In my last column, we studied how Scripture teaches that death is likened to a state of sleep, during which time the dead person knows nothing. We also learned that we do not go directly to heaven or hell when we die, but instead the dead sleep in their graves until they rise at the second coming of Christ. Based on those facts, how can we explain the many documented instances of ghost-sighting or family visits from dead loved ones? There are many verifiable occurrences of supernatural visits from beyond the grave. In fact, I experienced one myself when my former husband died. So what is really going on when we experience the dead communicating with us? Who is doing this very real communicating?
The answer is tied in with the very first lie that satan ever spoke, when he tempted Eve in the garden, and said “You shall not surely die.” Never forget, at the peril of your very soul, that satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). When humans fail to realize that death is really death, it gives satan a powerful method to deceive. The lie that humans do not really die was so effective for satan that he is still telling it to this day. In addition to the theories of human ghosts, other beliefs like reincarnation or the validity of supernatural messages through séances and psychics are all extensions of this original lie. But we know it is a lie. It has to be. We already saw that when humans die, they are in an emotionless sleep (called the first death), awaiting the return of Christ to be revived. The only immortal being in this universe is God (1 Timothy 6:16). Those who are not revived at the second coming experience the second, everlasting death (Revelation 20:6).
We are told that God will give good gifts to his children that ask (Luke 11:13), so we know that if something is good, God will give it to us. Since he repeatedly warned us to stay away from those who spoke to spirits and who practiced witchcraft, we are safe in knowing that these spirits are not speaking for our good. Examples of times we are told to avoid counsel with spirits can be found in Leviticus 19:31 (where we are told it will defile us), Leviticus 20:6 (where we are told we will be cut off if we counsel with them), and Leviticus 20:27 (where those speaking with spirits will be put to death). Divination, witchcraft, and consulting with spirits (psychics) are called abominations in Deuteronomy 18:10-12. Galatians 5:20-21 makes it clear that these activities will cause us to be disinherited from the kingdom of God.
The reason that God warns us so strongly about speaking to spirits (including ghosts) is that these are evil spirits, teaching the doctrines of satan, not of God. This is true even if they appear to be friendly, or harmless, as their very appearance is enough to deceive men. In Jeremiah 29:8-9, God tells us plainly to not be deceived by diviners, because He has not sent them and that they prophecy falsely in His name.. 1 Timothy 4:1 teaches that in the last days that some will give “heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils”. It is important to realize that satan is capable of appearing as an angel of light, and will deceive many, and not satan only, but the other fallen angels that are with him (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). Sometimes we forget the fact that when satan fell many angels of heaven fell with him. Most Bible scholars interpret Revelation 12:4 to show that it was one third of the angels that fell. That is a powerful army of evil agents, working with satan to help him achieve his purpose to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). There is a very real army of demons, capable of transforming themselves into beings of light, with the intent to destroy us. They will not hesitate for one moment to appear to us as a dearest departed loved one, if it will further their objective in turning our hearts away from God’s truth.
The good news is that Jesus has given us power over these evil angels and made these spirits subject unto us (Luke 10:19-20). We are promised in James 4:7 that all we have to do is submit ourselves unto God and resist satan, and satan will flee from us. From a position of complete submission to God, we need only speak the words used by Jesus himself. Simply say, “In the name of Yahshua HaMeshiach (Jesus Christ), get thee behind me, satan” (Luke 4:8) and watch them flee.