Do you believe in ghosts?


What does the Bible say about ghosts and stuff like that? I don’t believe in them, I’m just wondering if there are some verses that speak of such things.


The word “ghost” can be used several ways: (1) the seat of life or intelligence; soul; (2) a disembodied soul; the soul of a dead person believed to be an inhabitant of the unseen world, and appearing in bodily likeness; (3) spirit, demon. (Merriam Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary). Some of that definition fits what the Bible teaches, and some does not.

Part one of the definition does fit what the Bible teaches: “the seat of life or intelligence; soul.” When a person dies, he is said to “give up the ghost.”

Genesis 25:7,8 says, “And these are the days of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years. Then ABRAHAM GAVE UP THE GHOST, AND DIED in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.”

Genesis 25:17 says, “And these are the years of the life of ISHMAEL, an hundred and thirty and seven years: and HE GAVE UP THE GHOST AND DIED; and was gathered unto his people.”

Genesis 35:28,29 says, “And the days of Isaac were an hundred and fourscore years. And ISAAC GAVE UP THE GHOST, AND DIED, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.”

Genesis 49:33 says, “And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and YIELDED UP THE GHOST, and was gathered unto his people.”

Matthew 27:50 says, “JESUS, when he had cried again with a loud voice, YIELDED UP THE GHOST.”

Luke 23:46 says, “And when JESUS had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, HE GAVE UP THE GHOST.”

As you can see, when a person dies, and his spirit and soul leaves the body, that person is said to “give” or “yield up the ghost.” A body is not really dead, until that happens. People have written all about dying and coming back to life, but no one can truly die and come back to life apart from a miracle of God. What these people are experiencing is a “near death” experience. James 2:26 says, “For as THE BODY WITHOUT THE SPIRIT IS DEAD, so faith without works is dead also.” Only when the spirit of a person has left his/her body (given up the ghost), has that person really died.

The second part of that definition of the word “ghost” is, “a disembodied soul; the soul of a dead person believed to be an inhabitant of the unseen world, and appearing in bodily likeness.” This is the normal usage of the word “ghost” in our day. People say things like, “The ghost of _________ haunts their old house.” Or, “The ghosts of the dead people in that graveyard come out at night, so do not go there after dark!”

People even make references to their belief in ghosts (not in the scary sense) when people die, by saying things like, “________ is here with us today at the funeral.” Or, “________ will be with us in the days ahead.” That type of thinking is not scriptural at all. A person who has died is not with us upon earth. That person is in one of two places: in heaven, or in hell.

Luke 23:42,43 says, “And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, TO DAY SHALT THOU BE WITH ME IN PARADISE.” “Paradise” is said to be the “third heaven” (the highest heaven, the dwelling place of God), in II Corinthians 12:2-4, “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one CAUGHT UP TO THE THIRD HEAVEN. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was CAUGHT UP INTO PARADISE, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” So when Jesus told the thief on the cross that he would be with Him in paradise, He was telling him that he would be with Him in heaven that very day. II Corinthians 5:8 says, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be ABSENT FROM THE BODY, AND TO BE PRESENT WITH THE LORD.”

If a person does not go to heaven immediately upon death, then that person is not saved, and will immediately go to hell. Luke 16:22-24 says, “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: THE RICH MAN ALSO DIED, AND WAS BURIED; AND IN HELL HE LIFT UP HIS EYES, BEING IN TORMENTS, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.”

So when a person dies, that person immediately goes to heaven if he is saved, and to hell if he is lost. In either case, he is not wandering around the earth. He is NOT upon earth walking around invisible and scaring people. He is also NOT comforting his loved ones and helping them — that is the job of the Holy Spirit and the angels. The Holy Spirit is called the “Comforter.” John 14:26,27 says, “But THE COMFORTER, WHICH IS THE HOLY GHOST, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” The angels have the job in the unseen realm of protecting us. Hebrews 1:13,14 says, “But to which of THE ANGELS said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? ARE THEY NOT ALL MINISTERING SPIRITS, SENT FORTH TO MINISTER FOR THEM WHO SHALL BE HEIRS OF SALVATION?”

The third part of the definition of the word “ghost” is “spirit, demon.” Satan and the angels that fell with him do have access to the earth (but they are never called “ghosts” in the Bible). Job 1:6,7 says, “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, FROM GOING TO AND FRO IN THE EARTH, AND FROM WALKING UP AND DOWN IN IT.”

Satan and his demons can talk so that man can hear them. Isaiah 29:3,4 says, “And I will camp against thee round about, and will lay siege against thee with a mount, and I will raise forts against thee. And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath A FAMILIAR SPIRIT, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.”

The New Testament is filled with references to demons speaking to Jesus.  Matthew 8:28-31 says, “And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.”

God forbids man to seek contact with the unseen realm, the spirit realm. All of our contact for information is to be sought from the Lord through prayer and His Word, the Bible. Isaiah 8:19,20 says, “And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have FAMILIAR SPIRITS, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: SHOULD NOT A PEOPLE SEEK UNTO THEIR GOD? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”

Herein lies great danger today because of the emphasis on “spirit guides” and “angels.” Many people claim to have regular contact with “spirit beings” or “spirit guides” (which they say are angels). These people range from “religious” movie stars to wives of the leaders of old, established (once considered fundamental) radio ministries. Thus, these people are actually dealing with “familiar spirits.” Spirit beings with which they are “familiar” because of repeated contact. The Bible forbids all such contact with the unseen spirit realm.

A Christian should have no part in Halloween, and its making light of ghosts and scary things. It is not a world of make-believe. There really is an unseen realm of evil (not ghosts of dead people wandering around, but Satan and his demons), and we are to have no part in it. We should only seek direction from the Lord, and all prayers and requests should be to Him, and to Him alone.