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"When you see the great smoke rise, Satan will have touched the earth," says a new message. "His manifestation will be near. He will seek to destroy what Christ has built, as Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil. In the end, the Cross will predominate, but not before the end of an era that has strayed."

It is another message -- another alleged message -- at a time when such missives continue. Are they true to the prophetic pulse? Are they really words from Heaven -- or distractions from the subconscious (or even the enemy himself)?

Those are always questions that must be asked at the same time that we are careful not to despise the prophetic. That is the warning in 1 Thessalonians 5:20. It is not a warning that is often heeded in modern Catholicism.

But it goes along with the other admonishments that "all prophecy is imperfect" (1 Corinthians 13:10) and to be cautious, for the devil can come as an angel of light, which means he can imitate the voices of what seem like holy personages (2 Corinthians 11:14). We must be cautious with messages that contain language that seems apocalyptic.

It is offered for discernment because in this case it has come from an anonymous source who provided previous prophecies we have analyzed, parts of which have materialized. It is why we listen to any further ones. It is the first in more than three years. Moreover, it seemed to resonate with aspects of two previous long missives that in 1990 foresaw a great evil in the way of cloning and in a follow-up fifteen years later warned of the travesties of science that has run wild. Those messages came from a supposed combination of the Lord and an angel. The latest and third allegedly was spoken by the Virgin Mary.

Like the latest "word" (which is much shorter than the preceding ones), the 1990 prophecy employed the word "era" in predicting that our current period is coming to an end -- not the world, but an era or age. It also made the startling claim -- allegedly from the Lord -- that we have not realized "the fundamental mistakes of mankind" and that "the very artifice" of our societies "is false and against the accordance of God's Will."

That prophecy, which, along with the second one, is discussed in Tower of Light, also saw rise of an evil personage.

But where the latest "message" mentions the rise of "smoke" ("When you see the great smoke rise, Satan will have touched the earth"), both the 1990 prophecy and the addendum-like message in late 2004 (just days before the Asian tsunami) foresaw major coming events that involved a manifestation of luminosity -- in the case of 1990, as a tower of light and in the 2005 addendum the prediction that "when the huge light is seen, I will act in a way I have not acted before."

Also foreseen had been strange rumblings -- which have been reported in many places -- and major natural disturbances such have been seen precisely since 1990 in systems of weather. We submit all this only for your consideration.

How "smoke" fit with that seems mystifying, although it has often been used as a symbol of evil (from a fulminating underworld) and was the metaphor Pope Paul VI used to warn of Satan infiltrating the Church.

Contained in the 1990 prophecy was a prediction that New York City would be under an "evil cloud" for 12 years and that its "pride" would be broken -- which apparently culminated, in 2001, with September 11 (and destruction of skyscrapers widely described as the pride of New York). Might smoke be another terrorist attack? Or something different? Will there be unusual light and smoke?

Slide ImageThat an entire "era" -- not just a recent period of time, or even a century -- could be in error (as all three of the prophecies assert) would be a hard pill for anyone who has enjoyed modern conveniences to swallow, although the effects of modern science on the planet are now the focus of Vatican attention.

Is there any prophetic significance to the explosion of alleged supernatural images, and recent events such as the widely-publicized strike of light on the huge statue of Christ in Rio de Janeiro [right] -- which caused an eerie luminosity to surround this 130-foot, 700-ton monument in Brazil, turning it into towering light?

Noted a newspaper: "According to reports, a strange aura appeared around the 130-foot figure’s head and chest before disappearing in a flash. Shocked locals believe that Christ the Redeemer looked as if it had been illuminated by God's Hand. It has also been reported that the 130-foot figure, on the summit of Rio de Janeiro’s Corcovado Mountain, was left unscathed even after the uncanny event."

Ironically, the 1990 prophecy had ended with these words: "As for the anti-christ, remember Europe, and especially Central Europe. Yet know too that God's Hand will be evident in South America.

"The world will not end but change."

[resources: Tower of Light, The Day Will Come, and The Final Hour]

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[Michael Brown will discuss prophecy and especially California's role in it Saturday at a retreat at the Buena Park Holiday Inn, 9 to five; those wishing admission at door should come early]

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