We are in the midst of a spiritual battle that, for the most part, we cannot see with our human eyes, says pastor Michael Hoggard, senior pastor of Bethel Church in Festus, Mo. Hoggard is known for video messages – through his Prophetic Research Ministry – that often focus on the biblical basis for events and beings that others consider inexplicable.
“So, what our wonderful God has done for those of us who believe the Bible, is give us spiritual glasses to be able to see into the world that our regular eyes won’t see,” Hoggard says in a recent Watchman on the Wall broadcast. “That’s what the Bible is talking about, where it says, ‘For we walk by faith and not by sight.’ Our sight won’t do us any good anyway because we can’t normally see angels, we can’t see devils, except at times when maybe they want to be seen.”
Hoggard has been fascinated by curious – or cryptid, cryptozoological – creatures since he was young. Nowadays, he looks at them with a researcher’s eyes through a theological lens. “I believe that these mysterious creatures do exist. But then, I also believe what the apostle said in John 1: ‘All things were made by him. Without him was not anything made that was made.’
“If there were dragons, and I believe there were, roaming the Earth, did God make them? Yes. God made everything and everything serves and fulfills the purpose of almighty God. Job 12:7 says, ‘But ask now the beasts and they shall teach thee.’ ”
Sasquatch, Bigfoot & Yowies
Some anthropologists believe in Sasquatch or Bigfoot, Hoggard says. “God bless them. There’s a few anthropologists that actually believe in a Sasquatch, or a Yeti, or a Bigfoot-type creature.”
Dr. Jeff Meldrum of the University of Idaho is one of those few. “He believes in Sasquatch, and he has gone on expeditions. He has collected hair samples. He’s collected footprints. He actually believes it, and he is trying to take this creature called Bigfoot and give it some taxonomy. In other words, give it a scientific label so that it can be studied.”
These towering cryptids typically leave their marks wherever they appear. “You’re not just dealing with an American thing,” Hoggard says. “These things are seen in Europe … in Russia. In Australia, they call them Yowies, because of the high-pitched squeal that they make. I absolutely believe that these [eyewitnesses] are telling the truth.
“We have footprints of Bigfoot and we have videos, game cameras of large hairy bipedal creatures walking through the forest, and we have the Patterson Gimlin film that goes back to the mid-’60s, one of the best films ever of a Sasquatch. We have all these films, all this evidence, hair that has been left on barbed wire fences. Then we compare that to Santa Claus, and with Santa Claus, we don’t have any pictures, we don’t have any film of a sleigh landing on a roof with eight tiny reindeer. We don’t have any home video security cameras of a fat man going up and down the chimney.
“So, that’s what I tell people. We have evidence, lots of evidence, for the idea of Bigfoot. We have no evidence at all for the idea of a Santa Claus.”
Champ, Nessie and other Sea Monsters
Cryptid creatures come in all shapes and sizes, and the Hebrew words vary, as well. Genesis 1 and Ezekiel 32 refer to a whale, with Ezekiel referring to Pharoah as such a creature, “who muddies, who fouls up the rivers,” Hoggard explains. “That word there sort of gives you the idea that it’s a sea monster, a leviathan.
“Lamentations 4:3 translates the word as sea monsters. Then, there’s Revelation 12. I think God is tying all of these ideas together. It’s not that they translated it wrongly in different places. The translators should have been consistent. I think God is tying these, like the sea monster and the whale and the serpent and the dragon, all together to give us the idea that they match prophetically. Revelation 12 says, ‘And prevailed not, neither was their place found anymore in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out. That old serpent called the devil and Satan.’ See how it connects dragon, serpent, devil, Satan?”
Sea monsters, or sea serpents, have not gone into hiding since biblical times. There are several popular and oft-sighted contemporary creatures of the deep.
“Because of our Bible telling us that the universe and the Earth is 6,000 years old, not 16 billion years old,” Hoggard says, “I believe it’s very possible that things like the Loch Ness Monster, the Lake Champlain Monster that they call Champ, and others around the world, are possibly remnants of creatures that used to exist many years ago, especially before the flood.”
Dragons & Serpents
Scripture has the most to say about serpents and dragons, that often, as in Revelation, represent Satan or evil and are evident from the first book of the Old Testament to the last book of the New Testament.
In Numbers 21, “we’re going to introduce an appearance of fiery flying serpent, and not just one, but, let’s say thousands of them,” Hoggard says. “Fiery flying serpents, evil angel serpents, manifested themselves. People saw them, ran from them, were bitten by them, and died because of their poison, and God offered a plan of salvation through it.”
Interestingly, God’s plan was for Moses to place a brass serpent as the head of his stick to save all the bitten – complaining – Israelites who looked upon it.
The vicious fiery serpents were there for a reason, the pastor says. “They were to show God’s fiery indignation and they were there as a fiery trial to try those who really did believe what God said.”
Those fires can be quenched. Paul encourages Christ’s followers to put on spiritual armor to repel the “fiery darts” of the evil one.
God not only uses serpents and dragons, but He also expects them to hallow Him, Hoggard says. “Psalm 148 says, ‘Praise the Lord from the Earth, ye dragons,’ ” he says in his DVD presentation. “I believe the word of God. You may not. I’m sorry that you don’t because if you want to know prophecy, the only place to get it right is from the word of God.”
In Job 41, God gives Job a very detailed account of what a Leviathan looks like, Hoggard says. “He has scales. His scales are his pride and … ‘When he sneezes, the light doth shine out of his mouth.’ This Leviathan was a fire-breathing dragon.”
In Psalm 74, Leviathan is a sea serpent. In Isaiah, Leviathan is a serpent, an enemy of Israel, that will be slain by God. That fateful end comes in Revelation, where Rev. 12:3 describes a “mysterious evil creature,” also referred to as a dragon. “And there appeared another wonder in heaven. Behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and 10 horns, and seven crowns upon his heads …” Hoggard quotes. “And the dragon stood before the woman, which was ready devour her child as soon as it was born.
“Then verse seven says, ‘And there was a war in heaven. Michael and His angels fought against the dragon … and the great dragon was cast out.’ That old serpent called the devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world, he was cast out into the Earth and his angels were cast out with him.
“If there’s any monster that’s well known from the scriptures, it would be our old adversary Satan himself. And while some people may have this idea that Satan is this guy dressed up in a red jumpsuit with a pitch fork and a forked tail, that’s not necessarily what he looks like. The Bible actually describes Satan, our adversary, as a beast. And this particular beast is in the form of a dragon or a serpent.”
These creatures, Hoggard says, come and go between worlds or planes of existence. “When somebody says, ‘I saw this winged humanoid creature and it followed our car and we were going over 90 miles an hour, and then all of a sudden it vanished,’ and people go, ‘That didn’t happen because birds don’t do that. They don’t just vanish.’ Well, they do when they leave this world and they go back to the realm that they came from. They just vanish.”
But these “hidden” creatures should not strike terror in a Christian’s heart, he says. “If you were to ask me, ‘Mike, of which are you more afraid, serpents that crawl on the dust of the earth or serpents that are in the prince of the power of the air?’ I’ll tell you flat out that I am way more fearful of the principalities and the powers, and the rulers of darkness, and the spiritual wickedness in high places than I am any creature or any man for that matter down here on this Earth.”
And if you don’t believe bizarre things can happen, Hoggard refers doubting Thomases to the Acts 2 events of Pentecost. “If your worldview doesn’t allow for devils one day to come falling out of the sky, evil beasts rising up out of the Earth, a portal to another dimension being opened up and these scary, furious, lion-toothed monsters flying out of the smoke, change your worldview. It’s time you started taking the Bible seriously …
“We’re living in a time of strong delusion and people are falling for it. So when people tell me their stories about how they saw Bigfoot or they saw any other types of creatures, I believe them, but … The only thing in this world that I trust to be 100 percent correct every time is the word of God.”
Hoggard has established a website and an email for people to share their eyewitness accounts of strange sightings: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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