What Do Christians Believe About Ghosts?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Do Christians believe in ghosts?  Are there biblical references to ghosts?  What type of spirit, if there is one, is in a ghost?  Are ghost’s really evil spirits taking the form of a deceased person?  Do Christians ever have to worry about ghosts?  Is there a connection between demons and ghosts?

A Ghost in the Bible?

There are mediums and spiritist who may be able to consult the dead, but it is only by the providence of God that He would allow such a thing. After the prophet Samuel died, Saul consults him.  After Samuel died, Saul was in trouble.  The very last thing that Saul should have done was to consult a medium as you can see in I Samuel 28:1-19:

“In those days the Philistines gathered their forces to fight against Israel. Achish said to David, “You must understand that you and your men will accompany me in the army.”

David said, “Then you will see for yourself what your servant can do.” Achish replied, “Very well, I will make you my bodyguard for life.”

Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in his own town of Ramah. Saul had expelled the mediums and spiritists from the land. The Philistines assembled and came and set up camp at Shunem, while Saul gathered all Israel and set up camp at Gilboa.  When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. He inquired of the LORD, but the LORD did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets.

Saul then said to his attendants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her.” “There is one in Endor,” they said.  So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman. “Consult a spirit for me,” he said, “and bring up for me the one I name.” But the woman said to him, “Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?” Saul swore to her by the LORD, “As surely as the LORD lives, you will not be punished for this.” Then the woman asked, “Whom shall I bring up for you?”  “Bring up Samuel,” he said.

When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!”  The king said to her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?” The woman said, “I see a ghostly figure” [literal translation is spirit] coming up out of the earth.” “What does he look like?” he asked. “An old man wearing a robe is coming up,” she said.  Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” “I am in great distress,” Saul said. “The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has departed from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do.” Samuel said, “Why do you consult me, now that the LORD has departed from you and become your enemy? The LORD has done what he predicted through me. The LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors—to David. Because you did not obey the LORD or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the LORD has done this to you today.  The LORD will deliver both Israel and you into the hands of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The LORD will also give the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines.”

Don’t Consult Mediums

God has commanded His people not to consult mediums or those who conduct séances.  It is a dangerous thing to try and contact the dead because you may be accessing an evil spirit.  Even playing the board game Oji is trying to consult the future and inquire about things that humans have no business knowing.  The same thing pertains to psychics that are said to foretell the future.  Only God has all knowledge of the past, present, and the future.  We are not told to ever seek the future.  The prophets of the Old Testament were told by God Himself what was to come.  They did not or could not know the future of their own accord.  God has warnings for those who try to seek the future.  Even trying to seek council through horoscopes is forbidden in scriptures.  The future is for God alone to know.  We have no business trying to seek what lies ahead for this is most certainly the prerogative of God and of Him alone.

From the example of King Saul we see that it is a dangerous thing to consult a medium.  God commands this in Deuteronomy 18:10-12, “Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD; because of these same detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you.”  That is a very serious warning from God that leaves no doubt at all.

Exorcisms

Apparently exorcisms were a common practice in Jesus’ time and in the times of the early church and the apostles.  But it is a dangerous thing to try and exercise a wicked spirit from a demon possessed person.  Especially since there can be many demons possessing a person, all at the same time.  In today’s church era, prayer is always the best way to have a person exercised of a demon and by praying the powerful name of Jesus Christ.  I am not recommending this, but if you know of someone who is demon possessed or you suspect that they are, consult the church about it and seek wise counsel before ever attempting to do this by yourself.

Jesus once commanded demons to come out of a man who had several spirits in him (Mark 5:1-9).  These were powerful wicked spirits that had possessed the man for many years.  They went by the name of Legion and a Roman Legion typically had 6,000 men!   The man had unusual strength and not even chains could hold him as he easily broken heavy chains and the leg irons when he they attempted to constrain him.  This shows that there is extreme danger involved when someone who doesn’t know what they are doing that attempts to expel a demon or wicked spirit out of someone who has never successfully done it before. There may be more than one demon in the person and in fact, there could be hundreds or thousands.

Jesus had the authority to do this.  Paul was apparently given this authority too as we read in Acts 19:11-17, “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul,  so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them. Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.  One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor.”

The point here is that first of all, non-believers that attempt to perform an exorcism do so at their own peril.  Even a non-Christian using Jesus’ name has no power whatsoever.  Also, even believers should use caution when attempting an exorcism and should only do so after wise counsel from an experienced Christian leader.  This is not for amateurs.   This is serious business because demons can overtake the person that is attempting the exorcism and then that person is in serious trouble.

Do Ghosts Exist?

From my understanding in hearing from and the writings of theologian, evangelists, seminary professors, and pastors, any ghost that appears usually takes the form of a deceased person.  They try to imitate their likeness and sometimes look exactly like they did when that person was alive, however the dead, once departed, can not come back to this earth (Luke 16:26-31).  If a believer dies, they go directly into the presence of the Lord and if they die in disbelief, they are held in a place like the rich man in Luke 16 until the final Great White Throne Judgment described in Revelation chapter twenty.

If you ever see a ghost, you can be assured it is not the deceased person you are seeing or someone who died that was unbeknownst to you; it is positively an evil spirit that is imitating the dead person.  There are wicked spirits in high places that are under the sway of Satan, who is called the Prince of the Power of the Air.  These spirits have no power over the believer in Christ but they are a present threat and danger to those who are not saved.  So truly, there are no such things as ghost as we commonly think of them.  They are fallen demons and nothing to mess around with.  If you have not been saved, you are still in the realm of a fallen world, however if you choose to become a believer in Jesus Christ today, there is nothing in this world that can harm you.  You are under the divine protection of God Almighty and greater is He that is within you than he (Satan) that is in the world (I John 4:4).

Was this Article Helpful?

If this article was helpful to you, please consider linking this article to your own blog or sharing this through the social buttons to the left. You might also find some of these other good Christian Answer articles helpful:

Are Guardian Angels Real?

What Are The Gifts of the Spirit?

Does The Bible say What the Devil Looks Like?

Sources

The Holy Bible, New International Version

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.



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