Friday, October 30, 2015

Things That Go Bump in the Night

I do not celebrate Halloween, and unlike the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, I don't believe in spooks.  That is not to say, however, that I don't appreciate a good ghost story.  And would you believe that one of the greatest ghost stories can be found in the Bible?  Yes, the Bible.  Don't believe me?  Check it out:

Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) - Ephesians 4:8-10

The Bible tells us that during the three days after Jesus' death and before His bodily resurrection, He descended to Hades (which, at that time, consisted of both Hell and Paradise) and led captivity captive.  In other words, those who were saved and were being held in Paradise as a temporary holding place were released to ascend to Heaven with Christ.  Where that gets weird is that we know that Christ didn't ascend until after speaking with Mary Magdalene at the tomb after His resurrection (John 20:17).   Remember, Jesus told Mary not to touch Him because He hadn't ascended to His Father yet.  The blood had not yet been applied to the mercy seat.  So, my question is, where were all those spirits that He freed from Paradise during the time between when He set them free and when He ascended?  Here's a thought:

And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. (Matthew 27:52-53) 

Okay, majorly creepy, right?  Who were these people, and why in the world were they walking among the living?  Could it be that the bodies that came up out of the graves belonged to the spirits that were set free from Paradise?  I mean, it seems like a bit of a coincidence, doesn't it?  I have no conclusive proof that the captives freed and the resurrected bodies were "match sets," but I believe there is enough evidence to conclude that there were people in that area walking around muttering, "I do believe in spooks!  I do believe in spooks!"  Can you imagine?

Now, if that weren't creepy enough, ponder this:  what happened to those bodies when Christ finally ascended?  It's safe to assume (especially based on the wording of Ephesians 4:8-10) that the souls of those who were freed from Paradise ascended to Heaven with Christ, but what happened to their bodies?  Did they ascend too?  Did they die a second time and have to be buried again?  What happened to the living dead?

Alas, I fear we'll never know all the details of this intriguing ghost tale until we reach Heaven, but that doesn't mean we can't study it out and try to fill in the blanks the best we can.  In the end, we'll know all there is to know, but for now, at least we know what's truly important.  Christ conquered death and hell and is now seated at the right hand of the Father, and because of His great sacrifice, one day we will get to join Him in that place of endless wonder.

And I'm pretty sure there won't be any spooks!

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