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The Scripture Reading: Luke 16:19-26.
The Solo by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: "The Law of the Lord is Perfect"


by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, October 21, 2001

"Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up" (Job 4:14-15).

Thousands of young people are attending a blockbuster movie about ghosts. This ghost story is titled "The Others," and it stars Nicole Kidman, the former wife of Tom Cruise. I do not recommend this movie. I don't think you should see it, even on video. But I can tell you this much about it, from

Nicole Kidman plays the role of Grace in this supernatural suspense thriller about a young woman and her two children living in a secluded house on the Channel Islands [off of the Coast of England]. Grace's daughter claims to see apparitions, which lead her to believe there are intruders at large in the house…[ghosts in the attic - and roaming through the empty rooms of the floors above them].

It's 1945, and Grace's husband, Charles (Christopher Eccleston), went off to fight in World War II and never came back. She is therefore left alone to raise her two children, Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley), in a cavernous Victorian mansion engulfed in gloom and fog on the Isle of Jersey. Following the German Occupation, the family learned to live without electricity, which worked to their advantage since the youngsters suffer a rare allergy to light and cannot be exposed to any light brighter than a candle. The three new servants, Mrs. Mills (Fionnula Flanagan), Mr. Tuttle (Eric Sykes) and Lydia (Elaine Cassidy) are carefully briefed by Grace about the importance of closing and locking every door in the house. The light, she explains, must be locked out like water from room to room. The religiously repressed Grace is also prone to migraine attacks and insists the house must be kept in absolute silence at all times. When Anne begins to complain that she see ghosts in the house, Grace tells the servants, "My children sometimes have strange ideas, but you mustn't listen to them. Children will be children." Eventually, however, she begins to believe that perhaps there are others living amongst them in the house.

I don't think anyone should see this kind of movie. Like "The Exorcist," this sort of movie is spiritual pornography. When something frightens you as much as these movies, it could open you up to the demonic - and perhaps even demon possession. Stay away from anything that frightens you and makes your flesh crawl with terror. It isn't good for you to see a movie like "The Others."

But there's a fascination with death, and with ghosts - especially at Halloween - that has drawn hundreds of thousands of people to theaters - to see this bone-chilling ghost story.

Now, in the Bible passage we just read, Eliphaz was confronted by a spirit. It was very late at night. He was asleep. Suddenly fear gripped him. He began to tremble because he sensed that a supernatural force had entered his room in the darkness.

"Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up: It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice…" (Job 4:14-16).

The German Bible commentators Keil and Delitzsch said, "The subject…is the undiscerned ghostlike something. Eliphaz was stretched upon his bed when a breath of wind passed over his face…His hair bristled up, even every hair of his body, [with] the ghostlike appearance as subject. He could not discern its outline, only the most ethereal form was before his eyes, and he heard, as it were proceeding from it, a voice, which spoke to him in a gentle, whispering tone…" (C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament , Volume IV, Eerdmans, 1973, p. 93).

Bible commentators Jamieson, Fausset and Brown said, "At first the apparition (ghost, specter, or phantom, Webster ) glides before Eliphaz, then stands still, but with that shadowy indistinctness of a form which creates such an impression of awe; a gentle murmur!" (Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments , vol. 2, Eerdmans, reprint, 1976, p. 9). John MacArthur calls this specter, "A mysterious messenger" ( MacArthur Study Bible , comment on Job 4:12-16).

Do I believe that this actually happened? Yes, I do. Do I believe that Eliphaz experienced something supernatural and weird? Yes, I do. Do I believe that it was a ghost? No, I do not!

The Bible teaches that there are no such things as ghosts. Human spirits do not roam the earth after death according to the Bible. Then what was the "spirit" that "passed before" the face of Eliphaz, and made his hair stand on end? I am convinced that it was a demon.

The Bible has a great deal to say about the Devil and demons, and the Bible teaches that demons are very real. Dr. Merrill F. Unger, of Dallas Theological Seminary, said:

There is not a hint that Jesus or any of the New Testament writers had the slightest doubt as to the real existence of either Satan or demons. They believed in their reality quite as much as in the existence of God, or the good angels (Merrill F. Unger, Biblical Demonology , Scripture Press, 1952, p. 36).

To the materialist, who denies the reality of demons and angels, Shakespeare said:

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

Yes, the Bible teaches that demons are very real. And one of the things demons do is to try to trick people. Jesus told us that the Devil is a liar in John 8:44. The Devil and his demons lie to people, so they can tempt them to sin, and lead them to destruction. And the demons pretend to be ghosts to trick people into believing that "ghosts" are the spirits of the departed dead.

Dr. Kurt Koch, the German preacher, gave this account:

When I was preaching in Edmonton, (Alberta) Canada, a twenty-one-year-old girl came to me for counselling. She said that at night the doors in her house would open. The radio turned on by itself. She could hear footsteps, scratching and knocking noises, see gleams of light and faces, hear voices and (see) transparent people walking back and forth, even though all the doors were locked. She was not suffering from a mental disorder. I told her that there were spiritists either in the house or among her ancestors. She admitted this. Her grandmother had been a charmer and a spiritist and had died in terrible circumstances (Kurt Koch, Th.D., Occult ABC , Literature Mission, Germany, 1983, pp. 230-231).

And Dr. Koch pointed out that demons pretend to be the "ghosts" of dead people.

Now, why would demons do that? Why would they pretend to be ghosts?

I. First, demons pretend to be ghosts to make people think there is no Hell.

The Devil is a liar and the father of it (cf. John 8:44). The Devil and his demons know perfectly well that Hell is real. In fact, they know that Hell was originally prepared for them (cf. Matthew 25:41).

Yes, the Devil and his demons know there is a Hell. They are not in Hell now, but they know that God will send them to Hell in the future. But the demons do not want you to believe in Hell. That's one of the main reasons that demons pretend to be ghosts. You see, if human spirits roam the world, and haunt houses, then the Bible isn't true, and there is no Hell.

America has become so Satanically and demonically controlled that we no longer think about Hell at all, but we see pictures of ghosts, movies about ghosts, and people even dress up like ghosts - especially around Halloween.

The Devil has accomplished his purpose. Many people believe in ghosts - but not in Hell.

But God tells us clearly that human spirits do not wander the earth as ghosts. The Bible says:

"It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

That verse plainly tells us that you die, and then you go to the judgment - you don't stay on earth as a ghost. When you're dead, you go to the judgment! And Jesus told us that the place of judgment is Hell. Jesus said:

"And these shall go away into everlasting punishment…"

(Matthew 25:46).

"Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41).

We have a clear example of this in the sixteenth chapter of Luke. Jesus said:

"The rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments…" (Luke 16:22-23).

He died. His body was buried. And his soul went directly to Hell! And that is where you are going to go unless you experience conversion. You will die. Your body will be buried. And your soul will go directly to Hell!

The Bible says, "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?" (Hebrews 2:3). How are you going to escape from the judgment of God for your sins? How are you going to escape from Hell?

You will be everlastingly punished for your sins unless you are converted. Jesus said:

"Except ye be converted….ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3).

The Devil and the demons want to keep you in the dark about Hell. They don't want you to believe in Hell. That's the first reason they pretend to be ghosts.

II. Secondly, demons pretend to be ghosts to make you think
there is no Heaven to be gained.

You see, if human souls and human spirits wander around on earth, then there is no place called Heaven that you can go to - if you are prepared - if you are converted. Remember that Jesus said:

"Except ye be converted….ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3).

The demons want to keep you from being converted - so they don't want you to think about Heaven. They don't want you to even think about how to get to Heaven. That's the second reason they pretend to be ghosts. They don't want you to think about Heaven.

Now the Bible tells us that a converted person goes directly to Heaven when he dies. The Bible says:

"We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord" (II Corinthians 5:8).

That verse makes it real simple: "Absent from the body - present with the Lord." There is no period in between where you walk around on earth as a ghost. No! If you are a real Christian: "Absent from the body - present with the Lord" up in Heaven! Simple!

Can we be sure of that? You bet. In the sixteenth chapter of Luke Jesus told about a beggar, who was a real Christian. Jesus said:

"And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom [which is another name for Heaven]" (Luke 16:22).

This man was a real Christian. He died and was immediately carried into Heaven by angels! "Absent from the body - present with the Lord" (cf. II Corinthians 5:8).

Now the demons don't want you to think about Heaven. Did you ever see a theme park that had anything about Heaven in it? They could do that - at Disneyland or Knott's Berry Farm - and it would be very interesting - but they don't! At both Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm, they have several rides with ghosts connected with them. And both of these amusement parks have a strong emphasis on ghosts around Halloween. But neither one of these parks have anything to say about Heaven at all. Why? Because the Devil is the god of this age, and of this world (cf. II Corinthians 4:4). God has relegated this sinful world to Satan during this age. God has allowed Satan and the demons to control this present age and this present world. And the Devil and his demons do not want you to think about Heaven. They want you to keep your mind only on this life. They want you to think only about this world. That's why they tell you that you're going to come back to this world - as a ghost!

But remember that the demons are liars - and they want to destroy you. That's why they want you to think about ghosts. That's why they want you to think that your soul will come back to haunt the earth - or to be reincarnated. Yes, the demons also teach reincarnation - for the same reasons - to keep you from thinking about Heaven or Hell!

The Bible says, "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). You must resist the demonic idea that you will come back to this earth as a ghost when you die. That will not happen! The truth is that you will either go to Heaven or Hell immediately after you die. And whether you go to Heaven or Hell depends completely on what you do with Jesus Christ right now - while you are alive.

III. Thirdly, demons pretending to be ghosts have nothing to say
that will help you.

I have known people who went to seances. They had "mediums" tell them what the "ghosts" of dead relatives said. There is a séance like that near the end of the current ghost movie, "The Others," I am told. But the ghosts that speak in these seances are really demons. And they have nothing to say that will do you, or anyone else, any good.

The demon that spoke to Eliphaz, as described in Job four, did no good. The demon's message did not help Eliphaz, and it did not help Job. Dr. John F. Walvoord's Bible Knowledge Commentary points out that the message of the demon pictured "God as unconcerned about man" (comment on Job 4:17-21). That is an outright lie. The demon gave a twisted, false message about God to Eliphaz, and confused him.

The Bible says:

"Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God"

(Leviticus 19:31).

If you want to know the truth, you have to read the Bible! That's why you need to come back to church here! You need to learn the Bible! It isn't your fault that you're ignorant of the Bible. It's your parents' fault. They didn't take you to a Bible-believing church every Sunday, like they should have. They didn't read the Bible to you every day in your home, like they should have. It's not your fault that you don't know the Bible, that you are ignorant about it.

But it is your fault if you keep on being ignorant! Get a Bible and get back here to church - and learn what God says! It's time for you to find out what God says in the Bible, instead of what some demon says!

The Bible says:

"We have also a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed [pay attention], as unto a light that shineth in a dark place" (II Peter 1:19).

The Bible is more sure, more certain, than any voice you could hear - from an angel, or a demon! The Bible alone is our sure Word of God. It is like a light shining in a dark place.

Mr. Griffith sang the words of Psalm 19 a few minutes ago, right before I spoke.

"The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple…More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold…"

(Psalm 19:7,10).

Only the Bible can lead you to a real Christian conversion. Only the Bible can give you the wisdom to know how to be a real Christian. That's why the Bible is more valuable than a heap of gold! Only the Bible can show you how to get saved! You can't find out any other way!

Now, the Bible teaches that Christ died to pay for your sins. The Bible teaches that He rose from the dead physically - and ascended up to Heaven - where He is now seated on the right hand of God. The Bible teaches that you must come to Christ - and trust completely in Him - so that your sins can be washed away by His Blood - and you can go to Heaven when you die. And that's our message to you! Come to Christ! Get saved! Be here in church every Sunday and learn the Bible!

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Or phone him at (818)352-0452.

The Scripture Reading: Luke 16:19-26.
Solo by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: "The Law of the Lord is Perfect"



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

"Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up" (Job 4:14-15).

I.   Demons pretend to be ghosts to make you think there is no Hell
to avoid, John 8:44; Hebrews 9:27; Matthew 25:46;
Matthew 25:41; Luke 16:22-23; Hebrews 2:3; Matthew 18:3.

II.  Demons pretend to be ghosts to make you think there is no Heaven
to be gained, Matthew 18:3; II Corinthians 5:8; Luke 16:22a;
James 4:7.

III. Demons pretending to be ghosts have nothing to say that will
help you, Leviticus 19:31; II Peter 1:19; Psalm 19:7,10.