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Thursday: Personations and Other Appearances — 9 Comments

  1. A Caveat:

    In our enthusiasm for proving the supernatural, we often embrace stories of dubious value. This story is a bit dated but I think it illustrates the point. Back in the 1970s a minister came to our church and preached a sermon about the second coming. He presented a number of pieces of evidence but the crown jewel (or so he thought) of his presentation was that no spiritualist medium was predicting anything beyond 1984. The implication was that Jesus was coming in the early 1980s.

    The minister, who had gone through College with me, spoke to me afterwards and asked what I thought about his evidence. I suggested to him that for a church that does not believe in seances, astrology, and other so-called paranormal sources, quoting them as a source of information about the nearness of Jesus' coming was probably a bit dubious.

    I often hear stories about spiritualism, mediums and so on, told with enthusiasm that they are proof that "something is out there". But, we need to be careful. Showing Satan exists in not proof that God exists!

    There are a couple of take-aways from this. If we really want to prove that God exists, then we need to show that we have a meaningful relationship with him. Stories about supernatural manifestations, of either the good or bad kind, are not nearly as convincing as experiencing the warm love and understanding of a Christian who loves God.

    Secondly, while we believe that God is supernatural, he is also the God of the natural. He created the visible world and has left us enough evidence in what we see and experience through observation and relationships to find him.

  2. One day I had a visitation through a dream. I'm now a 40-year-old woman, but lost my mother at the age of 13. Somehow I always longed to see Mom. I always missed her, especially when times were difficult. I wished she were still here; and one night I saw her sweetly talking to me. I felt a sense of peace and comfort, but immediately the Holy Spirit reminded me of Ecclesiastes 9:5.

    "The living at least know they'll die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, nor are they remembered."

    In our conversation I quoted this scripture; immediately the visitor disappeared. I woke up from the dream and realised I had been talking to the devil himself; and I realised how we should be guarded by scripture (Ephesians 6:10-18). I praised God for delivering me from the enemy. Since that day Jesus is enough for me. I long for His presence when times are hard.

  3. A broken heart for a loved one who's gone can be very deceitful. That's why we need to be grounded in the Word of God. First, to accept the state of the dead, and second to continue to hope for better days, because Jesus promised to come back and restore this planet to perfection, with no more crying, pain, suffering or death. Out of this reality we can build our whole nature of reasoning on sand, and when some strong tide comes we may collapse. Thus, let us be bold and hang on to the Rock of our salvation!

    • This comment really belongs in last week's lesson, but it touches on the deception of the immortality of the soul. The thought occurred to me that if the price for our sins is eternally burning hell, then to pay for our sins Jesus would have to suffer eternally burning hell on our behalf. And if that is the case, He would never be able to pay the full price. Our sins would still not be paid for and we would not be reconciled to God by His death. Praise God He has paid the full price and is at God’s right hand ministering to this sin-sick world!

  4. I will say that dreaming about someone who has died is not necessarily an apparition or a devil. It is not unusual to dream about people who are gone just as we sometimes dream of people we haven't seen for a long time. It's often a part of working through the losses we've experienced. I am sure sometimes the devil works through dreams, but quite often they're just that.

      • I think if you dream of someone who died and they are just interacting with you in your life as they did before they died, the dream is probably just a product of missing them and remembering them. I don't think you need to worry about that. They are part of your memories and dreams are pretty common when you are dealing with emotions. As time passes, the dreams become less frequent, though it's surprising how you can dream of someone who you haven't seen for a long time and their voice etc. is just as you remember it. But that is just a product of your memory.

        Now, if in your dream, a dead person tells you that they are in Heaven or tells you something unbiblical like Sunday is holy, I would guess that dream is from Satan.

        Dreams are often an odd mishmash of things though. I had a dream once where I was talking on the phone with an uncle who had died 7 years ago. In my dream, I actually said "You are not my uncle, you are a spirit. My uncle is dead." Then I woke up and realized the whole thing was a dream. I don't feel that dream was from Satan, but it was interesting to see that my beliefs in death as a sleep actually expressed themselves in the dream! So I don't worry too much about dreams like that because I know I'm grounded in what I believe.

  5. As in any other situation, we need to recognize whether dreams of loved ones now gone match up with the Bible. Anything occuring in a dream that is not Biblical is probably from Satan, but some dreams may just be memories, or a result of wishing to see the person again.


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