Is that relevant today?
Does any Church of God have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18?
The late Pastor General of the old Worldwide Church of God, Herbert W. Armstrong, basically said so in a 1981 sermon:
Joel 2:28-29 And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: (29) And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
So there is a time coming when God will start pouring out His spirit on human beings. … Day of Pentecost, 3000 were baptized. Peter preached a sermon. They were pricked in their hearts. God began to draw them. God was now… Remember He said, “I will pour out of my spirit on all flesh.” All right, there’s a duality of that. (Armstrong HW. Building The Temple. Sermon, February 14, 1981)
Herbert W. Armstrong was correct about the time coming when God would pour out His Spirit as well as the duality. There was a duality to what Peter preached in Acts 2–and that duality is for our current time!
On that Day of Pentecost, here is some of what the Apostle Peter taught:
14 … “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. (Acts 2:14b-18)
We are in the last days (see also Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End?).
Therefore, dreams and prophesy were expected for our day!
Has this happened in the 21st century?
While Herbert W. Armstrong was alive, the Personal Correspondence Department in the old WCG sent out a letter on dreams and stated the Bible showed that future dreams from God to His people were expected. It then had a date change added to it and here is a quote from that one:
Thank you for your question concerning visions or dreams. The Bible reveals that in times past servants of God were given visions and dreams for specific reasons and/or to convey special messages. …God has used this means of communication in the past and will do so again (Acts 2:17; Joel 2:28) (L052 Worldwide Church of God, 1989)
As the WCG did not publicly acknowledge any such dreams after that letter was sent, the interpretation must be that God would later use dreams (it should be mentioned that the original date of L052 was prior to 1986–hence it was not a change by the Tkach Administration).
Yet, despite what the Acts 2:17-18 supports, most Church of God groups (and scattered ‘independents’) do not seemingly accept that there are any prophets today, nor do they seem to accept that God actually sometimes speaks in dreams in the 21st century.
Yes, most dreams are not from God (Deuteronomy 18:22), but consider that confirmed dreams related to the Christian church would be in a different (and biblically prophesied) category (Matthew 10:41; Acts 2:17-18). Some seemingly despise prophecies (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:20) and appear indignant/dismissive of the very idea that God would use dreams or prophets. Many do not understand what the Bible or what certain leaders have taught about prophets (for some details, see Church of God Leaders on Prophets). Part of the reason for this is pride, but also that the self-proclaimed ‘prophets’ outside of the Continuing Church of God have tended to have proven to be false (see also Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders?).
But that does not mean God doesn’t ever use dreams or have any in the office of prophet or ever pour out a ‘double-portion’ of His Spirit (cf. 2 Kings 2:9-15) as happened when an ordained minister so prayed and anointed me (Bob Thiel) on December 15, 2011. In the Old Testament, God gave a sign people could see that showed the mantle of leadership passed to Elisha (2 Kings 2:14-15). And for the last days, the Philadelphian Christians are those who kept God’s word (“kept My word” Revelation 3:7-8), and hence are willing to believe the confirmation signs that were at least partially prophesied in the New Testament in Acts 2:17-18. This was not said of the non-Philadelphians and the mantle does not pass to any of them (for more on the mantle, check out the article: Herbert W. Armstrong, the Philadelphia Church, & the Mantle).
The Apostle Peter and the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28-29) taught that there would be some with prophetic dreams in the end times.
Since a dream from a woman (Loma Armstrong) preceded the start of the Philadelphian era of the Church of God (for details, see Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God), does it not make sense that God would give a dream to another woman (in this case Fesilafai Fiso Leaana) prior to the formation of the most faithful Philadelphian remnant church, which is the Continuing Church of God?
Yet, many non-Philadelphians have concluded that there are not, cannot be, and/or that no stock should be placed on dreams.
But since Peter said that was a last days prophecy, then THE WORD OF GOD IS CLEAR THAT SOME OF GOD’S MOST FAITHFUL WOULD HAVE TO HAVE DIVINELY-INSPIRED DREAMS and/or prophetic abilities at this time. WILL YOU NOT BELIEVE THAT GOD WOULD BE DOING WHAT HIS WORD SAID HE WOULD BE DOING IN THE LAST DAYS?
At least seven people associated with the Continuing Church of God have had confirmed prophetic dreams (for details, see Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God). Is this happening anywhere else in the COGs?
The Bible shows that God most often works with prophets through a dream:
5 Then the Lord came down in the pillar of cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam. And they both went forward. 6 Then He said,
“Hear now My words:
If there is a prophet among you,
I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision;
I speak to him in a dream. (Numbers 12:5-6)
Notice that the above says that God’s plan is that He will speak to His prophets in a dream.
As the Apostle Peter was inspired to speak in Acts 2:17-18, dreams and prophets were prophesied in the New Testament for the last days!
Chart of Some CCOG-Related Dreams
K. Sani Mao
One dream was on the validity of the Sabbath, but the second showed a ‘C’ meaning CCOG or COGwriter to align with.
Became part of the CCOG in November 2018.
c. December 2008
The dream showed evangelist Roderick Meredith, who had long called Bob Thiel a friend and who he was on regular speaking terms with, would stop speaking with him. He would drop down as Bob Thiel rose and their lines crossed–seemingly a mantle passing.
There was also another dream related to Isaiah 6:8 and apparently the passing of the mantle; the precise year unclear.
Dr. Meredith stopped speaking with Bob Thiel in the Spring of 2012. CCOG formed December 28, 2012. The mantle seemingly passed sometime between 2009-2012.
The passing of the mantle potentially related to Bob Thiel was specifically brought up by Gaylyn Bonjour in 2011 and 2012.
December 8, 2012
Fesilafai Fiso Leaana
Approximately 10 people would separate from LCG, including Shirley Gestro and go to a group. A second part was related to the Ark of the Covenant.
The fulfillment related to departure from LCG and 1o people going to CCOG occurred within several weeks of the dream and included Shirley Gestro (CCOG did not form until weeks after the dream). The part related to the Ark of the Covenant was partially fulfilled during September 2013.
c. November 2013
God wanted Frederick’s father Evans to join with Bob Thiel to do the work that would grow. Also, this work would have involvement from New Zealand.
The number of CCOG Africans went from a dozen to the almost three hundred (that had been with Evans) in 2014, to over 4,000 by 2019. Also, Frederick said he was unaware that CCOG had any New Zealand component before having that dream and New Zealand has played important roles in supporting CCOG.
c. March 1, 2014
Bob Thiel would be speaking to a large group that would all be black, with him the only white person.
Fulfilled March 17, 2014 when Bob Thiel spoke before church leaders in Nairobi, Kenya.
c. January 2017
Bob Thiel would anoint him with oil.
Fulfilled on February 9, 2017. Nimrod did not have any reason to know that he would be ordained by Bob Thiel as a deacon as Bob Thiel did not do any ordinations in his previous trips to Africa. Also Bob Thiel did not learn of his dream until about two weeks later.
Alexsandar Veljic would get to Manipur, despite visa and travel issues that looked to prevent him, plus Sani Mao would be anointed with oil.
Alexsandar Veljic arrived in Manipur on January 10, 2019 and ended up anointing Sani Mao as a deacon on January 12, 2019 as Bob Thiel had tentatively authorized (but had not let Sani Mao know).
(The above list has dreams that were given to different ones of different ages in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and the South Pacific. For more details on the dreams, confirmations, and dreamers, see the article Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God).
While some others outside of CCOG could have dreams from God, if any of the dreams in the above list were from God (and their confirmations suggest that several must be), then they should be considered as God’s approval of Him placing Bob Thiel to be in a prophetic role.
How many dreams or people with confirmed dreams will it take for people to accept that the dreams’ prophecy in Acts 2:17-18 is being fulfilled in the Continuing Church of God and, to this degree, in no other church?
Jesus taught that “by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established” (Matthew 18:16).
Isn’t seven people with confirmed dreams enough to take them seriously?
Of course, many will discount dreams, their confirmation, and true teachings as proper proof of anything they do not wish to believe. Many want more dramatic signs (Matthew 12:38; 1 Kings 19:11-12), but God does not always do it that way (Matthew 12:39-42; 1 Kings 19:12-14).
It is bizarre that so many people who claim to believe in Bible prophecy are so dismissive of dreams.
Laodicea is made up of two Greek words which basically mean “people decide” or “people judge.” These are Christian people who ARE NOT deciding by God’s biblical criteria, but their own (often as influenced by others).
Yet, though they probably do not consider themselves as Laodicean, those who seem to wish to remain Laodicean (or at least part of Laodicean groups or independents) look to be judging against God by not accepting clear proof of God giving dreams or inspiring prophecies in the 21st century.
The reality, based on Jesus’ words in Revelation 3 to the churches, is that most end time Christians will not be Philadelphian–and it is the Philadelphians that have the work that Jesus praised (Revelation 3:7-13). It is the non-Philadelphians that will not accept dreams from God or listening to His prophets until it is too late (cf. Revelation 3).
The biblical reality is that true prophets have always been rejected by many. Remember what Jesus said:
41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. (Matthew 10:41)
Jesus is saying that the prophet will have to tell people that he/she is a prophet. This happened repeatedly with the Old Testament prophets as well. Jesus did NOT say that until YOU see something YOU think is miraculous enough, you should receive the prophet. He said to receive the prophet in the name of the prophet. In other words, Jesus is saying to pay attention to what the prophet says and accept his/her teachings and you will receive a prophet’s reward. If the prophet does not claim to be a prophet (and also provide evidence) how else can anyone know if the person is a prophet? Hence, it is needful for a prophet to ‘defend’ and sometime explain, the prophet status.
Now consider something that Jeremiah was inspired to write:
28 The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream. And he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. (Jeremiah 23:28)
Some do not want to hear about dreams, but the word of God says that God’s prophets, as well as people used for one or more prophetic dreams, should truthfully tell them. Some are critical of me and others in the CCOG telling about them.
Yet, notice the following:
29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. 31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” (Acts 5:29-32)
In these times, Christians still ought to obey God and not men. And when it comes to proclamation, also be witnesses of what has happened.
Therefore, that is something we in the Continuing Church of God are doing–and yes, that includes telling about confirmed dreams.
What about prophetic matters beyond dreams?
Here is something that Herbert Armstrong wrote in 1985:
In these last days, according to biblical prophecy, knowledge, spiritual as well as material, was to be increased. The true Church of God was to be set back on the track, restoring the glorious knowledge of the faith once delivered to the saints in the days of the original apostles. (Armstrong HW. Mystery of the Ages, 1985)
Would not spiritual and prophetic knowledge include making predictions inspired by God and having a better understanding of prophecy than the non-Philadelphian COGs?
Look also at the following chart:
Coincidences or Divine Intervention?
Category Event Fulfillment Prediction During late August 2008, Bob Thiel told LCG minister Davy Crocket that unless evangelists would implement certain matters that God was about to strike a top LCG leader with something. LCG’s top evangelist, Roderick C. Meredith, suffered a ministroke on September 19, 2008. Prayer On February 4, 2009, Dr. Meredith asked Bob Thiel to pray that he would live another 7 – 15 years, so Bob Thiel did. Dr. Meredith died on May 18, 2017–a little over 8 years after that prayer. Predictions In July 2009, Bob Thiel’s book 2012 and the Rise of the Secret Sect went to press. By December 22, 2012, 32 predictions in that book were at least partially fulfilled. For details, go to https://www.cogwriter.com/Confirmed2012BookEvents.htm Speculative
On June 24, 2010, Bob Thiel warned that “Certain biblical, Chinese, and other prophecies…discuss that how Australia itself may become taken over. By virtue of her timing, Julia Gillard may inadvertently pursue policies that will lead to the fulfillment of various end time prophecies.” On November 10, 2011, because an agreement with Julia Gillard, US troops were stationed in Darwin, Australia, and by November 18, 2011 China pointed to this as a reason to consider military action against Australia. Speculative
From 2010 to 2015, Bob Thiel made and/or posted speculative predictions related to Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. By late 2017, 7-11 predictions (depending on how they are included) related to Herr Guttenberg were at least partially fulfilled. For details, go to https://www.cogwriter.com/karl-theodor-zu-guttenberg-king-of-the-north.htm Prayer Although told by two LCG ministers (Dr. Jeff Fall and Gary Ehman) in the late Fall of 2011 that he did not need to have hands laid on him to be a prophet, Bob Thiel prayed that something would happen related to his ‘prophet’ situation in a planned December 2011 trip to Charlotte, North Carolina. On December 15, 2011, Gaylyn Bonjour anointed Bob Thiel and prayed that he be granted a double-portion of God’s Spirit. Gaylyn Bonjour said this was reminiscent of the passing of the mantle, that he realized what he may have unintentionally did, and that what he did could not be undone. This answered Bob Thiel’s prayer. Prayer On December 16, 2011, Richard Ames prayed that Bob Thiel would continue his evangelical/prophetic efforts and LCG evangelists Dr. Meredith and Dr. D. Winnail gave Amen concurrence. Bob Thiel has continued evangelical/prophetic efforts and has been the human leader of the fastest growing COG group in the 21st century, known as the Continuing Church of God. Prediction On December 19, 2011, Bob Thiel tried to meet with Dr. Meredith to tell him that it seemed God was telling him that his wife Sheryl was about to be struck with something serious. In Dr. Meredith’s letter dated 1/12/12, he reported that his wife Sheryl (who was much younger than he) was stricken with stage four cancer. She later died on November 29, 2013. Predictions In a book published on January 19, 2017, Bob Thiel listed many predictions related to the upcoming Donald Trump presidency. Plus he published others at cogwriter.com By mid 2019, events aligned with at least 19 predictions related to the Trump Administration. For details go to https://www.cogwriter.com/donald-trump-prophecy.htm
Clearly the above are not all coincidental nor the only result of analytical news skills and biblical knowledge, particularly on those that were related to the health of Dr. and Sheryl Meredith.
If only two of the confirmed dreams and/or prophetic fulfillments were the result of something from God (cf. Matthew 18:16), then this is Divine validation of Bob Thiel prophetic status. And since no other COG has God’s confirmation of a prophetic leader like this, this is something that any claiming to be true Church of God Christians should pay attention to. And, of course, anyone who accepts and truly understands biblical church governance realizes that prophets are only considered second to apostles (1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11)–so if there are no accepted apostles today, those outside of CCOG should consider that they need to properly respond to Philadelphian biblical church governance (see also The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government and Herbert W. Armstrong, the Philadelphia Church, & the Mantle).
Speaking of dreams and governance, back in 1980 Herbert W. Armstrong had a dream and made a statement about governance:
Well, the REAL QUESTION is whether this is GOD’S Church or the PEOPLE’S Church! If it is GOD’S Church, then GOD is running it, and revealing what we shall believe and teach. GOD has the ‘say so’. God runs it through Jesus Christ, who is the HEAD of the Church. And Jesus Christ runs it through His chosen apostle, whom HE, not men, chose, prepared and now guides and leads. Those men are getting your eyes off of GOD — you are leaving GOD out of the picture — out of the Church. You are looking only at people! (Armstrong HW. Shall We All Leave THE CHURCH OF GOD and Join ‘THE CHURCH OF PEOPLE’? Good News, September 1980)
Christians should accept biblical governance and look to the proofs and signs God provides as opposing to look to the approval of humans, which most tend to do.
The Bible shows that part of the final phase of the work is being done by God’s Spirit through His people (with God and angels directly handling other parts, e.g. Revelation 14:6-11), but many will not have the faith to believe:
6 This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:
‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6)
7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
5 Look among the nations and watch —
Be utterly astounded!
For I will work a work in your days
Which you would not believe, though it were told you. (Habakkuk 1:5)
It is God’s Spirit that provides the signs of Acts 2:17-18. CCOG has them! Can you believe since it is being told to you?
Most will not believe, but that was prophesied in places more than just Habakkuk 1:5:
6 “Don’t say such things,” the people respond. “Don’t prophesy like that. Such disasters will never come our way!” (Micah 2:6, New Living Translation)
16 … You say, ‘Do not prophesy against Israel, And do not spout against the house of Isaac.’ (Amos 7:16)
People will not want to hear!
Most end time Christians are Laodicean and WILL NOT accept a true prophet of God, including the two witnesses, until it is too late for them to take sufficient action!
Consider the following which will affect God’s people:
26 Disaster will come upon disaster,
And rumor will be upon rumor.
Then they will seek a vision from a prophet; (Ezekiel 7:26)
Will you wait until it is too late (cf. Zephaniah 2:1-3; see also There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Near Petra)? Will you wait until after prophesied disasters to hit before heeding God’s messages and messengers?
Would you, instead, follow the lead of one that did meet all of the biblical-requirements for a prophet as he tried to follow Christ? If you heard about one, what would you really do?
If you believe in biblical church governance and do not accept any self-appointed “apostles,” should you not consider the Continuing Church of God as its top human leader has meets the prophetic criteria and that the CCOG has the confirmed fruits of Acts 2:17-18?
The Bible shows that with New Testament era prophets that God ordains and has human anoint them. I (Bob Thiel) was ordained by God and anointed by a COG minister. Oddly, many seem to prefer that humans always BOTH ordain and anoint.
Do not be Laodicean (Revelation 3:14-18) about this–“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
God expects Christians to accept the criteria in His word.
The Laodiceans do not want to hear prophets and even Jesus has to knock to get them to pay even minimal attention:
20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (Revelation 3:20)
Jesus did NOT say He would knock the door down to force Laodiceans to change! He said He would knock. Can you accept His knocking?
Jesus also told the Laodiceans to “anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see” (Revelation 3:18). The salve is responding to the work of God’s Spirit as His word teaches would impact the last days (cf. Revelation 3:22). Jesus “advised the spiritually blind Laodiceans to buy eyesalve of Him that they might have spiritual vision” (The Seven Cities of Asia Minor. Study guide for Ambassador College–Worldwide Church of God).
Will you answer Jesus’ criteria in the Bible? Do you have the proper spiritual vision to realize that prophetic dreams were to exist in these last days?
Although Jesus gave many signs (John 2:11; 6:2, 26; 7:31; 9:16; 11:47; 12:37), the people apparently wanted different ones:
37 But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, 38 that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke:
“Lord, who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” (John 12:37-38)
Jesus denounced those who wanted different signs from Him (Matthew 12:38-39). Non-Philadelphians are unwilling to accept God’s signs–that’s the biblical reality. God does not always show signs the way many seem to think He has to.
The apostles were confirmed by signs that followed them (Mark 16:20) and there have been signs that have confirmed the Continuing Church of God. And the old Radio/Worlwide Church of God pointed to a dream that preceded its formation as part of its confirmation that it had God’s blessing.
Please accept the criteria that God, not some organization claiming to best represent Him, has set for determining who is a true prophet of God. Do not add non-biblical criteria, which is what most have done.
If you are uncertain about what to do, please be like the Bereans and search “the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11), “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ” (Colossians 4:2-3), and do what God, above what any human, would want you to do (Acts 5:29).
The Continuing Church of God is the only COG organization with so many of the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18.
Would not that be expected of the most faithful remnant of the Philadelphian era in the last days? Can you accept the prophetic criteria that God established in the Bible?
Here is a link to a version of this article in the Spanish language: ¿Tiene la CCOG confirmadas las señales de Hechos 2: 17-18?