The Apostle Paul was inspired to write:
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)
Yes, this is comforting, but when will this happen?
Notice what Jesus taught:
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:29-31)
So, Jesus returns after the tribulation is over.
Notice what precedes the end:
14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)
So, the end, the Great Tribulation per Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:21, starts after the gospel of the kingdom of God is sufficiently preached to the world as a witness.
But that preaching also must bear fruit–as we will see, a lot of Gentile fruit.
Notice the following:
14 … [T]he apostles Barnabas and Paul … 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 14:14,27)
Well, that was in the past.
What about in the 21st century?
Are a lot more Gentiles going to be called?
Notice the following:
27 But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ 28 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. 29 They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God. 30 And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last.” (Luke 13:27-30)
Gentiles will be among the rulers in the Kingdom of God. Yes, massive amounts of Gentiles will later be called in the age to come (see also Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation).
Are more Gentiles going to be called in this age?
In Romans 11, verse 25, the Apostle Paul wrote the following:
25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. (Romans 11:25)
In the second century A.D., Irenaeus of Lyon, who claimed to have received some of his doctrines from Polycarp of Smyrna wrote:
God has made the Gentiles, whose salvation was despaired of, fellow-heirs (Against Heresies, Book I, Chapter X)
It is not possible to name the number of the gifts which the Church, [scattered] throughout the whole world, has received from God, in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and which she exerts day by day for the benefit of the Gentiles (Against Heresies, Book II, Chapter XXXII)
God did purpose to take from among the Gentiles a people for His name (Against Heresies, Book III, Chapter XII)
God has justly rejected them, and given to the Gentiles outside the vineyard the fruits of its cultivation. (Against Heresies, Book IV, Chapter XXXVI)
God shall enlarge unto Japheth, and he shall dwell in the house of Shem, and Ham shall be his servant. That is to say: In the end of the ages he blossomed forth, at the appearing of the Lord, through the calling of the Gentiles, when God enlarged unto them the calling; and their sound went out into all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. The enlarging, then, is the calling from among the Gentiles, that is to say, the Church. (A Discourse on the Demonstration of Apostolic Preaching. Chapter 21)
So, the idea of reaching Gentiles did not die out after the writing of the New Testament.
Getting back to the Apostle Paul, he wrote:
26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
27 For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.” (Romans 11:26-27)
So, in the sequence of Romans 11, we see the full number of the Gentiles will come into the faith (Romans 11:25), prior to Jesus’ return (Romans 11:26).
The late Pastor General of the old Worldwide Church of God, Herbert W. Armstrong, taught the following about Romans 11:25:
Now I want you to study carefully one of the most wonderful, important chapters in all the Bible — the 11th of Romans. … Verse 23 says those who abide not still in unbelief shall YET receive salvation. … Now study carefully beginning verse 25: “Blindness in part is happened to Israel [HOW LONG? Forever? No — note it], UNTIL the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” — the end of this age during which God is calling a people from among the gentiles to bear His name (Acts 15:14). And so, says Romans 11:26, “all Israel SHALL BE SAVED [how?]: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” The Deliverer, Jesus Christ, is coming again!
When He comes, the gentile times will be over — the BLINDNESS will be removed from the Israelites — and their opportunity — their FIRST chance — of salvation will then come to those whom God had blinded! This is at the time when He comes to REIGN on HIS THRONE — the throne of David, with the saints made immortal reigning and ruling with Him — and the time is DURING THE THOUSAND YEARS!
Notice verse 31. These blinded Israelites have not now, in this age, received mercy, that through the mercy of the gentiles saved in this age, they MAY, THEN, obtain mercy and salvation. How? Because these saved gentiles will then be kings and priests, assisting in this wonderful Work! (Armstrong HW. Where Will The MILLENNIUM Be Spent? Tomorrow’s Word magazine, September 1971, p. 5)
25: “Blindness in part is happened until Israel”-HOW LONG? Forever? No-note it-“UNTIL the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” -the end of this age during which God is calling a people from among the Gentiles to bear His name (Acts 15: 14). … These blinded Israelites have not now, in this age, received mercy, that thru the mercy of the Gentiles saved in this age, they MAY, THEN, obtain mercy and salvation. How? Because these saved Gentiles will then be kings and priests, assisting in this wonderful work! (Armstrong HW. Where Will The MILLENNIUM Be Spent? Plain Truth, February-March 1954 , pp. 4-5)
(25) For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel [or that part of Israel, meaning the great part, the big part — all but a few, have been blinded. It’s the big part actually] until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. [Or the number of Gentiles to be converted becomes complete — as other translations have it] (Armstrong HW. Romans 11-13. Bible Study, June 27, 1980)
Clearly, we are much closer to the time when all the Gentiles are to come in to later be kings and priests than when those articles were published (see also: Christians are to Rule).
More of the Gentiles had to be called and converted– and that is happening now!
Sadly, many people are affected by prejudices and other factors which stop them from acting on the truth and supporting the reaching of the Gentiles.
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.
In CCOG we are reaching Gentiles and non-Gentiles (cf. Romans 9:27; see also What is the Ezekiel Warning?).
And that is why we have been the fastest growing xWCG church in the 21st century.
Here are some comments related to the fullness of the Gentiles by the old Radio Church of God:
” 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, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25). God has a TIME SCHEDULE He is working out. (Armstrong GT. When You Die–Then What Happens? Plain Truth, June 1967, p. 22)
Isaiah 11 … The Gentiles are going to seek God (verse 10) and Israel and Judah are going to be gathered THE SECOND TIME from the heathen nations (verse 11). This could not be speaking of any “spiritual Israel.” The last verses in this chapter speak of men crossing rivers and highways as they leave the Gentile nations and return the second time to the land of promise. This is the time spoken of by Paul. “Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins” (Romans 11:25-27). Here is GOOD NEWS! Here is part of the gospel message. Blindness is happened to Israel, not forever, but until the full number of Gentiles who are to be converted in this age comes into the Kingdom. Then Israel shall be forgiven and the vast majority of Gentiles shall seek God. (Hoeh H. The Coming UTOPIA… Wonderful World of Tomorrow. Plain Truth, March 1957, p. 6; see also Hoeh H. The Coming UTOPIA… Wonderful World of Tomorrow. Tomorrows World, May-June 1970, p. 22)
Since the end of the age with Jesus returning does not come until the full number of Gentiles comes in, shouldn’t reaching more Gentiles be part of the final phase of the work?
And while the Two Witnesses (Revelation 11:3-9) and the messages of the three angels (Revelation 14:8-11; see also The Final Phase of the Work) will doing that during the Great Tribulation and Day of the Lord, the way that Romans 11:25 is written shows that Christians are not to wait for that alone, but to also participate in that now. The Apostle Paul (“the apostle to the Gentiles”–Romans 11:13) and the other apostles realized that in the Book of Acts (cf. Acts 11).
We in the Continuing Church of God believe that is so and have been pouring in resources to do into reaching Gentiles, including impoverished ones (see also How does the Continuing Church of God differ from other Sabbatarian COG groups? and the free booklet: Is God Calling You?).
We also realize that God has a plan for the Gentiles (and non-Gentiles too!) who not called in this age (for details, check out the free online book: Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation).
To reach those that we can in this age, we have literature in over 100 languages and numerous websites:
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. This page has links to literature in over 100 languages.
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
Continuing Church of God Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Africa, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Canada, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Europe, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
CCOG.ASIA This page has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus items in numerous other Asian languages.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage and has Indian language translations of certain CCOG literature.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted towards Europe. It has materials in multiple European languages.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CCOGAFRICA.ORG This is a website targeted towards those in Africa.
CCOGCANADA.CA This is a website targeted towards those in Canada.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God and has articles in español/castellano.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
We also have audio and video channels, such as the following:
Bible News Prophecy channel. Dr. Thiel has produced hundreds of videos for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. You can find them at them on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/user/BibleNewsProphecy, plus also on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/channels/biblenewsprophecy as well as on Brighteon at https://www.brighteon.com/channel/ccogbnp
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos. It is also available as a mobile app.
BibleNewsProphecy Podcast. This has audio-visual podcasts of the Bible News Prophecy channgel. It plays on i-Phones, i-Pads, and Windows devices that can play i-Tunes.
CCOGAfrica channel. This has messages from African pastors in African languages such as Kalenjin, Kiswahili, Embu, and Dholuo.
CCOG Animations channel. The Continuing Church of God has some animations to teach aspects of Christian beliefs.
CDLIDDSermones channel. This contains messages in the Spanish language.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced video sermons for this YouTube channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos. Here is a link to a short intro: ContinuingCOG Channel.
Furthermore, CCOG ministers have reached out and physically visited potential brethren in Mexico, South America, India, Europe, the Philippines, Africa, the Caribbean, and wherever we see that Jesus seems to have opened a door (cf. Revelation 3:7-8). We now have congregations in many of those areas (see also Congregations of the Continuing Church of God).
We in the Continuing Church of God are serious about supporting Romans 11:25.
We are doing more than giving a witness to Gentiles, we are having Gentile conversions around the world. To a major degree, we have been the fastest growing Church of God in the 21st century because of that.
God has opened the door to reach Gentiles (Acts 14:27), Philadelphian Christians are to go through that door (Revelation 3:7), and the full number of Gentiles must come in before Jesus returns (Romans 11:25).
The full number of Gentiles will be converted in this age before Jesus returns!
We have a video sermonette on this subject as well on our Bible News Prophecy YouTube channel:
The Apostle Paul wrote that the return of Jesus should be a comfort to Christians. But when, according to the words of Jesus and the Apostle Paul will Jesus return? What is the relationship of Matthew 24:14 to the Great Tribulation? Is only a witness needed for Jesus to return? Or do the full number of Gentiles need to come in first? What will be the role of Gentiles converted in this age after Jesus returns to establish the Kingdom of God? What have Church of God leaders written about Romans 11? What does the Bible teach must happen before Jesus returns? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more.
Here is a link to our uploaded video: Gentiles and When Will Jesus Return?