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Rainbow Divider

Chapter 9

The Visitation

A lot of this has been to lead up to something. When we became a part of this work there were a few doctrinal issues to work through, but one thing couldn’t be sidestepped: the visitation! The greatest concentration of phenomenal manifestations occurred in the fall of 1967 and the spring of 1968. Our first visit was in January of 1969 so these things were pretty fresh! And plenty of things were still occurring almost as a matter of course.

To say that there were visions is a considerable understatement! There were hundreds of them at the very least. It would be impossible to adequately convey all that happened. Although I wasn’t there during much of it, I’m pretty well acquainted with those who were and have heard many of the tapes that were made at the time.

Most of the visions were given to children and young people. In particular they were given to those who had very little knowledge of the scriptures and who could not possibly have made up what they related. Many of the earliest visions were exact repetitions of visions that occurred in the scriptures.

Neither Bro. Thomas nor the people knew what to make of it all. On one occasion there seemed to be a particular spirit of unbelief regarding what was happening when one told about seeing four chariots and mountains made of brass. The whole vision was relayed along with the words. Even Bro. Thomas didn’t recognize the vision but everyone was amazed as a man in the congregation called their attention to Zechariah 6. There it was in exact detail!

And so for months, vision after vision after vision came forth, some focusing on truth relative to the end of the age, some with instructions for the church and the ministry, and some revealing wisdom as they dealt with spiritual needs of every sort. Bro. Thomas was, of course, deeply concerned by all of this and called on everyone to seek the Lord with all their hearts about it. Everything that came forth was examined by the Spirit and by the Word. By every means he knew, Bro. Thomas was determined to be sure that these things were of God and not the devil.

Recently we received an email from someone who knew about all of those things that happened back then and wondered how Bro. Thomas felt now, looking back. Bro. Jimmy Robbins visited with Bro. Thomas and relayed the question. In essence, Bro. Thomas said that he believed that the visitation was of God. However, he also pointed out that they didn’t seek nor did they anticipate any of it. Before it all happened he and the people emphasized Christ and the Word and that they have since as well. It was just something God sovereignly did for His own purposes.

Angels

And so, by every means at their disposal, Bro. Thomas and the people had to conclude that God was visiting them in a most unusual way. And then more things began to happen! Suddenly two angels ... heavenly messengers ... began to visit and it was back to even more serious praying! Again, by every means he could think of, Bro. Thomas put these two messengers to the test almost to the point of being overly skeptical. Again, he could only conclude that they were sent of God. They honored God; they honored the Lord Jesus Christ; they honored the Word of God; they honored the shed blood, and so forth.

Although he was aware of the presence of a supernatural being, Bro. Thomas himself never saw the angels. On a very few occasions, however, he was allowed to “converse” with them briefly. He would ask a question and the angel would speak to the one who was temporarily allowed to operate in that realm and they would repeat the answer. (I would encourage you to read Bro. Thomas’s own account of some of these things.)

One thing in particular Bro. Thomas asked one of the angels on one occasion concerned some of the visions. He wanted to know the reason for there being so many visions that were taken right out of the Bible itself. The answer was two-fold: the first reason was that they might know that the visions were of God and, secondly, that they might know things that were taking place in the earth.

It’s one thing to know what the Bible teaches. It’s another for the Lord to supernaturally intervene and reveal that something in particular is being fulfilled right then! I think of the believing remnant of Israel who eagerly awaited the coming of the Messiah. They knew from the scriptures that He was coming, yet when the time came God on several occasions sent angels to announce that the time had actually come.

Why would He visit a small church in North Carolina in such a way? Why did the angels appear to the shepherds near Bethlehem? I believe that in both cases God desired to reveal relevant truth to His people. In the case of the shepherds they told everyone they knew! Luke 2:17-18. God was preparing His people to receive their Messiah. It wasn’t just for the shepherds. I believe likewise that there were many things that were made real during the visitation that were meant to be shared with the whole body of Christ. The Lord desires to prepare His people for what lies ahead.

And about the time Bro. Thomas and the people were trying to adjust to the visitation of angels, some of the young people began to be taken on trips in the spirit. Some were taken back in time and allowed to witness Bible events, particularly the crucifixion of Christ. One was allowed on several occasions to visit heaven. Several were taken abroad in the earth and shown many things regarding Satan’s kingdom and its activities.

The Center of the Visitation

It was an amazing time and this is only the very sketchiest picture of it. And along with it was the tremendous anointing I later witnessed on Bro. Thomas. It was a manifestation both of great power and of great revelation of the Word. If anything was truly at the center of the visitation it was this ministry of the Word. All of the phenomenal things obviously had their place but the revelation of the Word....! It was something of which I don’t believe any of us have ever seen the like.

We hear many today convey the idea that preaching is all but “boring” and that what they truly want is a lot of phenomenal feelings and experiences. Well, the preaching that came forth in the midst of all the amazing phenomena was anything but boring! It was full of life and power. Heb. 4:12.

I remember one occasion when Bro. Thomas visited in North Carolina. When he stood up he basically said he didn’t have anything and just began to make some general remarks. Then he paused momentarily and said something like, “Well, maybe I’ll comment a little.” About two hours later we all sat there with our mouths open wondering where the time had gone! The Lord had just taken over and it was like a mighty river had flowed over us ... such clarity, such power, such revelation!

With regard to all the phenomenal things that happened, on the one hand, I had no problem with God doing any of those things. The most important question to be considered was simply whether they were, in fact, of God. The fact that I’m still here makes it obvious that I am satisfied that they were. I am well acquainted with the things that happened and the people that were involved. I know something of their seriousness in seeking God lest these things be of the devil. I know that the emphasis has never been upon the phenomenal but upon the Word. I can’t find anything that happened out of harmony with the Word.

No one was any more skeptical and concerned than was Bro. Thomas himself. I can’t blame anyone for being cautious in this area. On the one hand there are many religious groups in our day who just don’t believe in such things at all, that they passed away with the apostles. This is just nonsense and unbelief. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever!

On the other hand, one of the characteristics of the last days is great deception ... involving lying signs and wonders ... by the devil. And our land is filled with people chasing signs, wonders, feelings, and experiences. I am convinced that much of it is, indeed of the devil. But God is still alive and real! And I believe that He is still among His people to reveal the things they truly need to know.

God Had a Reason

If the visitation was of God ... and I believe that it was ... it happened for a reason. God wasn’t just entertaining us. He certainly didn’t do it to exalt us or make us something great. He didn’t do it to amaze us and give us wonderful spiritual experiences and feelings. He had a purpose. I would never profess to know His whole purpose. The best thing I can probably do is to give you my perspective on it as the Lord enables. (I believe that there is also a reason that I have a burden at this present time to share these things.)

When I came into contact with these things I truly didn’t have a problem actually believing that such things could be. And it wasn’t the “wow” factor that got my attention. With my background what got my attention was not the fact of the visitation but the message. Over and over again it was as though the Lord was drawing our attention to things in the scriptures and, with great emphasis, telling us that we were seeing the fulfillment, or that it was just ahead and time was short.

Naturally, the overriding emphasis was on the coming of the Lord and it’s nearness. Over and over again the Lord warned of both the nearness and the suddenness of Christ’s coming and of the necessity of being awake and ready. Never was there any hope suggested for those who weren’t. And it was made very clear that the opportunity for being ready was getting very short. The message of the ten virgins in Matt. 25 is that some will wake up and find out that they don’t have what they need and that it’s too late.

Christ’s Coming

Very closely related to this ... and very central to our subject in general ... is the nature of Christ’s coming, that is, what will actually happen when He comes. During the visitation, and over the years since from time to time, there has been an absolute consistency in the way God has revealed the coming of Christ to us: WHEN CHRIST COMES THIS WORLD WILL BE DESTROYED BY FIRE. And it is not way off sometime! And it will happen suddenly and without warning.

This is a sobering message to put it mildly. In one vision the Lord pictured the removing of His people and immediately afterwards the person saw the world like a ball of yarn soaked in gasoline completely enveloped in flames. Many other visions have shown the same truth pictured in various ways. Some have seen the people left behind running and screaming in terror but with no place to hide.

This is a dramatic picture but is it according to scripture? Peter thought so. Read II Peter 3:10-12. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”

That’s what he was looking for. It wouldn’t make much sense to look for something you don’t expect to happen until a later age. He also refers to the world in verse 7 as being “reserved unto fire.” He directly compares the fiery judgment to come with what happened in Noah’s day. Is this what most church-going people in our day are expecting?

Paul was. In II Thess. 1:7-10 he says, “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.”

The day rest and deliverance come for God’s people is the day destruction comes for the rest of the world.

Jesus certainly was explicit about this as we have pointed out, telling us that His coming would be like the days of Noah and also of Lot. In both cases the deliverance of the righteous took place as the wicked were destroyed.

Noah’s message to his generation was to flee from judgment to come. I believe that that should be our message as well because it is surely coming. One of the first visions that was given was taken directly from Joel 2. It was given to one who was unfamiliar with the passage and the words were quoted exactly. The person both saw the vision and heard the words and related them accurately to the congregation.

Blow Ye The Trumpet

I will quote just the first three verses and encourage you to read through verse 11 at least. “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.”

This is just one example of the Lord’s direct warning that judgment was drawing near upon an unprepared world. I do not hear this being preached (other than Bro. Thomas). I am more convinced than ever that part of the reason Jesus warned of deception concerning His coming (Matt. 24:4) is that He foresaw the rise of false doctrines like the Rapture-Tribulation-Millennium teaching of dispensationalism.

For 150-200 years or so, Satan has carefully crafted these theories, interweaving them with some true things, having them embodied in the footnotes of a popular edition of the Bible (The Scofield Bible). Many good and sincere people have been spoiled by these ideas. I’ve heard men I respect minister life and blessing when they talk about Christian living. Yet, when they try to get into their church’s teachings on Christ’s coming their ministry is suddenly dry and lifeless. There’s a reason! There’s a difference between ministering by tradition and ministering by revelation. Tradition is a great enemy to God’s people: it keeps them from hearing His voice.

As I consider the many things the Lord said during the visitation ... and I’ll enumerate more of them as I go ... I notice a parallel between the revelations then and the revelations at the time of Christ’s birth. Many of the things revealed concerned future things but in both cases there was an announcement of something that was happening THEN. With Christ it was His birth. It was true that there were wonderful things to come but God wanted His people to know that HE WAS HERE. Scripture was being fulfilled.

The Loosing of Satan

I believe that along with the future things God revealed to us was also an announcement regarding things that were taking place THEN. The thing that stands out most in my mind is the loosing of Satan. It is one thing to believe theologically that there is a loosing of Satan at the end of the age; it is quite another for God to come down and supernaturally announce that it is taking place. And that is what I believe happened.

The release of demon power that had previously been restrained was a recurring theme. In one key vision, Rev. 9:1-11 was literally and precisely given to one of the young people. This vision pictures an angel unlocking the “bottomless pit” and releasing a horde of “locusts” who stream forth to attack men, led by Apollyon, the Destroyer. Other visions complemented this as well, such as the four angels of Rev. 7 holding back the winds. Others, not directly taken from the scriptures, depicted the same theme of restraint and then release of devil power.

On one occasion about this time Bro. Thomas was allowed to converse briefly with one of the heavenly messengers and this messenger said that Satan was loose like never before. This statement, coupled with everything else that had come forth, caused Bro. Thomas and others to wonder where all this fitted in with what the scriptures taught. On a subsequent visit Bro. Thomas asked the angel about this. He asked specifically if this loosing of Satan was the one referred to in the Bible, the last loosing of Satan before the end of all things. The answer was ... “Yes.”

I don’t know whether that fits in with your tradition or theology but it’s something to pray about and consider ... seriously! For me it was a perfect fit. It laid bare the spiritual side of what I had been seeing, feeling, and observing in the world around me. I saw with great clarity the inspiration behind the revolutionary changes taking place everywhere in the late 1960s.

I should mention a couple of other experiences that bear particularly on this. Two different young people each were taken in the spirit by an angel to see a revelation of these things. Both of them saw great numbers of dark, ugly, wicked beings in a place of confinement. They saw spirits of various rank and power. Then each one saw the release of these spirits upon mankind.

I remember listening to one young lady describing her experience and what she saw. She saw large numbers of these wicked spirits streaming forth and immediately attacking and entering into people. She saw so many spirits go into some that, in her childlike way, she said it seemed like they’d never fill up.

On other occasions they were taken to different places and shown how spirits work on and affect people. I recall two examples. In one place two people were having a heated argument while a dark figure ran back and forth between them speaking in their ears. In another scene a man was observed driving angrily and recklessly whenever a demon spirit would come near yet he would drive normally when the spirit would withdraw.

An Announcement

These things, pictured in various ways, were given to teach the people about Satan’s kingdom and the reality of demons and how they work, but they were also given, I believe, as an announcement of a critical event on God’s prophetic timetable: the final loosing of Satan. It signaled the beginning of the last short period of this world’s history. We are well into that period as I write these words. The ongoing and progressive effects of Satan’s loosing are obvious to anyone with any spiritual discernment at all.

God’s people need to understand what’s happening in the world, what they’re up against. At the same time they need to see as never before, the cross and the absolute victory that Christ won on behalf of every child of God. The very gates of hell will never prevail against His Church! It’s high time we wake up to the reality of these things and, as our Lord instructed us ... “Be ready.”

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