Monthly Archives: February 2017

Part 3: The Third Elijah

In part 2 of the The Third Elijah series, I covered the clearing of the way for our Lord Jesus Christ by John the Baptist, the second [and last] Elijah.  Those who teach the third Elijah split what our Lord Jesus Christ was saying in Matthew 17:11 [Third Elijah] and Matthew 17:12 [Second Elijah]. Some Christians who teach the third Elijah used Malachi 4:5 rather that a prophesy for the second Elijah.

Why do Christians have different belief? I think because religious groups established their doctrines and they need the bible to support these doctrines. Why can’t we just believe our Lord Jesus Christ when He said “BUT I say to you that Elijah has come already”? The one argument they used is that John the Baptist did not restore any. I think it is very clear John’s role is baptism of repentance. The bible Mark 1:5 testifies “all the land of Judea” which describe people of the land of Judea came to John the Baptist for repentance. That is the work of restoration making people return to God. Let us compare the Old and New Testament

Malachi 4:5-6 (NKJV)
5
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet
Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
6
And he will turn
The hearts of the fathers to the children,
And the hearts of the children to their fathers
,
Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”

Luke 1:16-17 (NKJV) – 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Read Luke from the beginning of chapter 1. It is about John the Baptist. Who is the “he” in Luke 1:16-17? It is John the Baptist. Malachi 4:5-6 is in total harmony of Luke 1:16-17 regarding the restoration role of Elijah. Matthew 1:16 clarifies this already: “And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God”. That so clear in my opinion, that is the restoration role of John the Baptist, who has come in the spirit and power of Elijah.

Let us clarify all what we covered so far through Q&A.

Question: What is the role of John the Baptist?

Answer: To clear the way to our Lord Jesus Christ and turn the hears of many Jews to the Lord God.

Question: Why did John the Baptist says he is not a prophet and he is not Elijah?

Answer: John knows what is in the mind of the Pharisees and Seduces asking him the questions. The Pharisees and seduces were sent from Jerusalem Temple to investigate why is John doing baptism. The Jews did not have a prophet for 400 years and because they are familiar with the Tanakh (Old Testament), they expect the Prophet Elijah to come back but in physical nature. John was “politically correct” that he is not the prophet Elijah.

Question: Why did John the Baptist says he is the VOICE?

Answer: The VOICE is the role that he was performing in the wilderness clearing the way to our Lord Jesus Christ.
John 1:23 (NKJV)
23 He said: “I am
‘The VOICE of one crying in the wilderness:
Make straight the way of the Lord,

Isaiah 40:1-3 (NKJV)
1 “Comfort, yes, comfort My people!”
Says your God.
2
“Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her,
That her warfare is ended,
That her iniquity is pardoned;
For she has received from the Lord’s hand
Double for all her sins.”
3
The VOICE of one crying in the wilderness:
Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make straight in the desert
A highway for our God

Wilderness is a symbolic place for Israel. Moses led Israel from Egypt to the wilderness. It is also in the wilderness where the first Elijah appeared and assumed into heaven.

It is right after the baptism of our Lord Jesus that the Spirit of God proclaimed that Christ is His beloved Son.

Matthew 3:16 (NKJV) – 16 After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, 17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”

The TIMING of the coming of Elijah:

According to Malachi 4:5

  • Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

I think almost every Christian believe John the Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah. Whether he is the last Elijah or there is another after him that is a different story. We know that after Christ baptism, John’s role was to decrease and Christ role was to increase as John himself testifies.

John 3:26-30 (NASB) – 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, behold, He is baptizing and all are coming to Him.” 27 John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

John was sent ahead of Jesus. This is still consistent before the day and dreadful day of the Lord. John’s followers who met Jesus started following Jesus

Luke 11:1 (NASB)- 11 It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.”

Other John followers who have not met Jesus will later follow Him through the preaching of Paul by being baptized in the Holy Spirit. Please read “Baptism By Water or By Holy Spirit?” if you have not done so.

The words “Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” is understood by many as the second coming of the Lord Jesus, the judgement day. I think this is again another argument why there is a third Elijah since the second Elijah [ John the Baptist ] appeared in the first century during Christ ministry, not before the dreadful day of the Lord. Technically John came before the dreadful day of the Lord, but I am sure most people think of the “day of the Lord is the judgement day.

Jesus said that John is the fulfillment of the Elijah prophecy, but most Christians even Bible scholars today don’t believe Him. Why do people can’t just believe Jesus when he said “Elijah has come;”? I think because immediately we conclude Elijah will come just before the “day of the Lord”, the judgement day. Compare these verses:


Malachi 4:5-6 (NKJV)
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet
Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

Joel 2:30-31 (NKJV) –
30
“And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth:
Blood and fire and pillars of smoke.
31
The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.

Acts 2:19-20 (NKJV)
19
I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
20
The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.

Zechariah 14:1-2 (NKJV)
14 Behold, the day of the Lord is coming,
And your spoil will be divided in your midst.
2
For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem;
The city shall be taken,
The houses rifled,
And the women ravished.
Half of the city shall go into captivity,
But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

Exodus 14:30 (NKJV) – That day the Lord saved Israel from the power of Egypt. The Israelites saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore.

The “day of the Lord” will be discussed in details in future articles because this is a lengthy topic. For now I will quickly conclude that indeed John the Baptist prepare the way before the great and dreadful day of the Lord. The “day of the Lord” is a judgement of God, the question is which judgement? God judged the world before in time f Noah. God also judged nations like the nation of Egyptians under the rule of Pharaoh, the Babylonians under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar. In those cases the event was called as “day of the Lord” in the Old Testament. In both cases their world has ended but not the entire planet earth. I think John the Baptist indeed came just before the judgement of the Lord not to the world, but to the age, the old covenant age, the Israel age. This is the reason why Jerusalem Temple was turned into rubble, as prophesied by Christ in Matthew 24:2, Mark 13:2, Luke 21:16.

Matthew 24:2 (NKJV) – “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

Mark 13:2 (NKJV) – “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

Luke 21:6 (NKJV – “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”

Christ said

Luke 21:20-24 (NKJV) – 20 “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 23 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

History confirms Jerusalem was destroyed from 67 to 70 A.D., in a very horrific way, “the dreadful day of the Lord“. The Jews who repented and baptized by John the Baptist eventually became followers of Jesus. People who listened to Jesus instructions “when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies” they are saved. Many Jews who did not repent, who did not believe Jesus Christ stays in Jerusalem. In fact according to historian, Jews outside Jerusalem who did not believe Christ came to to the City to help fight the Romans. All of them died like what Christ said “time of punishment in fulfillment of all that is written [in the Tanakh]”. Fulfillment “ALL THAT IS WRITTEN” means all prophesies in the Old Testament are to be fulfilled when Jerusalem destruction will occur. There are no more Old Testament prophesies that are to be fulfilled after Jerusalem destruction how much so 2000 years later?  All has been fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem Temple. Why people can’t we just believe what our Lord Jesus Christ is saying?

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Jerusalem_(AD_70)

If you give yourself time to watch the video “Rome and Jerusalem at War (66 – 70 AD)”, you can imagine how Jerusalem is like the end of the world, but it was their world, not the entire planet earth. This event in Jerusalem is no doubt a judgement of the Lord to the nation of Israel that is if you are willing to believe what Christ said in Luke 21:20-24.

Here is another good documentation

 

Conclusion

Simply there is no third Elijah. Jesus testified of John the Baptist is the greatest man born of a woman except not greater than He. John the Baptist is no ordinary man and no ordinary prophet, he is the greatest person on earth if we exclude our Lord Jesus Christ. Period. That is HUGE! Most Christians failed to recognize this even it was spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

I think most Christians interpret the bible to align what we believe based on what we learned from our traditions, our society and Church doctrines. For example the bible talk about the “end of the age” not the end of the world but people interpret it as end of the planet earth because that is what we learned from our traditions, perhaps in movies as well. The bible teach “resurrection of the dead” not the resurrection of the body. Do you know that Adam and Eve died after they ate the prohibited fruit? God said if you eat you will “surely die” so they died [in spirit, their relationship to God ends] . Did they actually died physically? They did not. I believe they continue to lived for 800 years. The point is the “dead” in the bible does not necessarily mean physical death, it is spiritual death, the deadness in relationship to God. If that is so, what is really meant by “resurrection of the dead“?

I think we should learn the bible in its context, audience relevance, language usage and historical chronology of events because the time the words are spoken are also significant. Interpret scriptures with scriptures but no one verse contradict one another, otherwise it is no longer inspired by God. If we find something that do not align to our belief and faith, we have to change and adopt to the scriptures rather than interpreting the scriptures in such a way to satisfies our belief.

-Cornelius

Part 2: The Third Elijah

There are people or Christians religious groups who teach a third Elijah because it fits their understanding that Elijah must come first before our Lord Jesus Christ will return at the end of the world, the judgement day. The Church of Christ doctrines fits the teaching that the judgement day is near. What the INC members do not question is the Church has been teaching the judgement is near since 1914. It is always near. It was near in 1914, it is nearer now in 2017. What the bible teaches though is that even in the time of the Apostles, they are already in the last days. Notice how James used “last days”.

James 5:3 (NKJV) – 3 Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days.

Let us read it again in RSV

James 5:3 (RSV) – 3 Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days.

Firstly, who was James speaking to? Audience relevance, the book of James was written for the twelve tribes of Israel. The bible is not written to us, it is written for us because it is profitable for us to learn about the words of God. Never in the bible says “to the people of the Philippines in the far east” or “to the American people” or “to the people of the 21st century“.

James 1:1-2 (NKJV) – 1 James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad:

If the last days, is our time, why would the twelve tribes of Israel laid up treasure for the last days? It make sense if they laid up treasure for the “last day” which is the judgement day. It does not make sends on the “last days” which in Church of Christ calendar, 1914-2017 is part of the last days until the end of the world, who knows maybe it will be in year 2018 or maybe year 3017 (I am not predicting, I choose 3017 randomly).

Another reason the INC is wrong on the use of “last days” is that our Lord Jesus Christ is actually the messenger of the last days. The book of Hebrews described this:

Hebrews 1:1-2 (NKJV) – 1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;

God spoken to the audience of the Hebrews through His Son. We can now say our Lord Jesus Christ is the messenger of God. The statement indicate “has in these last days” indicates the writer of the Hebrews and the audience both lived in the first century which is already “last days”. More about the last days in part 1 and part 2 of “Racing Against The Time In These Last Days“.

I think knowing the true “last days” is key to understanding of John the Baptist as the forerunner for our Lord Jesus Christ. However we also need to know when is the last days ended or when it is ending?

The Prophesies for the Second [or third] Elijah

According to several references the prophesy for the next Elijah is

Malachi 4:5-6 (NKJV)
5
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet
Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
6
And he will turn
The hearts of the fathers to the children,
And the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”

Malachi 4:5-6 is prophesying the return of Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. It is important to know what is “great and dreadful day of the Lord“. I believe this is apocalyptic language which is important to understand.

Malachi 3:1 also refer to John the Baptist as a Messenger who will prepare the way for the Lord.

Malachi 3:1 (NKJV)
3 “Behold, I send My messenger,
And he will prepare the way before Me .
And the Lord, whom you seek,
Will suddenly come to His temple,
Even the Messenger of the covenant,
In whom you delight.
Behold, He is coming,”
Says the Lord of hosts

NASB is better to understand so let us read again

Malachi 4:5 (NASB) – 5 “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. 6 He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.”

Malachi 3:1 (NASB) – 3 “Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts.

The Jews believed that the actual Elijah who had been translated into Heaven (2 Kings 2:11) was the one who would return to earth physically to be the forerunner of the Messiah. If not because of Jesus, the disciples and us wouldn’t know that this prophecy was referring to John. Believing [Jews] Elijah will come physically, same as most Christians today believe Christ will come back physically, the same person who ascended to heaven. I think this is an important point because Elijah did not come back physically. But Elijah did not come physically, he came in the spirit and power of Elijah in the person of John the Baptist.

Luke 1:17 (NKJV) – 17 He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Now we must ask, will the same Christ who ascended to heaven comeback to earth? That is another story.

Let us go back who is the future [second or third depending what you believe] Elijah. I think it is important to learn what his role and timing of his return.

ROLE:

  • clear [prepare] the way
  • restore [turn] The hearts of the fathers to the children And the hearts of the children to their fathers

TIMING:

  • Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

We will explore the role and timing in details in the later part.

So far, i could not find any other reference of future Elijah prophesies other than Malachi 4:5 and 3:1 so clearly to me there is only one future Elijah. If Christ testified John the Baptist is the fulfillment of (second) Elijah, then if you are willing to believe Christ, then there is only a second Elijah and that’s it. The only possible reference for the third Elijah is from the New Testament in Matthew 17:11.

Matthew 17:10-13 (NKJV) – 10 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”
11 Jesus answered and said to them, “ Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. 12 But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist.

What people did is created a third Elijah to fit their doctrines using this part of the Matthew 17:11 “ Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. But Christ said “but” in verse 12 “12 But I say to you that Elijah has come already”. Why can’t they just believe our Lord Jesus Christ?

Elijah to clear the way

The role of the future [I am referring future to the Jews in the time of Malachi] Elijah is to clear the way for our Lord.

Isaiah 40:3-4 (NASB)
3
A voice is calling,
Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness;
Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.
4
“Let every valley be lifted up,
And every mountain and hill be made low;
And let the rough ground become a plain,
And the rugged terrain a broad valley;

There are not so many articles about John the Baptist just how many he actually baptized. In part one of this series I described the importance of “wilderness“. Now we need to focus of the “desert highway“.

Isaiah 49:11-12 (NKJV)
11
I will make each of My mountains a road,
And My highways shall be elevated.
12
Surely these shall come from afar;
Look! Those from the north and the west,
And these from the land of Sinim.”

Isaiah 40:3 speaking of smoothing a highway for our Lord. Isaiah 49:11-12 speaking of “My highways” making mountains a road (Isaiah 40:4, 49:11). Notice also people will come from afar, mostly from north, west and the land of Sinim.

[Side topic:the land of Sinim” is debated by many. Some claim it is China, some claim it is Australia. So far I never heard it is Philippines. The land is clearly far off, and some scholars says it must be sought either in the South or in the East. Now the word “afar” in Isaiah 49:12 sounds like another keyword for INC. But these keywords: “mountain”, “wilderness”, “highways” are not used for the INC prophesies].

John fulfilled the role of Elijah in the spirit and power by clearing the way for the Lord. John perform the baptism of repentance so that people will be prepared for our Lord Jesus Christ. Read how many people came to John in the wilderness.

Mark 1:5 (NKJV) – 5 Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.

What is the significant of Mark 1:5? “all the land” means many people across the land of Judea and Jerusalem.

First John denied to be a prophet because the Pharisees and Sadducees are expecting a physical appearance of the prophet Elijah. Remember in Malachi “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet….“. John also denied he is Elijah (the physical original person Elijah).

John 1:21 (NASB) And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”

But this does not change what Christ testified that John is Elijah, he is fulfilling in the spirit and power of Elijah. John is clearing the way for the Lord who is coming after him. This is part of clearing the way.

John 1:25-27 (NASB) And they asked him, and said to him, “Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them saying, “I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know. 27 “It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.”

John’s role is to clear the way to our Lord Jesus Christ who comes after him. Jesus baptism, though He has not sinned, is to fulfill the righteousness.

Matthew 3:13-17 (NKJV) – 13 Then Jesus *arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. 14 But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” 15 But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted Him. 16 After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, 17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.

If we compare Mark 3:7-8 verse from Isaiah 49:12.

Mark 3:7-8 (NASB) And Jesus withdrew to the sea with His disciples; and a great multitude from Galilee [North], followed; and also from Judea, 8 and from Jerusalem, and from Idumea [South], and beyond the Jordan,[East], and the vicinity of Tyre and Sidon,[West], a great multitude heard of all that He was doing and came to Him.

Reference: http://www.bible-history.com/geography/ancient-israel/israel-first-century.html

[Side topic: do not confused “afar” from Isaiah 49:12 and what I described “east“, “west“,”north“, “south” from Mark 3:7-8 to the INC claimed prophesy from Isaiah 43:5-6. That is a different prophesy so they are unrelated. However noticed the usage of “afar” . It is used commonly to places in the ancient world of the Old Testament].

John’s role who is to clear the way for our Lord Jesus Christ is now decreasing, and Christ role is increasing

John 3:26-30 (NASB) – 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, behold, He is baptizing and all are coming to Him.” 27 John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

Clearly, followers of John who met Jesus started following Jesus

Luke 11:1 (NASB)- 11 It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.”

Other John followers who have not met Jesus will later follow Him through the preaching of Paul by being baptized in the Holy Spirit. Please read “Baptism By Water or By Holy Spirit?” if you have not done so.

Conclusion

So far we have covered some many related topics about the role of the second [or third if you believe so] Elijah. So far i have demonstrated there is only a second Elijah and that is John the Baptist as testified by our Lord Jesus Christ. The Old Testament did not prophesied of third Elijah. The new Elijah’s role is to clear the way for our Lord Jesus Christ.

We touched on the role of new Elijah as clearing the way but we will clarify again the role of John the Baptist, who is the fulfillment in the spirit and power of Elijah. Till the next time.

-Cornelius

Part 1: The Third Elijah

The Church of Christ, based on the teaching of beloved Bro. Eraño Manalo during the inauguration of the Locale of Jerusalem, believe the the THIRD ELIAS is no other than Bro. Felix Manalo. This is something I only learned from this video never heard it from any other worship services or bible studies. This makes it an official doctrine of the Church that the third Elias has come.
On the other hand, there are those who are teaching that Elias is coming…and there are those who claimed that Elias has come to RESTORE THE CHURCH OF CHRIST that has gone astray under the leadership of Bro. Eduardo V. Manalo.

I am sorry, with all my respect to the Church leaders and those who believe on restoring the Church of Christ (again), those teachings and claims are not pristine biblical teachings. I came to conclusion there is no third Elias. The second Elias has given the way to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Like what I normally remind you, you do not need to believe me for I am also a learner. I encourage you to verify and re-read the verses that I am going to use here.

The Third Elias By Bro. EGM

Please watch this video and pay attention to the following time stamps.



Time 9:20-10:24

“Basahin mo pa iyang referensyang iyan…Insight on the Scriptures…pahina 713..sa volume I…pagkamatay ni Juan…ano ang nangyari ka Juan? pagkamatay ni Juan…di tapos na si Juan. Hindi si Juan Bautista iyan. Pagkamatay ni Juan nakita sa isang pangitain si Elias kasama si Moises sa panahon ng pagkakabagong anyo ni Jesus…ano raw ang kahulugan nito?… Ipinakikilalang mayroon pang nangyayari na tulad ng isinasagisag na gawaing ginawa ni Elias.”

Time 16:23-17:00
” Nang si JesusCristo ay namatay ito lang anginaantay na atin Panginoon JesusCristo kaya ayaw pa niyang bumaba mula sa langit… sapagkat mayroon pang gawain dapat tapusin ang gawain sa huling araw..ang pagsusugo niya sa kaniyang sugo sa katauhan ng kapatid na Felix Manalo na nasa kaniyang espiritu at kapangyarihan ni Elias..at siya nga ang nagsagawa para ibalik ang tao sa tunay na Iglesia at hindi lamang sa tunay na Iglesia…Ngayon naman ibinabalik sa original na lokal ng Jerusalem.”

Clearly, the Church stand is that there is a third Elias and that he has come in the spirit in the person of Bro. Felix Y. Manalo.

Notice, how Bro. Erdy proved there is a third Elias. He used another book, Insight on the Scriptures page 713. That book is not a bible and it is based on interpretation by other Christian denomination. Why did Bro. Erdy used that book? Is it because the author is an authoritative and trusted interpreter? I am sure that is not the reason. I think the reason is because the page of that book align to the Church doctrines.

The Second Elias in the Bible

In the “Baptism By Water Or By Holy Spirit?” article I explained that John the Baptist is performing baptism of repentance [Mark 1:4] while Christ is for baptism of the Holy Spirit [Mark 1:8]. John denied he is Elias [John 1:19-28]. He denied he is Elias because he knows the Levites are looking for physical return of Elias. John said so because he is not physical Elias.

[Side topic: The reason why Jews in our time (I really mean our time not including first century Jews, our generation, year 2017 ) do not believe our Jesus Christ is the Messiah, they also do not believe that Elias has come. They are waiting for a physical return of Elias.]

In the case of Church of Christ, the doctrines teaches that John the Baptism is the second Elias – so far this align to my point that even if John denied he is Elias, we accept that he is in the spirit of Elias. This is written in Luke 1:17

Luke 1:17 (NKJV) – 17 He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Mark Testimony of John

Mark started his gospel about John the Baptist

Mark 1:1-3 (NKJV) – 1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2 As it is written in the Prophets:
“Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
Who will prepare Your way before You.”
3
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make His paths straight.’”

Take note of the words “voice” and “wilderness“. Those are important keywords for the next topics.

Mark use the word “as it is written” to indicate he is just quoting a reference from the Old Testament. Primarily Isaiah and Malachi.

Mark then directly relate John baptizing in the wilderness.

Mark 1:4 (NKJV) – 4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

Christ Testimony of John as a Prophet

Our Lord Jesus Christ testified who John is.

Mathew 11:7-9 (NKJV) – “7 As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet.”

Notice the word “multitudes”. Clearly indicates just how many went to see John the Baptist.

Let us analyze very important keywords because understanding them are keys to understanding why John is second Elijah and no third Elijah.

WILDERNESS

This is a significant place of the Jews. Throughout the life of the Jews(Israel) significant things happen to them in the wilderness. It appear the word “desolate” is a common word used in the Old and New Testament to describe the wilderness. It is the same place Elisha cured the servant of King of Syria and Prophet Elijah was seen assumed into heaven in a fiery Chariot (2 Kings 5:1-14). When Moses led Israel out of Egypt they went out into the wideness. Joshua also led the people across the Jordan River into the the promised land near Jericho. The wilderness is therefore a symbolic place for the Hebrews(we call them Jews, and most often Israel). During the time of Jesus and John, the Hebrews are under the rule of the Roman empire. People are longing to go to the wilderness for spiritual reasons seeking for their Messiah.

SOFT GARMENTS

Mark describe the cloth of John in Mark 1:6.

In Mark 1:6 (NKJV) – 6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.

This description about the dress of John the Baptist is intended primarily to indicate clearly the identity of John as Elijah.

2 Kings 1:8 (NKJV) – 8 So they answered him, “A hairy man wearing a leather belt around his waist.” And he said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.”

MORE THAN A PROPHET

Christ is testifying John the Baptist is a prophet, in fact more than a prophet He said. I think the reason He said that is because Christ also testifies John is Elias. Another reason is John is the last Prophet of the old covenant. John appear in the wilderness 400 years after the last prophet before him (most agree it was Prophet Malachi before John). But the one that standout why John is more than a prophet is explained by no less than our Lord Jesus

Matthew 11:11 (NKJV) – 11 “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

This statement of our Lord Jesus truly elevate John’s position. In fact it sounds like John the Baptist is the greatest of all humanity born of women except that Christ is still greater than him. John the Baptist is indeed a very important person with a very important role.

Christ Testimony of John as a Elijah

I think Matthew 17:10-13 is where different Christian denominations try to align their doctrines. I meant “align” their doctrine as oppose to adopting to the teachings. Rather than interpreting according to what Christ is teaching, they interpret to satisfy the Church entire doctrines.

Matthew 17:10-13 (NKJV) – 10 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”
11 Jesus answered and said to them, “ Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. 12 But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist.

I think they have to align to the doctrines, or else, the entire Church teachings will fall off. Read this verse very carefully. I think readers in English speaking countries, you probably have advantage understanding the language over most of us but even if you and me are not Harvard graduates, we can understand the word “but” put into conclusion what is said coming has come.

When the disciples asked him why do the scribes [Old Testament] say that Elijah must come first?. Christ said Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things.. For the believers of third Elijah doctrine, they split  Matthew 17:11 [third Elijah teaching]  and Matthew 17:12 [second Elijah teaching]. I must insist read Matthew 17:10-13 again. Did Christ refer to another Elijah when he said But I say to you that Elijah has come already? Is in it Christ is answering one question and talking about the same Elijah? I think some religions try to split the verses to match their doctrines of a third Elijah.

If you still believe at this point that Christ is talking of third Elijah when he said “Elijah is coming first and will restore all things.” and when he is talking of second Elijah when he said “But I say to you that Elijah has come already”, continue reading. Additional topics might clear the way. I think one of the confusion is that Elijah is coming first and restore all things. The believers of third Elijah doctrine are blinded that John indeed came first and restored all things. More on this in next topics.

Summary

We should have learned here:

  • Jesus testified  John the Baptist is a Prophet
  • Jesus testified John is the Elijah prophesied in the Old Testament.

Next topic we need to learn that John the Baptist role is to testify that the Messiah has come and indeed it is our Lord Jesus Christ to give the way to Him. John also testified that there is one greater than him, one who will baptize with Holy Spirit, one who everyone must follow.

In the next topics we will review again the role of John the Baptist and why he gave the way to our Lord Jesus Christ and why there is no third Elias. We will also explore why the signs for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ are misleading and why Christ said in the future if someone says He has come do not believe it as stated in Matthew 24:23.

Matthew 24:23 (NIV) – 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.

-Cornelius

Baptism By Water Or By Holy Spirit?

When I became a member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo, I learned two types of baptism: baptism by water sprinkling and baptism by immersion. Now I learned new thing, the bible actually teach two types of baptism: Baptism by water [immersion] and baptism by holy spirit.

Brief History of Baptism After The First Century

This is a copy of from another blog site, of which I cannot confirm the accuracy but it is good start.

The Roman Catholic church admits baptism by immersion was practiced till 1311 AD:

1.”Baptism took place by immersion in ancient times.” (New Interpretation of the Mass, p. 120).
2.”Catholics admit that immersion brings out more fully the meaning of the sacrament, and that for twelve centuries it was the common practice.” (Question Box, p. 240).
3.”Baptism used to be given by placing the person to be baptized completely in the water: it was done in this way in the Catholic Church for 1200 years.” (Adult Catechism, pp. 56-57).
4.”The church at one time practiced immersion. This was up to the thirteenth century. The Council of Ravenna, in 1311, changed the form from immersion to pouring.” (Our Faith and the Facts, p. 399).

So then after 1311, baptism inside Catholic Chuch is done by water sprinkling to a child. This is how we know that Catholic practice baptism today.

The Protestant Reformation was a schism from the Roman Catholic Church initiated by Martin Luther and continued by John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, and other early Protestant Reformers in 16th century Europe. There were some Christians who were not content with the achievements of the mainstream Protestant Reformation. In 1609, John Smyth had broken his ties with the Church of England. Reared in the Church of England, he became “Puritan, English Separatist, and then a Baptist Separatist,”. The Baptist Church today traced their roots to John Smyth who introduced [ or re-introduced] the baptism by immersion. During the 19th and 20th century, more Christian denominations followed the same baptism by immersion.

Bro. Felix Y. Manalo joined Christian Missionary Alliance (Disciples of Christ), because of its baptism by immersion according to God’s Message magazine. He was born as a Catholic, converted to Methodist Episcopal Church, then joined the Presbyterian Church. He became attracted and converted to another Protestant group called the Christian Missionary Alliance (Disciples of Christ). Later he joined the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA), left SDA in 1913 and founded Iglesia Ni Cristo.

Baptism In The Bible

Everyone knows or heard John the Baptist. Very few know he is a Prophet of the old testament. In fact he was the last prophet and before he appeared, Israel did not have a Prophet for 400 years after Prophet Malachi. This is important to know because John’s preaching is part of the Old Testament even though he was covered in the New Testament bible. Christ said in Mathew 11:9 “But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet.”

The baptism of John is baptism of repentance

Mark 1:4 (NKJV) – 4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

John’s baptism of water is different that Jesus baptism of the holy spirit.

Mark 1:8 (NJJV) – 8 I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.

John’s baptism of water is being replaced by Jesus’s baptism of holy spirit.

Through out the new testament, there is no more evidence of water baptism except that of John along the wilderness in the Jordan river. The Jewish leaders from Jerusalem Temple were wondering who is this John baptizing in the wilderness. They sent priest and Levites to investigate:

John 1:19 (NKJV) – “19 Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”

John exactly know what is in their mind, they think he is claiming to be the Messiah and that is why his answer was “I am not the Christ.” (Luke 3:15, Matthew 1:20). Remember Israel did not have a prophet for four hundred years. They also asked him if he is Elijah and again he answered “I am not”, then they asked him is he a prophet and simply answer “no” (John 1:19-28). Why John said he is not Elijah while Christ said he is in Matthew 11:14 he is? Because John knows the Jews are expecting Elijah to come back PHYSICALLY. This is a good point, in the same view of today’s religions, we viewed Christians mostly in a physical way AGAIN! The baptism that John perform as part of Old Testament is physical baptism, the baptism that Jesus is introducing is spiritual baptism. Why did John also denied he is a prophet but Christ said he is?

Matthew 11:9 (NKJV) – 9 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet.

I think because the Jewish priests and Levites knowing the Old Testament are expecting the Messiah being a Prophet and John basically emphasizing he is not what they think he is.

To complete John’s role, he said he is the VOICE in John 1:23 which is the prophesy in Isaiah 40:1-3,

John 1:23 (NKJV)
23 He said: “I am
‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
Make straight the way of the Lord,

Isaiah 40:1-3 (NKJV)
1 “Comfort, yes, comfort My people!”
Says your God.
2
“Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her,
That her warfare is ended,
That her iniquity is pardoned;
For she has received from the Lord’s hand
Double for all her sins.”
3
The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make straight in the desert
A highway for our God

The Pharisees also question John why is he baptizing

John 1:25 (NKJV) – 25 And they asked him, saying, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
John 1:26 (NKJV) – 26 John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know.

John is the VOICE prophesied in Isaiah 40:1-3, giving way to our Lord Jesus Christ.

He doesn’t know who Christ was until he saw Him during baptism and through baptism by water he will reveal Christ to Israel and the Messiah
so that his role will now diminished.

John 1:29-31 (NKJV) – 29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ 31 I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”

In John 1:35-36, John sends his followers to follow Jesus.

Does John denying he is not a prophet nor Elijah contradict what Jesus is telling about him? This is another long topic but the short answer is NO.

Baptism with Holy Spirit

Again there is no more evidence of baptism by water after John died. John died before Christ.

There are Jewish who were baptized in water by John The Baptist but never knew Christ. These Jewish people live in Ephesus.

Acts 18:25 (NKJV), 25 This man [Apollos] had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John [baptism by water].

Acts 19:1-6 – 19 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples 2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.
3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?
So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”
4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus [they were baptized again with the holy spirit]. 6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

They were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ – this is clearly baptism in holy spirit not by water. The manner of baptism by spirit performed by Paul was by laying hands on them.

In Acts 1:5 (NKJV), “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” – this is the baptism of the holy spirit in the day of the Pentecost.

When Peter was preaching to Cornelius [ The Roman Centurion ] he said this:

Acts 11:15-16 (NKJV) – 15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 If therefore God gave them the same gift [ Peter speaking of saving grace given to Jews who believed in Jesus and the gift just given to Cornelius, a Gentile] as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?”

Clearly the bible is speaking of two types of baptism: baptism by water which is the baptism of repentance and baptism of the holy spirit. Christ said but “you” shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit clearly this is the new baptism introduced by Christ.

Baptism By Water

I think all religions practicing baptism default the meaning of baptism as baptism by water. The method whether by immersion or sprinkling is debated but I think it does not matter. ALL OF THEM MISSED THE POINT. Christ introduced baptism of the holy spirit. We are in spiritual realm. This is same reason the Temple of God is changed from physical temple to spiritual temple.

Of course religions used bible verses to teach about baptism. The Iglesia Ni Cristo usedieving

Mark 16:15-16 (NKJV) – 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

Acts 2:41 (NKJV) – 41 Then those who gladly[a] received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

Romans 6:3-4 (NKJV) – 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Matthew 28:19 (NKJV) – 19 Go therefore[a] and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Is there a baptism of water mentioned in the preceding verses? None at all. Mark 1:8 clearly says under Christ we are to be baptized by holy spirit. Acts 19:1-6 clearly demonstrate the Jews who received baptism by water they need to be baptized by the holy spirit. REMEMBER, BAPTISM DOES NOT MEAN BAPTISM BY WATER.

Baptism Inside Iglesia Ni Cristo

The Baptism is a dedicated doctrinal lesson inside the Iglesia Ni Cristo. The INC believes that baptism is necessary for one to become a disciple of Christ
and for the attainment of eternal salvation. But this should be done in accordance with the teachings of the Bible.”. Furthermore, INC teaches although those who become members of the INC have been baptized already in their former religions, the baptism they received is not valid because those who administered it have no right to preach and to baptize and those
baptized by them cannot receive the blessings associated with the baptism commanded by Christ.”

The INC teaches that the baptism should be in accordance to the teachings of the bible but the bible clearly teach that in Christ, we are to be baptized of the holy spirit, not by water.

Conclusion

The old baptism is the baptism by John the Baptist called baptism with water unto repentance. The new baptism is baptism by Jesus Christ called baptism with the Holy Spirit.

I hope this knowledge is profitable to you.

Personal Disclaimer

I think most Church today missed the whole point of baptism in the bible. Yes i said that!

Let me warn you that I do not claim to be anyone but an ordinary man who believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, our savior. I am writing to share the knowledge and the theories that I came up so that you can learn from them too. I believe the scriptures are inspired words of God so nothing in the bible contradict another and no disciples of Christ contradict one another. You either believe my theories or throw it away but I encourage you to continue reading and verify for yourself.

-Cornelius

Part 3: Is There Salvation Outside The Church?

The Catholic Church, Iglesia Ni Cristo, Mormons and other Christian religions denounce the teachings of justification by faith alone. Let us study the teachings of sola fide and explore why it is not actually contradicting James teachings on faith and works.

A brief history of Sola Fide

Sola fide (Latin: by faith alone), also known as justification by faith alone, is a Christian theological doctrine that distinguishes most Protestant denominations from the Catholic Church, Iglesia Ni Cristo, the Eastern Orthodox Church and many other Christian religions.

From 1510 to 1520, Martin Luther lectured on the Psalms and the books of Hebrews, Romans, and Galatians. As he studied these portions of the Bible, he came to view the use of terms such as penance and righteousness by the Roman Catholic Church in new ways. He became convinced that the church was corrupt in its ways and had lost sight of what he saw as several of the central truths of Christianity, the most important of which, for Luther, was the doctrine of justification—God’s act of declaring a sinner righteous—by faith alone through God’s grace. He began to teach that salvation or redemption is a gift of God’s grace, attainable only through faith in Jesus.

Luther came to understand justification as entirely the work of God. When God’s righteousness is mentioned in the gospel, it is God’s action of declaring righteous the unrighteous sinner who has faith in Jesus Christ.The righteousness by which the person is justified (declared righteous) is not his own (theologically, proper righteousness) but that of another, Christ (alien righteousness). “That is why faith alone makes someone just and fulfills the law,” said Luther. “Faith is that which brings the Holy Spirit through the merits of Christ.” Thus faith, for Luther, is a gift from God. This faith grasps Christ’s righteousness and appropriates it for the believer.

The Pauline doctrine of justification by faith

Apostle Paul in his letters to the Gentile Christians teach that it is by grace, we are saved. Grace is a gift from God.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV) – 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Paul also says in Romans 6:23 (NKJV) – 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

No human being can take away the gift from God, not by expulsion.

Romans 11:29 (NKJV) – 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

[Side topic:
It is writen in 1 Corinthians 5:13 – “But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.”,. Who is talking? Apostle Paul. Who is he talking to? The believers of Corinths. Paul wrote to the Corinthians because of thew bad news (1 Cor. 1:11-13). Contentions and quarreling were consuming the Corinthian community. When they could not agree even about small matters, some rose up in defiance saying, “I don’t care what others are saying; I know what Paul said, and that is what I am doing.” Others would speak ill of the first, saying, “Apollos taught us differently, and we know we are right in this matter.” Others claimed loyalty to Cephas, and still others said they would only follow Messiah Himself. Brothers went their own ways, divided. None would humble themselves to seek reconciliation with their brothers.”. Paul first reminds Corinthians of the gift they receive from God (1 Cor. 1:4), Christ is the Power and Wisdom of God and the glory is only to the Lord God. Apostle Paul gave specific instruction who Corinthians believers should disassociate themselves. In 1 Cor. 15:11 (NKJV) – But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous [one having or showing a great desire to possess something someone owns] , or an idolater, or a reviler [one who criticize in abusive or insulting manner], or a drunkard, or an extortioner [someone who use abusive or forceful manner to obtain something specially money] — not even to eat with such a person.”. Now think who are these people? Paul is the same person who teaches God’s gift is irrevocable so even those who are removed from fellowship only God can judge. Paul is also the same person teaching the justification that salvation received as a gift and not by works. Do you see how Iglesia Ni Cristo follows some Paul teachings and deny some teachings?
]

John testified “whoever believes”

John 3:16 (NKJV) – 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

[Side topic: Notice those who believes will not perish – clearly means those who will not believe will perish. The teaching of eternal damnation in the lake of fire is a traditional belief not true biblical teaching. The verses used to explain eternal damnation are apocalyptic language, not literal. If you believe what Christ is saying, unbelievers will perish not forever punished!]

Romans 3:24-28 (NKJV) – being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

Paul says that a man is justified by faith apart from any works.

Romans 4:5 (NKJV) But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,

Paul says it is all of faith, and works play no part.

Romans 5:1 (NKJV) – Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Romans 3:24 (NKJV) – being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, ‘
Romans 11:6 (NKJV) – And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.

Galatians 2:16 (NKJV) – knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

Another incident in the life of Paul and Silas while in prison, the earthquake shaken the foundation of the prison and made the door opened. The prison guard wanted to kill himself but Paul stopped him. The prison guard then ask:

Acts 16:29-31 (NKJV) – 29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”. 31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

John also wrote what was spoken by Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ himself teach that he who believes in Him will have everlasting life.

John 3:14-18 (NKJV) “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 5:24 (NKJV) “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

John 6:28-29 (NKJV) Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

John 8:24 (NKJV) “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

John 11:25-26 (NKJV) Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

John 20:31 (NKJV) but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

A good example of bible character who was saved just by believing is the thief on the cross.

Luke 23:39-43 (NKJV) – 39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” 40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” 43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

Do you see any works in the above verses?

Apostle Peter also emphasized this to the Jews that they are saved [as believers of Christ] the same way as the Gentiles. James was present when these words are spoken:

Acts 15:11 (NKJV) – 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.”

Let us rewrite the verse, “But we[Apostles and the Jewish audience] believe that through the grace [which is the gift of God] of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they [Gentiles]. What Peter is saying, “We religious Jews are saved in the same way as these pagan Gentiles are, namely, through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

In Acts 15:13, James stood and confirmed his agreement with Simon (Peter). The next verses James quoted the teachings from Old Testament (Acts 15:16-18). James argument was: The salvation of the Gentiles agrees with what Amos said. What Peter has said, taking the Gospel to the Gentiles, is the fulfillment of what Amos said. Amos said that the Tabernacle of David would be restored “in order that” the Gentiles may seek after God. The Gentiles were now being saved. The Gentiles could not call on God until the remnant, Amos 5:3, was being brought in, meaning they could not be saved until the Tabernacle of David was restored. Since the Gentiles were being saved in their time, the Tabernacle of David was being restored – this is the restoration of true Israel.

Paul and James agreed

James agreed with Paul that the good gift is from God. That is the grace from God.

James 1:17-18 (NKJV) – Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of His creatures.

When James said,

James 2:17 (NKJV) – Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

He is referring to the works of love as stated in James 2:8

James 2:8 (NKJV) – If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well;

Paul also says that faith works by love:

Galatians 5:6 (NKJV) – For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

So now Paul and James are in harmony to what works is. At least a part of what work is. If faith doesn’t produce love, it is a dead faith and in danger of temporal judgement of God. Faith and works are connected. Your works make your faith grows and matures. If we fail to work [in love], our faith will die. Dead faith is unproductive, is subject to temporal judgement of God. So keep faith alive by working or living in love to one another.

As Christian WE MUST BE PROUD for LOVE is the unique attribute of being a Christians. Others are commanded to kill enemies, as Christian we must love our brethren the same we we should love our enemies.

Matthew 5:43-48 (NKJV) – 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,”

Conclusion

Apostle Paul and James are in harmony what they are teaching. Apostle Paul teaching of salvation, James teaching of being save in faith and works while we are living in this world so that we will not be judged by God because of the sins that we commit in our life.

So is there salvation outside the Iglesia Ni Cristo?

YES, as I testified through verses in the bible, that our salvation is a gift from God. A gift is something you did not work for, you received it in kindness We received it when we believed our Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Messiah who died in the cross for our sins. We did not receive it when we joined an organized Church. There is difference in joining a Church and when we start believing in Christ.

Can you be saved even if your name is not written in the book of life?

Is there evidence the first century Christians have written names in the book when they became believers? When Paul was called by Christ how is his name written in the book? When Christ saved the thief in the cross, who wrote his name? When Cornelius the Gentile became a believer who wrote his name? This is another long topic but the short explanation is that the verses used to teach about the book of life inside the Iglesia Ni Cristo is twisted. Humans are imperfect, the registry books inside the Church are full of errors, written according to one’s secretariat skills. These people are also sinners like us so the book they create are not worthy of presenting to God. How do you think you present more than a thousand registry books with erroneous data to God? Each Church locale has more than 20 registry books, which book is authoritative? How do you justify discrepancies between books? It is only human teaching to write names of those who will be saved in the book made by human. The book of life is an spiritual matter not a physical written names.

How do we live in faith and works?

We can live our faith with works through love, living by what the Lord Jesus Christ teach us. We cannot live as a true believer if we do not understand the true teachings of the scriptures. We must therefore equip ourselves with the knowledge of the bible. The bible is inspired words of God. If someone is teaching as if one verse contradict another verse, proving one verse is correct than the other or one author is correct than the other, it is like un-inspiring the words of God. I must say verify until the true context of the verses are in harmony. Do not make the bible meet what you believe, change what you believe to what the bible teaches us. Perhaps start asking this: “Am I believing what the bible really teach or am I just following a doctrine of the Church?”.

Remember James 5:12 (NKJV) – But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment.. How many times you swear to your office in the Church? How many times you have violated the teaching of James? How about Matthew 5:24 (NKJV) – “34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne;” ? You actually committed sin when you took an oath for an office, even when you swear-in for your membership in the Church. How much more a written affidavit promising you will never miss performing in the Choir or when you wrote a letter promising that you will always abide to the Church Administration, is that not swearing-in against the teaching of the bible? Where did James and Matthew learned their teachings? From our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Read Matthew 23:16-22. The Pharisees bind themselves to their promises in various degrees and so excuse themselves from keeping commitments they had made with lesser oaths. They use their oaths to sound exceedingly pious and to justify themselves as deeply religious, while being in fact hypocritical. Therefore Jesus commanded his followers not to swear but to invest on simple words of yes or no with complete integrity. Ask the question again: “Am I believing what the bible really teach or am I just following a doctrine of the Church?”.

Hope this is profitable to you.

-Cornelius