In the Iglesia Ni Cristo of Manalo, to whom did they attribute the term “last messenger”? In Pasugo, July 1956, page 13:
Naliwanagan natin na may sugo ang Diyos sa Huling Araw, at ito’y si kapatid na Felix Manalo na siyang nangaral ng Iglesia Ni Cristo sa Pilipinas simula noong 1914, ayon sa bisa at kapangyarihan ng hula. Si kapatid na Felix Manalo ang huling sugo ng Diyos bago dumating ang katapusan ng sanlibutan.
We have clarified that there is a messenger of God in the Last Day, and this is Brother Felix Manalo who had preached the Iglesia Ni Cristo in the Philippines starting in 1914, according to the efficacy and power of the prophecy. Brother Felix Manalo is the last messenger of God before the end of the world comes.
So Felix Manalo is the last messenger, according to the official magazine of the Iglesia Ni Cristo. This means that until the end of the world no one else should follow him as messenger. Last means no one else follows after. This is in conformity with their succeeding statements in the same publication.
Bakit natin natitiyak na siya ang huling sugo? Sapagka’t sinabi ng Diyos sa hula ni Isaias 41:4, “Sinong gumawa at yumari, na tumawag ng mga sali’t saling lahi mula ng una? Akong Panginoon, ang una, at kasama ng huli, ako nga,” Ayon sa hula, ang sugong tinutukoy ay huling sugo, kung bakit, dahil sa banggit na “kasama ng huli.” Ito ang huling sugo sa panahong Kristiyano, at ang susunod sa kanyang pangangaral ay ang katapusan ng sanlibutan o paghuhukom.
Why are we sure that he is the last messenger? Because God said in the prophecy of Isaiah 41:4, “Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.” According to the prophecy, the messenger referred to is the last messenger, because of the term “with the last.” This is the last messenger in the Christian era, and following his preaching is the end of the world or judgment day.
INC members believe this, that Felix Manalo is the last messenger because this is the doctrine being taught to them. The question is, if Felix Manalo is the last messenger, what is Eraño Manalo’s role now? If nothing comes after the last, what is Eraño Manalo doing in the Iglesia Ni Cristo? What is his duty? What is his authority?
In the Iglesia Ni Manalo, one who is not a messenger of God has no authority to preach. This is their belief published in Pasugo, May 2003, page 10:
“The one who must preach is a messenger of God”, that is the title of the article. So what is Eraño Manalo now? Is he a messenger? Is he a preacher? Their doctrine is clear: the last messenger of God in the last day is Felix Manalo. But Felix Manalo is already dead; what now makes that of Eraño Manalo? They don’t mention him as messenger in the Iglesia Ni Cristo. But do they believe that Eraño Manalo is also a messenger? Of course! They must. Otherwise Eraño Manalo has no authority to preach, because their doctrine clearly states: “The one who must preach is a messenger of God.”
In reality and in effect, Eraño Manalo is acknowledged as a messenger in the Iglesia Ni Cristo, because he does the things that Felix Manalo did when the latter was still alive. Felix Manalo practiced the laying on of hands to “ordain” a minister, Eraño Manalo also practices the laying on of hands in the same manner.
They cannot deny that they believe Eraño Manalo is also a messenger. He is the present executive minister of the Iglesia Ni Cristo; he makes the outlines of topics being preached in their church; and from him comes out all the rules and policies being implemented; of course he must be, according to their own belief, a messenger. In fact, Eraño Manalo is not just a preacher, but a teacher to preachers or workers in their church. So if he is a preacher, then he must be, according to their official publication, a messenger, otherwise he has no authority to preach.
Their big problem now is this: how come Eraño Manalo is also a messenger when their doctrine clearly states that Felix Manalo is the last messenger? To say that this doctrine is confusing is an understatement. It is ridiculous, illogical, and most of all unbiblical. Obviously, they don’t understand the meaning of the word “last”. A child understands better. When you say to a child that that is the “last”, he knows that nothing comes after it. But the “last messenger” in the Iglesia Ni Manalo has successors.
If you are a member of the Iglesia Ni Manalo, you will wonder, what kind of last is Felix Manalo? Why is there another one after him? In the Central Office of the Iglesia Ni Cristo, employees do not call Eraño Manalo a messenger, but executive minister, just to play safe. But it is clear that they acknowledge him as messenger, because he is the one preaching; and again, the one who preaches must be a messenger of God.
In the Bible, Apostle Paul confirms that one cannot preach the gospel unless he was sent by God. Romans 10:14-15 says:
“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?”
So what is Eraño Manalo’s role again? Is he a preacher? Is he a messenger? Ministers of the Iglesia Ni Manalo do not mention or teach to their members that Eraño Manalo is a messenger, but they do acknowledge him as one; otherwise he will have no authority to preach. Eraño Manalo is the messenger after the “last” messenger Felix Manalo. And Felix Manalo will be sent in the “last” day. According to their Pasugo, Felix Manalo “is the last messenger in the Christian era, and following his preaching is the end of the world or judgment day.”
So if Eraño is the next messenger after Felix Manalo, that means Eraño Manalo is the messenger after the end of the world.