It’s that time of year again when people want to be spooked. Whenever All Saints’ Day is approaching, the media usually works doubly hard to conjure ghost stories. (I should know. I’ve been there. But I made a commitment back then not to write such stories.) Were it not for Typhoon Santi and the recent political storm, we will be so flooded with these eerie tales. Yet still we read about it. In a Philippine Daily Inquirer article, Cathy C. Yamsuan wrote in her “Wandering spirits need our prayers” that “Urban legends tell us that spirits warn the living, seek justice for untimely deaths, or send a specific message.” (Oct. 31, 2009) In his book, “Exorcism: Encounters with the Paranormal and the Occult,” Fr. Jose Francisco Syquia, chief exorcist of the Archdiocese of Manila, quoted Catholic mystic Anne Catherine Emmerich, “There are also souls neither in heaven, purgatory, nor hell, but wandering the earth, in trouble and in anguish, aiming at something they are bound to perform.” (Ibid) Inquirer also quoted another priest, Fr. Joselino Tuazon, who opined that “For souls who cannot cross over, we are not really sure of their final destination…. there is nothing categorical about these wandering souls. In the meantime, we will pray for them.”

But that runs counter to what Hebrews 9:27 categorically teaches: “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (ESV).
As far as the Bible is concerned, there can be no wandering spirits. When a person dies, he goes directly either to heaven or in hell (but no purgatory). No religious ritual can ever change a dead person’s eternal destination. Hebrews 9:27 “repudiates reincarnation and any idea that there will be a second chance to believe after death, since immediately after the reference to the fact of death comes the phrase ‘and after that comes judgment,’ with no hint of any intervening opportunity for change of status.” (ESV Study Bible) The final judgment may still be in the future. But people who do not put their faith in the Lord Jesus as Savior are already condemned. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. (John 3:36) It does not say that God’s wrath will be upon those who do not believe. It says that His wrath remains on them. But while we are still alive there is still hope. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

Brethren, let us share this Gospel of hope.


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