Ghosts, Luke 16:26

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When Buddy turned 10 years old this past August, it was rather traumatic to me. It was a reminder that I won’t always have my little pal living with me, as he is in his second decade now.

I believe that there are three main reasons that people want to believe in ghosts: a morbid fascination with the occult/supernatural, a desire for proof of life after death and missing loved ones.

Before the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, when the apostles were being trained by Jesus, they demonstrated a belief in ghosts. In one of the most famous stories in the New Testament, Jesus goes to the mountain to pray and leaves the apostles, so they begin to row across the sea to Bethsaida without Him. Later, during that windy night, Jesus walks toward them on the water, frightening them greatly as they believe they are seeing a ghost (Matthew 14:22-26, Mark 6:47-50). Jesus tells them they don’t need to be afraid and gets into the boat; immediately the wind stops. Yet the apostles don’t get it, that Jesus is God Who can do anything, even walk on the water. (Jesus had just earlier fed 5,000 men plus women and children with five loaves of bread and two fish.)

Jesus did NOT censure them for believing in ghosts.

True confession: I believe ghosts are real.

But they aren’t what is typically depicted in movies.

Over the years, dramatized in movies and television shows, there have been cute and friendly ghosts–“Topper”–or romantic, handsome ghosts–“The Ghost And Mrs. Muir”–and downright nasty and frightening ghosts–“The Amityville Horror”.

I love my beloved Buster, the Silky terrier who preceded Buddy, in 2009. I wish he could come visit, but he cannot. Neither can my grandmother Vera, with whom I was very close my entire life till her death in 2010.

Jesus tells the story in Luke 16:19-31 about a rich man and a poor man named Lazarus (not the one He resurrected out of the tomb). The rich man lived luxuriously while poor, suffering Lazarus lay at his gate, starving and longing for some crumbs from the rich man’s table. Lazarus was in such a wretched state that even dogs licked at his wounds.

Both men die. The rich man goes into the eternal torment of Hades while the poor man finds comfort with Abraham, the patriarch of the Jewish people. (Note that the rich man may have made a great name for himself on earth but isn’t remembered by name for posterity; his efforts to be remembered didn’t last past his death.)

In the afterlife there exists a great chasm between the place of torment and the heavenly place of comfort, yet the inhabitants of both locations are capable of not only seeing one another but also communicating with each other. (I believe this changes after Judgment Day, however.) “In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom (verse 23).” Although he did nothing to ease Lazarus’s suffering on earth, he dares to ask Abraham to allow Lazarus to venture down to Hades “that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame (verse 24)”. Abraham admonishes him, saying that he had lived his good life and shouldn’t expect Lazarus to come down and help him out.

But Abraham also states that it was not possible for Lazarus to come relieve the rich man’s suffering in Hades, even if he wanted to.

“Between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us (verse 26).”

There is no possibility for people, after they have died, to leave their appointed destination.

Now apparently the rich man, though totally inconsiderate of the woeful state of the poor man suffering outside his magnificent villa, must not have been totally depraved as he longed for Abraham to return to earth and warn his five brothers so that “they will not also come to this place of torment (verse 28).” Although he was suffering greatly, he still thought about the welfare of his family.

What I believe is that ghosts are demonic spirits. They will appear to be anything that a person will accept in order to enter into a person’s life to cause them harm. Satan himself will “disguise himself as an angel of light” to deceive people (2 Corinthians 11:14). If you believe in ghosts, they will appear as ghosts. If you believe in fairies, elves or genies (jinns), they will come to you in the guise of fairies, elves and genies.  If you believe in aliens, they will appear as aliens. Author and novelist Whitney Strieber, famous for his nonfiction novel, “Communion” and accompanying follow-up series of books, finally came to the conclusion, as do many paranormal investigators, that the alien phenomenon was likely the manifestation of the paranormal.

Satan enters into a person’s life “to kill, steal and destroy”, but that Jesus comes into a person’s life so that “they may have life, and have it abundantly.”–John 10:10. Apostle John warns in 1 John 4:1 not to “believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” Satan is a deceiver, and so are his demonic followers. Apparently there are differing levels of evil in the demons, as the most dangerous are being kept bound till they are released in the End Times to wreak havoc on earth.

People who reject Jesus become fascinated with the supernatural. They “resort to idols and ghosts of the dead and to mediums and spiritists” (Isaiah 19:3); in this verse, preoccupation with occultism is a curse from God.

God wants us to be preoccupied with Him, the source of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 6:22).

Be preoccupied with the source of life, Jesus Christ, the “author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2)” who sits “in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet…” (Ephesians 1:20-22).

God bless. And if you miss a loved one who has departed from this life, may He comfort you.

Love from Dawn and Buddy

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Jesus showed that He loves you by taking the punishment for your sin. You see, God understands that you can never measure up to His perfect standard for entering Heaven into His presence, 100% holiness, so He sent His Son to pay the penalty for what you could never pay. Please ask Jesus to be your Lord and enter into your life. Confess that you fall short and need His resurrection life. Ask Him to give you the abundant life and meaning and purpose you seek.

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