The Real Church of God

Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano

study the church that is being mentioned in the Bible. We need to study this inasmuch as we are trying to examine the different doctrines of the different religious organizations here today. There was somebody who said that, the true church is not the congregation of the Apostles because the Apostles were destroyed by satan and they were killed. Therefore, theirs was not the true church. He said that, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mat. 16:18). It means that the true church would not die. And for that reason, the members of that church would not experience death either. And they alleged that the Apostles died because their church was not the true church, theirs was the true church. We will consult the Bible to find out if the claim of many churches, that they are the true church, were true, or not. Let us find out also if there is any truth to their assertion that they are the only true church, and whosoever does not join their church will never be saved. It is but natural that people develop the feeling that their church is the true church, and that only they will be saved. And those who are outside their church have no salvation. Actually, this is already an old claim by different religious organizations, and until now, this is still their claim. But let us find out from the Bible, which is the true church. As far as some people are concerned, theirs is the true church, while all the others are impostors. That is why we better ask the Bible, which is the true church? What comprises it? Where is it? Is it in the Philippines? Did it originate here? We will try to seek answers to these questions from the Bible. For us not to be misled, let us start our discussion from the very beginning. First and foremost, let us find out, which is the very first church? Nothing could be better than the original. Please, bear in mind; we are referring to the first real church. The Bible speaks of “firsts,” or “originals”. Let us cite an example. I Corinthians 15:45 says-“And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” The Bible said, the first man, Adam, became a living soul. The very first

THIS TIME, WE ARE GOING TO

The Real Church of God
Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano

man, the original, was Adam. Do not forget that nobody came ahead of Adam. Although, nowadays, there are some who believe that there were already a group of people who had come before Adam and they alleged that they were even more intelligent than him. They were referring to those who build the pyramids of Egypt. Apparently, they marveled at the great architectural design of the pyramids of Egypt. But if we are going to base our belief on the Bible, the very first man is Adam. And according to St. Paul, who is an authority of the Bible, he said that nobody came ahead of Adam. The book of Genesis in chapter 3 verse 20 also speaks of another “original”. “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.” Very clearly, the reason why she was called Eve was because “she was the mother of all living.” In other words, Eve is our original mother, while Adam is the original, or the first man. If, in matters like this, there are “originals”, when it comes to the church, there is also an original, or the first church. And this is what we are going to talk about. Now, let us begin. Let us consult the Bible and ask: what was the very first church? Let us read Hebrews 12:23-“To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to the God the judge of all?” St. Paul said, “To the general assembly and church of the firstborn.”.” Could there be another church that had come ahead of this? None, because this is the church of the firstborn! Firstborn means the very first; none has come before a firstborn. In other words, the very first church in the Bible is the church of the firstborn. Now, let us find out, to whom was the Bible ascribing the name “church of the firstborn”? Remember, we are not talking about the first church in the Philippines! We are talking about the first church insofar as the biblical account is concerned. And from the Bible, we have learned about the church of the firstborn. Now, let us read Exodus 4:22-“And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thou saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn.” Which was referred to as the firstborn? Israel is the very first nation that served God. It was the first nation on earth that was chosen by God. Deuteronomy 7:6-7 says, “For thou art a holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you because you were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people.”

The Real Church of God
Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano

God chose Israel, despite the fact that it was the smallest then. There were already a number of nations on earth that time. Egypt was one of them. There were already the seven nations, which were a lot bigger than Israel. Yet, God chose Israel to serve Him. (Israel refers to the Jews). Let us read Deuteronomy 7:1-“When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgasthites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Parizzites, and the Hevites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou.” There were seven nations greater in strength and in number than Israel. But it was Israel that was chosen by God to be His nation. The Bible said, “The LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.” Although there were greater and mightier nations, God still chose Israel. In fact, the Bible even said, that they were the fairest of all people. That is why, if we are going to talk about service to God, Israel was the first. The Bible calls them as the Church of the Firstborn. And the Israel that is being referred to here is the group of people that Moses led out of Egypt – the people who crossed the Red Sea, which was parted by Moses (Exodus 14). They were the people who witnessed the many miracles of God so that they would be freed from the hands of the Pharaoh. Those very people of God were the ones being called as the church of the firstborn. After freeing them from slavery, Moses brought them to the wilderness of Mount Sinai, where they stayed for a long time. God made a covenant with them, thru Moses. That was the church of the firstborn, the church in the wilderness. What is our basis in saying that it was, indeed, Israel? In the Acts of the Apostles chapter 7 verse 38 it says-“This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers who received the lively oracles to give unto us.” This is the Moses in the church in the wilderness. If you will trace the beginning, there was already a church even before Jesus Christ assumed the image of a man. That was the church which was led by Moses, and this was called church of the firstborn or the church in the wilderness. This is the reason why the ministers of other religious groups should be cautious. Imagine they are making their members believe that their church is the original because it was the first. That is a big lie! The very first church is the church of the firstborn, and that was Israel. The word “firstborn” means that none had come before it. None had come ahead of the firstborn.

The Real Church of God
Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano

In the Bible, a firstborn refers to the child that opened a mother’s womb. In Luke 2:22-23 it says-“And when the days of her purification according to the Law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord).” The firstborn refers to the child that opens his mother’s womb; a firstborn implies the first. In the Bible, the church of the firstborn refers to the Israelites, not the Filipinos. Therefore, even during the time of Moses, there was already a church. Even before Christ made Himself manifest in the flesh, there was already a church. This was the church in the wilderness of Sinai – the Church of the Firstborn. Is there any verse that would affirm that Israel was the church of the firstborn? In James 1:18, “Of his own will begot he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.” The Israelites were the first. Do we have a proof that Israel is the church in the wilderness and church of the firstborn, which God acknowledged then? Romans 9:4-5 says-“Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises. Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came . . .” It was from their race that Christ sprang from when He made Himself manifest in the flesh. It says, to them pertains the adoption, the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises. Whose are the fathers, and in whom as concerning the flesh Christ came. In the beginning, Israel was the only city that was acknowledged by God. Let us read what II Kings 5:15 says, “And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before them; and said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel.” There was no God in all the earth but in Israel. And this was confirmed by the “Pasyon” of the Catholics, which says, Lalong dakila ang sala Ng tanang anak ni Eva Anakin idolatria Kahit ano sinasamba Pinaparang dios nila Iisang nasyon sa mundo

The Real Church of God
Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano

Ang kumilalang totoo Sa Dios kumapal sa tao Ito ngang mga Hudyo Bukod na walang anito (Greater is the sin) (By all of Eve’s children) (Who practice idolatry) (They worship anything) (They regard them as their god) (There was but one nation on earth) (That truly acknowledged) (The God who created man) (the Jews) (Were the only ones who did not worship false gods) Israel was the only nation that truly acknowledged God. Israel refers to the Jews – the race where Jesus Christ came from. Both Mary and Joseph were Jews. The Jews were called the church of the firstborn, the church in the wilderness. And the church of the firstborn is the very first church of God. Read the verse, which a particular group uses as a basis in claiming that there is the true church, Matthew 16:18-“And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” It is in this verse where they usually begin. After reading this, the minister would ask, “Whose is the church? Christ said, “my church”, therefore, it is the church of Christ!” But wait a minute. Let us ask Christ why did He says,“Upon this rock I will build my church.”Christ said, I will build my church. He did not say He will establish His church. What is the biblical connotation of the verb “will build”? Let us read the explanation of the Apostles in Acts 15:16-17-“After this, I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down, and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.” Therefore, whenever the Bible uses “will build”, it suggests that something has fallen down. According to God’s prophecy, He would return and He would build again the tabernacle of David which has fallen. He would build it again because it was destroyed.

The Real Church of God
Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano

Now, let us find out from the Bible, why had David’s tabernacle fallen? Is there any other verse in the Old Testament that confirms this? Amos 9:11 says-“In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breeches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old.” The reason why the word “will build” was used is because something had fallen. We have cited two verses to prove that. The tabernacle of David in Israel had fallen, that is why God said, “I will build it as in the days of old.” We have read in Acts 7:38 that the first church was the church of the firstborn, the church in the wilderness. Why, what happened to this church in the wilderness? Why did it have to be raised up? What happened? Psalms 147:2 says-“The LORD doth build up Jerusalem; he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.” The Israelites were scattered; they had fallen. Do you know why the church that was built in Sinai, which was called the church in the wilderness, fell? What is the story behind it? Let us read Ezekiel 34:2-5-“Son of man, prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flock? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye tell them that are fed but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost, but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. And they were scattered.” When Moses and the faithful Judges and Kings died, what used to be an orderly Israel was abused by their shepherds, or pastors. So, God told Ezekiel, “prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock?” In your respective churches, who is feeding you? Is it your pastor? Or, are you the one feeding your pastor? There are, indeed, churches wherein the flocks are the ones feeding their shepherds. Ezekiel 34:2 says-“Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds: Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?”

The Real Church of God
Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano

It should be the shepherd, or the pastor, who should feed his flock. But nowadays, it has become the other way around. The flock now is the one feeding the shepherd. Your pastors have made you their sources of livelihood. They ask tithes from you; they make you mendicants in the streets; they make you carry pouches where your collections should be dropped. Are these things true, or not? Of course, they are true. We are all witnesses to these things. Therefore, what the Bible said was true. In Ezekiel 34:3: “Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool . . .” The shepherds are dressed up with the finest clothing material. “Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed but ye feed not the flock.” It would be very bad had you been the fattest in the flock because you would be killed. Too bad, also, if your daughter happened to be the prettiest in the flock because she would be taken by the pastor. All the women with fair and flawless thighs belong to the pastor. This is not a joke. This is a reality. We have documents to prove that there was a pastor who had 36 wives. And mind you, he was claiming to be a messenger of God. What kind of messenger is that? I am not maligning anybody. What I am telling you is the truth because the public has the right to know the truth. Why am I divulging all these? In religion, if you are ignorant of the truth, you will be taken advantage. Just like what they are doing to you now, instead of your pastors feeding you, you are the ones feeding your pastors. What does that mean? Be it literal or spiritual, that is what pastors do to their flocks. They abuse their flock. Imagine the pastor lives in a palace while his members live in the squatters’ area! And what is worse, these poor people even give donations to their leader who lives in the palace. Is that fair? Isn’t it that the one living in the palace should be the one who should give donations to the ones living in the squatters’ area? There is no such thing in the Bible. The admonition is for the rich to give to the poor. Your pastor is already very rich, but you still give him your money. He already has a lot of money, yet he never stops from collecting money from you. If he is sensitive to the plight of his flock, he should distribute to the poor the rest of his collections. Just like us. The donations that our members give are being spent in serving other people. Our members cannot accuse us that we are a burden to them. No member of this congregation can accuse me of spending his donations for my personal needs. The truth is their donations are not even enough to pay our airtime expenses on radio and television. Thru the mercy of God, food is not really a problem to me. I have my brothers and sisters and nephews who could feed me. Our main problem is how to reach out to as many people for them not to be abused and deceived by those pastors. The Bible says,“Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill

The Real Church of God
Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano

them that are fed but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and cruelty have ye ruled them.” A lot of religious leaders are very strict to their members. Strict in what aspect? In terms of money! If the members do not give tithes, they accuse them of robbing God. And because they are robbing God, they will surely go to hell. That is how they threaten their members. But because the members do not want to be condemned in hell, they keep on giving tithes. That is the reason why the pastor is able to live a very comfortable and luxurious life. The pastor rides a very beautiful car. In fact, he owns a total of 16 cars, aside from a helicopter and an airplane. He has five mansions, several condominium units, and three rest houses. The pastor lives a very extravagant life, and I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Israelites. Their shepherds took advantage of them. Jeremiah 32:31-33 says-“For this city hath been to me as a provocation of mine anger and of my fury from the day that they build it even unto this day; that I should remove it from before my face. Because of all the evil of the children of Israel and of the children of Judah, which they have done to provoke me to anger, they, their kings, their princes, their priests and their prophets and the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And they have turned unto me the back . . .” There was connivance among the kings, the priests, the prophets, and the men of Judah to turn their back to God. They did nothing but enrich themselves. This is what Micah 3:11 says-“The heads there of judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money.” All for reward and money! Just like what many religions do today. If you want to be baptized, you have to pay. You have to pay again if you want a confirmation. If you want to get married, you have to pay also. If you are dying and you want to receive the so-called last sacrament, you still have to pay. When you die and you want to receive a benediction in the altar, you have to pay again. Has not religion become a very lucrative business for many? Isn’t it that they make a lot of money out of it? Correct me if I am wrong. What the Bible says is very clear. “The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money.” What keeps them busy? They are busy enriching themselves. What was the result? Jeremiah 5:26-27 says-“For among my people are found wicked men they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. As a cage is full of birds,

The Real Church of God
Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano

So are their house full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich.” The pastors in Israel made themselves very rich. As a result, they neglected their duties to the organization. God’s organizational set up was lost. Israel had fallen; the flocks were scattered; they lost a pastor or shepherd who truly cared for them. Although the pastors were not literally gone, however, all of them were only after material gains. What happened later on? II Chronicles 15:3 says-“Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law.” In other words, God abandoned Israel. We have read in II Kings 5:15 15 that there was no God, then, on earth except in Israel. During that time, God was with them, but now, Israel is without a God, and without a teaching priest. Why? They were replaced by shameless and greedy pastors. And that is how most pastors are in our time. No wonder we experience so many earthquakes and other calamities. Many pastors today are only interested in the money of their members. They sell them handkerchiefs, stickers, and magazines. They make a lot of money out of their members. That was what happened to Israel then. That was the reason why God cursed them. So, they were scattered and they were driven to different places. Now, will God let His church be disintegrated and scattered for long? Will God completely abandon them? This is what Psalms 147:2 says-“The Lord doeth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.” The scattered sheep will once again be gathered together by God. He will raise Israel up again. That is what God wants. God didn’t want His people to be scattered for long. He will find a way on how to rebuild what had fallen. How will He do it? Amos 9:11 says-“In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breeches thereof: and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old.” What had fallen will be raised up again. Therefore, God didn’t want His flock to be scattered. He will rebuild Israel. What will He do to rebuild it? Will He descend from heaven to personally rebuild it? How will He do it? This is the prophecy in Zechariah 6:12-“And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of host, saying, Behold the man whose name is the BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD.”

The Real Church of God
Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano

In the prophecy, there is a man whose name is Branch. Where will that Branch emerge from? Read Jeremiah 23:5-“Behold the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign.” So, the Branch will come from David. Do we have any proof? Jeremiah 33:15 says-“In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up into David.” The man, whose name is Branch, will raise up the tabernacle of David that had fallen. And this refers to Israel, the city of God . . . the church of the firstborn . . . the church in the wilderness, which fell because of the abusive pastors. Who will raise it up? It will be raised up by the man who shall spring from David, and his name is Branch. Who is He? Let us read Revelations 22:16-“I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” Who is the offspring of David? Who is the Branch? CHRIST! Therefore, Christ, who also came from Israel, will be commissioned by God to raise up Israel which had fallen. In fact, this is what Matthew 15:24 says-“But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” What did our Lord Jesus say? “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” He was sent to gather them all together. That is why Christ became an instrument in raising up Israel, which had fallen. Did Christ fulfill this when He came? This is what Matthew 16:18 says-“And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church …” Is that the first church? No! But there is a religious organization that considers Mat. 16:18 as the first church ever. That is not the first! The first was Israel, but it fell. God wanted it to be rebuilt. And in order to rebuild it, God will send a man whose name is Branch. And that is Christ. He will rebuild what had fallen. This is the reason why, when Christ came, He said-“And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.”

The Real Church of God
Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano

Why will He raise the church up? The church in the wilderness, the church of the firstborn, which is Israel, had fallen. So when Christ came, He shall rebuild it. Israel was ruined. It was abused by the pastors. But this time, it will be different. Matthew 16:18 says-“And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Its rebuilding was accompanied with a promise. Because the first church was destroyed by abusive pastors, this time, when Christ rebuilds it, He gave an assurance that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” What does that mean? Was He able to rebuild the church? Jesus said, “I will rebuild my church.” Was He able to do it? If He did, where was it built? Is it in the Philippines? in the far east? in Rome? in the US? If it had been rebuilt, how is it called? What is its name? Are you interested to find these things out? These are what we are going to study next time.