Friday, July 17, 2009

A Battle in the Heavens

On an empirical level it is of course very odd and striking when the unseen world breaks through our own and reminds us of the reality of the spiritual plane in which we all co-exist with spiritual creatures.

But it should be of no surprise to Theologians or anyone who has even an elementary knowledge of Scriptures from the Judeo-Christian perspective.

We are surrounded by spiritual beings, whether seen or unseen.

Scripture and Judeo-Christian tradition tell us that a third of the angels of God fell from grace and their heavenly abode. With tales from around the world of the presence of demonic or malicious entities that number of the fallen must have been a very high one. Of course there is also the Early Church tradition of the Nephilim, the half breed race of fallen angels and man that was an abomination to God. According to tradition, having died in the flood, they wander the earth to harm or possess mankind. These disembodied Nephilim may also be mistaken for a demonic entity as well. Needless to say, the numbers of these evil creatures are not known, but they are a formidable army arrayed against humanity.

However, a lot of us who deal with these entities on a theoretical or practical level often fail to take into account that these are not the only invisible beings that share our plane of existence.

One a third of the angels fell. That means two thirds are still the loyal messengers of God, protectors of humanity. We are literally surrounded by hosts of light and darkness, fighting in an unseen world. They battle over the souls of men, on an individual and communal level.

Most of the times these heavenly battles take place in the unseen ethereal realm, not noticed by most mortals. But sometimes they are sensed by those who are sensitive or who possess spiritual gifts. Occasionally the battle comes to the home front of humanity when an oppression or possession takes place. And on the rarest of occasions these battles are manifest where they can be visible in our earthly realm to those who have eyes to see.

Syd and Gladys Marklin, missionaries to Columbia have had such an experience. They had served as missionaries to Bogota and the surrounding area for over 37 years when they retired in the late 80s. Syd was the scholar of the family and taught theology to indigenous ministers, but as relayed here on the blog before, Gladys had a special calling from the Lord. Not only was she a prayer warrior and empathetic counselor, she was a spiritual warrior like few have ever been. She combined a sensitive heart, a devout soul, and a caring spirit to be used in incredible ways. It was early in their ministry that she began to stand out as an effective deliverance minister to those oppressed and possessed by diabolical entities. One more than one occasion the spiritual battle she encountered when seeking deliverance for an oppressed soul was not only a palpable presence, but it actually became manifest. On a few occasions she claims to have actually seen the battle take place before her very eyes, as if they were open to the spiritual reality around her that would otherwise be ethereal.

Julianna was raised in a Catholic home, but as a teenager her heart strayed. Giving into peer pressure she became rebellious and since her father would have nothing to do with a rebellious child, she soon found herself on the street before her 16th birthday. She made by doing anything she could, from eating scraps out of the garbage of the well to do, to selling her body on the torrid streets of Bogotá. A beautiful girl, her services were eventually controlled by one of the wealthy drug cartels, and she began to serve an elite and ruthless clientele. By the time she was 18 she had been beaten close to death over half a dozen times because of her rebellious and stubborn nature. Even though she was so young, the toil of a hard life of abuse had made her grow older than her years. She knew that some night one of the beatings would take her life, and she would be cast aside as so much garbage like she had seen happen with so many others that crossed the path of the ruthless drug lords. So in desperation she sought out help to escape this dead end life.

By chance or the guidance of God, depending how you look at it, she ran into Gladys unexpectedly. Gladys was doing a counseling call to another girl who herself had been walking the streets just a year before. The young girl resided with her mother, and Julianna known her when she was still trapped in a life on the mean streets. She happened to come for aid just as Gladys was there. She offered Julianna sanctuary. It was a risky thing, the chance that someone who knew her reporting they had last seen Julianna leaving with Mrs. Marklin was a real threat. And many of the drug kingpins did not acknowledge the sacredness of the church. If associations were made the Marklins could be in serious trouble.

But they relied upon their faith, and God protected them. They did face a battle, though, one just as strong and threatening as any drug cartel.

During her stay in the mission compound Julianna was plagued by very disturbing and graphically violent dreams. She saw herself being beaten to death and dismembered. At the end of the dream she would look in a mirror and see her skinless face screaming back at her. Under her screams she would hear a diabolical laughter, and more than once after awakening from her dreams she heard the laughter in her room. Mrs. Marklin also noticed crosses and religious books in her room were destroyed overnight on more than one occasion. At first she thought it might be Julianna, but after questioning her and her sincere denial combined with the revelation about her dreams, Gladys knew there were things working behind the scenes that were plotting to destroy the young girl.

She suspected demonic oppression. Moreover, she suspected an active curse or spiritual attack from not only an entity or entities, but that there was a human hand at work behind the scenes. After talking to many sources it was revealed that although the cartel had hired a ‘Babalawo’ a practitioner of a variation of Santaria that knows how to communicate with and command spirits. As Gladys had suspected, Julianna was under a serious spiritual attack.

Gladys and her husband Syd, two other missionaries and a few indigenous ministered all gathered for prayer and fasting over Julianna. According to Gladys, it did not take long for strange phenomena to manifest itself in the room. First there was a low hum that grew in volume and then mutated somehow into the sound of a whining cat. Everyone that sat around the young girl began to feel an odd uneasiness permeate the room, according to one of the other missionaries it felt as if the room were alive with hate. Other mystery noises started sounding off from various areas in the building, as if stones were thrown on the roof to doors that were not there closing with violent power.

Gladys was the first one to see it, as a thin mist began form over Julianna’s head. Then two others noticed it as well as it coalesced into distinguishable solid shapes of darker haze.

It moved, back and forth, sometimes with large sweeping arks. The mist seemed to be coiling into itself and sometimes pushing against each other.

Then the figures of mist formed into two distinct beings of half visible shadow and light. One was a large being with great wings, a sword and odd shaped helmet. It was garbed in what looked like a tunic like garment, but the details were blurred as if watching the being through a hazy lens. The other creature was a bumpy and gnarled creature of mostly shadows. It had thin limbs that ended with long claws or hooks, which it used to strike out at the other being. The eyes were yellowish orange globes, and the only truly distinguishing part of the dark creature’s body.

Both beings seemed to be in a heated battle, the winged one that Gladys took to be an angel was swinging his sword tactfully, striking the dark creature in the body or arm as it tried to block the blows. The dark creature would counter attack by lashing out with its deadly claws as a cornered animal would do when faced by a greater foe. Not all saw the battle take place in the ethereal area above them and as the prayers of those present rose to a fevered pitch, the praise and intercession seemed to quickly swing the tide of the battle to the angelic being. With a mighty hack of the blade the dark creature was struck in the neck. A loud screech was heard echoing throughout the room by all present. It was high pitched and almost mechanical rather than that of an animal, but at that shriek of pain, the vision above them vanished.

As if on cue from the unnatural shriek, Julianna slumped off her chair and fell to the ground. She was very week, and Gladys and the others continued their prayers as she was brought to her bed and cared for by one of the other missionaries, who was also a nurse. The young girl woke up hours later and smiled, instead of the usual nightmare that had been plaguing her, she had experienced a wonderful dream. She was walking through a beautiful field with a handsome young man who looked like a body builder. She seemed to know him, but he did not look familiar. Suddenly from a forest edge a pack of rabid dogs ran toward them on an attack. With one swift move the man moved Julianna behind him, covering her from safety and produced a long knife from his side. She had never seen the knife before. He took three steps toward the attacking pack of rabid canines and the knife grew into an enormous sword, and with one swift strike he cut down the entire pack of dogs. The man turned to her and smiled a smile that filled her with peace, and with an enchanting voice he told her, “You are safe now.”

The terrible nightmares had left Julianna after this spiritual battle, and although she never again dreamed of the strong defender, she always had a sense that he was right there beside her. Julianna would eventually leave Columbia and go to school to become a nurse and the last time Gladys had heard of her she was assisting at a free clinic in Central America.

Many times during fasting and prayer, depending on the length and exclusivity of the fast, one can experience vivid visions or hallucinations. One time I had a friend of mine imagine a whole scenario that I knew never took place involving myself and other of our friends. When earnest prayer is mixed with a prolonged fast, the mind can either become delusional or particularly acute. I have also had associates who while in a secluded fasting and prayer session experience times of spiritual clarity and wisdom that were life changing.

Was Gladys and the other missionaries who saw this battle of heaven manifest itself in that prayer session hallucinating, or were they granted a rare vision into a reality that surrounds us, a reality that which very few can even perceive let alone experience?

Gladys, Syd and the missionaries and Julianna are all sure by faith and experience it was the latter.

We are surrounded by an unseen world. There are forces at battle around us and the prize they fight for are often the very souls of men and women. Sometimes they manifest themselves as hauntings, sometimes as oppressions, and more often than naught they are less than obvious.

We exist in a world of shadows and light, seen and unseen, understandable and paradoxical. In such a world certainty can be allusive and the unwary traveler may find themselves entrapped by the very things that they though would liberate them.

But for every darkness, there is a light. A light of hope, power and acceptance. The hope of freedom and completeness. When the shadows come, the light will always send them back to the abyss from whence they came.

Until Next Time,

Pastor Swope

See also my Examiner page:

'Devil Dolls' that come to life at night plague mexico


Barry said...

I would suspect a psychological phenomena brought on by the intensity of the situation. But, certainly odd and certainly makes you think.

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Richard said...

I enjoyed your "What Lies beyond The Veil?" comment section almost as much as I enjoyed your King Kong vs. Godzilla photo outtake on this post Pastor.

Watching a bunch of Christian cultists argue over who's "the real" Christian cultist is a lot like watching a roomful of schizophrenics argue over who's "the real" Napoleon.

While I find much here that's disturbing in a "oh my, we're still in the Dark Ages" way, those two bits of giggle inducing "blogging" were well worth the time wasted on everything else.

Io! Io! Io!




Richard said...

You write a "news article" about absolutely nothing and I'm not supposed to be incensed. I knew journalism was dying but I thought it would at least die a graceful death instead of sinking to the Internet level of "hey look at my psychosis."

By the way Father Flanagan, the comment deletion over at that rag that calls itself a newspaper shows what you love filled Christians actually do when confronted with dissent. You delete it.
If this were a few hundred years ago, folk like you would be strapping me to a pyre.

Here's a bit of advice Father Merrin, if you can't stand dissent, don't put your screwball ideas in a public forum.
Stick to your Napoleon filled blog where it's nice and safe and hermetically sealed behind "comment moderation."


Pastor Swope said...

Thanks for the incoherent rambling Richard,

You remind me of a child who plays with Legos and calls all the other kids work 'poopy' or 'doo doo' but all you can build yourself is a wall.

You come here and at the Examiner only to post self aggrandized pomp and circumstance that does nothing to a discussion except try to stroke you own ego. You try to claim a superior intellect by ranting in a bigoted and self serving manner.

It is clear you have hatred for the Christianity and those of faith, so let me just ask you, why are you here?

To prove you are a bigot? You have already done that.

To prove you have a superior intellect that everyone should acknowledge? The irony is the way you rant abusively just shows your ignorant and narrow minded world view. The child who tries to get recognition by striking out at others on the playground usually gets the opposite type of recognition he was hoping for.

You will get no ego stroking here.

Your comments have been removed from my Examiner page because of abusive and rambling attacks that had nothing to do with the topic at hand.

I have no problem with intellectual arguments, but you cross the line without provocation.

Just as you are doing here.

Hate speach and slander will not be tolerated here as well.

You have your own blog to spew hatred. Do it there.

If you have an argument to make that is on topic, then just make it and let the exchange begin.

If you want to come here to make rambling accusations and inflammatory hate speech, then take your medication and lie down for a while. Everyone will be better for it.

Howard said...

At first you saw only a mass of coarse, matted black hair; presently it was seen that this covered a body of fearful thinness, almost a skeleton, but with the muscles standing out like wires. The hands were of a dusky pallor, covered, like the body, with long, coarse hairs, and hideously taloned. The eyes, touched in with a burning yellow, had intensely black pupils, and were fixed upon the throned King with a look of beast-like hate. Imagine one of the awful bird-catching spiders of South America translated into human form, and endowed with intelligence just less than human, and you will have some faint conception of the terror inspired by this appalling effigy.

From "Canon Alberic's Scrapbook" by M. R. James

I'm not sure what to make of it, but your description is a match on all points to the "demon of the night" described in James' fictional story.

Pastor Swope said...

Thanks Howard,

I do see the comparison, there are some differences such as eye color and lack of the description of hair. However my notes on the story are about 20 years old and you never know what you leave out.

I think these types certainly fit into a sort of Jungian type of evil that we all feel repulsed to, whether it be from hallucination from a pre-conceived mindset or a true being manifesting itself as we can perceive it as human creatures.

Thanks once again for a very insightful and well versed comment. You are certainly adding to my ever increasing reading list!

Thank you!

just_another_dick said...

In the interests of fairness Pastor, I've altered the post that you said "misrepresented" you.

Make of it what you will.

Or not.