The Bible and Ghosts
Today, last week, last year… heck just about any time I mention ‘Ghost Hunting,’ lo and behold somebody says that I am messing with demons.
So, today I am going to say outwardly, convincingly (I hope), that ‘All Ghosts are Demons’ is Biblically wrong.
So let’s start with some ground rules…
1. I am only going to use the Bible to back my claims. I find it best not to fight a battle unless we are fighting on the same ground. It is no use to have a submarine when you need a brigade of ground troops.
2. I am going to use the NIV version of the Bible. I find it an easy read and most genuinely accepted in most churches.
3. I am not going to debate the Greek, Hebrew, Latin or Aramaic context of words. Suffice to say, if a major Bible believing, Christian organization backs this interpretation of the Bible, then I will back it as well.
4. I will not debate ‘dogma.’ I believe the best interpretation of the Bible should be the Bible itself.
5. I take a contextual view of the Bible instead of trying to make words mean something they don’t.
That said, lets get started shall we?
I propose that the Bible, does make a clear delineation in context that spirits do exist. They exists as absent from their bodies and post mortem. Simply put, the spirit or ghost lives on past the death of the body. Here is an example:
The grave [fn] below is all astir to meet you at your coming; it rouses the spirits of the departed to greet you— all those who were leaders in the world; it makes them rise from their thrones– all those who were kings over the nations.
As you can see in this verse, Isaiah writes about how the wicked people will be treated and how the spirits will rise up to greet you. It later on mentions how the Messiah will then rise above death and all that is written. Thus God’s word clearly makes a note of the spirits or ghosts do exist after death.
Furthermore, we need a reference. Did the people of the day of Isaiah’s writing believe that there were spirits or ghosts? As you will clearly see that many non jewish many gentile nations such as the Egyptians believed in spirits as a way to consult an find answers. Isaiah writes:
Isa 19:3 The Egyptians will lose heart, and I will bring their plans to nothing; they will consult the idols and the spirits of the dead, the mediums and the spiritists.
Of course, one may argue that we have no proof that the Egyptians actually got any advice or heard from the spirits. However, one must gather that they believed in the practice of consulting with spirits and that practice was documented in the Bible. However, the Bible is silent as to how successful they were at getting advice from spirits so any argument for or against is rather mute. The idea however that the practice existed gives credence to the belief and the possible existence to ghosts in the Bible.
Some may argue that I am speaking in the old testament context and that Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection constituted freeing of the souls locked away awaiting his arrival to free them and overcome death. So let’s dig in a little further in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians.
to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, [fn] and to still another the interpretation of tongues. [fn]
As you can see here, there are many ‘Gifts of the Spirit’ or rather gifts given to us by the Holy Spirit. One is the ability to discern between good and evil spirits that may be around us. I would further like to mention is that these individuals who have this type of gift are the ones who should be trusted to determine the malevolence of a spirit instead of trusting just any roaming spirit medium. The Bible is very clear that God has a need and a way for us discern spirit activity around us so that we may not be persuaded or pulled away.
What is also interesting to note is about the Apostle Paul who was a Pharisee. While Paul converted to following Christ instead of the Pharisee doctrine, the author notes in Acts that Pharisees believed there was a distinction between angels and spirits as well as a future resurrection of the dead.
Act 23:8 (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.)
Finally, I would conclude that if God didn’t want us to believe in spirits, he would not have a test that we could use to discern whether a spirit is from God or from the Anti-Christ. It is important to note that John believed that if the spirit was from God then you should listen to it. This test in 1 John lays out what you should do.
1Jo 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Basically, the spirit must accept that Jesus Christ is both God and flesh, died and was risen again. If the spirit proclaims this, it is from God. If it doesn’t you should not listen to it. John further says it is from the devil or rather that any advice from a spirit that doesn’t pass his test, we could be led astray and fall to the devil’s clutches.
So clearly spirits are entities without bodies. Have a mind or purpose and can be good or evil. We also know that from God’s word that spirits are different than angels and should be separated. I believe that the Bible is pretty clear to outline the difference and the existence of spirits/ghosts.