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.