I. 'No man Can see My Face and Live.'

In the wake of the Fourth Great Awakening, the numbers of independent churches, tent fellowships, and small bible study groups started to rise. In the Philippines to this day you have religious groups like ‘El Shaddai’ and the ‘Intercessors for the Philippines’ holding their yearly conferences, holding bombastic concerts with hebrew trumpets and insane prophecies that never seem to happen. Every few decades there is a religious upheaval that stirs the minds of the lowly and downtrodden to seek the meaning of their suffering in the arms of a loving God.

There's one group you've never heard of, though: a "Bible-believing, Holy Spirit welcoming," charismatic fellowship called Shepherd's Flock of Mandaluyong City, Philippines. Led by Pastor Matthew Presbytero, who went by the nickname, "Tito Matt" (Uncle Matt), Shepherd's Flock almost gained notoriety for assisting with humanitarian aid and mercy for the poor when they can. Presbytero and his clergy often held their gatherings in tents and houses and town gymnasiums, often donated by very rich benefactors. As far as the religion goes, they were not the worst of the prosperity gospel movement--in fact, a document released in 1998 revealed that almost sixty percent of their donation money goes back to the poor and the homeless, the rest goes to the livelihood of the pastors and bills for their gatherings.

The reason for their relative obscurity comes from the fact that in less than two years, the Shepherd's Flock laity simply left for other churches, or other religions altogether. Almost fifty percent of the flock had left the faith, and forty had changed denominations, declaring the fellowship’s theology to be "overspiritual," and "ahistorical." A fair percentage had different reasons for leaving--some just didn’t need God in their lives, believing that the materialistic worldview trumps the Christian view of the world. The validity of religious worldviews, in light of what Matthew Presbytero experienced, will eventually be re-examined should the public come to know it.

What can be observed is that a significant number of devotees started to leave after a certain incident occurred in a monthly gathering and celebration called The Month of Seeing.  This was a rather unspoken moment in the short lived lifespan of Shepherd's Flock, as most of their lay people did not even know what was going on.

"All I remember of Shepherd's Flock was Tito Matt convulsing on stage and starting to speak in the tongue of a demon. Now, I know how to speak in tongues---THAT was not it." Said a church member who will go unnamed.

The incident in question was a monthly gathering in a barangay gymnasium in Mandaluyong city. Officially named "The Month of Seeing Culminating Divine Celebration," the clergy of Shepherd's Flock aimed to dedicate a whole month to prayer and fasting to foster a better prayer life amongst the laymen. They hoped that the laity (and weaker clergy) would be able to commune with God deeper and to seek visions from God. "And, God willing, to see God himself!" Pastor Matt had said. Apparently, in the gathering something had happened to Pastor Matt that caused him to take a sabbatical.

"It was amazing at first. The worship team really gave their best." Another participant said when asked to recall the incident: "We were all weeping and crying and Tito Matt hadn't even come out to minister just yet. It was a move of the holy spirit, truly."

"I was having a really bad time then, and although I hate what happened to Matt, that worship night really ministered to me." Said another participant in the event. "I was so depressed, but that worship time, man. God spoke to me. Said that I should wander into his courts a lot more. That I’d find joy in His throne of Grace."

A bare number of participants remembered the rest of the event. What can be discerned from their stories is that pastor Matt started preaching a sermon and after that led the crowd into fervent, passionate, prayer. However, midway, Pastor Matthew started convulsing rapidly and eventually had to be taken to a hospital.

Thankfully another participant who goes by the name Edwin managed to recall the experience vividly: "Pastor Matt was talking about Exodus 34--you know, the one about Moses seeing God? He related it to Psalm 83--how it's better to seek God's courts and all? And then, he started praying out loud in front. It was so loud that I think his mic started to give feedback. When he noticed it was just giving off feedback, he just threw it on the ground. Pastor Matt started to shriek out his prayer: 'Father, I WANT to see YOU! FATHER, I WANT to SEE YOU!', and then began speaking in tongues."

Edwin continues, "The speaking in tongues became...wrong...I'm sorry, that's the best way to describe it--half way into the prayer. As an outsider, it will be hard to understand what I'm saying, but trust me--at first, he was speaking his heart out to seek God, the next part was something else. It was the sound of somebody trying to speak without a tongue--or with two tongues, or three lips. Or speak a word that was meant for four mouths to pronounce."

At that time, Edwin narrated, they didn't know if the pastor was merely in the throes of religious ecstacy until they saw that his "tongue" had started to change. "In our church and in many churches that seek the spiritual gifts, there'll come a time that the pastor and the laymen will start praying and chanting in a passionate frenzy. We believe it's the Holy Spirit coming down and manifesting itself upon us. At that time we were also doing that---for a moment we were unified in prayer. But then, pastor Matt started to speak in a demon's tongue. It was only then that we knew something was wrong."

"Then he started to speak in english again, but he was already convulsing, wiggling on the floor like a worm. 'SO MUCH...I see SO MUCH,' he started to scream in the middle of the demonic babbling. He kept screaming 'SO MUCH,' until the other pastors and pastoras came in and calmed him down--which he did not. Eventually, he had to be sedated and sent to the hospital. I remember Pastora Melissa led the closing prayer that night. We prayed for his recovery."

Of Pastor Matthew's condition after that incident, the participants didn't know much. "Matt just never came back," stated one of the laymen who had a very close relationship with the clergyman. They eventually announced that Pastor Matthew was deeply ill from a "Satanic attack," and no one from the flock heard of him again until his suicide in 2003.

II. Therapy D66.AVI

It was not until the October of last year that information started to pour in again. A video on Youtube divulged a small amount of information to people who knew where to look. The name of the video clip was "Therapy D66.avi".

The video clip shew Pastor Matt in a cell being interviewed by a doctor. Neither the doctor nor Matthew knew they were being surveyed, or perhaps the doctor did not tell him to calm him down.

Here is the transcript of that video:

MATTHEW: I can't forget. I really really want to forget.
DOCTOR: Forget what, Matthew?
MATTHEW: If I tell you what I want to forget, don't you think I'd be REMEMBERING IT?
DOCTOR: Calm down, Matthew. It's okay. There's no need to worry about forgetting. We'll up your dosage tomorrow, if it helps you to calm down. But are you sure you just want to forget? Don't you want to confront it? Resolve it?
MATTHEW: Don't you understand? I've tried. I've tried confronting it, putting it behind. I left church and my faith behind, Doctor, just so I could leave it behind too. I tried to be rational. But I couldn't.
DOCTOR:  I hardly seem to think that your "visions" of a sleeping--
At this point in the video, the screen starts to tear, and it cuts altogether. The next scene is Matthew and the Doctor talking about his wife and his faith. It is implied that this part of the video is a clip from an earlier time.
MATTHEW: I love God. I love Jesus. I love the Holy Spirit. Every night, I seek to dream of the Holy Places, and to seek his face, doctor. Have you ever heard of Psalm 84, doctor?
DOCTOR: Not really, Matt. What does it say?
MATTHEW: "For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a watchman in the house of God than dwell in the tents of the wicked." I long, everyday to do that, Doctor.
DOCTOR: And you were successful?
Another bout of screen tearing, static, comes from the video, and the video cuts to the previous scene. It appears that Matthew had assaulted the Doctor and was being sedated by nurses.
NURSE: Come on, Matthew, hold still.
NURSE: Hold still, Matthew, don't make this hard on us.
DOCTOR: I'm sorry, Matthew, I didn't know I--
NURSE: Doctor Gonzaga, I think it's best if you leave the room. We'll take it from here.
The video ends there.

III. What Happened to Tito Matt?

Information didn't arrive until a housemaid that stayed with the Presbyteros divulged the information a year after ‘Therapy D66.avi’ was taken off of Youtube. Setting up an interview, she recalled what she could of the months leading to his internment in the Mandaluyong mental hospital. She claimed to have a photographic memory, which was why, after all these years, she still could recall the event that caused Matthew Presbytero his sanity.

"Kuya Matt never made a mess, never looked down on me, always praised me when I did something good around the house--which was exactly why I was so frightened when he came back from the hospital a few years ago. It was like they only drip-fed him--he was once a strong and handsome guy, but coming back he looked like a skeleton. But there was more. His behavior started to worry Ate Mica (Matthew's wife and pastora of Shepherd's Flock). When I cleaned his study, I always saw papers covering the ground. Eventually I wasn't allowed to clean there--and that was the time he started writing on the walls."

She continued: "The first few days after coming back from the Hospital, he tried to be normal. He tried to be cheerful to us, but often failed. He would scream at us when he found us napping, asking us: 'WHY ARE YOU SLEEPING!?' at the top of his voice. Looking back now, he didn’t seem to be angry, but terrified. There was more--Alyanna (Matthew's daughter) said she had a vision from God and he attempted to assault his daughter, screaming out that he didn't want to know over and over again. When he came to his senses, he apologized, wept, and locked himself in his study."

According to the maid, a week later it seemed that the other clergymen and a handful of layman "prayer warriors" visited Matthew. "Ate Mica was very concerned that he was possessed, so she contacted the other pastors and some prayer warriors who knew how to handle cases like that. They wondered why a pastor like Matthew would be possessed by the devil, when he himself was so devout.

"The first time they visited Matthew, one of the pastors said he felt "a hungry spirit" Hovering in the area. That was always creepy to me. After all, I wanted to know what was happening to Kuya Matt? What if the spirit wants me to know as well, and I suffer like Kuya Matt? That first visit was...normal, so to speak. They managed to trigger Kuya Matt only once, and they apologized for that.

"Before they left, I heard them speak with Ate Mica. 'Matthew was Not Okay,' One of the pastors--Tito Rick, I think--said. "There was something in the room, Mica. Like we said--the spirit is hungry. But not just hungry. It was hungry to show Matthew things--visions. I don't know if it's an angel or not--if it were terrifying, there's a chance it could still be an angel because you know how angels were in the bible.' Tito Rick explained. 'Please call us back next week. For now, observe him--and we'll grapple with the spirit as much as we can for now. Tell us if something worse started to happen.'

"I remember Ate Mica was speaking on the phone with one of the wives of the other clergymen. Something happened to Tito Benjamin when he was meditating. Apparently, Tito Ben tried to talk to the spirit, and ask it why it was there, and ask it to leave in the name of Jesus. From what I heard from the conversation and from Ate Mica, Tito Ben started screaming two hours into his session. For an innumerable number of minutes Ben started to speak in tongues without drawing a breath, and screaming 'IN THE NAME OF JESUS,' over and over again. 'IN THE NAME OF JESUS WE OVERCOME YOU. SPEAK TO ME YOUR NAME!' he shrieked last, until there was only silence.

"'Joan heard him snoring after that,' said Ate Mica. When she woke him up for supper, Tito Ben said he had a nightmare. He said he was in a library of some sort, and a tall creature in a yellow cloak and wearing a half-moon headdress started chasing him down the aisle. 'It was the spirit showing me what he was,' Tito interpreted. 'I don't know if it was an angel or not. It screamed out at me with an inhuman voice: FRONISI,' leading me down long, dark halls. I remember the walls were black and coated with slime, and each book was bound in flayed flesh. This spirit was holding out a book in his hand as he continued chasing me. I had a feeling that had I looked into the book, I would have known something that I shouldn’t. It kept screaming at me the word FRONISI until you woke me up.’

"I still don’t understand what Fronisi meant in his dream, or if it’s even relevant. The party didn’t really take it into consideration because Kuya Matt needed to be prayed over, dream or no dream. Kuya Matt was getting worse, and they had to make time to deliver the spirit out of him. The second week, for four days Matt stayed up and started speaking in tongues through the whole night. I had to apologize to the neighbors and explain to them what was happening. When Kuya started to scream: "THE PASSAGE LIES!" over and over and over again, our little group of prayer warriors knew they had to start delivering the spirits out of him.

"For the next two weeks, Tito Ben, Tito Alex, Tito John-John, Tito Jun, Tita Berns, and Kuya Peter stayed at our place, praying over Kuya Matt. I remember that very vividly more than the rest because I had to cook a ton of food every morning for nine people, and it was the most hardworking two weeks of my life. Oh yes, they were kind, and their wives helped out in the kitchen, but it was incredibly tiring nonetheless. They eventually had to give up and sent Kuya Matt to the Mandaluyong Mental Hospital because of what happened on the last day.

"On the last day of their deliverance, they asked me to stay with them to pray for Kuya Matt. He started screaming 'THE PASSAGE LIES,' anytime they started to pray. At that time the fools thought it was the demon allowing them to doubt, so they continued praying. He was incredibly angry anytime they said: 'Father God, we seek your throne of grace,' and shrieked 'THE PASSAGE LIES,' at them once more. Eventually they got smart and started to ask Kuya Matt questions.

“Tita Berns was the one who bravely asked Kuya, 'Matthew, what passage lies?' she asked.

"After a few breaths, Kuya Matt, stuttering, said 'Psalm 84:10. For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a watchman in the house of God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.'

"It was very frightening for me--which, at that time, I thought the spirit wanted me to feel. After all, that was my life verse, and I was really touched by the The Month of Seeing Celebration a few weeks ago. I think it was that fright in my eyes that made the pastors ask me to leave. Sure, they said it was for me to get some rest, but they were all tired and weary by then. Surely it was my fear, and we all knew what the spirit could have done to a fearful soul.

"I didn't really leave-- I was outside all that time, and walls in the Presbytero house were slightly paperthin. I could hear them attempt to comfort Kuya Matt by telling him that the throne of the Lord was beautiful, and that it was only Satan and his minions that did that to him. 'In fact, let's all go there. Come on, let's all come before the throne with our vision open so we can show Matt how beautiful it is!

"I heard speaking in tongues--prayer tongues this time. It was Kuya Matt babbling loudly into the air. When he stopped, tito John-John asked: 'If you're not ministering before the throne, can somebody interpret that, please?' Another second. 'I'm getting the impression of something big breathing deeply--breathing noises when you sleep, something like that,' Kuya Peter said.

"'Matthew, who is speaking?' Asked Tito John-John.

"He started babbling again. When they interpreted it, I heard a collective gasp and whispers and prayers in Jesus name. 'It's Kuya Matt speaking now. Kuya Matt's spirit. He's saying 'Why does it sleep?'"

"Then I heard tita Berns shout: 'Oh Lord Jesus, save me, please...'

"'Bernadette, what's wrong?' I heard tito Jun ask.

"'I see what Matthew sees.' She started to weep uncontrollably. ‘Oh God…’

"'What do you see?' asked Tito John-John.

"'Matthew's spirit on his knees, he is trying to claw his eyes out--to take away his vision. But they keep growing and regrowing. We are in an island of black sand facing a high throne with a window. All we see is darkness--no stars, but something beyond the throne was giving off a light. I could hear the heavy breathing. And whisphering. And shrieking. And speaking in our tongues.' There was a pause, then a gasp. 'In the name of Jesus, please, don't... don't tell me...but I want to see what's out there...what's sitting on the throne... why are they shrieking--no, why are they singing?'

"'Get out of there, Bernadette!' They started to shout out prayers to God, and I’m not sure God was there to answer it. 'Father God, we ask that your angels come and fight for us in this battle in darkness...' the others started to pray. ‘Oh, Holy Spirit, that you would come down and defend your holy people, slay your foe with the might of your Word, we declare that no weapon formed against us shall remain in the name of Jesus…”

"'I can’t help myself. I'm climbing the stairs. It's a long flight up to the throne with the window. I'm almost up there--oh dear God...the EYES...they are so… how could there be so many eyes?'"

The maid concluded: "I don't understand why Ate Mica opted for confinement inside Mandaluyong Mental Hospital instead of more sessions of deliverance. Maybe, in spite of what they saw and heard on that final night, she was looking for an eleventh hour cure at the end of a bottle of pills. Maybe, with the baby on the way, she was just tired and didn't want the rest of the family to suffer his incurable bout of madness. But that next day, he was sent to the Mental Hospital in Mandaluyong City. I was eventually let go after twenty hardworking years and went back to my family. Up to today, I still remember Kuya Matt and Ate Mica. She still gave me gifts every Christmas, and I was particularly sad when she stopped giving me presents in 2003."

Weeks after coming out with the story, the witness was declared missing. She was eventually found in a ditch in her provincial town, with wounds and lacerations covering her whole frame. Her family said that by the time she had arrived, she already felt that something was following her, and that in her sleep, she would constantly say: “It knows I know.  I know too much.”

IV. Notes from a Box

On March 30, 2003, Pastor Matthew Presbytero committed suicide--followed immediately by the murder-suicide of the last two remaining Presbyteros of Shepherd’s Flock. According to the Police Report, Matthew Presbytero hung himself in his room in the National Center for Mental Health. He had used a blanket and hung himself in the closet, leaving behind an estranged wife and a child.

For a few years there was little to no information about the demise of the Presbytero family. However, much like the housemaid and “TherapyD66.avi,” new information appeared when a box labelled:  PRESBYTERO CASE, 2003 was sent to Mr. Charles Sandata, who then involuntarily divulged the information. In the box were a handful of notes, drawings, clippings, journal entries, and other paraphernalia. Most, however, were unreadable, apart from a few letters which shall be displayed below.

The first document of importance is Matthew Presbytero’s suicide note. To summarize, in the peak of his sanity he was able to say his last goodbyes before he hung himself, leaving behind an incredibly cryptic message in the postscript.

My dear Mica and Alyanna,
I'm writing this at the peak of clarity. I am so sorry for all that I've done to you, and what I'm going to do. I can't bear to live with myself now that I've seen what I've seen. I love you two. I love you so much that I can't bear to experience this horror anymore knowing it will eventually engulf you, one way or the other, and only seek the last days of my life to be with you. And you have given me that privilege. Thank you for visiting me one last time. And Mica, I forgive you. May you be happy with the man you are seeing. I love you, and I hope he makes you truly happy.
P.S. Wisdom says not to open my safe and look inside. Yet it is a hungry fellow nonetheless. The code is 7-left, 34-right, 39-left.
Mica Presbytero (nee Vergara) was also found that same week, along with her daughter, Alyanna. From the declassified police report by the Mandaluyong PD, it appeared that Alyanna Presbytero was suffocated in her sleep. Mrs. Presbytero, on the other hand, leapt from their twentieth floor balcony to her death below. Mica also left a suicide note that included Matthew's suicide note and a few unknown files.

Here is what she wrote:

I understand now. I truly do. It's better if I never knew at all--if I left it all behind, left him rotting in his room in the hospital. I am so stupid for even entertaining these deadly thoughts.
And in the end, I just couldn't help myself.
I didn't want to die--not even when he committed suicide. But I can't live anymore, knowing what he saw. Oh God, what he saw.
I put Yanna to sleep tonight. At least, when she leaves, she'll leave without knowing what I know--or even knowing anything at all.
Please burn this note, his note, and the journal I found in his safe. Please do. DON’T read his notes. That is his lure--and he hungers for those who seek to know.
Random notes and scrawlings of note are littered in some of the more incomprehensible pages found in the box. These documents mostly repeat the same sentences continuously, and are variations of the following sentences:
The mouths--what do they say?
Why are there so many eyes?  
Are they singing lullabies?
Why is HE asleep?
There were two other entries of note. The first of these was a short newspaper clipping of an article in a local newspaper. On the edges and the back portion of this clipping were the consecutive scribblings:
His Courts
The clipping read:
Mysterious Sounds Coming from Supervoid leaves Scientists Baffled
A  group of scientists discovered that one of the largest voids in the known universe--known as the Boötes supervoid, was emitting certain strange sounds. “We thought it was a malfunction, but having ran some tests we saw that these electromagnetic waves truly did come from the supervoid,” said chief Astrophysicist Marie Perez. The team described the sounds as something akin to “a shrieking choir,” and “rows of breathing mouths.”
The supervoid is known for being the largest of all the known voids in space, holding a mere 60 galaxies. Also recently, however, scientists discovered that this count was “either a careless estimation, or a clerical error,” as there were barely twenty galaxies inhabiting the void.
Some folks developed many theories to explain the origins of the supervoid. Many have blamed a type-3 alien civilization with access to Dyson Spheres to be the cause of this massive void. However, the scientific consensus at this time seeks something more normal. “We think it’s a combination of smaller voids,” commented Marie Perez, “although the prospect of an eater of galaxies like Galactus was always entertaining to think about,” she cajoled.
The final note, a sheet ripped from Matthew’s personal journal, its edges singed by fire, is of greatest importance to our study. In this note, Matthew describes his “vision” in great detail. The note read:
----so clearly, for Wisdom has cursed me once more with the clarity of memory. Oh, forgive me. Forgive me.
I never gave my friends and family the very plague of knowledge that had infected me. In the very mouth of madness, I fought tooth and claw so that I would never divulge information into unwilling ears, for the truth would rape their minds in sheer might of its horror.
Yet I have failed, and this document is the proof. Wisdom is not content with driving me to the very depths of hell--it seeks that I find more prey for him. That yellow fellow, the Lord’s archon, hungers on those who peer deep into knowledge that they could not handle.
Forgive me. I must tell you what I saw in the Month of Seeing Gathering. I must tell you what caused me to shriek in madness in front of my church, and what caused me to babble in hysterics. And if you continue to read this, please forgive me. For it seeks you now, and it will feed.
Wisdom came to me as I prayed, hungering for me to seek His Face, and truly granted me that sight as he was fed.
What I saw with my own mind’s eyes, so vivid, so glorious, so hideous, upon a rock spinning through a black starless void: a throne atop a flight of stairs, and a window sitting on the seat. A horrid chorus of demonic shrieking came from beyond that window, and a chorus of horrible babbling--a horrible cacophony of sounds as well as a terrible deep breathing of a thousand mouths, as if asleep.
All of it flew by me in a second, but I remember what was beyond the window. I still remember it up to now. The window, its frame shining gold, shewed a placard on top that read:
Peering through I saw what they called my God, and I screamed into the void. A million, trillion host of winged aberrations--their robes made of flesh (or were they perhaps skin?), all drenched in the bastardized colors of nature: the yellow of pus, the green of gangrene, the red of an abscess, with wings as blighted featherless flesh masses full of eyes and faces a crawling mass of worms and tendrils--shrieked around an unfathomably immense formless fleshy mass of mouths and eyes and tentacles and vaginal orifices. It dwarfed the galaxies it had drawn to each of its mouths, feeding off of them in its slumber. It dwarfed over the armies of ‘angels’ screeching at it in the impenetrable aether.
Each massive, twisted mouth either spake gibberish into the void and into the ministering servants, or inhaled and exhaled deeply--a wretched mockery of a peaceful sleep. The ground shook and my very mind bled at each gasp and exhale. I saw galaxies drifting into each of the breathing, babbling mouths, and I lamented their fate. What horror awaited them whose galaxies were consumed by one of the mouths of this babbling abomination?
When the formless thing stirred and its eyes gleamed awake, the chorus of shriekers played louder and louder and louder, causing its trillions of bloodshot eyes to close as if lulled to sleep. This shrieking ceased, only to begin again as eyes began to rise from the formless mass of flesh.
And I saw from wretched orifices on this bastard of nature, this victor of horror, that it was giving birth to a thousand million of the winged aberrations, and a thousand million of other mad amalgamations that have plagued my nightmares for a few weeks now--yet, upon seeing the visage of their mother and father, they, too, joined the daemonic chorus--not to placate their mother-father, but to shriek utter terror at the abomination that gave birth to them. Some of the saner ones were fortunate enough to flee from the mouths and appendages of the sleeping god, but others who could not bear its sight were re-consumed by the formless mass, only to be rebirthed in another mangled form.
I am sorry. You know too much now. Wisdom desires to feed--to feed on those who know, and those who seek. He has fed upon me much, and he will feed upon you as well.
A reflection, before Wisdom takes my clarity away from me forever: in I my ministry I have met many who do not believe. These fools often complain about God’s injustice. Some fools have the audacity to even say that God, their mind's eyes imagining a kind, bearded fellow, shouldn't even exist, for there is much evil in the world, after all. How can a loving god let the world suffer in terror and horror? Perhaps, they declare, there isn’t one!
These people are fools to neglect the other option--the option that causes them to shudder in their sleep at the thought: what if God was not perfect? What if he did not care for humanity? What if we were just an unseen, unloved, by-product of a mad universe, God at the center, shrieked upon by armies of choir-aberrations, lulled into a sleep? What if this God was sleeping?
What would happen if He wakes up?

Written by TheNicholasParkusComplex 
Content is available under CC BY-SA