Philippine Arena: Blessing or a Curse?

albatross |ˈalbətrɒs|

  • a source of frustration or guilt; an encumbrance (in allusion to Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner): an albatross of a marriage.

In one of my previous posts I mentioned about the new troubles the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ)  has with the Philippine Arena. What was supposed to be the crowning achievement of the present Executive Minister, EVM, has now become his “albatross”

 

Prior to the Construction

Constructed within a few years of EVM taking office, the Arena was prepared to be used for the grand celebration of the Church’s 100’th year anniversary. But even before that day arrived, things already started going wrong.

What should have been smooth sailing began instead with troubled waters. A year prior to the Centennial celebration, every congregation around the world was called to give a “special offering” for the “Centennial”.

Many thought nothing of it and were glad to pour the contributions in. After all, this was THE CENTENNIAL. A few months passed and once again there is another announcement that we would have to give for the “Centennial”. This didn’t sit well with many because we were so generous in giving that first time that there wasn’t much to give the second time around.

What made this awkward was that it was before the Church Anniversary Thanksgiving. What would we give for our Thanksgiving if we pour out everything in that “Centennial” special offering.

By then, things began to unravel. There was something amiss. I am not talking about corruption but something far worse. Brother Eraño Manalo said if things are not going smoothly, then it is because you don’t have the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Let me take you back even during the construction of the Arena.  During the construction of the Arena itself, construction workers died. Just during the construction alone, God already made it clear He was not in this plan.

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In October 2013, one of the biggest earthquakes to hit the Philippines; scores of people died, hundreds more injured; 8600 homes in Quezon City were destroyed and about 5000 more damaged.

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One month later the historic typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) hit the Philippines and it wreaked havoc. Imagine, one of the strongest storms recorded on the planet and it hit the Philippines. First the earthquake, then this monster typhoon? God is saying something here now. If only they would’ve listened.

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Horror story Flashback 2014

Now think back to the Centennial itself. How many brethren were so excited to attend the grandest and joyous occasion. An event many thought we would not be around to see? Thousands traveled far and wide to go to the Arena and witness The 100th year of the church.  Remember, this was years in the making, everyone was sure this was going to be memorable. It was unforgettable alright.

For something that was prepared for and planned for, the only word for it was, DISASTER. As brethren flew in from all over the globe, excited to get their “reserved” tickets, which is why their names were sent months in advance, the ugliness began. Many, as soon as they landed, eagerly went to the Central office to get their tickets, only to be told that they were not ready. Huh? This is The Centennial. We’ve been waiting for this for years – not ready? Ok. That’s fine, many thought. Just a glitch. They did not realise this was the beginning of their nightmare.

So many returned Friday, only to be told to return Saturday (the event was Sunday morning of the 27th of July). Scores of brethren were not fully irritated because they had to traverse the horrendous Philippine traffic and some coming from the province of their relatives. No matter, this was The Centennial.

Saturday came, and brethren were already dressed for the grand occasion, in their finest attire, gowns, suits and the native Barong Tagalogs. They lined up to get their tickets, having to wait for hours in many instances, and from there, they were told the buses would leave early Saturday afternoon.

Many others were less fortunate, they were told there were NO MORE TICKETS. These are the brethren who came from America, Australia, U.K., Saudi Arabia and Canada, saving their earnings because they were told their names were on the LIST for the Arena. There were many angry tears shed that morning. Offended, many traveled back to their relatives’ province just to have an instant holiday.

So those “fortunate” to get tickets were now told to go to the Tabernacle. It’s ok, some sighed. It was all worth it to wait for the tickets. But that was not it yet. In the Tabernacle, hundreds of brethren were now stranded. For several hours. There were those who were there since 7:00 AM Saturday, were now still there at 7:00 at night, in the heat with no food or water. It quickly became a refugee camp! Some just slept on the seats in their gowns, some stripped down to their undershirts, some just gave up in anger and frustration and left.

For those who had no other option, they stayed; hungry and thirsty waiting for the rented buses. For the record, there were supposedly hundreds of buses that were rented but did not come. Fail. I know 55,000 may sound gargantuan but

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When some brethren did make it to the buses, (there were struggles to get in one, as well), it was an agonising trip to the Arena. Even as the buses exited towards the venue, there were still traffic jams. It was so bad, that brethren were told to get out and walk. Was this the “well coordinated event” that was planned for years??

Keep in mind that these were members from overseas who were not used to the Philippine heat. They were now told to walk in the rain that was now coming down, the heat and mud. In their fancy dresses, heels and suits. Hungry and thirsty, they made it to the Arena only to be told there was no longer a seating assignment, so it was pretty much just grab a seat where you can.

The Arena itself had its own mess. The grounds were muddy because they were unfinished, the toilets were obviously unfinished. Imagine, this is a venue to hold 55,000 and a toilet literally was just ONE toilet. People had to line up to use it and freshen up from their ordeal at the Tabernacle. And at the same time, watch their steps because the toilets were flooded. This is The (Guinness- world record breaking) Arena.

By nightfall, looking haggard and soaked, brethren got to the Arena by foot, they were still unable to enter because they were told to wait for the officers’ prayer and to witness the fireworks at midnight. So many were exhausted when they got in, that they just passed out in the seats waiting for the occasion to begin. So many were so tired that after the worship service somewhere around 4:00 am , they did not bother with the “grand celebration’s program” and just went home.

This was THE Centennial. The leaders realised how disastrous it was that they had to tell the District Ministers abroad to contact the many brethren who were so upset they could not enter the Arena after being told they had seats, remained stranded at the Tabernacle and those who simply went back to their relatives’ provinces – that their respective District Ministers had to reach out to them long distance to tell them to attend the following Friday “special worship service” for a GUARANTEED meet and greet with The Administrator. Many just went back abroad with a bad taste in their mouths but glad that the nightmare was over. Or was it?

 

More deaths

Like a real life horror movie, it does not seem to end. Since that nightmare, what has happened to the Arena? There were 2 Ministerial students who died and another lost his legs in the tragedy, coming from an imposed mandatory 2015 New Year’s event  in the Arena.

There is not even a mention in the news that they were INC or Ministerial workers or they were coming back from the Philippine Arena. The media was well controlled. Try to find articles on their deaths. (this is all you will find):

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All this news was kept hushed by the leaders knowing that the elder brethren would read something deeper into it. They would and should have.

Now there were other events like the Katy Perry concert and the FORCED concert of Chris Brown, (I say “Forced” because he didn’t show up the first time) and had to perform when he finally went there.There were Kpop concerts basketball games and odd events here and there.

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But now, there is not much, aside from the Church activities occasionally held there. People don’t book events there. It is not the crowning achievement that people thought it was going to be. Even the recent news of big music star Justin Bieber recently backed out of the Arena. (Thank God).

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Once again, as I posted before about Chris Brown, is Bieber someone we want using the same place where our church gatherings are done? CHINA rejected him but the Church will allow him to perform in the Arena?

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But then again, look at what’s been taking place here.

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Bad Press

Now there are all kinds of sordid news coming out such as extortion, tax evasion reports and smuggling charges. One has to ask, if this building is such a blessing, why is there so much trouble attached to it? Aside from the loans and corruption growing underneath this hulking mess, the answer may be simpler than we think – – GOD does not want it.

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I’m sure brethren around the world may say they are “proud” to know that our offerings were used to build the Arena, but let’s simply look at it from the Spiritual side.

This building was NOT DEDICATED to GOD like a chapel is; it was just inaugurated. This does not even have the name of Church of Christ or Brother Felix Manalo in it. Why is that? Millions of dollars from the offerings of brethren were used and it does not even bear the name of Christ, the name created by God for His glory?? Because it was intended to be for WORLDLY use such as lewd concerts and shows.

 

Molech  (or Moloch) / Molek

Moloch (Masoretic מֹלֶךְ mōlek, Greek Μολόχ) is the Biblical name relating to a Canaanite god associated with child sacrifice. The name of this deity is also sometimes spelled Molech, Milcom, or Malcam.

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I cannot take credit for bringing this out. I saw this on Facebook (thank you Nympha Castillo) and it gave me chills. The more I looked at it and read about this, the more I see why God would not want the Arena. Once you see the picture of the Arena – you see the bull – you now see Molech. LOOK at the similarities – the circle about the head and between the horns!

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Molech was mentioned in the Bible  (masoretic text) 8 times. One of the well known servants of God who turned to worship it was King Solomon. Remember Solomon was the 3rd king of God’s ancient nation, after Saul and David his father. Solomon was influenced by his wife. (does this sound anything like today?)

 

“For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not wholly follow the Lord, as David his father had done. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem. And so he did for all his foreign wives, who made offerings and sacrificed to their gods. 1 Kings 11:3-8

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Is it surprising then that death, scandal and lasciviousness prevail in the Philippine Arena? Would you say that it is a place to receive blessings?

One could argue that the appearance is a mere coincidence. Could we though? This Arena was planned and prepared for years. You mean to tell me they would deny that is a head of a bull?

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So it comes down to 2 things: It was not intentional or it was intentional.

    1. If it was not intentional, then there is something wrong – it was not guided by God when you don’t see Molech’s features there.
    2. If it was intentional, then there is something more sinister at work here.

Then there definitely is a cursed place.

34 They have set up disgusting idols in my temple, and now it isn’t a fit place to worship me. 35 And they led Judah into sin by building places to worship Baal in Hinnom Valley, where they also sacrificed their sons and daughters to the god Molech. I have never even thought of telling them to commit such disgusting sins.

36 Jeremiah, what you said is true. The people of Jerusalem are suffering from hunger and disease… Jeremiah 32:34-36

The Church should have never gotten involved with the matters of this world. Remember the words of the Apostles:

“Take with me your share of hardship [passing through the difficulties which you are called to endure], like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service gets entangled in the [ordinary business] affairs of civilian life; [he avoids them] so that he may please the one who enlisted him to serve.” 2 Timothy 2:3-5

 

 

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11 thoughts on “Philippine Arena: Blessing or a Curse?

  1. I’ll just share some of my own experiences during the Centennial season:

    A lot of buses in our district were rented so the brethren could go to the PA. Our minister told us that, if I remember correctly, a dozen buses will be provided for our locale. What happened? NOTHING came to our locale. Of course the blind members would not say something because they believed that it was just a coincidence. At this time, I could sense something was amiss, but being also blind back then, I also dismissed this as mere coincidence.

    So what happened to our offerings used to rent those buses? NOTHING. I was waiting for our district leadership to do something about it, but NOTHING happened. But then, I was told not to say anything because it would mean rebellion against the church administration.

    And then, it was I think December 2014, there was this time when our minister FORCED us to buy some tickets worth 500 pesos for a certain Philippine Arena celebration. I think this was also the SAME CELEBRATION where the 2 BEM students died. This was supposed to be for the eco-farming, but I’m not sure if this is the one in Africa right now.

    No problem if the money will be used for a cause, but to FORCEFULLY buy it? And then I thought, “We should only give what our hearts decide, right? So why were they forcing us to buy those tickets?”

    An officer told me that I should just consider it as a form of offering, but no, this is clearly against the doctrine because we were taught that offerings should always come from the heart. But still, being blind back then, I just shrugged it off because it will be for some eco-farming stuff, and saying something against them would mean rebellion. Good thing I was able to avoid buying those though.

    And then, a few months later, AE appeared, and confirmed my suspicions. And the rest, as they say, is history.

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  2. My experience is about 8 hrs of waiting on our chapel. The reason why buses did not arrive on time is because they are not yet paid. We were able to get the bus running after getting money from a politician.

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  3. I believed and absolutely TRUE that the PA constructions LOOKS like a BULL! But the OWEs,the BLINDS n the FANATICS won’t Believed and will Still DEFEND their NEW FALSE GOD(the PA).Someone told me before,6 brothers died there,not only 2.It’s really a CURSED to this Administration,I pity these so called “true Christians”,when are they going to WAKE-UP and realized the TRUTH? Really GOD n the H.Spirit is NO longer with THEM,whether They Accept it or Not!! That’s the proof too that they USED our OFFERINGS to GOD in Vain n for MATERIAL Things and Not for the GLORY of God’s n Christ NAMES!! That is the WORST part,they KEEP telling and Announcing that the PA will be BUILT for the Praised and Glory of God,but the Truth is, THEIR MOTIVES is to USED it for MONEY MAKING(Business). God is EXPOSING THEM Now!! Wake-up”christians brothers n sisters”,open your hearts and minds!!Before it’s TOO LATE!! I was Planning to witness that too,good I didn’t go,if I did,maybe I experienced too the suffering of those brethren here from Abroad that attended d 100th yr. anniversary.I am Lucky he he he he…

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  4. Is it True,it RAINED hard yesterday(here today) because there was a TYPHOON n no celebration happened at the BULL Arena in Bocaue,Bulacan? A brother at ka WS site mentioned it!

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  5. Is it warning from GOD,that 103rd Anniversary is NOT for HIS Glory? Or HE doesn’t WANT INNOCENT Brethren that DOESN’T know anything(because NO News,TV-Radio news and Everything about in the MEDIA was BLACK OUT)what’s really happening BAD in the Church will JOIN the celebration of the Church inside the BULL ARENA(PA) in Bocaue?? You know ka PDC,I wished that before, that SOMETHING will happen on this anniversary!! I just forgot it if it’s in ka WS site or here on ka Edge. That’s why I’m really Happy because of the typhoon,NO Celebration was Done!!

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  6. First time I heard about the Arena plan, I already thought okay, we will use it for big church activities, grand worship services, grand evangelical missions, cool! But… we don’t do/hold such activities daily, so what happens when it is not being used? Since it’s an Arena, will we allow outside use? If non-members use it will we charge them or will it be free to use but the non-members can just pay for bills & utilities used?
    I grew up in the church & I know INC never charge, especially for profit. I even debated with one of my friend about this issue, because he claimed INC will use the Arena for money, for profit etc. I was so sure & so proud back then to say NO WAY, INC will never do that, so I’m sure they will happily lend it to be used for respectful events for free, the ones using it will just be responsible to pay for all the utilities they will use. Fast forward 2014 my friend told me “IN YOUR FACE!” I told you INC will use it to make money – embarrassing! I was speechless.
    The Arena goes against the bible. I mean really, how can a true INC perform a holy act (worship services) & an unholy act (lewd concerts) in the same place and actually still be proud to say “this Arena is for the glory of God”. Are you kidding me, are you for real? How in the world were you baptized? You should be ashamed to call yourself Iglesia Ni Cristo.

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    1. To follow this thought. Our Distinado once brag that he raised his voice to “mga sinusubok” because he saw that the same table he used in their doctrinal service in the kapelyitas is also use for their lunch and dinner. I can say its because the minister understands the holiness of such place kahit na pag brgy. chapel wala talaga sa kaayusan.
      The same thing is applied to arena..why do we allow the PA to be used for unchristian-like events.

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  7. If I am right or correct this is what I said or wish” Sana sa Anibersaryong ito o sa taong ito MAY MANGYARING hindi Inaasahan na IHAYAG ang AMA”.Di man eksakto ay ganito ang sinulat ko sa ka WS o dito kay Bro.Edge.

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  8. Naalala ko pa ang centennial kung san umulan mag damag, basang basa lahat ng kapatid, walang masilungan. kulang na toilet, putiakan, walang direction.

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  9. “ARMY OF SATIRE” like “a swarm of bees” – This is one strategy that the INC defenders seems to have in common with Michael Moore, a well-known far-left political activist and film-maker who has stirred American conscience through his hard-hitting documentaries such as “Fahrenheit 9/11”, “Bowling for Columbine”, “Sicko”.
    Indeed his latest project, a broadway show entitled “Terms of My Surrender”, to counter Trump’s controversial administration is another example of the uncanny resemblance of what is happening in the US under Donald Trump to that of the INC under EVM today:
    http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/susan-jones/michael-moore-i-refuse-live-country-where-donald-trump-president-and-im-not
    Moore’s declaration is spoken like a true activist: “I refuse to live in a country where Donald Trump is president, and I’m not leaving. So something’s got to change”. His major objective is “ to form an army of citizens and come at him like a swarm of bees where’s it’s just that he’s getting hit one way, all the way… And, frankly, I suggested a few months ago that we have an army of satire, because I think the way to bring him down is with satire. His thin skin, as you’ve pointed out so well, is so thin, all we need is like a thousand or a million little comedy shivs—just, you know, nonviolent, don’t hurt him–but under his skin, because he can’t take being laughed at.”
    This is precisely one of the ways that the “INC defenders” (whether inside or outside the church) appear to be doing right now to counter EVM, i.e. through their own “army of satirists, commentators, whistleblowers, etc.” sprouting in social media and other means of communication.
    What an apt adaptation of how Michael feels! The concerned INC members who remain inside the church can also declare that they“do not wish to live under EVM’s administration and they are not leaving; so something’s got to change”.
    And just like Michael Moore’s warning to Americans not to get distracted by Trump’s “shining keys” in the form of superficial accomplishments such as the Philippine Arena, the same is hoped for INC members who get distracted from the real issues through claims of material achievements and a variety of social activities.
    And finally, as what many INC defenders subscribe to, Michael Moore, in rejecting the label “political activist” as redundant in a democracy, has always adhered to and practised the belief that: “I and you and everyone else has to be a political activist. If we’re not politically active, it ceases to be a democracy.”

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