|Felix Ysagun Manalo|
|Religion||Iglesia ni Cristo|
|Born||May 10, 1886|
|Died||April 12, 1963 (aged 76)|
|Based in||F. Manalo, San Juan City, Philippines|
|Title||Huling Sugo ng Diyos sa mga Huling Araw ("The Last Messenger of God in these Last Days")|
|Period in office||1913-1963|
|Successor||Eraño G. Manalo|
Felix Ysagun Manalo (born Félix Manalo y Ysagun May 10, 1886 - April 12, 1963), also known as Ka Félix, was the first Executive Minister (Filipino: Tagapamahalang Pangkalahatan) of the Iglesia ni Cristo, and incorporated it with the Philippine Government on July 27, 1914. He is the father of Eraño G. Manalo, who succeeded him as Executive Minister of the INC, and the grandfather of Eduardo V. Manalo, the current Executive Minister.
Because there were no precursors to the registered church, external sources and critics of the INC refer to him as the founder of the Iglesia ni Cristo and describe him as such. The official doctrine of the INC is that Felix Y. Manalo is the last messenger of God, sent to reestablish the first church founded by Jesus Christ, which the INC claims to have fallen into apostasy following the death of the Apostles.
Brother Felix Y. Manalo was born at the time when the seeds of the revolution against the Spanish were being sown in the Philippines. He was born on May 10, 1886, ten years before the outbreak of the Philippine revolution (1886-1898), at Sitio Calzada, Barrio Tipas, Taguig, the firstborn of the couple Mariano Ysagun and Bonifacia Manalo.
He was nurtured in the Catholic religion by his devout mother and father. His parent made to attend the “caton class” (a catechism class) in Tipas to ensure that he learned the basic tenets and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1893, when he was seven years old, he was made to attend public school in Sta. Ana, Taguig. However, because of the death of his father and the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution in 1896, his studies was disrupted.
In 1899, when his mother remarried, his uncle, Mariano de Borja, a Roman Catholic priest, adopted him. During that time, his uncle was assigned in Sta. Cruz, Manila. He continued his studies in Manila.
In the house of his uncle in Sta. Cruz, Manila where he found a copy of the Holy Bible. Then, he immediately bedan reading the copy of the Holy Scripture that he dound. Because he during that time he was living with his uncle, a Catholic priest, and literaly living inside the walls od the Roman Catholic Church, and even attending a Catholic seminary during that time, he can thoroughly compare the teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church with the teachings written in the Bible.
Consequently, he lost his faith in Catholicism when he discovered that the Catholic teachings, rites and ceremonies are not in the Bible. Thus, he decided leave the Roman Catholic Church, hence leaving also his uncle’s house and his studies in Manila. In December, 1902, he went back to Tipas to help his mother twiced widowed and seven months pregnant during thatv time. There in Tipas, when his relatives and townmates learned that he leave his uncle’s house and stop his studies in Manila, rebuked his decision. And when they learned that he also decided to leave the Catholic religion persecuted him and made lies against him, hoping through these he changed his decision. But, the sixteen years old Felix Manalo stand firm on his decision never to come back to the Catholic religion because their practices and teachings contradict the teachings written in the Bible.
Out of curiosity, in April, 1903, he went with the “Colorums” on their lenten pilgrimage to the mountains of San Cristobal and Banahaw. After learning that their teachings also contradict the teachings of the Bible and that the “Voice of the Almighty” was a hoax, after that lenten pilgrimage he went back to Tipas. After a short period of time in Tipas, he went back to Manila. In the summer od 1903, he established a hat store in Paranaque. During this time, he continued his studies of the Bible.
Although, there were already many Protestant churches in Manila during that time, but they did not immediately captured the interest of Brother Felix Y. Manalo. Perhaps, his attention was focued on his study of the Bible. Hence, when Brother felix Y. Manalo started his intense examination of different Protestant churches, he was not without any knowledge of the Bible. When he started his examination of different Protestant sects, he was alreay studying the Bible for five years (he started his study of the Bible in the year 1899).
What made him to decide examine the Protestant sects? When he witnessed a religious debate between a Roman Catholic Church and a Protestant pastor in the early months of 1904. Other say that this was the event that made him doubting his Catholic faith. There are wrong. Brother Felix Y. Manalo already left the Roman Catholic Church in 1902. Thus, the religious debate he witnessed only help him decide to embraked a comprehensive examination of the Protestant sects and denominations.
In 1904 to 1913, Brother Felix Y. Manalo embarked on an earnest investigation of the Protestant churches and denominations, even joining some of them one after another. But this did not quench his thirst for the truth, for they too did not teach the words of God they should have been taught. So he severed his relationship with them.
One day in Novemner, 1913, Brother Felix Y. Manalo secluded himself in one of the rooms of his house at Pasay City. For two days and three nights he kept himself in the room depriving himself of sleep and food. Intensively studying the Bible and fervently praying to God. This period of reflection and withdrawal from the world outside led to his enlightenment of knowing the divine mission that God called him, to preach the Church of Christ (Iglesia Ni Cristo in Pilipino) which is the true Church written and taught by the Bible.
From then on there was no turning back. He was determined to disseminate the truth that was revealed to him. With his wife, he went to his former friends in Punta, Sta. Ana, Manila and started preaching the Gospel to them. Thus, the preaching of the last work of slavation had begun.
After establishing two locale congregations (Punta and Tipas), Brother Felix Y. Manalo officially registered the Iglesia Ni Cristo with the Philippine government on July 27, 1914. This is the official date of the establishment of the Church of Christ in the Philippines.
From that time on, for almost half a century, Brother Felix Y. Manalo administered the Church so effectively and so efficiently that even his detractors have to grudgingly acknowledgehis dynamic, leadership, his talent in administration. He cared and cherished Christ’s beloved Church until his death on April 12, 1963.
The growing public skepticism and ambivalence toward organized religions—and religious preachers in particular—may be partly due to the embarrassments some of these self-described prophets have caused their constituents. Take for instance the sexual abuse perpetrated by not a few "men of the cloth”, the bold yet foolish predictions of some messianic crackpots on the exact date the world would end, and outrageous pronouncements every now and then of some self-proclaimed prophets, to cite a few.
These unfortunate experiences and frustrations with religious leaders, sadly, had produced some stereotypes—with many hastily dismissing preachers as fraud, and their loyal hordes of followers as members of a cult.
Similarly, many people are still surprised whenever we, members of the Church Of Christ in these last days, teach that we do believe that Brother Felix Y. Manalo is God's Messenger in these last days. They think that this is a new doctrine or teaching that we only invented. The truth is, if they would only examine the teachings written in the Bible, they could prove to themselves that the commissioning of a messenger is an integral and primary teaching written in the Bible. This is not a new doctrine.
How true messenger are recognizedEditNowadays when religious preachers are a dime a dozen, How can the true messenger of God be determined? The Lord Jesus Christ gave this answer:
”... My doctrine is not mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory, but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no righteousness in Him” (John 7:16-18, New King James Version).
The Savior taught that a true messenger of God can be identiﬁed through his doctrine: what he teaches is from God and that it is His glory that he seeks. Any preacher, therefore, who teaches anything that contradicts God's doctrines cannot be a true messenger.
On His part, what did the Lord Jesus cite as proof that He was God-sent? Thus He declared:
"And the Father Himself, who sent Me ... has testified of Me You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me” (John 5:37, 39, I bid).
True messengers of God, therefore, have biblical prophecies to back up their being sent by God.
Thirdly, true messengers are known by the works they do, as taught by Christ:
"But I have a greater witness than John's; for the works which the Father has given Me tofinish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me” (John 5:36, Ibid.).
To recapitulate, the Scriptures provide at least three ways by which a true messenger of God can be recognized: 1) Through his teaching; 2) whether he has biblical testimony; 3) the works he does/ did. Let us now examine one by one if Brother Felix Manalo met all these standards or criteria.
He magnified lawEdit
Brother Felix Manalo may not be highly educated, or was he affluent. But for all his personal shortcomings, one thing that no one can accuse him of is he is teaching something that is unbiblical or anti-biblical. The doctrines he espoused—the absolute oneness of God who is the Father who created all things, immortal and invisible (John 17:1, 3; I Cor. 8:6; I Tim. 1:17); Christ being the Son of God (Matt. 3:17; John 8:40; Luke 24:38-39), all ﬂesh and blood and not otherwise, as other
preachers would insist; the necessity of membership in the true Church Of Christ (John 10:9, Revised English Bible; Acts 20:28, Lamsa Translation; Acts 2:47; I Cor. 5:13), among 0thers—all pass biblical scrutiny.
If there is any doctrine upheld by the lglesia Ni Crista’ that has no scriptural basis, we challenge everyone to come forward and show it, and we are conﬁdent all will fail to present any. This is because, as a true messenger of God, Brother Manalo did not dare add or take away from what is written (Deut. 12:32)—not even an iota or a dot (Matt. 5:18, Revised Standard Version)—for doing so will result in receiving the plagues and punishments of God, and losing one’s part in the Holy City (Rev. 22:18-19).
Has testimony from the scripturesEdit
Brother Felix Manalo did not simply present himself and claim to be a God-sent preacher of the message of salvation, sans any basis from the Bible. Just like the Lord Iesus, John the Baptist, and Apostle Paul who cited passages from the Holy Book to back up their claim to being God's messengers, Brother Manalo’s authority to preach rests on biblical testimonies.
First, let us go to the place of origin. Isaiah prophesied that God would be:
"Calling a bird of prey from the east, the man who executes My counsel,from a far country” whose work is to "bring My righteousness near, it shall not be far off” (Isa. 46:11, 13, NKIV, emphasis ours).
In a related prophecy, this is written:
"From the far east will I bring your offspring, and from the far west I will gather you" (Isaiah 43:5, James Moffatt Translation)
The righteousness being referred to is the gospel, which is God's power to salvation (Rom. 1:16-17). Take note that the man referred to in the prophecy would come from a far country in the east, or the Far East. Brother Felix Manalo who preached the gospel in our time hailed from the Philippines, a "country which stands almost at the geographical center of the Far East ...” (Asia and the Philippines, p. 169).
A related prophecy also described this country in the east as composed of islands:
"Therefore in the east give glory to the LORD; exalt the name of the LORD, the God ofIsrael, in the islands of the sea” (Isa. 24:15, NIV). I
Now, let us go to the time element. When would God call this messenger from the Far East? God declared:
"You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthestregions, and said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away. Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (Isa. 41:9-10, emphasis ours).
God also mentioned the fruits of the messenger’s work—the people who would become beneﬁciaries of his preachingfunction—would come from the ends of the earth:
Bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the ends of the earth ...” (Isa. 43:6, NKIV, emphasis ours).
When the Lord Jesus was asked by His disciples when the end of the age or end of the world would be, Hetold them that:
"...When you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!” (Matt. 24:3, 33, Ibid.).
Hence, the ends of the earth is the period when the end of the world is near which will be marked by speciﬁc events:
”And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you arenot troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matt. 24:6—8, NKIV). 1
The war alluded to, which would involve nations and kingdoms—hence, global in scope and magnitude—wasthe First World War which broke out on ]uly 27, 1914, exactly the same date when the Iglesia Ni Cristo which Brother Felix Manalo preached was ofﬁcially registered with the Division of Archives, Patented Properties of Literature and Industrial Trade Marks of the Philippine government.
There is also an underlying reason why this messenger was likened to a 'bird of prey,' or ravenous bird in other translation; his work was to snatch God's sons and daughters who were being held captives by the north and by the south:
"Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east, and gather you fromthe west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ And to the south, ‘Do not keep them back!’ Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth—” (Isa. 43:5-6, NK]V).
God's sons and daughters from the east (place) and from the ends of the earth (time) are being held back bythe north and by the south, which is why He called a man from the far east to snatch them and bring them to salvation (Jude 1:23). The north and the south being referred to stand for Protestantism and Catholicism, as affirmed by historians:
”It will be noted that it was the Teutonic north, which had resisted the Roman Empire, that brokeaway from the Catholic Church, while southern Europe retained the old faith. But in these days of religious toleration there are many Catholics in Protestant countries, and many Protestants in Catholic countries. In Germany, England, and the United States there is a mixture, but the Protestants greatly predominate" (Modern Times and the Living Past, p.346, emphasis ours).
This history book mentioned of a ”Teutonic north” that broke away (or protested) from the Catholic Church,the ”old faith” that was retained in southern Europe. Such Teutonic north represents Protestantism and the old faith that remained predominant in the south stands for Catholicism. Another book testified of this:
”In the north the Protestants were in control—Lutheran churches in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland,the northern and central states of Germany, Calvinist or Reformed churches in Scotland, the Netherlands, Hesse, the Palatinate, and a few of the western German states. In the south the Catholics were in control — Spain, Italy, Austria, Bavaria, and elsewhere in southern Germany” (The Reformation, p. 366).
The three continents where Christianity is the predominant religion are Europe, North America and South America. The northern part of Europe is predominantly Protestant, while the southern half is Catholic. In North America— the United States and Canada Protestantism predominates, while in South or Latin America, Catholicism rules. The Philippines is considered the only Christian nation in the whole of Asia, the biggest continent, due to the fact that three centuries of Spanish colonization had deeply implanted the Catholic faith, and another half century of American rule introduced the Protestant denominations.
Observably, anywhere we look where Christianity is the major religion, "north" represents Protestantism, while “south” represents Catholicism. It is from these two religions that the messenger from the Far East would snatch" people to bring them near to God's righteousness or the gospel and ultimately, their salvation—a feat that Brother Felix Manalo, as entrusted by God, accomplished.
His work bears witness of his being God-sentEdit
What has transpired in the Iglesia Ni Cristo from its humble beginning up to its present triumphant posture is a living testament to the fulﬁllment of the biblical prophecies concerning Brother Felix Manalo and the Church of Christ in these last days. Everything that happened in the Church did so not by chance or accident, but
according to the design and plan of the Almighty.
Many of the Iglesia Ni Cristo members today, perhaps the majority, had not seen and heard Brother Manalo in person. But his memory will always be fondly remembered, for indeed, he is God's messenger in these last days that through his commissioning they have been brought to God, to the true service, and to the hope of receiving salvation on Judgment Day.
Brother Felix Manalo's Legacy
The memory of Brother Felix Y. Manalo shall always remain with the Iglesia ni Cristo. The teachings of God which Brother Manalo preached shall always guide the Church in her journey to the eternal kingdom. His fraternal love and devotion to the Church shall always live in the hearts and minds of the faithful. To most members of the Church of Christ, whatever is said about him is a matter of deep personal concern. For he is more than a brother to them; he is to them God’s last messenger who was instrumental in bringing God’s righteousness near them. And they have biblical basis for such belief.
Of course, others like his critics and detractors, rejected his preaching vehemently. They persecuted those who were converted into the Iglesia Ni Cristo to discourage them. But that did not seem to faze the members. Undaunted, they held on to their faith knowing as they did that they gave received the teachings from God’s messenger himself.
Brother Felix Y. Manalo is gone now, but the Iglesia Ni Cristo shall always thank Godfor having sent His messengerin these last days. His memory lives and the message of God that he brought to God’s chosen people in these last days shall always occupy a central place in their hearts.
The church’s growth and expansion met many criticisms and persecutions. Its leaders and members alike were often ridiculed and maligned. However, Felix Manalo was an eloquent speaker, and he could deliver a skillful argument, had a facility in the use of Scriptures and a mastery in organization.
The ministers of the Christian Mission honored him on December 12, 1918, as an outstanding evangelist.
The Genius Divinical College of Manila on Avenida, Rizal, a non-sectarian institution headed by Eugenio Guerero, conferred on Felix Manalo the degree of Master of Biblo-Science honoris causa on March 28, 1931.
On July 27, 2007, coinciding with the 93rd Anniversary of the Iglesia ni Cristo, the National Historical Institute (NHI) of the Philippines unveiled a marker on the birthplace of Felix Manalo, declaring the site as a National Historical Landmark. The marker is located at Barangay Calzada, Tipas, Taguig City, Metro Manila where the ancestral home of Manalo once stood. The marker sits on a 744 square meter plaza. In his dedication speech, Ludovico Badoy, NHI executive director said "Brother Felix Manalo's significant contribution to Philippine Society is worth recognizing and emulating.". He further said "...the church he preached have changed the lives and faith of many Filipinos. He deserves the pride and recognition of the people of Taguig.". The responsibility, maintenance and operation of the landmark was turned over to the INC.
On the same year, President Arroyo declared July 27 of every year as "Iglesia ni Cristo Day" to enable millions of INC followers in the Philippines and in 75 countries around the world to observe the occasion with fitting solemnity.