The Spirits Among Us – Do Ghosts Exist?

The belief in the existence of ghosts is on the rise, and no wonder… in today’s world the subject of ghosts has flooded the TV screen. A few of the TV shows that have ghosts as a central theme are: “Ghost Whisperer”, “Ghost Hunters”, “Ghost Stories”, “Ghosts Lab”, “American Paranormal”, “A Haunting”, “Celebrity Ghost Stories”, “Being Human” the list goes on and on. One list I found said there are 50 shows currently on TV centering on ghosts. If you would like to see the list just click here: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110628172308AA4hkzC

With the existence of ghosts a major subject in today’s entertainment world I thought it would be good to look at the truth about ghosts. The Word of God is the final authority on all issues of life here on earth and in the spirit world. Let’s take some time to examine the truth about ghosts.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Acts 7:58-60; Luke 23:39-43; 2 Cor 5:1-9; Phil 1:23-26; Psa 88:9-12; Eccl 9:10;

Heb 9:27-28; Luke 16:19-31; Luke 8:51-56;

THE STUDY:

To begin our study, it is very important to define what we mean by a “ghost”. “ A ghost”, for this study, refers to the disembodied spirit of a dead person that dwells among the living on earth. This is the definition we will be using for this study.

The Bible teaches us that once a person dies they immediately depart from this world:

(Act 7:58-60) And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

(Luk 23:39-43) And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

(2Co 5:1-9) For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

(Php 1:23-26) For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.

This is why the Word makes it plain that once we are dead we can no longer praise the Lord or serve Him on earth…

(Psa 88:9-12) Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee. Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah. Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction? Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

(Ecc 9:10) Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

Also, the writer of Hebrews understands that, once we die there is no longer any opportunity to receive forgiveness of our sins…. We are given this warning to motivate us to be sure we have received forgiveness in this lifetime…

(Heb 9:27-28) And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

The account of the rich man and Lazarus gives us a clear understanding of what takes place following the death of both God’s people and those who have never been forgiven of their sins…

(Luk 16:19-31) There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

Notice in this account several interesting points:

  1. Immediately upon death both saved and unsaved leave earth and enter the eternal state (saved into “Abraham’s bosom” – another name for God’s presence; unsaved into “hell” another name for eternal torment – or “prison” in 1Pet 3:19)
  2. They are recipients of the justice of God based upon their deeds on earth during their lifetime. “he is comforted, and thou art tormented”
  3. Their eternal state cannot be changed. There is a division between the two that cannot be spanned. “there is a great gulf fixed, so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.”
  4. When there is a suggestion of sending one from the dead back to earth, it is assumed there would be a resurrection from the dead. There is no other option even discussed… “though one rose from the dead”. When Christ resurrected someone from the dead, their spirit re-entered their physical body, and then walked among men on earth…

(Luk 8:51-56) – And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden. And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat. And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.

After studying all the above verses, it is quite obvious that the spirits of those who have died DO NOT return to the earth as disembodied spirits.

If this is the case, does this mean that the only living beings on earth are human embodied beings? Absolutely not!

In our next blog posting, we will examine what spirit beings exist among us and how they affect our lives…

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who have trusted in Christ.

Let’s be careful to not get “caught up” with the modern day “ghost fever” running rampant around us. Let’s always keep in mind, the final authority on the spirit world is our Lord and His Word. Keeping in mind that departed loved ones will not return to the earth as a spirit, helps us to understand the tremendous responsibility to be a witness to those around us before it is eternally too late. (Matt 9:36-38)

For those who have never trusted in Christ.

The Lord, the Creator of all things (including the spirits of men) has clearly told us in His Word that the dead do not return to earth and dwell among us as spirit beings. Knowing this should motivate us to seek the Lord while we yet have our physical life. Once, we are dead, we no longer have the opportunity to come to Christ, nor can we avoid eternal punishment by simply returning to the earth as spirits and dwelling among the living. (Jer 8:20)

Please feel welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com. I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

http://www.settledinheaven.org

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About Rob Barkman

A retired pastor, Bible teacher and author of 20 years, he is currently ministering through Settled In Heaven Ministries. SIH Ministries is an on-line Bible teaching ministry that was founded by Bro Barkman in 2010. Settled In Heaven’s mission is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by fulfilling two different roles... rendering encouragement and Biblical knowledge to the saints in an effort to enhance their service to Christ; and proclaiming the gospel message to those who are in need of salvation, explaining to them their urgent need to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
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6 Responses to The Spirits Among Us – Do Ghosts Exist?

  1. writinggomer says:

    Great post Pastor Rob. Very good info in this article, can’t wait to see the next one. :)

  2. granbee says:

    Bless you, Pastor Rob, for this teaching which confirms what I was always taught by my Christian elders! How often I hear older lady’s swearing there is a ghost in “the old homeplace” or “down by the creek” or “in the attic”! Such good words we have here to deal with that sort of folklore!

    • Rob Barkman says:

      Granbee,

      The idea of ghosts existing here on earth is a newer teaching among BIble believing Christians, just as you say. Among the lost it has been a belief that has existed for many many years. Think of the damage it does when people believe that after death, they can control their own destiny, and if they choose they can still live on earth and interact with those left behind. No judgment, no hell, even no heaven can be an extension of these false teachings. Thank you for the comments. May the Lord bless you!

  3. Rob:

    Very interesting, informative. How does this departure of the spirit stack up against Paul’s statements that the dead are “sleeping” until the 2nd coming or the resurrection of the body proclaimed in the Apostle’s Creed?

    Thanks for the post and a hearty welcome to CBlessings!

    Shalom, Art
    Alive in The Word

    • Rob Barkman says:

      Art,

      Hello Bro. Art. Good to meet you here on the blog! To answer your questions… when Paul speaks of the dead sleeping, he is speaking of our physical bodies that lie “asleep” in the grave. Why is sleeping a good metaphor for our dead bodies? 1. Death doesnt actually harm us. It results in our good. (glorified bodies at resurrection and eternity with the Lord) 2. the body when glorified arises from the grave much like our physical bodies arise after being asleep.

      This same thought is brought out by Solomon in Ecclesiastes 9:10 and other similar verses. Where we are told we can no longer do any of the Lord’s work once we are dead. When our physical bodies die we can no longer affect ones here on earth. Our spirits will be in heaven, but our bodies will not be able to bring glory and honor to the Lord. That is why we must serve the Lord now. Once our bodies are in the grave we will no longer be able to witness to others, enbcourage others, or do any labors for the Lord. It will be as if our bodies are resting or sleeping.

      About the apostles creed… in the creed we are told that… “I believe in … the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting.” this is saying basically the same thing as what Paul is teaching. It is the body, only, that is resurrected (because our spirits go directly to be with the Lord) and the Bible teaches life everlasting (when we die, our spirits do not actually “die” but continue to exist by going immediately to their consigned location). Our spirits are truly “alive” without end. This fits in perfectly with the Bible teachings on our spirit continuing to be conscious while our bodies “sleep” until the resurrection.

      Thanks so much for the comments, Art. May the Lord richly bless you and your blogging ministry.

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