Does Isaiah 43:5 refer to the restoration of the church in the Philippines?
The "Iglesia Ni Cristo" claims that Isaiah 43:5 was fulfilled by the origin of their organization in the Philippines and its subsequent migration to Hawaii and California. Is this accurate?
Isaiah 43:5 (ESV) - Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you.
When we examine the Bible, biblical Hebrew, and the INC's claim, we see that INC is incorrect and very misguided.
The phrases "far east" is a mistranslation.
The INC claims that the Hebrew word "mizrach" refers to the Philippines, but this is a mistranslation. Specifically, the word "mizrach" is used here to contrast with the west, not to specify the far east. Furthermore, the concept of the "far east" as referring to Asia was not a concept that existed at the time of Isaiah.
The phrase "far west" is mistranslation.
Additionally, the phrase "far west" is also a mistranslation. The Hebrew word "maarab" simply means west and the concept of the "far west" referring to the western United States only makes sense within the context of the United States.
This verse does not refer to an eastern origin and a western destination.
Furthermore, the INC fails to grasp the meaning of this verse in that it is not speaking of a traversal from east to west. It does not say that God will bring offspring from the east to the west. It says that God will bring offspring from the east and from the west. Therefore, the INC has no valid reason to consider this verse as speaking of an origin in the east and not in the west.
Additionally, if the INC were correct and the verse speaks of an eastern origin and a westward destination, then naturally this is a westward progression. Why then, has the INC spread east and called this spreading west? In order to travel from the Philippines to Hawaii and California, one travels east, not west.
The INC has no legitimate reason to believe that Isaiah was referring to their organization, let alone the Philippines. First, they affirm a mistranslation of the text. Second, they ignore that this verse is referring to people coming from both east and west, not east to west.
Instead of constructing our own interpretations of prophecy, we should listen to God's interpretation of his own words. These correct interpretations are given to us by actual eye witnesses of Christ, not a messenger who had never met Christ. The apostles lived with Christ, were taught by him, and wrote down what he taught for us to learn. Surely we should trust what those messengers have said over one who never met Christ.
1 Peter 1:16,19-20 (ESV) - 16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation.