Category Archives: Religion

The Wars and Rumors of Wars

“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.” – Matthew 24:6 9 (NKJV)

This is a very familiar verse for every members of the Church of Christ, the Church I served for many many years. Now it became clear to me this is not referring to the First World War (WW I) , it is referring to the desolation which is about to happen during the time of the first century Christians.

According to the letter of apostle Paul to Timothy

2 Timothy 3:16N (NKJV) – 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

Reproof and correction is part of knowing the scriptures meaning if we learn something new based on new evidences and proof, we have to change our views and adopt to the teaching. Many religions today cannot follow this because they established their doctrines and so they can no longer reproof and correct. We have to adopt to the teachings in the bible as we learn it rather than interpreting it to fit our established doctrines or faith.

In order to fully understand the topic about the “wars and rumors of wars”, I encourage you to read the articles below. As always, you do not need to believe me, but if you are willing, continue reading, verify the verses in the bible yourself and read some other references.  Also, I always do my best not to interpret verses in a manner to render other verses wrong or false. I believe the bible is inspired words of God so nothing is in conflict. If you find any interpretation that are making other verses wrong, email me and I would like to reconsider my thought.

The Two Ages In The Bible – Here I describe the bible is teaching of two ages. The “this age” and “age to come“. “This age” was decaying at the time of the Apostles so it was about to end. The “age to come” is the everlasting new covenant.

The Last Days In The Bible – In this article, I described that during the Day of Pentecost, Peter quote Joel’s prophesy about the last days and telling the crowd (Jews and proselytes) that it is happening right there, at that that very moment. The first century Christians were living in the last days. The last days is the days leading to the end of the age, the end of the old covenant, the fulfillment of Christ prophesy in Matthew 24:2 that the Jerusalem Temple will be destroyed.

The End Of The Age: The Questions and Signs – Jesus started answering the disciples questions about the sign of the end of the age. Jesus says you will hear wars and rumors of wars and other events which are the beginning of the abomination and desolation. Jesus said when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, do not enter the City, leave, go to the mountains. The wars and rumors of wars are spoken in the context of when will the prophesy of the destruction of Jerusalem Temple will take place. The wars and rumors of wars are not referring to the World War I.

The End Of The Age: The Fulfillment – In this article, I described the strong word Jesus used “Assuredly” trying to emphasize how the generations of the Apostles will experience in their lifetime the destruction of the Temple which is the fulfillment of the “wars and rumors of wars” and all the signs Christ foretold in Mathew 24. All prophesies has been fulfilled when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman armies. There are no more prophesies to be fulfilled.

.

The Murderers

Dear Cornelius,

If you remember me you called me Cyrus Nogreto. I have question to you. Why did Christ called the Jews a murderer in John 8:44? Aren’t they chosen people of God?

Thank you,
Cyrus Nogreto

Dear Cyrus,

Thank you for asking and reaching out again. I think your question is timely for these days we heard a lot of murders. So many Christians died because of their faith. Some innocent people also died because of the ideological faith by other people. It is sad but when I remember how the apostles died, it uplift my spirit. True Christians died well. There is a man called Ignatius of Antioch. Before he was murdered in front of the people in the coliseum in Rome he prayed “ I am God’s wheat May I be ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, Until I become the fine white bread That belongs to Christ.“.  When two fierce lions were let out into the coliseum Ignatius prayer was swiftly answered.

Let us understand together what Cyrus is referring to in John 8:44. Let me clarify that I am not considering myself a preacher so you can follow me with my interpretations and if you are willing to believe then praise be to God. If not I encourage you continue learning the bible in context because context is king. It is very important to understand the context first so that we can understand why are the words spoken that way.

John 8:44 (NKJV) – 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

If we want to understand the context of John 8:44, we need to start understanding the beginning of chapter 8. John chapter 8 begins with the story that Christ went to the Mount of Olives but nothing else mentioned what happen in the mountain. The three other gospels (Mark, Luke and Matthew) accounts Christ and the Apostles conversation at the Mount of Olives which is known to many as “Olivet Discourse“. Matthew 24 in particular is the source of the teaching of INC’s “rumors of wars” which in real context is referring to the “end of the age” not end of the world. John did not have topics about Olivet Discourse because I think he is the same John who wrote the Revelation. The book of Revelation therefore is the version of John to the Olivet Discourse. In John 8:12 Christ said

John 8:12 (NKJV) – 12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Then the Pharisees accused him of self-witnessing or self-proclaiming. Then Jesus explained He judge no one (person), yet if He judge, it is in accordance to His father.

John 8:15-18 (NKJV) – 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me. 17 It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true. 18 I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me.”

The law requires the testimony of two men before judging anyone but the Jews brought  a woman accused of adultery. Christ knows He is being tested by the Jewish crowds in the Temple because they doubted Him. When Christ asked “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first”, no one left to condemn the woman. Then Christ said “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”.

In John 8:19 – 19 Then they said to Him, “Where is Your Father?
Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.”

How the chosen people of God do not know the Father? The Jews, in all their heart, in all their mind, in all their deeds, they are the chosen people of God, sons of God, descendant of Abraham, living in the Temple of God (Jerusalem Temple). They did not know they are actually not of God. In John 8:21 Christ said “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.”. Why they cannot come? First the Pharisees thought Christ is going away, He is going to kill Himself but little that they know at that time, they are actually going to kill Him. I think you are getting the point now, they are the murderer but they do not know it.

The next verses Christ actually telling these Jewish leader that He was sent to judge them. This is one that also convince me that the bible is talking of the judgement of the Jews, the end of the age not he end of the world.

John 8:25-26 (NKJV) – 25 Then they said to Him, “Who are You?”
And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning. 26 I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.”

Who is the “you” in verse 26? The Jewish crowds in the Temple.

Abraham Descendants

In John 8:38, Christ claimed the Jewish leaders have different father even if they are claiming they are descendants of Abraham. So who is their father?

John 8:37-41 (NKJV) – 37 “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38 I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.”
39 They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.”
Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. 41 You do the deeds of your father.”
Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.”

Why is Christ’s Father is not the same Father of the Jews that He was speaking to? Christ is a Jew, His mother is a Jew. Jesus is actually agreeing these Jews are descendant of Abraham but I think he meant the other descendants of Abraham.

Galatians 4:22-23 (NKJV)
22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise,

The question is are they descendant of the bondwoman or freewoman? The bondwoman was born according to the flesh. This is why Christ said in the beginning “you judge according to the flesh”. They are descendant of the bondwoman. The descendants of the flesh teach about the flesh. They follow the law but the law they follow became human laws. For example they accused Christ of working on a sabbath day when He healed a man sick almost in his entire life (John 5:5). They follow the law according to their understanding in the old testament but no longer the true law that God gave them. Same thing in today’s religions: do this, do that, write this, write that, promise this, promise that, etc., then you will be saved. The descendant of the free woman is about believing in Christ, the spiritual worship. The old covenant requires Israel for a burn offering, this is a physical worship. In Christianity, Christ is the lamb. As a lamb he offered himself once and for all for those who believe in Him. So there is not more physical sacrifices required.

I think the Pharisees are saying they are not born of fornication, they are also discrediting Christ birth that He was born out of wedlock. Fornication in the Hebrew world is a common language used for those who are not children of God like that of Samaritan who are product of intermarried. Fornication can also mean to refer to Ismael who is the son of the bondwoman. Old testament Israelite’s who engaged in unfaithfulness through the worship of false gods were called “the children of fornication” (Hosea 2:4).

Historical Background

God promised to Abraham that he will become father of a great nation.

Genesis 12:2 (NKJV)
2
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.

The Israelite in time of Jesus believed the promise to Abraham for a great nation is their nation. They did not understand that Abraham nation is as many as the dust in the earth.

Genesis 13:16 (NKJV) – 16 And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered.

The descendant of Abraham are many as the dust of the earth, contrary to the teaching of the Iglesia Ni Cristo only a few will be saved.

How else God reveal the number of Abraham descendants?

Genesis 15:5 (NKJV) – 5 Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.

God said if you can count the stars, that is how many people will become your descendants. Do you think there are only 2 million stars? The Jews in time of Christ thought they are the only people God put aside as His own, they did not know God intended to include all the non-Jews. This is the same mistake the exclusivist teach in our time.

The bondwoman

Because Abraham and Sarah are too old, they decided to take it in their own hand without waiting for God’s promise.

Genesis 16:2 (NKJV) – 2 So Sarai said to Abram, “See now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai.

Sarah concluded that since she was 75 years old, there was no way she would ever have a baby. That was a perfectly reasonable, perfectly “human” conclusion. So she and Abraham decided to take matters in their own hands and help God out. But, of course, God doesn’t need our help, and whenever we try to help God, things get worse, not better.

Hagar became pregnant and a son named Ishmael was born. Hagar is the bondwoman. According to Paul in Galatians 4:23, the son of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh. That is because it was done according to the decision of Sarah and Abraham not according to the will of God. The son of the bondwoman is Ismael, the descendant of those Christ was talking to in the Temple who live in the flesh and are murderer.

God further promised Abraham that He will provide for Ishmael, who also will become the progenitor of a great nation. Thus assured of Ishmael’s safety and well-being, Abraham sent Ishmael and his mother out of the household.

Many Christians believe Ismael is the root of Islam and I think because of

Galatians 4:24-25 (NKJV) – 24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar— 25 for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children—

Hagar is Mount Sanai in Arabia. I think this does not prove Islam is a root of Abraham because Mount Sinai is also the place where Moses received the ten commandments.  Paul’s Galatians audience will never understand if he is referring to Islam because it did not exist yet in their time. Paul was actually referring to the two covenants, the bondwoman is the old covenant and the freewoman is the new covenant.

The freewoman

God’s will is that Sarai, will become Sarah and she and Abraham will have a son name Isaac.

Genesis 17:15-17 (NKJV) – 15 Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.”

Genesis 17:21 (NKJV) – 21 But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.”

What the Israelite’s did not understand is that Sarah will be the mother of “nations”. Therefore the promise to Abraham to be the father of nation actually means many nations. The Jews believed that the promise is only to them. I think it was wrong from the beginning to think that God’s standing policy is to set aside His own people, this was the mistake of the Jews. God’s plan is to make Abraham descendant of many nations as many as the dust of the earth. Why this is so? John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.“.

According to Paul letter to the Romans,

Romans 9:6-8 (NKJV) – 6 But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, 7 nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” 8 That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.

Remember the audience in Romans are the Jewish believers of Christ who lived in Rome and Gentiles who became believers of Christ. The reason Paul spoken these words is because the Jewish believers are persecuting the Gentiles for not being circumcised under the law so how can they be saved? There are Israel people who are not of Israel both are seed of Abraham. Circumcision is a requirement in the old covenant but it is an act in the flesh. Christ is about faith and spiritual worship. The Jewish believers are holding back, they have converted but not fully for they are still trying to come back under the law. This reminds me of those who are expelled member of the Church and still trying to fight to restore the Church for they are still believing the rules of the flesh, do this and do that, write this and write that, then you will be saved.

The Murderers

Back to our main topic Christ words are becoming harsh in John chapter 8. If we continue reading from verse 43, Christ telling the Jews in the Temple that they do not listen to Him because they are not of God. They will never understand Him because their father is the devil who is a murderer from the beginning. These Jews they kill prophets,

John 8:43- 47 NKJV) – 43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”

Christ telling these Jewish crowds and leaders they are not of God. Read this

Matthew 3:7 (NKJV) – 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

Jesus is a Jew, the Pharisee and Sadducees I think are comparable in ranking position as the “Sanguniaan”. Imagine telling your Church leaders you bunch of brood of vipers! Sorry I did not say that. Brood can be a group of people who are serious of something. In this case seriously trying to question the authority of Christ.

In John 8:19 Christ said my Father is not your father. In John 8:44 Christ said your father is the devil, he was a murderer from the beginning because he is a liar. Christ is telling the Jewish crowd they are liar because they said they are of God but they are not. Because they are not of God they do not hear Him meaning they will never understand what Christ was saying because God did not gave them to Him.

At the end of John chapter 8, Jesus claim the I AM.

John 8:57-58 (NKJV) – 57 Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

Christ is claiming before Abraham He exited. The words “I AM” is a reserve words to the Jews as referring to God. This words all the more angered the Jewish leaders which is the reason why they accused Him of blasphemy.

Hope you learn from this lesson.

The Promise To Those Who Are Afar Off

The Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) or Church of Christ doctrines on baptism includes a topic on Acts 2:39:

Acts 2:39 (NKJV) – 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

There appear to be 3 groups of people in this passage and INC explains who are the three groups:

1) to you
2) to your children
3) to all who are a far off

The explanation to what appear to be three groups of people is followed by teaching on John 10:16

John 10:16 (NKJV) – 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

So Christ have another sheep who are in the fold (in His time) and not in the fold and they are:

1) In the fold – Jews
2) Also in the fold – Gentiles
3) Not in the fold – Iglesia Ni Cristo

Understanding John 10:16 and other Old Testament prophesies explaining those who are not in the fold will emerge in the Far East, the timing of which is July 27, 1914, then Acts 2:39 means to INC this way:

1) to you – Jews
2) to your children – Gentiles
3) to all who are a far off – Iglesia Ni Cristo members

Please read the full article here.

 

The Gospel of Fear

No other Christian religions can match the faith of the members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo. For decades I sacrifices even personal and work time, even declined job promotions for the sake of performing my duties. I believe the INC doctrines and practices made me stronger in my faith, but it was also the same doctrines and practices in the Church that made my faith weaker.

Now, I feel great. I feel the gift of the holy spirit. I know our Lord God and Jesus Christ better than before. I am equipped with the armor of God, that is His words from the scriptures.

Looking back at the beginning, I realized I had been subjected to the process of religious mind conditioning when I started attending INC doctrines. These conditioning are:

  • Believing the bible as the source for the words of God
  • Believing that the bible is kept in mystery, those who attempt to study have failed
  • Believing that there is no remedy for the sacrifices of sin if you missed worships service
  • Believing that persecutions and hatred cannot be avoided inside the Church of Christ
  • Obey your leaders and be submissive at all times
  • He who endure until the end will be saved
  • You go to the lake of fire if you leave the Church or if expelled from the Church

Additionally, the lessons in every worship service starts with edification, followed by being obedience, followed by teachings what will befall on you if you disobey, followed by how to emulate those who are enduring to their faith so that you can also emulate them. Over and over again twice a week.

What made my faith weak? The teachings that the bible is kept in mystery made me curious why would God make the scriptures a secret? This encouraged me to read. Initially I was afraid because it is like giving the devil a chance after all years of sacrifices enduring my faith. This is how every member of the Church shall remember. Slowly, I began to uncover the mystery is not truly a mystery. Now I feel great I am free to learn or hear ALL the words of God. I am free to learn the full gospel not only selected text that are within the doctrines of the Church.

The Bible and Mystery

The Church teaches the only source of the words of God is the bible. I believe this totally even now. This is one teaching that conditioned my mind that when the Minister is reading the bible it is “pristine” according to the doctrines.

The Church teach the bible is kept in mystery using Romans 16:25.

Romans 16:25(KJV) – 25 Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

The Minister preaching will stop there so now whether you are paying attention or not, the Minister just said the bible is kept in mystery is in it? Your mind conditioning just started. After decades of believing Matthew 16:25, somehow I started reading the same verse again. Didn’t the verse says “according to the revelation ..”? The word revelation means to reveal or to make it known. We don’t need to go any further in the bible, verse 26 again clarified the mystery has been revealed. The word “manifest” means revealed.

Romans 16: 26 (KJV) – 26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

Wait, there is a scapegoat. If you debate this, the Minister will say it has been revealed to the prophets only. Only to Bro. Felix Y. Manalo and the Church Ministers. Uhmm ok.  Hope you read these two articles already:  The INC teaching Regarding Mystery of the Bible and Test The Spirits Whether They Are Of God.

There is also equivocation by the church on the real mystery. Please read The Mystery Revealed.

Now this made me think these:

  • If the Church teach one lesson with equivocation, how many more doctrines are wrong? If you followed my previous articles, there are actually plenty of equivocations.
  • The INC doctrines prove other verses in scriptures false. This again made me thinking so is the bible really inspired by God? Why then some verses are wrong? For example Apostle Paul teach that salvation is a gift form God, gift is something you work for. But INC made this false by following only James that salvation can be achieved by faith and work. While “faith and work” sounds logical, it does not make sense to make Paul statement false. Please read the three-parts series “Is There Salvation Outside The Church?” for details on this topic.

No More Remedy For Not Attending Worship Service

One of the favorite verse in the Church is Hebrews 10:26-27.

Hebrews 10:26-27 (NKJV) – 26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.

Now, I can no longer forsake worship services. But actually the Church has remedy for those who do not attend regularly.  Write an affidavit that you will renew your life, no longer forsake worship services. So the Church already contradict the scriptures that there is no more remedy. The worst part is the remedy is also a total violation of the instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ to not swear.

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.

Matthew 5:24 (NKJV) – “34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne;”
Notice what James said: “les you fall into judgement.

The Church practice of writing affidavit specially for officer is a form of swearing. The word “affidavit” means a written statement confirmed by oath or affirmation. The Church implements this even if it violates the commandment of our Lord Jesus Christ. When you write an affidavit, it conditioned your mind not to repeat the same violation again because 1) it is awful to talk the same violation again to your Church leaders, 2) You think you are committing sins to God.

Unfortunately, members do not know you are committing sins whenever you write an affidavit or take an oath for an office.

If you are a Church Minister, it is written “do not swear” as commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ. But what do you do? You disobey and promote swearing. You violate our Lord Jesus Christ, constantly! What do you call someone who violate the commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ?

Again ask this, how many more wrong teachings inside the Church of Christ?

Persecutions and Hate

As a member of the Church if the world hate you, it is our Lord Jesus Christ who hate them first.

John 15:18 (NKJV) – 8 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

You are not of this world that is why the world hate you.

John 15:19 (NKJV) – 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

By hearing these teachings, you are now conditioned to depend yourself against those who are asking why you joined the INC.

But wait, who was Christ speaking to in John 15:18-19? If you read from the last verse in chapter 15 and go back to previous chapters, Jesus was speaking to the disciples of His time.

John 15:27(NKJV) – 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

The “you” is not you INC members of year 2017. The “you” are the disciples who were with Jesus from the beginning of His ministry. The bible is not written to us, it is written for us because it is profitable for our own learning of the words of God and Jesus Christ. While the verse are applicable to Christians in our time, nowhere in the book of John is written only to the Iglesia Ni Cristo members so it is wrong to translate “you” as you member of the Church of Christ. The real context of John 15:18-19 is the discipleship and it is a specific situation in their time.

Again ask this, how many more wrong teachings inside the Church of Christ?

Obey your leaders and be submissive at all times

This is where he Church Executive Minister shines in all the glory of his own. This is now the conditioning to the extreme to prepare you for the worst situation in the Church. Your obedience with no hesitation. If a member obeys its leader without questions, then the Church will remain strong. The same commandments exercised by the District Ministers in their own district, even most of Locale Ministers today exercised their leadership after all life is difficult if you are not a Minister so I cannot blame them. Might as well enjoy life. The Church exercised a hierarchical command starting from the Executive Minister, Deputy Executive Minister, Executive Councils (Sangunian), District Ministers and Locale Ministers. Then for the members, each locale have head deacons, area overseers, group overseers, department leaders and officers and ordinary members. This hierarchy is strictly followed and no member below hierarchy can make own decision without approval of the next leader. The Church use these verses

Hebrews 13:17 (NKJV) 17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

If the bible is to be obeyed verse by verse without knowing the context, Hebrew 13:17 is one that every leadership will use to exercise their command to its fullest. But the bible protect us from this authoritarian ruler

Revelation 2:15 (NKJV) – 15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

The doctrine of Nicolaitans is referring to a hierarchical commands who have abusive power. If we only go back up to Hebrew 13:7, we can understand that there are limitations.

Hebrews 13:7 (NKJV) – 7 Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct.

Considering the outcome of their conduct. How are the leaders doing? Are they still abiding to the teachings of God? Do they preach the gospel of peace or the gospel of fear?

Romans 10:15 (NKJV) – 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

Do not always believe the teachings the bible gave us example how first century Christians test the spirit.

I John 4:1 (NKJV) – 1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

He who endures

Enduring encompass everything that has been conditioned in your mind. The Church teaches that he who endure until the end will be saved.

Matthew 24:13 (NKJV) – 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

While enduring is a way to succeed in any endeavor, the Church is using Matthew 24:13 in the wrong context (again). Matthew 24:13 does not teaching enduring to secure your salvation because for this to be true, you have to prove Apostle Paul teachings of grace and salvation false therefore un-inspiring the words of God. Which is by the way the INC do deny Apostle Paul teachings of grace and salvation.  Matthew 24:3 was spoken by Jesus in the context of destruction of Jerusalem. The destruction of Jerusalem is more than three years tribulation from 66 AD to 70 AD.

Let us understand the true context of Matthew 24:13

Matthew 24:1 (NKJV) Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple.

Mark 13:1 (NKJV) Then as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!”

Luke 21:5 (NKJV) Then, as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and donations, He said,

The story started with the disciples showing the amazing Temple building, the fortress and the central religious place of the Jews. While the disciples are proud and amazed of their fortress, Christ telling them the Temple will be destroyed not one stone will remain standing. Let us now complete the reading in Matthew 24

Matthew 24:1-14 (NKJV) – 1 Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?

4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 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. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

The words spoken in Matthew 24:1-14 are very familiar to the Iglesia Ni Cristo members. The “rumors of wars“, “earth quake“, “famines“, “pestilences” are all familiar words used to teach that the first world war I is the fulfillment of the prophesies of the re-emergence of the Church of Christ in the last days. These keywords are actually spoken in the context of Jerusalem Temple destruction mentioned in Matthew 24:2. The same is true for the “he who endures till the end” in refers to the same topic. Christ was talking about enduring the sufferings to be caused by the destruction of Jerusalem during the three and a half years of tribulations. The Apostles asked questions that are RELATED events: “when will these things [destruction of the Temple] be? and what will be the sign of the end of the age [the end of covenant age, the old covenant, the end of Jewish age. NOT THE END OF THE WORLD]?.

The mind conditioning always ends with the fear of death, the fear in the lake of fire. If you do not endure, you will end up in the lake of fire. Now you are conditioned to the extreme situation.

Again ask this, how many more wrong teachings inside the Church of Christ?

The following verses are also used by the Church but let us understand them now more seriously.

John 10:28 (NKJV) – 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.

Notice what Christ said, those who are saved will not perish, meaning those who will not be saved will perish. The word “perish” is to suffer death, to die, to disappear. Nothing is eternal punishment mentioned here.

Mark 16:16 (NKJV) – 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

Mark testifies what our Lord Jesus says: “He who does not believe will be condemned“. The word “condemn” is a sentence to a punishment, like death. Again nothing is mentioned of eternal punishment.

The bible use “death” not necessarily in a physical death. God told Adam and Eve they will surely die if they eat the forbidden fruit. They ate anyway and so they die not physically but spiritually.

Again ask this, how many more wrong teachings inside the Church of Christ?

God’s nature is love therefore while the bible teach about death, the center of teaching God’s words should be about love and not a constant reminder of eternal damnation.

1 John 4:8 (NKJV) – 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

So where do the Church get the teaching of eternal punishment? It is from the traditions and religions that Bro. Felix Y. Manalo joined before creating the Church of Christ.

Summary

I now have full of faith in the words of God from the scriptures. Now I understand the bible, not all of it yet, but the verses that I already covered in a contextual sense not just connecting selected text. I believe the bible is inspired book. No verses in the bible contradict another verse. With that in mind, any verse that seems to be contradicting each other one must find the logical reasons to explain until the two verses are in agreement. If you cannot explain the harmony then you are wrong, not the bible. Keep searching until you find the harmony. With these principles, I believe if anyone is teaching one verse to be false in favor of making the other verse true then he/she is a false teacher teaching false doctrine.

In closing, the mind conditioning inside INC is a way to strengthen the faith but it is also a bad practice to instill fear. The fear to read the bible, the fear of eternal punishment in the lake of fire. This is the gospel of fear, the fear of death. When you are subjected to its doctrines, you become a prisoner of your own faith. Forever hold your peace.

-Cornelius

The Sufferings of God’s People

Why do good people suffer? Why do people who seems to be good persecute?

Why is Bro. Angel and his company from 36 Tandang Sora in prison? Who is behind them? What is their motive? Why they are being denied of basic necessities in life? For quite sometime they have been denied of water and food supply. People who claimed to belong to true Church persecuted them, ransacked their house. Most recently, while still living inside their house, it does not matter if the house is theirs or not, the house was being demolished not caring if people can get hurt. The people of Tandang Sora had been in a prison-like home for over a year already. Now they had been arrested without even a search warrant.

Because the root of these issues is religion, I like to cover this based on biblical teachings. The bible is very clear

1 John 4:8 (NKJV) – 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

The life for a believer can be very difficult. I believe almost all the disciples of Christ in the first century had been persecuted, murdered or put to death. In fact Jesus forewarned this to his disciples:

2 Timothy 3:12 (NASB) – And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

The questions is who really are living in Christ? Based on the experienced of the first century Christians, we can relate to what is happening in our time. Let us looked at the experienced of Paul

2 Corinthians 11:23-27 (NASB) – Are they servants of Christ? (I speak as if insane) I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. 24 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. 26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; 27 I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.

Apostle Paul experienced far more labors, more imprisonment, beaten, night and day spent in the deep. While this is not the experienced of Bro. Angel, it is almost similar already.

Apostle Paul gave instruction to the Corinthians, put on the full armor of God. What does it mean? Learn the full gospel, not only selected text.

Ephesians 6:10-12 (NASB) – Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God,;, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

What else do we understand in this passage? So that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. What is happening? The struggle is not against flesh and blood [this is not necessarily referring to fighting but we can take it literally], the struggle is against:

against the rulers, powers, world forces of this darkness This are all referring to the people who are in power. Either religious power or political power. Why are we sure it includes religious power? Read next.

against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places – heavenly places refers to a religious group or religious places. People who physically look spiritual [holy], but inside are forces of wickedness or evil minds.

The author of Revelation wrote there are those who claimed to be apostles [Ministers in our time] but they are not. Why? Because they are liars and they are persecuting other people.

Revelation 2:2-3 (NKJV) – 2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.

In the time of our Lord Jesus Christ, it is easy to know who belong to the nation of God. It is the Jews. But even their time, Christ explained that there are Jews who in reality are not. It is like saying in our time they are true Christians, but because of their evil minds, they are not.

Revelation 2:9 (NASB) – I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

Revelation 2:9 (NKJV) – 9 “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

Did you just read that? They are synagogue of Satan! I did not say that, the bible is. In our time that is equivalent of saying Church of Satan!

God knows your hardship Bro. Angel and company. The only way to survive with this kind of people is to trust in God because it is God himself who judges these evil rulers.

Psalms 82:1 (NASB) – God takes His stand in His own congregation; He judges in the midst of the rulers.

Therefore live with the armor of God as Paul teaches in Ephesians 6:10, be content for Christ sake and your spirit will be lifted for you to be stronger. Just like what Apostle Paul said

2 Corinthians 12:10 (NASB) – Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Dear God, while we wish Bro. Angel and company be released from prison, it is not our will, not their will, but your will. We pray for their safety.

Read more..
http://www.rappler.com/nation/163106-angel-manalo-speaks-supporters-arrest

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