The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines VENERATION as "Respect or awe inspired by the dignity, wisdom, dedication, or talent of a person". [Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/veneration]
Wikipedia defines it as "Veneration Philologically, "to venerate" derives from the Latin verb, venerare, meaning to regard with reverence and respect. [Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veneration]
Is there anything wrong with showing high respect and reverence towards people who we consider as God's servants for His chosen nation, like Jesus Christ, the Apostles and during these last days, the Last Messenger, Bro. Felix Y. Manalo and the late Executive Minister, Bro. Eraño G. Manalo? No, because it is taught to God's chosen people to remember them and to let their lives serve as a model or good example for us to follow.
"7 Remember your former leaders, who spoke God's message to you. Think back on how they lived and died, and imitate their faith." ~ Hebrews 13:7 Good News Translation
So when does admiration become veneration that turns into idolatry? When it goes beyond what is intended only for God.
In the history of man, we have admired and adored many great and honorable leaders. But the Bible forewarned us regarding a man who will supersede all of these things and elevate himself to be just like God, ascribing to himself the adoration and exaltation that is sacredly reserved only for God. Let the Bible describe this person and let his traits determine who the fulfillment of this verse is during our time.
"3 Don’t be fooled by anything they might say. That day of the Lord will not come until the turning away from God happens. And that day will not come until the Man of Evil appears, the one who belongs to hell.[a] 4 He will stand against and put himself above everything that people worship or think is worthy of worship. He will even go into God’s Temple[b] and sit there, claiming that he is God." ~ 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 Easy-to-Read Version
Now, you might say that EVM never claimed that he is God so that verse definitely does not refer to him. So let's ask the question, how does one elevate himself like God or higher than God? By allowing himself to be exalted in a manner befitting only for our Lord God, and because it is so easy for people to be drawn toward men of power and influence, they allow themselves to become fanatics and without realizing it- idol worshippers.
Even during the time of the Apostles, people witnessed great deeds and miracles. The people exalted the Apostles with so much adoration and veneration, YET, the Apostles did not allow it. They did not allow themselves to be drunken with people's devotion, unlike some EVil Men we know who could not resist such temptation nowadays.
In the Bible, when Cornelius was divinely instructed by a holy angel to send for Apostle Peter, he followed it and when he saw Peter, he fell on his feet with so much reverence. BUT Apostle Peter did not allow this. With so much humility, he corrected Cornelius so that he will not fall into false faith and idolatry. Apostle Peter emphasized that he is no different from him or any other men.
"25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26 But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.”" ~ Acts 10:25-26 New International Version
Apostle Paul and Barnabas were equally adamant that the people of Lystra not venerate them once they have witnessed the many great deeds that they have done. They even restrained the people from offering sacrifices and worship-like services to them. They emphasized that they are just like them, men in nature and that their duty was to preach the words of God.
"14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out 15 and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, ...18 And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them." ~ Acts 14:14-15,18 New King James Version
Even our Lord Jesus Christ was not able to escape the veneration of men to the point of exalting him as God for the many traits and miracles that he exhibited during his lifetime, yet he had the divine integrity to resist such temptation and rectified the people who revered him as God, who is a Spirit (John 4:24). He not only declined such veneration, he even exemplified the striking differences between him who is a man, and God who is a Spirit, to definitively prove his point and explicitly impress into the people's minds and hearts that he is not God or has ever aspired to be God.
"39 Look at [the marks in] My hands and My feet, [and see] that it is I Myself. Touch Me and see; a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see that I have.”" ~ Luke 24:39 Amplified Bible
So when Eduardo V. Manalo, with so much veneration exalted towards him by his blind followers and fanatic church members, DID NOT and continuously DOES NOT correct this adoration towards him that seems to feed his insecure ego and weak personality, he is, therefore, allowing idolatry to replace the pristine worship inside the Church of Christ that is intended for God alone. He is thereby publicly proclaiming himself as God or higher than God every time he bathes in his fanatics' veneration. In the absence of EVM's prohibition, there is permission.
- Permission to be venerated as the most important person in the world
- Permission to bow down or kneel before him to kiss his hand
- Permission to repeatedly mention his name (atleast 30 times), with EMPHASIS (including loud whaling and stomping of the feet of the one praying) during prayers and worship service lessons
- Permission to have his behemoth pictures on every edifice and at every corner or room of church-owned (or loaned) buildings and during every church activities
- Permission to be the FOCUS and CENTER of the whole Church
- Permission to promote mind-conditioning activities that inculcate deep veneration towards EVM especially with very young children
- Permission for the Ministers and Members of the church to do UNCHRISTIAN acts for as long as they remain ONE WITH EVM.
- Permission to be cheaply branded on every merchandise that is forcedly being sold by Ministers and church officers that double as UNLAD Kabuhayan hawkers/resellers.
- Permission for everyone to be one with HIM, which is now deviously equated as the sole attainment of salvation
So when we start seeing videos like these emanating from the Ministers themselves, then we should start to be very vigilant for apostasy is now creeping in from within the church walls and the Ministers are the first to be commanded to be blind followers followed by the unsuspecting sheep.
In retrospect...Bro. Felix Y. Manalo:
Bro. Felix Y. Manalo: "Huwag si Manalo ang paniwalaan nyo kundi ang Biblia!" (Do not believe Manalo, belive what the Bible says!"
Bro. Eraño G. Manalo: "Huwag ako ang paniwalaan nyo kundi ang mga salita ng Diyos... Bukas ang opisina ng Tanggapan, kapag mayroon kayong nakita kahit isang titulo ng pagkakansala, maghiwa-hiwalay na tayo!" (Do not believe me, rather, believe in the words of God... The administration office is open, if you discover atleast one document of mortgaged property of the church then let us part ways!)
You can feel the Spiritual Integrity, Credibility, and Humility of the previous Executive Ministers of the Church of Christ. Clearly, the guidance of the Holy Spirit was with them. They taught the brethren about the True Worship of our Lord God. They did not put themselves on a pedestal and did not require the members to venerate them. The mere use of the word "Sir" to refer to them was at some point prohibited by Bro. Eraño G. Manalo so as not to breed even an iota of deep veneration towards them. And because they were inspired by the Holy Spirit, they ushered in, decades of spiritual success and peace for the whole church. They taught the brethren how to love, respect and care for one another, even towards strangers and those who considered us as enemies. Because of these, the Iglesia Ni Cristo EARNED the respect of the whole world.
Unfortunately, Eduardo V. Manalo pales in comparison to them. He is likened to an insecure child trying desperately to fill in the shoes of his father and grandfather. He surrounds himself with people who would tell him only the things that he wants to hear- words that will make him feel better about himself, make him feel important, loved and worshiped. The only way Eduardo can succeed in filling in the shoes.... is for him to destroy them! And destroyed them, he did! Any trace or remnant of his father's legacy, and I mean, LITERALLY! Eduardo, his wife, and his whole administration made it their life's mission to crush, shred or burn everything that reminds us of the previous dynamic stewardship of Bro. Erdy. Ever wonder why all of his Ministers and blind followers have become wicked?
"If a ruler pays attention to lies [and encourages corruption], All his officials [Ministers] will become wicked." ~ Proverbs 29:12
We urge everyone to pray. Pray for the church. Pray for Eduardo. May it not be too late for him to repent, but if it is, then may God still have mercy upon his soul and those who he has led astray.
~ Antonio Ramirez Ebangelista
“They tried to bury us…they didn’t know we were seeds.”
Philippine Daily Inquirer Article: “Antonio Ebangelista writes Philippine Daily Inquirer, Warns Iglesia Elders”
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