Demonic activity has not changed in its manifestations to mankind from the time that God cast out the third of the angels/demons from Heaven (Revelation 12:4, 7–8). Over time, mans depictions of these encounters have evolved, but demons have not changed their methods beginning with the encounter of Eve and Satan in the Garden. Today these encounters are shrouded in manifestations such as Ghosts, hauntings, séances, tarot cards, Ouija boards, crystal balls—they are all still deceptions in the manner of the serpent and Eve, what do they have in common? They are fascinating to many people because they seem to offer insight into an unknown world that lies beyond the limits of our physical existence. And, to many, such things seem innocent and harmless.
Many who approach these subjects from non-biblical perspectives believe that ghosts are the spirits of dead people who, for whatever reason, have not gone on to the “next stage.” According to those who believe in ghosts, there are three different kinds of hauntings: (1) residual hauntings (likened to video playbacks with no actual interaction with any spirits). (2) Hauntings by human spirits, whose natures are a combination of good and bad (but not evil). Such spirits may simply want to get a person’s attention; others may be pranksters, but, in either case, they do not truly harm people. (3) Interaction with non-human spirits or demons. These entities can masquerade as human spirits, but they are harmful and dangerous.
When reading about ghosts and hauntings from non-biblical sources, remember that, just because an author may refer to the Bible or to Bible characters (such as Michael the archangel), it does not mean he approaches the subject from a biblical perspective. When no authority is given for an author’s information, the reader has to ask himself, “How does he/she know this to be so? What is his/her authority?” For example, how does an author know that demons masquerade as human spirits? Ultimately, those who address such subjects from non-biblical sources must base their understanding on their own thoughts, the thoughts of others, and/or the experiences of the past. However, based on their own admission that demons are deceiving and can imitate benevolent human spirits, experiences can be deceiving! If one is to have a right understanding on this subject, he must go to a source that has shown itself to be accurate 100 percent of the time—God’s Word, the Bible. Let’s take a look at what the Bible has to say about such things.
1. The Bible never speaks of hauntings. Rather, it teaches that when a person dies, the spirit of that person goes to one of two places. If the person is a believer in Jesus Christ, his spirit is ushered into the presence of the Lord in heaven (Philippians 1:21-23; 2 Corinthians 5:8). Later, he will be reunited with his body at the resurrection (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). If the person is not a believer in Christ, his spirit is put in a place of torment called hell (Luke 16:23-24).
Whether a person is a believer or an unbeliever, there is no returning to our world to communicate or interact with people, even for the purpose of warning people to flee from the judgment to come (Luke 16:27-31). There is only one recorded incident in which a dead person interacted with the living, this was when Moses and Elijah interacted with Jesus when he was transfigured in Matthew 17:1-8. There was nothing “ghostly” about the appearance of Moses and Elijah, however in this encounter the only person who had died was Moses as Elijah was taken by God in a whirlwind (2 kings 2:11).
There is a dubious account of King Saul of Israel who tried contacting the deceased prophet Samuel through a medium. (1 Samuel 28:7-20).
In this account there was Saul, the Witch of Endor, a demon pretending to be Samuel and two guards with Saul. The Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul because Saul did not destroy the Amalek’s as God commanded (1 Samuel 15:1-28). There are a number of reasons or facts, that give us insight that this was NOT Samuel who appeared to Saul, God would have to contradict His commandments in order for this account to be true.
Saul’s Kingdom had been stripped from him and given to David (1 Samuel 15:28, 16:1-3) Samuel anointed David to be King of Israel (1 Samuel 16:11-14)
Samuel was dead. (1 Samuel 25:1, 28:3)
Saul knew that it was against God’s word to seek out familiar spirits or witches. “A man also or woman that has a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall be put to death” Leviticus 20:27. “And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits and wizards out of the land” 1 Samuel 28:3.
Saul sent his servants to find a woman, who had a familiar spirits (1 Samuel 28:6-7) This witch was working through Familiar Spirits. Demons can imitate the dead. They use known information involving a person, place or thing. This account with Saul and the witch was a modern day séance. (1 Samuel 28:12-14).
Saul did not see Samuel - (1 Samuel 28:14), when the witch gave Saul the description of an old man covered in a mantle, (1 Samuel 28:14) “Mantle” in Hebrew is “Melyl” meaning coat, robe or cloak, Saul “perceived” - in Hebrew this word is “Yada” meaning to acknowledge, a familiar friend. Saul guessedthat the witch was describing Samuel. Saul had put his face on the ground. The information that Saul received from the witch was relayed to Saul by the witches own mouth. This is sacrosanct to séances.
The dead never actually audibly speak through the air with a voice in a séance. Demons can speak through a medium because mediums are servants of demons. The Demon was actually telling Samuel he was going to be in Hell the next day. (1 Samuel 28:19). Angels and demons have access to certain information about the future. What Angels know about the future is “Not” prophetic to the Angel, only to us. Angels and Demons know what has been revealed on Earth.
“according to the wisdom of an angel of God, to know all things that are in the earth.” 2 Samuel 14:20
Angels do not have the veil of this life’s existence as the veil applies to mankind, meaning they can see both realities seamlessly, this life and the Heavens, carnally and spiritually, Samuel could not leave Paradise. Hell and Paradise were in proximity during the dispensation of Saul’s lifetime, which applied until Christ’s resurrection. (Luke 16:19-31). - Consider the great Gulf (v26)
Those in Paradise included Samuel. “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off.” Hebrews 11:13
This means that everyone who died in faith went to Paradise, believing on the coming of the Messiah. Paradise was referred to as Abraham’s Bosom (Luke 16:22-23). After the resurrection and ascension of Christ, Paradise was emptied and Hell expanded.
“And the graves were opened and many of the bodies of the Saints which slept arose, and come out of their graves after His resurrection.” Matthew 27:52-53
“Therefore Hell hath enlarged herself and opened her mouth without measure” Isaiah 5:14.
All those who operate with Familiar Spirits, are those who were given a spiritual gift like prophesy, the gift of wisdom or knowledge (1 Corinthians 12:8). But they are operating in a counterfeit manner, as did Balaam, and as such they do not see clearly.
“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12
These encounters are intended to deceive a person, no different than Satan in the Garden, to create a doorway so demons can work in a person’s life unbeknownst to them. Most Psychics don’t think they are in bed with demons, but the fact is the dead have nothing to do with the living, nor do they care about the living anymore.
“For the living know that they shall die, but the dead know not anything, neither have they anymore reward for the memory of them is forgotten, Also their love and the hatred and their envy is now perished, neither have they anymore a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 9:5-6
“Under the sun” is where living men dwell, which is Earth.
“For there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, wither thou goest.” Ecclesiastes 9:10
All knowledge of this life stops at death, Moses, Abraham, and Adam, don’t know what television, cell phones, cars or the internet is. They never saw it.
2. Scripture speaks repeatedly of angels moving about unseen (Daniel 10:1-21). Sometimes, these angels have interaction with living people. Evil spirits, or demons, can actually possess people, dwelling within them and controlling them (Mark 5:1-20, for example). The four Gospels and the Book of Acts record several instances of demon possession and of good angels appearing to and aiding believers. Angels, both good and bad, can cause supernatural phenomena to occur (Job 1–2; Revelation 7:1; 8:5; 15:1;16).
3. Scripture shows that demons know things of which people are unaware (Acts 16:16-18; Luke 4:41). Evil angels have been on the earth since before man was created and before the foundations of the earth were laid, they would naturally know things that those living limited life spans would not. Because Satan currently has access to God’s presence (Job 1–2), demons might also be allowed to know some specifics about the future, but this is speculation.
4. Scripture says Satan is the father of lies and a deceiver (John 8:44; 2 Thessalonians 2:9) and that he disguises himself as an “angel of light.” Those who follow him, human or otherwise, practice the same deceit (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). In this regard demons may permeate mankind through servants rather than the need for direct contact.
5. Satan and demons have great power (compared to humans). Even Michael the Archangel trusts only God’s power when dealing with Satan (Jude 1:9). But Satan’s power is not to be compared to God’s (Acts 19:11-12; Mark 5:1-20), and God is able to use Satan’s evil intent to bring about His purposes as with the pharaoh of Egypt with Moses and Israel. (Exodus 3:20, 7:3, 11:9).
6. In addition, God commands us to have nothing to do with the occult, devil worship, or the unclean spirit world. This would include the use of mediums, séances, Ouija boards, horoscopes, tarot cards, channeling, etc. God considers these practices an abomination (Deuteronomy 18:9-12; Isaiah 8:19-20; Galatians 5:20; Revelation 21:8), and those who involve themselves in such things invite disaster (Acts 19:13-16).
7. The Ephesian believers set an example in dealing with occult items (books, music, jewelry, games, etc.). They confessed their involvement with such as sin and burned the items publicly (Acts 19:17-19).
8. Before to the advent of the Holy Spirit, which God introduced prior to the coming of the Christ, (Jeremiah 31:31-34, Hebrews 8:10), demons effected men in antiquity in the same manner as they do today, through influence or direct possession. Prior to the Holy Spirits appearance among men after the ascension of Christ. (John 14:16-17, 26, 15:26, John 16:7), it was through the grace of God that men fought demons, but they had no power to cast them out without the Holy Spirit. The amount of demonic activity among men has not changed since the original occurrence. What has been magnified in current times is the change in the playing field with the advent of the Holy Spirit. Man being able to cast out demons directly in the name of Jesus.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” John 14:12-14, John 16:23–26)
In this context, attempts to disentangle oneself from demonic involvement without salvation are futile. Jesus warned of a heart devoid of the Holy Spirit’s presence: such a heart is merely an empty dwelling place ready for even worse demons to inhabit (Luke 11:24-26). But when a person comes to Christ for the forgiveness of sin, the Holy Spirit comes to live with and in them until the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30).
Some paranormal activity can be attributed to the work of charlatans. It would seem best to understand other reports of ghosts and hauntings as the work of demons. Sometimes these demons may make no attempt to conceal their nature, and at other times they may use deception, appearing as disembodied human spirits. Such deception leads to more lies and confusion.
God states it is foolish to consult the dead on behalf of the living. Rather, He says, “And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.!” Isaiah 8:19-20
The Word of God is our source of wisdom. Believers in Jesus the Christ should not be involved in the occult. The spirit world is real, but Christians do not need to fear it. “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4