WHY WE FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT BROTHER FELIX Y. MANALO IS GOD’S LAST MESSENGER
(On Isaiah 41:4 and 9-10)
“GOD’S LAST MESSENGER?” this is how people react whenever they hear we declare that Brother Felix Y. Manalo is God’s messenger in these last days. They often ask, is there such thing as God’s messenger in these last days? And they also ask, if there such a thing, why are you sure that your Brother Felix Y. Manalo is God’s last messenger? In answering these questions, let us consult God’s pronouncement written in the Holy Scripture or the Bible.
God’s Last Messenger
What is the biblical basis of the Iglesia Ni Cristo in saying that there is indeed God’s last messenger? This is what is written in Isaiah 41:4:
“Who has performed and done this, calling the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD, am first, and will be with the last.” (Is. 41:4, New Revised Standard Version)
According to this verse, God is “calling the generations from the beginning.” It is indeed a biblical doctrine that God commissioned messengers in every periods of time. God set apart Seth and his descendants (cf. Gen. 4:26); Noah and his descendants; Abraham whom God made an everlasting covenant that He confirmed with his descendants (Isaac, Jacob and the twelve sons of Israel); and God made Israel His nation. God commissioned Moses to bring the Israelites out of Egypt and established them as a God’s nation. Moses was succeeded by Joshua that led the Israelites in conquered the land of Canaan. After the Israelites have settled in the land, God commissioned men to bring the Israelites out of bondage and be their leaders (they are called the “Judges”). Then the kingdom of Israel was established and God continued sending them messengers to make known to them His will. God continuously sent prophets to Israel like Nathan, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the last prophet was Malachi.
Because Israel’s falling away from God, they were replaced as God’s nation by the first century Church of Christ. In the first century God send His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the God’s greatest messenger. The Lord Jesus established His Church (cf. Matt. 16:18) and gave His life for the salvation of His Church (cf. Eph. 5:25 and 23). The Lord Jesus is not the last of God’s messenger. When He ascended to heaven, the apostles take over not only the administration of the Church, but also the preaching of the gospel having the authority of being God’s messengers. Apostle Paul was God’s messenger to spread the Gospel in the Gentile world. Thus, the Bible indeed tells the story of God’s continuous commissioning of messengers in every dispensation of time.
Also, according to Isaiah 41:4, God “will be with the last.” The word “last” refers to the last of God’s messengers. In verse 9 this is what God says:
“Who has performed and done this, calling the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD, am first, and will be with the last…
“You whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, ‘You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off’.” (Is. 41:4 and 9, NRSV.)
This verse is a prophecy regarding the “last” of God’s messenger, He said, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off.” The verse is referring to the last of God’s messenger because the time of God’s calling of this messenger is at the ends of the earth, “You whom I took from the ends of the earth.” Thus, God’s last messenger is God’s messenger in the ends of the earth.
Why God Send His Messengers
The sending or commissioning of messenger is God’s work as what is mentioned in John 6:29:
“Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’” (John 6:29 RSV)
God call and commissioned His messenger, and people must believe or accept him whom God has sent. God gave the authority to preach His words only to His messengers:
“And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” (Romans 10:15 NIV)
Thus, thus us the reason why God send messengers in every dispensation of time – to make known His words to men through His messenger.
The Ends of the Earth
As previously cited in the Book of Isaiah, God’s last messenger is from the “ends of the earth.” This “ends of the earth” refers to a time different from “end of the earth.” The latter is synonymous with the end of the world or the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus:
“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3 KJV)
The apostles had asked Jesus the signs of the end of the world. His reply was that they would hear of wars and rumors of wars, which would be followed by a war involving nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom; there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes. All these are signs that the end is at the very doors:
“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
“So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Matthew 24:3, 33, 6-8 KJV)
Thus, in other words, these events would happen during the time “ends of the earth” which precedes the time “end of the earth.” Take note that the first sign indicating that the time is in the “ends of the earth” is that “ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars.” Although there were many wars jappened in history of the world, however, the this “war” mentioned by Bible will be followed by another war of the same kind, “see that ye be not troubled: for these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” Thus, there were many wars that happened in the past, bu only one “war” that was described as “nation against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” that was followed by another war also described as “nation against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” – this is the First World War.
The “Great War” (also called the First World War) started on July 27, 1914, and ended on November, 1918. Then it was followed by another world war, the Second World War (1939-1945). Prior to, during, and after the two World Wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes occurred in various places.
Thus, the appointed time of the emergence of God’s last messenger was the time called by the biblical prophecy as “ends of the earth,” is the time the “end of the earth” or the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is near, that began in 1914, the year of the outbreak of the First World War, the first sign indicating that the time is already in the “ends of the earth.”
The Church of Christ emerged in the Far East, specifically in the Philippines, simultaneous with the commencement of the First World War on July 27, 1914. This event fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah regarding the appointed time of God’s messenger whom God called from the “ends of the earth.”
“Jacob, the seed of Abraham”?
We now already established that the “last” referred to in Isaiah 41:4 is the last of God’s messenger or the messenger of God called from the ends of the earth (cf. Isaiah 41:9). However, why others find it difficult to accept that the fulfillment of this prophecy was Brother Felix Y. Manalo because of what is mentioned in verse 8:
“But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.” (Isaiah 41:8 KJV)
Because of verse 8, others believe that the prophecy refers to Jacob, the son of Isaac, and to the ancient nation of Israel. However, careful examination of the biblical prophecy proves that the prophecy doesn’t referring to Jacob, son of Isaac, and to the ancient Israelites. Take note that the one prophesied is also called by the Bible as the “last”:
“Who has performed and done this, calling the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD, am first, and will be with the last.” (Is. 41:4 NRSV)
The verse said, “calling the generations from the beginning.” And the verse also mentioned that the one being prophesied is the last, “I the LORD, am first, and will be the last.” Surely, Jacob, the son of Isaac, and the ancient nation of Israel is not the “last.” Also, the Bible mentioned that the one referring to by the prophecy was called from the “ends of the earth”:
“But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.” (Isaiah 41:8-9 KJV)
The prophecy said “Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth.” This will make “Jacob, the son of Isaac,” if he is the one being referred to in the prophecy, as coming from the “ends of the earth.” Remember that when Prophet Isaiah written this prophecy, Jacon, the son of Isaac, was already dead for many centuries. However, others might asked that the one being prophesied was also called “seed of Abraham.” The New Testament explains to us that members of Christ body are also “Abraham’s seed”:
“If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:29 NIV)
Thus, not because verse 8 mentioned “Jacob” and “seed of Abraham” it follows that the one being prophesied is the literal son of Isaac. This “Jacob…seed of Abraham” is the the servant of God called from the “ends of the earth.”
God’s Last Messenger as the “worm Jacob”
The prophecy also called God’s last messenger of the messenger of God from the “ends of the earth” as “worm Jacob”:
“Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” (Is. 41:14, KJV)
What is meant to be compared to a worm accorfing to the Bible? In Psalms 22:6, this is what we could read:
“But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people.” (Psalms 22:6 NIV)
This prophecy referring to the Lord Jesus Christ tells us that to be compared to a worm means to be without strength and to be despised. Thus, the prophecy called the God’s last messenger as “worm Jacob” to described him as without strength and was despised. But, he was not helpless because God promised to strengthen and help him:
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Is. 41:10, KJV)
God had chosen someone who was not learned and rich in order to confound the wise and the mighty (I Cor. 1:26-29). God’s promise to help and strengthen His last messenger was proven by the result of his work. The present stature of the Church of Christ that he preached clearly proves this.
It is not surprising that the Catholic Church and the Protestant Churches spread throughout the world for they came from weatlthy and rich countries, backed by the government and/or citizens of that country. Brother Felix Y. Manalo and the Iglesia Ni Cristo came from a small and poor country, without any support from any government, but spread throughout the world and now considered as a “global church.” Indeed, it is the fulfillment of God’s promised to His messenger from the “ends of the earth.”
“A new threshing instrument”
The biblical prophecy also mentioned that God made the “worm Jacob” as “a new threshing instrument”:
“Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff.” (Isa. 41:14-15, KJV)
The “worm Jacob” referred to in the prophecy is the one whom God promised to make as a “new threshing instrument.” He would thresh the mountains and beat them small. What would make the worm Jacob as “a new sharp threshing instrument” are the words of God which are “… powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword” (Heb. 4:12, Ibid.).
The mountains that would be threshed by him through God’s words are not literal mountains but kings (Rev. 17:9-10) or rulers of darkness (Eph. 6:12). In other words, the mountains refer to false religions.
In fulfillment, Brother Felix Y. Manalo, through his preaching, exposed the errors and falsity of the doctrines of other religions. He showed that such teachings are diametrically opposed to the true teachings of God. The impact of God’s words or doctrines which he had preached is continuously being felt by other religious organizations.
One of the biblical truth that God’s last messenger will preach is also mentioned by the biblical prophecy:
“From the far east will I bring your offspring, and from the far west I will gather you.
“You are my trusty witnesses, the servants I have chosen, to own me, to believe me, to see that I am ever the same; no god was formed before me, nor shall be after me.” (Is. 43:5 and 10, Moffatt Translation)
The servants of God from the Far East will be God’s trusty witnesses. The New Living Translation clearly renders what the servants from the Far East will witness:
“‘But you are my witnesses, O Israel!’ says the Lord. ‘You are my servant. You have been chosen to know me, believe in me, and understand that I alone am God. There is no other God—there never has been, and there never will be.”
“First I predicted your rescue, then I saved you and proclaimed it to the world. No foreign god has ever done this. You are witnesses that I am the only God," says the Lord.” (Is. 43:10 and 12 NLT)
False religions teach false knowledge about God. In our time where many who proclaimed themselves as “Christians” but adhere to the belief that aside from the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are also Gods, the Lord God send His messenger in these last days to be His trusty witness witnessing that He alone is God, and there is no other God - there never has been, and there bever will be. To His last messenger and His servants from the Far East, God said, “You are witnesses that I am the only God.”
Brother Felix Y. Manalo fulfilled this God-given task to witnessed that there is only One True God – the Father. This is the teaching of the Bible that today the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ) is the only one that upholds it. This also proves that Brother Felix Y. Manalo is indeed a true messenger of God:
“Don't we all have the same father? Didn't the same God create us all?...
“It is the duty of priests to teach the true knowledge of God. People should go to them to learn my will, because they are the messengers of the LORD Almighty.” (Malachi 2:10 and 7 TEV)
The fulfillment of God’s promises to His messenger, which was clearly proven by his work and by the continuing growth of the Church that he preached, only proves that the hand of God has done this:
“That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.” (Is. 41:20, KJV)
The Church of Christ, especially during its pioneering years, experienced severe persecution from many of its detractors. Yet, they were not able to hinder the speedy growth of the Church. Many were even confounded as to how the Church of Christ, from such a small beginning, grew. This, to them, remains an enigma. But to the members of the Church of Christ, everything is the will and work of the Almighty God. It was the Lord God who has done this, He who said:
“… I work and who can hinder it?’” (Is. 43:13, NRSV)
Thus, we firmly believe that Brother Felix Y. Manalo is God’s last messenger because it is to him that the prophecy regarding the last messenger was fulfilled, and even the message that He preached proves that he is indeed God’ messenger in these last days witnessing that there the Father alone is the only true God.