Comments on the 2nd Epistle to the Corinthians

By COGwriter

This article consists of scriptures and notes related to a series of sermons on the Book of 2 Corinthians.

It includes many comments from Bible studies that the late Pastor General of the old Worldwide Church of God, Herbert W. Armstrong, taught in 1980/1981. Comments within {} were added by me within other quotes for clarification.

He did a series on the Apostle Paul's letters to the Corinthians, a few weeks after doing a series on the Book of Romans (for information on the Book of Romans, check out the article Comments on the Book of Romans).

More on 1 Corinthians can be found in the article: Comments on the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians. In the Summer of 2022, we did a sermon series on that book. Here are links to all eight sermons on that series:

  1. 1 Corinthians 1-2: God’s Spirit & the Ways of the World
  2. 1 Corinthians 3-4: Christianity Requires Repentance
  3. 1 Corinthians 5-6: The Church and Bad Apples
  4. 1 Corinthians 7-8: Sex, Remarriage, and Christian Love
  5. 1 Corinthians 9-10: Authority, Idols, and Love
  6. 1 Corinthians 11-12: Hair, Veils, & Spiritual Gifts
  7. 1 Corinthians 13-14: Love, Prophecy, and Tongues
  8. 1 Corinthians 15-16: Resurrection Hope, Collections, and Love

Let's continue by stating that Corinth was a city in Greece.

My wife Joyce, our son Michael, and I visited it as part of a Worldwide Church of God Feast of Tabernacles tour in 1990. We visited the ancient ruins and went through the isthmus of Corinth--which was a canal started and stopped in the 7th century BC and 1st century AD to cut ship travel time. It was finally not completed until the 19th century. In ancient times, sometimes boats were hauled over land to reduce travel time.

Anciently, Corinth was a wealthy and cosmopolitan type of place at the time and known for its immorality. It had a reputation, somewhat similar today that the USA city of Las Vegas has.

Here is an introduction to 2 Corinthians by Herbert W. Armstrong:

You notice today in the churches that call themselves Christian they don’t mention God very much as the Father. If they say the word God, they’re talking about Christ. It’s all about Christ. They don’t talk much about the Father. The Father is the one who is the lawmaker and sin is the transgression of God’s law and we have to answer to God for our sins. ...

Let me add that part of that is because of their trinitarian view of the Godhead as well as certain misconceptions they have about Jesus and salvation.

In the Summer of 2023, we did a sermon series on 2 Corinthians. Here are links to the sermons on that series:

  1.  2 Corinthians 1-2: Church of God Suffering and Open Door
  2.  2 Corinthians 3: The New Covenant, Jews, & Gentiles
  3.  2 Corinthians 4-5: Guaranteed Immortality
  4.  2 Corinthians 6: Salvation and Persecutions
  5.  2 Corinthians 2:7-9: Be a Philadelphian Giver
  6. 2 Corinthians 10-11: Faithfulness, Speaking, and Fables
  7. 2 Corinthians 12-13: Problems and Philadelphian Proofs

Chapter 1

Anyway, 2 Corinthians is the second letter that Paul sent to the church or brethren in Corinth. Here is the first verse:

Verse 1: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia:

Paul felt it needful to mention that he was an apostle. He often seemed to feel the need to remind his readers of that. He also was the one to write:

28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:28)

It is God who appoints. Many do not accept how God works nor truly accept His governance (see The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government).

That said, notice that the letter was addressed to the Church of God at Corinth.

Variations of this 'Church of God' expression are clearly stated in the singular and plural forms in twelve different places in the New Testament (Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 10:32; 11:16,22; 15:9; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:14; 2 Thessalonians 1:4; 1 Timothy 3:5,15).  Throughout Christian history, the true church has normally used a version of the expression “Church of God” (or “Churches of Christ,” cf. Romans 16:16) though often with another term, like a geographic region (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:2) or another word, with it (1 Timothy 3:15). Jesus said that Christians would be kept in His Father’s name (John 17:12), which most often is simply “God” in the New Testament, hence “Church of God.”


Verse 2: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Now he says I am sending you grace and peace from God. In other words I am the minister of God and God is sending it to you by me.

Back to chapter 1:

Verse 3: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort all.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Because they are going to be judged by whatever they are doing now. But the time of the judgment for that has not come yet. Whatever they do now is being recorded.

It’s like if you go out and commit a robbery or a murder or two, and maybe the government just has a watch on you and they record it and they haven’t arrested you and brought you into court yet. But they’re gonna bring you into court! Maybe that trial isn’t gonna come for two or three weeks but you’re going to get there. You’re going to be held accountable.

The people who are not being called are going to be held accountable for everything they are doing now. It means the time of their judgment has not come yet. But they’re going to be judged and that would be in the Great White Throne judgment, more than 1000 years from now.

But let me add that scirpture also teaches that:

13 ... Mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:13)

Getting back to chapter 1:

Verse 4: who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 

God will comfort us during our tribulation, and many are experiencing tribulations of many types in the church.

Back to chapter 1:

Verse 5: For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

In other words you’ll notice God’s teaching all the way through is giving, serving, helping, and sharing.  Sharing with others is God’s way, not trying to take away and get from others and hurt others and just help yourself. And that is what we need in athletics. We can have competition if it is sharing. Now in a competition where we both share the fun, the other fellow is getting fun out of it all the same. The trouble is in athletics they put all the emphasis on winning and making the other fellow lose. We’ve got to quit doing that. We’ve got to enjoy the game and who wins is not the big thing. The big thing is enjoying the game. But in this world the only thing is who wins, it’s the only thing that counts.

Back to chapter 1:

Verse 6: Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.

We should derive comfort from God's loving plan of salvation. More on that is in our 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.

Back to chapter 1:

Verse 7: And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

In our church if one suffers we all suffer. If one is exalted and good comes to them we’re all glad. Because that is the way of love and God’s way of love.

We are not alone. And yes, suffering happens. Here is something related to why from our free online booklet:  The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You?:

If Jesus came so that we could have life “more abundantly” (John 10:10), does God allow suffering?


Is there a purpose for it?


31 For the Lord will not cast off forever. 32 Though He causes grief, Yet He will show compassion According to the multitude of His mercies. 33 For He does not afflict willingly, Nor grieve the children of men. (Lamentations 3:31-33)

Notice that God does not willingly afflict nor grieve us. He wants us to do well (cf. 3 John 2).

Seemingly bad things happen to decent people.

Jesus never sinned (Hebrews 4:15), but suffered for us (1 Peter 2:21). And “though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).

Why does God allow humans to suffer?

There are a couple of reasons. One is as punishment for/result of our sins to encourage us to not sin and to turn back to God (Lamentations 3:39-40; Leviticus 26:18). And, we should understand that the Bible teaches that God punishes us less than our iniquities deserve (cf. Ezra 9:13; Job 11:6). Now, even people who believe at least those parts of the Bible, realize that.

But there is another, more complicated, reason.

The Apostle Paul tells us that “the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope” (Romans 8:20). He also wrote:

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

People are in the process of being refined--which includes grief and affliction--yet there is hope. Those not called in this age are refined one way (Isaiah 48:10; Jeremiah 9:7), whereas those called are to be refined and purified more like silver and/or gold (Zechariah 13:9; Psalm 66:10; Daniel 11:35, 12:10; 1 Peter 1:7; cf. Revelation 3:18). Hence there are “fiery” trials in this age (1 Peter 1:7; 4:12).

There is a hope for what will be better:

9 But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. 10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:9-12)

Thus, we are to be patient and confident that God’s ways will result in “better things.”

Patiently enduring suffering is a sign of love:

4 Love is long-suffering, it is kind, love does not envy, love does not vaunt itself, is not puffed up, 5 does not act unseemly, does not seek its own things, is not provoked, does not impute evil, 6 [does] not rejoice over unrighteousness, and rejoices with the truth; it bears all things, 7 it believes all, it hopes all, it endures all. 8 Love never fails; (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, Literal Standard Version)

The Greek word translated as love is transliterated as ‘agape’--and this type of love rejoices in the truth and will bear all things. A mystery of real love is that suffering can be involved in the development of love. Real love will not fail.

Sometimes people suffer for doing good:

17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (1 Peter 3:17)

Note that the above does NOT SAY it is the will of God to inflict suffering on ourselves so that we would be miserable. God’s ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9) and aspects of love are a mystery in God’s plan (cf. Ephesians 5:25-32).

Now, the Bible is clear that there are benefits that will arise from the suffering that afflicts us:

3 Sorrow is better than laughter, For by a sad countenance the heart is made better. 4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, But the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. (Ecclesiastes 7:3-4)

16 The Spirit itself bears witness conjointly with our own spirit, testifying that we are the children of God. 17 Now if we are children, we are also heirs—truly, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if indeed we suffer together with Him, so that we may also be glorified together with Him. (Romans 8:16-17, AFV)

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)

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. (1 Peter 4:12-13)

11 My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction; 12 For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.  (Proverbs 3:11-12)

5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”

7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:5-11)

Suffering is allowed so that people will be corrected, be trained, build character, and be better from it (see also Romans 5:3-4, 8:17; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-5; James 1:2-4; 2 Peter 1:5-8; Revelation 21:7-8). Trials and problems help build faith, teach humility, teach us lessons, and can help us draw closer to God.

While it can seem overwhelming now, God understands and makes it so His people can bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13). Jesus essentially taught to take it one day at a time (Matthew 6:34). And what He has planned in the future is so beyond what physical sufferings will be in this life (Romans 8:18).

Jesus and God’s people have suffered:

1 Therefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, leaving behind all the weight of the sin which surrounds us, let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 with our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who having been offered joy, endured the cross {Gr. stauros – stake}, despising the shame and was seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself lest ye be wearied in your souls and faint. (Hebrews 12:1-3, Jubilee Bible)

Suffering will end:

12 … Though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no more; 13 For now I will break off his yoke from you, And burst your bonds apart. (Nahum 1:12-13)

While this was given as a prophesy related to Nineveh, other scriptures confirm that suffering will end (Revelation 21:4) and the yoke of Satan will be broken (Isaiah 14:12-17; Revelation 20:1-3).

It needs to be pointed out that suffering does not always result from our actions. We, like Jesus, can suffer wrongfully:

19 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.

21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:

22 “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;

23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; (1 Peter 2:19-23)

Jesus set an example to us about suffering (1 Peter 2:21-24). As did the prophets (James 5:10-11).

We are to imitate Jesus (1 Peter 2:21-24), as well as the prophet Paul (1 Corinthians 13:2) as he imitated Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:1). ...

Moving Towards Perfection

In the Old Testament, Moses wrote that God’s “work is perfect” (Deuteronomy 32:4). In the New Testament, the Apostle James wrote:

2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (James 1:2-5)

Suffering looks to be part of moving towards perfection. This DOES NOT mean we are to torture ourselves intentionally like some do, but to patiently endure the trials and sufferings we encounter.

And yes, that is easier to write than to experience—and God knows this (cf. Hebrews 12:11):

8 The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; (Psalm 138:8)

God is working to perfect YOU!

Consider that the Bible teaches Jesus learned obedience from suffering:

8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, (Hebrews 5:8-9)

His followers should learn that as well.

Jesus taught:

48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)

Does that mean Christians are now perfect?


The Apostle John clearly taught that true Christians still sin and need forgiveness (1 John 1:8-10).

So, does this mean that Christians should just conclude since this is impossible, that it is okay not to try?


Christians are to overcome with God’s help (Romans 12:21; Philippians 4:13; 1 John 4:4) the tests and trials in this life, which helps bring us closer to perfection (James 1:2-4).

The Apostle Paul, while suffering from an affliction, related something Jesus told him:

9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

We are being perfected now through what we go through.

It is when Christians are resurrected as God’s children that they will be fully perfected (cf. Ephesians 4:13; Hebrews 11:40).

Even if no one knows that you are suffering, remember scripture teaches:

5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." 6 So we may boldly say:

"The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?" (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Back to chapter 1:

Verse 8: For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.

Paul is letting them know he had major problems. Yes, there can be major problems in the true church.


Verse 9: Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, 

Apparently Paul and the those with him had recently faced death.

Back to chapter 1:

Verse 10: who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us,

Yes, we have to trust that God will deliver us. As it says in Proverbs:

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil. (Proverbs 3:5-7)

Sadly, most who profess Christ will not do that--despite the Apostle Paul basically saying the same thing in 2 Corinthians 1, verse 9.

Now to verse 11:

Verse 11: you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many.

Notice that Paul is saying that having brethren pray for him is helping the work. Please pray for church leaders and that God's work will be done with minimal interference.


Verse 12: For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.

Paul says he is being sincere. We are doing the same.

Back to chapter 1:

Verse 13: For we are not writing any other things to you than what you read or understand. Now I trust you will understand, even to the end.

Paul also wrote:

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)

We are all to strive for wisdom and understanding. Proverbs teaches:

5 Get wisdom! Get understanding!
Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
6 Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you;
Love her, and she will keep you.
7 Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding. (Proverbs 4:5-7)

Back to chapter 1:

Verse 14:  (as also you have understood us in part), that we are your boast as you also are ours, in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Paul is glad that they have understood in part and are remaining faithful.

Continuing, Paul wrote:

Verse 15: And in this confidence I intended to come to you before, that you might have a second benefit—
Verse 16: to pass by way of you to Macedonia, to come again from Macedonia to you, and be helped by you on my way to Judea. 
Verse 17: Therefore, when I was planning this, did I do it lightly? Or the things I plan, do I plan according to the flesh, that with me there should be Yes, Yes, and No, No?

Paul took planning seriously. We in the CCOG do as well. That is why we are preparing for the short work (see Preparing for the 'Short Work' and The Famine of the Word) and taking steps for the final phase of the work (see The Final Phase of the Work).

Back to chapter 1:

Verse 18: But as God is faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No.
Verse 19: For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me, Silvanus, and Timothy—was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes.

Paul is saying that the truth about Jesus is actual, and he is not being double-minded about it. The Apostle James warned:

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:5-8)

Continuing, Paul wrote:

Verse 20: For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.

The promises in Jesus are Yes, they are true and they are good for us.

Continuing, Paul wrote:

Verse 21: Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, Verse 22:  who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

Brethren, notice that we--US-are anointed in God. Not just the ordained ministry, but everyone. It brings to mind the 23rd Psalm:

1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name's sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever. (Psalms 23:1-6)

So, having an anointing of God is also special blessing that we who are called in this age have.

Paul wrote:

Verse 23: Moreover I call God as witness against my soul, that to spare you I came no more to Corinth.

He was apparently afraid he may say or do something that would have made matters worse if he, himself, went to Corinth at that time.

Concluding chapter 1, Paul wrote:

Verse 24: Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy; for by faith you stand.

Paul is saying that the Christians are responsible for their faith and are to be fellow workers in the faith.

All Philadelphian Christians need to be fellow workers in the faith as well.

Chapter 2

Now to chapter 2:

Verse 1: But I determined this within myself, that I would not come again to you in sorrow.

Paul did not want to come to visit in a negative sorrowful way.


Verse 2:  For if I make you sorrowful, then who is he who makes me glad but the one who is made sorrowful by me?

HWA commented:

In other words if I cause you pain I can’t make you glad, and I want you to make me glad because I want to make you glad.

In other words I gotta love you or you won’t love me.

Paul wrote in chapter 2:

Verse 3: And I wrote this very thing to you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow over those from whom I ought to have joy, having confidence in you all that my joy is the joy of you all.

Paul wants joy, not sorrow from church members. So, of course, do I.

Paul wrote in chapter 2:

Verse 4:  For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you, with many tears, not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you.

Paul said he was basically correcting in love, when he disfelllowshiped a man in 1 Corinthians, even though many apparently did not think so.

Paul wrote in chapter 2:

Verse 5: But if anyone has caused grief, he has not grieved me, but all of you to some extent—not to be too severe.

Paul is saying that the grief should not have been too severe.

Paul wrote in chapter 2:

Verse 6: This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man,

Apparently, some in Corinth thought that the punishment should have been greater and/or needed to continue longer than Paul felt was necessary.

Paul then wrote in chapter 2:

Verse 7: so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow.
Verse 8: Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him.

Paul said it was time to move on and drop punishment, but to show the one who had been disfellowshiped love.

Paul further wrote in chapter 2:

Verse 9:  For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things.

Telling people to forgive was a test of obedience. Many tend to hold on to negative things/feelings/hurts and do not wish to be obedient when it comes to truly forgiving.

Obedience to God (cf. Acts 5:32; Hebrews 5:9) and His ministry is something Christians are to have. Related to the ministry, Paul wrote:

17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. (Hebrews 13:17)

Many, throughout history, have not wanted to do that--despite what the New Testament teaches.

Paul wrote in chapter 2:

Verse 10:  Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ,
Verse 11: lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

Several points here.

The first is that Christians are to forgive. Remember Jesus said:

14 "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15)

Jesus also indicated that the urgency to reconcile with a brother is more important than providing offerings:

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. (Matthew 5:23-24)

As far as not being ignorant of Satan's devices, there are many devices we often face.

One is from intellectuals who claim to have knowledge against the word of God: Paul wrote:

20 ... Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge — 21 by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. (1 Timothy 6:20-21)

Another is to be emotionally swayed to follow false ministers. Paul wrote:

12 But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their work. (2 Corinthians 11:12-15)

Jesus taught that lies were one of Satan's devices. He said this to Jews who had believed some of what He said:

43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God. (John 8:43-47)

Sadly, various ones have believed lies about Jesus and His ministers throughout the church age--including into the 21st century--Satan's ways have still worked to draw some away.

Another device has to do with the use of fear from family as well as from government:

34 "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 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. (Matthew 10:34-37)

15 He {this is the final Antichrist} was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666. (Revelation 13:15-18)

Another that was alluded to in Revelation 13 was the use of signs, lies, and lying wonders. Paul wrote:

9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10)

These signs and wonders look to also include false prophets and false prophecies that many will cling to in these end times. I also expect some type of demonic apparitions claiming to be Jesus' mother Mary. See also the article: Satan's Plan.

Now, Paul wrote in chapter 2 of 2 Corinthians:

Verse 12: Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord,

HWA commented:

Now God opened the door for him to go and preach the Gospel. Christ opened the door for the leader of the church. Now in our time God is opening many, many doors. The greatest door that he recently opened up was the Wall Street Journal. In the Wall Street Journal a full page ad gets the attention of everybody. There are only two or three full-page ads in any day of the Wall Street Journal. They will be by big corporations such as IBM. The Wall Street Journal is owned by people who want to own the whole United States or who run and govern the whole United States. In other words the people who own the stock in all the large corporations, they are readers of the Wall Street Journal. A very unique daily newspaper. There’s nothing like it anywhere in the world. It’s a prestigious one. [He didn’t go into detail but only stated that WCG advertised in full page ads in the WSJ]

In the CCOG, we have mainly had advertisements with Google and Microsoft--but with those we have reached computers and/or cellular telephones over 525 million times with millions of visits from this! We, like Herbert W. Armstrong was, are on numerous radio stations around the world.

Jesus promised an open door for Philadelphian Christians to do that:

7 "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,

'These things says He who is holy, He who is true, "He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens": 8 "I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. (Revelation 3:7-8)

We in the CCOG are striving to go through the doors that Jesus opens.

And, in out case, we now are doing that in over 400 languages. Hundreds can be found at the CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God page.

Paul further wrote:

Verse 13: I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I departed for Macedonia.

Verse 14: Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.

Notice that God always leads us in triumph in Christ--we will succeed if we are faithful.

Paul further wrote in chapter 2:

Verse 15:  For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.

We are essentially a sweet smell to God in a corrupt world.

Paul further wrote in chapter 2:

Verse 16a: To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.

There are two ways. We have the choice to go the way of the world that leads to death and the way of God which leads to everlasting life.

Notice also:

4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. (Revelation 8:4)

Our prayers are to be a sweet smelling fragrance to God as well.

Paul further wrote in chapter 2:

16b: And who is sufficient for these things?

Well, Jesus makes us sufficient. Notice that Paul also reported:

13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Paul further wrote in chapter 2:

Verse 17: For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.

HWA commented:

In other words we’re not preaching the gospel for profit. It’s for the good of those who hear it.

And in my and my wife Joyce's case, we do not take a salary from the CCOG, but instead are tithe payers.

We have always been net tithe payers, meaning that we have always giving the COG more than we received related to things like expense reimbursement.

Anyway, when we get our English-language The Gospel of the Kingdom of God booklet translated into hundreds of languages, we do not pick only languages or dialects that would tend to have wealthier people, we have striven to have it available in as many languages as possible, but also they are online at no-cost.

Like the Apostle Paul, "we’re not preaching the gospel for profit."

But we do teach for you to profit spiritually.

Here is a link to a related sermon: 2 Corinthians 1-2: Church of God Suffering and Open Door.

Chapter 3

Now to chapter 3:

Verse 1: Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you?

HWA commented:

Do we need letters of accreditation of some kind?

Many, even in the COGs, expect certain things from men for God's servants to be accepted, which the Bible does not.

Continuing with Paul's writing in the third chapter:

Verse 2: You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men;

Christians are to be examples--and in this case, Paul indicates he set the example. And actually, notice what he told the Corinthians in his previous letter to them:

15 For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me (1 Corinthians 4:15-16)

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

We should do likewise.

Continuing with Paul's writing in the third chapter:

Verse 3: clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.

HWA said:

Now that’s why I say I don’t have to have letters of accreditation. I don’t have to have a license. I don’t need something like that. The accreditation or the license that I have is all the people in God’s church, who directly or indirectly are my children in Christ. They are my recommendation. I don’t need any other accreditation.

I would basically say the same thing. Perhaps, I should mention that the CCOG is the fastest growing xWCG in the 21st century.

As far as HWA goes, he used to have a ministerial license from Church of God, 7th Day. But not one in WCG. Nor did I have one in CCOG.

Back to Paul's writing in the third chapter:

Verse 4: And we have such trust through Christ toward God.

Yes, we need to have trust God.

Back to Paul's writing in the third chapter:

Verse 5: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God,

For all of us, we need to realize our sufficiency is from God.

Chapter 3, Verse 6:

Verse 6: who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

HWA commented:

He was saying we are ministers of the spirit not of the letters.

Here is what the Radio Church of God taught in 1956:

Christ is the Mediator of the New Covenant (Heb. 8:6). ... Christ has not yet completed His work of confirming the covenant. Therefore the New Covenant must yet be completed in the future — "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel AFTER THOSE DAYS, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts" (Heb. 8:10; Jer. 31:31-34). The New Covenant will not be made with fleshly, carnal Israelites who can still sin — it will correct that fault. This time it will be made with Spirit-born Israelites who have been forgiven their sins and who have God's laws written in their minds and hearts so they can't sin and break the covenant. The apostle John reveals that it is only at the resurrection when we are born again — composed of spirit — that we won't be able to sin because we will have God's nature permanently implanted in us (I John 3:9).

Jesus told Nicodemus that we must be born again — of the Spirit — before we can inherit the kingdom and gain eternal life (John 3). Bear in mind that the new testament or will of Jesus Christ has been in force since His death. But His testament or will has conditions which we must meet before we can inherit the promises. The Greek word for "testament" also means "covenant." Since the new testament involves our agreement to fulfill these conditions, it also becomes a covenant — and that New Covenant will not be confirmed with us — we won't inherit the promises — until we are first made immortal and have God's nature so we can't sin (II Peter 1:4). New Covenant a Marriage Agreement All that the Scripture says concerning Israel and the promises under the new testament pertains to the church. It is the church that is Israel begotten and soon to be born of the Spirit (Acts 26:6, 7). Under the Old Covenant Israel could have become a kingdom of priests (Ex. 19:6), under the New Covenant the church will become a kingdom of priests governing the physical nation Israel (I Peter 2:9; Rev. 5:10; Acts 1:6).

As the church is Israel — Abraham's seed and heirs of the promise — then it is the church with whom the New Covenant will finally be made. But we read in II Corinthians 11:2 and Ephesians 5:32 that Christ Jesus at His second coming will marry the church which is now his espoused bride. Therefore the New Covenant will be ANOTHER MARRIAGE AGREEMENT! Christ will be the husband, the church will become His wife. Remember that the ETERNAL was the husband of ancient Israel. Under the Old Covenant Israel could never remarry her husband once the divorce was given and she was defiled by relationships with heathen gods. so the Lord — not the Father — but the Word who became Jesus was born into human flesh to die so that Israel would be free to remarry. That's why we read in Revelation 19:7, that before the coming marriage between Christ and the church takes place it will be said: "The marriage of the Lamb is come, and His WIFE (not bride) hath made herself ready." This could not be said of the church unless it was Jesus and not the Father to whom Israel had once been married.

Here is what the WCG taught in 1976:

Millions suppose this "Christian dispensation" is a "New Covenant" time — a time characterized by New Testament beliefs and teachings, which they assume have replaced and set aside all "Old Testament" beliefs and teachings. Millions assume the time of the "New Covenant" began with Christ's human ministry on the earth. They carelessly assume that all "Christianity" is under the terms and conditions of the New Covenant today, which, they erroneously think, frees them from any obligation to obey God! They believe the Bible says the New Covenant has been made with the Church' But did you read, carefully, that 31st chapter of Jeremiah? The Bible clearly speaks of a time when Christ will confirm the terms and conditions of His covenant (of which He is called the Mediator) — that of writing the laws of God in the spiritual tables of the hearts of human beings — in their "inward parts," with human nations, including the Jewish people! The House of Judah is clearly identified, and that never refers to the New Testament Church' Thus, the ratifying of the New Covenant, to the peoples for whom it is proposed, is to occur after the second coming of Christ, with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah — and, as other scriptures show, even with Gentiles who, when called and converted, become "Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise"! Make no mistake! The Sinaitic Covenant is waxing old (Heb. 8:13).

A New Covenant IS being confirmed between Jesus Christ and those in whom He places His Spirit — the laws of God are being written on the fleshly tables of the hearts of those who obey His command to repent and be baptized! But that is by invitation, today — and not a global, worldwide phenomenon! Millions who assume this is the age of that "New Covenant" have never studied the Bible carefully ... His truly big ministry is yet ahead! This is not yet God's TIME to convert the whole world. He simply is not writing His law on the fleshly tables of the hearts of all the peoples of either Israel or Judah. Today is not the only day of salvation. You will find that absolutely proved in scripture after scripture in our free booklet After Death... then What? and reprint article "Is This the Only Day of Salvation?"

Let's look at some passages in Hebrews:

6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.

7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 8 Because finding fault with them, He says: "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah — 9 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more."

13 In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. (Hebrews 8:6-13)

Hebrews 8:10-11 are still clearly for the future.

That said, notice the following:

13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. (Hebrews 9:13-15)

Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant now and forever.

Here is some information from Lesson 19 of our Study the Bible Course:

Notice the New Living Translation of 2 Corinthians 3:3-6):

Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.
We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:3-6, NLT)

COMMENT: Under the old marriage covenant, God wrote His laws on two tables of STONE. The people could SEE the law with their EYES, but the LAW was NOT WITHIN THEIR HEARTS AND MINDS. The law was NOT A PART of them. But under the terms of the New Covenant, Christ promises that He will make a marriage agreement only with those who are NOW having the principles of His Law written in their hearts and minds by the Holy Spirit.

REMEMBER THIS, FOR IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!! Christ will marry His "bride" – the collective members of His Church – only when she has prepared herself by PRACTICING OBEDIENCE to His law.

According to the terms of the new marriage covenant, we must first be tested and proved to see whether we really want to obey God. The Old Covenant, remember, was made with Israel BEFORE she was fully tried and tested. The new marriage covenant will not be made until AFTER we have been tried and tested and are "born again." Then we will be members of the SPIRITUAL Kingdom of God – Israel according to the SPIRIT, no longer possessing sinful human nature.

The New Covenant is a far BETTER covenant than the Old Covenant was. The OLD Covenant was NATIONAL – TO ONE NATION ONLY – to Israel. It promised ONLY TEMPORARY MATERIAL EARTHLY BLESSINGS. IT HAD NO PROMISE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND ETERNAL LIFE. The Old Covenant Israelites had no promise of receiving the Holy Spirit which could have written God's law in their hearts and minds.

But the NEW Covenant marriage agreement into which we can enter will COMPLETELY REMEDY the fault of the Old Covenant by making it possible for us to obey God's law PERFECTLY in its spiritual intent! For at the resurrection, Christ's Spirit-born Church will be given a completely NEW nature – the SPIRITUAL nature of God – which will enable born-again Christians to obey Him PERFECTLY forever! (1 John 3:9.) It is then that Christ will marry His PERFECTLY OBEDIENT Church.

Terms of the New Covenant

  1. Is the "Lord" the MESSENGER who came to herald the terms of the New Covenant? Malachi 3:1, last part. Was this messenger JESUS CHRIST? Mark 1:14.
  2. Is the message of this New Covenant obviously a part of the GOSPEL MESSAGE – the good news – Christ preached? Mark 1:1, 14, 15. Is repentance and belief in the Gospel a part of what modern spiritual Israelites must do in order to enter into this New Covenant with Christ? Verse 15. Does Matthew 15:24 verify the fact that Christ was sent only to the "lost" – the SCATTERED – "SHEEP" or people of ISRAEL to herald the Gospel of the Kingdom? But did Christ LATER instruct His DISCIPLES to preach the Gospel – which contains the message of the NEW Covenant – to ALL THE WORLD? Matthew 24:14 and 28:19-20.

Do Gentiles now have any hope of ever being partakers of the promises of the covenants – the promises contained in the covenants made with Abraham and the promises of the New Covenant? Ephesians 2:11, 12. In what way may a Gentile – one having no blood relationship to Abraham – come into the New Covenant relationship? Ephesians 2:13; Galatians 3:29 and Romans 11:13, 17, 25.

COMMENT: In past lessons we learned how a Gentile may come into the New Covenant relationship: "And IF you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29). The New Covenant is, in this way, open to ALL peoples of the world.

Notice that this New Covenant is CONDITIONAL – "if." Both Israelites and Gentiles must SURRENDER THEMSELVES to Christ and begin learning to OBEY HIM (2 Corinthians 3:2-3).

But the New Covenant marriage, UNLIKE the Old Covenant, is actually PRECEDED by a WILL – that is, a TESTAMENT.

  1. Did Jesus leave a "testament," or WILL, at His death? Hebrews 9:15-17, KJV. What is the purpose of Christ's will?

COMMENT: As we learned in Lesson 18, a TESTAMENT IS a WILL – it declares a person's WILL as to the disposal of his POSSESSIONS after his DEATH.

Christ left, at His death, a will – a TESTAMENT – in which all people may become beneficiaries or heirs of His possessions. For it was to the ONE seed – CHRIST – to whom this earth was given as an eternal inheritance (Genesis 22:18; Galatians 3:16-19).

Christ was the only One who ever obeyed God's Law perfectly and could claim the earth as an inheritance. So it was He who could, and did, leave a TESTAMENT or WILL at His death so that His "heirs" (Galatians 3:29) may also receive, through Him, eternal inheritance of the earth.

Bear in mind that the new TESTAMENT or WILL of Jesus Christ has been in force since His death. But His testament or will has CONDITIONS which we must meet BEFORE we can inherit the promises.

The Greek word for "testament" also means "covenant." Since the new TESTAMENT involves our agreement to fulfill these conditions, it also becomes a COVENANT – and that new covenant will not be confirmed or established with us – we won't INHERIT the promises of eternal inheritance of the earth and sonship in the ruling, spiritual Kingdom of God – UNTIL we are first made IMMORTAL and have God's nature so we CAN'T SIN! (2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 3:9.)

Let’s look at the Greek word translated as covenant:

Lexicon :: Strong's G1242 - diathēkē

The KJV translates Strong's G1242 in the following manner: covenant (20x), testament (13x).

  1. a disposition, arrangement, of any sort, which one wishes to be valid, the last disposition which one makes of his earthly possessions after his death, a testament or will
  1. a compact, a covenant, a testament
    1. God's covenant with Noah, etc.

For the question of the death of either party to that covenant did NOT enter into the agreement as it would had it been a WILL – a TESTAMENT. The Old Covenant was simply an AGREEMENT – "YOU do this and I'll do that."

The second part of the Bible would then naturally bear the title, "THE NEW COVENANT" – the NEW AGREEMENT – for it reveals fully the NEW COVENANT which God offers to the present-day blood descendants of old Israel, and to ALL people of the earth through Christ.

Also, this latter part of the Bible could bear within its title the word "TESTAMENT," FOR "if we are Christ's, we are [considered as] Abraham's seed and [by Christ's DEATH] HEIRS of the promises" to be ESTABLISHED by the New Covenant.

SO – PROPERLY the title of the second part of the Bible should be, "THE NEW COVENANT AND TESTAMENT." The Greek, in which this latter part of the Bible was originally written, uses the Greek title "Diatheke" which is translated INTERCHANGEABLY as "COVENANT" AND "TESTAMENT."

New Covenant Not Yet Completed

  1. Is Jesus Christ the minister of the New Covenant? Hebrews 8:6. Will Christ COMPLETE His work of confirming the New Covenant in the future? Same verse. Also, Hebrews 8:10 and Jeremiah 31:31-34.

COMMENT: A "day" in the prophecy of Daniel 9:27 represents a year in fulfillment (Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:3-6).

The above from the Study the Bible Course, was mainly a re-write and clarification of what the old Radio Church of God, under HWA, taught.

In his 2 Corinthians Bible Study series, HWA, himself said:

And ministers of the new covenant. Now the new covenant has not been made yet. God made the old covenant with Israel. He made the covenant first and let them try to live it afterwards. The new covenant will be different. It’s based on better promises and it’s based on the same identical law or the basic spiritual law, but it is different in another way. The new covenant is different in that God declares the conditions of the new covenant and that is the gospel. And we preach it. The gospel is nothing but the conditions of the new covenant. And we have a chance to take hold of it and see if we’re willing to live it in this life now. And we are living it on probation, on condition. If we do live it properly, and we do have God’s spirit, and we are being led by God’s spirit… Well first of all you have to have God’s Spirit. That comes by repentance, in your faith, in really believing in Christ, and believing what he says and believing the word of God. It means a complete change in your lifestyle.

There’s a new lifestyle every few years in this world. We had a way of combing our hair a years ago, the men did, and the women changed their hairdos any which way. Men had a way of combing their hair back in the 1960s I forgot the year. The Beatles are group youngsters who knew nothing about God in England. They got together and thought it would be good to become like wild animals, and have your hair covering your whole face so people couldn’t really see them, so I might think you’re an animal or something. They combed their hair forward instead of backwards. I’m kind of old fashioned I comb my hair backwards. I’m not going to go along with the fads and styles of this day. Today there is a style of men’s haircut, now the president of the United states uses that style and I notice some of the ministers who professed to be the ministers of God but are ministers of a different God, not the same God we observe but the God of this world, and they use that haircut and it’s having their hair come forward on one it’s parted on one side. On the short side, the hair is cut more short it comes down over the ear alright and covers the ear, but it’s it’s cut short. Not just to come below the ear. The other side is left to go quite long and so they they comb it down, over their eyebrow and then curve it around and it must cover about 2/3 of the forehead. You know what they call that? That’s a unisex haircut. In other words men and women both— women have been combing hair down over their foreheads for a good many years but not all of them do it, but sometimes they do sometimes they don’t. Sometimes a style where they have bangs that come right down close to the eyebrows other times the part of the hair just comes down and is coming back. Women use all kinds of different hair. Well that’s alright. But no, men have got to follow the women. And we’ve all got to be one sex. Down in the first place one right do any of us have They’re trying to do away with marriage. They’re doing away with the family. [He covers ERA again as he has in the past].

God gives us the right to disobey. God gives us the right, as far as He’s concerned, to kill somebody if you want to. You can commit suicide. God isn’t going to stop you. The thing the world doesn’t realize is the world is being held account for everything it does. The world is not now, yet being judged. It’s just like a criminal. They don’t catch him ahead of time and he goes out and kills somebody else. But he does that first. He isn’t judged yet. When he does, when the police catch him, then he has to be indicted, he has to be charged with a crime. And then they have to set a date. And a judge has to get around to it and they don’t’ do that very fast. You know they take their sweet time, and after 2-3 weeks or two or three months in some cases two or three years, a trial is set and then he comes to judgment. What they don’t realize is that the people of this world, while they’re not being judged now, we in the church are being judged. But let me tell you, the other people while they’re not being judged now, they’re being held accountable for what they do, and they will be judged. If they’re still living after Christ comes will be on them then. Judgement is on us now, while Satan is ruling and we’ve got to fight against Satan. Have we got it better than they? No. No we have to fight against Satan. They’re not going to have this Satan to fight when judgment comes on them. There won’t be any Satan. Christ will be ruling and this will be God’s kind of world, and the laws and ways of this world, all of our industry, all of our business, all of our sports, and athletics, all of our society will be according to the laws of God. Did you ever think of that? That’s the kind of world they’re going to be judged in, if they’re still living after Christ comes in the Millennium. That’ll go on for 1000 years. Now those that have died before that time, at the end of that thousand years, they will be resurrected. And they won’t have Satan to fight.

And by the way, I think I mentioned a week ago, I think I was right in my interpretation which is a natural interpretation of a passage in Isaiah 65 that those resurrected will live 100 years after the resurrection. If they were 97 years old when they died that means they lived to be 197. Those that lived before the flood, if they lived 930 years then why maybe they’ll live another hundred. In other words they will be judged but judgment will then be on them, and it’ll be a day-by-day judgment lasting 100 years. Their trial will go on for 100 years. Now they will have a chance to repent. They will realize, and be told then that Christ died for them way back here almost 2000 years ago from our time now, and that he paid their penalty for them if they want to repent and turn around and start going the other way. And start living God’s way. And they will be judged on whether the they do that, and repented of the way they lived in this life, and then how they live day by day by day for that 100 year judgment. So God is not unfair. Now he’s not unfair when he says we’re going to have high position of rulership in his Kingdom, and they will not. Again I was thinking just this morning, the disciples asked Jesus who is the greatest in the Kingdom. Now if you want to be great when you get in the Kingdom of God, what do you have to do to become great? Jesus said he will be the greatest who is the servant of all. Not the master who rules all but the one who serves all. I get to thinking of my own position. I am the chosen apostle of Jesus Christ and the government of God is a force and affect on in the Church of God, and just to those who are willing of their own choice to come in and be under that government. They’re not forced to do it in any way at all. Then judgment begins on them day by day and lasts as long as we live, or until Christ comes, whichever comes first. So I was thinking so in my position - I am in a position of a certain supervision over the church, but if I get to thinking of myself as a dictator, a ruler, or a master who gives orders and sits up and gives orders and lets everybody else do it, I will be very little in the Kingdom of God. The way I will have the highest position is to whatever extent I am serving all of the church and the brethren. I write articles that to try to help expound the word of God for people. Am I ruling? Am I bossy? Am I giving stern orders? Or am I serving? I have to think of that, and I have to temper whatever ruling there has to be.

I was thinking that in this thing of human government, men discussed it an awful lot, I I don’t know. I  turned on the television last night. I was tired, my heart was pounding a little, and I wanted to wait till it went down before I went to bed and turned on the television. It was on our educational channel. Ex president Ford was there and one or two senators and they were discussing the theory of government the presidential office, and how much authority the president really ought to have. The president used to be surrounded and his advisors the cabinet members.  But today he has his staff and the staff are the ones he talks with. He doesn’t really know his various cabinet members very much anymore today. The chief of staff and other members of the staff are are the ones the president sees everyday and they were discussing it, and have they got the guts or the intestinal fortitude to come and tell the president that they think he’s wrong? One or two of them said that no, they really don’t. Even if the president is not as strong, or really as great a man as they are, they stand in awe of him because of the office. They really do.  And they’re afraid to say anything to him. He is master and he exercises that mastership. He’s boss and he bosses, and don’t think he doesn’t. You have to have an authority but you don’t have to exercise it in a way that make you bossy about it.

When I have to do something that’s going to be unpleasant, it might be a minister or a lay member, I’m reluctant to do it. I don’t want to do it. But sometimes it’s a duty and I have to do it, but I try to do it in love and to do it in the way that I ought to. And I’m human.  It’s very hard to know just how to handle things like that come up but sometimes you have to be firm. Because I am by nature generous, and I’m more talkative than a lot of people and I talk more openly with people, some people only say what they want other people to know. You get suspicious with people like that. We think they’re holding back things that they don’t want people to know. I’m not like that I bring everything out. It’s quite a problem to me if I have to use any disciplinary action in my position.  I didn’t do it the first few years up in Eugene OR and it costs the lives of some people who might have been converted and might have gone into God’s Kingdom and it might be that it cost our lives forever. I got called out by a Deacon because it was his brother that was coming into the church and changed direction,  Because I didn’t stand up to another man. It was a preacher from another church and I didn’t stand up to him. And after that when they heckled me in a meeting I stood up to them every time and dominated,  When it was the minister of another church and against the law of God. Some misunderstand my generosity in my manner and they take that as evidence of weakness  And being kind of easy. I know my father was a bit like that and I remember there were people who were not necessarily hostile against my father, they called him an easy mark. I would much rather my father been like that than like a lot of other men I know. people could take advantage of him he was friendly. I would much rather my father been like that then like a lot of other men I know.  I had an uncle it was a farmer and he took advantage of everyone in the neighborhood and he got to be the most hated man. I don’t one time he had some feed and others didn’t and there was a type of drought and people came to him for feed. He charged them eight to 10 times more. They said that was outrageous!

They were willing to pay a little bit more but they were upset. He said well that’s my price, take it or leave it. You’ve got to have it. I’m gonna make you pay for it 'cause I want to get all that can’t get from you.  My father was not like that. My father probably would have just given it to him. But others could take advantage of my father, And they call them easy mark. I’m a little bit like that but as soon as I’m aware and I catch on to it, I’m not an easy mark anymore. I can get tough if I have to,  but I don’t like to and I don’t want to so I don’t do it very often. Those of you who are close to me know that.

Well I write letters quite often but I don’t write him as long as these letters here that Paul is writing. They are important letters and I’ll tell you another thing. I feel that God is leading and inspiring me now in a way he did not years ago. It does not mean that he leads and inspires me in every word and everything we do, I did not say that. I can still make mistakes just as much as I ever could. I right and then I look at it the next day I realize I have to change it and type it all over again. Then I think it’s got to be done right. I put it back in the typewriter and even though I know it means a lot more work, I’ve got to do it.  It’s got to be the best I can do. Do you feel that way in your life? Is that the way you feel things you have to do should be done? I think God leads me to be an example for you in that respect and I think you should follow that.

I talk to you and I write to the members just like Paul was doing here, and that’s what I’m doing right now in this program, in this Bible study. So let’s start all over again. Paul goes on - he’d been talking about how we’re able ministers of the new covenant and I was explaining how it is different than the old covenant in that God made the old covenant with them and made the promises, and then let them see if they could could keep it and God began giving them the reward right off the bat but they didn’t do their part.  Now the New Testament will not be like that, the new covenant. The gospel is the proclaiming and the terms and conditions of the new covenant and the judgment is on us now to judge whether or not we can make that covenant with Him.

Now God made the old covenant at Mount Sinai with Israel. He laid it before them. And they said all the Lord has said we will do and be obedient. OK, the Lord said I will take you at your word. So He made the covenant and it was ratified by the blood of animals shed, because Christ hadn’t shed His blood yet so they took the blood of animals.  And that covenant was made. God isn’t making the new covenant like that.  God started laying out the new covenant by Jesus at Jerusalem not by Moses at Mount Sinai. Christ trained his apostles and they went out proclaiming the new covenant. And that’s been going on until now and now I’m proclaiming the new covenant. And people are still proving whether or not they’re going to make that covenant with God or not. You can’t just say I’ll be obedient and make the covenant. God won’t make that covenant.  A covenant is a contract and once that’s made God has to keep His part of it. God was willing to keep His part of the old covenant, but Israel was not willing. God said this time the church has got to prove they will keep their part of it. You’ve got to keep your part of it In this life. If you have kept your part of the new covenant in this life, then you can make that covenant with Christ.  And what will that covenant be? It will be the marriage covenant.  The old covenant at the time of Moses was a marriage to Christ. But it was a marriage of carnal, human, flesh and blood people with the great Christ.

In the new covenant the gospel is preaching  the terms and conditions. Judgment is on us now, and we’re being tried and tested and judged as to whether we qualify to make that covenant with God. I have not made that covenant with Christ yet. You have not made that covenant with Christ yet, you are still on trial. You are still being tried and tested day by day, as to whether you will qualify to have overcome Satan, to have overcome yourself, to have overcome this world by coming out of this world, and whether you have kept God’s word and whether you have lived God’s way. ...

Maybe Christ is an easy mark.  He’s so loving and so kind that maybe you mistake His kindness. Maybe He just lets you get away with everything you want. And he’ll still make the covenant with you. “Well I love you, c’mon.”  Don’t mistake God’s love.  That wouldn’t be love. That doesn’t mean he loves us enough that he wants us to do what is wrong. He doesn’t love your wrongdoing, he hates that. He doesn’t hate you when you’re doing it but he hates you’re doing it.  I think we need to think of these things. We’re all on trial right now as to whether or not we’re going to make the new covenant. And all of the gospel preaching week by week, Sabbath by Sabbath  I’m blue churches, all of the writings that I’m sending out, all of the Bible studies that we have are all helping our people to make the grade to see if you qualify to make that new covenant with Christ.

It's just like a man who’s proposed to a woman. He says I would like to marry, and he’s a pretty wealthy man. He’s very busy but he’s trying to do the right thing. He’s a very fine man.  He’s a man of high character. And he proposes to the woman. And if he finds that she is not living the way she ought to in the meantime, during the betrothed period and prior to the marriage, maybe he will never marry her at all.  We are the prospective bride and Christ is the wealthy man. He’s looking at us thinking maybe he’d like to marry us but he hasn’t quite decided yet. Now we’ve all had a first and second date and we’re getting along fairly good but let me tell you we still have to meet His requirements. Maybe you did last week maybe you did yesterday, but what about today?  Are you meeting his requirements? This new covenant is different in that we will not make the covenant with him, the second covenant until we have, through the time of conversion until we die, until we have proved we have come out of the world and have proved we can live according to the way of God, and we’re the kind of wife that Christ would like to have.  That’s the purpose of the church. Now let’s get on with this.

HWA said:

I’d like to read that from the KJV:

3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
4 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:
5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;
6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

That’s the part I want to elaborate on a little bit. In the Old Testament, they had to obey in the strictness of the letter. In the New Testament we obey in the spirit. Now there is quite a difference.

When my daughter was in 6th or 7th grade, she was a bookworm and read a lot of books, but they were all fiction. They were fiction love stories about romance and love. One day her teacher sent a letter home to me and said that Beverly was hurting her eyes and that she was spending too much time reading. She’d read a whole book through in two nights. The teacher said I should caution her about reading so much. She had spent all her time reading those love stories.

I told Beverly about the note and said ‘this is going to harm you in the future. Where do you get these books?’ She said ‘out of the school library.’ I told her don’t get any more of those books from the library. I want you to stop reading them. It’s hurting your eyes.

The next night I saw her reading and she was already half way through another book. I said ‘is that another book of fiction?’ She said yes. I said ‘didn’t I tell you not to bring home any of those books from the library?’ She said ‘yes, but I didn’t get this from the library. Helen gave it to me and she got it from the library. I didn’t bring it home from the library.’ She was obeying the letter of the law! She wasn’t obeying the principle of it – the spirit of it. God gives us His law as a principle. We are to obey in the spirit – in the obvious intent and meaning.

How did I quit smoking? There’s nothing in the Bible about smoking or tobacco. The law of God must be obeyed by it’s spirit – it’s intent. The law of God is first to love God. Second to love to your neighbor as yourself. Now, why did I smoke? Do I do it to help my neighbor? No. Maybe they don’t like the second-hand smoke. Am I doing good to my neighbor? No it isn’t doing him any good. Well am I harming my neighbor? Could be. What about myself? I should be good to myself and take care of this body that God gave me. The law of God is to love thyself and sin is the opposite of that. Smoking may not be a big sin like killing someone, robbing them, or harming them, but it is harm in a sense. And I had to quit. That’s why smoking is forbidden in the church. We must observe the law according to its spirit, not the letter.

Yes, we are to live according to the spirit of the law.

Of as HWA used to put it, we are to live the way of give, not get.

Or as I like to put it, the way of love, not hate. The Apostle Paul wrote:

5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, 6 from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, (1 Timothy 1:5-6)

The purpose of the commandments is love, not some idle legalistic points. Notice also something involving Jesus:

35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?"

37 Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:35-40)

Jesus also basically taught about the spirit of the law in His 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.

Yes, Jesus taught that, yes, we are to obey the letter, but the point is actually spiritual and goes beyond simply the letter. The Apostle Paul was basically saying that as well.

Anyway, we are partakers of the new covenant if we have repented and are baptized, but it will not be fully realized until the marriage with the Lamb.

Back to Paul's writing in the third chapter:

Verse 7: But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away,

The ministry of death included the written death penalty, which was NOT listed on the tablets engraved with the Ten Commandments. The administration of death was inscribed on large stones after crossing the Jordan (Deuteronomy 27:2-8).

In this age, we in the church do not impose the death penalty.

Back to Paul's writing in the third chapter:

Verse 8: how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?

Although Moses' face shown, we will be more glorious

Back to Paul's writing in the third chapter:

Verse 9: For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory.

As far as glory goes, consider that Paul also wrote:

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. (Romans 8:18-19)

The glory is beyond our expectations.

Back to 2 Corinthians 3:

Verse 10: For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels.
Verse 11: For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.

HWA commented:

In the government of ancient Israel, all governments are based upon a constitution and the government of Israel was based upon the Ten Commandments. In administering the law, there was a death penalty. The law written on the stone was glorious. The government of ancient Israel was glorious. If that was glorious, then that which remains is glorious.

Back to Paul's writing in the third chapter:

Verse 12: Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech--

Yes, we have a real hope. Although "we use great boldness of speech" we have sometimes been censored by YouTube and Vimeo, as well as shadow-banned by Google and YouTube.

Back to Paul's writing in the third chapter:

Verse 13: unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away.
Verse 14: But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.
Verse 15: But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart.

HWA said:

And it is to this day even! The Jews have pretty much done away with it, but not the Orthodox Jews.

While Orthodox Jews believe they should strive to obey God, when it comes to Jesus, they still have a veil. In order to help the Jews and others who are willing to look and see, we have a free online book: Proof Jesus is the Messiah. The first three chapters, and in particular chapter 3, should persuade Jews who will accept truth over improperly dismissive traditions that many hold to.

But here are some comments from it as to why the Jews do not believe:

[Y]ou may be asking yourself, “If Jesus filled/fulfilled over 200 Hebrew scriptures, then why don’t all the religious Jews believe?”

Basically, for a combination of reasons.

Here is a summary of six of the main arguments against Jesus’ messiahship from some Jewish leaders:

  1. They do not believe that all the prophecies Jesus fulfilled were messianic.
  2. They do not believe that the Gospel accounts are accurate.
  3. They believe that there were key messianic prophecies that Jesus did not fulfill.
  4. They believe that Christians misunderstand timing and Daniel 9.
  5. They rely on post-biblical traditions.
  6. They see many errors in what is considered to be Christianity.

As far as that first item goes, the Jews (and others) need to consider that humans do not always understand how God works. 

Consider the following about God to humankind, including the Jews:

8 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9, JPS of 1917)

Although many Jews (and others) do not believe that a lot of prophesies Jesus fulfilled were messianic, that does not mean that they were not. The fact that God’s thoughts and ways are higher than ours hopefully will give all (Jews and non-Jews) reasons to consider that perhaps they should give further consideration to the prophesies they had not considered as messianic.

Jews do acknowledge that Jesus lived and was executed. The Jewish Encyclopedia states:

Founder of Christianity; born at Nazareth about 2 B.C. (according to Luke iii. 23); executed at Jerusalem 14th of Nisan, (Jacobs J, et al. Jesus of Nazareth. The Jewish Encyclopedia: A Descriptive Record of the History, Volume 7. 1906, p. 160)

And ... Jesus was executed on the 14th of Nisan as The Jewish Encyclopedia states—which is the date of the biblical Passover (Leviticus 23:5).

Claims that Certain Prophecies Were Not Messianic

On the surface, various prophecies that New Testament writers pointed to that Jesus fulfilled do not clearly appear to be prophetic or messianic.

Although many of those do not bother the Jews, one of the biggest Jewish arguments against Jesus’ messiahship is a view that the Messiah was not supposed to suffer and die. Yet, Christians (correctly) assert that those were truly messianic ones that Jesus fulfilled.

The Jewish Encyclopedia goes so far as to assert (bolding mine):

Yet it would almost appear that in one sense of the word Jesus regarded himself as fulfilling some of the prophecies which were taken among contemporary Jews as applying to the Messiah. It is doubtful whether it was later tradition or his own statements that identified him with the servant of Yhwh represented in Isa. liii.; but there appears to be no evidence of any Jewish conception of a Messiah suffering through and for his people, though there possibly was a conception of one suffering together with his people. (Jacobs, p. 163)

Notice that the Jewish position is not based on any scriptures that state the Messiah would not suffer and die, but essentially on what is claimed to be Jewish tradition. Jesus, Himself, warned against relying on Jewish tradition when it was in conflict with scripture (e.g. Matthew 15:3-9). Isaiah foretold:

14 And He shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. (Isaiah 8:14, JPS)

The Apostle Paul wrote that the execution of Jesus was a stumbling block to the Jews (1 Corinthians 1:23), and it has been.

Now, the Jews are correct that the suffering idea was not a Jewish conception — but that is because it was conceived by GOD as the FIRST and INDISPENSABLE PART of the plan of salvation for humankind before the foundation of the world (cf. Revelation 13:8)! The idea of a suffering Messiah is clearly biblical as can be shown in the Hebrew scriptures.

As far as any Jewish traditions go, the assertion “there appears to be no evidence of any Jewish conception of a Messiah suffering through and for his people” is false.

Various Jewish scholars have concluded that there was a Messiah who would suffer and die and one who would reign.

Notice the following from the Hungarian-Jewish author Raphael Patai:

Messiah ben Joseph, also called Messiah ben Ephraim, referring to his ancestor Ephraim, the son of Joseph, is imagined as the first commander of the army of Israel in the Messianic wars. He will achieve many signal victories, but his fate is to die at the hands of Armilus in a great battle in which Israel is defeated by Gog and Magog. His corpse is left unburied in the streets of Jerusalem for forty days, but neither beast nor bird of prey dares to touch it. Then, Messiah ben David comes, and his first act is to bring about the resurrection of his tragic forerunner.

Scholars have repeatedly speculated about the origin of the Messiah ben Joseph legend and the curious fact that the Messiah figure has thus been split in two. It would seem that in the early legend, the death of the Messiah was envisaged, perhaps as a development of the Suffering Servant motif. A prophecy of Daniel, … is the earliest source speaking of the death of a Mashiah (“Anointed”) sixty-two (prophetic) weeks after his coming and after the return and the rebuilding of Jerusalem (Dan. 9:24-26). While it appears that Daniel had a temporal ruler in mind, whom he calls Mashiah Nagid (“Anointed Prince”), … later, the author of 4 Ezra unmistakably refers to the Messiah, belief in whom had developed in the meantime, when he puts words in the mouth of God to the effect that after four hundred years (counted from when?), MY son the Messiah shall die (4 Ezra 7:27-30).

When the death of the Messiah became an established tenet in Talmudic times, this was felt to be irreconcilable with the belief in the Messiah as the Redeemer who would usher in the blissful millennium of the Messianic age. The dilemma was solved by splitting the person of the Messiah in two: one of them, called Messiah ben Joseph, was to raise the armies of Israel against their enemies, and, after many victories and miracles, would fall victim to Gog and Magog. The other, Messiah ben David, will come after him (in some legends will bring him back to life, which psychologically hints at the identity of the two), and will lead Israel to the ultimate victory, the triumph, and the Messianic era of bliss.

This splitting of the Messiah in two persons, which took place in the Talmudic period, achieved another purpose besides resolving the dilemma of the slain Messiah. According to an old tradition, the Messiah was perfectly prefigured in Moses. But Moses died before he could lead the Children of Israel into the Land of Promise. Consequently, for the parallel to be complete, the Messiah, too, had to die before accomplishing his great task of ultimate Redemption. Since however, the Messiah would not be the True Redeemer of God if he did not fulfill that ultimate task, the only solution was to let one Messiah, like Moses, die, and then assign the completion of the work of Redemption to a second Messiah. (Patai R. The Messiah Texts: Jewish Legends of Three Thousand Years. Wayne State University Press, 2015, pp. 165-166)

Thus, to suggest that no Jewish scholars felt the Messiah could suffer or die is false. Furthermore, though the above comes up with two Messiahs, the Bible shows that Jesus came once—and fulfilled over 200 prophecies—and that Jesus will come a second time to fulfill others.

Anyway, back to Paul's writing in the third chapter:

Verse 16: Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

Yes, whether Jew or Gentile, when we truly turn to God, the veil is taken away. We can know the truth and live the truth.

In Romans 11, Paul wrote:

Verse 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.

Herbert Armstrong commented:

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)

The fullness, the full number of Gentiles have to be reached in this age prior to (Jesus' return). They, along with converted Christians with an Israelite background, will be kings and priests. We are closer to that time than when Herbert Armstrong wrote what he did. And in the Continuing Church of God many Gentiles are coming to us--that is consistent with the prophecy by the Apostle Paul in Romans 11:25.

More information on Romans 11:25 can be found in the article: What About Romans 11:25 and the Full Number of the Gentiles? 

Back to the next verse of Romans 11:

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

Herbert Armstrong commented:

Now the expression "all Israel" is used many places in the Bible where it doesn't mean EVERY person in Israel, but it does mean Israel as a whole. It doesn't mean a little tiny part of Israel, it means the big portion of Israel. And they are going to be saved.

So, while many Jews or other children of Israel do not see now, most will later.

Back to Paul's writing in the third chapter:

Verse 17:  Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

HWA commented:

And it doesn’t mean liberty to commit sin as they like to say, it’s the liberty of the penalties of sin. Because if you don’t sin, it can’t bring a penalty on you.

Jesus said:

31 ..."If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32)

The truth is that we should not sin. But some in New Testament times felt that Jesus' forgiveness basically meant that they could. Jude wrote--Literal Standard Version translation:

3 Beloved, using all diligence to write to you concerning our common salvation, I had necessity to write to you, exhorting [you] to fight for the faith once delivered to the holy ones, 4 for there came in certain men stealthily, having been written beforehand to this judgment long ago, impious, perverting the grace of our God to licentiousness, and denying our only Master and Lord—Jesus Christ. (Jude 3-4)

Sadly, most faiths that profess Jesus have accepted a grace of licentiousness--basically a set of excuses for why they do not keep the biblical Sabbath or Holy Days, why they can eat unclean meat, why they can support the idea of Christians being militaristics, etc.

Back to Paul's writing in chapter 3:

Verse 18: But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Yes, we are being changed by our obedience, love, and developing character.

But we will changed further as Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians:

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."

55 "O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?"

56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:50-58)

The Apostle Paul also wrote:

13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 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 4:13-18)

Yes, we should be comforted by the plan of God and that we are to come to marriage supper with the New Covenant.

Here is a link to a related sermon: 2 Corinthians 3: The New Covenant, Jews, & Gentiles.

Chapter 4

Now to chapter 4

Verse 1: Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.

Because God has a ministry in place, we should not give up with discouragement. Notice something else Paul wrote related to that:

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)

24 Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy; for by faith you stand. (2 Corinthians 1:24)

Related to mercy, remember the Bible teaches:

13 ... Mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:13)

Back to chapter 4:

Verse 2: But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

Modern society, not only has not "renounced the hidden things of shame," but it walks in craftiness and "handling the word of God deceitfully." They do it to promote sin.

What about false ministers?

Yes, they do that as well.

HWA said:

Now we’re not going to use any trickery or cunningness entering to get the members so they can make the new covenant with Christ when He comes.

Back to chapter 4:

Verse 3: But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,

HWA commented:

Paul had been mentioning in the chapter before when Moses came down with the 10 commandments he had avail over his face. They never could comprehend God’s law. The 10 commandments were merely this summary of God’s law. They were ten overall summary points of the law of love to God and love to neighbor. They never obeyed it. They made the covenant with God but they didn’t keep it. They didn’t obey it and they didn’t live up to it at all. Now with us we’re on trial. We have to live up to it before we even get to make it with Him. We don’t get the reward of the covenant. Now what are the promises? The new covenant was made on better promises than the old. The new covenant is eternal life!  God will not give you eternal life until you have already qualified and performed and proved it. Now what was the promises of the old covenant? That they would be the greatest nation on earth, that they would have material wealth, they would be the head and not the tail,  Five of them could chase 100 and 100 of them could put 10,000 to flight if they get attacked. It was national greatness and material wealth, that’s all. They never got that in those days and God took it away from them for 2520 years. 

And the birthright promise went to the sons of Joseph, Ephriam and Manasseh. God made that promise unconditional to Abraham because Abraham did obey God. Now the children never did. So, God took it away from home for 2520 years. But  God promised Abraham, and God can’t lie, and God’s word must be good, after the 2520 years He did. Now, who were the descendants of Joesph through Ephriam and Manasseh?  The United states are the descendants of Manasseh, and Britain and the other British nations of the United Kingdom are descendants of Ephriam. By 1803 or 1804 that 2520 years was up. And at that time we spurted to the greatest wealth we became the greatest power on the face of the earth. But what have we done with it? [He discusses his WSJ ads story again.]

I had an ad what is wrong with business and industry today? What’s wrong with organized labor?  I told him what’s wrong and I didn’t mince words. And I’m telling them here what’s wrong with organized labor. They think everything is good with organized labor so I tell them what is supposed to be good about it first. You ever notice in the Book of Revelation, where God speaks to the churches and the second third chapters, that He starts out with “ I know your works, and you’ve done this and that” and He says the good things first? Then WHAM He tells them what’s wrong with them. In other words He says I have good news and bad news for you and I’m going to give you the good news first and then I’m going to give you the bad news.  And boy then he lands it on them. That’s what I’m doing in these ads. I’m going to show what’s wrong with labor unions. I had one on modern education. I showed what’s good, of course they have more knowledge, and it doubled in the decade of the 60s and it doubled again in the decade of the 70s, but so did the troubles of the world. So the increased knowledge, maybe it didn’t cause the troubles, but it certainly didn’t prevent them. And so education has become decadent it's all materialistic, and they’ve lost spiritual values, and all of our troubles are spiritual and they’re only teaching physical, material knowledge. And it won’t solve any problems and so the world suffers on. Business and industry, I’m showing that it’s all get. It’s all dog eat dog, it’s all taking profits away from the other guy with unfair and hostile competition. That’s in the Wall Street Journal. I’m telling them about them about the way of give not get. It’s outflowing love, and you’re not living that way.

We had a time before organized labor when in each business, everyone got together and pulled together as a team for that business. Of course they were in competition for some other business but at least that part of the team was still together. Then union labor came in and made the employer the enemy of the employee. And now within their own home and their own family they’re all broken up. And now it’s coming into the individual family or homes. Kids are the enemies of parents and the parents of the children. They don’t eat together anymore. Mom and Dad are both at work all day long. The kids are home having sex games on Mom and Dad’s bed. That’s what they’re doing. That’s the world you live in today. That’s the way of Satan. Satan tells you that’s the way to enjoy life. Mom and Dad both enjoy being out working, so Mom has her own money and Dad has his. Pretty soon Mom and Dad don’t get along. Mom says I’m going to sue you for alimony, and with my salary I’m going to get half of your salary besides. Equal rights doesn’t mean equal. Mom wants ¾ of it and leaves ¼ of it to Dad. The kids, they can due for themselves. They’ll go to the devil but who cares? Mom and Dad don’t care. They enjoyed the sex and the kids came along. The kids are a responsibility and Mom and Dad don’t want to carry any responsibility. Let the kids take care of themselves. What do I care about my own kids? I don’t want kids.

We talked about the population explosion. We don’t talk about that anymore. They aren’t having so many children these days. They’re having lots of abortions. That’s alright, we believe in murder. The Supreme Court of the US proved that. Our bills say In God We Trust but the only god they trust is the devil. We teach evolution. They passed laws that you can’t have any kind of a prayer in school. You tell me God isn’t going to punish this nation! You bet God’s going to punish the United States of America! They’re not living God’s way. Mom is against Dad. The kids are against Mom and Dad. We’re all divided! That’s the world we live in today. I’ll end up a Pentecostal preacher if

I don’t cut this out. I get aroused on these things once in a while.

So if the gospel is veiled, and they don’t really get what it is saying – I hope you’re getting what they’re saying. I’m trying to make it plain. It is only veiled to those that are perishing. Are you one who’s perishing? They’re not perished yet, they are on the way, they are being perished right now.

Continuing in chapter 4:

Verse 4: whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

HWA commented:

This is that famous verse. You should have this memorized.

Satan is the god of this age, consider that this age will end and Satan will be put away (Revelation 20:1-3, 10). And all who have been blinded will have an opportunity for salvation. For more details, see also 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.

Back to chapter 4:

Verse 5: For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.

HWA commented:

Paul did not preach Paul. I don’t want to preach Herbert Armstrong. Maybe I mention a thing or two once in a while if I think it will set an example for the rest of you. I’m not doing it to toot my own horn or for my own glory. I hope that’s what I am – a servant and nothing more.

I would say basically the same thing.

Back to chapter 4:

Verse 6: For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Verse 7: But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

HWA read the Moffat translation and commented:

 7 But I possess this treasure in a frail vessel of earth, to show that the transcending power belongs to God, not to myself; 

Transcendent power, means supernatural, way up above anything human, or us.

Yes, we will be deified (see also What is Your Destiny? Deification? Did the Early Church Teach That Christians Would Become God?). And have massive power, beyond what any human has ever had on earth.

Back to chapter 4:

Verse 8: We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

HWA commented:

We, lately, have been persecuted. We’ve been delivered since we had the last Bible study. Persecuted but we never gave up. I never lost any sleep. I knew God would deliver us. But let me tell you, Satan will try to bring something even bigger on us if he can. But even then God will deliver us. We don’t have anyone else to trust. We can’t trust ourselves. We can’t match Satan at all.

Back to chapter 4:

Verse 9:  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed--

HWA commented:

Maybe Satan will strike us down even more, but we won’t be destroyed. The work will go on. We’ll be there to make that new covenant with God, if we qualify.

Back to chapter 4:

Verse 10:  always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

The life of Jesus is in our bodies if 1) we obey Him, 2) we strive to live our lives as He did, and we have properly repented and been baptized (Acts 2:38-39).

Back to chapter 4:

Verse 11: For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
Verse 12:  So then death is working in us, but life in you.

HWA commented:

We are dying to the wrong way of living, but life in you (meaning the church).

Back to chapter 4:

Verse 13: And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak,
Verse 14:  knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.

HWA commented:

Just think of that. He was faithful to raise Christ. Christ really hated to have to go to the cross that night at the Passover with His people. ... He {Jesus} knew He would be foresaken. He cried out on the cross, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” The human part in Him cried out. But He knew that He had to die. He was along. God wasn’t with Him there for the minute. He left Him to die. Then God raised Him back up. As sure as God raised Him, He will raise us.

Back to chapter 4:

Verse 15: For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.
Verse 16: Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.

HWA commented:

In the church we knew God would deliver us. This lawsuit was the first time that Satan had ever struck at the church as a whole it was the first time the church as a body has ever been persecuted by Satan have you ever thought of that?  I’ve been thinking we’re just past that war in heaven that is spoken of in Galatians 12: 9. In verse 13 you’ll find that Satan is to persecute this church. Then will come the Great Tribulation. This is before the Great Tribulation. During the tribulation he goes to seek those that are in the church.

Back to chapter 4:

Verse 17: For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,

HWA said:

He’s talking to the church here. Judgment is not on the world now. Judgment will come on them after Christ comes, and after we make the covenant with Christ we will then be immortal. We will receive, at the time we make the covenant, that reward. Christ is coming and His reward is with Him, as you read in Revelation 19. That’s when the reward comes. We don’t get the reward now in this life. The reward is immortal life and a position in the Kingdom of God. Then, judgment comes on the world, not now.

We will be ruling with Christ then bringing salvation to all the world.  There won’t be any devil around to tempt them at that time period they will then be called. They will be judged then, they are not now.  Those who have done little offenses will receive little stripes, those that did huge offenses will receive many stripes. I preached this sermon one time where people thought they could do anything they wanted to. They didn’t have to keep the Sabbath, they didn’t have to tithe. We in the church have to do that but they could do anything they wanted to. So I preached to tell them they’re going to be held accountable and that their time of judgment is coming. One man told me he wasn’t converted yet so he didn’t have to keep the Sabbath. But when he’s converted then he’ll have to keep it. I told him if you’re going to keep that attitude you’re going to be punished with many stripes.

Back to chapter 4:

Verse 18:  while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

HWA commented:

That is we do not look to the physical things that are transient and come and go, we look to the things which are not seen but are spiritual and are eternal.

Our hope is eternal.

Chapter 5

Now to chapter 5:

Verse 1: For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

HWA commented:

The earthly tent is this physical body. Our consciousness is our mind, it doesn’t mean our spirit or our immortal soul. It’s our consciousness.

 In other words our promise, our citizenship, is reserved eternal in heaven. In the resurrection we will not have the same body that we have now. Remember we went through that in 1 Corinthians 15. It will be a different body.  The spirit of man that is in us is like a mold, that will form and shape other spirits to give us a spirit body.  That will make us look just like we did look except that our faces will shine like the sun. We won’t be black or yellow  or green or purple or polka dot.  Well I’ll shine like the sun.

Back to chapter 5:

Verse 2:For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven,

HWA commented:

People translate that to mean we’re going to go to heaven. It doesn’t mean that. It’s reserved for us and heaven.

The Book of Revelation teaches:

2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."

5 Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful." (Revelation 21:2-5)

Back to chapter 5:

Verse 3: if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked.

Verse 4:  For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.

HWA commented:

In other words this mortal is matter that is going to go then we’re going to have an immortal spirit body. Will have self containing life. Your automobile has to be fed just like we have to be fed. It has a stomach gas tank. In his carburetor and that’s like our lungs. And it can die. And so can we. It’s just like an automobile that would have life in itself and you’d never have to put gas in it again.  And that’s the way we’ll be.

It is not just our bodies that groan:

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. (Romans 8:18-25)

Let me add that hope is stronger than fear, to those who have true hope.

Back to chapter 5:

Verse 5: Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

 HWA commented:

That’s the down payment of the spirit.

Notice that we receive a guarantee! This is not just wishful thinking.

Notice also:

16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, (Romans 4:16, ESV)

Yes, there is a guarantee--a true promise.


17 in which God, desiring to show more abundantly the unchangeableness of His purpose to the heirs of the promise, guaranteed it by an oath,  18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have strong encouragement, having fled for refuge, to take hold of the hope being set before us, (Hebrews 6:17-18, Berean Literal Bible)

Notice that Christians have a GUARANTEE! Yes, a guarantee you can rely on and have hope in.

Let's consider also the following scriptures:

24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

3 But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

15 Christ died to rescue those who had sinned and broken the old agreement. Now he brings his chosen ones a new agreement with its guarantee of God's eternal blessings! (Hebrews 9:15, CEV)

23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)

God is faithful, we have a reliable guarantee. So do not give up.

Consider  Roman 8:

Verse 37: Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

Notice if we will be faithful, we are not just conquerers, we are more than conquerers--that is a promise, a guarantee! We will ultimately be more than successful by any standard we can even imagine.

As Paul wrote:

9 But as it is written:

"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him." (1 Corinthians 2:9)

Notice more in Romans 8:

Verse 38: For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
Verse 39: nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing can stop us if we will not give up. THAT IS A GUARANTEE.

Paul also wrote:

13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

This applies to us as well.

Back to chapter 5:

Verse 6:  So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord.

HWA commented:

That is in this mortal flesh.

We can be confident because God does not lie and He has given us guarantees in His word.

Romans 11:

Verse 29: For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

That is another guarantee!

Back to chapter 5:

Verse 7:  For we walk by faith, not by sight.

We walk by faith here on earth. Yet, most people do not.

Even most Christians rely on sight for a lot--that is why most end time Christians are Laodicean, not Philadelphian.

Laodiceans have trouble understanding how God works and how to properly support the end time Philadelphian work.

They refuse to believe in the dreams and other signs God is using at this time. For more on dreams, check out the article: Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18? 

Back to chapter 5:

Verse 8: We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

HWA commented:

A lot of people take that as we’re going to go to heaven. It doesn’t say that. Our citizenship is in heaven. The spirit that is the mold that will form the new spirit body. Where is it? Maybe it is kept in heaven. A man dies and his spirit goes to the God they gave him in the body goes to dust to the ground. It returns to dust again. The spirit that is in us returns to God. However, if we have the Holy Spirit, that is the down payment of life. We are begotten as the children of God. Now lets get that 5th verse here in the Revised Standard. ‘He who has prepared us for this very thing, is God who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.’ That’s what a down payment is. It’s kind of a guarantee.

We are going to sit with Him on His throne in Jerusalem and we’re going to be given powers over the nations. We’re going to be with Him where He is and where is He going to be? He’s going to be here on earth.

It should be pointed out here that early Christians DID NOT believe that humans had immortal souls or that the faithful went to heaven upon death.

Jesus confirmed that souls can and will be destroyed when He taught:

28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell {Gehenna} (Matthew 10:28).

If souls were truly immortal, then they could not be destroyed. Jesus taught that death was like sleep:

11 These things He said, and after that He said to them, "Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up."

12 Then His disciples said, "Lord, if he sleeps he will get well." 13 However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep.

14 Then Jesus said to them plainly, "Lazarus is dead" (John 11:11-14).

Consider the following:

16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, "Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?"

17 So He said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments."

18 He said to Him, "Which ones?"

Jesus said, "'You shall not murder,' 'You shall not commit adultery,' 'You shall not steal,' 'You shall not bear false witness,' 19 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'"

20 The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?"

21 Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." (Matthew 19:16-21)

Jesus did not tell the man that he already had eternal life.

Notice also that Jesus taught that eternal life was given at a later time, in the age to come:

28 Then Peter began to say to Him, "See, we have left all and followed You."

29 So Jesus answered and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel's, 30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time — houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions — and in the age to come, eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first." (Mark 10:28-31)

29 Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come everlasting life (Luke 18:29-30).

Thus, humans do not possess that eternal life now. The dead are asleep now:

14 Therefore He says:

"Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light." (Ephesians 5:14)

Perhaps the most famous passage in the New Testament is John 3:16. It states:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Notice the contrast above. Humans would perish (and this means eternally, since all die physically) if God had not loved the world enough to send Jesus so that the believers could have everlasting life.

Paul clearly understood this concept as here is some of what he wrote about immortality:

51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." (1 Corinthians 15:51-54).

Notice that Paul is saying that we must be changed in order to possess immortality, and that the sleeping dead will be raised. And that this occurs at the resurrection. No human has immortality now.

Nor did Paul as he taught:

I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended (Phillipians 3:8-13).

Thus, the immortality attained at the resurrection is not something that Christians have today.

Furthermore, all humans cannot possible possess immortality now. Look at what the Apostle John taught:

15 ... you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him (1 John 3:15).

Since many people are or have been murderers, this proves that not all humans possess immortality.

Currently, look at who only has immortality:

He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality (1 Timothy 6:15-16).

Thus, Jesus is the only one who was born human that who alone currently possesses immortality.

Other than the quotes above, the following are all the remaining times the NKJV uses the terms immortal or immortality:

5 ... God, 6 who "will render to each one according to his deeds": 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness — indignation and wrath, (Romans 2:5-8)

... our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (2 Timothy 1:10).

However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. Now to the King eternal, immortal (1 Timothy 1:16-17).

Note that every passage in the Bible that uses the terms immortal or immortality say that Jesus has immortality, that humans do not have it apart from God giving it , that Jesus came so that humans can have it, and that He came to abolish death. But scripture also teaches that God's true followers basically have a guarantee to get it, but those who will not obey do not.

Regarding wrath, notice that it is:

10 ... Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. (1 Thessalonians 1:10)

That is a reference to the second death, which is the cessation of existence (see also The Second Death).

Related to mortality, here is something from what is believed to be "the oldest complete Christian sermon that has survived" (Holmes M.W. Ancient Christian Sermon. The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations, 2nd ed. Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 2004). This Ancient Christian Sermon (note it is also called 2 Clement, but scholars, including Roman Catholic ones, do not believe that Clement wrote it) contains these statements about it:

15:1 Now I do not think that I have given any mean council respecting continence, and whosoever performeth it will not repent thereof, but will save both himself and me his councilor. For it is no mean reward to convert a wondering and perishing soul, that it may be saved.

17:1 For if we have received commands, that we should make this our business, to tear men away from idols and to instruct them, how much more is it wrong that a soul which knoweth God already should perish!

Souls that can perish cannot be immortal. Notice also that the immortality was believed to take place after the resurrection:

19:3 Let us therefore practice righteousness that we may be saved unto the end. Blessed are they that obey these ordinances. Though they may endure affliction for a short time in the world, they will gather the immortal fruit of the resurrection. (Lightfoot J.B. Edited and completed by J.R. Hammer. The Apostolic Fathers: Revised Texts with Short Introductions and English Translations. Macmillan, London, 1891. With any Greek retranslated was based the Greek text as shown in Holmes M.W. The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations, 2nd ed. Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 2004, p. 127)

The letter from the Romans to the Corinthians, a probably late first century document, otherwise known as 1 Clement, states:

Do we then deem it any great and wonderful thing for the Maker of all things to raise up again those that have piously served Him in the assurance of a good faith, when even by a bird He shows us the mightiness of His power to fulfil His promise? For [the Scripture] says in a certain place, You shall raise me up, and I shall confess unto You; and again, I laid me down, and slept; I awoke, because You are with me; and again, Job says, You shall raise up this flesh of mine, which has suffered all these things. (Chapter 26. Translated by John Keith. From Ante-Nicene FathersVol. 9. Edited by Allan Menzies. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1896.Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <>).

Notice this from Ignatius' Letter to the Ephesians (early second century):

For this end did the Lord suffer the ointment to be poured upon His head, that He might breathe immortality into His Church (Chapter 17).

Especially [will I do this] if the Lord make known to me that ye come together man by man in common through grace, individually, in one faith, and in Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David according to the flesh, being both the Son of man and the Son of God, so that ye obey the bishop and the presbytery with an undivided mind, breaking one and the same bread, which is the medicine of immortality, and the antidote to prevent us from dying, but [which causes] that we should live for ever in Jesus Christ (Chapter 20).

Ignatius is essentially teaching that Christ suffered to give immortality to the Church and we in the Church when we properly partake of Passover can live forever in Christ--otherwise we would die.

Be sober as an athlete of God: the prize set before you is immortality and eternal life, of which you are also persuaded (Ignatius. Letter to Polycarp, Chapter 2).

Polycarp of Smyrna (mid-2nd century) taught that the body and soul were to be resurrected, hence he taught against the immortality of the soul doctrine:

I bless you for because you have considered me worthy of this day and hour, that I might receive a place among the number of martyrs in the cup of your Christ, to the resurrection to eternal life, both of soul and of body, in the incorruptibility of the Holy Spirit (The Martyrdom of Polycarp, 14:2. In Holmes M.W. The Apostolic Fathers, Greek Texts and English Translations. Baker Books, Grand Rapids (MI), 2004, p.239).

And even though he was not part of the true Church of God, the Greco-Roman Catholic and Protestant saing Justin 'Martyr' wrote:

Justin also stated, "For I choose to follow not men or men's doctrines, but God and the doctrines [delivered] by Him. For if you have fallen in with some who are called Christians, but who do not admit this [truth], and venture to blaspheme the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; who say there is no resurrection of the dead, and that their souls, when they die, are taken to heaven; do not imagine that they are Christians" (Dialogue. Chapter 80).

While those of us in the Continuing Church of God would agree that souls die (Ezekiel 18:4) and are not taken to heaven upon death (Job:14:14; John 3:13), those in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant churches would seem to disagree with Justin here.

Though the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch now lists him in their succession list, around 170 A.D. Theophilus of Antioch wrote a position that seems to differ from current Eastern Orthodox doctrine on immortality:

When thou shalt have put off the mortal, and put on incorruption, then shall thou see God worthily. For God will raise thy flesh immortal with thy soul; and then, having become immortal, thou shalt see the Immortal, if now you believe on Him; and then you shall know that you have spoken unjustly against Him (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book 1, Chapter VI. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

For if He had made him immortal from the beginning, He would have made him that if he should incline to the things of immortality, keeping the commandment of God, he should receive as reward from Him immortality, and should become God...For God has given us a law and holy commandments; and every one who keeps these can be saved, and, obtaining the resurrection, can inherit incorruption (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book 2, Chapter XXVII. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

But God at least, the Father and Creator of the universe did not abandon mankind, but gave a law, and sent holy prophets to declare and teach the race of men, that each one of us might awake and understand that there is one God. And they also taught us to refrain from unlawful idolatry, and adultery, and murder, fornication, theft, avarice, false swearing, wrath, and every incontinence and uncleanness; and that whatever a man would not wish to be done to himself, he should not do to another; and thus he who acts righteously shall escape the eternal punishments, and be thought worthy of the eternal life from God (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book 2, Chapter XXXIV. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Probably prior to 180 A.D., Melito of Sardis, a famous church leader and writer, wrote:

He killed death which had put man to death (Melito. Homily On the Passover, Verse 66. Translation from Kerux: The Journal of Online Theology, 09/14/05). .

And by this, Melito is teaching that Jesus could provide immortality, as humans did not possess it (he obviously is not referring to physical death, as Christians have died throughout history). More on this can be found in the following article: Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality? 

Back to chapter 5:

Verse 9: Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.

Yes, all true Christians should strive to live their lives in a manner which is pleasing to Jesus. Don't make excuses.

Back to chapter 5:

Verse 10:  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

HWA commented:

That is when Christ comes. Though a lot of people are not going to appear in that judgement seat until a 1,000 years later.

The Bible calls those people, "the rest of the dead" in Revelation 20:5-6 as they are NOT part of the first resurrection.

Back to chapter 5:

Verse 11:  Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.
Verse 12:  For we do not commend ourselves again to you, but give you opportunity to boast on our behalf, that you may have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart.

HWA commented:

We’re to always be ready to give an answer to the hope that is within us is what another scripture says.

That scripture is the following:

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)

Back to chapter 5:

Verse 13:  For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you.
Verse 14a:  For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus:

We all should want the love of Christ to compel us to support and do His work.

Back to chapter 5:

14b: that if One died for all, then all died;
Verse 15:  and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.

HWA commented:

All have died. All men died in Adam, but in Christ we shall all be made alive. Some only to the Great White Throne judgement. It doesn’t mean that all men will be made alive to immortality.

Those who live may no longer for themselves. Most people in the world live only for what they can get for themselves in the passing moment. We should live for Christ and the hope in the future – the resurrection and the Kingdom of God. And making this new covenant with Him that I was talking about.

HWA was referring to the following scripture related to immortality:

20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. (1 Corinthians 15:20-25)

Back to chapter 5:

Verse 16: Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.

Verse 17:  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

HWA commented:

Not just a new creature but a new creation. I was thinking about myself. I am now the new Herbert W. Armstrong. I’m not the same person that died over three years ago last August. I hope that my life has been renewed again, but being born again means in the new resurrection. And I hope I became a new Herbert Armstrong when I was converted back in 1927.

Back to chapter 5:

Verse 18: Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,
Verse 19:  that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

HWA commented:

There’s quite a lot in there if we get the message. ‘Not imputing their trespasses’ – they’re going to account for what they’ve done. But if they do repent and turn to the way of God and the way of love and give and cooperate and serve and share – because they begin to believe God and live the way He says, all will be forgiven. I say that the world has to account for what its doing now, but when they are judged, they must repent and turn. Christ will not hold their past against them anymore than He will hold it against us. Even some who leave the church, angry, they think everything they ever did will be held against them, but they don’t think that anything they do will be held against them. They sin by the lies that they’re spreading.

Back to chapter 5:

Verse 20:  Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.

HWA commented:

The college was named Ambassador College because we were training people to be ambassadors for Christ.

Paul also pointed out that he personally was an amnbassador:

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 not temporary, we are to be permanent representatives of God, His government, and His kingdom.

Although the Apostle Paul was a Jewish and Roman citizen (Acts 21:39; 22:3, 28), he wrote that Christians have their citizenship in heaven:

20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, (Philippians 3:20).

The Apostle Peter, while not specifically using the term ambassador, backs this up as he was inspired to write the following:

9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10)

Christians are part of a royal priesthood and a holy nation. They were not a recognized people, like other nations, but now are essentially ambassadors for the coming Kingdom of God. More on how to live as a Christian ambassador is in the free online book: Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian.

What about reconciliation?

21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight -- (Colossians 1:21-22)

8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. (Romans 5:8-11)

But reconciliation is a two-way street. Those who would be the recipients of God's grace must first accept the terms of reconciliation. They must accept Christ, who is the one and only way into the Kingdom:

6 I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)

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)

29 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)

Jesus died for us so we could be reconciled to God. But, although His shed blood reconciles us to God, if we will not strive to obey Him, we will not remain as reconciled, but as the unrepentant. We must truly repent and live His way to be properly reconciled to God--God has provided us with guaranteed assurances of this in His word if we will strive to always do things God's way.

This will also give us guaranteed immortality (Romans 2:5-7).

What a precious gift.

Now to the last verse:

Verse 21:  For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
In other words He made Him to be sin and had Him take them on Himself as though He had done it.

Jesus, unlike us, was without sin--but took our punishment.

Here is a link to a related sermon on the past two chapters: 2 Corinthians 4-5: Guaranteed Immortality

Chapter 6

Now to chapter 6:

Verse 1: We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.

Note that we are to be workers with Jesus, otherwise you may have received the grace of God in vain.

Notice something that Jesus did:

14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,

15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. (Mark 1:14-15, KJV)

If you are a true Christian you should be supporting preaching the good news of the kingdom of God to the world now.

If your main focus is what you perceive to be your own salvation and your opinions, as opposed to trying to support the work of the Philadelphian remnant, you are probably falling short.

By being a co-worker with the CCOG, you are following Jesus' example, and helping support the work of fulfilling Matthew 24:14 of preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God to the world as well as the ‘short work’ of Romans 9:28, and matters related to Romans 11:25.

Let me also add that we now have had our English language booklet, The Gospel of the Kingdom of God, translated into over 500 languages and dialects. This seems to be more languages than any Church of God has had materials translated into throughout the entire church age. We want to publish information in as many languages as we can to support the work of bearing fruit to those of multiple tongues (cf. Revelation 7:9).

Back to chapter 6:

Verse 2: For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.”Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

HWA commented:

There are some Protestant churches that hold great stress on that. “Now is THE day of salvation.” Now that is quoted from the Old Testament, Isaiah 49:8. ‘Now saith the Lord, at an acceptable time I have heard thee in A day of salvation.” Not the day of salvation. Some say this is the only day of salvation and you are either a saved or lost soul this minute. They believe that this is the only day of salvation and that everyone is lost. There’s no middle ground whatsoever. You were either saved or lost and consigned to hell. I have heard Billy Graham say on TV ‘While I am speaking, before I finish this sermon, somebody somewhere today is going to die and by tomorrow morning several people are going to die and you never know, one of them might be you. If you do not come up here and accept Jesus Christ as your savior and get saved, you might be roasting in hell tomorrow morning and you’ll be roasting forever and ever for all eternity. You better come up here before it’s too late.’

Roman "Catholics believe that one's eternal destiny is fixed at the moment of death" (, but the Eastern Orthodox are not of the same view and some hold parts of the view consistent with the CCOG.

Notice something that the late Cardinal Ratzinger, who later became Pope Benedict XVI wrote:

"...both Chiliasm [the teaching of the Millennium] and Montanism were declared heretical and were excluded from the universal church; for they both denied this vision [the "Christ is the end of the ages" vision] and awaited still another period of more definitive salvation to follow after the age of Christ" (as cited in Birch D. Trial Tribulation & Triumph. Queenship Publishing, Goleta (CA), 1996, pp. 515-516; note the comments within [] were from the Roman Catholic writer Birch).

This is an odd statement for several reasons. One is that Jesus and others taught about an age to come. Furthermore, it was the leaders in Asia Minor who stood for the Millennium and were the first to oppose Montanism--whom the Roman Catholics originally tolerated (please see the article Location of the Early Church)--hence the belief in one is NOT necessarily related to the other.

Another reason this condemnation is odd, is that even though in the 3rd century, Origen of Alexandria was opposed to the millennium, Origen also taught that there was definitive salvation after what then Cardinal Ratzinger calls "the age of Christ" (please see the article Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism). Yet Benedict XVI publicly praised Origin as a "true teacher" (for documentation, see What is the Appropriate Form of Biblical Interpretation?).

Cardinal Ratzinger also authorized the following:

676 The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism. (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 194).

It should be noted that the millennial teaching appears to be the only doctrine associated with Antichrist that is condemned in the current official Catechism of the Catholic Church (which is the first new one in hundreds of years). The one that has the imprimatur of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.

It appears to me that the millennial view is being so definitely condemned now, because we are getting so close to that time when the Church of Rome is expected to compromise more and the Pope has prepared his followers to do that. It seems like the final revised Roman Church intends to warn against following any (like the actual two witnesses) who will be teaching the original millennial doctrine. Of course, there still are Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholics who accept the biblical teaching on the millennium--but they are becoming more and more of a minority within their church.

Getting back to verse 2, HWA commented:

Now that is not the teaching of the scripture. It says here, “Thus says the eternal, in an accepted time have I heard thee in a day of salvation” They want to say this is Old Testament stuff is not for us. They want to say there was no day of salvation for anyone in Israel. God did not give anyone in Israel the Holy Spirit. There was no chance for them to receive the Holy Spirit. The only ones that could receive the Holy Spirit were the prophets of ancient Israel, but not the people. It’s a day of salvation for those that are called. Jesus said, “No man can come to me except the Father that sent me, draws him”.

We have a free book that goes into God's plan of salvation titled: Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation. Here is some from that book:

Notice, though, what the New Testament and the Old Testament plainly teach:

6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God. (Luke 3:6, NKJV, throughout this book unless otherwise specified. Note this verse is translated precisely the same in the Catholic Douay-Rheims Bible, DRB)

10 … And all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. (Isaiah 52:10; also the same in the DRB)

Some have called versions of this teaching “the age to come” (cf. Matthew 12:32; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30; Hebrews 6:5) or the Greek word ἀποκαταστάστεως, transliterated as ‘apokatastasis’ (sometimes also spelled in English as ‘apocatastasis’). ...

In the early 2nd century, Bishop/Pastor Ignatius of Antioch exhorted Bishop/Pastor Polycarp of Smyrna to teach that all may be saved:

I entreat you, by the grace with which you are clothed, to press forward in your course, and to exhort all that they may be saved. (Ignatius. Letter to Polycarp, Chapter 1).

Notice the teaching “to exhort ALL that they may be saved.” Not only the Jews. Not only some Gentiles. Not only those who are called in this age.

In the 2nd century, Polycarp wrote of “the prophetic mystery of the coming of Christ” (Polycarp, Fragments from Victor of Capua. Translated by Stephen C. Carlson, 2006). There was a mystery about God’s plan that many still do not understand (see also our free online book, available at, titled The Mystery of God’s Plan: Why did God create anything? Why did God make you?).

In the late 2nd century, Bishop/Pastor Theophilus of Antioch wrote:

And on the sixth day, God having made the quadrupeds, and wild beasts, and the land reptiles, pronounced no blessing upon them, reserving His blessing for man, whom He was about to create on the sixth day. The quadrupeds, too, and wild beasts, were made for a type of some men, who neither know nor worship God, but mind earthly things, and repent not. For those who turn from their iniquities and live righteously, in spirit fly upwards like birds, and mind the things that are above, and are well-pleasing to the will of God. But those who do not know nor worship God, are like birds which have wings, but cannot fly nor soar to the high things of God. Thus, too, though such persons are called men, yet being pressed down with sins, they mind grovelling and earthly things. And the animals are named wild beasts [θηρία], from their being hunted [θηρεύεσθαι], not as if they had been made evil or venomous from the first — for nothing was made evil by God, but all things good, yea, very good — but the sin in which man was concerned brought evil upon them. For when man transgressed, they also transgressed with him. For as, if the master of the house himself acts rightly, the domestics also of necessity conduct themselves well; but if the master sins, the servants also sin with him; so in like manner it came to pass, that in the case of man’s sin, he being master, all that was subject to him sinned with him. When, therefore, man again shall have made his way back to his natural condition, and no longer does evil, those also shall be restored to their original gentleness. (Theophilus. To Autolycus, Book 2, Chapter 17)

And God showed great kindness to man in this, that He did not allow him to remain in sin for ever; but, as it were, by a kind of banishment, cast him out of Paradise, in order that, having by punishment expiated, within an appointed time, the sin, and having been disciplined, he should afterwards be restored. (Ibid, Chapter 26)

Theophilus was teaching that although God consigned humans to be put out of Paradise, this was for the good of humanity so that sinful humans could later be restored.

21st century researcher and professor Ilaria Ramelli considers some passages from Ignatius and those just cited from Theophilus to be supportive of the early Christian understanding of the doctrine of apocatastasis:

In Ep ad Eph. 20, Ignatius describes the destructiveness of evil and salvation brought about by Christ in strongly universalistic terms.

Every spell of evilness has been destroyed, every chain of evilness has disappeared; ignorance has been swept away; the old kingdom has fallen into ruin, when God appeared in human form for the novelty of the life that is absolutely eternal [άïδίου]. What was established by God has begun: since then, all beings have been set in motion for the providential realisation of the destruction of death. …

This destruction of death is a work of God, and the death at stake is not only physical, but also spiritual, since its disappearance is linked to the elimination of evil and ignorance. …

In Aut. 2, 17 Theophilus foretells the final restoration of both humans and animals to their original condition … Theophilus expresses here a notion of apokatastasis … Also, Theophilus at the same time interprets beasts as the symbol of evil human beings. (Ramelli I. The Christian Doctrine of Apokatastasis: A Critical Assessment from the New Testament to Eriugena (Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae). Brill, 2013, pp. 63, 65,66).

(Note: Professor Ramelli should have cited Ep ad Eph. 19, not Ep ad Eph. 20, for her translation in the section above. Ep ad Eph is an abbreviation for what in English we would title Epistle (or letter) to the Ephesians).

Though not a dogma, the idea that ‘non-elect’ humans will have an opportunity for salvation after death is a hope of the Eastern and Russian Orthodox churches (Benedetto, p. 37).

In the late second century, Irenaeus of Lyon, wrote:

It is indeed proper to God, and befitting His character, to show mercy and pity, and to bring salvation to His creatures, even though they be brought under danger of destruction. “For with Him,” says the Scripture, “is propitiation.” (Fragments of Irenaeus, Fragment 10. Roberts and Donaldson)

Professor Ramelli brought out the following related to Irenaeus:

Irenaeus connects again ἀνάστα- σις and ἀποκατάστασις in fr. 10: “Life will seize humanity, will chase death away, and will restore [ἀποκαταστήσει] humanity. Likewise, at the end of fr. 15 from AH 5 Irenaeus refers ἀποκατέστησε to the work of Christ, who restores humanity to friendship with God …. Humanity will be restored to its original condition, anterior to the fall, and even to a better state. (Ramelli, p. 105)

Yes, it will ultimately be much better (cf. Revelation 21:4-5). Perhaps it should be pointed out that while Irenaeus’ writings do not show he believed all would be saved, some of his writings are consistent with the view that God has a plan to save more than just the elect of this age.

Andreas Andreopoulos wrote the following related to the 4th century Eastern Orthodox bishop Gregory of Nyssa:

Gregory does not accept the restoration of all and the subsequent forgiveness of all as an inescapable necessity. Nobody will be saved without going through repentance, cleansing and forgiveness, and his view of the apokatastasis is merely the belief that everyone will be able to see truth as it is at the end, and everyone will be given the chance to repent … The restoration of all however, a valid possibility according to the Church, although not a doctrine, has a special place in the hopes of saints who pray for the redemption of their enemies, and it expresses our hope for the charity of God. (Andreopoulos A. Eschatology and final restoration (apokatastasis) in Origen, Gregory of Nyssa and Maximos the Confessor. Theandros an Online Journal of Orthodox Christian Theology and Practice, Volume 1, number 3, Spring 2004)

Dr. Ilaria Ramelli wrote (bolding in source):

It clearly emerges that for Gregory, just as for Origen, the doctrine of apokatastasis is a Christological, and indeed Christocentrical, doctrine. In their view, it is a specifically Christian doctrine. This is also why Origen was at such pains to distinguish his own, Christian notion of apokatastasis from the Stoic. Both in Origen’s and in Gregory’s view, universal apokatastasis is made possible, not by any metaphysical or cosmological necessity, but by Christ’s inhumanation, sacrifice, and resurrection, and by the grace of God. The very fact that for both Origen and Gregory the eventual universal restoration begins with, and coincides with a holistic vision of, the resurrection makes it clear that their concept of apokatastasis is thoroughly Christian, given the Christian—and not ‘pagan’ or ‘Platonic’—roots of the doctrine of the resurrection. (Ramelli, p. 390)

Despite numerous issues that Origen of Alexandria and others had, the idea that God has a plan to offer salvation to those not called in this age is a Christian doctrine—and is consistent with the Bible as well as the writings of Ignatius and Theophilus.

It should be pointed out that some have erroneously claimed that Origen invented this doctrine. That view is clearly erroneous, since in his Commentary on John, Origen called it the ‘so-called apocatastasis’ he obviously learned of it from an earlier source (such as Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus, or elsewhere). Professor Ilaria Ramelli agrees (ibid, p. 3), and throughout her books, she cites scriptures in the Old and New Testaments that support the view that this is a biblical doctrine.

In the 4th century, the Alexandrian Didymus the Blind also believed in some version of apocatastasis (Daily B. The Hope of the Early Church: A Handbook of Patristic Eschatology. CUP Archive, 1991, p. 90).

Even Roman Catholic Hans Urs von Balthasar (who was named a cardinal by Pope John Paul II, but died shortly before being formally inducted into the College of Cardinals), in his book titled Dare We Hope: “that All Men be Saved”?, laid out biblical and historical positions he felt were in favour of such a hope.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, reports:

apokatastasis ton panton, restitutio omniumThere were individual adherents of this opinion in every century. (Hontheim J. Hell. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII. Published 1910)

In the 21st century, Swiss theologian and Roman Catholic priest Hans Kung wrote (as translated into English):

Neither in Judaism nor in the New Testament is there any uniform view of the period of punishment for sin. In addition to statements about eternal punishment, there are texts which assume a complete destruction (“eternal corruption”). And throughout Church history, in addition to the traditional dualism, the possibility of annihilation or even universal reconciliation (restitutio omnium, apocatastasis ton panton) have been defended.

But, however the scriptural texts are interpreted in detail, the “eternity” of the punishment of hell may never be regarded as absolute. It remains subject to God, to his will and his grace. And individual texts suggest -- in contrast to others -- a reconciliation of all, an act of universal mercy. (Kung H. Eternal Life. Wipf & Stock Pub; Reprint ed., 2003, p. 140)

Yes, there are scriptures that clearly support a reconciliation as well as a more universal mercy.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, referring to a time around the Protestant Reformation, states:

The doctrine of apokatastasis viewed as a belief in a universal salvation is found among the Anabaptists ... (Batiffel P. Apocatastasis. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume I. Published 1907. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, March 1, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Yet, it should be pointed out that Protestant reformers like Martin Luther and John Calvin did not hold to it, but instead condemned it (they also condemned the Anabaptists—e.g. see The Confession of Faith: Which Was Submitted to His Imperial Majesty Charles V. At the Diet of Augsburg in the Year 1530).

In the 19th century, some Sabbath-keepers published a periodical called the Messenger of Truth which “vigorously promoted the age-to-come doctrine until the paper closed in 1858” (Bull, Malcolm; Lockhart Keith. Seeking a Sanctuary: Seventh-day Adventism and the American Dream. Indiana University Press, 2007).

In the 19th century, people including James P. Stephenson taught versions of the ‘age to come’ and a ‘fair chance’ (Stephenson JP. God’s Plan of Salvation. Thomas Wilson, Chicago, 1877, pp. 70, 268)--though J.P. Stephenson himself was falsely accused of going insane in his later years by an opponent group that still perpetuates that story (see Stilson JT. Biogragraphical Encyclopedia: Chronicling the History of the Church of God Abrahamic Faith. Word Edge, 2011, pp. 248-254).

In the early 20th century, Church of God (Seventh Day) leader A.N. Dugger also taught about an ‘age to come’ (Porter CW, Dugger AN. The Dugger Porter Debate {of 1921}.  FIRM FOUNDATION PUBLISHING HOUSE, 1942, p. 66), but seemed to point to the millennium. In the later portion of the 20th century, the old Worldwide Church of God taught the ‘age to come,’ after the millennium (Schroeder JR. God’s Annual HOLY DAYS: Sneak Preview of Your Future! Plain Truth, March 1979). ...

As the following verses show, the truth of God will be hidden until a certain time:

26 For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. (Matthew 10:26)

22 For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear. (Mark 4:22-23)

17 For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.

18 Therefore take heed how you hear. (Luke 8:17-18)

2 For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. (Luke 12:2)

It should be clear to all that God has His time table for when He will have the truth known in order to call all. That time has not yet come.

It happens in the “age to come”:

32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. (Matthew 12:32)

29 So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, 30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time — houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions — and in the age to come, eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (Mark 10:29-31)

29 So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.”  (Luke 18:29-30:)

4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.  (Hebrews 6:4-6)

Notice that the only sin not to be forgiven in the age to come is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. This is further defined in Hebrews as knowing and willingly rejecting/neglecting the Holy Spirit, which is normally received after repentance and baptism during the church age (Acts 2:38).

The fact that almost all sins, including blasphemy against Jesus can be forgiven in the ‘age to come’, shows that even current sinners that deny Jesus now can still be forgiven after the resurrection.

The fact that many of the first shall be last and the last first (Mark 10:31) shows that there will be some called later in the age to come. The fact that the time all who blasphemed the Holy Spirit will realize that they are the only ones NOT forgiven in the ‘age to come’ shows that all others can be.

Yes, there is an age to come. And various ones throughout the church age understood that it ties in with a different time of salvation, beyond the church age. But this is one of two doctrines that those outside of the Church of God consider to be a cultic doctrine--despite the Bible and early church leaders like Theophilus, teaching it.

Now, back to chapter 6:

Verse 3: We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed.

Though being talked against--and the Apostle Paul was often spoken against or not accepted as legitimate, true ministers do strive to have concern for all and to attempt to be blameless--even if others cast aspersions or blame upon them.

The true ministry is preaching the good news of the kingdom of God, which includes preaching salvation through the acceptance of Jesus for those called in this age, as well as explaining God's plan of salvation for all others in the age to come.

Back to chapter 6:

Verse 4: But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses,

Verse 5: in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings;

Verse 6: by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love,

Verse 7: by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,

HWA commented:

When I read those things and the things that the Apostle Paul went through I think ‘I haven’t suffered anything.’ I said I’ve been persecuted ever since I started serving Christ and started preaching his message, and I have been. At first I was persecuted by other ministers. Finally its come to the place where the whole church is being persecuted and the church itself is being sued by the state, by the government. [He discusses the lawsuit]. But look at the things that Paul went through. Paul was beaten and put in prison. I’ve never been in prison. I’ve been persecuted and had opposition and that seemed very, very tough. But I need to thank God that he spared me and made it easier. Maybe we couldn’t bare the terrible punishment like the Apostle Paul had to go through. We’re soft compared to what they were. We’re not able to endure the things that they could. I don’t know if I could stand two stripes. They stripped you from the waist up and whip your bared back with stripes that would cut you open until you bleed.

Yes, most of us have not been sent to prison for being a true practicing Christian (though I, Bob Thiel, was facing that once).

Paul wrote:

3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. 4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. 5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

"My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives."

7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:3-11)

That said, notice also the following:

20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:

22 "Who committed no sin,
Nor was deceit found in His mouth";

23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; (1 Peter 2:20-24)

Jesus suffered unto death. He is our example.

Unlike in HWA's time, we are getting to the point when numerous Philadelphian Christians are to be subject to persecuting death.

There are persecutions just before the Great Tribulation starts per Daniel 7:25a, 11:28-35; Revelation 12:13, and then during the time of the Great Tribulation per Daniel 7:25b, Revelation 12:17; 14:12-13.

Although many in the Church of God have experienced economic and social persecution in their walk with Christ, future severe persecution, beginning first with the Philadelphia remnant of Christians, is expected, it is then followed by persecution on all Christians once the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21) begins.

While many like to focus on the idea that the Philadelphians will flee to a place of protection, it needs to be understood that there will apparently be a time of severe persecution just prior to the fleeing and the start of the Great Tribulation. Specifically, for another example, evangelist Richard Ames has taught that the 45 day period (the 1335-1290 days) begins intense persecution against the true Philadelphian Church, and this will fulfill Matthew 24:9 (Ames R. Welcome the King, Feast of Trumpets sermon for 9/13/07).

It seems that part of this persecuting time, the one mainly involving the Philadelphians, is also discussed in Daniel 11:28-36 (information of the persecution just prior to Daniel 11:31 can also be found in the article Who is the King of the North?).

But let's start with Daniel 11:27 which specifically shows that the King of the South (a confederation of peoples in North Africa and the Middle East per Daniel 11:40-43; cf. Ezekiel 30:1-9) will make a deceptive deal with the King of the North:

27 Both these kings' hearts shall be bent on evil, and they shall speak lies at the same table; but it shall not prosper, for the end will still be at the appointed time (Daniel 11:27).

Then we learn, somewhat oddly, something upsets the King of the North even though he feels that he made a very good deal:

28 While returning to his land with great riches, his heart shall be moved against the holy covenant; so he shall do damage and return to his own land (Daniel 11:28).

This verse about his heart being "moved against the holy covenant" could be referring to the fact that some of God's people are warning against what the deal in verse 27 means. Notice verse 28 from a different translation:

28 Then the king of the north will return to his country with great treasures. But on the way, he will attack the religion of God's people and do whatever else he pleases (Daniel 11:28, CEV--Contemporary English Version).

Since it is the Church of God religion that historically is the "religion of God's people" (for many details, see Continuing History of the Church of God) and its members are the ones who fulfill the new covenant by having the law written into their hearts, it seems likely that the literal expression "holy covenant" refers to the most faithful of the true Christians (cf. Luke 1:72-75; Hebrews 8:8-12; Daniel 12:7). It appears that God's people are teaching something publicly that the King of the North does not want taught--otherwise he would have little reason to bother to attack such a "little flock" (Luke 12:32). This is about the time that the "one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days" days (1335 days) mentioned in Daniel 12:12 begin--although it may not be until the next verse or two.

Continuing in the NKJV:

29 At the appointed time he shall return and go toward the south; but it shall not be like the former or the latter. 30 For ships from Cyprus shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved, and return in rage against the holy covenant, and do damage. So he shall return and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant (Daniel 11:29-30).

A term referring to western lands, not Cyprus, is a better translation related to verse 30:

30 For warships from western coastlands will scare him off, and he will withdraw and return home. But he will vent his anger against the people of the holy covenant and reward those who forsake the covenant. (Daniel 11:30, New Living Translation 1996 Greg Laurie)

30 Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant. (Daniel 11:30, NIV)

30 Ships from the west will come to attack him, and he will be discouraged. Then he will start back to his own country and take out his anger on the religion of God's faithful people, while showing kindness to those who are unfaithful. (Daniel 11:30, CEV)

30 Ships will come from the west to attack him, and he will be discouraged and turn back. Angry at the holy promise, he will return, take action, and favor those who abandon the holy promise. (Daniel 11:30, GWT)

Notice that after suffering at least a naval embarrassment, the King of the North seems more upset with God's people than the power that confronted it militarily (watch also A US naval conflict with Europe is prophesied). It looks to be the Philadelphian church that will be calling the European King of the North Beast out on this. He will not like that.

This angers him to further persecute:

31 And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation. 32 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. 33 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. 34 Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue. 35 And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time. (Daniel 11:31-35, NKJV).

(The words in italics are NOT in the original Hebrew.) As far as WHO will instruct many, see the article Philadelphian Christians Will Instruct Many and/or watch the sermonette video: Will YOU Instruct Many?

The persecutions in Daniel 11 above are by one called the King of the North (Daniel 11:40; 7:25a)--the King of the North will NOT like the message that the Philadelphians are proclaiming at least of part of which will likely be the Continuing Church of God identifying him to the world as the prophesied King of the North. The persecuted Christians will instruct many--probably explaining more perfectly things related to Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20!

Let's look at another translation of Daniel 11:34:

During these persecutions, little help will arrive, and many who join them will not be sincere. (NLT)

Yes, some will pretend to be COG Christians are turn real Christians in to the authorities.

Already, there are people, such as some part of the United Nations that are calling it "hate speech" to have biblical views on sexual morality (see U.N. 'expert' demands religious beliefs bend to LGBT ideology). Furthermore, the United Nations, itself, wants people to turn in others who engage in what it is calling "hate speech." Notice the following from the UN:


Most online platforms and communities have rules to keep user discussions respectful and will let you easily report hate messages to administrators or moderators. Read social media platform guidelines and tips to protect users from harassment and hate speech. For more serious cases – which may constitute incitement to violence, harassment and/or threats prohibited by law – notify organizations fighting hate speech and/or file a complaint with police (or the public prosecutor). Some countries have online tools to make reporting hate speech easier. accessed 06/28/23

The stage is being set.

Daniel 11:34, itself, is consistent with the following prophecy of Jesus related to the Philadelphian Christians:

9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie — indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. (Revelation 3:9)

It should be pointed out that the New Testament calls Christians ‘Jews’ is several places (Romans 2:28-29; Revelation 2:9,3:9). So, those who are joining by intrigue look to be the same ones warned against in Revelation 3:9. Hence, this is another connection to the Philadelphians and this persecution in Daniel.

While it is mainly the Philadelphia Christians that are targeted for this particular persecution, it is likely that some Laodicean and other Christians will be affected at least to some degree. The Laodiceans will mainly misunderstand what is happening and not realize that their persecution is coming! This is also consistent with the persecution, accomplishments, and problems in Matthew 24:9-20 that will mainly affect the Philadelphians, but will lead to problems then for the Laodiceans in Matthew 24:21-22.

The 19th century Methodist theologian Adam Clarke, in his commentary, identifies the people as follows:

But the people that do know their God
The genuine Christians.

Shall be strong
Shall be strengthened by his grace and Spirit (Clarke A.  The Adam Clarke Commentary, Daniel Chapter 11.)

Those associated with the 'synagogue of Satan' (Revelation 3:9), will apparently betray and assist in this persecution (see also What is the Synagogue of Satan?) which is consistent with Daniel 11:32. Daniel 8:24 shows that this same leader persecutes "the holy people," thus that is further proof that Christians in the end time are who are being persecuted.

The old Radio Church of God realized that Daniel 11:32-35 was talking about what happens to the faithful just before 'the end' (the start of the Great Tribulation). Notice the following:

A Prophecy for Today

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). ...

This prophecy concerns GOD'S CHURCH. Continuing "Now when they [God's people] shall fall, they shall be holpen [helped] with a little help: BUT MANY SHALL CLEAVE TO THEM WITH FLATTERIES" (verse 34). Here is the point that most people have missed. Many individuals who assemble with us on God's Sabbath, or in God's Feasts, are prophesied to cleave to us with flatteries!

Other translations make this even clearer. The Moffatt Translation states: "Many shall join them under FALSE PRETENSE." Yes, some do JOIN THEMSELVES to God's Church, with false pretenses, claiming to be true brethren, claiming to obey God, claiming to have God's Holy Spirit, and yet they are not a part of the body of Christ. God has not JOINED them to His Church!

In "The Complete Bible", AN AMERICAN TRANSLATION by Gordon-Goodspeed we read: "Many shall attach themselves in HYPOCRISY." These people who attach themselves to God's Church assemble under false pretense. They are inwardly hypocritical, and flatter or deceive others.

If you have the idea that all who come to God's Church are truly converted Christians, this scripture ought to dispel this delusion! There are some among us who are not converted. They are not a real spiritually LIVING part of the body of Christ. They are not letting Christ do His work in them. They have not truly and completely surrendered their lives to Christ in full repentance.

Notice that this prophecy continues right up to the time of the end (verse 35), to the return of Jesus Christ. Here is a prophecy which concerns us today! (Neff L. Beware of False Brethren! Good News, January 1960)

Even the Roman Catholic saint Jerome understood that these passages in Daniel 11 were referring to the persecution of God's people as his commentary on them included the following:

But these events were typically prefigured under Antiochus Epiphanes, so that this abominable king who persecuted God's people foreshadows the Antichrist, who is to persecute the people of Christ. (Jerome. Commentary on Daniel, Chapter 11. Translated by Gleason L. Archer. (1958). This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, Ipswich, UK, 2004. viewed 06/05/11)

This King of the North seems to be the same one that certain Greco-Roman Catholic "prophecies" call the Great Monarch who will rule a revised Roman Empire. Notice that Greco-Roman Catholic prophets have indicated that heretics will be eliminated by their Great Monarch, and that a small "sect" will have their possessions (and probably some of their bodies) burnt:

St. Francis of Paola (Born in Italy, 15th century). "By the grace of the Almighty, the Great Monarch will annihilate heretics and unbelievers. He will have a great army, and angels will fight at his side. He will be like the sun among the stars. His influence will spread over the whole earth. All in all, there will be on earth twelve Kings, one Emperor, one Pope and a few Princes. They will all lead holy lives." (Dupont, Yves. Catholic Prophecy: The Coming Chastisement. TAN Books, Rockford (IL), 1973, p.38).

Capuchin Friar (18th century)..."A scion of the Carolingian race, by all considered extinct, will come to Rome and behold and admire the piety and clemency of this Pontiff. who will crown him, and declare him to be the legitimate Emperor of the Romans. He shall destroy the Ottoman Empire and all heresies" (Dupont, p. 34).

David Poreus (17th century): The Great Monarch...will crush the enemies of the Pope…(Dupont, p. 31).

Andrew Fool for Christ (5th century): Later on, this King will towards the East ... many among them will be baptized, they will make themselves agreeable to this King, and he will treat them honorably. However, the remaining ones will be annihilated, they will be burned to death, and they will die a cruel death. (Tzima Otto, Great Monarch, p. 113)

Anne Catherine Emmerich (Purification day 1822) "I saw during the last few days marvellous things connected with the Church. St. Peter's was almost entirely destroyed by the sect, but their labors were, in turn, rendered fruitless and all that belonged to them, their aprons and tools, burned by the executioners on the public place of infamy. They were made of horse-leather, and the stench from them was so offensive that it made me quite sick..." (Schmöger Carl E. The Life and Revelations of Anne Catherine Emmerich, Volume 2. Approbation: Bishop of Limbourgh Peter Joseph. TAN Books, reprint 1976, p.292)

Annihilation and burning certainly are forms of persecution. Possession of what Greco-Roman Catholics consider to be 'bad books' could also result in persecution:

Anne Catherine Emmerich January 27, 1822 'The non-Catholics will mislead many. They will use every possible means to entice them from the Church, and great disturbances will follow.' (Schmöger, p. 348)

Nursing Nun of Bellay (died 1820): "All these things shall come to pass once the wicked have succeeded in circulating large numbers of bad books." (Dupont, p.51)

Trappistine Nun of Notre Dame des Gardes. "Chastisement will come when a very large number of bad books have been spread" (Dupont, p 114).

We can expect to see that Sabbath-keeping will be outlawed in Europe and probably elsewhere. As far as documented books go, all should consider reading the free online book: Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church.

The Eastern Orthodox have a prophecy that various Sabbath-keepers will be publicly executed and the time period is supposed to be when the "Great Monarch" rises up:

Blessed Hieronymus Agathaghelos (1279): ... young man ... now it is not the end; I see you are being are hoping in vain; Sabbatism is against the Divine Law ... you promote the Hebrew Sabbath at the expense of Christian Sunday, and yet, you will not succeed...before you become an apostate on behalf of the Sabbath ...

And lo and behold, an evil assembly of the crafty evening leader, dressed in black mourning apparel, was measuring its strength...taking in a hypocritical manner the most holy name of Christ, by means of their flowering and dissembling speech; these were the men who were concealing their impiety under a mask of virtue; those were the most filthy citizens of Pentapolis...these are semi-godless men, they despise the Divine Law, they are rapacious wolves in sheep's clothing ... they will have to pay the due price before the Public Executioner of the, the inventors of the distorted heresies ... (Tzima Otto H. The Great Monarch and WWIII in Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Scriptural Prophecies. The Verenika Press, Rock Hill (SC), 2000, pp. 127, 132-135, with a partial translation from page 240)

There are several points to make related to the above. Note “public executioner of the Sabbatians” is how that portion of the phrase is shown as a translation on page 240 and seems to make the most historical sense of the Greek being translated. Sabbatians means Sabbath-keepers. The fact that there is a "public executioner" for them, supports the idea that people like us in the genuine Church of God will be subject to execution and other likely forms of persecution. Notice that it is warning that someone who was part of a Sunday church (probably a one "born Catholic" as he becomes an "apostate" according to the mystic because of the Sabbath) will believe in and teach the Sabbath as well as believe that it is the time of the end. The leader is, for at least some while, a citizen of the Pentapolis, which in English means "five cities." Black mourning apparell sounds like sackcloth as biblically, sackcloth is black (cf. Isaiah 50:3; Revelation 6:12). A major point to emphasize is that Agathaghelos is indicating that these men will seem pious and he does not want anyone to listen to him. Thus, the above Orthodox prediction is directed against Sabbath keepers.

For more on this, see the article: Prophecies Showing Persecution for Sabbath Keepers.

Notice the following statements:

Just as God’s people have had to do from the first century onward, so His people today must "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). God states clearly: "He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness" (Romans 9:28). Who will He use to do it? According to Daniel 11:32 it is "the people who know their God [that] shall be strong, and carry out great exploits." (God's Church Through the Ages By John H. Ogwyn. Booklet.)

This time is Satan’s wrath against the modern day descendants of Israel as well as against spiritual Israel, the Church. This is made plain in Revelation 12 where we read of the Church being described by the metaphor of a woman...In verse 13 we find that after Satan is cast back down to the earth, a yet future event, he launches all out persecution upon the Church. At this time, we are told, the Church will be taken to a place in the wilderness to be supernaturally nourished and protected during the final three-and-a-half year period preceding Christ’s return (The Secret Rapture-False Hope for End-Time Christians! By John H. Ogwyn. Tomorrow's World. Jan-Feb 2000).

The persecutions in Daniel 11:28-35, which are mainly directed towards Philadelphian Christians, are a factor in the opening of the fifth seal in Revelation, which is the start of the Great Tribulation:

9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed. (Revelation 6:9-11)

We also see that Revelation 12 shows that those that flee will be persecuted just before they flee, and those that do not flee will later be persecuted:

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

The Laodiceans (see The Laodicean Church Era), who basically will have relatively little intense persecution prior to that time (though historically, Satan is not real picky and does not seem to mind when others not specifically targeted are killed), will be then thrown into a period of intense persecution for three and one half years as Daniel 7:25b shows.

So, yes, some will be beated, some killed, etc. again.

In the past, true Christians were persecuted because they:

In the future, according to Greco-Roman Catholic teachings, they also will be persecuted for:

Christians have been persecuted for holding doctrines that we in the Continuing Church of God hold and are clearly expected to be persecuted in the future for holding Continuing Church of God doctrines.

Persecution is a fact of history. It has happened before and we should be prepared for the fact that it will happen again. And during the time of the final persecutions, the Bible records:

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).

Thus, though the Philadelphian Christians will be subject to intense persecution first, even the Laodiceans (The Laodicean Church Era) and other Christians will receive some praise if they endure the persecutions that will then come during the time of "the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world" (Revelation 3:10).

Now, back to chapter 6:

Verse 8: by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true;

As far as evil deceivers go, we have already been experiencing some of that. But it will worsen:

1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! (2 Timothy 3:1-6)

12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:12-13)

HWA commented on verse 8 as follows:

[In the RSV it said ‘treated as imposters’] I’ve been treated as an imposter. They say I’m in it for what I can get out of it, and all that sort of thing.

Actually, someone recently posted some message that I was fake. Well, I am not faking what I am doing. I continue to strive to live and teach the word of God.

Back to chapter 6:

Verse 9: as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed;

As long as we live, we need to strive to live God's way of love. At this time, we are also considered to be unknown by much of the world--but that will change during the short work of Romans 9:28.

HWA commented:

Some say I’m old and senile. I say I’m not. I’m not over the hill at all. I’m going to be able to increase the amount of telecasting and broadcasting and writing. See a lot of Protestants talk about being born again. The Bible says born again is not being human any longer. You won’t have a heart. You won’t have to breath air, eat food or drink water. You will be composed of spirit, you will be immortal, you will be a god-being. You’ll be a god-person. I feel I’ve had a new human birth since my heart failure. And things have opened up, new doors have been opened and new opportunities to get the gospel out in more ways.

Critics come up with many statements about church leadership and do not seem to mind if they are not actually true.

Back to chapter 6:

Verse 10a: as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor,

Yes, we now have sorrowful tests and trials, but we should be rejoicing in the truth:

4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

Back to chapter 6:

Verse 10b: yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.


Notice Paul didn’t say he made himself rich. I hope I’ve made a few people rich in the truth and knowledge of God. They’re the only true riches anyway when you get down to it. If you’ve got the truth of God you’ve got everything, because this life isn’t going to last that long anyway.

As far as physical riches go, as most know, my wife and I do NOT take a salary from the CCOG.

Back to chapter 6:

Verse 11: O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open.

Verse 12:  You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections.

Verse 13: Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open.

Apparently the Corinthians had a lot of biases which restricted their spiritual growth. They lived in a wealthy and materialistic society and that likely affected them. There are parallels to today.

Back to chapter 6:

Verse 14: Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
Verse 15: And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 

HWA taught:

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. Now that I better expound on a little bit. That has more than one application. It’s a general principle. You must not team up in any way with an unbeliever. A young man must not marry an unbeliever. A young woman must not marry an unbeliever. You should marry only someone who really believes that you are a converted person. You cannot marry an unbeliever.

Yet, his WCG did authorize the above on various ocassions. In the CCOG, our ministers are NOT authorized to marry believers to unbelievers--only believers to believers.

HWA continued with:

You should not join a business partnership with an unbeliever. It doesn’t say you should not take a job and work for an unbeliever. That’s a different matter. But an equal partnership. [RSV says do not be mis-mated with an unbeliever] It looks like it means marriage but it can mean partner too. I think it means in any way not just a marriage.

If you are a believer, you just don’t have anything in common with an unbeliever. If someone marries an unbeliever, you’ll find in your marriage that you just don’t have much in common. If you talk in marriage about the things of God, you don’t have things in common.

I always think about Enoch. He walked with God. Enoch must have had a lot in common with God. He couldn’t have walked with him if he didn’t.

I always thought I could have fellowship with the Sardis church. The brethren were sincere people. Their ministers didn’t like me. They did everything they could against me, but the brethren didn’t. They liked me, they loved me, we had things in common. We talked about the Bible. I would bring out things that God revealed to me and they were grateful for it. Although some things they wouldn’t accept like the annual holy days and the feast days and God’s festivals. But ordinary things in scripture they would accept and we could study the Bible together and we had things in common. Once you have your mind on the spiritual things and understand spiritual things, you just don’t have as much in common with the people that don’t like to talk about the things in the Bible or spiritual things. I just wonder how much you’ve notice that. That’s why the brethren should fellowship together and the fellowship together is with God and with Christ. They’re not visible but they are present in the spirit.

Consider also the following:

The Paulicians did not call themselves Paulicians or Tonrakians, but the Universal and Apostolic Church.  To them the orthodox churches, … had   apostatized from the faith, lost their orders, and forfeited their sacraments.  As to their Mariolatry and adoration of saints and pictures and  crosses, it was all nothing but idolatry. (Arpee L. Armenian Paulicianism and the Key of Truth. The American Journal of Theology, Vol. 10, No. 2, Apr., 1906: 267-285)

The Paulicians claimed to be THE ‘holy universal and apostolic church’ founded by Jesus Christ and his apostles. Of the false churches, they would say: “We do not belong to these, for they have long ago broken connection with the church.” … 6th century.  (Lesson 50 – What Became of the Church Jesus Built? 58 Lesson: Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course, 1968, p. 13).

So, these Paulicians considered that they had apostolic succession, were the true catholic church, and that the Roman churches were not. They appear to have continued with beliefs of the original church whose remnants in Antioch passed them on to Armenia no later than in the 5th century (Conybeare, p. cix).

Because the Church of God does not now consider Protestants, nor historically after sometime in the 2nd century the Greco-Roman Catholics to be true believers, we know that they will hate and persecute us.

Back to chapter 6:

Verse 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.”

HW taught:

Each individual is a temple of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will come in each one of us and our bodies become a temple of the Holy Spirit. But on the other hand we speak collectively as a church. The whole church of many members becomes a temple to which Christ is going to come in His second coming. He’s not coming to one single body but the collective temple. I will dwell in them.

Many do not understand that today. Evangelicals with prophetic interest tend to think a Jewish temple is what Jesus has to return to--but they are wrong. See also: Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required? 

Back to chapter 6:

Verse 17: Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.”

HWA said:

There he’s talking about coming out from the world. The church are the called out ones. We’re called out from the world to be separate from the world. We have to live in the world. We’re told to go to the world with God’s message. We tell the message but not to be part of the world. Not to fit in, but to take to them the things of God. Whether they listen or whether they don’t. Let it be a witness against them if they don’t.

In the 21st century, this is also a warning about the growing ecumenical movement.

As it turns out, because we are not trinitarian, two of the larger parts of that movement, the World Council of Churches (of which the Vatican is not officially a member) and the Vatican itself, do not want the non-trinitarians.

Here is something from our free online book Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church: Could a remnant group have continuing apostolic succession?:

The Vatican’s 21st century, handbook, The Bishop and Christian Unity: An Ecumenical Vademecum, basically divides professing Christianity into two groups. One group that accepts the trinitarian godhead definition adopted by the 381 A.D. Council of Constantinople and the other that does not accept it. The Vatican’s handbook only calls for ecumenical unity with the first group. Furthermore, that is consistent with the trinitarian position adopted last century by the World Council of Churches (WCC Approves a Trinitarian Basis, Christianity Today, December 22, 1961), that has remained in effect in the 21st century (Thomas TK. “WCC, Basis of,” in Dictionary of the Ecumenical Movement, 2nd ed., ed. Nicholas Lossky et al. Geneva: WCC Publications and Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002: 1238–1239). The WCC only accepts trinitarians.

Let me add that those they do not wish to accept, they really do not wish to exist either.

Hence, being non-trinitarian will be a reason for persecution. This view, though held by original Christians, is perhaps the major one that those outside of the COG consider to be cultic.

As far as our teachings on the Godhead, here is something from the Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God:


Christians believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus (the Word and the Son of God) and the Father are both God. The Father and the Son comprise the “Godhead” (Romans 1:20; Colossians 2:9). Scripture shows that there is one God (Mark 12:29; John 17:11; 1 Corinthians 8:4). That one God is an eternal divine Family originally consisting of two, God the Father and the Word (Jesus) (Genesis 1:26; Ephesians 2:19; 3:14-15; John 1:1,14), with faithful children to be added through begettal by the Holy Spirit (John 17:10-11; Hebrews 2:10-11, 1 John 3:1-2; Ephesians 3:14-15) to become as Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29), who is God (John 1:1-3,14, 20:28-29; Colossians 2:2,9).

The Holy Spirit emanates from God (1 Kings 8:27; Psalm 139:7; Jeremiah 23:24) and is given to all who repent of their sins and are baptized (Acts 2:38-39). The Father and Son work through the Holy Spirit. Though not a separate person in the theological sense, the Holy Spirit is the power (Acts 1:8; 2 Timothy 1:6-7) which helps all believers overcome evil (Romans 12:21; Revelation 2:26-27) and will be led to attain eternal life (Philippians 3:12; Romans 6:23). The Holy Spirit is given to those who obey (Acts 5:32) after they have properly repented and been baptized (Acts 2:38-39). The early original Christians had what has been called a “binitarian” view of the Godhead (see Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning).

As we get closer to the end of the Church age, Greco-Roman Catholic private prophecies indicate that an apparently small religion that denies the Greco-Roman Catholic view of the Godhead will rise up and cause them problems. Notice three such "prophecies" below:

Ven. Sor Marianne de Jesus Torres (17th Century)...Our Lady told Sister Marianne:..."But this knowledge will only become known to the general public in the 20th. Century. "During this epoch the Church will find itself attacked by waves by the secret sect..." (Birch, p. 326).

Jane Le Royer (d. 1798) Sister of the Nativity..."When the time of the reign of Antichrist is near, a false religion will appear which be opposed to the unity of God and His Church. This will cause the greatest schism the world has ever known. The nearer the time of the end, the more darkness of Satan will spread on Earth, the greater will be the number of children of corruption, and the number of Just will correspondingly diminish (Culligan, pp.127,128).

Nun Anne Catherine Emmerich (about 1820): "I heard that Lucifer (if I don't mistake) will be freed again for awhile fifty or sixty years before the year 2000 A.D. I have forgotten many of the other dates were told (Emmerich AC. The Life of Lord Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelations. Schmoger edition, Vol. IV. Nihil Obstat: D. Jaegher, 14 Februari 1914. Imprimatur: A.C. De Schrevel, Brugis, 14 Februari 1914. Reprint TAN Books, Rockford (IL), 2004: pp. 353-354).

I believe that the Philadelphia-portion of the Church of God is the secret sect that is being discussed above and that we have affected the Roman Catholics in waves, starting with Herbert W. Armstrong--who put out the Plain Truth magazine for between 50-60 years before 2000 A.D. And thus, I suspect that it is Herbert W. Armstrong that the demons (I believe that demons influenced many Greco-Roman Catholic private prophecies) had Nun Emmerich see as Lucifer or more likely, being under Lucifer's influence as Herbert Armstrong's widely proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom of God message was the one that seems to best fit the precise timing of that prophecy.

Another reason I believe that the Philadelphia-portion of the Church of God is being discussed is that it can only be an anti-trinitarian group that Jane Le Royer could be referring to as the "trinity" is considered by Roman Catholics to represent the unity of God. It should be understood that although we in the CCOG accept “the unity of God” (deification) that early writers like Ignatius referred to (Ignatius, Letter to the Romans, Chapter 9), The Catholic Encyclopedia asserts the trinity is the “unity of God” (Lebreton J. The Logos; Joyce G. The Blessed Trinity). One of the reasons, the original catholics who were called Paulicians by the Romans were persecuted was because they denied the trinitarian “unity of God” (Gibbon E. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 4. BF French, 1830, pp. 5,28,29). This looks to be a reason some may cite for future persecution. It should also be pointed out that in the 21st century, the World Council of Churches still does not allow non-trinitarian churches to be members and that and warnings against ecumenical compromise, see also the free online book: Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church.

And yet a further reason is that I believe that Satan knows that eventually the true remnant of the Philadelphia portion of the Church of God will have successfully preached the gospel of the kingdom, which the Roman Catholic Church now condemns, with two coming rather large waves (Matthew 24:14; Revelation 11:3-7) to be followed by a final "wave."

Notice that Jesus said that the gospel of the kingdom would be preached to the world immediately before the end would come:

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).

Satan, who is familiar with scripture (Matthew 4:6), must know this--so our more successful preaching would be the next major "wave". Now just before it is time to flee to a place in the wilderness (Matthew 24:20-21), this preaching abolut the millennial kingdom apparently will trigger the persecution in Daniel 11:32-35 and Revelation 12:13-15 (some Greco-Roman Catholic prophecies also seem to show that the Greco-Roman Catholic leaders will persecute those not of their fold just before and during the Great Tribulation, which appears to include those who successfully proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom as a witness).

One "wave" could be that the Continuing Church of God has already had its free online booklet The Gospel of the Kingdom of God translated into hundreds of languages--links to the various languages can be found at And during the time of the "short work" (cf. Romans 9:28; see also Preparing for the 'Short Work' and The Famine of the Word), multiple millions, if not billions, will have the ability to learn about the good news of the kingdom of God--leading to the fulfillment of Jesus' words in Matthew 24:14.

The two-horned beast along with the ten-horned beast will promote 'human cooperation' as the real way to peace as opposed to believing the God of the Bible that lasting peace will not come until Jesus returns to usher in the millennial Kingdom of God. One or both will make false declarations of peace (cf. Daniel 11:21; 1 Thessalonians 5:3) and support a peace deal that will bring temporal peace, but that will be broken (Daniel 9:27; see also The 'Peace Deal' of Daniel 9:27).

A major "wave" warned about would seem to be the two witnesses (Revelation 11:3-12) and their supporters (please see the article Who Are The Two Witnesses?).

Other private Greco-Roman Catholic "prophecies" indicate that when their Great Monarch reigns (who is also discussed in the article Who is the King of the North?) there will be prophets (probably The Two Witnesses) who essentially will preach that Jesus is coming to establish His kingdom--but the Greco-Roman Catholic prophecies erroneously indicate that the prophets who do so will be false prophets.

The final "wave" will apparently be when Jesus comes and establishes His kingdom on the earth as a variety of private Greco-Roman Catholic prophecies specifically warn about one to come at the end who will say He is Jesus, will keep the Sabbath, will be opposed to idols, and essentially eliminate their version of Catholicism (e.g. Dionysius in Prophecy for Today by Edward Connor, 4th ed. TAN Books, Rockford (IL) 1984, p.85). Because of this, I believe that Satan moved the Roman Catholics in the late 20th century to indicate that the millennial teaching is the major doctrine of Antichrist. (For more information, see also the article Do Greco-Roman Catholic Prophecies About Antichrist Warn Against Jesus?).

It should also be understood that various Greco-Roman Catholic writings urge/suggest that their followers vigorously persecute those that they believe will be associated with the final Antichrist. Those who stand by the truth on the biblical doctrine on the millennium will be subject to intense persecution--and that time may not be too many years away! (See also Persecutions by Church and State).

But consider that there is hope in the Bible. As well as hope in the last verse of 2 Corinthians chapter 6:

Verse 18: “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.”

So, yes, we have real assurances and hope.

Despite being condemned by others as a cult by those who do not understand God's plan of salvation, do not believe in the age to come, and who do not understand the nature of the Godhead.

Their despising our biblical views brought the following words of Jesus to mind:

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 15:18-25)

Yes, although we teach God's loving plan and His loving ways, the world hates us.

Do not let negative reports from critics dissuade you from living, supporting, and standing for the truth (cf. Jude 3).

Here is a link to a related sermon: 2 Corinthians 6: Salvation and Persecutions.

Chapter 7

Now to chapter 7:

Verse 1: Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

In the first part of this verse, Paul is referring to the promises, such as the proceeding verse in chapter 6 that says:

“I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.”

But in the rest of verse 1, Paul is reminding the Corinthians to be cleansed "from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit." This suggests that they still had problems, including likely problems from the filth of the society around them. So, that would truly be applicable now.

Notice also James also warned Christians to be cleansed of filth:

19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:19-23)

It looks like people that will not become doers are also filthy. The Laodiceans and many others that will not take supporting steps of the Philadelphian remnant. MOST END-TIME CHRISTIANS HAVE DECEIVED THEMSELVES--as Jesus, Himself, points out in Revelation 3:14-18.

They need to take action and not deceive themselves. That includes people who do not put enough priority on striving to attend the Feast of Tabernacles as well as not fully tithing. This also include others who need to support the work and be cleansed.

Once cleansed, note that Paul wants Christians to be "perfecting holiness in the fear of God.' This is something we all need to be working on. Not thinking, like the Laodiceans, that they are fine.

Now back to chapter 7:

Verse 2: Open your hearts to us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one.

Many are hesistant to change as proper church leaders advise them to, hence Paul's open you hearts comment..

And as far as the the other, while I do not claim perfection, I have not corrupted nor cheated any one that I am aware of. Nor am I aware of having wronged anyone, despite false inuendoes from those that hate without proper cause.

Now back to chapter 7:

Verse 3: I do not say this to condemn; for I have said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together.
Verse 4: Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.

Paul was pleased with the support he got from the brethren, and in particular, from those in Corinth. We are pleased with the support we receive in prayers and volunteers that we get, as well as the tithes and offerings which we spend on various aspects of the work, as well as supporting widows and orphans.

We have, sometimes, been censored for boldness of speech.

Now back to chapter 7:

Verse 5: For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears.
Verse 6: Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus,
Verse 7: and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more.

Notice that Paul felt he had troubles on every side. Sometimes that it is how it looks as the church gets attacked as well as has to deal with many issues. But, Paul was comforted by Titus and the positive report he gave related to Corinth.

Now back to chapter 7:

Verse 8: For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while.

Paul is referring to his first letter to the Corinthians. Paul had mised feelings about sending out that type of correction. I feel the same way--fairly often as there are various issues to deal with and people with various attitudes.

Now back to chapter 7:

Verse 9: Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing.

When something like someone positively reacting to correction happens, it makes me happy as well.

Now back to chapter 7:

Verse 10: For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

In this Laodicean era, most will not properly respond to correction.

Jesus also indicated that would be a problem (cf. Revelation 3:14-18).

Now back to chapter 7:

Verse 11: For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

Hwa commented:

Godly sorrow it means being sorry you did something worth repentance. Not grief. Grief doesn’t mean you did something wrong. It means someone that you love may have died or something like that.

Now back to chapter 7:

Verse 12: Therefore, although I wrote to you, I did not do it for the sake of him who had done the wrong, nor for the sake of him who suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear to you.

Paul was hopeful that the church in Corinth would benefit from the correction.

Now back to chapter 7:

Verse 13: Therefore we have been comforted in your comfort. And we rejoiced exceedingly more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all.

Paul is pleased that what he tried to do succeeded. He was not sure when he wrote 1 Corinthians.

Now back to chapter 7:

Verse 14: For if in anything I have boasted to him about you, I am not ashamed. But as we spoke all things to you in truth, even so our boasting to Titus was found true.

Paul was also glad that the positive things he told Titus about the Corinthians was shown to be true to Titus and that the positive things he said to them about Titus were shown to be true to them.

Now back to chapter 7:

Verse 15: And his affections are greater for you as he remembers the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling you received him.
Verse 16: Therefore I rejoice that I have confidence in you in everything.

Titus was pleased and this pleased Paul

Chapter 8

Now, Now to chapter 8:

Verse 1: Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia:
Verse 2: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality.

Here Paul is telling the Corinthians some of how he liked the actions and perseverance of the Macedonians.

HWA commented:

The churches of Macedonia had contributed a lot. There was a drought and the brethren in Jerusalem and others were sending them provisions and help. He’s complimenting the Macedonians for what they did.

Eternally, the Macedonians will be known for giving to help.

Back to chapter 8;

Verse 3: For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing,

HWA commented:

[in the RSV it was give according to your means] Now this brings up something about tithing and giving according to your means. The one who has a great deal gives more. The one who has little give less. But it’s 10%. In percent basis, all is equal. But the ones with greater means gives more, but they make equal sacrifice. This just shows the justice of God’s system.
Now beyond their means… I wrote an article recently about the church and how some who aspire to be leaders and were trying to take over leadership were self-centered and were actually on the job doing less than was required of them. Actually some of them didn’t do much work. Seems to me, but I might be wrong, they spent a lot of their time thinking about whether Mr. Armstrong was doing enough work. ‘He isn’t writing enough or speaking enough’, but they didn’t work very hard. If I tried to call them on the telephone around 11:30 or 12:00 there was a sweet little voice on the phone from the secretary saying that Mr. So and So has gone to lunch. I would call at 1:30 or 1:45 and he wasn’t back yet. I could call at 4:45 and I was told he’s gone for the day. And I used this scripture. ‘We have done that which is our duty. ...’ If you do what is your duty you are not a faithful servant. A faithful servant does more than his duty, more than is required. If we do what is required and only what we are supposed to do, that is not enough. God requires that we do a little more than that.

HWA was referring to the following involving Jesus and His disciples:

5 And the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith."

6 So the Lord said, "If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you. 7 And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come at once and sit down to eat'? 8 But will he not rather say to him, 'Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink'? 9 Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. 10 So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.'" (Luke 17:5-10)

The unprofitable servants do not have the faith to do more than they do, They have convnced themselves that what they do is enough, when it looks to be the minimum they hope to get away with.

As far as people critical that HWA did not do more, he worked a lot and also was quite old --late 80s--when he did this Bible study.

Various ones criticize me that I do not do more or cannot focus on doctrinal matters that they tend to think should be a higher priority than I can give it. They tend to not consider how much I actually do. Most who criticize me for not doing more, however, do not lift a finger to help. But instead think that they are fine. They are normally, at best, Laodiceans. And are subject to being vomited out of Jesus' mouth.

Now back to chapter 8:

Verse 4: imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

Related to the gift, we'll look at some HWA comments on that after verse 5.

For those in the CCOG in India and Africa, they can fellowship at least every Sabbath. For those in other areas, that opportunity exists in person during the Feast of Tabernacles, as well as online each week through groups in Northern Ireland and the USA.

Now back to chapter 8:

Verse 5: And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.

HWA commented:

They heard that the saints in Jerusalem were up against it and needed help. They wanted to share with them. How many of our brethren just want to do what they can? There are not many like those that he speaks of at Macedonia that want to do more than what is required. Many of us think that if we do just what is required we’ll get into the Kingdom of God. We’re still thinking of how much we can get. Well if you’re still thinking of how much you can get you probably are not going to get into the Kingdom of God. Unless you want to do more, with your whole heart, you are not going to get into the Kingdom of God. God is reproducing Himself. And the ultimate product is that we become God, ourselves. We’ll be spirit beings not physical beings. That’s the goal. Does that mean anything in life? The world thinks they’re going to heaven and there’s nothing to do when you get there except to look at the face of God and isn’t that a wonderful thing.

Now back to chapter 8:

Verse 6: So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well.
Verse 7: But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace also.

HWA commented:

In other words, in giving to the people in Jerusalem that were in trouble.

Now back to chapter 8:

Verse 8: I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others.

While we rarely mention specific financial needs among our poor brethren, many of you respond when we do, and some of you respond even when we do not as you know that there are needs.

Now back to chapter 8:

Verse 9: For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

HWA commented:

He became poor when He gave up the great glory and power that He had. And people spit in His face and made a crown of thorns on His head and made Him walk and said Hail King of the Jews, and made fun of Him. And He did all that for us. He didn’t have to do all that. God the Father didn’t compel Him to do it. No one made Him do it. He did for us, blindly. And we should be willing sometimes to do some things.

Now becoming rich, consider what that means. Now it says He was rich. Now we’re going to become rich. He was very God, now we’re going to become very god. Do you see what it means? That’s how rich we’re going to become. Not in dollars or francs or pounds or in some form of human money.

Now back to chapter 8:

Verse 10: And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago;
Verse 11:  but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have.

Paul is saying that those in Corinth should have been more generous than they were.

Now back to chapter 8:

Verse 12: For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.

HWA commented:

God’s tithing is 10% but the giving of free will offerings, which is also something that God expects of us, that is something we have to decide how liberal we’re to be. If I may set the example, it depends on my own prosperity and need at the time. There are times when I can really spare a lot more than other times, and then I give more. I’m trying to be liberal in giving. God does not always expect your free will offering to be as much as your tithe. For the average person it will be less than 10%. For some people it should be more. Some have so much that 10% leaves them still so much that they could give 15% or 25%. But God looks on the heart and God is going to judge you according to your heart. And you better be honest and think about what you do. God does not expect you to go overboard and give more than you ought. You can’t buy your way into the Kingdom thinking I’ll be more generous and I’ll get into the Kingdom. No, God is looking on the heart. You don’t have to go overboard. But if you can, then do. I just depends on the circumstances.

While I will not tell people how much more they should give, let me state that there are some who, while they feel compelled to tithe, some literally do not seem willing to give one penny more.

Now back to chapter 8:

Verse 13: For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened;
Verse 14: but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality.

By the way, we have repeatedly urged the poor to also tithe.

Now back to chapter 8:

Verse 15: As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”

HWA commented:

In other words according to this plan, one who doesn’t have much isn’t going to lack because others are going to help him. And we should go to the aid when we are able. And they’ll come to our aid when we’re in need and they are able.

Let me add that it takes faith to tithe, and for some, to give generous offerings.

Now back to chapter 8:

Verse 16: But thanks be to God who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus.

So, Titus has the right attitude towards the Corinthians, but perhaps they do not concerning the poor.

Now back to chapter 8:

Verse 17: For he not only accepted the exhortation, but being more diligent, he went to you of his own accord.

There was a need for spiritual assistance in Corinth. Titus did not have to go, but chose to do so.

But, note that he did have authorization as the next verse in chapter 8 shows:

Verse 18: And we have sent with him the brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches,

So, yes, Titus accepted church governance.

So, he was appointed another job:

Verse 19a:  and not only that, but who {he, Timothy} was also chosen by the churches to travel with us with this gift,

Now back to chapter 8:

Verse 19b: which is administered by us to the glory of the Lord Himself and to show your ready mind,
Verse 20: avoiding this: that anyone should blame us in this lavish gift which is administered by us—
Verse 21: providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.

Paul seems to be saying that Jesus was behind the gift they were taking to Jerusalem. And that this was also honorable in the sight of God as well as humans who would see it. And hence, realize that Christians were generous.

Now back to chapter 8:

Verse 22: And we have sent with them our brother whom we have often proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, because of the great confidence which we have in you.
Verse 23: If anyone inquires about Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker concerning you. Or if our brethren are inquired about, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ.
Verse 24: Therefore show to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love and of our boasting on your behalf.

Paul closes this chapter by again praising Titus as well as telling the Corinthians to support the work he is doing. Giving at least part of proof of real love.

Chapter 9

Now to chapter 9:

Verse 1: Now concerning the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you;

Paul seems to be basically telling the Corinthians that its not essential to remind them to give, but he is doing so anyway.

Now back to chapter 9:

Verse 2: for I know your willingness, about which I boast of you to the Macedonians, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal has stirred up the majority.

HWA commented:

We see a lot of things as you go through 1 and 2 Corinthians about the church in Corinth. Human nature hasn’t changed, people are the same and conditions in the church are still more or less the same. They were filled with zeal and that was stirring up others. They were an up and up people and yet they were having trouble. Some wanted to follow some man or other and wanted to believe this and some believed that and they didn’t all believe the same thing. Now Paul started in his very first letter saying they all needed to speak the same thing. Now if someone believes ‘a’ and someone else believes ‘b’ then someone is wrong. Now the church must be right. Or it must get right. It doesn’t mean the church takes anything it wants and just say it’s right. If we’re wrong we must say it and then get right. But we must be right. Then we all must speak the same thing. If any lay member thinks the church is wrong about something he can go to his minister about it. If he doesn’t get satisfaction there, people can come to me. But I don’t want to invite an avalanche of things so that its impossible for me to get to them or to answer all of them, or to see them all. I’d rather they not come to me unless it’s really serious and they feel they need to. Some people say letters never get through to me. Oh yes, they do get to me. I can’t give long personal answers to every letter. [he goes on about his responsibilities with ads and documents he writes].

The church in Corinth was zealous but they were misguided. They were priding themselves on being liberal-minded and keeping a member in the church who was continuing his sin. Remember, God forgives us if we repent of it and turn away from it. Paul cracked down in the 5th chapter of 1 Corinthians. God does not intend to punish us for what we did but for what we are doing. God’s punishment is corrective to stop us from doing it. Not revenge because we did do it. You don’t make up for your past sins by the suffering of punishment. Your suffering is not going to cover a sin you committed yesterday, or 10 or 50 years ago. It takes the suffering of Christ to pay that for you. Once you’ve repented of it, turned away from it, and turned to God, God forgives the sin. Christ paid for the sin. He doesn’t make you pay for it. But if it’s a present sin and a continuing sin, God is going to punish you and correct you. God punishes every son He loves. If God does not punish us then we are not sons of God- we are bastards. That’s pretty strong language. I wonder if we understand that. People want to punish people for something they did a long time ago. If the police can learn of a serious crime (bank robbery or murder) committed a year or two ago, if they can catch the man they’re going to do it and bring him before a court of justice. They’re going to try him and punish him. They don’t understand God’s system of justice; God’s system of punishment. God doesn’t want to punish that man. He wants to bring him…. Is he still in it? Is it still in his heart to want to continue that way? Every one of us are sinners. Every one except Jesus Christ. And sin is a spiritual thing. I just wrote about that in an ad for the WSJ. Let me read a little of that for you.

There’s a great big WHY. Then there’s a We Can, and under it it says: send man to the moon and back, produce computers and intricate machinery, build industries, manage finance, science, chemistry, and build civilizations. Then the column says We Can’t. Solve our problems, eradicate our evils at home, family, or in nations that are harming and hurting everybody. Why? There is no limit to what the human mind can do. But we can’t solve our problems and evils. Because they are spiritual in nature and what we can do is physical in nature. We solve the physical problems of chemistry, gravity, the universe, flying, computers – they’re amazing things. But the things he can’t do, he can’t live with his wife and his children, and with his parents, and with a sense of morality and we can’t rid ourselves of crime.

Now this ad {the WCG ran in the Wall Street Journal} says: 1. There has to be a cause for every effect. 2. The effect: unsolvable problems, troubles, evils and all that involves a way of life. Always the cause is the way of life. 3. There are two primary ways of life. One is the way of give and the other is the way of get. They travel in opposite directions. Both are spiritual in nature. Give and get are spiritual ways. Not material or physical. 4. All our troubles and evils are caused by the get way of life. Therefore our problems, troubles and evils are spiritual in nature. 5. The mind-boggling accomplishments of man are all material and physical in nature. Spiritual things he can’t do. Spiritual things he knows nothing about. They know all about finance, industry, markets, sales, cost accounting and profits. They discuss international conditions. They think all there is the physical and material. They say there isn’t a spiritual yet their troubles are spiritual.

He can deal with machinery and gadgets but he is a helpless weakling and has no power whatsoever when it comes to handling his children and his family. When it comes to getting along with other people. How can this nation get along with other nations, or with itself, or black with white? The men reading these ads think they know everything but they don’t know anything. 6. Conversely, human man seems helpless before his problems, troubles and evils because they are spiritual in nature. 7. The opposing opposite directions of give and get are spiritual in nature. The human mind can discern these two ways. Give is outflowing love toward God and toward man. Love toward God involves some things they don’t understand. Like the 4th commandment – remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. They can’t see where that has anything to do with it. They don’t know. Why is wrong to take God’s name in vain? Why is wrong to have some other interest that becomes a god in front of your true God. Why is that wrong, it’s just a hobby? That’s beyond them. I didn’t cover that part of it in the ad.

Love toward God and toward man. That is cooperation, helping, serving, sharing. Get is self-centeredness, vanity, covetousness, jealousy, envy, hostile competition leading to strife, violence, war and destruction. Now men can discern those things and those are spiritual values.

Point 8. The human mind can grasp the basic spiritual law, the law of give is the law of God. This way of give as opposed to the way of get, the human mind can, if willing, turn from, repent of the way of get. But how many are willing? Even though a true renewing of the mind requires the addition of a spiritual nature, ungrasped and not understood even by the professional theologians.

Point 9. What is not understood by the best minds today including psychologists and theologians is the make-up of the human mind. It is made up of a human brain, with an added spirit content. The spirit content is not the human person, is not an immortal soul, but an added spirit content which empowers human brain with intellect, power of thought, power of psychic reasoning. Yet in the human mind, with this immaterial spirit content, can only know materialistic knowledge. That which the physical brain can see through the eye, can hear through the ear, can smell, taste or feel through the various senses. Normal human man therefore can know only material equations. Though he can distinguish between give and get.

Point 10. The world’s best seller, meaning the Bible, reveals the knowledge incomprehensible to the best, most scientific or intellectually developed minds, which is basic to all our problems and the way to peace and universal abundance and real success. Which goes much further than the acquisition of mere money and material goods. But theologians have glossed over this basic knowledge or twisted or perverted it or misinterpreted it. Scientists, technologists, business and financial executives have generally ignored it. Our educational system has reared a humanity in a concept and approach to the most important concerns of life that it is hostile to this basic knowledge and understanding. So they regard anything like the Bible as something to be regarded as like a certain contempt or it’s mysterious, or people can’t understand it, you can prove anything to the Bible, or I’m not interested or that’s not important anyway. That’s the way they look at it.

Point 11. The manufacturer of a product or gadget or appliance sends along with the product an instruction manual to guide the user in knowhow and proper use for the intended purpose of the product. The maker of us all sent along with His product, which is the human race, His instruction manual which is the Bible, to guide humanity in the knowhow and the proper use for right results, for peace, for happiness, and real success. But somehow we have ignored it. We have regarded it with suspicion. We have glossed over much or most of it. We have interpreted it to suit our selfish desires. We have twisted it and maligned it, regarded it as mysterious, impractical, superstitious and irrelevant. Isn’t that they way they’ve regarded it? So then they pay no attention to it whatsoever. Yet it is a now book. It is the only source of down-to-earth understanding. The only source of common sense, wisdom and direly-needed guidance for our lives and our human destiny, regardless of whether you are a big executive of a big company or who or what you are. Whether you’re a scientist, a technologist, a law professor, a bank president or a chairman of the board on any great corporation. It doesn’t make any difference. You need that book which is the only down-to-earth, common sense book that opens up life and what it’s all about and your potential, and how to get along and live a successful, happy life. And they have never looked at it that way have they? Is God showing me how to reach that kind of a mind? I have talk to them in their language though.

Point 12. I look at misguided humanity, some are rich, some poor, some scholarly, some illiterate, some economically successful, some economic failures, but almost all are discontented not knowing the incredible, human potential. Not living an abundantly happy life. Is that right? What about these people that think they’re wealthy, they’re a success, but they’re not happy. They’re discontented. He’s not happy with his success- he wants more. It didn’t make him happy. Material things don’t. They just can’t. Now why? Again I ask why? It’s time you begin to think about. This voice now cries out that the all-powerful, unseen, strong hand from someplace is soon going to intervene in this world’s chaotic, complicated, troubled, and frustrated affairs and by force compel a misguided and self-willed and rebellious humanity to enjoy world peace, to enjoy happiness, universal abundance and opportunity for the eternal joy of success and ecstasy without the agony of defeat that humanity endures in this life. Your agreement does not matter. If you have read this far, you’ve been told. It’s as certain as the rising and the setting of tomorrow’s sun. That is the intervention of that unseen hand that is going to come very soon. I have to rewrite that a bit but that is the general form of another Wall Street ad.

I tell you sooner or later I’m going to make these proud captains of industry, these heads of these great banks… do you know any of these? They are still not happy and they still have not solved their own troubles. That isn’t the kind of sermon that Billy Graham or Jerry Falwell preaches, or the Roman Catholic Church or the Methodist church, or the Baptist church. But that is what God wants in the Wall Street Journal. That’s what God wants to get before the top men of this world. Who in the world can reach those people? God wants them reached. God wants someone to say ‘you’ve been told’. Sorry but I think that is very important right now. Let’s go on….

Now back to chapter 9:

Verse 3: Yet I have sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this respect, that, as I said, you may be ready;
Verse 4: lest if some Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we (not to mention you!) should be ashamed of this confident boasting.
Verse 5: Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation.

Paul is saying he did not want to find out that he boasted of the Corinthians generousity in vain.

He then gives them more reasons to be generous:

Verse 6: But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

Do you have faith to believe that and act on that?

Now back to chapter 9:

Verse 7: So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

Again, another reminder from the word of God about being a generous giver.

HWA commented:

We ought to know that. Notice we’re reading things here about what God gives. God is the one great giver of all.

Now back to chapter 9:

Verse 8: And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
Verse 9: As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.”

Again Paul is making statements to encourage giving for those who have faith.

Now back to chapter 9:

Verse 10: Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness,

HWA commented:

You see all of this here is showing you that giving is God’s way and the more you give the more you will have to give. Now I saw this. I began to live that way. It’s a funny thing, when I began to give, and devote my life to giving, God has given more to me. And actually I began to think sometimes, God has not made me wealthy. I’m not a millionaire. When I was married 3.5 years ago I didn’t have anything in case I died. I was taking on an obligation and I should have something to leave to her, in case I died before her. I haven’t got a thing. No home, no automobile. I the use of them on the campus in Pasadena. I didn’t have any fortune or money in the bank and yet God provided me with enough income and enough of these things provided in the work that I was able to enjoy things that even most multi-millionaires don’t enjoy. [he goes on about having access to a plane, a campus in England, traveling the world].

HWA basically left what he owned to the WCG.

Now back to chapter 9:

Verse 11: while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.

Notice that Paul is saying God promises to somehow enrich the giver.

Now back to chapter 9:

Verse 12: For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God,

Giving to poor brethren is helpful to them, plus provides the giver and the receiver an opportunity to give thanks. The receiver gets needs met and the giver was blessed enough to have enough to be able to give, both of which are things to be thankful for.

Now back to chapter 9:

Verse 13: while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men,

Paul is saying one of the proofs of his ministry was the liberal sharing with the poor. Well, that, then, should also be one of the proofs of the CCOG as we give away a higher percentage of our income to poor brethren than any other major COG ministry.


Well, it is biblical.

Notice what else the Apostle Paul wrote:

9 ... James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do. (Galatians 2:9-10)

Paul was eager to help the poor. Are you?

Paul further wrote:

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)

Do you believe the word of God? Do you accept how God works?

Paul also wrote:

9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. (Romans 12:9-13)

Yes, real love involves giving. And brotherly love, philadelphia in the Greek, includes "distributing to the needs of the saints."

In that way, love is also tied in with faith.

Notice what the Apostle James wrote:

8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well; (James 2:8)

Paul wrote that loving involved giving.

Jesus said:

32 "Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Luke 12:32-34)

Another way to show love is to be merciful toward your neighbor. James also wrote:

13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:13)

Next, see that James begins to talk about faith and that he gives one way to be merciful:

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? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? (James 2:14-23)

So, yes, living the way of give is a way to show love, mercy, and faith.

Anyway, the more I think about what verse 13 of 2 Corinthians 9 is saying, particularly in combination with Romans 12:10-12, the more it seems like that isa one reason Satan has had us attacked so much in 2023. One who has been attacking us and trying to undermine us has publicly called for people to NOT send us tithes and offerings as he wants to destroy the CCOG.

Our giving to the poor is clearly Philadelphian.

While there are Philadelphians in other fellowships, and not all in the CCOG are Philadelphian, the CCOG is the only Philadelphian organization I am aware of and, yes, our giving demonstrates our 'Philadelphianus,' as does our outreach to the world on the radio, as well as our efforts to get the gospel of the kingdom to the world as a witness in over 500 languages/dialects.

Now back to chapter 9:

Verse 14: and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you.
Verse 15: Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

The grace of God is an awesome and indescribable gift!

To close chapter 9, HWA said:

All the way through it’s the same thing I try to preach all around the world. Give is the way to have. Get is the way to lose out and not have. We just had a chapter that is a pretty good lesson on give and get.

Yes, we are to be givers and not takers.

And yes, that includes providing support for the poor.

That is something that Philadelphians should be doing.

That is something we take seriously in the Continuing Church of God.

Yes, we best represent the Philadelphian remnant in this Laodicean era.

Here is a link to a sermon related to the last three chapters: 2 Corinthians 2:7-9: Be a Philadelphian Giver.

Chapter 10

Now to chapter 10:

Verse 1: Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you.

HWA commented:

You begin to learn about Paul’s personality here. I see a little resemblance between myself and Paul. Paul was strong in writing. Most people today think the the Old Testament was done away. They only want to deal with the New Testament. Who wrote more of the New Testament than anyone else? Paul did. Maybe almost half of it. So Paul was a writer. He was powerful in writing but a little timid and weak when he was in person. He was humble. He must have been a more or less strong personality.

Continuing in chapter 10:

Verse 2: But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.

HWA commented:

Here he was falsely accused of this, that and the other thing. But we are reading Paul and we aren’t reading about what those accusers said are we?

We in the CCOG have had many false accusers as well.

Back to chapter 10:

Verse 3: For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.

We do not fight and cause physical harm.

Notice the following about Jesus:

18 "Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen,
My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased!
I will put My Spirit upon Him,
And He will declare justice to the Gentiles.
19 He will not quarrel nor cry out,
Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench,
Till He sends forth justice to victory;
21 And in His name Gentiles will trust. (Matthew 12:18-21)

Jesus was not violent.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

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

The Apostle Paul was non-violent. The Apostle Paul was not militaristic.

Neither was Jesus.

Neither, should be, His true followers.

Now, here is something from Theophilus of Antioch (who probably was part of the Church of God) perhaps written about 180 A.D.:

Consider, therefore, whether those who teach such things can possibly live indifferently, and be commingled in unlawful intercourse, or, most impious of all, eat human flesh, especially when we are forbidden so much as to witness shows of gladiators, lest we become partakers and abettors of murdersBut neither may we see the other spectacles, lest our eyes and ears be defiled, participating in the utterances there sung. (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book III, Chapter XV. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition)

So, true Christians did not believe that they were to fight nor even watch the violent sports that were popular in the second century.

Notice that this is also the position of the third century Roman Catholic theologian and bishop Hippolytus, who also adds various occupations to those that reject one from being a follower of Christ:

16:6 A charioteer, likewise, or one who takes part in the games, or one who  goes to the games, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 7 If someone is a gladiator, or one  who teaches those among the gladiators how to fight, or a hunter who is in the wild beast  shows in the arena, or a public official who is concerned with gladiator shows, either he  shall cease, or he shall be rejected. If someone is a priest of idols, or an attendant of idols,  he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 9 A military man in authority must not execute men. If  he is ordered, he must not carry it out. Nor must he take military oath. If he refuses, he shall  be rejected. 10 If someone is a military governor, or the ruler of a city who wears the purple,  he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 11 The catechumen or faithful who wants to become a  soldier is to be rejected, for he has despised God. (Hippolytus. The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus of Rome. From the work of Bernard Botte (La Tradition Apostolique. Sources Chretiennes, 11 bis. Paris, Editions du Cerf, 1984) and of Gregory Dix (The Treatise on the Apostolic Tradition of St. Hippolytus of Rome, Bishop and Martyr. London: Alban Press, 1992) as translated by Kevin P. Edgecomb viewed 08/06/09)

Around 250 A.D., COG elder/presbyter Pionius of Smyrna asked:

To whom have we done wrong? Have we perchance murdered someone? Or, do we persecute anyone? Or have we obliged anyone to venerate idols? (Martyrdom of Pionius as translated in Monroy, Mauricio Saavedra. The Church of Smyrna: History and Theology of a Primitive Christian Community. Peter Lang edition, 2015, p. 155)

He asked those questions knowing full well that real Christians had not done any of those things.

As late as the beginning of the fourth century, the Greco-Roman Catholic apologist Lactanus/Lactanius wrote:

For when God forbids us to kill, He not only prohibits us from open violence, which is not even allowed by the public laws, but He warns us against the commission of those things which are esteemed lawful among men. Thus it will be neither lawful for a just man to engage in warfare (Lactanus. Divine Institutes, Book VI (Of True Wisdom and Religion), Chapter 20).

Or why should he carry on war, and mix himself with the passions of others, when his mind is engaged in perpetual peace with men? {The Christian} considers it unlawful not only himself to commit slaughter, but to be present with those who do it, and to behold it (Lactanus. Divine Institutes, Book V (Of True Wisdom and Religion), Chapter 18).

Christianity Today has recognized that early Christians were against military service:

The ancient church understood that war has been around as long as human beings and sin have coexisted. It is a consistent tenet throughout the Christian tradition that war is the result of sin. The responses to war, however, have followed two basic trains of thought: pacifism, and the idea that certain wars can be just.

Pacifism is characteristic of the early centuries of Christianity in someone like the North African apologist Tertullian (160-220 A.D.), who regularly warned Christians to distance themselves from pagan culture. He wrote:

"How will he serve in the army even during peacetime without the sword that Jesus Christ has taken away? Even if soldiers came to John and got advice on how they ought to act, even if the centurion became a believer, the Lord by taking away Peter's sword, disarmed every soldier thereafter. We are not allowed to wear any uniform that symbolizes a sinful act" (On Idolatry 19.3).

The third-century Roman Presbyter Hippolytus wrote The Apostolic Tradition, Canon 16, (ca. 215 A.D.) which opposed serving in the military as a matter of church discipline:

"A soldier in the lower ranks shall kill no one. If ordered to do so, he shall not obey, and he shall not take an oath. If he does not want to comply with this directive, let him be dismissed [from the church]."

(Elowsky, Joel. Ancient Christian Commentary on Current Events: What Is War Good For? Christianity Today, posted October 28, 2003).

Now, I should add that is doubtful that most of those quoted in the article were true Christians themselves. Yet, it is clear that they understood that John the Baptist and the Apostles were against war.

Consider the following from a source that does not believe early Christians were pacifist:

From the conversion of Cornelius at about AD 39 to AD 173, we have absolutely no sources referencing Christian participation in the army. None. (Jones C. Christians in the Roman Army: Countering the Pacifist Narrative. April 20, 2012.

Now, the above article then cites the later apostates Tertullian and Origen for proof about Christians in the military, but the reality is that any who would have joined voluntarily to kill were not really Christian.

A former Roman Catholic priest reported:

Whereas up to the year 175 there was not a single Christian soldier, in 416, by an edict of Theodosius, only Christians were allowed to enlist (De Rosa, Peter. Vicars of Christ. Poolberg Press, Dublin, 2000, p. 156).

Yet, this military service is not an area that true Christians compromised on. The only ones who enlisted were those that ended up accepting the type of "Christianity" that nearly all the Greco-Roman Emperors from Constantine onwards endorsed. Emperor Constantine had been part of the militaristic Mithratic sun god cult and he pushed a pro-militaristic stance on those who accepted his CLAIMED Christian religion.

According to the Apostle Jude, Christians are to "to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3).

One of the easiest ways to show that most who are not in the Church of God, but of the world, is to point to their church's position on military warfare. Those of the original faith do not participate in carnal warfare, nor do the true successors.

True Christians have refrained from carnal warfare, whereas the the Constantian followers have wrongly accepted it.

The original catholic faith did NOT condone military participation--see also the free online book: Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church: Could a remnant group have continuing apostolic succession?

Back to chapter 10:

Verse 4: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,

HWA commented:

What is he talking about? The weapons of our warfare and we can destroy strongholds. That turns us to Ephesians, chapter 6. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of the world, and against spiritual wickedness in high places. That’s where our warfare really is and Paul knew that. Even the other men, they were only after him because of Satan’s anger and Satan was leading them. So you see Paul talks about warfare but it is really spiritual against wicked spirits. For our weapons and warfare are not worldly and of divine power – we have power to destroy those strongholds and conquer them.

Let's see more of what Paul wrote:

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 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 6:10-20)

15 How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things! (Romans 10:15)

8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:8-9).

Those who advocate carnal warfare or violent sports for Christians do not understand the GOSPEL OF PEACE!

See also: Is American Football Evil?

Back to chapter 10:

Verse 5a: casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God,

Yes, there are those who propose all kinds of arguments against us. We attempt to cast them down when they are brought personally to us.

The Apostle Peter wrote:

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)

One of the purposes of the sermons as well as CCOG literature is to assist you in being able to do so. Here is a link to our English language literature page:

Back to chapter 10:

Verse 5b: bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

Notice that we are to control our thoughts. In addition to not dwelling on things that may tempt us, we should put our heart into living as a Christian. Furthermore, consider that the Apostle Paul wrote:

4 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things (Philippians 4:4-8)

We are not to have anxious thoughts, but should pray and have the peace of God, and should be thinking of those things which are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy.

Back to chapter 10:

Verse 6: and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

By YOU living as you should, you are effectively punishing the disobedience that you have when your obedience is fulfilled.

Back to chapter 10:

Verse 7a: Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? 

Of course, to a degree, we all do. But that is not where we are to remain.

Continuing in verse 7:

Verse 7b: If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ’s, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ’s, even so we are Christ’s.

Verse 8: For even if I should boast somewhat more about our authority, which the Lord gave us for edification and not for your destruction, I shall not be ashamed— 

HWA commented:

Notice Paul was in authority and God gives authority to His ministers. God has given authority to me but it’s to build up brothers in the church not to tear them down and hurt them.

What we see here is that the Apostle Paul was warning people not to think that they should be independent Christians. Sadly, many dismiss the ministry, or pick and choose, based on what suits them best.

True Philadelphians will realize that they need to support the Philadelphian remnant church, which is best represented organizationally at this time by the Continuing Church of God. This does not mean that people cannot have their own opinions, but to be a true Philadelphian Christian you should support the Philadelphian church--which is not some independent body with no real proclamation work.

Back to chapter 10:

Verse 9:  lest I seem to terrify you by letters.

HWA commented:

And he could write some pretty strong letters and he was saying that he wasn’t trying to frighten them but the power of God was there. That’s where the power comes from. Paul wasn’t powerful of himself.

Back to chapter 10:

Verse 10: “For his letters,” they say, “are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.”

HWA commented:

Paul then was not a great speaker. But he did know how to write and wrote a great portion of the New Testament. God has made my ministry more of writing than of speaking too. And that is so very important. That is the advantage the Church of God has over any church today. The power of print and the printing press of this day. The sword won’t compare, the pen is mightier than the sword.

In the CCOG we, too, have a lot of literature. And a lot of it is in even more details that HWA had printed in the old WCG.

As far as being a fine speaker goes, humans value that more than God. Otherwise, God would not have chosen Moses and Jeremiah--both of whom told God they were not good speakers or the Apostle Paul, who wrote that people complained about his speaking abilities.

Back to chapter 10:

Verse 11: Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when we are absent, such we will also be in deed when we are present.

Paul said he was able to judge the same in person the same as in his letters.

Back to chapter 10:

Verse 12: For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

Notice that Paul is trying to tell the complainers that they should not do that. We have tried to tell complainers and rumor-mongers to not do that, but they still insist. They also have asserted many things that are not true,

HWA commented:

You notice that the others commend themselves. I don’t mean to do that. We are told in the Bible not to compare ourselves with one another.

And yes, those we have had to endure in 2023 commend themselves that they are so smart because they have decided how a son of Evans Ochieng should have been reprimanded their way, that a temporal lapse in government registration in Malawi was more important than supporting the CCOG, and that I must be affected by a witchdoctor to not have come to their conclusions on that as well as claims of adultery they have accused two in Africa off. Their bureaucracy and witch doctor assertions are even more absurd than what the Apostle Paul seems to be referring to.

Back to chapter 10:

Verse 13: We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us—a sphere which especially includes you.

Paul is saying he could boast more, but will refrain.

Verse 14: For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ;

Paul is again making a church governance statement in 2 Corinthians.

Back to chapter 10:

Verse 15: not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere,

Paul is encouraged that the fact that they had responded to him helped increase their faith.

Back to chapter 10:

Verse 16: to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment.

HWA commented:

Preach in lands clear beyond you – Paul preached over hundreds and thousands of miles when travel was by walking, riding, or by boat. No transportation or communication like we have today. God said to GO into all the world to preach the Gospel. Not stay in one place.

I would, however, add that Paul wrote letters that were also circulated so he, himself, did not go everywhere. We essentially do the same through the internet as well as shortwave and other radio, plus mailing literature around the world.

Back to chapter 10:

Verse 17: But “he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”

Some glory in their own interpretations of things that they think are more important than God's priorities, God's work, or proper church governance.

Back to chapter 10:

Verse 18: For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.

Laodiceans often commend themselves. The Lord does not commend them, but does commend the Philadelphians.

Chapter 11

Now to chapter 11:

Verse 1: Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly—and indeed you do bear with me.
Verse 2: For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

HWA commented:

In other words the church is going to be married to Christ. It must be a pillar.

As far as pillars go, Jesus said that the Philadelphians would be pillars in the temple of God (Revelation 3:7-12). We should all be willing to be pillars in this age as well.

Back to chapter 11:

Verse 3: But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Notice what the serpent and Eve did:

1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?"

2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'"

4 Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:1-6)

Various ones think that they have the wisdom to break off and do things there way as well.

Back to chapter 11:

Verse 4: For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!

HWA commented:

And there is another Jesus being preached in all the other churches that call themselves Christianity today. They ... preach a Jesus that says He did away with His Father’s commandments. Jesus was a smart-alec young man that said He disagreed with His Father and was ‘just going to do away with my father’s law’. Now Christ was sent here to qualify to become the executive leader in the government of God. To administer. The government of God is based on the law of God and there’s one lawgiver. They don’t have a congress or parliament- we have one lawgiver and that is God the Father. They say Christ did away with that. That’s what all the churches are claiming. The Roman Catholic Church doesn’t talk about the law being done away as much as the Bible is not an authoritative guide but the authority is invested in their church and not in the Bible. That is what they teach. Actually the authority is in the Bible.

For those non-COG churches that teach that Jesus did not do away with the law, most of them are like the Pharisees of old in that they claim to keep the commandments, but reason around them. The Apostle Paul also warned:

7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; (2 Thessalonians 2:7)

Those that contribute to reasoning around the commandments are part of the mystery of lawlessness.

Notice something else that the Apostle Paul wrote:

6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, {I have marvelled that those who supposedly checked the CCOG out could reject biblical governance and fall away so fast because of rumors, gossip, and matters of no consequence} 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-9)

The Greco-Roman Catholics have a different view of Jesus and the message, partially because of apparitions claiming to be Him or His mother Mary, or some apostle, or a faithful angel. But such apparitions are not proof.

That is part of why the Apostle Paul wrote that Christians are to "For we walk by faith, not by sight" in 2 Corinthians 5:7.

Here is something from our free online book The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast:

Some believe that casting out demons, speaking in tongues, apparitions, various wondrous signs are the proof a church is true. But that is NOT what Jesus taught:

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:21-23)

Notice that despite the claims of mainly Protestants, simply calling Jesus ‘Lord’ is not sufficient. The word translated as lawlessness is the same word anomia that this book has been pointing to. Notice that God rebukes those that err from His commandments:

21 Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments. (Psalm 119:21, KJV)

Notice something that Jesus warned about:

12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 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 24:12-14)

Notice that lawlessness, from the Greek word anomian, will abound in the time of the end. The love of many waxing cold seems to be a reference to the Laodiceans--they tend to think because they keep the law (and society is going further away from it), that they are fine--but they are not according to Jesus (Revelation 3:14-18). The Laodiceans are not truly supporting getting the witness of the gospel of the kingdom out--their hearts are really not in it--they are not opposed to it, but are not hot (they are lukewarm) about it.

Very few moderns understand the mystery of lawlessness, though a thorough search of scriptures (Isaiah 28:10-13) will help explain it (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

The “mystery of lawlessness” is related to professing Christians who believe that they do not need to keep God’s Ten Commandment law, etc. and/or there are so many acceptable exceptions to it and/or there are acceptable forms of penance to break God’s law, so while they think they have a form of God’s law, they are not keeping a form of Christianity that Jesus or His apostles would recognize as legitimate.

Many of the Greco-Romans are like the Pharisees who violated God’s commandments, but claimed their traditions made this acceptable—Jesus denounced that approach (Matthew 15:3-9)! Isaiah also warned that people claiming to be God’s would rebel against His law (Isaiah 30:9). This is something we, sadly, see to this day.

This “mystery of lawlessness” was “already at work” (2 Thessalonians 2:7) when the apostles were alive. This is also related to something that the Bible warns against in the end times that is called “Mystery, Babylon the Great” (Revelation 17:3-5).

Here is something from our free online book Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church: Could a remnant group have continuing apostolic succession?:

Throughout church history, the mystery of iniquity has been present (2 Thessalonians 2:7), false leaders have appeared (1 John 2:19; 2 Timothy 4:14-15), as were prophesied to do so (2 Peter 2:1-2; Acts 20:29; 2 Timothy 3:13, 4:3-4). Prior to that taking hold in Asia Minor, c. 200 Serapion of Antioch warned (Serapion. From the epistle to Caricus and Ponticus) of a “lying confederacy (Greek Ψευδοῦς τάξεως), to which is given the name of New Prophecy” that was forming (which enveloped much of Antioch after his death). At the time of Serapion’s writing it appears that Rome and Alexandria were still accepting the “New Prophecy” that the Montanists were promoting.

Also, Polycarp warned earlier of the “vanity of many” (Polycarp. Letter to the Philippians, Chapter VII), which ended up resulting in large church organizations that did not hold to the original biblical, catholic, and apostolic beliefs.

Which brings us to the world today.

Back to chapter 11:

Verse 5: For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles.

HWA commented:

I think he’s referring to Peter, John and James. He wasn’t inferior to them.

People acted like Paul was not at the same status as the apostles who knew Jesus. But Jesus had Paul ordained. Jesus also had me ordained as well. Yet many act like that did not properly count.

Back to chapter 11:

Verse 6: Even though I am untrained in speech, yet I am not in knowledge. But we have been thoroughly manifested among you in all things.

HWA commented:

See he was not a good speaker.

There are many these days who want a more entertaining speaker than one who more closely adheres to and teaches, biblical truths. But that was also prophesied by Paul:

2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. (2 Timothy 4:2-4)

We in the CCOG are preaching the truth of the word, as this sermon series should help demonstrate to those who truly love the truth. Yet, there are those with itching ears who go elsewhere as well as those who prefer to believe fables, such as the power of witch doctors over Christians (see also Can Christians Actually be Cursed By Witches or Witch Doctors? A related video is also available titled: Can Witch Doctors Cast Spells on Christians?).

Back to chapter 11:

Verse 7: Did I commit sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge?

Paul seems to be saying he did not take their tithes and offerings to support himself, and he is asking if they then belittled him for doing so.

HWA commented:

In other words, even though Paul makes it very plain in his writings, that there’s been a change in the law that the tithes are to go today to the priests of Christ. He had a right to take a wife to travel with him and be supported by the tithes. He makes it plain that tithing is certain. Malachi says that we are robbing God and we are a thief if we do not pay up full, honest tithes. I think Paul made a mistake there. It’s their duty to tithe. It’s an important thing. Tithing is giving by paying what you owe to God. We owe it to Him.

Back to chapter 11:

Verse 8: I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you.

As Greeks, many probably had not tithed before conversion. But, even as Greeks, they would have known that they should have finanically supported someone serving them like Paul had.

Back to chapter 11:

Verse 9: And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself.

So, Paul's trip to Corinth was basically paid for by the Macedonians, who we spoke about before. Paul did not want to be a burden to the Corinthians.

Back to chapter 11:

Verse 10:  As the truth of Christ is in me, no one shall stop me from this boasting in the regions of Zacharia.
Verse 11: Why? Because I do not love you? God knows!

Paul loved them, but that is not why he did not take their financial support.

Then why?

Paul gives reasons in the next few verses:

Verse 12: But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast.
Verse 13:  For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.

So, one reason Paul did not take financial support was to show he was not preaching for the money. But, he is pointing out that there were others who claimed to be like him who were false.

Back to chapter 11:

Verse 14: And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.

Satan appears as if he’s an angel of light.

Satan appears good to many. Remember, he looked reliable enough to Eve.

Back to chapter 11:

Verse 15: Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

HWA said:

Notice they that come and oppose the truth of Paul were those of Satan.

Many have fallen for smooth talking ministers of Satan. Of course, they do not think that they have. The very idea to them is preposturous, yet it happens a lot.

Most who profess Jesus are not true Christians that Jesus will know per Matthew 7:22-23, and most end time Christians are lukewarm ones that Jesus may vomit out per Revelation 3:14-18.

Back to chapter 11:

Verse 16: I say again, let no one think me a fool. If otherwise, at least receive me as a fool, that I also may boast a little.

HWA commented:

Now Paul is kind of kidding here.

Back to chapter 11:

Verse 17:  What I speak, I speak not according to the Lord, but as it were, foolishly, in this confidence of boasting.
Verse 18: Seeing that many boast according to the flesh, I also will boast.

Verse 19: For you put up with fools gladly, since you yourselves are wise!

HWA commented:

These people were gladly bearing with these false prophets.

Most in the world do that as well as the bulk of the Laodiceans. One problem with Laodiceans is that they do not think they need to heed any that could be a prophet in this age (see Church of God Leaders on Prophets), despite what scriptures, such as Acts 2:17-18 and others teach (see also Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18?).

Back to chapter 11:

Verse 20: For you put up with it if one brings you into bondage, if one devours you, if one takes from you, if one exalts himself, if one strikes you on the face.

That happens to this day. There is someone whose conversion I doubt that claims to be COG, and he has people in spiritual bondage, despite his numerous false predictions. He also has many in bondage by demanding that they give more than tithes and voluntary offerings. While that church will implode, people put up with it.

We also have the situation that people put up with leaders that do not have the Philadelphian focus for doing the work related to Matthew 24:14, 28:19-20, etc.

Back to chapter 11:

Verse 21: To our shame I say that we were too weak for that! But in whatever anyone is bold—I speak foolishly—I am bold also.

HWA commented:

There are those that think I’m weak. I’m not so strong. I hope God has given me spiritual strength. That’s where the power really is.

Others criticize me for being too gullible. But I have NOT reviled those that revile me like they have.

And as far as spiritual power goes, it is God who has it, and He has intervened in the CCOG beyond that what He has in any other church in the 21st century. Details are in the article:Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18?

Back to chapter 11:

Verse 22: Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I.

Paul is saying that he is as much of a child of Abraham as any who wants to preach to them.

Taking it even farther in chapter 11, Paul writes:

Verse 23: Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.

HWA commented:

Now he’s telling what he’s gone through in the ministry. I’ve gone through the same things that he has. I haven’t gone through as many physical things as he did but I’ve gone through just as many spiritual heartbreaks as Paul did. I’ve never been in prison, beaten or suffered those physical things Paul did.

Paul is basically explaining that he went through more than any false minister would.

Taking that even farther in chapter 11, Paul writes:

Verse 24:  From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.

The Jews used to give 39 lashes, because they did not want to go over 40. Why? Because of the following:

1 If there is a dispute between men, and they come to court, that the judges may judge them, and they justify the righteous and condemn the wicked, 2 then it shall be, if the wicked man deserves to be beaten, that the judge will cause him to lie down and be beaten in his presence, according to his guilt, with a certain number of blows. 3 Forty blows he may give him and no more, lest he should exceed this and beat him with many blows above these, and your brother be humiliated in your sight. (Deuteronomy 25:1-3)

The Jews decided to extra cautious here in case someone miscounted, so they traditionally gave no more than 39 lashes when they had someone officially whipped.

Paul continued in chapter 11 with:

Verse 25: Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;

HWA commented:

I have been shipwrecked. I’ve been in a hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean on a ship. I have the only photographs of that. Waves 30 and 40 feet high. Very great waves. We would have been broken in two but we kept changing the direction to plow into the wind or we would have drowned.

Paul continued in chapter 11 with:

Verse 26:  in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

Paul had many perils, tests, and trials. Yet today, when we get some false and some perverse accusations, many people cannot endure that. Yet, Paul had all that. Many alive today would not have been willing to follow the Apostle Paul, despite what they may tell themselves.

Paul continued in chapter 11 with:

Verse 27: in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—

HWA commented:

I’ve had to go without food.

At the beginning of his ministry, HWA often went hungry. You read of this in his Autobiography.

Shortly after I was baptized, I subsisted on wheat berries with honey someone gave me a church (that person still does not know how much I needed that as I never told anyone about my dire situation then). That was my breakfast for a while. And I had wheat berries with chili powder for dinner. Yes, I was tithing then. Sometimes you have to endure a while before God blesses you more physically.

Paul continued in chapter 11 with:

Verse 28:  besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.

HWA commented:

In other words, the rule or administering the government of God. The oversight of all the churches.

What, to me at least, Paul seemed to be saying is that he had all kinds of different problems, including various ones daily, yet he kept doing the job God had given him to do.

Paul continued in chapter 11 with:

Verse 29: Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?

The Amplified Bible renders this:

Who is weak, and I do not feel [his] weakness? Who is made to sin, and I am not on fire [with sorrow and concern]?

We all have weakness, but should also show concern.

Paul continued in chapter 11 with:

Verse 30: If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity.

Because that helped humble him. Being humble, amongst other things, means recognizing the truth about ourselves, as well as better understanding that God knows and understands basically infinitely more than we do.

Paul continued in chapter 11 with:

Verse 31: The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.

Paul is saying YES, he is serious that he will boast of his infirmities, because since he is enduring them, this is good. It is also good for all of you to properly bear all of your infirmities.

Paul continued in chapter 11 with:

Verse 32: In Damascus the governor, under Aretas the king, was guarding the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desiring to arrest me; Verse 33: but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands.

Could you handle supporting someone who was arrested or often threatened with arrest by governmental and religious authorities?

If not, you would not have supported the Apostle Paul.

Many aspects of Christianity and proper church governance are not understand by those who claim Christianity, nor even the bulk of end time Laodicean Christians.

Chapter 12

Now to chapter 12. The Apostle Paul wrote:

Verse 1: It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord:

Several commentaries suggest that some of the visions and revelations that Paul received were from dreams.

Back to chapter 12:

Verse 2: I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven.

So, Paul was relating something that happened 14 years before, while he was a Christian. He was not sure if it was a dream or if he had actually been transported.

Note that Paul said that this was the third heaven.

Here is some of what the old Worldwide Church of God (WCG) taught about the three heavens:

Many are surprised to find that the Bible speaks of not just one but three heavens.

The first heaven is our earthly atmosphere — the blanket of life sustaining gases that encircles our globe, the heaven where the birds fly (Genesis 1:20) and from where the dew falls (Deuteronomy 33:28).

The second heaven represents the expanse of this great universe — the outer space where we find the sun, moon, stars, comets and planets. It is of this heaven that God spoke when He said that the sun, moon and stars were to be for lights (Genesis 1:15-17).

The final heaven — the "third" (II Corinthians 12:2) — is indeed the location of God's holy throne and the seat of the ruling authority of all physical and spiritual reality. And it certainly does have some of the qualities traditional Christianity assigns to it.

For example, this third heaven is a type of spiritual paradise. The apostle Paul said as much in II Corinthians 12:4 when he briefly described the place and called it "Paradise." Further, it is plainly the seat of God's throne and of His power, for we are taught by Jesus Christ not to swear by heaven, because "it is God's throne" (Matthew 5:34). (Prove All Things: Will You Go To Heaven? Good News, October-November 1984)

Back to chapter 12:

Verse 3: And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—
Verse 4: how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
Verse 5: Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities.
Verse 6: For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me.

Now, we know that Paul did not actually go to that heaven. More on heaven can be found in the article: Did Early Christians Teach They Were Going to Heaven? 

The old WCG knew that as well as it also published:

Jesus plainly taught, "No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man" (Jesus Himself — John 3:13). Astoundingly, that scripture means just what it says: No man — not Abraham, Isaac or Jacob — no one — has gone to heaven! There are no souls of the saved in heaven. It cannot therefore be the reward of the saved. People do not like to believe this plain statement of Jesus.

Yet even King David, said to be a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22) and one who found favor with God (Acts 7:46), was not in heaven even after Jesus' death. As the apostle Peter said, "Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day" (Acts 2:29). Peter then added, "For David did not ascend into the heavens" (verse 34). We have now seen that heaven is God's throne, and we have read that it most assuredly is not the abode of the deceased souls of the righteous. But, then, what is the future hope and goal of the true Christian?

Put briefly, the hope and goal of a Christian is not to enter heaven and playa harp for eternity, but to be born into the Family of God (as a member of the God Family and hence become a literal God) and rule in God's government and Kingdom with eternal life from on the earth. See Revelation 5:10, Daniel 2:44, 7:27 and Matthew 5:5. (Prove All Things: Will You Go To Heaven? Good News, October-November 1984)

As far as the goal of a Christian goes, it is to be part of the first resurrection so that each can give love in a unique way in order to make eternity better for themselves and everyone else. More on that can be found in our free online booklet: The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You? 

Paul is the man he is referring to, which the next verse helps to confirm:

Verse 7: And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.

So, we see that even though God gave the Apostle Paul visions and revelations, that Paul still had physical ailments. Some saw him as weak physically and did not think he could have been one of God's main men looking how he did--but Paul was. People often judge by sight, instead of by faith in the word of God like they should (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:7).

Back to chapter 12:

Verse 8: Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.

So, we see that Paul prayed about this. Apparently, fervently.

Back to chapter 12:

Verse 9a: And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 

When you combine this with verse 7, it looks to be telling us that it was not in the spiritually best interest for Paul or those around him for him to be healed. His lack of healing may have turned some off of Christianity that were not ready to be called in this age.

After the resurrection, we will better know more about why some ailments are healed in this life and others not. Notice that Paul also wrote about that in 1 Corinthians:

9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. (1 Corinthians 13:9-12)

While we do not know all, we are wise to remember that we should:

6 Seek the Lord while He may be found,Call upon Him while He is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way,And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.

8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord. 9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:6-9)

God knows what is best for us.

Paul also confirmed that when he wrote:

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself {should be iself} makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He pr edestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (Romans 8:18-30)

Back to chapter 12:

Verse 9b: Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Paul's thorn in the flesh apparently humbled him enough so he could have more of "the power of Christ." But, undoubtedly, scoffers and others who would not accept how God really works would not accept that.

Boasting in infirmities is hard to do--but Paul did that.

Consider also Job. He had a series of terrible events and then was horribly afflicted. However, because he took it well, God doubly blessed him later. If we would learn enough from our tests and trials, we also will be blessed--for certain spiritually, but also likely physically as well.

Back to chapter 12:

Verse 10: Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

People are criticizing Paul and acting like he is disgusting--and he says he takes pleasure in that. The Apostle Paul likely realized that Jesus said:

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. (Matthew 5:11-12)

In this way, we can see that despite those that write and post horrible things about me or others in the CCOG, that Jesus says we are blessed.

Of course, the types of reviling criticism we get online and elsewhere turns some people away from us, but those who truly understand Jesus' teachings know better than that.

Notice that Paul was charged with being the leader of a religious cult:

2 When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented the charges against Paul in the following address to the governor: "Your Excellency...5 We have found this man to be a troublemaker who is constantly stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the cult known as the Nazarenes...

10...Paul said, "I know, sir, that you have been a judge of Jewish affairs for many years, so I gladly present my defense before you. 11 You can quickly discover that I arrived in Jerusalem no more than twelve days ago to worship at the Temple. 12 My accusers never found me arguing with anyone in the Temple, nor stirring up a riot in any synagogue or on the streets of the city. 13 These men cannot prove the things they accuse me of doing.

14 "But I admit that I follow the Way, which they call a cult. I worship the God of our ancestors, and I firmly believe the Jewish law and everything written in the prophets.

(Acts 24:2,5,10-14, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust.)

Christians with "Nazarene" practices have long been accused of being part of a cult (or "sect," Acts 24:14, NKJV/NJB) by persecutors of various types. The pagans also accused Christians of demonic practices like animal sacrifices, etc.

As I said in the last sermon, would YOU really follow the poor speaking, weak, and contempible looking Apostle Paul? Someone who was part of a cult that was everywhere spoken against?

As we have seen in this sermon series, many critics thought they were better than Paul or other faithful leaders in the true church.

Back to chapter 12:

Verse 11: I have become a fool in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing.

Paul is saying instead of being at all critical, the Corinthians should have commended him.

Note, again, Paul says he is no less than "the most eminent apostles."

The fact he was not with Jesus when the original 12 were is of no consequence.

God chose Paul and did it in a different way. It is God who puts apostles and prophets in their role:

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

And while, yes, in the church age, He has this done with the laying on of hands, it is not always as people would expect.

For example, apparently many felt it would take at least one of the original apostles to anoint Paul to be an apostle and prophet.

But instead, a Christian man who perhaps was an elder did that:

10 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, "Ananias."

And he said, "Here I am, Lord."

11 So the Lord said to him, "Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. 12 And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight."

13 Then Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name."

15 But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake."

17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." 18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.

19 So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus.

20 Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. (Acts 9:10-21)

Paul was preaching after hands were laid upon him--and note that he was NOT ordained by the top apostle, or any other apostle.

And, in my case, it was also an elder who laid hands upon me and anointed me.

Most end time Christians do not truly accept how God works and chooses leaders.

Many are dismissive like the Corinthians that Paul is criticizing here.

Back to chapter 12:

Verse 12: Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds. 

As far as signs go, yes, I have the signs of a true prophet. The data is out there for those willing to accept God's criteria, but most endtime Christians are Laodicea and will not accept that--but they should. See also:

Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18? Does any church have the confirmed dream and prophetic signs of Acts 2:17-18? Should one? Here is a link in the Spanish language: ¿Tiene la CCOG confirmadas las señales de Hechos 2: 17-18? Here is a link in the French language: Est-ce que l’Église Continue de Dieu confirme les signes d’Actes 2:17-18? A related sermon in the English language is also available: 17 Last Days' Signs of the Holy Spirit.

Church of God Leaders on Prophets Have there been prophets throughout the church age? Are any supposed to be around in the last days? What have COG leaders stated or written about prophets? Here is a link to a related sermon: Church of God Leaders on Prophets.

How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God There are many false prophets. How can Christians determine who is a true prophet? There is also a sermon-length video titled How to determine if someone is a true prophet of God. Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Cómo determinar si alguien es un verdadero profeta de Dios?

Back to chapter 12:

Verse 13: For what is it in which you were inferior to other churches, except that I myself was not burdensome to you? Forgive me this wrong!

And since my wife Joyce and I do not take a salary from the CCOG, we are also not a burden on the CCOG. Does that make this ministry inferior?

Of course not!

Yet, Paul faced that suggestion himself.

Back to chapter 12:

Verse 14: Now for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be burdensome to you; for I do not seek yours, but you. For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.

Nor do my wife and I intend to be a burden on the CCOG. As far as the third time goes, this would seem to be one visit from Paul, plus his two letters to the Corinthians.

Back to chapter 12:

Verse 15:  And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved.

Various ones are ungrateful, not thankful. And the more some are helped, the less they seem to appreciate it.

That has happened in the CCOG. And that was prophesied:

1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, (2 Timothy 3:1-3a English Standard Version)

Back to chapter 12:

Verse 16: But be that as it may, I did not burden you. Nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you by cunning!

So, since Paul did not financially burden the Corinthians, he is teasing saying then, what did I do, pull a fast one over you be being crafty or cunning?

Back to chapter 12:

Verse 17: Did I take advantage of you by any of those whom I sent to you?

Paul asks this basicallly rhetorically, because he knows that the answer is no.

I would say the same as my wife and I have not taken advantage of you or sent anyone to do so.

Back to chapter 12:

Verse 18: I urged Titus, and sent our brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not walk in the same spirit? Did we not walk in the same steps?

Paul is now saying you know that Titus did not take advantage of the Corinthians either.

So, apparently Paul is miffed about the reaction from many Corinthians, who he had believed to have been true Christians. We had similar issues in 2023.

Back to chapter 12:

Verse 19: Again, do you think that we excuse ourselves to you? We speak before God in Christ. But we do all things, beloved, for your edification.

Paul is basically saying what he did and had been doing was for their spiritual benefit, their edication.

We in California would say the same thing.

Back to chapter 12:

Verse 20: For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults;

The above is consistent with many things the Apostle Paul warned in 2 Timothy 3 would be around in the last days.

We have had to deal with a lot of that.

Back to chapter 12:

Verse 21:  lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced.

Paul hopes that all in Corinth will have properly repented before he may return. But he has his doubts.

Chapter 13

Now to chapter 13, the last chapter of 2 Corinthians:

Verse 1: This will be the third time I am coming to you. “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.”

Paul is basically telling them that he keeps telling them certain things and that they should pay attention. We have the matter that we have more than 2-3 witnesses who have had CCOG-related dreams that were confirmed, yet many unnecessarily discount them.

Back to chapter 13:

Verse 2: I have told you before, and foretell as if I were present the second time, and now being absent I write to those who have sinned before, and to all the rest, that if I come again I will not spare—

Paul is saying that he has admonished them and intends to do so once he returns to Corinth, so those who need correction should not think he will not do it.

Back to chapter 13:

Verse 3: since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you.

By this stage, the Corinthians may have been tired of hearing Paul's personal and ministerial proofs, but he keeps pushing the point.

The Bible teaches to:

1 Cry aloud, spare not;
Lift up your voice like a trumpet;
Tell My people their transgression,
And the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1)

Paul was doing that, as the Christians in Corinth were God's people, and he also chastised those of the house of Jacob who would not listen to him -- and many of them condemned him.

We in the CCOG do the same.

Regarding the proof CCOG, in addition us being scriptural and our literature clearly based upon the Bible, the confirmed dreams and predictions should be proof to any with eyes to see.

As far as predictions go, I warned about coronaviruses years before the pandemic. Actually, let me add more on that. Notice something that an accuser of the brethren, who calls himself “Tonto” posted January 27, 2020 related to me and the coronavirus at the anti-COG site Banned by HWA :

Blogger Tonto said…

If Thiel was such a great prophet, then why didn’t he specifically and directly warn the world about this coronavirus several weeks ago?

Actually, I specifically warned about risks associated with the coronavirus in 2013 (see Coronavirus: A new risk for humans? and Saudi Arabia warning visitors to Mecca about coronavirus risk) and 2014 (see Saudi Arabia, MERS, and Missiles and Infection-gate: A dangerous scandal hitting the USA?). Additionally, I have also warned also about human engineered pathogens without mentioning the coronavirus in 2018 (see DARPA to weaponize insects to spread viruses across the population… sinister plans exposed by team of scientists) and 2019 (see DARPA: ‘Militarized Microbes’ To Spread GMO Bacteria). Humans messing around with viruses, like what was being officially done in Wuhan, poses risks. And I have warned about those risks, including research involving the coronavirus for years.

Pretty much every day, I pray and ask God to assist me choosing topics to write about. And a few times in the past, that has specifically included the coronavirus.

Accusers of the brethren care little about the truth.

If they did, they would not post the improper negative things about me that they do.

Now, as far as even more specific warning go, consider that I posted the following on July 28, 2018:

To try to deal with the spread of the Zika virus, genetically altered mosquitoes have been released:

July 28, 2016

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands — The first wave of genetically modified mosquitoes were released Wednesday in the Cayman Islands as part of a new effort to control the insect that spreads Zika and other viruses, officials in the British Island territory said.

Genetically altered male mosquitoes, which don’t bite but are expected to mate with females to produce offspring that die before reaching adulthood, were released in the West Bay area of Grand Cayman Island, according to a joint statement from the Cayman Islands Mosquito Research and Control Unit and British biotech firm Oxitec.

The mosquitoes will be released over nine months in an area known to be a hot spot for the Aedes aegypti species, which are not native to the Cayman Islands and are the main vector for Zika as well as other viruses, including chikingunya and dengue.

Mosquitoes can carry and spread many diseases.

But releasing genetically-modified ones into the wild presents unknown risks.

One assumption that scientists have tended to make with genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) is that if they do not see any dangers, then there are none. That is foolish, yet that continues to be the view of the pro-GMO crowd.

While there certainly are risks associated with contracting the Zika virus (see Zika is more dangerous than many thought; USA has its first Zika death), this ‘solution’ poses risks to various parts of the ecosystem as well as the possibility that some of the offspring produced will have greater longevity as opposed to greatly reduced longevity.

The vast quantity of mosquito offspring increases the possibility that there will be some that have the opposite traits that the GMO crowd is hoping to get. And if this occurs, this could cause much greater problems than the GMO ‘solution’ was supposed to fix. …

Genetically modified mosquitoes pose dangerous risks. (Thiel B. Genetically-modified mosquitoes have been released to ‘fight Zika’. COGwriter, July 28, 2018)

Notice what was reported about genetically modified mosquitoes in 2019:

Deadly ‘super mosquitoes that are even tougher’ accidentally created by scientists after bungled experiment

Updated September 18, 2019

GENETICALLY modified mosquitoes that were designed by scientists to help populations decrease are actually thriving.

This is according to new research that claims the plan to create gene-hacked mosquitoes that have offspring which die immediately has spectacularly backfired and now scientists don’t know what will happen next.

The modified mosquitoes were released in Jacobina in Brazil and were supposed to mix with the local population and decrease numbers with their weak offspring genetics.

Although the wild population did plummet for a short while, 18 months later it was right back up again.

This is mostly concerning because scientists think the new ‘super mosquitoes’ have properties that might make them harder to kill.

Research about the pests has been published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports. …

Mosquitoes like the Aedes aegypti variety that was edited can carry dangerous diseases like yellow fever, Zika virus and Malaria.

This is why efforts are being made to reduce their numbers.

However, now traces of the genetically modified genes have been found in the natural population.

This means they are successfully interbreeding. …

The offspring of the gene-hacked mosquitoes and the natural ones are thought to be more robust but whether they pose a threat is unknown.

Researcher Jeffrey Powell told News Atlas: “It is the unanticipated outcome that is concerning.”

So, scientists were concerned about “the unanticipated outcome.” Having mosquitoes that are “more robust” makes them harder to kill and, thus tends to increase their longevity.

Well, I anticipated something just like this when I warned about the release of GMOs mosquitoes on July 28, 2018.

But this will not change naysayers and critics.

Perhaps, it should be mentioned that the anti-COG Banned site when condemning me has from time to time put something to the effect that prophets do not use words like maybe, might, possibly, etc. Well, they do if they are not directly prophesying, and sometimes even when they were.

The Old Testament shows that prophets like Isaiah (Isaiah 47:12), Jeremiah quoting God Himself (Jeremiah 26:3, 51:8), and Daniel (Daniel 4:27) used the word “perhaps” (NKJV). The Psalmist (Psalm 106:3), Ezekiel (Ezekiel 17:14; 20:26), Hosea (Hosea 8:4), Amos (Amos 1:3), Habakkuk (Habakkuk 3:16), Zechariah (Zechariah 6:7, 8:9, 11:10, 11:14), Malachi (Malachi 2:5), and Paul (Romans 11:32, 15:4) used the word “might.” Paul used the term “perceive” once when he was making a prediction that turned out to be in error (Acts 27:10, 42-44).

I strive to be true to the word of God–and Jesus prophesied pestilences as part of the beginning of sorrows (Matthew 24:8)–and many of my posts related to pestilences are based on Jesus’s words.

Related to other predictions, I, also, warned that Russia would end up with territory claimed by Ukraine well before it happened in Crimea. Furthermore, on February 22, 2022, two days before Russia’s ‘special military operation’ into Ukraine began, I posted: "I expect that Donetsk and Luhansk will either be annexed by Russia and/or join its Eurasian Economic Union." That happened in 2022.

Does anyone know of a leader in any other church that did that?

I also warned about health issues that would affect the late Dr. and late Mrs. Meredith--which came to pass.

And back on June 24, 2010, I 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.” She did when she made a deal with the US government regarding a base in Darwin, Australia.

Over the years, I also  made and/or posted speculative predictions related to Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg that came to pass.

Furthermore, God used me to restore basic information such as answers to the following:

Why did God create anything?

Why did God create you?

God created what He did so that eternity would be better.

God created you so that if you accept His ways, you will be able to give love in a unique way to make eternity better for yourself and everyone else.

If you agree with those answers, and you are not with the CCOG, ask yourself why your church did not restore that information?

All things were to be restored. Matthew recorded:

10 And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"

11 Jesus answered and said to them, "Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. ..." (Matthew 17:10-11).

In Matthew 17:11, the term translated “will restore” is the Greek term apokathistemi which means “to reconstitute” or “restore (again)” (Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.) and is preceded by the Greek term men which means “truly” in the asseverative sense. In Matthew 11:14, where 'Elijah' is mentioned in respect to John the Baptist, the Greek term mello is used which means “was.” This mello term is not used in 17:11--and it is that verse which is prophetic.

John the Baptist was not physically Elijah (John 1:21)--but his father was told by an angel:

17 He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, 'to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,' and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. (Luke 1:17)

So, John the Baptist was a type of Elijah--but NOT the Elijah.

Before going further, let me add that a Saabatarian Church of God group in the 19th century taught that John the Baptist was a type of Elijah and that there would be a future Elijah (Reed J. Who is Elijah the Prophet? Hope of Israel, August 10, 1863).

A future Elijah was also taught in the December 10, 1863 edtion as well:

But before that day shall come, He will Elijah send; His Spirit in his Church be known, And all these signs attend ... Behold, thy servants waiting, Lord, To hear ELIJAH'S voice! (p. 2).

Furthermore, the idea that Elijah would NOT be the actual Elijah was clearly taught in 1864, as well as issues with the church:

God has a waiting, watching people, who are proclaiming to this unbelieving generation, the coming of our King.

I see no evidence that the church is going to be in that state of happy union and prosperity which some imagined. They will be found, I think, in a scattered, afflicted condition; yet watching, praying and individually ready.

I do not yet see the scriptural evidence of Elijah's coming in person. ... John the Baptist ... As he came in the 'spirit and power of Elijah' 'to prepare for the way of the Lord' at his first advent, so the proclamation of the second advent as 'the gospel of the everlasting kingdom,' has been around the world, to prepare a people for the Lord. (Everett S. The Hope of Israel, April 10, 1864, p. 1).

Therefore, the idea that there was a coming Elijah was not a 20th or 21st century Church of God invention.

Malachi was inspired to write the following end time prophecy:

4 Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, With the statutes and judgments. 5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.  (Malachi 4:4-5)

In the CCOG we do remember the law which God commanded Moses.

Furthermore, the CCOG may be the only COG that has  ALL the 18 restored truths that Herbert W. Armstrong pointed to as restored to the Philadelphia portion of the COG in its official Statement of Beliefs--see Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God.

But since Herbert W. Armstrong died January 16, 1986, he obviously was not around at the time of "the great and dreadful day of the LORD" which looks to be in the next decade from now. And, according to his own written words, Herbert Armstrong could not have been the final Elijah to come as he wrote:

"Also Malachi 4:5-6 pictures the Elijah to come at the very end of the Church age" (Mystery of the Ages. 1985, p. 349).  

When did he write that the Church age was over? Notice:

At the end of the Church age and 6,000 years from Adam, Christ would return to earth as King of kings and Lord of Lords, ruling all nations, with the saints, for one millennium. (Armstrong HW. What If Adam Had Taken of the Tree of Life? Plan Truth, March 1983)

The "very end" of the Church age was not decades ago in the 20th century! The 6000 years has NOT yet been fulfilled (see also Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End?). Since the "very end of the Church age" has not happened, and HWA died in January 16, 1986, his writings support that there must be another Elijah. 

That said, in addition to the CCOG restoring Herbert Armstrong's list that he stated God had him restore, here is a summary of other matters restored in the CCOG:

Dreams & Signs of Acts 2:17-18
Why God Created Anything
Why God Created Human Beings
Teaching all things Jesus taught (Matthew 28:19-20; see also The Final Phase of the Work)
Church History--and how it supports the COG contending for the original faith.
Laying on of Hands Succession and List
Violent Sports (see also 
Is American Football Evil?)
Details and Ramifications of Being Non-Trinitarian (see also Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity?)
The Final Phase of the Work and Preparing for the 'Short Work' and The Famine of the Word
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God translated into over 600 languages--while working on more--and while distinguishing between the millennial and post-millennial phases of the Kingdom of God.
Romans 11:25 and the Full Number of the Gentiles
Prophecy (watch also 50+ Laodicean Prophetic Errors)
Habakkuk 2 and Debt (e.g., see Anglo - America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel)
Identity of the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2
Daniel 11:39 and the Start of the Great Tribulation
USA-Samaria Identification
Mark of the Beast
Information on the Third Resurrection (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
The reason there was a Passover and Atonement sacrifice (see Should You Keep God's Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?).

Remember, Jesus made it clear that all things would be restored. What was restored with just those two short answers is actually important enough to possibly qualify for that. Though, it is likely other things that will also later be restored. But no other church has restored those two basic and fundamental things.

More on restoration can be found in the article: Continuing Church of God, Elijah, and Restoring All Things 

The dreams, confirmed predictions, and restorations are proof of this Philadelphian remnant industry.

Now, yes, critics will complain when I provide any proofs about myself. They also did related Jesus, Paul, and many others.

Well, that is partially because Satan doesn't want people to know the proofs. For, if people knew the proofs, they may be convicted by the truth and change.

Satan does not want more supporters in the Continuing Church of God.

That said, Paul did not seem to have a problem attempting to defend himself or provide proofs since, he too, was often maligned and people often would not accept his position of authority. Though he was criticized for it, he kept doing it--so do I.

Now, back to chapter 13 and some 'proof' related to Jesus:

Verse 4: For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.

As far as proofs related to Jesus, we have a free online book: Proof Jesus is the Messiah.

Notice also that the weak will live by the power of God--do not give up, despite your weaknesses.

Paul did not give up.

Back to chapter 13:

Verse 5: Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.

Yes, we are to examine ourselves. Specifically, this needs to be done before each Passover (see Examine Yourself before Passover ), but should basically be done all the time.

Back to chapter 13:

Verse 6: But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified.

Nor am I despite the nonsense many spread about me.

Back to chapter 13:

Verse 7: Now I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable, though we may seem disqualified.

Yes, when people spread nonsense, distort things, or make a big deal of things that they should not, yes they are helping Satan try to give them impression that we in the CCOG are disqualified.

But we are not.

Back to chapter 13:

Verse 8: For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.

If you have any doubts about that, check out our literature. Compare what we teach to the Bible--that is what Jesus said was truth in John 17:17.

That said, a member sent me a link to something that cited Isaiah 6. Notice something from Isaiah:

8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:
"Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?"
Then I said, "Here am I! Send me." (Isaiah 6:8)

The above was part of one of my dreams over decade ago. Continuing, notice the following:

9 And He said, "Go, and tell this people:
'Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.'
10 "Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed." (Isaiah 6:9-10)

Yes, between reaching true Christians and the world via COGwriter, radio interviews, literature, personal visits, videos, multiple websites, and having materials in hundreds of languages, this is something I have been doing. And yes, most will not heed--not even most Christians, but, of course, we know that most end time Christians are not Philadlephian.

Continuing in Isaiah 6:

11 Then I said, "Lord, how long?"
And He answered:
"Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant,The houses are without a man, The land is utterly desolate,

The above has not taken place yet. It is a prophesy that runs until the end of this age and looks to be fulfilled before the next decade is up.

Hence, this "Here I am, send me," which was part of a dream I had, is related to these last days.

Back to Isaiah, he continued with:

12 The Lord has removed men far away,
And the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.
13 But yet a tenth will be in it,
And will return and be for consuming,
As a terebinth tree or as an oak,
Whose stump remains when it is cut down.
So the holy seed shall be its stump." (Isaiah 6:12 -13)

Isaiah added later:

5 The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants,
Because they have transgressed the laws,
Changed the ordinance,
Broken the everlasting covenant.
6 Therefore the curse has devoured the earth,
And those who dwell in it are desolate.
Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned,
And few men are left. (Isaiah 24:5-6)

Now let's also look at Amos:

3 For thus says the Lord God:

"The city that goes out by a thousand
Shall have a hundred left,
And that which goes out by a hundred
Shall have ten left to the house of Israel." (Amos 5:3)

The one tenth number may be the amount of USA and British-descended people that will survive what will come to pass in the next decade. According to the old WCG, that also looks to be the amount of the world that will survive:

What cumulative effect will all the plagues of God have on the earth's population? Isa. 24:6. Will comparatively few people be left at the start of Christ's rule? Same verse. Note particularly that not all people will die. Millions will still be left alive. The Bible indicates that one tenth of the earth's population will survive (Amos 5:3, Isa. 6:13). (Ministudy. Good News, January 1982)

Now back to 2 Corinthians 13:

Verse 9: For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. And this also we pray, that you may be made complete.

We are glad when we help strengthen your faith and when we provide more information, via sermons and literature to cite two ways, that you may be more complete.

Back to chapter 13:

Verse 10: Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the authority which the Lord has given me for edification and not for destruction.

Paul is basically saying he hopes the Corinthians will respond to his corrective letter so he will not have to be personally cross with them when he sees them.

He again reminds them that his corrections are for their spiritual edification, not to destroy them--which is apparently what some of Paul's critics in Corinth may have been saying.

Back to chapter 13:

Verse 11: Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

The above is Paul's admonition on living as a Christian. But notice, again, he tells them to become complete. Here are some other passages from Paul about being complete:

3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, 5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; (Philippians 1:3-6)

8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. (Colossians 2:8-10)

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)

Strive to be a complete, NOT partial, Christian. Study the word of God and apply it.

Back to chapter 13:

Verse 12: Greet one another with a holy kiss.

The above was a cultural thing. In North American culture it is not really done--things like shaking hands is. Though such a kiss would be appropriate in certain Latin American and European cultures.

Back to chapter 13:

Verse 13: All the saints greet you.

The true church of God should be united and we should be concerned about brethren in other areas.

Back to chapter 13:

Verse 14: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

Accept the grace God gives through Jesus, express the love of God in your life, and the communion of the Holy Spirit should help you to have concern for your brethren around the world.

Here is a sermon related to chapters 12 and 13: 2 Corinthians 12-13: Problems and Philadelphian Proofs.

Anyway, 2 Corinthians has a lot of correction from the Apostle Paul. Yet, at the same time, he wants to encourage them--and us for that matter--be being loving givers, so we can be complete, and hence be part of God's glorious kingdom to come.

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Thiel B. Comments on the 2nd Epistle to the Corinthians. COGwriter (c) 2023