Former Global Church of God board member points to pride as the reason most will not accept a true prophet–but what about Herbert W. Armstrong?

Elijah in the wilderness


Shepherd’s Voice had an article by Norman Edwards (who was a former board member of the old Global Church of God and now runs Nashville Christian) which stated:

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

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

Implementing These Truths

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 13:1-3).

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

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

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

With the Judgment You Judge, You Will Be Judged

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A while back, Norman Edwards also wrote an article Need Prophets More than Prophecy where he went through additional scriptures. Here are some items from that article:

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

1Jo 4:1-2 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,

Note: If there were no true prophets, there would be no need to “test the spirits”—because every prophet would be a “false prophet”. But because there are both true prophets and false prophets, we need to “test the spirits”.

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

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

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

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

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

Here an angel is commanding John (or some end-time fulfillment of him) to prophesy. It does not say what he is to prophesy, but it will be given to the prophets when they need it. …Yes, God might choose to give one of them the gift of prophecy, but since most such groups and their schools do not seek out prophetic gifts, they rarely receive them. Notice these important passages:

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

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

If there was no prophet greater than John the Baptist (Matt 11:9-11) and if the leaders of his day refused to recognize him, what makes us think that the leaders of our day will recognize any true prophets today?

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

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

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

Because of false prophets in a couple of COG-related groups (PCG and CGPfK come to immediate mind, but there are others) and a disbelief in prophets by most of the COG groups, the non-Philadelphian COGs have a lot of severe prophetic misunderstandings.

Remember that the Bible teaches:

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

So in the last days, groups who do not believe there are prophets or those who listen to false prophets will not understand.

One thing that I have noticed is that the Laodiceans, as well as those of the Sardis Church, misunderstand end time prophecy.

As far as prophetic misunderstandings in various claimed COG groups that I have personally denounced, here is an abbreviated list:

  1. Many COG groups (ICG, CGI, UCG, COGaIC, CG7-DCGG, 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 of God 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. The leaders of those groups have had major predictions be proven false (CGPFK, PCG, 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 (like RCG) 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’ (most CGI-derived groups as well as 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, CGI)or that it is the church and perhaps 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. 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).
  17. 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.
  18. At least one group has confused the final Elijah with the return of Jesus (LCG comes to mind).
  19. 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).
  20. 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).
  21. One CG7 group (CG7-S) has the place of safety as the ‘sea of glass’ and before the Bible says Christians will be there.
  22. 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).
  23. 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 (see also Ezekiel 38: For Russia & Iran in Our Day?).
  24. At least one COG group (CG7-D) basically teaches that most of the events of Revelation have already taken place and no one needs to be concerned about coming persecution as none supposedly is coming (see also The Dangerous Rise of Preterists). 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.
  25. 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.
  26. At least one group (RCG) totally misunderstands various prophecies in Haggai and Zechariah and have expected a type of COG reunification that is not prophesied. Those who rely on this and other misinterpretations will not know when the Great Tribulation will begin.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. At least one group (RCG) has improperly declared Satan will enter a COG leader to make him the man of sin (see Who is the Man of Sin?).
  31. 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.
  32. 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 27 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.
  33. 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 (see also Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations?).
  34. 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 the past, 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.
  35. 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.
  36. The leader of at least one former group (GOI, James Malm–died Spring 2020) has claimed that the Great Tribulation could begin within a year for the last dozen or so years. Since he did not recognize why this was in error, any who still accept his logic will not truly know when the Great Tribulation will begin. Of course, if it someone guesses each year or the correct year, some may accidentally get it right, but will not know enough how to handle it.
  37. One group (CGF, a PCG split) claims that the Great Tribulation will begin in 2023–but that is too early (see also When Will the Great Tribulation Begin?).
  38. 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), what is expected for now (cf. Acts 2:17-18), 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). Does anyone think God provided no possible warning related to the coronavirus which impacted the feeling of peace of the world more than almost anything since WWII? Yet, this author did in 2013 and 2014.
  39. 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).
  40. 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?).
  41. One group ( PCG) erroneously teaches that Vladimir Putin is the Prince of Rosh of Ezekiel 38 (details are in the article PCG: Teachings Unique to the Philadelphia Church of God).
  42. One group (CGFF) taught that Hillary Clinton would be President of the United States by now; whereas one (PCG ) strongly asserted that Donald Trump would remain in office and Joe Biden would not assume office.
  43. One group erroneously taught (PCG) that half of the Laodiceans would die before April 30, 2021 (see PCG: Teachings Unique to the Philadelphia Church of God).
  44. At least two groups (CGG and CG7-S) assert that the three angels of Revelation 14 are (or may be) humans, not angels (see also
    Church of God on the Three Angels’ Messages and ‘Babylon‘).
  45. Two groups (PCG and CGFF) have falsely asserted that the restrainer in 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7 was Herbert W. Armstrong. That is wrong (see also What is Restrained and Who is Restraining in 2 Thessalonians 2:7?).
  46. At least two groups (BICOG and TPM) have taught that a US president is the King of the North or could be the Antichrist.
  47. Many groups do not teach much about prophecy (I have received complaints that this is the case for UCG and COGWA, to name just two). How can Christians be “complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and live “by every word of God” (Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:4) if prophecy (which is between 1/5 to 1/3 or so of the word of God) is not taught? Well, you cannot properly do so. This is very lukewarm (cf. Revelation 3:14-19).
  48. Nearly all COG groups and independents 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?). Laodiceans do not accept God’s standards, but prefer their own interpretations on how God works.
  49. Laodicean groups often say the end is near, but do not have a history of explaining when each of the first three seals of Revelation 6 may have been opened, or at least an ante-type of those has been happening. CCOG, however, has (see ‘Authoritarianism Emerges in Response to Threats of Pandemics and Famine’ like after the 4th Horseman of the Apocalypse).
  50. One group has published (LCG), without retraction, that Russia is/may be one of the two legs of Nebuchadnezzar’s vision. That is wrong.
  51. One group has published (LCG) that Ukraine may be the leading nuclear force against Europe. Ukraine, however, has no nuclear weapons, so this makes no sense.

Some will come up with their preferred rationale as why not to agree with the position of the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) on these matters. Yet not only is CCOG’s position biblical, 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 nearly all of 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 independents 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?). Laodiceans do not accept God’s standards, but prefer their own interpretations on how God works.

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

Pride is a bigger problem for Christians than most realize. People, including Christians, have a hard time admitting that they were wrong.

Now, let me add that because Herbert W. Armstrong said there were no prophets in the old Worldwide Church of God when he was alive, many have falsely concluded that there could not be any legitimate prophets in the Church of God beyond New Testament times. But that is wrong.

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

It is significant that after his release John trained Polycarp elder of Smyrna, a city near Ephesus in the province of Asia. … At neighboring Smyrna, Polycarp presided over the Church of God for half a century after John’s death. Polycarp stood up boldly for the truth while many fell away and began having fellowship with the Catholic bishops of Rome. (Armstrong HW. The Church They Couldn’t Destroy. Good News, December 1981)

The letter titled The Martyrdom of Polycarp is basically all about the killing of Polycarp, but also states:

The church of God which sojourns at Smyrna to the Church of God which sojourns in Philomelium and to all the congregations of the Holy and Catholic Church in every place … the elect, of whom this most admirable Polycarp was one, having in our own times been an apostolic and prophetic teacher, and bishop of the Catholic Church which is in Smyrna. (The Smyrnaeans. The Encyclical Epistle of the Church at Smyrna Concerning the Martyrdom of the Holy Polycarp, 0:1, 16.2. In Ante-Nicene Fathers by Roberts and Donaldson, Volume 4, 1885. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), printing 1999, p. 42)

Since the old WCG acknowledged Polycarp and the validity of the The Martyrdom of Polycarp, that church acknowledged he was a prophetic teacher.

Herbert Armstrong taught taught that second century Melito of Sardis was one “of the true Christians observing Passover on the 14th of Nisan, first month of the Sacred Calendar” (Armstrong HW. The Plain Truth About Easter. WCG booklet, 1973). Tertullian affirms, “he was by most Christians considered a prophet,” and Polycrates says of him, “he was in all things governed by the Holy Ghost.”

It is reported that the ‘Nazarenes’ of the fifth century had at least one prophet:

In his Commentary on Isaiah Jerome quotes some fragments from an exegetical work by an unknown Nazoraean author which he did not, however, take directly from one of their writings, but probably from Apollinaris’s commentary on the same prophet. (Skarsaune O, Hvalvik R, editors. Jewish Believers in Jesus: The Early Centuries. © 2007 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., p. 473)

The old Radio/Worldwide Church of God taught that these Nazarenes were COG Christians (Hoeh H. A True History of the True Church. RCG, 1959).

Notice something else from the old Radio Church of God:

Paulician Church Government

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The old Radio Church of God taught:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notice something that Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

Of course, there are false prophets who claim to teach the commandments, but usually reason around some of them. But true prophets of God most certainly do teach God’s law and way of life (see our free online booklet: The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast).

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

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

And I agree with Herbert W. Armstrong that he was not a prophet (though he had prophetic understanding in various areas) and no one recognized of God was anointed as a prophet back in 1972.

Now, yes, Herbert Armstrong at least once declared that there were no prophets in WCG and no doctrinal need for them. Furthermore, here is what he said in a Bible Study on 1 Corinthians on July 18, 1980:


Paul is speaking to the Church. Now the Church of God was raised up primarily for two purposes: that God could call to lead the Church, apostles, the Church is founded on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, the prophets of the Old Testament; because no prophet in the New Testament has anything to do with infusing doctrine into the Church or with an administrative position in the Work of the Church. No prophet had anything to do with any of that; so, the prophets mean, the prophets of the Old Testament. They did not preach to Israel. Israel rejected their writings, ancient Israel. The writings of the prophets, beginning with Isaiah and even other prophets – no you could say with Moses for that matter, and with David in the Psalms. All were for the New Testament Church, believe it or not, and yet today they want to say that we are a New Testament Church; and we don’t want anything to do with that Old Testament.

Let me tell you this is the book of God. Now the Old Testament Church couldn’t proclaim the gospel. The Old Testament Church did not have the Holy Spirit, that’s true; but the prophets did and they were writing for the doctrines of the Church and much of Church doctrine comes from the writings of the prophets; Christ being the chief cornerstone and the Head of the Church. Now just keep that in the background as we begin to read what Paul is writing to one of the Churches.

The bolded portion above is not biblically correct–and those who will believe the New Testament can prove this to themselves. The Apostle Paul was a prophet and so seemingly was the evangelist Timothy. So those prophets did have administrative as well as doctrinal responsibilities.

Furthermore, I did discuss Herbert Armstrong’s “no prophet” position with his long time aide, Aaron Dean. Aaron Dean basically told me that Herbert Armstrong was annoyed by various ones who contacted him claiming to be a prophet and he wanted people to stop doing that. However, Aaron Dean also said that Herbert Armstrong was not intending to teach that there would be no more prophets.

Of course, since the Two Witnesses prophesy (Revelation 11:3), it should be clear that Herbert Armstrong was not teaching that the people who would be the two witnesses could not have been alive in 1972 (especially since he felt that they would possibly fulfill their calling during his lifetime). Plus, as editor in chief of the publications of the old Radio and Worldwide Church of God, he did have items about prophets in the history of the Church of God published.

Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:

So God set HIS GOVERNMENT in His Church. And God’s government is authority from the TOP down. God the Father is in supreme authority over all. Next in authority under Him is Jesus Christ, living Head of the Church. On the human and earthly level, next in authority under Christ is His chosen apostle … (Armstrong HW. Seven Proofs Of The True Church – Proof No. 5-6. Good News, December 4, 1978)

The Apostle Paul wrote:

28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets … (1 Corinthians 12:28)

In absence of a clear apostle, a prophet, particularly an evangelistic one, would be expected to lead the most faithful in the Church of God.

Herbert W. Armstrong, specifically, wrote:

“And He [Christ] gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, TILL we all come in the UNITY of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13). The true Church of God has these offices, as the living Christ put them in His Church. (Armstrong HW. Seven Proofs Of The True Church – Proof No. 5-6. Good News, December 4, 1978)

Notice that prophet was an office the true Church of God was to have according to Herbert W. Armstrong.

Furthermore, notice a conversation Herbert Armstrong had with a WCG minister in late 1984 or 1985.

“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.’” (Schurter D. “The Greatest Work Lies JUST Ahead…” conversation with Herbert W. Armstrong 1984/1985 as stated in RCG letter of May 31, 2013)

So, Herbert Armstrong felt that there would be prophecy BEFORE the two witnesses were given power, hence the need for one or more prophets.

The New Testament (e.g. Acts 2, 1 Corinthians 14, Revelation 11) makes it clear that there would be prophets in the latter days.

Specifically, Acts 2:17-18 which has already have fulfillments in the Continuing Church of God (for details, see Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18?).

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

Do not let pride or preconceived ideas get in the way of you accepting biblical truth. That, according to Jesus, is actually the biggest problem for most Christians in the end time per Revelation 3:14-22–most Christians refuse to fully “hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 3:22).

Will you truly hear and take the proper steps related to matters such as prophets?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Church of God Leaders on Prophets Have there been prophets throughout the church age? Are any supposed to be around in the last days? What have COG leaders stated or written about prophets? Here is a link to a related sermon: Church of God Leaders on Prophets.
Herbert W. Armstrong, the Philadelphia Church, & the Mantle Herbert Armstrong claims God had him raise the Philadelphia up. Are there reasons to believe that the Philadelphia mantle in now within the CCOG? Here is a link to a related sermon: Herbert W. Armstrong and the Philadelphia Mantle.
Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18? Does any church have the confirmed dream and prophetic signs of Acts 2:17-18? Should one? Here is a link in the Spanish language: ¿Tiene la CCOG confirmadas las señales de Hechos 2: 17-18? Here is a link in the French language: Est-ce que l’Église Continue de Dieu confirme les signes d’Actes 2:17-18? A related sermon in the English language is also available: 17 Last Days’ Signs of the Holy Spirit.
How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God There are many false prophets, yet many overlook what the Bible teaches about how to recognize a true one. How can Christians determine who is a true prophet? This article contains a scripture-based checklist to assist with this determination. How to determine if someone is a true prophet of God This is a sermon on YouTube addressing a subject that most in the Church of God do not seem to have looked into very much. It discusses scriptures and dispels some improper assertions that some associated with the COG have made about prophets in this time.
Do You Hold to Any of These Laodicean Prophetic Errors? Most real Christians in the last days are Laodicean and hold to prophetic errors which, unless they repent, will prevent them from being protected from the coming Great Tribulation.
Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God How has God used dreams in the past? Does God still use dreams? Did He use any involving those in the Continuing Church of God? Here is a link in Spanish: Sueños, la Biblia, la Iglesia de Dios de la Radio, y la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. A related sermon is also available: Dreams, COGs, and One Man Rule.
Elijah: Past and Prophesied Information about the original Elijah and some information about the Elijah-related prophecies.
The Elijah Heresies Does the Bible teach that there will be a future Elijah? Must it be Herbert W. Armstrong?
Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders? There have been many false leaders–here is some of why you should be concerned about them.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
5. The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses some early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, CG7-Salem, Jerusalem 7DCG, and COG-7th Day-Denver. Here are two historical sermons: Sardis Church Era: Beginnings, Doctrines, and Leaders and Sardis: SDBs, SDAs, & CG7s.
6. The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
7. The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots.  They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent. One video of related interest is 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy. See also Do You Hold to Any of These Laodicean Prophetic Errors?
Who Are The Two Witnesses? What is their job? What does the Bible reveal? What has the Church of God taught on this subject? Might even Roman Catholic prophecies give some clues here?
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here is a related YouTube video titled The Final Phase of the Work. The written article has been translated into Spanish La Fase Final de la Obra.
The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government What form of governance did the early church have? Was it hierarchical? Which form of governance would one expect to have in the Philadelphia remnant? The people decide and/or committee forms, odd dictatorships, or the same type that the Philadelphia era itself had? What are some of the scriptural limits on ecclesiastical authority? Do some commit organizational idolatry? Here is a Spanish language version La Biblia, Policarpo, Herbert W. Armstrong, y Roderick C. Meredith sobre el gobierno de la Iglesia. Here is a link to a sermon titled Church Governance.
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here is a sermon Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God.

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