Ghosts: are they real?
What does the Bible say about ghosts?
In the King James Version of the Bible, the word ghost appears 108 times. Of these, the word is never used in the sense of the disembodied spirit of someone who has died. It is used in only two ways. First, it appears in the phrase “to give up the ghost,” meaning “to die.” Second, it occurs as the title, “the Holy Ghost,” the third person of the Godhead or Trinity. The Bible refers to ghosts or spirits of the dead as “familiar spirits” and warns us against having anything to do with them. (see Leviticus 19:31; Deuteronomy 18:11; 2 Kings 21:6; Isaiah 8:19).
Becoming involved with the paranormal is not encouraged for Christians. God warns us about not seeking out mediums or necromancers. Believers need to flee from any fascination with ghosts as the ghosts are only demons.
The Bible is clear that once a person dies, they cannot return from the dead. The author of Hebrew tells us each person is destined to die once and then to stand before God (Hebrews 9:27). A person does not get to choose whether they are going to return to haunt the people of their earthly life. When a person dies, they are immediately before God (Ecclesiastes 12:7).
Depending on whether or not they accepted Jesus will determine if they go to Heaven or hell. All individuals who have placed faith in Jesus will go to Heaven; however, all of the people who have not accepted Jesus will go to hell. Each person will either go to one or the other. There is not a third option to return to the earth and complete “unfinished business.”
Many people still report seeing dead loved ones or experiencing the paranormal activity of a haunting in their home. How can one explain this? There are no such things as ghosts, but there are demons. What people report as being ghosts are actually demons.
Demons are known to masquerade themselves in an attempt to fool people. In 2 Corinthians 11:14-15, Paul tells us, “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.”
Since demons can masquerade as angels of light, it is completely possible that they can make themselves look like dead loved ones. Believers need to be aware of this as demons will try to trick us in any way they can.
If you believe you have experienced the ghost of a dead loved one, it was not your deceased loved one. If your deceased loved one is a believer, then they are with Jesus in Heaven. The “dead loved one” you would have seen was a demon.
What Does the Bible Say about Spiritual Beings?
Demons are spiritual beings. The Bible does attest to the fact that there are spiritual beings. In addition to demons, the other spiritual beings are angels. Since demons and angels do not have physical bodies, they are spiritual beings.
The main difference here is that angels are good, but demons are bad. Angels help believers and protect them. The Bible tells us angels are ministering spirits sent out to help believers (Hebrews 1:14). In contrast, demons seek out mankind’s downfall.
Paul warns all people that you cannot have a seat at God’s table and the table of demons (1 Corinthians 10:21). Satan and his demons want to cause your downfall. They want to scare, harm, and hurt you (John 10:10).
Becoming involved with ghosts can cause bad things to happen to you. God is more powerful than the devil and his demons, but we should never test the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:16; Matthew 4:7). The Lord wants you to live in the freedom, love, and joy of knowing Him. God’s plan for you does not involve becoming involved with demons, mediums, or the occult.
Demons can be extremely convincing and can easily lead a person astray. As believers, we do not have to fall victim to their tricks. The One who is in us is greater than the devil and his demons (1 John 4:4). The Holy Spirit will keep you safe from demons, but we also have to use our own knowledge to abstain from the paranormal.
1 – Angels were created by God.
In the second chapter of the Bible, we are told that God created the heavens and the earth, and everything in them. The Bible indicates that angels were created at the same time the earth was formed, even before human life was created.
Thus the Heavens and the Earth, and all the host of them, were finished. (Genesis 2:1, NKJV)
For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. (Colossians 1:16, NIV)
2 – Angels were created to live for eternity.
Scripture tells us that angels do not experience death.
…nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. (Luke 20:36, NKJV)
3 – Angels were present when God created the world.
When God created the foundations of the earth, the angels had already been in existence.
Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said: “…Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? …while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?” (Job 38:1-7, NIV)
4 – Angels do not marry.
In heaven, men and women will be like the angels, who do not marry or reproduce.
At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. (Matthew 22:30, NIV)
5 – Angels are wise and intelligent.
Angels can discern good and evil and give insight and understanding.
Your maidservant said, ‘The word of my lord the king will now be comforting; for as the angel of God, so is my lord the king in discerning good and evil. And may the LORD your God be with you.’ (2 Samuel 14:17, NKJV)
He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding.” (Daniel 9:22, NIV)
6 – Angels take an interest in human affairs.
Angels have been and will forever be involved and interested in what is happening in the lives of human beings.
“Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.” (Daniel 10:14, NIV)
“Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10, NKJV)
7 – Angels are faster than humans.
Angels seem to have the ability to fly.
… while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. (Daniel 9:21, NIV)
And I saw another angel flying through the sky, carrying the eternal Good News to proclaim to the people who belong to this world—to every nation, tribe, language, and people. (Revelation 14:6, NLT)
8 – Angels are spiritual beings.
As spirit beings, angels do not have true physical bodies.
Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire. (Psalm 104:4, NKJV)
9 – Angels are not meant to be worshiped.
Angels are sometimes mistaken for God by humans and worshiped in the Bible, but reject it, as they are not meant to be worshiped.
And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10, NKJV)
10 – Angels are subject to Christ.
Angels are Christ’s servants.
… who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him. (1 Peter 3:22, NKJV)
11 – Angels have a will.
Angels have the ability to exercise their own will.
How you have fallen from heaven,
O morning star, son of the dawn!
…You said in your heart,
“I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.
I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:12-14, NIV)
And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. (Jude 1:6, NIV)
12 – Angels express emotions like joy and longing.
Angels shout for joy, feel longing, and show many emotions in the Bible.
… while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? (Job 38:7, NIV)
It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things. (1 Peter 1:12, NIV)
13 – Angels are not omnipresent, omnipotent, or omniscient.
Angels have certain limitations. They are not all-knowing, all-powerful, and everywhere present.
Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. (Daniel 10:12-13, NIV)
But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 1:9, NIV)
14 – Angels are too numerous to count.
The Bible indicates that an incalculable number of angels exist.
The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands … (Psalm 68:17, NIV)
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly … (Hebrews 12:22, NIV)
15 – Most angels remained faithful to God.
While some angels rebelled against God, the vast majority stayed faithful to him.
Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” (Revelation 5:11-12, NIV)
16 – Three angels have names in the Bible.
Only three angels are mentioned by name in the canonical books of the Bible: Gabriel, Michael, and the fallen angel Lucifer, or Satan.
- Daniel 8:16
- Luke 1:19
- Luke 1:26
17 – Only one angel in the Bible is called an Archangel.
Michael is the only angel to be called an archangel in the Bible. He is described as “one of the chief princes,” so it is possible that there are other archangels, but we cannot be sure. The word “archangel” comes from the Greek word “archangelos” meaning “a chief angel.” It refers to an angel ranked highest or in charge of other angels.
18 – Angels were created to glorify and worship God the Father and God the Son.
- Revelation 4:8
- Hebrews 1:6
19 – Angels report to God.
- Job 1:6
- Job 2:1
20 – Some angels are called seraphim.
In Isaiah 6:1-8 we see a description of seraphim. These are tall angels, each with six wings, and they can fly.
21 – Angels are known variously as:
- Watchers or supervisors for God
- Military “hosts“
- “Sons of the mighty“
- “Sons of God“