Philippine Coat of Arms: a Catholic Interpretation

Icons of the Philippine Coat of Arms

Icons of the Philippine Coat of Arms

Wikipedia has an excellent entry on the Philippine coat of arms that describes its evolution from that of a colony of Spain, to that of the US, and finally to its independence as a sovereign nation. The historical interpretations of the the heraldric devices such as the sun, stars, eagle, and lion are well-known. What I shall propose here is a possible reinterpretation of the devices in the light of the Scriptures and the Catholic Faith.

The top icon is Crown of Spain who gave the gift of Christianity to the Philippines; it may also be interpreted as the billowing sails of Magellan’s Spanish galleon whose front hull is shaped like the bottom of the shield. The yellow and white are the colors of Vatican City, the seat of the Catholic Church. The three stars and the sun represent the doctrine of the Trinity–three Divine Persons in one God; they also represent the the wounds of Christ on his hands, head, and heart. The sun represents the radiating Sacred Heart of Jesus pierced by thorns or the Immaculate Heart of Mary pierced by swords. The blue and red represents the water and blood that flowed from the pierced Heart of Christ, as seen in the Icon of Divine Mercy.  This is reenacted during mass when the water (blue) is mixed with (wine), which becomes the Blood of Christ after consecration.  The sun on a white ellipse may also represent the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ hidden under the appearance of bread in the Sacred Host.

The Eagle icon is the Eagle of the United States of America. The Eagle also traditionally represents St. John the Evangelist because of his lofty description of the pre-existent divinity of Christ as the Logos or the Word of God (Jn 1:1). In the Book of Revelation, the wings of a great eagle was given to the woman pursued by the Red Dragon so that she can escape to the desert (Rev 12:14). The eagle is at the foot of Our Lady of Guadalupe, with the man with the the eagle’s wings (angel) representing Juan Diego whose native name was Cuauhtlatoatzin or “The Talking Eagle.” Our Lady of Guadalupe is the second patroness of the Philippine Islands as defined by Pope Pius XI; the primary patroness of the Philippines is still Our Lady under the title of The Immaculate Conception whose colors are blue and white.

Lastly, the Lion icon is the Lion of Spain. The lion represents the Judah, the Lion’s whelp, from whose loins the Messiah, the Son of David, Jesus Christ, shall come:

“You, Judah, shall your brothers praise –your hand on the neck of your enemies; the sons of your father shall bow down to you.9Judah, like a lion’s whelp, you have grown up on prey, my son. He crouches like a lion recumbent, the king of beasts–who would dare rouse him10 The scepter shall never depart from Judah, or the mace from between his legs, While tribute is brought to him, and he receives the people’s homage.11 (Gen 49:8-11)

The present-day Jews are named after the Tribe of Judah, who survived the destruction of Israel by the Assyrians but was later sent to Babylonian exile.  The Lion of Judah is the municipal emblem of Jerusalem.  The lion also traditionally represents St. Mark the Evangelist because he begins his Gospel with St. John shouting in the desert where the wild beasts like lions live. St. Mark also described Jesus as living in the desert for 40 days to be tempted by the Satan, living with wild beasts, and ministered by angels (Mk 1: 1-13).  St. Peter describes the devil as the roaring lion:

Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour.9 Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings. (1 Pet 5:8-9)

Thus, if the sun represents the human person, he would always have his guardian angel (eagle) and a demon (lion) by his side to influence his will whether to obey God or to go against His Holy will.

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If the Catholic Church apostasized, then Christ is a liar and Felix Manalo is the true prophet

March 10, 2012 at 11:24 pm

Mt 16:18 was quoted not so much for the Trinity but for the promise of Christ that the Church that He will found on Peter will not be overcome by error. So if INC claims that there was apostasy in the Church after the death of the last apostle, then Christ is a liar, a false messiah who makes false promises. As God spoke in Deuteronomy through Moses:

21Should you say to yourselves, “How can we recognize that a word is one the LORD has not spoken?”, 22if a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD but the word does not come true, it is a word the LORD did not speak. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; do not fear him. (Dt 18:21-21)

But if the opposite is true and the Church founded by Christ on Peter never apostasized, though some of its members left the sheepfold, then the promise of Christ remains true, and Manalo is a false prophet who deceived many.

How Felix Manalo ordained himself by interpreting biblical prophecy

Question

Submitted by Artsee on 2011/08/10 at 12:16 am

Another good research. But how reliable is “google”? You mentioned that Catholic Catechism quoted biblical verses. Can you give me the exact verses that we should worship idols, graven images and statues? That Christ is God in the bible? There’s Trinity in the Bible?

Response

Submitted on 2011/08/11 at 6:59 pm |

Artsee,

The Trinity is a truth deduced from the Bible and from the testimony of those who heard the apostles:

Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 h Go, therefore,* and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,20 i teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.* And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Mt 28:18-20)

The ‘truth’ that Felix Manalo’s INC is foretold in the Bible is a ‘truth’ deduced by Manalo. So if you ask me to search for the word “Trinity” in the Bible, I shall also ask you to search for “Felix Manalo” in the Bible. Remember the words of Christ: “I came in the name of my Father, but you do not accept me; yet if another comes in his own name, you will accept him.” Unlike Christ, Felix Manalo came in his own name for no one sent him except his deluded self, and he twisted the Scriptures in order that they prophesy his coming, leading many in INC astray.

Read it from ReadMe himself:

WHO ORDAINED BRO. FELIX MANALO?

Straight from the pasugo, here it is:

Ordination is the investiture of ministerial or sacerdotal function through the laying on of hands. The first ordination mentioned in the bible was when Moses laid his hands on Joshua to be his successor.

Moses, however, had no need of anyone to ordain him because his commissioning was mandated by God himself—this is also why Bro. Felix Manalo had no need to be ordained. No man has the right to ordain another unless he is sent by God to preach his words(Rom.10:15). Bro. Felix Manalo was directly appointed by God through the prophecies recorded in the bible fulfilled in him.

Through prophecy, God commissioned his chosen servant from the “ends of the earth” refers to the period of when Judgment day is near signified by the outbreak of the First World War on July 27,1914. (Mt. 24:3,33,6-8). God chose Bro. Felix Manalo to proclaim his righteousness which is the gospel of salvation (Rom. 1:16-17). Concomitant with this right to preach was the authority for him to ordain would-be ministers.

From Pasugo September 1999

This is what the verse in Mt 24:4 says: “See that no one deceives you.5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and they will deceive many.6 You will hear of wars 5 and reports of wars; see that you are not alarmed, for these things must happen, but it will not yet be the end.7

Does that verse refer to Felix Manalo? Did he come in the name of Christ, saying he is the messiah, and in doing so deceived many?

No one is ordained from mere prophecy alone. Moses was sent directly by God from the burning bush (Ex 3:10). David was ordained king by Samuel pouring oil on his head (1 Sam 16:13). Jesus was also baptized by John (Mk 1:9; Lk 4:18). No one directly ordained Manalo–as INC claims. Is Manalo greater than Moses, David, and Jesus?

Notes on Iglesia ni Cristo: Chesterton on the Arian Heresy

The whole great history of the Arian heresy might have been invented to explode this idea. It is a very interesting history often repeated in this connection; and the upshot of it is in so far as there ever was a merely official religion, it actually died because it was merely an official religion; and what destroyed it was the real religion. Arius advanced a version of Christianity which moved, more or less vaguely, in the direction of what we should call Unitarianism; thought was not the same, for it gave to Christ a curious intermediary position between the divine and human. The point is that it seemed to many more reasonable and less fanatical; and among these were many of the educated class in a sort of reaction against the first romance of conversion. Arians were a sort of moderates and a sort of modernists. And it was felt that after the first squabbles this was the final form of rationalized, religion into which civilization might well settle down. It was accepted by Divus Caesar himself and became the official orthodoxy; the generals and military princes drawn from the new barbarian powers of the north, full of the future, supported it strongly. But the sequel is still more important. Exactly as a modern man might pass through Unitarianism to complete agnosticism, so the greatest of the Arian emperors ultimately shed the last and thinnest pretense of Christianity; he abandoned even Arius and returned to Apollo. He was a Caesar of the Caesars; a soldier, a scholar, a man of large ambitions and ideals; another of the philosopher kings. It seemed to him as if at his signal the sun rose again. The oracles began to speak like birds beginning to sing at. dawn; paganism was itself again; the gods returned. It seemed the end of that strange interlude of an alien superstition. And indeed it was the end of it, so far as there was a mere interlude of mere superstition. It was the end of it, in so far as it was the fad of an emperor or the fashion of a generation. If there really was something that began with Constantine, then it ended with Julian.

But there was something that did not end. There had arisen in that hour of history, defiant above the democratic tumult of the Councils of the Church, Athanasius against the world. We may pause upon the point at issue; because it is relevant to the whole of this religious history, and the modern world seems to miss the whole point of it. We might put it this way. If there is one question which the enlightened and liberal have the habit of deriding and holding up as a dreadful example of barren dogma and senseless sectarian strife, it is this Athanasian question of the co-Eternity of the Divine Son. On the other hand, if there is one thing that the same liberals always offer us as a piece of pure and simple Christianity, untroubled by doctrinal disputes, it is the single sentence, ‘God is Love! Yet the two statements are almost identical; at least one is very nearly nonsense without the other. The barren dogma is only the logical way of stating the beautiful sentiment. For if there be a being without beginning, existing before all things, was He loving when there was nothing to be loved? If through that unthinkable eternity He is lonely, what is the meaning of saying He is love? The only justification of such a mystery is the mystical conception that in His own nature there was something analogous to self-expression; something of what begets and beholds what it has begotten. Without some such idea, it is really illogical to complicate the ultimate essence of deity with an idea like love. If the modems really want a simple religion of love, they must look for it in the Athanasian Creed. The truth is that the trumpet of true Christianity, the challenge of the charities and simplicities of Bethlehem or Christmas Day, never rang out more arrestingly and unmistakably than in the defiance of Athanasius to the cold compromise of the Arians. It was emphatically he who really was fighting for a God of Love against a God of colorless and remote cosmic control; the God of the stoics and the agnostics. It was emphatically he who was fighting for the Holy Child against the grey deity of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. He was fighting for that very balance of beautiful interdependence and intimacy, in the very Trinity of the Divine Nature, that draws our hearts to the Trinity of the Holy Family. His dogma, if the phrase be not misunderstood, turns even God into a Holy Family.

That this purely Christian dogma actually for a second time rebelled against the Empire, and actually for a second time re-founded the Church in spite of the Empire,, is itself a proof that there was something positive and personal working in the world, other than whatever official faith the Empire chose to adopt. This power utterly destroyed the official faith that the Empire did adopt. It went on its own way as it is going on its own way still.

Source: G. K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man, part 2, chapter 4: Witness of the Heretics