Yesterday in my blog posting I introduced the topic of "ghosts." Are they real? We saw that the spirit world is teeming with life and that in Jesus day people, even His own disciples, believed at least somewhat in the existence of ghosts.
There is no denying that ghostly experiences occur. But what are they? Are they the spirits of the dead who have come back to guide us, warn us or even haunt us? What does the Bible say?
We learn from 2 Corinthians 5:8 that for the believer, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. The writer of Hebrews said that is is appointed unto man once to die and after this comes the judgement (Hebrews 9:27). Jesus told the repentant thief on the cross that "this day" he would be with him in paradise. So we know there is an after life. But do the spirits of the dead come back from the after life?
In Luke 16, Jesus told the story of a rich man who died and immediately opened up his eyes in hell, and a beggar named Lazarus who died and the angels carried him to paradise. We learn from this story that there is a gulf that separated the two compartments of the after life prohibiting the spirits of the dead to go back and forth between hell and paradise. In the story the rich man begs Abraham to send someone back to warn his family members so that they would not come to that same place of torment.
It would seem from this story that the spirits of the dead do not have the freedom to go back and forth from the after life. Abraham did not grant the request of the rich man saying that even if someone returned from the dead it would not help. This would lead me to believe that the idea of the spirits of the dead going back and forth from the after life to this present life is not consistent with Biblical teaching.
I think the same can be said about many of the "near death" experiences we read about today as well. These make great stories - and no question something happened - but is it really the spirits of dead (or near dead people) going back and forth from the after life to this present life? To me , that is highly unlikely.
So how do we explain these experiences? That will be my topic in my blog posting tomorrow. I'll warn you in advance, you may not like my answer.