Monthly Archives: April 2008

OT Water Ceremonies and Forgiveness of Sin

Baptism

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There’s a continuing discussion on how water is related to a God-given process of cleansing and the forgiveness of sins. One side says, water is not related to God’s process, while the other side says it is a God-given requirement. This lesson helps to clarify this debate.

Propostion: Water ceremony is a God-given element in the process of cleansing and forgiveness of sin, therefore it is essentially related to the forgiveness of man’s sins.

In this study, we continually ask the questions: (1) Were the uncleanness and the penalty threat pronounced for not heeding the process of cleansing taken off a person before or after the water ceremony? (2) Did the power of forgiveness reside in God Himself or in the water in itself? (3) Did God forgive if His command or process of cleansing was not obeyed? (4) Where water element was commanded as part of the cleansing process, did people in the Mosaical Dispensation have the right to disregard water and be cleansed of the uncleanness? (5) If you were there in the Wilderness of Sinai, would you have debated with Moses about the essentiality of washing in water for your cleansing and freedom from penalty? (Quotations are taken from the New King James Version of the Bible).

Awesome Glory and Authority of the LORD.

In our relationship with God, we should recognized the awesome and majestic glory and sovereignty of God. Those who want to disregard water in baptism in the Christian dispensation as an essential element in obeying God want to reduce God and Christ Jesus as confused and ignorant Rulers. But if we recognize Christ Jesus as Sovereign Lord, Master and one who knows all things including Greek Grammar, then we should not argue with him. We should meekly and humbly obey His command.

We submit a study on the use of water in the Mosaical Dispensation. This will help us understand the background of the Christ Great Commission Baptism in water.

Exodus 40:34-35. “Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.”

Leviticus 27:34. “These are the commandments which the LORD commanded Moses for the children of Israel on Mount Sinai.”

Numbers 36:13. These are the commandments and the judgments which the LORD commanded the children of Israel by the hand of Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan, across from Jericho.”

Joshua 1:6-8. “Be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

Book of Exodus– Use of Water in OT Religious Ceremonies

Exodus 29:4. “Present Aaron and his sons at the entrance of the Tabernacle, and wash them with water.”

40:12. “Bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the Tabernacle, and wash them with water.”

Book of Leviticus—Use of Water in OT Religious Ceremonies

Leviticus 1:9. “But he shall wash its entrails and its legs with water. And the priest shall burn all on the altar as a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire as sweet aroma to the LORD.”

6:27,28. “… And when its blood is sprinkled on any garment, you shall wash that on which it was sprinkled, in a holy place. But the earthen vessel in which it is boiled shall be broken. And if it is boiled in a bronze pot, it shall be both scoured and rinsed in water.”

8:6. “Then Moses brought Aaron and his sons and washed them with water.”

11:32. “Anything on which any of them falls, when they are dead shall be unclean…it must be put in water. And it shall be unclean until evening; then it shall be clean.”

14:5-9. “And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water…that was killed over the running water. And he shall sprinkle it seven times on him who is to be cleansed from the leprosy, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose in the open field. He who is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes…wash himself in water, that he maybe clean…He shall wash his clothes and wash his body in water, and he shall be clean.

16:4. “He shall put the holy linen tunic and the linen trousers on his body; he shall be girded with a linen sash, and with the linen turban he shall be attired. These are holy garments. Therefore he shall wash his body in water, and put on them.”

16:24, 26, 28. “And he shall wash his body with water in a holy place, put on his garments, come out and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people and make atonement for himself and for the people…And he who released the goat as the scapegoat shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water and afterward he may come into the camp…Then he who burns them shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp.”

Book of Numbers – Use of Water in OT Religious Ceremonies

17:15-16. “And every person who eats what died naturally or what was torn by beasts, whether he is a native of your own country or a stranger, he shall both wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. Then he shall be clean. But if he does not wash them or bathe his body, then he shall bear his guilt.”

Num. 19:7,8,13. “Then the priest shall wash his clothes, he shall bathe in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp; the priest shall be unclean until evening. And the one who burns it shall wash his clothes in water, bathe in water, and shall be unclean until evening…Whoever touches the body of anyone who has died, and does not purify himself, defiles the tabernacle of the LORD. That person shall be cut off from Israel. He shall be unclean, because the water of purification was not sprinkled on him; his uncleanness is still on him.”

19:17-21. “And for an unclean person they shall take some of the ashes of the heifer burnt for purification from sin, and running water shall be put on them in a vessel. A clean person shall take hyssop and dip it in the water, sprinkle it on the tent, on all the vessels, on the persons who were there, or on the one who touched a bone, the slain, the dead, or a grave. The clean person shall sprinkle the unclean …and on the seventh day he shall purify himself, wash his clothes, and bathe in water, and at evening he shall be clean. But the man who is unclean and does not purify himself, that person shall be cut off from among the assembly, because he has defiled the sanctuary of the LORD. The water of purification has not been sprinkled on him; he is unclean…He who sprinkles the water of purification shall wash his clothes; and he who touches the water of purification shall be unclean until evening. Whatever the unclean person touches shall be unclean; and the person who touches it shall be unclean until evening.”

Book of Deuteronomy –Use of Water in OT Religious Ceremonies

31:21-24. “…This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD commanded Moses: Only the gold, the silver, the bronze, the iron, the tin, and the lead, everything that can endure fire, you shall put through the fire, and it shall be clean; and it shall be purified with the water of purification. But all that cannot endure fire you shall put through water. And you shall wash your clothes on the seventh day and be clean, and afterward you may come into the camp”

23:9-11. “When the army goes out against your enemies, them keep yourself from every wicked thing. If there is any man among you who becomes unclean by some occurrence in the night, then he shall go outside the camp; he shall not come inside the camp. But it shall be, when evening comes, that he shall wash with water; and when the sun sets, he may come into the camp.”

Question: Do the above verses give you any hint that any Israelite had the privilege to disregard water as an essential element in his cleansing and forgiveness of sin?

John the Baptist and Water Ceremony

The ministry of John the Baptist was a transitory period from the Mosaical Dispensation to the Christian Dispensation. Whereas, during the Mosaical period, the external aspect of life was given focus and the ceremony of water was included but repentance was not mentioned; on the other hand, in the Christian Dispensation, emphasis is in the internal aspect—the heart, and the water ceremony remains. John the Baptist combines the external and the internal: the water ceremony and the change of the heart through repentance and fruit of repentance which is the change of attitude and way of life before the water ceremony took place.

In analyzing the verses below, ask these two questions: (1) Did God forgive the sins of the people before or after they were baptized by John? (2) If you were alive in the days of John the Baptist, would you have dared to debate John about the essentiality of water baptism for the remission of your sins?

Matt. 3:2, 5, 6. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand…and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan confessing their sins”

Mark 1:4, 5 “John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 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.”

Luke 3:3 7, 8, 21. “And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins…Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him ‘Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance,…’ When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened.”‘

Do you believe that some people debated with John the Baptist by taking the negative side and expounded that water baptism was not essential to the forgiveness of their sins? ©

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Of Lying Angels and False Prophets

God is a God of justice and order; whereas, Satan is the God of this world and of chaos in the cosmos. God lays down the rules and guidelines for mankind to follow; whereas, Satan comes around and sows confusion.

The great religions today trace their physical and spiritual roots to Abraham: (a) the Jews and Judaism through Isaac, Jacob, Levi and Moses as prophet and lawgiver; (b) Christendom through Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Perez … King David, Solomon, Rehoboam …Jacob, Joseph the husband of Mary and Jesus the Christ and His teachings were sown around by the apostles; and (c) the Muslims and Islam through Ishmael and Muhammad.

Together, the three streams could well be comprising more than half of the world’s population today. Unfortunately, each stream points to the other two as short of the truth that Yahweh has laid down to follow. Judaism claims and adheres to Moses and the Hebrew prophets; Christianity claims Christ Jesus and the apostles’ teachings abrogated the Mosaical Law ; and Muslims insist on Muhammad as their prophet who claims inspiration by and through the Angel Gabriel. All three believe and invoke angels and prophets as part of their respective economy but there exist great chasms between and among the three streams. And yet all three claim they have the same God who is called various languages as Yahweh, Elohim, El, Eloah, GOD, LORD, Father, Creator, I AM, and Allah among others.

In Islam, the Sunni Muslims differ from the Shiite Muslims. These two streams of Islam battle each other in sectarian violence in Iraq in the early months of the year 2006 continuing even today in the year 2008 as reported in newspapers, television and radio. Some Muslims boast that there’s unity in Islam but that is not true. There are among them who are passive, some moderates, others fundamentalists, and the extreme jihadists.

In Christendom, there are many differing interpretations and conflicting claims among several sects and denominations each one claiming that their respective leaders had communications with angels or felt divine inspiration thereby making them prophets. Let us cite a few examples.

  • The Pope of Rome claims that he is the Vicar of Christ on Earth so that whatever he pronounces ex cathedra in matters of faith and morals it is authoritative that is equal and many times higher than the canon of the scriptures. At one time the papacy of Rome pronounced as a matter of faith that the earth is flat contrary to the postulates of Copernicus and then put to death Galileo for espousing that the earth is round and revolves around the sun. John Paul II, the Polish pope, publicly apologized for this error of the papacy. This item clearly proves that the Roman Pope is not after all infallible.
  • Muhammad of Arabia in the seventh century of the Christian Era claimed that the Angel Gabriel gave him instructions. His visions resulted to the establishment of Islam as a religion.
  • Historians record that Calvin, the Swiss Reformer, made claims that he received some visions from heaven directing him to reform the Roman Catholic Church. Many of his ideas like Total hereditary depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Perseverance of the saints influenced many non-Romanist theologians who came after him.
  • Joseph Smith, an American made the claim that an angel instructed him to read the gold plates in New York in the 19th Century of the Christian Era. This visionary established the Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormon).
  • Ellen G. White, an American, made the claim that she had heavenly visions which resulted to the establishment of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
  • William Miller, an American, claimed that he had visions which became the foundational theories of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
  • Felix Manalo, (Filipino) claimed that he is the angel of Revelation 7:2-3 who shouted to the four angels to stop inflicting destruction on earth.
  • Preachers of Pentecostalism as a general rule, promote the idea that the Holy Spirit continues even in the twenty first century to endow the miraculous spiritual gifts as was done in apostolic times. This results to claims by preachers and church leaders of Pentecostalism that whatever they feel and think about church issues and activities are Holy Spirit inspired.
  • Apollo Quiboloy, a Filipino, today claims that he received visions from God. He proclaims that the New Jerusalem spoken of in the New Testament is his cathedral in Davao City, Philippines. Many people who listen to his television programs understand that he makes the claim that Jesus of Nazareth is no longer the spokesman of God in the modern world. Apollo Quiboloy claims that he is now the unique adopted son of God and that he (Quiboloy) speaks for God. And that an individual today must go to him to get the antidote to neutralize the sin that is in the individual. Mr. Magliba of Pangasinan had his own claim. So did Mr. Ecleo of Surigao.

This article would like us to focus on lying angels and false prophets. If we are aware that there are lying angels and false prophets, then we become more watchful about who and what is our authority and bases of religious truth that pleases Yahweh. The Apostle Paul believed that behind every human error and confusion there is a spiritual being moving it. He writes, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:1) Apostle Peter gives a very serious warning and says: “Be sober, be vigilant because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) The warning here is: Satan and his angelic host are aggressively sowing confusion and error among people who seek the will of God. Be watchful! Know who you believe and follow. Know what you believe and follow. There are lying angels and false prophets around us today.

Of course we should be aware that there are two general divisions of angels: good angels and bad angels. The good angels are God’s ministers or servants for the salvation of Abraham’s seeds while the bad angels are Satan’s ministers or servants to confuse and mislead mankind. Christ Jesus declared that Satan is the Father of lies (See John 8:44. Before the creation of the material cosmos, Satan and his host of angels rebelled against Yahweh (See Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19; 2Peter 2:4-11; Jude 6). Their final destiny is the hell fire.

Lying angels could appear and sound as good angels (See 2 Cor. 11:13-15). Satan could appear as a beautiful angel dispensing power, wealth, and kingdoms (See Matt. 4:1-10). Or Satan could appear and sound in a very unusual form as the source of wisdom and liberty as in the case of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. (See Genesis 3).

In the Old Testament, there are many instances when lying angels and false prophets competed against good angels and true prophets, for the control of individuals and kingdoms. Read the story in 1 Kings 13. It is about a true prophet from Judah who rebuked and admonished King Jeroboam of the Northern Kingdom who built a rival temple in Bethel of the tribe of Ephraim some twenty kilometers due north of Jerusalem. The prophet was given instructions by Yahweh in verse 9 “You shall not eat bread, nor drink water, nor return by the same way you came.” He was obedient until an older prophet came by and seduced him to do otherwise. The prophet of Judah knew the instructions of God and repeated it to his fellow prophet. But the older prophet said in verse 18, “I too am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.’” But this older prophet was lying.

Older men (prophets or preachers) could be moved by jealousy to destroy fellow prophets or fellow preachers by telling lies or misrepresent facts and even invoke angels or their academic degrees to gain credence because they are not the ones honored to undertake a task. Beware! What is best is to stick to what you personally know from the Bible as the instructions of God. So Apostle Paul warned in his Letter to the Galatians (1:8) that even if an angel from heaven comes down and gives another gospel (instructions on anything), stick to what the Holy Spirit has expressly recorded in the canon of the scriptures. Christ, Himself, has warned that scribes and Pharisees of His time were blind guides who led the trusting ordinary Jews. The Jews were led away from the truth.

Gehazi, prophet Elisha’s servant, as recorded in 2 Kings 5 tells of a person’s misrepresentation, lying and greed to exact from the Syrian General Naaman silver bullions and garments. Jeremiah in 4:31 and 14:14 said that duly appointed prophets prophesied falsely setting aside God’s revelations, while priests ruled or judged by their own wisdom not by God’s precepts. Read also Jer. 23:11-40. Prophet Jeremiah comes out very strongly about prophets who have delusions or invent prognostications when he says, “Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions; they have not uncovered your iniquity, to bring back your captives, but have envisioned for you false prophecies and delusions.” (Lamentations 2:14)

Prophet Ezekiel warns in the same way about false prophets of his days in 13:1-16 and 22:25-28. Prophets who pretended to speak for the Lord even if they have not in truth received any revelations. Micah also indicted elders, prophets and priests who served for pay: He declared: “Her heads judge for bribe, her priests teach for pay, and her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the Lord, and say, ‘Is not the Lord among us? No harm can come upon us.’” (3:11)

In the New Testament, sufficient warning about false prophets and “false Christ” is given. Every Bible reader is warned to be very careful. Every individual has to decide for himself and choose what is safe and originating from the true God. All the conflicting claims are true! There are blind teachers who lead into destruction the equally blind followers! There are presumptuous Bible teachers! Bible teachers with delusion of grandeur!

Our Lord Jesus Christ is very clear in Matthew 7:21-23 when he gave a picture of the Judgment Day, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”

©2008 – Eusebio Tanicala, Ph.D.

MUSLIMS AND ROMAN CATHOLICS TOP THE LIST

On March 30, 2008, a Sunday, CNN had a news item on religion that summarized the newspaper L’Osservatorie’s interview with Monsignor Vitterio Fomenti, the producer of the 2006 Year Book of the Vatican. It is recognized in the yearbook that 19.2% of the world’s population are Muslim adherents while Roman Catholics is at 17.4%. All groups that are denominated “Christian” compose about 33% of the world’s population.

It is revealed that the figure on Muslim population was taken from numbers submitted to the United Nations by Muslim states. The article also states that most “Christian” countries have population management programs while Muslim states have large families.

Preachers Wanted in Kalookan City

Please look around and encourage those who are interested to work in the Kalookan City, Metro Manila area. Two full-time evangelists are needed over there according to an email sent in by brother Randy Macapagal.
The qualifications are:

  • Graduate of a Theological School
  • At least 2 years in full-time ministry experience
  • Good leadership qualities
  • Has initiative
  • Good in singing
  • Very healthy

The contact person is Randy Macapagal (randymacapagal@hotmail.com)

PBCAA INSTALLS NEW BOARD OF TRUSTEES

During the April 3-4, 2008 general assembly, the Philippine Bible College alumni association elected 11 brethren to the board of trustees and the 11 elected the officers from among themselves.

This new set of officers shall serve the association from May 1, 2008 to April 30, 2011. They are Eusebio Tanicala—President; Felix Bravo—Executive Vice President; Teofilo Alcayde—VP for Luzon; Bonifacio Patricio, Jr.—VP for the Visayas; Bernardo Panergo—VP for Mindanao; Rebecca Braga—Secretary; Mardonio Bernardo—Treasurer; Rachel Cabuenas—Auditor; Tholomew Mapalo & Arnold Zambrano —Business Manager; Rolando Nonog—Public Relations Officer. ©

10 GRADUATED FROM PHILIPPINE BIBLE COLLEGE

In a ceremony conducted on April 4, ten students were certified and subsequently given the title “Associate in Theology.”

The graduates are: Elix M. de Pedro, Jr. of Occidental Mindoro; Richard C. Duque of Pangasinan; Arnold C. Escoro of Metro Manila; Michael A. Hildreth of California; Meljohn M. Mabunga of Cavite; Daniel M. Manila of South Cotabato; Emver Jay S. Rigor of South Cotabato; Glenn F. Saturno of Cavite; Carl Michael S. Suarez of San Juan City and Sarah R. Gallardo of Metro Manila.

Brother Kenneth Wilkey was the commencement speaker.
Eusebio Tanicala, our moderator and president of the Philippine Bible College Alumni Association, inducted the graduates into the alumni association. Felix Bravo served as after-dinner-speaker in the banquet that followed the graduation program,

Current staff of Philippine Bible College are Cristino Sacayanan (director), Joel Awingan, Adolfo Braga II, Alejandro Ciencia, Sr., Tholomew Mapalo, Elvie Sacayanan and Dick Baguioen.

PBC Scholarship donors are the following: Dr. Manuel Dugui-es and family, Mrs. Cresencia Mayor, Mrs. Julia Wagayen, East-West Church of Christ of Seoul, Korea; PBC Alumni Association Officers; Mrs. Josefina Ciencia, Raymundo Locaberte; Dr & Mrs. Nicanor Suero; Baguio Church of Christ and Midtown Church of Christ of Baguio City. © —Alvin Tanicala

CENTRAL LUZON FAMILY BIBLE CAMP

Congregations in Region 3 (Central Luzon) have their annual fellowship that is usually conducted during the so-called holy week. This year’s affair, March 20-22, was hosted by the Metro Manila Project 6, Cabalan and Barretto congregations. This Family Bible Camp  was held at the Johneva Beach Resort in San Narciso, Zambales which was attended by 178 brethren.

Three precious souls were taught the gospel of Christ and were immersed in water in obedience to the Great Commission of our Lord.    – Mario Moral