Someone recently submitted a question about whether visions of ghosts were legitimate, and whether visions of angels were legitimate. Many people are fascinated with the paranormal. It’s important not to give too much credit where credit is not due. But it is important to harmonize such strange things with the fullness of Truth. I have seen and discussed many reasons that the Christian world view has the best answers to so many phenomenon. It also has the most relevant and sensible answer to the issues of the paranormal.
Ghosts and visions of angels in the Bible:
Deuteronomy 18:11- do not consult the dead, familiar spirits, or have anything to do with sorcery. This stuff is punishable.
Isaiah 19:3- seeking ghosts is associated with spiritism that is opposed to God. Idols, spirits of the dead.
1 Chronicles 10:13- We are not to consult mediums.
Isaiah 8:19- Why would the living consult the dead? Shouldn’t the living consult the living God?!
The disciples thought Jesus was a ghost because he was walking on the water (Matthew 14:26) and he came back from the dead (Luke 24:37). Then Jesus defines a ghost as something that does not have flesh and bones like he had (v. 39).
The Bible doesn’t deny that there are such things as ghosts, “familiar spirits”, or “spirits of the dead”. It strictly and plainly warns us not to have contact with them. They are from the demonic realm. They are fallen angels. Their goal is to steal attention and glory away from God and for themselves with lying signs and wonders. They are seductive to those that are spiritually curious. They often come with innocence and assistance rather than fear and control, imitating good intentions. Satan often disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).
The Bible records that a third of the angels fell with Lucifer. This is what became demons. They are ministers of the work of Satan. The goal of these is to steer attention away from the true God. Then the objective is to steal, kill, and destroy- taking out those that are most loved by God… people.
Usually encounters with demons don’t involve physical interactions or plain visions of them. Demon possession was a common thing that Jesus encountered through his walk on Earth. It’s not the manifestations of demons that we need to be the most concerned about, it’s the spiritual oppression that they induce in unsuspecting unbelievers. Those that aren’t covered and protected by the modern day presence of Jesus via the Holy Spirit are open to various kinds of demonic influence, from the subtle to the violent. Whatever the type of manifestation the goal of the enemy remains the same.
But there are also angels, ministering spirits, involved in certain people lives.
Acts 5- The apostles were rescued from prison by an angel, which told them to spread the word of God.
Acts 12- Peter gets rescued from prison by an angel appearing as a man.
Genesis 19- Angels are powerful; two of them destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. They also help the righteous; they warned Lot and got him to safety.
Numbers 22- Balaam and his donkey saw an angel. The angel corrected him and told him where he was supposed to go.
2 Samuel 24:16- The power of angels is completely under the subjection of the command of the Lord.
Angels announced the conception of Jesus (Luke 1:28), the birth of Jesus (Luke 2:9-15), and they announced the resurrection of Jesus (John 20:12)
Maybe the reason that demons seem to get more attention than angels has to do with the broad path and the narrow way. Angels that are bringing to Earth God’s message have a very specific order- and they follow it to a T. Angels from the Lord never seek their own glory (unless the angel IS the Lord), they always bring glory to the Most High. Demons on the other hand don’t have such limitations. There may be a million counterfeits that they can employ. What they do may be shocking, but it will never bring glory to God in the name of Jesus. They are not submissive to God, but forceful and manipulative.
Though the demons boast of liberation and full exercise of the free will, you will quickly learn that they take you back under bondage. You will be a slave to your own selfishness and lose self control. In extreme cases you will not be able to free yourself from their control. Angels, on the other hand, preach a narrow and specific message of self-less-ness. But this message is actually the one that is liberating.
The simple test- if the spirit does not confess that Jesus, THE Christ has come in flesh, died and resurrected on our behalf… Then that spirit is not of God. (The only “spirit guide” we need is the Holy Spirit.)