Many biblical passages show that for each dispensation of time, God sends messengers. What is His purpose in doing so?
UPON HEARING THAT the Church Of Christ recognizes that Brother Felix Y. Manalo is God’s Messenger in these last days, the initial reaction of people sometimes is skepticism. A reason for this is because of their being unaware that the Bible teaches the importance of a messenger.
The importance of a messenger
Our Lord Jesus Christ taught the importance of a messenger, when He said that “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent” (John 6:29 New King James Version). Since sending His messengers is God’s work, and since God never does anything useless, then this work of sending messengers is extremely important. And since God sends messengers, He, of course, expects and desires people to believe them. Many biblical passages show that for each dispensation of time, God sends messengers. Any church or religion that neither has God’s messenger nor recognizes God’s commissioning of messengers cannot be true. Although others may agree that messengers are important, some assume that anyone with the desire can become one. But “no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was” (Heb. 5:4 NKJV).
God’s noble purpose in sending messengers
According to the Bible, God sent messengers during the time of ancient Israel because “He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place” (II Chr. 36:15 NKJV). God repeatedly sent messengers so that people would not be condemned, a manifestation of compassion and love. This divine purpose continued during the Christian time period:
“I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.” (Acts 26:17-18 NKJV)
God sent Apostle Paul to the Gentiles “to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light,” because those who remain in darkness or under satan’s power will not be saved. Those removed from darkness through the work of God’s messenger are brought to God, receive the forgiveness of sins, and are counted among those who will inherit God’s great promises. Those who enter the Church Of Christ as taught by the messenger of God receive forgiveness because Christ purchased the Church with His blood (Acts 20:28 Lamsa Translation).
How God’s messengers were treated
It should not be surprising if Brother Felix Manalo is rejected as God’s messenger because of the pattern of making “… fun of God’s messengers, ignoring his words and laughing at his prophets, until at last the LORD’s anger against his people was so great that there was no escape” (II Chr. 36:15-16 Good News Bible). This persecution and maligning was to prevent people from listening. The technical term for this is an ad hominem attack, which is an attack against someone’s character. The Prophet Jeremiah’s character was attacked in this way, when the persecutors transpired to “attack him with the tongue” (Jer. 18:18). The same type of tactic was used against Brother Felix Manalo. The real culprit behind these attacks, satan, “takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved” (Luke 8:12 NKJV). The devil, not wanting them to be saved, lies. One lie, that people can return to God and serve Him even without His messenger, is contradicted by what happens without a teaching priest:
“For a long time Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law.” (II Chr. 15:3 NKJV, emphasis ours)
They had lost their right to serve God because He refuses to accept worship not based on His law. The necessity of the teaching priests, as God’s messengers is shown by the command of what to do when people had a question about God’s law:
“For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, And people should seek the law from his mouth; For he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.” (Mal. 2:7 NKJV)
The teaching priests were the messengers, entrusted with the preaching of God’s words. God commanded people to seek His laws only from the mouth of His messengers and not just from anyone.
God’s Messenger in these last days
After the apostasy and before the world’s end, God commissioned Brother Felix Manalo and the ministers of the Church Of Christ to preach the true gospel:
“Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, ‘Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads’.” (Rev. 7:2-3 NKJV)
Both the angel from the east and his companions in the prophecy would be entrusted with the mission to seal. Angel from the Greek anggelos or angelos means messenger and can refer to either a spirit or man as long as that individual is God-sent. John the Baptist, a man, was an angel:
“But what went you out to see? a prophet? yea I tell you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: Behold I send my angel before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee.” (Matt. 11:9-10 Douay-Rheims, 1899 American Edition)
Heavenly angels in contrast, who are sent on short missions to deliver a special message, do not preach the gospel.
The angel in Revelation 7:2-3 is human because his mission is to seal those who become servants of God. Sealing is the preaching of the gospel guided by the Holy Spirit:
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” (Eph. 1:13-14 New International Version)
The seal is the Holy Spirit while sealing is the preaching of the gospel that is coupled with the power of the Holy Spirit. Those sealed with the Holy Spirit believed in the gospel preached by the true messenger of our Lord God. The fulfillment of the East in Revelation 7:2-3 is the Philippines. The true Church Of Christ reemerged in the Far East, in the islands of the sea, also a fulfillment of biblical prophecy. With the blessings of God, the Church Of Christ has now spread to many parts of the world. Through the preaching of the ministers and ministerial workers of the Church Of Christ, people can now learn God’s laws, and return to Him. This is the last work of God for salvation in these last days, which no one can stop because God promised:
“Yes, from the time of the first existence of day and from this day forth I am He; and there is no one who can deliver out of My hand. I will work, and who can hinder or reverse it?” (Isa. 43:13 Amplified Bible)
This article was originally published in the Pasugo: God’s Message Magazine, September 2014 Issue.