Visions and Physical Manifestations
By John W. Milor
Before getting into the difference between visions and physical manifestations, I have a rather lengthy introduction to describe one of my primary sources of information for this article. The Bible describes a number of experiences received by holy men of the past, who had divine encounters of various kinds. Some of these encounters were in dreams or trances, while others were during times of full consciousness. The primary difficulties in biblical interpretation of these passages are the vast difference in time, culture, geography, and in linguistics. But if one were to meet a man who has such other-worldly experiences in this day and age, then all that is left to interpret is the simple abstract nature of dreams, visions, or physical manifestations, and the barrier of time is eliminated, with differences in culture, geography, and linguistics, minimized to a negligible level in comparison to the days of the Bible. I have met such a man, and have been learning from him about a number of spiritual things that the Bible speaks of.
Just last year, I recently came into contact with an interesting young Christian man who stated that he had been fighting off the symptoms of astral projection, such as sleep paralysis, various odd noises, and strange vibrations, for most of his life. For many years, he had no idea what these unsettling episodes were about. After researching the matter, he came to the realization that his symptoms might have something to do with out of body experiences, (aka astral projection). Finally growing weary with struggling against these symptoms, he decided one evening to simply go with the flow, and stop fighting them. He suddenly found himself floating above his bed, able to pass through the ceiling of his bedroom, and fly outside above his house. Fear suddenly gripped him concerning the reality of his situation and he immediately returned to his body like a stretched rubber band snapping back into place.
This is about the time that his research led him to my website and he emailed me about it, since I am among the few Christians who have written about this subject without definitively concluding that it’s all satanic. We have since become e-pals, and he has initiated an experimental phase whereby he’s ‘testing the spirits’ of this phenomenon, in order to determine if its origin is something either from the Lord, or from Satan. He was and still is of the opinion that this ability comes from God, since all true gifts originate from the Lord, and Satan only perverts gifts. He is a born again Christian, sold out to Jesus, he prays, fasts, and regularly meditates on the Word of God, so it seemed unlikely that God would allow Satan to perpetrate something like this. Nevertheless, he was open and willing to accept the possibility that Satan could be given a long leash, as he was with Job in the book of Job, and perhaps be allowed to attempt to lead him astray.
My first advice to him was to start with a simple prayer, as follows: “God, if this is not from you, please take it away from me, in the name of Jesus; I want nothing to do with it if it is not from you. If this is from you, however, then tonight, bring it on full force, energize it, and give me the courage to move forward with power, and discernment on what to do next.”
That night, the vibrations struck him like a bolt of lightning unlike ever before. He effortlessly popped out of his body, melted through the roof of his house, then blasted off into outer space, witnessing the awe inspiring spectacle of the Earth from outer orbit! Again the overwhelming sensation of having his reality contorted in such an extreme fashion resulted in him snapping back into his body like a taut rubber band.
When Dave, (I’ll call him Dave from here on out), told me about what happened, it struck me as uncharacteristic of God to allow Satan the unbridled authority to bring on an even more powerful satanic attack against a Christian, who was completely powerless against what was happening to him, and also praying to God for help and discernment in the matter. Nevertheless, I still advised extreme caution, and suggested that if he popped out of his body again, to think about seeing Jesus. After all, if he was really outside of his body, and also a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven, (Ephesians 2:19), then why would he not be allowed to visit there if in such a situation? How could he go wrong that way? Perhaps this is what happened to the Apostle Paul as he described being caught up and not even knowing if he was in or out of his body, (2 Corinthians 12:2), and the Apostle John as he described something similar in Revelation (Revelation 4:1)?
At first Dave felt that a trip to heaven would be too intense to jump right into, but I finally convinced him to go for it. First, however, he decided to include a three day fast in conjunction with his prayers, to prepare himself for the journey. He was quite possibly going before an audience with the King of Kings, and while I explained to him that there was nothing he could do to improve his spiritual appearance before God that Jesus didn’t already do for him, it simply seemed more appropriate to him to do this. Scripture does speak of fasting as something that gives a special type of spiritual strength, and doing a fast certainly wouldn’t hurt, so we agreed it would be a good idea.
It was during this time that another episode occurred, and he found himself in the midst of a very beautiful woman who had the appearance of an angel. It felt wonderful to be in her presence. At this point Dave started understanding some of the details about the projection phenomenon, which seemed to download directly into his consciousness; he described a few of these details to me. One of the main characteristics of astral projection is that it is very unusual for a projector to retain a perfect level of full consciousness, remembering all the details of the waking state, such as a specific intent to go to heaven and see Jesus. Because of this, he wasn’t thinking to go see Jesus, but even so, the woman said only one thing to him. “Dave, anytime you want to see heaven just give me the word, and I’ll take you there.”
Most Christians conclude that astral projection is purely satanic, despite apparent references to it in the Bible by holy men, because of the occult influences that surround it. I personally believe that many cases of astral projection are, in fact, satanically charged. I say this because it is fairly common knowledge that astral projection is alleged to be actively practiced in various non-Christian religions all around the world, such as Wicca, shamanism, and Hinduism, all of which have overtly satanic elements. It is also true and easily demonstrable that New Age books that discuss astral projection usually include support for deceptions such as reincarnation, divination, sorcery, and channeling, consulting with familiar spirits, necromancy, and ultimately, a means of salvation that excludes Jesus as the only Way to the Father, contrary to John 14:6. For these reasons, Christians who know anything about it are generally predisposed to believe that anything even remotely associated with it is evil, but again, I concede that this is only one side of the story.
What was happening with Dave was challenging the notion that all cases of astral projection are satanic. Here he was, a dedicated Christian, fasting and praying in earnest prayer to the Lord over something that had been happening to him for years that he had very little control over, and instead of the symptoms weakening or going away, they were increasing in frequency and magnitude in response to prayer.
As I began to learn more about Dave and his abilities, other things seemed to stand out about him that gave an indication that God might have an unusual and potent ministry in store for him. For example, when Dave told me about some different types of non-humanoid angels he encountered, I asked him if he ever saw an angel while in his physical body, fully conscious. My great grandmother told me a story of being saved by an angel, and he looked like a man wearing a strange military uniform, but he didn’t have any wings. Dave then said that he had, in fact, seen an angel in his youth while he was fully awake, seconds before a car crash. A blue-eyed blond-haired man appeared in the back seat of his car and said to him that he would be okay, and not to worry about anything, then suddenly, KABLAM! It was a terrible accident, but Dave walked away from it unscathed.
In addition to this story of divine intervention, about one week into his experimental phase with astral projection, Dave’s uncle had a heart attack and went into a coma. That night, Dave was escorted into his uncle’s presence by a being he believed was an angel. Dave’s uncle then told him that he accepted the Lord, and that he wanted the whole family to know about it, and be at peace concerning his passing, which would be in three days. The next day Dave spread the word to members throughout his family about his vision with his uncle, and true to the prophetic word he was given, Dave’s uncle passed away on the third day.
One of the tests of prophecy is whether or not the prophecy comes to pass, (Deuteronomy 18:20–22), and this event passed this particular test of prophecy.
Dave’s adventures continue to this day, and they’re mostly wonderful experiences; he nearly went to heaven just last week, as the female angel promised him. A portal opened above his bed surrounded by seven angels, but the vision was abruptly interrupted by a maintenance man pounding on his door.
While most of his experiences are wondrous and beautiful, every now and then, he encounters demonic entities or fallen angels that try to pass themselves off as good beings. Then again, some don’t even bother with the disguise. One time he was chased by a hideous creature that looked something like the Thing from the Fantastic Four; on another occasion he simply had a dialogue with a deceptive entity about a bunch of New Age crap that was complete contrary to scripture, which I enlightened him on.
Dave says that a special type of discernment has welled up within him that became highly developed early on; he receives strong impressions right away about whether or not an entity is kosher. The entity that was spouting off all the New Age information, for example, felt like it had a very low vibration to it, which made Dave suspicious of it right away, despite the fact that what it was saying seemed to make sense to him, until I later enlightened him about the scriptures that were being violated.
Regardless of his special discernment ability, I have been giving Dave a slew of warnings about interacting with entities since day one. Satan can appear as an angel of light, (2 Corinthians 11:14), and may also have the ability to emit some kind of emotional resonance that could trick Dave’s ‘feelings,’ if that’s what they are, so the only true fruit-tester for discerning spirits boils down to whether or not what these entities are saying and doing lines up with the Word of God. That can also prove difficult at times, since many demonic entities undoubtedly have legendary theological prowess, but all in all, most deceptions are easy to identify. The testing of spirits is something that Dave expects to conduct with every out-of-body excursion; it’s simply an active part of his life now, more than most Christians have to contend with. Testing the spirits should be an active part of every Christian’s walk, whether in the body or out, and whether discerning people, other-worldly entities, literature, philosophies, politics, ideas, motives, ideologies, or practically anything in life.
I personally would be very uncomfortable interacting with spiritual non-human entities if an out-of-body projection ever occurred with me. Exactly how close is this phenomenon related to necromancy or consulting with familiar spirits? Is there a dictionary or encyclopedia somewhere that tells me the exact difference between that, and communicating with good entities? I don’t think so, but discerning that difference becomes necessary for people in Dave’s shoes, because communicating with good entities is not sinful; most prophets in the Old Testament did it and some of the Apostles in the New Testament claimed to do it as well. Furthermore, there are tremendous benefits to be cultivated from interacting with good entities. Prophecies are given, as well as very important mission assignments, as scripture testifies. Sometimes it’s a matter of life and death; Jesus would have been murdered as a young boy were it not for the archangel Gabriel warning Joseph in a dream to flee to Egypt, (Matthew 2:13).
While I would be intimidated with the prospect of such communication, I’m not certain I would simply shun every opportunity to communicate with something from beyond this world. Where would we be if Moses ran away from the burning bush, screaming “Ah! There’s a bush on fire that TALKS!” What if Joshua said “Buzz off weirdo,” to the Commander of the Lord’s army? What if Ezekiel, or Daniel, or Joseph, the appointed human ‘step-father’ of Jesus, all reacted in fear and retreat in response to their other-worldly visitors?
Something I always wondered about Jesus, was if I were born in His day, would I have recognized Him for who He was, or would I have seen His miracles as a satanic manifestation and labeled Him a blasphemer like most of the Scribes and Pharisees did? There’s two ways a Christian can go wrong with discernment: labeling something holy or divine and from God, when it’s actually satanic, or labeling something as satanic, when it’s actually from God. It’s not good to incorrectly discern something, because thinking something is from God when it’s not, can lead to deception, and thinking something is from Satan when it’s actually from God, can even lead to a terrible sin that Jesus said the Holy Spirit would not forgive, (Matthew 12:31). Without getting into the theological mire of the ‘unpardonable sin,’ I think it’s enough just to say that whatever Jesus was talking about in Matthew 12:31 is a BAD thing. Because discernment can carry with it weighty consequences, I am of the opinion that judgments should be reserved until the ‘spirits are tested.’
Exactly what does it mean to test the spirits? Does it mean running in the opposite direction when faced with something unknown, or does it mean cautious, analytical, and prayerful movement forward? Dave and I both contend the later, and so far, we are both leaning in favor of this phenomenon being a God given gift for Dave to experience, learn from, and share with the church, as the good angels have in fact told him. This gift is not supposed to be just for him; it’s for the body of Christ, and needed in the days to come, as they contend. As already stated, Dave is still testing the spirits, as a lifestyle, but most of his encounters seem to be angels that are faithful to God, despite the fact that their appearances vary wildly. The multi-colored elf-eared angel that almost took him to my house on one occasion, for example, had an extremely bizarre description, but Dave tries not to get too hung up on their appearances.
Now that Dave, with his astral projecting abilities, has been fully introduced, the whole point of bringing up his experiences was to point out something interesting that we discovered together.
Going back to when he mentioned his angelic visitation he had when he was fully awake; the point of my asking him about a conscious visitation was directly in response to an out-of-body angelic encounter he had. When the portal to heaven opened up above his bed, which I previously mentioned, the seven angels that appeared around the portal were human looking angels with brownish colored wings. They looked just like the classical depiction of humanoid angels with wings, which is something I always wondered about, and actually doubted. The Bible only mentions two types of angels as having wings, the Cherubim, and Seraphim, and these beings seem to be associated with technology, rather than having actual wings on their backs. Scripture speaks of these Cherubim and Seraphim as being associated with wheels within wheels, (Ezekiel 1:16), retracting legs with calf-hove landing pads, (Ezekiel 1:21), and a crystal-like glass dome on top, (Ezekiel 1:22), all of which sound like a flying saucer that the angels flew inside of. Since other scriptures speak of angels flying in sky chariots, (2 Kings 2:12), which have the ability to beam people up into them, (2 Kings 2:11), I find it much more likely that these angels were physical manifestations, and none of them had actual wings like birds. Dave’s encounter, however, was with beings that looked human, and they had wings like birds.
The reason I doubt there are human-like angels that have wings is because it actually makes little sense for them to have wings; they can levitate and fly because of their supernatural power, not because they’re flapping around like birds. All the life forms that God created generally have an anatomy that makes sense, and it would make no sense for humanoids to have wings, if they can fly without them. As for their supernatural power, like any created being, angels have their limits. They have supernatural power, such as the ability to fly, or walk through walls, but nowhere in scripture does it say that angels are unlimited in their power. Because of this, I have no difficulty in believing that they use technology, such as the self-propelled flaming sword ‘force field’ spoken of in Genesis 3:24, or the previously mentioned flying chariots. I have every reason to believe that the word ‘chariot’ in 2 Kings 2:12, was most likely not a chariot in the exact sense. The only vehicle Ezekiel knew of was a chariot, so he used the words ‘flying chariot’ to describe an aerial vehicle, and the only propulsion system he knew of was that of horses, so he mentioned ‘horses of fire,’ as the means of propulsion. He was so impressed with whatever this contraption was that he considered it to be alive, which is something that could be expected from someone at that time, witnessing technology so advanced. There are a number of details in Ezekiel’s description of his angelic encounter that give very substantial reasons to believe that technology is being described, which I detail in depth in my book, Aliens in the Bible.
Dave, however, encountered humanoid angels with wings, which brought up this discussion about the difference between physical manifestations, and visions, because it throws a monkey wrench in the ‘inter-dimensional intergalactic spacecraft’ theory.
According to Dave, while out-of-body, reality can often be affected by one’s thoughts, in a very literal sense. Visions can take many forms, and out-of-body excursions sometimes result in traveling to different dimensions, or perhaps even alternate realities where many things are the same, but various details are different. One of the commonly mentioned items of interest in Dave’s excursions is the time zone. Sometimes he will astral project early in the morning, but as soon as he pops out of his body, it will be nighttime. Other times, the time zone seems to be the same, but there will be something different about his house, such as a table in the wrong place, or a person being present in the home, that actually isn’t in the home. Then there are the trips to higher or lower realms, which can vary wildly. And what’s more, sometimes out-of-body journeys can turn into symbolic representations of reality, such as those described in some of the books of the Bible, with various beasts and creatures, morphing into different things during the progression of a vision. A modern example of such visions can be read in the works of Rick Joyner, who may have astral projected when he witnessed the events he documented in The Vision, The Call, and The Final Quest. I don’t necessarily endorse all of Rick Joyner’s teachings; I simply refer to these books as examples of what might be symbolic visions derived from out-of-body experiences.
Upon analyzing these odd features of astral projection, it is sometimes hard to tell the difference between what may be an extremely elaborate, highly detailed and vivid dream, and actual out-of-body experiences. To Dave, however, they are all most likely out-of-body experiences. When Dave first explained these discrepancies to me, I was initially skeptical, and of the opinion that they were probably just elaborate dreams. I debated with him over this matter, because there was no proof indicating otherwise, and until proof was derived, the experiences were of no more value than dreams. Furthermore, my main point was, there was no need for this level of uncertainty about the matter, because if the phenomenon is real and repeatable, it should be possible to obtain proof. All that is required is a little imagination in order to derive some simple experiments to validate the phenomenon.
Dave has since tested his out-of-body trips on one occasion, when he asked his brother to write a note and post it on the outside of the house. Dave correctly relayed the message written on the note to his brother the next day, and his brother was amazed. I proposed a similar test with Dave, asking him to report to me what I have behind my garage, but he has yet to complete this test, due to a wide variety of interruptions.
But back to the topic of the difference between physical manifestations, and out-of-body visions, because reality seems to be so subjective while out of the body, I suggested to Dave that he might have seen the classic looking humanoid angels with wings, because either he was expecting to see them that way, or because they wanted him to see them that way, (irrespective of whether they were good or bad, though with different motives). This can explain a lot with the way that the Bible is understood, because there is a big difference between angelic encounters that involve physical manifestations, and those that don’t.
For starters, angels are physical beings that do not have wings, and this is immediately apparent in scripture when they are physically manifested in our dimension. The angels that saved Lot and his family were described as men. They ate food, grabbed Lot by his arm, and the list goes on. They didn’t have wings, and people generally mistook them for being other people.
I think this is their true form, at least for the humanoid species the Bible refers to as the Bene Elohim, i.e. Sons of God, aka Watchers. Daniel’s descriptions of kingdoms taking on various creatures morphing from one to another, and John’s similar allegories/metaphors containing numerous symbolic images, all of which he interprets within the text of Revelation, are obviously visions, perhaps out-of-body when they were received, which are distinctly different than physical manifestations. Understanding this helps to bring clarity with respect to the nature of angels, because many people don’t think of them as physical beings, when in fact, they are. Daniel, for example, had both physical manifestation encounters, and visions.
Physical encounters are undeniable in many passages of scripture. Elijah couldn’t have been whipped off the ground and whisked away into the sky by a dream, never to be seen by Elisha again. Ezekiel, likewise, mentions having a stroll by the River of Chebar, when these strange wheels zipped down from the sky flying in a bizarre motion, then these landing gears came out of them and they landed. Ezekiel’s description gives every indication that he was wide awake and outside during broad daylight when this happened. The same is apparent with Abraham’s visit by three angels, who physically destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Moses’ encounters with God, which the entire nation of Israel witnessed, were also physical manifestations, and accompanied with fire in the sky at night and mysterious ‘glory’ clouds during the day. These might have had symbolic significance, but there’s no denying that they were real, physical manifestations.
There maybe some advantage to visions; they could be like an angel’s way of making a virtual connection with our consciousness, similar to the way a computer network administrator will remote into a system to fix it or help a network user, rather than take the time-consuming walk to physically touch each machine on the network. The physical hands on a computer is sometimes required, but usually avoided when possible.
I have not conducted a thorough statistical study on the matter, but out of curiosity, I’d like to see what types of encounters are the most common, between visions, and physical manifestations. I would venture to suggest that visions are much more common, primarily based on Daniel’s visitation documented in Daniel 10. The archangel Gabriel specifically mentioned a battle that had to take place in order for him to come down to Earth for his visit, and even for him to leave as well. Such confrontations are most likely better avoided when access to people is obtained through visions, dreams, or out-of-body encounters. Overall, physical manifestations are probably more time consuming, resource intensive, and even more risky, as the indication is given in the book of Daniel. Knowing this may provide a key to unlocking other mysteries in the Bible. For example, documenting all of the physical manifestations specifically, might give insight into why such physical manifestations were conducted, as opposed to visions or dreams. For example, exactly why was it that Daniel was visited with a physical manifestation in Daniel 10? What was it about that message that required an angel’s physical presence? Perhaps that battle that took place was necessary? Persia did, after all, conquer that region following Daniel’s vision. Questions like these usually lead to a greater understanding, and deeper revelation of the Bible.
But for now, suffice it to say at least one item of interest can be derived. The way angels might appear in a dream or vision could be vastly different than their appearance when physically manifesting. Most angels that have physically come down to the Earth in the past, and perhaps in the days to come, are humanoid, they are usually mistaken as being regular people, and they don’t have wings stuck on their backs like birds. Furthermore, understanding the difference between physical manifestations and visions lends support to the idea that angels might rely on technology when physically manifesting in the Earth. This concept can be greatly obscured, if physical manifestations and visions are read side by side, without making any distinction between them.