You’ve undoubtedly heard tales of someone claiming a loved one visited them from beyond the grave to bring them a message or guide them. But is this possible? What does the Bible say about such encounters?
The idea that a loved one comes back after death to give us one last message is a comforting thought. Some claim that this has happened to them. Some claim to have been visited by a deceased person to let them know they are okay on the other side.
Others claim someone has spoken to them from beyond the grave to guide them or save them from harm.
There’s a lot of these stories floating around – but are they true? Can such ghostly visits from the departed actually happen?
Let’s look at a story from the Bible that deals with this very subject.
The parable of the rich man and Lazarus
In Luke 16 Jesus tells the parable of “the rich man and Lazarus.” This analogy clearly answers the question of whether those who have died can visit and communicate with us from the so-called other side.
The parable concerns a rich man who was well-dressed and “feasted sumptuously every day,” and “a poor man, named Lazarus,” “who desire to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table.” Both died.
After death, the rich man wound up in hell, being in torment, suffering in the heat of the flame.
“In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'”
In the next verse, Abraham reminded the rich man that he had good things in his life while Lazarus had bad things and suffered, but now the roles were reversed.
A key verse follows that gives us insight to interactions between the realm of the dead and the living.
“And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.'”
– Luke 16:26
then the rich man asked Abraham to send someone to warn his family.
“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ “
– Luke 16:27-28
“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'”
– Luke 16:29-31
From the above verse, we can ascertain that we develop our faith through his word, not by God sending us heavenly messengers. This verse seems to imply that God prefers our faith to be pure, not that deceased persons come and testify to us about what’s on the other side.