The Visitation

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The Visitation is a 1999 Christian novel by Frank E. Peretti. The book deals with demonic encounters with the people of the farming town of Antioch, Washington. Issues covered in the book include demons disguised as angels, "name it, claim it" ideology, false Christs, a pastor regaining his lost faith, and sightings of Christ and the Virgin Mary.

Plot summary

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This article contains important plot information

The book is written from the viewpoint of Travis Jordan, former pastor of the Antioch Community Church. Jordan lost his faith in God after the death of his wife, Marian, due to lung cancer. However, Jordan's life takes a turn after the appearance of a young man named Brandon Nichols, who bears a striking resemblance to Jesus. Soon, alleged appearances of Christ appear in the clouds, and people come flocking to the local Catholic church to view the weeping crucifix that is reported to have healing powers. Brandon heals several people of their lifelong ailments, including two Vietnam veterans. It isn't long before people come from all over the state to see Brandon Nichols and have him heal them of their various ailments and diseases.

However, soon things begin to take a turn for the worse. Brandon is beginning to lose his patience with the noise in the tent and the children running up and down the aisles, and worse, he has taken to beating his "mistress", Sally Fordyce. To make things even worse, the infirmities that Brandon supposedly healed are returning.

Jordan and the new Antioch Community Church pastor, Kyle Sherman, decide to investigate Brandon's past. Soon they find out from the daughter of a pastor of one of the largest churches in the country that his name is actually Justin Cantwell, and that she had an affair with him. Jordan, after talking with Cantwell about this, decides to go down to Justin's hometown in Nichville, Texas.

There he finds the pastor of a small church, Rev. Ernest Cantwell, and his wife. Cantwell has suffered severe injuries that are purported to be a car accident. However, Mrs. Cantwell later reveals that it was not a car accident, but Justin himself who caused the injuries. This was in revenge for a previous injury that Ernest had inflicted upon his son by nailing him to a fence. After this happened, Justin had become possessed by several demons.

Jordan returns and finds Antioch in a state of confusion. Justin and his "servant", Michael Elliot, are going through town on the back of a flatbed truck, throwing out loaves of bread that Justin seems to create out of nothing to the people and other "miracles". However, he is not the only one; there are several others now, all claiming to be Christ. They are quickly taken care of by the police.

But Justin is not yet done. He holds Jordan's new sweetheart, Morgan Elliot hostage in Jordan's house. Jordan and Kyle and another friend of theirs, meanwhile, are digging up the corpse of the true Brandon Nichols in the back of the Macon Ranch. It turns out that he and Cantwell had worked together on a ranch in Montana, and had appeared so similar it was hard to distinguish them. Thus Cantwell murdered him and then went around under his alias. Soon Jordan begins receiving calls from Justin, telling him to "go home" and get away from the Macon ranch.

Jordan returns home and confronts Justin, who has murdered Jordan's police officer friend, Brett Henchle. Cantwell has also summoned his demons to guard all the exits so there would be no escape. However, he is slowly dying of blood loss from a deep wound he received while fighting Henchle. Travis attempts to get him to a hospital, but Cantwell will not let him. Finally, he dies from all the blood loss, and collapses on the ground, while his demons abandon him. Jordan regards him with deep sorrow and regret, and then he and Morgan embrace. The book ends with the two getting married.