Summary: What are ghosts? Why would they speak to us? How can we tell whether they are ghosts or evil spirits?
I See Dead People: God, the Bible, and Ghosts (Part 2)
Today we are going to continue with the subject that we began last week in time for Halloween. It was the topic of ghosts. What are they? Why do they interact with the living? Are they really the spirits of the dead? We looked in the Bible to see what truths God has given us and then we used our own logic to try to understand what is really happening when people say they have seen or talked to ghosts or spirits of the dead.
We discussed the fact that the Bible supports the idea that ghosts are indeed the spirits of persons whom have died. But when it came to the world’s idea of what a ghost is, namely the spirit of a dead person who haunts the living, I showed you that the Bible does not agree with this assessment.
Isaiah 26:14 tells us that, “They are now dead, they live no more; those departed spirits do not rise….” The Bible tells us that the ghosts or spirits of people who have died are located in one of two places. They are either in hell awaiting their Day of Judgment at the Great White Throne. Or they are in the presence of their Savior, Jesus Christ, in heaven.
Scripture does not support the idea that the dead can easily or readily return to interact with the living of their own will. They just don’t decide that they have a message to bring to the living or that they will hang around because they have unfinished business. Once a person dies, there is no unfinished business. You can’t change your eternal status after you die. That must be taken care of before you die.
And then in Luke 16:19-31, we saw a little more about the distinction between the spirits of the righteous dead and the spirits of the wicked dead in the story Jesus told about a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus. Both men died and Lazarus was escorted to Paradise and the rich man to hell. From this story we saw that the ghosts of the wicked dead could not return to haunt or speak or interact with living even if they wanted to. And we also saw that though it appears that the righteous dead can return and interact with the living they are not necessarily allowed to.
Finally, from there we went on to see that since the apparitions and spirits that people claim to see and talk to, or are haunted by, are not actually the spirits of those who have died, then they had to be either angels or evil spirits. And we came to the conclusion that they were evil familiar spirits. Now that’s just a brief overview of what we talked about last week. If you weren’t here and would like a copy of this teaching, I have placed some on the vestibule table for your convenience.
Today we are going to take a look at one instance in the Bible where the living and the dead did interact. We’re going to see if there are any plausible reasons why God would allow the spirits of the dead to speak to the living. And finally, we’ll look at some suggestions to help you judge whether a spirit is a ghost or an evil spirit.
I. Saul and the Witch of Endor
First let’s look at an instance that takes place in the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel 28. You may be somewhat familiar with this passage as it deals with King Saul and his attempts to contact the dead through a witch or medium from Endor.