Philippine Trip Report, Part 2
Dec 11, 2017
The week of Monday, October 30 to Saturday, November 4, 2017 I taught the deeper things of God nightly in Pastor Sammy’s church, building upon the foundation of our identity in Christ. Unfortunately, not as many people as expected were able to attend, because most Filipinos take vacations during that Halloween week. Halloween, or “All Saints Day,” is a big holiday in that Catholic country.
As we were driven to the meetings each evening, we encountered a lot of traffic when we approached cemeteries. Long lines of cars blocked traffic, making it difficult to pass. Thousands of people spend the night at each cemetery with candles, hoping to do something for the dead ancestors, hoping that they can finally become saints and enter heaven.
It is sad that the church gives them no assurance that being a good Catholic will give them salvation. The Roman church claims the right as a gatekeeper to allow anyone they want to enter heaven; however, like so many with such power on earth, they wait for bribes, charging many fees to pay penance for the sins of the dead. It takes a lot of money to become a saint, unless one is a pope.
The evangelicals in the Philippines are often unable to break away from the Halloween traditions, because it is so important in the Catholic culture itself. Pastor Sammy apologized to me, in fact, that so many (even pastors) remained caught up in such a practice. Even so, a couple dozen people showed up regularly to hear the word, and these benefited.
I was not discouraged by this, but it did emphasize the need for deeper teaching from the word in order to break people from the bondage of the traditions of men.
Before and after each meeting, Brad and I were fed all that we could eat. In Asia you eat rice with whatever else is served. (After the trip, when I had a chance to weigh myself, I was surprised that I did not gain weight. It must have been all the walking that we did in Cambodia.) Of course, Evelyn could not resist cutting open a durian for us. The Filipinos are quite proud of their durian, which “tastes like heaven, but smells like hell.” If I recall, Davao considers itself to be the Durian Capital of the World. Here is what a durian looks like on the outside.
A few years ago (2013) when Darla came with me to the Philippines, she actually liked it on her first try. Most westerners have to work at it to gain an appreciation for it (as I did years ago as a child). Brad survived his first experience with durian during one of these evenings.
During the day between meetings, Brad and I spent much of the time at the 3-story SM Mall, which was only a short distance from the hotel. It is a modern hotel, owned by a wealthy Chinese businessman.
Here is a picture of the outside of the mall showing the big sign near the front entrance.
We spent many hours at a coffee shop near the mall’s main entrance. It is called the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Here is a picture of Ellen, a business woman who shares our vision for setting up Christian businesses in the Philippines for the Christians, so that we can raise their standard of living in a practical way. The picture was taken in the coffee shop.
We also spent quite a bit of time at the restaurant on the first floor of our hotel, the Red Planet hotel. I thought the sign inside that little restaurant was interesting:
The Red Planet, of course, is Mars, which was the god of war. We took it as a sign of spiritual warfare.
I think it was on our first trip to the mall, very early into the trip, that we were ascending the escalator, and a white woman carrying a baby tapped us on the shoulder, asking if we were Americans. She introduced herself as Brandi. It turned out that she and her husband Joshua were missionaries to the Philippines, and they had lived in Davao for the past 4½ years. They lived within walking distance to the mall, actually between our hotel and the mall. So it was not long before we got directions to their house and visited them.
We discovered that they were from a well-known church in America and that they had a pretty good understanding of the Restoration of All Things. What are the odds of meeting American missionaries in the Philippines who understand Restoration? It was obviously a divine appointment destined from the beginning of time.
We wanted to take them out to lunch one day, and, since we were from Minnesota, we decided to go to the Vikings Restaurant in the mall, which was a very large, upscale buffet.
They also had established a church on the third floor of a nearby building, where they were training young people for street ministry, how to pray for people to be healed and to deal with whatever problems they might encounter. Here is the view from the street.
Here is the inside of the church. Sorry, it is not such a good picture. Josh wasn’t really dancing.
Josh told us that when they go out to minister on the streets, they pray before going out, and God gives them key words or things to watch for. It might be a bridge, the description of a shirt or dress that someone is wearing, or some other thing. When they go out, armed with the word of the Lord, they can then recognize the people that they are supposed to encounter, or the location where they are to find them. The results are quite amazing.
We told Josh and Brandi of our own teaching mission and also of our secondary mission to cleanse the land of innocent blood according to the law in Deuteronomy 21. Joshua immediately knew the spot where we were to do this, so we made arrangements a week later to do this work.
So on Monday, November 6, Joshua and Brandi and their two children took us for a ride to the nearby mountain overlooking Davao. There is an old historic tree there by the side of the road, where many local people come to have picnics.
There are no picnic tables, but they sit on the ground and have their lunches. In this picture, the big tree is behind me, and in the far horizon you can see Davao City.
This picture is what you see from under the tree looking to the left of the picture above.
Brad and I went before the divine court at the big tree and answered the voices from the blood crying out from the ground in Davao City. The Father said that there were 164,722 voices crying out, and these were quieted.
Recall from my earlier teachings that the soul is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11, literal translation), and that blood has a voice (Genesis 4:10; Hebrews 11:4; Revelation 6:9, 10, 11). It is not just the voice of the martyrs, but the voice of all blood/souls that have been killed unjustly. Because they have legal cause to file complaints in the divine court, their blood legally pollutes the land where they were killed.
Deuteronomy 21:1-9 addresses this problem with an Old Covenant solution. We apply the same law in a New Covenant upgrade, not using the death of heifers to cleanse the land, but rather the blood of Jesus through communion with each other and with the land itself. We know that all of the sacrificial animals in the Old Testament prophesied of Jesus Christ and His blood. Only blood that is untainted by the sin of Adam can atone for the souls of men tainted by sin and death. It is blood for blood, according to Leviticus 17:11, 12, and literally soul for soul.
The priestly statement in the divine court given in Deuteronomy 21:7, 8 is a legal pronouncement in the divine court. We have modified it slightly to fit the New Covenant, and the result is better, because we have a better covenant than Aaron had to work with. Deuteronomy 21:9 concludes,
9 So you shall remove the guilt of innocent blood from your midst, when you do what is right in the eyes of the Lord.
If you read by series in Deuteronomy, you may note that this verse concludes Moses’ 5th speech in the plains of Moab.
Anyway, this divine court work of cleansing the land of innocent bloodshed was the only work of its kind that we did in the Philippines. Much more will need to be done at a later time, but this was a good start, and it prepared the way to establish the Bible School that is being planned for next summer.
In the big picture, cleansing the land is necessary to give the Kingdom territory on earth. Every kingdom has four elements: a king, laws, citizens, and territory. The Kingdom of God has been gathering citizens through evangelism for thousands of years. It has a King, but His throne was usurped in the first century, and so that dispute is only now being resolved in the divine court. The laws of the Kingdom have largely been rejected, misunderstood, and unknown to the citizens, so we are doing what we can to teach them to the church. And now, by cleansing the land of innocent blood, we are laying claim to the land in the name of Jesus, standing up for His rights as the Creator. Because He owns the land by right of creation, we have the legal authority to cleanse the land of innocent blood.
We did much more of this work later in Cambodia. But it was necessary to do this in Davao City in order to prepare the way for the Bible School that is soon to be established. Apostle David intends to spend the entire month of February in Davao, finding a building, getting permits, and doing whatever is necessary to establish this school by the middle of 2018.
From the divine court work at the old tree, Josh and Brandi took us to nearby “Duterte City.”
It is not really a city, but a resort on the mountain overlooking Davao. It was the headquarters of the Japanese troops overlooking the bay during World War II. Duterte, of course, is the current president of the Philippines. He had been the mayor of Davao City for many years.
We went into the restaurant for lunch and coffee.
Then we went outside to look around. We took this picture with Davao in the background, the bay further back, and a large island on the other side.
Here is an interesting fact which the sign tells us. Davao is three times bigger than metro Manila as far as land area is concerned. Davao is also the 8th largest city in the world by area.
Like I said earlier, they are proud of their durians. The sign says, “Durian eaters statue.”
All in all, it was a good day, the only “tourist” day that we had in the Philippines.
The next day, Tuesday, November 7, I began a 3-day conference at Pastor Bing Oligario’s church, teaching each evening. Here is a picture of her.
This was the final teaching series in the Philippines before we flew to Cambodia. Because it was a new audience, I taught first on our identity in Christ, then on the difference between the Old and New Covenants, and finally on the law of the redemption of donkeys (Exodus 13:13). That last session included the distinctions between Isaac and Ishmael, because in Genesis 16:12 the angel called Ishmael “a wild donkey man” (pareh awdawm).
I chose these topics, because on my last trip to the Philippines, I had spent a day teaching at her church about the difference between a Hebrew, a Jew, and an Israelite. I tried to build on that earlier foundation.
Each time, when I finished teaching, Pastor Bing would get up and give the people a summary. NO doubt this was her way of processing the things that she was learning, but it was also helpful for the people to reinforce the teachings in their minds. And, of course, they insisted that Brad get up and say a few words as well. He limited his words to a single point so as not to go too late, but his teaching was well received as well.
This finishes up the Philippine Trip Report, where I took the lead. Next I will post Brad’s report for the Cambodia trip, since he took the lead in that phase of our ministry.