Analysis of the INC's Angel From the East Doctrine
The INC believe that Felix Manalo is the Angel from the East as depicted in the Revelation:
Rev 7:1-3 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: 3 "Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God."
One can easily be lead into INC thinking and misdirection by some coincidental historical facts and controversial claims that surround their church and these verses of Rev 7:1-3. For instance:
Their Church was officially registered with the American Colonial Government in the Philippines on July 27, 1914. World War One officially started on July 27, 1914. The INC believe that this is no coincidence. They believe it is partial proof of the prophecy coming to fruition.
They assert that the four angels in Rev:1-3 are actually world leaders of World War I. The allied leaders of World War One were known as the "Big Four"(Wilson, Orlando, George, Clemenceau). They believe that the four correspond to the four angels and the Angel rising from the east is no other than Felix Manalo and his INC.
The INC preach that the four angels stopped the War by holding back their destructive war machines and formally concluding hostilities with the Treaty of Versailles. Meanwhile, Manalo registered his Church at the outbreak of WWI and began his so-called accent from the east as prophecy foretells.
If we test this doctrine, we see the glaring historical inconsistencies as it relates to the prophecy. They seem to divert one’s attention away from the obvious. They focus on the substance of an angel. (Please see our Essay on Manalo and the Angels on this website) The INC also brings dialog regarding the word ‘east’ in this prophecy. They claim that is actually it is defined as the far east in Hebrew, which they parlay to point to the Philippines. Angels are not flesh and blood and ‘east’ is not ‘Far East’ in this prophecy.
Now, for the sake of argument, lets believe in the INC definition of angels as human beings. Even if we do, their story still fails. Let’s take a look:
Rev 7:1 "After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree."
In the above passage, the first two words,"After this", are key in understanding this passage as it relates to INC’s claims. After what, you ask? Lets take a look at the last few verses of Rev. 6
Rev 6:12-17 I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, 13 and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. 14 The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. 15 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?"
The INC state that verse 12-13 had already occurred in the years of 1755, 1780 & 1833. (please see the essay Prophet Sharing, on this web-site)
The INC go on to preach that verse 14-16 is fulfilled with the advent of WWI.
What about verse 17? A simple reading of the entire passage clearly states that these men hid from the impending wrath of the Lamb, the ‘great day’. These men were hiding in terror from the cataclysmic events in the previous verses knowing that the wrath is about the come down upon them.
Even if we consider the ‘wrath’ and the ‘great day’ to be the event of WW I, the verse implies that the war is impending…it has yet to start. Again, the key is, the war has yet to start.
As the prophecy states, the things that had already occurred are the ‘earthquake’, the ‘black sun’, and the ‘stars falling’, of which these men trembled in fear and awe. The passage then goes on to say that the men went into hiding in the mountains and caves before the wrath was released. They hid from the coming of the ‘wrath’!
Now, taking into account the events at the end of Chapter 6, verse 7:1 clearly states that the winds, or the ‘wrath’, or the coming destruction of the ‘great day’ are held back by these four angels.
In an INC article titled "The Angel From the East and His Message", the writer states that "They (the Big Four) were ‘the greatest political leaders of the world at that time’ who had the power to ‘hold back the four winds of the earth’ or stop the war."
No doubt the "Big Four" had the power to STOP the war, which is an historical fact, BUT the prophecy demands the four angels to PREVENT the ‘wrath’ which is yet to come! Lets move to the next verse to clarify this idea:
Rev 7:3 "Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees UNTIL we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God."
Please note the importance of the word "UNTIL" in this verse. The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word as follows: Until - Before a specified time. The definition of the word demolishes the INC story that the angels were to stop the war, rather the definition demonstrates that the angels are to hold back the war; it has yet to start. Only until after the sealing is complete, the ‘wrath’ is let loose. Rev 7:3 explicitly says that the land, sea and trees will be harmed after the ‘sealing’ is complete!
Now, The "seal", according to the INC, given by the angel in Rev 7 is "the preaching of the word of truth or the Gospel of salvation". 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:
1) The citations from Acts, used to prove that angels can't preach the gospel, doesn't say that angels can't do this. It merely says that an angel directed Cornelius to Peter, so that Peter could preach the first gospel message to a gentile.
2) Despite the reference to a "seal" in both Rev 7 and Ephesians 1, they are *not* the same thing. The seal in Ephesians does indeed refer to the Gospel. However, the seal in Rev 7 refers to the lives of Jews being spared from the covenant curses culminating in the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in AD 70. We assert that the ‘great day’ is actually the destruction of the Temple in 70AD by the Roman Army. (See the essay "What a Whore-able Accusation" in which the exegesis tells us that Rome was responsible for the destruction of the Whore – Ancient apostate Jerusalem, which is on this web-site)
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 and all generations who "have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev 7:14). 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).
We know that the INC preach that in these so-called 'last days’ one must be ‘sealed’ in the INC to be saved. The above exegesis proves that the ‘seal’ only relates to the sons of Israel under the covenant promises and curses! The angel from the east did just that; the angel sealed the 144,000.
Now, the ‘multitude’, which can include you and I, do not require the seal to be saved. The INC operate on a false pretense that one must be sealed by Manalo and his ministers to be saved. We have proven that the ‘sealing’ is reserved for the 144,000, while the ‘multitude’ do not require the seal as depicted in this passage.
In addition to the INC historical inaccuracies as it relates to the prophecy, the INC claim that ‘we’, in verse 3, are Manalo’s successors and ministers.
Rev 7:3 "Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until WE put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God."
No where in or around these verses does it imply that the Angel from the east will have assistants or procession of authority. Context only point to the four angels. If the four angels were indeed the "Big Four" then they would’ve had a hand in sealing. Of course, they did not.
Furthermore, any student of history knows World War I did not encompass all the kings, generals, rich, mighty, every slave and free man. Although history calls it a world war, we know that not all nations and all humans of the world participated in this dreadful conflict as prophecy demands.
As history shows, peace is created by the "Big Four" at the CONCLUSION of the WAR. According to the proper exegesis of this prophecy, the four angels are to Hold Peace BEFORE the war. This fact goes against the INC teaching. Furthermore, the Big Four was not complete until the U.S. entered the War in 1917. Hence, it was impossible for these allied leaders to collaborate and sustain peace before the war because the alliance was yet to be formed!
As history shows, Manalo and Co. does not officially begin their "sealing" until the commencement of World War One. According to proper exegesis of this prophecy, the sealing must be done before "any" War was to be loosed. Hence, anyone sealed after the start of World War One is NOT saved. As one can see, INC interpretations of Rev. 7:1-3 are grossly erroneous and are clearly worded in attempts to fit it into that point and time in history. Unfortunately for the INC, it will not work.
Finally, it is good to understand revelation in its context. The Revelation clearly tells us when the prophecies are to happen:
Rev 1:1 "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must shortly take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw." Rev 1:1
Rev 1:3 Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.
Rev 22:6 "And he (the angel) said to me (John), "These words are faithful and true"; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must shortly take place."
Rev 22:10 "And he (the angel) said to me (John) , 'Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.'" Rev 22:10
As demonstrated from the above verses, all prophecies of the Revelation apply to the early church as the Revelation was written in the first century. Moreover, the Revelation was written specifically to the seven Churches of Asia. It was not written for some future restoration by Manalo and his church, the INC.
We can conclude that the verses in question have nothing to do with World War One and the registration of Manalo’s Church in 1914, but some other event in history. The INC history and proper understanding of the prophecy prove that the "Big Four" are not and cannot be the four angels, as INC believes. We can also conclude that Felix Manalo is not and cannot be the angel from the east.