I ain’t afraid of no Ghosts

IT’S THAT TIME of year again here in Borger Texas, Halloween. The time when many decorate their homes with ghosts, goblins and witches.  Even Netflix is promoting a plethora of scary zombie movies. The conversations about ghosts and goblins increase as well. I’ve spoken to several folks who actually believe in a potential zombie apocalypse. A zombie is a corpse said to be revived by witchcraft, in other words, the walking dead.

Regardless of the pop culture surrounding zombies, I ain’t afraid of no zombies either. I’m not afraid by faith. When we say “by faith”, what we mean is that we have revelation from God on any given subject. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” [Romans 10:17; Deut 29:29]. God has told us a few things about the evil spiritual realm.

[This article revisits a theme I wrote about in June, “Is demon possession possible].

What does the Bible say about the evil spirit world?

God revealed through the scriptures some things about spirit beings, or angels. Angels are beings with a higher nature than man [Psalm 8:5; Heb 2:7, 9], but some of them sinned against God [2Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6]. This fallen group seem to be identified as the devil’s angels [Matt 25:41; Rev 12:7,9]. They are identified by other terms as well; “demons” [Luke 11:15], “evil spirits” (Acts 19:12-13], “unclean spirits” [Matthew 10:1], or Satan’s angels [Matt. 25:41; Rev. 12:7, 9].

Though very little is said about the demonic & demon possession in the OT, in the NT it appears to have increased. Jesus, along with his disciples, frequently encountered the demonic and were able to cast them out of possessed peoples [Matt 1:21-27; Mark 9:14-29]. Jesus said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” [Luke 10:18-20]. The context shows that He was speaking about the disciples’ power over evil spirits and the weakening of Satan’s power, including his influence.

This ability matches the prophecy from Zechariah; “I will also cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to depart from the land” [Zech 13:2]. Peter & Jude refer to evil spirits being in chains and bound [2Peter 2:1-4; Jude 1:6]. Revelation describes Satan being “bound” during the time in which Christ reigns over His kingdom—which is the church [Rev. 20:2]. This evidence points to the conclusion that demonic activity does not happen today, because the evil spirit realm has been “bound” awaiting the final judgement.

Then there’s the living dead…

Most of what we declare about ghosts is from the imaginations of the minds eye of fiction and not by faith (by revelation from God). Even in the Bible, we see the disciples “imagining” that they saw a ghost when they were actually seeing Jesus walk upon the water [Matt 14:26]. But it was their fear of the unknown that created the thought of a ghost, for they had never witnessed anyone ever walking upon the water. It’s important to note that the spirits of the dead are not the same as angels or demons. It is only after the resurrection of the righteous dead that they become “equal to the angels” [Luke 20:36]. Just because the disciples “supposed it was a ghost” is no evidence that ghosts exist [Mark 6:49].

Where do our spirits go when we die?

According to the word of God, all of the dead go to a place of the dead called in New Testament Greek, “Hades”, (translated either; hell, Hades, or grave) the place of departed souls [Luke 16:19-30; Acts 2:27]. All of the sinful angels are bound in a part of Hades called “Tartarus” [2Peter 2:4]. We conclude from these passages that the spirits of the dead & bound are not allowed to roam the Earth nor haunt us. In Jesus’ parable of the rich man and Lazarus, [Luke 16:19-30], the rich man begged that Lazarus be sent back to warn his brothers, but this request was denied.

There are only 2 instances in the New Testament where departed spirits, other than Jesus Himself, were allowed to return. The first was the return of Moses & Elijah in Matt 17:3. This was to show that the Law of Moses & the prophets are fulfilled in Christ Jesus, for God spoke and said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.”  The second, when the graves of the saints were opened after the resurrection of Jesus in Matt 27:52-54. In both instances they were for a very specific purpose, to testify to the validity of Jesus’ claims, and have since ceased. We can have confidence in the scriptures that we need not be afraid nor be deceived about any evil spirit, zombie or ghost [Eph 5:6, Col 2:4,8,18; 3:6; 2Th 2:3], sound theology has a way of doing that!

Is Demon Possession Possible today? pt2

IN LAST WEEK’S ARTICLE, I showed through scripture how demonic possession is no longer possible today. For the sake of review, let me remind you of two references that deal with the binding of fallen / sinful angels. “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;” [2Peter 2:4]. And in Jude 1:6 “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” Demons (fallen angels) are bound, awaiting the judgment.

Now we turn our attention to the verse in 1Peter 5:8; “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” What is being taught by this verse?

Before we proceed, let’s not undo the previous truth; DEMON POSSESSION IS NOT POSSIBLE TODAY. Zechariah 13:2 prophesied it, and the New Testament confirms it. So whatever 1Peter 5:8 teaches, it cannot include the demonic possession of one’s person.

THE TRUTH ABOUT SATAN

We first read of Satan in the book of Genesis. There is no information given about his origin, but the Bible displays his working throughout. He is called the “adversary” in our passage and seeks to supplant the authority of God [Luke 4:7]. He is a liar, and the father of lies [John 8:44]. 1John 3:8, says that the devil sinned from the beginning and has been condemned [1Timothy 3:6].

Satan is also called the “god of this world” [2Corinthians 4:4]. “World” as used in this context is speaking about people who are separated from God, people who are doing what is right in their own eyes and not following the will of God. Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:1-2, that He (Christ) has made alive…those who previously had walked according to the course of the world. To walk the course of the world (Satan’s playground) is to follow Satan’s example of rebellion and disobedience toward God. Verse 3 points out that these in the world, “once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath...” This condition fits the description of the progression of sin in James 1:14-15.

Just as knowing God’s truth can set one free from sin [John 8:32], “He that committeth sin is of the devil” [1John 3:8]. Although Satan is a real being, HE CANNOT IRRISISTABLY CONTROL MEN. We act as his agents when we seek to do as he does, to pervert, corrupt, depart from or misrepresent the word of God [Mat 16:23; 2Corinthians 11:3; Galatians 1:6-9; 1Timothy 4:1-3].

Just as modern day Nazi’s or Marxists act as agents for their long dead leaders, so too those who wish to follow the workings of Satan. Because they don’t have a love for the truth, “God will send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie” [2Thessalonians 2:9-12].

Satan doesn’t physically possess anyone today. He has always been limited, [Job 1:12, 2:6; 1Cor 10:13]. Lies and all evil was introduced into this world by Satan, and this disease of sin is spread by wicked men who are “lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” who will lead astray the gullible [2Timothy 3:2-6].

God’s people can resist the devil [James 4:7], and the Omnipotent God will not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability [1Corinthians 10:13]. It is the gospel of Christ, the word of God, that is our defense against Satan’s teachings. Jesus combated Satan with “it is written” and we also have the same weapon in the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” [Matthew 4:4; Ephesians 6:17]. We are instructed to withstand the devil by faith [1Peter 5:9] and we know that faith comes by hearing the Word of God [Romans 10:17].

God is great, and His love is so great that He gave us His Son, to free us from sin, and “deliver us from this present evil world” [Galatians 1:4].

— Spencer

Is Demon Possession Possible today?

is demon possession possible

Folks today believe in the demonic possession of a person. They have this belief because of the many passages in scripture where people are possessed. [Matthew 9:32-33; 12:22; 17:18; Mark 5:1-20; 7:26-30; Luke 4:33-36; Luke 22:3; Acts 16:16-18]

The teachers of this doctrine explain demon possession today by saying that a person “allows” the demon to enter them by rejecting God’s word, allowing your heart to be ruled by habitual sin, inviting Satan [or one of his angels] to enter.

They also teach that a “true Christian” can never be possessed, because they have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, [2Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; 1Corinthians 6:19], saying that the Spirit of God would not share residence with a demon.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?

It is true that demon possession occurred in the OT [seldom, if at all], in the Gospels and in the first century church, but the question is; Can demon possession happen today?

First, it should be noted, that not every association with Satan qualifies as demon possession. For example, Jesus said to the Pharisees, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do” [John 8:44]. He was not speaking as if the devil gave birth to them, rather their actions indicated they were following Satan’s teaching.

Second, concerning demons, we are told: There are being called “angels” [Psa. 8:5; Heb. 2:7, 9] which are higher in nature than humans. Not knowing when, some of these angels fell / sinned [2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6]. These fallen angels seem to be the same angels as the devil’s angels [Matt. 25:41; Rev. 12:7, 9]. These may be called, “demons” [Luke 11:15], “evil spirits” [Acts 19:12-13], “unclean spirits” [Matthew 10:1], or Satan’s angels [Matt. 25:41; Rev. 12:7, 9].

Third, the bible teaches that evil spirits and demons would depart. In Zechariah 13:2, referring to the age of the Messiah, God promises; “… I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.” This is fulfilled in the Gospels as the disciples were able to cast out demons and Jesus said, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” [Luke 10:18-20]. This shows the weakening power of Satan and his angels.

Finally, in the New Testament, there are two references to the binding of fallen / sinful angels. “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;” [2Peter 2:4]. And in Jude 1:6 “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” These are bound, awaiting the judgment.

Sound Doctrine provides comfort

I’ve shown these things to folks and some have gotten very upset with the idea that demon possession is no longer possible. What a strange reaction. The truth should provide us with much comfort, it does me. Imagine living a life where the possession of your person is possible.

Movies like “Damien” and the “The Exorcist” have generated fear, in the hearts of men, that it is possible to be possessed, but I find comfort in the Scriptures of God, clearly teaching that we should never fear Satan and his angels.

One final note, some people say, “The devil made me do it” when referring to some sin they’ve done. No sir, he did not. God teaches us in the book of James, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” [James 1:14-15]. We can follow the teaching of Satan, but we are accountable for the sins we commit. I don’t need Satan to help me to sin, I’m doing a fine job all on my own.

— Spencer