Monthly Archives: October 2008

Has Movements – A Persona or a Promised Idea? (Part V)

Christ’s Persona before Incarnation (Series 5)

By Eusebio Tanicala, Ph.D.

This article deals with movements or actions. With each action or movement or attribute mentioned in a passage, ask yourself the question: “Is this a persona or an idea I read about in his verse?”

After reflecting on this series #5, you should be able to reason out that it is more logical to think of a persona making movements or actions and not a promised idea.

Hebrew 1:10-13; Psalm 90:2; John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16-17 – Passages declaring that Christ in His spirit persona was the Creator of the invisible and visible dominions and powers and principalities. Can the act of creating be assigned to a promised idea?

Micah 5:2 foretells the birth place of the Messiah in Bethlehem which is fulfilled in Matt. 2 and Luke 2 but makes additional information about previous movements prior to the incarnation of that Messiah and says, “Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.” The spirit persona of the Messiah has existed and has moved from the everlasting, eternal past. The term “whose” properly refers to a persona not to a concept or promised idea.

John 3:16; 5:30; John 6:29,29, 57; John 7:16, 33; John 8:18, 29; John 17:3, 21, 23, 25 — All declare the sending of the Son by the Father. Where was Christ and when was He commissioned and sent out by the Father to save the sinful world? Was He in heaven before His incarnation? Was He in Judea in 30 A.D.? To this writer, it’s more logical to think that He was a persona in the spirit with the Father in Heaven before His incarnation. And we could not think of sending and commissioning an idea or concept.

John 3:31; 8:23 – Give testimonies to us about Christ being from above in Heaven and not from earth below.

John 8:42; 16:27 & 17:8– tell us of Christ’s consciousness of having proceeded or having come from the Father. The personal pronoun “I” should make us feel that Christ was a persona while in Heaven.

John 6:33, 35, 38, 41, 51 – Christ says he came from above, from heaven. While Jesus was alive on earth he made this interesting statement: “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man *who is in heaven.” (John 3:13) The act of descending comes first than the act of ascending which suggest that His existence in heaven is prior to His presence on earth. To think of a persona that descends from heaven is more logical than having an idea that descend from heaven to earth. Please read the other passages.

John 10:36, “… do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? The phrase “sent into the world” suggests a person that exists outside of the world and he enters into the world.

John 16:27-28 tells us the movement of a persona, “I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.” Usage of a personal pronoun and his movements suggest the presence of a persona that came forth from the Father and who returned to the Father.

John 6:62, “What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?” This was stated while Christ was one earth in 29 A.D. And the disciples witnessed this in Acts 1:9-11.

John 13:3, “Jesus… He had come from God and was going to God.” John 16:16, “I go to the Father” 27, “I go to the Father” 28, “I … have come into the world…I leave the world and go to the Father.”John 17:11, part of Jesus’ farewell prayer says, “ … I come to You … Holy Father…” 13, “…I come to You…” John 20:17, “… I am ascending to My Father…”

The above verses give us the conclusion that there was a spirit persona that descended from Heaven, and that same spirit persona was the one that back to Heaven. The mystery is that the spirit persona fused with humanity. Our Lord Jesus Christ is one persona with two nature or essence in Him: deity and humanity. This fusion of two natures we could not fathom but we have to accept it by faith. Someday we shall understand.


INC Registration and World War I Outbreak

One blog visitor asked the following question in reaction to our lesson on Revelation 7:1-3 in a previous posting: “Kailan po nagdeklara ng digmaan ang Austria-Hungary sa Serbia? Nabasa ko po sa world history na July inideklara ng Austria ang digmaan. Meron ba itong kaugnayan sa Iglesia ni Cristo? Please po ibigay ninyo ang eksaktong petsa…”–Reggie A Samonte

Ang pagdeklara ng Austria-Hungary ng pakikidigma laban sa Serbia ay walang kaugnayan sa petsa ng pagkarehistro ng Iglesia ni Cristo. Guniguni lamang ng mga apologists ng INC na mayroon kaugnayan ng petsa ng INC registration na July 27, 1914 sa declaration of war noong 1914. I have a history major in my college course, so I have a background in world history. According to history books, the Balkan region had military conflicts in 1912-1913. As early as 1913, Germany had assured Austria-Hungary of military help should war break out again. While Archduke Francis Ferdinand, next in succession to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was inspecting military installations in the city of Sarajevo, he and his wife Sofia were assassinated on June 28, 1914 at 11:15 A.M. by Serbian militants under Colonel Dragutin Dimitrijevic.

On July 19, 1914 Austro-Hungarian authorities approved a plan to humiliate Serbia, home of the assassins. On July 23, 1914 the ultimatum which contained several conditions was delivered by Austria against Serbia which included punishment of the assassins. But there were two conditions which involved some kind of sovereignty issues that were difficult to accept so there was some reluctance on the part of Serbia.

July 27, 1914 Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany told Austria that war was not necessary over the issue of assassination. However, on that same date, Austrian Foreign Minister Berchtold had convinced Emperor Joseph Francis to declare war against Serbia. So a declaration of war by the Austro-Hungarian empire was issued on July 28, 1914 and the Austro-Hungarian military started bombardment of the capital city of Belgrade on July 29, 1914.

The above is the historical flow of events that ignited the military conflict which started World War I. You can check these facts from The New Encyclopedia Britannica Vol 29, (1991), pp. 961-963. Other sources could be as factual as my reference.

Now, you should read Revelation 6:12-17. I don’t believe that this is World War I. Our Iglesia ni Cristo friends, however, claim that this is a description of World War I artillery and aerial bombardments which created panic among the people who sought refuge in air raid shelters. So the war of Rev. 6:12-17 should now be over as you read Rev. 7:1 with the declaration, “After these things” which are the horrific sceneries of Revelation 6:12-17.

But notice Revelation 7:1-3. There are four angels tasked to prevent the wind of destruction with the order not to let loose or not to allow military conflict to break out.By lumping together Rev. 6:12-17 and Rev. 7:1-3 as the First World War, the INC inverts chronology with this view: the war takes place and ends and then talk about the war not to break out but still it broke out. Confusing indeed.

And the four angels, according to our INC apologists, were Prime Ministers Orlando of Italy, Clemenceau of France and Lloyd George of Great Britain and President Wilson of the United States of America who came together at Armistice Day of November 11, 1918 to sign the document ending WWI in France. Historical events and INC interpretation don’t jibe because what we read in Revelation 7:1-3 is for the wind (war) not to break out, but war broke out on July 28, 1914 and continued on up to November 11, 1918. The four angels (political leaders of 4 nations) named by the INC as listed above came together to sign a document ending World War I. Clearly then the four angels of the INC are not the four angels of Rev. 7:1-3.

Another point you should analyze is the instruction of the ascending angel from the east directed to the four angels of verse 1: not to allow the wind (war) to break out to allow and give time to the ascending angel to preach and mark the forehead of the 144,000 of Israel (7:4-8). But war broke out in Europe which lasted from July 28, 1914 to Nov. 11, 1918. Which means that the four major world powers who signed the document ending the war in 1918 are not the angels of Rev. 7:1-3 because the Rev. 7:1-3 angels are not to allow war to start, but the angels of the Armistice Day in 1918 were seen as ending the First World War. According to INC interpretation the “ascending angel should preach while there is no war” but Mr. Felix Manalo preached while World War I raged. So there’s discrepancy.

Still another observation is that if Mr. Felix Manalo is the angel ascending from the east who shouted on July 27, 1914 thro his registering the Iglesia ni Cristo corporation in the Philippines and his preaching, Mr. Manalo was not heard and obeyed because the wind of war broke out on July 28, 1914. So the claims of the INC do not jibe with world history.

Further observation is that Mr. Manalo claims to have started shouting and preaching on July 27, 1914 giving instruction to the four angels. On July 27, 1914 there were no four angels or no four world leaders in the war at that time. There were only two nations at war: Austria-Hungary under Emperor Joseph Francis and the ruler of Serbia. There were no four angels at that time, no four major world powers to speak of. Again, INC apologists don’t agree with world history.

Above information considered, the July 27, 1914 date of registration of the Iglesia ni Cristo corporation has no bearing on the outbreak of the First World War. Walang kaugnayan ang July 27, 1914 na pagkarehistro ng INC sa pagputok ng Unang Digmaang Pandaigdig.

Can See and Hear: Persona or Idea? (Part IV)

Christ’s Persona before Incarnation (Series 4)

By Eusebio Tanicala, Ph.D.


This is a series of articles that will help clarify the status of the Logos (Word) of John 1:1, 14 before the incarnation of Christ thro Virgin Mary. One side affirms that Christ before His incarnation was a spirit persona; another side claims that Christ was a mere idea, a plan, a promise or a concept much as an architect’s plan of a house.

Proposition A states it like this: Resolved according to the Bible that Christ before His incarnation thro Virgin Mary was a spirit persona.

Proposition B States it like this: Resolved according to the Bible that Christ before His incarnation thro Virgin Mary was a mere idea, a plan, in God’s mind.

A persona is a spirit or human entity or being that has mind, a self consciousness, and is capable of moral choices and has action.

Angels are personal entities. Human beings are personal entities. Satan the Devil is a spirit persona.
To this writer, Christ, before His incarnation, was a spirit persona, the Second Person in the Godhead. When Christ became flesh, He remained a persona with deity in Him as well as humanity in Him. A very unique occurrence, in fact a mystery, in human history.

Determining whether or not Christ was a persona before His incarnation in A.D. 1 helps to clarify the issue of Christ’s deity.

(Please refer to series #1 on the various applications of the term logos in the NT.)

After reflecting on this lesson you should be able to state your conclusion that a persona rather than an idea or plan is identified with the actions of seeing and hearing God.

In this series we submit passages where Christ is understood to have existed before A.D. 1 and where he is understood to have seen and heard the Father. Seeing and hearing are actions properly identified with a person and NOT identified with a plan, an idea or a concept. A plan cannot see nor hear.

In the following verses from the Gospel of John (NKJV), please notice actions, descriptions and attributes. Ask if these befit a spirit person or do they apply to an idea or concept.

John 3:31,32 – These lines are from John the Baptist. The pronoun “He” refers a persona, not a plan or an idea; the “He” has seen and heard what He testified or taught to the Jews. Seeing, hearing, and testifying are acts of a persona. Verse 31 gives the background that Christ heard things in Heaven not on earth below. These are not acts of an idea or a concept in God’s mind.

John 5:19-20 — These words are from Christ. The personal pronouns “He” and “Him” are used to refer to a persona. Acts of seeing, doing, the Father showing to Him all things are actions that befit a persona. These are not acts of an idea or a concept.

John 6:46 – No man has seen the Father except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. The personal pronoun “He” refers to a persona not to an idea or concept. The act of seeing is properly befits a persona not an idea. You may refer to John 1:18 which gives about the same idea as declared by John the Baptist of seeing and knowing God.

John 8:23 &26 – Christ said, “I am from above” or heaven and further he said, “I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.” The personal pronoun “I” refers to a persona not to an idea; and the act of having “heard” befits a persona and cannot be said of a concept or an idea.

John 8:40 & 15:15 – Christ said, “But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God.” And “…for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” The hearing by Christ is logically before his incarnation.

John 17:25 – Christ said, “…for You loved Me before the foundation of the world” and you supplement it with 17:5, “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was” the declarations give an unmistakable picture: there was a persona of Christ before He was incarnated in A.D. 1.

If these acts of seeing God and hearing from God were assigned to Christ’s humanity only, then the charge of blasphemy by the Jewish elders, Pharisees and high priests would be true and justifiably worthy of punishment. It is the spirit persona of Christ that He had before His incarnation that exonerates Him from the charge of blasphemy.

Death, Life and Calvinism

Eusebio Tanicala, Ph. D.


Calvinism says that Adam and Eve’s disobedience brought death to their off springs automatically. The line of reasoning is that dead men could produce only dead off springs. The dead passes on to their off springs their deadness.

But John Calvin did not apply his line of logic on the offsprings of Abraham and Sarah who were people of faith. See Heb. 11:8-19; Romans 4:1-12; James 2:21-24. Abraham and Sarah were justified by their faith and obedience; they were friends of God, they had life in them. They were alive. The alive should pass on to their off spring their aliveness. If not, why not?

Today, Calvinists also talk about being “born again” as taught in John 3:3-5.And Calvinists have in their midst couples who are born again, made holy by Christ’s blood when they obey. These couples (husband and wife) beget children. Do Calvinists say that born again, holy couples automatically pass on to their off springs their “born againness)? Why can’t they pass on to their children their aliveness? If not. why not?

So you feel the faulty logic of John Calvin. Yes, he was not logical because he didn’t stick to what the Bible says. #

Spirit Personae May Take Physical Forms (Part III)

Christ’s Persona before Incarnation (Series 3)

By Eusebio Tanicala, Ph.D.

Some think that God cannot take on a physical form. They could not think of God appearing in a material form. We read of spirit beings taking physical form or appearing in material form. This lesson discusses the idea of pure spirit beings taking material form.

After This lesson, the reader should be able to reason out that spirit beings are allowed to take the appearance of physical or material forms.

The Bible records many instances where spirit personae are said to have entered/possessed the faculties of humans. Passages like 1 Samuel 16:14-23; Matt. 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20; Mark 7:25; Mark 9:17-26; Luke 4:33; 8:26-39; 8:55; Acts 16:16-18; Acts 19:15-16 are some of these instances which are recorded in the Bible.

When a spirit persona strongly clings to and possesses the faculty of a human being just like the story in Mark 5:1-20, we find that the identity of the human host and the possessing evil spirit converge and come into congruence so much so that the two act in unity or become as one personality. In Mark 5, the evil spirit dominates the host human being that the spirit persona and the human persona become as one. The 4,000 spirits even act as one.

Good angels can become fire (Psalm 104:4; Heb. 1:7) but their essence is not fire. Angels can appear as human beings or male (lalaki) but they are not human in essence. See Luke 24:4.

In Psalm 40:6-8 we feel that a person is talking, King David as the type and Christ as the anti type person. In

Hebrew 10:5 we read that the person that talks in Psalm 40 tells of a physical body having been prepared for that spirit persona to enter into. The Holy Spirit thro the Virgin Mary prepared that body into which the spirit persona Christ entered. The spirit persona of Christ completely fused into a complete congruence with the prepared human body that the Bible speaks of one persona, a hypostatic union of two natures. This phenomenon is new and unique in history. For 33 years deity and humanity mysteriously fused together in ways we could not fathom.

The material human body of Jesus was transformed into an immaterial heavenly body after Jesus’ resurrection that is recorded in the Gospels. So the Apostle Paul declares this idea in 2 Cor. 5:16, “Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.” Apostle Paul refers to the Christ after resurrection.
To the Hebrews, God’s most sacred name which was revealed to the prophets was Yahweh (YHWH). This name may convey various shades of inter-related meanings like the following:

(a) Self existing one; (b) To be; (c) I am; (d) I am what I am; (e) I become what I want to become. So we should not limit Yahweh God in what He wants to be and how He wants to communicate Himself to humanity.
In different ages and to different people Yahweh God communicated/impressed Himself upon humanity in various forms or impressions: (a) Yahweh God talked with Adam and Eve – Gen. 1:28-30; 216-17; visited Adam and Eve in the Garden – Gen. 3:8-19; (b) Yahweh God walked with Enoch – Gen. 5:23; (c) Noah found grace in the eyes of Yahweh God and God walked and talked with Noah – Gen. 6:8, 9, 13-22. (d) Yahweh God talked to Abram – Gen. 12ff; 15ff calling Abram out of Ur, into and out of Haran into Canaan; (e) Yahweh God appeared and talk to and ate with Abram as a human being (male) – Gen. 18-19 (f) Yahweh God n the form of a material human being wrestled with Jacob – Gen 32:22-32; (g) Yahweh God also called Angel of Yahweh appeared to and conversed with Moses in the form of flame of fire in a burning bush – Exodus 3:1-22; (h) Yahweh God impressed Himself upon Israel on Mt. Sinai in thundering, lightning, thick cloud, fire and smoke – Exodus 19; Heb. 12 25-29; (i) Yahweh God appeared to, talked with Moses face to face, in a very intimate way, but God did not appear in the fully glory and majesty of deity – Exodus 33:12-23; Num. 12:8; Deut. 5:4; Deut. 34:10; (j) The Angel of Yahweh, who is Yahweh Himself appeared and talked with Gideon – Judges 11-27; (k) Christ became a material rock in the wilderness and He followed Israel throughout the 40 years of wandering – 1 Cor. 10:4; Exodus 17:1-7; Num. 20:1-13.

If Yahweh God appeared or manifested Himself in various material forms in the OT, it should not be unthinkable nor impossible for Him to become flesh in the being of our Lord Jesus Christ to accomplish the salvation of human kind which is the most interesting story ever told.

The Devil’s Persona & Christ’s Persona– A Comparison & Contrast (Part II)

Christ’s Persona before Incarnation (Series 2)

By Eusebio Tanicala, Ph.D.

Comparing and contrasting the Devil’s essence, attributes, works, motives, strategies with those of Christ’s essence, attributes, works, motives and strategies will reveal many things. This writer has wrestled with this approached for many, many years before he was able to formulate it about the year 1993. Please consider this approach.

After reflecting on this lesson, the reader should be able to reason out that if many things are granted to be possible with Satan, many of these things should also be granted as possible with Christ, the Second Persona in the Godhead.

A. Devil: He was a spirit persona before taking the form of a snake of flesh and bones.
Christ: He was a spirit persona before taking the form of a man of flesh and bones.

B. Devil: He was a created angel with free will before becoming Satan.
Christ: He was the creator of all invisible and visible principalities and powers.

C. Devil: A persona who became the arch enemy of the Godhead.
Christ: A persona who remained loyal and part of the Godhead.

D. Devil: A spirit persona who took the form of snake of flesh and bones.
Christ: A spirit persona who took the form of man of flesh and bones.

E. Devil: He became a snake and he persuaded Eve to rebel against God.
Christ: He became man and he persuaded children of Eve to obey God.

F. Devil: From outside the material universe He entered into the material world.
Christ: From outside the material universe He entered into the material world.

G. Devil: He is a liar and the father of lies.
Christ: He is the truth and the promoter of truth.

H. Devil: A spirit persona who brought death to humanity.
Christ: A spirit persona who is life and brought life to humanity.

I. Devil: Took physical form of snake but didn’t lose his spirit persona.
Christ: Took physical form of man but didn’t lose his spirit persona.

J. Devil: Died or disappeared as a snake but didn’t stop being Satan.
Christ: Died as a man but didn’t stop being God.

K. Devil: A spirit persona became a snake of flesh and bones.
Christ: A spirit persona became a man of flesh and bones.

L. Devil: A spirit persona became flesh and bones – is it readily accepted by all? ___
Christ: A spirit persona became flesh and bones – is it readily accepted by all? ___

M. Devil: Snake at Eden disappeared/died, did the spirit-persona Satan die? ___
Christ: Man at the cross died, did the spirit-persona Christ die? ___

N. Devil: How long did he exist on earth in the form of flesh and bone snake? ___
Christ: How long did He exist on earth in the form of flesh and bone man? ___

O. Devil: When his head was crushed by the woman’s seed, what was that head? ___
Christ: When his heel was bitten by the snake, what was that heel? ___

P. Devil: Is the spirit essence-nature of Satan flesh and bones? ___
Christ: Is the spirit essence-nature of Christ flesh and bones? ___

Q. Devil: Can the spirit Satan become flesh and bones? ___
Christ: Can the spirit Christ become flesh and bones? ___

If and when a Bible student honestly answers the above questions, I believe that he would be able to accept that Christ was a spirit persona before He became man. I welcome comments, observations or reactions to this article.

I Salute Henry G. Cassell

By Eusebio Tanicala

As a student of the Bible and church history since 1960, I often heard the name H.G.Cassell as the one who continued on the Philippine work which was started by George Pepperdine and George Benson. George Benson taught for about 6 months in the Mansalay-Roxas area of Oriental Mindoro in 1927 then left for the States. Brother H.G. Cassell was sent over to the Philippines by the Southwest Church of Christ that met in Los Angeles, California where George Pepperdine was a member. H.G. Cassell came over to the Philippines in 1928. He and his wife stayed until 1945 and were repatriated to the United States when the University of Santo Tomas concentration camp was liberated by the U.S.Army from the Japanese Imperial Army.

Few of us in the Philippines know and feel the influence of H.G. Cassell in the growth of the Philippine work. Which is why I write this article to give honor to him and his wife.

In September 1999 while I was a guest in the home of brother Domingo Camaganacan and sister Veny Villanueva-Camaganacan in Ibaan, Batangas, I was introduced to an old lady seated in a wheel chair. She was then 93 years old but still possessed good remembrance of the distant past. This old lady was the mother of sister Veny Villanueva-Camaganacan and widow of the late brother Isidro Villanueva, long time evangelist in the Mindoro provinces.

She immediately recounted that she was taught and baptized by Henry Cassell in 1928 in Calapan, Mindoro. That was the very first time that I heard the name Henry Cassell. For 38 years what I had been hearing was H.G.Cassell. And sister Veny Villanueva-Camaganacan showed me a picture of Mr/Mrs Henry G. Cassell sent to them in December 1963. This picture was published in the August 2006 Word Ministry.

Another information Mrs. Isidro Villanueva gave me was that she knew of Pedro Asada who was the preaching partner and interpreter of Henry G. Cassell in the Mindoro work. For many years, we had also been tracing the background and family of the late Pedro Asada. Mrs. Isidro Villanueva told me that Pedro Asada brought his family to Lanao, Mindanao before the outbreak of the Pacific War. That one of Pedro Asada’s daughter, Aurora by name, at that time newly married was left behind and that Aurora is the mother of Eliseo Sikat. Many tiny bits of information were being pieced together.

Henry G. Cassell and Pedro Asada expanded the work in Mindoro from 1928 to the outbreak of the Second World War. Henry G. Cassell and his wife were kept by the Japanese Imperial Army in the University of Santo Tomas Concentration Camp from 1942 until the camp was liberated by the U.S. Army in 1945.

Few of us in the Philippines know that Henry G. Cassell made a trip to Pinaring which is now part of Cotabato City together with Pedro Asada before the Pacific War broke out. Pinaring was the temporary settlement of farmers arriving from Luzon. Among the settlers was brother Antonio Villanueva and his family who were identified with the Samahang Tagapagpalaganap in Nueva Ecija. Antonio Villanueva was an active member of the Church of Christ/Christian Church group. This information is part of the recollection written down this year of 2008 by sister Minnie Villanueva-Belo. Here is part of her recollection quoted from a copy shared to me by brother Dominador Belo of Tacloban City when I visited his home in August 2008:

“While these converts were in Pinaring, a missionary, Henry G. Cassell, arrived with Pedro Asada. They expounded the Bible truths including the prohibition of eating blood and the use of instrumental music.”

It was this missionary journey to Pinaring by Pedro Asada and Henry G. Cassell that convinced several leaders of the group organized by Antonio Villanueva that, indeed, eating of blood and instrumental music in worship were prohibited by the New Testament. From that time on the leaders of the Pinaring group like Cornelio Alegre and Laureano Belo, among others, started discussing with Antonio Villanueva to severe his ties with the Samahang Tagapagpalaganap. Consequently, Antonio Villanueva severed his ties with the Samahang Tagapagpalaganap.

Were it not for this missionary journey of Henry G. Cassell and Pedro Asada to the Pinaring resettlement, very likely, Antonio Villanueva, Laureano Belo, Cornelio Alegre and many others would have stayed with the Samahang Tagapagpalaganap or the Church of Christ/Christian Church. After the Second World War, it was this group that produced self-supporting evangelists who planted congregations in the old Cotabato province and in Zamboanga. From this same group came out congregational leaders that were established in other Cotabato towns like Tangtangan, Midsayap, Koronadal among others.

Brother Domingo Camaganacan, my host in 1999 in Batangas, belongs to a family converted by Antonio Villanueva from 1937-1939 in the Pinaring, Cotabato resettlement.