According to those who believe in ghosts, there are various kinds of hauntings:
1. Hauntings by human spirits, whose natures are a combination of good and bad (but not evil). Such spirits may simply want to get a person’s attention; others may be pranksters, but, in either case, they do not truly harm people
2. Interaction with non-human spirits or demons. These entities can masquerade as human spirits, but they are harmful and dangerous.
When reading about ghosts and hauntings from non-Biblical sources, remember that, just because an author may refer to the Bible or to Bible characters (such as Michael the archangel), it does not mean he approaches the subject from a Biblical perspective.
For example, how does an author know that demons masquerade as human spirits? Ultimately, those who address such subjects from non-Biblical sources must base their understanding on their own thoughts, the thoughts of others, or the experiences of the past.
However, based on their own admission that demons are deceiving and can imitate benevolent human spirits, experiences can be deceiving! If one is to have a right understanding on this subject, he must go to a source that has shown itself to be accurate 100% of the time - God’s Word, the Bible.
Does the Bible talk about ghosts / hauntings?
The answer to this question depends on what precisely is meant by the term ‘ghosts.’ If the term means ‘spirit beings,’ the answer is a qualified “yes.” If the term means ‘spirits of people who have died’, the answer is “no.” The Bible makes it abundantly clear that there are spirit beings, both good and evil. But the Bible negates the idea that the spirits of deceased humans can remain on earth and ‘haunt’ the living.
Heaven or hell?
The Bible never speaks of hauntings. Rather, it teaches that when a person dies, the spirit of that person goes to one of two places. If the person is a believer in Jesus Christ, his spirit is ushered into the presence of the Lord in Heaven (Phil 1:21-23; 2 Cor 5:8). Later, he will be reunited with his body at the Resurrection (1 Thess 4:13-18).
If the person is not a believer in Christ, his spirit is put in a place of torment called Hell (Luke 16:23-24). Hebrews 9:27 declares: “Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgement.” That is what happens to a person’s soul-spirit after death: judgement.
Incidents of ‘hauntings’ in Bible
Whether a person is a believer or an unbeliever, there is no returning to our world to communicate or interact with people, even for the purpose of warning people to flee from the judgement to come (Luke 16:27-31). There are only two recorded incidents in which a dead person interacted with the living.
The first is when King Saul of Israel tried contacting the deceased prophet Samuel through a medium. God allowed Samuel to be disturbed long enough to pronounce judgement upon Saul for his repeated disobedience (1 Sam 28:6-19). The second incident is when Moses and Elijah interacted with Jesus when He was transfigured (Matt 17:1-8). There was nothing ‘ghostly’ about the appearance of Moses and Elijah, however.
Scripture speaks repeatedly of angels moving about unseen (Dan 10:1-21). Sometimes, these angels have interaction with living people. Evil spirits, or demons, can actually possess people, dwelling within them and controlling them (Mark 5:1-20). The four Gospels and the Book of Acts record several instances of demon possession and of good angels appearing to and aiding believers. Angels, both good and bad, can cause supernatural phenomena to occur. (Job 1–2; Rev 7:1; 8:5; 15:1;16).
What do demons know?
Scripture shows that demons know things of which people are unaware (Acts 16:16-18; Luke 4:41). Because these evil angels have been around a long time, they would naturally know things that those living limited life-spans would not. Because satan currently has access to God’s presence (Job 1–2), demons might also be able to question some things about the future, but this is speculation.
Do not be deceived
Satan is the father of lies and a deceiver (John 8:44; 2 Thess 2:9) and he disguises himself as an ‘angel of light.’ Those who follow him, human or otherwise, practice the same deceit (2 Cor 11:13-15).
Satan and demons have great power (compared to humans). Even Michael the archangel trusts only God’s power when dealing with satan (Jude 1:9). But satan’s power is nothing compared to God’s (Acts 19:11-12; Mark 5:1-20).
Demons only seek to “kill, steal, and destroy” (John 10:10). They will do anything within their power to deceive people, to lead people away from God. This is very likely the explanation of ‘ghostly’ activity today. Whether it is called a ghost, a ghoul, or a poltergeist, if there is genuine evil spiritual activity occurring, it is the work of demons.
God commands us to have nothing to do with the occult, devil worship, or the unclean spirit-world. This would include the use of mediums, séances, Ouija boards, horoscopes, tarot cards, channelling, etc. God considers these practices an abomination (Deut 18:9-12; Isa 8:19-20; Gal 5:20; Rev 21:8), and those who involve themselves in such things invite disaster (Acts 19:13-16).
Only Jesus can cleanse you
The Ephesian believers set an example in dealing with occult items (books, music, jewellery, games, etc.). They confessed their involvement with such as sin and burned the items publicly (Acts 19:17-19).Release from satan’s power is achieved through God’s salvation. Salvation comes through believing in the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 19:18; 26:16-18). Attempts to disentangle oneself from demonic involvement without salvation are futile.
Jesus warned of a heart devoid of the Holy Spirit’s presence: such a heart is merely an empty dwelling place ready for even worse demons to inhabit (Luke 11:24-26). But when a person comes to Christ for the forgiveness of sin, the Holy Spirit comes to abide until the day of redemption (Eph 4:30).
What about instances in which ghosts act in positive ways? What about psychics who claim to summon the deceased and gain true and useful information from them? Again, it is crucial to remember that the intent of demon is to deceive.
If the result is that people trust in a psychic instead of God, a demon will be more than willing to reveal true information. Even good and true information, if from a source with evil motives, can be used to mislead and destroy.
Some paranormal activity can be attributed to the work of charlatans. It would seem best to understand other reports of ghosts and hauntings as the work of demons. Sometimes these demons may make no attempt to conceal their nature, and at other times they may use deception, appearing as disembodied human spirits. Such deception leads to more lies and confusion.
What about psychics?
The Bible strongly condemns mediums, the occult, and psychics (Lev 20:27; Deut 18:10-13). Horoscopes, tarot cards, astrology, fortune tellers, palm readings, and séances fall into this category as well. These practices are based on the concept that there are gods, spirits, or deceased loved ones that can give advice and guidance. These gods or spirits are demons (2 Cor 11:14-15).
The Bible gives us no reason to believe that deceased loved ones can contact us. So, if our loved ones cannot contact us, how do mediums, spiritists, and psychics get such accurate information? There have been many exposures of psychics as frauds. It has been proven that psychics can gain immense amounts of information on someone through ordinary means.
Sometimes by just using a telephone number through caller ID and an internet search, a psychic can get names, addresses, dates of birth, dates of marriage, family members, etc. However, it is undeniable that psychics sometimes know things that should be impossible for them to know. Where do they get this information?
The answer is from satan and his demons. Acts 16:16-18 describes a fortune teller who was able to predict the future until the Apostle Paul rebuked a demon out of her.
Pray for wisdom
Satan pretends to be kind and helpful. He tries to appear as something good. Satan and his demons will give psychic information about a person in order to get that person hooked into spiritism, something that God forbids. It appears innocent at first, but soon people can find themselves addicted to psychics and unwittingly allow satan to control and destroy their lives.
Peter proclaimed: “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” 1 Pet 5:8. In some cases, the psychics themselves are deceived, not knowing the true source of the information they receive. Whatever the case and wherever the source of the information, nothing connected to spiritism, witchcraft, or astrology is a godly means of discovering information.
How does God want us to discern His will for our life? God’s plan is simple, yet powerful: study the Bible (2 Tim 3:16-17) and pray for wisdom (James 1:5).
What about Palm-reading?
Palm-reading, also known as ‘palmistry’ or ‘chiromancy,’ has its roots in Greek mythology. Chiromancy, from the Greek kheiro, meaning ‘hand,’ and mantia, meaning ‘divination,’ essentially means “divination from the palm of the hand.” Practitioners believe they can interpret one’s character, fortunes and possible future events by reading the lines, marks and bumps on the palm of a person’s hand.
Although ‘palm-reading’ is not mentioned in the Bible, divination is, and it was specifically forbidden by the Mosaic Law (Lev 19:26). Moses warned his people before entering the Promised Land against divination and other practices: “Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord.” Deut 18: 10-12.
The Israelites were also forbidden to look for help from those engaging in divination: “I will set My face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people.” Lev 20:6.
Place your future in God's Hands
Divination was also condemned by the prophets (Isa 44:25; Jer 27:9; 29:8; Eze 13:9). Such occult practices were very common among the pagan nations of the ancient world. And it was, in part, because of these detestable practices that God threw out the people of Canaan and replaced them with the Israelites (Deut 18:12, 14).
Christians can be confident in the knowledge that our sovereign God is in control of our unseen future. The answers we seek are not in our hands but in God’s. Anyone who is anxious about the future need only hear the words of our Lord: “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear...for the pagans run after all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow...” Matt 6:25, 32-34.
What are spirit-guides?
If you do an internet search for ‘spirit-guides,’ you get a variety of responses:
“Spirit-guides are incorporeal beings that are assigned to us before we are born that help nudge and guide us through life.”
“An ancestral guide is one who can claim some sort of kinship with you, such as your dear Aunt Tillie who died when you were ten.”
The general idea is that there exist benevolent spirits who desire to help people, or guide them through life. Belief in spirit-guides is commonly associated with New Age, pagan, and spiritualistic belief systems. Automatic writing, dream states, trances and meditation are all practices related to spirit-guides.
Also terms such as ‘magic circles,’ centring, iridology, crystals, self-actualisation, and positive affirmation are often associated with spirit-guides. The goal of contacting a spirit-guide is usually to discover some secret wisdom and rise to a higher level of consciousness.
Despite the claims of New Age practitioners, spirit-guides are anything but benevolent. They are not the spirits of dear, departed loved ones, nor are they ascended masters who have crossed over some mystical plane. They are what the Bible calls “familiar spirits” (Lev 20:27). They don’t announce their evil nature but portray themselves as beneficial. Spirit-guides are actually demonic spirits who masquerade as helpers in order to trap and destroy people with false teachings and occult practices.
According to spirit-guides, man’s purpose is to be transformed through spiritual awareness, realise his inner divinity, and connect with the cosmos. According to the Bible, man’s purpose is to glorify God and be conformed to His image. Spiritualism teaches that man is inherently good, with unlimited potential for power and advancement.
The Bible says that man is inherently sinful, and no-one is truly good. Spirit-guides assert that truth is relative and there are many paths to God. The Bible declares that God is truth, and Jesus Christ is the only way to a right relationship with Him. Spirit-guides represent a worldview that is diametrically opposed to what the Bible says.
Freedom at last!
In the Bible, God warned His people repeatedly about the dangers of dabbling in the spirit-world. Leviticus 19:31 says: “Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them.” In 1 Chronicles 10:13 we read that King Saul died because he “asked counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it; and enquired not of the Lord.” We are told in 1 John 4:1: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
How do you escape these spiritual enemies? By resisting them through faith in God (James 4:7). God is greater than any spirit (1 John 4:4), and He alone is able to deliver from their power. Jesus exercised authority over unclean spirits, commanding them to come out of people (Matt 17:18; Mark 5:8-9), and they had to obey.
Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:10-18 that we must put on God’s armour and use His strength to battle our spiritual enemies. This can only be done by someone who has received God’s salvation through Jesus Christ. Confession and repentance is the starting point (1 John 1:9).
Should a Christian consult horoscopes?
The purpose of a horoscope is to gain insight into a person’s character and foretell the future. The basic belief of astrology is that planets and stars exert an influence upon our lives. Those with special know-ledge (astrologers) can predict events in a person’s life. It is disturbing that most major newspapers have a horoscope column, and even more distressing that many Christians read their horoscopes.
The Bible expressly forbids divination, sorcery, and hidden arts (Deut 18:10-14). God’s people are to heed God only (Deut 18:15). Any other source of guidance, information, or revelation is to be rejected outright. (Acts 16:16-18.) The Bible points to Jesus Christ as the only proper focus of faith (Acts 4:12; Heb 12:2). Our trust is in God alone, and we know that He will direct our paths (Prov 3:5-6). Faith in anything besides God is misplaced.
Communicate with God
Astrology, then, opposes Biblical teaching in at least two ways: it advocates faith in something other than God, and it is a form of divination. We cannot determine God’s will for our lives through horoscopes. As Christians, we are to read the Bible and pray to God in order to gain guidance. Consulting a horoscope is a violation of God’s means of communicating with us.
What does the Bible say about energy-healing?
In a world where people are constantly grasping for deeper meaning, deeper spirituality, and a higher purpose, energy-healing is one more New Age philosophy which presents itself as very desirable to human beings. Born with sin, we all come into the world with the strong belief that we are the centre of the universe; that we are in control of our health, our bodies, our lives, our circumstances, and our destinies. Those who have not turned to God for truth have no choice but to search for it within themselves.
The practice of energy-healing is not in itself a religion, but it is a pathway to one’s own spirituality. It leads us on a personal journey that encourages us to focus on ourselves and how our energy is in synch with the energies of the cosmos, the earth, and all other life. Through this, one can supposedly be taught to heal ourselves by using clairvoyance to ‘visualise’ where the negative energy is in order
to determine the cause of the problem.
What about reiki?
Reiki, a widely used energy-healing technique, was said to have been developed by a Buddhist monk who used cosmic symbols for healing. Reiki claims to work by removing obstructions to the flow of life and force energy throughout the body.
These obstructions are allegedly caused by negative thoughts, actions or feelings, which some believe are the fundamental cause of illness. The use of energy-healing encourages us to put our full trust in ourselves and our own bodies, which is a form of worship. For most who participate in energy-healing, no recognition is given to the one true God, nor does He receive any praise for healing. The person using these methods of healing has made himself into his own god. Getting involved in energy-healing is spiritually dangerous.
Only Jesus brings healing
The Bible tells us that Jesus is the One who came to heal. “Then Jesus said: ‘Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest’” Matt 11:28. God does not want or expect us to help ourselves. He is the source of life, of all that is good and true. Those who refuse to acknowledge Jesus will never come to a place of spiritual healing.
“For these peoples hearts have become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them” Matt 13:15.
By: Got Questions
Got questions seeks to glorify God by providing Biblical answers to spiritually related questions.
For more info see: www.gotquestions.org