People today are becoming more interested in demon possession and are searching the internet to find answers to their questions. One of the most visited posts on our website at www.wake-up.org is “How Does a Person Become Demon Possessed?” During the past year, there have been nearly 6,500 visits to this page. Religious groups are also interested in other supernatural events. Within the Roman Catholic Church, apparitions of the Virgin Mary continue to receive attention. The church has even established a dedicated evaluation process to determine whether the apparitions are real or fake. Interest in demonology, witchcraft, and other elements of satanic origin is growing. Without a doubt, God is allowing these unseen aliens, or fallen angels, to increase their works of wickedness as Jesus’ return draws closer.
During the seven trumpets, there will be many counterfeit miracles, signs, and wonders. (2 Thessalonians 2:9) As this appointed time approaches, we should expect a significant increase in unexplained manifestations. Reports of Unidentified Flying Objects and Unidentified Living Objects (such as Big Foot, Sasquatch, etc.) are increasing. Evil, violence, and intolerance have become commonplace and the widespread acceptance of sexual misconduct and decadence indicates that “Noah’s day” has arrived once again. The time is near when the censer will be cast down and the Great Tribulation begins.
God has Appeared on Earth
Even a casual student of the Bible knows that God has, in the past, mysteriously appeared to man; not as an apparition, but as a real person or an angel. Here are some examples:
- Abraham entertained three strangers B one of which was God (Genesis 18)
- Lot entertained two strangers B two angels (Genesis 19)
- Jacob wrestled with a “warrior” all night B God in the form of a man (Genesis 32)
- Moses talked with God at the burning bush (Exodus 3)
- Joshua met with a great soldier B God in the form of a man (Joshua 5)
- Gideon met and had a conversation with the Angel of the Lord (Judges 6)
Under certain conditions, demons can be observed. 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. When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets. 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. 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.’ 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?’ Saul swore to her by the Lord, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, you will not be punished for this.’ Then the woman asked, ‘Whom shall I bring up for you?’ ‘Bring up Samuel,’ he said. 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!’ 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.’ ‘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. 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.’ Samuel said, ‘Why do you consult me, now that the Lord has departed from you and become your enemy? 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 neighborsCto David. Because you did not obey the Lord or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the Lord has done this to you today. The Lord will deliver both Israel and you into the hands of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The Lord will also hand over the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines.’ ” (1 Samuel 28:4-20)
As you think about the story, consider eight points:
- 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. (v. 6) The term “Urim” refers to two stones, the Urim and the Thummim which the High Priest wore in his breastplate. (Exodus 28:30) From time to time, God would indicate a “yes” or a “no” to questions by causing the appropriate stone to glow. Because of Saul’s rebellion, the Lord would not answer.
- After the Lord turned away from Saul, Saul turned to a medium (one who communicates with the spirits of the dead). God had commanded Saul to rid the land of mediums, but he neglected to do so. Saul knew that God expressly forbade the practice of consulting with mediums. (Leviticus 20:27, Deuteronomy 18:10-12)
- Saul asked the medium to consult with the prophet Samuel who had been dead for some time. (Samuel had anointed Saul about 40 years earlier as king of Israel.) When the medium contacted the “spirit of Samuel,” she saw the form of an old man, an apparition of Samuel, come up out of the ground! (v. 13-14) We know this apparition was a demon personating the prophet Samuel because God refused to speak to Saul.
- The apparition revealed Saul’s true identity to the medium. (v. 12) When the medium learned Saul’s true identity, she was terrified because she knew that God required the death of all mediums. Saul assured her that he would do her no harm. This too was a blatant violation against God, because He had commanded that all mediums be killed. (Exodus 22:18)
- The Bible says, “Then Saul knew it was Samuel.” Saul also saw the apparition and it talked intelligently with him. (v. 14 and 15)
- It is interesting to note that the apparition did not claim to come down from Heaven, but rather, it spoke of resting in the grave. ‘Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?’ This is interesting because the Jews did not believe a person went to Heaven or Hell at the time of death. (v. 15)
- The apparition correctly stated that the Lord had refused to answer Saul’s cry for help. (v. 16) This statement from a demon confirms that God had nothing to do with this séance.
- The demon reminded Saul that the Lord refused to have anything to do with him (purposefully leaving him despondent) and the demon continued to leave Saul in a tormented state by predicting the outcome of the war. (v. 19) The prediction came to pass (1 Samuel 31) and it proves that the devil, ever studious, can predict in a limited way the outcome of near events.
When all of the pieces in this story are brought together, a harmonious fact occurs: God forbids having anything to do with mediums because they are instruments of demons.
Apparitions of the Virgin Mary
The topic of apparitions cannot be discussed without addressing apparitions of the Virgin Mary. During the past century, some 386 major apparitions of Mary were reported. Within the Catholic Church, interest in Mary and her messages is growing. Unfortunately, I believe these apparitions have a different purpose than what many Catholics believe. Even though Mary is alleged to have said certain things that are in harmony with Scripture, the messages from these apparitions are deceitfully dangerous and ultimately, could prove to be spiritually fatal. I do not believe that Mary is actually appearing in these manifestations. Instead, I believe demons are masquerading as Mary, assuming a harmless and innocent posture. The apparitions speak in terms of righteousness, but this is a smoke screen. Satan and his demons are preparing humanity for greater and more powerful deceptions that will soon take the world captive. I do not say this to be offensive. Rather, I say this based on what the Bible teaches about demons.
Consider this issue carefully for the consequences can be far reaching. The story of Saul indicates it is possible, in certain circumstances, for demons to appear before human beings and have an intelligent conversation. The devil deceives unwary people by using mysterious apparitions as a vehicle designed to raise questions. In complete contrast, God is straightforward. His ways are not hidden in the secret world of séances and mediums. His Word is plain and His truth is consistent. If we neglect, ignore, or reject God’s Word and authority, we are on demonic ground.
We cannot overlook the point that a demon “appeared” before the medium and King Saul. He personated the prophet Samuel and accurately foretold the near future. While this demon actually told the truth and King Saul died in battle as predicted, demons are not messengers from God and they do not 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. Demons can speak (Luke 4:33,34;8:30,31), torture people (Luke 9:42), perform miracles (Exodus 7:11; Acts l3:6-11), and appear as apparitions! (1 Samuel 28)
This brings us back to the point made earlier: God is allowing demons more freedom to appear before mankind because man’s rebellion against God is epidemic. Read Romans 1 and 2; also 2 Timothy 3. Compare Paul’s words with today’s realities. The more we reject the ways of God, the more we open the doors to the powers of demons. 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, all sinners would be miserable slaves of Lucifer and his fallen angels.
Why the 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 their heart’s desire from Jesus.
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 for 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 more recent appearances. 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:
- “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 our 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 B 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 if you allow her.” (p. 399)
- “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 the sad state of the world was 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.” (p. 294)
If a person does not know what God says about the state of man in death and the evil work of mediums, a message from an apparition can be really believable. The devil knows this fact. Satan led innocent Eve into sin through trickery. This is the way he works. Curiosity is aroused by the unexplainable. Therefore, demons use apparitions to deceive many people. Be alert! Stay away from all Satanic/demonic activities. Study the Bible and stay grounded in God’s Word so you will not be deceived.