Ends of the Earth - A Place or A Time?
As shown in another Article on this web-site, the INC Biblical and historical claims of a Church Apostasy are unfounded. With that, all other INC doctrines crumble along with the unbiblical foundation of a prophesied restoration of the true church. However, we will go on to prove the error of other INC doctrines to satisfy your curiosity.
One glaring error is the idea that the INC members are prophesied to come from the “ends of the earth”. In other words, at the end of time. They erroneously wrangle verses from Isaiah to prove their claim. This essay will decipher Isaiah as it relates to the INC. We will prove that their “ends of the earth” claim is nothing but another prophecy they hack and carve in attempts to legitimize their story.
A web-tract written by an INC member states that "The north (Protestant religions which came to the Philippines from North America) will give them up and the south (Roman Catholic Church, which came to the Philippines from Rome in Southern Europe) cannot keep them back; for God said, "I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' And to the south, 'Do not keep them back! 'Bring My sons from far, and My daughters from *the ends of the earth*--" (Is. 43:6). "They are the other sheep of Christ who will be called "from the ends of the earth." The ends of the earth signify the time before the end of the world or the Second Coming of Christ...."
The problem here is that the INC misuse Isaiah 43:5-6. Here is the verse in question:
5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; 6 I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth;
"Ends of the earth" does not refer to a time in history as the INC define it but to a geographical location.
INC argues the Hebrew word that is used to denote 'Ends' in the phrase 'Ends of the Earth' is *QATSEH* for 'Ends' denote a time period.
The Hebrew QATSEH appears in 39 verses. It usually refers to a location, but sometimes refers to time. However, when it refers to time, it never refers to eschatological events
To prove that the INC twists the Bible to suit their story, lets look more specifically at Isaiah.
NIV Isaiah 4:4 The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire.
NIV Isaiah 5:26 He lifts up a banner for the distant nations, he whistles for those at the ends of the earth. Here they come, swiftly and speedily!
Please note that when 5:26 references the coming of an army from the "ends of the earth" that in context we are talking about armies against Jerusalem(4:4). The phrase "ends of the earth" is paired with "distant nations." It is a place, not a time being referred to.
But there is more...
NIV Isaiah 5:13 Therefore my people will go into exile for lack of understanding; their men of rank will die of hunger and their masses will be parched with thirst.
Now, 5:13 also (of course) precedes 5:26. Notice its use of "go into exile." Again, the context is the invasion of Assyria, followed by the Babylonian captivity (which Scripture routinely calls the "exile.")
Now, as the text continues, we find Isaiah 8:7 saying...
NIV Isaiah 8:7 therefore the Lord is about to bring against them the mighty floodwaters of the River--the king of Assyria with all his pomp. It will overflow all its channels, run over all its banks Here, Assyria is explicitly mentioned. There should be no doubt at this point about what "ends of the earth" means in Isaiah.
Now, it is as plain as day that chapters 40 through 49 are principally concerned with the emancipation of the Jews from their exile. They represent perhaps the single most joyous passages in the Old Testament.
Isaiah 41:5.9 speaks of the return from exile as the return from "the ends of the earth." In this case, this refers to the Jews returning to their homeland from every nation. When we finally turn to Isaiah 43:5-6 we see this...
5 Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; 6 I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth,
We know what the INC believes about this verse. Now what is the truth ? We see all four directions: east, west, north, south being named as the place from which the Jews shall be gathered - that they will come from the "end of the earth." Now that we have given so much context - it should be immensely clear that "end of the earth" is not talking about eschatological events, but instead the Jews return from exile which occurred in the early 5th century BC.
But wait, there is even more.......
6 he says: "It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the *end of the earth*."
Isaiah 49:6 also uses the Hebrew word *qatseh* also. If you ponder the above verse for a while, you can see another example of why treating "end of the earth" with the time element does not make sense because it implies the continuity of salvation to the 'end times'. If salvation was available throughout the ages all the way up to the end times, that implies that there was no early first century apostasy of the true church, which means no restoration necessary, which means no INC.
The INC is in a catch 22. I have proved that the Hebrew word *qatseh* is used as a geographical term in Isaiah 43:5-6. If the INC insist on using *qatseh* as a time element, it shoots itself in the foot by proving the apostasy can never take place in Isaiah 49:6.
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the *end of the earth*."
If the INC are correct about the "end of the earth" phrase as a time element and true Christianity ceased to exist shortly after Christ ascended - it would NOT be possible for the witness to go to "the end of the earth" as Acts 1:8 would then imply. Instead, the witness would **reappear** at "the end of the earth to support the INC's doctrine of the restoration. According Acts 1:8 and the INC's definition of 'ends of the earth', that is simply unbiblical.
Again, if "end of the earth" refers to a period of time, then implicit in Acts 1:8 is the notion that the witness would be *continuous* from the time of Christ up to the end times. That means No Apostasy, in turn meaning no restoration.
This now leads us into to another prophecy Manalo steals for himself: the ‘Bird of Prey’ in Isaiah 46:11f....“calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country…”
Manalo as a Bird of Prey?! As mentioned above, it is as plain as day that chapters 40 through 49 are principally concerned with the emancipation of the Jews from their exile. Who emancipated the Jews from exile? The ‘Bird of Prey’ aka Cyrus as we will prove below. If anyone is familiar with Biblical history, it is impossible for someone to swallow the INC story, in particular, their claims from Isaiah.
Before we get into the ‘Bird of Prey’, lets look at the preceding verses of Isaiah the INC also use. They say that their Church has prospered due to "the promise of God to Brother Felix Manalo as portrayed in Is. 41:9-10;14-15."
9 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. 10 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.
14 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. 15 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.
The above verses are a very powerful promise to whomever God is promising it to and it is NOT Manalo! Lets look at the context of Isaiah and find out whom God actually granted this promise:
Isaiah 41:2 -Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? he gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow.
Isaiah 41:10 - "God will uphold [him] with His right hand." The INC believe this refers to Felix Manalo.
Isaiah 41:13 - "For I am the lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand...."
The INC claim this refers to Felix Manalo’s "hand."
Isaiah 41:15 - "...you will thresh the mountains and crush them, and reduce hills to chaff."
Again supposedly refers to Felix Manalo.
By reading the whole chapter and paying close attention to Isaiah 41:2,10,13,l5, there’s an image of a FEARSOME WARRIOR whom God called from the east. The INC claims this is Felix Manalo from the Philippines.
There’s one big problem with the INC interpretation because in Chapter 45:1-2 it clearly says, "This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: I will go before you and will level the mountains.... "
These verses clearly identify the "warrior" in Isaiah 41. It is so specific that the name of this prophesied individual was given Cyrus. Chapter 45 states it is Cyrus who will subdue kings, whose right hand God will take hold of, and who will "level mountains" not Felix Manalo as INC claims.
World renowned Biblical Scholar, Matthew Henry, speaks of Isaiah 41 - from Blue Letter Bible: "That particular instance of God’s care for his people Israel in raising up Cyrus to be their deliverer is here insisted upon as a great proof both of his sovereignty above all idols and of his power to protect his people."
Moreover, according to the geographical map at the time of the scripture’s writer, a far off land in the east pointed to the area of Persia, which is where Cyrus came from. The writer of the time was apparently not referring to the "Far East" of today contrary to what the INC claims.
Now, lets look at the ‘Bird of Prey’. The INC continues their attempt to legitimize their story by asserting that Manalo is the ‘Bird of Prey from the East’ as depicted in Isaiah 46:11-13.
11calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it. 12 "Hearken to me, you stubborn of heart, you who are far from deliverance: 13 I bring near my deliverance, it is not far off, and my salvation will not tarry; I will put salvation in Zion, for Israel my glory."
Again, INC’s story historically falls flat. It, again, point to Cyrus of Persia. Cyrus’ symbol was an eagle; a bird of prey. Cyrus. By Gods’ specific calling, brought the Jews out of exile. This is what these passages refer to not Felix Manalo.
Matthew Henry speaks of Isaiah 46 - from Blue Letter Bible: "God by his counsel calls a ravenous bird from the east, a bird of prey, Cyrus, who (they say) had a nose like the beak of a hawk or eagle, to which some think this alludes, or (as others say) to the eagle which was his standard, as it was afterwards that of the Romans, to which there is supposed to be a reference, Mt. 24:28."
"Cyrus came from the east at God’s call: for God is Lord of hosts and of those that have hosts at command. And, if God give him a call, he will give him success. He is the man that shall execute God’s counsel, though he comes from a far country and knows nothing of the matter. "
When a proper exegesis is done on all their claims, the INC is found to be nothing but another of a variety of pseudo-Christian churches which has drawn many people out of the true body. Examine them closely and do not be fooled. A lot depends on it!