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Ghosts, Hauntings, Spirit Possession; and God.

What are Ghosts?  Are there supernatural hauntings? What causes paranormal activity?  These are all questions that are growing more common in a modern scientific world.  The questions are not if a supernatural realm exists but what is the source of the supernatural elements.  When looking at what God reveals we can come to understand what the world is having a hard time understanding.

Do Ghosts Exist?

This is an obvious answer; yes.  The bible is extremely clear and explicit there are supernatural beings that are allowed to interact with the natural world.  BUT the KIND of ghost is where it is different. 

What is a Ghost?

A ghost is a supernatural, spiritual, beings that is able to interact with the natural world.  They are able to stimulate our senses. But WHO are they?  To answer this question we need to remove our worldly biases and seek what God reveals about 'ghosts' in scripture.

John sees souls of past believers in Rev. 6:9 and Rev. 20:4.  Earlier, in Matthew 17:3 a couple Apostles witness seeing Moses and Elijah standing next to Jesus.  Key distinctions here is that these individuals are seen in visions with Gods authority and do not interact with the natural world.  These 'ghostly' individuals do not appear out of their own will or purposes.  This leads us to the next question:

Can Ghosts of dead people appear and interact in the natural world; outside of God's Will?

Luke 16:19-31 will explicitly answer this.  "between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.
“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family,
28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ 29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them."  Not only is the person who is in torment unable to communicate with his living brothers, but Lazarus is not able to either.  It is described as 'a great chasm' that 'has been set in place' preventing natural and supernatural interactions.  Also notice that after their death, they are judged and sent.  There is no waiting or secondary purification process. After death, they are just judged and rewarded.

When someone dies; does their spirit linger on earth?  

Looking at the example above, the man in the place of torment did not have a chance to warn his brothers.  Hebrews 9:27 states that people die once, and then go straight to judgement.  This is because there is no time after death; at death, there is no 'waiting'.  For believers, once we die, we wake up in the presence of The Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6-8; Philippians 1:23) with no waiting.  Same with those who do not believe, they die, and are placed where they ultimately chose to go
(Matthew 25:46; Luke 16:22-24).  There is no 'spiritual waiting room' or purgatory.  Roman Catholics continually try and explain and reinvent the human idea of purgatory but the concept itself is not in scripture.  This "final purification" placement where the person goes through purifying agony with the assistance of living people's prayers and church donations... is nonexistent in Holy Scripture.  Another scheme to raise money and justify legalistic acts.  Since our spirits do not linger around, this now makes us ask; 

Who are Ghosts, if they are not once living people?

These beings (ghosts) may look and sound like a loved one or someone we knew living, but as revealed above, it is not them because God does not contradict what he reveals to us about spiritual truths.  2 Corinthians 11:14-15 is a hard pill to swallow for those who long to see their loved ones again; especially after 'thinking' they have been in communication with their spirit.  Even, unholy spirits can 'do good' and make people 'feel good' but the end goal is to steal your faith in God alone and God's due glory.  Medians, psychics, and spiritual readers may in fact be in contact with spirits.  These spirits may give details that only someone personal may have known.  They may even say the most positive and feel good things and 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 reveals to us they can.  But, they are not good and their ultimate intentions are not holy or for God's glory.  Seeking them and trusting in them as spiritual support is spiritual adultery to God.  Believing in them and their answers as sources of spiritual truth is spiritual idolatry.  That is their goal; and coming disguised as 'servant of righteousness' is one of many ploys to sucker us into taking our focus off God and Holy Scripture.

Can people be possessed with evil spirits?

God makes this clear as day as well; yes.  BUT true believers CANNOT be possessed by an evil spirit.  Period.  For unbelievers, possessions can take over someones thoughts and actions (Matthew 17:14-18; Luke 4:33-35; 8:27-33).  These spirits attack people spiritually, unknowingly,
and encourage and support their sins to keep them perpetually away from God.  
Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9-11; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19). The Holy Spirit would not allow an evil spirit to possess the same person He, God, is indwelling. It is unthinkable that God would allow one of His children, whom He purchased with the blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19) and made into a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), to be possessed and controlled by an evil spirit.  Even Satan himself had to ask God permission to only inflict harm around Job but never possess Job.

Do Exorcisms Work?

Again, putting aside folklore and stories and look at scripture alone; we see NO instance were the believer is told to cast out evil spirits.  Rather, the believer puts on metaphoric armor (Ephesians 6:10-18) and resist evil spirits (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9).  The 'exorcism formulas' come from extra biblical Apocrypha writings that was later included in Roman Catholic bibles.  Exorcisms may seem to work, but again, that would be a deception by evil spirits to make you think one way or another.  Most of the time, faith in exorcism, leads to self-righteousness and spiritual legalism; exactly what a manipulative and deceptive evil spirit would want. 

What About Exorcisms In The Bible?

The key is noticing WHO performed them.  Jesus and his direct Apostles.  The ability to cast out evil spirits validated The Apostles claims of direct discipleship and eye witnesses of God in the flesh.  This validated their Apostolic authority which is extremely important to the church and throughout history.  Interestingly, the writings of The Apostles do not tell or teach new believers and future believers to cast demons out like they did.  Instead, they only said to be careful and personally 'resist' evil spirits.  ZERO instances of telling believers to cast them out.  The Book of Ephesians discusses specifically how to have victory over spiritual forces; yet, never mentions performing exorcisms.  The disciples of the Apostles do not mention exorcisms.  The disciples of the disciples of the Apostles do not mention performing exorcisms.  Another important detail to notice is that WHEN a legitimate exorcism is performed by Jesus or an Apostle, the demon leaves instantly (except for the attempt when the Apostles' faith was not strong).  No hours of thrashing and moaning or cursing; boom, gone, at the command of God or his appointed actual witnesses of His Son, the Apostles.

Key Highlights
  • Ghosts and Spirits are NOT once living people
  • Ghosts and evil Spirits are purposely manipulative and deceptive
  • Ghosts and evil Spirits can communicate details to fortune tellers, psychics, and medians to manipulative and deceive.  Evil Spirits can appear as messengers from God, when in fact they are not; (ex: The Spirit that appeared to Muhammad and Joseph Smith) 
  • Christians CAN NOT be possessed by a evil Spirits
  • Christians are NOT told to perform exorcisms
  • The Disciple of the Apostles did NOT performed exorcisms 
  • The Disciples of the Disciples of the Apostles did NOT perform exorcisms.
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