Brother Felix Manalo differs greatly from the self-appointed preachers in these end times. His being a messenger of God is not without biblical basis. The veracity of these testimonies does prove that he was indeed God-sent.
MANY OF TODAY’S GENERATION of Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) members may not have met Brother Felix Y. Manalo in person as he was laid to rest six decades ago. Nevertheless, we firmly believe that he is God’s Messenger in these last days. We recognize him as the instrument God used to preach the true Church Of Christ through whom we have been brought to the true service of God and have gained the firm hope for salvation on Judgment Day.
Of course, those who deny this truth would question our faith and belief in God’s messenger. They could not accept that God had sent a messenger in our time. This teaching comes to them as a new doctrine—something they think that we only made up for ourselves.
But those who have ample knowledge of the Bible can never deny that the sending of messengers is a work of God (John 6:29). No one can claim for himself the honor of being sent by God, for such calling is from Him. One has to be called or chosen by God to earn His approval. Otherwise, he would only be commending himself, and those who do so are “without understanding”—hence, they do not speak God’s truth and are unworthy of belief and acceptance. (Heb. 5:4; II Cor. 10:12, 18 English Standard Version)
It is on that regard that Brother Felix Manalo differs greatly from the self-appointed preachers in these end times. His being a messenger of God is not without biblical basis. The veracity of these testimonies does prove that he was indeed God-sent.
Prophecy as testimony
Others think that to be sent by God is to be spoken to by Him face to face, in the same way that Moses (Exod. 3:11) and other prophets of yore were appointed by God. However, such direct approach is not the only way by which God calls His messengers whom He assigns to start a divine mission. Another is by means of prophecy.
Examples of those whose calling from God is attested to by prophecy are John the Baptist, Apostle Paul, and no less than our Lord Jesus Christ, the greatest of God’s Messengers. Although John’s name was not specifically mentioned beforehand in the Scriptures, to him was fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah regarding the voice in the wilderness who would prepare the way of the Lord. (Isa. 40:3; Mark 1:2–4). The same is true with Apostle Paul. He derived his authority to preach from the prophetic pronouncement about the servant whom God would give as a light to the Gentiles
(Isa. 49:6; Acts 13:46–47).
As for our Lord Jesus Christ, not only did He cite the Old Testament prophecy attesting to His being God-sent, He Himself read the scripture that testifies to His divine authority:
“So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’ Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:16–21 New King James Version)
In the same note, Brother Felix Manalo’s authority as a true messenger of God is validated strongly grounded on biblical prophecies. Like his predecessors, his name is not specified in the prophecies but they undeniably point to him because the signs were all fulfilled in him and in the work that he accomplished.
Date of commencement
One of the prophecies attesting that Brother Felix Manalo is God’s Messenger is Isaiah 41:9–14. We are sure about this because the time element was specified. The prophesied servant would emerge in the period known as “ends of the earth” (Isa. 41:9).
“Ends of the earth” sounds like but is entirely different from “end of the earth.” Both are expressions of time, but, while the latter refers to the time when the world will meet its end, which is on the day of Judgment (Matt. 24:3), the former pertains to the time when the end is near or at its doors (Matt. 24:33). Our Lord Jesus Christ gave signs that, when seen happening, will signify that the end is near or that the time “ends of the earth” has already begun to unfold:
“So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Matt. 24:33, 6–8)
Among the signs that portend the unfolding of the period “ends of the earth” is the war that would be rumored or widely talked about. In fulfillment, this war is World War I of 1914:
“Jesus now tells His followers how they could discern when the world was actually entering into the beginning of the birth pangs that would bring about the rebirth of Israel and ultimately the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. The approach of the end of the age would see several phenomena on the earth occurring at the same time. Those phenomena, would be: 1. Many nations rising up against many other nations 2. Kingdoms rising against kingdoms 3. Famines 4. Disease epidemics 5. Earthquakes in various places. In Mark 13 the word troubles is used by our Lord instead of disease epidemics. … Wars between nations, or even between kingdoms, is and has been a common occurrence. History has recorded famines at various times. There have been times of great disease epidemics. There have been earthquakes in the past, but increasingly so in the present day. Jesus tells His disciples, however, to be awaiting a specific time during which all of these phenomena would be in evidence at the same time. The first such time in world history occurred during the years of World War I (1914-1918) and immediately following …” (Matt. 24:6–8 footnote, Last Days Bible)
It is during this period when the prophesied messenger in Isaiah 41:9 would emerge. And so it was that Brother Felix Manalo registered the Iglesia Ni Cristo with the Philippine government on July 27, 1914—the exact same date when World War I broke out:
“The first great campaign on the southeastern battle grounds of the Great War began on July 27, 1914, when the Austrian troops undertook their first invasion of Serbia.” (The Story of the Great War, Vol. 3, p. 923)
Place of origin
There can be no mistaking that Brother Felix Manalo is the messenger being prophesied in Isaiah 41:9-16 and other related prophecies because the place of origin was also specified. Isaiah 46:11 mentions that the “man who executes God’s counsel” whose work is to bring God’s righteousness near to people for them to be saved would come from “the east”, from “a far country” or, as rendered in Isaiah 43:5, from the “Far East” (Moffatt Translation).
It is no secret that Brother Felix Manalo is a Filipino. It is also a fact that his homeland, the Philippines, is in the Far East—almost in its geographical center at that (Asia and the Philippines, p. 169). Surely, then, it could not be just coincidence that the prophesied messenger’s place of origin and the date of commencement of his mission were both fulfilled in Brother Felix Manalo.
But, if these were not yet enough proof of his being sent by God, digging a little deeper would take us to understanding that even the nature of his mission was prophesied in the Bible.
Nature of mission
Isaiah 46:11 describes the messenger from the Far East as a “bird of prey”. This is because the work of salvation involves “snatching others from the fire” (Jude 1:23). Precisely so, since God’s messenger from the far east and from the ends of the earth would have to bring people out of the “South” and the “North” which are holding them back:
“Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east, And gather you from the west; I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ And to the south, ‘Do not keep them back!’ Bring My sons from afar, And My daughters from the ends of the earth.” (Isa. 43:5–6 nkjv)
In fulfillment, Brother Felix Manalo’s preaching function did involve “snatching” or “bringing out” people from two main religions—Catholicism and Protestantism, which were represented by South and North, respectively:
“Others have suggested in broader terms that Protestantism was the form of Christianity suited to the temper of the northern peoples, Catholicism to that of the southern. Plausibility is lent to the thesis because, in the final stabilization, northern Europe was largely Protestant and southern largely Catholic.” (New Encylopaedia Britannica Macropaedia, 15th Edition, Vol. 15, p. 547)
There may be other countries in the Far East and other preachers who emerged in the World War I era, but there is no one else from such particular place and time whose mission entailed bringing people out specifically from those two mainstream religions—no one except Brother Felix Manalo.
Messenger for Christ
What are presented herein are only some of the scriptural testimonies proving that Brother Felix Manalo was sent by God as His messenger in these last days to preach the true Church Of Christ so that people would be gathered in it and be assured of salvation. By believing ever so firmly in his election or calling as a messenger of God, we members of the Church Of Christ never intend to replace Christ for him. Rather, it is clear to us that the role Brother Felix Manalo fulfilled is no different from that of the apostles, that is, to speak on Christ’s behalf the genuine words of God so that man will heed His call and be saved through the sacrificial death of our dear Savior Jesus. As Apostle Paul said:
“God was in Christ. He brought the world back to himself. He forgave them for the wrong things they had done. And he gave us the message that will bring people back to himself. So we are messengers for Christ. God is using us to call people. So we are standing here for Christ and begging people, “Come back to God!’” (II Cor. 5:18–19 Bible in Worldwide English, emphasis added)
This article was originally published in the Pasugo: God’s Message magazine.