Was Manalo Sent To Preach or Breach the True Church?
As in many contemporary Quasi-Christian sects such as the Mormons & Seventh Day Adventists, the INC believe that their founder was given the authority to 'restore' the true church. They believe that Felix Manalo was "sanctioned by God" to preach the true Gospel in the so-called 'Last Days'. We ran into an article written by the INC called "Sent To Preach" which attempts to prove, using Biblical quotes, that Manalo is a fulfilled prophecy and truly has the authority to preach the so-called restored Gospel.
The first part of this article was spent proving that ministers cannot appoint themselves. The proof texts used were a little shaky, but over all they somewhat expressed the correct biblical teaching on the matter.
However, the article never truly addressed the issue of apostolic succession. It never addressed such passages as Acts 14:23 or Titus 1:5.
Acts 14:23 "Paul and Barnabas ordained elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust."
Titus 1:5 "The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and ordain elders in every town, as I directed you."
Apostolic succession is the handing down of authority by the Apostles and their successors. This authority has been passed on within the Catholic Church since the day of the Apostles, and continues to this day.
Regarding the second part of the article, the INC want us to believe that a true teacher or minister is appointed directly by God (no men in between). Moreover, they preach that the ONLY way to know who has been appointed by God is if Scripture prophesies about the teacher who is to teach.
They give the example of Scripture prophesying of Jesus and John the Baptist. They especially highlight Jesus' words:
John5:31 "If I testify on my own behalf, what I say is not to be accepted as real proof".
However, there are two major problems with this approach:
Conclusion: The INC, based on false pretense, are attempting to discredit their competition (Mormons, SDA, JW's, etc.).
Let's move along to the final part of the article. The INC, again, turn to Revelation 7:2-3 as practically the sole juncture of proof regarding their church. Just after they quote it, they state something as revealing as it is comical: "At first glance, this prophecy doesn't seem to have anything to do with the last messenger or about the preachers of God, much less prove the commission of Brother Felix Manalo." Maybe Manalo and his ministers should've kept in-line with their first glance because that is exactly what it is as it relates to the INC; it certainly "doesn't seem to have anything to do with the last messenger or about the preachers of God, much less prove the commission of Brother Felix Manalo."
Anyway, they go on to their usual sophistry of convincing us that the angel in Revelation 7:2-3 is a man. Lets touch on the Angel topic for a moment.
The English word angel is a word that comes into our language directly from the Greek; in other words, it is transliterated and not translated. In addition to specifying a spiritual creature which we have in mind when we use the word angel, the word has the meaning of messenger.
The root of the word angel, in fact, is also found in the Greek word which we translate as "Gospel" -more literal to the Greek, the Good News. So the Greek root word behind the concept of angel relates to announcing or communicating a message.
We note that this is often the function of angels, both in the OT and in the NT. The Jews believed that God gave the 10 Commandments to Moses on the mountain through an angel. We have angels visiting OT figures to convey a message from God. We have the annunciations and dreams in the infancy stories recorded by Matthew and Luke. We have the angels not only announcing things in revelation, but acting on behalf of God, for instance, in pouring out the bowls of wrath. In short, the angels do whatever God instructs them to do.
They are intermediaries between God and man, which is appropriate given that in their nature they stand between God and man. God could work with us without the agency of angels, but He chooses at least sometimes to work through the levels of creation. How appropriate, given His own transcendence. As to meaning a preacher in the sense that the INC use the word, that is not the inclination with regards to the range of meanings found in Scripture.
Yes, they (angels) minister according to what God instructs them to do. But, the INC confuse the use of the word "minister" or "preacher" as formal roles within the Church of ordained ministers with the role of angels. They announce and act but the preaching of the word of God, as we use the word, falls to apostles and their successors in the life of the Church.
Another way the INC distorts this word can be expressed by analogy: A prostitute is one who gives sex, and receives money from the one getting the sex. A married woman gives sex to her husband, and gets money from him. Therefore, a wife is a prostitute. In a bizarre sense, the definitions used above (which are correct) allowed us to make unrelated ideas (prostitutes and wife's) sound like the same thing. This argumentation style is often called sophistry - and it is something Satan is particularly good at in the service of distorting the truth.
Going on, the INC adds another 'angel' argument which goes as follows...The "seal" given by the angel in Rev 7 is "the preaching of the word of truth or the Gospel of salvation" (page 18, Maranan). They attempt to prove this by citing Ephesians 1:13, which does indeed mention the gospel, and believers being "sealed."
They then tie all this together by asserting that only men, not angels, can preach the gospel (Acts 10:3-5, 22, 33) -therefore, the angel in Rev 7:2-3 who is giving the seal (that is, the gospel), must be a man!!
Two errors to note in the above:
Please notice that after the 144,000 are "sealed," there is also a "great multitude" (Rev 7:9) who have *not* received the seal - which are called those who "have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev 7:14).
That is in rev 7, both those with the seal, and those without the seal are saved. Why does the "great multitude" not require the seal? Who are these of the great multitude? Revelation 7 already identifies those with the seal as strictly being Jews (Rev 7:4).
The "great multitude" are the gentiles. The gentiles don't require the seal (Ezekiel chapter 9) because they were not under the covenant promises/curses that the sons of Israel were. If the sons of Israel were to break God's covenant, then they would be thrice under a sevenfold curse for breaking the covenant: Leviticus 26:14ff (especially verses 18.21.24, the three verses expressing the sevenfold curse).
The gentiles, not under the Old Testament covenant, do not require this seal (Ezekiel chapter 9).The next bizarre attempt at proving that the angel is a "man" rather than an angel in Rev 7:2-3, comes from Rev 14:6. Rev 14:6 mentions an angel who preaches
They then assert that these two items constituted the principle message of the apostle Paul, and therefore this angel is actually the apostle Paul. If so, it represents "another" example of the use of the word "angel" to denote a "man".
This lunacy can fool many people, since most have not read Paul's letters. Those who do notice that it is absolutely untrue that the principal message from Paul followed Rev 14:6. In truth, Paul principally defended the obsolescence of the law, and justification by faith (which does not match the angel's preaching in Rev 14:6). After these, Paul was intent on teaching Christians about the authority of ecclesiastical hierarchy.
But of course, how are the ignorant supposed to recognize the erroneous claim of the INC, when it requires a reasonable knowledge of Pauline writings?