A Biblical Truth About Ghost and Haunting
1 Timothy 4:1 – “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.”
There are a lot of people who have an interest in the paranormal, but most feel like they cannot seek answers in the church. Halloween is the perfect season to address the spiritual world and give a Biblical response to what people are seeing and experiencing in a world that have forces that can deceive them. If Christians are not going to give an answer to what is going on in the unseen world, then someone else will. That answer may come from someone who has no real foundation of Biblical truths about spiritual forces of demons and angles who are around us at all times. (Ephesians 6:12) Biblically as a whole, what we do know is, that sightings of ghost and other paranormal incidents should not be ignored. Coming to the wrong conclusion about what people are seeing or experiencing can have eternal consequences which affect young and old alike. The question about ghost, the paranormal and the after life is drawing real interest, of which the Bible has answers.
What Is A Ghost: There are as many theories about what a ghost is as there are people who are active investigators of ghost sightings. The most popular American view on ghost, “they are spirits of humans who have died, but not yet crossed over to heaven or hell.” (Emily McFarlan Miller; What Does the Bible Say About Ghost; Answers In Genesis; Do You Believe In Ghost) The Greek word for “ghost” (φάντασμα phántasma) means to make appear, spirit. (Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.) Ron Rhodes writes, “When people encounter a genuine spirit, it is not a dead human’s spirit, but rather a demonic spirit with the intent on deceiving living human beings.” (The Truth Behind Ghost, Mediums, and Psychic Phenomena) The whole of Scripture teaches, yes there are ghost, fallen created spiritual beings, they will be around on this earth until Jesus Christ throws them into hell forever. However, as we look to the whole of Scripture, there are no ghost, the spirit of dead people lingering upon this earth.
Dead People’s Souls: The writer of the Book of Hebrews declares a person dies once and then is placed, waiting for judgment. (Hebrews 9:27) People who are not living for and loving the Lord are placed in hell, not leaving. (Matthew 25; Luke 16:19-33) Christians go home to be with the Lord. (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:6-8, Philippians 1:23) Scripture has no indication of anyone’s soul lingering on this earth after death. After God departed from King Saul, we read of Samuels Ghost being allowed to be brought up. Samuel’s message for Saul was not a good one. (1 Samuel 28:7-20) In the New Testament we read of Peter, James and John seeing Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus. These were specific situations that fulfilled God’s plan, there is no indication of them lingering. Samuel, Moses and Elijah had a clear mission, they did not stay. No confusion of their purpose.
Biblical Haunting: In Daniel Chapter 10 we read that demons can be around specific geographical locations. It is very likely, those who are seeing and hearing from paranormal activity, are being exposed to demon entities. (Ephesians 6:12) Emanuel Swedenborg, famous eighteen century writer of the spirit world, warns us not to believe any spiritual entity, their leader is the father of all lies. (John 8:44) They have a purpose which is to deceive and seduce. The truth the Apostle Paul taught Timothy is for us to day. “Deceiving” (πλάνος plános) referring to spirits who are seducing and imposters. There is another Greek word for “deceiving” (phrenapátēs) associated with spirit’s who deceive the mind. Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers
It is like this, there is a Christian magician, Kirby, who was able to captivate the entire audience to see what he wanted them to see. After his performance, he would explain to us how there was no such thing as real magic, there was a explanation for everything that had taken place during his show. If a mere human can captivate an entire audience, then deceiving (πλάνος plános or phrenapátēs ) spirits can deceive people’s minds, especially people who are undisciplined at taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ.
The Bible warns in the last days there will be doctrines taught by false teachers who are in fact being influenced by deceiving spirits and they are effective at captivating and deceiving many. In the last days, Christians will take their teaching about the unseen world from the whole council of God’s Word.
The Book of 1 Samuel shares a ghost story that needs to be considered during this time of the year. The prophet Samuel is dead. King Saul was inquiring of the Lord and God was not answering Saul through dreams, nor Urim, nor prophets. So Saul surrenders to self-will and sins by seeking a medium. (1 Samuel 28:3-25) The Bible is clear, “Do not turn to mediums or seek out spirits, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.” (1 Samuel 19:31) A warning to us all, mankind will justify anything, when they are not in fellowship with the Lord and hungry for spiritual fulfillment. Not only does Saul sin by seeking a medium, he promises protection for the woman so she will continue to sin by participating in an séance (1 Samuel 28:10) that is clearly against God’s will for mankind. (1 Chronicles 10:13; Leviticus 19:31)
King Saul asked the medium to call up the spirit of Samuel, a true prophet of God of whom the Bible says, “God let none of Samuel’s words [fall] to the ground.” “All of Israel attested Samuel as a prophet of the Lord… [God] revealed Himself to Samuel through His Word.” (1 Samuel 3:19-21) As the séance continues, the medium says, “I see a ghostly figure coming up out of the earth…” (1 Samuel 28:13) As we read the Biblical account, the Hebrew text says. 1.) The medium in fact “…saw Samuel.” (1 Samuel 28:12) 2.) “Samuel said to Saul, ‘Why have you disturbed me by brining me up?” (1 Samuel 28:15) 3.) We read that Samuel’s role and message is that of a true prophet of God, which was his calling.
“Samuel said, ‘Why do you consult me, now that the Lord has turned away from you and become your enemy? The Lord has done what He predicted through me. The Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors—to David. Because you did not obey the Lord or carry out His fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the Lord has done this to you today. The Lord will hand over both Israel and you to the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me [dead]. The Lord will also hand over the army of Israel to the Philistines.’ Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, filled with fear because of Samuel’s words.” (1 Samuel 28: 16-20)
It is imperative that we understand that no medium has the power or skill to disturb a saint outside the of the will of God. We should also take note, the message Saul received was not a pleasant one. There is a scary truth found in the whole of Scripture, be careful what we ask for, God might give us just what we ask, it may not be the message we want to hear.
King Saul represents the many who find themselves in deep distress because of their unwillingness to obey God’s Word, so they seek other means to find spiritual direction and satisfaction. In this Biblical account, Saul ask Samuel what he should do. (1 Samuel 28:15) It should be noted, the prophet Samuel ignores Saul’s question and moves to the consequences of continued walking in sin and the seeking of spiritual knowledge outside of God’s prescribed method, which is through obedience to Him.
Truths to this ghost story: 1.) Walk in obedience to the whole counsel of God’s Word. 2.) Living according to self-will as Saul did, invokes the chastisements of God 3.) Seek God’s direction in His prescribed way. 4.) The consequences of sin affects not just you, but those around you as well. Walk in a healthy fear of the Lord!
God’s Sovereignty In Horror Productions
It is that time of the year when writers create horror stories and performers act out scenes that may unsettle people enough to want to check their doors, windows, closets and even take a look under the bed, perhaps even more than once. On the flip side, people may gather at home to watch or read such stories for the thrill. There is a natural fear of the unseen spiritual world, especially when it is presented with an aroma of fear.
Christians should embrace all opportunities to point people to Jesus Christ, His Father holds Sovereign control over all things. Christians struggle with balancing “…whatever is honorable… whatever is pure, whatever is lovely…” (Philippians 4:8) with being involved with the typical celebrations of Halloween.
Mature Christians have a Biblical understanding of God’s Sovereignty. They have a clear vision on how the Lord wants to use them during a season that intrigues people to find pleasure in reading fearful stories, watch horror movies or visit an elaborated haunted house.
God is Sovereign (שָׁלְטָן šoltān) meaning “He has dominion over everything that exist.” (Dan. 4:3[3:33]; 4:34; (Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). (The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.) The Sovereignty of God is “a theological term that refers to the unlimited power of God, who has Sovereign control over the affairs of nature and history. The Bible declares that God is working out His Sovereign plan of redemption for the world and that the conclusion is certain.” (Is. 45:9–19; Rom. 8:18–39; (Youngblood, R. F., Bruce, F. F., & Harrison, R. K., Thomas Nelson Publishers (Eds.). (1995). In Nelson’s new illustrated Bible dictionary. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc.)
In His Sovereignty, God allowed novel writer, Jim Stovall, to write three delightful parables. The Ultimate Gift presented the appreciation of the value of life. The Ultimate Life presented the value of love. Finally, The Ultimate Journey presented life’s journey as not about the destination, but traveling it well. Not everything in Mr. Stovall’s trilogy are true events, but his writings, which have been and continue to be made into movies, hold truths that enable us to live productive lives. God’s Sovereignty allows horror writers and movie makers to present an aroma of fear. The Exorcist, a novel written by William Peter Blatty, was inspired by the 1949 exorcism case of Roland Doe and later made into a movie directed by William Friedkin in 1973. (Cinema of the occult: new age, satanism, Wicca, and spiritualism in film) There is the continual debate about the 1977 book, The Amityville Horror, which was also later made into a movie and several sequels, and inspired several spinoffs, such as The Conjuring. Despite the lack of evidence to corroborate much of the original story, it remains one of the most popular haunting accounts in American folklore. Even though both horrific accounts cannot be presented as actual truth, they continue to emit an aroma of fear.
The Bible has at least thirty-five Scriptures which warn of Satan’s hold over the unrepentant soul. Jesus talks about a place where those who do not have a relationship with Him will spend eternity, “a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Luke 13:28) This is a factual aroma of fear; escape it by having Christ as personal Savior and Lord!
What Should Really Frighten You
Halloween is the time of the year when many parents participate in a fun time of dressing their children up in costumes, going house to house gathering goodies or attending a wonderful social event of fun, games and healthy socializing. In short, it’s just fun and games. Also, Halloween is a great time for movie makers and horror-genre writers to release and promote their productions with the purpose of money-making or for a select few because they enjoy doing so. On the darker side, Halloween has been used as a time to worship the Devil, promote acts which harm others, disrespect others property, or even destroy the lives of the innocent people and animals. Mature Christians see Halloween as an opportunity to point people to Godly truths with sayings such as, “If the Devil offers you a treat, it’s a trick!”
I would propose to you that there is a truth far scarier than any Halloween production which needs addressed more aggressively than more arbitrary religious arguments about how and if Christians should observe Halloween. There is a spiritual truth that should cause you to want lock your doors, check your windows and look under the bed as you lay down for the night. There is an enemy of your soul who is powerfully effective in causing destruction, destroying life and takes full control of the self-will of mankind. He does not have horns and a spiked tail, nor does he dress in a red uniform, carrying a flaming pitchfork; he is a living nightmare of unimaginable proportions.
The Apostle Peter gives a warning, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) In 2 Timothy we read of a frightening truth, “…escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:26) Again, Scripture tells us there are frightening “…spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)
The Apostle Paul writes to the young pastor Timothy, using the word “captive” (ζωγρέω zōgréō) meaning “to ensnare, seduce, to bring under control, to hold in check, to not allow a person to do what he wants, but able to make him obey his [Satan’s] will.” (Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers; Friberg, T., Friberg, B., & Miller, N. F.) In the Bible we read about Judas Iscariot, one of the men who kept close company with Jesus. He was a witness to many of our Lord’s miracles and good deeds as well as hearing His teachings. Luke writes, “Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.” (Luke 22:1-6) From that moment on Judas watched for an opportune time to hand Jesus over to His enemies.
If Satan can take Judas captive to do his will, even though Judas witnessed such events Jesus had performed, he can bewitch or intoxicate any unrepentant soul to accomplish his purposes. Dr. David Jeremiah writes, “…My friend, the very thought that it ‘could never happen to us’ is the step toward our seduction. We need to keep our eyes wide open to the events happening around us…” (Jeremiah, D. (1999). Until Christ Returns: Living faithfully today while we wait for our glorious tomorrow (pp. 31–32). Nashville, TN: Word Pub.)
Twelve times in the New Testament, Satan is called “the evil one.” The horror of horrors, for who has been, who is or who will be taken captive by the devil to obey his will?