One of the concerned readers of this blogsite asked, “Is there any prophecy in the Bible regarding the Philippines?” It immediately flashed into my mind when sometime in the 1980’s, a critic in Pampanga where I was preaching nightly asked, “Can you read Philippines in the Bible?” And there followed a lot of discussion about what cannot be read in the Bible. For example, although the name bitter gourd is not in the Bible, ampalaya in the vernacular, the very essence and the very being of such vegetable is in the Bible. I will read to you the book of Genesis 1:11-12, 29 –
“And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.”
It is clear in the verse that God created every herb for food. “Every herb.” Every herb means every plant and every vegetable that is after its kind. I want you to notice the word “after its kind” and “bearing seeds”. The bitter gourd falls into this category. Exodus 12:8 proves this.
“And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.”
When God commanded the Israelites to observe the Passover, they were admonished by God to eat the Passover lamb with bitter herbs and there is no doubt that ampalaya is bitter. So it does not mean that if a particular name is not mentioned in the Bible, it is not in the Bible. In fact, the Bible is the mirror from which we can gauge or see things that exist since creation. Even those that have gone extinct can be found in the Bible. For example, dinosaurs, even though they are now extinct, are mentioned in the Bible. They are now extinct, but they are in the Bible. The same thing goes with the Philippines. It was discovered by Ferdinand Magellan on March 16, 1521, and was named in honor of King Philip II of Spain, sometime in 1543. So it was called “Las Islas Filipinas” or The Philippine Islands.
There are great nations in the world today that exists whose name is not in the Bible. There is a hint of the nation of Cyprus, even though the word “Cyprus” is not mentioned, The Bible mentions it as Chittim; but the word Cyprus is not in the Bible. America, Great Britain or the United Kingdom are also nowhere to be found in the Bible. There are prophecies in the Bible that do not mention the name; therefore, it is logical that we cannot find those names in the Bible.
The last book of the Bible was written in the concluding part of the 1st century of our era . The Old Testament books and the prophets were written from as far back as 1300 years before Christ. So a name which was given to a particular nation only in the 1500’s of our era cannot be found in the Bible and it is logical. But it doesn’t mean that because the name of a particular nation or a country cannot be read in the Bible, that nation is not included in the Biblical prophecy – just like the case of my country, the Philippines.
Whatever truth that happens which is in accordance to the will of God is in the Bible. I believe the advent of the preaching of the true church in the Philippines is in the Bible. Let us read from the prophecies of the scriptures. There is a prophecy in the book of Malachi 1:11, which says –
“For the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.”
This is clear in this prophecy among the heathen or the Gentiles. The word “Gentile” means “outside Israel”. For reference, we may read Ephesians 2:11-12:
“Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:”
All nations outside Israel, which is the first nation under God, are called Gentiles. And according to the Bible, in the prophecy of the Book of Malachi, the name of the Lord God of Israel will be great among the heathen or the Gentiles. And that starts from the rising of the sun.
I want to invite the meticulous attentions of those Bible reading scholars. The east mentioned here is not the east of Jerusalem but it is the east where the rising of the sun commences. We know that the sun rises in the direction of the Far East and that is where my country lies. The Philippines is in the Far East and not in the near east. If we are to consider the wordings of the prophecy in Malachi, it is among the Gentiles. So, it is not in the Middle East or in the near east where Christianity was first established but it is in another east which is different from the near east where Christianity was first preached, the near east. Therefore, it is another east and this east is very clearly defined in the Bible as the east from where the sun rises. According to the prophecy “…from the rising of the sun and to the going down thereof, the name of God of Israel shall be great among the Gentiles…” Why? It is because incense will be offered unto the name of the Lord God of Israel. Incense in the verse tells us not of literal incense. It is in the book of Revelation 5:8 (REVISED STANDARD VERSION) –
“And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints;”
Incense signifies the prayers of the saints. So there will people in the east offering prayers to God and God acknowledges their prayers. These are people of God in the east. In relation to that, there is another prophecy in the book of Zechariah 8:7 –
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country;”
So, there will be people of God in the east. Let us not discount, however, the possibility that when we say the word “east”, it may mean Japan because it is also in the east. In fact, it is called the Land of the Rising Sun. It may also mean Indonesia. It may also mean the Philippines and other countries in the Far East but what is striking in the prophecy is that it speaks of people praying unto the God of Israel. Never was in the history of Japan or other countries in the Far East that the name of the Lord God of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was praised among the Gentiles or the heathen in Japan.
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Most oriental countries have their own religion. For example, Buddhism is very prevalent in Japan and other oriental religions. They do not believe in the Lord God of Israel. But in the Philippines, it is the only country in Asia that believes in the Bible and that takes the Bible as the authority of their faith. And in the Philippines, I believe, is the fulfillment of this prophecy that there will be a people of God and these people will be offering incense or prayers to the Lord God of Israel. But how do we know they are the people of God and how will they become the people of God? He said, “I will save my people from the east country…”
Before there can be people of God, somebody must be used by God in preaching the truth. In the book of Acts 15:14 –
“Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.”
Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for his name. So God will visit the Gentiles, to take out of the Gentiles a people for his name. And how can this be? How will this happen? The Bible again in the book of Acts 9:15 has this to say –
“But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:”
The verse speaks of the person of the Apostle Paul. For there to be a people of God, there will be a chosen vessel like the Apostle Paul. Paul was commissioned by God, firstly, in the Christian dispensation, to be the front runner of Christianity among the Gentiles. “He’s a chosen vessel unto me to bring my name before the Gentiles…” he said in the prophecy. And this was accomplished by the Apostle Paul. When he was preaching, he said in the book of Acts 13:46-47 that–
“Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.”
It is clear in the verse that Paul said to the Israelites, who rejected his preaching that he was going to the gentiles “…the word of God must be preached first unto you, but seeing you put it from you, you do not want to accept it, you judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, then we turn to the Gentiles…” Why? For this is the essence of the prophecy (in verse 47) “For so hath the Lord commanded us (in the prophecy)…” it is in the prophecy of Isaiah saying “I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.”
So when the name of the Lord God of Israel was first preached unto the Gentiles, the Apostle Paul was the chosen vessel. But let us remember that the Gentiles being spoken of by the Apostle Paul are not the Gentiles in the Far East since he did not preach in the Far East. The Gentiles, to whom God sent the Apostle Paul, are the Gentiles in the surrounding areas of the Holy Land and extends as far as Greece, the Gentiles in the domain of the Roman Empire. But the prophecy in Malachi specifically speaks of Gentiles in the east. So, in that particular prophecy, it is not Apostle Paul who will be the instrument of God in gathering his people in this particular part of the globe. There will be another vessel like Paul who will preach the greatness of the name of the Lord God of Israel in the east; and that east, the rising of the sun, the is different from Jerusalem or from the Holy Land which is in the Middle East. .
Now, is there such a person like the Apostle Paul in the east who will preach the name of the Lord God of Israel? Is there a prophecy that tells about his being and is there a prophecy that tells us the time when this vessel of God or instrument of God like the Apostle Paul will preach the name of the Lord God of Israel in the east? Of course there must be in the Bible because as I have said earlier, there’s always a fulfillment of the truth of God written in the scriptures, especially in the prophecies.
There are so many preachers in the east that claim to be the vessel or the instrument of God in preaching the truth. One of them very much known in the Far East is a Korean by the name of Sun Myung Moon. Another is a Filipino by the name of Felix Manalo who teaches that he is the angel ascending in the east in the book of Revelation Chapter 7. Another still is a Filipino by the name of Salvador Payawal, who preached that the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ on earth will be on January 1, 2001, 12:01 in the morning. And of course, in the Philippines, there is also Bro. Soriano. Who among these that claim that they are the instruments of God in establishing God’s people in the Far East is the true messenger of God? Let us again focus our eyes on the prophecy in the east. It is undoubtedly Biblical that, according to the prophecy, there will be people of God in the east country; that the east mentioned is not the Near East. It logically speaks of another east. And we have seen that before, it can be in the Far East. But let us see who will be the instrument to be used by God in preaching the glory of his name among the Gentiles or the people of God in the east or in the Far East. In the book of Isaiah 24:15 (REVISED STANDARD VERSION) it says –
“Therefore in the east give glory to the LORD; in the coastlands of the sea, to the name of the LORD, the God of Israel.”
I want you to notice what the verse says. The prophecy speaks of people giving glory to the name of the Lord God of Israel in the coastlands of the sea in the east. Did you notice the term used “coastlands or the islands of the sea in the east?” In the King James Version, it is translated as “isles of the sea” while in the Revised Standard Version, it is referred to as “the coastlands of the sea”. So, the country being mentioned is made up of many islands and they are islands of the sea. The characteristics of the country called Las Islas Filipinas or later The Philippines is very much fitting. There will be people (from where? in those islands??) giving glory to the name of God of Israel. This is a collateral prophecy very much related to the Malachi 1:11 that we have used earlier.
Now, how will these people give glory? What will lead them to give glory to the name of the Lord God of Israel in the east? There is still another prophecy in the book of Jeremiah. But before we read such prophecy, let us discover what kind of a prophet is Jeremiah. In the book of Jeremiah 1:5 the Lord said –
“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”
He was ordained a prophet unto the nations. Meaning, the prophecy of Jeremiah does not only mention the nation of Israel but also other nations. And it is very much possible that the Philippines is a part of the prophecy of the book of Jeremiah. In Jeremiah 30:19-22, 24 –
“And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small. Their children also shall be as formerly, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all that oppress them. And their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me: for who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? saith the LORD. And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
The fierce anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have done it, and until he have performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it.”
The prophecy states that there will be people of God in the last days. You should remember that fact in the prophecy – that they are people of God at the time of the end or in the latter days. Out of these people will come out with praises and thanksgiving unto the Lord God of Israel. But you have to notice also that in the verses mentioned, they are few. Nevertheless, the power of God will not see them few for all time because He said that “I will multiply them…,” meaning, they will start from few; “I will glorify them and they shall not be small…,” meaning, at their advent they will be few and they will be small. Out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry for the glory of the name of the Lord God of Israel. How will this start? In the prophecy also, it says that out of them will proceed their governor or their leader and their nobles will come from themselves. A leader or a governor, from among them, shall come. So there will be an instrument like the Apostle Paul who will lead them to be the people of God. Their leader will come from them. Surprisingly true, Brother Eli Soriano did not come from any other religious group. He was born, with his parents already members of the Church of God and they are few. Upon the death of Brother Nicolas Perez, Brother Eli Soriano took the administration in the Church of God which during those times, were but very few.
Maybe critics will say, “So, therefore, it was not Soriano who started the preaching, it was Nicolas Perez.” That is true, and we will not refute that, but the prophecy is clear – it will not be Perez that will be acknowledged by God as the leader. He is just like John the Baptist who has preached the inception of Christianity. He did not become the leader but he is the introducer. Nicolas Perez was used as an instrument of God to start the preaching but he is not the supposed leader who will lead the people because he came from another religious organization. Very much like Manalo, who also claims to be the fulfillment of this prophecy. In this case, Manalo, he cannot be the fulfillment, because he was born a Catholic and he became a member of so many religious groups before he finally founded the Iglesia Ni Cristo (of Manalo) in the Philippines. It is much like also with the Korean who was born in an oriental religion. Brother Soriano, on the other hand, was born in the Church of God. His parents were already members before he was born. This satisfies the fulfillment of the prophecy of Jeremiah that says “and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me: for who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? saith the LORD.” And when that happens, “And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.” And this will happen in the latter days or in the time of the end.
Aside from the prophecy of Jeremiah, is there another prophecy that can be used in the Bible to mention the person of Brother Eli Soriano? In the book of Revelation 1:3 it says –
“Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”
In the time of the end, when the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is at hand, there is another prophecy in the prophetic book of Revelation that there will be someone who will be reading the Bible. There are those who will hear the words of the prophecy of the Bible when he reads them, people will hear and they will fulfill the things that were written in the prophecy. I believe with all my heart that this was fulfilled in this organization that started from the east which is now called popularly as the Church of God International. It was the person of Brother Soriano who was used by God in making his truth be heard from the isles of the sea in the orient or in the east. In fact, Brother Soriano is known from the tip to the bottom of the Philippine Islands because of his preaching that he has been doing for four decades of his life.
Now, Brother Soriano is in the west. Still, if he be allowed by God, he is willing to be used as an instrument for the westerners because the prophecy states, if we are going to go back to Malachi 1:11 –
“For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.”
It says that “from the rising the sun and unto the going thereof”, meaning in the west, it is fate and faith that brought Brother Soriano from the east to the west. For your information he is now preaching in the west to make the prophecy be seen among the nations that the Lord God said that from the rising of the sun to its setting, or from the east to the west, “I will save my people in the east country and in the west country.” I believe in the potent work of the words of God. I believe in the powers of the word of God. All of these shall come true. And I’m willing to be a little instrument of this prophecy!
So help me, God. AMEN!