What does the Bible say about Ghosts? In the King James Version of the Bible, the word ghost appears over 100 times. Of these, the word ghost is never used in the form of a disembodied spirit of someone who has passed. Ghost is only used as a title (Holy Ghost), or to describe the ‘giving up’ of the spirit (death).
Every Christian knows that the most important death in the Bible, is that of God’s only begotten son and our savior Jesus Christ. More importantly and fundamental than the death of Jesus, is his resurrection, which affirms the promise (to followers) that all Human sins (past, present, and future) are forgiven. Paul said in 1 Cor. 15:14, “and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.” Three verses later, in verse 17, he again says, “and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.”
The resurrection of Jesus is fundamental and an essential doctrine of Christianity. One issue that has plagued Christian scholars is whether Jesus returned as a Ghost (Spiritual manifestation), or a physical manifestation (Flesh). All Christians agree that Christ was resurrected, the point of contention is how he rose. There are plenty of scriptural verses to support the physical form- see: Luke 24:42-43; Luke 24:39; John 20:27; John 20:25; John 20:27. As such, Many Christian scholars agree that the resurrected Jesus was not a ghost, but that of the same crucified physical body. That being said, it’s hard to deny that pieces of scripture point to some very ‘ghostly abilities’ performed by the resurrected Christ. He appeared and vanished at will (Luke 24: 30-36); He entered rooms though locked doors (John 20:19 &26); He evidenced control over nature (John 21: 1-6); He accurately foretold the future (John 21:17-25); He could be with familiar friends and not be recognized until he chose to be (Luke 24: 13-31).
Where does the human spirit go in death according to the (NKJ) Bible? Prior to the death and resurrection of Jesus, the souls of the deceased went to a supernatural place somewhere in the heart of the earth known as Hades. Hades has two compartments. The abode of the lost is called in the Bible “torment.” The other side, the place of the saints of God called Paradise, also referred to as “Abraham’s Bosom.” When Jesus gave up His Spirit to death, He went into the Paradise side of Hades and “took captivity captive.” This means He took all the souls of the saints who had died to that point to be with God the Father in Heaven. The Paradise side of Hades is now empty. The torment side today holds all souls of people who rejected Christ’s salvation, See -(Mt. 12:40); (Acts 2:27); (Eph. 4:8-9).
Romans 6:23 King James Version (NKJ), “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Based on the bible, it is clear that departed human souls can only go to one of two places either Heaven or ‘Death.’ One may note the word hell was not used as an option as the subject is debated among Christian scholars. There are many verses that discuss the subject of hell and the eternal suffering for those who go there: Revelation 21:8; Matthew 25:46; 2 Thessalonians 1:9. Death, die and dead, all appear frequently in the bible as contextual to the deceased of non-believers. See- Rom 6:23; Ezek 18:4; Ezek 18:20; Eccl 9:5; Psa 115:17. Sinners will perish, but the faithful will receive eternal life. It should be plain that these verses say nothing about sinners living forever in eternal torment. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” —Matthew 7:21. Even Christians who believe in the death and resurrection of Christ, but don’t act on the will of God, may very well be subject to ‘death’ and not enter Heaven. It is clear from the Bible that spirits do not linger on Earth after death. Therefore, the act of Ghost Hunting as a Christian becomes not about searching for human souls, but more about trying to understand what is being experienced, why, and can you help those afflicted.
Attempting to communicate with ‘familiar spirits’ is considered a dangerous endeavor by most Christian scholars. The Bible is very clear in Isaiah 8:19 (NKJV), And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? Leviticus 19:31, NKJV. “Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.”As seen in the ending passage of Leviticus 19:31; “I am the LORD your God”, a direct reference to the first commandment, meaning failure to comply would end in spiritual death (abomination) for any person engaged in such activities.
What does the Bible mean by, “familiar spirit?” The word familiar is from the Latin familiaris, meaning a “household servant,” and is intended to express the idea that sorcerers had spirits (demons) as their servants ready to obey their commands. Those attempting to contact the dead, even to this day, usually have some sort of spirit guide who communicates with them. Fallen Angels (demons) are the only entities left to explain ghosts in the living world around us. Ephesians 6:11-12, KJV. “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Ghost hunters (paranormalists), in essence, are seeking out demonic forces, and failing their obligation to the one true King God, in the eyes of Scholars. This is the point where many Christian paranormal-ists may find themselves outcast by church and family. Luckily there are avenues afforded by the Bible, that allow for such circumstances. Christians who are devoted to God are in a spiritual battle, whether they like it or not. That’s because God has allowed it to be this way for a time, and anyone who is in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, Satan hates!
God has equipped Christians, with spiritual gifts (or charismata) which are endowments given by the Holy Spirit. These are the supernatural graces which individual Christians need to fulfill the mission of the church. They are described in the New Testament, primarily in 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4. 1 Peter 4 also touches on the spiritual gifts. The gifts are related to both seemingly “natural” abilities and seemingly more “miraculous” abilities, but all spiritual gifts are empowered by the Holy Spirit. One such gift is the ability to discern spirits. The definition of this gift is essentially the ability to know if a spirit, spiritual gift, or a teaching is false and evil or from God.
It should be noted very few paranormalists have been endowed with this talent, as it requires a deep sometimes supernatural understanding of God and faith. Only God can measure whether a person has this ability or not. Church members, family, and friends who opt to summarily outcast such persons, may face a judgement of their own from God. 1 Corinthians 4:3-5 (ESV) But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.
Paranormalists who are endowed with the gift of discerning spirits, are on the forefront of the battle lines with satan. They may be called to question spirits, and will likely, at some point, have to face possible demonic possession cases. The paranormalist who lacks these gifts, is likely at greater risk with possible horrible outcomes. Paranormalists who purely indulge in ghost hunting as a form of fun and excitement, and lack the teachings of Jesus Christ, are from the Christian point of view damned to abomination unless they repent.
For those Christian paranormalists that lack the power to discern spirits, don’t feel like you’re damned just yet. As stated human spirits don’t remain on Earth and only demons can interact with the living. As Christians we have an obligation to help our brothers and sisters as God has directly instructed us to do so; (Hebrews 13:16) “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” If a person calls for help because they believe they are afflicted by some unknown force, it is our duty to respond and help that person. Matthew 10:8 ESV “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.”
As a Christian, and a paranormalist for over 15 years, I truly believe in the gift of discernment. I always test the spirits, and usually I find there is no true basis for them, as they are the result of living human misinterpretations and not demons. I have seen two demonic possessions take place right before my eyes. I know satan is alive, and the battle has to be waged to help those afflicted.
In Jesus’s name.