Fatima in the News Again
On Thursday, May 12, 2000, Pope John Paul II announced the beginning of the process to make saints of the two girls from Fatima, Portugal, who purportedly saw the famed vision of the Virgin Mary in the early twentieth century which launched what has come to be known as the Marian movement. The two girls in questionnow deceasedare to be beatified, the preliminary step toward canonization as full-fledged Catholic saints.
We might well look for these young ladies, together with Mother Theresa, to soon appear alongside the Virgin Mary in future appeals for spiritual and political endeavors, directed to Catholics and the rest of mankind.
Back when Mother Theresa died, a lady interviewed for the CBS Evening News was asked for her thoughts on the news that Mother Theresa might be canonized. She replied, "Only God makes saints." True enough! It is the God of peace who sanctifies (1 Thess. 5:23), not any human being.
The man of sin in 2 Thessalonians 2, identified as the papacy, will advance his influence with "all power and signs and lying wonders" (verse 9). The Marian movement in the Catholic Church, now strengthened further by the Pope's beatification of the Fatima girls, reveals the further hastening of this end-time phenomenon.
While inspiration says nothing about demonic impersonations of the Virgin Mary, it does indicate that the apostles of Christ will be so impersonated:
"The apostles, as personated by these lying spirits, are made to contradict what they wrote at the dictation of the Holy Spirit when on earth" (The Great Controversy, p. 557).
If the apostles are to be impersonated, and dead loved ones also (see GC p. 560), certainly the Virgin Mary and others are likely to be. The test defined by the ancient prophet must ever remain our watchword:
"And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that hath familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? For the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isa. 8:19, 20).
Fire and Weather
From searing heat on the East Coast to torrential rains, floods, and tornadoes from Iowa to Texas, the first weeks of May saw further increases in recent patterns of severe weather. On the May 16, 2000, broadcast of the CBS Evening News, officials of the U.S. Weather Bureau and others reported that heat and drought throughout the coming summer is likely to worsen, causing grain and corn shortages and other problems. Lack of rain in parts of Iowa and Missouri was reported to be the worst in 45 years; in parts of Louisiana, the worst in 106 years.
The second week of May also saw possibly the worst wildfires in the history of New Mexico. The fires were initially set to eliminate dry brush but went out of control because of dry conditions and unusually high winds. For a time the entire city of Los Alamos was evacuated, hundreds of homes were destroyed, with vast losses of property and a devastated countryside. As of this writing, the fires continue to rage.
On a similar note, the June 2000 issue of Discover magazine, journal of cable television's Discovery channel, featured an article titled, "Why Has Our Weather Gone Wild?", by Joseph D'Agnese. The author of this piece notes that "national disasters have increased more than fourfold since the 1950s" (p. 76).
Again we note the words of Inspiration which predicted these events so long ago:
"How frequently we hear of earthquakes and tornadoes, of destruction by fire and flood, with great loss of life and property! Apparently these calamities are capricious outbreaks of disorganized, unregulated forces of nature, wholly beyond the control of man; but in them all, God's purpose may be read. They are among the agencies by which He seeks to arouse men and women to a sense of their danger" (Prophets and Kings, p. 277).
"Even now he (Satan) is at work. In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hailstorms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes, in every place and in a thousand forms, Satan is exercising his power. He sweeps away the ripening harvest, and famine and distress follow. . . . These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous" (The Great Controversy, pp. 589, 590).