When I was younger I saw a ghost of a little boy in my bedroom. I had seen demons as well. The thing, though, is that demons and ghosts (or restless souls) often feel differently. Demons are downright evil and creepy. Ghosts often seem locked in, bitter, depressed, lost. The trouble is one really cannot tell one from another. A demon who has been hanging out with a particular family (sometimes called a familiar spirit) or a demon that was inside the person when the person was alive can mimic the dearly departed. So, whether in a dream, vision, or real life, just because someone looks like the dearly departed doesn't mean the being standing before one in the middle of the night creeping one out is actually that person.
But...dang! how can one be sure it's not one's dead grandma, mother, or brother?
Sometimes it's easy, the person pops up to save the house from burning down. (This once happened in our family.) So...the person could be the dearly departed or an angel in disguise. If the person hangs out and wants to talk a lot and give large spiritual discussions, then it's probably not an angel or the departed. Angels are not commissioned to preach the gospel, nor are the dead commissioned to. Many false christs are gone out into the world having doctrines of demon. So it's best to assume evil.
The Bible divides up Death and Hell, a strange division. In the Book of Revelations, we read that death and hell gave up their dead. Jesus also talks about people cast into outer darkness.
But big question: Who knows whether it's the actual spirit of the person?
Most Christians living a righteous life go to heaven. But many Christians are not living a righteous life. Yes, I know... the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sins... but remember who are not allowed to enter into the New Jerusalem. So, a person could be a solid believer in Jesus but if that person is a pimp, a "seducer of himself with mankind," a coward, a liar, "Fearful and unbelieving"...then that person is not going to heaven. The only other choices: Death and Hell and Outer Darkness.
Of course when one is seeing a ghost or a demon, one doesn't have the time or the mental wherewithal to formulate one's theology about this kind of thing. When one goes on vacation and ends up sleeping in a house that turns out to be "haunted" (and there is some angry looking being standing over one's bed) one simply is not going to say, "Uhm, is this a demon? is this my imagination? is this the spirit of a dead person? Is this the projection of a witch? Is this some powerful thought from the deceased that continues to live on? (Thoughts are things in the spirit realm. They have energy.) One really has to have some idea of how to deal with the phenomenon.
If it's a demon, well we can tell it to go in Jesus' name. They might not leave, of course. Because they might have some legal spiritual right to be there. If one is a murderer or an adulterer, and one has a demon bothering one...chances are the demon's gonna laugh at your attempt to cast it away from you. Honestly, what authority does a lying, unforgiving, non-Bible-reading Christian have over a demon? The demons' gonna stay put. But chances are, if you repent of sins and ancestral sins, the demon will listen to you.
But what are we to do when there's a possibility that some other spirit -- living, dead, or demonic-- is intruding on our lives?
First identify them:
Living intruders: Witches who have cast some spell on one's life. Relatives we have a soul tie to. Bullying parents who don't follow the first law of marriage that says a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, someone we had sex with with whom we shared a sexual soul tie.
Dead intruders: A parent who was known to bully and has died, when an unsaved person in the family has had a traumatic sudden death and was too involved in the world, someone with whom you shared a soul tie and whose spirit is knitted with yours to the point where soul needs to be divided from spirit...especially if that person was bullying.
Then deal with them by sending them to the feet of Jesus. Yes, I know... some exorcists and deliverance folks say we're supposed to send these people to the pit. From my own confused experience and from some books I've read by missionaries and old-timey deliverers, I;m agreed that although we Christians have been given the spiritual authority to cast demons into hell, if we're in a situation where we don't know who the heck this demonic entity is....then it's best that we send the spirit to the foot of Jesus. Heck, we don't want to send a human soul to hell, do we?
Sometimes one can see the effect of the unburied dead and lost souls on the family line.
A child whose mother has had many abortions might be troubled. So it's best to have a communion -- the eucharist-- for the dead child. The Catholic Church has a service for dead and aborted children. Often, giving the aborted child a name and a spiritual farewell or funeral and saying the eucharist has relieved many an ill living child.
If one suspects the trouble comes from some departed person who is walking around in outer darkness or in death, then do a eucharist, preach to the soul about the salvation of God, and send the person to the foot of Jesus. I'm not saying someone can be saved after death but in case this is a Christian who is lost or a person who is fated to go to hell anyway, at least you've done your part. And your oppressed family member will be delivered. I know this theology is a bit odd but it is based on experience. Let's just say the "influence" of my very strong-willed mother affected our family long after she died. Then my husband and I did a eucharist and told her to leave. The next day, my son -- who knew nothing about what we did-- told us he had a dream that he "saw Grandma cooking for us in the kitchen and she said she had to go." Things improved a lot in our lives after that.
Since I'm talking about something that sounds flaky, I might as well push my luck here. I will also mention animals. My mother hated animals. To leave a pet with her was to pretty much seal its fate. But among all the pets we had, only one returned to say good bye. (Yeah, I think it was him...ut for all I know it was a demon.) Anyway, we had a dog named Resin and we went to college. When we returned, Resin was nowhere to be found. (Resin had also saved us from burning as well. Yeah, i know... so many fiery encounters in my life.) Mama said she had given him away. So there were were. Some days later, not sure how long after we had returned, my sister and I were in bed. What did we hear?The patter of doggy feet running through the house. What did we feel? The doggy jumping on the bed and snuggling in between us. Yeah, I know. I suppose I could've said, "You are nothing but a demon in disguise." But I didn't. I was just happy that he was there. Okay, I know better now. But that wasn't a particularly scary encounter. But dogs who have been treated harshly by humans have been known to cause spiritual trouble in houses. So, just giving you the heads-up on that. So yeah i do believe I will see all my pets in heaven. But I would balk if I saw another one on earth. . . unless it approached to save my life.
In all times, it doesn't hurt to bring out the bread and wine and do a communion eucharist. It is a healing service for the living as much as for the dead. And it certainly won't hurt.
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