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I have been wondering about something that seems to be taboo for a lot of folks.
Allow me to back up for a moment.
Nearly a year ago ( in 2008), my brother-in-law passed away.
When he was younger, he was very involved with Youth For Christ, and had a seemingly endless thirst for things of the Lord.
Sounds like a typical Christian to me, or what I believe one should be like.
Well, here is where things take a slightly different turn.
Steve (my brother-in-law), had a "gift" for sensing spirits. My niece (his daughter) has the same "ability".
I had thought for a long time that such things were from Lucifer, period.
However, when Steve passed way, strange (for lack of a better word) things started happening around their home. Even my great-nephew who was only three at the time, said things like "Grandpa told him to stay out of the kitchen", when asked if he was in the kitchen when grandpa told him that, he nodded his head and said uh-huh.
This got me curious about what I had believed for a long time.
Even though I can't recall right off the entire story, I remember reading about a prophet that asked God to open the eyes of the man he was with; and when He did, the man saw an Angel with a sword standing off in the not to far distance.
I know we are NOT to seek out psychics, soothsayers, and so forth and ask them to contact so and so, for whatever reason. The same goes for Quigi (sp?) boards.
Those things are against Scripture, period.
With that being said, I would like some insight/opinions from others about how they view this topic.

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Dear Howard,
I too believe that God gives certain people increased vision beyond the physical into the spiritual. If you want a real eye opener, just type in the word "spirit" into a Bible search program and study all the multitude of all kinds of references involving the spirit world. Here are a few.

Part of your recollection relates to the prophet Balaam, in Numbers 22:20-33, wherein the Lord opened his eyes to see an angel standing before him with a drawn sword. (Note that Balaam didn't act at all surprised about having a donkey speak to him, but he promptly answered it back. Neither was Eve surprised with a talking serpent.) Another part of your recollection is 2 Kings 6:8-17 when Elisha prayed for the Lord to open his servant's eyes to see the host of the angel armies.

I feel we need to be more sensitive to the spirit world, NOT LESS, unless we should unwittingly be used as a pawn by it. Jesus Himself rebuked the disciples in Luke 9:54-55, "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of," which was obviously NOT the Holy Spirit. Jesus rebuked Peter in Matthew 16:22-23 for speaking the very thoughts of satan.

Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:10-12 how we should thoroughly study the Sword of the Word so that we would be able to know all the wiles of the devil, and in knowing how, we can fight the devil and take him out! "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."

Do you think your brother-in-law was given this special insight from the Lord to be the prayer intercessor who protected the family? Because of your interest in your brother-in-law's past gift, now that he is gone, might the Lord be prompting you to take his place as family protector and intercessor? My grandfather was this to our family and when he died, it wasn't long after the Lord offered me the same position, and I said Yes.
Blessings, Dave Knauss
Dear Dave,

Thanks for your response.
You are right about what I was trying to recall.
Unfortunately, I was on some medicine that REALLY messed up my ability to recall things. I still have to deal with the effects of it, but the Lord has shown me on more than one occasion what I needed to know.
In this case I guess that I got the two events rolled into one; but that's o.k. as the same principle still applies in both cases.

If you don't mind me asking, are you able to "sense" when there is a spirit around; I mean other than the Holy Spirit ?
Steve, was able to sense "grandpa's" spirit when he walked into his house/home.
"Grandpa" had gone to be with the Lord years before Steve entered the house.
(I put "grandpa" in quotes as he is actually my wife's grandfather.)

I really want to know more about this sort of thing. Not just out of curiosity, although that is a part of it; but I believe that we should have an understanding of why we believe, what we believe.
Dear Howard,
If I am correct, I perceive your question to be this: "Do the spirits of our family members (i.e. humans) DWELL here after they have died?" According to Scriptures that I know of, I say No. For the saved, 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 says, to be in the body is to be absent from the Lord, and to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. For the unsaved, they're in hell, Luke 16:22-26. (BTW, in all the parables Jesus told, no one is named because the stories are metaphors and analogies. But in this story, Jesus gave definite names, which indicates it is an actual happening.) In light of these Scriptures, I conclude that departed spirits of humans do not DWELL here on earth.

A consequent question could be: Have they ever been brought back to VISIT? Yes, I think God allows saved people to come back when it fits His eternal purpose. Saul visited the witch at Endor and God allowed Samuel to come back (1 Samuel 28:7-12). (I cannot explain this.) On the mount of transfiguration, Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus (Matthew 17:1-3). When Jesus died and the earthquake happened, many saints came back and appeared to many (Matthew 27:51-53). In a night vision while I was sleeping, about 15+ years ago, God brought my father back to me for a healing conversation.

I'm not certain if it is spiritually healthy to want to more about this sort of thing, as you say, because of the pitfalls and deception it could lead into. Have you read "Pigs in the Parlor" by Frank and Ida Mae Hammond? I can sense an evil spirit is around when the Holy Spirit tells me to command it to be bound, silenced, and be gone.
Hope this helps, Dave
Dear Dave,

You are right about what I am/was trying to get at.
Maybe this should be on a different "thread", I don't know.
But I have been wondering about certain aspects of what "Absent from the body, present with the Lord", means.
For instance, I have for years believed that once we as Christians depart from this life, we immediately go to be with the Lord in Heaven. Which is what I still tend to believe.
What got me to thinking about this (did you smell the smoke?), is the fact that Jesus said God is Spirit.
So with that truth in mind, I found myself wondering if Jesus, and Paul, meant that we will instantly find ourselves dwelling within the Spirit realm. (Sorry to use that terminology as it is used all too often in reference to evil spirits.)
This would indeed place us as being "present with the Lord"; and it would also, for me anyway, fit the Scriptures that speaks of being "surrounded by a cloud of witnesses."
I was informed that the "witnesses" were/are angels; and I have also heard that this is referring to other people watching us in our everyday lives; but I have found no Scripture which limits it to just angels and/or other people watching us. So I find myself seeking answers as to if that would include the spirits of our loved ones as well.
Even if it were limited to the "visits" you made reference to.
For me, this would also explain the "strange" things that have happened in my brother-in-laws home, including the discussion my great-nephew spoke of.

(FTR, he had other discussions with his grandpa as well, but I am not aware of any recent ones taking place, nor any other abnormal happenings.)

I agree 100% that the pitfalls and deception that this could lead to are very real.
This is why I am approaching this topic with a 10' stick in the hand of an extended arm's length.

I want to thank you for all of your replies/insight into this matter.

Howard
I have four short comments. I don't know where they fit in this conversation, but that they're simply random thoughts that popped into my head while reading your response.
(1) I believe satan counterfeits the spirits of departed people, but God brings them back for real when He does.
(2) The cloud of witnesses that each of us are surrounded with are all the inhabitants of Heaven and various people on earth close to us who know every detail of what is happening here on earth AS it happens. There is a perfect communication system in Heaven.
(3) My grandfather collaborated with and published for a well-known theological writer for most of the 1900s, whose name was Arthur W. Pink. Grandpa told me how that God saved Pink from spiritualism he deeply practiced. Even after Pink was saved, he told Grandpa that if he wanted, he could even then leave his body and go across the ocean to England and tell Grandpa what chair his father was sitting in. (He didn't actually do so because he knew it was against Scripture.)
(4) You have an "interesting take" on the presence of the Lord and our being in His presence.
Dave
Thanks Dave!
I know that Satan counterfeits spirits of departed ones.
This is evident when you hear of people who are supposedly talking to other peoples loved ones, but they can never get the name. They will say something like "The name sounds like a Mary or Mariam, or..."
If it was truly from the Lord, there would be no guessing involved.
Would you mind elaborating on what you meant when you said:
"but God brings them back for real when He does."
I realize this may sound somewhat ridicules to some people, but I really do feel a need to know why I believe what I believe.

Thanks!

Howard
Hi Jean,
If I may disagree somewhat, I cannot conclude absolutely that every "visitation" is demonic. My father appearing to me didn't claim to be my father or even NEED to claim it, I automatically knew him from inside my saved spirit. After his visit, I was a changed person for good and righteousness. Satan is totally unable to produce anything positive such as healing and wholeness, but his results are only "to steal, and to kill, and to destroy." (John 10:10). (I hope this helps Lisa in her thinking.)

Perhaps on second thought, you may be correct, in that my father didn't make a visit to me, but that I was transported momentarily to Heaven to see him? Like Paul said, "Whether in the body or out, I cannot tell." (2 Corinthians 12:2-4). But Saul was not transported to Heaven to see Samuel, and neither were the people in the other two instances I related in my above posting.

My pastor, where we lived many decades down state, was also my neighbor and best friend. His son committed suicide and pastor carried it as a tremendously heavy burden for over a year. Then pastor related that one night, he spoke with his son about his suicide, and that his son explained he begged God's forgiveness in the moments just after the shotgun blast before losing consciousness. He asked his Dad to forgive him and said not to grieve any more since he was OK and in Heaven. We could all see it was a great burden lifted off pastor. So, was he visited by his son, or was he transported to Heaven momentarily? Back to 2 Corinthians 12:2-4.
Blessings, Dave
Dear Howard,
The only explanation on the "for real" that I can make is simply to refer you to the three examples from Scripture that I listed above. Were they real persons, or counterfeits by satan?

In cases such as these, to try explaining any further, I believe it's best to let the Bible speak for itself. The Bible explains thoroughly whatever questions you can put to it when you pray and study--line upon line--precept upon precept--even the deep hidden things of the Lord. For information on your subject deeper than what I've suggested, at present I don't have your answer.

I referred earlier to an author named Arthur W. Pink. He was a brilliant man who had no physical library at all. It was all in his head. One day when my grandfather asked him about a certain book, he said he had read it 10 years earlier, and promptly said he disagreed with the author on a certain page and in a certain paragraph near the bottom of the page about [and then went on to give my grandfather a complete explanation].

Keeping this in mind, along with the fact that Pink spent his entire adulthood writing 30-40 Bible expository books, his dying words were, "Scripture explains itself!" What an epitaph reflecting on both his life's pursuit and the Bible itself.
Dave
Jean,

Thanks for your input.
What you have described is pretty much similar to what I have heard from other Christians.
The problem that I am having, is that although on the surface, this sounds correct; when one stops to think about certain portions of Scripture, they (seem to ) contradict that view.
For instance: Christ Jesus never sinned, and yet He spoke with Moses and Elijah.
Jesus then went on to say that we will do the same things He has done, and greater ones because He goes to be with the Father. (Loose translation.)

My brother-in-law didn't actually "appear" to my great-nephew; however, he did speak with him.

While hunt-and-pecking this post, I realized what may very well be an important aspect to this whole subject.
Throughout Scripture, one can read about angels and even The Lord Jesus Himself, speaking with people.
These people had one thing in common, they were not seeking to speak with an angel, or with Jesus Himself as Paul spoke with Him on the road to Damascus. (I believe that's correct.)
The only time I can recall someone seeking out a person who has passed on, involved going to a witch.
Something that we are not to do.
I feel I should clarify an apparent misleading I have given people.
I'm not actually seeking out someone to speak with, that's contrary to the Word of God.
I am just wondering out loud about "why" these things happen, in order to have a better understanding (read foundation) of why I believe what I believe and how these things fit into the picture.
Howard, it sounds like some of those in your family may have a prophetic gifting. Like all things of God it can and has been perverted by the devil. That is why so many are freaked out by it. I don't see spirits myself. I have met at least 2 fellow Christians who claim to see demonic sprits. One mentioned that she had to be able to turn the gift off in order to function because she picked up on so many things. I can't explain why the child sees his grandfather...that may be different than what I am talking about here.
The advice I have heard is that if one sees what they think is an angel they should test the spirit. Remember we are told that even Satan appears lovely at first. Check scripture in Ezekial (?) I think on the fall of Lucifer.
As for how to test the spirit, begin praising the Lord (out Loud ?) does the thing stay or go. I have also heard of folks seeing things so ugly that they were clearly demonic.
Hope that helps.
Dave,
Ok. Gotcha. You guessed correct I read the entire post, after making my previous post. Why not put it in the correct post instead of hiding it here? It might help others.
This is a great post for brainstorming scripture as a light into personal experience. In the OT, there are many references to the burial of kings and men where it is said they "rested with their fathers".

The word used for "rest" or "rested" in this sense is interesting because it is nuach (to lead to rest, to rest with) and not mavet (death, searation from Life). This is because generally speaking (I am being very general as to not falsey portray any present or past forms of Judaism), God's people believed that physical death caused one's spirit to either rest with their family (ancestors) or to be separated from them, depending on the life lived by the deceased.

So why "rest"? Why not "death"? Death/mavet is a word of finality,[to be] cut off from the living, cut off from God, cut off from Life, no longer living. [note that in Judaism, the Word of God, the scriptures are considered to be the eternal living words.. God in Word form, per se - so cut off from Life, is to be cut off from God]

I can't say what happens to a soul when it "rests". I am just sharing another insight into the subject. Can a soul be awakened from rest? Yes, I believe I saw many scriptures above that agree a soul can be awakened. The burning question is: for what reason? Perhaps the reason is not as important as the result.

********************************************************************************************************************
I love thinking about the possibility of "nuach". About resting in God, about God giving rest. Souls are eternal, that means nuach is for those alive on earth as well those who have gone to "rest" with their fathers. We don't have to wait for rest - we can come as we are.

Wrestling with these perfect words God gives us is a joy in itself, even if we never have our questions answered, we are invited to know God more intimately by seeking deeper meaning of scripture [..the Word became flesh]. What is life, to live, to rest, to rest in, what is death, spirit, soul, eternal life, living Words, God as spirit, God as word? ... "turn and turn it again for everything is contained therein."

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls Matthew 11: 28-29

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