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The Presence of Apparitions

Ezekiel and his Visions by Larry Wilson available on DVD
WUAS Internet Bible Studies

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Publish Date: August, 1997
Last Updated: August 17, 2017
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(Follow-up by Marty Purvis)

(The Ramp Down to Spiritism)

I have a newspaper article dated December 20, 1996 from the Huntsville Times (Huntsville, Alabama). The article includes a 5×7 inch four-color photo of a black glass building that houses the Seminole Finance Corporation in Clearwater, Florida (just off U.S. Highway 19). In the photo, a crowd of about two hundred people can be seen standing in front of the building, gazing up at nine of the building’s large glass panels. On the panels is a very pronounced, very colorful, very familiar form – the imagery of the Virgin Mary – nearly 50 feet wide by 35 feet tall.

The head and shoulders view of Mary’s form is highly accurate and proportionate – so much so that no one can deny its resemblance. The outline of the image can be plainly seen in the photo made of iridescent shades of purple, blue, yellow and green. The robe-draped figure with its downcast head is clearly visible, even in broad daylight. The article related how thousands of people have visited the site and crowds continue to gather – "500 at a time." Eighteen policemen were specifically assigned to help with crowd and traffic control.

Of course, everyone asked, "How did that image get there? How long will it stay?" Some people have speculated that the image had been painted on the glass. Others suggested that water sprinklers have soaked the glass and left a residue – but portions of the image are more than 40 feet above the ground – too high for water sprinklers! Ms. Scharn, a spokesperson for Seminole Finance, has confirmed that no one has painted anything on the glass. In fact, the company is at a loss to explain just how the image of Mary came to be on the front of their building.

The form of Mary appearing on the front of this building is another supernatural manifestation that defies explanation. How did it come to be? What does it mean? What should we think about this and other unexplainable manifestations? That the form of Mary has mysteriously appeared on the side of the corporate building in Clearwater, Florida is beyond controversy – there are thousands of witnesses and even photographs. But, what is the purpose? Is there a message here? Is someone trying to tell us something?

Unseen Aliens

More and more, we hear new reports of unexplainable things – UFO sightings, giant machines hovering or flying unusual patterns in the sky without creating any sound, apparitions of Mary appearing before thousands of people bearing messages of love and concern, stone statues shedding tears, and even in one case, shedding blood. On TV recently, there was a special report about people hearing weird sounds originating in their homes at all hours which cannot be traced or located.

Naturally, the question rises: "What is going on? Are we being invaded by a host of unseen aliens?" In a word, Yes! We have been invaded by a host of unseen aliens and to be frank, the unseen aliens are fallen angels who God allows to do works of mischief. (I will explain this more fully in a few moments.)

The Ramp Down to Spiritism

Because unexplained manifestations are becoming more common, skeptics are hard pressed to discount the testimony of witnesses who "were there." More and more credible people – people having no reason or desire to fabricate tales and are respected in their communities – are testifying about scary or supernatural encounters. There is no reason to doubt that many of these reports are true, the events are real and took place as described (of course, some reports of unexplained manifestations are fabricated).

But, the sheer number of credible witnesses and reported incidents proves that something strange is taking place. There is a "new presence" being felt upon the Earth. There is increasing evidence of this presence and people need to understand about "the ramp down to spiritism." In practical terms, a ramp is a slope that connects two different levels. In this case, the ramp down to spiritism is a steady slide or slope moving toward a greater level or display of spiritual wonders.

The time-period of the soon-to-sound seven trumpets of Revelation will be a time of many powerful miracles, signs and wonders. (2 Thessalonians 2:9) As this appointed time approaches, we should expect a significant increase in unexplained manifestations. The very fact that these strange phenomena are increasing in frequency clearly indicates that we are nearing the time when the censer will be cast down and the Great Tribulation will begin.

Background Check

Even a casual student of the Bible knows that God, at various times and in different ways, has mysteriously appeared to man. But notice, God does not appear as an apparition. Instead, He appears as a person or an angel. Here are some examples:

  1. Abraham entertained three strangers – One of which was God (Genesis 18)
  2. Lot entertained two strangers – two angels (Genesis 19)
  3. Jacob wrestled with a "warrior" all night – God in the form of a man (Genesis 32)
  4. Moses talked with God at the burning bush (Exodus 3)
  5. Joshua met with a great soldier who was God in the form of a man (Joshua 5)
  6. Gideon met with the Angel of the Lord (Judges 6)

However, note that demons can also, in a limited way, appear to man. Consider the following story:

"The Philistines assembled and came and set up camp at Shunem, while Saul gathered all the Israelites and set up camp at Gilboa. {5} When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. {6} He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets. {7} Saul then said to his attendants, "Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her." "There is one in Endor," they said. {8} So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman.

"Consult a spirit for me," he said, "and bring up for me the one I name." {9} But the woman said to him, "Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?" {10} Saul swore to her by the Lord, "As surely as the Lord lives, you will not be punished for this." {11} Then the woman asked, "Whom shall I bring up for you?" "Bring up Samuel," he said.

12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, "Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!" {13} The king said to her, "Don’t be afraid. What do you see?" The woman said, "I see a spirit coming up out of the ground." {14} "What does he look like?" he asked. "An old man wearing a robe is coming up," she said. Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. {15} Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?" "I am in great distress," Saul said. "The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has turned away from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do."

{16} Samuel said, "Why do you consult me, now that the Lord has turned away from you and become your enemy? {17} The Lord has done what he predicted through me. The Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors – to David. {18} Because you did not obey the Lord or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the Lord has done this to you today. {19} The Lord will hand over both Israel and you to the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me.

The Lord will also hand over the army of Israel to the Philistines." {20} Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, filled with fear because of Samuel’s words. His strength was gone, for he had eaten nothing all that day and night. {21} When the woman came to Saul and saw that he was greatly shaken, she said, "Look, your maidservant has obeyed you. I took my life in my hands and did what you told me to do. {22} Now please listen to your servant and let me give you some food so you may eat and have the strength to go on your way." (1 Samuel 28:4-22)

Carefully consider the following eight points:

1. The Lord refused to speak to Saul through His prophets or the Urim because the king had willfully disobeyed the commands of the Lord for many years. (verse 6) The term Urim refers to two stones, the Urim and the Thummim, which the High Priest wore on his breastplate. (Exodus 28:30) From time to time, God would answer questions by causing one of the sacred stones to glow indicating a "yes" or a "no."

2. Since the Lord had turned away from Saul, Saul turned to the powers of a medium – one who communicates with the spirits of the dead – a practice that God expressly forbade. (Leviticus 20:27, Deuteronomy 18:10-12)

3. Saul asked the medium to consult with the prophet Samuel who had been dead for some time. (Samuel, you may remember, was God’s prophet who anointed Saul about 40 years earlier as king over Israel.) When the medium contacted the "spirit of Samuel," she actually saw an old man, an apparition of Samuel, come up out of the ground! (verse 12) The apparition that the medium saw was a demon personating the prophet Samuel.

4. The apparition revealed Saul's true identity to the medium. (verse 12) When the medium learned Saul’s identity, Saul assured her that he would do her no harm – again, a blatant violation against God, for He had commanded that all mediums be killed. (Exodus 22:18)

5. "Then Saul knew it was Samuel." Saul also saw the apparition and it talked with him. (verses 14 and 15)

6. It is interesting to note that the apparition of the prophet Samuel did not claim to be in Heaven, but rather in the grave. This is interesting because the Jews at that time did not believe a person went to Heaven or Hell at the time of death. (verse 15)

7. The apparition states that the Lord had refused to answer Saul’s cry for help. (verse 16) This statement confirms that God had nothing to do with this seance.

8. The apparition frankly tells Saul why the Lord refused to have anything to do with him and continued to torment him with failure by predicting the outcome of the war. (verse 19) The prediction came to pass (1 Samuel 31) and proves that the devil, ever studious, can predict in a limited way the outcome of near events. (Perhaps even better than parents!)

Seances

About 25 years ago, I became acquainted with a middle-aged, wealthy lady in Dallas, who regularly visited a medium to talk to her deceased mother. Here is Jane’s story as she told it to me: Jane (not her real name) and her mother were very close. After her mother passed away, Jane was "heartsick" and lonely. One day a friend in Jane’s Bridge Club invited her to attend a seance. Jane initially refused to attend for she had been taught by her mother that "seances were meetings with demons."

However, Jane’s friend seemed to be a good person and she did attend the same church as Jane. Her friend defended seances by saying that to visit family members in Heaven could not be evil. "Besides," the friend said, "all you have to do is watch and listen." Doubting just what she might experience, Jane finally went along "for the ride."

The medium was educated, refined and lived in a very expensive home (the medium’s husband was a medical doctor). She treated Jane and her friend in a professional and courteous way. When they arrived, they went into the study and sat around a desk. The medium faced Jane’s friend and asked for silence. She then closed her eyes, as if going into a trance or another mental dimension. However, Jane’s friend remained fully alert. For the next few moments, there was silence.

Then a "presence" entered the room and when the medium spoke, her voice had changed – it was now the voice of her friend’s sister! Someone else was speaking through the medium. The two sisters visited for about 30 minutes. There was happiness, joy and discussion. Jane was impressed that the sister from "Heaven" knew a great deal about what was going on in her Earthbound sister’s life. With a "see you next time," the visit ended and the medium’s voice immediately returned to its original state.

Jane was impressed. The medium turned to Jane and asked if there was someone she might like to talk with. Jane, with hesitation, said her mother had died about five years earlier and she really did long to hear her voice once again. The medium asked for silence and again, a "presence" entered the room. After a few moments, the medium spoke to Jane in her mother’s voice! Jane immediately became teary-eyed. This was too much! The voice was that of her mother, but Jane wondered, was it really her mother?

After the medium spoke some soothing words of greeting, Jane asked, "Mom is this you?" The familiar voice responded, "Yes child, it is me." Still not convinced, Jane thought she would test the spirit to really see if it was her mother’s. Jane asked a question about her early childhood, known only to her and her mother which involved an incident with her older brother when they were children. The voice coming through the medium accurately described the incident and the outcome, just as Jane remembered it.

Jane was shocked and overwhelmed. The voice continued for a few more moments, bid farewell and the seance ended. Jane rejoiced. She was happy, yet uncertain! So this is a seance, she thought! What could be evil about this? She continued to ponder the whole event as she returned home.

By the time Jane and I were introduced, she had been attending seances regularly (on a weekly basis) for more than a year. The "voice" had taught Jane a lot about "Heaven," where her mother lived and the afterlife activities she was involved with. Jane was impressed that her mother was able to accurately observe her actions on Earth. When I first met Jane, I did not know she was attending seances. However, on one occasion I mentioned that the Bible teaches that "the dead are neither in Heaven or Hell – they await one of two resurrections."

Jane responded, "That cannot be true. The dead are in Heaven or in Hell." In the discussion that followed, she related her experience. Needless to say, Jane was convinced about the whereabouts of the dead and for her, it was beyond argument. Her "experience" could not be denied.

(For those people who may be new Day Star readers, I have previously addressed the issue of man’s state in death from a Biblical perspective. If you would like more information on this topic, please contact the WUAS office at (937) 848-3322. As you can see, I am convinced that Jane and her friend were, in fact, visiting with a demon – just as King Saul did.)

Apparitions of the Virgin Mary

The topic of apparitions cannot be discussed without addressing apparitions of the Virgin Mary. The frequency of these apparitions continues to increase and interest in Mary and her messages is growing. It is reported that since 1981, more than 15 million pilgrims have journeyed to the mountain tops of Medjugorje, Yugoslavia (Bosnia) to behold apparitions.

To my Catholic friends, I must write that I part company with them on the meaning and purpose of these apparitions. Even though Mary is alleged to have said certain things that are fully in harmony with Scripture, I find the messages from these apparitions to be deceitfully dangerous and ultimately, could prove to be spiritually fatal. I do not believe that Mary is actually appearing in these manifestations. I believe demons are masquerading as Mary, assuming a very harmless and innocent posture at the present time.

They speak in terms of righteousness, but this is a smoke screen. Satan and his demonic followers are preparing humanity for a great and very powerful deception that will take the whole world captive during the fifth trumpet. Please understand that I do not say this to be offensive. Rather, I say this based on what the Bible plainly teaches.

Consider this issue carefully for the consequences can be far reaching. It is possible for demons to appear before human beings. Using the vehicle of apparitions (that is, using appearances that are mysterious or less than forthright) the very event itself is designed to raise questions. In complete contrast, God is straightforward and His ways are not hidden in the secret world of seances and mediums.

His Word is plain and His truth is consistent. But, if we neglect, ignore or reject God’s Word and authority, the dominion of demons begins.

Do not overlook the point that a demon "appeared" before King Saul personating the prophet Samuel and accurately foretold the near future. This demon actually told the truth and King Saul died in battle as predicted. But, demons are not messengers from God nor do they speak for Him!

Demons are fallen angels who stand in direct opposition to God and they do as much as He allows them to subvert His plans and purposes.

  1. Demons can speak. (Luke 4:33,34; 8:30,31)
  2. Demons can torture people. (Luke 9:42)
  3. Demons can preform miracles. (Exodus 7:11; Acts 13:6-11)
  4. And, demons appear as apparitions! (1 Samuel 28)

God is allowing demons more and more freedom to appear before mankind. Why? Because corporately, mankind is rejecting the plain and obvious truths that God has set before us. Read Romans 1 and 2 Timothy 3 and compare Paul’s words with today’s realities. My point is that the more we reject the ways of God, the more we open the doors to the power of demons. Here is a profound point: Man was not created above the angels. On the contrary, we are lesser beings (Hebrews 2) and were it not for the grace of God, we sinners would be miserable slaves of Lucifer and his fallen angels.

Why Marian Apparitions?

Catholics venerate Mary in a way that most Protestants do not understand. Protestants view Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior. They believe He upholds the government and ways of God the Father, while at the same time, mediating salvation for sinners.

Protestants believe that salvation comes only through faith in Jesus Christ. Catholics, on the other hand, view Mary as man’s closest friend in Heaven. They believe that she sits at Christ’s side, influencing Him to make favorable decisions for those who believe in her on Earth. In effect, Catholics look to Mary as their mediator for salvation.

For this reason, Catholics pray to Mary that she might obtain from Jesus their heart’s desire. In Time magazine, June 16, 1997, Richard Ostling questions whether Pope John Paul II is preparing to exercise his power of infallibility and declare Mary, the Co-Redemptrix of humanity. "Such a declaration would make her a participant in salvation – along with Jesus Christ."

According to Ostling, such a proclamation has been considered for a long time. In fact, the Vatican asked a special panel of theologians to consider this matter last year. If Pope John Paul II declares such a new title for Mary, Ostling concludes, "Protestants and the Orthodox would go into orbit, feeling Christ has been demeaned as the unique Saviour."

Catholics believe that Mary ascended to Heaven with Jesus at the time of His ascension. (Ephesians 4:8) As the Mother of Jesus, her role is seen as the benefactor of man. From such a vantage point, the apparitions of Mary make a lot of sense. Who else from Heaven could better reveal the will and Word of God to wayward man? In their book, The Thunder of Justice, authors Ted and Maureen Flynn have traced century old messages from Marian apparitions, especially focusing on the past 20 years. Consider these two statements, taken from many messages contained in their book. The first one comes from an apparition claiming to be Jesus and the second from an apparition of Mary:

1. "When a soul is united to My Mother and firmly ensconced in her Heart, I can refuse them nothing, they are so pleasing to Me. They are made pleasing by her intercession which purifies them of this world and fashions them after Me, even as I was fashioned in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit. But again, she was necessary for the plan of the Incarnation to be fulfilled, so she is necessary for your personal redemption, or coming to Me. She is the Gate of heaven by which I have come to you and you will come to Me.

The Protestantism that has crept into my Church, that is the one I founded, the Catholic Church, is just that – Protestantism. It is not Catholic truth. It is an error to diminish the importance of My Mother’s role in your salvation and the salvation of the world. She was and is most important in all facets of redemption because I chose to come to you by this means and I choose for you to come to Me by the same means, that is the Blessed Virgin Mary, My Mother and your Mother. She is Queen of all Saints, Queen of Angels, and Queen of Heaven and Earth. She will lead you to Heaven if you allow her." (Page 399)

2. "To prevent fire from falling on the earth, I am constantly praying for my children who are victims of sin and corruption and I am suffering in their place offering up the sacrifices they should be making to the Almighty. However, if people still continue to compromise with the world, without paying attention to the will of God and without trying to live the spiritual life, it will be too late to avert disaster. You know what was the sad state of the world at the time the Tower of Babel was built and the years before the deluge. Well, what happened then will occur again unless there is a reformation in morality and a change for the better in the lives of men." (Page 294)

Conclusion

If one does not know what the Bible says about the state of man in death, if one does not know what the Bible says about mediums and spiritists, if one does not know the essential truths concerning salvation, if one does not know Jesus as his personal Savior, then a message from an apparition can be really impressive – even if the message is contrary to what is plainly taught in Scripture. This is the heart of the problem. The devil led innocent Eve into sin through trickery.

This is the way he works. Curiosity is attracted to the unexplainable. Demons can use both the power and allurement of apparitions to deceive many people. Stay clear of apparitions. Study God’s Word so you will not be misled by the lies of demons and perhaps you may be able to help someone like my friend, Jane, who years ago stood on very shaky ground. I wonder where she is today?

 

. . . Even the Elect

by Marty Purvis

"For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect – if that were possible." (Matthew 24:24) What does this text mean to you? The typical Christian response to this text is "I am part of the elect so I would never be deceived by false prophets. Pity the poor, non-Christians who do not have the grounding in Biblical truth that I have." Before you become too spiritually egotistic in your understanding, consider these comments:

• Saul was uniquely selected by God to be King of Israel. God even provided him with a prophet so that he could receive spiritual guidance. However, even with Samuel's prophecies, Saul rejected them and chose his own course of action.

• The disciple, Judas, had three years to observe Christ as He lived on the Earth. Even with this first hand knowledge, Judas ultimately became a traitor of Christ.

• Even though Adam and Eve walked face-to-face with Christ in the Garden of Eden, they failed the test that would allow them to continue living in the Garden forever.

There is a thread of similarity that flows through each of these stories. In each situation, individuals chose to follow their own inclinations rather than allow God's will to be exercised in their lives. Why did they choose to go against God's leading? I believe they chose the wrong route because they allowed the sin of pride to gain a foothold in their lives. By using the tool of pride, Satan can utilize the same control over us that was exhibited in these Bible examples. If we become convinced that we have the "truth," Satan can use that deception to lead us to ignore the Holy Spirit and Bible truth.

Another lesson that can be gleaned from these examples is that people, even those that have the closest walk with Jesus Christ, can be deceived. Satan will save his strongest deceptions for the people who walk the closest to Christ. Why waste bold deceptions on people who can be deceived by simpler means?

The question remains: How will these deceptions be implemented as we near the end of time. Protestants are convinced they will never be deceived by apparitions of the Virgin Mary. Protestants point to this deception as evidence that Satan's time is short, but it is focused specifically at members of the Catholic faith. Since the Catholic church is the largest Christian denomination, is it any wonder that Satan has begun his deceptions with this group of people first?

You can be sure that the more insidious deceptions will be saved for individuals who use the Bible as their "operations manual." One way Satan will deceive Christians in the last days is to appear as an "angel of light" with a special message to Christ's followers. Interestingly enough, in the past five years, there has been a phenomenal increase in reports of angelic encounters and miracles "angels" have performed. What would you do if a majestic being appeared before you claiming to be a messenger (like Gabriel to the prophet Daniel), bringing you a message directly from God?

Many Christians would immediately accept this apparition as a messenger from God and set out to do its bidding. Here is the problem – the being may be a messenger sent from God's throne or one of Satan's demons impersonating an angel.

Sin and the work of demons or grace and the work of righteousness follows a process of coming to maturity in either case. The mature Christian should exercise great caution for the sake of truth in responding to the appearance of any apparition. Christians are to maintain a high standard of purity and behavior and no experience should lead you to set the Bible and the work of the Holy Spirit aside to follow an apparition, no matter how majestic it appears.

We believe that Christ will have 144,000 servant/prophets during the end-time to do His bidding. You can be assured that Satan will have his demons appearing at the same time. Our faith cannot be based on angelic appearances. It must be rooted in the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit moving on our hearts.

If we are not in tune with the Holy Spirit now, we cannot expect to be able to recognize false manifestations when the testing time occurs.

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Larry W. Wilson

Larry Wilson, founder of WUAS, became a “born again” Christian in 1972. His interest in the gospel has led him on a 40+ year quest to learn more about what God has revealed to Earth’s final generation. The results of his research have been shared all over the world in books, television & radio broadcasts, media interviews, and seminars that are publicly available on all different types of media (see our Christian Bookstore).

What is Wake Up America Seminars (WUAS)?
Wake Up America Seminars, Inc. is a nonprofit, nondenominational organization with a focus on the study of End-Time Prophecy. WUAS is not a church, nor does it endorse any denomination. Our focus is singular: We are dedicated to proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ and His imminent return. We are delighted that people of all faiths are diligently using the Bible study materials produced by WUAS. All study materials are based solely on the Bible alone.