armstrong?

Dr. Thiel explained that he had researched the matter and discussed it on multiple occasions with former Denver Church of God (Seventh Day) president Robert Coulter.

“There is a possibility that [CG7 elder] A.N. Dugger had it,” Dr. Thiel said, “and he claimed to have apostolic succession, by the way.” Whoever possessed the mantle, “I believe that somewhere within the old CG7 [in which Mr. Armstrong served as an elder in the 1930s] there was somebody who was the [anointed] leader.”

So Dr. Thiel is saying the mantle goes with a person, not with a church organization, just like in the days of Elijah and Elisha. So do you mean, Dr. Thiel, that you think it’s possible that you have the mantle or are receiving the mantle?

“Yes,” Dr. Thiel replied. ...

Further, he said, “I didn’t ask any- one to lay hands upon me so I would be anointed with a double portion of God’s Spirit. It just happened.

“We always tell people they’re supposed to trust God and not man. Yet we have people out there who think one could not possibly be a prophet, let’s say, unless a particular corporation agrees.

“Yet this overlooks Jesus’ absolute clear words on this in Matthew 10 verse 41, which if you don’t mind I’ll read:

“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.

“If Jesus is saying you’re supposed to rely on some man’s interpretation of something else, etc., perhaps He would have said that.

“But that’s not what the Jesus of the Bible said.”...

“I believe I was forced out {of LGC}, that God allowed this to happen, because the mantle was no longer {to organizationally be} there.”

Some have questioned whether or not Dr. Meredith could have ever held the mantle, because of his character issues. Well, he may have. Like A.N. Dugger, if Dr. Meredith had the mantle he lost it. And he would have lost it no later than December 2011.

Another possibility is that the late evangelist Dibar Apartian had it. Dibar Apartian was originally not certain if he should follow Dr. Meredith into the old Global Church of God, but finally did. Over the years, Dibar Apartian kept telling me to get Dr. Meredith and the other LCG evangelists to correct their mistakes. In 2009, he also told me that he suspected that I "was the one," meaning the one to lead the work in the endand that came from Dibar Apartian, not me--he provided further confirmation of that in 2010. Dibar Apartian also had major problems with LCG and started to be more vocal about them before his death in 2010. His urging of me to do what I did, could have been the transferring of the mantle, but I am not certain.

What I am certain of, is presuming there is such a thing as the ecclesiastical mantle of authority on earth, that no other leader in any other Church of God I am aware can possibly have it. This is based on their actions, doctrines, and priorities. Plus a COG minister told me what he had done could not be undone and was reminiscient of the passing of the mantle--in this case to me personally.

I used to tell people close to me that I was NOT in LCG because it was perfect, but that the other COGs I knew of (and I had researched the teachings of many of them) could not hold the Philadelphian mantle.

The mantle of the Philadelphian succession continues today in the Continuing Church of God.

Now what about the 'baton' vs. the mantle?

The old Worldwide Church of God taught that the baton passed from church era to church era. But when it taught this, it never directly taught that the mantle would pass to Laodicea. Much truth passed to Laodicea, but not the ecclesiastical mantle. Consider the following:

14 But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15 So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. 16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12:14-17)

The woman is the Philadelphian portion of the Church--as that is the portion promised protection by Jesus. The non-Philadelphians (vs. 17) are considered offspring--not truly successors. The mantle stays with a Philadelphian.

Getting back to the baton and mantle, Joseph Tkach wrote the following:

God used Elijah to witness to Israel that they ought to reject false Baal worship (I Kings 18). Likewise, Mr. Armstrong made people aware of the true God.

But Elijah had a successor, as Mr. Armstrong did. His name was Elisha. Elijah put his mantle, symbolizing his office and authority, on Elisha (I Kings 19:19). Mr. Armstrong trained Mr. Tkach in the use of power and designated him to positions of responsibility in God's Work.

II Kings 2:9 states that Elisha wanted a double portion of the Holy Spirit that had worked in Elijah. Why? So he could be like Elijah and do the work of Elijah. Elisha received the power of God and went on to perform a greater work (verses 13-14). God transferred the power and blessing of the office to Elisha. (Tkach J. Passing the Baton. Good News, May 1986)

So, Joseph Tkach, Sr. did claim that the baton and mantle passed when he became the leader of WCG. The baton did pass then from Philadelphia to Laodicea being prominent then. However, Joseph Tkach did not have the proper mantle of leadership himself. From around Herbert Armstrong's death on January 16, 1986 until December 28, 2012, the church entered into a transition phase that lasted until it was time for the beginning of the final phase of the work.

A reason that the mantle of top ecclesiastical authority did NOT pass to Laodicea is that the Bible teaches that the Laodiceans are the lukewarm (Revelation 3:14-18) offspring of Philadelphia. They do a work, but it is not pleasing to Jesus (Revelation 3:14-16). The Laodiceans are among "the rest of her offspring" who will be subject to the Great Tribulation (Revelation 12:17). The Laodicean groups hold only Laodicean ecclesiastical authority, not the top mantle.

Differences from Other COG Organizations

Here is something that Herbert Armstrong wrote in 1985:

In these last days, according to biblical prophecy, knowledge, spiritual as well as material, was to be increased. The true Church of God was to be set back on the track, restoring the glorious knowledge of the faith once delivered to the saints in the days of the original apostles. (Armstrong HW. Mystery of the Ages, 1985)

Would not spiritual and prophetic knowledge include making predictions inspired by God and having a better understanding of prophecy than the non-Philadelphian COGs?

Consider that, in time, the list of differences that the Radio/Worldwide Church of God had with CG7 grew from Herbert Armstrong's original reasons for leaving CG7.

The same happened with a growing list of differences between the Continuing Church of God and the Living Church of God compared to the original list that Bob Thiel put together.

Notice: The following is not all inclusive (there are more that I will likely add later), as far as doctrines, unlike the Charlotte-based Living Church of God, the CCOG believes:

  1. That the word of God and not Protestant commentaries should be the basis for changing doctrine (it remains my view that LCG's “falling away” logic was primarily based upon Protestant interpretations, overlooked a lot of what HWA’s church actually taught about it, and was not consistent with many scriptures in the Bible).  See also The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings.
  2. The Falling Away on 2 Thessalonians 2:3 mainly has to do with those affiliated with the COG (see also The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings).
  3. That the leader of CCOG keep his word, as should the leader of LCG–really (see Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God and Response to a Letter from Dr. Roderick C. Meredith Dated December 28, 2012).
  4. That since a prophet is higher in “spiritual authority” than an evangelist, that those who believe in hierarchical governance would support a prophet of God over an evangelist, irrespective of how long he has been an evangelist (see also The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government and How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God).
  5. That faith is not the first step towards salvation, but that God calls and send out His messengers to teach the word of God (Romans 10:14-17), and then comes faith (the Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs of LCG differs; see also proposed changes to LCG’s Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs).
  6. That it is inappropriate to suggest that those that do not agree to an unscriptural doctrinal change have somehow been led by or blinded by Satan (this is related to statements in two sermons by Dr. Douglas Winnail; see also The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings).
  7. That it is not necessary to rebuild a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem before Jesus returns (both a TW telecast and one or more LCG sermons have stated a view that disagrees with that; see also Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required?) and that we should not insist that the "Bible clearly states" that the holy place of Matthew 24:15 is the area commonly called "the Temple Mount" (see Church of God on Jerusalem's Western Hill).
  8. That literature corrections and/or retractions should be made when known. The work of God MUST be done in truth (Psalm 33:4).
  9. That the COG must be bolder in certain areas if it wants to fulfill Matthew 24:14 (see also The Final Phase of the Work).
  10. Matthew 18:15-17, about going to your brother to try to resolve a matter before going public with it, applies to leaders and members.
  11. The 'meaning of life' is not just to be in the God family, but to give love in a unique way (see What is the Meaning of Life?).
  12. That institutional idolatry is still wrong and that proper church governance does not include being loyal to a church or leader’s teachings which contradict scripture (see also The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government).
  13. That it is wrong to knowingly send out tens of thousands of booklets with admitted and known errors for several years (tens of thousands of the GCA booklet have gone out, despite LCG being told that they contain known errors years ago and that they perpetuate certain Catholic myths (consider also Psalm 101:7); on 10/18/12 I was informed that over 20,000 incorrect booklets remained and were expected to be sent out; see also October 2012 Emails Related to GCA Booklet).
  14. That it is wrong to continue to have one or more known errors/contradictions in an Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs, but still keep it unchanged for years after learning what they are (one is a seeming contradiction within the Statement, and the others are covered in points 4 and 18, though point four I had not brought that up before, but wanted to when I first noticed it). (See also December 2011 Proposed changes to LCG’s Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs.)
  15. That Philadelphians should expect persecution (Daniel 11:28-35; Revelation 12:13-14; see also Persecutions by Church and State) and not excessively pull-back proclamation to avoid it (I was specifically told that some, who I will not mention now by name, were afraid I, Bob Thiel, could trigger end time persecution, despite the fact that they in LCG also specifically realize that the Philadelphians will be persecuted).
  16. That improving literature and doctrinal errors will greatly assist in the final phase of the work. (Briefly, what this refers to is when the COG publicly identifies the King of the North and media coverage gets generated, the Catholic scholars will tear through COG literature and find many, many simple to fix errors that will hurt the COG’s credibility. LCG Evangelists agreed to fix many of them with me over the years, but often have yet not done so. My being distant from LCG assists as I will not have to apologize for why a group that supposedly has enough of the “love of the truth” kept publishing known and serious errors. And several of those errors perpetuate Catholic myths. This could greatly damage the credibility of God’s work.)
  17. It has a better grasp of The Final Phase of the Work. (Briefly, basically this begins no later than when the King of the North is identified and continues until Jesus returns–it has multiple parts including fulfilling Matthew 24:14–which may happen because of related media attention, persecution, the angels’ messages of Revelation, the two witnesses, and supporting those witnesses. If John Ogwyn was correct about the “short work” on Romans 9:28, this could possibly, temporarily swell the ranks of the COG prior to the persecution.)
  18. Jesus is present at Passover (Matthew 18:20; 26:26-27; John 6:51,53; 1 Corinthians 11:24-25; LCG’s Passover DVD for 2012 stated that Jesus was not present).
  19. People should be more loyal to the word of God and leaders that God appoints than a corporation (see also The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government).
  20. Ignatius’ writings did not do away with the Sabbath (see Another Look at the Didache, Ignatius, and the Sabbath) as that is a mistranslation (the God’s Church Through the Ages’ booklet has this and many other errors as does the book LCG printed and gave to all in the Fall of 2014 by Ivor Fletcher).
  21. The Continuing Church of God has laying on of hands succession (see Laying on of Hands) (LCG has shied away from teaching "succession," though when I was in LCG their leaders seemed to agree with my basic position on it, which remains--though LCG had not actually taught in its publications, when I checked).
  22. Various divorce and remarriage (D&R) matters. Though since I have only been married once (we have been married for 37 plus years, and are not planning on divorcing), this was not a major personal item, but has long been a spiritual concern as LCG seemed to allow remarriage where the Bible did not.
  23. That adultery, does not mean multiple adultery, as far as Jesus’ words about divorce go (Dr. Meredith has said in sermons that adultery here means multiple violations. That is not how I read this and I called Charlotte about it in 2012, with no satisfactory resolution.)
  24. Marriages performed by the ministry are not to include believers to unbelievers per 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (unless certain other biblically-sanctioned reasons are present; e.g. Deuteronomy 22:28). See also the 2015 post, NBC: ‘Exposed in Ashley Madison Hack? Here’s What to Do Now’.
  25. That the Great Tribulation, the time of Jacob’s troubles, does not start at Daniel 11:40 when the King of the South pushes at the King of the North–it starts the prior verse (this is something that still needs to be corrected in the LCG Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs; this is something many have known about for years and had promised to address; see also When Will the Great Tribulation Begin?).
  26. That the "strongest fortresses" in Daniel 11:39 are a reference to the USA (see also USA in Prophecy: The Strongest Fortresses). Although the evangelists at LCG all agreed I was correct about this, when I checked LCG's two major websites in 2017, there was no place where LCG teaches this--this is an improper and dangerous error of omission for LCG.
  27. That the King of the North attacks the USA and its Anglo-Saxon allies (Daniel 11:39) before he attacks the King of the South (Daniel 11:40; LCG teaches both versions of this and leans towards the wrong one; LCG’s Fourteen Signs booklet, for one example, teaches that Daniel 11:31 comes AFTER Daniel 11:40-43 and that the USA and Anglo-Saxon nations are destroyed afterwards–this means LCG WILL NOT KNOW WHEN THE GREAT TRIBULATION WILL BEGIN AND THOSE THAT PREFER TO SUPPORT LCG WILL NOT FLEE TO BE PROTECTED WHEN IT IS TIME).
  28. That Daniel 11:31 is fulfilled prior to Daniel 11:40-43 (LCG’s Fourteen Signs booklet teaches the opposite order).
  29. That since the ten kings have not yet received their kingdoms, that the ten kings mentioned in Revelation 17:12-13 are not limited to 10-11 currently existing nations (LCG sometimes takes a different view, which will mean that they will not realize when the Beast power is at the end stage of its rising up, see also LCG and PCG insisting on 10 or 11 ‘nations’ for the Beast? What does the Bible teach?).
  30. Do not believe that any in the ministry should promote the sport of American tackle football (the Bible, in Romans 13:9-10 clearly teaches “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law”). HWA also specifically warned against this violent sport (see Is American Football Evil?). There are also other “love” issue matters.
  31. We do not believe that we should encourage the pagan sun-god (Shamash 888 B.C.) worship practice (cf. Deuteronomy 12:29-32) of praying with clasped hands (see our booklet Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach?), whereas LCG has published photos promoting this.
  32. While the Bible seemingly allows for eating out while traveling (Matthew 12:1-8) and certain emergencies (Luke 6:3-5), that it does not condone regular eating out in restaurants on the Sabbath for those who are simply at their homes (cf. Nehemiah 10:30-31; watch also The Christian Sabbath and How and Why to Keep It).
  33. That the “mark of the Beast” includes idolatry and likely a physical object, and is not limited to Sunday worship (see Mark of the Beast and The Mark of Antichrist).
  34. That the “word of the law” needs to be preached as part of the Feast of Tabernacles every seven years (Deuteronomy 31:10-13; cf. Nehemiah 6:73;7:1-3,8,13-17; Joshua 8:34; see also The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time to Learn the Law). This was conveyed to those giving sermons at the CCOG Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2013.
  35. That Habakkuk 2 clearly is referring to these end times and thus has prophetic applicability to the Anglo-descended nations (LCG has ministers and at least one evangelist who believe Habakkuk 2 was fulfilled in its entirety and does not have end time applications, even though it clearly does–see also Habakkuk: His message is for us now).
  36. Some of the prophecies in the Bible (e.g. Isaiah 10:5-11) seem to use the term ‘Samaria’ to refer to the modern United States of America (see also Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel and Spiritual Samaritans: Old and New). Although one LCG leader/minister was open to this when told in 2012, LCG does not seem to formally teach this.
  37. France will support the Beast power (LCG is no longer certain; see Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations? And this disagrees with the late Dibar Apartian’s position as shown in The ‘Lost Tribe’ of Reuben: France in Prophecy?).
  38. That Matthew 28:19 is part of the Bible and needs to be part of the baptismal ceremony (see also Is Matthew 28:19 in the Bible?). Evangelist Richard Ames personally expressed his doubts to me once about whether Matthew 28:19 was scripture or not–he, at that time at least, was not convinced that it was. Although the Bible teaches, “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5), in late June 2013 I was told by someone else who inquired that LCG has two different baptisms because some do not believe that Matthew 28:19 applies. Although it ends with an option for an appropriate ceremony, LCG’s L049 letter specifically states, “Is Matthew 28:19 the only commanded formula that must be used in a baptism ceremony? Again, we say no, it is not, based on the actual procedures the early church used in baptizing,” which seems to substantiate what I was told about more than one baptismal option.
  39. That the man of sin in 2 Thessalonians 2 is the first beast, the final King of the North, and not the second beast, the false prophet (see also Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2?; or, in English, see the You Tube video Who is the Man of Sin?). In his co-worker letter dated, April 17, 2013, Dr. Meredith indicated that not agreeing with his improper assertion about this individual means that one does not understand biblical prophecy–since Dr. Meredith is not correct on this, but CCOG is, those in his church should realize that LCG has major problems in understanding various parts of prophecy. This will not bode well for any who will believe LCG over CCOG in the future.
  40. It is wrong to tell members that “the end” is closer than the leadership believes (LCG did this repeatedly as I tended to find out when I checked with its top leadership when I attended with LCG).
  41. That 1 John 3:9 is referring to those born of God not sinning, not those begotten of God not being in a 'state of sin' as Dr. Meredith has stated (see also Perfection? Does God have faith in humans?).
  42. That it is not necessary that a red heifer be sacrificed as part of the final end time sequence (LCG has published that “those who are watching end-time prophetic events know that the slaughter of the red heifer is one of the first major milestones in this final sequence of end-time events”; see The Red Heifer, Jewish Beliefs, and the End of the World).
  43. That God is restoring “all things” (Matthew 17:11; Jude 3). While both CCOG and LCG believe that there has to be some type of an end-time Elijah, LCG has not specifically taught that it has been restoring what needs to be restored (the church history book it distributed at the Feast of Tabernacles in 2014 perpetuated Catholic and other myths and DID NOT restore ‘apostolic Christianity.’ Furthermore its Dr. Winnail has also taught that the final Elijah could be the church and not a person. Yet CCOG does teach that there is a final person coming in the spirit and power of Elijah, (see Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God and The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time to Learn the Law), that it is in the process of restoring all things, and the final Elijah will come from it (see the sermon Elijah, Herbert W. Armstrong, and CCOG).
  44. That Jesus is NOT the one who will “will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6) as LCG taught in 2015, but that this is part of the work of the final Elijah (Malachi 4:5-6; details on LCG’s and CCOG’s positions are in the article The Elijah Heresies).
  45. The EU will NOT collapse like the old Roman Empire as LCG asserted in December 2015 as the LCG view is contrary to prophetic scriptures (some details on LCG’s and CCOG’s positions are in the article Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations?).
  46. WWIII is not related to the battles between Europe and Eurasia as LCG asserted in its Tomorrow's World telecast Four Prophecies for Germany in March 2017, but has to do with the destruction and takeover of the USA and its Anglo-Saxon allies by a European-led force who will then conquer the Middle East (see also World War III: Steps in Progress).
  47. Daniel 11:42-43 does not show Ethiopia is part of the King of the South as LCG asserted in its TW News & Prophecy ezine of August 24, 2018. While some from Ethiopia could be involved, the Hebrew word in that passage means 'Cushites.' For details, check out the article Is the Future King of the South Rising Up?
  48. The third resurrection is NOT JUST for the incorrigibly wicked (see What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrections? and/or Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation).
  49. Romans 11:25 will be fulfilled before Jesus returns (see What About Romans 11:25 and the Full Number of the Gentiles?).
  50. The prince (who will become the King of the North) confirms the covenant for seven-years--LCG once taught that, but now its Council of Elders is no longer sure (for details, see Weston G. Why a Council of Elders. Living Church News, July-August 2019).

Anyway, while there are others, the above gives some reasons why those who wish to truly be part of the Philadelphia remnant would want to consider supporting the Continuing Church of God.

Unless LCG changes on several of the above points, it will not possibly know when the Great Tribulation will happen until it is too late.

Furthermore, notice a list of prophetic differences between the Continuing Church of God and the non-Philadelphian COGs::

  1. Many COG groups (ICG, CGI, UCG, COGaIC, CG7CGG, CEM, etc.) do not officially teach and/or do not believe in the idea of Church eras (The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3), though they sometimes teach about the churches of Revelation. They tend to take more of a preterist (past) view of those churches, despite the fact that many statements made to them had to have future prophetic ramifications (e.g. Revelation 1:19; 3:3; 3:10). Because of that they do not teach certain prophetic aspects of this, most do not see their own problems and will have to go through the Great Tribulation.
  2. Many COG groups do not believe that the Gospel of the Kingdom still needs to be preached to the world as a witness per Matthew 24:14 (e.g. GCW, PCG), do not really make that a high priority (e.g. COGWA, CGG), or do so in less than truly loving the truth (cf. Jeremiah 48:10; see Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God), hence do not have the real Philadelphian work. As only the Philadelphians are promised to be protected from the hour of trial that will come on the whole world, they will not understand when Matthew 24:14 is fulfilled or when to flee per Matthew 24:15. Hence they do not have or lead the Philadelphian work. Only the Philadelphians are promised to be protected from the hour of trial that will come on the whole world (see also There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra ). See also Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work?
  3. At least three groups misunderstand the Gospel and COG doctrines so much (PCG, CGPfK, and RCG) that I question if their top leaders are actually converted members of the COG. Two of those leaders have had major predictions be proven false (CGPFK and RCG).
  4. Many, if not most, COG groups do not realize that the Great Tribulation begins with the King of the North invading the USA. UK, and/or their Anglo-Saxon descended allies (Daniel 11:39; see Who is the King of the North?; see also USA in Prophecy: The Strongest Fortresses).
  5. Many COG groups misunderstand the identity of the King of the South (Daniel 11:40-43), and some have the wrong prophetic sequence regarding the King of the South (see PCG and LCG do not understand the end-time King of the South sequence–do you?). This is not the order that Daniel 11 teaches (see Who is the King of the North?). This view overlooks the fact that since the Great Tribulation is the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7), that it begins with the USA and its Anglo-Saxon allies like the United Kingdom getting invaded (cf. Daniel 11:39).  Some of the groups cling to this sequential error, because it was once held by the late Herbert W. Armstrong, who changed his view by 1979 (Armstrong, Herbert W. The Time We Are In, Now. Pastor General’s Report-Vol 1, No. 15, November 20, 1979).  Since the King of the North will eliminate those of the strongest fortresses (the USA, Canada, etc.) in Daniel 11:39, prior to invading the King of the South in Daniel 11:40, those who hold to this view will not know when the Great Tribulation will begin until after it has started.
  6. Some (CEG, GCG-UK) teach that there is no biblically-required King of the South, while at least one group is unsure (CGF-NW)–but this is an error (see also Is the Future King of the South Rising Up?). This error contributes to other prophetic errors that those groups have.
  7. Some have insisted that the final King of the South will be from the nation of Ethiopia. This is partially based upon a mistranslation in the KJV version of the Bible as well as a position that the late Herbert Armstrong once held. However, he changed his position in the 1960s and 1970s to an Arabic-Muslim confederation. Those who insist that the final King of the South must be Ethiopia will not possibly realize that the Great Tribulation will begin until it is too late (RCG once held that position, but later changed it; in 2018 LCG has pushed involvement, but not specifically kingship for Ethiopia).
  8. Several COG groups (like CGG, RCG, PCG, COGWA) clearly misunderstand Daniel 9:27, the second half of which ties in with Daniel 11:31 and Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:15. Those who misunderstand it will not have a proper pre-warning of what is happening nor likely know when the Great Tribulation will begin. (see also The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27).
  9. Various COG groups (UCG, COGWA, COGaIC, RCG, and CGOM, come to immediate mind, but they are not the only ones) have so many areas of undefined prophecy that they will not know what certain events will mean.  And groups who define matters wrongly will have problems that way as well (PCG and LCG come to immediate mind, but so do nearly all other COG claimed groups).
  10. A couple of groups, such as  Church of God-Preparing for the Kingdom of God and Triumph Prophetic Ministries, have been repeatedly proven wrong about their dates for the start of the Great Tribulation and the return of Jesus Christ.  Those who rely on the leaders of those groups really do not understand biblical prophecy.
  11. Certain groups teach improper interpretations of the 1335, 1290, and 1260 days of Daniel 12 (CGPFK is one) or have other problems with that (most other COG groups) that they will not understand when the Great Tribulation will start. Herbert Armstrong changed his view on this by 1979 and many never understood the change.
  12. Most COG groups fail to understand Habakkuk 2:2-8 and hence are not properly getting the warning out to the USA and UK (see Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel). PCG totally misses it, and LCG, while it once would teach it, has backed off because of what appears to be internal politics. The rising ‘time bomb’ of USA debt is something that needs to be pointed out and Habakkuk 2:2-8 points out the biblical threat that this poses. It should be proclaimed and we in CCOG are doing it. Many do not realize that Habakkuk 2:2-8 is related to fleeing and the start of the Great Tribulation, that the time will come when those Philadelphians who understand it in its proper timeframe will flee (see also There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra), and is one of the reasons for the attack against the indebted descendants of the tribes of Joseph.
  13. At least one group (LCG) is no longer certain that France or certain other Israelitish nations will support the Beast power (see Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations?). This differs from the position specifically taught by the late Dibar Apartian (see The ‘Lost Tribe’ of Reuben: France in Prophecy?) as well as what the Bible teaches (see Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations?). Those who misunderstand this are likely to not possibly realize when the final Beast power has formed.
  14. Many COG groups have various ‘Elijah heresies’ (CGI-derived groups and RCG come to mind). Because of this, they will not be able to recognize the final Elijah.
  15. Some think that either there is no Elijah to come (ICG) or that it is the church and not an individual (cf. LCG), which goes against Jesus’ teachings on the subject in Mark 9:12-13 (for more details, see The Elijah Heresies).
  16. Many groups do not understand the differing persecutions (and other matters) to come in Daniel 7:25, 11:30-39, Matthew 24:9-22, and Revelation 12:14-17, hence when the prophesied wave of persecution initially hits the Philadelphians primarily (and not them), they will not see this persecution as evidence that the Great Tribulation is about to begin. The old Radio Church of God specifically applied the persecuting scriptures of Daniel 11:32-35 to the end time Philadelphian church (see also Persecutions by Church and State).
  17. Most groups that came out of groups once led by the late Garner Ted Armstrong (ICG, CGI, CEM, etc.) do not seem to teach that there is a physical place of safety (despite what Revelation 12:14-16 teaches), hence they will not be inclined to flee towards one just prior to the start of the Great Tribulation (see also There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra).
  18. Most ‘independents’ do not believe that they need to ‘gather together’ prior to the time to flee despite what Zephaniah 2:1-3 teaches, hence it is not likely they will be inclined to flee together when a group they are not part of does just prior to the start of the Great Tribulation (cf. Revelation 12:14-17; see also There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra).
  19. At least one group (PCG) misunderstands the final Prince of Rosh. Those who insist on a pre-return of Jesus Christ for the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38 will be disappointed as that is in scriptural error.
  20. At least one COG group (CG7) basically teaches that most of the events of Revelation have already taken place and no one needs to worry about coming persecution. Jesus warned those of Sardis to be careful about losing the doctrinal understandings they had (Revelation 3:1-6), and this loss of prophetic knowledge proves that those in Sardis will not know when the Great Tribulation will begin.
  21. At least one COG group (LCG) erroneously believes that the abomination of desolation of Daniel 11:31 occurs after the King of the North invades the King of the South (Daniel 11:40-43; see PCG and LCG do not understand the end-time King of the South sequence–do you?). Since this will not happen that way, those who hold to that position will not understand when the Great Tribulation will begin.
  22. At least one group (RCG) totally misunderstands various prophecies in Haggai and Zechariah and expect a type of reunification that is not prophesied.  Those who rely on this and other misinterpretations will not know when the Great Tribulation will begin.
  23. At least one group (LCG) erroneously teaches that the ‘Falling Away’ warned about in 2 Thessalonians 2 has mainly to do with the world and Protestants and not the Church of God (see The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings). This improper emphasis seems to be leading to a falling away of certain prophetic understandings for those who hold to it.
  24. Some groups teach (UCG, COGWA, LCG, CEG) that the man of sin who sits in the temple of God (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4) is the Antichrist/false prophet, not the Beast of the Sea. Yet, it is this Beast of the Sea, the final King of the North (Daniel 11:35-36; see also Who is the Man of Sin?). So, when this happens, those who hold to the wrong position will not understand its prophetic ramifications. The Beast identity of the ‘son of perdition’ (cf. Revelation 17:7-11) is important to understand in the end times.
  25. At least two groups teach that the ‘man of sin’ is (or could be) Joseph Tkach, Jr. (PCG, COG-FF). This absurd position also partially leads to many other misunderstandings.
  26. At least one group (RCG) has declared Satan will enter a COG leader to make him the man of sin (see Who is the Man of Sin?).
  27. A few teach that a Jewish temple in Jerusalem must be rebuilt before Jesus returns (CBCG, RCG, COGFF, CEG, and TPM teach this, as do some in LCG). While this is remotely possible it is not required (the “temple of God” in the New Testament has to do with a Christian, not a modern Jewish, location; see Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required?). Since this will not happen as a few sometimes teach, those who hold to that position will not understand when the Great Tribulation will begin.
  28. At least two groups (PCG and LCG) teach that the Beast power will consist of 10 or 11 current nations in the European Union (see Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations?). The European Union has 28 nation members with several others hoping to join it. And while it may lose nations, the reality is that if the Beast power rises up when there are more than 11 nations in it, those who hold to that position will not understand when the Great Tribulation will begin. Under Herbert Armstrong, the old WCG taught in at least a dozen documents (Plain Truth, Good News, Tomorrow’s World, booklets, Co-worker letter, Bible Correspondence Course) that this passage referred to 10 nations or GROUPS OF NATIONS. Presuming it will be another number of nations, those who insist on 10 or 11 will not realize when the Great Tribulation will begin.
  29. Some groups (CBCG and CGG) teach that the ten kings are to be in charge of ten regions around the world as opposed to being a primarily European power (though CBCG acknowledges that 10 European regions are possible). Overlooking what will happen in Europe could mean that such a group would not understand when the Great Tribulation would begin.
  30. None of the Laodicean or Sardis COGs seem to teach that the "strongest fortresses" in Daniel 11:39 refers to the USA--but it does (see also USA in Prophecy: The Strongest Fortresses). Although the evangelists at LCG all agreed I was correct about this, when I checked LCG's two major websites in 2017, there was no place where LCG teaches this--this is an improper and dangerous error of omission for LCG--and for the other claimed COGs.
  31. At least two groups seem to teach that the first verse in the Daniel 11 sequence relating to the beginning of the Great Tribulation is Daniel 11:40 (LCG does this in its Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs, whereas PCG does it elsewhere). Instead they should teach that it begins with Daniel 11:39 (see also USA in Prophecy: The Strongest Fortresses), which is shortly after Daniel 11:31, which is also consistent with the start of the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7; see also Who is the King of the North?). Those who hold to the Daniel 11:40 position will not understand when the Great Tribulation will begin.
  32. The leader of at least one group (GOI, James Malm) has claimed that the Great Tribulation could begin within a year for the last 6 or so years. Since it does not recognize why this is in error, it will not truly know when the Great Tribulation will begin (but if it guesses each year, it may accidentally get it right, but will not know enough how to handle it).
  33. Some independents and some groups (PCG comes to mind) insist that the late Herbert W. Armstrong was the final ‘Elijah to come’ despite the fact that he has been dead since 1986, and that death disqualifies him according to his writing about that (Mystery of the Ages. 1985, p. 349; see also The Elijah Heresies).
  34. Leaders of at least two groups (CGPFK and RCG), who once insisted publicly that Herbert Armstrong must be the final Elijah, now falsely claim that they hold that role.
  35. Some groups either do not believe there is an Elijah to come (CGI comes to mind) or do not believe he needs to be a person (LCG comes to mind).
  36. At least one group has confused the final Elijah with the return of Jesus (LCG comes to mind).
  37. At least one group has publicly claimed that God has no prophets today and will not have any until the two witnesses are empowered (LCG comes to mind). This downplays how God works (cf. Ephesians 2:20) and that the Bible teaches, "Surely the Lord God does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7) (see also How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God).
  38. At least one group (CGG) teaches that the Beast power is not European.  Since the Beast power will arise in Europe, those who do not understand this will not realize when the Great Tribulation is about to begin (see also Europa, the Beast, and the Book of Revelation).
  39. At least one group (LCG) teaches that the European Union will collapse like the old Roman Empire. But the lessons of history and the Bible contradict that (details are in the article Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations?).
  40. At least two groups (BICOG and TPM) have taught that a US president is the King of the North or could be the Antichrist.
  41. Nearly all COG groups and independants do not accept that God has been fulfilling prophecies of Acts 2:17-18 (see also Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18?).

Again, if many do not change on several of them, they will not know when the Great Tribulation will start until it is too late.

Some will come up with their preferred rational as why not to agree with the position of the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) on these matters. Yet not only are they biblical, on most of those points, the old WCG taught what I believe that the Bible teaches on them (on the few that it did not, one is consistent with a November 1979 HWA writing and on the others, a former adviser to HWA told me that HWA would have agreed with me on those as well, as one he had not investigated and some others were not issues when he was alive--and, of course, the Bible, and not HWA's opinion, is the standard).

It should be noted that leaders in the Living Church of God and/or the United Church of God confirmed to me personally that I was biblically correct on all the above points, despite the fact that their respective churches hold to several of the errors pointed out above. Those who rely too much on a compromised ministry (Ezekiel 34:7-10) to teach them prophecy that is not truly in accordance with scripture need to realize that according to Jesus' words in Revelation 2 & 3 and Luke 21, only relatively few Christians will be protected from the hour of trial that will come upon the whole world.

There are also more prophetic differences that other COG groups have from the Bible. The reality is that without the right emphasis on the final phase of the work, holding the Bible in sufficiently high regard, practicing Philadelphian love, and ignoring one anointed like Elisha, the COG groups that ignore prophetic warnings are doing so to their peril.

Laodiceans and others who rely on non-Philadelphian understandings of prophecy will fail to "gather together before the decree is issued" (Zephaniah 2:1; watch also Zephaniah's 'Gather Together' Prophecy), and hence have to go through the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21-22), as they will not be protected (Zephaniah 2:1-3, Revelation 12:17; see also There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Near Petra).

An Important Proof to Consider

The Continuing Church of God is the organization that best represents the remnant of the Philadelphian era of the Church of God living until the time of the end.

The Apostle Peter preached a sermon on the Day of Pentecost in c. 31 A.D. where he quoted the prophet Joel.

Is that relevant today?

Does any Church of God have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18?

Should any?

The late Pastor General of the old Worldwide Church of God, Herbert W. Armstrong, basically said so in a 1981 sermon:

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)

Herbert W. Armstrong was correct about the time coming when God would pour out His Spirit as well the duality. There was a duality to what Peter preached in Acts 2–and that duality is for our current time!

On that Day of Pentecost, here is some of what the Apostle Peter taught:

14 … “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 2:14b-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?).

Therefore, dreams and prophesy were expected for our day!

While Herbert W. Armstrong alive, the Personal Correspondence Department in the old WCG sent out a letter on dreams and stated the Bible showed that future dreams from God to His people were expected. It then had a date change added to it and here is a quote from that one:

Thank you for your question concerning visions or dreams. The Bible reveals that in times past servants of God were given visions and dreams for specific reasons and/or to convey special messages. …God has used this means of communication in the past and will do so again (Acts 2:17; Joel 2:28) (L052 Worldwide Church of God, 1989)

As the WCG did not publicly acknowledge any such dreams after that letter was sent, the interpretation must be that God would later use dreams (it should be mentioned that the original date of L052 was prior to 1986–hence it was not a change by the Tkach Administration).

Has this happened in the 21st century?

Yes.

Yet, despite what the Acts 2:17-18 supports, most Church of God groups (and scattered ‘independents’) 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.

Yes, most dreams are not from God (Deuteronomy 18:22), but consider that confirmed dreams related to the Christian church would be in a different (and biblically prophesied) category (Matthew 10:41; Acts 2:17-18). Some seemingly despise prophecies (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:20) and appear indignant/dismissive of the very idea that God would use dreams or prophets. Many do not understand what the Bible or what certain leaders have taught about prophets (for some details, see Church of God Leaders on Prophets). Part of the reason for this is pride, but also that the 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 (Bob Thiel) 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.

While some others outside of CCOG could have dreams from God, if any of the seven had dreams from God (and their confirmations suggest that several must be), then they should be considered as God's approval of Him placing Bob Thiel to be in a prophetic role. And since no other COG has God's confirmation of a prophetic leader like this, this is something to pay attention to.

In addition, the correct predictions of Bob Thiel should also demonstrate his prophetic role (see also Church of God Leaders on Prophets).

The apostles were confirmed by signs that followed them (Mark 16:20) and there have been signs that have confirmed the Continuing Church of God.

The start of the Philadelphia era was preceded by a dream from a woman. The start of the CCOG was preceded by a dream from a woman. Herbert W. Armstrong was only able to work to fulfill the first part of Loma's dream. Bob Thiel is working on fulfilling the second part of Loma's dream in accordance with Matthew 24:14, etc. (see Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God and The Final Phase of the Work).

Herbert W. Armstrong believed he had to leave CG7 for problems of doctrinal integrity. Bob Thiel said that was why he had to leave LCG (see Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God).

Herbert W. Armstrong believed that the Ezekiel warning needed to go out and the CCOG is doing that (see What is the Ezekiel Warning?).

Herbert W. Armstrong believed that more Gentiles needed to be converted and CCOG has been involved in doing that (What About Romans 11:25 and the Full Number of the Gentiles?).

Herbert W. Armstrong believed that Acts 2:17-18 would be fulfilled by Philadelphian Christians in a future time. That has been happening in the CCOG to a degree not found in other COGs (see Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18?).

The Philadelphia mantle was passed to Bob Thiel.

The Continuing Church of God is the organization that best represents the Philadelphia Church of God in the 21st century.

Here is a link to a related sermon: Herbert W. Armstrong and the Philadelphia Mantle.

For more on the Philadelphian portion of the Church of God, check out the article on the: Philadelphia Church of God.

Thiel B. Herbert W. Armstrong, the Philadelphia Church, & the Mantle. COGwriter (c) 2019 https://www.cogwriter.com/herbert-armstrong-philadelphia-era.htm 2019 0914

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