In my previous post, I mentioned that I set the target to finish reading and digesting five books in last-half of 2013. However, due to laziness, weariness after working and part-time studying and a lot of thinking about the future, I postpone the review until now even after finish reading this book.
So, let’s take a look at this book. Like my previous review, this book is categorized under mysticism and telling the story about a women who come from Greek Orthodox Church, receiving revelation from God and saints.
At the beginning at the story, Vassula told the readers about her special gift, that she actually has ability to see spiritual beings, whether they are angels, demons, and dead people inside spiritual realm (or called purgatory in Catholic church). The interesting thing about this is that she claimed she still possess this ability even during that time she was irreligious person.
Comments: Since I come from Protestant background, her revelation is quite illuminating for me. Before this, I knew that the belief in existence of Purgatory is one of the difference between Protestant and Catholic church. However, normally in all Protestant churches I attend, we never talked about dead spirit need our prayer to be able to approach Heaven.
However, although I knew that our church never mentioned Purgatory, I am aware that many other religions also believe in existence of spiritual realm, including my Buddhist relatives. So, before this, I actually think that it is most likely exist although I still think it is irrelevant since unlike her, I cannot communicate with the dead anyway.
She then continues to tell about her private life. Judging from her childhood background, I would said she is typical carefree person, like me before I am serious about my religious life. She confessed that her academic records are not very good other than arts (I supposed that is the reason why she was selected by God?). However, her experience when she married her first husband is quite unusual (at least for me) since her first husband was working for United Nations so she often traveled around third world (especially Africa). After moving around several times, she separated with her husband and later things were not working well and eventually they need to divorce.
And that is actually quite interesting: God still selected her despite all her past failures and she is not in holy condition when she is far from religious person, just like Eben Alexander who is semi-atheist before going through his near death experience. She does not even go to church when she was called by God.
And then, after she married for second time and moved to Bangladesh, her guardian angel revealed himself to her. The most interesting part here is that his angel can move her hand to write(as if he can override her neural system) without causing her to become unconscious. I have heard case of demonic possession and when the person is possessed by demon(s), they are typically unaware of what they are doing. I think this is probably the main difference between angelic and demonic revelation. Unlike demonic possession, consciousness matter for God since it enables you to do discern what has happened.
Another interesting fact is that even after her encounter with her guardian angel, God the Father, Virgin Mary and Lord Jesus and after experiencing born-again process, Satan was still able to disturb her with various means, ranging from taunting, cockroach, nightmare, and even causing accident.
Apparently, believers are not so immune to demonic attack as some people believe. Although I think it is impossible for us to be possessed, but they are still able to cause various bad things to us. The key here is prayer and worship regularly.
Comments: I used to make mistake during my time in college that I assume reading Scripture is as good as prayer. Later, I realized that it is probably wrong.
Why? You may ask. Because even atheists and Satan himself read Scriptures. Satan quoted Scripture when he tempted Lord Jesus. So if your enemy can do the same thing as you do without actually causing them much trouble, reading Scriptures is unlikely to have the same power as prayer. Atheists do not pray since they do not believe in its power and Satan, well, hate God and it is impossible for him to pray to his enemy. So, the key difference between us and them is not reading Scriptures but prayer and worship.
Next, after that revelation, she attended some churches to get acknowledgement about her revelation. Of course, since cessationism is rampant in modern apostate church (even in Catholic church, which theoretically believe in continuation of spiritual gifts), dogmatic pastor just dismissed her and said that it is revelation from the devil, giving her various prayers to cast out demons and even forbidding her to come to church.
Comments: Here is another interesting point: Every time there is a person with mystical gift (no matter it is during ancient times or modern times), the people troubled by this is always leaders of organized religion. Why? Well, most of them are talking about danger of following false prophet and antichrist. However, when you asked them how real prophet should be, they will answer that either there are no real prophet anymore or that the real prophet should agree to their denominations’ belief.
If what they said is correct that there are no real prophets anymore then I can said that their version of God is such cruel God who left their followers in hand of Satan, his demons and evil politicians. Since Satan is obviously still working in this earth (by observing so many divorce, fornication, materialism, war, terrorism, drug abuse, poverty, and so on), then I think their God is not my God who promised to lead his followers until the End of the Times (Matthew 28: 20).
In reality, these reasons are just smokescreen. The real reason is like the Pharisee: They fear to lose their influence among their congregation since the people will follow real prophet rather than lukewarm and hypocrite pastors, with luxurious lifestyle, burdensome regulations and powerless sermons.
However, after traveling to Thailand to meet one of the Catholic pastor who has gift of discerning the spirit, Vassula has received acknowledgement for her gift. Later, God gave the mission to her to unify three main branches of Christianity: Catholic church, Orthodox church and Protestant church. Lord Jesus told her that He is hurt by division of the church.
Comments: Extremely hard task if you asked me, since most of church leaders have already mastered the art of debate and ad-hominem by labeling believers outside their denomination by ‘heretic’, ‘false prophet’, ‘antichrist’, and so on. They will use scary languages such as ‘You will lose your salvation if you believe them’.
However, after studying extensively, I found out that majority of the differences are just the matter of definition. Different denominations use the same word to describe different thing and that causes disagreement.
Previously reluctant, she later realized that she has no choice but to obey. After that, she and her husband moved from Bangladesh to Switzerland to spread her message about unity of the Church.
Also, there is quite a lot of miracles which happened during her ministry, ranging from people that are healed from sickness (in one of the case, the hospital file was retrieved and sent to Vatican for verification), rose aroma which come from her notebook although she never sprayed it with perfume, instantaneous answer of prayer, appearance of Jesus’ face during her sermon.
And also, the journey to Hell, which is the main point of this book. Lord Jesus brought her to Hell and she described the place as follows (p. 51):
The area I found myself in was similar to an underground cave, with a low ‘ceiling’, dark, with only the light shed by the fire. It felt damp and the ground was dark gray and sticky as though wet, but the texture of the ‘soil’ was extremely fine, like flour.
In front of me I saw several souls, tied up in a row. I saw only their heads. The rest of their body was behind a ‘wall’. Their faces looked like masks of agony. I then realized there was noise around me. It sounded like the noise of heavy iron machines at work, clamor and hammering, and all around me the damned could be heard moaning and shrieking. I had the impression that it was a very busy place.
I saw that Satan was standing about five meters in front of me with his back to me, while facing the damned. His outstretched hand was full of burning hot lava, and he waved his arm from right to left, splashing the lava across the faces of the damned, scorching them and causing their faces to swell. He sensed there was someone behind him and turned around to look at me. His face resembled a human face, but it showed absolute anger and hatred especially in his eyes. He looked like a madman.
As soon as he saw me he spat on the ground with disgust. With a harsh coarse voice that sounded more like a growl than a voice he said:
‘Look at her! Miserable worm, look at her! We even have worms nowadays coming to suck out our blood. Go and fuck off!’
Comments: The interesting thing here is that it seems Satan is the king over the Hell. He can abuse damned human souls there as he wished. It is contrary to the belief of some denominations that God is sovereign in both heaven and hell and thus damned souls inside hell, in a sense, are tortured by God.
And then even more interesting fact is that Lord Jesus seems still have mercy to those souls that are trapped inside hell by stopping Satan to further torturing these souls. In some articles and other books (such as hell revelation by Mary Baxter), Lord Jesus even condemned these souls in hell and left her inside hell alone for a while. I read the article there is one mystics called Angelica Zambrano who said that people can even enter hell by not giving tithes and offering (but where are the pastors who never give the tithes to the poor? Are they somehow immune from God’s wrath?).
In this sense, I found that Lord Jesus is depicted as more merciful than previous revelations I used to see. It is actually more believable to think that Satan is sovereign over hell rather than God since it would contradict God’s nature (which is love) to be sovereign over endless torture of damned souls.
There are also some prophecies related to world event such as fall of communism, 9/11 terrorist attack, Asian tsunami in 2004 and volcano eruption in Iceland in 2010.
One of the most interesting prophecy is that according to Lord Jesus, Russia will later become revived, will spiritually lead many nations under her, and defend Christianity in a most powerful way (In a sense, I think it has already fulfilled since apparently Vladimir Putin is so close to Orthodox bishops, repaired many old churches and forbid gay adoption and abortion ads whereas United States (which is Christian nation according to fundamentalists) began to allow it in many states).
And also, God gave warning against United States (p. 179):
Your nation governs in complete opposition to all My Law of Love which differs from your outlandish system of laws; law that commit the most heinous crimes to the point of endangering not only the earth but the stability as well of the whole cosmos; … I see from above how your designs will turn against yourselves; the world already is tasting the fruits of its own course, provoking nature to rebel with convulsions, drawing upon yourselves natural catastrophes, choking itself with your own scheming. I had beckoned you for years now but very few took notice;
Comments: Apparently, God is talking about capitalism, which is United States’ economic system. It encourage materialism and love of money instead of love of God. The system of usury (continuous growth of money), debt, and unending economic growth cause exploitation to natural world by deforestation, pollution, and so on. As the result, many natural disasters occurred such as flood, famine, etc.
There are actually still many things that I cannot possibly review here since it will be too long. However, upon all these things, the main message is for us to return to God in prayer and contemplation and to unite in our brothers and sisters in Christ and to be able to unite, we should first love.
Her last statement in this book actually summarized it very well:
Without God in our life, there will be no peace. Without a change of heart and without love for neighbour, our world will continue to be in chaos. It’s as simple as that. Without the value of life, we are heading for a major destruction caused by us and by no one else.
Final verdict: I have to say that the amount of revelation in this book, compared to previous book (Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander) is a lot and verified a lot of thing for me and I feel edified after reading this book and Vassula’s other book (True Life in God). I think it is the most impressive for me after The Case of Creator since this contains the writing of Lord Jesus Himself.
However, the most disturbing fact for me is that since I come from Protestant church, I have no background on the Virgin Mary and the fact that Lord Jesus also want His followers to honor her means that I will need to quit from Protestant church entirely. However, I am still unsure whether I can do this immediately.
I feel that I will need tremendous amount of prayer before I made the decision.