Are UFO's Real?
By Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D., 1992
The letters UFO stand for ‘unidentified flying object.’ Technically, any flying object that remains unidentified by humans can be called a UFO. This means that if you are walking down a gravel road and a car comes that causes a small stone to hit you and you are unable to later identify it (because of the mass of small stones on the roadway), that would be a UFO. However, that is not what we are referring to in this Doctrinal Report We are also not speaking about weather balloons, lenticular clouds, new research aircraft, or unusual astronomical displays that professional people can easily identify though the general public in many cases cannot. How well I remember while I was a weather forecaster in the Air Force of monitoring some huge balloons (100 feet across) that the weather service launched on the west coast of America and having to regularly explain to the news media that people were not seeing UFOs when the balloons entered their areas of the world.
On one occasion, however, when I was on duty at the weather station at Walker Air Force Base in Roswell, New Mexico, we got a report from an airman guarding a B-29 on the base that he was seeing what he thought was a ‘ball of fire’ high in the atmosphere southeast of the base and traveling northwestward towards the base. This time there were no balloons in the vicinity nor were there any experimental aircraft that we were occasionally warned about We had strict orders to inform the base commander of any unusual things like this. After doing this, I went to our theodolite (a telescope type instrument for tracking balloons) and zeroed in on the ‘ball of fire.’ It was now high in the sky just south of us and it was turning westward toward the Sacramento mountains. After ten minutes, the base commander showed up and took a look for himself as the "ball of fire" went over the mountains on the western horizon. We estimated it had been about 50 miles in the sky and traveling at a very high rate of speed. We warned air force stations in Arizona and California to be on the look out for it, but no one west of us reported later that they saw it. This was certainly a UFO - an unidentified flying object — but this is still not the type I am referring to in this Doctrinal Report. The reason is because this UFO appeared to be some freak of nature and it did not appear like anything that intelligent creatures (either from earth or extra-terrestrial) were maneuvering. Most of us at the air base came to conclusion that this UFO was some kind of an astronomical occurrence that was simply unexplainable, and that is the last I ever heard of the matter.
The UFOs that I am referring to are those that people have supposedly witnessed that appear to be governed by intelligent beings and that cannot be explained as having an earthly origin. We are talking about things that appear to be airborne and maneuverable and that look to be extra-terrestrial in origin. Are there such things? Does the Bible say anything about them? Are there times in the past when things have been seen in the heavens (which people today might call ‘spaceships’) or seeing other phenomena showing intelligent displays that some people interpreted as ‘coming from heaven"? Were there times when people thought they saw ( in our atmosphere or in the heavens ‘signs’ from God or ‘signs’ from celestial beings? This is what we are interested in.
Christ Jesus told us that when the end of the age would come (the generation just before the Second Advent of Christ) there would be "fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven" (Luke 21:11). Some of these signs would be given to God’s people (by God or angelic powers under God’s direction) to warn them of impending events (Luke 21:25), while other signs would be allowed to be demonstrated by Satan and his angels to deceive the world. The apostle Paul spoke of the Man of Sin (whom some called the Antichrist) ‘whose coming is after the working of Satan with evil power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved (from the end-time trouble]. And for this cause GOD SHALL SEND THEM STRONG DELUSION, that they should believe a lie (Greek: the LIE, II Thessalonians 2:9-11 capitalization mine).
What the Word of God tells us is the fact that there are good signs that God will give to his people (some of them may frighten those who do not know God and his divine word in both Old and New Testaments), but there are also bad signs that God and Christ Jesus allow the world to admire and to follow. We need to be able to tell the good from the bad. Let us first look at some good signs.
Christ Jesus told the apostles that when they (or any of the saints) would see Jerusalem surrounded by armies then let the people of God flee from Jerusalem and Judea. "When you shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh" (Luke 21:20).
The meaning of this verse has puzzled many people. How can it be that when Jerusalem is completely surrounded (encircled on all sides) with armies, then the people of God are told to flee the whole area of Judea (of which Jerusalem is a part)? If this is the strategy, then it seems that Christ is saying to surrender to the armies. But this is not what Christ meant in his warning.
In actual fact, this prophecy of Christ Jesus was fulfilled to the letter in the period just before the war that destroyed Jerusalem from A.D.67 to 70. We have the eyewitness account of Josephus himself (he was the Jewish historian who accompanied the Roman armies to Jerusalem and saw or reported all that occurred in Judaea within that 3 and a half year event that occurred in the heavens that could not be identified as having its origin on earth. This was clearly a ‘sign" from heaven and I have not the slightest hesitation in stating that it was an exact fulfillment of what Christ Jesus said would occur that is recorded in Luke 21:20. Note what Josephus said happened just before the war with Romans commenced.
"On the twenty-first of the month Artemisium [the last day of the 2nd Passover season In A.D. 61], there appeared a miraculous phenomenon, passing belief. Indeed, what I am about to relate would, I imagine, have been deemed a fable, were it not for the narratives of eyewitnesses and for the subsequent calamities which deserved to be so signalized. For before sunset throughout all parts of the county [everywhere throughout Judea] chariots were seen in the air and armed battalions hurtling through the clouds and encompassing the cities."
War,VI.5.3 or Loeb VI.298,
This is the very thing that Christ Jesus said to watch for. And then (about two weeks later) Josephus tells us:
"Moreover, at the feast which is called Pentecost, the priests on entering the inner court of the temple by night, as their custom was in the discharge of their ministrations, reported that they were conscious, first of a commotion and a din, and after that of a voice as of a host, 'We are departing hence'."
With these two signs what did the Christians in Jerusalem and Judea do? Eusebius tells us that this is the time they began to leave the region because of the command of Christ and went to a city called Pella on the east side of the Jordan River (Ecclesiastical History, III.5). They and the apostles obtained safety from the holocaust that soon enflamed Jerusalem and Judaea.
These chariots and armed forces seen in the skies all over Judaea and encompassing the cities of the Jews was similar to times recorded in the early history of Israel. Angelic powers (in this case, good angels) accompanied the armies of Israel when it was the normal period (in ancient Times) for hostilities to occur. The Bible says: "And it came to pass, after the year had expired., at the time angels go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon" (II Samuel 11:1). The King James translators (and most modern ones) read the Hebrew as "kings," not "angels." But there is no reason whatever for reading the text as ‘kings.’ The verse was intended to show that angelic powers were there to aid Israel in their battles when they went to war.
A further reference (which even corroborates angelic connections with wars or the preparations for wars on earth) is 11 Samuel 5:23,24 God said to David that when he heard "the sound of a going [forth] in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you [David] shall bestir yourself [to war]," This swishing sound in the top of the trees of a turbulent waving action of the wind was recognized by David as caused by the Lord and his angelic hosts going to battle with David (see also Genesis 32:1.3 and II Kings 6:17 about angels accompanying God). But in A.D.66, instead of helping Israel win the war with the Romans that the people of Judaea were about to start, the angelic hosts were seen in the clouds in chariots and as armed soldiers encompassing the cities of Judaea and enclosing them on all sides for capitulation. This is precisely what Christ Jesus said to watch for in his Olivet prophecy.
Not only that, Josephus said that a week before the Passover in A.D.66 an amazing thing happened that the authorities in Jerusalem saw. "At the ninth hour of the night [3 A.M. — the darkest part of the night], so brilliant a light shone round the altar and the sanctuary that it seemed to be broad daylight; and this continued for half an hour" (War, VI.290). A similar thing happened in the time of Solomon when the Temple was first dedicated and God entered the Sanctuary for the first time (II Chronicles 7:1-3).
But in early A.D.66, this manifestation occurring a week before Passover culminated in the statement that God was leaving the Sanctuary given at the feast of Pentecost about eight weeks later (War, VI.299,300).
About 600 years before these events that happened in the skies over Jerusalem and Judaea, the prophet Ezekiel saw a whirlwind and clouds and in the air he saw the glory of God reflected in four creatures that appeared to travel with wheels like chariots (with wheels shown Within wheels) giving a circular shape to each creature (Ezekiel 1). These glorious creatures appeared like cherubim or other angelic hosts that surround the throne of God. If people would see such a scene today, they could easily imagine them to look like UFO’s which resemble "flying saucer" types of maneuverable vehicles that were in the clouds of heaven and having a swishing sound of a whirlwind (perhaps like jet propulsion) accompanying them (Ezekiel 1:4). Since we are now living not long before the Second Advent of Christ back to this earth, we should expect to see similar signs as these once more. In the past they did not occur regularly or in a flippant or frivolous manner (such flippancy is not found in Scripture). The events mentioned above however were given by God at specific times when God’s people were in need of such signs to warn them of impending dangers to themselves and to the nations in which they lived. We should expect the same today on an irregular basis and at crucial times in history. But God is not in the habit of giving flippant and frivolous sign or signs that are designed to tease people.
Notice also, that the signs mentioned above were given when a large number of people were eyewitnesses to them to such an extent that there was no mistaking their reality or their significance, People may have interpreted the signs wrongly, as Josephus said many of the Jews did at the time they were given, but the signs themselves were not done in a corner. There were many eyewitnesses to attest to their truths. But flippant and teasing manifestations are not of the caliber that God and Christ give to their people. Whether circles in grain fields in England are hoaxes or caused by angelic powers, such frivolous manifestations are not helpful to God’s people and should not be given attention by those who respect the Word of God.
Now all of the above examples in God’s Scripture and from the history of Josephus are what God’s people would correctly call good manifestations. They would not even be considered as UFO’s in one way of looking at it because the saints of God would know them to be manifestations of God for the benefit of his people. Indeed, these can also be called good because they cause no one (or no nation) to have deception in regard to them. But there are also bad manifestations, and these are to be avoided on all occasions. Sometimes, though, it takes experience and some testing to find out if the angelic displays are good or bad.
If any of us should see some kind of a manifestation that we might call a UFO (or some sign in the heavens), how can we know if it is good or bad? First and foremost, before even testing the ‘sign’ the apostle Paul stated the full armor that all the children of Cod should put on. Christ Jesus will be constantly by our aid, if we do what Paul said in Ephesians 6:11-18. Paul said that "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Ephesians 6:12). First, be fully armed with the truth of God — understand and use the Word of God as your defense and offense (verse 14). Claim the righteousness of Christ as being your own righteousness no matter if people say you are not righteous (verse 14). Be peaceful but armed with a full knowledge of the Gospel of Christ and don’t be swayed by the false "Gospels" of this world (verse 15). Have full faith that Christ will protect you and use His name (His authority) to back you up in any encounter (verse 16). Understand that you are already saved (salvation has been granted to you by Christ already – II Timothy 1:9) and this gives you the power of sitting on the right hand of the Father in Christ right now (Ephesians 2:6). Take the ‘sword of the Spirit" which is "the Word of God" (Paul states this in a double sense to show where your real power rests) (verse 17). And be in an attitude of prayer with God and Christ because the Father and our Elder Brother are with all the saints on a permanent basis (verse 18). Then speak the Gospel of truth to such powers with authority as the apostle Paul did (verses 19,20).
Now, if any manifestation of any kind appears to you (as a type of UFO, angel, spirit, etc.), be armed with the above armaments! We are then told to test the spirits because many false prophets who are deceived by seducing spirits have gone out into the world (I Timothy 4:1-5; I John 4:1-3). There are numerous "tests" that one can make, but the central and primary test is this: If there is anything that the manifestation does or teaches (or promotes) that Is in any way contrary to the Bible that you as a MATURE CHILD OF GOD KNOWS, then ask Christ to rebuke the false manifestation (Jude verse 9). The name of "Jesus" (or any derivative) is of utmost authority (Philippians 2:9-11) and all evil will submit to it. Also, if any manifestation (even if it comes from prophecies uttered by those professing Christ, speakers in tongues, or those motivated by any spiritual forces) that promotes or advances men and women who teach false doctrines such as the Immortality of the Soul (who teach that the dead are not really dead but that the dead are either alive in heaven or alive in hell or alive a kind of ‘limbo"), this is clearly contrary to biblical teaching (see I Timothy 6:15,16). The Bible shows the dead (and their souls) are not alive (Ecclesiastes 9:5,10). If contrary teachings are sustained, then ask Christ to rebuke such false manifestations (Jude verse 9). Akin to this, if one or more of your dead relatives or friends) (that is, supposedly "dead" friends) should make an appearance with a ‘UFO" or whatever, you are in touch with lying spirits trying to influence you.
In a word, some appearances of what some people have called UFOs, may be false angelic spirits trying to contact you or others. If such things should occur, then be always prepared to put on the armaments that the apostle Paul told us to display - and wear them with faith, confidence and with full authority! You can have the firm conviction from God’s word that if any of the false spiritual powers that God allows to exist at the present knows that you or I are steadfast in always applying Ephesians 6:11-20, they will avoid you and all the people of God like the plague. After all, they do not want to be defeated in their schemes to influence people. They are after those who are willing to succumb to their deceitfulness and falsehoods.
And remember, Satan is called a serpent that has a venomous bite. If you and I stay away from rattlesnake dens (or where the rattlesnakes —roam), we will not be bitten by them. Too many people get curious about (and associate with) ‘rattlesnakes’ and their teachings and then they wonder why they got bit (James 4:7).
Ernest L. Martin
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