What Is a True Philadelphian?

by COGwriter

What is a Philadelphian?

What is a true Philadelphian?

This article will review the biblical passages about the Philadelphian portion of the Church of God, include comments about when it began, what its traits were, why a remnant still exists, how to determine who that remnant is-and why this is important to know.

Scripture records Jesus' words describeing:

"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": 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. 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. 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. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. 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. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches'" (Revelation 3:7-13).

Jesus says here that He "has the key of David," and He talks about doors. References to the "key of David" and doors are used together in one other Bible passage:

"I will commit your responsibility into his hand. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; so he shall open, and no one shall shut; and he shall shut and no one shall open. I will fasten him as a peg in a secure place, and he will become a glorious throne in his father's house" (Isaiah 22:21-23).

This suggests that the "key of David" has something to do with governance and something to do with a throne. How could that relate to the Philadelphia era of the Church?

Here is a link to a related video: Be a Real Philadelphian Christian.

When the Philadelphia Era Began

Before getting to that, it should be noted that a review of literature on the "Sardis" era of the Church demonstrates that there never was truly effective governance over the body (see True History of the True Church by Dugger).

In his Autobiograph Herbert W. Armstrong wrote: "Ministers were to be employed, and under orders from lay members. This is essentially the concept of what we call democracy: government from the bottom up. Those being governed dictate who shall be their rulers and how their rulers shall rule them. The most perplexing subject in all the Bible to me was this matter of church government. I never did come to clear understanding of the BIBLE teaching on the subject until after Ambassador College was formed" (1986 edition pp. 411-412).

Note that when the Church of God Seventh Day (CG7) split over governance in 1933, Herbert Armstrong did not go with the side that had the most votes, but cooperated with the side that lost the vote (Mystery of the Ages, pp. 558, 561). Once he understood God's form of governance he wrote: "The Church is organized under theocratic government, hierarchical in form" (Mystery of the Ages, p. 246).

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" (Autobiography 1973 ed., page 312).

... 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? (pages 315-316).

...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" (page 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 that was the transition from the 'Sardis era' (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 W. 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 effectively 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 W. Armstrong had written on that subject was true (see photo of letter from A.N. Dugger, dated July 28, 1929 in Autobiography, 1973 edition, p.372).

Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:

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… This era of the Church was to produce fruit…" (Armstrong H.W. Mystery of the Ages, pp. 289-290).

... after 3 1/2 years of intensive study and training, Christ ordained me to preach this same Gospel of the Kingdom in all the world as a witness to all nations (Matthew 24:14). This ordination took place at, or very near, the Day of Pentecost, 1931" (Armstrong H.W. Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, 1986 edition, p. 428).

In 1933, Herbert W. Armstrong refused to accept any salary from the Oregon Conference of CG7, and on October 9, 1933 he began proclaiming the gospel over radio, which he considered to be a door opened by God and "the start of the present work" (Autobiography, 1973 edition, pp. 450-455; see also Does the CCOG go through the ‘door’ of radio to reach the world?)--though he still had some affiliation with "Sardis" until he stopped preaching at one "Sardis" congregation in 1942 (see Sardis Church era). His new organization began on October 21, 1933 according to what he wrote:

October 21, 1933 ... a new Church of God was organized, with Mr. E.E. Fischer as deacon, and myself as Pastor. (Autobiography, 1973 edition, p. 454)

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.

By 1937, because of his writings on the biblical Holy Days and the identity of the U.S. and British Commonwealth in prophecy, CG7 rejected Herbert W. Armstrong-so it appears that from sometime between 1931 and 1942 the Philadelphia era of the Church separated from CG7.

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).

Herbert Armstrong found that since God promised David: "Your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever" (2 Samuel 7:16) and "David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel" (Jeremiah 33:17), that this had been fulfilled throughout history through what became the British throne. He considered this identity to be part of the "key of David." By 1937, because of his writings on the biblical Holy Days and the identity of the U.S. and British Commonwealth in prophecy, CG7 rejected Herbert Armstrong's view. So it appears that from sometime between 1933 and 1937 the Philadelphia era of the Church became completely separate from CG7.

The Open Door

Although some Protestant theologians feel that the Revelation 3:8 open door has to do with the entrance to the New Jerusalem (see Nelson's Study Bible, p. 2,170), Herbert Armstrong saw that it referred to public proclamation of the Gospel. "God had set before it [the Philadelphia era] an open door."

Although all the messages to the Churches state, "I know your works," it is only to Philadelphia that Jesus says, "See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it."

What is the "open door"?

Let us look at this concept within the New Testament and let the Bible interpret itself.

Paul wrote:

12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord (2 Corinthians 2:12).

8 But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost. 9 For a great and effective door has opened to me (1 Corinthians 16:8-9).

2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; 3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, 4 that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak (Colossians 4:2-4).

Luke wrote:

27 Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles (Acts 14:27).

Thus, the Bible is quite clear that the open door is the door to proclaim the Gospel.

And where to sow, wherever we can consistent with the following:

6 In the morning sow your seed,
And in the evening do not withhold your hand;
For you do not know which will prosper,
Either this or that,
Or whether both alike will be good. (Ecclesiastes 11:6)

Jesus confirmed that the sowing was with the word of God (Mark 4:14).

Herbert W. Armstrong understood that the door was opened to proclaim the gospel:

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 to all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come' (Mystery of the Ages, pp. 290-291).

It was not until the 20th century that the technology of automated transportation and electronic media (such as radio and television) came forth to allow the Church of God (COG) to have much international impact. Herbert W. Armstrong began to broadcast on the radio beginning in 1933 (see also Does the CCOG go through the ‘door’ of radio to reach the world?).

Herbert W. Armstrong's ministry was the most effective COG minister in post-Apostolic history when it came to numbers reached with Christ's Gospel of the Kingdom. This makes the work of the Philadelphia Church highly significant.

What Are the Traits of a Philadelphian?

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance shows that Philadelphia means "love of brethren" or "fond of brethren." When Jesus used the term phileo with Simon Peter (translated as "love"), what was Peter to do to show this type of love? He was to do the work.

"He said to him the third time, 'Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?' Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, 'Do you love Me?' And he said to Him, 'Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed My sheep" (John 21:17).

A trait of Philadelphians is that they love the brethren and will sacrifice to do so. While some may argue that this only means taking care of those already in the Church--and that needs to be done, there is still the need to fulfill the commission in Matthew 28:18-19 as well as Jesus' words in John 10:16: "And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd."

Philadelphians love others, not just themselves. As Herbert Armstrong wrote:

"This era of the Church was to produce fruit" (Mystery of the Ages, p. 290).

As Jesus taught:

"For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it" (Mark 8:35).

Philadelphians will give their all to proclaim the Gospel.

Philadelphians have "a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name" (Revelation 3:8). They are not part of an especially strong church (or a large church by the world's standards). They have kept God's word without watering it down. They have not denied Christ's authority (which is essentially how Strong's defines the word translated as "name").

The Philadelphians accept that "Christ is head of the church" (Ephesians 5:23), and accept authority within the Church:

"And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head-Christ" (Ephesians 4:11-15).

Herbert Armstrong wrote:

"The government of the kingdom of God is of necessity government from the top down. It cannot be 'government by the consent of those being governed'… Revelation 3:12 indicates that those of the 'Philadelphia era' will be pillars in the Headquarters Church… What I am showing you here is that Christ's gospel of the kingdom actually includes all this knowledge here revealed-even the whole universe will be ruled by us, who, with God the Father and Christ, become the kingdom of God" (Mystery of the Ages, pp. 49, 347, 362).

Philadelphians are given a warning: "Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown" (Revelation 3:11). Herbert Armstrong wrote that he restored to the Church of God at least 18 truths that the previous era had lost (Mystery of the Ages, p. 251).

Philadelphians are the ones who hold to those truths (as well as all other biblical truths)-including governance-and will be able to have a crown and to rule!

Philadelphians have "kept My command to persevere" (Revelation 3:10). Holding fast to Truth, while putting a priority on proclaiming the Gospel, is what sets the Philadelphian Church apart.

Why Is There a Philadelphian Remnant?

The Laodicean Church is the last one mentioned in the book of Revelation (Revelation 3:14-22). As the last, it is the one that will be the most dominant at the time of the end. The word "Laodicea" can be rendered "the people rule", "judgment of the people" or the "people decide." Laodicea is characterized by a rejection of the governance accepted by the Philadelphians, and by a general lukewarm attitude. Laodicea places emphasis on self (as opposed to proclaiming the Gospel), thus it also waters down the Truth-and so is "rebuked and chastened" and counseled "to buy from Me gold refined in the fire" (Revelation 3:18-19).

Because Laodicea is dominant at the end of the age, Philadelphia cannot be predominant then. However, a remnant of Philadelphia must still exist. We know this because Jesus told the Philadelphians:

"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. Behold, I am coming quickly!" (Revelation 3:10-11).

The Philadelphians are the only ones promised protection! The remnant of the Philadelphians are "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" (Revelation 12:14).

Although Herbert Armstrong wrote that he was able to fulfill the first portion of Matthew 24:14-"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations" (Mystery of the Ages, p. 291)-he appointed other television presenters to take over for him if he died prior to the second portion of the verse, "and then the end will come." He also wrote: "But Christ said to His Philadelphia era Church, that because we have but little strength, He would OPEN THOSE DOORS TO US (Revelation 3:8)" (Letter, Nov. 19, 1976). Philadelphians need to keep preaching to the world until the end comes, since they will be around until the end comes.

Regarding other support for a Philadelphia remnant, notice the following passage:

1 Let brotherly love continue. (Hebrews 13:1)

The Greek word translated as "brotherly love" is the word Philadelphia. So the following would be an accurate rendering:

1 Let Philadelphia continue. (Hebrews 13:1)

The writer of the Book of Hebrews may have been inspired by God to convey two concepts:

  1. That brotherly love needs to continue amongst those who believe that they are Christian.
  2. And perhaps also that Philadelphia itself needs to continue, and it can do so, because of its emphasis on love. It is important for all to realize that despite flaws of Christians, that love is what God's way of life and His kingdom are really all about.

A Philadelphia remnant needs to continue until the end of this age. And the Continuing Church of God expects to do that and believes it has proven that it is succeeding.

As far as brotherly goes, Jesus taught:

25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
26 He said to him, "What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?"

27 So he answered and said, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,' and 'your neighbor as yourself.'"

28 And He said to him, "You have answered rightly; do this and you will live."

29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"

30 Then Jesus answered and said: "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.' 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?"

37 And he said, "He who showed mercy on him."

Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise." (Luke 10:25-37)

How is that done in the CCOG?

Through our support for the physically and spiritually poor in Africa, Haiti, Latin America, various islands, and Asia.

As well as our realization that the 'full number' of Gentiles must come in before Jesus returns.

This is something that the Philadelphia era taught:

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 -- 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!

The CCOG has around 6,000 Gentiles as of late -2021, which compares to about 300 or so in early 2014. CCOG has been the fastest growing x-WCG COG in the 21st century.

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.

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.

We in the CCOG still do (see also What About Romans 11:25 and the Full Number of the Gentiles?).

One way Philadelphians love their brethren is to heed the following:

10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10)

Some discount helping Africans and Haitians. They tell themselves, correctly, that they cannot solve all their poverty problems. They, however, tend to deceive themselves, that they do not really need to care about the Africans and other poor, They are in error.

Consider also:

17 But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?

18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:17-19)

Philadelphian Christians, more than Laodiceans, strive to do good to all, including the physically poor in the faith.

Laodiceans either do not, or tend to think they have when they have not.

Christians are to be Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God

The world and its media have various views about Christianity and how Christians are supposed to live.

But many of those views are NOT based upon the Bible or the practices of real Christians.

Do you know that Christians are supposed to be Ambassadors for the kingdom of God?

The Apostle Paul taught that Christians should be ambassadors for the gospel of God’s coming kingdom:

20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ ... (2 Corinthians 5:20)

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints -- 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6:17-20) 

What is an ambassador? Here is what Merriam-Webster states:

Definition of ambassador
an official envoy; especially a diplomatic agent of the highest rank accredited to a foreign government or sovereign as the resident representative of his or her own government or sovereign or appointed for a special and often temporary diplomatic assignment
2 a an authorized representative or messenger

But as Christians we are ntemporary in this life, but we are to be permanent representatives of God, His government, and His kingdom. Philadelphian Christians realize this better than most others.

How Should Christians Live?

If God has called you to be a Christian, how should you live? (If you are wondering about your calling please see our free online booklet Is God Calling You?)

How should Christians live? Real Christians.

This is a complex subject and perhaps it takes more than a human lifetime to truly know, but this will try to address many, but by no means all, practical points for the how, and a few points as to why (for a link to a free online booklet go to:Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian).

As Paul wrote, we are to live as ambassadors of Jesus Christ.

He also wrote that we are to imitate him as he imitated Christ:

11:1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

Christians should live as Jesus did (John 13:15; 1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 John 2:6) and accept all He commanded (Matthew 28:18-20).

Jesus encouraged people to live His way:

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

He also taught warnings that there would be difficulties, but He would bring peace:

33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

In the New Testament, Christians were considered so different from the world they lived in, that their mode of life was referred to as “the Way” (Acts 9:2; 19:9; 24:14, 22) and more derisively, “the Way they call a sect” (Acts 24:14) or “cult” (Acts 24:14, New Living Translation).

The world itself lives selfishly, under Satan’s sway, in what has been called “the way of Cain” (Jude 11).
Christians are ambassadors of the Kingdom of God and put our hope in the spiritual, not the physical, though we live in a physical world (Romans 8:5-8).

Consider:

1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (1 John 3:1-3)

Christians are the children of God and we place our hope in Jesus--the world does not really place hope in our Savior.

In His final prayer for His true Church, Jesus prayed:

12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. (John 17:12-16)

Those of His Church are described as being strangers and foreigners in this world -- AMBASSADORS for Christ-- ambassadors representing HIS Kingdom which is foreign to this world -- yet never being OF the world! We are to be set apart from the world by our actual adherence and obedience to the word of God. This makes us different from the world -- including the many that claim to reverence scripture, but will not actually live by it.

The New Testament shows that God’s people in the Old Testament:

13 ... confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. (Hebrews 11:13)

The Apostle Peter also calls Christians pilgrims and sojourners:

1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:

Grace to you and peace be multiplied. (1 Peter 1:1-2)

11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:11-12)

Polycarp of Smyrna, ordained a Bishop/Pastor/Overseer by the apostles, started his Polycarp’s Letter to the Philippians with the following:

Polycarp, and the presbyters with him, to the Church of God sojourning at Philippi (Polycarp’s Letter to the Philippians)

So, he wrote that the Christians in the Church of God were sojourning at Philippi. The idea that Christians were to be sojourners and pilgrims was retained by him.

The Apostle Peter further wrote to Christians:

1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. (1 Peter 2:1-3)

Christians need the pure milk of the word, but many who profess Christ do not know much about what that means. Most who claim Christianity will not live as pilgrims and sojourners in this world as ambassadors for Jesus.

Who is a Real Christian?

Real Christians are those who have the Spirit of God, believe the Bible, try to walk as Jesus walked, keep the commandments, and understand and practice love.

Real Christians have the Holy Spirit of God:

9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you (Romans 8:9-11).

Without God’s Spirit you are not a real Christian. Here is something the Apostle Peter taught about being given the Holy Spirit:

38 “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38-39)

Real Christians hear the gospel message, accept that they have sinned and need God, have repented of their sins (the transgression of the law—1 John 3:4, KJV), accept God’s calling, declare and believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, have been properly baptized, and possess God’s Holy Spirit (Acts 2:39; Romans 8:9-11).

This receipt of God’s Holy Spirit makes true Christians the “temple of God” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17) and Christians need to live accordingly.

Real Christians obey God:

32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him. (Acts 5:32)

9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, (Hebrews 5:9)

Those who will not obey in this age are not being granted salvation and will not be in the first resurrection. Those who only obey in a lukewarm manner when it comes to the work of God are NOT Philadelphian Christians.

God knows who His own are:

9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God (Galatians 4:9)

3 But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him (1 Corinthians 8:3).

11 ... we are well known to God (2 Corinthians 5:11)

77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins (Luke 1:77).

Thus, it is God who truly knows who the real Christians are.

Real Christians keep the commandments and strive to walk as Jesus Christ walked:

4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (1 John 2:4-6).

The Laodiceans keep the commandments as well, but are not promised the type of protection that the Philadelphians are promised:

13 Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. 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 12:13-17)

12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. (Revelation 14:12)

That being said, keeping the Ten Commandments in this age helps the Christian build character and, thus, will help make eternity better.
Jesus also taught:35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:35)

Most religions, however, that profess Christ choose to allow warfare and other activities that do not show love to one’s neighbor.

As ambassadors, Christians do not participate in military warfare, secular juries, nor do we vote in worldly politics.

The Apostle James taught:

12 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment. (James 5:12)

Jesus taught that also in the Sermon of the Mount. Hence, real Christians do not swear oaths.

Love, not war, is what life is supposed to be all about.

Christians know the basic doctrines of the church as laid out in Hebrews 6:

1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. (Hebrews 6:1-2)

Plus, they practice the Way that the apostles advocated (cf. Acts 24:14).

Philadelphian Christians are Subject to Difficulties

In addition to persecutions, Philadelphian Christians are subject to difficulties.

Notice something that the prophet Jeremiah was told to record:

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive. (Jeremiah 29:11-14)

Notice that the plan was exile. To be a sojourner, a stranger, an ambassador. That is still the plan for Christians in this age.
Jeremiah also recorded:

28 For he has sent to us in Babylon, saying, ‘This captivity is long; build houses and dwell in them, and plant gardens and eat their fruit. (Jeremiah 29:28)

Notice that those in exiles were to plant and build and produce fruit. Planting takes faith. Translating materials into multiple languages, including many that the church does not have supporters takes faith--but that is part of the work that we in the Continuing Church of God are part of. And just like the exiles, we are to produce fruit.

For living, loving, and producing fruit as Jesus taught, Christians will be hated and persecuted:

16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.

18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. 25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’ (John 15:16-25)

22 ... “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22)

Not all the troubles will come from the broader ‘world.’ Family and friends could be problems as well. Notice that Jesus taught about family issues, followed by something by the Apostle Peter:

35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. (Matthew 10:35-39)
4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. (1 Peter 4:4)

This does not mean you are not to honor your parents (cf. Matthew 15:4-6) or try to cause trouble—we are to strive “to live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18). Jesus and Peter are basically saying that those who are converted may face difficulties with family and friends. Notice something else from Jesus and Peter, followed by something from the Apostle Paul:

16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. (Matthew 10:16-17)

15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (1 Peter 3:15-17)

15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. (2 Timothy 2:15-16)

When dealing with those not in the church, as well as in it, Christians need to be wise and try not to harm. And Christians should study in order to answer questions others may ask. Not that we are to try to cram our religion down the throat of others, but that we humbly answer those that are sincere. We, however, should try to avoid unnecessary arguments (Matthew 7:6; 1 Timothy 1:4).
Jesus also warned:

33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

And doing what we are supposed to do as Christians shows that we have faith. And it is not easy.

22 ... Have faith in God (Mark 11:22).

Apparently there were heretical people in the time of the apostles who did not believe that they had to do anything and that their faith was sufficient. But notice what James told them:

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:22-25)

14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe — and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? (James 2:14-20)

Perhaps the above is why Martin Luther criticized this book.

So, How do Christians Live?

Throughout history, there have been true Christians, just as Jesus prophesied (Matthew 16:18; Revelation 2 & 3).
They distanced themselves from the deceitful arguments of the mystery of iniquity (2 Thessalonians 2:7), but instead strove to keep the Ten Commandments.

Real Christians lived differently than most who professed Christ and they were often persecuted for it.
Real Christians understand Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount:

1 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. 2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: 

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 
13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. 

14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. 

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny. 

27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

31 “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery. 

33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one. 

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away. 

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:1-48)

1 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. (Matthew 6:1-4)

Being a real Christians affects one at work, at school, at home, and all the time. They are not only Christians when they attend church services. They try not to live as hypocrites. Nor do they view pornography, engage in fornication or homosexuality, or live a life of hate. We are to strive for perfection to be sons and daughters of God. What a massive potential we have as Christians.

Real Christians have the right priorities and seek first the Kingdom of God.

25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:25-34)

It was right after reading the Sermon on the Mount that I ceased considering myself a Roman Catholic.

Ambassadors work full time for their governments. Christians should be working for God’s government and His coming kingdom.

Seeking first the Kingdom of God also means that real Christians do not compromise God’s law for business, family, lust, or other purposes (see also the free online booklets The Gospel of the Kingdom of God and The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast).

Consider that the Apostle Paul wrote:

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.”

17 Therefore
“Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.”  18 ‘I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

Real Christians are not to marry those who are not real Christians—meaning real Church of God Christians. Experience has also shown this does not work out well spiritually.

Paul’s admonition is also a warning against various types of business and other partnerships. Plus it is a warning against improper ecumenism.

You are unique. Your life experiences, etc. make you one who can give love in a unique way. Jesus has a place specially prepared for you (John 14:2-3). But as a Christian, you also have talents now so:

16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. (1 Corinthians 10:31-33)

As a Philadelphian Christian, despite struggles, you should have the desire to GIVE, to share with and to help this wretched world. You will want to put your whole heart into God’s Work. You should be zealous for the truth (John 17:17-19; 1 Peter 3:15-16). You will want to completely dedicate yourself to having a part in warning the world of the dramatic events to occur just before the close of this age. You will realize that this physical world will not continue as it has been. God may very well use you in the coming end time persecution to give a powerful witness (Mark 13:9) that will help “instruct many” (Daniel 11:32-33).

Notice also the following:

17 A wicked messenger falls into trouble, But a faithful ambassador brings health.  (Proverbs 13:17)

Be a faithful ambassador to support teaching God’s way of life and His coming Kingdom to this sick, Satanically-deceived, world.

Remember that real Christians are to pray and the Bible teaches this (Matthew 6:5-7). In modern times it has been suggested that Christians should strive to pray at least thirty minutes per day, although the Bible itself does not specify an amount of time. Yet when it teaches, “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), this suggests some amount of regular prayer. Christians should pray (for more on prayer, see our booklet Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach?).

Christians should meditate on God’s laws and His way of life (Psalm 19:7). The truth is that God is love (1 John 4:8, 15) and NOT selfish. God’s laws show love towards God and our neighbor (Mark 12:29-31; James 2:8-11). The ways of the world are selfish and end in death (Romans 8:6). Christians realize keeping God’s laws and commandments show love and they are not burdensome:

2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. (1 John 5:2-3)

Real Christians read the Bible (those who could read) and the more honorable ones daily (Acts 17:11; Ephesians 6:17). In modern times it has been suggested that Christians should strive to study at least thirty minutes per day. Although, again, the Bible itself does not specify.

The New Testament teaches, “Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches” (Galatians 6:6). Real Christians tithe (Matthew 23:23). And there are multiple tithes (Deuteronomy 14:22-29). As far as how to calculate tithes, basically they are on income. In my view, net income after taxes as the income recipient has essentially no choice but to pay the taxes, which is something else that Christians should do (Mark 12:14-17; Matthew 17:24-27). Christians also give offerings, including on the biblical holy days (Deuteronomy 16:16-17; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15).

People who are not givers are not real Christians. Consider also, “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). NOTE: Let me add here that I, Bob Thiel, do NOT take a salary from the Continuing Church of God, so I am NOT writing this to tell people to give so that I can have what is given. It is in one’s spiritual best interest to give, and if one is not doing that, then one is not truly living as a Christian.
Jesus was approached by a wealthy one who claimed to be committed to Him, but his attachment to owning wealth was too strong for him (Matthew 19:16-22). But poor and middle class people have problems with this too. Many do not have the faith to believe:

9 Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase;  10 So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine. (Proverbs 3:9-10)

27 He who gives to the poor will not lack, But he who hides his eyes will have many curses. (Proverbs 28:27)

8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’

In tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me,

Even this whole nation.  10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. (Malachi 3:8-10)

6 Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:6-10)
Have faith and give as God wants His people to. Consider:

20 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. (1 John 4:20-21)

Philadelphians do not hate their brethren. They show love through giving and supporting them physically and spiritually. They also love others by supporting the work to fulfil Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20.

Jesus said His disciples would fast (Mark 2:20). And while all who can are basically required to fast once per year on the Day of Atonement, historically the Church of God has suggested that once per month is a good goal for fasting—though this frequency is not specified in scripture.

Real Christians do not go out and get tattoos (Leviticus 19:28).

Real Christians avoid eating biblically unclean meats (Leviticus 11:4-8, 10-20, 23-30; Deuteronomy 14:3, 7-8, 10, 12-19). Because of this, some have been killed by Greco-Romans who profess Christianity.

While many that profess Christ realize that the New Testament teaches, “it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy’ ” (1 Peter 1:16), most do not realize that is a quote from the Old Testament related to avoiding unclean meat consumption (Leviticus 11:41-45).

Speaking of foods, God tells His people to “eat what is good” (Isaiah 55:2), thus Christians should be careful about their diets and not eat that which is not good for them. Nor should Christians smoke cigarettes or cigars or pipes or marijuana.

Real Christians are not dishonest at work or school. They do not lie or cheat. They do not go along with sin in organizations. Christians do not read horoscopes, practice witchcraft, or see fortune tellers (Leviticus 19:26; Deuteronomy 18:10). It should be pointed out that while many astrologers and those who follow astrology claim to be Christian, that is not true.

Real Christians do not have idols in their homes, carry “lucky charms,” etc.

Real Christians are not to have “filthy communications” come out of their mouths (Colossians 3:8; see also the free online booklet The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast).

Real Christians understand the importance of God’s commandments and that He will judge them for their works:

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all.
14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

Christians are to properly teach and bring up their children (1 Thessalonians 2:11; Ephesians 6:1; 1 Timothy 3:4,12; 5:4,10,14; Titus 1:6; 2:4).

Christian women should not have short masculine hair styles and Christian men should not have long feminine hairstyles (1 Corinthians 11:14-15). Since pagan priests tended to totally shave their heads, this does not seem to be a proper regular practice for Christian men (Leviticus 19:27; 21:5).

Christians also are to not cross-dress (Deuteronomy 22:5) and should dress with proper propriety and modesty (1 Timothy 2:9).

Christians should treat other Christians with purity (1 Timothy 4:12, 5:1-2). Those who are single may also wish to read our free online book: Dating: A Key to Success in Marriage, a practical dating guide for Christians, available at www.ccog.org. We also have a short animation at the CCOG Animations You Tube channel: First Date: Worldly vs. Christian.

Christians do not get drunk or participate in improper revelries, and this can make them unpopular with those who previously considered them to be friends as the Apostle Peter wrote:

1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles — when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. 4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. (1 Peter 4:1-4)

So, Christians are subject to be talked about badly for doing what is right. The Apostle Peter also wrote:

12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. (1 Peter 4:12-14)\

Thus, negative consequences from the world for being a Christian is expected. Real Christians realize this, yet continue. They understand Jesus’ admonition:

21 “Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 22 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! 26 Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. (Matthew 10:21-26)

How to Determine Who the Remnant Is (or Is Not)

By attempting to heed Jude's admonition "to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3), the remnant of the Philadelphian Church will hold fast to the Truth that was restored in that era--which was that which was taught by the original church.

We have produced extensive literature regarding the beliefs of the original faithful church and have pointed out how we have ties to that original church:

Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church. Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God? , Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, Passover, and What Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & Celibacy, and Early Heresies and Heretics, and Doctrines: 3 Days, Abortion, Ecumenism, MeatsTithes, Crosses, Destiny, and more, and Saturday or Sunday?The GodheadApostolic Laying on of Hands Succession, and Church in the Wilderness Apostolic Succession List.


Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism The CCOG is NOT Protestant. This free online book explains how the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants. Several sermons related to the free book are also available: Protestant, Baptist, and CCOG HistoryThe First Protestant, God’s Command, Grace, & CharacterThe New Testament, Martin Luther, and the CanonEucharist, Passover, and EasterViews of Jews, Lost Tribes, Warfare, & BaptismScripture vs. Tradition, Sabbath vs. SundayChurch Services, Sunday, Heaven, and God’s PlanSeventh Day Baptists/Adventists/Messianics: Protestant or COG?Millennial Kingdom of God and God’s Plan of SalvationCrosses, Trees, Tithes, and Unclean MeatsThe Godhead and the TrinityFleeing or Rapture?; and Ecumenism, Rome, and CCOG Differences.

This literature is also supportive of The Final Phase of the Work, which we are preparing for.

The remnant of the Philadelphian Church will continue to attempt to go through whatever doors are open in order to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom as a witness. They will also proclaim the Ezekiel warning to the physical descendants of Israel, even if this remnant does not have as many "talents" as it once had (Matthew 25:15-28). It will keep the biblical form of authority within the Church-the same form of governance that will be used in the Kingdom of God. Remember, though: just calling oneself (or one's church) "Philadelphian" does not guarantee that one actually is Philadelphian. Some who claim to be Philadelphian are not.

The Continuing Church of God cannot claim that all its members are Philadelphian, but we do believe we are a uniquely Philadelphian remnant. Can one find a larger or more effective "corporate body" which retains the Truth as taught by Herbert Armstrong, without adding non-biblical "revelations" or diverting its members from making their top priority the Great Commission of proclaiming the Gospel as established by Jesus Christ? No! One can expect that Philadelphians, who care about doing an effective Work and holding fast to the Truth, will naturally support the Continuing Church of God. Of course, simply attending with the Continuing Church of God does not make one a Philadelphian; individual members must do their part, and must not allow their lives to be cluttered by the cares of this world so that they themselves become lukewarm (Laodicean).

With all the confusion and misreporting that has occurred in the last several years, we can appreciate that there are Philadelphians outside the Continuing Church of God. However, this is not an excuse for zealous Christians to become "independent." Herbert Armstrong wrote that the first "purpose of the Church" was to proclaim "the coming kingdom of God to the world… The 'loner'-the 'individual Christian' who wants to climb up into the kingdom some other way than by Christ and His way through His Church-is not being trained in Christ's manner of training, to rule and reign with Christ in his kingdom!… The person who says, 'I will get my salvation alone, outside of the Church' is totally deceived" (Mystery of the Ages, p. 270).

Philadelphia Christians Will Instruct Many

Jesus fortold of coming persecution.

Much of the persecution in Daniel 11:30-35 (see Persecutions by Church and State) will be directed against Philadelphian Christians.

One of the reasons for this is that the Philadelphians are leading the final phase of the work and will identify the King of the North and reveal some of his plans.

This will result in much of the world temporarily shifting attention towards the church that is doing that.

Many people will wonder and Philadelphian Christians are to answer questions.

The Apostle Peter wrote:

15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (1 Peter 3:15, KJV)

And while that ability is needed in all ages, notice the following end time prophecy:

32 ... the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action. (Daniel 11:32, ESV)

33 And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; (Daniel 11:33)

The old Radio Church of God taught:

Daniel prophesied: "The people that do KNOW their God shall be strong, and do exploits" (Dan. 11:32). Such a statement could refer only to God's people. Now notice what follows: "And they THAT UNDERSTAND among the people shall instruct many; yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days" (verse 33). Here is a very brief summary of how God's Church has been persecuted down through the centuries.

Some commentators has incorrectly applied this to the Jews. But it could not refer to the Jewish people of our day! The Jews do not KNOW their God, nor do they UNDERSTAND, nor do they instruct many in the ways of God.

This prophecy concerns GOD'S CHURCH. (Neff L. Beware of False Brethren! Good News, January 1960)

Others have also taught it:

Dan. 11:32-33

"Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. [God grant that we will be such faithful people of God.] And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering."

God's people will be persecuted but will warn the world. They will do a mighty work at the time of the end, just at the time when this great false leader will come in and place the abomination of desolation

(Meredith RC. Gospel of Matthew--Program 27, Bible Study https://members.lcg.org/bible-studies/gospel-matthew-program-27).

Sadly, many have forgotten this prophecy--or at least what to do about it--even though it is to be fulfilled within the next decade or so.

Jesus criticized the works of Sardis and said that although Sardis had a name that was alive, it was dead: (Revelation 3:1).

Philadelphians have repentance from dead works:

1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, (Hebrews 6:1)

How can Philadelphian Christians take action and instruct many if they are not prepared?

First, notice that the Holy Spirit will assist according to Jesus:

18 You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. (Matthew 10:18-20)

9 "But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. (Mark 13:9-13)

So does that mean you have no part to play?

No.

The Holy Spirit will bring to mind things you have studied, but will assist you with your wording as Jesus also said:

25. I have spoken these things to you while I am yet present with you. 26. But when the Comforter comes, even the Holy Spirit, which the Father will send in My name, that one shall teach you all things, and shall bring to your remembrance everything that I have told you. (John 14:25-26 AFV)

You need to be prepared as the Apostle Peter wrote to be able to give answers to those who ask.

The Apostle Paul wrote the following:

15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15, NKJV)

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15, KJV)

The Bible is the word of truth. Christians need to study diligently, which includes not only reading the Bible and paying attention to sermons, but also to read church literature.

One of the reasons is that parts of the Bible are not always easy to understand, as the Apostle Peter pointed out:

14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation — as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. (2 Peter 3:14-16, NKJV)

Notice again one is to be 'diligent' so one will not be moved by untaught and unstable people.

This also means that God's people need to be taught.

And learn as Peter also wrote:

17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. (2 Peter 3:17-18)

One does not grow in grace and knowledge without gaining knowledge.

Peter also wrote:

5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.

10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5-11)

Christians are to add knowledge, at least partially so we will NOT be unfruitful.

The Apostle Paul taught that as well:

9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; (Colossians 1:9-10)

The knowledge is to be used to be fruitful--not just for your own sake. That is, being fruitful, for you assist in reaching many--via the church--but also possibly yourself.

As Jesus taught:

20 But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred. (Mark 4:20)

Are you one who has been sown in good ground?

In addition to Christians studying the word of God on their own, this is part of why God has a ministry:

26 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, "Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." This is desert. 27 So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, "Go near and overtake this chariot." 30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?" 31 And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. (Acts 8:26-31)

Philip then assisted and taught the man.

Notice also:

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ — 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16)

Yes, the true ministry helps people be able to speak the truth in love.

Now that books are more widely available than in New Testament times, books from ministers can also assist in teaching end time Christians.

While we have many, the following look to be particularly applicable to the 'instruct many' prophecy related to predominantly Philadelphian Christians:

Now that does not mean our other books and booklets are not important to know--and they can also be referred to--and all are found at the following link: CCOG Free Books and Booklets.

Non-Philadelphians will not know enough to instruct many in this age. Oh yes, they will teach people during the millennium. But, the lack of knowledge of church history, development of heresies, and proper prophetic understanding will prevent most non-Philadelphians from fulfilling the "instruct many" prophecy in Daniel 11:33.

Because some of what people in the world will be interested in will be a bit historical, and to them unique, the listed books were written. These books are part of the CCOG preparation for the short work.

Notice also the following which has multiple applicabilities:

8 The end of a thing is better than its beginning; (Ecclesiastes 7:8)

In the end times, the end of the short work will be better than its beginning, and we in the CCOG are still preparing for that end now.

The Apostle John was inspired to record, "the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready" (Revelation 19:7). It is the Philadelphian portion of the Church that best represents the wife (cf. Revelation 3:7-13, 12:14-17), and we are working to help its members--and not JUST its ministry--to be made ready.

If YOU are willing to be used by God and will support the true Philadelphian remnant leader, God may well have YOU instruct many. Either directly, or at least, indirectly.

Here is a link to a related sermon: Preparing to Instruct Many.

Laodiceans on the other hand, think their works are fine. They are mainly satsified taking care of themselves (Revelation 3:14-22).

Philadelphian better realize that " the blood of Christ" ... will "cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God" (Hebrews 9:14-15).

That is why they are those that are leading the final phase of the work.

Why Is This Important to Know?

Some say that knowledge of Church eras is unimportant, and believe that it makes no difference in how Christians live or act. Is this the correct attitude? It is not coincidental that many who de-emphasize Church eras also water down key truths restored by Herbert Armstrong-in some cases no longer even considering it their top priority to proclaim the full Gospel as a witness. This may help explain such an attitude-but does it excuse it? Seven times (Revelation 2; 3) Jesus warned: "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches" (e.g. Revelation 3:13). Why would He repeatedly say this if these messages were not important?

Jesus promised the Philadelphians more than just physical protection. He also said: "He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. 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" (Revelation 3:12). Who in God's Church does not want to receive these promises?

Those God has called can decide whether or not to accept and teach the truths restored to the Philadelphian Church. It is up to them-but the spiritual and physical costs of not accepting and teaching the Truth appear quite high. A Philadelphian holds fast to true doctrine, does not deny Christ's authority, keeps His word, goes through those doors that Christ opens and perseveres to the end. A Philadelphian hears "what the Spirit says to the churches."

Here is a link to a related video: Be a Real Philadelphian Christian.

Consider also reading the articles Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God, The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government, and What About the Living Church of God? Are there Doctrinal Differences with the Continuing Church of God? Some booklets of interest would include Where is the True Christian Church Today? and Continuing History of the Church of God.

Thiel B. What is a True Philadelphian? (c) 2021 https://www.cogwriter.com/true-philadelphian.htm

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