10 May 2014

The Calling Of God's Messenger In These Last Days

A Brief Historical Account of the Calling of Brother Feix Y. Manalo as God’s messenger in these last days

BROTHER FELIX Y. Manalo was born on May 10, 1886, in a small nipa house in Calzada, a sitio of Barrio Tipas, in the Town of Taguig. During that time, Taguig was one of the towns comprising the historical Province of Manila.

Taguig was never been under the jurisdiction of the military District of Morong. When the Americans arrived in the Philipplines at end of 19th century, they expanded the jurisdiction of the City of Manila which during the time of the Spaniards, comprised only the area of Intramuros. The Americans added the fifteen “pueblos” around Intramuros but formerly under the jurisdiction of the Province of Manila. In 1901, the Americans combined what is left of the Province of Manila (which includes the Town of Taguig) with the District of Morong, and called the newly established province, the Province of Rizal.

He was the first child of Mariano Ysagun, a farm worker and fisherman and Bonifacia Manalo, an ordinary but determined housewife. Both parents were devoutly Catholic. Aling Pacia, especially was a known “manang,” a devotee of San Antonio, the patron saint of Calzada. As the tradition during that time, the infant “Felix” was baptized five days after his birth at the Roman Catholic church of Sta. Ana, Taguig.

In 1893 when he was seven years old, he was enrolled in a caton class in Tipas, administered by Macario de Ocampo (“Maestrong Cario”), a school-teacher from Manila. A caton class was a “catechism class” which children were taught “catechism” (the basic Roman Catholic doctrines) with basic lessons in reading, writing and arithmetic.

After attending the caton class, he was enrolled in the municipal school of Taguig (at Sta. Ana, the town center of Taguig) for his primary education. He attended the public school from 1893 to 1896 when his studies were interrupted with the death of his father and the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution.

During the Philippine Revolution (1896-1898), the young “Felix” stayed in Tipas helping his widowed mother making a living through fishing, farming and herding the carabaos of his “Tiyo Uwing.”

In 1898, after the end of the Philippine Revolution (the Spaniards surrendered to the Americans in August, 1898), the 12 year old “Felix” with his cousin Modesto (“Mode“) visited their uncle, a Roman Catholic priest that during that time was assigned in Sampaloc, Manila. Here he found a copy of the Bible and start reading but he did not stayed long in his uncle’s house. It was only a short visit, because the main reason he went to Manila was to find a good job to help his mother earn a living. His counsin Serapio Ysagun taught him photography and he worked in the photography studio in Manila of his other uncle, Manuel Manalo.

But he worked their just for a while, because in January of 1899, he returned to Tipas. His mother will again be married. After he returned to Tipas, in February 4, 1899, the Philippine-American war broke out. After peace was established in Manila and it’s environs, the young “Felix” was adopted by his Roman Catholic priest uncle, Mariano de Borja, a half-brother of his father. During this time, his uncle was assigned in Sta. Cruz, Manila. He lived in his uncle’s house in Salcedo Street, Bagumbayan, Sta. Cruz, Manila. His uncle made him finished his primary education in Manila.

Here, in his uncle’s house in Sta. Cruz where he found a copy of the Bible. He made a thorough reading of the Bible he found. When he found out that the doctrnes and practices of the Catholic Church are not written in the Bible, but actually contradicted the teachings written in the Bible, his Catholic faith shaken. Here are some of the teachings of the Bible contradicted by Catholic teachings:

The Bible says:
The Roman Catholic Church says:

Matthew 23:8-9 NKJV
But you, do not be called 'Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.”

The Roman Catholic priests are called “fathers” – “spiritual fathers.”

Matthew 26:26-28 NKJV
“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.’ Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

During the mass, only the bread is received. The priest is the only one who drink the wine.

Acts 17:29 NIV
Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone-an image made by man's design and skill.”

Catholics used graven images.

Acts 15:20 NKJV
“But that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood.”

Eating of blood is common among Filipinos

He continued studying the Bible. In 1902, his uncle enrolled him in a Roman Catholic school in Manila. However, God made him known the truth written in the Bible that apostasy will take place in the first century Church of Christ:

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time MANY WILL TURN AWAY FROM THE FAITH and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” (Matthew 24:9-11 NIV, emphasis mine)

“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
“They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.” (I Timothy 4:1, 3 NIV)

Thus, Brother Felix made a decision to leave Roman Catholic Church. But it was not an easy decision to make. He was only 16 years old then, living in the house of his Roman Catholic priest uncle, and studying in a Roman Catholic school. But, he can no longer bear being in religion that contradicting the commandments of God written in the Bible. Thus, he made a decision to leave the Roman Catholic Church and the house of his uncle, and stop his studies in a Roman Catholic school.

He went back to Tipas on December of 1902. When his relatives and townmates learned about this, they mock him and persecuted him, thinking he will go back to the religion of his birth in doing so. But Brother Felix stand firm with his decision of leaving the Roman Catholic faith.

In Tipas, he engaged in different works. During this time, he learned the art of hat-making. In the “holy week”of 1903 (April of 1903), he went with the “Colorums” on their “lenten pilgrimage” (every year, during the holy week, the Colorums trek to the mountains of San Cristobal and Banahaw for their lenten pilgrimage). Because of curiosity, Felix went with them. He heard of the story about the “Santong Boses” (“holy voice”(, which  supposed to be the “voice of the Almighty God.” However, Felix discovered it to be a hoax. After the “lenten pilgrimage,” he went back to Tipas, leaving the Colorum camp, with a decision never to return again.

In Tipas, he remained for a while, working in a hat factory. Then in the middle of 1903, he went to ParaƱaque and establsihed a small hat store. After a few months, his hat store flourished, thus he decided to make an expansion. He employed Eusebio Sunga and a man named “Tereso.”

In the beginning of 1904, he witnessed a religious debate between a Roman Catholic priest and a Protestant pastor. This event catch his attention with the Protestant sects. Thus, he decided to study and examine different religions. In 1904, he entered the Methodist Episcopal Church. In September, 1904, he attended the Methodist Bible Insitute. After that he became a Methodist lay preacher. Because he wanted to give all his time to his preaching work and the study of religion, he decided to leave his hat store to his friend, Eusebio Sunga.

He was actively performing his duties as a Methodist preacher when he learned that his mother was sick. He rushed back to Tipas, but it was too late. He grieved his mother’s death. He stayed for a while in Tipas to be with his siblings (Praxedes, Fausta and Baldomero). During this time, the four siblings decided to changed their surname to “Manalo.” Yes, it was not only Brother Felix, but also his three siblings who changed their surname to “Manalo.” They wanted to have the same surname. Brother Felix and Praxedes were “Ysaguns” (their father were Mariano Ysagun). Fausta and Baldomero were “Mozos” (their father were Clemente Mozo). The four siblings adopted the surname of their mother “Manalo” because all of them were “Manalos.” In the middle of 1905, when he went back to Manila, he started using the name “Felix Y. Manalo.”

In Tipas, Brother Felix made an intensive study of the doctrines of the Methodists. He compared the doctrines of the Methodists with the teachings written in the Bible. He also found out that their doctrines contradicted the teachings written in the Bible.

The Bible says:
The Methodists say:

James 2:14, 24 NKJV
What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?
You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

As a typical Protestant, the Methodists uphold the doctrine that man is justified by faith alone.

Ephesians 5:25 NKJV
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.”

Acts 20:28 ASV
“Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit hath made you bishops, to feed the church of the Lord which he purchased with his own blood.

The Methodists uphold the Arminian doctrine of “universal redemption” – that the Lord Jesus Christ died for all men, He redeemed the whole world, all mankind.

Ephesians 5:23 TEV
“For a husband has authority over his wife just as Christ has authority over the church; and Christ is himself the Savior of the church, his body.”

Jesus is the Savior and not the church or religion. Just believe in Him and you will be saved.

When Bother Manlo went back to Manila, he left the Methodist church and entered the Presbyterian church, and enrolled in their seminary (the Ellinwood Bible Seminary) in Ermita, Manila. For three and a half years, he studied in that seminary. After finishing his studies in Ellinwood, he was ordained as a Presbyterian pastor. However, as what he did before, he again made an intensive examination, this time with the doctrines of the Presbyterians. He compared them with the teachings written in the Bible. And he  found out that their teachings also contradict the teachings written in the Bible.

The Bible says:
The Presbyterians say:

Romans 16:25 NKJV
Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began.”

II Peter 3:16 NKJV
“As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.”

The Bible is an open book, which everyone can understand it through devote study of the scriptures.

Mark 16:15-16 NKJV
“And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”

Baptism is not necessary for salvation.

I Timothy 2:3-4 NKJV
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

II Peter 3:9 LB
“He isn't really being slow about his promised return, even though it sometimes seems that way. But he is waiting, for the good reason that he is not willing that any should perish, and he is giving more time for sinners to repent.”

Presbyterians uphold the Calvinistic doctrine of “predistination” that God predetermined before the creation who shall be saved and who shall be condemned.

Brother Manalo transferred to the Disciples of Christ. Their missioanry society here in the Philippines was klnown as “Misyon Cristiana.” The Disciples of Christ was also known as “Christian Church.” Today, they are officially known as Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). This denomination is different from the “Churches of Christ. ” The latter broke-away from the Disciples of Christ in 1906 and only in 1928 when they arrived here in the Philippines. Thus, it is wrong to say that the Brother Manalo was a former member of the “Churches of Christ.” He became a member of the Disciples of Christ, not the Churches of Christ.

Another division occured in the Disciples of Christ. In 1920s, another group broke away from the Disciples and called themselves “Christian Church and Churches of Christ.”

In 1909, Brother Manalo entered the Disciples of Christ and he immediately became an evangelist. Let us take into consideration that he was a graduate of a Protestant seminary. This seminary (the Ellinwood Bible Seminary) merged with the seminary of the Methodist and became Union Theological Seminary in 1908. After a few years, the Disciples of Christ also joined the Union Theological Seminary.

Brother Manalo was an ordained minister of the Disciples of Christ. He became an asset of this sect. He build the house of worship of their congregation in Singalong, Manila and was given a recognition for delivering 130 sermons only in six months. He was assigned in Cavite, and after establishing a large congregation of the Disciples in Cavite, he was again assigned in Singalong. This time, he was charged of propagating in Sta. Ana, Manila which is adjacent to Singalong.

Brother Manalo also made an intensive examination of the doctrines of the Disciples of Christ (together with their two break-away groups, the Churches of Christ, and Christian Churches and Churches of Christ) they are known today as “Restorationists.” However, through comparing their doctrinws with the teachings written in the Bible, Brother Manalo also discovered that many of their doctrines contradict the teachings of the Bible.

The Bible says:
The Restorationists say:

Matthew 24:9-11 NIV
9Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.  10At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,  11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.

The Restorationists uphold that the first century Church of Christ continued and no apostasy take place. In the first one hundred years of the Disciples they do not call themselves as “Restorationists” but “Reformers.”

James 3:14-16 ASV
“But if ye have bitter jealousy and faction in your heart, glory not and lie not against the truth. This wisdom is not `a wisdom' that cometh down from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where jealousy and faction are, there is confusion and every vile deed.

The only church who’s main theme was Christian unity but end up in division (faction) and were divided into three different denominations.

Acts 15:1-2, 12-13,1 3, 19 TEV
“Some men came from Judea to Antioch and started teaching the believers, "You cannot be saved unless you are circumcised as the Law of Moses requires." Paul and Barnabas got into a fierce argument with them about this, so it was decided that Paul and Barnabas and some of the others in Antioch should go to Jerusalem and see the apostles and elders about this matter.
“The whole group was silent as they heard Barnabas and Paul report all the miracles and wonders that God had performed through them among the Gentiles.
“When they had finished speaking, James spoke up: "Listen to me, my brothers!
“It is my opinion," James went on, "that we should not trouble the Gentiles who are turning to God.”

Hebrews 13:17 TEV
“Obey your leaders and follow their orders. They watch over your souls without resting, since they must give to God an account of their service. If you obey them, they will do their work gladly; if not, they will do it with sadness, and that would be of no help to you.”

These so-called “Restorationists” uphold “congregationalism” (that the church had no central administration and every congregation is totally independent from each other)

Here in Sta. Ana, Manila where he encountered the American missionary of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. He was one of the first converts to the Seventh-Day Adventist in the Philippines. In the middle of 1911, he enrolled in the Seventh-Day Bible Institute. In 1912, he was assigned in Malabon as a Seventh-day Adventist evangelist. In the beginning of 1913, his first wife died. He was transferred to Sta. Cruz, Manila where he met the 19 year old Honorata. In May 9, 1913, Felix and Honorata married. Right after they got married, they went to Manalo’s new assignment, in San Juan, Malolos, Bulacan. Through comparing the doctrines of the Seventh-day Adventists with the teachings written in the Bible, Brother Manalo also learned that Seventh-Day Adventist doctrines also contradict the teachings of the Bible:

The Bible says:
The Seventh-Day Adventists say:

Colossians 2:16 NIV
“Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.”

Seventh-day Adventist uphold that Chjristians should continue observing the sabbath.

II Corinthians 9:7 NIV
“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Seventh-Day Adventist Church enforced tithing (the giving of ten percent of your earnings)

On May of 1913, Brother Manalo arrived in the conclusion that the true Church is the Church Of Christ. This is the Church written in the Bible and the Church that should be preached. He told his wife his plan to convince his fellow Seventh-Day pastors and the pastors of other sects that it is the Church Of Christ that they should preach. However, his fellow pastors instead mocked him and called him names, called him “insane” and “Colorum” (illegal).

After an intense discussion with his fellow Seventh-Day Adventist pastors in a conference in Malolos, Bulacan, he decided to leave the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. He and his wife went back to Manila.

They temporarily stayed with a cousin in Singalong. Eusebio Sunga urged him to manage again the hat store he established in ParaƱaque in 1903. Brother Manalo transferred the hat store to Pasay. He continued managing the hat store instead of starting to preach the Iglesia Ni Cristo as he already planned before he left the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. But the words of God written in James 4:17 continued to hunt him:

“Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.” (James 4:17 NIV)

He already knew the truth written in the Bible that the Church Of Christ is the true Church that men must enter in order to be saved. He knew that this is the Church that he must preach. He knew that all men must know this truth. But, he is alone, without any support from anyone. He knew that he is just an ordinary person without wealth and power. Who is he to face the large and powerful religions of his time?

However this words of God “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins” continued to hunt him. Thus, one day in November of 1913, Felix Manalo decided to go inside his room and once again to engage in an intense study of the Scriptures. He instructed everyone in the household that he should not be disturbed, then kept himself in seclusion. So intense was his concentration that he became oblivious of time, food and the world outside. At this point, God made known to him the task God given to His messenger in these last days

“Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country; yea, I have spoken, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed, I will also do it. Hearken unto me, ye stout-hearted, that are far from righteousness: I bring near my righteousness, it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry; and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory. Isaiah 46:11-13 ASV

God also made known to him His promise to His last messenger. God also said:

“Thou whom I have taken hold of from the ends of the earth, and called from the corners thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant, I have chosen thee and not cast thee away; 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.” (Isaiah 41:9-10 ASV)

He emerged from that seclusion after three days and three nights of intensive study and reflection, now certain that God had commissioned him to perform a mission. The mission given to him by God was specific: to preach the Iglesia Ni Cristo.

That day, he told his wife Honorata that he will leave every thing and he will devote himself in fulfilling the mission God given Him, to preach the Iglesia Ni Cristo. On that same day, they went to Punta, Sta. Ana, Manila, where Brother Felix Y. Manalo first preached the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) to a handful of people.

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Copyright © 2014 by THE IGLESIA NI CRISTO

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