In the Bible, there are accounts of people coming back or being allowed to see/experience things.
You might think I am crazy, but VERY simply: There are three explicit examples in the Hebrew Bible of people being resurrected from the dead: The prophet Elijah prays and God raises a young boy from death (1 Kings 17:17-24) Elisha raises the son of the Woman of Shunem (2 Kings 4:32-37) whose birth he previously foretold (2 Kings 4:8-16)
Yes! There was ‘time’ involved in these examples…the body is a TEMPORARY home. A spirit exists forever. Here on Earth, ‘time’ matters. Beyond life where ‘time’ ceases we simply exist.
In the New Testament, the Transfiguration of Jesus is an event where Jesus is transfigured and becomes radiant in glory upon a mountain. The Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 17:1–8, Mark 9:2–8, Luke 9:28–36) describe it, and the Second Epistle of Peter also refers to it (2 Peter 1:16–18).
Points of Interest
At Jesus’ Transfiguration, The Lord appeared in His true form as the Son of God and the disciples saw His preexistent glory.
The members of Jesus’ inner circle (Peter, James, and John), were eyewitnesses to the Transfiguration.
The Transfiguration is described by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, with the most detailed account given by Luke. The agreement in all three records of the incident is remarkable.
Major Themes and Life Lessons
The disciples were terrified by Jesus’ transfiguration because they saw a rare peek into God’s invisible Kingdom merging with the physical realm of Earth. Jesus’ glory shone through from inside Him, revealing Him as God in the flesh. The disciples needed the encouragement of this revelation to endure Jesus’ death and their future suffering and persecution. My point is furthered bt the consistent account of what occured: “Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah (long expired before Jesus coming to Earth), talking with Jesus.”
God the Father appeared as a cloud, a mask frequently seen in the Old Testament. His words echoed the same thing he said at Jesus’ baptism. When he ordered the disciples to listen to Jesus, it meant the gospel of grace would replace the law as God’s plan of salvation.
Paul wrote about the idea of transfiguration in Romans 12:2 and 2 Corinthians 4:16–17, both times referring to the inward spiritual transformation of believers. When Jesus Christ returns in glory, all of his true followers will be eternally transformed and receive a glorious, resurrected body. Thus, the Lord’s transfiguration was a foreshadowing of every Christian’s future metamorphosis.
To further clarify the difference and access to the spiritual realm: The Witch of Endor is a woman who, according to the Hebrew Bible, was consulted by Saul to summon the spirit of prophet Samuel in order to receive advice against the Philistines in battle, after prior attempts to consult God through sacred lots and prophets had failed (First Book of Samuel; 1 Samuel 28:3–25).
So, we are advised in The Word to follow Christ, not occultism.
Occult — the knowledge of the hidden, a mysterious realm, the world of the invisible, one’s own inner nature, etc. — and its concepts are found in various traditions. Scientist Isaac Newton was sometimes characterized as an occultist.
Some seek deeper reality in the occult and embrace it as a spiritual experience, while some call it heretical and disapprove of it. Some traditions substitute it by other names.
We asked our panel of distinguished religious leaders of the region the following question: What does occult mean to your religion/denomination?
Here is what they have to say:
REAL AND DANGEROUS
Steve Bond, lead pastor, Summit Christian Church, Sparks
The occult is any practice that leverages supernatural power or knowledge apart from Jesus Christ. Satan is the master deceiver and the occult is his domain. Some common manifestations of the occult include astrology, witchcraft, horoscopes, black magic, fortune-telling and clairvoyance.
There are 59 Bible verses dealing with the occult. For example, “Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them…” (Leviticus 19:31). Galatians 5:20 lists witchcraft in its catalogue of the “acts of the sinful nature.” Revival occurred when the message about Jesus first arrived in the city of Ephesus. As a result, “A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly” (Acts 19:19).
‘REALITY’ MOST OF US NEVER EXPERIENCE
Kenneth G. Lucey, UNR philosophy/religion professor
I have never seen a ghost and do not know from personal experience that any such exist. Nevertheless, once a month I get my hair cut by a hairdresser who tells me that he has seen many and has done so since an early age. In his youth he had a teacher named Sylvia Browne, who was one of the better-known psychics of the 20th century. Listening to the accounts of his experiences is fascinating. My wife, who also gets her hair done by this man, is fairly skeptical about his stories, as are most of my colleagues at the university. But it is also the case that most of them have no knowledge of the relevant literature. Anyone who has studied the lives of famous psychics such as Edgar Cayce, Leonora Piper, Arthur Ford, Daniel Douglas Home, etc., has testimony regarding a “reality” that most of us never experience.
Sherif A. Elfass, Northern Nevada Muslim Community president
Believing in the unseen is a fundamental concept in Islam. However, believing that any creation possesses the ability to foretell the future or know the unseen is forbidden. Only Allah (SWT) knows. Even Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) did not know the future as asserted in the Quran (7:188). Islam also condemns magic, which uses the power of Jinn (an unseen creation of Allah) for evil purposes, and forbids Muslims from practicing it. Furthermore, believing in what a magician or sorcerer says renders one a disbeliever. Magic cannot even be used to counteract another magic spell. Any practice that tries to gain supernatural power, abilities, or knowledge apart from the Creator is prohibited. Meanwhile, viable alternatives to these practices are reading the Quran and establishing prayers. Prayers, such as Ruqyah, can heal and magic can be dispelled by the power of the Glorious Quran.https://9dd5378a2bca0cfd679a3f277aeef2cd.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html?n=0
Robert W. Chorey, Roman Catholic Diocese of Reno curia moderator
Occult powers are “hidden” powers that people feel have influence in life, especially in trying times. People who search for meaning, purpose and control in their lives attempt to use this hidden power through stars, runes, tea leaves, tarot cards, etc.
Jesus Christ reveals that these “hidden” powers do not control us, and in reality there are none. Therefore as Catholics, we do not place our faith in horoscopes, good luck charms, tarot cards or any such activities or objects. Our faith is in God alone.
The human condition is to want to have as much control as possible. Yet, humility is to accept that we only can control ourselves and only a small bit of that.
The message of Christ’s death and resurrection is that even our darkest of moments, God is with us. Do not let those moments control us, but go through them and find life.https://9dd5378a2bca0cfd679a3f277aeef2cd.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html?n=0
NO PLACE FOR SUPERSTITION
Matthew T. Fisher, Reno Buddhist Center resident priest
Buddha considered belief in superstition as an unskillful action and considered associated rituals a waste of precious time. However, Buddhist scriptures and commentaries contain many examples of the Buddha and his finest students routinely using astral projection and paranormal abilities to teach Dharma and access those in need of teaching.
Occult means “clandestine, hidden, secret” — as in, “knowledge of hidden essence.” All of Buddhism focuses on seeing through our delusions to reality as it is — hidden in plain sight. Seeking what is hidden is fundamental activity in all spiritual questing — necessary because our ego construct builds up layers of pseudo-rationalist blocks to clear vision of the Dharmakaya — or Everythingness that we are one with. True Reality is secret from us — an occult phenomenon — because we are very biased and poor judges of what is real. We suffer because we mistake selfish delusions for reality.
WORKS OF DARKNESS
Sharla S. Hales, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints area public affairs director
The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints referred to the occult as “wickedness” and “works of darkness,” and directed that “these things should not be pursued as games, be topics in Church meetings, or be delved into in private, personal conversations.” Church members are directed that they “should not engage in any form of Satan worship or affiliate in any way with the occult” (Church Handbook of Instruction, 21.4.8).
Other than these directives, the occult is not written about. It is not discussed. I have no other understanding of its meaning. We focus, instead, on Jesus Christ: “We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Nephi 25:26).https://9dd5378a2bca0cfd679a3f277aeef2cd.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html?n=0
Brian E. Melendez, American Indian spirituality scholar
There has been, and will always be, spiritual movements that have initially appeared occultlike, brought about through visions, dreams and ceremonies. Truthful reminders: Many rituals that are now viewed as traditional were also at one point controversial (especially within the internal group) — e.g. Sundance, Ghost Dance, etc.
So much of tribal proclivity is interlaced with the notion that one day things will be different; this is something that my people have been praying about since the beginning of time (the almighty golden-age of tribal oneness). Ironically, tribal people are notorious about resisting such changes …
I believe that most tribal people would agree that the World is sacred — with blessings in every stream. However, even sacredness comes with popular opinions and objectors. Too many people have become comfortable with the current cultural climate that the thought of being more connected and present is not worth being inconvenienced or socially awkward.
KABBALAH: JEWISH MYSTICISM
ElizaBeth Webb Beyer, Temple Beth Or rabbi
Kabbalah (“received tradition”) is the study of the inner workings of G-d and the bridge between G-d and human. While Jewish Kabbalah is steeped in Torah, Talmud, prayer and ethical teaching, there are those who seek shortcuts delving into mystical teachings without the background. Some are drawn to the sensationalism of a secret tradition and quick fix.https://9dd5378a2bca0cfd679a3f277aeef2cd.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html?n=0
According to traditional Kabbalists, the heart of traditional Judaism is saturated with Kabbalistic thought. However, this is unbeknownst to many Jews. Traditional Judaism holds that the path to G-d begins with prayer, learning Torah, Talmud and the fundamental requirement to be ethical and strive to do better in our relationship with G-d as well as with humans. When someone has the essential teachings, experiencing G-d through study, prayer, meditation or chanting is made easier. Though Kabbalistic thought spans millennia, currently, Hasidic Judaism and Jewish Renewal are two denominations which place emphasis on Kabbalah.
VERY FAR FROM HOLY
Stephen R. Karcher, St. Anthony Greek Orthodox Church presiding priest
Christian spiritual life and the occult are founded upon completely different principles. This happens because in Christianity, spiritual knowledge comes by communion with God, whereas in occultism, spiritual powers are achieved by evading God. Father Valery Dukhanin, an Orthodox priest, cautions us that occultism is a distorted spirituality in which one strives to affirm oneself with the help of “hidden” powers instead of by communion with God and through God’s grace. Because the Christian’s most valuable possession is his eternal soul, spiritual well-being is the top priority and comes before everything else. Having been created in God’s image, we can only be truly happy with God. Therefore, true spiritual life begins peacefully and naturally by keeping God’s commandments, and is cultivated by sincere prayer and confession along with participation in the Church’s holy mysteries. In this way, a soul acquires a certain freedom and joy which nothing else can give.
KNOWLEDGE CAN’T BE SECRET
Justin V. Deverse, Baha’i teacher
The occult and spiritualism movements are characterized by the search for hidden knowledge, often with mystical aspects that seek the individual sensory experience. They contained no larger framework or goal than the intimate. In these movements, Baha’is would discern two intertwined forces arising in the recent centuries: first, the steady decline of religions, seemingly unable to articulate or remedy the forces of the age; the other, a revolution in the awareness of individual capacity nested within the backdrop of millennial expectation. The driving force unleashed by Baha’u’llah’s revelation is unity and integration, setting a new equilibrium to which all contribute. Still, individual search for truth is a main tenet of the Baha’i Faith; Baha’u’llah’s revelation has shed illumination upon all peoples, and the principle of the harmony of science and religion is removing shadows of the old world. Therefore, principles of hidden exclusive knowledge have no room in Baha’i cosmology.