Saturday, January 26, 2013

Putting Scriptures Together

Understanding the Bible requires that we believe and strive to obey what God says. It also requires putting scriptures together, looking at all the scriptures that may apply to a particular question or issue.

Bob Thiel recently used the principle that Paul described in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 to justify his use of pagan prophecies in his books and blog posts: "For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you". (See my previous post for a review of Bob Thiel's recent post about this.)

This passage is not a direct command from God. It is a general principle Paul followed, and God inspired its inclusion in the Bible because it is a good point of wisdom showing us how we can be more effective in preaching the gospel. The general principle here, as I understand it, is that we can be more effective in teaching others sometimes when we emphasize what we have in common with them and speak to them in their terms from their point of view. This is not a universal rule, because there are also occasions when emphasizing differences, even to the point of being confrontational, is a better approach, as shown by the examples of the Old Testament prophets when God inspired them to give very sharp rebukes, and by the examples of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ who rebuked the Pharisees very sharply, calling them snakes. But the strategy of emphasizing what we have in common with those who hear us can be an effective tool when the occasion calls for it. I think it is a good principle for Bob Thiel to follow in his book publishing and promotion.

But in applying the general principle, we should not apply it in ways that go against a direct and specific command of God. We can "be like" our readers to win them over, but not to the point of sharing in their sins or to the point of leading them into sins they have not known before.

God directly commands us to give no regard to prophets that do not teach the way of God or to soothsayers and diviners (Deuteronomy 13:1-3, 18:14). In principle, this would prohibit quoting and publishing the prophecies of pagan prophets and those "prophets" that do not believe and teach the truth of God but rather teach error and falsehood. But does the principle God gave through Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 override Deuteronomy 13:1-3, 18:14, or does Deuteronomy 13:1-3, 18:14 take precedence over 1 Corinthians 9:19-23? Is there a way to obey both?

When we were in Worldwide, for those of us who were in the Church at that time, when Mr. Tkach began to teach that resting on the Sabbath was optional, he used the example of a man having to work on the Sabbath to support his family, and he used the scripture in 1 Timothy 5:8: "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever". He said that this verse may require a man to work on the Sabbath to support his family.

But that is not right. Consider that if we could use the need to support our family to override one of the ten commandments, the fourth commandment, then we could also use it to override the eighth commandment, you shall not steal. So if stealing money is the only way to support your family, then you should steal, according to that logic.

Some may say that the eight commandment is greater or weightier than the fourth commandment, but this is not according to God's word. According to God's word, the fourth commandment is more important, because it carries a greater penalty for breaking it. In Old Testament Israel, if a man stole something, he was to restore it double, or fourfold, or fivefold, depending on the situation (Exodus 22:1-4). But if he worked on the Sabbath, contrary to the fourth commandment, he was to be killed (Numbers 15:32-36).

There are other ways of supporting your family besides stealing or working on the Sabbath. Yes, we are to support our families, but God's law places limits on HOW we are to support our families. The general principle of supporting our families cannot be used to override God's direct commands not to steal and not to work on the Sabbath.

Likewise, we can show people what we have in common with them when we teach them and we can speak to them from their point of view in terms and language they can identify with, but God's direct commands place limits on how we do this. We must not participate in their sins. We do not preach the gospel to prostitutes by going to bed with them. We do not teach thieves what we have in common with them by stealing. We do not work at our jobs on the Sabbath to show our fellow factory workers or office workers we are "just like them" so they will listen to us when we preach the gospel.

Likewise, we should not indulge in reading and spreading pagan or Satan-inspired prophecies, or witchcraft, or voodoo, or astrology, or any form of the occult, contrary to Deuteronomy 13:1-3 and Deuteronomy 18:14, to show our readers that we are just like them when we preach the gospel to them. Rather, we should live in obedience to God's commands and let others see our good example. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).

Imagine that Bob Thiel does reach some people with the gospel and someone comes into the Church because of his efforts. That person is then faced with a question about the occult. Maybe his son or daughter wants to dabble in witchcraft, reading books about magic and spells, learning about demonism. The man thinks, well, Dr. Thiel teaches pagan prophecy, so I guess it is ok. Is that setting a right example? Is that letting our light shine before men?

Just as there are other ways for a man to support his family without breaking the Sabbath or stealing, so there are other ways we can speak to people in their language from their point of view without publishing demon-inspired prophecies to know the future. God's direct commands in Deuteronomy 13:1-3 and Deuteronomy 18:14 take precedent over the general principle of being all things to all men that Paul outlined in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. We can apply the principle of 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 in preaching the gospel, but only in ways that do not violate the letter or spirit of Deuteronomy 13:1-3 and Deuteronomy 18:14.

In closing, I might add here something I tried to express in a comment I made in my post "Don't Play with Fire". In that comment I said, "Though it may seem I am painting Bob Thiel with a 'dark brush' and condemning him, I am not trying to hurt him personally, but I am warning about his actions....I am not condemning him, but I think he is making serious mistakes that are very dangerous for him personally and have the potential to harm God's work and the Church if members are not alert to what Deuteronomy 13:1-3 and Deuteronomy 18:14 say."

I have no ill will towards Bob Thiel personally. I am not trying to hurt him. I think he made a mistake in leaving LCG, and I do not want to see him pull tithes and offerings out of LCG so that LCG's income is diminished. But now that he has done this, I would be happy if he reaches more people with the gospel, provided he does not do it by publishing pagan prophecies.

I do not rule out the possibility that God may use him as a true prophet in the future. It may be that he has to pass a test first. God tested Abraham to see if he was willing to give up his son. Jesus Christ had to be tested and overcome Satan's temptations in the wilderness for 40 days before God used Him to preach the gospel. It may be that Bob Thiel is being tested now on a point of God's word regarding pagan prophecies. If he passes the test, then God may (or may not) use him as a prophet, but in any case, he will have passed a test. God may require that he pull his books from publication and remove any posts referring to pagan prophecies from his blog. That, in a way, can be a severe test at this point, because a man can feel attached to his writings just as Abraham felt attached to his son (not to the same degree of course). Perhaps the toughest part of the test for Dr. Thiel would be having to admit to the Church and the world that he was wrong to publish this stuff to begin with. That would be very humbling.

Yet as tough as that would be, I do not think it would be as bad as the consequences of failing the test. Because if Dr. Thiel disregards God's clear instructions in Deuteronomy regarding this matter, he has rejected God's word, and all God's warnings and examples of consequences of rejecting His word may come into play.

"And Saul said to Samuel, 'But I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek; I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.' So Samuel said: 'Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king' " (1 Samuel 15:20-23).

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children" (Hosea 4:6).

I don't see how I could ever accept Bob Thiel as a true prophet of God, no matter how accurately he predicts the future, even if he shows "signs and wonders", such as if he received a dream or vision accurately predicting the next earthquake in such detail that no man by human reasoning could predict, as long as he continues to publish pagan prophecies that predict the future. That alone would disqualify him.

It is good to have zeal for preaching the gospel to the world, but we must do it lawfully. We have to have the patience to wait for God to open doors to preach the gospel without violating the principles of God's word and law. If we believe and obey God, God will work things out right in the end. If we have violated God's law in the past, we need to repent and trust God to forgive us, we need to learn our lesson and move forward, not repeating our mistakes. I have to struggle with my human nature to do this and we all have to fight that battle, though in comes in different forms and different details for each of us.

If we submit to God and humble ourselves, there will be a reward that will be worth more than what we have given up.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Bob Thiel Response and My Reply

Dr. Robert Thiel (COGwriter) has published a post in which he defends his practice of quoting prophecies from pagan sources. This post may have been a response to my last post, "Don't Play with Fire" or to statements by other bloggers that such practice is wrong.

Here is a link to the COGwriter post:

I will reply to his points in this post, as best I as I understand what he is trying to say.

First of all, it is not true that I see no reason for quoting non-biblical prophecies. Obviously, Bob Thiel has reasons for this, and his reasons may be based on a good motive, to spread the knowledge of the true gospel more widely. I too want to see the true gospel and the Ezekiel warning spread as widely as possible. But while that may be a reason or motive for quoting pagan prophecies, it is not a sufficient reason to justify it in light of Deuteronomy 13:1-3 and Deuteronomy 18:14. The reasons for avoiding pagan prophecies outweigh the reasons for quoting them. Deuteronomy 13:1-3 and Deuteronomy 18:14 override any reasons and motivations for widely quoting and spreading these prophecies as Bob Thiel has done and continues to do.

What are the reasons for avoiding these prophecies?

For one thing, God commands we avoid looking to these pagan prophecies as a guide to the future when He says that we should not listen to the words of these false prophets and dreamers of dreams (Deuteronomy 13:3, 18:14). I believe this applies, in principle, to publishing the prophecies of false religions regarding the future as a guide to the details of how prophecy will be fulfilled or to back up, prove, or reinforce what we see in the Bible about the future.

Secondly, since these prophecies may be inspired by Satan and his demons to deceive mankind and Church of God members, we risk being deceived ourselves and deceiving others if we read, publish, and spread these prophecies or when our readers look to these prophecies to learn more about the future.

Suppose there is a detail of prophecy that God does not give us in the Bible but is "revealed" by a Satan-inspired pagan prophet in the religious writings of a false religion. Why would Satan inspire such a prophecy? To help the Church of God preach the gospel? Do Satan and the demons want to help us? Do they want to give us more good, useful information (which God does not give us) to help us more accurately know the future so we can better prepare ourselves to do God's work and prepare ourselves for the kingdom of God? Does Satan want to help our conversion? Does he want to help increase our faith? Does he want to give prophecies to his prophets (not God's prophets) that will confirm and back up and reinforce the prophecies of the Bible so our faith in God's word will be increased when we see these pagan prophecies fulfilled? I think not. Rather, I think Satan has something very specific in mind with these prophecies. They are designed for an evil purpose, to hurt the Church, to hurt God's work, and to accomplish deception in the end.

Of course, for any particular "prophecy" from a false religious leader or writer, it may not be spirit-inspired but just a human guess from human imagination. But then why quote it? The very fact that someone quotes and publishes it, as a prophecy, suggests to the reader that it is inspired by the spirit world, by sources that can know more about the future than any human being can know just by reasoning. In any case, how can we know which ones are inspired by Satan and which ones are not?

There is also a subtle word-shift sometimes used I want to be clear about. I am not criticizing the quoting of all pagan WRITINGS. "Pagan prophecies" does not equal "pagan writings". Many times we quote from false religious writings to show and prove, from the Bible, that these false teachings are wrong. We quote items about history to show how false religion persecuted the true Church. We quote pagan sources to show that Christmas and Easter come from paganism, not from God. The whole context of these quotes is to show that what comes from paganism is wrong. The context is to show the difference between what false religious teachers teach (which is wrong) and what the Bible teaches (which is right) so we can avoid the wrong and do the right.

I am talking about a specific type of case, a specific type of quoting of false religious teachers, that is, quoting those writings of false teachers that are claimed by those false teachers to be supernaturally inspired, "prophecies" in other words, about events yet in the future, and doing so to give the reader insight into the details of the future that God does not give us in the Bible, or to try to backup or prove or reinforce what the Bible teaches. Such as, saying that a prophet from president Obama's home country says that someone from that country will destroy the United States. God doesn't give us any detail like that in the Bible. Should we accept it from Satan's hand?

Judge yourself if this Bible verse applies to this kind of situation: "For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book" (Revelation 22:18).

Dr. Thiel stated that the Church of God has in many cases in the past quoted from pagan writings, and he has listed several examples. I have not looked up these up, but it doesn't matter. It may be that none of these examples fall into the category I have described, that they only quote pagan writings to show they are wrong, and not pagan prophecies to better know the future. But if they are the kind of quotes of pagan prophecies I have described, then the Church should not have quoted them.

The examples Dr. Thiel gives in the Bible (Acts 17:22-34 and Titus 1:12) are not pagan prophecies.

It is true we are not to be ignorant of Satan's devices. But that does not mean we should be involved with Satan-inspired prophecies in order to be more aware of what Satan is like. The context of this statement of Paul's is forgiveness, that is, we should know that Satan can stir up resentment and hurt us spiritually if we do not forgive each other (2 Corinthians 2:11). In fact, dabbling in Satanic prophecies, thinking it is harmless, only shows that the person who does this IS ignorant of Satan's devices, because false prophetic visions are certainly one of his devices we should avoid.

Bob Thiel actually references 1 Timothy 4:1 in his post, which I had not considered in my previous posts, but will quote it here, and you can judge if it supports what I am saying or what Dr. Thiel is saying: "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons". Thank you, Dr. Thiel, for that verse.

Dr. Thiel references 1 Kings 18 and Jeremiah 28:15-16 to show that God's servants had to deal with false prophets and false prophecy. But as I said before, I am not against quoting pagan prophecies to show they are wrong, to prove them false. I am against quoting them in a context that suggests they are right, to reveal details about the future, such as the example of the Obama prophecy. And the servants of God in 1 Kings 18 and Jeremiah 28:15-16 did not quote pagan teachings to spread them, but they refutted those teachings according to God's command.

Dr. Thiel quotes Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 as being all things to all men to win the more. That is a valid principle, but there has to be limits. Yes, we sometimes should approach a subject from the reader's point of view, to show what we have in common, to gain credibility, to win the reader over to what we are saying. But never should we go so far as to share in others' sin, to be "like them", to win them over. Deuteronomy 13:1-3 and Deuteronomy 18:14 sets a limit to how far we can be like others to win them over. I am sure Paul never crossed that line and we should not either. And in the example I have used of Bob Thiel referring to a prophecy from a Kenyan "prophet" that a Kenyan (Obama's ancestry is from Kenya) will destroy the United States, how is that applying the principle of being all things to all men? How many people in the United States even heard of this prophecy? This does not establish commonality with the public, but rather it introduces them to something they never heard of before.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Don't Play with Fire

Bob Thiel in his COGwriter blog has announced the address of the website of the new Continuing Church of God (CCOG) he has started as

Here is a link to his announcement:

Last Friday I posted about why I thought Robert Thiel should not be considered a prophet at this time. To sum up, there are two reasons. I do not think there is sufficient evidence that Dr. Thiel has received any prophetic revelations from God. And I think, even if he did make unusually accurate predictions that turned out to be true, the fact that he includes non-biblical prophecies in his books and blog posts, which I believe is contrary to scripture, most likely disqualifies him.

"If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods'-which you have not known-'and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deuteronomy 13:1-3). If Satan inspires pagan prophecies, he is doing it for a purpose, to deceive men and to do harm, and we should not listen to them or use Satanic or demon inspired prophetic revelations to know details of future events that God does not reveal to us in the Bible, nor should we use pagan prophecies to "back up" or "confirm" or "prove" that God's word is true. We should not open the door to Satan's deceptions.

Not only is it wrong for us to focus on the occult or on non-biblical prophecies, to do so publicly sets a wrong example for the very public we are trying to teach and warn.

Also, we reap what we sow. If we open the door to Satan's deceptive prophecies, if we introduce people to these things which they have not known, might not God allow Satan to directly inspire false visions, dreams, and messages in our minds? And could not God allow Satan to give Bob Thiel false dreams, false visions, false prophetic messages, even messages that are fulfilled, messages that seem to be "signs and wonders", because Dr. Thiel has put demon-inspired pagan prophecies in his books and blogs?

I think Bob Thiel is playing with fire. The only thing that protects him now from receiving false visions and dreams from Satan and his demons, even signs and wonders that come to pass, is God's restraint of Satan.

I am sure Satan would love to use Bob Thiel as a tool to deceive people in the Church of God. I am sure he would love to give him dreams, visions, and messages predicting things that Satan knows will happen, so that when Bob Thiel publishes these messages, and then they come to pass with an accuracy that cannot be explained except by supernatural influence, people will then think of Bob Thiel as a prophet, and he will be confirmed in his own mind and strengthened in his opinion that he is a prophet. Then, once Satan has set him up this way, he will be able to use Dr. Thiel to deceive those in the Church of God who regard him as a prophet, and he can use him to pull people out of any organization that is effectively preaching the gospel and the Ezekiel warning, which Satan hates.

What is to prevent that?

Do Satan and his demons have that power? Yes they do (1 Kings 22:19-28).

So what is to prevent that?

Only God.

The only defense between Dr. Thiel and Satan's deceptive influence is God.

Yet God lets us reap what we sow. "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap" (Galatians 6:7).

God has warned us clearly not to pay attention to pagan prophecies, the occult, and the like. "For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you" (Deuteronomy 18:14). That sounds to me like a command from God, not a suggestion we can ignore.

Look at this verse again, closely. What is it that God has "not appointed" for us? LISTENING to soothsayers and diviners. This includes in principle the pagan, Satan-inspired prophecies that Bob Thiel likes to quote from. God warns us not to listen to the very things that Dr. Thiel publishes and spreads.

And in Deuteronomy 13:1-3, what does God say regarding those who teach we should go after other Gods, which clearly describes some of the pagan prophets Bob Thiel quotes? "You shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams" (verse 3). We are not to listen to the words of pagan prophecies.

Now, God does sometimes test his people by allowing Satan and his demons to give signs and wonders and even predict the future to see if his people really love God - Deuteronomy 13:1-3 says so.

In fact, since the whole world is going to be deceived by a beast and false prophet who will work signs and wonders to deceive, isn't it possible that God might first test the Church of God to see if we will follow someone who makes predictions that come to pass, but does not teach according to the Bible? Isn't it possible that God will test the Church first, and then the world? For if we ourselves believe false prophets more than the Bible, what right do we have to be protected in a place of safety from a world deceived by false prophets?

Suppose God intends to use someone that way, to test the Church of God today. Suppose God intends to give Satan permission and power to deceive a well-known person in the Church of God to see who among the brethren pays attention. Who would God give over to Satan for that purpose?

God is merciful and fair, and I do not think he would turn over to Satan someone who is faithful and is obeying God. But if there is a person who is not obeying what the Bible says in Deuteronomy 13:1-3 and Deuteronomy 18:14 and who refuses to repent, someone who justifies his disobedience rather than striving to overcome it, someone who already publishes and spreads Satanic-inspired prophecies, introducing people to the prophecies of pagans, which they have not known before they started reading his writings, then the scriptural principle may apply, "what you sow, you shall reap." In other words, if a man spreads what Satan has inspired, God may allow Satan to "inspire" that man!

How dangerous is that?

I think Bob Thiel should be afraid. He is on very dangerous ground here.

If you play with fire, you are likely to be burnt.

One of the controversies Bob Thiel has with the LCG ministry is the understanding of the "falling away" prophecy, does it apply to the Church only or the world too? How ironic if God allows Satan to deceive Bob Thiel with visions or dreams to be Satan's tool in fulfilling this prophecy, in part anyway, for the Church of God. How ironic if Bob Thiel proves that the falling away applies to the Church of God by helping to fulfill it.

Whatever spirit influences inspired the pagan prophecies Dr. Thiel quotes, those influences have a purpose in mind. Satan and his demons did not inspire these prophecies for their own entertainment and recreation. They want to hurt and destroy God's Church and God's work. They inspired those prophecies so those prophecies would be preserved and spread and eventually used for Satan's purposes. And Bob Thiel helps to spread them, especially in the Church of God.

Bob Thiel has been deleting statements in his websites that say that LCG is Philadelphia. He should be more diligent to delete posts that refer to pagan prophecies to make his points. He should pull any of his books which contain pagan prophecies from publication. Then he can write and publish books, if he wants, that teach prophecy from the Bible only.

And just to be clear, I am not criticizing the comparison of pagan prophecies with the Bible to show that those prophecies are wrong. I am not against showing that a certain pagan prophecy that other religions are deceived by must be a false prophecy because it contradicts the Bible. If that was the only way Bob Thiel used these prophecies, to prove them false, I would not have a problem with it. But I don't think that is the case.

In at least one post about Barack Obama for example, Dr. Thiel quotes a Kenyan prophet as saying that the destruction of the United States will come through one of Kenya's own sons (President Obama's father is Kenyan). Dr. Thiel did not quote this to show, from the Bible, that this non-biblical prophecy is wrong. So why did he quote and report it? What is the point? Most readers of Dr. Thiel's blog knew nothing about this. Why should we? Do we need to know this little tidbit of information about the future, which God does not reveal in the Bible, but Satan might have inspired? It is as if Satan says to us, "Come on, listen to me, I have some very juicy and interesting details about the future that I am sure you will love to know that God doesn't tell you in the Bible. Let me fill you in - you're going love this."

What this does is condition Church of God members to think it is all right to read non-biblical prophecies to get some details about future events that the Bible does not give. That is not right. If there is something God wants us to know about the future, He will tell us in the Bible, but we should not go to prophecies inspired by the spirit world, but not of God, to get more details than God gives us.

If this is a prophecy about Barack Obama, what spirit influence inspired it, and why?

I don't know of anyone, any leader or writer, in the whole Church of God who has so publicly and so blatantly exposed himself to the dangers of Satanic and demonic influence by ignoring God's warnings in Deuteronomy 13:1-3 and Deuteronomy 18:14 to pay no attention to spirit influences that are not of God, the occult, pagan prophecies, and the like. This is what Dr. Thiel does in my opinion when he publishes pagan prophecies. This is a danger that should not be underestimated or discounted. God does not warn us about these things for nothing.

"God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap" (Galatians 6:7).

Friday, January 4, 2013

How Can Bob Thiel Be a Prophet?

First, just a short announcement, I have updated my COG Blogs webpage to remove some entries that are obsolete or out of date and to add a few more blogs to the list I have found. See link on the right, "Church of God Blogs". This is a listing of about 26 Church of God blogs showing COG affiliation (when known), the name of the blog, a link to the blog, whether the blog accepts comments, etc. I have updated it to show that Bob Thiel is no longer associated with LCG.

Also, some corrections and updates on what I have previously posted about Bob Thiel. Dr. Thiel emailed me and corrected a couple of things I had in my posts. LCG members other than family members were not part of the first CCOG service. Also, he began to remove statements in his site that LCG was Philadelphia starting on 7/14/12, so my statement previously that he was not honest because he kept publishing that LCG was Philadelphia while he had doubts was incorrect. It seems that as soon as his doubts became serious, he began to change his site to reflect what he believed.

He also reminded me, to balance the statements I made about his advantages, that he helped LCG a lot in its growth but was not paid by LCG. He had to hold a job while he did the work of his blog, and what he has done he has financed from his own pocket.

This is my fourth post in about a week in this blog about Bob Thiel leaving Living Church of God to form Continuing Church of God (CCOG). Friday afternoon a week ago he posted an announcement in his blog that he had quit LCG because he no longer thinks LCG is Philadelphia. He has also listed some events, which I have talked about in my previous posts, which he seems to think indicate or suggest he may be a prophet.

Can Bob Thiel be a prophet?

What I am saying in this post applies not just to Bob Thiel but to anyone in the Church of God who claims to be a prophet, now or in the future.

Prophecy is more than God-inspired wisdom and insight. It is more than knowledge of scripture. It is more than good guesswork or estimation, even if that guesswork or estimation is accurate and backed by solid understanding and spiritual perception.

Prophets receive and deliver direct messages from God. There is no ambiguity about the source, that it is from God and not from the prophet's own thinking.

Any Christian can be inspired by God with understanding and wisdom he would not otherwise have. If you are facing a trial and have to make a serious decision and do not know what to do, you may pray for wisdom and direction, and God can inspire you to see the answer. If you going to tell your boss you have to take time off for the Feast, and you are nervous about it and don't know what to say, your can pray and ask God to put the words in your mouth that you should say, and He can do that. If you give the opening or closing prayer, or a sermonette, or a speech in club, you can ask God for help and he can help you. If you give the sermon, you can ask God to inspire your speaking, and the congregation also prays that God will inspire your speaking, and He can do that. He can speak through you when you give the sermon in order to give the members the spiritual food they need.

But you can still make mistakes in what you say even though God helps you overall.

That is not prophecy.

A prophet, when he faithfully delivers a message directly from God (and he better be faithful and not change the message), is only the delivery man - it is God speaking through the prophet. But when the prophet speaks of his own opinion, even if he is a wise man, he can make mistakes. Nathan was a prophet, and king David told him of his desire to build a temple for God. Nathan told David to go ahead. But Nathan, though a prophet, was not speaking prophetically when he said, "Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you". He was speaking for God perhaps in a sense, because that may have been the reason David went to him, but he was not delivering a prophet message. He was speaking from his opinion. Though sincere and probably wise, he was in error. God did NOT want David to build the temple. Yet Nathan, a true prophet of God, was so sure that God approved David's plan, he told David God was with him in this.

So God spoke DIRECTLY to Nathan that night and told him to tell David NOT to build a temple. This must have come as a surprise to Nathan. God did not rebuke Nathan, but he made it clear he had to correct what he told David. The thing is, no matter how wise and righteous Nathan might be, he could not know everything God knew about God's plan for the temple. He could not have all facts about what God had planned unless God told him, and up to that time God did not tell him (1 Chronicles 17:1-4, 2 Samuel 7:1-17).

Prophecy is not just God-inspired wisdom and insight. Sometimes the message God delivers to a prophet is the exact opposite of what the prophet would think.

Suppose Robert Thiel has a very good understanding of prophecy. Suppose God has given him a lot of wisdom and spiritual insight into prophetic events and their endtime fulfillment. Suppose that because of that wisdom, he has been able to correctly predict events in his books and blog. That does not make him a prophet. What will make him or anyone else a prophet is one or more DIRECT MESSAGES from God.

In the examples in the Bible, prophets received messages from God, not just wisdom, and the messages appeared to be messages given directly from God word for word. The prophet might hear a voice in his ear, as with Samuel (1 Samuel 3:1-21). Or God might speak to the prophet from a burning bush or face-to-face as with Moses. Or the prophet might have a vision or dream in which God directly speaks with him. Anyone who has read the Bible cover-to-cover many times will remember these things. But whatever it is, there is always a clear distinction between God's message and the prophet's thinking.

Bob Thiel reasoning out how the details of end-time events will work out, even if God gives him enough wisdom and insight to reason correctly, does not make him a prophet. If God gives him a direct message through a dream, a vision, or a audible voice, or through Christ or an angel meeting with Dr. Thiel face-to-face and giving a message, that would make him a prophet, provided events showed that the message was true and that Bob Thiel was faithful in his overall teachings.

So for example, looking at the life and circumstances of Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, and predicting that he may be the beast, even if such reasoning and predicting is correct and based on wisdom and understanding, would not be prophecy. But if Bob Thiel, still thinking Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg is the most likely person to be the beast, was directly and clearly told by God in a dream, no, it is not Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, but it is someone else, someone Bob Thiel and everyone else in the Church of God never heard of, if that message was really from God, that would be prophecy.

"...knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (NKJV - 2 Peter 1:20-21). Also, here is the NIV translation of that same verse: "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."

Also, being anointed for a double portion of God's Spirit does not make Dr. Thiel a prophet. There is no promise in the Bible that such an anointing makes one a prophet. Here is the one account of such a request: "Elisha said, 'Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.' So he said, 'You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.' " (2 Kings 2:9-10). Notice that there was no anointing here. Also notice, Elijah did not assume that because Elisha made this request that it would be done for him. God could say yes or He could say no.

So just because Mr. Gaylyn Bonjour anointed Bob Thiel for a double portion of God's Spirit does not mean that God gave Dr. Thiel a double portion of His Spirit.

Could God in the future make Robert Thiel a prophet? That is God's call. Dr. Thiel seems to have certain problems to overcome in his teachings and attitude, I think. But a man does not have to be perfectly righteous for God to use him as a prophet or in any other capacity. Balaam was a prophet, but he was not righteous. Jonah was so carnal, he ran from God and refused to deliver the prophetic message until he was put through the severe trial of being in a fish's belly for three days and three nights (even Paul didn't have to suffer that). And then, to top it off, after he delivered the message and Nineveh REPENTED and God spared the city, an event that should have filled Jonah will joy, Jonah instead was so miserable that he wanted to die! Safe to say, Jonah had a lot of carnality to overcome.

God used Solomon to write two books of the Bible and much of a third, and He gave Solomon everything: wisdom, health, power, money, and peace, yet Solomon did not remain faithful. Christ used Judas as one of the twelve, sending him and the other out to preach the gospel, cast out demons, and heal the sick, but Judas was not a righteous man.

Does a man have to be personally righteous to be a prophet? Look at Balaam.

Does someone have to be wise and handsome for God to speak through him? Ask Balaam's donkey (Numbers 22:28-30).

So I don't exclude the possibility that God could use anyone in the future as a prophet. But members in the Church must require solid evidence before believing that anyone is a prophet.

Also keep in mind that the pattern in the New Testament is that prophets have not had administrative authority in the Church. If that pattern continues, if God makes Bob Thiel a prophet someday, then it is unlikely he will be leading a Church of God fellowship, rather, he would deliver messages from God to someone who does have authority in the Church.

For the rest of us, we must not be gullible. If God makes someone a prophet for the Church of God or for the public, God is quite capable of making that known. It will be clear, and we should require solid evidence.

At this point, Bob Thiel has not even once claimed that God directly spoke to him giving him a message to deliver to the Church, either through an audible voice, a dream, a vision, or face-to-face. And if he does claim that, then God can make it clear, through the fulfillment of a prediction, that Dr. Thiel is his prophet. Unless or until that happens with Bob Thiel or with anyone else, we should be skeptical.

And I still feel that Dr. Thiel needs to remove his books from publication that dwell on prophecies from non-biblical spiritual sources, because as long as he publishes those books, he seems dangerously close to falling into the category of those who say, "Let us go after other gods", described in Deuteronomy 13:1-3, and then, even if he claims prophetic messages from God, messages that are fulfilled, it may be that God is testing us, and that these messages are really from Satan. He needs to clean up his act and avoid listening to demons and teaching others to listen to demons by reading and publishing non-biblical, pagan prophecies. Until then, I am not inclined to accept him as a true prophet of God even if he predicted some unlikely event with 100% accuracy.

There is a monumental, all-important need for a warning message to go out to our nations before the tribulation begins, while there is still time for people to repent. Right now, I think Living Church of God is doing more to get that warning message out in a balanced way than any other group or person, and I do not want to see their income diminished.