Monday, November 30, 2015

The Dalai Lama: Questions & Answers

Question: How do you view yourself?

Answer: I always consider myself as a simple Buddhist monk. I feel that is the real me. I feel that the Dalai Lama as a temporal ruler is a man-made institution. As long as the people accept the Dalai Lama, they will accept me. But being a monk is something which belongs to me. No one can change that. Deep down inside, I always consider myself a monk, even in my dreams. So naturally I feel myself as more of a religious person. Even in my daily life, I can say that I spend 80% of my time on spiritual activities and 20% on Tibet as a whole. The spiritual or religious life is something I know and have great interest in. I have some kind of confidence in it, and thus I want to study it more. Regarding politics, I have no modern education except for a little experience. It is a big responsibility for someone not so well equipped. This is not voluntary work but something that I feel I must pursue because of the hope and trust that the Tibetan people place on me.

Question: Will you be the last Dalai Lama?

Answer: Whether the institution of the Dalai Lama remains or not depends entirely on the wishes of the Tibetan people. It is for them to decide. I made this clear as early as in 1969. Even in 1963, after four years in exile, we made a draft constitution for a future Tibet which is based on the democratic system. The constitution clearly mentions that the power of the Dalai Lama can be removed by a two-thirds majority vote of the members of the Assembly. At the present moment, the Dalai Lama's institution is useful to the Tibetan culture and the Tibetan people. Thus, if I were to die today, I think the Tibetan people would choose to have another Dalai Lama. In the future, if the Dalai Lama's institution is no longer relevant or useful and our present situation changes, then the Dalai Lama's institution will cease to exist.Personally, I feel the institution of the Dalai Lama has served its purpose. More recently, since 2001 we now have a democratically elected head of our administration, the Kalon Tripa. The Kalon Tripa runs the daily affairs of our administration and is in charge of our political establishment. Half jokingly and half seriously, I state that I am now in semi-retirement.

Question: Do you think you will ever be able to return to Tibet?

Answer: Yes, I remain optimistic that I will be able to return to Tibet. China is in the process of changing. If you compare China today to ten or twenty years ago, there is tremendous change. China is no longer isolated. It is part of the world community. Global interdependence, especially in terms of economics and environment make it impossible for nations to remain isolated. Besides, I am not seeking separation from China. I am committed to my middle-way approach whereby Tibet remains within the People's Republic of China enjoying a high degree of self-rule or autonomy. I firmly believe that this is of mutual benefit both to the Tibetans as well as to the Chinese. We Tibetans will be able to develop Tibet with China's assistance, while at the same time preserving our own unique culture, including spirituality, and our delicate environment. By amicably resolving the Tibetan issue, China will be able to contribute to her own unity and stability.

Question: The Chinese have recently stated that the next Dalai Lama will be born in Tibet and chosen by them. What do you have to say about this?

Answer: If the present situation regarding Tibet remains the same, I will be born outside Tibet away from the control of the Chinese authorities. This is logical. The very purpose of a reincarnation is to continue the unfinished work of the previous incarnation. Thus if the Tibetan situation still remains unsolved it is logical I will be born in exile to continue my unfinished work. Of course the Chinese will still choose their own Dalai Lama and we Tibetans will choose our own according to tradition. It will be similar to the present situation of the Panchen Lama. There is a Chinese-appointed Panchen Lama and there is the Panchen Lama chosen by me. One is paraded to serve its master's purposes and the other is the Panchen Lama accepted in the hearts of all the Tibetans.

Question: What are your commitments?

Answer: In general, I always state that I have three commitments in life. Firstly, on the level of a human being, my first commitment is the promotion of human values such as compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline. All human beings are the same. We all want happiness and do not want suffering. Even people who do not believe in religion recognize the importance of these human values in making their lives happier. I remain committed to talk about the importance of these human values and share them with everyone I meet. Secondly, on the level of a religious practitioner, my second commitment is the promotion of religious harmony and understanding amongst different religious traditions. Despite philosophical differences, all major world religions have the same potential to create better human beings. It is therefore important for all religious traditions to respect one another and recognize the value of each other's respective traditions. Thirdly, I am a Tibetan and carry the name of the Dalai Lama. Tibetans place their trust in me. Therefore, my third commitment is to the Tibetan issue. I have a responsibility to act the free spokesperson of the Tibetans in their struggle for justice. As far as this third commitment, it will cease to exist once a mutually beneficial solution is reached between the Tibetans and Chinese. However, my first two commitments I will carry on till my last breath.

Question: What were your first feelings on being recognized as the Dalai Lama? What did you think had happened to you?

Answer: I was very happy. I liked it a lot. Even before I was recognized, I often told my mother that I was going to Lhasa. I used to straddle a window sill in our house pretending that I was riding a horse to Lhasa. I was a very small child at the time, but I remember this clearly. I had a strong desire to go there. Another thing I didn't mention in my autobiography is that after my birth, a pair of crows came to roost on the roof of our house. They would arrive each morning, stay for while and then leave. This is of particular interest as similar incidents occurred at the birth of the First, Seventh, Eighth and Twelfth Dalai Lamas. After their births, a pair of crows came and remained. In my own case, in the beginning, nobody paid attention to this. Recently, however, perhaps three years ago, I was talking with my mother, and she recalled it. She had noticed them come in the morning; depart after a time, and then the next morning, come again. Now, the evening the after the birth of the First Dalai Lama, bandits broke into the family's house. The parents ran away and left the child. The next day when they returned and wondered what had happened to their son, they found the baby in a corner of the house. A crow stood before him, protecting him. Later on, when the First Dalai Lama grew up and developed in his spiritual practice, he made direct contact during meditation with the protective deity, Mahakala. At this time, Mahakala said to him, Somebody like you who is upholding the Buddhist teaching needs a protector like me. Right on the day of your birth, I helped you.  So we can see, there is definitely a connection between Mahakala, the crows, and the Dalai Lamas.

Another thing that happened, which my mother remembers very clearly, is that soon after I arrived in Lhasa, I said that my teeth were in a box in a certain house in the Norbulinka. When they opened the box, they found a set of dentures which had belonged to the Thirteenth Dalai Lama. I pointed to the box, and said that my teeth were in there, but right now I don't recall this at all. The new memories associated with this body are stronger. The past has become smaller, vaguer. Unless I made a specific attempt to develop such a memory, I don't recall it.

Question: Do you remember your birth or the womb state before?

Answer: At this moment, I don't remember. Also, I can't recall if at that time when I was a small child, I could remember it. However, there was one slight external sign perhaps. Children are usually born with their eyes closed. I was born with my eyes open. This may be some slight indication of a clear state of mind in the womb.

Question: Between the ages of sixteen and eighteen, after you assumed temporal power, did you change?

Answer: Yes, I changed a little bit. I underwent a lot of happiness and pain. Within that and from growing, gaining more experience, from the problems that arose and the suffering, I changed. The ultimate result is the man you see now (laughter).

Question: How about when you just entered adolescence? Many people have a difficult time defining themselves as an adult. Did this happen to you?

Answer: No. My life was very much in a routine. Two times a day I studied. Each time I studied for an hour, and then spent the rest of the time playing (laughter). Then at the age of 13, I began studying philosophy, definitions, debate. My study increased, and I also studied calligraphy. It was all in a routine though, and I got used to it. Sometimes, there were vacations. These were very comfortable and happy. Losang Samten, my immediate elder brother, was usually at school, but during these times he would come to visit. Also, my mother would come occasionally and bring special bread from our province of Amdo. Very thick and delicious. She made herself.

Question: Are there any of your predecessors in whom you have a special interest or with whom you have a particular affinity?

Answer: The Thirteenth Dalai Lama. He brought a lot of improvement to the standards of study in the monastic colleges. He gave great encouragement to the real scholars. He made it impossible for people to go up in the religious hierarchy, becoming an abbot and so forth, without being totally qualified. He was very strict in this respect. He also gave tens of thousands of monks' ordinations. There were his two main religious achievements. He didn't give many initiations, or many lectures. Now, with respect to the country, he had great thought and consideration for statecraft. The outlying districts in particular. How they should be governed and so forth. He cared very much how to run the government more efficiently. He had great concern about our borders and that type of thing.

Question: During the course of your life, what have been your greatest personal lessons or internal challenges? Which realizations and experiences have had the most effect on your growth as an individual?

Answer: Regarding religious experience, some understanding of shunya (emptiness: lack of independent self nature) some feeling, some experience and mostly bodhichitta, altruism. It has helped a lot. In some ways, you could say that it has made me into a new person, a new man. I am still progressing. Trying. It gives you inner strength, courage, and it is easier to accept situations. That's one of the greatest experiences.

Question: When you became a refugee, what helped you gain this strength? Was it the loss of your position and country, the fact of everyone suffering around you. Were you called on to lead your people in a different way than you had been accustomed to?

Answer: Being a refugee is really a desperate, dangerous situation. At that time, everyone deals with reality. It is not the time to pretend things are beautiful. That's something. You feel involved with reality. In peace time, everything goes smoothly. Even if there is a problem, people pretend that things are good. During a dangerous period, when there's a dramatic change, then there's no scope to pretend that everything is fine. You must accept that bad is bad. Now when I left the Norbulinka, there was danger. We were passing very near the Chinese military barracks. It was just on the other side of the river, the Chinese check post there. You see, we had definite information two or three weeks before I left, that the Chinese were fully prepared to attack us. It was only a question of the day and hour.

Question: About you being the incarnation of the bodhisattva of infinite compassion, Avalokiteshvara. How do you personally feel about this? Is it something you have an unequivocal view of one way or another?

Answer: It is difficult for me to say definitely. Unless I am engaged in a meditative effort, such as following my life back, breath by breath, I couldn't say exactly. We believe that there are four types of rebirth. One is the common type wherein, a being is helpless to determine his or her rebirth, but only reincarnates in dependence on the nature of past actions. The opposite is that of an entirely enlightened Buddha, who simply manifests a physical form to help others. In this case, it is clear that the person is Buddha. A third is one who, due to past spiritual attainment, can choose, or at least influence, the place and situation of rebirth. The fourth is called a blessed manifestation. In this the person is blessed beyond his normal capacity to perform helpful functions, such as teaching religion. For this last type of birth, the person's wishes in previous lives to help others must have been very strong. They obtain such empowerment. Though some seem more likely than others, I cannot definitely say which I am.

Question (follow up): From the viewpoint then of the realistic role you play as Chenrezi, how do you feel about it? Only a few people have been considered, in one way or another, divine. Is the role a burden or a delight?

Answer: It is very helpful. Through this role I can be of great benefit to people. For this reason I like it: I'm at home with it. It's clear that it is very helpful to people, and that I have the karmic relationship to be in this role. Also, it is clear that there is a karmic relationship with the Tibetan people in particular. Now you see, you may consider that under the circumstances, I am very lucky. However, behind the word luck, there are actual causes or reasons. There is the karmic force of my ability to assume this role as well as the force of my wish to do so. In regard to this, there is a statement in the great Shantideva's Engaging in the Bodhisattva Deeds which says, As long as space exists, and as long as there are migrators in cyclic existence, may I remain removing their sufferings. I have that wish in this lifetime, and I know I had that wish in past lifetimes.

Question (follow up): With such a vast goal as your motivation, how do you deal with your personal limitations, your limits as a man?

Answer: Again, as it says in Shantideva, If the blessed Buddha cannot please all sentient beings, then how could I. Even an enlightened being, with limitless knowledge and power and the wish to save all others from suffering, cannot eliminate the individual karma of each being.

Question (follow up): Is this what keeps you from being overwhelmed when you see the suffering of the six million Tibetans, who on one level, you are responsible for?

Answer: My motivation is directed towards all sentient beings. There is no question, though, that on a second level, I am directed towards helping Tibetan. If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it's not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.

Question (follow up): A lot of people say this, but few really live by it. Did you always feel this way, or did you have to learn it?

Answer: It is developed from inner practice. From a broader perspective, there will always be suffering. On one level, you are bound to meet with the effects of the unfavorable actions you yourself have previously committed in body, speech or mind. Then also, your very own nature is that of suffering. There's not just one factor figuring into my attitude, but many different ones. From the point of view of the actual entity producing the suffering, as I have said, if it is fixable, then there is no need to worry. If not, there is no benefit to worrying. From the point of view of the cause, suffering is based on past unfavorable actions accumulated by oneself and no other. These karmas are not wasted. They will bear their fruit. One will not meet with the effects of actions that one has not done oneself. Finally, from the viewpoint of the nature of suffering itself, the aggregates of the mind and body have as their actual nature, suffering. They serve as a basis for suffering. As long as you have them you are susceptible to suffering. From a deep point of view, while we don't have our independence and are living in someone else's country, we have a certain type of suffering, but when we return to Tibet and gain our independence, then there will be other types of suffering. So, this is just the way it is. You might think that I'm pessimistic, but I am not. This is how, through Buddhist teaching and advice, we handle situations. When fifty thousand people in the Shakya clan were killed one day, Shakyamuni Buddha, their clansman, didn't suffer at all. He was leaning against a tree, and he was saying, I am a little sad today because fifty thousand of my clansmen were killed. But he, himself, remained unaffected. Like that, you see (laughter). This was the cause and effect of their own karma. There was nothing he could do about it. These sorts of thoughts make me stronger; more active. It is not at all a case of losing one's strength of mind or will in the face of the pervasive nature of suffering.

 original link:

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Dalai Lama Shows Faith in Youth of 21st Century

Phagwara — The spiritual leader of Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama honored the 5th Convocation of Lovely Professional University as the chief guest in Punjab, On Saturday, November 14, 2015.

Recipient of a grand traditional Tibetan welcome, including performances by Tashi Shoelpa and Yak dancers, he was also presented with a Guard of Honor led by a sword wielding Sikh officer before whom he took the salute.

Responding to attendees at the press conference, he mentioned his three commitments: the promotion of basic human values and an understanding of the oneness of humanity to further human happiness; the fostering of inter-religious harmony, the preservation of Tibetan culture and the protection of Tibet's natural environment. Amongst several questions he answered one on the Paris attacks too, "Despite its many spectacular developments, the 20th century was also a period of unprecedented violence springing from the idea that problems can best be solved by force. Much of the violence of the early 21st century can be seen as spilling over from that. However, no wants to face problems. We only want to live a peaceful life, but we need to pursue a systematic programme of education, from KG to university, to bring this about. If we can do this, the 21st century could become a period of peace and dialogue."

Speaking briefly to the Tibetan and Bhutanese students, he emphasized on concentrating on "what we have in common, rather than dwelling on the secondary differences between us. As a child we do not care about status, faith, money etc., we only make friends with fellow human beings, this is what I always remind myself."

He shared his journey from labor for Tibetan affairs when he was 16 to when he relinquished political responsibility when he retired in 2011. His Holiness advised that it is not necessary to be a monk or nun to study Buddhist philosophy and encouraged them to take an interest in logic and knowledge. Furthermore, he encouraged the students to cultivate warmheartedness and live an ethical life.

His Holiness later joined the Governor of Punjab, Haryana & Chandigarh, Kaptan Singh Solanki to take part in the academic procession.

During his address to the audience, His Holiness said, "we are all the same as human beings, mentally, emotionally and physically, which is why it is important that we acknowledge the oneness of humanity. We all experience pleasure and pain. We all want to lead a happy life and indeed we all have a right to do so. We have to consider that we all belong to one human family. On that basis there is no ground for enmity between us, no room for killing, bullying or exploitation. There is no ground for looking down on others, because we are all equal as human beings. If we give in to our destructive emotions we only think of ourselves. We should feel fed up with the violence and killing going on around us. If a human being is killed by an animal, it's sad, but if a human being is killed by another human being it's unthinkable. We have to make a special effort to think of each other as fellow human beings, as our brothers and sisters."

Sharing his times with text books and commending the completion of their degrees, he told the students,"I'd like to thank you for inviting me here and for bestowing on me this Honorary Doctorate, particularly as I haven't done the study to earn it, unlike your degrees that you've earned as a result of your own efforts. Of course, I have studied in my own way. I began to memorize texts at the age of 8, but I am something of a lazy student and I only studied because my teacher kept a whip to impress me with. I began to study out of fear, but as I studied more I eventually developed a genuine interest. We have this marvelous brain and it is immensely important that we learn to use it to the full.

"What we need," His Holiness declared, "is a sense of secular ethics. Secular in the sense that it is understood here in India of respect for all religious traditions and even for the views of those who have no faith."

Reinstating his faith in the carriers of baton of the 21st century, he suggested students to channelize negative emotions for constructive and well intentioned tasks. He ended by suggesting the audience to lend his words a thought and "remain warm-hearted, always".

original link and photos

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Are Dream Catchers Proper?

In this blog I hope to convey the paranormal aspects of those who use Dream catchers.  I have been inside the homes of people who have this for what they believe help with aspects of ‘blessings and protection’ as they have conveyed to me.

According to Wikipedia the Dream catchers have long been a part of Native American religion, lore, and art, originating with the Ojibwe, or Chippewa, and the Lakota, a confederation of seven Sioux tribes.   In some Native American cultures, a dreamcatcher (or dream catcher; Lakota: iháŋbla gmunka, Ojibwe: asabikeshiinh, the inanimate form of the word for "spider" or Ojibwe: bawaajige nagwaagan meaning "dream snare") is a handmade object based on a willow hoop, on which is woven a loose net or web. The dreamcatcher is then decorated with sacred items such as feathers and beads from the base of the circle.

The Ojibwe people have an ancient legend about the origin of the dreamcatcher.  Storytellers speak of the Spider Woman, known as Asibikaashi; she took care of the children and the people on the land. Eventually, the Ojibwe Nation spread to the corners of North America and it became difficult for Asibikaashi to reach all the children. So the mothers and grandmothers would weave magical webs for the children, using willow hoops and sinew, or cordage made from plants.

As one might suspect, the purpose of a dream catcher is to catch dreams—that is, to trap bad or evil dreams and channel good dreams to the sleeper. Dream catchers are usually placed in a window or above the bed, allowing the good dreams to drip down the feathers onto the sleeper below.

So do you see what this says above regarding the lore?  A spider woman who took care of children, really?  Does anyone with a sense of logic even see this?  Sounds very creepy and eerie to me with nothing more than a demonic force which is behind this aspect.  Especially if those of Native American heritage know of God and HIS son the Lord Jesus Christ.  Which makes this even worse for those who would even own or put ‘faith’ into this cursed object because of the intention of ‘magical’ aspects.

Essentially, the Dream catcher is intended to manipulate the spirit world.  Really, an object to manipulate the spirit world?  Why not then just hang an Ouija board over your bed or window to ask for some ‘magical’ aspect to protect you?  What I am doing here is making light of the dangers of using something like this within your life let alone your home.

Some people believe in the efficacy of Dream Catchers while others are unsure but are superstitious enough to keep one in the bedroom.  If you are Christian you are not to have anything to do with superstitions.  Others see dream catchers as part of a cultural history or a piece of art which looks good in their home or dangling from a rear-view mirror of an automobile!  These are not art, these are very powerful pieces of demonic objects which give demonic forces the rights to be in your presence and home.

Therefore, knowing the background of what Dream Catchers are about and their talisman-like use, people who profess Christ Jesus in their lives are to have nothing to do with them.  Is such concern warranted about this object?  Let’s examine a passage found in the Bible.  In 1 Corinthians 8 we find the apostle Paul is speaking to Christians living in an extremely pagan culture ruled by superstition, magic, and sacrifices, all done in the name of various idols.  The sacrifices were a particular concern, for the meat sacrificed was then sold at market.  Some Christians felt eating sacrificed meat was endorsing the sacrifice and therefore inappropriate for a Christian; others believed that, since they were not worshiping the idol themselves, it was not wrong.

So what did the Apostle Paul’s guidance offer these people?  Here is what the guidance implies: “There may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”—yet for us there is one God. . . . However, not all possess this knowledge.  But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled” (1 Corinthians 8:5–7).

Ultimately, “food will not commend us to God.  We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do,” yet we must be careful “that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak” (1 Corinthians 8:8, 9).  Just as it was with meat associated with idolatry in the 1st century, so it is with superstitious objects that we have today like a ‘Dream Catcher’.

The Christian needs to understand that false gods are nothing and that a Dream Catcher has no power in itself. Therefore the believer in Christ Jesus could easily see a Dream Catcher as nothing more than a craft or a cultural expression of ancestry.  However, before one buys a Dream Catcher and hangs it in the window, one should consider other people’s reactions to such an object.  The question becomes – “will others see it as a charm to manipulate the spirit world?”  Will someone assume the one in possession of a Dream Catcher approves of Indian religions (of pagan origins) but yet professes Christ Jesus as the Savior?

Keeping a dream catcher is a matter of conscience or free will.  Therefore as long as it is not used as a good luck charm, it might be innocent enough to some. However, consideration must be given to the very origins relating to a ‘Spider Woman’ protecting infants and young children.  To me that sounds like nothing more than Witchcraft dressed up to appear righteous.

Therefore if you are a person who has one of these objects within their home or life you just might want to reconsider. "The Dream Catchers" are often associated with the New Age movement, which is very un-Christian like.  If one truly holds to the mythology associated with Dream Catchers, I believe it very unwise to have one.

In a nutshell, one is assigning God-like power to an object. Therefore putting a created object ahead of God Almighty who created all, therefore is a sin (Rom 1:25). In essence, it is making that object an idol and can apply to all sorts of objects such as: amulets, tarot cards, crystals, horoscopes, ouija boards, a talisman, etc...

While many of you may scoff at this, I believe these things can and will open a door to evil spirits. Many Christians have reported this happening over the years.  Regarding Dream Catchers specifically, one can read testimonies from some Christians who have hung these things in their bedrooms or in other areas of their homes and had terrible nightmares as a result of this action.  Those who actually believe in the power of Dream Catchers believe they can ‘manipulate the spirit world’ and stop ‘negative energy.’  Don't you think it might be dangerous to associate with things found in the "spirit realm?"

Rev. Brad Luoma, A.A.E. Exorcist and Deliverance Minister

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Dangers About Ghost Hunting Tools Connected To Demons?

What is a Demon? A demon, daemon or fiend, is a supernatural, often malevolent being prevalent in religion, occultism, literature, fiction, mythology and folklore. The original Greek word daimon does not carry the negative connotation initially understood by implementation of the Koine δαιμόνιον (daimonion),[1] and later ascribed to any cognate words sharing the root.

Demons are “angels that sinned,” spirit creatures who rebelled against God. (2 Peter 2:4) The first angel to make himself into a demon was Satan the Devil, whom the Bible calls “the ruler of the demons.” Matthew 12:24, 26.

A Few Examples Of The Type Of Attacks

Emotions. Exaggerated emotional states: fear, anxiety, anger, panic, shame, rejection, grief that is over-extended or out of proportion, hopelessness, helplessness.
The Mind. Tormenting thoughts of suicide, self-mutilation thoughts, confusion, forgetfulness, blocked memory, self hate, feelings of worthlessness and thoughts of being unloved and thoughts that God won't ever forgive you and he doesn't love you.

This is just my humble opinion on the subject of EVP's. I've witnessed serious consequences from someone having a unhealthy obsession and doing those a lot. I pray before each one I have to do for a case or investigation however, that is the only time I resort to EVP's.  I'm aware this subject has been discussed and many feel they are harmless. Maybe these cases I speak of just had bad luck but it's no different than attempting communication via ouija board or automatic writing. Just because you left a location with nothing going wrong doesn't mean all is well. Demons are very patient and I can assure you they will make themselves known at the worst possible time in your life. This is pure evil, why would anyone risk this? I had a case where said person was constantly doing these. She lost her friends and some family as she only seemed to care about was doing EVP's. At that point she could not be helped. She refused to stop doing them at any cost. Everything is not a demon afoot. That's giving them way too much credit. Being paranoid like that isn't healthy but just being aware can not hurt.

A demon is believed to be a force that can be conjured and controlled. They are also believed to have the ability to possess or inhabit the body of humans and the only way to rid the person of them is to conduct deliverance and/or Exorcism. Demons are portrayed differently in different cultures. Some believe demons to be actual physical beings that can take the form of anything, including animals. Others consider the real demons as more of a spiritual force of evil battling for one's soul. They  have been feared and written about in almost every culture in one form or another for as long as history has been recorded.

Demonic possession is a common belief involving demons using these ghost boxes that sweep through frequencies of channels and white noise. All of that stuff is new and used you taking a chance. Possession involves the act of a demon inhabiting the body of a mortal, living thing. Because Demons are believed by many to be fallen angels and the opposite of all that is good, a priest is usually called upon to perform the ceremony. Skeptics have blamed pre existing mental conditions for reported cases of possession, as opposed to demonic influence. Some cases have baffled everyone. People who are said to be possessed have been reported speaking in foreign languages that they had never even been exposed to. They often become very ill while their faces and bodies will sometimes appear to change. Possessed individuals have been known to speak in reverse dialog and injure themselves and or others.

Ouija Boards and EVP's create the same danger in my humble opinion. I have witnessed awful consequences people have to bare from playing around with these. In my opinion they are nothing more than portals to the demonic. Christ warns us about this.."Beware Of The Familiar Spirit." Our friends and loved ones are mimicked by demonic entities in a effort to trick us into offering help or becoming highly involved in keeping the communication going. This eventually allows them legal ground into our life.

It's something to be aware of I wanted to put out there. Not everything is a demon. I realize many go way too far with this. That alone could possibly put  you on their radar like the law of attraction as they say. We just need to be very careful what we get involved with and call spirit guides. Be safe.

Written Jennifer L Auld

Friday, November 20, 2015

An Important Distinction between Our Purpose…..Our Calling…..and Our Responsibilities

By Reverend Mark Hunnemann

Over time I have observed that much confusion and anxiety arises when we don’t have a clear distinction in our minds between: our purpose, our calling, and prioritizing general responsibilities. Though there is overlap between these three categories, they are distinct. My belief is that, once we understand these three categories, and how the each apply to our lives, it can be a life-changing experience!

It was a discussion on Facebook regarding my passion for educating folks about the occult worldview in general, and a biblical view of Ghosts in particular, that prompted this line of thought. I hope it is helpful to you, as it has been to me.

First things first: what has God said is our purpose in life? What should be our dominant life value? I don’t think I need to talk on and on for us to see the immense practical value of knowing the correct answer to this central question. How lost a person must feel if they have no clue as to why they are here. Conversely, how liberating it is to awaken each morning KNOWING exactly what my main reason for being on this planet is…what our purpose is.

The answer is given in below text….

28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.” (Mark 12:28-34)

In response to a question as to which commandment is the most important of all, Jesus does not hesitate to quote from Deuteronomy 6. That thick, 2,000 page bible of yours can be summarized in seven words: LOVE GOD WITH ALL OF YOUR BEING. It should be noted that we first must make sure we are loving the Living God, and not some idol (the Lord is one…..Three in one)
When all of life seems topsy turvy and full of confusion, our purpose in life stands out like a huge neon billboard for all to see. What God wants most from us is to passionately love Him. It matters not who you are, our purpose is the same for all 7.3 billion people who inhabit the planet. We all share the same purpose or dominant life value (or we should) ; purpose does not differ from one person to the next as it does with another basic issue I mentioned.

Many folks wonder or even wander across the globe in search of their purpose in life, but it has already been spelled out for us by our Creator and Redeemer. Again, sadly, so many people feel empty due to not having this one, basic question clarified in their minds.

When we awake in the morning, facing whatever tasks lay ahead of us, loving God with all of our being should compel us and undergird all we think, do, and say. “So, whether you eat or drink, glorify God in whatever you do.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) God does not want business or empty religion…He wants our hearts….our minds—all of us. Our primary purpose in life is to love God with all of our being. We express this love for God directly, but also by loving our neighbor.Who is our neighbor? Everyone, starting with our biological families and moving outwards.
Loving God includes our affections. Scripture tells us that we are not merely to accept the good and reject evil. Rather, we are commanded to love that which is good and hate that which is evil. Or as ESV puts it, “Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” (Romans 12:9)
What about our calling? That DOES differ from one person to another, and it generally is connected with our spiritual gifts. In the text below, God outlines the concept of spiritual gifts. That in itself is very significant and needs to be kept in mind if we are to function at full capacity. And it should be pointed out that pursuing our calling is a primary means by which we express our love for God…by abiding in Him while doing what we do, and loving Him through serving others, which all callings have some servant component to them.

In 1 Corinthians 12:1 Paul tells us that we shouldn’t be uninformed regarding our spiritual gifts.
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually has he wills.

In this text the same Holy Spirit gives a variety of gifts. Whereas, in our purpose, it is the same for everyone, when it comes to our calling the accent is on variety (vvs 4,5, 6) Most theologians see these lists as representative but not exhaustive….not all gifts are listed. They all come from God as He sovereignly wills,v.11…they are all for the common good of the Body.

Upon conversion, every Christian is given a gift/s for God’s glory and for the common good of the Body of Christ, and brings sense of personal satisfaction….and which may extend out into the world as well.

For a full-time homemaker with young children, I think we can safely say that their calling is to focus on their family! Depending upon the person and circumstances, they may find time to find outlets for ministry to others as well. Hospitality may be an option.

What does this have to do with our callings? Everything! The Lord equips us with specific spiritual gifts to enable us to accomplish our callings.

Before I proceed, how can we discern what our spiritual gifts are? I was around during the heyday of spiritual gift inventories. They can be useful….but, if you don’t have experience in the area God has called you to, then the tests are useless. Spiritual gifts define what our spiritual job description is in the Body. To determine what our gifts are—and a direction for our calling—we need to: ask God to make His gifts/calling clear; practice those gifts frequently; and get kind but honest feedback from trusted and godly friends as to whether you excel in the area you believe you are gifted in. You should get affirmation regarding how your gift mix/calling has touched others. Whatever your calling, it should be some service that you are good at and you are motivated about. God sovereignly designed your uniqueness, and distribution of gifts. Your calling may be your full-time job, or what you do as time allows, hopefully the former.

Your calling and spiritual gifts are intertwined. Your calling is what God wants you to focus on, and He has gifted you toward that end. For example, if you are called to work with Hospice, then what spiritual gift or gift-mix do you think God would have given you? Perhaps mercy…remember, I’m convinced the lists are only representative of many unlisted vital gifts God has given us.

If I may be personal, I am convinced the Lord has called me to teaching and has gifted me toward that end. Once the pastoral teaching ministry ended, Jesus tenderly led me in another direction with my teaching gifts. I believe that the notion of ghosts is perhaps Satan’s most successful and effective deceptive scam on a global scale today. And the ocultic worldview is the greatest threat to Christianity today. So, I want to educate everyone possible.

Calling and spiritual giftedness are intertwined. Since they outline our job description in the Body, then we need to “stay in that lane” (as one friend put it)….perhaps even putting blinders on at times to keep focus in a world in such disarray.

I have been reminded recently that we need to respect each other’s callings, and not expect everyone to share the same passion that we have for our calling.

Lastly, we need to take care that we not let our calling take precedence over our purpose. Loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength is what should drive our callings….an expression of our love for God and our neighbor. Speaking as an ex-pastor, I know of numerous guys who got so busy with ministry, that they lost sight of their first love. (Revelation 2:4) However, this can happen in any calling. We need to keep the horse before the cart.

The third area we need to keep in mind, but is distinct from our purpose and calling, is the responsibility to discern where Satan is specifically attacking OUR generation.
See texts below.

12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers,1 by the mercies of God, to present your bodies bas a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.2  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good..”
32 Of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, 200 chiefs, and all their kinsmen under their command.
(1 Chronicles 12:32)

Let me repeat what I said earlier: An important aspect of loving God is having our minds and affections transformed. If we are passionate about God, then we will not merely accept or agree that certain things are right and others are wrong. Instead, we will fully embrace and love what God loves, and hate what God hates….both with a passion!

The call to not be conformed to the world, but have our minds transformed by biblical truth, implies that we must be cognizant of the “spirit of the age”. Each generation of Christians is responsible for discerning the chief areas of belief and practice that are especially harmful.

“If I profess, with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christianity. Where the battle rages the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle-field besides is mere flight and disgrace to him if he flinches at that one point.”

(This quote was first thought to be from Martin Luther—he certainly taught this prioritizing in battle—but I’m not sure who originally wrote it) I’ve always been fascinated with this comment regarding the men of Issachar—they had keen discernment of their generation, and what should be done.
I realize that the world is filled with endless expressions of evil, but we must learn two things. First, ALL Christians (as an expression of loving God with our minds) need to understand the primary issues facing the church today…especially those in leadership.

In fact, Francis Schaeffer stated that the ‘great evangelical disaster’ was that the church was not fulfilling its role in lovingly confronting evil. Consequently, we are accommodating that evil. As I said there are many evils in our world today, but we must prioritize. What I like about the “Luther” quote is that if we are not vigilant of where Satan is primarily attacking, then we are running away from the fight.

Abortion is our nation’s most heinous sin, and if we won’t stand for the sanctity of life, what will we stand for? I am acutely aware that some reading this have been deeply scarred, and my heart goes out to you. However, the bible insists that we have special care for the defenseless….who is more defenseless than an unborn baby? At the very least we should pray about this horror…and do what we can.

On a spiritual level, the primary enemy of Christianity is no longer secularism, though it is very much alive and kicking. The occult worldview is the main enemy of the church today, and as men of Issachar, we need to be understanding of our times.

My calling is to educate people regarding this threat. Your calling is something else, but without distracting you from that calling, we all have the responsibility to have at least a basic knowledge of this threat to the Body of Christ. Again, I am NOT saying that all Christians have to share my passion regarding this occult worldview in general, and the notion of ghosts in particular. A thousand times NO!! But with millions of Americans being sucked into this way of thinking—including an exploding number of children reared in bible believing homes and churches—it becomes a simple matter of compassion. While being faithful to your own calling, will you recognize the need to do a bit of homework…in order to answer your children’s or grandchildren’s questions? All I’m saying is that we need to have the compassion to understand (not be experts) the primary points where Satan is attacking.

Like our purpose, we ALL have a responsibility to understand the times in which we live. Indeed, one way we can tangibly express our love for God and neighbour is to understand the primary threat to the ‘apple of God’s eye’…the Body of Christ…the Church. I want to make clear (again) that your calling is the lane you are to run the race in. However, some issues are so essential that it is our shared, common responsibility to think about them, or we may unwittingly be conformed to the world.

Hopefully, this brief explanation of these three areas, and the need to distinguish them, has been of practical help to you.

Mark Hunnemann is the author of Seeing Ghosts Through God's Eyes: A Worldview Analysis of Earthbound Spirits. It's also available in eBook format.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Dalai Lama Condemns Paris Attacks

DHARAMSHALA, November 16: The Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Sunday condemned the series of terror attacks in Paris on Friday, which killed over 130 people.

“Despite its many spectacular developments, the 20th century was also a period of unprecedented violence springing from the idea that problems can best be solved by force. Much of the violence of the early 21st century can be seen as spilling over from that. However, no wants to face problems. We only want to live a peaceful life, but we need to pursue a systematic programme of education, from KG to university, to bring this about. If we can do this, the 21st century could become a period of peace and dialogue,” His Holiness told the 5th Convocation of the Lovely Professional University in Phagwara, Punjab.

“Violence is a reaction by short-sighted, out-of-control people. At 81, I believe it cannot be resolved through prayers or government help. We have to begin the change at individual level and then move on to neighborhood and society,” said the Tibetan leader.

The Tibetan exile government, officially known as the Central Tibetan Administration, also condemned the killings and offered condolences to the victims and families who lost their near ones.

The Prime Minister (Sikyong) Dr. Lobsang Sangay said, “I offer my sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims and strongly condemn the attacks undertaken by a few misguided fanatics.

“Terrorism is an attack on mankind and those who perpetrate such attacks do not represent any faith or community. It is a scourge and cannot be justified in any way through moral, political or religious affiliations,” he added.

He called on the world to act as one to ‘combat terrorism and restore security and stability in the world’ while emphasizing the need for a coordinated and collaborative international approach in the wake of terror attacks.

“The Tibetan people stand united with the people of France in this painful time.”

Paris, home to a sizeable number of Tibetan refugees, suffered the deadliest violence on its soil since World War II last week.

original link:

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Does Occult Activity Lead To Violence?

Hello my friends. I hope everybody had a blessed weekend and everyone you love is healthy. I've discussed this subject before but sadly like others it needs to be brought up again because it seems to be very much on the rise and not slowing down anytime soon unfortunately.

The quickest way for demons to gain entrance in the lives of humans. This is because most occult activities involve having direct contact with demonic spirits. Whether it’s dabbling with Ouija board, Witchcraft, necromancy or any other means of consulting evil spirits, will certainly open up the door way to demonic bondage pretty quick. It is giving the legal right to enter your life.

In situations where demons enter the life of an individual through involuntary means, are usually during awful times when a person is really going through a traumatic experience, which causes intense negative emotional reactions that are above normal. This can be an overwhelming response to an experience which causes one to be completely overcome by fear, deep depression, deep sorrow, very deep emotional pains and different negative emotions which are above normal.

One form of attack by these vile things is accusation and criticism. Demons will interject condemning thoughts into the minds of believers. They absolutely love to conjure up the past with thoughts of, “You really failed at so much..” or “You really messed up”. Demons are on a mission to destroy us. They work together and strategize. They go after our weaknesses especially times when people are physically and/or emotionally weak. They attempt to affect all areas of a person’s body, soul, and spirit. They don’t play fair.

Satanism is a hard core religion. It's based on the belief that it's ok to be selfish and they practically live by that attitude. They pretty much say the world will be ruled by those who fight to win. Satanism challenges the biblical teaching every which way you can imagine. It manipulates the mind against it. Also regarding man's relationship to others. A lot of satanists believe that the strong will rule with Satan. Once they have paid their dues for lack of better words, they often make a pact with satan. Some even make a date when they will take their own lives by suicide. They believe that if they submit themselves to satan in death, they will return in another life as a stronger being and rule with him forever. According to recent statistics, fourteen young people a day take their own lives. A major concern for those who uphold a Judeo-Christian world view is that this generation is becoming detached and is losing all sense of morality. Many have lost their mooring. It is so important  for the the church,, and we as individuals, to share the message that Jesus Christ is the only possible solution to our emotional and spiritual needs.

Here is an interesting story from the NY Daily News that I posted once on another blog last year but I think it's important to post it again because it has a lot to do with the subject I'm speaking about. A lot of people may not of even known that this event took place. You can Google his name and his mug shot that shows the look in his eyes which speaks volumes. People can deny this kind of activity all they want. It still won't eradicate it from society until the return of Christ.

“A sinister shrine reveals a chilling occult dimension in the mind of the deranged gunman accused of shooting a member of Congress and 19 others.”

Gabrielle Gifford's shooting: Frightening, twisted shrine in Arizona killer Jared Lee Loughner’s yard.

The story describe a miniature alter with a replica of a skull in his backyard tent.  Could Jared Lee Loughner be suffering from something more then mental illness?  Look into the eyes of his court room picture, and you may be seeing something other then just the human intellect looking back.  Centuries ago most mental illness was blamed on demons.  Today we know better.  Yet, there may be instances when voices in the head may not be only one’s imagination. Might he also be suffering from demonic possession?

'This news story suggests Jared Loughner may have dabbled in occult rituals.  If we combine mental illness with substance abuse and then throw in potentially dangerous goetic magic, an individual can open the doorway to obsession or possession.  Ceremonial magic is serious stuff and requires self-control and self-assurance.  If the unstable play with this they can open their minds to dangerous forces.  What would be unbalanced behavior can then become violent.   These demons may be literal discarnate entitles, or they may be the psychological demons of the id.  Yet, there is a difference between crazy and evil. Looking at the image of the alleged shooter’s shrine, I wonder if this is a shrine to Santa Muerte, or “Holy Death”.  This is a Mexican figure of veneration, for those who venerate death.  The figure is that of the Grim Reaper.  It is considered a saint for lost souls and outsiders, and is used by those seeking supernatural assistance for acts that religion and other saints would certainly not approve of.  The skull replica could represent Santa Muerte, and the oranges surrounding the skull would be the offering, the sacrifice given for Holy Death’s favor.  Santa Muerte always required a price.  And what was the favor the alleged shooter requested?  Possibly, his success in assassination. In the picture I notice 3 glass encased novena style candles.  They often have labels on them designating their purpose.  I don’t see any labels on these candles.  Too bad, since if they were labeled that would be a clear clue to what the ritual had been about, and perhaps some of the motivation of the shooter." ......This article was down right scary. God only knows how many more stories like this exist that we just don't ever hear about. Just shows how very real this is and it is a real problem going on in the world.'

Let's take a look at what the book of Revelations tells us. I know it's one of the most difficult books out of all 66 in the Bible to understand and grasp. I feel the following that I'm about to share is important information regarding the subject that I'm blogging about today. It just gives us more insight.

Revelations 9:1 "and the 5th Angel sounded and a star fell from heaven unto to the earth and to him was given the key to the bottomless pit.

The Fifth Trumpet - The expulsion of Satan from heaven. The identification of Satan in this passage is not hard to make. Isaiah foresaw this development in exactly the same manner described by John. "How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations!" (Isaiah 14:12)

Many people mistakenly believe that throughout human history, Satan has already been banished from heaven, or that he reigns in some kind of kingdom in hell. That isn't true. Satan has always had access to the Throne of God, where he serves as the principle accuser of the saints of God. "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord,
and Satan also came among them." (Job 1:4)

The following story I found on

Sandy Hook Gunman: 'I am the devil': Former classmate reveals school gunman had 'online devil worshiping page'. devil and had an online page dedicated to Satan, a former classmate revealed, as his childhood barber recalls Adam Lanza never spoke and would stare at the floor every time he had his hair cut.

The FBI are trying to piece together his smashed up hard drive to see if his online footprint will reveal any motive for the killing, but they strongly believe he made use of devil-worshiping and suicide sites and boasted of his murder plans on message forums.

Adam Lanza's childhood barber Bob Skuba revealed today that Nancy Lanza stopped bringing her son in for haircuts a few years ago so he thought he had moved away from the area.'

Read more: 

Written By Jennifer L Auld

Friday, November 13, 2015

A Comprehensive Analysis of Christians Arguments for Ghosts

By Reverend Mark Hunnemann

I came across an argument recently which I consider representative of many thoughtful and sincere Christians. The argument is that there seems to be some “wiggle” room in the bible for considering ghosts as a biblically admissible category—three texts are given as most important. Later, this brother stated that though he believes ghosts may exist, we must not speak with them because the bible is clear that we mustn’t do that (Deuteronomy 18, Leviticus 19, 20). I appreciate this person’s ability to make a distinction as to ghost’s existence and our communication with them as two, distinct issues.

My purpose in this unusually lengthy blog is to establish the fact that the bible is crystal clear regarding the fate of those in the intermediate state—those who have died before Jesus’ return—and that there is no wiggle room for ghosts. Instead of quoting a couple verses and then listing others for folks to read on their own, I have included most of the texts I deem most pertinent to the state of our souls after death. I trust that you will read them carefully, and feel the cumulative effect. I am of the opinion that “mere” belief in ghosts, even if we won’t attempt communication, is harmful….it certainly is unbiblical.

I will address his interpretation of 1 John 4:1 first, list the pertinent verses, and then address the three verses he considers as most supportive of the notion of ghosts. If you are a sincere seeker of truth regarding ghosts, then I appeal to you to listen and read all the texts and arguments carefully. I put a lot of time in this blog.
“It is simply too easy to resign all paranormal phenomenon into the category of the demonic. Besides, we have no need to “test the spirits and see whether they are from God” (I Jn. 4:1) if all spirits (or spiritual phenomenon) are categorically evil. So while the Bible cautions us about deceiving spirits, it does not go so far as to say that all “encounters” are necessarily of the “deceptive” order. (p. 105 paperback edition; bold mine)

The need for spiritual discernment regarding “spirits” is evidence that there may be some wiggle room as to their nature. If all ghosts are demons, we don’t need discernment. But if, as I believe, there’s a broader range of spiritual possibilities, remaining skeptically agnostic may be a virtue.

Furthermore, some biblical texts appear to challenge the “ghosts are demons” narrative. Here’s what I consider the three most important.

Saul and the Witch of Endor (I Sam. 28) — The “ghost” of Samuel is summoned by a witch and witnessed as “a spirit coming up out of the ground” (vs. 13). The spirit is recognized as the dead prophet who validates himself by prophesying against Saul (vss. 16-19). So what was Samuel? A ghost or a demon?

The Mount of Transfiguration (Mark 9:2-8) — Two dead prophets—Moses and Elijah—appear alongside Jesus in a glorified state. Had they been resurrected? Where did their bodies/souls  previously exist? Where did they return to? Compounding matters is that the prophets “were talking with Jesus” (vs. 4).

Jesus’ post-Resurrection appearance to the disciples in which they mistake Him for “a ghost” (Luke 24:36-39) — It suggests that ghosts were an admissible category within their culture. Jesus does not rebuke them for this belief. In fact, He seems to substantiate it—“a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have” (vs. 39). This implies that ghosts ARE something and not another. (Note, this isn’t the first time the disciples thought Jesus to be a ghost — Matt. 14:22-33.)

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. 4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:1-6)

First, I need to address the author’s interpretation and application of 1 John 4:1….notice that I quote the entire text to preserve context. Many people assume that John has 3 kinds of entities in mind when it comes to discernment (true, demonic, and ghosts) In fact, the author states we would not need discernment if all ghosts were demons. This is simply not true. Read 1 John 4:1-6 carefully and you will not see ghosts anywhere in the context. What John is clearly calling Christians to be is discerning about human teachers within the church.(1b) The spirits and human teachers are inextricably connected in v. 1.(for many false prophets have gone out into the world.. see v 5-6 for same connection of spirits with teachers) John’s point is that some people’s teaching is animated by the Holy Spirit, and others are animated by demonic spirits. THAT is what discernment is needed for. When he says “test the spirits” it is a call for doctrinal orthodoxy, especially a Christological test. Namely, any spirit which denies that Jesus was fully human is demonic in origin (unclean spirit), and any spirit which affirms it is from God. The clarion call for discernment had only two foci in this context….godly human teachers who were guided by the Holy Spirit who taught orthodox views of Christ, and ungodly teachers who were guided by unholy spirits who taught heterodox views of Christ. False teaching regarding Christ was/is rampant and John (the Holy Spirit) commands us to not be spiritually gullible, but discerning. The author’s assertion that discernment was not needed unless ghosts existed is simply not true, and misses the Holy Spirit’s intent for this text. Discerning false teaching regarding the Person and Work of Christ is plenty reason for dogged and determined discernment. Such calls for discernment regarding false teachers is a common motiff from Genesis to Revelation…from Jesus Himself and in virtually all the epistles. V.6  summarized John’s point. ”We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” It is an either/or. Human teachers like John who speak correctly regarding Jesus have the Spirit of truth, but human teachers who speak falsely of Christ are animated by demons—the spirit of error. John does not have ghosts anywhere in his mind in this text. Nowhere! And yet there is an alarming sense of urgency that we be discerning. I honestly don’t understand how one can say this text makes no sense (in its call for discernment) unless it was implying a need for discernment of ghosts. The issue is discernment between teaching from the Holy Spirit, and teaching originating from demonic influence. That is clearly the Holy Spirit’s intent for this text and not just my interpretation.

From here, I want to list the primary texts that clarify the nature of the intermediate state, which are uniformly ghost-less. For sake of space and time, my comments after each will be minimal. Please read ALL the texts,

9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, (2 Peter 2:9) Peter is speaking present tense. ALL of the unrighteous are being punished in hell during the intermediate state. From Adam and Eve onwards, there  have been two streams of humanity—the righteous (those who looked forward to the coming Messiah, or look back to the Messiah who came) and the unrighteous. The seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. Again, there is no allowance for exceptions regarding the location of all the unrighteous who have died.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Who is the author of Hebrews referring to as surrounding us? We need to look at the context, especially the preceding chapter. Starting with Abel there is a list of “faith hall of fame”… Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses,ect. All of these folks listed in chapter 11 are commended as living by faith and not by sight…waiting for their heavenly home. The astonishing thing is that we are told that this great cloud of witnesses in heaven “surround us”. They are earnestly looking down upon us, perhaps cheering us on as we run our race of faith. These Old Testament believers are currently in heaven….disembodied but glorified spirits worshiping God face-to-face, covered in the righteousness of Christ, who is seated at the right hand of the Father. No exceptions….all the righteous dead from Old Testament times comprise the cloud of witnesses in heaven. In light of all Jesus endured (v.2) is it not noxious in the extreme to think that the perfect atonement made by the perfect Atoner of our sin, let somebody “slip” and become earthbound? The clear picture is that ALL the righteous dead comprise this great cloud of witnesses. They are conscious, and not in some suspended animation or soul-sleep, as some assert.

For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19 and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20 For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (Hebrews 12:18-24)
This astonishing text is often overlooked. As is often the case in Hebrews, the greater glory of the New Covenant is accented in this text. Moses, and all the Jews, were fearful of God’s theophany on the mountain. Speaking to all true Christians, the author says that “we have come (not future tense!!)…to the heavenly Jerusalem.” There is a true, proper mysticism in Christianity. The church militant is united with the church triumphant! In some sense, by virtue of our common union with Christ, we have access to the spiritual realm of heaven where we worship together with angels and deceased believers. Notice that God is called the “judge of ALL” (accent added)..nobody is immune from the Judge of heaven and earth. “The spirits of the righteous made perfect” can only mean all believers now in heaven. Notice they are called spirits…their souls are in heaven…and upon death, their souls were glorified; made perfect and free from all sin. Whether living during the Old Testament era or the New, believers are said to be in assembly in worship in heaven, along with innumerable angels. In 2:12 Jesus is leading the assembly in singing!! This is the glorious hope of all Christians upon death. Nobody will escape from our holy God, who is a consuming fire. (v. 29) I earnestly hope that nobody would think to refer to these “spirits of the righteous made perfect” as ghosts, simply because they are disembodied spirits.

Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing pat the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together2 at him. 58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7:54-60)

When the human courts had cast their vote of condemnation, Jesus came to Stephen’s aid. He was one of the first Christians killed (violent death, lots of emotion, unfinished business, before his time, ect…in world’s eyes—criteria set by paranormal community for haunting) But Jesus, King of Kings, became Stephen’s defense attorney. As His son was unfairly condemned and dying, Jesus STOOD UP—He is usually seen as seated at right hand—to tenderly welcome Stephen home. Jesus is our righteousness and He will similarly come to our defense when we die….if we are His children. What “fell asleep” was his body, until resurrected at Second Coming. Stephen’s death is a clear picture of God taking personal interest in everyone’s death, righteous or unrighteous. Can you picture, in light of this text, God just letting some poor soul become earthbound…avoiding any judgment or homecoming? At this point, I hope the cumulative effect of these texts is making its intended mark.

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. 10 They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been. (Revelation 6:9-11)

Under the altar is where sacrificial blood would pool. John sees the souls of believers under the altar, using Old Testament sacrificial imagery. The white robes signify victory and purity. Martyrs should be seen as symbolic of all believers who are called to be living sacrifices. (Romans 12:1-2) Obviously, these disembodied but glorified spirits are more alive and conscious than they ever were on earth! This is one of the clearest and most compelling pictures of the condition of believers during the intermediate state. Symbolism abounds in Revelation and these are symbolic of ALL believers who have died. Are they literally under an altar, cramped? No! All deceased believers are in heaven and clothed in the righteousness of Christ, and worshipping and enjoying God. Their cry for vengeance would become increasingly answered as the book progresses. Once again, we are walking on holy ground as we peer into heaven, where all deceased believers reside….very much conscious, but no communication seen in any text with those on earth.
 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house—28 for I have five brothers7—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’

There are many things one could discuss regarding this remarkable parable, but I need to stay focused on what happens to all people when we die. We see both sides of the coin: after his death, Lazarus was taken to heaven (that is where Abraham is now), and the unrighteous rich man was sent to hell after death….that is what Hades means in this context. Putting aside all the other details, this parable clearly displays the reality of the intermediate state. After death and judgment, our souls go either to heaven or hell. The notion of anyone being trapped here is utterly foreign to biblical theology. V.31 intimates that there will be no visitations from heaven by righteous souls to folks on earth.
27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27-28)

This one verse is so clear it should resolve the issue for the open-minded. Since the bible does not contradict itself, less clear verses should be interpreted in a fashion that does not contradict this crystal clear verse. First, note that all men are “appointed to die”. Clearly the unspoken appointer is the Judge of heaven and earth. This is a strong verb—the sovereign King has appointed your death, down to the exact second. God makes an appointment which no man can cancel. All men must die and will die. Not by fate but by divine appointment. We die once—“hapax”(denying reincarnation)…” meta de touto krisis.” In the Greek it is even clearer…immediately after death we face judgment. Death is a means to an  end—to bring us before the judgment seat of Christ. This text disallows any wiggle room for anybody to remain earthbound and avoiding immediate judgment. We all die once, then we all immediately face judgment.  That is the force of the Greek word rendered “after” (meta).This text strictly denies any option of entrapment. What is usually overlooked in discussions of this verse is the singular honor and dignity of Jesus as well as the perfection of the atonement in the follow up verse. (v.29)…a recurring theme in all these texts. We meet Christ immediately after death, whether believer or unbeliever, there is apodictic certainty that none will remain behind,,,you MUST  appear before Christ’s seat of judgment. Christ shed His infinitely precious blood ONCE, just as we die once. This is a judgment before THE Judgment….a personal reckoning before God immediately after death which ushers us into the intermediate state. Our disembodied souls are sent to either heaven or hell…..until Jesus comes a second time and our private sentences will be made public, and we are reunited with our bodies.

This is a good place to point out the serious implications of believing in ghosts. The atonement is like a multi-faceted gem. Put another way, 10,000 benefits flow from the cross. The bible states that the perfect atonement was a frontal assault on sin, Satan, and death. Death lost its sting. However, if only one person gets trapped here, then that implies imperfection in the atonement or the Atoner, or both. It also takes the certainty out of our glorious hope. If for whatever reason folks can get trapped here, then nobody can die with utter certainty of seeing Jesus upon death.Not only is the notion of ghosts inconsistent with the bible it is hostile to every major doctrine in the bible. It certainly casts a shadow over the perfection of the atonement. That is a serious red flag.

All leave earth upon death.

Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. (Philippians 1:18-26)

Paul states it explicitly…he had the certain hope that when he died, he was going to be with Jesus. ….depart and be with Christ. It was so wonderfully simple for Paul—die and he would be with his beloved Jesus. How clearer can a man be? In this sense Paul was not special. All Christians are to see these verses as their certain hope—their inheritance. Notice it is all so very Christocentric…these verses ooze and dance with Jesus as the center stage in Paul’s life and death. Another verse which should be enough to demolish earthbound spirits. There is simply no way to jive the notion of earthbound spirits with this text. And as we’ll see, less clear texts are to be interpreted by clear verses like this one. The certainty of being with Jesus upon death was grounded in the Person and work of Christ, as seen in the larger context (cf. 2:8-11…ch.3) Clinging to the righteousness of Christ was the basis for Paul’s (and ours) absolute confidence regarding our heavenly home during the intermediate state. All leave earth upon death.

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. (2 Corinthians 5:6-10)
WE…..WE….(9 times in English bible) Frequently in his letters, Paul would use the first person/plural..we. What was true of the great apostle is true of the garden variety believer, like me/us. No exceptions. First, as in previous text, Paul states that death leads to going home to be with Jesus. Death is an immediate and certain doorway for believers into the beatific vision….seeing the Lord Jesus in His indescribable beauty, which will be the greatest pleasure in heaven. Second, we experience what is called the believer’s judgment prior to entry. I don’t have time to elaborate but this teaches that “each one” (no exceptions) will experience it upon death.

17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.  (Revelation 1:17-18)

Having the keys to death means that Jesus has authority over it. Once again, His authority and victory over death is inextricably linked to Jesus’ death and resurrection. “I died…am alive forevermore”….As if to say, therefore I have absolute sovereign authority over death. I determine what happens to you when you die, not you. I have the keys, not you, and not Satan. John, perhaps Jesus’ closest friend while on earth, almost died from fright when he saw the ascended Lord Jesus in His holy glory. Then Jesus gently touched Him. I honestly believe that the greatest need of Christians is a renewed understanding of God’s holiness. With God as truly God Almighty, God-dishonoring notions like ghosts would melt away. Our God is too small.

Every person who dies has to face the One who owns death and has authority over it. Nobody can just hang around and not have to deal with the One who owns them by virtue of creating them and has the keys.

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43)

According to the paranormal community certain circumstances and kinds of death raise the chances of one becoming trapped. This man was experiencing one of the most painful ways to die ever devised by man…he met most, if not all, of the so-called death criteria. But he believes in Jesus at the eleventh hour, and Jesus says to him: ”Today you will die and get trapped here for an indeterminate amount of time….and your residual energy will seep into this ground” Right? Obviously not. Sounds horribly foolish doesn’t it? Jesus tells this dear man, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”  In other words, Jesus was assuring this dying man that he would be in heaven after he died. During the intermediate state this man would be in conscious fellowship with Jesus Christ. Luke was written in part to show that Jesus is the Divine Messiah for all people. What was true for this man is meant to be seen as paradigmatic for all believers….going home.

Before looking at three classic texts used to support the notion that ghosts are an admissible category, it is prudent to list some basic rules of hermeneutics. It should become clear as we proceed, but there is a science to proper interpretation. Errors can be caught at the gate if we are cognizant of these basic rules. Honestly, most Christians are not trained in this area.

Rules for interpretation

1. New Testament interprets Old Testament
2. Scripture interprets scripture… non-contradictory fashion
3.  Always interpret text in it’s context…immediate and larger (what precedes it, and purpose of book….e.g. what immediately precedes Mark 6 and what is purpose of Mark’s gospel? And the context of the entire bible, which takes hard work)
4. Determine what kind of literary genre text is (e.g. poetry, historical narrative, ect.)
5. Historical narratives are to interpreted by didactic (examples of historical narratives are 1-2 Kings and gospels….note that all texts cited by author are historical narrative)  They record history and often without comment….generally they are descriptive and not prescriptive…unless meaning is made clear. Epistles were written to explain in further detail the meaning of the person and work of Jesus recorded in gospels and its application…and are almost always prescriptive
6. Unclear or bizarre texts are not to be used to formulate doctrine, and should be interpreted by clearer texts.
7. Determine the main intent of Holy Spirit and not what we wish it to mean. Determine what text meant to original audience before seeking personal application.
8. Any interpretation or implication drawn from text that implicitly/explicitly diminishes the singular honor and dignity of Jesus Christ, or casts a shadow over the absolute perfection of the atonement, should be rejected. If interpretation is inconsistent with letter or spirit of other clearer texts it should be rejected.
9.It should be noted that at significant junctures of redemptive history, there is usually an increase of extraordinary, sometimes mysterious, Divine activity. Examples would include Noah, Abraham, Moses, Saul/David, Elijah/Elisha, and Jesus. Care must be taken to ensure that the Holy Spirit’s intent for these texts is sought out, and our own agendas put aside. They are  often extraordinary in nature and not directly applicable to us….e.g..just because Elijah did not die and was carried to heaven in chariot, does not mean we will have same experience!
10.  Any comments made by disciples BEFORE Pentecost must be interpreted with extreme care and caution
10.   Texts should be read theo-centrically. That is, after determining what the meaning was to the original audience, we should first ask: what does this text reveal about the nature of God, and of the Person and work of Jesus in particular?
3 Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him kin Ramah, his own city. And Saul had put the mediums and the necromancers out of the land. 4 The Philistines assembled and came and encamped at Shunem. And Saul gathered all Israel, and they encamped at Gilboa. 5 When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. 6 And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets. 7 Then Saul said to his servants, “Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “Behold, there is a medium at En-dor.”
8 So Saul disguised himself and put on other garments and went, he and two men with him. And they came to the woman by night. And he said, “Divine for me by a spirit and bring up for me whomever I shall name to you.” 9 The woman said to him, “Surely you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the necromancers from the land. Why then are you laying a trap for my life to bring about my death?” 10 But Saul swore to her by the Lord, “As the Lord lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing.” 11 Then the woman said, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” He said, “Bring up Samuel for me.” 12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul.” 13 The king said to her, “Do not be afraid. What do you see?” And the woman said to Saul, “I see a god coming up out of the earth.” 14 He said to her, “What is his appearance?” And she said, “An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped win a robe.” And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and paid homage. 15 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” Saul answered, “I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams. Therefore I have summoned you to tell me what I shall do.” 16 And Samuel said, “Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has turned from you and become your enemy? 17 The Lord has done to you as he spoke by me, for the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. 18 Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord and did not carry out his fierce wrath against Amalek, therefore the Lord has done this thing to you this day. 19 Moreover, the Lord will give Israel also with you into the hand of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons shall be with me. The Lord will give the army of Israel also into the hand of the Philistines.”
20 Then Saul fell at once full length on the ground, filled with fear because of the words of Samuel. And there was no strength in him, for he had eaten nothing all day and all night. 21 And the woman came to Saul, and when she saw that he was terrified, she said to him, “Behold, your servant has obeyed you. I have taken my life in my hand and have listened to what you have said to me. 22 Now therefore, you also obey your servant. Let me set a morsel of bread before you; and eat, that you may have strength when you go on your way.” 23 He refused and said, “I will not eat.” But his servants, together with the woman, urged him, and he listened to their words. So he arose from the earth and sat on the bed. 24 Now the woman had a fattened calf in the house, and she quickly killed it, and she took flour and kneaded it and baked unleavened bread of it, 25 and she put it before Saul and his servants, and they ate. Then they rose and went away that night.

Before we interpret this text we must ask what the central themes of the books of Samuel are. The essential theme is God exercising His cosmic Kingship by inaugurating a Davidic dynasty and not a Saulide one, and establishing Jerusalem as the place where the Divine King Yahweh will be worshipped. This is a very significant time in the flow of redemptive history as God’s people move away from a period of ruling Judges to a central monarchy, who is to be subject to the Word of God. (see rule #9)
The key themes in Samuel are: the absolute cosmic Kingship of God, His providential guidance, and God’s sovereign will and power. Obedience of God’s deputy (the king) to His revealed Word is of paramount importance. All of this is very significant when looking at this text.

This text is preceded by a narrative of God’s chosen one, David, and is followed by a tragic story of Saul’s rejection and God-ordained death.

All of the rules for interpretation given above must be kept in mind. Above all else, the clear and cumulative evidence of what happens to us when we die (both godly and ungodly) from the multitude of texts above must guide our interpretation of this bizarre and singular text. The New Testament interprets the Old, and didactic interprets historical narrative—and this is a historical narrative.

I am going to make this short, dealing with just the major issue. This is a significant juncture in the flow of the drama of redemption—Israel’s first king is about to be killed. Hence, it is no surprise to me that we have this singularly bizarre incident occuring. In keeping with the theme of the book, the Sovereign King steps in during this séance with a medium (not witch..’ob) and providentially guides its proceedings. Samuel’s soul is dispatched by God to deliver a message of judgment upon king Saul. Samuel is at rest in heaven (why did you disturb me?). God gives him an appearance that all would recognize as the deceased prophet. At this unrepeatable and significant juncture in redemptive history where Israel’s first king is on the verge of death—and the forerunner of the Lord Jesus is about to become king, David—God does something extraordinary. Remember that this is historical narrative and an in-depth commentary is lacking. Thus, drawing doctrine from this would be contrary to several of the hermeneutical rules laid out above. However, just because there was a very brief visit by a glorified soul is no basis for establishing further visitations. Here is a very significant point—Samuel was NOT an earthbound spirit. His rest was “disrupted” and after delivering his message, Samuel went back home to his celestial rest.

The issue at stake is not whether there are disembodied spirits (there are millions in heaven and hell right now). Like Moses and Elijah on the mountain with Jesus, Samuel was sovereignly dispatched during a time of crisis at the beginning of the monarchy stage.

Ghosts are said to be trapped spirits, and usually for a long time. Samuel was not trapped and his visit was measured in minutes. There is nothing in this text which provides ammunition for those looking for a biblical basis for saying that ghosts is an admissible category. In fact, Samuel predicts that” tomorrow” Saul and his sons would join him. Nobody is being trapped or earthbound in this text. Case closed.

Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. 30 And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure,2 which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. 33 And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”— not knowing what he said. 34 As he was saying these things, ma cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One;3 listen to him!” 36 And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen. (Luke 9:28-36)

Three questions are asked of this text: are Moses and Elijah resurrected?; where did they previously exist? Where did they return to? And a comment was made that their talking with Jesus compounds the matter.

This is the Transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain with Peter, James and John. From the outset, we must point out this is historical narrative, which describes an event, but often without commenting on it….which is somewhat the case in this text. Let me hasten to add that the gospels obviously do contain much teaching from Jesus (or didactic), but they are primarily theological biographies of the Lord Jesus. Events are often compressed and frequently events are described without comment on it…..usually left to reader to see this through Holy Spirit’s anointing and wisdom.

The context and the Holy Spirits main intention for this text is to accent the divine glory of the Lord Jesus. The texts preceding this and the episode with the demoniac coming after it (on the next day intentionally “hooks into” this theme”).

The transfiguration is an illumination from the inside/out of the true divine glory of Jesus which He suppressed during His incarnation. His divine glory shone exceedingly brightly!

Peter, out of fear, makes a foolish comment regarding making a tent for all three….”not knowing what he said”. This is another situation in which a disciple made a dumb comment without Jesus rebuking or correcting them. This will be significant when we look at the text in Mark when Jesus made no comment regarding their fear-laden comment that He was a ghost.

In a rare case in which the Father spoke verbally, He tells the disciples that Jesus is His beloved Son and they/we must listen to Him. Jesus’ ministry supersedes and fulfills all those who preceded Him, like Moses and Elijah.

Speaking of Moses and Elijah, the purpose of their presence was that Moses represented the Law and Elijah the Prophets, and most importantly, Jesus fulfills both. I chose the Lukan text because it tells us what Jesus, Moses, and Elijah were discussing. V.31 says that they were discussing His impending departure (“exodus” in Greek), which would entail His death, resurrection, and ascension. These were the events that all the prophets foretold and every inch of the Old Testament progressively revealed the coming ministry of the Messiah. How marvelous it must have been for Moses and Elijah!

To answer the questions: no, Moses and Elijah were not resurrected—that will occur at the Second Coming when we are reunited with our glorified bodies, such as Jesus’s was on the mountain. As we saw in the many texts above, Moses and Elijah existed in heaven, in the form of glorified souls. Jesus gave them an observable form but it was not yet their glorified bodies. Jesus’ whole ministry was THE most significant juncture in redemptive history. Hence we see unparalleled healings and exorcisms and other extraordinary, singular events—which include this Transfiguration. Jesus sovereignly transported Elijah and Moses for this short but magnificent event. How wonderful it must have been for Moses to see how the sacrificial system pre-figured the once for all sacrifice of The Lamb of God. And how moving it must have been for Elijah as he saw Jesus as The Divine Prophet..prophet, priest and king.

After their brief encounter (like Samuel) they went back home to heaven as the glorified souls we read about above (see Hebrews 11-12). Why does Elijah and Moses speaking with Jesus compound things? In God’s inscrutable wisdom, He included these two primary figures of the Old Testament. I find it unspeakably beautiful that God incarnate would bring these two men here to have a heart to heart about the upcoming events, which all of human/cosmic history hinge. The Creator of Moses and Elijah can certainly give them (as glorified souls) the ability to verbally communicate. Once again, their appearance was measured in minutes and they went back home. They were not earthbound. Their appearance enriched the significance of Jesus’ transfiguration by showing the centrality of Jesus in the Old Testament…and more glorious New Covenant.
To take such a God (and His glory) saturated text—with the Father telling us to listen to Him—and use it as an inference for ghosts is unwise, to put it mildly. We need to look to the epistles to give us the understanding of the status of Moses and Elijah. These are glorified souls engaged in conversation with their Creator and Savior, and were then sent back home. No ghosts. Indeed the notion detracts from the central theme—the glorious divinity of King Jesus. It saddens me that this God besotted text—and surrounding context on both sides- is used to support that which undermines the glory of Jesus by undermining the  perfection of the atonement which they were discussing on that holy mountain. To infer that other spirits could remain with us, is to overlook the singular nature of Jesus and His role in redemptive history as expressed in His transfiguration. It also overlooks the main intent of this passage and breaks several of the rules of hermeneutics.

all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.
Jesus Walks on the Water

45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. 47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, 50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 51 And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened. (Mark 6:42-53…emphasis added)

I added this text because many folks are persuaded that this is the most powerful text proving Jesus believed in ghosts because he didn’t correct the disciple’s belief in ghosts. This text is preceded by the miracle of feeding 5,000…it is followed by Jesus landing on shore and healing everyone that came to him. These texts are designed to prove that Jesus is the divine “I AM”, and worthy of our worship and implicit trust. However, as we’ll see, this lesson was lost on the obtuse disciples.

Immediately (v.45) after a sensational, miraculous display of Jesus’ divine power and glory, Jesus made the disciples get into their boat. He went to pray. To condense this, when the disciples saw Jesus they thought He was a ghost (phantasma) Since He did not correct them, it must be that he agreed that ghosts is an admissible category.

Several problems with that argument. First, it is an argument from silence, which is a logical fallacy. You cannot derive doctrine from what Jesus didn’t say, especially in a historical narrative. Speaking of historical narrative, this text needs to be interpreted along the lines mentioned above—through the lenses of the epistles. Thirdly, what was the disciple’s emotional state when they thought this regarding Jesus….who they had just left across the lake, very much alive? We don’t have to guess. It says they were terrified, both by their crisis and Jesus’ appearance.

He did speak to them by telling them to not be afraid. Then He says “ego eimi” which is Greek equivalent of Old Testament Yahweh, I AM….was passing by them. But they totally missed it. In the Mt of Transfiguration, we have a precedent of a disciple saying something foolish without being corrected. What is kindness? Well, when people are terrified kindness and compassion looks like not jumping all over loved ones who just made a mistake. They were terrified…no time for lecture.
Most significantly, we are given a divinely inspired commentary on this whole event in v.52….it says that they didn’t understand the loaves (nor Jesus) because their hearts were hardened. This verse casts a long shadow over everything the disciples said/did in this text…especially regarding ghosts. Instead of operating out of well deserved faith and trust in Jesus, they were sunk in abject terror, unbelief and lack of faith. They (like me) were slow learners, until after Pentecost. Their cry of Jesus being a ghost was prompted by fear and unbelief. Here is the great I AM walking by, and they cling to popular superstition instead of faith in God Almighty. Without beating a dead horse, v.52 makes it clear that the disciples were operating out of fear and not faith….their hearts were hardened to the lessons they should have learned the miracle done just hours before. Their utterance of Jesus being a ghost (which was absurd anyway since they knew He was alive) was an expression of their hardened heart. As Jesus said, out of the fullness of our hearts, the mouth speaks. In this context Phantasm is best translated as superstitious imagination. Ghosts were a popular notion in their day, as it is in ours, but the bible is our foundation. We must be transformed and not conformed. It was not until 24:25 that we are told that Jesus “opened their minds”….prior to that the disciples were quick to stick their foots in their mouths, and as historical narrative, often commentary is often very brief or lacking altogether.

36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish,2 43 and he took it and ate before them.
44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you ware clothed with power from on high.”  (Luke 24:36-49)
First, it is noted in v.37-38 that the disciples were once again overcome with fear and doubt—similar to the commentary in Mark 6:52, where their hearts were said to be hardened. With these emotions flowing from fear and not faith, they thought Jesus was a spirit (pneuma….not a ghost). There were many disembodied spirits in heaven and hell at that time. In fact, Jesus does gently rebuke them for their comments. If Jesus said “Hey, I’m not like those earthbound spirits which are all around us” then we would have a basis for inference regarding ghosts as an admissible category. Contrary to what the author said he does rebuke them. He gently rebukes them for their unbelief/fear, and simply states he is not a spirit.

Jesus had a glorified body and not an appearance like Moses or Elijah, who have to wait for their glorified bodies. Jesus was simply emphasizing that He had a true, physical body (though glorified)…THAT is the main point. He refers to disembodied spirits as a means to an end….to counter the notion that He only appeared to be fully human after the resurrection. It was not until v.49 that we see Jesus foretelling a time when His disciples would be filled with the Spirit and finally understand…and stop making foolish comments.

Jesus took bread and ate it to prove to them that He was not a spirit. His intent was not to give us a ghostology, but address THEIR mistaken belief that He was a spirit. In a simple attempt to comfort them He says that He is not a spirit. Using their own words, Jesus said He was not who they thought He was, a spirit. Nowhere is the modern notion of an earthbound spirit referred to.

Like other historical narratives, we must view this text through the grid of the above didactic texts. It is not that some verses are more inspired/important than others, but there are common sense rules for interpreting the bible properly…which is what we must do if we believe it is the very Word of God.
By the way, while Jesus ministered to countless demoniacs, He never sought out a ghost to help them. Likewise, we never see an earthbound spirit approaching their Creator to help them, as did many demoniacs. The only inference one can take away is that Jesus did not have a ghostology ministry because there are none. If we allow for the admissibility of ghosts, then we open a Pandora’s box from hell.

Mark Hunnemann is the author of Seeing Ghosts Through God's Eyes: A Worldview Analysis of Earthbound Spirits. It's also available in eBook format.