PROFOUND TITLE FROM THE PEN OF OUR BROTHER IN THE CHURCH OF CHRIST. THIS TITLE SEEMS TO COME FROM AN INCIDENT IN THE TEMPLE DURING THE TIME OF BROTHER ERAÑO G. MANALO WHEN AN ANGEL, RADIATING BRILLIANTLY, APPEARED TO HIM. MANY OF OUR BRETHREN ENLISTED IN CENTRAL TEMPLE BACK THEN CAN ATTEST TO THIS. WHO AMONG YOU KNEW IT? YOU CAN SHARE IT WITH US THROUGH YOUR COMMENTS. AT THAT TIME, WHILE A MEETING LED BY OUR BELOVED EXECUTIVE MINISTER ERAÑO G. MANALO WAS ONGOING THEY HEARD SOMEONE KNOCKING AT THE DOOR. ONE OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER OPENED THE DOOR TO FIND OUT WHO IT IS, BUT WHEN HE LOOKED OUT THERE’S NO ONE OUTSIDE. THEY HEARD IT AGAIN FOR THE SECOND TIME, AND ANOTHER ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER GOT UP TO FIND OUT, BUT JUST LIKE THE FIRST TIME, HE FOUND NO ONE OUTSIDE. WHEN THEY HEARD IT AGAIN FOR THE THIRD TIME, BROTHER ERAÑO G. MANALO, THIS TIME WENT TO THE DOOR HIMSELF TO ATTEND TO IT. WHEN HE OPENED THE DOOR, BEFORE HIM WAS AN ANGEL RADIATING BRILLIANTLY WITH A MESSAGE FOR HIM. SO IT HAPPENS THERE, AT THAT TIME, THIS RELEVANT TITLE THAT WE ARE NOW DEALING … ONLY A HANDFUL OF SAND … OUR BROTHERS WHO ARE SENIOR MINISTERS, WHAT WE NEED ARE RESOLUTE ATTESTS FROM YOU CONCERNING THIS MYSTERIOUS EVENT. WE ENJOIN YOU TO SHARE IT TO US. WHEN HE RETURNED, BROTHER ERAÑO G. MANALO TOLD EVERYONE THAT HE WILL NOT BE THE LAST LEADER APPOINTED TO LEAD THE CHURCH OF CHRIST TO THE HOLY CITY. YOU KNEW THAT HE NAMED SOMEONE ELSE, WHO WILL FINISH THIS TASK. TO EDIFY THE HOPE OF OUR BRETHREN AND TO WAKEN UP THEIR FAITH SPECIALLY THOSE WHO ARE WEARY AND TIRED BECAUSE OF THE WICKEDNESS THAT IS RUINING THE CHURCH … WE WILL BE WAITING FOR YOUR COMMENTS REGARDING “ONLY A HANDFUL OF SAND…” — Miguel Gabriel
Only a handful of sand …
Many members are asking if the wicked members of the Church like Jun Santos, Radel Cortez, Roland Esguerra, and the evil district ministers will also be saved … they are also in the church and they are not ordinary members. Isn’t it true that the members of the Church of Christ will be saved? If the wicked members inside the church will be saved, therefore, I can also commit any wrongdoing … and as long as I remain in the church, I will also be saved. This controversy has been the topic of many arguments among ministerial students and even among ministers. But sad to say they have no standard answer or position. Neither does it come from one source. There are those who say they will be saved and others say don’t worry about them, worry about yourself. Another obscure answer that others wrongly uphold is : “Keep this among us (ministers only) if they are enlisted in the church until the ‘end’(either end) they will be saved. But, careful not to tell this to anyone even to the officers, lest they defy instead of comply our doctrines in the church.” Are these answers correct? Are they in conformity with the will of the Lord God and the Lord Jesus Christ?
With the Bible as reference let us give enlightenment to this controversy.
12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; and books were opened: and another book was opened, which is `the book’ of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead that were in it; and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works
According to the bible, two books will be opened and will be used on Judgment Day and that every man will be judged according to his works.
No less than the Savior himself teaches us the basis of his compensation — be it good or bad.
Matthew 16:27 27″For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.
John 5:28-29 28″Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.
From what is written, the resurrection of life that is intended for those who do the good deeds must be our goal, even if we have to do everything to ensure our own salvation.
What about those who have joined the church but refuse to do good deeds?
James 4:17 17Whoever knows what is right to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
What about those who have learned the truth but keep on doing wrong?
Hebrews 10:26-27 NIV 26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
Therefore, this pronouncement concerns those who are fit to do good deeds. Those who knows what is right and fails to do it is guilty of sin.
Hence, our Lord Jesus Christ introduce the two kinds of members in his church through a parable.
Matthew 13:27, 30, 38
27 And the servants of the householder came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then has it weeds?’ 30 Let both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'”
38 the field is the world, and the good seed means the sons of the kingdom; the weeds are the sons of the evil one,
The Lord Jesus clearly taught that there are two kinds of servants (disciples) in his Church. What will happen if they remain in the church until the Day of Judgment or when death overtook them? There are two different fates waiting for his disciples based on individual category. Hence these two kinds of servants (disciples) whether he is alive or dead on that fateful day, will receive justly and righteously what he deserves.
Matthew 25:21, 26, 30
21His Lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.’
26″But his Lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.
30And cast the unprofitable (worthless) servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
It’s plain and clear, we can be certain that reward awaits the good disciple, also called faithful servant here, whereas, the wicked and lazy servant will be punished. How is the wicked servant considered? According to the parable he is unprofitable or worthless, so in spite of being a member of the Church of Christ (disciple), the Lord’s verdict is to cast him into the outer darkness. The rightful conclusion for the wicked deeds is punishment, hence, we can not simply count on the REGISTRY BOOK of the Church, because the Lord God and the Lord Jesus Christ will carefully evaluate the individual category of each disciple.
But some ministers are quoting the book of Daniel that says “… your people will be delivered. Everyone who is found written in the book.” The book of Revelation states “.. if anyone’s name was not found written in the BOOK OF LIFE, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Does this mean that only those who have their names written in the REGISTRY BOOK of the Church until the end will be saved? And this authority to remove and enlist names in the BOOK is the same authority that is given on earth?
We should bear in mind that the Words of God written in the bible are “complimentary”, interrelated and will never oppose each other.
10 For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.”
I Corinthians 2:13
13These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
I Corinthians 2:13 ETRV
13When we speak these things we don’t use words taught to us by the wisdom that men have. We use words taught to us by the Spirit. We use spiritual words to explain spiritual things.
Hence, we have to compare these words with each other because a single verse cannot stand on its own specially if it is opposing or contradicting other truths. e.g. The Savior teaches us to enter him through his fold in order to be saved .. (John. 10:9 NEB) — will it be enough? If it is, there is nothing more that we should do, but join the Church. Similarly, we cannot rely solely on Daniel 12:1 to conclude that to be saved we only need to secure our name in the registry of the Church of Christ. It may sound pleasant and comfortable for us but if it contradicts or opposes other truths in the bible it will not suffice or be complete.
Hence, they are consistently supported and complemented by other truths also written in the bible. There is NO TRUTH from the Lord God revealed through the Holy Scriptures that is FORBIDDEN to be taught to us! So we consistently notice that when it comes to doctrines, worship services and even in debate, all the truths (Words of God) that we firmly believe in from the Bible are leading us to indubitable and irrefutable laws and commandments. Those who have truly researched our doctrines became believers and join our Church as a result.
Even from the beginning of the Christian period, our Lord Jesus Christ said that he did not come to destroy the laws (laws of Moses) but to complete and fulfill it.
Matthew 5:17 NASB
17″Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.
Matthew 5:17 Jerusalem
17″Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them.
Matthew 5:17 ETRV
17″Don’t think that I have come to destroy the law of Moses or the teachings of the prophets. I have not come to destroy their teachings. I came to give full meaning to their teachings.
Why would it be wrong to say it will be enough to be enlisted in the Church Registry to be saved? Why would it be wrong to say only those who remain listed in the “Registry” of the Church via safekeeping of the Church’s Administration will be saved (but those delisted will surely be punished)? Isn’t it true that the authority was given to them? However, will it be enough to be a descendant of Israel (first nation of God) to be saved? Those who have accepted the Gospel and have joined the first century Church of Christ, will they all be saved? Will anyone just be saved because our Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ wanted all people to be saved? We already have the answer in our heart. But for sure, we can never blame our Savior or even the Lord God, there is not a bit of unrighteousness in them. But the individual person who have heard the Gospel and accepted the holy baptism, what have they done with the Words of God in their heart? Have they really treasured them? Have their faith been manifested in their life?
II Timothy 4:8
8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,
Psalms 92:15 NIV
15 proclaiming, “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”
Psalms 92:15 Jerusalem
15 to proclaim that the Lord is righteous, my rock in whom no fault is to be found!
Because there is no wickedness in our Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ and their judgment is righteous and just. If you can still remember the story of King Saul and King David. The Lord God’s grace stayed with King Saul for only two (2) years. King Saul became envious of David and he intends to kill him. David escaped for his life and King Saul hunted him, accompanied by his soldiers. Will it be right to conclude that since Saul is the anointed King of Israel and he is still in power, his decision against David is right? His subjects are duty bound to be one with him? And even God will conform with him? Is David an evildoer? Hence, it justifies his escape and for his sake he must not be seen in Israel again? Although King Saul was able to rule Israel for a long time, it’s only because the Lord God is enduring and compassionate, He does not mete out His punishment immediately. The Lord God is forebearing and always gives the chance to repent and to turn back to Him if someone have fallen to sin. Let us bear in mind: What is truly “absolute” is the power and right of Him who is above us all.
28Let them be blotted out of the book of life, And not be written with the righteous.
33And the LORD said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.
The name of those who are unworthy will be blotted out from the Book of Life in heaven, even if they are listed in the Registry Book on earth. Because there is no wickedness but righteousness and indubitable justice with our Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Outside the true church, it is uncertain if man can count on his “works” to be saved, like the centurion Cornelius, a vivid example from Biblical history. The “works” that will be merited are the works done by the disciples in the true Church, these will be given consideration in rendering righteous justice. I will repeat, the WORKS that we have done! Let us bear in mind that the laws and commandment have been entrusted to the true Church, these are the truths that will lead anyone to true faith and true manner of worship leading to the attainment of true life.
Philippians 2:12 NKJV
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;
Philippians 2:12 TEV
12 So then, dear friends, as you always obeyed me when I was with you, it is even more important that you obey me now while I am away from you. Keep on working with fear and trembling to complete your salvation,
Philippians 2:12 Moffatt
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have been obedient always and not simply when I was present, so, now that I am absent, work all the more strenuously at your salvation with reverence and trembling,
We must hold on and uphold these truths in our life or live by them for our own salvation. If they have no influence in our life then our election will be fruitless.
I Corinthians 15:1-2 NIV
1 Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
I Corinthians 15:1-2 LB
1 Now let me remind you, brothers, of what the Gospel really is, for it has not changed-it is the same Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then and still do now, for your faith is squarely built upon this wonderful message; 2 and it is this Good News that saves you if you still firmly believe it, unless of course you never really believed it in the first place.
I Corinthians 15:1-2 Jerusalem
1 Brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, the gospel that you received and in which you are firmly established; because the gospel will save you only if you keep believing exactly what I preached to you–believing anything else will not lead to anything.
We must never follow the examples of the foolish and lazy servants.
1 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those maidens rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise replied, ‘Perhaps there will not be enough for us and for you; go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other maidens came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he replied, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
Did the light in our lamp continue to illumine? Are we able to uphold doing what is good? (Matt. 5:16) Did we continue abiding faithfully all the commandments we received? The TEN COMMANDMENTS given to us summed up all of these, to safeguard our own salvation. Hence, if we immerse ourselves more and more in sins and shortcomings, the strands of hope to salvation snaps one by one. (Bro. Eraño G. Manalo gives the rope for this illustration) Those who are still enlisted in the Registry of the Church when the end(either of the two ends) comes, but are still “submerged” in sins, will they “luckily” receive salvation because they manage to remain on the list? If this will be our stand and conviction, then we should also conform with the wrong outlook of the members who are only driven by their wrong personal motives which is entirely different from the great and noble goal of our Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. This is why our Lord God is seeking for the true and righteous form of worship to be rendered only by the true members of the Church and it will also lead us to perfection, without any blemish and prepare us eventually to meet our Lord Jesus Christ on his second advent.
Why will there be a need to separate the clean from unclean? The holy and profane? If this is not needed then it is an exercise in futility! If we still refuse to accept the truth, we will be relegated to hiding under the pretext of love (or faith), serving untruthfully, we’ll be disloyal, (as if only serving man … which is common among hypocrites) we’ll be offended and distrust God’s justice and righteousness(which should never happen to us). The Bible already stated those who can enter and those who cannot enter the Holy City.
Those who will be fortunate to enter: (please take note of their attributes)
They are the humble, meek, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, his “sheep” (or the righteous ones), the good thief (“exempted” by the Savior), those who persevered amidst persecutions, firm in their calling … the multitudes dressed in white robes whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life … have washed their robes and have been victorious. (Mt. 5:3-12; 25:33-40; Lk. 23: 42-43; II Th. 1:4-5; II P. 1:10-11; Rv. 7:9-14; 21:7, 27; 22:14; )
Those who unfortunately cannot enter: (please take note of their attributes)
Among them … the evildoers who call him Lord, hypocrites, the “goats” (cursed ones), wicked, sexually immorals, adulterers, homosexual perverts, idolaters, thieves and greedy people, drunkards and revilers, slanderers, cowardly, unbelievers, murderers, liars, those likened to “dogs”, whoever add or take away words of God written in the Bible … nothing impure or unclean will enter the city. (Mt. 7:21-23; 24:51; 25:33, 41; I Co. 6:9-11; Ga. 5:19-21; Rv. 21:8, 27; 22:15, 18-19;)
It is of paramount importance to fully trust the words of God, His laws and commandments, written in the Bible. If we are resolute in our faith and firmly holding on to these truths, we will never doubt the righteous Judgment of our Lord God, it will rid our heart of offence, and it will propel us to carry on and continue to do what is GOOD thus giving glory to our Lord God. NEVER did our Lord God use quantity or amount as criterion but, TRUTH AND RIGHTEOUSNESS. The valuable qualities for our Lord God are: TRUE AND RIGHTEOUS ACKNOWLEDGEMENT, UNSUR-PASSED LOVE FOR HIM, ABIDING AND PURE HEART, HUMILITY, SUBMISSION TO HIS WILL EVEN IF SELF DENIAL IS NEEDED AND LOYALTY. Hence, my beloved brethren … I enjoin you to a complete renewal of life. If our attention and time have focus on our own life before, this is the right time to veer it to GOD’S WILL AND WAYS. Let us abandon our former way of life wherein we dream and long selfishly for ourself — wealth, success, knowledge, good standing in life, forgiveness from shortcomings and transgressions. If we are blinded by these things how can we attain “Spiritual Maturity”. Religion is not for our gain or means to be wealthy! This is not for hypocrites! How can we uphold our greatest and noblest duty according to God’s plan? To worship and glorify the Great Creator. Our present society is full of pretentions and pervaded by materialism, it is hard for us to do it but it is not impossible! Let us now strive to abide patiently and faithfully all of God’s commandments, completely without any shortcoming, to ensure that we will receive the blessings that the HOLY FATHER intends for us. The HOLY FATHER and our Lord Jesus Christ loves us dearly. They do not want us to perish, hence they are using “instruments” to admonish us. We are almost through with this penultimate period, our Lord God have chosen and elected another servant to give us His warnings before the coming Destruction. This is fulfilled in the personality of Elias Arkanghel, he is chosen by the Lord God and he has the spirit and power of the prophet Elijah. He will lead us in this last work to restore all things … hence, the Holy Spirit will be with us again and we will truly be with our Lord God.